I live on the Kickimuit River. It’s a particularly hot day and I’ve planted myself on a recliner with easy access to the Kicki, a tall glass of Hibiscus tea by my side. The heat hangs on my body like a coat of plastic. Infrequent breezes, my Kindle (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou-may this hero rest in peace) and my iced tea,all provide relief on this 100 degree day.

I gaze at boats settled quietly on the glassy river, back dropped by an emerald line of trees, a pale blue sky, and dotted by white puffy, streaky clouds. Swans swim gracefully by, I visualize them floating free and without a care in the world, a state of being I was trying desperately to embody.

Just as I nod off, I am woken by the sounds of four boats newly arrived. They had tied themselves together,one donning a TRUMP 2020 flag, making one big party boat. My mood precipitously drops as their party becomes front and center of my own experience. The woot woot and what I am sure are drunken shrieks, pierce the air like lightening to my soul. Okay, I know it’s dramatic. But that’s how it feels.

There I sit wondering, was my irritation about the noise or was it really about the Trump flag and all it stands for, which for clarity sake, is deception, greed and inequality and injustice.

I created a story in mind of who these boaters were (I call this storyfying) and it wasn’t a pretty story. I was quite confident it was the flag that was making what may have been a benign moment, albeit loud boaters annoying me, become a moment of political/existential dispair for me. How, after all of Trump’s lies, bullying, degradation of people’s rights, and earth’s rights, could people still fly that flag in support of this con of a man. Ugh.

How was I supposed to recultivate peace, as my judgments of this moment became my hyper-focus? The very peace I seeked, peace from politics, if just for a bit, was no longer available. Or, so I thought.

I considered, what did I need to learn in this moment? (I believe we are confronted with opportunities for growth when we experience discomfort, as I was). There was no ignoring what was in front of me, and there was no embracing it. This was an opportunity for growth.

So I decided to use a bit of pretend and take the lesson I needed to learn: how does one find peace in the unavoidable noise of ugly?

This was my pretend: I would visualize the Trump flag as a Biden flag and the noise as if they were my kids having fun on this (potentially) sweet summer day. I don’t mean psychotic pretend. Just a playful way to cope.

It was a trick I agreed to play for myself and it worked. My attention moved to the water, to the sky and to the swans. The noise became background. The flag lost its power.

This was the power of pretend when there was no changing reality.

Talking about my kids, they mocked me for my pretend intervention. However, shortly after I had told them about the pretend I created, my younger son asked if it was okay if he lobbed golf balls toward the boats. “No, dude. They’re just enjoying themselves.” I smirked, “Maybe you need my visualization, after all?”

He said, “Nope.” And then he pretended to lob golf balls in their direction anyway. I gues he created his own pretend to cope with his own disturbance with the noise, echoing off the Kicki. Or maybe he was worried about me. I didn’t ask him which it was.

The sky opened up suddenly. We ran to the house. I watched from the window as our boating Trumpies turned Biden supporters in my own mind, take off.

My pretend on the Kicki turned in to a hot shower and a donation to the Biden campaign, after all, that was something I could do in real life.



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