• Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

October Mood

Leaves change, rain falls, the dog snuggles in her bed. I cook more, linger over pots of pasta sauce and stew. The furnace kicks in late at night as a chill settles over our house. And I can feel that autumnal mood take hold, the one where my most pressing desire is to be home, in a cozy sweatshirt, with my family.

This year, that feeling is particularly strong as we all search for a way to not be angry all the time. The Kavanaugh hearings have shattered any lingering respect I had left for our country’s Supreme Court Justice selection process. After nearly two years of an insufferable president and a majority in Congress that is completely indifferent to anything but their own desires, I want it all to stop. And by “it all” I mean privileged white men who have convinced themselves there is no other way but theirs, that their wants, needs, and religion are the only ones that matter, that their claim to some form of Christianity gives them authority to speak as holy people who know best and any who question them are simply misguided and unfortunate. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as we all know, is just one example of a systemic problem and there need to be more like Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to stop men like him.

I think about it all as I type on my laptop, keys tapping loudly from my determined fingers. I think about it all as I chop vegetables for dinner, the heft of my big chef’s knife a comfort as I thwack apart onions, peppers, potatoes. I think about it all as I walk the dog, text my kids, read through emails, pay bills, do laundry. Those damn privileged white boys who have never paid a big penalty for their poor treatment of others or their failure to admit their own shortcomings are running this country and how do I not be angry, angry, angry?

How does anyone with a conscience not be angry?

I think about the most radical acts I can do on a daily basis. There are always ways to protest, civil disobedience to be deployed, but perhaps the most radical thing I can do every day is practice spreading a sense of peace. It is a radical act to create a space that is compassionate, kind, nourishing and nurturing, and take that sensibility to the voting booth. It is a radical act to write down or speak all that I am grateful for: basics like food, clothing, shelter, and companionship; education, writing skills, access to ideas and experiences that differ from my own, chances to say something out loud. It is a radical act to decide that there is a way to turn things around even though it isn’t always obvious.

This is how I will not be angry.

And in choosing not to be angry, I choose to look for that which supports a better, more humane path.

Sometimes, a reminder to not be angry saunters right into the backyard. Over the weekend, late on Saturday afternoon, here was our moment of zen:

This buck settled beneath our spruce tree and hung out there for nearly an hour, twitching his ears and chewing his cud.


The buck eventually wandered to our neighbor’s yard to snack on the corn they have out for squirrels, then came back to our yard to hang out under the spruce for a while longer.


A wandering neighborhood deer, surprising in our urban area, was quite a reminder that if we open up a safe space, something beautiful might walk right in. Can’t be angry about that.

Photos by KCMickelson

#deer #radicalacts #Kavanaugh #minnesota #anger #October

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