Seeking Light in Darkness

I went to bed in disbelief and woke up in tears, my fight or flight response on high alert. At about 4 p.m. yesterday before any election returns were in, it occurred to me that I hadn’t even considered the possibility that Donald Trump could be our next president.

Perhaps that is because I live in the progressive “Portland bubble.” Perhaps that is because all of the polls and pundits predicted a Clinton victory. Perhaps that is because I just couldn’t fathom this country would elect a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic megalomaniac over a calm, experienced, intelligent and highly qualified, albeit flawed, woman.

As I sat with my anger, frustration and utter sadness this morning, I recognized that what I am experiencing is grief. And not because my preferred candidate lost the election, but because America lost. By electing Donald Trump, we have validated sexually demeaning language and predatory actions towards women. We have sanctioned barricading ourselves from the rest of the world. We have endorsed bullying as a means to get what you want. We have countenanced blatant racism and anti-semitism.

Seeking light in the darkness, I took to the trail this morning. I needed to surround myself with beauty, to immerse myself in calm. I hiked six and a half miles through Forest Park, in awe of the forest as it prepares itself for winter. The fall forest forces you to pay attention. Its allure rests in the sound of a raven’s wings, the stark contrast of bright green moss on a brown trunk, pearly white snowberries clinging to a leafless twig.

My grief weighs heavy on me this evening, and I still feel caught between fight and flight. But for a brief moment today, in the forest, I was free.

Tonight I will gather with friends and family, to grieve together, to find strength in our bonds, to hug them tight and re-affirm our commitment to support each other in the dark days ahead.

6 thoughts on “Seeking Light in Darkness

  1. What an eloquently defined and stated expression of feelings that the majority of Americans felt after the election. I absolutely compared the unexpected, shocking result to that of the void and emptiness after the loss of many of my loved ones. It won’t take as long to heal, but each time I woke during the night, the reality of the next four years hit me like a ton of bricks and it was pure sadness. And once again, I’m angry that the most qualified candidate received more of the popular vote, yet was beaten by that infernal Electoral College. Why do we have that and why can’t we get rid of it? At this point in time, it is what it is and the sun will come up tomorrow, but I so wanted to see the first female president elected in my lifetime and I thought this was the time. Thanks for sharing your feelings and the visuals of hope and peace. Love you, Aunt Sherrie


  2. Alex and Erin,

    God Bless you for your posting. Your eloquent and intelligent comments summed up exactly what I felt yesterday and am still feeling today. I worked the election Tuesday. I was proud and excited to do so thinking that Hilary Clinton would be our first woman president. Instead, we have taken a giant leap back to the dark ages for all of us and the minorities in particular . I am in shock and on the verge of tears every minute and so very scared to contemplate what this results of the election of Trump really means. It is way more than a Republican beating a Democrat .

    Thank you for posting this. Everyone I encounter today was devastated, in deep grief and scared.

    Donna Baska ( good friend of Haven’s)


  3. Hi Erin, I share with you your anger and disappointment, but I think the Americans are a great people and you will overcome this test as you have done with all the obstacles that you have overcome in more than two centuries of democracy. In order to redress your frustration and recover your hope, I recommend you to read the poem “Waiting for the barbarians” of the greek writer Constantine P Kavafy, and I want share with you the following lirycs of a song of a Spanish musical group (Golpes Bajos) of the 80′, called “Malos tiempos para la Lírica” (Bad times for Lyric), very appropiate on the day in which Leonard Cohen has died to make even sadder these days …

    “El azul del mar inunda mis ojos,
    el aroma de las flores me envuelve,
    contra las rocas se estrellan mis enojos
    y así toda esperanza me devuelve.

    Malos tiempos para la lírica.

    Las ratas corren por la penumbra del callejón,
    tu madre baja con el cesto y saluda,
    seguro que ha acabado tu jersey de cotton
    puedes esbozar una sonrisa blanca y pura.

    Malos tiempos para la lírica.”


    “The blue of the sea floods my eyes,
    The scent of the flowers envelops me,
    Against the rocks crash my annoyances
    And thus all hope returns me.

    Bad times for lyric.

    The rats run through the penumbra of the alley,
    Your mother goes down with the basket and greets,
    Sure she must have finished your cotton jersey
    You can outline a pure white smile.

    Bad times por lyric.”


  4. Alex and Erin,
    I still feel the way you described right after the election- even more concerned after seeing the likes of Steve Bannion sitting in the Oval Office. What a travesty it has been. Albeit too late, Democrats are responding. Take hope. We survived Nixon and we we survive Trump. Love, Pam and John Brown


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