Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 11, 2017




Flowers bloom! in my front yard in Loveland, Colorado, USA


Saturday, January 28, 2017

This is what we are about

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Looking at these words etched in the soul of this nation, I see no mention of race, or religion, or gender. The golden door has slammed shut -- replaced by a wall of intolerance and a wall of arrogance.

This has been a week of inexcusable actions, a week that will live in infamy.

This is not what we are. 

This must not be what we will become.





Monday, January 23, 2017


This is Iris Genevieve McClure, the face of the future.

She will be 12 years old on April 1, 2017. She is my grand niece. I held her when she was just a few hours old. I was with her on Nov. 8, 2016 when we (and other family members and friends) watched the U.S. election returns in horror. 

She was as devastated as any of us.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, she and her mother, Kelly Mansfield, joined 150,000 in the Women's March in Denver. And, in some way, the 150,000 in Chicago; the 500,000 in Washington, D.C., the 150,000 Boston, the 130,000 in Seattle, the 55,000 in Toronto, and thousands of others in cities across the United States and the world (including 10,000 in Sydney, Australia.

Look at her face. 
See in that face the joy of being with women
-- all women -- celebrating the power of women. 

No matter what happens. No matter how many times we need to stand and march and protest and petition, we will do it. And as long as we do, there is hope -- for women, for children, for Muslims, for African Americans, for Hispanics, for LGBTQs, for any who are threatened.

Until, someday, all people --whatever their gender, or age, or race, or sexuality, or ability, or religion, or (yes) politics are celebrated.

Hallelujah!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Upstairs/Downstairs

I will never do it again but recently I was reading two books: “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. I kept one upstairs and one downstairs, reading each when I had a bit of time. Both are powerful books about aspects of slavery in this country. Both are complex books with variable main characters and sometimes convoluted timelines. 

 I will never be able to pass any form of quiz about these novels, the names of the protagonists, or their chronology. [Unless I read them again. Which I might.] 

However confused I got (and I did get very confused), I don’t believe this foolish practice was without substantial benefit. 

Reading about any aspect of history should (in my opinion) help you better understand that history – at a deep, visceral level that transforms your vision of a time period and its impact on the present. My upstairs/downstairs reading did that exactly that. Never again will I underestimate the horrendous scars our ancestors inflicted on a people and their cultures. These books obliterated any romantic/’Gone With the Wind’ vision of this nation’s history. 

 It is never acceptable to force any persons to abandon their culture and language. It is never acceptable to destroy family units, overwork and over-punish anyone, to subjugate by terror, to deny anyone’s value . . . The list of unacceptable practices – crimes against humanity -- that our nation perpetrated (and perpetuates) is long and bloody. 

 It is good to understand this, to acknowledge it and, acknowledging this, to work in whatever way we can to ensure that we never, never do this again – to any peoples, whatever their race or religion or sexual orientation. 

No one should be confined to the ‘downstairs’ of our country.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Good Will to All Sentient Beings

My Social Security check is late. I don’t want to sound paranoid but could the new administration be having a pre-inaugural affect on my income? 

Well that does sound paranoid. But still. 

I have made an extra effort this year to relay good wishes to relatives, friends and acquaintances. I have a growing sense of dread – a feeling that our personal connections will become more essential -- that our efforts, combined and solitary, may be required if we are to protect all that may need protecting. 

 Like trees, and national parks, and women and immigrants and Muslims and Jews and African Americans and human dignity and …. Ah, the list can extend forever. 

I, like so many others, have been complacent for so long – assuming that if I sign petitions and contribute some money that all those things I value will be fortified and safe. 

Now I am not so sure. 

I do not know what we will be called on to do in the years ahead but I know with a certainty that we will be called upon. I hope that I will have the courage to stand up for what is right and in front of those who need protection. 

I hope we all do. 

🎄This year my prayer is for Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Sentient Beings.🎄 

And a Social Security deposit in my account.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Signs of the Times

The other day I drove past an automated sign dancer! 

It was a female mannequin with a blonde wig wearing a red sheath and waving a sign encouraging patronage in a barbershop. 

What next? 

Sign dancers – the real ones – astound me. Whenever I see one moving in perpetual gyrations I wish them generous paychecks. If I had to do that – well, I couldn’t. 

At times it seems that there is nowhere you can go in this country without someone trying to sell you something. Nothing is free of commercials and nothing is free. 

Advertisements appear on the computer screen next to my email. And in my mailbox and in my newspaper and on my television and radio and on my telephone. 

And the frenzy accelerates as the no-longer-holy holiday season advances. 

 Too much. 

How do we decelerate all this? How do we reconnect with the real: friends and sunsets and babies and cats? Good food and brisk walks and genuine laughter? The beauty of the ordinary – the mostly free of charge – must somehow be appreciated again. And valued – even more than our microwaves … or barbershops.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Annual Ritual

My friend was visiting from Chicago about the time of the elks’ annual rutting season. 

 I try, every year, to get up to Rocky Mountain National Park in time to witness love’s majestic ritual. My friend was my excuse to make a special after-church journey up the mountain. We had lunch on the balcony of the Fall River Visitors Center, absorbing the beauty of the day and the foliage and the magpies lurking for fallen French fries.





Then we rode into the park and around its roads. It was beautiful but largely elk-less. My friend was beginning to doubt the existence of elk and the legendary spectacle. We saw lots of cars and people setting up chairs to watch the annual show. But no elk. My friend was leaving the next day. She could not leave disappointed. 

 I decided to drive to Upper Beaver Meadow, at the end of the worst road in the park. We got all the way to end, waited and walked a bit, but still no elk. We were about to leave when a man wearing a Chicago Cubs sweatshirt (or perhaps a state of Colorado sweatshirt – they are a little similar) came over a small hill and announced that there was a lot of elk activity at the end of the little path ascending the knoll. 



My friend has Parkinson’s and I had a sprained neck. Getting up that little hill was no small feat. But we did it. And there at the summit two bull elk were butting heads, sparring for the affection of a magnificent doe. I couldn’t get my camera pointed the right way in time to record the actual duel but I did photograph the victor and … off to the side, the prize. My friend saw it. I saw it. We were only a few yards from the action. It was thrilling. And awesome. And worth the wait. 

 She went home believing. I went home validated. And I will go back again next year.