Thursday, August 30, 2018

Late August light and life and a black and white and grey photo

A dear friend asked if she could take a photo of me, along with taking individual photos of other good friends who had gotten together early last Saturday morning.  I said that I always felt awkward when a camera was pointed at me, but that I was trying to get over that.  She suggested that I turn to the left.  Because this is one of the few photos ever taken of me that I like, I suspect that she photoshopped it.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

B.D. first appeared in Doonesbury in 1968, the year that Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated / Melissa Wheeler first appeared in 2007 / Melissa running for office in 2018 / Revisiting August 28, 1963

Thank you to robin andrea for bringing us all back to the events of 1967-1968, as we experience the events of  2018 and see what hasn't changed and what has changed.

Remembering August 28, 1963:

In the past 24 hours, I was struck by the thought that a person who practices nonviolence could not with good conscience be President of the United States, given the store of nuclear weapons that our military is prepared to use at any moment.  The President of the United States must accept the title of Commander in Chief of the Military.  A sobering awakening.

Nonviolent persons continue to serve in the United States, many of those persons serving in obscurity as well as in the public eye. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke out strongly against war but not in judgment of soldiers or anyone else as fellow flawed human beings.  It's time for me to read Strength to Love again.  No easy answers from Martin Luther King, Jr.   No demand that everyone follow him on his chosen road as a Christian doing his best to practice nonviolence.  He was not self-righteous.  He was a Christian in the truest sense of the word.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Mother Earth / Father Sky / Brother Sun / Sister Moon

Something's Burning

Something is burning, baby, something’s in flames
There’s a man going ’round calling names
Ring when you’re ready, baby, I’m waiting for you
I believe in the impossible, you know that I do.

-- Bob Dylan lyrics from "Something's Burning, Baby" from "Empire Burlesque" (1985)

Even though it's raining here today, the Washington State Air Quality Monitoring website indicates that our air quality is "Unhealthy."  Predictions are that we will have smoke in the air on and off through September from out-of-control fires.

The whole wide world is watching.

Listen to Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas speak:

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Resistance and perseverance / Late August 2018 under a smoke-filled sky in Whatcom County

(photo from Bellingham Herald)

Article from Seattle Times, August 21, 2018:

"... The workers sought to have a Northwest farmworker union, Familias Unidas por la Justica, represent them in the negotiations, but farm owner Gurjant Sandhu rejected that request, according
to Edgar Franks, a Community to Community Development staffer who says he was present when that request was made ..."

And one year ago, a farm worker, Honesto Silva Ibarra, 28, of Mexico, died after working under unhealthy conditions in Whatcom County that were the result of dense smoky air from wildfires in British Columbia.  Last year, 70 workers were fired after demonstrating in response to unhealthy working conditions and the death of their fellow farm worker.

We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure. (Cesar Chavez)

To make a great dream come true, the first requirement is a great capacity to dream; the second is persistence. (Cesar Chavez)

Further -- email received just now, 11:21 a.m., August 23, 2018:

THANK YOU! Continued community action needed
Dear supporters,
Thank you to everyone in the community who responded to the farmworkers' call for justice at Crystal View Raspberry Farm. After the combined power of two days of the farmworkers' work stoppage, the presence of Familias Unidas por la Justicia and C2C, and a successful solidarity picket, Crystal View Farm reinstated the suspended workers and paid all of the 90+ H2A workers their owed wages, including giving them paycheck stubs! This has never happened before! We are monitoring the situation to make sure the rest of the workers' demands are met, and the union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia President Ramon Torres remains in close communication with the worker elected committee. We ask that you stay updated in case there is retaliation against these elected farmworker leaders.
We are humbled by the community's response to crises when farmworkers are in need. For the time being, the workers have asked us to stop collecting and delivering food or clothing donations.
Please watch this short video of C2C farmworker organizer Edgar Franks sharing a more detailed update about the victory, and follow our Facebook page to stay informed about the farmworker movement.
We must keep the momentum going. These horrifying injustices perpetuated by the use of the exploitative H2A program are now an ongoing pattern in Washington State, as H2A workers are being poisoned and injured, dying for the profit of agribusiness. Take action to right a great wrong!
En Solidaridad,
C2C Team

  • Call wafla (360) 455-8064 Dan Fazio's wafla is the labor contracting firm that recruited these workers in Mexico and Guatemala, transported them to the US, and abandoned them to the whims of an abusive farmer. George Sandhu, owner of Crystal View, held them hostage without pay or food or safe housing conditions, and denied them access to health care, clean drinking water, and community assistance such as the Food Bank. DEMAND that wafla honor the terms of the Crystal View contract that was made with the workers. There should be no retaliation on behalf of wafla for workers standing up for their rights while wafla was absent.
  • Call Governor Inslee (360) 902-4111 -- DEMAND he convene a task force to fully investigate the well documented negative impacts of the H2A guestworker program to farmworkers in WA State.
  • Call the WA State Dept of Labor and Industries (360) 902-5584 -- ask to be transferred to Director Joel Sacks DEMAND they conduct an immediate review of Crystal View Farms H2A contracts, addressing all of the complaints and demands from the workers. This investigation needs to include a process for FUJ to be receiving weekly updates; explain that the agency failed miserably regarding Sarbanand and we demand a faster and more transparent process that includes the union!
Farmworkers' lives are at stake and we demand a response from Labor and Industries!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tapestry / Wildfires / "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"

(Smoky light on my tapestry woven by my friend, Linda Rees.  The link shows this tapestry as well as a few of her works along with the work of a variety of tapestry weavers.)

My windows have been closed for several days, ever since the smoke from the fires in British Columbia increased to an unhealthy level, close to the designation "hazardous." My shades are drawn down to block out the view of the smoke-filled sky.  My air cleaner runs 24 hours a day along with my portable air conditioner.  This helps the indoor air quality to some degree.  I am fortunate to own those appliances.  The air cleaner was purchased long ago to help relieve allergy symptoms. When I began working at home, I purchased the air conditioner so that I would be able to work without being unbearably hot during the summers.

Everyone here is affected by the smoke, especially the growing population of homeless people.  It is difficult to think clearly, difficult to do all the things we need to do.

Just before creating today's post, I read this from beth's blog, the cassandra pages.  I want to share her  post.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Oboe sleeping in the sun

If you listen very closely, you will hearing Oboe snoring softly as the birds are singing.  Oboe's birthday is in August.  She is 13 years old this year.  Sometimes when she snores, I think it is my cell phone vibrating.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mandala #32: Starry Landscape Drawn From Childhood Memories Of California

I don't know why this mandala unfolded the way it did, anymore than I know about the previous ones.  This one feels unsettled and unresolved to me.  My decision is to let it be that way.

Bob Dylan has sung various versions of "God Knows"

God (or goodness or heaven) knows
phrase of know
  1. 1. 
    used to emphasize that one does not know something.
    "God knows what else they might find"

    Thanks to Sabine who gave me the link to this lecture listened to while working on parts of this mandala and for giving me so much to think and feel about on her blog and to Elizabeth for her enlightening blog and for her collaborative podcasts which I also listened to while working on this mandala.  Thank you to everyone who continues to visit my blog.  You all contribute to what inspires me to keep making mandalas.  I'm grateful for this community of kindred spirits.

    And eternal thanks to Mavis Staples for:

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"Under the Red Sky" / 1990, 2017, 2018 / Summer Sky with Bird

Although sky isn't red here this summer so far, it was red for 11 days at this time last year from wildfires in Eastern Washington and British Columbia as well as a local fire.

Just now, while thinking about the massively out-of-control fire in Shasta County in Northern California and reading about the red sky in the Central Valley of California as a result of that fire, I remembered Bob Dylan's album from 1990 which was titled "Under the Red Sky," and I again remembered the song called "Unbelievable."  Bettye LaVette does justice to that eerily prescient song from the album "Under the Red Sky."  

Now I'm remembering when the oil fields were on fire in Kuwait in 1991.

When I looked up into the hot summer sky in the coastal Pacific Northwest, I saw a bird:

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hiroshima and Nagasaki 2018

Image from the Hiroshima series, created by Jacob Lawrence.

Each year on August 6 and August 9, I continue to wonder more deeply why Nazi Germany is held up as the epitome of human cruelty, when the U.S. government perpetrated the atrocity of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, incinerating far more innocent people in two days than the Nazis could in any two-day period and when U.S. history demonstrates centuries of institutionalized human cruelty.   Jacob Lawrence's image of Hiroshima could just as easily be that of people dying in a gas chamber or of any group of people who has suffered under the centuries of policies of the U.S. government, about which there has been such denial and continues to be under the current president and those who voted for him to support their own denial.  

There is so much about which could be said, "Never again."

Thursday, August 2, 2018

What We Are Made Of / To Each One's Own, It's All Unknown / Dead To The World (Alive Alive-O)

News from our neighborhood:

Orca mother carrying her calf who died

Thich Nhat Hanh

When we look into the heart of a flower, we see clouds, sunshine, minerals, time, the earth, and everything else in the cosmos in it. Without clouds, there could be no rain, and there would be no flower. Without time, the flower could not bloom. In fact, the flower is made of entirely non-flower elements; it has no independent, individual existence. When we see the nature of inter-being, barriers between ourselves and others are dissolved, and peace, love, and understanding are possible. Whenever there is understanding, compassion is born.

(quote from Daily Dig, August 2, 2018)

Sulubika - Flute Ernie Provencher - Bass Noel Okimoto - Drums

If dogs run free, then why not we
Across the swooping plain?
My ears hear a symphony
Of two mules, trains and rain
The best is always yet to come
That's what they explain to me
Just do your thing, you'll be king
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, why not me
Across the swamp of time?
My mind weaves a symphony
And tapestry of rhyme
Oh, winds which rush my tale to thee
So it may flow and be
To each his own, it's all unknown
If dogs run free
If dogs run free, then what must be
Must be, and that is all
True love can make a blade of grass
Stand up straight and tall
In harmony with the cosmic sea
True love needs no company
It can cure the soul, it can make it whole
If dogs run free

(Bob Dylan, 1970)

... dead to the world alive I awoke alive I awoke alive alive I awoke alive I awoke alive I awoke alive I awoke I awoke alive I awoke alive alive-o alive alive-o

I'm still thinking about what robin andrea, wrote about her first eight years of life:

Another memory that I can never forget is the time a neighbor who lived in the apartment building above that candy store drew some crosses on the sidewalk. Being Jewish, I hadn't ever really seen or noticed such a thing before. I asked her what it was. She told me the story as best a seven-year old could tell a five-year old what a cross was and who Jesus was. I was devastated. I had to go home and lay down in bed. I had never heard such a thing in my life, someone nailed to a cross. It was then I realized that humans could be more horrible to each other than I had ever imagined. I never forgot.

And I remembered the worlds of an elderly Jewish woman friend of mine who remarked that, given some of the experiences during her lifetime, she didn't have to be a Christian to be moved by the story of the life and death of Jesus.