passing on the flame

I filled a suitcase last night with clothing made of soft, lightweight fabrics in various bright colors. I did not fold them very well because I suck at folding and packing in general and I have a hard time caring if there are wrinkles in my clothing. I’m having a crazy month. A month ago I flew to Colorado for 48 hours, to ski with my brother and friends and celebrate a pre-Christmas in the mountains. Earlier this month I flew to Wyoming unexpectedly for work for a week, leading a group of college students on a wildlife conservation program after the planned leader got sick. And tomorrow morning I’m rolling out to the frickin Caribbean for a week with my parents, brother, and Aunt Kathy. It’s amazing but I feel vaguely guilty about it all at the same time; what did I do to get so lucky? How did I wind up with this month of plane trips and mountains and beaches?

That’s a rhetorical question. Or maybe it shouldn’t be. There’s so much inequity in the world, and I somehow get to be this person who’s leaving MN temporarily for a beach.

In the periods between adventures, I’ve been here in Minnesota of course. It’s been sort of pleasantly not insanely cold. Hey thanks climate change. There has been a lot of cross-country skiing. Lots of Settlers of Catan (like, probably way too much.) Work is busy, Cody is energetic, Amelia’s claws are still too long.

I went to a Black Lives Matter candlelight vigil on MLK Day with Niko, Drayton, Allyson, and Marie and heard some powerful speakers but unfortunately there was this strong, bracing wind that kept blowing everyone’s little white candles out, and you could tell that everyone was pretty focused on that, like, singing along for a minute, listening to the speaker for a minute, then in a hushed voice, “damn it, candle’s out again” and you’d see others throughout the crowd bending over to re-light their candle from their neighbor’s. Everyone was about eighty percent focused, I’d say, on just keeping their little lights alive as the sun set behind the Capitol. But then the mother of a young man who was killed by police a few blocks from my house last week spoke, and it didn’t matter how complicated the situation was, or the fact that pretty much not a single damn candle was burning anymore – she was a mom who you could tell was desperately, achingly, missing her son, and we all focused up again. You can take this paragraph as metaphor, or as literal, or you can just think about the fact that we live in an insanely unequal society with a lot of shit that goes down and the chilly winter wind is the least of our worries.

For more information on the organization Black Lives Matter and their specific demands for local governments and police departments, and to find marches, rallies, or meetings if you’re interested, you can check out their Facebook page for your nearest urban area. Here is the national page: https://www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter?fref=ts

And here is a photo from Monday that I stole from the news:

I get to spend the next week wrapped up in warm metaphorical bosom of my beloved and inspiring family. I want that for everyone.

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