As the days move into November, many of us feel a bit gloomier. The days are getting much shorter, and we are surrounded by reminders that our total time here on the planet is very short. We do our best to make this idea festive with our Halloween decorations, our Day of the Dead celebrations.
Let me add some nuggets of happiness to the festive days of this week:
--I went to early voting yesterday. The lines were the longest I've ever stood in for a non-Presidential year election--a wide diversity of people all patiently waiting and chatting. It made me feel weepy with hope--a great feeling these days! Everyone was civil and patient. I loved all the children emerging from the voting area with "I Voted Early" stickers all over their clothes and faces. One woman who works in the Danish bakery in downtown Hollywood brought 2 boxes of pastries for the workers.
--Voting makes me realize how much I love this giant experiment of a country. Our democracy doesn't seem fragile when I stand in line with my fellow citizens, all of us sweating in the sun that's still intense in November in South Florida. I stood in line with such a variety of people. This country is so huge, both in terms of land mass, beliefs, and types of humans--it's hard to believe that we could go the way of Germany in the 1930's or the former Yugoslavia of the 1990's.
--Before we went to vote, we spent the evening reading the ballot, researching the various ammendments. I made a joke about our romantic evening at home, doing political research, but I was partly serious. It was a pleasant way to spend an evening, but we are odd that way as a liberal artsy couple. We often we have similar evenings at home, at least several nights a week, talking about a variety of philosophical issues.
--After a time of not writing much poetry, I wrote 4 poems this week, and one of them came out fully formed. I went to observe the Chemistry teacher yesterday, on the Feast of All Souls. I came away with a poem about rust's slow will to conquer an oxidized nail--rust and oxidation and EMS compressions and people writing dissertations in geologic time and a dose of a feast day--I'm pleased with that poem. I am less pleased with my poem about early voting, but it has potential. I also wrote a poem rooted in home repairs, and a Halloween poem. It's been a long, long time since I wrote 4 poems in one week.
--We had a good Halloween week at school. Two years ago, on Halloween, I started my time here. Many people this week wished me a happy anniversary. I'm still happy at this campus.
It's strange to count up my happiness nuggets in a week where so many of us grieved the shooting at a synagogue and countless other losses. But maybe in a week like this one, it's more important than ever.