Election Night

After several hours glued to the television set, my Iphone, and the computer, looking up simultaneously a number of sites and results, tables, numbers, maps of the country, I am taking a break. This is the time every four years, when I just feel like praying. I am praying for each and every person who lives here, for each person voting, for every candidate, for those I agree with and for those with whom I disagree. May God be with us. And I’m grateful that we can do this with so little trouble, without revolution, and without violence (for the most part), and that despite such deep rifts in our nation, despite the wounds of racism and sexism, and classism, and deep-rooted suspicions, despite all the negative things we see and hear, despite a super-hurricane, there is still this amazing moment, when we are the subjects who make history, and we have a chance to move the world, by what we, as individuals do tonight. It’s overwhelming.

I love our country so much, the richness of it, the beauty of it. I was born in the Midwest, and I love cornfields and wheatfields, and soybean fields. I love big farms and small farms, cows, pigs or hogs depending on where you are, the smell of manure, the dark earth, the red earth, meandering rivers, and deep curves of old wind worn hills, sunflowers, and dandylions, the sound of the trains whistling through the Illinois nights on their cross-country journeys with freight car after freight car.

And then we moved East, to the crowded coastlines, and the horizon became a moving line of blue, with white horses of waves touching the sky. Here the pines move in darkly; the oaks and birch grow rampant in old overgrown fields; stonewalls built three centuries ago fall and tumble down into swamps and streams, and bogs. Such a different place than the spacious midwestern prairie. We discovered the New England transcendentalists who wrote so beautifully of this beautiful place. I love eastern poets and western poets, the hills here and the mountains there, the color of the Atlantic, the wide Pacific, an entirely different sort of sea, and the lines of the land reaching north and south, on either side of this country. Gary Snyder called America “Turtle Island,” after a native American image of this land. So here on Turtle Island, a President is about to be elected, many other congressional and Senate races are yet to be resolved. And I feel the grateful sob of prayer so deep for our nation, for the deep peace of a beautiful land, and wonderful diverse amazing peoples, those who were First Peoples, and those of us who came later from all over the world, for the creatures and all living beings who dwell among us, for the rocks and hills, and forests, for fields and rivers, east and west winds, farms and cities, towns and villages, and small isolated hamlets, homesteads and highrises, and I hope for presence of God here, for the Spirit of holy Peace to move in and through all of us this strange and wonderful night.

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