Knocked down by the election? Here’s how to move on.

As Donald Trump takes office, natural rhythms remind us of larger patterns.

 

In November, the election results were still reverberating in the air as the supermoon reverberated in the sky, and I sat outside on my deck, wrapped in a blanket, and imagined ahead to Jan. 20 and a new president, and then I opened my eyes and stared at the glowing orb, hanging over my little valley in northern Colorado, and felt the echoing recoil in the air, a collective gasp for air.

The elections felt like a gut-punch for many of us. A lot of my neighbors had dedicated long hours to making sure that Colorado, a swing state, went blue. We succeeded, but we lost the larger fight, and still it feels as if we are not breathing, even with this moon hanging above us, reminding us of larger patterns.

The moon over Colorado's Garden of the Gods.

A particular memory keeps rising for me since the election, a buried body-memory, for why would this moment keep coming up, one that I haven’t recalled in years? I was bucked off a horse when I was 16 or so, the horse spooked by the buzz of a rattlesnake. When I landed in the tall grass, I remember thinking something along the lines of: “Oh! This is what they mean by gut-punched!” That moment was, perhaps, the first time I’d been hurt enough to feel that sensation of asphyxiation, of not being able to get any oxygen into the body. But I also had a larger sensation of trying to stand up quickly, because the horse was spooked and rearing, and I didn’t know where the snake was. There was danger, and I had to stand at the exact same moment that I could not stand.

That’s exactly how I felt back in November, and how I feel now —  filled with the urgent need to stand up without enough breath to do so. I realized, while sitting under the moon, that the horseback ride of my 16th year was my last real ride. Since then, it’s only been old or trail horses, because that one injury was enough to take me off horses for good.

I don’t want this election to do the same. To turn me away from it all, bitterly muttering about the nation, the whopping 47 percent of folks who didn’t vote, while I also feel this need to acknowledge that the things I care about — the environment, tolerance, mindfulness, literature — are apparently not what so many others seem to care about.

It’s tempting. When you get knocked down so hard, it’s hard to get back up. I thought of that as I dragged myself to dance class today. Though I am a klutz, often awkward in my body, I have tried to go once a week for the last few years. This time the group of middle-aged women stood around waiting as if in a stupor, hangdog.

Our teacher walked into the room, looked around and said, “I know. … But the first thing anyone must do when one is injured is to feel it in the body. Get grounded. Feel whatever you’re feeling, and operate from a place of grounded strength. Breathe air into what you are feeling.” And so we danced a routine that was meant to ground us to the earth. It was a sad dance, but at least we were breathing and moving.  

I will try to remain grounded to the earth and continue to use the moon as my temporal marker. I always have. “By the next full moon, I’ll have the windows washed,” I say. Or, “In two moons, I’ll be done with my novel.” A character in my new novel says, “By the next full moon, I’ll be dead.”

By the next full moon, we will have inaugurated a new president and seen millions of marchers standing up for equality, tolerance and women’s rights. And soon there will be Winter Solstice, a time to come together with hope for a season of growth, and then Spring Equinox, in late March, which is when, I promise myself, I’ll have air in my lungs.

Laura Pritchett is a contributor to Writers on the Range, the opinion service of High Country News. She is a writer whose latest novel is The Blue Hour, set in an isolated Colorado community.

High Country News Classifieds
  • DISTRICT MANAGER
    The San Juan Islands Conservation District is seeking applicants for the District Manager position. The position is open until filled and application plus cover letter...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Time Arts, a Bozeman-based nonprofit, is seeking an Executive Director. MTA advocates for and produces public artworks that advance social & environmental justice in...
  • BEND AREA HOME WITH AMAZING CASCADE PEAKS VIEW
    Enjoy rural peacefulness and privacy with one of the most magnificent Cascade Mountain views in sunny Central Oregon! Convenient location only eight miles from Bend's...
  • MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Marketing Communications Manager to join our...
  • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks an Editor-In-Chief to join our senior team...
  • RESEARCH FELLOW (SOUTHWESTERN U.S. ENERGY TRANSITION)
    The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in partnership with the Grand Canyon Trust is seeking a full-time Fellow to conduct topical research...
  • LENDER OWNED FIX & FLIP
    2 houses on 37+ acres. Gated subdivision, Penrose Colorado. $400k. Possible lender financing. Bob Kunkler Brokers Welcome.
  • ONCE OR TWICE
    A short historical novel set in central Oregon based on the the WWII Japanese high altitude ballon that exploded causing civilian casualties. A riveting look...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • HOUSE FOR SALE
    Rare mountain property, borders National Forest, stream nearby. Pumicecrete, solar net metering, radiant heat, fine cabinets, attic space to expand, patio, garden, wildlife, insulated garage,...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER- NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
    Want to organize people to protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life with Northern Plains Resource Council? Apply now-...
  • CONSERVATION MANAGER
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is hiring an energetic and motivated Conservation Manager to develop and complete new conservation projects and work within...
  • POLLINATOR OASIS
    Seeking an experienced, hardworking partner to help restore a desert watershed/wetland while also creating a pollinator oasis at the mouth of an upland canyon. Compensation:...
  • ELLIE SAYS IT'S SAFE! A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
    by Don Hagedorn. A story of how lives of the visually impaired are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs. Available on Amazon.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -