It seems a lifetime ago now but recently I was lucky enough to wander through the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon. In a trip replete with beauty, this ranked right near the top. Never have I been in a crowded public space that was so serene. That speaks volumes about the healing power of trees and plants and beautiful design. Enjoy the pictures.
That’s all – unless you’re interested in two memories.
One: It was my first year of law school. Constitutional Law. I raised my hand (something I didn’t do much) and asserted that I wished Roe v Wade was better decided. There might have been gasps. This was a Jesuit school after all and I had a reputation already — the Women’s Law Center, etc. But what I meant was simple. I didn’t like how vulnerable the holding was because it relied on the fundamental right to privacy under the Bill of Rights (particularly open to attack by strict constructionists like Kavanaugh). Furthermore (even then), the holding was on a collision course with medical science, as interventions continued to push the date of viability earlier and earlier in pregnancy.
Two. It’s a panel with Ram Dass and Marilyn Ferguson. He: a Buddhist, she: a radical Christian. I think the topic was climate change. She offered her passionate hope that we get it together in time. He said, why should it matter to me that humans continue?
Or words to that affect. Omega Institute.
I’m not laying aside my rage or activism (such as it is), but here we are — entering what by all counts appears to be a period of misogynistic tyranny.
Taking Ferguson’s position, I say: we will need strategy, devious adaptation, and each other.
Taking Ram Dass’s position: get used to it. This is how it is now. (Different from non-attachment, I know– but also miles from the passionate hope for social justice and sensible government).
There has been something compensatory, soothing even, hand stitching on two village quilts while listening to the Kavanaugh hearings.
But perhaps not compensatory enough. I felt sick last night while going to sleep. Worried about it a little. It is the first time since November 2016 where I truly thought I might need to stay away from the news for a while.
The gasbags of the patriarchy, otherwise known as the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, were no easy listen. I’ve tweeted, posted on FB, talked with friends, texted and DM’d in real time. Thank goodness for those connections. That humor. That shared outrage.
But this morning, waking to the first sun in ages, I’m typed out about it all. Here are a few highlights.
(Well, certainly not a “quarters game”).
It was a good week to send my first 20 postcards to voters.
Enjoy your weekend, all. Today is a day to get out in the fall air with K and the dog. Tomorrow we’re seeing a play called “The Niceties.”
I went to read blogs. I’ve missed being in the loop. Don’t want to be a slacker, etc. But, having been away, the computer was off and in bending over to turn on the CPU, a lot of dust confronted me. So I got out my trusty little LED lamp that I keep to illuminate the dark cubbies of tangled cords and went to it. By then a neighbor’s yard crew, already loud, but legal, fired up a second leaf blower — not legal — so, tired of being the in-person enforcer, I leapt up to shoot my neighbor an email asking her to let them know. To control what I could (a helpful tactic in any arena), I pulled out my noise-cancelling headphones only to find that, yet again I’d left them on and drained the battery.
Battery was not just dead, but fuzzy and its corridor of power rimed, so using a bamboo skewer and paper towel, I reamed out the dark compartment. Even a new battery failed to make the green light appear (this, after trying several from a baggie marked, “used but maybe not dead,” a phrase I remembered as “old but not necessarily dead.”) I donned the headphones anyway and took to standing on tables and stools, because by then the fury of dusting had gone up an elevation to bookcases and ceilings. I worry about falling now. How different from when I relied on balance and agility, sometimes making a long athletic reach, letting the support tip, completely secure in the possible outcomes (“old but not necessarily dead,” indeed).
It is sufficiently chilly and light-less now to want curtains on our back wall of glass, so I hung those and in the process passed a new credit card enough times to want to activate it. Thought it’d be simple. The card had no raised numbers to report to the robot, so I kept pressing “1” for more time and the robot kept asking me if I wanted more time before I’d had a chance to do anything, so ultimately I opted for a call- back. The return call was ALSO a robot, obnoxiously asking for additional numeric selections, a fact I found sufficiently outrageous to begin my communication with “Cookie” by complaining.
“You were calling ME,” I say, as if any big bank gives a shit about customers, a status further revealed (and not countermanded as they might think), by asking me at the close of the call if I wouldn’t mind taking the additional time to complete a survey about the transaction. Are they crazy? Did Cookie not hear how I interrupted her attempt to log my initial complaint in order to abbreviate our exchange? And meanwhile, it didn’t help that the call was necessitated by the fact that I’m an idiot. “Really? I’ve had this card since 1997?” And, who knew the account number was on the back and not raised because that’s how they do it now?Soon I was windexing the transom windows and listening to Pod Save America’s coverage of Kavanaugh — wondering why — what’s enough!— since at this point it’s like listening to my own thoughts I’ve followed the whole sorry story so closely.
What is enough? How many times?
How much coverage is enough or how many times must we go through this very scenario before guys in power figure anything out? Apparently, Anita Hill taught two of these very senators absolutely nothing.
Here, let me remove my imaginary glasses and proclaim what is real.
I plunked into my chair, opened facebook and watched a cute video called, “Fart Out Loud Day” IN ITS ENTIRETY and laughed and that ends this Tale of Distraction.
Here are two links that made a positive difference to me this week.
The first is political, but reads like poetry. It pushes the boundaries of genre in an exciting way and gets at where we find ourselves without being analytical. By Alexandra Petri.
And the other is a poem by WB Yeats, The Circus Animals’ Desertion, referenced in the TV detective show, Shetland, that I’ve been watching. The last lines read: