Gratitude Sunday: Of Blood And Fire

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Moon parades in front
of sky dominating sun:
people stop to watch.

Sunday Musings
Welcome to eclipse weekend. On Monday, my baby brother celebrates the beginning of his 60th journey around the sun. Not only is he 59 (a prime number) in 2017 (a prime number) it is perfect timing, I think, for the natural phenomena of a full solar eclipse when the new moon passes between the earth and the sun.

Is history important? I’m fascinated by the occurrence of natural and historical events, especially when they link to my family. Not that we are anything special (we are unique, as is everybody), but the number of significant dates and occurrences intrigue me.

In 1963, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on the anniversary my mother’s birthday. She was a young woman then, the same age as Jackie Kennedy, both born in 1929, though they didn’t share a birthday. Both women carried the burden of that November day to their graves.

1968 brought the assassination of John’s brother, Robert Francis Kennedy, on my uncle’s birthday, my mother’s older brother. RFK lived to the next day, so his official death is the day after, but he was attacked and shot on my uncle’s birthday. My uncle never mentioned it, but I found it an unusual coincidence that two siblings in my family were connected by the deaths of siblings in this other, more famous, family.

In 1980, Mt Saint Helens, an active volcano in Washington State, less than 100 miles from the Portland Metro area where we were raised, massively erupted and it remains active to this day. In 1980 there was significant action reported on the mountain on my sister’s birthday in July and on mine in October. Not only are we sisters by blood we are sisters of lava and fire.

The son was born on September 11. His 9th birthday was 2001, an ugly day in American history. Because of the historical action, and the indiscretion and inappropriate actions of his school teacher, it was not a great day for the son, as hard as his parents tried to protect him from it. He was still a child. He knew what happened because we (his parents) explained it at a level that was appropriate for a 9 year old, but what he experienced in school made him think the actions on the other side of the nation were his fault. It took years to convince him he had nothing to do with the event.

When I was 8, we had a solar eclipse that summer of 1962. I don’t know the details of the type of the eclipse. I’m sure there is information available, but I’d rather share my memory. I was away at Camp Fire Girl summer camp, Camp Onahlee in Molalla, Oregon; it’s now a private campground. The camp served girls age 7 through 17 and we were divided by age groups with age appropriate activities. We stayed for 6 nights and the counselors kept us busy. One day that week the counselors called all of us into the dining hall, the only building large enough for all of us. We never met in the dining hall except for meals, even when it was raining. Our counselors were there, the camp director was there, all the arts and crafts teachers, the chaplain, the swim instructor, and the archery coach were there, the entire camp. This day we played games and sang camp songs while the forest quieted, the sky darkened, and the air cooled. We weren’t allowed outside at all. None of us, adult nor child. We could hear the cooks busy in the kitchen getting ready for the next meal; even they didn’t go outside to look. We may have thought a storm was coming, they must have told us about the eclipse, but I don’t remember those details. Can you imagine the logistics of supervising the safety of a hundred girls and all their camp counselors and aides and instructors?

Because of the seriousness of that day, I’ve not had much interest in viewing solar eclipses. I use my eyes so much I dare not risk even the slightest timing error. Because of the magic of technology I will get to see it safely on TV. I’m sure NASA is filming for perpetuity.

I’ve stayed awake for a few lunar eclipses as you can safely view those. I find them so relaxing I tend to doze off. Maybe that’s the power of a moon eclipse, bestowing sleep upon me.

With my baby brother’s birthday on Monday he joins his sisters in being children of natural phenomena. We have the power of nature in our blood. We didn’t ask for it, demand it, or invoke it. It is what it is. And I admit, I like that connection to the earth, and the power of nature, which feels so much more solid than the fleeting power of men. We are siblings of blood and fire.

Whatever you do for your viewing experience Monday, take the time to do your homework and be safe! I’ll be singing camp songs.

Color Watchcolorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – The neighbor’s bright-faced sunflower peaks over the fence. Double yellow bonus. A whole bunch of yellow faces. And a huge pile of brilliant yellow.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Still in the world of fire and ice, watching season 6 of Game of Thrones (2016, rated TV – MA) before I have to return it to my local lending library. FYI about this series, don’t bother having a favorite character. The minute you do, the character will be killed. * Penumbra (2011, not rated) the only other movie I could find in my lending library system to have a solar eclipse as part of the plot, this movie is a twisted horror film about a woman who is likely losing her sanity. All Spanish dialogue with English subtitles available didn’t necessarily make the plot easy to follow. Weird film. The word penumbra refers to particular shadows around an eclipse.

Currently Reading – Sometimes you just have to lighten up and read something juvenile, refreshing, and light. The Trouble with Twins (2016, fiction) by Kathryn Sieble and illustrated by Júlia Sardà, fits the bill for me this summer. Twin girls are separated because of an incident and the great adventure begins. And it has pictures! Tween-lit is often pure and uncomplicated wisdom. An example in this story: “The truth is that the people in charge are often afraid and uncertain.” * Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016, radical politics), by Jane Mayer. Indoctrinating college and high school students with revisionist history is also on the big money agenda. When helping our youth investigate colleges and universities it is worthwhile to take the time and see where their funding comes from. And just because it doesn’t have the Koch brothers name on it don’t let that fool you; they use all kinds of distortions of the American language to make us think the funding is from a neutral un-agenda-ed source or worse, twisted to make us think it is doing something in favor of the average person. * The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (2014, communications in politics) by George Lakoff. Exploration of language use and how semantics can be used to reframe how people think about issues of public concerns; how language devised by wealthy conservatives have influenced public policy.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting to go out to dinner with a friend. I don’t go out often because of my tight budget, so it was a real treat. Especially the visiting time.
  • Leftovers from the generous servings from dinner out: three more lunches.
  • The forest fire smoke clearing from the air. I like breathing without coughing or chest pain.
  • A surprise thank you note for a business referral.
  • Open doors in the evening and the cooling breeze whispering through them.
  • The peace and quiet of a rare evening session at the pool when I was the only swimmer.
  • Enjoying the squirrels hanging out in the shade on the fence in the back yard.
  • Watching a brilliantly colored bluebird hop around the yard.
  • Remembering all the years I had the privilege to enjoy summer camp during my childhood years.
  • To have been able to provide the privilege of many years of summer camp for the son.
  • Both the son and I having the opportunity to earn our own money to pay for summer camp; I sold candy, he sold Christmas trees.
  • Garden fresh eggs from a trusted source.
  • The sweet tartness of strawberries.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Of Blood And Fire

  1. piratesorka says:

    Ohhh thoughts of Camp Onahlee, I have fond memories of it. I always cried when it came time to leave it. It is a private campground now? Dang, well, at least its still a campground I do not want to think of it as a series of homes. I wish I had become a camp counselor.
    I really couldn’t give a rats ass regarding the eclipse, in fact I will be going to a very much needed shot of cortisone in my back on that day. I need to be at Interstate Kaiser by 10:30am. I was lucky someone canceled…or else I would have had to wait until Sept 18….waay too long for me . I need that shot NOWW!
    I’m sorry that you are in the path of the acrid smell of forest fire…not good for any of us to breathe it nor is it conducive for eclipse watching, but then I do not plan to watch….I only want to see the darkness not actual event

    Like

    • sassy kas says:

      Do you remember the last day/night of camp? During the day we made dreamboats out of large pieces of bark and we decorated them with flowers and twigs and stones, and after dark our counselors came to us with candles and walked us silently down to the river and gathered with all the other campers, as the other adults launched the dreamboats in the water of the river to float past us. In hushed tearful voices we sang “Where Go the Boats” from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. The night was meant for us to keep fond memories of our childhood and camping in our hearts. I always cried that night, as I knew I was still a child but it felt like it was slipping away so fast, just like the joy of that camping week had come and gone so fast.

      Hope you are inside the doctor’s office before the eclipse progression happens and that you have relief before it’s over.

      Like

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