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, July 4, 2021

Independence Day 2021

Two new fawns

 A couple of mornings ago, I looked out from my front porch and saw Mama Deer with her two new babies. They could not be more than a few days old, but they are already out learning about where to find food and water. Spindly legs and all, they are adorable. I have seen twins before, and I wondered if this particular doe is prone to double births, or whether it is even the same one. I can't know for sure, but I sure was pleased to see these two healthy fawns with their mother, who was exploring ahead of them and looking back to see if they were still coming.

It will be awhile before these two will be independent creatures, but if all goes as normal, within a few months they will lose their spots and will have learned how to navigate this bright new world. Welcome, little ones! I think about how these deer must learn to coexist with humans, and hopefully other people will help to keep them safe, by putting out water and being understanding when they chomp down your favorite flowers. 

It is a holiday here, our Independence Day, just a few days after Canada celebrated her own celebration. The country of Canada was formed 153 years ago, but this year their celebration was different, since so many unmarked graves, thousands of them, have been discovered at residential schools where indigenous children were forced to reside, taken from their homes and culture, in hopes of being remade into little Canadian children. Canadians all over the country have been appalled and horrified by these discoveries.

More than 50 cities and towns have opted to cancel their Canada Day celebrations this year. In total, more than 50 municipalities across Canada have canceled July 1 celebrations, according to Indigenous rights group Idle No More.

This year, many Canadians wore orange instead of red and white to remember these lost children. “We're asking people to wear orange instead of red and white this Canada Day, as a show of solidarity with Indigenous peoples,” said Grand Chief Joel Abram of the Ontario-based Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians that represents seven Indigenous communities.

Unfortunately, I cannot imagine such a display of conscience happening here, south of their border. We did things just as bad, but you won't see anything but lots of red, white and blue today, with plenty of fireworks and cookouts and celebrations of our country's long history. For us, it's been 244 years. On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies' separation from Great Britain. I wonder how much longer our country will continue to exist in its current state. We are at a crossroads, ever since the storming of our Capitol on January 6. Or even before, but I won't explore that here today. Instead, I want to concentrate on all that's positive and hopeful, on this day of celebration.

We have not always chosen violence against others as the way forward. I found this lovely website online, Seven Reasons Why World Peace is Possible, and I am going to quote heavily from it here. It's already made me feel hopeful for the future, and that's what I'd like to offer as my Independence Day gift to you.

We live in an era of social upheaval which can be seen as an opportunity for transformative change, according to Riane Eisler from the Centre for Partnership Studies, toward the kinds of cultures that support a more equitable, caring, and sustainable way of life. Eisler developed this theory of Cultural Transformation after years of researching the causes of violence in society.

We don't have to accept the diet we are fed daily on the news channels, those that continue to pull us down to believe that there is no other way to exist but to fight. It's just not true, and we can be the change we'd like to see. I feel this in my bones, in my soul, and I am unwilling to just sit back and watch as my world devolves into chaos.

The idea that violence is inevitable is normalised through childhood socialisation and depressing media narratives, which teach us to accept coercion, competition and authority. On the other hand, listening to uplifting stories inspires positive action, and reminds you that you are not struggling alone. Permaculture News is a good place to find such stories. It is isolating and disempowering to believe that humans are bad for one another and the planet. We are interconnected. Nature is neither negative nor positive. It is not dualistic or linear. It does not progress, but evolves. 

Yes. Yes, YES! Let's look for stories that will uplift and inspire, stories of our communities and our own lives that will help us to see that we do have a choice to make in our daily activities, that we can choose love and compassion rather than hate and hostility towards one another. 

I feel incredibly fortunate to have the inspiration of many of my blogging friends from around the world, those of you who fill me with hope as I read of your own trials and tribulations, and the coping mechanisms you have developed to deal with them. 

At this moment in time, I am feeling a little down because of an injury to my right ankle. Last Thursday, just as I was beginning my weekly hike with other seniors, I stepped from a concrete walkway onto sand, and I twisted my ankle as I went down. It's still swollen and painful to walk on, but it's better than it was, and I am doing what I can. Since I can drive, and even stroll carefully (not walking quite yet) as I pay close attention to my ankle, I went downtown yesterday to see a movie (!), my first since the pandemic. My going-to-the-movies friend Judy and I saw In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest musical. Although it was good, it wasn't as wonderful as his earlier musical, Hamilton, which I loved. I enjoyed the singing and dancing, and the uplifting stories, but it didn't have the same effect on me as his earlier work did. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much and am glad I was able to see it in a theater.

We had to wear masks until we got to our seats, and everybody was well spread out throughout the theater, so I felt quite safe and comfortable. I am also very grateful for the level of vaccine coverage we have here in Bellingham. More than 60% of us are vaccinated, making the possibility of transmission much less. And we are now back to almost normal, or what passes for normal these days. It's been a long road back, fifteen months of struggle to get here.

Just a few days ago, we moved back inside our coffee shop, which is delightful! We don't have to wear masks if we are fully vaccinated, but we can still choose to do so if we wish. The tables are spread apart, and so far it feels like another wonderful milestone to appreciate and enjoy with my coffee shop buddies. 

My tea is gone, my dear partner still sleeps next to me, and I'll step out of bed and see how my ankle feels today. I'll wear my compression socks, and take it slowly as I move through my day. I can still do my Tibetan exercises, even if I cannot get in my usual daily steps quite yet. Soon. Until then, I will send you, my dear friends, my hopes and dreams for a great Independence Day. Until we meet again next week, be well and remember to give thanks for your one and only, special, and precious life.


gigi-hawaii said...

Happy 4th of July! Sorry to hear about your twisted ankle. Hope it feels better soon. Aloha from Hawaii.

Rian said...

Happy 4th DJan! We just watched our neighborhood 4th of July parade go by... cars honking, children and adults on bikes (and one unicycle) waving flags! It's an annual event here and although rather short and sweet, a tradition we look forward to. I don't care for fireworks, they upset me as much as the animals... but I know some people love to watch them and possibly need the entertainment - especially after this past year.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you for this shift in focus to the positive. Many, many thanks. I am pleased to hear that your community is taking slow steps to normality, and hope those steps become strides. As I hope for you.

ApacheDug said...

Happy Fourth DJan, I'm sorry to read about your ankle but glad to know you're getting out and about, I know you're not the stay-at-home type. While I don't feel it personally right now, I appreciate your aim to stay hopeful & positive, I need to try a little harder. Hope the rest of your holiday is a good one.

Linda Reeder said...

I understand why Canadians are shocked and embarrassed by the discovery of the treatment of indigenous children, but they have been ignoring their history, just as we did for many years. Now our national sins are seeing the light of day, and yet many are resisting knowing the truth. But we do still celebrate our nation on this day, in spite of all of our wrong doing. It's because we love our country and it's freedoms that we can acknowledge the past and work to not repeat those wrongs. We still have along way to go, but we continue to evolve.
We went to a parade this morning. so many people were feeling free and having fun. It was wonderful. We'll continue or celebrating later at Jan's.
It's a good day to be grateful for all of the positive things we share in this still learning and growing nation of ours.

William Kendall said...

Ouch on your ankle.

Red said...

Have a great and wonderful Independence day. Things look dark but I'm sure cooler heads will prevail. I had a long chat with my American daughter this afternoon. She tends to look on the dark side. Very few deer births are singles. Many times they have triplets.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Happy 4th! I hope your pain gets less every day....and you see improvement everyday. I have always said there should be a Good News Channel...where it was all good deeds and cheerful! WE all need it! Good to hear you are back in the coffee shop. We are still being careful!

Betsy said...

Happy 4th of July. We took part in a golf cart parade at the lake my daughters in-laws are camping at. It has become a 4th of July tradition when we've been back in the midwest visiting. Now that we live here it will probably be an annual event. We throw candy to the kids in the neighboring community. We had 12 golf carts and two tractors pulling flatbed trailers filled with people. All decorated in red, white and blue in honor of our country on it's birthday. Yes, we have made mistakes in the past, but we still have a great nation of good people.
I hope your ankle feels better very soon.

John's Island said...

Thank you, DJan, for the encouraging post. Sorry to hear about your ankle. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Best regards to you and SG from just down the road in Seattle. PS Hope you are enjoying ALONE. :-)

Anvilcloud said...

Inside for both a movie and coffee is progress for sure. Last night we had a family dinner for 9 to celebrate Danica's and JJ's graduation. The five adults were all completely vaccinated, and the three children over twelve have had their first jab. There was one younger child. It was great to celebrate and without worry too.

Arkansas Patti said...

So sorry your ankle is still giving you a bit of trouble and hope that is soon history. What a fun idea though to get back in a theater. I know you have missed your regular movie ventures. Hope you had popcorn and the works.
I am so glad you have such a good vaccination rate. My county is around 20% and the state is just over 30%. Don't feel safe here at all.

Marie Smith said...

Yay for life returning to normal in many ways. Ouch for the ankle. Hope it heals quickly, Jan. Take it easy.

We didn’t have Canada Day celebrations in our community and our family spent the day in quiet reflection. The news about the unmarked graves was not surprising. We’ve had a commission which gave us the recommendations of the way through to reconciliation with the Indigenous people of this land. I fell frustrated much of these recommendations have been ignored this far. Maybe that will change now.

Rita said...

CNN has a newsletter I signed up for called The Good Stuff that comes out every weekend. Yes, it is good to hear happy, inspiring news. I will check yours out.

Glad you could spend some time inside the coffee shop for once and see a real movie! Stay safe, my friend, and I hope the ankle heals quickly. :)

Dee said...

Dear DJan, always, your Sunday postings uplift my spirits. You explore, for all of us, the deeper philosophical meanings of so much of what we are experiencing in the United States--and in Europe, too, I think. And always you end your posting with gratitude. It seems to me that living within gratitude brings peace and a contentment that embraces the Oneness of us all. Thank you.

With regard to Canada and what was done to the Indigenous children, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny has been posting about that on Facebook. She first gave an indication of her knowledge that the Canadian government was as guilt as the US government in its treatment of those who lived here long before English, French, and Spanish settlers arrived. If you don't know her series, one of the early books begins the thread of the corruption in the Quebec government that so appalled the main character and led to the other books. Peace.

Reading, Writing and so much more said...

I hope your ankle feels better each day. We had a very quiet 4th, other than the neighbor's noisy but beautiful fireworks. My puppy Ginger was very nervous the entire weekend.
I agree with looking for stories that are uplifting, yet being aware of what has occurred in the past.
Have a great day,
HUGS and blessings,