Sometimes if you take the time to look, you actually see things. Yesterday morning before work I found myself lying on my friend Cilla’s beautiful lawn looking up through the new green oak leaves at a perfect blue sky. We had gathered for morning yoga. I suspected that this old tree, no matter how grand, had many times over the centuries gone quite unnoticed by humans working, resting, fighting and loving underneath its great arms. Today, as I lay in the soft early summer’s grass, my attention was drawn to the blue in between the leaves. It was as though the tree was beckoning me to see that its own existence was not the important thing. “Look! Look! Don’t get caught under my overwhelming canopy!” it said. “There is so much more if you look beyond me.”
This experience infiltrated my day as the analyses concerning the European elections blurted out from the radio, newspapers and television. How could Europe possibly be witnessing an upsurge of fascism after all that it has been through? As the day progressed, it seemed like a terrible black canopy closed in over us. Would we soon be back in the dark rot of exclusion, with lies as the number one rule of governance, in a brutal comedy where the strong have the right? Didn’t these supporters of the far right understand that their choice could only lead to their own self-destruction and the spiritual, emotional and psychological devastation of generations to come? I screamed in desperation under the dark canopy.
My mobile telephone interrupted these agonizing thoughts, as it often does, sometimes for the better. It was an SMS from my daughter. “I’m going to party with Gudrun. Barbecuing with Fi. Don’t wait for me for dinner.” Suddenly I saw the blue between the leaves - that which lay beyond the darkening canopies that we think are slowly and irrevocably closing in over us - and felt a great, almost painful, joy filling my heart. My 15-year-old daughter had gone to celebrate the Feminist Initiative’s victory in the European elections. “Out with the fascists and in with the feminists!” was their slogan. Despite all of the brown- and black-shirted strong talk in Europe, in Sweden Fi took centre-stage, grabbing more air-time than any other group. They are only able to send one candidate, appropriately of Roma descent, but their victory is so much greater than itself in the times that we live in. It sends the message we need today: Dare to see the cracks in the dark canopy, the blue sky between the leaves. Dare to look further, and you will see a completely different picture.