COMMENTARY: It’s getting better all the time

by May 7, 2022OPINIONS0 comments



One Feather Editor


“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, A little better all the time.”

Those 1967 Beatles lyrics ring true as we progress through 2022. One of the lines in that verse is “It can’t get no worse” and, for many months of the last two years, many of us felt that way. The fears and realities of sickness and isolation overtook us and it was difficult to see things getting better.

As you listen to that great classic hit (I hope that I may convince people in my life to refer to me as “classic” instead of old), you soon realize that reality isn’t necessarily getting better in his life, but his attitude toward his reality is changing because of his relationship with someone, “It’s getting better since you’ve been mine”.

It is so easy to get down-in-the-dumps, a.k.a. depressed, when isolated. Things get downright grievous when you or a loved one is sick, and their lives are threatened or even taken. It is no wonder that many of us are shellshocked, and act that way, as we experience a first spring in two years that feels kind of “normal”. You can’t help but look at a restaurant or movie theatre full of unmasked patrons and not have a momentary lapse into the fear of thinking “Is that okay?” The past two years we have programmed ourselves to look for the masks wherever we go. In some ways, that scenario of initially seeing naked faces is equivalent to Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow at his first trip out of the hibernation hole.

Yet here we are. No, there are no guarantees that we will not have to jump back on the rollercoaster. There is news that more strains of the “Virus that Shall Not Be Named” are being found and increasing in number. It will be easy for some of us to go back down the gopher hole and wait. But for most of us, not so much. By having that history behind us, we don’t have to repeat our descent into fear. We don’t necessarily know exactly what’s ahead, but we get a generally good idea from the past. While it would feel good to forget it, it is beneficial to remember it so that we don’t go back to the darkness.

I try to walk every chance I get (or can nudge myself to do). It is very much my exercise through the week (keeping the blood flowing to the various extremities of your body is a challenge when your job is to sit and maintain eye contact with a computer most of your days). I took a break from the office to walk over to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian to pick up a piece of art that I needed for a prop in a Tsalagi Minute segment I was writing up. I work in the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex, so I must walk across the bridge that connects Acquoni Rd. with Tsali Blvd. As I was approaching the bridge, I spied two of our tribal program workers busy cleaning off the winter’s trash and mold growth from the bridge. One young man was on a leaf blower, jetting the loose debris from the bridge and the other was power-washing the mold and mildew from the guardrail and sidewalk. Someone had previously removed the old, dead foliage from the wire hanging baskets, leaving them, I am sure, waiting for new, bright flowering plants that one of our tribal departments or contractors is readying for hanging on the guardrails. Just the sight of that effort at spring cleaning gave me a little more spring in my step and a little cheer in my heart.

It’s getting better all the time.

If you have been watching sessions of Tribal Council over the past month, you will notice team members of the Domestic Violence program, Cherokee Police Department, EBCI Prosecutor’s Office, and the Cherokee Court have been promoting Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Talk about turning an ugly negative into a hopeful positive, this coalition of tribal programs and community are spending time and resources (some volunteering) to fight the good fight against domestic violence and particularly sexual violence, shining light into a very dark space. And just like that, people are coming together to walk with those in extreme darkness to shine a light and give hope that will lead them and their families on a path to a better life. With each banner made, each video produce, each hotline answered, each family given a new direction, the light of hope gets brighter.

It’s getting better all the time.

The One Feather has been working with EBCI Animal Control over the past few weeks to bring attention to their pet intake, particularly dogs, that need to be adopted and homed. The program receives animals in various ways, including owners who, for whatever reason, can no longer keep a pet. They may be moving to a place that doesn’t allow it, or they cannot spare the time to give the animal a good quality of life, or the owner either is too old or passes away and leaves the animal behind. Animal Control leadership has been great to work with on this project. In our first collaboration, we featured five extraordinary dogs with their brief biographies. Their names are Barney, Beans, Plopps, Odis, and an unnamed Weimaraner, which I am sure has a name by now. Within about a week’s time of promoting these pets, the tribal community and readership had visited with Animal Control and adopted these puppies. Animal Control leadership also let us know that more pets were homed than the five listed. We all hope that is a wave that will continue and spread. And we look forward to more collaborations of finding good homes for great pets. And I know that there is a new awareness and that other efforts on the behalf of pets are working to get even more pets into receptive, caring homes every day.

It’s getting better all the time.

Let’s be as quick to praise and be courteous as we are to criticize and be rude. In fact, let’s resolve to do away with being critical and rude altogether. More than one smart supervisor has instructed me to not come to them with a problem without at least one option for a solution. I have found that to be good advice. Don’t let your perception of success be in material things. Materials provide momentary pleasure and satisfaction, but they do not bring true light into a life. Remember that life is about quality, not necessarily quantity.

There are many more examples of things we may focus on to take our minds from dark to light. And while many times we only see or choose to see the dark parts of life, we can move toward the light. Good people are doing good work inside the Tribe and out. If you have a type A personality, you might say that things are moving much too slowly for your taste. Maybe so. But they are moving, and they are moving positively. Homes are being built. People are being fed. Physical and emotional hurt is being addressed. Solutions are being found. Seek out those people and situations that make you feel better. Better yet, make a point of engaging in something that you feel brings light to darkness. And when you get that warm, fuzzy feeling of contributing, you’ll have to admit it’s getting better all the time.