On a day like this, I find hope in the tumbleweed – more specifically the Rose of Jericho. Much of the following is taken from some writing I did for a chapter in the book, Incomplete Streets, where I imagined how ideas and resistance might persist and spread under oppressive conditions.
The Rose of Jericho is a tumbleweed located in regions of harsh dry conditions in North Africa and the Middle East. When there is water, this plant grows into a bush with the height of six inches. When the water dries up, the plant curls up into a tight, brittle, dry ball with seeds laden in the sheltered interior and then, the tumbleweed lets go of the earth. At this point, the tumbleweed appears for all intents and purposes to be dead – a dried up shriveled ball of nothing alive. This tumbleweed gets blown by the desert winds in random directions and travels without a predetermined destination until the tumbleweed happens upon the life-supporting conditions of water. Upon discovery of water, the Rose of Jericho suddenly springs back into life and as the seemingly dead plant quickly soaks in the water to unfurl itself with lush green arms and scatters its seeds. These seeds blossom into new Roses of Jericho that then get blown into unknown directions.
On a day like this, I understand what it means for our nation to elect a demagogue who revels in the domination of others and promises to eradicate the positive aspects of our nation’s first black president. That almost certainly, the next four years will be filled with heartache and hostile conditions for many of the values I cherish.