# 63 To what lengths and distances do living beings go to preserve or dissolve families? And shouldn’t someone be accountable?
Dear Honorable Judge Welch,
I am researching our town’s racial past. My friend Oliver—the same Oliver who asked to be emancipated a while back?—was racially harassed the other day and ENOUGH ALREADY. I am trying to understand how our country was ok with flourishing on the backs of enslaved and disenfranchised people. I know if I don’t learn the history I might help perpetuate the systemic racism that empowered Oliver’s attackers.
My research got me thinking about families and how they are preserved or dissolved. I’m astonished at the great lengths living beings go to in order to do this preserving and dissolving. The phrase “to go to great lengths” means to spend a long time or to take a lot of trouble to affect something or other. I see it also in terms of the DISTANCE it takes to dissolve or preserve. For instance:
5,000 miles: The distance 10 to 12 million enslaved peoples and their families were abducted across the Atlantic to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th century. To Dissolve.
8,000 miles: The distance the Upland Sandpiper flies from the Argentine Pampas to Alaska’s Upland tundra to mate, nest, and raise their young. To Preserve.
4,000 miles: The distance Arturo’s Tante traveled from Peru to cook and clean for her nephew and grandnephew after the Mama died. To Preserve.
3.2 miles. The distance Mom and Dad drove from our “nest” to the traffic light in time for Mr A. Spinoza Carlotto to run it. To Dissolve.
If my thoughts are Dad’s garden last Spring, then they are still germinating. Not to be morbid, but maybe this is where my metaphor is going:
Dad’s garden was almost ready to harvest when he and Mom were murdered. We decided to let it go to seed—like Peter Rowan’s song: if I die before you do, let the garden go to seed. We wanted nature to take its course. So nobody picked the beans, or plucked the tomatoes, or dug the potatoes; and next Spring the process will start all over again, without Dad. My immediate family is like Dad’s garden—butternut squashes, broccoli, kale—going to seed, rotting in the ground. Will it regenerate? Do I believe that?
Please do not think I am “turning a corner” and that my will for revenge is softening. I am not shrugging my shoulders and doing the teenage whatever.
I want to reiterate that Mr. A. Spinoza Carlotto needs serious jail time. Somebody has to pay. Right? Even though it doesn’t seem like anyone is “paying” in regard to the enslaved peoples; their descendants are still suffering and it’s been a few centuries.
Please don’t let your sentencing be influenced by this, Judge Welch.