• Shana Ritter

Solace

I am at the last class in a series of classes that began at the beginning of May. In this month and a half the northern hemisphere has turned and shifted into summer. We’ve planted and weeded. Mown the yard and walked in the woods. Gone to doctor’s visits, planned a trip, made supper and washed dishes, dried them, put them away.

And there has been another massacre. Loved ones, an entire community toppled into grief. Deaths and injuries, mourning and loss that I cannot begin to fathom. We stop, lower a flag, go to a vigil, maybe say a prayer or listen to music, read a poem. Whatever it is that brings some solace. I don’t think there’s any peace or understanding to be found, but there is solace.

I find it in the ordinary simple things. In the tangible moments that come and go unrecorded, unreported. A butterfly paused over a flower, children gathered around a cake, blowing out a candle, a swallow feeding her nest of fledglings, the moon arcing across the sky. The voice I recognize immediately on the phone, a song I know the words to, honeysuckle, the still clear face of someone I’ll never see again. The scent of a perfectly ripe peach, the way a fresh picked strawberry tastes like morning sunlight.

After the letter has been written to the paper or the lawmaker, after the phone call made, the note of sympathy sent, this is what makes sense. A different list for me than for you. I find it at no cost but staying present, paying attention. This small cache of riches that somehow endures.

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