Tuesday, September 30, 2008
My email friend, Darla, and her friends were there to protest the event. She sent me this article that was written by John Scripsick whose son died in Iraq. In 2005 and 2006, I sat in the bug-ridden heat of Texas with Cindy Sheehan as she waited for answers to her questions. Now I read this grieving man's questions. And I wonder... will anyone in power ever answer these people? How does one sleep at night knowing the pain they have caused millions all over the world?
What Did My Son Die For?
by John Scripsick
Most people will lie or stretch the truth for one reason, and that is money.
My son died in Iraq one year ago, and it has made me study the reasons we went to war, as any parent would do looking into the loss of their child.
President George W. Bush came to Oklahoma City Friday to raise money for Senator John McCain. I think for a donation of $5,000 you got your picture taken with Bush at a beer distributor's house. I was there outside the house but did not attend the fundraiser.
My son joined the Marines to help this country do good. I tried to talk him out of joining, but after 9/11 lots of young men and women joined. One day before his final signing, I thought he was having second thoughts, but Bryan looked at me and said he already gave them his word. I was worried but proud that he was a man of his word.
As time went by, I have seen that President Bush, Dick Cheney, and others are not men of their word. They will lie straight to your face.
I was there on Friday, not to get a picture taken with Bush, but to ask some questions:
How can our government pay $800 to $1,000 a day to Halliburton, KBR, and Blackwater employees, who work for businesses that Cheney has ties to, and only pay our troops $70 to $100 a day?
Is it true that Blackwater, which has cost taxpayers billions to provide security in Iraq, has given generously to your campaign?
Was Enron your largest contributor?
Did a Texas oil company that gave to your campaign drill in the Kurdish region yet?
Did you read the report sent to you in August 2001 about an attack in America coming soon?
Did you pay $5 million to a man from Iraq so he would not talk about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)?
Did you ignore Iran's offer to infiltrate Al Qaeda after the 9/11 attack?
Did you disregard Joe and Valerie Wilson's knowledge about WMDs and Al Qaeda in Iraq?
How many military leaders, CIA officials and others, have resigned since you have been president?
If you collect enough money, pull a good-looking rabbit out of the hat, and McCain becomes president, do you get a pardon from these questions?
My son died in Iraq on Sept. 6, 2007. Does my asking these questions make me unpatriotic? Did my son die for my freedom. or did he die so Bush could pump money through private contractors and please Republican campaign contributors?
I was sure standing on a corner outside the fundraiser would not get these questions answered. But maybe the right person will hear the message. I do know that doing nothing will produce nothing.
Labels: Iraq War
Monday, September 29, 2008
Can't Find My Way Home
Today they did it. One of our tall giants is gone. Chopped up and spit out.
Now, we no longer have our north star. This tree was right up against the street - a great landmark to note when telling someone how to get here, a marker to give us a visceral sense of when to turn into the drive. When Mr. Carol For Peace came home from work tonight, he was really sad to see our cottonwood gone. I said, "Yes, now we can't find our way home." Coincidentally (is there really such a thing?), THAT was the exact song he had been listening to in the car as he turned in our driveway.
Here is where our beloved tree once stood:
I took the photo below while standing and looking down on what's left of the tree. I am not tall enough to be able to get the whole girth of the stump in my photo. See how tiny my feet look compared to the size of this big guy? (And I DON'T have small feet!)
And, as Dancing On a Blade of Grass had suggested, this morning I tacked a note to the tree before the hackers, I mean, tree surgeons came.
So they left me this:
Now I have to find someone to turn this into a piece of art that can reflect the beauty of the tree that used to help us find our way home.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The man could be a very happy person who misses his wife somewhat, but is at peace with life. He may not have even liked his wife, for all I know. Still, I don't think his comment was about the credit cards. It was about the fact that his wife died. I had heard him in the store earlier, telling a different person that he lived alone, so didn't want to buy too much of something that might go bad.
I wonder how many of us are carrying un-witnessed grief. We try to tell our story but no one hears because they have a job to do. A job that can also serve as an excuse to avoid connecting human to human.
Sometimes, the more people I'm around, the more I start thinking that this world is a very lonely place.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My Bestest Friend (with four paws)
And while I'm away, I'll be missing my bestest friend with four paws who you see in the photo above. Just looking at his photo, my heart melts - and I think I'll just stay home with him. NO ONE is a better hiking companion than that there Buddha dog. And he truly does teach me the lessons of the Buddha. Except for the non-attachment lesson - I'm very attached to him.
I wonder if tonight's "debates" will happen? If they do, I wonder what the two candidates that are allowed to speak will say? (Too bad we only get to listen to TWO of the current presidential candidates and too bad there will most likely be no surprises as to what those two will say - but that's where we are right now.) I'm sure I'll find out all about it when I get back.
Don't forget to kiss your bestest friend with four paws today.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I hope that I'm not boring you with all of my photos the past few days. I'm just trying to keep peaceful and sane during the craziness going on in our country. And it ain't always easy.
Everyday, I have so much for which to be thankful. I want always to stay aware of that. Thank you for visiting me this fine fall day!
Aspen - Up Close and Personal
Click here to see #2
Click here to see #1
- Matthew Fox
- Rainer Maria Rilke
[At least on the tree where you carved your initials!]. -
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Defending the Peace?
Hell's Hole Haiku
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
If This Is Hell...
Yesterday, Buddha (the dog) and I spent the day hiking at Hell's Hole. Two of my favorite places are Hell's Hole in Colorado and Hell's Roaring Canyon in Utah. So, I guess if someone tells me to go to Hell, I'll gladly do it.
I had planned to drive to Hell's Hole to see the changing aspen, take some photos and come home - maybe be gone 3 or 4 hours. But I lost all track of time - heck, I totally misplaced any concept of the existence of time - and we got back home 7 1/2 hours later. With very tired paws.
I could write much, much more, but duty calls and I have to go to work today.
The photo above is one of my favorites from the day. Yellow aspen leaves floating on the water. The trees you see are only reflections.
It looks to me like the leaves are floating on air.
- Albert Camus
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Happy Birthday, Leonard
If you haven't seen Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, here's the trailer:
Labels: Leonard Cohen
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Labels: Women in Black
Friday, September 19, 2008
The Sun Never Says
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Everything Comes and Goes
He's so big that I couldn't get him all in one photo without going down the street and including the whole neighborhood in the picture.
Here's his top:
Up close (Isn't he magnificent?):
And the yellow ribbon that says, "Here I am! I'm the one you're going to cut down!"
I did my best to measure the circumference of this tree today. It's around 12 1/2 feet around.
I love the way cottonwood leaves dance in the wind. I love the deeply grooved bark. I love how cottonwoods like to gather where there's a water source. I have had so much fun listening to baby northern flickers cheeping when their mom and dad brought food to the nest nestled within the big granddaddy trunk.
This tree has been the landmark that we mentioned so that people can find our home - just go to the house immediately past the cottonwood that sticks out into the street.
Keeping things in perspective, I know that there are people near the Gulf that wished they had a dry home right now - with or without a tree. There are people in the Middle East suffering losses so immense that I'm embarrassed to be talking about my tree.
But I'm still going to miss him...
Friday, September 12, 2008
If you're still taking the time to visit my blog after my absence, THANK YOU!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Thank You, Terry
September 10, 2008
CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020;
or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
9/11 Family Member Just Back From Iraq
WASHINGTON - September 10 -
Rockefeller is just back from Iraq. She lost her sister, Laura, in the attacks on the World Trade Center and is a member of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, which just released the following statement: "On Thursday, September 11, 2008, the first bell will ring at 8:46 am. Bells will ring at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, in a field in Pennsylvania. There will be commemorations in firehouses, churches, synagogues, mosques, and parks. All around the country we will once again be plunged into total recall of those moments that ticked away so slowly. That day seven years ago we waited with terror in our hearts for some reassuring call that would never come. On that day we entered a new era, the ''ost 9/11 world.' ...
"During these last seven years, however, we have come to know that we are not alone. Our grieving has been shaped in large part by the presence in our lives of many people from points around the globe, all of whom have been directly affected by violence -- war, genocide, terrorism. Their courage, their wisdom and their willingness to take extraordinary risks to stop the cycles of retaliation and revenge have helped us to see beyond our own private pain.
"In Iraq last week, we attended a meeting of an Iraqi organization called LaOnf, which in Arabic translates to 'no violence.' It is an organization started four years ago that is devoted to the teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, 'absolute nonviolence no matter what.' They have pledged themselves to this concept and are willing to risk their lives to spread a culture of nonviolence in every province of Iraq. While we experienced one day of terror, for them, every day is 9/11. We will stand in solidarity with LaOnf on this anniversary and spread the word across this land -- that nonviolence and the recognition of our common humanity are the only way forward to the survival of this earth. This year, let us remember them, too."
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Because I Can Just See Her Dancing on a Blade of Grass
Monday, September 08, 2008
Wisdom of Heart
"Years ago, I met an old monk in a jungle monastery in Southeast Asia. We were in a clearing at night and saw a man-made satellite weave its way through the stars. He pointed to it, telling me that such stars were newcomers to the sky. I tried to explain to him about rockets and satellites, and to my great surprise he questioned the idea that the earth was round. It had always seemed flat to him. The second- or third-grade education he had received in the 1920s had apparently not convinced him differently, yet he was regarded by many as a sage. His heart was filled with compassion and wisdom that drew many people to him to pour out their troubles and ask his advice. His understanding of human nature and life was deep and wonderful, though he didn't even know the earth was round."The wisdom of the heart can be found in any circumstance, on any planet, round or square. It arises not through knowledge or images of perfection or by comparison or judgment, but by seeing with the eyes of wisdom and the heart of loving attention, by touching with compassion all that exists in our world." - Jack Kornfield, A Path With Heart
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Ahem. Anyway... I realized that I have very few things in my home that I find to be interesting. But, I dutifully went around the house and photographed a few things I found which had stories behind them. Below are only some of them. I found a theme here, so I limited my show and tell to these mostly-winged things.
Mr. CarolForPeace's great-grandfather had a meat market in the D.C. area about a million years ago and there was an awning in the front. A couple of poles held the awning, and somehow, the family has kept one or both of the poles, handed down through the generations. Mr. CarolForPeace's dad decided to do something artistic with the wood, so he hired an artist to carve different totems out of it. This is the one we were given. So perfect, because every spring, we spend hours hanging with the owls in their nests. Well, we don't hang out in the nests, but we watch mom, dad, babies, etc. as they sit in their nest. Yeah. That.
Aunt L. sent me this a few years back. This is St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, birds, the environment, and Italy according to wikipedia. This was carved by Ben Ortega. I have seen other St. Francis carvings of his in various places over the years.
One of these things is not like the others...
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Song on My Mind
You can listen to it here.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
First Inklings of Fall
The temperatures stayed in the 60's (16 F) yesterday, even though the sky was clear.
Last night, I slept in heavenly coolness as whispers of fall brought the air into the 40's (4 F).
I awoke this morning, did some of my meditations, and thought of my dad whose health at 88 reminds me of the times when I was young and would try to walk on ice so thin I could see the bubbles moving under it. Every step risked the possibility of falling through. I feel like my dad is walking on thin ice now. With each step - each trip to the hospital - I wonder if he'll fall through.
Stephen Levine's book, Who Dies?, came to mind. I don't know how many times I've read that book since I bought it in the 1980's. It's been a few years now since Who Dies? and I have spent time together, so I pulled it off the shelf, opened it, and read words that fed me in a different way - now that I am "older and wiser"- than they did 20 years ago .
Twenty years ago, I was still trying to make sense of the death of my son's twin who had died in my womb. And I had not reconciled the sudden death of my best friend when I was 14. Who Dies? gave me perspective that helped me to be able to move and breathe through the heaviness in which I found myself.
Now Stephen's words are reminding me of the beauty of the cycles of life. In the fall, the air cools, the leaves turn and return to the earth. How wonderful to remember that I am a part of the cycles of the earth!
From the book:
"In a society based on material gain, which imagines itself to be the body, which holds health so precious and fears death so much, it is often hard to understand that death is natural, even necessary for the continuance of life, both inner and outer.That's what I want - for death (even the little deaths that we call "disappointments") to be a continual opportunity to let go of the illusions of life and to open in love.
"In some societies, death brings the whole tribe or family together in celebration and acknowledgment of the continual changing nature of life. During these celebrations, often a deeply spiritual context for this passing allows many to have profound experiences of their own true nature. For these societies, death is a continual opportunity to let go of the illusions of life, to see it as it is, and to open in love to all about."
Fall does things like this to me. Like the trees, my juices are drawing inward. It's all good.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Arrested at the Republican National Convention
ST. PAUL, MN- Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman was unlawfully arrested in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota at approximately 5 p.m. local time. Police violently manhandled Goodman, yanking her arm, as they arrested her. Video of her arrest can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYjyvkR0bGQ
Amy Goodman is one of the most well-known and well-respected journalists in the United States. She has received journalism's top honors for her reporting and has a distinguished reputation of bravery and courage. The arrest of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar is a transparent attempt to intimidate journalists from the nation's leading independent news outlet.
***Update: Amy and her crew have been released. See democracynow.org for more updates
Nature's Many Manifestations
1) I'm glad that Hurricane Gustav has decreased to a category 2. May damage be minimal. My thoughts are with all life - both in Gustav's path and everywhere there is pain and hardship.
2) The CarolForPeace tomatoes are FINALLY ripening!
Now we begin our story.
Yesterday, the Buddha dog, Mr. CarolForPeace, and I, along with the rest of Colorado, drove up to the top of Mt. Evans. Mt. Evans is one of the 50+ mountains in Colorado that are over 14,000 feet and one of only two to have a road going to the top (the road up Mt. Evans is supposed to be the world's highest paved road). I haven't been to the top in a few years. We hike at around the 9,000 - 10,000 foot level every once in awhile, though. We usually try to go when the rest of the world isn't there, but something must have gotten into us yesterday.
I have only climbed 8 or 9 of the 14ers of Colorado. Mt. Evans is the last one that I climbed. I have no photos of the route that I took and I wish that I did. Suffice it to say that my friend and I spent hours climbing up and down huge boulders in a boulder field on the side of a mountain almost touching the sky and consisting of views that could make one forget other humans had ever existed. I LOVED it and can go back there in my mind and body any time.
I did take photos yesterday, so here is a little tour of the day.
(Yes, that is snow up there. There is still a little of it hanging around.)
(When I climbed this mountain, I was on the back side of the ridge you see in this photo.)
Across the road from Summit Lake - all marshy and green from snow melt.
Mountain goats are not native to Colorado. Their southern-most habitat was northern Wyoming. They were brought to the Mount Evans area in the late 50's, early 60's.
There are three in this photo - the one on the high rock and two others down to his right.
According to the Mt Evans website: "Bristlecone Pines are the oldest living thing on this earth. The oldest, over 3,000 years, is in California. The oldest Bristlecones on Mount Evans are approximately 1,700 years old."
"No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied - it speaks in silence to the very core of your being" - Ansel Adams