Post-election Phantom Limb Pain
I am grappling with the new and unsettled and unsettling feelings I have this morning, the first back in my writing place since the Day After, and just the other side of more than 24 hours on the road. Back, at last, to the familiar comforts of my own desk, bed and view of the setting Supermoon just out my window.
But something is missing in the morning blackness, a peaceful time of day when I am usually overflowing with words. There is nothing today but a vacuum. No light. No sound. Only emptiness.Â I can sense it but I can’t quite find words for it.
It is a kind of loss; a kind of brokenness; a kind of grief for something known and urgently important in my life, now missing. It is like having been mugged or robbed or assaulted without cause–violated. Abused. Something has been violently taken.
And to be sure, there is pain in the injury, though finding a name for it eludes me.
I can remember it being there–the forty years of burden for the state of the planet; the longing to know this place better in its present state before we lose all the songbirds and salamanders, the native wildflowers, the honeybees, the intact forests.
I know that this realm of care once occupied a large part of my daily thought, myÂ hopes, even–once. It was not a vigorous hope then, granted, and it was fading but there was a pulse and some body heat.
And today it is gone. And yet I feel it still.
I have concluded that this is phantom limb pain from my Trump Stump.
In one day, the future that seemed weakly possible–possible in the days of my future great grandchildren five times removed, when the atmosphere wouldÂ return slowly to health, the coral reefs would stopÂ dying and the planet’s winds and sun would powerÂ us forward–all of that has been amputated. But I feel the deep ache of it as if it was still a viable part of me.
Some say regeneration is possible–that the nerves of empathy and compassion can resensitize the stump; that the blood flow of purpose and resolve can make it pink again; that the heat of doing the right thing for the common good in the face of overwhelming odds can let me bear weight on it once again.
I truly hope they are right. I do not care for being disabled in this way, or for this numbing, mind-blocking pain or for the lack of mobilityÂ at the keyboard–for how many mornings to come?
There is far more work to do today than just a short week ago. We love our children’s children no less and are no less committed to inconvenient facts that we live by the numbers, not the haughty biases of those who sit in office. And we stand on temporarily-crippled legs at the brink of a failed tomorrow.
Stand. Walk. Run. Rehab is going to be very hard after the grief work is done.