I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Being brave

Golden Ears, Canadian mountains

I took this picture of these mountains right at sunrise a few years back, just at the right time to capture them in glorious color. I am looking across Bellingham Bay into Canada, and when I saw this, I stopped the car on my way to join the Saturday walk I did every single Saturday, for years. Until this past year, when the whole world changed with the pandemic.

 My life has certainly changed enormously since then. Now I still walk with one or two people on Saturday, because it's such an important part of my life, but I haven't been able to walk or hike with more than a few people for over a year now. I'm sure it's pretty much the same with everybody, but we are all hoping that as the Covid vaccine becomes available to us, we might be able to return to a semblance of normalcy. Whatever that means, post-pandemic. I have received the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and by the end of the month, I should become fully vaccinated against the virus. So much of the world still has no access to the vaccines, so I suppose I should feel grateful.

It's a bit hard for me to maintain a positive attitude, because the political situation around the world is in such flux, and it seems like things are falling apart. Every morning I read the news on my laptop, and during the week I tune in to the PBS Newshour every evening. I despair about the military coup in Myanmar, with the soldiers killing innocent protesters with impunity, just because they can. A young 19-year-old woman was one of them, her life cut short because of her activism. She was aware of the danger and did it anyway. She had told her parents and friends what to do with her things if she died. And the next day, even more protesters filled the streets, defiant and fully aware of the risks.

This past year I have been unable to watch any of the movies I would normally have watched in my favorite theater with my friend Judy. She has a very immune compromised husband and has stayed pretty much indoors or close by her neighborhood in order to protect him. We have lost touch, although she did call me on my birthday and fill me in on her limited life. Maybe later this year we will be able to get back together. She's just one of the people I miss.

I've been trying to watch some of the streaming movies that were released during 2020 and are possible award winners. Yesterday I watched The Trial of the Chicago Seven on Netflix, which has been available online since last October, but I wasn't made aware of it until I watched the Golden Globes. It covers the time when those who were arrested during the riots that took place in Chicago where the Democratic National Convention of 1968 occurred. I remember those times, but I was a young woman who only peripherally paid attention to current events. 

I had forgotten how incredibly scary those times were, and how much our country suffered from the awful effects of graft and corruption at the highest levels in the city of Chicago. The movie reminded me that this is not the only time in our country's history when we almost lost our freedom to political dirty tricks. So many young protesters came to Chicago to march against the Vietnam War and demand that our government change direction. That movie might not have been the most uplifting way for me to spend my Saturday, but I'm so glad I did. For one thing, it tied the events in the world today with the bravery and dedication of those who protested in the name of something they believed in back then. Fifty years ago, I well remember how despairing I was of the direction of our country, after the assassination of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

There is no shortage of brave and courageous young people in today's world. I see it every day on the news, and I see it also in the actions of many who are working to make the world a better place, even during this pandemic. Now that I am old and have seen much during my decades of life, I can reflect on how we will get through this period, too, and perhaps we will be better for it. It is definitely a time that we will never forget, and we might even see it in later years as an inflection point, a time when the world changed in positive and uplifting ways.

There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty, that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism. —Alexander Hamilton

I am hopeful. It's a much better way to feel than despairing. There are moments when I look for the bravery that others exhibit to appear in my own self, and occasionally I am rewarded with the courage to look ahead with joy and hope in my heart. I am reminded how even someone like the Cowardly Lion was able to overcome his fears when he wanted to help Dorothy. Maybe that's why he came to me in a dream last week: to buoy up my own courage. The image from the movie of the Tin Man hanging onto his tail as they climbed the mountain that led into the castle where she was imprisoned, that image is uppermost in my mind as I begin to finish this post.

My dear partner still sleeps next to me, and I am ready to take on the new day, with love and hope in my heart. My tea is gone, and spring moves ever closer on the calendar, bringing lots of new growth to enjoy and admire. I do hope this coming week will bring you plenty of ways to appreciate your life and your loved ones. Until we meet again next week, be well, dear friends.


ApacheDug said...

DJan, sure hope the year ahead is a brighter one for you for friendships like Judy, I'm betting it will be. I'm also very glad to hear you got the first of your two shots, I understand you're already greatly protected now. I keep waiting for news of when vaccines will begin for people like myself who are not in group 1A, at least the ball seems to be rolling a little more quickly now. I also appreciate your words on that Netflix movie about the Chicago 7, I've had it in my queue for weeks, keep putting off watching it but think I'll give it a go this week. I've just been in the mood for more escapism in 2021. Hope your week ahead is filled with more sun & good news. :^)

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Enjoyed this edition of Eye on the Edge right from the start. Your photo of Golden Ears is a gem. As I read through the post I kept saying to myself, “same here” or “so true.” You said, “Now that I am old and have seen much during my decades of life, I can reflect on how we will get through this period, too, and perhaps we will be better for it.” I think we are about the same age and I find myself going back and reflecting on things more that ever. I too hope that as the pandemic fades we will find things coming back better than they were before. It fascinates me how much we share the same outlook on so many things. You mentioned movies, and the Golden Globes … I hope you will have a chance to watch Nomadland. It stars Frances McDormand as a woman who leaves home to travel around the west. She encounters plenty of challenges. Here is a link to the trailer on YouTube …
Thanks, as always, for sharing. Wishing you and SG a fine week ahead. John

gigi-hawaii said...

I was involved in the anti-war movement and was arrested at a sit-in in 1968. The judge acquitted all 150 of us, and our records were expunged. Then, a group of us from Columbia University went to Washington in 1971 to demonstrate against President Nixon in front of the White House. Yes, I was an activist back then. Now, we can all relax because Biden is in charge.

Elephant's Child said...

Hopeful is a much, much better way to spend the day than despairing isn't it? I do fall into the second mindset too often but try and focus on the positives.
I am thrilled that you have had your first shot, and will happily raise a glass to moving towards a new normal that we can recognise.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am trying to be hopeful! I understand your friend Judy wanting to keep her husband safe...I bet she misses her time with you at the movies too!
WE all have had a year of Isolation...I hope with the vaccination we can get out a bit more especially with those who also have had the vaccination...if we have friends who did not get the vaccination then we will see them only outside. WE still have to be careful!
I am so thankful that you finally got the vaccination, I hope you had no side effects. Have a wonderful week!

Tabor said...

I finished reading The Splendid and the Vile and it helped me realize that we cannot complain about COVID. So many others have sacrificed so much to keep peace in the world. The evil ones are not going away. They want everyone to be like them and think like them and refuse to see a different point of view backed up by facts as valid. I am now reading the 4 winds by Kristine Hannah and it has been a bit of a rough read as the first half takes place in the dust bowl during the depression...not the best for sheltering in place.

Linda Reeder said...

We recently watched "The Trial of the Chicago Seven". I was glad to be reminded of what took place there and then as I too was young and not paying much attention. I was struck by the brutality of the police and I still see it on our streets as protests for social justice continue. I think we haven't come very far.
Any yet we have made some progress as a people. We have to be hopeful while also being realistic. Change is not easy.
My Facebook memories for today had Tom and I attending a Sounders match at the stadium along with 30,000 fans. That was the end of it as everything shut down soon after that. We have made it through this year but we still have some cautious time ahead.

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so relieved that you have your first shot. I know how anxious your were to get it. We now have reasons to be hopeful.
Sorry you haven't seen all the movies as you usually do before the Oscars. You and Judy usually made the effort and were successful. Next year.

Gigi said...

I simply cannot tell you how happy I am that you've had the first shot and are in line for the second! This piece alone has lifted my spirits.

We are slowly inching toward Spring here - it's more a one step forward, two steps back as the temperatures yo-yo. I am looking forward to seeing everything come back to life.

Marie Smith said...

The photo is a beauty.

The sixties were interesting times and it looks like young people will lead us through these times as well.

I am glad you have your first shot. It looks like vaccinations have really ramped up in the U. S. It is wonderful news. It may mean you can get back to your regular walking group before long. How great that would be!

Your spring is much earlier than ours. Enjoy!

Red said...

Yes, these times of chaos have happened before. I don't think we can go to the brink too many times without falling over. I do like to hear about the hope you have looking forward. I hope we see better times.

janinsanfran said...

Lovely post. Thank you. I tried to get to Chicago, but couldn't afford it. Those were the days ... in some ways.

I've gotten my second shot. I begin to feel differently, less closed in. But I understand I must act the same for awhile longer. But not forever.

Betsy said...

I get my first Pfizer shot tomorrow morning. I'm nervous. Both anticipatory and afraid at the same time. I know people who have had no issues and I know people who have gotten really ill with them. But I know the vaccine is our hope of ending this thing that has stopped so many of us in our tracks.
Our son's wedding in London has been post-poned twice because they want us there. His fiance visa will expire so we told them to just get married without us. It makes me sad that we can't be there for our son and our soon to be daughter-in-law. He wanted his Dad to perform his wedding like he did for our other son and daughter. So much disappointment with this pandemic.
I hope this is a great week for you. It's bound to get better before long. As far as the social issues, one thing I'm learning is the more things change, the more they stay the same. The human race doesn't change much through the centuries does it?

Glenda Beall said...

So glad you have had your first shot for COVID. Tomorrow will mark the second week since I had the second shot, so I am feeling much less concerned for my health although I won't be going out where there are lots of people I don't know. I do hope to meet with some friends, outside, once they are vaccinated and have waited the proper time. I feel more hopeful about things until I hear my sister say someone told her the government should be annihilated. This ignorant person said we shouldn't have a government. That blows my mind! It is also frightening to think even with Trump gone, his followers still hold his weird beliefs.
Take care and have a good week.

Rita said...

That photo is stunning!
Glad you got your first shot!
I remember thinking the world was crumbling during the 60s, too. We've had blows to our democracy, but this last four years did more damage than we have ever seen before. I prefer to remain hopeful. I choose to. We have survived much in the past and people will only put up with so much. They have already spoken...the majority. Things are shifting. I have faith in the goodness of humanity. :)

Anvilcloud said...

It has been a long haul, but your country is sure getting the vaccine out. We are months behind.

We did have a fleeting cold porch visit with the kids yesterday. That was nice and will have to do for awhile.

Rian said...

Our doctor's office finally got the vaccine and called this morning to see if DH and I wanted to come in. Told them we already had the first and would be getting the second soon. DH and I actually had a bet... he said they would never call. I said that they would... eventually. I won!!
Hoping to be able to visit with the family at Easter this year... we should all have our vaccines and will stay masked. Hopefully this will be OK. It's been so long.
And DJan, I find myself praying for strength and courage daily. I think we try to portray ourselves as strong... but aren't really inside.
Not ready to watch the trial of the Chicago Seven... maybe later after things get back to somewhat normal.

William Kendall said...

Very well said.

Linda Myers said...

My next door neighbor and I have had both shots and another two weeks. I met her in the street yesterday and we gave each other a big hug. We have been neighbors for eight years and that is the first hug we have given each other.

May there be many more in the months to come.

Friko said...

I agree with you, there is still much bravery in the world and young people are trying their best to save the planet as well as their individual countries, even if it costs them. It’s the old ones who stand in their way, it is our generation which is leaving them a damaged planet, lies and deceit, greed and selfishness. I despair, but I now am too old to make a difference. Perhaps we can help by being good people ourselves.

Have a good week.

Galen Pearl said...

It can all be overwhelming. I've been trying a practice of touching whatever comes into my awareness with compassion. Even if what comes into my awareness is my own lack of compassion for others whose behavior is, well, you know -- I touch that lack of compassion with compassion. It helps me get through these difficult times. And you are right -- this is not the first time our country has been rocked by such upheaval. And it sadly is probably not the last. As always, enjoyed catching up with you.

Margaret said...

There really have been many scary times before this, although it's hard to remember when we're in the thick of this crisis. I've lost touch with close friends too and hope that we can rekindle our friendships.