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A Monday meander: The elephant in the room

Misty days

Nationalism is the belief that no matter what one’s country does—whether racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, or the like—it must be supported and accepted entirely. Patriotism is a bigger, more uplifting virtue. Patriotism is the belief in the best values of one’s country, and the pursuit of the best means to realize those values. If the nation strays, then it must be corrected. The patriot is the person who, spotting the need for change, says so clearly and loudly, without hate or rancor. The nationalist is the person who spurns such correction and would rather take refuge in bigotry than fight it. It is the nationalists who wrap themselves in a flag and loudly proclaim themselves as patriots.

~ Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America 

Great Blue Heron in the mist.

I see light and patches of blue sky outside the window as I sit and work on this post.  It’s the first we’ve seen of the sky and sun in a while.  The monsoon rains continued over the weekend, pouring and pouring and pouring down upon us.  I don’t know what the grand total was because I didn’t take note of the amount we received on Friday and Saturday.  Yesterday it was a little over 3 inches.

Walking into the fog and misty rain.

I highly suspect this has not been a good spring for many of the farmers on the Eastern Shore.  The latest rainfall isn’t the only thing the farmers have to worry about, or perhaps the latest rainfall is part and parcel of what they have to worry about but they are not willing to admit that climate change is a possibility.  NPR recently ran a story titled Flooding and Rising Seas Threaten America’s Oldest Farmland.  Did you know they have been farming here since the mid-1600’s?  One of the farmers interviewed for the story said the land grant came into his family in 1666.

The farmers on the Eastern Shore, many of whom voted for That Guy in the Oval Office who pulled out of the Paris Agreement, are now worried about what will happen with their farmland which is being inundated with saltwater because of increased flooding.  One other interesting note in the article was from an agroecologist, Kate Tully, who thinks the sea might be pushing beneath the land and getting into the ground water.  During the past two years, with higher than usual tides occurring more often, and rainfall becoming heavier, I’ve noticed that our drinking water has become saltier.  I thought that might be due to water from the tidal creek sinking into the ground water.  Reading the article has me wondering if Ms. Tully’s theory is correct and if our drinking water is becoming brinier as a result of the sea pushing its way in.  Whatever the case, I’ve had to switch back to bottled water, something I loathe doing because of the plastic containers.  I do buy the 2.5 gallon containers.  Even so, it seems such a waste, but I am salt-sensitive and the RO filter we use does not reduce the amount of salt in the water.

The greenhouse.

Early Saturday we did have a break from the rain and wind and general storminess.  M and I went for our first paddle of the season, taking the kayak out to Point where the water was amazingly calm.  The reflections of the sky and clouds were quite beautiful.  I wish I could show them to you, but you will just have to imagine the water as a mirror, only rippling when a fish or other creature swims close to the surface or when we put our paddles in the water, creating splashes and a small wake to go with our ripples.  I didn’t bring a camera along with me because I wanted to be in the experience rather than always looking for a good shot.

I did take this shot of the kayak, the beach, and the water with my phone just before we got in the water.

While you are imagining the smooth-as-glass surface of the river, you might also want to picture a Great Egret standing on the shore with tall, green marsh grasses creating a fence-like structure behind her.  Paddling a little farther along the shore, you will find a Great Blue Heron who is not as tolerant of people as the egret so he takes off in flight with a loud squawk to let us know how put off he feels about us interrupting his hunt for breakfast.  The best part — the very best part — is the Bald Eagle who swoops down close to our kayak, just inches above the water.  Majestic, amazing, beautiful.

Loblolly pines at the edge of the marsh.

You might be wondering what elephant I meant when I titled my post for today.  The elephant has a name:  Politics.  So many of us are avoiding the subject on our blogs, or finding creative ways to bring it up without naming names or specifics.  I have not always successfully avoided writing about current events, but I do know that many who visit here prefer the posts that avoid the elephant.  I get that.  Truly, I do.

And yet, the more things go on, the more I wonder if those of us who are quiet are furthering an agenda we disagree with.  I wonder if our lack of noise and discussion and public outrage will be something we’ll regret later on down the road.

Cross purposes.

This morning I read this article in The Guardian about the Dominionists and Project Blitz.  The Dominionists, in case you’re unfamiliar with them, believe that the U.S. is a Christian nation and they bascially oppose separation of church and state.  The hardcore Dominionists want to remake the country.  Some think of them as the American Taliban.  There are a lot of meaty articles about Dominionists and their mission (a quick search will turn up a few), about their connection with That Guy in the White House, the Veep, and others in the current administration.  The Guardian article is about the move to erode the separation of church and state through an agenda of pushing through bills at state levels.  The story ends with this quote:

If you are a more liberal Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim, or a non-believer of any sort, or whatever you happen to be, you’re a second class citizen at best.

~ Frederick Clarkson, senior research analyst at Political Research Associates

If the subject interests you, you can read Clarkson’s piece on it here.  I’ve read several other articles regarding changes those on the far Christian right want to make in terms of education.  This Washington Post article from last year might be worth a little of your time, too, if interested.

Darkening atmosphere.

I discussed The Guardian article with M at lunch today and his response was that he sees those who want to erode the separation between church and state as Un-American.  Unpatriotic.  It occurred to me that a sound bite could be made of that, something easily passed on and repeated.  It’s pithy and it’s true (see the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) and it would be an easy response to this growing notion that we are a Christian nation.  I wonder why people don’t make noise about this, and then realize that I’m one of those who doesn’t make a whole lot of noise about much of anything because it’s easy for me to sit back and wait.  Plus there is so much going on (the recent SCOTUS decision regarding the bigoted baker, the way the media spreads propaganda by publishing tweets that can’t be questioned or held to account in any way, the separation of children from their parents, and more),  that it’s difficult to keep up or to pick a topic.

Side note:  You might think that watching The Handmaid’s Tale is influencing me (it might be), but I’ve always thought that we need to be wary of a blurring of the lines between religion and government.  I’ve always been mildly suspicious of those who want to “bring prayer back into schools” (it never left — it just has to be student led) because those same people would have conniptions and hissy fits if, say, a Wiccan or Muslim wanted to lead their child in prayer at school.

When the rain is so heavy you can barely see behind the water pouring down.

That’s enough of that.  I will put my soapbox aside for now, but will also give you fair warning that it will likely be coming out again from time to time.  One of the reasons I’ve struggled so much with blogging since November 2016 is because I have to skip or skim over the subjects that are important to me during these chaotic times.  But you already know that because I’ve written about it a few times.

Some light by the pond between deluges.

In other news… Today is my mother’s birthday.  She would have been 81 years old.  Happy birthday, Mom.  I miss you.

My mother loved roses with pink and orange and peach hues.

Thank you for stopping by today and meandering with me a bit.  It looks like we might actually be able to see the sunset this evening.  Meet you at the Point.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:23 PM.  It will be warm but windy out there.  There’s a small craft advisory in effect and although we won’t be on a small craft, it does mean wind (about 20-40 mph winds).

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

A pair.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  736)  Sunshine and a clear blue sky after the heavy rains of the weekend.  737)  The right to free speech.  738)  Early morning bird songs and chatter.  739)  Bobwhite and his whistle.  I think he’s bragging about finding a mate.  Or maybe there are babies.  Whatever the case, he’s been carrying on about it for days.  740)  Summer salads and vegetables cooked on the grill.

Buck and Doe.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the 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.

36 thoughts on “A Monday meander: The elephant in the room

  1. Pretty alarming that your area is seeing the effects of climate in your water supply. And to think this is only the beginning. 😦 There are so many things that are hard to face in the world right now. The world doesn’t feel all that safe anymore. My sons are talking about not having children… instability being their chief reason. Where is the hope that always characterized the young?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for weighing in, Eliza. I appreciate it. I agree with you, but that’s probably not surprising. I think it’s that there are hard things we need to face, and that the world doesn’t feel safe that has me questioning what, if anything, I should be doing.
      I wonder how much ope the young can possibly have the way things are going, and yet I do see it from time to time. The millennials, in particular, interest me lately because some of them are changing the way they live and do business, and there’s a lot of compassion in it. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to see if this plays out as true change or a passing fad. My hope is that it will become true change. And maybe that’s the reason for all the chaos and uproar now — the old order thrashing as it dies out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I stopped writing on my other blog (the one for my former features journalist/arts writer/opinion essayists right after the 2016 election. I wrote a few blog posts about Heather Heyer and the press being attacked. But I got tired. I skim over it because if I let it in even a little, I become overwhelmed. I pop my head up and read more every now and then, but I have to step away. It’s a bombardment and I feel helpless even doing the little bit I do (write about it, volunteer, rally, etc.). I feel like we’re all holding our breath, waiting to see how this is going to turn out… nix that… how badly this is going to turn out. I’m thankful so many speak out (and with much larger audiences than I’ll have) because after a while, it really felt like… I. Just. Can’t. Anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Tara. 🙂 And thank you for your thoughts. I understand this: “I. Just. Can’t. Anymore.” I feel that way a lot, too. I take long breaks from the news cycle from time to time, and have found that I really don’t miss much. This age of insta-news also brings about insta-outrage before the whole story has been told, and often people overreact to what is, essentially, a nothing burger. There is so much distraction, too, things that are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Right now, I don’t care that Melania hasn’t been seen lately or that the Eagles invitation to the White House was cancelled by the Orange Toddler. Lots of smoke and mirrors to keep us from the real news. sigh

        Liked by 2 people

        1. He is an expert at distraction. I just read Charles Blow’s commentary in today’s New York Times (6/7) and he says that he gets tired, too. Then he remembers that DT wrote once, about the Central Park Five, that he didn’t want to understand. He wanted to hate and punish them. He’s just an evil-hearted person. But Charles’ point was he remembers that he’s not battling our idiot president — he’s battling hate. That actually gave me a boost to want to do more.

          I just hope the damage done isn’t irreparable.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I follow him on Twitter, but don’t think I read his latest commentary. I don’t visit the NYT often because of the paywall (I usually end up out of free articles before the end of the month). I completely understand why they have it. At the beginning of this mess, I subscribed to the Washington Post (they have local news that is relevant to me as well as the national stuff). Thank you for passing on Charles’ point about hate. All the more reason to do more.

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for the quote, your photos, and your words. I try to reduce the number of my posts that involve politics, but then I wonder whether I should be doing that. Reality is, is this bloggy world, whether or not to read a post is an individual choice. Just because I put it up, doesn’t mean my followers HAVE to read it. It’s the same with Facebook posts, what we read is up to each of us. And I can only stay quiet for a short period of time. Climate change? Yeah, one of the many ways we’re destroying our world, our planet. And being willfully blind about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Carol, and thank you for your posts, even those that involve politics. I hadn’t given it much thought but you’re right about how reading blog posts is an individual choice. I’m the same way about staying quiet — I can’t manage it for very long.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post, Robin. Well, you know my thoughts about the current political horror and the separation of church of state. We can’t be afraid to discuss it, but at the same time, there’s overkill. Someone on FB the other day posted one of those racist anti-Michelle Obama photo/memes claiming she said something that of course she hadn’t. I just put the Snopes link as a comment without saying anything else. It probably won’t change anything, but I figure she has the choice now to continue to post a lie or not, knowing it’s a lie. Though she might believe Snopes is a fake news site. Sigh.
    I had never heard that about the ocean seeping up the way you describe it, but it certainly makes sense, especially in low lying areas. That’s too bad about having to go to bottled water though.

    Your description of the kayaking is beautiful–I can’t imagine how wonderful it must have been to see that eagle.
    As always, the photos are stunning! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 The eagle was amazing. Almost an encouragement for this reluctant kayaker to get out on the water more.
      I might be in the overkill category on FB. The only thing I post there anymore are links to news articles (from reputable sources and I usually check around before I post them). It’s a pointless venture because those who I hope will read them are most likely not to read them. They believe the propaganda about fake news and consider most reputable sources to be fake news. Including Snopes. It’s frustrating and almost heartbreaking.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Frank. I thought it was well done, too. I wish that those who oppose the current regime would start hammering that point home every single time something comes up that is unconstitutional, unpatriotic, or plain old un-American (although I have to admit I dislike the word “un-American” because of HUAC and lord knows, we don’t need that again).
      It’s good to see you. I hope you’ve been enjoying your break. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have had similar thoughts. That to be silent is to be complicit. And truthfully the guy in the White House scares the crap out of me. Still, most of my friends, I have learned through this past election are much much much more conservative than me..and most of them support him. And yet I still like them. And I wonder if I voiced my opinion what would happen. But as I type this I see that they have voiced theirs and I’m still their friend (most of them anyway) so I should be able to voice mine and not change our relationships. Plus I’m president of an organization and somehow I worry about voicing my personal opinions about politics and keeping those and my work as president separate. My opinions would not necessarily be those of the organization. It’s complicated.

    BUT…YOU SAW AN EAGLE close to you! Oh that must have been amazing. I can just picture it. How cool. And happy birthday to your mom…the rose (peony?) is beautiful. My mom would have been 89 this August. I can’t even imagine.

    Good post. I will ponder on it. I don’t know if I’m brave enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. I was so excited about the eagle! As I mentioned in a reply to Merril, it’s made me a little more inclined to get out on the water. If only the weather would cooperate (small craft advisories nearly every day!).

      I can see how it would be complicated for you. The work you do with regards to truck safety is important. Mixing your opinions and politics into it could potentially harm what you’re trying to do. It might be best to stay out of it in terms of publicly posting.

      I’m so glad you’ve been able to maintain friendships throughout this mess. It’s not been easy. I have some friends (and family) who support That Guy no matter what and their hatred and bigotry has come out into the open. I’m disappointed in those folks. Other friends, conservatives, are horrified by this sh*t show and more likely to debate things in a reasonable manner (that has changed my mind on occasion).

      Like

      1. P.S. Speaking of FB, Dawn, I am still doing the 365 walk project but I’m only posting on Instagram. I’ve pretty much given up on FB except for being a pain in the butt with news stories. I don’t visit there anymore unless forced to (to get info about a local business or something of that nature). I would suspend my account but it’s hard to get info about some of the local businesses without it.

        Like

        1. I need to open an instagram account. I have no idea how to do that. I miss seeing your photos! I’m still posting them to FB…and have found that I enjoy looking for that one image each day. Don’t know if I can go 365 days though..we’ll see.

          Like

  6. Robin, first I bow with respect to your courage to speak your truth – about how you feel and how you see the current situation with our country and the current occupant of the White House. There is more than enough to keep us focused on the worst possible outcomes of so many things.

    Secondly, I so enjoyed this post for many reasons. You have woven the realities of so many aspects of our human experience in this post! The stunning beauty of nature, the craziness in our current milieu, a birthday wish for your late mother, and an invitation to meet you at the point. This post is emblematic of the day-to-day experience of many of us here in the US. Some of us feel the many aspects of it more deeply than others, I’m convinced.

    Finally, I’m grateful you observed that many of us may be avoiding politics on our blogs. I feel that those of us who follow each other’s blogs and take time to comment truly appreciate and honor the gift offered by the author. The topic, for me, is to some degree secondary to the way in which the author presents it. I appreciate the way you addressed the elephant in the room and named it as well.

    I have chosen to write primarily on the topics which I feel are fundamental to us as human beings. I am always curious as I watch and read and that is where my inspiration generally begins. Often, current events invite me to question within and observe even more deeply the choices and behaviors of many.

    Thank you for courageously naming the elephant while sharing the beautiful nature which surrounds your home. Namaste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, Carrie, and thank you so very much for you comment. I feel honored (and maybe a tad unworthy). Your blog posts often give me much food for thought, and I can see how they are related in subtle ways to current events. I appreciate that subtlety. I think that is probably more effective than my tendency to want to “hammer” out my point of view. It is so frustrating at time that I’m thinking of taking up primal scream therapy. lol! (Just looked that up out of curiosity. I remember hearing about it in the 1970’s. The psychologist behind primal therapy died last year.)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful pictures, as always, Robin.
    I think you’re right. Silence is almost like being complicit. And so many people are not happy yet remain mute.
    I’m north of you and still pay somewhat attention. Not overly because it is one hysteria moment after another. We must breathe.
    An eagle? Wow…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dale. 🙂 Yes, we must breathe and too much immersion in the chaos can make it difficult to do that. That stunt he pulled this past weekend… I don’t even know what to say. He’s isolating us from our allies.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it’s best NOT to keep quiet about our political reality today, but I’m ashamed to admit, I too often do keep quiet. I feel burdened and depressed by the whole news cycle and the imbecile tweets and the dismantlement of all we hold dear in this country. I hardly engage on Facebook any more because of the political maelstrom. Yet, I think we need to talk about what’s happening. The Christian “Taliban” is just as extreme and distasteful as its Muslim counterpart. I will never have any religion forced down my throat. The day when we are all forced to become some brand of intolerant ultra-conservative Christian is the day I will have to escape this country.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Robin. As for the incessant rain, it was interesting to visit Great Falls the last two days. You can’t even see the rocks at the Falls because the water is at such a high level. It’s raging and churning; some of the trails and even the Maryland side have been shut down because of the rising Potomac. The power of nature is amazing to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you, Cathy, for your thoughts. I’m just about ready to escape this country, to be honest. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to move my entire family with me.

      I was wondering how all this water was playing out on the rivers and waterfalls. We used to go out and visit some of the local waterfalls when we were in NE Ohio. As far as I know, there are no waterfalls on the Eastern Shore (it’s so flat!).

      Like

      1. I so understand your sentiments, Robin. It’s so frustrating to watch this story unfold, day after relentless day.

        As for the rain, it came down hard all last night and we are drenched here. I wonder if it will ever be dry!

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  9. Thank you for the discussing of the elephant. Many of us are depressed and overwhelmed about politics today. I read an article recently that said the majority of people have an opinion and they rarely change no matter the facts or arguments or discussions. I have never blogged about politics (maybe?) but talk about it with people in person, when you can look eye to eye and feel the energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome and thank you, Kathy. 🙂 It’s probably better that way (eye to eye, face to face, energy to energy). It’s hard to express things in writing and not be misunderstood because of the lack of body language/cues.
      I’m not surprised, but sorry, to hear that the majority of people rarely change their opinion. I must be in the minority. I change mine frequently through good facts, arguments, and discussions.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Robin. I’ve been a reader of yours for awhile. Lost you for a bit when I switched to WP but found you again, thankfully. I’m blown away by this post. I’m almost afraid to read political posts these days but everything you said and that your friends/commenters have said truly touches me. I’ve also been struck mute by the hate, the vileness, the bigotry, etc., etc., etc. that’s been thrown at us through the campaigning and then the awful election. I, too, so get the I Can’t Take It Anymore feelings of everyone. The chaos is inescapable. But you and others are so right – I’ve been silent as well, and I agree that makes me complicit in this awfulness. Time to get up and do something – even write a blog about it. Being silent isn’t the answer. On to lighter subjects, your photography is stunningly beautiful. And your kayak trip – sigh. I need a kayak….if I can figure out how to get out of it. Maybe a crane would help…LOL! Your blog is a thing of beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Debi. 🙂 I’ve been following you (your blog — don’t mean to sound like a stalker!) for a while, too. Your photographs, especially of the ocean, blow me away.

      As for politics, it is difficult not to be struck mute by it all. There is so much! It’s impossible to keep up and to cope with it all. There are signs of great hope, though — from the Women’s March to the Parkland kids, and just a general awakening, a realization that we shouldn’t take things for granted (such as voting!). Sometimes I think that maybe, if we’re very lucky and very vigilant, we’ll come out of this better now that so much has been exposed.

      I’m still working on how to get out the kayak. I practically threw myself out of it on our last trip. LOL! It wasn’t very graceful. We have a sit-on-top which makes it somewhat easier. I wear water shoes and sometimes I just get out early, slipping into the water and letting the buoyancy help me up and out.

      Like

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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