Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What you get

What you is see is what you get, but there are things going on that are not what you see and that will still be what you get.

What it is which brings me so easily to tears -- I seldom see it coming more than a half a sentence or so in advance, and then it just wells up -- a good friend said to me, "You're puddling up" in a kind and loving voice, as I recounted some tale with tears brimming in my eyes...

The odd triggers, the incongruous timing: since tears are never appropriate in ordinary American life, especially not from a male, there's nothing that can excuse such behavior. So it might as well be any weird reminder of our predicament which moves me to cry. It's awkward, often inappropriate, sometimes acutely embarrassing. Still, necessary--actually unavoidable. When it comes, it's genuine, an outpouring. The culture is overrun with violence, and it desperately needs voices of gentleness, of peace, to counter the violence with activist peace-making.

So here's my latest campaign: I am calling on other men who wear scarves to cry in public. It's the crying in public that's important, not the scarves, but I do think the scarves really help. I made the observation a few years ago that most descriptions of past events that I hear from women include some information about what they were wearing at the time. I can't think of a time when a man included an article of clothing in a memory tale.

So I'm calling out the lack of attention men give -- verbally -- to their adornment, and pointing to scarves as a lovely option to begin some care for a bit of flair. I certainly enjoy the compliments I get now that I've been wearing scarves. I don't remember ever getting compliments on my looks over the last twenty years without scarves...

And along with the flair some dispair, some real feeling for the desperate state we've brought the planet to, the meagerness of our efforts to correct the damage to Mother Earth, some tears of sadness for all the opportunities lost, and the renewal of energy for continuing the struggle that comes from surrendering to loss and failure.