Friday, May 30, 2008
From Decadence to Simplicity
Today was a touristy city day with relatives.
This is the plaque below Gandhi's feet. The quote, "Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth." gets me teary every time I read or hear it.
I miss my Buddha dog...
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Warm San Francisco Nights
I have been in S.F. twice before. The first trip took place in 1973 - with my parents and brother. The area seemed a little less crowded then. And the times were so much more... innocent???
The last time I was here was in the mid-80's. The love of my life (well, I THOUGHT he was the love of my life at that time - big mistake) had moved from Colorado to California and we continued with a long distance relationship for awhile. It lasted until his ex-wife moved out to CA for a possible reconciliation... Best thing she could have done for me!
It really seems like I have experienced this city from the point of view of three different Carols. I wouldn't trade away any of them.
I don't know what this flower is, but I love how sweet and delicate it looks!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a squirrel digging in my newly planted petunias.
I didn't know what he was doing until I saw him go back to his corn cob that was under the tree (some neighbor feeds the squirrels LOTS of corn). I watched him as he took kernels of corn to different parts of the yard.
I thought that he was hiding his corn kernels away for the winter, but it looks like he's planning on a big harvest this summer.
Awwww... I'll miss him
White House press secretary Dana Perino said Bush would zero in on one constant -- "that freedom has the power to overcome tyranny and transform societies."
The spin is incredible. While our freedoms are eroding, we're occupying a society that was doing just fine and didn't pose a threat to us. And I don't know who appointed us the transformer of the societies of the world...
Only 237 days...
I hope we do better after that, but I don't believe that a better future is solely dependent on a different prez. We, the people, have to willingly lower our material expectations and increase our skills of interdependence. We have to expect MORE of our leaders. Ahhh... it's been too easy to have low expectations the last eight years...
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Cleans Up Fairly Well...
(Notice the position of my left arm - I couldn't have done that a few weeks ago! Today's the 8th week since my surgery and I'm getting better!)
This weekend, we'll be in San Fransisco for the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of an aunt and uncle. Said aunt and uncle are holding their party at a YACHT CLUB. Wow! I'm more of a canoe or kayak type. I don't really know what people do at yacht clubs besides celebrate their 50th anniversaries.
So, I had to find myself some spiffy clothes for the occasion and since I believe in recycling (and also because I'm cheap), I hit the thrift stores and found this dress and these shoes.
I remain a Woman in Black...
Total for Dress and Shoes: $8.50
Personal Satisfaction: Priceless
I don't like having my photo taken, but after I've added some jewelry and brushed my hair, maybe I'll get someone else to take my photo. For now, the color-coordinated camera in front of the face adds a nice touch, don't you think?
- Groucho Marx
Saturday, May 24, 2008
If I would have been in one of those little subs during WWII, they would have had to put me away at some point. I can hardly breathe thinking about being in those cramped conditions under the water - with torpedoes speeding past.
My favorite memory of my dad comes from a ritual that we had when I was young. When it was time for me to go to bed, I would tell both of my parents goodnight, but with my dad's goodnight, I would add, "Will you come to my bed?". He would always say yes and would show up a few minutes after I had gotten all situated under the covers. When he arrived, I would ask him all kinds of questions - not because I cared about the answers so much, but because I wanted him to stay and talk to me.
Once, I remember asking him why I don't see colors in the dark. I'm sure that I asked him about the planets, and there is no doubt in my mind that I asked him about lightening. I was afraid of lightening and worried that it would strike the air conditioning unit that was in my bedroom window.
It meant so much to me to have that Carol and dad time as I grew up. The material gifts are mostly gone now - some are remembered and some aren't. But the gift of time spent together is a gift of love.
And as I've grown older and learned more about the world, I have come to appreciate that gift even more, because in addition to time, my dad gave me a safe place to be and grow. There are so many people who grew up wishing their dads hadn't come to their bed at night...
So blessings and happy birthday to my dad who was brave enough to serve in a submarine, who was patient enough to explain the world to me, who worked hard so that we had everything we needed, and who gave me reason to believe the world is a safe place.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Rainer Maria Rilke
Some photos of the unbelievable shrieking of the wildflowers on the hill the other evening:
Sweet Peas (which, unfortunately, always put Tommy Roe's song into my head).
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I have been trying to post some photos the past few days and IT HASN'T BEEN WORKING!!! A little test for the patience...
We went wildflower viewing the other night. I had fun taking photos and I wanted to share them. But before I bring out the garden au naturel photos, I will share a little prelude. An hors d'oeuvre for the eye. Main course will begin in a day or two, if the blogger gods deem it to be so.
And this! My magnifique columbine. Either I'm having a brain fart (which happens much too often) or else this guy invited himself into my whiskey barrel/planter, because I don't remember putting him there. But he's a beaut and he's welcome to stay. I can't quit smiling every time I look at him.
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. - Rachel Carlson
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
As one reviewer said, "Most of us live in a prison of one kind or another, often of our own making." Masters has found freedom while living in a world I would consider hell.
Jarvis Jay Masters is on death row, accused of taking part in the murder of a prison guard. He was accused of sharpening the weapon that was used to kill the guard. The person who murdered the man and the person accused of masterminding the killing both got life. Interesting how "justice" plays out.
Masters was introduced to Buddhism in 1990 while incarcerated in San Quentin prison and has been meditating and living the Buddhist path since then. The stories in the book demonstrate Jarvis' mastery of prison survival combined with a deep sense of wisdom, peace and compassion.
I now begin every day with the practice of meditation, seated on the cold morning floor, cushioned only by my neatly folded blanket. Welcoming the morning light, I realize, like seeing through clouds, that home is wherever the heart can be found [emphasis mine]. - From Finding Freedom by Jarvis Jay MastersRead about Jarvis and the work that is being done to free him at freejarvis.org
"Jarvis is an easy man to respect and an easy man to love. What I learn from him all the time is what it really means to keep one's vows of not harming and of helping other people in whatever ways one can. I always think, 'If Jarvis can do it in those most challenging and difficult situations, I can do it too.' It is a continual aspiration from my heart that Jarvis Masters not be killed and that I have the pleasure of knowing him as a free man; a free man who I know will benefit all the people he encounters." - Pema Chodron
- ALBERT CAMUS, Resistance, Rebellion and Death
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Red State Update on California's Gay Marriage Ruling
Sunday, May 18, 2008
I did NOT take these photos. I "guarded" the car while Mr. CarolForPeace got out and got too close for MY comfort.
I was hiking with a friend one early fall morning. We were bushwhacking on a grassy mountainside. My dog needed a drink, so I turned to put my pack down and to pull out the doggy bowl and water. Right before I put my foot all the way down, I saw that I was putting it down on a RATTLESNAKE!!! Because it was still very cool outside, the snake was slow and I got away before it moved.
Another time, Mr. CarolForPeace and I were hiking a local trail when Mr. Buddha dog stepped over a rattler that was stretched out across the trail. Buddha was on leash - the snake hanging out between him and me. I had to make the decision to call him back, meaning he'd have to step over the snake again, but fortunately, that worked out. Then Mr. CarolForPeace didn't believe me that it was a rattler, so he dropped a blade of grass on the snake, which immediately coiled and rattled that threatening tail of his. (Hubby wants me to tell you that he's not proud of this.)
So anyway, this morning, when we had our snake encounter, we were on our way to visit Mr. and Mrs. Owl's abandoned home. Sure enough, when we got there, everyone was gone. The "For Sale" sign was up and everything. The kids were probably practicing their flying lessons. I'll miss them...
BUT, baby Hawk was sitting on his nest. He's getting so big! Through the binoculars, I could tell that he still has that "sweetest little baby face".
Saturday, May 17, 2008
- Edward Abbey
To The Place of My Birth
Records show that I was born in a hospital
in a small mid-western town.
I don't remember that,
so it's only a story to me.
But I remember the land
that gave birth to who I am now.
That place in the desert, 2004.
My first vision quest was a trial
that helped me to see myself, to
face my fears and find my place
on this earth.
My second quest revealed the
inner strength I didn't know I had.
I have the grommet that ripped out
of my tarp to help me remember.
And the visceral feeling of owl wings
above my body will never go away.
Dear BLM, you can take away the land
that gave me birth, just like death can
take away my mother,
but no one can take away the
inner freedom and wisdom that
was gained in those wonderful moments.
There is a place in the desert that is my favorite place to be. I have done two vision quests there and camped there 3 or 4 times. When I'm there, I feel that I'm home.
The first few times we went there, we never saw a soul the whole time. Then, suddenly, people started driving and biking through - especially on weekends. We could be hidden from their view, but we couldn't block out the noise of their motors and loud voices. Still, we could go there in the middle of the week and pretty much have the place to ourselves.
I just finished speaking with a friend who returned from this favorite area. She said that it's now closed to any camping (We have never seen another soul camping there when we've been there.) Yep! Now, only motorized vehicles, bikers and hikers can come through for the day. Our quiet, earth-respecting, leave-no-trace camping is not allowed, but bring on the smelly, noisy, earth-damaging all-terrains!
I am glad that Abbey is not here to see what has happened to the desert wilderness he so loved.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Camp Casey , Women in Black, and KGNU
My biggest regret - are you reading, Roger? :-) - is that Betty Lynn and I didn't agree to do the whole hour. And I wish that I........would........learn.......to...... speak...........more..........s..l..o..w..l..y. But the first didn't happen and the last, if history is any indication, might not be happening either.
Regular reader and kind supporter, Sometimes Saintly Nick, after listening to the interview on-line, asked about my Camp Casey travels. You can read about them in my August, 2005 and April 2006 archives. I initially started this blog to share my experiences at Camp Casey. And here I am, three years later...
Oh! I just saw my stories about our Bake Sale for Body Armor in the April, 2006 archives, also. THAT was an amazing experience. Whenever I lose faith in humanity, I just need to remember the kindness I witnessed in those two days.
I bring up my Camp Casey trips because our Women in Black vigil came about after the first trip I took to Crawford, Texas in order to support Cindy Sheehan as she sat in the ditch outside W's ranch. I came home from that inspiring adventure committed to being a presence for peace. It's not much, but for at least an hour every week, I'm a human billboard that won't let those passing by forget that there's a better way to peace.
Something that I didn't say in the interview, because we ran out of time: I am so grateful to all who have stopped at our vigil over the years and given us cookies, Starbucks gift cards, bumper stickers, encouragement, and cold water when it was most needed.
I truly believe that people are inherently kind.
To hear the interview that Betty Lynn and I did yesterday, click here, then click on May 15th, scroll down and find the 3:00 "Metro" show, and then click on the yellow speaker icon to the far right of that.
I USED to stand with somewhat of an attitude of rightness - "I stand for peace and if you oppose me, you are wrong". I felt kind of special. And if a passer-by would throw up their middle finger or yell something not-so-nice, I'd feel assaulted. How dare they?
I USED to meditate or repeat prayers throughout the hour. If I got distracted, I came right back to them. I made the vigil an hour of work for myself.
I USED to have an attachment to results from our standing.
NOW I really don't feel anything one way or another when someone throws out an opposing view. I admit that I feel a little heartened when people send messages of support - not happy that people agree with me, but encouraged that so many people care about living in a peaceful world. Mostly, it's fun to see people connecting, whether they agree with us or not. If they disagree, at least they're stating their opinion.
NOW I just stand and remain present. I don't think there is anything wrong with spending the time meditating or counting cars or sending peace to lands at war. But by standing and "just being" in the moment right there, I have come to realize that the peace that I am standing for is already right there. Where we stand, actually where I type this - right here - is peace. And how can I ever think I'll make peace happen somewhere else if I don't realize and be the peace that is within me and without? If I'm at war with war, I am only creating more war. If I take insults personally and with a need to defend, I am at war. And we don't need any more of that.
And NOW, I don't stand with any need for anything different to happen. I can't control the world and I don't know the bigger picture of it all. Still, something does happen while we're out there. Our Women in Black vigil has become a way of life for me. It's community with the women that stand and with the people in all the metal on wheels that pass. We are a conversation piece, especially since we stand in an area where it's an anomaly to see people on the street. We remind shoppers on the way to the mall (and we're also reminders to ourselves) that there are people suffering through acts of war and violence at that very moment.
- Thich Nhat Hahn
(In case you read this before 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time today, I just found out how you can listen to us via your computer. Click here for the link. But please don't tell me if you're going to listen. I'm going to need to pretend that no one is out there so I don't freak!)
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
And His Son
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Dancing Around the House...
Monday, May 12, 2008
True Songs of Peace
"...so that Americans can see more clearly who the Arabic-speaking people really are...Cameron and Kristina are in Jordan right now, singing with Iraqi refugees. Kristina's thoughts on American loneliness/Arab community gave me a different perspective on that little voice inside my head that calls me to go hide faraway in solitude every few months.
...and so that Arabs can see that there are Americans who love their music and culture and who do not believe that war is the answer..."
We spent last night surrounded by 30 Iraqi refugees singing the "old music" for us: this gathering had been organized to honor our return. Our host works diligently with his violin to magnetize us all into the unified field of the music...Kristina Writes:
...As I look at the faces around me, all men and women who are now exiled from their homeland, I can see the different mixes of hardships and suffering. And I see the childlike joy with which the music emerges from their souls.
We have begun dialogue with the owner of a music shop regarding our Musical Mission of Peace designed to offer support to Iraqi refugees here in Jordan by financially encouraging their children's musical education.
We will soon make a loop through Syria where an even larger number of Iraqi refugees are currently in residence. It is said that at least two million Iraqis have fled to Jordan and Syria to escape the disorder and violence in their homeland. But neither Jordan nor Syria has the infrastructure to offer employment to so many. That is why we are here. We will do what we can, in our own musical way, to provide a pipeline of financial support from sympathetic Americans.
May 9, 08 Day one
As I walked down the street today in Amman, Jordan, tears came to my eyes. I felt like I had come home. This feels like home to me not because the sights are familiar or particularly beautiful. The buildings are mostly grey concrete colors. The streets are dirty. Many people smoke and I dislike the smell of tobacco inside the shops. It's just that there is something else in the air that feels more powerful than the smoke.
So how do I explain to you what it is?
Maybe security is a part of it. If I should fall down everyone around me would come to my rescue. If I should get lost someone would personally guide me back to my hotel. No one is trying to steal my purse. Every shopkeeper and almost every other person I meet on the street is saying a sincere "Welcome" or "Hi."
Maybe it is that there is less fear. I have very little fear here. My heart is so open, because every other heart it meets is so open to me.
I guess another word might be "relief." I don't have to be an island. Women in the lobby of the hotel, whom I have never met before, motion for me to sit down next to them. I am welcomed. I don't have to be alone. Relief to know you're surrounded by loving beings.
Isn't that what home is?
I've heard that there is no word in Arabic for "alone", the closest word means "lonely".
I wonder why I, an American, need "retreat time" or "personal space" or "time to collect my thoughts" or "time to regroup" or just time to shut out the world and rest? For an Arab, time alone is just "lonely." Do we Americans tend to stress each other out? Why do we need a break from each other? Here they just like to sit close to each other and feel the connection. The air is filled with the currents of acceptance, less judgment, more connection. Like Fayez the hotel owner here says, "Arabs are your friend immediately." You don't have to "earn their trust." It's just so much easier this way.
For more information, visit MusicalMissions
Sunday, May 11, 2008
1. ON your blog, post the Rules & 10 things you have HOPE for in your life.
2. LINK Tag 10 people (we want hope to spread people!) and LINK the person who tagged you.
3. Comment/Notify the 10 People they've been tagged.
I've changed the rules a little for myself. Here is my photographic version of some people/things that give me hope and help me to remember the miracles of life. I did follow the imposed limit of only listing 10 things, but there is no limit to the things that can bring hope.
All we have to do is stick a seed of hope in the ground, water it faithfully, and voila! We have food!
Until this moment, I never thought about what it would be like if, one year, a flowerless spring arrived.
It all works.
At the time that this photo was taken, we were delivering food that they had collected as restitution payment for their misdeeds.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Happy Mother's Day 2008
We are Women in Black.
We are mothers.
We taught our children not to harm.
We want our children
and our children's children
to live in a world
where people can work together
And we want mothers around the world
to have the opportunity
to raise their children
in peace and health.
That's not too much to ask, is it?
Please do one thing
to bring peace to our world
Happy Mother's Day to all who have, at some point, nurtured another human being and made this world a better place.
(Photo stolen from Roger of KGNU radio. I hope he doesn't mind.)
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Roger Wendell, of KGNU, happened upon us as we stood a couple of weeks ago and said that he found it interesting that we would be standing for peace in a predominantly conservative area. Funny, over the years, I've forgotten about the environment where we stand. This conservative area has become just a place where some people go by and connect with us and many people pass and choose not to look at us.
Anyway, for those of you who don't live in the KGNU listening area, I will post the recorded interview once it's available to me - just in case you want to hear the voice behind these words. Actually, if you scroll down to the bottom of this website, you can hear my voice on videos of television news stories aired before my first Camp Casey trip.
While preparing for our interview, I have gone through a lot of old blog posts of mine - especially ones with stories of noteworthy occurrences at our vigils. As I read those old posts, I noticed my blog used to be way more interesting than it is now. Has my balloon deflated? Has my drink lost its fizz? If so, where do I get me some more??? Do I really want more???
I've definitely changed since the birth of this website and I'm not the same person that started standing at our corner almost three years ago. My path to peace has not taken me where I thought it would. That's really all right. Very, very all right.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Healing Waters and Birds
So yesterday Judy and I soaked in the mineral water caves of Indian Hot Springs, on the six-week anniversary of my surgery. Ahhhhhhh.....
Before I write about melting in the heat, I have to say that, while soaking I thought about the fact that the Ute and Arapaho used these waters without all of the stuff that has been built around it now. We killed or pushed them aside so that we could take the land and we "modernized" the springs by building structures for comfort. I wonder which people will be the next to take over ownership.
The Indian Hot Springs is located in Idaho Springs, a short way into the mountains. There, waters flow out of the ground at 125 degrees. The caves were created by drilling into the rocky mountainside in the early 1900s. Walking into the stony womb, the hot, steamy air just about takes one's breath away. I don't know the temps inside that cave that drips with mountain sweat, but my body said that the waters - cooled down to 104 to 112 degrees at that point - were hotter than the air, so maybe the air temp was only in the 90's. There is no little window or vent to create some evaporation so EVERYTHING was wet - BEFORE even getting into the water! I haven't ever done a Native American sweat lodge, but I am guessing that the heat there is as breathtaking (literally) as it is in these caves - the difference being the 1000% humidity found in the cave.
Anyway, after steaming every muscle until it was soft, pliable clay, I could actually raise my arm to an almost normal point with no pain!
Later in the day, I spoke with a friend who had visited the Owl family earlier in the morning. She told me that she saw two of those little guys out on a limb by the nest. You know what that means??? Most likely, by this time next week, we will no longer have the privilege of watching this lovely family. The sons and/or daughters are getting ready to leave home. They will be hanging out in various places in the area for awhile, but the soon-to-be leafed out trees will offer them protection from being seen by the likes of me.
My friend discovered this owl nest a day or two before my surgery, so throughout the last 6 weeks of recovery, I have been able to witness the amazing experience of watching this family. It has been so healing!
I'm a little sad to think that I won't be seeing those little featherballs much more, but at the same time, I'm happy that they have grown so big and will soon fly.
It all just comes and goes, doesn't it?
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Notice that there's a western tanager on a branch below mom. It was an amazing deep, deep orange (looks kind of red in this photo). It was also very noisy and we wondered if, at some point, mom was going to decide it would make a nice appetizer.
Kind of blurry, but we were losing light and didn't have a tripod. You can see all three babies here. After visiting the Hawk family, I walked back to the Owl nest just in time to see two of the babies munching on a little dinner. It didn't take them long to gulp it down and turn to watch me.
Our neighbor, Jonathan, came with us tonight and brought along his huge, powerful telescope. Through that scope I saw a baby owl so close up that I could see inside the little nostrils on his beak. And even though the hawk nest is really high, I could look right into the eye of a baby in the nest.
Miracles all of it. Truly miracles.
Taking Life for Profits
In its quest to melt oil out of western Colorado's shale, Royal Dutch Shell has been buying up land and water rights in anticipation of what is likely to be a thirsty new industry. Some officials, however, worry that the demands of the oil-shale industry could drain every drop of the region's remaining water.
...Shell and other energy companies have amassed tens of thousands of acres of cropland, ranches and open space - including a state wildlife area - to gain water that would be needed to power the oil-shale process.
How do we shift the paradigm?
Who's going to be using the oil that Shell is supposedly going to squeeze out of the earth if there is no water to give life to the animals and vegetables trying to live here?
Saturday, May 03, 2008
We're All Guests
"Like an overnight guest, you shall arise and depart in the morning. Why are you so attached to your household? It is all like flowers in the garden." Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I'll Be Back
Some computer keyboards harbour more harmful bacteria than a toilet seat, research has suggested.
Labels: keyboard germs
Big, fluffy snow is falling here. Very beautiful against the colors that have come out. Pink flowered trees, white flowered trees and all colors of flowers are at their peak right now. The snow adds magic to it all.
In Baghdad, it's about 93 degrees right now. I wonder what it's like to be an American soldier or an Iraqi civilian there today. Five years ago today, it was announced that our mission was accomplished. It's hard to wash out the bad taste that scene left in my mouth.
The temps in Kabul will reach 82 degrees today. Watching the snow outside my window, I wonder what's going on in that country so far away. We hear so little.
I Google "Afghanistan War" and find this:
At a NATO summit in early April, President Bush told the allies the United States would send many more troops to Afghanistan in 2009. He mentioned no numbers, but U.S. commanders say they need at least two more brigades, or 7,500 troops.
Juan Torres, whom I first met at Camp Casey in 2005, has been working on a movie about his son who died rather mysteriously at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan. Read more here. Today I found out that a website has been created for the movie, which is titled Drugs and Death at Bagram. If you visit the site, scroll down to read the story behind the movie.
Juan Torres is one of the sweetest, most humble men that I met at Camp Casey (I've seen him there twice and then in D.C. - he is on a mission). I can only imagine the pain that was caused first by the death of his son and then as Juan dug deep into the cause of his son's death.