Complexity

In these times of complexity, balance, and change, I come to Mary Oliver’s book Upstream.   

Out walking, she comes upon a hawk beginning the process of tearing apart and consuming a pheasant.  Though she prefers to be a vegetarian, a craving for meat will strike, and she considers how the pheasant could be her dinner.  Then, re-considering, she walks on.

“But I know how sparkling was the push of my own appetite. I am no fool, no sentimentalist.  I know that appetite is one of the gods, with a rough and savage face, but a god all the same.

Teilhard de Chardin says somewhere that man’s most agonizing spiritual decision is his necessity for food, with its unavoidable attachments to suffering.  Who would disagree.

Innocence!

A Vote for Equality

I’m beginning this post with John O’Donohue:

“Unfinished Poem

I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”

I’m now going to quote from an article in The Nation by Nathan Newman called “The Case for Blue-State Secession: It’s the only way to ensure equal representation for all.”

“Twice in the past 20 years, a GOP candidate who lost the popular vote took the presidency and 2020 came uncomfortably close to making it a third time. A minority of the population controlled the Senate for the past six years, during which, in combination with a minority-elected president, it packed the Supreme Court with a supermajority of Republican judges.”

“Democratic presidents have appointed just four out of 17 Supreme Court justices since 1970.”

“Thanks to the Senate’s bizarre filibuster rules, 41 senators – who represent as little as 11 percent of the population – can prevent any bill from even coming to a vote.”

In addition, blue states send more to the federal government than red states.  Mississippi receives $2.09 in spending for every tax dollar it sends to Washington. McConnell’s Kentucky gets $2.89 and Lindsey Graham’s South Caroline receives $1.71.  

Trump purposely sent aid to states that supported him and ignored California when wildfires raged.

Newman shows how all the people in this country would benefit from equal representation because then blue states could pressure red states for equality and fairness for all.

Let’s live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of our own unfolding.  

Nomadland

Last night I watched the movie Nomadland.  It’s available at hulu.com.  You can sign up for a free month and then unsubscribe if it doesn’t appeal to you to stay.  They offer a variety of movies and shows, but nothing really appealed to me so I signed up for the night and then unsubscribed.  

I then started reading the book by Jessica Bradler that inspired the movie:  Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-first century.

It’s riveting.  

After the first housing crisis, a friend of mine lost her house and bought a van and fixed it up.  Her work involved travel and she created a mobile home.  One week I flew into Phoenix and she picked me up, and we camped on BLM land and stayed in a few campsites.  Her place was small so I slept in a tent outside.  I learned how to negotiate the traveling life.

The last night I sprang for a hotel so I’d have a shower for the plane ride home out of Albuquerque.  A shower was lovely, of course, but the trip being outside cities in nature was exquisite.  

The land – the beauty – at one point, there was a problem with the engine, and we hung out in a teeny-tiny town and got to know the men who fixed her car.  It helped to understand different viewpoints.  

Of course it was the best weather time, early October, and we traveled easily amidst incredible beauty through Arizona and New Mexico.   One day, as in Nepal where I spent the day watching a river, I did that here too, just sat and watched birds sweep by along the river’s flow.

I recommend the movie and the book.  It’s inspiring to see creativity in action and to  know there are options.  It also shows we need to expand our safety net and work conditions.

Frances McDormand plays Fern but many of the people are from the book.  If you’re curious check out Bob’s website: 

https://www.cheaprvliving.com

We know people who are doing this.  They have jobs but can’t afford housing in our area.  They’ve chosen what enriches their life.  Perhaps it’s necessity that brings a person to it, but there’s also something in being outside to see the sun rise and set.   As we know and continue to learn, it’s about how we meet what comes. Necessity is the mother of invention, and may it be necessity that leads us to provide for every single one of us. We all deserve to be cared for, honored, and respected for what we offer and are able to do.

Perseverance

NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars yesterday to explore the Jezero Crater, which four billion years ago was the site of a lake. 

When it brings microfossils back to Earth, will it find signs of life?  Will it record sound?  I’m listening to the sound of rain, grateful I live here, in this time period, on this planet Earth.

Reading that each day in January, covid-19 killed an average of 3,100 people in the United States — one every 28 seconds, I’m even more grateful I’ve had the first vaccine.

Of course we need to vaccinate around the world, and some won’t take what’s offered, and yet I’m grateful my children didn’t have some of the diseases I did.  We continue to move forward; we persevere.

I’m waiting to view the movie Nomadland but meanwhile I’ve ordered the book.  We live in a country without a safety net for many.  Meanwhile Ted Cruz flies with his family to Cancun.  May that be the end of his career.  

Rachel Carson in The Sense of Wonder writes: One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before?  What if I knew I would never see it again?”

Wow, and isn’t that always true?   May we persevere in knowing what’s true.

Azalea

Gratitude

I’m awake with waves of gratitude.  My mother passed away on this date in 2005.  I’m grateful to be her daughter, raised in such love and grace.

I’m also grateful for the vaccine.  Yesterday was quite an experience as I drove to the Civic Center in a line of cars with my ID and appointment time checked multiple times.  I stood in a line that wove back and forth like at Disneyland, and yet, all worked like clockwork, as people are vaccinated with no sense of rush and a clarity of purpose.  A young man, Adrian, vaccinated me.  A park ranger set up my next appointment.  The county has called in all available workers to help with getting the vaccine to as many people as possible.  We live in community.

I did have a reaction.  I realize I had the virus and fought it off in the spring.  My husband was exposed on February 3rd when he flew back from New York.  For him, it resulted in covid fingers, and though he never tested positive, his doctor was sure he had it just not in the respiratory system.  At the time, I could feel the symptoms so I paid extra attention to my lungs, and used sensing and the sun and rest to send the virus on its way.

I did that yesterday and now this morning I’m grateful to feel somewhat “back” but actually “back” differently as all of this brings a deeper awareness of connectivity.  My breath is yours, and yours is mine.  We share a world.

I’m not proud that I rejoiced when I heard Rush Limbaugh died.  The damage he has done is incomparable.  It’s not just him, of course, but he was a major force and we suffer from the lies he spouted, the hate and division he sowed.  The people in Texas suffer today.

I just finished reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula le Guin.  I’ve read it many times before and each time I receive it a little differently.  This time I’m with the message of hope, the message that we each can go within to find and nourish our own knowing and connection. We each peel the onion of our lives, as we open to the soil in which we grow, the soil we share. Breathing in and out, circulating air and water, purpose and growth, we nourish on Love.

One son and his wife have been on the list for a rescue greyhound.  They lost their beloved Senna last year, and now, a little girl greyhound rescued from Florida is in Denver, and on her way to them.  We hope she arrives the Saturday after this.  What a gift!  Gifts abound!

I close with words from Albert Einstein: 


Death really means nothing because the “distinction between past, present and

future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. The universe is a great thought,

expressing itself in energy and matter, ceaselessly changing places.

The Civic Center and Mt. Tam as I walked out after receiving the vaccine.
Bark of a tree opening space
This morning!
The glow of a new day

Anticipation Anchored in Calm

Steve had his vaccine shot yesterday and I have mine today and so I smile as I read the poem Garrison Keillor wrote after receiving his.  Ours is at our Civic Center, where they hold the county fair in July, though not last year of course, and we’ll see how things are this year.  Meanwhile ….

Garrison Keillor:

The clinic that offers vaccine

Resembles a well-run machine,

I got my shot,

Sat down, was not

Dizzy or hot or pale green,

No aftereffects,

Loss of reflex,

Skin wasn’t waxy

So I hopped in a taxi,

Went home to my wife,

Resuming my life,

Which still is, thank God, quite routine. 

Isolated, as monks, but serene,

Trying to keep my hands clean. 

And in this isolation, I spin round on the words of Thomas Merton:

One has to be in the same place every day, watch the dawn from the same window or porch, hear the same birds each morning to realize how inexhaustibly rich and diverse is this “sameness.”

Primroses respond to the invitation of Spring
Om

Relief

In 2005, when I met with the oncologist and was given the odds on why I should do chemotherapy and radiation, in the percentages was my chance of being hit by a bus.

Last night Steve and I both got a text that the vaccine was available for over 65 in our county.  Immediately we clicked on the link which of course was already over-loaded as we weren’t the only ones getting the text but Steve walked away from his computer and when he returned he got an appointment at 1:00 today.

Well now I was really determined – click – click – click – fill out a form – everything booked – come back Thursday but then somehow I did get through and an array of openings was before me.  I took the first one available – 8:36 on Wednesday morning.

My adrenalin was on high alert.  I felt like it was a matter of life and death, and in some weird way, it was, and in another, every moment is a matter of life and death.

How do I forget?   I never thought I’d be so excited to get a shot.  The kitties felt the excitement in the air and so we danced around, and they got extra nighttime treats.

It’s an odd world we share, one of such connection, care, gratitude, and Love.  This vaccine is developed and people are distributing it, and today and tomorrow are very special days for Steve and me, as is every day of course.

Here’s Thich Nhat Hanh:

I saw a car from New York with a bumper sticker, “Let peace begin with me.” That’s correct. And let me begin with peace. That is also correct.

Patterns in rocks and sand – so much to see –

Surrender

On this date in 1633 Galileo was brought to Rome to face charges of heresy for writing that the Earth was not the center of the universe.

Where do I center on this day, this Valentine’s Day, a day currently created to celebrate Love and the heart?  I won’t go into the history of the day, and instead sit with the words of Li Po:

The birds have vanished from the sky.

Now the last clouds drain away. 

We sit together, the mountain and me,

until only the mountain remains.

A Scarlet S for Sedition

George Will, an American libertarian-conservative political commentator and author, wrote on January 6th, 2021.

The three repulsive architects of Wednesday’s heartbreaking spectacle — mobs desecrating the Republic’s noblest building and preventing the completion of a constitutional process — must be named and forevermore shunned. They are Donald Trump, and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz.

He concludes his column with this: 

The Trump-Hawley-Cruz insurrection against constitutional government will be an indelible stain on the nation. They, however, will not be so permanent. In 14 days, one of them will be removed from office by the constitutional processes he neither fathoms nor favors. It will take longer to scrub the other two from public life. Until that hygienic outcome is accomplished, from this day forward, everything they say or do or advocate should be disregarded as patent attempts to distract attention from the lurid fact of what they have become. Each will wear a scarlet “S” as a seditionist.

And now here we are. All 50 Democrats and seven Republicans voted “guilty,” falling 10 votes short of the two-thirds necessary for conviction. Senator Mitch McConnell followed his own vote to acquit with a surprisingly harsh speech calling Donald J. Trump “practically and morally responsible for provoking” the Capitol riot.

Okay, McConnell, a little, and a lot, late. Look at in the mirror and see who you are and what you’ve done. May the people continue to speak.

And the blossoms are out.

Each year, Spring comes!!

A Weekend Celebrating Heart

It’s a weekend to celebrate the Heart.  I find it sad that the language I speak has only one word for Love, when in some other languages, there are many words to describe this wonderful enveloping that enriches and expands our lives.

Yesterday I took a walk with my friend Lee to Tennessee Beach.  We wore masks and stayed socially distanced. It rained the night before and it’s raining now, but we walked on a beautiful day in between storms.

I’ve mentioned Jarvis Masters here before and how he is unjustly on Death Row at San Quentin.  Lee took many 360 degree videos of our walk to send to Jarvis.  At one point she focused on me and I spread my arms and said “that bird has my wings”, quoting from the title of one of his books.  “That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row.”His confinement is unjust as is the “trial” where so many Republicans choose to ignore the evidence.  They forget they are on a jury, and for no reason I understand they choose to ignore the magnitude of the gift of hearing evidence that proves the obvious threat to our democracy and those who legislate it.

I don’t understand, and yet when I spread my wings for Jarvis I felt such light and freedom.  Easy for me to say, of course, as Lee and I were the only two people in a landscape of enchantment.  We were accompanied by three deer who saw no threat in us, and who knows what other beings munching, sleeping, and thriving in this world.  We saw two snails mating.  They are hermaphrodites, so meeting another snail makes it easy as to the process of reproduction, though of course there are those shells,  so maneuvering is required, and I love seeing two as one.  

May that image expand into the world this weekend as we reach in empathy to understand the “other” no matter how puzzling and mind-boggling they may seem.

Deer enjoying breakfast on the hillside.

Tennessee Valley beach

Finding a place to cross the stream to get to the beach and back!
This morning!
That bird has my wings –
A moment of rainbow and now more rain