Walking With the Wind

22 Dec 2014

12/11/14

Walking With the Wind

I went for a walk with the wind this morning. We played tag. Wind would push me from behind, and then blow away. It did no good to try to tag him back: he was too fast. We chased a leaf down the road, trying to catch it, but it always stayed just a skip in front of us.
And as I walked back up the road heading home, every time I pulled my coat’s hood over my head and around my face, Wind would push it off. It became a battle of on-my-head, off-my-head between us. Finally I laughed, threw up my hands, and said, “I give up!” To which he whistled and stopped battering me with his cold breath.

BAMorris

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Leaf Play

22 Dec 2014

12/13/14

Leaf Play

A leaf quivers at my feet and then skips down the road in front of me. It appears to want to play. Perhaps a game of tag. A race. Or just share in my morning walk.
I wonder if, so newly removed from its mother tree, it still has some small memory of being alive. I wonder if, finding itself able to move unfettered by its union with the branch from which it was born, the leaf suddenly wants to run and tumble, and dance joyously before it dies and ceases to be.

BAMorris

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

11/15/14

I’m Warm: How About the Polar Bears?

Global warming as a problem to be solved has been discussed since the 1980’s. And here we are over thirty years later having done little to eradicate the causes of that problem.
We still drive vehicles powered by fossil fuels, only now there are more of them. We still have electric power plants that are fueled by coal. We still drill relentlessly for oil and natural gas. By now we have moved into pristine areas like the Arctic Ocean and the boreal forests of Albert, Canada. Even Siberia is not safe from big oil companies. We’ve drilled in the Gulf of Mexico (and we should all remember what that result was!), and there is talk of putting wells off the coast of Virginia.
One of the hot button topics for the state of Virginia is the fight by landowners in Augusta and Highlands Counties to block a pipeline from coming through their front yards and right beside their wells. As a homeowner with a well, I cringe at the thought of something toxic and irreversible leaking into my water supply. It would destroy my way of life. No more doing laundry at home. No more filling a glass from the tap on a hot day. No more giving the animals water from an outside spigot.
Many people regard the concept of Global Warming as a scare tactic. They think it does not affect them. I remember reading an article about the habitat of the polar bears disappearing to a class one day. A student, not known for his sense of civic duty, asked, “Why should I care about polar bears?” A very good question, because he will never in his life see a polar bear in the wild. Or a caribou, or a reindeer, or a seal, or an Orca. But those animals exist in our world, in his world, and they are part of the system that makes our earth a place where life of all sorts can be born and live. If part of that system is damaged or disrupted, who knows the impact on the rest of the system? Thirty years ago we didn’t know what the effects of Global Warming would be. Now we do. I reference Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. There is the Polar Vortex that dips into Florida occasionally and freezes all the fruit that we take for granted will be at our local grocery store when we want it. There are the tornados that laid waste to numerous towns in Oklahoma and Missouri over the last couple years. I reference summers of no rain in California, of flooding so severe it wiped out towns in the Mid-West, and mudslides that did the same in Washington State. None of these events were the “norm” one hundred years ago. Now they are.
So thirty years later we still discuss Global Warming. Discuss? The wolf is not just at the door: he has his paws on our shoulders. I stand firm against the oil companies with all their trillions of dollars to buy politicians and publicity that says we “need” new oil resources. And they say they can get it “safely”. I say there is no safety in anything that destroys our ecosystem, and endangers any member of the tribe of living things that inhabit this earth.

BAMorris

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Rituals

21 Dec 2014

12/17/14

Rituals

Rituals are the threads that are woven into our life and give life its form. There are the rituals of birth that some cultures observe. There are varied rituals of marriage that two people perform when they profess to now be one. There are graduation rituals, meal rituals, coming of age rituals, death rituals.
Then there are the small individual rituals that are developed without our even knowing they are rituals. For me, putting my mother to bed each night, while she was in the Reminiscence facility where she spend the last couple years of her life, became a ritual. My family would eat dinner, and then I would go to Sunrise and spend time with Mom. I’d most often find her in the TV room or the dining area with some of the caregivers as they took a break before the nightly putting-to-bed started.
I’d greet her, and then wheel her off to her room. If it was a good day, we would talk as I prepared her for bed: sharing memories of our past or events from our day. If it was a bad day, I’d reassure her that no one would hurt her; that I’d make sure to protect her. I never knew who I’d find when I came. It might be my 82 year old mother in the here and now, or it might be the twenty- something new bride waiting for her husband to return home from work. It could be the thirty-plus year old who had spent the day canning tomatoes or the fifty year old who had worked hard all day at her job in the factory. In some ways it was a wondrous adventure. In others, it was heart breaking because I did not belong in the memories.
When Mom died, my schedule changed. After dinner with my family, I’d often find myself standing in the dining room, wondering what I should do now that I no longer had to go to put Mom to bed. There was a hole in my time that nothing else quite filled. I missed her most at night when there was no bedtime ritual: no touching her fragile, paper-thin skin lovingly; no half-lifting her into bed, tucking her in, and kissing her good night like she was my child. No sitting watching her sleep, looking like a silver haired angel lying there. That time had become my moment of absolute peace with the world.
When we moved back to my hometown of Bybee after Mom died, I took her best friend and neighbor as my surrogate mother. She’s lost a child months before I lost Mom, so we filled a void in each other. I did with her the things I loved doing with Mom: shopping, eating out, sightseeing, talking, sharing ideas.
Now she is older than Mom ever got to be. And she has become fragile and unable to go with me as we both loved. Illness had dictated she live with her daughter and son-in-law, for the winter at least. Once again there is a hole in my day which nothing can fill. I called Adell every night to check in on her, to see how her day went, to share news, to re-anchor my place in the world and in our small community. She gave me a balance in the craziness of life, because she knew the whole of my life from birth to now. Without her, I feel adrift.
I hope, I pray, come Spring, she’ll return home. Then my ritual will resume. But until then, each night there is a moment when I think, “I should call Adell.” When I then remember she’s not there. A moment when my ritual is suspended and then put back into memory, and hope for the future.

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

A Wise Woman

21 Dec 2014

10/25/14

A Wise Woman

My mother was a wise woman. She did not shield me from life. I learned early that there were people who did not share our moral values. I learned that there were people in the world who were a danger to me. I learned that those you love can hurt you deeply. She protected me but she did not shield me.
Mom knew that allowing me to see and know about the bad parts of life would give me an immunization, so to speak, to those hurtful things that come with life. I am seldom surprised to discover the dark, hidden side of a person or an event. I am not devastated when life is unfair, or when things don’t go as I planned or wanted. I roll with the punches. And I am much more tolerant of people unlike me. I don’t have to like or agree with them, but I don’t feel they are evil or “wrong.” They are just different.
Don’t get me wrong: I know evil when I see it and I have no acceptance for someone who wants to harm another or who has a destructive nature. I am just careful of judging someone because they aren’t like me. Different doesn’t mean wrong: it just means different.

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·

Season

21 Dec 2014

11/15/14

Season

Wondrous world in which we live!
Thanks for blessings we should give.
Dancing diamonds; frosty fields.
Crunchy footsteps under heels.
A ballet of brilliant leaves.
Magic colored carpet weave.
Trees begin their winter sleep.
Slowing down, their sap runs deep.
Swan winged snowflakes fluttering.
All the earth it’s covering.
Mystery of Mother Earth.
Dying now. In Spring rebirth.

B. A. Morris

· · · ◊ ◊ ◊ · · ·