The Green Winter


All around our house there are shades of green. In every room, ferns, succulents, dried eucalyptus bunches, lichens collected from hikes near and far, fiddle leaf figs, and delicate maidenhair fronds line the window sills, the mantles, the kitchen counter, nearly every flat surface. Andrew must think I’ve gone a bit nutty, my wife is that crazy plant lady… but green is my medicine. It calms my mind, soothes my nerves, bring brightness to dark grey days. It’s getting me through the horror of last week… at least that’s what I tell myself.

I don’t know what to say…

After hearing fireworks go off on Saturday night for the Chinese New Year, my eyes welled up with tears at the recognition. At first I couldn’t place the celebration, even having spent hours only the previous day celebrating with the elementary students at my boys’ school. It seemed cruel to celebrate when so many refugees, so many Green Card holders who live and work and have families, friends, and lives in this country were unfairly denied access back into it. When innocent people seeking better lives are completely denied access to the freedoms of safety and basic human needs we so often take for granted simply because of their religion or even the majority religion of their countries of origin! It dumbfounds me.

This is NOT OKAY. This is not normal. This is not who America is.

I just don’t even know what to say anymore.

I started to plan this post last week as a tour focusing on the green in our home, but now I realize that all my focusing inward, all the art I’ve been creating, all the cleaning and re-organizing, tending to plants and children and photography and making things and staying inside our home more than usual, it’s all just a coping mechanism, and maybe not a good one. Not a useful one. I am burying my head in the sand because I feel helpless and distraught. Because every day brings more unbelievably bad news and it is so hurtful. I am speaking out whenever I get the chance, but what else can I do other than call my representatives, send money to causes, protest?

This is a heartbreaking time. And I realize that some of the head-burying has to do with maintaining my mental health. We still have children to raise and jobs to perform and daily responsibilities to uphold. It’s impossible to know how to deal with this, how to balance this.


We are all immigrants, for God’s sake! We have all come to America seeking something; our great grandparents, our ancestors, are no different from the immigrants and refugees of today.






Some of our dearest friends brought their third baby into the world early Saturday morning. He is beautiful and wonderful and a beacon of hope, and I can only dream and hope that this world will be better by the time he is old enough to really see it. I hope for him, and for all of our children, that they absolutely will not have to deal with this insanity.


6 thoughts on “The Green Winter”
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  1. Lauren, a very very heartfelt thank you for this post. I know this feeling of it being all too much and feeling the need for some self-care, and think that is perfectly fine and even necessary! I do agree, though, that it does not influence change as much as direct action. And you are already doing so much from what you wrote! I admire that a lot. I guess we will all find our balance between taking “time off” and filling up our emotional tank, and taking actions which are a good fit for us. Just know that I am incredibly grateful every time one of the wonderful people I follow via blogs or instagram takes the time and energy to speak out – you, Milla, Lucy Knisley, Allison, Julie, and so many more. Maybe it does not feel like doing much for you, but for me it makes all the difference in getting hope and feeling less and less alone! So thank you again. I join you in your wish that we will at some point see steps being made towards a more friendly, human, compassionate world.

  2. I took very little time to myself this past week, and instead I packed in action items into every spare moment. I am feeling it today at work. I’m not good for anything today. So we’re all going to have to figure out the balance of this new normal because passivity will not work – not for the near future at least.

    The only (small) change I would make to your words is to include two other groups in your description of this country. We are either immigrants, or native born people, or we were brought to this country in shackles and chains. I know that you know this, but I say it only to remind us all that this is not the first time that we’ve struggled as a nation to grapple with our mistreatment of others. That we are still (always) striving towards a more perfect union, and that we do not have to do it all by ourselves. I’m trying to draw strength from others right now while I refuel again for the fight.

    The green is beautiful, I love the photographs. There’s nothing wrong with being the crazy plant lady.

  3. Lauren, thank you for this. The reason you are feeling these strong emotions is because you are a good, selfless person!! You care for others as much as or more than your own self. You know right from wrong. You have strong morals and values. I too have been drowning in my sorrows lately. We are trying to cope. I look at my new neighbor in my cul de sac and wonder how on earth she could tell her two kids not to “gloat at school.” What did that family (and so many others) EVER see in him or his administration? Why give him a chance? It was never deserved. And why is there silence among so many? To be silent is to accept the oppressor. This is NOT OK. Democrats and Republicans, we are all losers here. Before November I believed I lived among decent human beings, but now I second guess that, and it’s a harsh reality and really painful. I wish you and I lived closer because I know we share the same feelings and have a lot in common. Keep moving forward. Please take care of yourself.

  4. I cry in sorrow with you, Lauren. What a world we are raising our children in. The only bit of hope I have from this is many people are moving into action for our democracy. I always voted. I called regarding gun control, but not much else. I assumed most people believed as I did, and the voices which sounded ‘crazy’ were simply…few and far between. I no longer believe this, and I will never again simply vote.

    And then I look at my children and believe something bigger will grow from the seeds we are sowing.

  5. It’s completely shocking to me, what has been happening this week. I have three nephews that were adopted from Ethiopia and my sisters were contacted by the international adoption agency to make sure they have their sons’ adoption and citizenship records on hand, “just in case.” Just in case some madmen in the White House write another executive order or expand this one.
    For the first time in my life I have called my Senators and Representatives, demanding their outrage over this. Because it is morally, politically, and legally outrageous.

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