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You obviously don’t know me. Nor would I expect you to know me, personally. I understand that we don’t run in the same circles, or know the same people. And I’m good with that fact. But, since you don’t know me, let me tell you a little about myself.

I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother…and I love each and every one of these labels. I know you also have some of these labels; one of the most wonderful things I have ever seen is the look on your face when your own daughter hugged you at the DNC. I was moved to tears. It was such a beautiful moment, simply because I could understand the sentiments in your eyes.

I completely identify as a Feminist, and one of the things I’d love to see in my lifetime is a female president. To see our country led by a female would be such a joy to me. That sentiment, alone, prompts me to give you kudos for getting as far as you’ve gotten. I can only imagine the struggles you’ve had to deal with. Not many would have the stomach to even try, let alone go so far. My hat is off to you for that.

I am a college graduate. I graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a degree in English Literature and French, from a state school in my 40s, while still taking care of my children and living my life outside of school. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And I’m proud of that fact. I’m fairly certain, as a woman, you would find this to be quite an accomplishment, as well.

I am also a New Yorker. I’ve lived in NYS for most of my life, but not in NYC. I’ve actually only been in the City once in my life, if you can believe that. I am from upstate New York…no, not Albany. Not Buffalo….keep going north. Close, but no, not Syracuse….higher up. In that small strip of land in the northern portion of the Adirondacks, right on the Canadian border (no, no….again, not Buffalo…go north) that spot we lovingly call the North Country. We are closer to the Canadian cities of Ottawa and Montréal than to NYC, but we are still part of this Great State. Since you were our Senator from 2001-2009, you probably know how large the state of New York really is…how vast and diverse we are, and how much we have to offer. You know how gorgeous the St. Lawrence Valley is, and how kind and giving the people who live and work in the North Country truly are…how they greet you with a smile and help without a question when you need a hand. They are some of the most wonderful people in our country…but you know this, yes? Since you were our Senator. For eight years. Which means you should know at least a bit about us up here, in the Frozen Tundra. In the St. Lawrence Valley. In one of the most impoverished areas of NYS. But, wait….maybe you don’t know anything about us. It’s not like you bothered with us at all during your tenure as Senator.

St. Lawrence County, since you probably have no idea, is the largest, by area, county in NYS. In the time of your tenure, there were approximately 115,000 people living in this county, with about 27,000 families being part of that number. Based on the rather dwindling number of people in this largest county, it’s probably understandable that you never paid much attention to us way up here. I mean, we don’t have much to offer in terms of votes. But we are suffering up here. We need so much. And yet, you turned a blind eye. Never once did you bother to come here, to lend a hand or to even pretend to listen to our plight. Never mind that during your time as Senator, we were in the top 5 poorest counties in NYS. We had a 20% poverty rate, with 30% of that being children. Only about half of our population was employed and we had a 6% rate of unemployment. Many of these were families, with children. The children you purport to be fighting for in your campaign for president. Maybe you only meant children of people who aren’t poor already? Or maybe only those in areas you care about? I can definitely say our children up here weren’t that important to you, and you made that very clear every time you turned away. We pay MORE for our food and our gas…you know, those things that are kind of important…more than even in major cities. And yet, despite our pleas, you never once tried to help. We’re suffering, Madame Secretary. We were suffering when you were voted in to be our voice in Washington. Not once did you even look our way.

The thing is, I don’t think that the people here, who have lost jobs because of the loss of major industry in the area and had to work 2-3 small jobs to just make ends meet enough (and yet STILL had to apply for state aid because they just didn’t have enough to put food on the table for their children), I don’t think their suffering would matter as much, if you had only just cared, for a moment. If you had actually acknowledged that there is more to NYS than just NYC, and maybe even tried to do SOMETHING. Even if it didn’t work. Something is better than the nothing you did. You effectively pretended us away, like a small child tries to do with something it finds troublesome or distasteful. And we remember.

Tomorrow, we, as a nation, go to our polling stations to cast our votes, and to hopefully see our team win the day. While I do not belong to either of the Chosen Teams, as a woman and a feminist, I am SO excited over the prospect of having a woman finally be placed in the Oval Office. Our time is far overdue, and I cannot wait until I can vote for that woman and help make herstory.

But, you, Madame Secretary, are not the woman for that job. I, my family, my friends, my neighbors and colleagues are part of your Forgotten; the people who couldn’t help you win an office so it was easy to just cast us aside. Your willful ignorance of our plight has set my mind, as well as the minds of many others who will never forget your decision to ignore us in our need. And while my one, little vote may mean very little in this race, please know that I cannot, and will not vote for you. Because you never voted for us. And because she wasn’t for us, I’m not with her.

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I don’t usually share my own writing (other than blog posts, obviously). This has to do with the label “non-writer” which I gave myself many moons ago. And I dubbed myself a non-writer simply because I knew I could never compare to those writers I admire so much. But, since I’m now about to be published for the third time, I suppose it’s time to admit that I am a writer….at least sometimes. And with that part time admission, I’d like to share the story which is being published in the very near future…don’t worry, it’s a short story! Really short….shorter than most short stories. 😉 And now I’ll stop prattling….my almost published, shorter than a short story, story:

 

Pomegranate Seeds  whole-and-cut-pomegranate

The sun bounced off the waves, throwing shards of shimmer over the water, like a disco ball at a high school prom. The day was fine, all light and warmth, as the boat with its two passengers slid across the rippled river, silently…stealthily. The warm breeze touched the young girl’s face, and gently mussed her hair, like a mother’s soft embrace. Mother. She sadly sighed.

Yes, the day was fine as she sat in the boat, watching the boatman steadily row. But despite the sun and breeze, she knew the darkness was coming. It was looming up behind her. Its sharp, cold teeth were bared. It was ready to pounce. She felt it growing in the distance, but she would not look back. She couldn’t bear the pain of her own creation.

As they travelled, the waves began to rise, lapping at the sides of the boat. The treetops stretched now bony fingers toward the sky, and seemed to scrape and claw at the abundance of dark clouds as the wind howled through their limbs. She felt the gale build, as it grabbed at her with its rimy tentacles. I AM HERE!!LOOK AT ME!!! it screamed, pulling at her hair and scraping her face with icy talons. I’m sorry, she whispered. I’m so sorry… She hugged herself to keep out the bitter wind, which shrieked around her, but it was only a matter of time. The darkness was poised to overtake them. She was helpless to stop what she had so foolishly started.

And then she saw it. She felt her panic rise up as their destination rose up into view. Entering that cave would be like death for her, and all that surrounded her would die with her. It was as if the very earth was mourning her loss. Cold and bitter barrenness would prevail. For her and for the world. As they were about to enter the mouth of the cave, she noticed one small rebellion. A lone woman stood, holding a sign, which read “Freedom For Persephone!” Freedom…she sighed, and she closed her eyes. A tear slid down her cold cheek as the darkness enveloped them, leaving the rebel alone to brave the benumbing cold and snow which suddenly surrounded her. All was dead. All was barren. All was lost.

~Heather Sarsfield 2014

The wind is more than blustery today. Each gust makes the trees look like bony fingers trying to fervently scrape the clouds from the sky. The flurry of snow left on the road is slithering, snake-like around the tarmac. It even blew my béret off my head, and blew it through the air Mary-Tyler-Moore-style.
I am not fond of the chaos this despicable wind brings. You can blow away any time, Mr. Wind.

Winter cringes as Light gains ground.

The water rushes over the dam, creating a foggy mist as the water crashes onto the rocks below. Because of the cold temperatures, this hazy spray covers the trees on the nearby bank and then freezes, leaving the trees completely white, encased in an icy glaze. The trees which are not in the path of the mist are untouched, which makes the whiteness of the frozen trees even more striking. I hate winter, but there is something elegant and beautiful in this scene of ice, cold and desolation.

All night the wind howled at my walls, angered that I would even attempt to keep him out. Over and over he crashed into my small abode, like a battering ram, to prove how flimsy my walls really were. Again and again he bellowed at my window, telling me to let him in. Maybe he’s just cold; maybe he wants someone to talk to…I tried to reason with myself, But I was frightened at his howling anger and violence. So, I ran away, hoping to find safety and refuge. Instead, he followed me, and screamed my name with even more frenzy. All night the wind howled at my walls. All night his anger affrighted me.

ImageOne lone leaf blew, tumbleweed-style, across the frozen desert of the back yard. It tumbled to and fro, back and forth, at the whim of the blustery breeze, until its progress was finally checked by an accommodating bush. The leaf’s wanderings were at an end. I am like that leaf; I wander here and there, unsure of where the winds of time will take me next. But one day, I too will stop my wanderings. And I will be at peace.