Just Keeping Afloat

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It’s just too much sometimes. Or not enough. I’m not sure which. Either way, there are times when I feel as if I’ve been flattened, or maybe just blunted, by the minuscule concerns of daily life. Add a few extra worries — like an ill parent, maybe, or a letter to be written — and I find myself not so much flat but sinking into a small hole. A depression. Not a deep one, mind you, just a small dip requiring a little extra work to move my legs forward. I can do it myself. Just give me a moment. Yes. There I am.

So many times, I plan to address concrete issues on this blog, but I fear losing the joy of writing in facts and politics. Last week, for instance, the Monocacy Scenic River Advisory Board finally voted to recommend the adoption of the  2016-17 Monocacy River Management Plan to the Frederick and Carroll County governments. I followed these discussions with some regularity on my blog’s News page, adding a few editorial comments here and there, but, besides writing a letter in support of the plan in my own name, I essentially stayed out of the fray. Many farmers and landowners feel that the new plan, which encourages a substantial buffer along the water and delineates areas of ecological and archaeological concern, infringes on their private property rights, and they have been at times shrilly adamant in voicing their concerns. I, and many other citizens of Frederick county, have questioned the rights of individuals to decide whether or not to care for a river that belongs to the public and provides our drinking water. Of course, the arguments go much deeper than this — how much of a buffer is really required? Is the river already protected by other legislation? — and obviously a much longer article would be required to document the frustrated exchanges and to chronicle the evolution of the report. (In fact, you can find a few such articles and essays on envisionfrederickcounty.org).

But the many times I’ve started to write about this topic, rallying my facts and forming my opinions, I’ve felt myself tie up into knots, my body readying itself for an onslaught of perfectionism and the inevitable following sense of failure. It is my highly sensitive graduate student reflex. And I hate it. It’s far more pleasant to step into my stream of consciousness and record where it takes me. Rather like a stray raft down a river. (Seriously, it’s more than a metaphor: I saw one of them last week).

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It’s my blog. I can write what I want to. Yes? But I feel responsible, too, as someone who cares for the river, to address the issues that affect it. Or do I leave that to scientists and policymakers and allow myself to see the poetry of the river, in all of its messiness? There must be some balance, some way to step into the political waters without going under. Even when I’m in a shallow hole and the floodwaters are coming in. Yes. Even then.

10 thoughts on “Just Keeping Afloat

  1. I struggle too – after hearing and seeing how friendships have imploded over politics – I want my blog to be a retreat. For them. For me. I rarely talk in present tense about any subject, even when it’s deeply troubling. If I take a stand, do I spoil it for myself ? And yet it’s probably also true that someone reading my blog knows my politics without having to know much more about the depths of my views. You may want to save this blog for yourself. You can always start a blog that is more active in the political realm. I’ve seen people do that and it seems effective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Balance” is the word. Politics can be wearing. I know. Just when we decide to stop banging our heads against the brick wall, a minuscule crack appears in it, so… Here we go again. Headachingly.

    And you’re a busy woman. To balance family (and all that involves) with the river and your blog – I love the way your trashy finds set your thoughts spiralling – is to do a lot already.

    Liked by 1 person

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