This is our violent Seven.
When we were writing our joint memoir Co-Creation: Fifty Years in the Making, we looked at the parade of years and realized that every seven years we had hit a node of change. Something had to be released, and something new had to be incorporated. This one is shaping up to be a stunner, but it’s right on time.
We’ve begun, for obvious reasons, to start talking about what if. What if the fires come close and we have to evacuate, and what if the fire actually were to take our home. It’s already happened to two families we know well, and to countless others in our area. Nobody’s exempt.
We’re being meticulous about masking and distancing and hand-washing and staying home except for necessary provisioning, but what if? I’m eighty, Conrad’s not far behind, we’re in a vulnerable cohort. If either of us were to survive an infection, would life still be something we could recognize?
And then, of course, there’s the elephant in the room: the election. Already there’s a ginning-up of incitement to violence, no matter which outcome. Could we live under four more years? And what are our options? It took us thirty-three years to get back to California, and we live in a little local paradise. A lot of our life-energy comes from where we are. Our creativity is based in the English language; we adore Italy and our daughter, but we’d be unmoored and rootless.
So there it is, the looming Seven. What are we prepared to change? All the past letting-go experiences have been painful, but the new growth has always been something we embrace with a full heart. Why would this be different? I can’t say I’m not apprehensive, but we’re doing what we can to stay light on our feet. We’ve danced this dance before, but this time the music is more Wagnerian. “One step ahead of the shoe shine, two steps away from the county line”—it sounds different with heavy brass and kettle-drums, but maybe we can dance to it anyway.