Thursday, January 21, 2021

 Dear friends-

Well we watched the inauguration crying a little and laughing a little and listening to a 22 yo Black woman OWN the mic and her words for all of us. And we saw Barack and Michelle and the Clintons and even Mike Pence. And at night we watched some pretty splendid fireworks and people with their arms around each other, the people we voted into office in their finery and we didn't even care that they didn't have a big party with swishy dresses and music and champagne. And we heard our new president speak some powerful words with his faith, his heart and as my friend Rachel said, maybe he can be a spiritual leader, this man of sorrows. I hesitate to go there because he is a politician but, damn, he knows loss. And grief. 

Today is the day after and Biden is doing his best to right some wrongs, rejoin the WHO and the Paris Climate Accord and reverse the Muslim ban and reunite children with their parents and streamline citizenship for thousands of undocumented folks who harvest our food and wash the dishes and work in a multitude of ways invisible to many of us. 

He can't hurry up the distribution of the vaccine but he can tell the truth about how many more dead there will be and when, just when we might get to a place where fewer and fewer of us are dying. And maybe then our front line workers can get a good night's sleep and have breakfast with their children. 

We have lost so much. And Biden spoke directly to the loss of life. As horrifying as those numbers are, telling the truth is what brings a kind of respite to our hearts. We know...but being gaslighted for 4 years has hurt us more than we can know. The long nightmare is not over but we can begin to awaken to start tending to our wounds. 

Of course, it ain't over, the damage. We have seen what is before us. Once again, a great racial reckoning, a turning to systemically change systems of oppression. We have seen the ugliness in our fellow citizens. Now is not the time to go back to sleep. The State will continue to kill and imprison Black and Brown folks unless we stand on the front lines to protest and refuse to sanction by our inaction. 

This might be a rant. Or maybe it's all we've been saying for these many years and months. Maybe it is a collective howl. 

Most forcefully yesterday I felt the loss of all those lives, men and women and children of all colors and privilege who died from the virus because of the callousness of one man. The ghosts in all our cities and towns urging us to show up and be active in our lives, for goodness and healing and love. For that is our birthright, the softness and brilliance of our hearts. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Dear friends-

I've been off on a (virtual) women's retreat with two of my favorite teachers. There were about 40 of us, sitting and walking, chanting and being silent. And no internet or cell phone. I allowed myself a chance to read and so I finished the John Lewis biography. What a splendid and beautiful man he was. The book "Walking with the Wind" is thick. His life was long and eventful. He moved us along. He loved us and this country. And non-violence was his light. 

I've just made a lasagna. Because I live alone, I don't get to cook epic dishes like I used to when I had children at home and there wasn't a pandemic. My friends down the road have agreed to let me cook for them sometimes and I'm delighted. So far we've enjoyed squash soup, miso soup with ginger, flourless peanut butter cookies and a loaf of bread. When this hefty thang comes out of the oven, I will ferry most of it over to them. They're gonna give me some curry although Deanna admits they don't cook much. I am eyeing an olive oil cake recipe that sounds great. 

It's been gray and overcast for days. We've had enormous rainfall too and last week a storm blew through here with 50-60 mile an hour winds. I woke up to a loud bang !, a big flash of light and driving rain pounding on the windows. Many folks lost power and there were lots of downed trees all over the city. And for some inexplicable reason, my mattress warmer turned itself on...maybe it got scared?

These are, unfortunately, only part of my next knitting project. Uh-oh. I should probably stick to hats. 

The 20th is upon us. 

Thursday, January 07, 2021

I know.

Another terrible day.

So many people dying in California.

Berserk white people, mostly men, in DC. 


There were three people in the crowd who had 'medical events' and they died. I saw that one of them was receiving chest compressions and I thought 'heart attack'. 

Of course. When our hearts break, from pain or loss or anger, they may stop beating. That fragile fruit, hanging within our ribcage. So easily bruised, frightened, damaged.  

When we rise up against one another, with our righteousness, there is a darkness that overcomes us. Whenever I heard a friend say she hoped Trump would die from the virus, I felt it like a blow. I shrank from the thought. Somewhere he is a trembling human. All those men swarming the capitol building are humans, with the same needs and cares and worries like mine. 

Today I put on my wetsuit and met a bunch of women by Puget Sound. They were in bathing suits and t-shirts and yoga pants. We stood, paddled, floated in the 48 degree water for 20 minutes, enough time for my hands to go completely numb. Makes getting out of a wetsuit rather challenging. Came home and got in the hot tub, drank hot cocoa and got into bed with my electric mattress pad turned up. 

Of course, people who threaten others for their ideological beliefs or misadventure, misunderstanding or confusion...well, there are consequences. Nothing is ever 'lost' forever. Racism was never 'gone', it was just buried. The laws of cause and effect are eternal laws. Karma, if you will. Karma actually means action and it is said that our actions are all that we truly have. 

Going into this new year, we can choose. I think of Mary's chickens and her love for them. Or Elizabeth's writing. Or the beautiful music and quotes that Sabine publishes. All of us here in this little virtual community enrich and care for each other. Yes, there is so much despair. But there is standing in terribly cold water and feeling the body rising to meet the challenge. Our hearts can rise to meet the challenges of our broken and troubled world. 

Sisters, I love all of you.


Friday, January 01, 2021

 On Eden's last day, we hiked the Mt Washington trail. It SAID it was 8 miles round trip and a hella lot of elevation gain. We groaned and complained on the way up. When we hit snow and ice, we decided to turn around. Without reaching the summit, we still did 9+ miles. Ha! A wee bit sore the next day. 

Then Eden somehow packed everything into her car and left for LA. She's with her sister now in the Bay area. The first morning as I lay in bed I thought I should get up and make her some coffee...but she wasn't here. 

How can we explain the love we feel for our children? There are the usual tropes. We've all heard them and they are true. There is no other relationship like it. A child, born from our bodies, grows up and becomes who they are, distinct from us and yet, we see glimpses of ourselves repeated. I can't decide if it's a peculiar kind of narcissism or concentric circles of our interconnection. Eden and I share a warped sense of humor, the kind where we 'get' each other. What joy that is. A side eye from her conveys a volume of meaning. And yet. And yet she inspires me. Music she has introduced me to. Her activist anti-racism. Her sparkling intelligence. Her love of adventure. Her conversations with my dog. Her sublime silliness. Her last command to me "Momma, don't die before I see you again!"

Dear girl, I'll do my best. 

Three days ago, I got the first Moderna vaccine. I go back for the second in a month. I was instructed to sit in my car afterwards for 15 minutes before I left to see if I would have a reaction. So I sat in my car, sobbing. It was relief and anguish. Relief that maybe I could see clients in person again eventually. Anguish that so many folks will be waiting months to be vaccinated. That a combination of my 'status' as a health care person and the fierceness of my boss and serendipity led me to a pediatric clinic where there was a line of folks waiting to be vaccinated on a pair of folding chairs out in the rain. The 'rollout' is a hot mess. Another legacy of the outgoing chaos. 


Happy New Year to all. 2020 was surely a terrible, bad, not very good year. It will take a long time for us to recalibrate to-we don't know what is ahead. 

In the meantime, I'm gonna suit up and go swimming in Puget Sound tomorrow with the other cold water lunatics. 

Love and kindness all around.

Naomi Shihab Nye reads "Kindness"