On the very day that we laid to rest one of our greatest human rights leaders of our time this :
I am a mom to a compassionate , intelligent young woman . Her kind and giving heart stands up for injustices against those with less privilege . People that suffer because of having less privileges and opportunities simply because of the color of their skin . I am of the same heart and mind as my daughter . Since early in my youth I have felt the call to stand up for human rights , protesting peacefully , writing letters to legislators , volunteering and …listening . And today my daughter faced the ugliness of hatred because of her values and principles . She has Black Lives Matter written on the back window of her car . She has other pro human rights sentiments on her window as well .
Today , of all days , someone chose to threaten her life because of it . A man chose to follow her off of a freeway exit , he sped up along side of her and turned his vehicle inwards towards her car as if to ram her and to force her off of the road . A life threatening action that could have been catastrophe with irreversible results . And all because he did not like her opinions . He violently opposed her values . His risked her life as well the lives of others by his actions .
Here we are America . Threatening each other over human rights . Over what it means to be considered a human being . Wiling to end another persons life because she or he stands up for social justice . It’s time to give birth to a new USA .
The process is painful . My hope is that what is taking place now with the violence against peaceful protests and individuals is like the birthing process . It is a struggle . It is painful and it is violent . And at the other side of it a more just , equitable and compassionate country .
The people fighting against the changes have caught the disease of hatred and fear . Desperation has taken hold of them . They are entangled within their own chains . How might we set them free from the hate ?
In the darkness of such hate we must be the light . Carry a peaceful heart and in the words of Mr.Lewis ” make good trouble ” .
A comet soaring through the sky wishing away worries from the earth below .
It’s only for moment .
Fires of the quest for justice burn ….and burn .
And those few that are untouched and are so far away from the pain just scold .
And blame .
The man in the tower hiding the darkness behind false whiteness steals souls and
glows red .
And tosses raw flesh to his spectators .
Unrealized is the relentless power of the will to do right . It won’t stop .
The birth of reawakening in the heart and spirit of warriors in our streets come
together as one .
How does the adventurer’s soul and spontaneous spirit strive to survive now ? Wings feeling clipped . The physical freedom to roam that used to bring the spontaneous wanderings of the mind and soul now halted . How to replenish and refresh perspectives while staring at the same walls ?
There is a requirement for rest in order to turn around the stress and yet ….the mind is thinking , thinking , thinking . “What’s next ?”
Longing for the days of preparing for a trip . Being ready for the airport or a long road trip . The joy , the excitement of embracing the unknown as much as the known . Feeling safe in the idea that any detours or unforeseen threats would be visible and therefore manageable on any trip . Now it’s invisible and could threaten your life .
The aloneness of solitary travels can set you on course for recognizing love in the connections to all life forces . It can teach you who you are and return you to the precious threads of human connection .
When you step off of an airplane onto unfamiliar ground are you calmed by the new? And excited to begin anew ?
Oh Dear World , I miss you now during Covid 19 . The images on a screen bring little solace because I know you all are struggling too . Our sight will surely be altered by this time of loss and distress . It is an opportunity beyond the anguish .
Will we rise ?
Born white and free
in ways i did not see .
Until I became a latch key child .
As I grew I rebelled against the white cocoon
and paid a price for it .
Not as dear though as the price paid by African Americans
to simply live .
Or rather …not to live .
What good are my tears for you ? I must use my voice and body to join with yours .
Lead me through this battle with you
lets make lasting change .
I stayed too long in my cozy bed . And today became strongly up and down with emotions and I thought it was just fine and then I ventured out . Creating a todo list in my head and deciding the order of things too while reminding myself that there wasn’t any hurry . It’s not like before I thought …again and again . So off for a walk I went and arriving at the trail’s entrance was, nearly , startled to find the street lined with parked cars . So many people , is it too many I wondered ? I secured my cloth mask and began walking . It was sunny with a breeze and not too many people walking . Relief and purpose returned to my mind . Good I thought after a two mile walk and now off to the store .
After arriving at the store, having found a parking spot , I paused before going inside . I noticed the people coming and going and mostly wearing masks . Thank goodness i thought . There were only a few items on the list in my head but important ones like water and rice and cat food . For the several days the entire section of rice had been empty . Several long , expansive shelves empty of product . It was the first section that I went to and … it was still empty . I stood for a few moment staring . Ok I thought and took a deep breath onward to the next item . The bottled water that I had come to appreciate for it’s quality , price and even it’s packaging was next on my list . I turned down the aisle for water and could see the shelf was empty . I walked closer . Yup . cleared out . Feeling a bit defeated now I gathered my thoughts and continued onward . Cat food . There on the shelf was some cat food that my senior cat would eat . Deep exhale and noticing a sense of sadness moving towards into my thrust . I push it away .
I check out with my one item and head back towards my car . I unlock the car , get in , and suddenly I feel the tears arrive . I sit weeping and say to myself ” I know it’s not just the empty rice shelf . I know it’s so much more than that .” But the empty rice shelf bring me to tears .
Living alone while covid 19 changes the world forces emotions to the surface and
brings a new focus to the smallest delights . The aloneness is magnified from what is was
before . Suddenly those solitary evenings that seemed to go on for too long and could be
soothed into comfort with the knowing that in the morning it would be whisked away with
commotion was gone . The commotion of being busy and surrounded and connected to other
people gone . Now walking along a trail in a park , mask covered mouth and nose while
passing from a distance a mother and child and suddenly a small child’s smile takes on a
whole new meaning . Noticing the little things like we did when we were children but now
there’s no rush to be at work or to get home to bed for a speedy night’s sleep . The aloneness
before had it’s challenges too though back then there was hope of a plan or a visit or busy work
day to carry through to relief or comfort .
The phone calls and text messages become a lifeline . Each one opening the way to
connecting to our shared plight and to our humanity and our hope .
The tension builds beneath the surface silently . Moment by moment without
entirely knowing that it’s there the layers of uncertainty and loneliness are building shelves
inside of you. And the beautiful , unexpected miracles of noticing an innocent smile or the
kindness of a stranger or the vibrant colors of the sky and my heart swells with a love from
before my existence . A love that has carried us through all of time . Tears well up in my eyes .
Is it the striking aloneness that I feel or the love that is so deep for all of life that makes it so the
tears must flow . When sleep finally comes it’s comfort is a delight and in the morning the hope
and the search for the little things will begin again .
The spring has come and knowing little of our human fright it sings . It beckons . It dances with delight . It must sense it’s new found freedom . I wonder . Does nature now feel it’s man made noose loosened ? The song birds sing more sweetly and the trees less tense . The quietness so soothing for life to be able to breathe again that is for all one but one .
The sadness presses against the quiet . Love and the fragility of human life are in each moment now . The breathtaking moments of courage and compassion rise and in-between is cherished laughter to lighten our hearts and carry us on .
The songs of Mother nature are freely sung now and her wild animals live with less fear . The people that were trampling upon the sacredness of life are the ones seeking to return to what is gone . To fight the flow of change is to create your own despair . And that heaviness hangs in the air .
The rustlings of the trees and the currents of the oceans shake me free from the weightiness of false designs . Turn into the heart and release her songs into all of life and the freedom of knowingness will carry you onward .
Now we come together by staying apart . We take on the role of being a protector of strangers and are a crucial piece of stopping an invisible thief of life . It has brought us to our fear and has brought out our compassion . The aloneness rising from depths previously unknown and communities inventing new ways to show solidarity .
Now we reach out to each other with messages in windows expressing gratitude and teddy bears placed in windows for young children to see . The small moments of the human spirit making itself known in kindnesses which shifts the idea of separateness to oneness . The heartbreak of suffering offering up an opening for acceptance of each other inside of compassion .
Now we have some stillness forced upon us and it asks us to examine just what was all of that busyness for ? We hear the birds songs more clearly than ever and wake slowly easing into the day . Then we turn to thoughts of what will the news bring today and will my loved one’s be safe ? And walking alone amongst the trees each day meditating upon life . And it always ends in love .
The first thought was of how surreal it all seemed . Standing with but a few coworkers in the now desolate work space and listening as a couple of our Chef’s told us that we were being sent home until further notice . To stay home , stay safe and that we would receive weekly phone calls to check in with us . They welcomed our thoughts and concerns . One man spoke of our frightening it all was for him . All I could think of was how much I appreciated the way in which we came together , adapted to our changing circumstances and got the work done with good cheer in spite of our fears .
We parted company almost in silence . As if someone had died . The weight of not knowing when or if we’d all be back together in what used to be a bustling kitchen dance was bringing us into ourselves deeply .
On the surface I told myself that it was an opportunity to work on my art . That it would be the time and mental space that I had longed for in order to create . I had not yet recognized the depth of the sorrow for the world that would hold my heart bringing it’s own challenges to overcome in order to create .
And it was not only the world’s sorrows and difficulties that held me but also my own from the seeds that began my life . The aloneness that is loneliness born from a lack of connection to the people that are supposed to love you . When you are unseen in the moments that deeply touch your heart and are invisible when the moments of joy bring out the laughter and rather than joining in those moments they were experienced alone amongst the people that said they loved you .
I worried that the social isolation demanded during this pandemic would be a great burden on my already wounded soul . I allowed myself to weep . It was deep , anguish throughout the ages , kind of weeping . It led me , somehow , to my place of resiliency and love for life . I awoke from the fear of feeling longing to discover a way to help myself move through this time of global isolation .
Since I felt unable to focus on my artistic passions of painting and sketching then I would safely venture out in the city streets , as often as I had the energy for , and photograph the people and sights that spoke to our humanity amidst a life threatening virus . Capturing spontaneous images of the ways in which we express our kindness as well our fears became my project . By focusing on the visible ways that people chose to express themselves during a previously unimaginable stress is a means for healing my own wounds and stress . It is also a way of feeling to connected to people rather than alone and isolated . I become an observer as well as a participant in the struggle of the unknown .
The spontaneous wanderings around the closed up city with camera at the ready has afforded me the sight that my heart craves . The heart that still beats in the world and shows itself in the handmade signs expressing love for strangers , concern for your safety and courage to keep going .
This photo project that I’ve created as an assignment for myself is not quite done . I look forward to sharing it soon .