By LORAINE ANDERSON
---- — Recently, while looking for something else, I find poet Mary Oliver's Instructions for a Good Life:
Tell about it."
These seven words come to me now as I sit by my morning "campfire," which means I'm on my couch in front of two candles during the wee hours of a yet-to-dawn day. Moonlight woke me at 3 a.m. and I can't get back to sleep. I tried to start work several hours early, only to realize how tired I am.
My mind buzzes with to-do lists, schedules and fatigue fueled by several things: GOP primary season; the disgraceful, disconnecting disparity between our richest Americans and everyone else; Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood politics; the Million Moms assault on JCPenney and Ellen DeGeneres; gratitude for how hard my mother worked to keep poverty from the door after my father died too young.
It's a stew.
I decide to take Oliver's advice. I blow out my campfire and pay attention to this quiet, dark moment.
The house creaks. The furnace goes on for several minutes and clunks off only to start up again a while later.
Astonishment pays a visit. I love the early morning. I love my house. I love this place and community where I live.
I hear my corgi, Emma, get out of her basket in the nearby dining room and pad on her old feet across the carpet.
She plops down a few feet away and begins to lightly snore. I realize how I've come to adore that sound, especially as she ages.
Moonbeams wash over the horse chestnut, birch, Japanese maple and gingko in the front yard. I love the night light the moon casts on our sleeping world.
My eyes follow the paths that bare tree limbs etch against the gray sky.
The tangle reminds me of the brain's neural circuitry I saw the day before on a Harvard School of Public Health video on the lifelong importance of healthy adult support, attention and nurturing play in brain development of young children.
Drastic state budget cuts to state schools, social service and education programs come to mind. I question the slashing of Michigan's refundable "earned income tax credits" from 20 percent to 6 percent for poor and near-poor working families to help pay for a more than $1 billion tax cut for businesses and corporations.
This bothers me a lot, I tell you, because it smacks of social injustice against our most vulnerable citizens.
I know this dismay and awareness is a good, important and powerful thing.
I know I am not the only one who feels this.
And I know why I cannot go back to sleep.