The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles.
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 22 October 1925
If we were having coffee, I would welcome you with a big hug if you are amenable to hugs, or a big smile if you would rather take a pass on the hug. I understand not being okay with hugs especially when they come from non-family members or people you don’t know really well. I used to be that way, but got exposed to so many hugs over the years that I’ve learned to like them. Somehow or another, life keeps bringing me friends and acquaintances who are huggers. What used to feel awkward and uncomfortable has become, over the years, something pretty nice. (In case it needs to be said/written, I have never had a problem hugging those I love.) In fact, I’ll hug strangers now. I did that once, in Chicago. A group of folks were giving out free hugs and after watching people turn them down, I decided I would say yes. The Free Hugs people looked like they needed a hug or two after all those other people said no.
Let’s grab our drinks, whatever they may be (we have coffee, all kinds of tea including a wide variety of herbals which can be served hot or over ice, wine, and beer), and go out to the porch where the ceiling fan should keep us cool enough while we enjoy the view. There is some freshly baked banana bread (thanks to M). I’ll bring that out with us in case we want something to munch on.
So. How are you? Whatcha’ been up to this past week? Have you traveled anywhere? Taken any good walks? Learned anything new? Relearned something old that you used to know how to do but forgot? Have you read any good books or watched any good movies or listened to any good music? Made any art? Written a novel of your own?
I don’t have any films worth telling you about (what I’ve watched lately has been “eh” or “meh”), but I finished reading Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure. I enjoyed it. I think the best way to sum it up is as a spiritual romp through India. The author, Sarah MacDonald, traveled through India, explored the various religions practiced there, and learned a few things along the way. I enjoyed her irreverent look at both the country and the spiritual/religious aspects. That said, I don’t think she was disrespectful, and I think she was pretty clear that she’d only touched on the different aspects of faith and spirituality in India.
I am currently reading The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. I saved this book to read during the hot summer months because it takes place in Alaska during the winter. A few years ago, I read The Terror by Dan Simmons about the HMS Terror and the search for the Northwest Passage. The book is based on historical events, and is described on Amazon as “a novel that will chill you to your core.” I read it during a particularly harsh winter while we were living in the snowbelt of northeast Ohio, and the icy scenes had me shivering. I decided then and there that I would read books about winter during the summer months in hopes that the snowy and icy descriptions would help me cool off. (I highly recommend The Terror, by the way, with the warning that it can be terrifying.)
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I lived in South Carolina many years ago. As a northerner transplanted to the south, I never really felt comfortable there. Southern Hospitality, it seemed to me, was mostly a surface kind of thing. People want you to divulge everything about yourself, but give little back. Not all southerners are that way, of course, and it is unfair of me to paint them with such a broad stroke, but it was my general experience living in South Carolina and, later, in Georgia. I did make some good friends in both states, although now that I think about it, some of them were also transplants from up north.
I also ran into a few people who were still fighting what they call “The War of Northern Aggression” (the U.S. Civil War), and one woman, Madeleine, even told me that “all you Yankees should go back up north where you belong.” She seemed to think we were spoiling (and despoiling) The South. Finding a job was sometimes difficult because I wasn’t trusted once it was revealed (via my work applications and previous job experience) that I originated from the north. I was grilled about my feelings towards unions and organizing workers. “I don’t know how you folks do things up north, but down here in South Carolina, we don’t cotton to that sort of thing, ” one man said as he lectured me about the south’s anti-union stance and why the workers were better off without unions. (This was not true — the workers were not necessarily better off — but I was young, in need of a job, and certainly not about to start unionizing the good workers of South Carolina.)
I lived in Columbia, South Carolina, which is the state capital. High atop the state house flew the American flag, the South Carolina state flag, and the Confederate Flag. The Confederate Flag was eventually moved from the state house to within view of the state house after numerous protests. It was a compromise that I suspect didn’t satisfy anyone, particularly those against the flying of this flag and what it represents. The rules governing the compromise are very strict, and geared towards keeping it flying at all times. In fact, the flag is permanently fixed in place, with no pulley system to bring it down, because it is now part of a Confederate memorial.
I want to write about what happened this week in South Carolina, but I can’t find the words. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show found his words which you can read or watch/listen to here. Christina found her words in NOT Acceptable. Another blogger I follow found Worn-Out Words, and it’s a damn good read. Please, if you have the time, go over and read Quinn’s post. It’s not long, but it is powerful. When you finish there, hop on over to Dawn’s place where she gives us a moment of beauty and Hope.
Quick update (and I’ll probably keep updating as the posts come in): Carol asks a very good question with her post Why?
If we were having coffee, I would tell you I wasn’t entirely honest just now. I do have words for what happened in Charleston, South Carolina this week, but those words are full of shock and anger as well as sadness because of the way the politicians play with their words and put their own spin on these horrific acts of terrorism. I try to work around politics and my political leanings on this blog, but I think we all know where I stand on a lot of matters given my tree-hugging hippie leanings.
If we were having coffee, I would apologize for this slow walk down a sad path, and change the subject. I would tell you that it has been a busy week with mostly good news when it comes to things related to my health, and that I am enjoying my purple hair. Andrea, my stylist, even put some in my bangs (“fringe” to some of you).
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we had some more storms roll through on Thursday and we were given this:
There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.
~ Dalai Lama XIV
If we were having coffee, I would thank you for stopping by today. I really enjoy our visits. Sunset is at 8:29 this evening if you’d like to stay for it. I’m not sure we’ll see much since it has been mostly cloudy with the occasional sunny spell today. The clouds could either hide or enhance the sunset. We’ll have to wait and see.
This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. Put on the kettle, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.