• Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

Reach for Calm, Keep Doing Good



The calming purple of late-blooming New England asters tones down the yellow wildflower riot in our backyard. The birch trees shift more away from green and into gold every day. And smoke from all the fires in the western United States tints this week’s sunrises a deep orange-red.

Such a colorful world. So much beauty in those colors. I have to remind myself these are the colors of decay and disaster. The decay was expected; autumn is the end of the garden. The disaster was not entirely expected, although who among us is truly surprised?

Some days, it’s hard to be on this earth. I’ve seen a lot of friends’ online posts that say they struggle to cope with everything and it breaks my heart. Since there’s no other earth to go to, looking at our current situation head-on is unavoidable.

If ever there was a time to strengthen our community ties, reach out to our neighbors and families, this is it. We draw our strengths from each other - even the introverts among us. A kind word, a (masked) pat on the back, a little treat delivered to a doorstep, a donation to a local food shelf - these are the things most of us have control over. These are the things most of us can do on any given day, and they’re the things that come back to us on days when we can’t bear to get out of bed.

A shift in our focus toward the things we can do to make our communities stronger, to prop up those who struggle, to moderate our consumption of never-ending bad news, will be like those purple asters in my garden: a small streak of calm. The surprise of a late bloom. Something to tone down that which blazes all around us.

To help those affected by the fires in Northern California: https://www.twincities.com/2020/09/14/northern-california-wildfires-how-to-help-fire-victims-and-firefighters/

To help those affected by fires in Oregon: https://www.portlandmercury.com/blogtown/2020/09/14/28827607/how-to-help-oregonians-affected-by-wildfires

To help those affected by fires in Washington: https://www.theolympian.com/news/state/article245732185.html


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