I send my love out On butterfly wings Each intentional beat A beautiful thing Every gossamer pulse A prayer for well-being.
This song came to mind today. Since we now live in the age of technology, all it took was shouting out, “Alexa, play Looking for Space,” and in no time I had John crooning in the background of my life, as he so often has.
John Denver music takes me back to my teenage bedroom of the 70s, with the cedar siding and record player, where I played his tunes incessantly while dreaming of someday living in the wide open spaces, with their boundless freedom and connection to nature. If you ask what music flows through my veins, it’s this.
You would think at my age I’d be done searching for who I am. Not true. Life ebbs and flows. It breathes a living breath in and out. Knowing and searching. I’ve been many versions of myself. The dependent child. The dreamy teen. (And the angsty teen.) I’ve been the freedom-loving young adult. (Good times!) I’ve been the married, stay-at-home devoted wife and mom. I’ve been the working mom. So many iterations of me. But within all of them is the core girl who loves John Denver, who loves nature and peaceful places, who values being together over just about anything else.
But why this song? My subconscious has been dredging things up from my playlists lately. All of the songs are pertinent to my life right now. It’s like it’s trying to jiggle me awake.
Life is right now at an ebb stage. It could be due to the meanness of the past 4 years. It could be pandemic fatigue. It could be exhaustion dealing with the same dysfunctional cycles and misunderstandings. Or maybe it’s just that it’s just that way. Life is changing and morphing into something I don’t really recognize. I’ve tried to hold on to what’s known, but the elemental effects are taking their toll, eroding what I thought was firm ground. I find myself searching for new footing as the path slowly unfolds before me, wondering where it will take me.
The journey to this point has not been easy. I’ve discovered a lot about life. I’ve found that I am strong. I know who I can and can’t count on to help shoulder the burdens. I have learned that anxiety is a prickly bush, but it can be gingerly moved aside, and the trail on the other side opens up to beautiful vistas. I’ve found people who spread kindness and love. I’ve gone through my share of dark valleys, but the darkness of those valleys makes coming out into the sunshine all the more brilliant. I’ve discovered that radical acceptance makes things bearable.
Will I ever find my way? I don’t know. Probably not. But as long as I remain open and curious, I know I’ll treasure the journey. That being said, if you ever happen to be in the wide open spaces of the west and see an older woman with long hair and hiking boots setting her camera up for the perfect shot, that might just be me.
And you’ll know I have arrived.
Looking for Space John Denver On the road of experience I'm trying to find my own way Sometimes I wish that I could fly away When I think that I'm moving Suddenly things stand still I'm afraid 'cause I think they always will And I'm looking for space And to find out who I am And I'm looking to know and understand It's a sweet, sweet dream Sometimes I'm almost there Sometimes I fly like an eagle And sometimes I'm deep in despair All alone in the universe Sometimes that's how it seems I get lost in the sadness and the screams Then I look in the center Suddenly everything's clear I find myself in the sunshine and my dreams And I'm looking for space And to find out who I am And I'm looking to know and understand It's a sweet, sweet dream Sometimes I'm almost there Sometimes I fly like an eagle And sometimes I'm deep in despair On the road of experience Join in the living day If there's an answer It's just that it's just that way When you're looking for space And to find out who you are When you're looking to try and reach the stars It's a sweet, sweet, sweet dream Sometimes I'm almost there Sometimes I fly like an eagle And sometimes I'm deep in despair Sometimes I fly like an eagle Like an eagle I go flying High Songwriters: John Denver
I think we’ve all needed to let off steam. Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for humbly and unintentionally providing the means of some much needed humor. I heard from a friend who said even her friend in Denmark is posting Bernie memes. It feels like the sigh of a grateful nation/world.
It’s all in good fun, and it sounds like Bernie is being a great sport. The woman who made his mittens has completely sold out, and his campaign is making sweatshirts and donating 100% of the profits to Vermont charities, including Meals on Wheels. How cool is that?
After such a terrible 4 years and a fraught election season, it’s been a relief to happen upon one after another funny Bernie memes in my Twitter feed. It feels great to laugh again. Bernie is still a fine person, and his people are harnessing the momentum and using it for good. I’ve enjoyed this weekend with Bernies.
Beautiful and inspirational. Amanda Gorman is only 22, folks. Watch her.
A hummingbird died in my hand today. Rescued from a predatory pet, Who prowled around Searching for her lost snack, Ambulatory, While the tiny bird, Once so swift, Now rested in my warm, cupped hands, Its breath a quick stacatto beat. A quick peek discovered bare bird skin, A tiny foot, Or is it grass? And wings so still. A prayer. A plea. A tiny beak grazes my palm. A momentary hope, Then stillness. And from the nearby cedar, In the quiet of the darkening sky The echoes of Calypte's cry.
They wrapped him in a pretty package Glitz and glamour, golden words Written on the fronts of buildings In his mind, it's all absurd. They marched him out in front of cameras He claimed he didn't like it there Fluttered over onto Twitter All his grievances to air. News is dead, except for FOX, He typed in looming letters large. Put dissenters in a box Bound with lies, said he's in charge. Fighting words at all his rallies, Never gave an inch of grace. Lock her up and yes, we're coming MAGA fists up in your face. Republicans were first to falter. One by one the statesmen fell, Sacrificed on Donald's alter On the path to Trumpian hell. Lock her up, the MAGAts chanted, Led by their besmirking boss, Leading our first competent woman To a devastating loss. "Out with government!" Donald shouted, "You're the ones to lead this place." As he smiled inside with glee Knowing that he held the ace. "First I'm going to stop the Muslims" Chaos reigned throughout the land As students, moms and dad and doctors Could not return as they had planned. Next I'm going to bring your jobs back Donald said before the crowd, Pulling out a planted speaker All those lies were soon avowed. "You're my people," Donald shouted, "For you I won't claim a check!" MAGAts swooned and not one doubted, But Donald had done stacked the deck. His golf trips soon were high in number, Dragging along his secret staff, Playing US fiscal plumber His properties earned as Donald laughed. Not everyone was blind to cheating Stories ran about Donald's fraud But nothing stopped the sheep from bleating, "Donald has been sent by God." Prayers were lifted in his honor. Hands were placed upon his head. As slyly he evaded questions About which Bible verse he'd read. "You're my people! God has sent us!" Trump decreed with forked tongue. As he separated parents From their children, oh, so young. "These aren't people. They aren't like us." Peering through the chain link fence, Were small brown faces, wide eyes crying, Trumpist gain at their expense. Someone will check him, we all whispered, Hoping Congress would do their job. Despite impeaching, no removal. Congress now ruled by the MAGAt mob. Coronavirus now infects us, Spreading wide across the land Help was absent, supplies lacking, Just like Donald Trump had planned. For four long years our country's suffered Under Trump's despotic reign. Hopefully we've learned a lesson To never hire his like again. Democracy's a fragile system Meant to be shared by everyone, Voters at the ballot box, Not raving madmen with a gun. So enter science, education, Civics classes so in need. With a new administration Ramp it up with lightning speed. Restore faith within the system Build it back up brick by brick. Teach our children not to fall for Chicanery or glitzy tricks. Lest a people so deluded By the Piper's mesmerisms End up walking off the cliff, And taking the whole country with them.
I don’t wear political t-shirts anymore. It’s not a fear based decision, though that can be a factor these days. Why wear a target in these volatile times? It seems that everyone is packing a gun and bad tempers are more infectious than COVID-19. No, the answer is simple and boring. I’ve made this choice out of respect for the idea of community.
If you read my blog, you know that I don’t shy away from politics. I like discussing current events and how politics weave their way into our daily lives. The difference between this and that is that the reader can choose not to read. They can find something less political or happier out there in the blogosphere. I’m not in their face, whereas if I wear a t-shirt, that statement may unintentionally trigger someone and cause their blood pressure to spike. I won’t know that that’s because of a recent argument they had with their dad. I won’t know if my shirt might instantly remind someone of the reason they don’t speak to their best friend any more. We don’t need this stress in our lives. So if you see me on the street, that prime advertising space on my chest won’t be promoting politics. I’ll probably instead be a walking advertisement for my favorite tourist destination.
This came out of an “aha” moment a few years ago. I had purchased a shirt from Redbubble that read, “Science is not a liberal conspiracy,” with scientific tools lined up in a simple silhouette above. It was kind of cute. It was pink. Not super political, yet it was. I wore it to the local March for Science, where it fit in perfectly. Then I wore it to the local grocery store in my conservative, Trump-supporting town.
There was a man standing in front of me who looked very typical of people you see in my town. It’s a town full of hard working farming and logging families, and it shows in the slight roughness around the edges. I was the slightly rounded, middle-aged, suburban-raised woman proudly wearing my pink science t-shirt. We looked each other over, making our snap judgements before we resumed our silent queue.
The woman in front of us seemed to be having problems at the checkout. For some reason she couldn’t pay for all of her groceries. This man quickly stepped up and kindly offered to pay. I was humbled and felt immediately ashamed by the mini-stalemate that had just occurred. I knew that I had allowed my t-shirt to make me an “other” in his eyes, and I had let my own judgements make him an other in mine.
I relegated the shirt to the pajama pile.
Human brains are lazy organs. They are happy to make snap judgements, to categorize things into neat little boxes. We go along with it. Black/white. Good/bad. Happy/sad. But there is a lot of room in between. Those boxes we like to put people in have nonexistent sides of our own creation, yet how often we keep people there, virtually trapped in the place we’ve imprisoned them. My t-shirt was a wall of my own creation, cutting me off from another person with whom I might have found some commonalities.
I know choosing not to wear a political shirt is a very simplistic approach to a complex problem. I don’t wear the t-shirt, but I’m not giving up the face mask, which has unfortunately become a political dividing line. I am loathe to approach someone with any sort of Trump MAGA merchandising on their person or vehicle. My own brain has categorized them into aggressive, mindless, cult followers. Is that fair? Not necessarily, but it’s exhausting to battle the brain’s natural tendencies, and it often reboots to default. Letting go of the political t-shirt statements might give the brain the rest it needs to tackle the real dividing issues.
This leads me to wonder how the social climate might quiet down a little if everyone just decided to not wear political t-shirts out of respect for community. We might say no to tribalism. Instead, we could take a collective deep breath and talk to people. Tell them what we think is important. Listen to what they have to say. Have a civil dialogue, if at all possible. Maybe then we can start toward finding our way back toward finding what we have in common. And maybe if we choose to wear a souvenir travel shirt instead, we will find we have something other that politics to talk about.
Oh, man. I wrote this a week after Trump was elected. It’s been a long 4 years. But, looking back, there are no surprises. Not one. And his followers haven’t changed one bit.
We’ve had a week to percolate
A thousand words to navigate,
It’s up to us to find the truth
That’s hidden in the voting booth;
Cryptic meetings, cracking code
May lead us down a dark, dark road
A small machine that stands alone
While Sally goes to get the phone,
A small adjustment, just a smidge
Is all it takes to burn that bridge.
Now exit polls don’t match results,
But we can take this; we’re adults.
Concessions speech that asks for peace,
And hope, and for a wide release.
We split, and while a segment cheers
Others must confront their fears,
Voices raised in deep despair,
Asking, how can this be fair?
How can a campaign run on blame
By a man who gained his fame
Through TV shows and business fails
Be asked to hoist the country’s sails?
A man who counsels with our foe.
View original post 263 more words