The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 28: Four Roads

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June 28, 2020-

I listened to a couple of Bluegrass bands, this afternoon, as well. One of them was comprised of three little girls, who sang cheerfully and intensely. Listening to them move seamlessly through a nearly one-hour set, I had only one thought: Long may they know only peace and safety.

Yesterday, at the same time of day, I was participating in a wrap-up of a Unity Week Conference, online. We collectively traversed four socioemotional roads: Via Positiva; Via Negativa; Via Creativa; and Via Tranformativa.

The first, as the name indicates, was an acknowledgment and celebration of all in one’s life that is positive. We sang, swayed and shared happy sounds. The second, opposite to the first, was an acknowledgement of all that is negative in one’s life. People laid on the floor, wherever they were, and were given permission for catharsis. Many moaned, cried aloud, screamed and wailed. I was glad the neighbours were not coming to the window to check on me. Having had an emotional release, after watching a gut-wrenching video on the reality of the Confederacy, on Friday afternoon, I was pretty much catharsized out for this one. It was good for those who have been through extreme trauma.

When we came back together, it was to acknowledge the pain, as a group. We then proceeded on Via Creativa, and tapped into the inner talents and creative energies of each of us. Finally, we gathered in small groups, discussing, very briefly, the possible transformations we might bring to bear, from this conference and into the work that will lead to Peace Weekend (September 20-21). This longer road is Via Transformativa.

I had thought that July and August might be quiet months of toeing the line of those loud voices demanding that everyone stay in their homes. Upon reflection, though, avoiding criticism from the Left, or from the Right-for that matter, is not what is going to bring peace to this world. I have to leave Home Base, if necessary, to do Red Cross work, to help plan this event in September and if need be to go to the sides of those who are suffering.

The key to overcoming COVID19 lies not in timidity, nor in maintaining the appearance of ideological purity (a chimera, at minimum). It lies in being sensible about precautions (masks, yes, but mainly hand washing and being aware of one’s surroundings) and in obeying actual laws-not loudly expressed opinions.

The Summer of the Rising Tides,Day 27: Grass Stains

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June 27, 2020-

Today was largely spent in a Zoom conference, concluding Unity Week, an 8-day conference, in which I only obliquely participated, largely through addressing topics that need to be faced, if true unity is to be achieved. The closing sessions, therefore, caught my undivided attention, addressing the Four Roads one must traverse, in reaching a point where contributions to society will be meaningful.

More about these Four Roads (or Vias), in the next several days. This evening, my mind went back to simpler times. I walked downtown, after the conference had reached its closing remarks and extended farewells. The aim was to sit up on the roof of Raven Cafe, and catch the salsa and funk that was emanating from the rooftop’s makeshift stage.

Wouldn’t you know it? There was an hour’s wait, for any spot on the roof. I’d already eaten dinner at home, anyway, and so went up the street to Frozen Frannie’s, and grabbed a refreshing cup of goodness, then headed further, over to the Courthouse steps, enjoying pina colada and berry frozen yogurt. A group of children buzzed around me, alternately sliding down the short incline, tussling, and engaging in a game of hide and seek. It’s always reassuring to see that, COVID or no COVID, life is going on, and parents are taking their families to places where fresh air and exercise are not monitored by draconian elements.

After enjoying my frozen treat, a seat in front of a tree beckoned, closer to the Bluegrass band that was occupying a festival stage. Sitting on the lawn, taking in a bona fide North American art form, was a perfect ending to the evening. Another group of kids was dancing up a storm, twirling around, as the band played the songs of Bill Monroe and John Prine, among others. When it was time to get up off my haunches, I noticed something was missing from my childhood: Grass stains. Lawns sure have changed, in 60 years.

On The Ground

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January 2, 2017, Chula Vista-  “Make a friend today.  Be the first to smile, in a friendly way.”- These words, to a Bluegrass song, coming from my son’s housemate’s i-pod, say all that needs to be said, in the first step to healthy survival.

Son is understandably anxious, about the coming change in his life, which is why I’m here, this week, and will be available for him, between now and departure day.  It makes it easier,for both of us, that he will be in Arizona for most of that time.  Once he gets to Korea, there will plenty of other seasoned adults to guide him into the routine.

I went on a routine errand, to pick up some items at the local Ralph’s (SoCal’s version of Fry’s and Kroger’s), yesterday afternoon.  While backing out of my space, synchronicity almost led to crash, as a large SUV was also backing out, across from me and the guy who was waiting for my space was inching forward.  Each of us noticed the others, at the last split second, and no fender benders hailed in the New.  Such is life, in Bubble Land. I’m grateful to everyone, when I was growing up, who kept after me to get out of my head and pay attention. Now, I just have to keep their admonitions in mind, in all circumstances.

Today is statutory New Year’s Day, which means that, while the majority of us carry on with our lives, the government and the banks stay shuttered, more or less.  It could be more severe, though.  In Japan, New Year lasts for five days.  Then again, even here, if Congress and the Executive don’t get their act together, soon, it’ll be another series of rounds of “Who’s open for business?”, come April.

The rains were kind to SoCal, and to nearby eastern neighbours, this past weekend.  I sense we all may get a few more soakings, the rest of this winter.  It’ll be a relative drop in the bucket, but perhaps will be the start of a reasonable trend.

Reasonable trends are what we need, across the nation, and the planet.  I look forward to each such movement, however small. Have a great month, moving forward, everyone.  I will be here, as many days as possible.  Oh, and make a friend today!