Monday, August 31, 2020

In response to being stunned / More of one thing leading to another / Growing up white / Death falls in love with Life / Real Change

Upon learning that after 48 years of wisdom, the Democratic Party is endorsing nuclear energy as part of its 2020 platform, I was stunned.  When I looked out my window early this morning, I saw what looked to me like a mushroom cloud rising from Lake Whatcom.  An overreaction to a passing morning mist rising or a reaction I can trust with all my heart and respond to with right action?

Until I read Quicksand: What It Means To Be A Human Being, by Henning Mankell, I thought I was fully aware of the immense dangers of the use of nuclear energy as a source of the kind of power that human beings have come to take for granted to heat and light our homes and run our internets and pretty much everything else we depend on.  Little did I know.  I am suggesting that book to anyone who might be considering nuclear energy as a solution in today's world or any world imaginable. For anyone else, I am suggesting the book as a text filled with reasons not to pursue nuclear energy as a solution.  Nuclear energy is a not a solution to anything.

Ever since reading Joe Biden's biography many years ago, I have had reservations about him.  Reading his book then gave me a chill.  I never dreamed that he would be a presidential candidate.  I am feeling that chill again.  It is not a good sign that he is endorsing nuclear energy.  It is not a good sign that he distanced himself from Linda Sarsour.

I have no choice but to vote for him. and my heart is torn.  Michelle Obama said, "Joe Biden is a profoundly decent man."  Decent men can have blind spots.  Political parties that are decent can have blind spots.  Politics today seems to be a kind of religion with glaring blind spots.

We all have our blind spots, the places where our "hearts are not yet capable of seeing and loving," to borrow words from a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Henning Mankell admitted as much:

And he’s still ashamed of the “disgraceful and insensitive question” he once asked a 14-year-old African girl dying of Aids: “Are you afraid of what’s in store for you?”

In the interview below, when Henning Mankell talks about Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, I was stunned again because I had to admit to myself how oblivious I was, too, when I heard the story of Robinson Crusoe as a child in the 1950s before the Civil Rights Movement was a conscious part of my life.  I knew so little as a middle class white girl from a Protestant family, living in the suburbs of San Francisco.  I still know so little.  I do my best to keep my heart and mind open and take right action.  No matter what happens.

Henning Mankell has a generosity of spirit and, after listening to this interview, I would say that he is a profoundly decent man.

"... death will always come to disturb you ..."
(Henning Mankell)

Or not.  Death falls in love with Life

The mushroom cloud revisited a short time later:

May Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and "the powers that be" in the Democratic Party think twice about endorsing nuclear energy and may they play a part in bringing the real change that Bernie Sanders and his supporters continue to work for whether elected or not:

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Connection through time and open hearts

Thank you to a dear friend in California who sent me a link to this article about a woodblock made by Katsushika Hokusai in 1830 to 1832 (click on this link and then scroll down to see pictures and read article)

Timeline for the United States from Wikipedia

In the pre-dawn hours, after The Pleiades and Orion have risen in the sky to the east:

"... and knowing that your heart is your home ... the seat of your strength ...

Understanding that the whole world pulses there ... in the divine nexus of your heart ... where all the delicate, luminous strands converge ... glistening and glowing ... in the unseen web that connects us all, one to the other ...

And suddenly you are certain ... you know with your whole heart ... that you are healing ... that you will continue to heal .. that your heart has always been whole ... that whatever you thought was lost ... still abides there ... whatever seemed unforgiven ... is redeemed there ... that whatever appeared to be shattered by grief ... is made whole there ... that there is nothing in this world that can't be healed ... in the vast space of your own open heart ..."

(Stage 3 guided imagery from Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal  by Belleruth Naparstek)

Early morning light:

Synchronicity?  When I checked my email after posting this, I found words from the open heart of Octavia Butler

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sunday, August 16, 2020

"... Practice every day, with love ..." / Morris Broderson / Suzanne Jackson / More of one thing leading to another

Morris Broderson was Joan Ankrum's nephew.  She opened the Ankrum Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles with William Challee in 1960.  Morris' art work was first displayed at that gallery.  The Ankrum Gallery staged the first group show for black artists in that area and featured the work of diverse artists for 29 years.

Had I not followed my intuition and clicked on link after link because I found a comment on another blog to be compelling, I would have missed being inspired by Morris Broderson and missed learning about Suzanne Jackson, seen below with Bill Challee, co-founder of the Ankrum Gallery

(photo screen shot from Ankrum Gallery Records from The Archives of American Art)

Currently getting up at 2 a.m. and working on Mandala #50:   

... when asked if you care about
the world's problems, look deeply
into the eyes of he that asks
you, he will not ask you again ... 

(from "Advice to Geraldine On Her Miscellaneous Birthday" -- Bob Dylan, early 1960s)

Saturday, August 15, 2020


Many thanks, Elizabeth, for your comment that brought Merry Clayton to light and brought this to light again.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Convergence / More of one thing leading to another / "... I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away ..."

"Free At Last -- If We Take Care Of Each Other"


This and that happened and, as a result, I met someone who recommended this film that is based on what I would call a spiritual event during World War I. 

Because the film puts war in a complex cultural context and does not glorify war, it reminded me of Spike Lee's "Da Five Bloods."  Our public library had a copy of it.  I watched it first without subtitles and then watched it again with the excellent commentary by the filmmaker, and then watched an interview with the filmmaker who says in another interview that despite a Catholic education he does not believe in God but respects those who do, as demonstrated by his film.

In the sidebar for the trailer, I found this:

All these years later, I am startled to realize that the lyrics are:

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

I always heard it as "O children ..."  

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away

Saturday, August 8, 2020

May 2008 Revisited / Ten Years Later in November / Standing Our Ground in August 2020 (Not Alone)

Although summer in this far northwestern corner of Washington State is mild, we had a few days of temperatures in the 80s.  I don't walk as much when it is hot or even warm and had not taken a walk for a week or so.  On August 3 at noon, I decided to take a short walk from my home to Whatcom Falls Park.   Even though the section of trail that fills with mosquitos in June has been free of mosquitos for almost a month, I haven't walked into Whatcom Falls Park since May, choosing to walk up the hill to the high point where I can look out at the Canadian Cascades in British Columbia and be free of mosquitos.  Here are the photos I took on my way into Whatcom Falls Park:


Here is what I photographed as I was getting close to home again:

Just beyond this dappled section of the trail is the cattail pond that my porch looks out on.  Most of my walk, except for that section, is in the shade.  Probably because it was midday and somewhat warm, I saw few people during my walk.  When I was a little more than halfway along the section of brightly sunlit trail that is visible from my porch, I became aware of a man's voice at some distance behind me, but he was close enough that if I had turned around, I would have seen him because the section of trail beside Scudder Pond is straight.  Within seconds as the voice drew closer, I realized that he was yelling as loud as he could.  He was angry.  I could hear in his voice what I have heard in the voices of men who attack women.  I have been attacked when I have heard that kind of voice before.  At first I couldn't hear what he was saying but as he approached I heard his clearly shouted angry stream of obscenities and threats that seemed to be directed at me but were clearly directed at all women in an attempt to terrorize.

I felt the fear that I have felt before.  Then, something within me that I have learned to trust told me to keep walking, not to turn around, not to register in any way that I heard him.  I thought of John Lewis.  I thought of all the women and men who have had to face this kind of fear and had to learn how to respond in the moment.  It occurred to me that I might be assaulted or even killed by this anonymous man filled with rage against women.  As the yelling came to within 10 feet of me, I was thinking of John Lewis and everyone who has ever stood their ground.  In this instance, continuing to walk in dignity, not showing fear, I was "standing my ground."  I kept walking, wondering what was going to happen next.

In a silent instant, a nondescript white man, neither young nor old, neither large nor small, wearing a neon green bike helmet and generic clothing, riding what I would guess to be a mountain bike that cost him some good money, rode past me at a high speed, turned to the right just ahead of where I was walking, and disappeared on a short path that leads to a busy street.  Can you imagine my relief despite the fact that I was deeply shaken?

As I tried to absorb what had happened, I knew that I needed to call the police and make a report. Within a few minutes I was able to speak with the woman who answered my 911 call and took down my story and said that a police officer would be calling me.  Within a few minutes, I was talking on my phone with a sympathetic young male policer officer, telling him what had happened and answering his questions.  The police officer said that he was sorry that I had that experience.  He said that he had never heard of anything like that happening before.  I said, "I am reporting this because the man on the bicycle will do that again when he gets the chance, and I want there to be a record in place when that happens."

This happened in the middle of the day on a popular public trail in full view of the condominiums where I live.  I can only wonder what else this man has gotten away with when there were no witnesses, where the woman he threatened was afraid to make a report.  I can't be sure, but I sensed that both the 911 dispatch woman and the police officer wondered if I had made the whole thing up. Who wouldn't question my story that I was able to keep walking the way I did?

I am grateful to the many women and men who have been in the position I was in and who stood their ground and whose stories encouraged me to stand my ground.  Standing one's ground is not without risk.  Something told me to take that risk.  John Lewis was brutally beaten for taking that risk.  He continued to risk standing his ground.  He was not alone.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Hiroshima Day and Jacob Lawrence and the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima (2016) and Soh Horie's story

From the Builders Series:  Carpenters, by Jacob Lawrence (1977)

When I watched a documentary on John Lewis, I saw that he and his wife lived with art work by Jacob Lawrence.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Planting a tree in July 2020 in Vietnam

Lagerstroemia speciosa.

Mission Statement from the PeaceTrees website:

"Our Mission is to heal the legacy of war by removing dangerous explosives, returning land to safe use, promoting peace and cultivating a brighter future for the children and families of Vietnam."

Addendum:  It just occurred to me that no one is wearing a mask.  With a little googling, I find this and then this.

"(HANOI, Vietnam) — Vietnamese state media reported on Friday the country’s first ever death of a person with the coronavirus as it struggles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days without any cases."