" 'Hope' is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all - "
- Emily Dickinson, "'Hope' is the Thing with Feathers"
Waking up this morning after a night spent tossing and turning, trying to banish thoughts of the cataclysmically awful presidential debate, I reached desperately for poetry or prayer to hold onto. Dickinson's wonderful lines on hope swam into focus and I repeated them fervently for a few moments as I poured my coffee. A good thing, too, because the morning dealt me two quick kid-crises. First William somehow inhaled a probiotic into his sinus cavity, an activity which resulted in copious amounts of water and snot on floor, counter and ceiling. Second, Aden called in a panic from her apartment in Boulder because she woke up from a deep sleep and "couldn't remember anything."
Overcoming the panic I felt at a 7:15am call from my college student who is under a stay-at-home order in virus-swamped Boulder, I reassured her that her wake-up experience was normal and wished for myself that I had that same experience, especially this morning. Now sitting at my computer, I scan headlines and try to quell my heartburn with more coffee as I review the piteous landscape that is American politics. On the BBC website, headlines read "Trump and Biden duel in chaotic, bitter debate" and "'The loser is us, the American people" and "Childish, grueling and an 'unwatchable fever dream' - how the world saw Tuesday's debate.'"
I can't bear to comment or to analyze more deeply. My one fervent wish is that such a debate never happen again. I pray that Biden's campaign decides to skip on the next two presidential debates. They would be the same, if not worse, and no one needs to re-live that torture.
Turning away from that scarring experience, I have to reach for hope, that elusive winged creature that "never stops - at all-". Dickinson's poem shows her sympathy for those - like me - who wrestle with their demons and strain to find and cling to hope, but also throws down the gauntlet. We can't stop holding on to hope. My family needs me to provide sinus spray and answer early morning phone calls (and who knows what the next crisis will be?) and without those fantastic wings of hope to lift me skyward, I would be flat on the floor this morning.