I could start this post by admitting I would’ve avoided getting day drunk yesterday if I’d known I’d end up surfing with someone I much admire. Or I could start it by attempting to wax eloquent about the #FamiliesBelongTogether march. Or by observing how the country’s political hell amplified what were some dark days in my personal life.

Let us work backwards.

Rough month, June. The usual problems, writ large. Unexpected financial blows, my son in the hospital for a week, the gleeful rending apart of families by the twisted old men in charge. Ten days ago, as I prepared to speak in front of the State Lands Commission about the sewage spills poisoning the Tijuana River Valley, I thought how impossible it would be to (although the location and problems are different) talk about anything at “the border” without calling to mind the cruel, terrifying punishment our government was inflicting on families seeking safety. And then a Supreme Court judge announced his retirement and thereby paved the way for the worst of the Republican party to pull us back, back, back. I envision the proverbial arc of the moral universe bending up as we, Americans, slide down, away from justice, Republicans at the tail, clinging to the rest of us, weighting us down with their hatred and fear so that no matter how we scrabble to find purchase, we continue slipping.

Maybe a new metaphor is called for.

Maybe metaphors are not called for at all.

After all, there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.

Most of the signs from yesterday’s march got straight to the point: “Families Belong Together”; “Abolish ICE”; “End Family Detention”; “VOTE!”; “Resist;” and the perennially-accurate-under-the-Trump-adminstration, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

At a press conference last week, before giving my prepared remarks, I took a moment to thank the journalists there, not just for being there in that particular place at that particular time, but for the work they do day in, day out. It matters, I said. I wanted them to know that people see, people care. To all those under attack, I want to say, you are seen, you are supported, we will not let the bad guys win.

That was the point of the march, was it not? To say, we see the evil that is happening here and we shall stand up for those affected and fight against it? I worry about the sustaining of outrage, the relentless commitment winning requires. To march in San Francisco is to risk nearly nothing. By lunchtime, we were already drinking rosé. I caught an Uber to an art opening, where more wine waited, along with prints of the ocean, the beach, sanderlings caught, for once, in stillness, although even in stillness, even caught, because the catching was done in flight, the birds turning in unison, tightly together, more aligned than even the protesters walking down Dolores mere hours before, the print radiated energy, speed, light flickering to shadow and back to light again.

I found myself in the ocean later. I hadn’t surfed in nearly three weeks or maybe just over three weeks, who can keep track when it’s been so long? On a board not my own, a loaner from a woman I admire, a filmmaker and badass, a fun board, easy to paddle, although different enough from what I usually ride that I could not easily find the groove. I could feel where I wanted to be, but every time I clambered to my feet, my placement missed the mark, the balance, off-balance, of my weight dragging the board to a halt. I needed to move faster, think forward.

Rather like our country.

Which is, of course, us.

And what we make it. Or allow it to be.

June sucked. More dark days lie ahead. But I love my job and live in California and as long as my own children are alive and sheltered, how can I be anything but grateful for this life? And so I gather myself and I gather with others seeking justice, balance, fairness, beauty.

Faster, forward, upward, onward.