The End of the Day

The full moon is an orange globe in the sky tonight.  It’s been an unusual Fourth of July as one person tries to divide what can’t be divided.  People are coming together to heal.

This is a beautiful homage to Frederick Douglass.  

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/03/884832594/video-frederick-douglass-descendants-read-his-fourth-of-july-speech

I believe we are coming together to listen more fully to the wounds of people in this country, in the world, and in that, we can begin to heal.

My 8 month old grandson is on a backpacking trip in Yosemite.  My son sent a video of him standing, well, with help, with his feet in sand by a stream.  Then, his feet are dipped into the water.

I watch and feel my own feet in the stream, a cold stream, yes, and our blood is warm as we come together knowing we can’t step in the same stream twice, and the stream is flowing taking hatred and division to the sea. 

We’ve now entered the second half of this year. A friend shares how since we can’t touch to hug, she spreads her arms wide and reveals and opens her heart, and offers a wider, more generous and all-inclusive hug.

May our hugs embrace us all as the moon rises in the sky bringing the morning sun.

Peace!

Interdependence Day

Today is Independence Day in the United States, the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. The document was approved and signed on July 2, and was formally adopted on July 4.

The word “independence” means “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others”.  

Times have changed.  We need a new day, an Interdependence Day, where we celebrate how much we need each other, how twined we are, and how reliant we are on the support and aid of others. Sometimes we don’t see it, but it’s there like this hawk in the redwood tree.

Opening

Joanna Macy writes: The future is not out there in front of us, but inside us.

In his book, The Five Invitations, Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, Frank Ostaseski invites us to wake up to our lives.

His five invitations are: 

  • Don’t wait.
  • Welcome everything, push away nothing.
  • Bring your whole self to the experience.
  • Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
  • Cultivate don’t know mind.

I sit with that as I consider what I might invite in myself today.  It’s a holiday, a day to celebrate freedom within ourselves, a day, in my opinion, to rest and reflect.

Today I invite myself to open pages within, to revel in what’s written even as it disappears.  

Open and Drop

Evolution

The days are visibly shorter. I watch my eight month old grandson as his hands articulate his newly claimed ability to change his environment.  His focus is intense.  He’s claiming his individuality, and the force of his presence.

I’m reading Joanna Macy’s book, Coming Back to Life.   She asks us to look at our hand, how the thumb and fingertips can touch each other.  When we see the size of the space they enclose, we see the right size for a branch to hold our swinging body.  

Because our eyes have moved around to the front, we have three-dimensional vision so we can leap from branch to branch.  I return to my ancestral past.

In that swinging from trees, I hear of quantum leaps.  We live in a time of incredible change as though we’re leaping through eons even as we return to remembering we come from a shared sea.  

Photo of Snowy Egrets by my friend Bob Dresser, now passed

Choosing Change

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

The Magic Number

We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

– Joseph Campbell

I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion.

Lao Tzu  

Wow!

Waves

My childhood revolved a great deal around boats.  When I was in third grade, my father built our first boat in our garage.  I loved to watch him work.

We launched our first boat ride on the Des Moines River, and then Clear Lake in Iowa.  When we moved to a house on the Mississippi River, we had a boat dock in front of the house.  Living in Florida, we went boating almost every day.  Then, living in San Diego, boating was also a big part of our lives.

Now, a boat ride for me is taking the ferry to San Francisco, which of course I wouldn’t do right now, so I’m on land, and yet, these days, living on land seems to present a variety of emotional waves.

One day, I’m calm, grateful to be home, and another day, I rail at what feels like confinement.  These days the waves are simply my own moods and responses as I navigate what comes.

Again, this morning my yard is filled with a symphony of birds tweeting, as the fog sits on the ridge, undecided in this moment, whether to move in or out.  

I, though, am decided that this is a day to clean house, the physical abode, and the inner crevices and crannies where doubt and fear might think they can hang out, but instead will be wiped out, which takes me to 1963 and the song Wipe Out. Okay, I’m inspired to begin.

In the Curl of the Wave

June fog considering whether to move in or out!

Nature

I went outside early this morning hoping to see the fawn, still dappled, that Steve saw yesterday.  I sat with the Redwood tree, listening to tweeting but I didn’t hear the fawn which sounds like a small goat bleating.  

Parent and baby birds are tweeting away these days.  It’s a lovely way to wake.

I’m starting to realize we have a long way to go on shelter-in-place.  Two nearby restaurants that expanded from take-out between the hours of four and eight, to six tables, are now completely closed, because employees have the virus.

I can’t imagine eating out.  I woke from a dream this morning where I was in a car with a friend.  Who would have thought that closeness would occur only in dreams, and yet this morning though I didn’t see or hear the fawn, I felt myself as fawn and tree and birds, as greeting to the sun.

Early Morning