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Mourning/morning rituals

Grounded in the woods.  (I’m not sure what type of fungi this is.  It reminds me of oyster shells.)

After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many do so from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but less visible long-term organizing and groundwork — or underground work — often laid the foundation. Changes in ideas and values also result from work done by writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participants in social media. It seems insignificant or peripheral until very different outcomes emerge from transformed assumptions about who and what matters, who should be heard and believed, who has rights.

Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.

[…]

Change is rarely straightforward… Sometimes it’s as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution. Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds.

~ Rebecca Solnit

Dissents speak to a future age.

~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Attachment.

While walking through the woods on Sunday, M and I had a conversation about, well, just about everything.  One of the everythings we discussed was the lack of mushrooms in the woods.  There have been fewer each year, and this year there are none of the usual suspects.  Given how much rain we’ve had, dryness is not the issue.  I’m wondering if the flooding we are more prone to is a factor.  The water is brackish (a combination of fresh and salt water).  Perhaps the usual mushroom suspects don’t care for saltiness.

Pushed around by the flooding in August.

My morning ritual, sunrise and yoga practice, has become a kind of mourning ritual as well.  To be honest, it’s been that way for a while.  We’ve lost several friends and one family member throughout the summer months.  Last Friday afternoon I found out about Pauline.  The world lost a wonderful woman.  I will miss her, already miss her.  I had wondered why there was nothing from her in my email or comments on the blog.

A few hours later, word came down that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died.  She fought so hard to stay with us.  The creature squatting in the White House and his sycophants will do all they can to replace her as soon as possible.  I was sickened by The Turtle’s announcement, not two hours after RBG’s death, vowing that the creature’s nominee would get a Senate vote.  I am frustrated, angry, sad.  The hypocrisy in that is unbelievable (although why I find it unbelievable after the past almost four years is beyond me).

Saturday’s sunrise.

Yet what greater defeat could we suffer than to come to resemble the forces we oppose in their disrespect for human dignity?

~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg, My Own Words

Friday’s news came on the heels of a story earlier in the week about a whistleblower who came forward alleging abuses, included forced hysterectomies, on immigrant women being held in an ICE facility in Georgia.  It makes me ill to think about what this country is doing to people who come here seeking refuge.  (Rolling Stone has a recent article about the allegations, including years of allegations of other abuses.)  This would not be the first time this country has performed forced sterilization procedures on people.  If you’re not familiar with the practice, do a little research.  It won’t take you long to find a few articles about the history of eugenics in the United States.

We need to change.  We must change.  As difficult and uncomfortable as it’s going to be, we must.  For the sake of those who are inheriting the future, but for own sake as well.

Was achingly beautiful.

Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

~ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We live in interesting times.  A lot of us are unlearning.  I can tell you that the history I was taught in school does not resemble the history I have been learning over the past few months.  My unlearning and learning started before we entered the era of the current presidency.  Little did I know that I should have been speeding up the process.

We can’t all be on the front lines or at the protests.  No one of us can carry all of the banners for all of the things that are in need of change.  But we can pick one thing, one job, that we feel we are here to do, that we are capable of doing.  What is your passion?  What sets your hair on fire?  If you can, find your job and do it the best you can.  Make phone calls, write letters, or at the very least, vote.  Please.  I know it’s hard.  I really, really do know.  As Glennon Doyle (author of “Untamed”) posts all the time:  We can do hard things.

Evolving light and color.

One other thing before I get off of my soapbox.  I think the Wellness industry and New Age movement did us a great disservice with their focus on the self.  Here in the U.S. we already had notions about rugged individualism.  I understand that some of the focus on self-love and self-compassion was needed.  It was needed because we also had notions about disparaging ourselves, notions we may have been taught by others in our life who, maybe, didn’t know how to love.

True self-love, according to some of the psychology experts, is not something you just acquire by reading an inspirational book about it or meditating on it.  Self-love comes from action, from doing the things that help us mature and become more accepting of who we are as a whole, warts and all (what we perceive as our mistakes and shortcomings).  I think self-love might be a lot like motivation in that you have to act first.  The motivation will follow as you continue to act and reap the benefits of those actions.

One more… just because.

I also think it’s time to recognize that community and relationship are important in human life.  First, nobody gets ahead without others.  There are those who claim otherwise, but they were likely lifted up by helping hands or by standing on the shoulders of those who came before, or they were gifted the funding they needed (usually through our tax dollars), or they may have walked all over other people, not caring how they got ahead.  Second, there are a number of studies out showing that cooperation has been one of the prime movers of human evolution.  I tend to agree with those who think we (as a whole) have been in the adolescent stage for a long time, and now, we need to grow up, learn from our mistakes, make amends where necessary, and recognize that we truly are in this together.

One of the young bucks.

Find community, if you don’t already feel part of a community of some kind.  Relationships are as important to good health as exercise, stress reduction, and eating well.  I know it’s difficult now.  I know that many of us have to stay home, but we don’t have to isolate completely.  Physically distancing, meeting outside, and wearing a mask do make a difference so it’s not entirely impossible to interact with others (as we found when visiting with friends).  Zoom, email, write letters, use whatever video calling apps you have.  The important thing is to stay in touch.  Blogging is community, too.  (I intentionally kept social media off the list.  I think there are better ways to stay in contact with others that doesn’t involve using a platform that promotes hate.)

Breakfast.

If you’re still here and reading, thank you.  I’ve been sitting on this post all week, trying to decide whether or not to go ahead with it.  I toned it down, several times.  I know this is not what you usually come here to read/see. I promise it won’t always be like this.  I’ll get back to reminding you about Walktober and describing my own walks very soon.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.

Morning bloom

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,541)  Whatever it is that is making the other than human residents (the deer, the birds) trust me enough to not flee as soon as they see me.  Some even try to approach me.  1,542)  The red of the roses that are blooming like crazy right now (they, like me, prefer the slightly cooler weather).  1,543)  Friends, family, community.  1,544)  All of the good teachers.  Those in schools, those in life, those we come across however briefly.  1,545)  Poetry.  I’ve rediscovered it and it’s become an important part of my morning ritual (more on that in a future post).

One final note:  If you’re in the U.S., please… VOTE.  And if you’re looking for a way to help, visit Vote Forward to find out how you can join a letter writing campaign that doesn’t support a particular candidate but does ask others to be sure to vote.

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.

21 thoughts on “Mourning/morning rituals

  1. Please do not ever apologize for speaking your mind. I come here to listen to your words, marvel at your photos, and imagine we’re sharing a cup of coffee or tea – sometimes a glass of wine. These days, I’m not sure keeping quiet is doing a service to this country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol. I appreciate your visits and hope we can someday actually have coffee or tea or something together. 🙂 I think you might be right. Silence (and non-action) are sometimes a form of agreement with what’s going on. I do not agree. Many of us do not agree. And it does not do anyone any good for us to be silent about it. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol is right, being quiet is not good for our country or us. I’m working up courage to blog about all this too, a bit of a different slant. This all makes me ill. Literally. I can’t sleep. If I think about it too much I can’t even breath. So I walk in the woods. I eat something not good for me. I escape into camping. None of it totally works. All I can say is VOTE VOTE VOTE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dawn, especially for sharing how this is making you feel. I look forward to reading your blog post. This makes me ill, too. I have days in which I can’t eat because my stomach is all in knots, and other days when junk food is the main course for every meal. The two things that help me most are nature (walks, watching the sunrise and sunset, etc.) and community. Almost all of my contact with community is online now, but it makes me feel better to connect somehow for a little while. I’ve also realized I have to restrict access to the news cycle. I hardly had time to look when we were in Ohio (too busy!). Now that I’m home, I’ve gone back to looking at Twitter and the news far too often throughout the day. That’s not good for my body, heart, or soul. Sending hugs, if you want them. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Laurie. I think you are right about bearing witness and speaking out. I very much appreciated your Friday post. I, too, find it comforting to know there are people like you out there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes to all of this, Robin. I do have to figure out what I can do, but also the Dems in power need to step up their game. One scary thing after another in the news today. And speaking of the news, do you know about Heather Cox Richardson? She’s a political historian, and she does a daily e-mail “Letters from an American” (also on social media). It’s an excellent analysis of the previous days news. She also does live session on FB on Tuesday and Thursdays afternoons –she does did a several-week long history of the Republican party from the nineteenth-century to the present..

    BTW, I think your mushrooms decided to move here. 🙂 I’ve never seen so many mushrooms before! (This was about a month ago.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 I do know about Heather Cox Richardson. A Canadian friend pointed me in her direction. It seems Canada is worried about us. I didn’t know about her emails, though, and will look into it. I agree about the Dems. It’s frustrating to watch them do next to nothing. If that’s their plan, I fear it won’t work.

      I am happy to hear the mushrooms are growing somewhere. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes to everything you wrote, Robin. The death of Justice Ginsburg somehow felt like a final blow to anything good and decent in this country. I haven’t stopped crying each day, feeling so defeated. And now even voting won’t be straightforward, thanks to the creep dismantling our democracy. But vote we will, come hell or high water. My only comfort is the belief that change can be painful and that where we are headed will eventually be worth the struggle. (We’re in a severe drought up here – wish we could have some of your rain!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I could send you some of our rain, Barbara. We’ve had way too much (and it continues to pour down on us today with the remnants of T.S. Beta’s arrival). I cry every day, too. I feel so much grief, for all the people who have died because the squatter in the WH lied and continues to lie, for all the people seeking refuge who have been abused or simply thrown out, for all of us because this road we’re going down is a dark one. I try to muster up righteous anger every now and then, but it’s becoming difficult because I don’t know what to do with it.

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  5. Robin, I appreciate your posts. I appreciate your honesty. I feel less alone when I read your posts. I, too, read Heather Cox Richardson. We must speak our truth. It is a scary time for sure. The week was intense, too. Enjoy your nature. Take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is really beautiful and courageous. I am someone who does not usually write about politics and current affairs. Sometimes I wish I did, and wonder if it’s somehow being complicit or neglectful. It’s always an inner investigation to determine if I’m holding back because of fear. If that’s the case–then perhaps we need to learn to do those hard things. I do not feel complicit, truly, though because I work behind the scenes with dollars and action to (hopefully) make a difference. Am not sure if it’s possible to explain this without digging into a deep hole–and apparently it’s not, because I’ve tried for a long time and can’t find the words to express the level I am trying to work and be in the world. In the meantime am super proud of my own dear friends whose hearts are being called to courage and action in ways like you describe. So proud!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Kathy… Thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest response. It’s difficult to know what to do, what not to do. I understand, or at least I think I do, what you’re trying to say/write. I recently posted something on Instagram (I can’t remember if I cross-posted to Facebook or not, so you might not have seen it) about the letter writing campaign from Vote Forward that I joined. I really dislike posting things like that. It feels performative when it’s not meant to be. (Vote Forward has asked people to post about it on social media in order to get the word out.) I prefer to quietly go about my boots-on-the-ground work without announcing it to the world on the internet. On the other hand, it’s been pointed out to me that people need to hear from others so they don’t feel so alone in what they’re doing. Community groups are great for that, but with the pandemic, our groups are not meeting in person anymore. So, we all do what we can from where we’re at. As it should be, really. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes…the boots-on-the-ground work…but you are right about sharing so people don’t feel all alone. I so get that. Don’t know the “right” answer, the “right” way to be except to keep following inner prompts. Just had an encounter on the road just now meeting a guy who started dissing covid and how everyone overreacted. I couldn’t stay silent and spoke up quite assertively–even talking OVER him which is something I never usually do. But walked away feeling hollow (after the adrenaline stopped pounding) and confused about how I handled it. We parted without any positive vibes–and they were/are nice people. I wonder how to handle this better in the future. sigh

        Liked by 1 person

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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