As I flew back east in the early dawn, over rivers and mountains, farmland and city, I was reminded of the greatness that is America. Not the politician’s slogan or the sound bite, but the genuine people below, who tirelessly work this vast and diverse land and still gather for holidays, spread cheer regardless, and continue to hold each other close. After the turmoil and destruction of 2017 what better way to end this year than to come together for these last days and extend the always hope? Promising newness in 2018.
May this year truly open doors. Allow for health, and discourse of a genuine manner. Freedom from strife, and past failures. Brighten our windowsills and lighten our souls. Grow our gardens and our creativity. Move us forward, into what America has already become. Just take a look, and believe. For realz.
I will hold out for all the best, for all of you, and nothing less, for all of 2018. I raise my glass. And my heart.
“In the five years since the shooting, which transformed a fairly anonymous Connecticut town into a buzzword in the caustic national debate on gun violence, armed men have killed people at a nightclub, an outdoor music festival, a social services center, movie theaters, a church in South Carolina and a church in Texas.
The displays of grief follow a familiar routine: Candlelight vigils and makeshift memorials. National offerings of thoughts and prayers. Pleas to tighten gun laws, immediately trailed by calls to avoid politicizing a tragedy” (Rojas and Kristin Hussey).
Hard to stay shiny and bright when Trump just fucks our sense of homeland safety with regularity, when our GOP lead Senate, who left their morals back home, continues to let the NRA cut us down like locust, and when we ALL consume like it’s a privilege to destroy our Earth. Fires are raging once again through homes in the west while hurricane devastated populations struggle to rebuild water lines. Watching the evening roundup of sexual predators requires Xanax and wine. Seriously, everyone I know is standing on shaky ground just getting from Monday morning to Tuesday afternoon never mind a full work week. We may hunt for truth from our journalists wisdom from our preachers and understanding from our teachers but still find nothing except Russian bots fueling hatred via every media outlet. Oh world, during these darkest nights, where might we find even a shaft of soft light to sooth our fear and anxiety?
What is happening in Jerusalem? What about Myanmar? Don’t look any further than the drinking water in Flint to fuel your helplessness. The list of injustices are miles long and in review my mind migrates to devastation like water flowing to a low point. But, yet, somehow, religions from Judaism to Christianity to Hinduism to Paganism remind us tis the season to believe in the goodness of mankind despite all the mounting evidence that proves otherwise. Can this be why we should illuminate our homes with renewed passion and earnest dedication each December? From neighborhood to neighborhood we string bulbs we light menorahs we shoot off fireworks we burn candles. Without a doubt this year we may need to light up a bit more. Promise to make hope visible. Garner all the twinkle we can for these dark hours. And rise with renewed dedication to face the sunset. Hold each other. Give each other something extra. Remind ourselves relentlessly. Day will follow night. Always. Dawn will break the black with gold.
In this season of transcendentalism let us believe for a moment that divinity can transform us. Believe in what we can’t see. In the latent goodness that lays dormant far too often. In joy. And love. In cheer. In the laughter of innocence. Scrooge may reside in our frailties, and despite the fact we have chained ourselves to greed and all the sins, we can break free and live an altered life. Yes, we can. Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Do you remember when you first discovered Ram Dass’s 1970’s iconic Be Here Now? When you cracked open that journey? I do… only a teen unsteady on which way was up but I dove in all the same.
Those years revolved round myself. Being here now meant more time with an emphasis on present enjoyment. Chasing the next high until reality drifted out of view. Being present was pure frenzy. What may have started as new-age spirituality for others morphed onto immediacy for me and my crew, and even though there was the notion that we, this new generation, care beyond ourselves, to include all the souls inhabiting this one earth, the real focus was on one’s small private world, frequently spinning out of control, fast, then faster. From my vantage, Ram Dass ignited a wave of self-professed hedonists, of which I was yet another faithful fan, who heralded in reckless totality. By the time I reached my early twenties, the party had consumed too many around me; I was lucky to crawl out of the glitter alive. Continue reading →
Remember the last time you said something, had it taken as far from your intended meaning as possible, succeeded in horrifying and alienating your audience, and was subsequently shamed and humiliated? In a very public forum? Well, if you have, you never forgot it, right? My shinning moment of misspeaking is now seared into my infernal list of wrongs. As much as I wanted to justify my comment, to explain my choice of words, it was for naught. Deaf ears. And I get it. You screw up, you get what you get. For the subsequent hours, I felt like a politician whose latest sound bite got twisted in the hands of the opposing but very savvy wordsmith into a half truth. Ruha Benjamin, the Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, said at a recent conference, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will stay with you for a lifetime. I can attest to that truth. Even your own.
Daily last summer, on any of those glorious days, I’d open the front door just to stay closer to green. The sugar maple out front was lush with leaves, and even in the rain I leaned out to drink in that verdant hue. Looking ahead, all I envisioned were more luscious moments, more sweet air, and more bird song.
Outside my window is nothing but fall perfection. The sugar maples are electric shades of red and orange; fire flames igniting hillsides with their brilliant hues while yellow pops all over the landscape too. Evergreens stand taller now, holding their forest color and reminding us that life goes on even while chlorophyll breaks down those leaves fading on the deciduous trees. Poetry alone captures this season of change. This moving on: an end and a beginning all in the same breath.
And yet, regardless of my present beatific state, it would be unthinkable to not mention all the suffering happening around our globe. Puerto Ricians are minimally months away from finding electricity or clean water back into so many dwellings swept to the ground by Hurricane Maria. California is inundated by the most devastating fires of all time; more than 50,000 acres are burning in Napa and Sonoma counties alone (The Washington Post). One need not look further than Texas or Florida to find unrivaled destruction this hurricane season. All man’s work. All due to our cavalier approach to having our way upon this gentle earth; us, we are the cause of so many of these epic disasters.