Tuesday, July 01, 2003

This morning I filled the water bottles, for the rabbits and the Chicas. I always rinse the large water dispenser over the pot of yerba buena, the mint, and this morning the first splash from the hose was so hot, that the air filled with the smell of freshly brewed mint. I leaned over the mint, scrubbing the bottle and inhaling the fresh and healing fragrance of a garden tea. Mint, steamed and released, floated around my face and senses and brought to mind childhood and comfort, the delicacy of moments intangible yet real.

Monday, June 30, 2003

If you are living in the U.S. and can't agree with this perspective, then I wonder whether you have ever lived abroad. For all our faults and missteps, as a nation, I still think we are great. Our potential is even greater, so vote and care, and continue to celebrate our unique freedoms and blessings. Last year, (July 3) I felt a huge wave of patriotism wash over me. It's not from blind love of country or zealous passion for our "specialness." My sense of patriotism comes from an appreciation of freedoms and opportunities that are rare and precious; it comes from knowing the difference between living in a country with free libraries versus living in Guatemala where we walked between the muzzles of automatic rifles to enter the dim, one room library. I am relieved to live in a country where most people, most of the time, care about where they dump their trash, and strive to establish and maintain environmental policies; the last time I stayed in Mexico the careless littering, the utter lack of responsibility from individuals or government was embarassing and tragic. I don't mean to put down other countries and point out their inadequacies, but the differences are a keen reminder to me that in spite of the problems here we enjoy many wonderful services and ideals; our expectations, and our protection of our freedom is crucial to maintaining our way of life. I don't propose we impose or deny our views and methods for the rest of the world, but I do want to enjoy a sense of pride in the good we accomplish. My patriotism comes from being bored with cynicsm, and finger pointing. I find life is more fulfilling when I recognize and appreciate the good in people, and look for hope and possibility; then I am further motivated to be involved in improvements and advancements, and proactive in compassionate activities.

At 5 a.m. I stepped out to the eastern porch and called for Chango, our cat. It was foggy. A cat could walk across the pasture unseen. Hills and stars, homes and trees, everything was shrouded and still. What could be seen was an infinite mist, droplets of water hovering in the air, suspended in space. And Chango did not step out of the fog. He did not come home to sit in the worn chair. He did not appear from behind the garage, and lay across the path, rolling and stretching. I called his name softly and peered across the lawn, toward the bottom fence. I listened for the neighbor's dog, coyotes, Chango's conversational meow. I sat on the step, and brought my legs under my nightgown. It could have been cold, but it wasn't. It could have been night, but was dawn. It was quiet and still, and only the fog could be heard; it made the sound of reverence and calm. Somewhere, sleek and black, Chango mocked the darkness and the predators. Somewhere in the fog our cat walked passed sleeping dogs, and restless rabbits. His green eyes wide open, his tail and ears perked and alert, Chango stayed out all night.