I often daydream as I ride my tractor, especially when I’m mowing fields, a task deliciously low on intellectual sweat and high on the pleasures of nature. In yesterday’s daydream I wept uncontrollably upon meeting Barack Obama. Mr. Obama was the daydream, the weeping was not.
It seems the president was in the neighborhood, though precisely why he was on a dead end dirt road in Vermont remains a mystery, even if there are a few of us who hold that my little town is the center of the universe. Anyway, apparently one of his aides mentioned to him that the guy who lived on this farm with the stone sculptures wrote a hopeful essay about the president right after the election. “Mr. Obama and the Consciousness of We” was the title.
Let’s stop and see if we can say hello, the president says.
I’m on the John Deere brush-hogging a hillside dotted with my stone whatchamacallits when I notice Mr. Obama in shirtsleeves, secret service in tow, loping in my direction.
We barely shake hands in my daydream when I start to sob for real (as I’m nearly doing now, writing these words), not in awe of his office or personal charisma, for I am too weather-worn for that, but rather as my heart breaks in recognition of the moment in human affairs in which Mr. Obama is a distinct servant.
“Mr. president, be courageous,” I say with no preamble. “Follow your heart. The universe is reminding the human family again and again, ever more insistently, to pay attention, to cultivate reverence. Reverence for one another, reverence for every choice we make. Tragedies like the gulf oil spill are not caused by oil companies or the government, but by the consciousness of humankind. All of us are creating the countless forms of harm we inflict upon one another. Sadly, many of your predecessors were unable to pay attention, not really. It’s not that they were disingenuous or stupid, and it certainly had nothing to do with their political affiliation. They were children. Their immaturity led them to view everything through the prism of “us and them,” a view born of fear. They had little, if any, attunement to the wholeness of the human family, the oneness of all life. For whatever reason you have a larger understanding than most who find themselves in positions of social influence Trust that understanding. Be courageous. Listen to your heart.”
Driving my tractor, I’m crying so hard I can barely get the words out. In my daydream, the president’s cool. We’re standing in the field. He just listens. He doesn’t try to comfort me. He knows my tears are not about him, or about me. They’re about love. He’s had the same heartbreak himself.
At least in my daydream he has.