This seems particularly appropriate today. I was delighted to hear this reading of Tennyson’s poem, Ulysses, by Helen Mirren on the Stephen Colbert show. It’s good to remember that while we change, what we are, remains . . . and a few tears along the way are just fine.
And so we come to the end of February’s NaHaiWriMo. Thanks for following along! I’ll be back with April’s poetry writing challenge. See you then!
Before I settled into my graduate studies at Washington State University, I spent a semester studying leadership and organizational development. Systemic interactions and systemic health fascinate me. At the time, I was troubled by ineffective and unauthentic interactions within a particular group I had been deeply involved with for nearly two decades. A few years further down the road, I hear anecdotally similar issues still crop up. With the added space and time, I also see this system is hardly alone in its struggle. It’s a lived struggle throughout our communities and organizations. Food for thought.
The radio woke me to another round of newscasters looking for a yes or no answer to a convoluted problem, and the equally meaningless dithering of political hedging. It continued as I brushed my teeth, washed my face and headed for the kitchen. As the coffee pot burbled, I listened to the next story – the return of youth to a place where the blood was scrubbed away but the dust had yet to settle. I thought about times where there was no return. I thought about the courage of people take on the lobbying cartels that feed our political landscape. I wondered what would it take to fix our civil malaise? There are no easy answers, no one-off solutions. A good start would be if we listen to each other, and try to truly understand each other’s fears, hopes, dreams, and humanity. Perhaps that would open the door to civil political debate with a chance of unlocking shared solutions.
We’ve had a bit of a cold spell, which I suppose could be a blessing in disguise. It certainly allows for more time to hide the winter’s growth under bulky sweaters and long scarves. On the other hand, it also encourages hibernation with hot chocolate, cookies, quilts and favorite books. Which do nothing for decreasing the bulk, no matter how many walks, dance classes or yoga is ticked off the daily to-do list. It’s clearly time for the new and improved spring list of foods to shun, and to double the active fun!
Sometimes, you just have to laugh looking back at decision points and paths taken — or worse, not taken. Life’s a game, when all is said and done. Sometimes you win and others you lose. Attitude counts. I like to experiment with senryu to capture life’s little ironies. It allows a certain amount of head-shaking and finger-pointing without going into a maudlin diatribe. It frees some space for that best of all medicines — laughter.
Tomorrow offers a tasty treat and a chance to support some important community organizations here in my neck of the woods: Pie Fest 2018, a community event and fundraiser organized by the Olympia Bakers Guild. All pies must be made by scratch; once the judges have tasted contest entries, the remaining slices or whole pies are sold. All proceeds are earmarked for the Thurston County Food Bank and the Senior Nutrition Program. If you’re in the neighborhood tomorrow afternoon, come taste some pie!
But on a serious note: the issue this event is focused on is critically important. Food insecurity doesn’t just happen. There are deep, ingrained systemic reasons underlying hunger. No one “cause” is to blame — and no one “solution” will fix the problem. In Thurston County, the South Sound Food System Network is bringing together many organizations to focus on the local food system and local need. Once you’ve found your favorite piece of pie, remember to take a few minutes to visit the SSFS Network. And learn how you can make a difference!
Another two-fer today. The NaHaiWriMo prompts called for “appetizers” on February 21 and “the first frost” on February 22. What to do with that? Hmmmm . . . Successful marriages that last over time, the dry spells and chilly eras, to emerge back into the sunshine intrigue me: I have heard of such marriages referred to as a fine wine. So, here’s a little nod to the the Wine Folly’s review of celebratory beverages for each stage of the marriage. Sláinte!
No haiku today. Yesterday, I wandered along Burfoot Park beach during low tide with a friend. The air was crisp, and the sun shimmered across Budd Inlet. As we wandered along, we found someone had left a flower path for others to follow. I love unexpected finds like this! They challenge one’s mind and spirit to find connections and create stories — why is this here? What does it mean? Would could it mean? Does the brilliantly colored bloom amid pebbles, rocks and sand speak of hope and growth? Does it tell the story that beauty and grace will always be found, even — and perhaps especially — in the most unexpected places? What does it speak to your soul?
Today’s NaHaiWriMo effort combined two prompts: obi sash and the rub-a-dub of a washboard. Minds work in odd ways, do they not? After looking at a few pictures of an obi-sash, the old western style corset kept coming to mind. And I wondered: how much of woman’s fashion — regardless of culture — is designed to bind? And to bind what? And what would it take to be free? Perhaps a washboard, some tenacity, and a hawk circling above?
On some days, and at certain times, I have a fondness for back road adventures. Yes! Let’s go off the beaten path. Let’s take that narrow, winding lane that others bypass. And then there are times I stubbornly take the lane others shy away from . . . this time it will be different, I say to myself. This time, dreams come true. This time . . . this time . . . this time. Note to self: Shut up and drive.
Today’s NaHaiWriMo prompt was simply one word — an invitation to learn a bit more about this bold bird who makes such a racket. One curiosity was that a group of chickadees is called a banditry. Another — they are one of the easiest birds to tame. And so the comparison to past companions. Inevitable, right?! Probably not, but it’s what I’ve got for today. Enjoy!