T had come over after work so I could help him with a couple of computer tasks.
After we had done those, he wanted to show me a Youtube video he had found inspiring of rappers doing good deeds…while I didn’t find it as inspiring as he had (let the reader understand), I watched it with him anyway.
Over to the side of the page was a list of other videos and I saw one I thought we could watch together for amusement.
This hip hop fellow watches videos of other types of artists and films his reactions to them…and he had done one watching Merle Haggard.
This should be a hoot, I thought.
I thought wrong.
As soon as I heard the Hag start to sing I started coming unglued and had to fight to stop from sobbing.
I turned it off and whisked the kid out on his way.
What the hell just happened to me?
On reflection, what had happened to me was the grief that I feel…the grief I have been stuffing …found in song the opportunity to break out.
I barely was able to cram it back in.
In the last year we’ve had fires that burned down our town and now the coronavirus is scorching what the fires left behind.
Today, the smoke from fires burning other towns reminds us that we are not safe yet, nor will we ever be again.
We have many suffering from what the sanitizers of terror call “economic insecurity” and “housing insecurity”…which really means broke and in the street.
These things I have endured and overcome…but the thing that crushes my soul is that the community I knew and the heart that community had is gone.
We are as divided as the rest of the country over politics and masks and vaccines and all the rest…our collective identity as the people of one valley is gone.
I was born here, raised here, have lived here for all but a short portion of my life, and will die here.
This is my dirt and these are my people…at least this is how it once was.
Our common identity that sustained us through so much has been ruined by those who profit from division.
What is left is simmering rage and grief that emerges without warning and threatens to devour us.
I grieve over that and over what once was.
I am left with one identity…I am a child of God…and my real dirt and real people will only be found when I enter that city not made with hands.
Until then, I cry with Merle… “take me away and turn back the years…sing me back home, before i die…”
Make your own application…