Posts Tagged ‘Napa’

Letter From Claverack 10 09 2017 My country ’tis of thee…

October 9, 2017

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There are times when even the quiet beauty of the cottage is not enough to soothe the soul; this has been one of those times.  Since the shootings in Las Vegas, I have found little solace in anything, except, perhaps, sleep.

Sunday, Mother Eileen captured the anguish, pain and despair I feel in her sermon.  After the Prayers of the People, the bell tolled once for each person killed in Las Vegas.  The service closed with “My Country Tis of Thee.”

My head bowed, I fought back tears.

There has been Las Vegas.  Jeff Sessions is claiming that bans on discrimination don’t cover transgender people.  The Trump Administration is rolling back rules that help women have birth control as part of their medical coverage.

The United States joined Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China and a few other repressive regimes in refusing to declare it immoral to execute people for being gay.

What?

As the bell was tolling [and it tolls for thee], I thought of a long ago, rainy, cold November afternoon and looked at my mother and said: what kind of country are we?  It was the afternoon of the day Kennedy had been killed and that moment is etched in my brain, looking out the front windows at a sad world and wondering just what kind of country would kill someone who seemed to be having so much fun and was doing good things?

There was nothing my mother could say.  To this day, I remember the look she gave me, wanting to have an answer and having none.  The silence still rings in my ears all these years later as does the memory of the slick, wet street, a yellow and red city bus moving slowly down the street.

Last night there was another torch lit march in Charlottesville, VA.  A return of Richard Spencer and his white supremacists.  Listen to their chants: “The South will rise again. Russia is our friend. The South will rise again. Woo-hoo! Wooo.” [Washington Post, October 7, 2017]

Russia is our friend?  The South will rise again?  Russia is not my friend and the South envisioned by these chaps is not a South in which I would be comfortable.  It’s one in which I think I might be afraid for my life.

Today is Columbus Day, the day everyone makes noise about old Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America.  Personally, I suspect it was the Vikings a few centuries earlier but they don’t get credit [maybe I think that because my mother’s family were Swedish].  However, as we have discovered Christopher Columbus was brave and not a model of morality in the way he treated native Americans.  White people, in general, have not been very kind to native Americans.

Thirty years ago, my friend Ann Frisbee Naymie and I had a conversation about this and she just said to me:  bad karma for what we did.

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, who has announced he is not seeking reelection, electrified the world yesterday with a tweet saying the White House was an adult care center and someone had missed their shift.  Really?  A Republican lawmaker is talking about a Republican President in this way?  Wowza!  You go, Corker.  And I agree with you that Trump runs the White House like it’s an episode of the President and, like you, I think it is possible Donald Trump could stumble us into a nuclear war before he realized what he’d done.

Two hospitals have been evacuated in California and at least 50 structures destroyed in fires that are causing people to flee from Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties while in southern California fires are raging in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

The Four Horseman are riding.

Thank you, Mother Eileen, for giving shape to the inchoate agony I was experiencing when I walked into church yesterday. Thank you for ringing the bell for the deaths in Las Vegas.  Thank you for asking the painful questions we all should be asking ourselves.  What kind of country are we?  What kind of country do we want to be?

 

 

 

Letter From New York August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

The day dawned grey and uninspiring. In a bit of time, the sun burning through the clouds transformed the day. The circular drive in front of the cottage is splattered with patches of sunlight and shadow as the light filters through the trees. My neighbor is peacefully mowing his grass and I am just back from a stroll around the circle that is Patroon Street. It is a quiet, lazy day in the Hudson Valley.

The news is, of course, not so peaceful. Saturday night was shattered in Napa, CA by an earthquake, magnitude 6.0, bringing down walls while human injury was, thankfully, low. There will be a lot of picking up and rebuilding going on. Markets found their goods tossed about, chimneys fell and water and gas mains broke; an early morning reminder that Mother Nature is capricious.

In Africa, dozens of aid workers slough on, undeterred by the continuing and mounting toll of Ebola dead. They need to be there so they are, acting with a quiet courage that is astounding and inspiring. They keep going, despite the risk, demonstrating a courage I wonder if I would have if I were in their place.

In Egypt, there are efforts being made to bring Israel and Hamas back to the table to get a ceasefire accomplished. While that is going on, rockets continue to be fired into Israel and Israel continues targeting suspected Hamas installations in Gaza. An eleven story apartment building in Gaza was destroyed, the largest building to be targeted so far. The conflict becomes more and more entrenched, both sides with legitimate grievances and a seeming inability to resolve them through negotiations. Hatred and fear run deep.

In Iraq, two suspected Shia militants marched into a Sunni mosque and killed dozens of worshipers, an act that seems to have stalled the installation of a coalition government in Baghdad, something seen as necessary for that fractured nation to pull together a cohesive front to battle ISIS, now controlling a large portion of old Iraq. They’re mostly Sunnis and they consider the Shia heretics.   Christians and other religious minorities must either convert or flee or die. 

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, published an op-ed piece a few days ago in the New York Times, wondering who was going to stand up for Christians in the world? In various parts of the world, including the Mid-East, Christians are being persecuted and being forced to become refugees to survive and there has been little acknowledgement in the world or by world leaders that this is becoming a major problem. The world is showing “relative indifference” to the deaths occurring among Christians in the Middle East and Africa, he posits.

And he does have a point. Much more attention was paid to the Yazidis than was paid to the poor Christians fleeing ISIS. The plight of Christians in Pakistan is ignored for the most part as it is in other parts of the world.

Yes, Christians did their damage as they proselytized the world the last two centuries but that’s not an excuse to turn our backs on anyone being denied religious freedom much less the freedom to live because of religious belief. We need to recognize all those being persecuted for their religion, including Christians, who seem to be getting short shrift in large portions of the globe right now.

 

 

 

 

 

Letter From New York August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Or, as it seems to me…

The day dawned grey and uninspiring. In a bit of time, the sun burning through the clouds transformed the day. The circular drive in front of the cottage is splattered with patches of sunlight and shadow as the light filters through the trees. My neighbor is peacefully mowing his grass and I am just back from a stroll around the circle that is Patroon Street. It is a quiet, lazy day in the Hudson Valley.

The news is, of course, not so peaceful. Saturday night was shattered in Napa, CA by an earthquake, magnitude 6.0, bringing down walls while human injury was, thankfully, low. There will be a lot of picking up and rebuilding going on. Markets found their goods tossed about, chimneys fell and water and gas mains broke; an early morning reminder that Mother Nature is capricious.

In Africa, dozens of aid workers slough on, undeterred by the continuing and mounting toll of Ebola dead. They need to be there so they are, acting with a quiet courage that is astounding and inspiring. They keep going, despite the risk, demonstrating a courage I wonder if I would have if I were in their place.

In Egypt, there are efforts being made to bring Israel and Hamas back to the table to get a ceasefire accomplished. While that is going on, rockets continue to be fired into Israel and Israel continues targeting suspected Hamas installations in Gaza. An eleven story apartment building in Gaza was destroyed, the largest building to be targeted so far. The conflict becomes more and more entrenched, both sides with legitimate grievances and a seeming inability to resolve them through negotiations. Hatred and fear run deep.

In Iraq, two suspected Shia militants marched into a Sunni mosque and killed dozens of worshipers, an act that seems to have stalled the installation of a coalition government in Baghdad, something seen as necessary for that fractured nation to pull together a cohesive front to battle ISIS, now controlling a large portion of old Iraq. They’re mostly Sunnis and they consider the Shia heretics.   Christians and other religious minorities must either convert or flee or die. 

Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress, published an op-ed piece a few days ago in the New York Times, wondering who was going to stand up for Christians in the world? In various parts of the world, including the Mid-East, Christians are being persecuted and being forced to become refugees to survive and there has been little acknowledgement in the world or by world leaders that this is becoming a major problem. The world is showing “relative indifference” to the deaths occurring among Christians in the Middle East and Africa, he posits.

And he does have a point. Much more attention was paid to the Yazidis than was paid to the poor Christians fleeing ISIS. The plight of Christians in Pakistan is ignored for the most part as it is in other parts of the world.

Yes, Christians did their damage as they proselytized the world the last two centuries but that’s not an excuse to turn our backs on anyone being denied religious freedom much less the freedom to live because of religious belief. We need to recognize all those being persecuted for their religion, including Christians, who seem to be getting short shrift in large portions of the globe right now.