I bought a new water fountain for my cats.  They loved the other one but I thought I’d broken it, though then, I fixed it, but meanwhile I’d already ordered a new one, which in this world of instant gratification arrived the next day, so now the two fountains sit side by side offering the invigorating renewal of running water.  

Meanwhile though in my non-catlike opinion, the new one is more stylish with a center rise and circular flow, the cats are having nothing to do with it.  

I’ve just read two books, both historical fiction.  The first by Isabel Allende, A Long Petal of the Sea, is set during the Spanish Civil war, and then moves to Chile where a United States-backed military coup d’etat brought Pinochet to power on September 11, 1973.  The democratically elected socialist Unidad Popular government of President Salvador Allende was overthrown and ended civilian rule.

If you remember the movie Missing from 1982, you’ll have a visual of what happened there.

And here I take a breath, because I then entered the world of another novel, The Taste of Sugar, by Marisel Vera.  It’s set in Puerto Rico in 1898 on the eve of the Spanish-American War.  The United States won and immediately devalued the peso and took over the land to distribute to  a few.  A hurricane led to even further devastation, so a group of starving Puerto Ricans were enticed to Hawaii to work on sugar cane plantations.  They were promised education for their children and health care.  Enough said on the fiction of that, and I haven’t finished the book, but right now where I am, it’s tragically dismal.

We know much of the cruel history of the U.S.  In my cynicism formed in the 60’s around the Vietnam War, I was surprised to be reminded of our sacrifice and heroism when I visited the Mardasson Memorial in Bastogne, Belgium.  A monument to gratitude, and built in the shape of a five-pointed American star, it honors the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.

Of course, my own family members fought for freedom in WWI and WWII so I know and understood the sacrifice those before me made for my privileged way of life.  

The point is I’m struggling to understand what’s going on right now.  I believe in freedom but certainly when all that’s required of me is to wear a mask when I’m outside and to maintain a social distance, I hardly find myself mistreated when this is mandated.  We do this for ourselves and others, so what is this anger and disobedience over what seems a minor inconvenience?  It means health care workers can work normal hours and be exposed to less risk. Is it really too much to ask?

My cats refusing to use the new fountain demonstrates that sometimes we animals are slow to change, and yet, statistics show how we can bring the numbers of infected people down, how with sacrifice now, we may be able to end what has changed and inconvenienced our lives, but certainly not as dramatically as a coup or a war.

Today Garrison Keillor suggests we rename Washington D.C. after Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was a poet and a philosopher and never owned slaves.   He suggests we begin again.  

Inspired by the idea of our government nested in Emerson, I share some of Emerson’s well-known quotes.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

The earth laughs in flowers.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

For every minute you’re angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

May we all come together to honor the contributions we each make, and to educate our children to fulfill that possibility. May we revel in the joy of knowing wearing masks and sharing distance, we can save misery and lives. May we know that sometimes fountains stream down from a hidden source, and other times they bubble up from below, and so it is for us to learn to drink the blessings as they come and present.   We’re in this together, and we live on a planet where we share, air, water, soil, and breath. Let’s show we know the truth of that, and for now, when outside our home, wear a mask.

A Rose in my Garden

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