Sunday, June 28, 2015
As I reconnected with the women, some of whom I hadn't seen literally in 50 years, I asked about their lives, listened to their stories, and encouraged them to record their lives in story. This is my current passion. Everyone has a story and it is the stories that reunite us. But what stories, in 3 hours, could serve to make us a cohesive group? Initially, our high school stories. What fun it would have been to remember our teachers and those awkward adolescents that we were. That is our foundation. What little we knew about each other then, too focused on our own insecurities. Yet this lack of knowledge of ourselves and others bonded us, imprinting us in some life-long commitment way.
I somehow hoped that when I returned to this group these 50 years later that we could once again quickly find that comraderie that went beyond the type of cars we drove or where we lived or the traveling we had done. And in some moments, especially when we watched the tribute to the 15 women who were not able to attend our celebration because death had claimed them, the comraderie entered and swirled around us, and we were back to the basics. No longer the awkward adolescents, women of some accomplishment, women of our own power. Interesting women who, given more time to separate from the cliques of the past, the comfort of sitting around a specific table, might have seen a way both to relive those years and to move into extended conversations regarding who we are today--not what we have achieved or where we live. For who we are today includes that part of us who is the awkward adolescent, who questions ourselves, who wonders what is important in life to focus on, who knows that it is not what is on the surface that matters most, it is matters of the mind, matters of the heart, matters of the soul.
The introductory question most asked of me was, "where do you live now?". I found that an interesting entry into conversation. Not, what do you do, or even, how are you, but where I live, as if that will tell the most. It won't. I had few more in depth conversations, save one about writing, and one about the incredible events of the week past and a brief discussion of the politics of the future. Each ended too quickly before back to "where do you live now?". People stayed within their comfort zones, and some of the zones were narrow.
Life, I think, is about accepting all the parts of us that blend into the who we are today. When we learn about others, we learn about ourselves if we take the time to ponder. Tell me your stories, I will tell you mine, and we will meet in the common ground of our humanity.
Saturday, June 27, 2015
First, another mass murder. By a white man in a church, where he was welcomed to worship by the black congregation. For their hospitality, he ended their lives in the name of white supremacy. This opened conversations regarding two American problems (not issues, from my point of view), racism, and gun control. While most of humanity was incredulous at another senseless shooting, some people ignored the content and the context of the event. President Obama in a remarkable eulogy for the murdered pastor, indicated that we, as a nation, cannot go back to a comfortable silence regarding racism. Nor, I submit, can we go back to an uncomfortable silence. In the case of racism and gun control, most especially, silence is not golden.
And then the Supreme Court had its day(s) in court. First, asserting the second superior court challenge of the Affordable Care Act was dismissed. And secondly, ah, secondly, and this my mother, I doubt, would have never foreseen, the Supreme Court declared the institution of marriage would be legal between same sex couples as well as opposite sex couples. Who we love, is who we love, and marriage commits us to that person. Common sense, and now, the law of the land.
I still ponder what I'll see in my lifetime. My hope is more common sense prevails. America!
Sunday, June 21, 2015
My father was born in 1901. The pic shows a dapper young man, c 1920's. Full head of hair. I never knew my father with a full head of hair. By the time I was born he was 46 years old and bald. His waist had expanded, yet he still smiled with his eyes. I never knew him to smoke, the doctor, no doubt, strongly suggesting he not do so for the good of his health. Although, his health and good normally did not sit in the same sentence with any comfort. By the time I was little more than 7 he had died. My seven year old mind did not comprehend the finality of death and I awaited his return for years and decades, hoping that the lie would be over. He did not, could not return. The trauma of his death blotted out so many memories, as trauma does. Most of the stories I hold are stories told, not remembered, for to remember the times we spent together is to acknowledge how much I miss him. And I do. Sixty years later the feeling memories are held tightly. The sadness, yes, but also the feelings of being loved and cared for and connected with and talked to and believed in. From him, even holding him so briefly in time, I embraced his love of music and storytelling and, yes, baseball. And so much more. I am my father's daughter. He taught me to smile with my eyes.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
I attend plays and movies, hoping to be entertained, to find an ah ha experience. I travel to natural places-- Yosemite, the beach, the hills along hiking trails, expecting to have a catch to my breath, a feeling of that's-it, that's cool. I look up into the sky and notice the blueness of the blue. At sunrise and sunset I look for the pinks, the shades of red and orange. I look down as I walk and see the grooves in the sidewalk, the ruts and cracks in the blacktop, the bending of the blades of grass, the rabbit droppings, the feathers of birds. All looking for anticipated awe. Disappointed when it doesn't stand out, feeling humbled when it does. Anticipation of awe keeps me on the edge of appreciation.
Yet sometimes I forget to be that observer. I'm driving here or there, I'm walking to that place, the place I need to go, and my mind is spinning and I'm paying attention to the going, not the being. And on one such of those days I was chagrined to have missed the light and there I sat next to the big rig carrying smashed cardboard boxes. This light is a lengthy light at a major intersection. I exhaled the anger and turned to look up. I noticed the flattened boxes, stacked and bound with a kind of twine. I wondered about their destination. I marveled at the order on the truck. My gaze dropped to the truck tires so close to me. Goodyear. Were they new or introduced to tire black? I saw the lug nuts and rims, polished, shining. This driver took pride in his rig, I thought. The baby moon hubcaps attracted me last. I briefly thought of a blue car I had in the 70's that sported baby moon hubcaps. I looked closer and saw the reflection of my car centered within the hubcap. I grabbed my phone and turned on the camera, setting up the shot in an instant just before the truck began to move. One of my favorite serendipitous shots ever. I found unanticipated awe in the hubcap of a big rig. The edge of appreciation is in the living of life. Awe some!
Sunday, June 14, 2015
I've made my reservations for Yosemite for 2016 already. I look forward to our return. To cycling through the Valley, staying at historic Wawona. To letting ideas percolate and emerge a week later as I process and remember and think and write.