Thursday, May 28, 2020

I am weary...

  I am tired.  Physically and emotionally and spiritually. The world and it's people are breaking my heart and I feel like I can't take it one more minute. I have cried several times today. First it was the video of George Floyd being murdered by the police in Minnesota. Hearing him beg  to get off him, that he "can't breathe" and the cop  just leaning in harder.    What kind of human being does that to another ?  Police meant to protect and serve, murdering people every year, rogue cops getting away with it over and over. This particular officer has a long history of  complaints  of police brutality. And nothing was ever done to him about any of them. I cry for Mr. Floyd's family, and for every mother and father who live in fear of their black children going outside or walking down the street. I cry for a world so ugly and so full of fear.  Then I learned of the death of my friends baby, less than 48 hours after birth. He had a heart defect and they were all ready to have him in surgery tomorrow morning, but he started having trouble breathing and then his little heart just couldn't keep him alive.  This young family is grieving the tragedy of their loss in the midst of this crazy pandemic and the whole world is upside down. I cried through the entire tale of the birth and the beautiful baby boy and his untimely death. And I don't claim to understand the laws of the Universe or the will of God... but I see no purpose in either of these deaths. and it breaks my heart.

  I generally tend to keep a cloak of optimism around me. I wouldn't have survived life on this planet for this long without it.  I want to believe that we can be better. That people can change. That love can prevail.  And then I see the headlines of  this administration destroying Native burial grounds to build a wall. Of a lying and conniving man in the highest post of this country who has used this presidency to line his pockets and those of anyone who may be useful to him. Who spreads hate and division on a scale never before seen in this country.  And I cry for democracy. And I cry for the poor.  And I cry for myself. 

  And so, Thursday has been my Day of Grief.  I feel like I am losing hope. I feel like I can't do enough to appease my activist heart.  I feel like no one is doing enough. I feel like I have never seen so many people blinded by their fear and their ignorance and their hate. And I don't know who I am or where I live or what is going to happen.  I try to keep my feet grounded in the day and not become so overwhelmed by it all that I am paralyzed. Or worse.  I don't want to become so angry that I don't recognize myself anymore. Even so, on days like today, I feel myself slipping away.  Where is that place people can go to insulate themselves as though it were none of their business or not their fault or giving up entirely the thought that they can do something to make a difference ?  I cannot in good conscience escape this. I cannot turn a blind eye to children at the border in camps, separated from their parents. To immigrants being turned away because of the color of their skin. To people dying because they cannot afford health care or food or shelter, here, in this richest country in the world. I cannot ignore it. It hurts my heart daily. And my heart is old. It is tired.

  I am reminded of a poem written by Wendell Berry,  which gives me the strength and grace to live another day...
The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives might be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence  of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

From The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry (Counterpoint, 1999),

   So...I will have my one day of  tears and heartbreak, and I will re-wrap myself in this cloak of hope and optimism, and chant and pray and dance for better days to come.  And try to remember...

Monday, May 11, 2020

It's a Monday that seems to match the world.

  The weather is strange. Grey, chilly and windy.  Doesn't seem like the second week of May. We had a frost warning 2 nights ago. Daytime temps are stuck in the low 50's.  I have had several phone calls of late from people freaking out about life in general. Lots of tears. Some anger. Lots of fear.  We are on the 52nd day of our statewide sheltering in place directive. The streets are mostly devoid of traffic. The stores are limited to  10 people at a time, and many of them are not following guidelines.  I try to only go out when it's absolutely necessary, and always wear a mask and gloves.  The death toll from this (at this writing) is over 80,000.  Some folks are handling this surreal scenario better than others. Some are delusional.  We are seeing insanity as never seen before in this country... armed protesters marching on state capitols.  People killing each other over nothing. A delusional leader of this country, spreading misinformation and outright lies about everything going on, who is encouraging hate and violence every single day.  It's no wonder there are so many people on the verge of breaking down.

  I am so lucky to live out here where I do. My biggest concerns are not running out of bird seed and suet blocks.  I have enough of every thing I need to keep my family safe and fed.  My needs are pretty simple these days.  The 2 people I love more than anything in the world are right here with me and they are both well.  Most all of the other people I also love are okay so far.  A little deranged maybe, but well and safe.  And I am becoming a little deranged myself...not sleeping  well, talking to myself and the dogs and cats, (ok-- that's nothing new, but still  lol ) feeling like I have lost my anchor in everyday life.  Not sure what I mean by that, but that's what came out.   Everything is surreal. Some days I wander around the house not knowing what to do next. There's plenty to be done, but I am not motivated to do it.  I have been making bread and baking desserts and even started a batch of sourdough. I am cooking ham and beans today (I found a hamhock in the freezer)  and will try a sourdough cornbread  for the first time. Wish me luck.

  I am watching an Australian drama series that is a wonderful commentary on life in the 1950's  Set in '53 (the year I was born, btw) titled  A Place to Call Home.  I am really liking it.  It airs on the Ovation channel on Monday mornings, 4 back to back episodes.  I dvr it and watch a show a day through the week. I'm really loving it.  I'd buy the set, but the affordable ones won't play on American dvd players apparently.  And the others are a little out of my league.  lol  We are watching more tv than we ever have I think.  It's okay... just weird.  I haven't done nearly as much reading as I would have thought. I am a serious reader... and have tons of books sitting around that I haven't cracked yet. Like I said... everything is strange...

  I have a good friend who has been doing all kinds of extraordinary projects at her house. I am impressed.  I keep thinking that any minute I'll kick into gear, but so far it hasn't happened.  Between the ookey weather and the general weirdness, I don't have particularly high hopes.  I have been bird watching a lot... we have had some beautiful not so common visitors... a pair of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and a pair of Baltimore Orioles.  Along with a couple of Indigo Buntings, loads of Cardinals and all the rest of the crew... wrens, titmouses, sparrows of all sorts, mourning doves, blue jays, chickadees,  nuthatches, Juncos, 4 kinds of woodpeckers... it's delightful.  I'm glad to have the time to enjoy them all and be part of their world.  I'm glad I live out in the country where most times are quiet and nothing disturbs the beautiful wildlife around me. Where at night it is so dark you can see all the stars. Where my soul feels at home. 

  Be well and stay safe my lovelies. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

A blustery Friday afternoon...

  And these days, getting to go to the grocery store IS a celebration.  sigh...  I have been going out roughly every 2.5 weeks to pick up little things I've run out of...mostly fresh vegetables. And probably more because I'm a little stir crazy than because there are things I can't live without. Back in late March, I was excited to be able to just shelter in place and stay home. Now it's nearly mid-May and my mind has changed. lol  

   I have been canning things like beans (Navy and pintos), chicken breasts (whole and cubed), pork loin and roast beest.  I have been baking bread-- I have 2 loaves of sourdough in the making now.  What a process that is !  I hadn't made it in so long that I forgot.  Took 6 days for the starter to be ready to use, feeding it daily.  Then the day it's ready, you mix up about half of the flour and water. Let it sit an hour.  Then mix in the starter. Then let it raise for 4 hours and then into the fridge overnight. Get it out in the morning, add the rest of the flour, sugar and salt. Make into a smooth ball of dough by kneading it for about 15 minutes. Then back into the bowl. Raise for one hour and back in the fridge for 6 hours. Then out on the counter, make into loaves and let rise about 4 hours.  HOLY HELL !!!!  At 3 o'clock this afternoon, it will come out of the fridge to be made into loaves.  It will not be ready for supper.  Sourdough bread should cost a billion dollars a loaf.  Just sayin'...

  Himself needs a new phone I guess.  The one I bought him on Amazon does not work right, and between him and the phone it's a freaking nightmare. So when he gets off work this afternoon, I will meet up with him in town and we will visit the phone store. Fun times.  He gets so frustrated with it, and there ARE problems with the phone.  And him.  lol

  I just finished eating a plate of cold baked beans and leftover meatloaf for my first meal of the day. (It's 2:30 pm)  I am not hungry.  I am not sleeping well. I am not my stellar self.  lol   Mostly it's only me and the dogs that have to deal with me, so at least there's that.  Today I have had several phone calls from friends, led an online aa meeting in a town about 2.5 hours north of me (ain't technology grand ??).,  filled bird feeders again-- we're having a cold snap and they are eating like crazy.  We have a young raccoon that's been visiting  and last night he knocked a feeder to the ground, so I relocated that one and filled it too.Sometimes in the late evening when we're watching tv, he sits on the porch rail and looks in at us.  Drives the youngest dog to distraction. The older dogs-- not so much.  lol

  I got word yesterday that a dear old friend of mine died from Covid-19.  She was in a nursing home  and had dementia... and I hope she wasn't sick too long or too bad.  She was a delightful old woman when I met her some 25 years ago.  The last time we spoke was about 4 years ago I guess, when she first went into the facility. She was grateful to be there.  She was an ex-nun and a rabid anti-Catholic.  She had been a teacher for years and when she refused to teach the doctrine they "let her go"  She was put out without a penny to her name. When I met her, she was living in a little trailer on someone's property that they let her use.  Lots of us that knew her would drop by with gifts of groceries and gift cards and wood for her wood stove. She had a head full of snow white hair that she cut herself. With cuticle scissors, she told me.  lol  She wore it short and spiky. She was an amazing woman that I was blessed to know. This brings the number of covid related deaths in my life to 3. Enough.

  Well, I probably need to go put pants on to head into town. I am partially dressed, but wearing long johns right now.  lol   Himself told me he is working tomorrow too. 2 days of OT looks good in the bank, but I don't want him getting over tired. He was young when I got him, but now he's 60 and there was a guy at his job that was exposed and didn't tell anyone, just kept coming to work. Dumbass.  They closed the plant the next day and had a team come in to sanitize everything. So far no one else has gotten sick, but I am concerned. We have masks and gloves and I never go out without them.

  So... that's the story from here on Honeysuckle Hill. Stay well, my friends...and be safe.