It’s Indigenous People’s Day, a time to reflect back on what was taken by force and cruelty.  I’d like to add ignorance but perhaps that is too kind.

On Saturday, our family gathered on Coast Miwok land to watch the Blue Angels.   The Miwok used to travel across the bay in tule boats.  Now, jets scream overhead as birds show how serene flight can be.

Logically I can say that environmentally and financially “Fleet Week”  makes no sense, but when I hear the roar and see the flash of blue and yellow so precariously, yet harmoniously flying overhead, I lift on the sight of speed, forgetting the cost.

I’m with the words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

We’re considering moving to gather family closer together.  A friend asks if I could leave Mount Tam.  

Maria Popova describes Mount Tam as “the first vertebrae of the mountainous backbone of the Americas that stretches all the way to Tierra del Fuego”.

She celebrates Etel Adman who painted and wrote about Mt. Tam.

Etel Adman: In this unending universe Tamalpais is a miraculous thing, the miracle of matter itself: something we can single out, the pyramid of our own identity. We are, because it is stable and it is ever changing. Our identity is the series of the mountain’s becomings, our peace is its stubborn existence.

Can I leave her, move down the line of vertebrae?  When I went to Nepal, I felt Mt. Tam sent me there, sent me to her sister mountains, mountains connected at the root. Where might she send me now?

On Saturday I was with my grandson who is almost two.  We played a game where we placed a small block on our head, and then leaned left or right and off it fell and we did it again and again. 

Where do I lean now to stretch and gather laughter like an opened cloak?

Etel Adman: “When you realize you are mortal you also realize the tremendousness of the future. You fall in love with a Time you will never perceive.”

San Francisco from Cavallo Point on Saturday Afternoon
Sunday Morning – fog wafts in, then out

Memorial Day Weekend

I’m reading “We Came, We Saw, We Left: A Family Gap Year” where a family of five travels together for a year.  I’m paused now where they are in Stone Town, the capital city of Zanzibar and a World Heritage site.  When they visit the small museum, they learn that slavery created this cross-cultural outpost.  

“Slaves were captured in the interior of Africa, brought to Zanzibar, and then exported to the rest of the world.”

“At the height of the slave trade, sixty thousand humans were trafficked through Zanzibar every year.”

“The exhibit that packed the most emotional punch was on the lawn outside: a full-scale sculpture of several women with chains around their necks looking up from a pit in the ground.”

I had to stop reading to absorb unimaginable numbers and pain.

I always find this an odd weekend to navigate.  It began as a way to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.  

On May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery James A. Garfield said: 

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

After he spoke, 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who are buried there. After World War I, Memorial Day was established as a national holiday to honor all those who’ve died in American wars. It’s a weekend to remember as we move forward to change.

Look for the Gull skimming the waves