On Friday, Bill hand delivered our vote-by-mail ballots. Yes, it sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but we live in Georgia and I’m not taking any chances. At least not unnecessary ones.
No chances with the pandemic in a state with debatable leadership and intentionally unreliable Covid statistics, added to an unfortunate personal tendency toward pneumonia.
No chances with voting in a state known for voter suppression and targeted polling place closings.
While Bill was off doing his best to insure that our voices would be heard, I was on to my first semi-major, virtual Intentional Creativity® workshop, courtesy of the gang at Zoom. Our project was Soulful Vision Plans with a group of thoughtful, awesome women.
Wonder of wonders, the technology behaved, which is nothing short of a miracle when I’m in charge! (Except for the part where someone forgot to push the record button.) Next week, part two!
I was pretty tired when we were done. Bill and I managed to produce a lovely pork chop and some stir fried greens so local I was out front picking them 5 minutes before they hit the skillet. Yay for the new stove!
Then, some serious feet up time. Feet up time which turned into tears and Kleenex time. You see, PBS was showing the 50 years of Peter Paul & Mary show. I hadn’t seen it, ironically, since New Year’s Eve 2016. (You can no doubt do the math on that!)
For me, Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers really are the soundtrack of my life.
Singing has never been one of my best contributions to the world but, during my summer camp years, I was in charge of remembering all the words to all the songs from one summer to the next. I know them all, still.
You know how context has a way of making meaning you might not have noticed before? Well, the name of the PBS show is The Work Goes On.
I wish it didn’t so desperately need to go on while I pray, with all my heart, that it does.
I want the world to be a safe and supportive place in which my girls can grow up as empowered individuals working for the greater good and the fulfillment of their dreams.
I want that for all our children. And so I wiped tears away and listened to Noel Paul saying that it was at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement that they became aware that they were singing about Human rights.
Words from the days of Viet Nam. Musicians in their 20’s, standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, breaking out of old patterns.
I have turned, since then, from a young child into a grandmother. Many things have happened. More than I can count. And, somehow, at least on my best days, I still hope. Mostly, I hope that Peter, Paul & Mary were right when they proclaimed Pete Seeger’s words to the world. That “human beings could join together for their good.” That human beings will join together for their good.
Now is the time. Not the first time, but the time that we have. The time in which we can act. Or, to borrow from Pete Seeger again, “If you’re going to sing the music, you’ve gotta live the music.”
And, so, I’m writing. And painting. Marching really isn’t much in the cards for me and it’s entirely likely that my words and my images will reach much farther than my knees will carry me.
And, I’m going back to school, in a sense. Online workshops with Resmaa Menakem on embodied racial trauma. A workshop called Re-Membering to be led by two of my IC sisters. Painting archetypal images chosen, intentionally, in this moment.
And a reminder of the filters we all have. Filters which keep us from being utterly overwhelmed by the billions of bits of information coming at us in any given moment. Mostly, those filters are unconscious but, with some learning, we can begin to edit them consciously which, eventually, brings us new experience and new results in the world.
For me, one of those filters, a horrifying, painful filter, is George Floyd calling out for his mama. I’m choosing to be aware of that one. To let it into my map of reality, along with prayers that our human experience will one day be different………………………………..
So, my friend, all the words before this point were written Saturday night. My plan, when my head touched my pillow, was to get up and join Dr. Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign for the online memorial service honoring the 100,000 souls lost in the USA to the pandemic.
Instead, I woke a bit earlier and, after a quick trip down the hall, I tucked myself back into our cozy bed with the quilt I made and turned off the alarm. That’s when the questions started.
What would be different, in this moment, if the voices in the soundtrack of my life had been voices ringing forth from black bodies? Even more importantly, what would be different in this nation?
I was huddled there, under that quilt, wondering what might be different if I actually asked that question, here, today, when my phone inexplicably began blaring, When will we ever learn? right in my ear.
And then, with an utterly odd flash to the old cartoon with the 4-footed Mr. Peabody and his boy, Sherman, I decided I needed to find out what might be different.
Often, questions really are more important than answers!
ps… If you’re interested in working with your filters, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org