Packing up, returning to Portland
We packed up our painted rocks, our books, and our sandy hiking shoes. We cleaned the little house and vacuumed up the sand. We drove back into our lives renewed and ready for what comes next.
The stones we made are not even 1% of the names of Portland people killed by police. The list is here. Far more horrifying is this list of deaths during police encounters, broken down state by state, with totals, with a total of over 27,000 in twenty years, growing exponentially as the police become increasingly militarized. A few of the people we made stones for are not from Portland, but most of them are local.
I neglected to mention that our reading aloud to each other included the book of poetry by Ted Kooser that Sue gave me for my 73rd birthday. It's called Kindest Regards. If you don't know Ted Kooser and want to hear the shocking grace and surprising insight with which he describes mundane things like china tea cups, a jar of buttons, or the "chaffy, taffy haze" of a hayloft, order this one. It keeps on giving. Every time we hear another of these poems, it seems to be the first time we've ever heard it. The only way we can keep doing the work is to take in beauty, love, kindness...to give us strength to carry on.