Free Bird

Common Grackle. Grand Island, NE. June 2, 2020.

Birds are the most accomplished aeronauts the world has ever seen. They fly high and low, at great speed, and very slowly. And always with extraordinary precision and control.  ~  David Attenborough

No justice, No peace

Justice is not a natural part of the lifecycle of the United States,
nor is it a product of evolution;
it is always the outcome of struggle.

~ Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation)

Chattanooga, United States.     June 1, 2020     Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Defund the Police

The growing movement that calls for defunding the police, instead putting that money into community programs, is getting push-back from the pundits, elites, consultants, establishment politicians . . .aka the comfortable/powerful. Why?

The policemen or soldiers are only a gun in the establishment’s hand. They make the racist secure in his racism. ~Huey Newton

Photo credit: Ira L. Black – Corbis – Getty Images

We dump obscene amounts of money into police departments around the country, departments that harass, oppress, and murder Black people.

The NYPD’s budget is $6,000,000,000. That’s more than the city spends on health, homelessness, youth development and workforce development COMBINED.

That NYPD budget is higher than the entire military budget of Ukraine, a country with a population 5x that of NYC.

NYC spent $229.8 million on police misconduct lawsuits in a single year.

But it’s not just NYC. Austin’s police department budget is $440,000,000. That’s more than the city spends on public health, housing, libraries, city planning, parks & recreation and EMS combined.

Minneapolis spent more than 11 percent of its budget on policing. For comparison, just 1.5 percent went to the Health Department.

LAPD budget: $3.14 billion

CDC budget: $11 billion
+ EPA budget: $9 billion
+ FEMA budget: $3 billion
+ OSHA budget: $558 million
_____________________________
= TOTAL: $23.6 billion
**************
US police budget: $115 billion

I could go on and on, but it’s pretty clear: this insanity must end.
#DefundPolice

Shared moon

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

Those are the same stars, and that is the same moon, that look down upon your brothers and sisters, and which they see as they look up to them, though they are ever so far away from us, and each other.                       ~ Sojourner Truth

Centuries in the making

March 1964 photo by Marion S. Trikosko (donated to public domain)

I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.  — Malcolm X

People before property

              Denver from my front yard.             May 27, 2020.

Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Good afternoon, moon

Moon as seen from open space. Afternoon of March 31, 2020.

The moon, by her comparative proximity, and the constantly varying appearances produced by her several phases, has always occupied a considerable share of the attention of the inhabitants of the earth.   ~ Jules Verne

You Are Here

Your mileage may vary, but today I find this perspective quite comforting:

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. ~ Carl Sagan

Rustler Gulch Trail. Crested Butte. July 26, 2018.

Vibrant Bunny

I like light, color, luminosity. I like things full of color and vibrant.
~ Oscar de la Renta

Bunny visit to front yard. July 28, 2017.

(Psst… I think Vibrant Bunny is a great name for a band. Feel free to use it.)

On developing curiosity

April 17, 2020.

It’s only Monday and I’m feeling anxious about various family members and all I want to do is hunker down with tasty snacks and forget about the rest of the week and everything that comes with it. Alas, life doesn’t work that way. Even this squirrel, who appears so content in the photo, was moments later focused on my intrusion. None of us are allowed to just be. Or, are we?

“There is a common misunderstanding among all the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is. If we are committed to comfort at any cost, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we’re going to run; we’ll never know what’s beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing.”
― Pema Chödrön

Making friends

Vinca. April 23, 2019.

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.  ~ Georgie O’Keefe

In these days of social distancing, it’s vital we make friends wherever and whenever possible.

Hello, Vinca Minor. My name is Tracy. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.

We the People

Arizona, July 1972 (National Archives)

From the depth of need and despair, people can work together, can organize themselves to solve their own problems and fill their own needs with dignity and strength.
~ Cesar Chavez

Simple kindness

Blue Mist Spirea. August 31, 2017.

We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.
~ Marcus Aurelius

Enter this wild wood

Chiricauhua Mountains. May 14, 2019.

Stranger, if thou hast learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery, and hast seen
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares,
To tire thee of it, enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of Nature . . . .
~ William Cullen Bryant

(Note: After posting this, I realized it all felt very familiar. Probably because I’d posted the same words very recently.)

It’s a reach, I know

‘Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark our coming,
and look brighter when we come.     
  ~ Lord Byron

Columbus, OH. August 23, 2019.

I’m quite sure the gleam in this chipmunk’s eye had less to do with me than bird seed on the ground. Still, that bright eye can’t be denied.

Thankful Thursday: magical nature edition

Backyard steps. March 26, 2020.

“If you find yourself worrying, go outside, take three breaths, address a tree and quietly say, ‘Thank you.’ If you can’t find a tree, a dandelion will do… Nature is magic.”                                                                                                             ~ Robert Bateman

Anxious times call for natural beauty

Red Maple budding out, March 10, 2020.

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.   ~ Charles Dickens

I didn’t realize this maple was budding out until I was standing next to it, and I swear it didn’t look like this yesterday. Gentle and easy changes, indeed.

The essence remains

Purple Coneflowers. July 19, 2019.

Nature is the most thrifty thing in the world; she never wastes anything; she undergoes change, but there’s no annihilation–the essence remains.                                      ~ Thomas Binney

Busted

Emma. February 2020.

The dog is a reflection of your energy, of your behavior.   ~ Cesar Millan

It’s true. Emma’s expression accurately reflects my energy level this windy Monday.

So, sue me.

Understated beauty

Mourning Dove. February 14, 2020

A mourning dove’s beauty is an understated one: the colors of its feathers ranging through various shades of gray and drab violet, often with a striking splash of turquoise around the eyes.                                ~ Jonathan Miles

HA! As I looked through my photos and came upon this dove, I thought the same thing. Apparently, this Jonathan fellow and I think alike.

Undiminished

Seventeen years ago, I went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for a three-week session with Marilynne Robinson which was an all-around wonderful experience. She dispensed much wisdom, mostly about reading and writing, but also about life. And this morning, as I looked at the lilies I received from Zippy five days ago, I thought about something Marilynne said during one of our workshops:

People after the age of 23 realize that they’re in the iron fist of gravity and will collect diminishing returns.

At that time, I was 40-years-old and only heard her message on an intellectual level. The thing was, I didn’t feel very far removed from 23 years of age; my returns weren’t yet greatly diminished. After all, every morning I got up and ran fast along the river!

Today I’m feeling more akin to these lilies that, after five days in a vase, broke from their stems in the main bouquet and fell to the countertop. These lilies whose petals are fading and wilting. Lilies in the iron fist of gravity and time.

Flowers still fierce and beautiful in their own way.

Deciding to act

After meeting with my critique group, I’m tweaking some plot lines and revising my opening chapters. I’m struggling today because I’m not 100% confident about how to change one plot line. I keep telling myself to make a decision and write it out, and that if it doesn’t work, I can write it again another way. But I want to be “right” the first time; I don’t want to write it again.

Tenacious wildflowers in Uncompahre National Forest. July 30, 2019.

And so I sit, paralyzed by indecision.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.  ~  Amelia Earhart

This is my public statement: I’m going to act. I will make a plot decision and keep writing. And I will prevail in these revisions because there’s one thing I can say with 100% confidence: I am tenacious.