Letting Go : Using A Solstice Fire to Burn Up Angry Thoughts
A Vermont Public Radio commentary
As we approach the shortest day of the year
I look forward to an annual solstice party held by friends. They gather scrap
wood and old pallets to prepare for a serious bonfire. Then they invite friends
from near and far to join together, share a meal and imbibe some good cheer. My
friends also provide paper and pens to write down any accumulated resentments,
anger and frustrations that we then toss into the roaring fire and rejoice in a
I imagine that this year those scraps of
paper will include political thoughts as well as personal ones. I’ll try my
best to toss away my political skepticism and let the flames consume my anxiety
about the months ahead. I really want to believe that our next president
intends, as he has often stated, to serve us all. I want to believe that he’ll
grow into the job as so many others have in the past. And in fact, every
president has had his detractors.
I find it interesting that Harper’s
magazine in its issue of September, 1864 listed all the names that President
Lincoln had been called in the previous months. These included Despot, Liar,
Thief, Braggart, Filthy Story-Teller, Buffoon, Usurper, Fiend, and Butcher. At
the time, many thought Lincoln was unworthy of the presidency. Yet he went on
to become revered as a national treasure.
And look at Vice-President Harry Truman.
People dismissed him as a mere clothing store clerk – but he rose to the
occasion when President Roosevelt died suddenly at age 63. Truman handled the office
well and was elected in his own right after completing Roosevelt’s term. I hope
our president-elect will also prove to be a capable leader – even though he’s
never held an elected office before or served in the military.
I have great respect for President Obama
who graciously welcomed the president-elect to the White House and offered
words of wisdom to the man who will soon be the leader of the free world. And I
hope Trump will be able to serve the needs of all Americans, even those who
didn’t vote for him.
Maybe after I toss my own piece of paper
into the bonfire, I’ll be better able to accept Mr. Trump. I want to regain my
optimism about the future. Meeting the New Year with a willing heart is
something we all need to do.
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Henry is the author of 4 gardening books. Visit my personal website by clicking here.