Hope is the Thing With Feathers

My Gabriel Weather vane in the snow

A few weeks ago, Joseph Biden was sworn into office as our new president. I breathed a sigh of relief. I am hopeful that things will get better. I am even more hopeful because Kamala Harris is our new vice president. On the night of the inauguration, I had a Zoom sing with some other women. It was celebratory. One of the songs we sang was a song based on a poem by Emily Dickinson. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all”. May we all have hope, and sing our own tune without the words.

Storming the Capitol

On Wednesday, as we are aware, our Capitol was under siege. Protesters, encouraged by the President stormed through, using violence and literally taking over. As the events unfolded, many of us were in disbelief, glued to our televisions, watching stunned and heartbroken. Some people were killed.

Finally, the National Guard was called and the protesters began to leave.

At the time it began, I was snowshoeing in the Adirondacks. When I came home, my daughter texted me, and as soon as I heard, I turned on the television. The images were crazy, and so sad.

While I am deeply saddened and continue to try to process this chain of events, I am heartened that Congress was able to count the votes, and the Democratic Process prevailed. President Elect Biden was certified as our next President. As we grieve, we can breathe, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Walking

During the pandemic, I have been walking a lot. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes by myself. Always somewhere in nature by streams and in the woods. There is a great comfort in the rhythm and beauty and the familarity of the paths we take. We will get through this, and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Remember to be Thankful and Grateful

My Thinking Rock

This past weekend I went for a hike to one of my favorite hiking spots in Warrensburg next to the Hudson River. I found this little rock next to a tree by my thinking rock. It said “Remember to be grateful and thankful”.

That it is a good thing to remember to be grateful and thankful. Although this Thanksgiving was different being separated from family due to Covid, I am grateful for my children, grandchildren and friends. And walks in nature. I am counting my blessings.

Kayaking and Cubscouts

At least for me right now, it’s really hard to find beauty. As much as I try to laugh about everything, it’s hard. I use USL Universal Sign Language ( could even use in Africa) to sign for orders in delis etc, because they can’t hear me. And at the local Stewart s When they can’t hear me When I want a float with seltzer I say cheeseburger cheeseburger coke coke pepsi ( old Saturday night live skit check it out) because they can’t hear me. Ummm do you think management should turn music down during Covid-19? Push it ask, I shouldn’t be the only one. Managers have looked at me like I’m crazy, I’m not crazy.

Yesterday I went to Moreau State Park to go kayaking . Do you think it was peaceful! Well no, it wasn’t There we’re about 30 Cubscouts at the lake . Bless their little hearts and they were having a blast. But asked the cub scout leader to step back no mask. And you know the leaders weren’t female. So he got a little huffy. I went around the lake at top speed, it was beautiful. But because I had to drag my kayak to one beach to another ( pretty spry for 67) I was pretty darn mad. So I went to the forest rangers ( I’ve met some really good female and male ones) and said well there they are, and I don’t want to get mad at kids, but shouldn’t they have masks on? Finally, there was some action. And I’m trying to drink in the beauty like above, and I’m trying not to take in too much Irish whiskey. And I’m succeeding.

Like a Mountain Climber

Today was a usual Sunday. I woke up rather early, got up before 8, and was ready to start the day. I called a dear friend around 9. We planned on going  in her kiddie pool this afternoon, socially distancing, big enough to hold three of us,  ( a neighbor of hers was also coming over). But on the way over, my car died. The “electrical” light had come on, I had stopped at a service station before, but no mechanics were there, and I thought  Well, I have enough power to get there, right” ? Until I can there to my reliable trusty mechanic tomorrow morning right? Wrong. On the way over four lights came on. I though uh oh trouble. So, I turned around went toward  home,and it gradually died, more and more. I pulled into a soccer field away from traffic. I called my friend. No answer. Called another dear friend  who was willing to meet me at the soccer field. It was 90 degrees out. AAA told me it would be an hour before they could get there to have it towed.  And because of Covid , had to have somebody else had to pick me up Well,.I thought I have the NY Times Sunday edition in the car, cold drinks, and a lawn chair in my car- I’ll wait for the tow truck, in the shade underneath that yonder tree, and wait for the tow truck and my friend to pick me up. The tow truck came in 40 minutes, he let me ride in the cab, as long as we wore masks, and would give me a ride home. All good. I’m home now. Not a catastrophe. Could have been worse, much worse. I was in the Adirondacks yesterday with another friend, but in a pretty remote area. It was a beautiful day, hiking and kayaking. Could have been stuck for hours.  But I’m not. Here’s my spa for the day. Life is good. On the way out of the cab, the young man said to me ” You’re like a mountain climber”. I had to hold on to the bar to get in and out of the cab. Yes I am. Considering I had just went on a hike the day before.

My Thinking Rock

Today I went to my thinking rock; a special place in Warrensburg on the Hudson River. The Hudson River flows by; today it sparkled. I grew up along the Hudson, and this place is always a comfort to me.

I am overwhelmed by some personal things it would have been my husband’s and mine 43rd anniversary today. I try not to dwell on that too much; but it is there always. I tried the dating scene on line for a month-disastrous. A friend of mine let me down 2 times recently. I remember Anne Frank saying she believes in the good of people. I do, too. Most of the time.

I am overwhelmed more though by the state of our beautiful country. Covid is spreading again, I am scared, helpless.

And the BLM movement. It is beyond comprehension what is happening still in our country. I first became aware of the systemic racism in our country in the ’70s when I worked with migrant children whose parents picked apples in the Hudson Valley. All of the workers were Black.

I developed a rapport with a little girl and one time when she was sleeping, I just waited for her to wake up. When she saw me when she woke up she had the biggest smile on her face. She had a cut on her leg that was obviously untreated. For these kids there is no consistent schooling, no health records all so we white folks can eat apples.

I wrote a paper on the disparity of our culture in America and maybe at that time I began to refuse to say the pledge each morning in high school. I didn’t believe and still don’t believe there is liberty and justice for all in our country.

I am sickened by what is happening with people because of the color of their skin.

And here I sit a woman of white privilege.

My thinking rock in Warrensburg told me to listen to myself, to others and to the Shema. To ” hear oh God our God is one.”

There is hope. I know it. Perhaps in the deepest places we all can find ways to listen to each other and more importantly to hear what is being said.

Memorial Day and Masks

Today is Memorial Day, a day when we think of those who served, and of those who lost their lives in service to their country. I always think of my Dad who served in London during World War II.  He could never speak of that time, but always proudly put out our flag on national holidays, and the moment a drop of rain fell, he would quickly bring the flag back inside. He was a quiet gentle good man who loved playing with us and carving pumpkins and flying kites. Simple pleasures.

This year it certainly was a different Memorial Day, with the very scary Corona virus dictating our thoughts and actions.  It hovered over us, and while many of us ventured outside, and enjoyed the beautiful weather, some couldn’t. They weren’t around anymore to celebrate, and their loved ones are grieving their loss. Yesterday’s NY Times listed 1,000 names and their stories of those who were lost in the Pandemic. “They Were Not Simply Names on a List, They were Us.”

I wonder what my Dad would think of those who say they have the “freedom” of not wearing a mask in public. I don’t think he would agree. I think he would want my family and I to be safe and to wear a mask to protect ourselves as well as others.

Thanks for serving, Dad. I will be safe and wear a mask. And just like you were, I will be kind. Happy Memorial Day.