The sky is coming to light with a soft-pink invitation to wake. 

Last night I took blankets and a pillow out on the deck to watch for meteors.  The moon was rising and it wasn’t yet dark but I was prepared to be part of the changing scene.  I fell asleep.

This morning I rose early and went outside to lean back in a chair.  Both kitties joined me. I saw nine meteors, each one unique. Two were major lengthy lights that evoked a loud “wow”.  Only kitties, owl, and a foraging creature down below heard my shout.

I sit here now aware of ripening light.

On another note, I read in Writer’s Almanac that sharpshooter Annie Oakley, born Phoebe Ann Mosey in 1860 in Woodland, Ohio, could, from 90 feet away, hit the thin side of a playing card that someone tossed in the air and then hit it six more times before it fell to the floor. 

She could shoot the wick off a burning candle or the ashes off the tip of her husband’s cigarette. 

Now that’s impressive.  

I’m reading David Brooks book, The Road to Character.  The first person he celebrates is Francis Perkins, the person now considered “the woman behind the New Deal”.  

The second is Ida Stover Eisenhower, the mother of Dwight D. Eisenhower.  I remember as a child seeing Dwight go by in a parade in Des Moines, Iowa. I must have been seven as he was re-elected in 1956.  There were shouts of “I like Ike”. My parents were for Adlai Stevenson but I recall no vitriol on either side though Stevenson labeled an “egghead”,  even though he wasn’t, didn’t help his cause. Even then, intellectualism was suspect in this country.

What’s amazing is how the Republican party has changed.  Eisenhower, a moderate conservative, continued New Deal agencies and expanded Social Security. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1958 and sent Army troops to enforce federal court orders that integrated schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

He created the Interstate Highway System, and promoted science education with the National Defense Education Act. 

In his farewell speech, he said:

As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Though he’d been a general before becoming president, he warned about the power and influence of the military-industrial complex.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

David Brooks is looking at what builds character, trying to understand how when World War II ended, this country celebrated with humility, and how now, the word “great” is bantered about with no attachment to meaning or substance..

I look up the meaning of the homonym of the word “great”. A grate is “a frame of metal bars for holding fuel when burning, as in a fireplace, furnace, or stove”. It’s “a framework of parallel or crossed bars, used as a partition, guard, or cover”.

What falls now between the slats and rises in the morning light?

In Alexander Technique work, the suggestion is to “Think forward and up to rise”. I’m with that now, thinking forward and up to rise. With that, there is no strain, and I open like trees to sky.

Raising our place on earth


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