I ask Alexa to play me the news, while I sit on the rocking chair. As I listen, I pull in my shoulders and cringe in fear, then grab the wooden chair arms and growl in anger, then get off the chair and melt into the couch to cover my sadness in blankets. Here are four examples of current bad news. First, reducing emissions has not been successful enough to stem the tide of global warming, so in the near future, “carbon-capturing” will begin, in order to reduce the dangerous levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Second, there have been three mass shootings all in one week in the USA, one by an eighteen-year-old avowed white supremacist who ascribes to the new term being used by the right-wing of “replacement theory”. This is a fear that whites are being replaced by other races in America, and these “others” are a threat and should be dominated or eliminated by the superior white race. Third, in addition to Covid, there is a new “monkey virus” on the horizon. Fourth, women are rapidly losing their sovereignty over their own reproductive health decisions.
I cannot take in anymore and say, “Alexa, stop.” She does but the weight of the world presses in on me. I imagine myself standing inside a locked closet when the house is on fire and smoke is seeping in under the door. My lungs feel heavy, my breath is shallow, and I begin to panic about the state of the world.
Then my phone rings. I answer and hear the high tilt of a preschooler’s happy voice, as he calls my name. I fly like a bird up and away from the dark, and soar into the light, bright sky.
My five-year-old grandson with straight blond bangs half-covering his big blue eyes is on a video call. “Nana, I lost my first tooth. See?” He holds a little white tooth close to the screen. “Wow!” He places the tooth on the counter. “Look, Nana”. He opens his mouth wide and taps his finger on the empty spot. His enthusiasm fills my heart and nothing exists outside this moment.
He has unlocked the door in the closet and rescued me from the fire today, and soon a little bud of white will break through his pink gums and find a way to grow. Good News.