Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Walk to the Mailbox

After the walk up the driveway, I turn right and walk down this road
Sometimes when I walk to the mailbox, I compose a blog post along the way. It's always brilliant. The words flow effortlessly, as I scan the ground for anything that catches my eye: coyote scat, an eviscerated lizard, a bright orange mushroom. I leave the camera home. I just want to look around, and let my imagination hold whatever I see, while I conceive the post that will explain everything. Not the personal everything, not even the everything of scat, lizards, and mushrooms, but the public everything, the times we live in, why I am a liberal and love my country, why civil and human rights mean so much to me, why I am anti-war, even though I am not a pacifist. It is not a long walk to the mailbox, maybe 1/6 of a mile one way, so I walk slowly to let the ideas take shape. I think about the country I grew up in, the same country as my right-wing friends. We both say we love our country, but the country they love and the one I love seem so different that I start to suspect we have merely fallen in love with our own ideas, and not the real thing at all. But I wonder if there is a real thing, an essential America that is not exactly what either of us think it is? So, I start a mental list of things that I love about my country:

-the bill of rights and 14th Amendment
-the constitution, of which they are part
-the Gettysburg Address
-the belief that my vote counts
-our representative government
-the taxes I pay for education, roads, police and fire departments, medicare, social security
-the sense that our nation's laws were founded on principle

Then I turn right again and walk down to the corner. Mailboxes on the left.
Suddenly there's a brown nose sniffing me. Bruno, the chocolate lab who lives in the house closest to the mailboxes, is leaning on me wanting me to pat his side and call his name. He's a great big friendly boy who often comes out of nowhere, reminding me to get my head out of the clouds and be here, where I'm walking.

I oblige him. But on the way back I can't help but wonder what would be on my right wing friend's list, or what would be on yours. I arrive home and think about what to post. Somehow the words never flow quite so effortlessly as they do when I'm just walking along.

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