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If we were having coffee: Politics on the beach

Love.
Love.

Love is a force that connects us to every strand of the universe, an unconditional state that characterizes human nature, a form of knowledge that is always there for us if only we can open ourselves to it.

~Emily H. Sell

Let's walk out to the beach.
Let’s walk out to the beach.

If we were having coffee, I would be delighted to see you again.  Come on in!  Hugs, if you’re amenable to them.  It’s a bit breezy out there, isn’t it?  There is the usual small craft advisory in effect, but we won’t be taking a small craft out on the water so it’s neither here nor there to us.  We might go for a walk later, if you’re in the mood.  The sky is cloudy, but the temperature is mild and inviting us all to get outside for at least a little while.

Let’s take our beverages out to the porch.  It’s really a three-season room rather than a porch, and we should stay warm enough.  There are some throw blankets scattered about, just in case you feel a little chill.  We have the usual assortment of drinks (coffee, teas, a variety of sparkling and still water).  For savory snacks, nothing much has changed.  Chips and salsa or hummus with pita and/or vegetables are available.  If you’re in the mood for sweets, we have an assortment of chocolates.  Please help yourself.

Over the dunes.
Over the dunes.

How are you?  What have you been doing since our last chat?  Have you gone on any adventures and/or traveled anywhere?  Have you seen or learned anything new?  Have you spent time with people who are important to you?  Seen any plays or listened to live music?  Have you read any good books or seen any good films?

Beside the dunes.
Beside the dunes.

I am still plodding along on the same book (Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer).  I don’t think I’ve read much of it at all this week.  I’ll explain why in just a bit.  As for films, M and I watched Eddie the Eagle last weekend.  I suppose there is something cliche about it, but I loved it.  Maybe because I needed something charming and sweet and inspiring and sometimes funny.  I remember when Eddie the Eagle was ski jumping in the 1988 Olympics, and I remember being inspired by him.  To me, he truly represented the spirit of the Olympics.  He wasn’t the best, but he was willing to give it his all.

We also watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a movie with Tiny Fey.  It was okay.  Entertaining, funny in spots, but… eh.  I don’t know.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I do like Tiny Fey and thought she did a good job.  Maybe I’m just not in the mood for war, even with humor involved.

One more look at the dunes before we hit the beach.
One more look at the dunes before we hit the beach.

If we were having coffee, tea, or something else to drink, I would tell you that the reason I’m not making much headway in the book department is because I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about recent history.  Is that an oxymoron?  I suppose it is.  I’ve been reading about things I’ve lived through but failed to pay much attention to at the time.  This need to imbibe in the not-too-faraway past stems from the present situation, and the always wondering:  How did we get here?

In addition to the reading, I have been watching a bit more television.  Mostly PBS shows such as Divided States of America on Frontline, Oklahoma City and Rachel Carson on American Experience.  The same question — How did we get here? — applies to my choice of television shows, too.  I think all of this “research” is merely another way to feel some sort of control although I know full well that control is just an illusion (particularly in this case!).

Horse tracks on the beach.
Horse tracks on the beach.

I am not an academic.  In fact, I’m a high school dropout.  I won’t try to review or analyze what I’ve been taking in.  I don’t think I could at this point anyway.  I’m still processing a lot of it, and still wondering how I missed so much of what was going on.  Complacency, of course.  My life was fine so there was no need to look too carefully.  But one thing that stands out for me now is how much more I am beginning to understand things that once seemed incomprehensible to me.

A calm day.
A calm day.

The other takeaway I have for now is that maybe we need to reinvent ourselves and start telling new stories about who we are as people, as a country, as a world.  Maybe we need to stop labeling ourselves as conservatives, liberals, moderates, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, etc., and become something else.  Maybe we need to redefine patriotism (and the Ad Council got a good start on it with this television ad).  Maybe we need to stop listening to the politicians and start listening to each other.  Maybe we need to stop being backed into a one-issue corner and allowing ourselves to be distracted or herded towards hate and anger.

In the sand.
In the sand.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still working on finding a balance between staying informed and spending too much time checking news feeds.  About ten paragraphs into this opinion piece by Andrew Sullivan, there’s a paragraph that starts with “With someone like this barging into your consciousness every hour of every day, you begin to get a glimpse of what it must be like to live in an autocracy of some kind.”  It’s worth a read if you have the time.  Just read that one paragraph and the one that follows it, if nothing else.  It describes well how I’ve felt for the past few weeks.  I imagine many others have felt that way, too.

Off in the distance, where the sky and water meet.
Off in the distance, where the sky and water meet.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would step down off of my soapbox for now and tell you how much I appreciate you listening.  We try not to discuss politics too much here at the ranch, but it’s difficult to avoid at times.  I never expected to be an activist at this point in life, that’s for sure.  There is a local rally coming up that I plan to attend if I can.  We might be Elsewhere, but our plans are up in the air for now.  I’m hoping to go west and visit with Little Wookie sometime soon, and that will depend on a number of factors.  I’m still receiving my almost-daily smiles in the form of a picture of the World’s Most Adorable Baby.  He’s growing and learning fast.  The last time we Skyped he crawled up to the camera.  He was using one leg for leverage and it looked a little like a crab walk, but he was moving quickly.  I don’t think it will be too long before he’s walking.  Then his parents will really be in trouble.  😉

Bubbles and shell.
Bubbles and shell.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in spite of the chilly weather we had this week, the crocuses are popping up and the little flowers that grow throughout the lawn are making an appearance too.  The storms we had brought down a few trees in the woods.  M is outside now with the chainsaw, cutting them up for use as firewood.  I’ve been contemplating the trees in the woods, wondering if we should start planting more.  It seems as though we have lost quite a few trees over the past three years.  Some were dead trees blown down by the winds, but some have been live (mostly cedars) that toppled due to the ground being over-saturated from rain and super high tides.  As these trees die off, there are very few small ones coming up to replace them.  If we planted new trees, would they survive the brackish water, the high tides, and the heavy rainfalls?  Or is that area going to change over to marsh some day?

The first crocus of the season.
The first crocus of the season.

If we were having coffee, tea, or some other beverage, I would apologize if I sound somewhat negative this week.  I don’t mean to.  There are still more positives than negatives in life in spite of alternative facts and what some would have us think.  Spring will follow winter as it always does.  The Little Doe continues to visit us.  We’ll have to start chasing her off soon.  Otherwise, she’ll end up in the gardens, eating our vegetables and flowers.  There is also the issue of deer ticks to contend with, another good reason to keep her away from the house and gardens.

Sticking out her tongue.
Sticking out her tongue.

If we were having coffee, it would be time for me to turn this over to you.  I need to get outside and do a little work in the garden.  Thank you so much for stopping by for another chat.  Feel free to join me in the garden.  There’s a bench out there near the pond and we can continue chatting or you can sit and enjoy the quiet.  We’re grilling locally caught fish for dinner tonight, and you’re welcome to join us.  Sunset, which I’m not sure we’ll see due to the cloud cover, is scheduled for 5:37 PM.  I’d like to go down to the Point if it looks like the clouds will part.  We usually have some spectacular sunsets on days like this if the clouds decide to give way.

Daffs by the scrounger's garden.
Daffs by the scrounger’s garden.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Flowers by the shed.
Flowers by the shed.

This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.  Thank you to Diana for hosting it. Put the kettle on, 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.

A sunset from this week.
A sunset from this week.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

23 thoughts on “If we were having coffee: Politics on the beach

  1. Thank you Robin for a very positive post in this time of unrest. I am tired of reading about it and yet I can not keep away. It seems to me that the media keeps spreading it. I try to keep once a day. I don’t have as much to read my relaxing books. All I can say I am sick at heart to what is happening on the National news front. I realize I am not along. I will take that walk with you so we can enjoy nature. Hugs! Think Positive !

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  2. I had a bit of a whine this week too Robin – maybe it’s the full moon 🙂 I was interested in your paragraph about how Americans describe themselves politically. It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me why somewhere very early in meeting someone from the US you are informed in some manner of their political sidings. I’ve wandered the world a fair bit and never found it anywhere else. It only comes up here in election time, if you care to reveal it, which lasts a mere two months or so. The US system seems to be incredibly devisive and complex (I did a lot of research to understand how this latest debacle happened and came away wondering how such a system can be called democratic…) And yet all the Americans I have ever met are incredibly nice people – warm, welcoming, open, generous, caring, well intentioned individuals. (Obviously the other kind don’t get out much!)

    From my far-away vantage point I have been so impressed and heartened by the rallies and the marches and the people speaking out. I keep an eye on it via YouTube uploads from various TV outlets and newspaper articles. While the current administration would be hilarious if it wasn’t actually so very chilling in it’s Orwellian despotism I see the people moving to take their stands, rise up together and block its evil intentions. Now that is democracy in action!

    Our trees are showing the first signs of turning, your spring must be stirring and stretching and getting ready to shake off her slumber …..

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  3. Thank you for the thoughtful post–and of course, the usual wonderful photos. 🙂 That television ad was great. I hadn’t seen it before.
    I’ve also been reading so much more news–while also then trying to avoid it. There are days when I’ve been totally stressed over the news, and that has never happened to me before.
    It is good to remember, as you remind us, that spring is still coming. I saw some of our crocuses had bloomed the other day (the day before it snowed). Enjoy your daily Wookie smiles!

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  4. It is nice to walk on the beach and let all of what’s happening today fade into the background noise of the surf. I hope to get down to Cape Cod next weekend so I can do just that, but it’s nice to take this virtual walk with you.

    I think the future is going to have to belong to average folk who never dreamed of getting involved. We need to find our voices and make sure we are heard. It can’t be one voice tweeting his message from the Olympian heights of the White House and everyone bowing down to that voice, we need to raise up a chorus, though if not loud individually, together can will sound loud and clear and powerful.

    OK, back to the beach to let it go again for a few minutes 😉 I hope you have a good week ahead!

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  5. What lovely images of the dunes you have shared with us! To think our “dunes” are all white with dirt on top… ugh. This week has been so cold thanks to our humidity. Takes a really good reason to go out there lately!
    Thanks for the warm beverage and have a fabulous week, Robin!

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  6. I would love to stay and wander about your garden. Your photos show it as a beautiful place to be. Your pictures of the beach had me wistfully thinking of sun filled beach holidays. It has been snowing here and we need to bundle up when we go outside. I do look forward to warmer weather.

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  7. Robin–I’d have never guessed about you never having finished high school–you write so well, you have a lovely connection with nature, you are a fantastic photographer. I’ve missed your posts as we’ve been away without good WiFi, lack of WiFi for the most part. Reading this post comes at a time when I needed something calming, peaceful to read, and your writing style is quite calming to me. The divisiveness on FB, Twitter, at dinner parties is so disturbing to me. I agree: yes, we need to stop with the labels and categories we’ve placed ourselves into. Enough…

    Try A Gentleman in Moscow–truly a humorous and delightful book to read. Take care.

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  8. I share your feelings of late (there are MILLIONS of us!) and we must keep the faith. 🙂 I enjoyed your links and will share one with you: http://www.drjoedispenza.com/blog/quantum-field/united-in-blooms-of-consciousness/?inf_contact_key=118514257e22cc6ff0e267668f72e0921166d914531f00bb99c15af05edd1b92
    (sorry it is so long!) It speaks of how consciousness rules matter, so what we think comes into form. I’ve been scrambling to stay out of fear (I have my moments!) and move towards faith. Focusing on what I want to see, as opposed to what I don’t want is my aim. I like the idea of us being ‘little mirrors of consciousness.’

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  9. Well said (again) Robin. Its so easy to get bogged down in the latest scandal, to try to stay informed in the event our elected leaders attempt to move the country in an unethical or immoral direction. I, like you, need a little break.

    For the past few days, I’ve shifted my focus away from the news, and towards reading blogs and spending time with people. Its so refreshing to have a conversation, whether its virtual, or real, with a person. A person who drinks coffee, works in her garden, or wants to compare notes on the Super Bowl.

    Thanks for being one of these people!

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  10. How DID we get here? has been my theme too. I wonder the same thing about those that are seeing him in a completely different way – are they seeing what they want, what they hope(d) for? Which of us is seeing more clearly? Ahhh, it’s going to be a long, bumpy road ahead. On the brighter side, our snow has melted quite a lot, although there is still quite a lot out there. At least I can see earth in those areas that were more sheltered and got less snow. This morning I heard Trumpeter Swans going over when I took the furry girls out – there is hope then, that spring is coming! I long for crocuses and daffodils like yours. I council myself – “patience, girl.”

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  11. Thanks so much for the coffee and the lovely walk! I think many of us have been trying to find that balance between staying informed and overloading on the news. This administration, it seems, has been a wakeup call to many “average” Americans who never thought they would get involved politically and are now wondering what to do to keep our country from careening over the cliff. I, too, wonder how we got here. Enjoy your beautiful garden and have a good week!

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  12. I don’t think you are negative at all. We need to ask ourselves how all this needs happened. It wasn’t overnight. I think it is partly because many have been silent and many have been too polite. But that’s just 2 of about 2 million reasons.
    By the way, that picture with the valentine mug is very striking!

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  13. Staying away from the topic of politics as so many of your other friends have already replied, I will instead tell you that I recently began reading a book called ‘The Chocolate Tin’ by Australian author Fiona McIntosh. I’m on a university break until 27th February so needed some light reading for a while. Who knows, I may even add a new blog post or two during the break! 🙂

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  14. Thank you for the thoughtful sharing. I do appreciate the links that you provided to the ad and the article in NY Mag.

    I remember reading The Diamond Age when it first was published. I had a difficult time getting through it; I may not have finished it. You have been doing history. I have ventured into political theory over the past five or six years. I am not sure if trying to understand the “madness” is a futile pursuit or not. The what isn’t as difficult as trying to understand the whys.

    Again, thanks! I hope you have a marvelously satisfactory week.

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  15. I’ve been catching up on your posts this morning as I sit at home on another snow day from school. It feels so surreal to be reading this post from you, in reality not that far away – Maryland is a very short flight from Massachusetts after all – showing things like crocuses blooming and daffodils sprouting! We’ve had 2 storms in the last 4 days and there is now about 20″ of snow on the ground. I read the article you linked to as well – it does express very well how I’ve been feeling in this new administration as well. I’ve been reading along enjoying your lovely photographs. Thank you for the beauty you always present!

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  16. Hi Robin,
    I have been so switched off from the news this year and have been retreating into the past researching my husband’s family and that’ been quite all-consuming trying to chase up the threads but I’ve made really good progress over the last couple of days and am almost at a point where I can start writing it up.
    Last week, I went to a professional photography shop to print my photos instead of Kmart and really appreciated connecting with the staff. I’m planning to go on a few photography trips with them, which would be great. Even spending that short amount of time in the shop made me appreciate how much I need to spend more time with my own.
    Anyway, I need to get off to sleep now.
    Take care & best wishes,
    Rowena

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  17. Thanks for the coffee and chocolate!

    So good to hear about your week and that sweet baby crawling towards the camera ❤

    I hear you on the politics front, I’ve had to limit my time looking at news feeds and have given up on Facebook for a while. It’s been a couple of weeks and my stress level has decreased significantly, which was desperately needed.

    I hope you have a lovely week ahead!

    xoxo

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  18. I understand why most here are discouraged and perhaps upset. While I see things a little differently, perhaps I can give a another perspective. The idea that how this country and it’s ideals proceed are somehow different today than in the past is certainly true. The country and it’s people seem to be at polar opposites. It isn’t that black and white. When you separate the agendas, those of the politicians, media and special interest groups, you’ll find most of us are not that far apart. We want the same things, we may disagree on how to achieve them. That is to be expected. What we need not to disagree on is that we are the same. We love this country, it’s people, it’s traditions, it’s value in the world. We are not as far apart as some might think or want. I am in love with this country, with all it’s faults, all it’s greatness, all it’s people. It won’t be easy, but it will be done. I choose to to look for cooperation, unity, understanding and most of all answers to our problems and issues. I hope you feel the same.

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  19. Katie and I have made it to AL. I’ve been without TV now for a good long time and it feels nice. I don’t know what the latest in politics is, don’t know who is blaming whom for what. Don’t care. Soon enough I’ll be back home and the television will again invade my space. But for now I’m enjoying the silence. And the daffodils and magnolias and camellias that are blooming here.

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  20. Thanks for dropping by at my corner and commenting. It brought me back around to your lovely little spot on the blogsphere. I Do miss your lovely and thoughtful posts, but life really went a bit crazy for me this past year. The health issues are relatively minor, chronic and pretty much ever present, but they ebb and flow. Seem to hit when things get particularly busy and they have been busy! That’s pretty much the why of not keeping up with blogging… mine and all you other delightful bloggy buddies. Someday, this too shall pass and I fully intend to pick up where I left off maybe? Or nearby at any rate. I miss your footwear gravatar… didn’t recognize you at first! 😀

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  21. I followed you here from Merril’s post. My name is also Robin. 🙂
    I have said a few brief things politically, on the beginning of the year posts (roosters kissing while hawk sulks in a nature preserve photo I took last year. . .)
    I mainly take photos on my own and then try some poetic prose.
    I enjoyed your uplifting thoughts! I try to stay positive! My recent life has been a little stressful. Hope to stay in touch. 🙂

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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