Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The necessity of hope~

Carrying the torch~

Like a wedding after a whirlwind romance, the inauguration of our 44th president captured the country's heart--and the world's: a ceremony of promise and hope.

All new relationships start with hope. To a country with a debilitated economy and fractured expectations nothing is needed more at the moment the torch is passed from one administration to another than this positive emotion.


And change.

Things will change. Change is constant. Change comes from making choices, or not making them. Things will change. We hope it will be positive.

And here is where hope is tested.

When the emotional high fades, and real life resumes as it always does, differences that seemed easily surmounted stand out starkly. Change--what must change and how--is clarified. Disagreements arise. Ideologies diverge. Goodwill dissipates. Hope fades.

And without hope we lose ourselves.

Many have already stated what they believe are the most critical issues the president faces: global warming, terrorism, the economy, education . . . Yes, all of those and more are critical. But Barack Obama must keep alive the flame of hope he's fanned--the expectation that we can come together and overcome differences to move forward with positive change requires nothing less than hope.

United we stand.

Together we can.

I hope.
We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. ~Barack Obama

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Life's lens~

In this fourth New England snowstorm--a beautiful one with snow falling gently and clinging to trees--I took my camera and braved the poorly plowed roads to capture the beauty in pixels.

Feeling expansive, thinking of the nation poised to inaugurate a new president, I chose my wide-angle lens to shoot landscapes. I'm aware that my mood, my mindset, controls my photography. I was not in the mood today for close focus, certainly not the minute detail a macro lens allows, and I had already zoomed in on birds waiting in the tree by the driveway for their turn at the feeder.

I wanted to think about the country while I focused on the beauty of the countryside.

I don't know what the future holds. I listen to the president elect's words on the radio in my truck and think how he has not provided specifics, but he's fed hope to a hungry nation . . . a nourishing meal, as long as it lives up to its promise.

I'm anxious for a breath of fresh air that a new administration brings, yet aware that hope is just that. Hope. I will remain optimistic. If the talk of change provides only a temporary placebo effect, then . . . I will still remain hopeful.

I stand at the edge of a field, a stubble of corn stalks, like stiff whiskers, poke through the snow. The trees are soft in the falling snow; two hawks rest in their bare branches.

My cell phone rings. A teacher friend's husband has died. Unexpectedly. Victim of a brain aneurism. Discovered when his wife got home from school.

Lenses. I think of lenses. How this friend's lens was wide-angle as she drove home. She was thinking of how happy she was to have a day off on Monday--Martin Luther King's Day, maybe. Maybe she had plans she wanted to share with her husband. But her wide angled view abruptly narrowed. Macro. Up close. The world fades away in times like these. The funeral will be Monday. Her day off.

I continued to walk along the road beside the fields, stopping when I came to the place where the bridge is out. A wide chasm splits the road in two . . . like my friend's world.

I know the snow will stop. The clouds will open, allowing the sun's rays through, and even with eyes shut tight in pain, my friend will feel their warmth, although she will not see the light for a while.
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.~Gilda Radner

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I can’t . . . won’t . . . judge the combatants in the Israeli Palestinian battle in Gaza. There are plenty who have strong opinions; plenty who think one side—either one--is justified, but not the other. Plenty have voiced their thoughts . . . some in words that are as piercing as the weapons soaring across the border.

Words are weapons, too. Incendiary as bombs, they injure; they imprison others in hate. They strike without warning. “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Not physically, maybe, but they do hurt. Eventually it becomes physical.

Thoughts. Words. War. How many degrees of separation?

I do have opinions, but what good are they? What do I know, really? This issue goes back so far that my fifty plus years of sheltered living in the United States are not nearly enough for me to grasp the hate, the rivalry, the fight to the death mentality that is part of the middle east, and has been for centuries.

I’m na├»ve enough to wonder why everybody can’t just get along, why they can’t share, but realistic enough to accept that they just can’t . . . or won’t. It’s pride, it’s territoriality, it’s, sadly, human nature. At it’s worst anyway.

We suffer for the innocent. Citizen casualties. Collateral damage. Children. This goes without saying. But look into the faces of the warriors. The ones who systematically send weapons from one side—either one--to the other. They’re just people, someone’s son or daughter. Someone who once said, “When I grow up, I want to. . ."

What? Kill my neighbors?

Who ever really wants this?

So why does it continue?

Life's too beautiful. Life's too short.

What's war supposed to do . . . for anyone?

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?~Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day #1~

We love new beginnings. Time to start fresh, forgive others, forgive ourselves. A time to try, try again.

And at the stroke of midnight here’s our chance: a new year. Unmarked. Like fresh snow. No mistakes. Like a newborn baby.

Poor year has a hefty load to carry: all the hopes and dreams of the world. Hopes are pinned on 2009—all six plus billion of them—for peace, prosperity, blessings. Health, wealth, and good luck.


Happy New Year!

But already we see the tracks in the snow. Awful ones in the Mideast. Terrible ones at a Beijing nightclub on the very stroke of the new year. Still more that carried over from the past year, and the one before that, unto the dawn of time.

Yes, there will be joys and blessings this year, too. Many. I’ve experienced some already. But I prefer to take my blessings--and sorrows--one 365th of the year at time.

One day at a time.

Happy New Day!
We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce