TODAY’S MEDITATION

In front of the local co-op

These are some of the things that intruded on my meditation earlier today:

— How could this government give so much money to Israel on the eve of a Rafah operation? They tell them not to go in, then give them lots of munitions and aid anyway—a mixed message if ever I heard one.

— What are we doing for my sister’s 70th birthday?

— Don’t forget to put away your winter jeans.

— What does being a martyr even mean? (Reading a book, Martyr, by the Persian American poet Akhbar, whose narrator wants to have a meaningful death. Which is another way of asking what is a meaningful life.)

— Am I drinking enough water?

— Almost 7 weeks since Lori’s accident.

— Do I write a letter to the editor of the local paper?

This last one has a story. Recently, I heard indirectly from someone who’d been in our local jail that there were some one hundred young men there, Hispanics. In this small local community?

I called Jimena Pareja. First, thanked her husband, Byron, for making chicken soup for Lori. Then asked her what she knew about this.

“It’s not from our families here,” she said. “I’m in touch with all of them and I haven’t heard of anyone who was taken to be deported. But I know that they sometimes bring others from across the state or even farther away. You know, the families want to visit, they get upset because they may not see them again, they ask for help, so they transport them to other towns and cities, they don’t even tell them where, and I think that’s what happened here.”

This is still happening, I thought to myself.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, our jail had an agreement with ICE to house deportees from far away, but there was a public outcry, and I thought the jail had agreed to terminate the agreement. It seems as though I was wrong.

It’s the secrecy of it all, is what comes up during meditation. I don’t have a problem with secure borders and a set quota of immigrants who can come in legally (preferably a high number, if only because we need them). But the secrecy so that their families won’t know they’re here, transported from one jail to another in closed trucks so that no one will know, no one will see, including those of us who live here!

It’s hard enough to do something about things we know; what do we do about things we don’t know? During meditation the idea comes up to write a letter to the editor of the excellent local paper.

The last thing that comes up is how I wish my mind to be less discursive, less distracted. Around then the bell rings to signal the end of meditation.

We’ve had such gorgeous days. Wild asters are growing everywhere, humble small flowers blooming in the shadow of the bigger daffodils and hyacinths. Lilac bushes are beginning their short season and soon the fragrance will come in through the open window of the room where Lori lies; I have to remember to open that window.

A dear friend turns 85 soon, which would have been Bernie’s age had he lived. He said to me once: “Death isn’t personal. It’s when you think it is, and get into the story, that the skin goes back onto the bones and you’re stuck with it again. But you don’t have to be. Stuck there, that is.”

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