Saturday, February 21, 2009

What It Is

So many times, when we say we want change, we mean, "YOU change." We are in times when so much is changing, it is hard to keep track. And a lot of it isn't good.

The vanilla bean crop is threatened because of climate. Chocolate is threatened because of greed (see TIME magazine,2/16). Newspapers are threatened throughout the United States because of the economy, and news came a couple of days ago that Seattle may become the first major city to lose both its local newspapers--and I'll blog about that later, because I really believe a free and local press is a cornerstone of democracy and freedom. T. Jefferson and I agree. It is surreal that in 1965, I was a pioneer as a woman journalist in hard news, and 40-some years later, the industry I pioneered in, a bastion so-called, of America, is in peril.

Glaciers are melting in the Himalayas, source of water for some 5 million people, I understand? California is in its third year of drought, meaning that as soon as a month from now, the water allocation for farms may be cut off to provide limited resources for the rest of Californians--and affecting the foods produced for the rest of the nation. Here in Texas, so far the year has been very dry, and thousands pour into the state every month. We, too, provide a lot of the nation's produce.

Party politics still seems the same old, same old on both sides, and duly elected officials would rather see their constituents go down the drain than compromise, work together, and go for a fix. Huh. Well, I'm not surprised, but I admit, I still hope a little. We CAN. That's the sad story. We really can do wonderful, marvelous things, and some are doing them, but others aren't.

Can't do anything so much about that. I can vote, and I can write letters, and I can pitch in on local stuff. I can throw my strength to protect freedom--for instance, I don't want to own a rottweiler or pit bull, but a proposed statewide ban on the ownership of these breeds is wrong, wrong, wrong. I can be a strong family member. I can love folks. I can be more open to persons in my life who need me--and try to keep my eyes open, so I don't miss someone who does. I can try the best I can to live a life that eases my conscience and that I can call good--and whether I deserve it or not, it is good. Beautiful, in fact. I can, and do, laugh often. And I am embarrassed, but have to live with the current fact of how often I am moved to tears. Nothing all over the place, just a little overflowing for a minute or so.

I thought I had a plan for this year, but that's off the rails and going in an entirely different --and exhilerating--direction. Whoopee! I'm hanging on, the wind in my hair and a grin from ear to ear.

I'm not ignoring, you understand. Worldwide, things are serious. But love is still to be found, choices to be made, happiness to be noticed and enjoyed, and thanks to be given.

If this sounds like a cliche, it isn't. It is so heartfelt, my eyes are tearing up as I type it.

This week a good friend ended up in the hospital. Diagnosis: most curable kind of leukemia. BUT. She isn't just afraid of needles, she's phobic. Also very strong. I had the honor to be with her when the oncologist nurse started the IV for her blood transfusions. She was still. She was cooperative. She threw the sheet over her head so she could not see, and clenched my hands with her other hand so hard I was surprised afterwards they weren't bruised. All I could do was hold on and try to telegraph as much strength and love to her as I could. She went through the panic attack, accepted that for now that was all she could do, and thanked the nurse afterward. I am so grateful I could be there, that holding on may have made a difference.

I guess I see that kind of like a metaphor. All I want to do is hold on and try to make a difference. If I can, it has been a good and satisfying life, that I hope has a few decades to go.

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