Monday, June 1, 2020

Reflections On a Mourning Dove

Yesterday I woke up to cheery sight of the bright sun shining into my window and the sound of a mourning dove cooing somewhere nearby. At first I smiled thinking that we were going to have another beautiful day at the farm. As I lay there listening to the mourning dove, its cooing brought me back to the reality of the current conditions in our country. Most people don't realize that the spelling of that soft gray bird's name is not spelled m-o-r-n-i-n-g for the early morning hours, but is spelled m-o-u-r-n-i-n-g dove because of the sadness in the sound. To me it suddenly felt like the dove was sending a message of mourning for the turmoil happening in our country. Mourning for the over 100,000 deaths from the novel Covid-19 virus and simultaneously the death of George Floyd and so many other black and brown people at the hands of police officers who use unnecessary force first and ask questions later (if at all.) 

As a woman who came of age in the 1960s and thought that the Civil Rights Movement had really changed things in this country, I never thought I would see rioting like this in the streets again. And before you assume that I am naive about racial inequality let me assure you that I am painfully aware that racial inequality is alive and well and that we as a country have a lot of work still to do. After the election of Barack Obama I felt that there was a definite change in the air and that attitudes were changing.  That all changed when the current person was elected. 

I'm not writing to preach or pontificate.  I'm not qualified to preach to anyone. Even though I live on a farm in the middle of the cornfields of northwest Ohio, far away from the turmoil in the streets, this issue is so very personal for my family and me. All you need is to read my daughter's facebook post the other day to understand. 

        "day 75: white privilege is not having to teach your white teenager how to not get killed when they’re pulled over by a cop. it was the first part of driver’s education in our house."

My beautiful fifteen-and-a-half granddaughter, adopted by our whole family at the age of one month and so very loved by her parents, Yia Yia, grandpa, aunts and cousins, is bi-racial. 

I wanted to stop there. I cannot. I am worried for her. I have worried for all three of my grandchildren when they learned to drive so it's natural that I worry for her. But more than that I am afraid for her and I am angry, too. For me and the rest of our family we have only ever thought of this girl as the funny, intelligent, beautiful and loving person that she is. This has forced me to look at the racial aspect of my own grandchild, something that never occurred to me as I held that curious, month-old baby in my arms.