If wishes were horses

A stiff, cold wind and clouds are scudding across the sky and piling up like long baguettes above the East Bay hills. I was out earlier and was shivering even with a down vest.  Amazing how cold this city can feel despite temperatures that don’t often drop below 40°.  I stopped by a grocery store and commiserated with the check-out clerk whose counter was opposite the door.  She was wearing a down jacket, knitted wool hat and scarf, but still her hands were red and cold and her nose was running.

Driving home, I passed some people pushing shopping cards full of recyclable cans and bottles. Their jackets were too thin for the day–such a hard time of year if you’re poor or homeless. Yesterday, 5,500 people stood in line for hours at Glide Memorial Church, which for over 30 years has handed out bags of groceries to help people make Christmas dinner–an institution that’s shed more than a little light in the darkness. Long may it live!

…a suffering economy, poverty, drug abuse, violence, and despair continue to persist in San Francisco as they do across the country. By working to combat these problems, GLIDE serves as an oasis in a desert of hopelessness, marching to the edge where victories for social justice are won. GLIDE is a place where old, destructive ways of being are thrown out and new ones created. Where names are named and love is celebrated and a simple call goes out to all races, classes, genders, ages, and sexual orientations: It’s recovery time. It’s time to love unconditionally.

A lot of people are trying in their way to make the world better. The other day, I found a Christmas card stuck under my windshield wiper, with a grocery gift card inside.  Handwritten on the card was, “Please accept this card and token of good will and kindness in honor of one of the lives lost in Newtown, CT. I hope you have a beautiful, peaceful, love-filled holiday season. Know that you are loved. Pay it forward.” It was signed, “a friend.”   I’ve no idea whether the grocery card actually has any money on it, but I will find out, add some to it, and pass it on to someone who needs it more than I do.  At the bottom, the ‘friend’ wrote, “#26 Acts of Kindness.”  Might as well spread it around. You can’t have too many random acts of kindness.

A low mood still this last week and wishing it weren’t, but wishing doesn’t seem to be enough. It’s discouraging to have shaken off the misery of active alcoholism only to find another sort of miasma rising from the bog.  It’s not like somebody gives you points for behaving responsibly so you can build up a store of good karma, like indulgences in the Middle Ages, it’s just that I did have a certain expectation of calmer seas. But there’s help out there, and I’m slowly pulling together the threads.

I
When in good humor,
Give grass its green
Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun
With gold;
Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold
Absolute power
To boycott any color and forbid any flower
To be.

–Sylvia Plath, from “Soliloquy of the Solipsist”

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One Response to If wishes were horses

  1. Mary LA says:

    Sorry about the persisting depression Susan — loved those lines from Plath and the image of horses in mist.

    We have so many homeless out here, mostly because of no houses and no work rather than addiction, but the same plight.

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