The virtues of watermelon


Let me tell you how much I like watermelon. It’s sweet! It’s juicy! I like watermelon doused in lime juice and sprinkled with mint. I like the cool crunch of it, especially as July shoulders into August and the heat gathers its dull fury.

But why so small a domestic rave?

Well, otherwise I might find myself complaining about the relentless, interfering noise in my neighborhood. When I went out to pick the mint, I leaned into the street to see what racket had just begun, thinking it might be the planned driveway installation next door. But no, it was tree work two doors down. That’s usually good for at least three hours. Not long after I clopped my headphones on, the excavator that has been working sporadically across the street for weeks fired up its engine.

And if I weren’t complaining about noise, I’d be feeling some responsibility to articulate my rage and despondency about racism and unwarranted death and policing and gridlock and…  and… and… For a while now, I’ve believed that speaking out in clear anger was part of the solution, because, you know, ‘denying racism is a form of racism’. I’m not so sure right now. I’ve hit some sort of wall and silence feels like the better response, or maybe, the only one I’m capable of right now.

It occurs to me: America needs an etiquette for mass shootings. America needs an etiquette for racist murders. Think about that for a minute. “Dear Miss Manners, I can’t seem to wrap my head around the recent spate of race-driven murders. What is the most thoughtful response — too old to march. Signed, Weary White Woman.”

I “liked” the woman on FB who said (not completely jesting) that she ought to be able to “call in black” to work, just to give herself a few hours to grieve or find her own humanity (if you’re on FB, look for ‘Evelyn from the Internets’ and scroll down a couple of posts, or search #callinginblack).

Shaun King of the NY Daily News can always be relied upon to inform and respond in outrage. I follow him on twitter so that I will know when another atrocity has taken place (@shaunking). His recent article spoke about the need to end the despicable practice of asking African Americans who have just lost a loved one whether they forgive the perpetrator or not.

If you haven’t read the recent NY Times article by Charles Blow, I recommend it.

Otherwise, find your cool, crunchy sweets where you can?

Even though I’ve been writing at the kitchen table today, I’m going to escape the clammy, noisy air by descending into the basement. It’s cool down there. And quiet. I’ll enjoy my bowl of watermelon standing at the sewing table, with my laptop set up among the pins and scraps.

Then I’ll turn my attention back to mid-eighteenth century, South Carolina.It is strange to feel the permeability of history, which is another way of saying: it’s awful to acknowledge how the hate from those years lives on.

10 thoughts on “The virtues of watermelon

    1. deemallon Post author

      Thank you. I’d post more of them because I kinda like them too, but they tend to be really personal. And once u start editing a rant, suddenly it loses its fire and spit. I won’t be silent long tho if that’s what you might be thinking!

      Reply
  1. grace

    this is a barely conceived thought, but right now i am totally curious about it. Have
    just begun reading
    The Body Keeps The Score
    brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma
    by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.
    at the suggestion of Maria Popova, Brainpickings

    What if, What if we have reached a point in our society at least, maybe the Planet,
    of the critical mas of PTSD???????????????????????????
    What if that’s what’s going on, and we will have the choice to heal, to truly heal from the cycles of trauma and violence in our society that have been heretofore been held in denial???

    Reply
    1. Mo Crow

      We are never too old to march to help save our beautiful broken world, it’s our only home. At the protest marches here in Australia grandparents with walkers & wheelchairs, babies in prams with young parents, uni students & lecturers, workers, the homeless, all caring people who feel that it’s important to care about each other & be kind in the face of corporate greed, ignorance and fear mongering.

      Reply
      1. deemallon Post author

        Beautiful said Mo and inspiring as always. It is strange to find myself at an age where so much of the rage I felt towards injustice has been tempered now wondering where and how to “walk the talk”. May I quote this message in a post later in the week?

        Reply
    2. deemallon Post author

      I have been reading a bit about the real PTSD effects that the atrocities in our news is having on people. Especially POC. How the videos which hold the potential to spark meaningful change are also traumatizing to watch. How people need to learn to set their devices to “optional viewing” of these videos so that they don’t just automatically start playing. Marianne Williamson said recently that America is having a nervous breakdown. And not only that we’re having a nervous breakdown but that we have to have it to get to the place of healing. I don’t know. The PTSD part seems a no brainer. But how to get from here to there runs muddy in my brain. I think of you, grandmother to black children how that shouldn’t change things but does.

      Reply
    3. deemallon Post author

      I meant to reply reply but the comment ended up further down the thread. Thanks for offering this perspective. It is essentially a hopeful one. And yes; the denial stinks to high heaven.

      Reply
  2. grace

    i don’t know hopeful right now. I remember back in the beginning of this long
    friendship with Mo, when she talked about the feather of hope and i responded
    that i “don’t do hope”, something like that…i am not particularly hopeful. I feel
    neutral at best.

    what i’m thinking about, not even thinking, because there is a FLOOD of half thoughts
    happening, and with the kids here, there is INTERRUPTION to everything, but but and
    but
    we have been a species of fighting of wars. From the beginning of us. All the History
    of humankind has been about pitting one thing against the other.
    in recent history, all the war against the First Peoples first, and the “white” people having come from the same history of war, of Against in their countries of origin. We view
    almost everything as a battle, a war, a fight against…..sports teams, the war on drugs,
    the fight against cancer, ….sO MUCH…. and maybe we as a species are burning
    out from all the stress from the beginning, maybe because the Traumas still are so
    alive, we never get to Post Traumatic anything. And maybe we cannot go on anymore
    are tired and broken from it even though we don’t even see it that way???????
    There’s just SO MUCH in my mind…..
    and the book is about the biological things, how stress becomes eaten and digested
    into the physiology…how there is so much interest recently in how there is generational
    dna to Trauma, we not only have whatever variation we have in our own singlular
    present lives, but carry on from our ancestors their experience….IN OUR BODIES.
    IN OUR BODIES.

    there is also much being looked at about CIVIL DISCOURSE……as you mention here.

    which first would ask for a willingness to OPEN to Anything and Everything, to
    LISTEN

    My family is mongrel. My daughter had children with black men. Her children are
    half her, so, 1/4 me. In that original Mix there is English, Scotch, Czechoslovakian,
    Latvian Jew to name the ones i know and then on to her mixing in the black, which
    i am sure was also not pure but white and then on to Puerto Rican and whatever
    else and to Hawaiian and Hispanic
    it was funny, because i had to pause and think, reading grandmother to black children and i smiled because i don’t really see them/feel them as that specifically identified….they
    are brown, they are mixed. of all of us, my grandson is most “black” because he
    chooses to identify that way culturally. The rest of us are just mongrel, we are we.
    I remember when Alyssia was maybe 5 and there was something in her kindergarden
    about colors of skin and she said she told her teacher that her grandma (me) was
    some kind of brown. That only her mother was white.

    Reply
  3. ravenandsparrow

    I think the tendency to think in “us versus them” terms is instinctive. We want to belong in our group and rejecting others is one way we know who we are. It is part of being human. Another part of being human is the ability to transcend our instincts, which is what the present is asking us to do. I think we need to face and admit the satisfaction we feel in making war…the joy of righteousness and the energy of fear…while, or maybe before we can accept everyone (and the earth herself) into our family.

    Reply

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