Friday, June 26, 2020

Summer Begins

It has been a bittersweet month as we have said goodbye to spring and hello to summer. Sweet, because life has attained its pleasant rhythm of summer again and bitter because this is my grandma's last one with us. My thoughts have been very much turned inwards and back lately; remembering many things and also here in the present moment, enjoying the quiet life of day to day living. I am so grateful for so much to remember. We are here for such a short time.

I have been sewing some and have some projects to share when I have time to take pictures and organize a post or two. I've made overalls and finished my feather Scroop Robin Dress and am working on a vintage style patchwork skirt. I finished my beaded rosette necklace I began in February and made a kaftan for Summer Solstice. I have been to a lot of baseball games and have played guitar on the porch many evenings, watching the little ones chase fireflies and the dim shapes of our cats in the dark. We caught a baby possum in our live trap two nights in a row (I think the same one!) and let it go both times, despite the two youngest begging to keep it. 😂

We made drums and beaters and the boys brought our cornhole set out from the shed and have been playing in the yard with some of the neighborhood boys who come by frequently to hang out and mess around. We have had days of rain and days of hot sunshine and the tomatoes are growing like mad.

Last week, Serpent Mound reopened and on Saturday Rosie and I visited the site to experience summer solstice there. There were so many people present to share the evening with, despite this years cancellation of the annual gathering. It was a truly magical evening flooded with warm light and the deep joy of being among family - despite our backgrounds and differences, I do think we all greatly enjoyed being with each other to mark this special time of year.

I have been working more on video editing and making short videos, so compiled some of our photos into a little one, which you can see below.

I will be back soon with a better update and hopefully some sewing projects to share! Deep love to you all.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Late Spring Living

Too busy and tired to write a proper post but for the sake of keeping up with what is going on, these are some recent photos of life here. Baseball, fishing trips, spending time outside. Today Dr. Amy Acton stepped down as medical director and in some ways that surprised me, since we are very close to being fully reopen here in Ohio (Serpent Mound opens on the 18th and the Air Force Museum in Dayton reopens July 1st!) but in some ways I was not surprised as she has been relentlessly verbally attacked by those who disagreed with her handling of the situation with Covid-19. I feel very sad about this. I am thankful we  had such great leadership from her and our governor throughout the initial crisis of the virus in Ohio.

David works on a shepherds hook for the garden
He loves forging!
They play outside all day! Here they are chasing each other as evening falls.
Caught mid-spin! She and Benjamin were pretending to be tornadoes. 😂
Malachi carving. . .something?
Sweet Anne at Indian Creek
Her fleece cape comes with her everywhere!
It's the perfect layering piece for evenings that can still be cool.

Fishing at Indian Creek. 
For Benjamin's birthday, he insisted she accompany him to
Bass Pro, where they each picked out a new pole. Hers is Barbie.
She definitely likes fishing more than Benjamin does. 😂 

Judah fishing farther off. There were so many bullfrogs that night!

Evening sky.

Geese across the lake. 

Judah took this one of a spider. I love it!

She and Judah both found daisies. . .

And plucked many of them.

"He loves me, he loves me not." "Mommy! He LOVES ME!" 
Kitten season

He was so proud to get into that tree! He's scared of heights
but he overcame it!
Pitching a game! It has been so nice to have baseball games on weeknights again!

Trying out catcher for the first time!

Snacks to watch the game!

Rosie and her friend Joshua went together to get registered for kindergarten yesterday!

I got poison ivy really bad about two weeks ago. This photo is from one week ago.
I ended up going to the doctor that day and got a shot and a 15 day supply of prednisone.
Today it is so much better! I only took the prednisone for 2 days since it was giving
me horrible side effects. But still, so thankful it's going away so fast this time. I hate poison ivy.
This time I used a special jewel-weed "poison ivy soap", witch hazel, shea butter and zyrtec. That combination
really seemed to help the rash speed up its progress. Normally this lasts for at least 3 weeks!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Black Lives Matter

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

- 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution, 1791

On Saturday, several hundred citizens of my county came together and were able to practice our Constitutional right to assemble peacefully and to protest. I was very blessed to be able to attend and to, most importantly, learn so much about systematic racism, racial profiling and hear the stories that my fellow citizens had to share with the rest of us about the racism they have experienced here in our own community. I went to the protest not really knowing what to expect or what I could possibly do to help, and left it feeling like I have a bit of sense of  the "next step foward"; due to suggestions given during the forum part of the protest, of where to invest my time, my money and my energy.

I think the thing that was most impressed upon me is the fact that this community experienced 2 years worth of similar injustice in the 1950's. I had never heard the story before, but after segregation was officially outlawed in 1954, this community resisted integration. While a pro-integration white man set fire to the Black school one night in an attempt to force integration, the community merely fixed up the building and still had Black children attend there. The Black mothers were not having that, and for two years, marched every day to the white school with their children. In 1956, finally, a judge ruled that Black children must be allowed to attend school with their white neighbors. I HAD NEVER HEARD THIS STORY AND I HAVE RESEARCHED A TON ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THIS COMMUNITY SINCE I'VE LIVED HERE. Why is this not being still told?!

I was also shaken in the days leading up to the protest by the anger and hate directed towards the idea of the protest and the people who organized it. I did not expect that at all. I live in a very rural, small community and although we are mostly white, there is a definite Black element to our community. My kids attend school with a few Black children. Racism here has never been really super apparent to me so I guess I never really thought about it. But once the protest was organized there was SO. MUCH. PUSHBACK. Like, why?? What the hell is the big deal about this? From the beginning, this protest was presented to be in full compliance with the county officials, the sheriffs department, social distancing, masks, etc and with absolutely no tolerance for violence. BUT THERE WAS STILL SUCH A HUGE PUSHBACK. 

I saw posts on Facebook from "concerned" community members, talking about "rednecks" "taking care of" the situation, talk about people carrying (which is legal here in Ohio), talk about running people down with semis. One of the organizers had death threats. This was such a huge, jarring, shocking, sickening eye opener to me.

I guess it really affected the way I think about racism. I suppose I've always thought of racism as an active thing; people obviously shaming/shunning Black people or treating them as less/not important/less educated/criminal etc. I haven't really seen that here. But goddamn, there is a LOT of passive racism. It made me think that perhaps a lot of people in this community are content to live alongside their Black fellow citizens as long as the status quo is kept, as long as Black people are "in their place". WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE.

I didn't take any of the little ones with me since I wasn't sure what to expect. I was really surprised by how many people showed up - up to 400, I heard. It was encouraging to me to see so many people there, coming together to show support for our Black community! In the end, there was no violence, no threats, only a few shouted remarks (I didn't personally hear them, but others who were there said they heard them). It was a very good thing and I am so glad I went. I am more glad that I know a little bit more now, and can act accordingly. 

Much love,

Thursday, June 4, 2020

No More Silence

I'd say that a lot has happened in the world since I last posted here but when I think about it a little more, nothing new has happened. Of course, the news is filled right now with the tragedy (the preventable, non-sensical, criminal tragedy) of George Floyd's death. Protests, riots, angry mobs, vandalized buildings. . .it's all in the news and my news feed on social media. It's made me realize that this is nothing new. It has been happening for hundreds of years. The news just is currently making a big deal out of it (which they should!) and of course, everyone has their own opinion and most are not shy about sharing it. 

I've never considered myself a racist but I've always been very shy around Black people. I've always been a bit naturally shy but I have often felt guilt around Blacks, since their presence causes me to be very aware of my own whiteness and the generations of oppression and brutality Blacks have suffered because of white people like me - like my ancestors. While my own ancestors never, to the best of my knowledge, owned slaves that does not free me from the guilt of being white. 

I know older people in my own family who were very racist, people I loved and still love. My grandma, growing up in West Virginia, told me stories about drinking at separate drinking fountains, using different entrances for movie theaters or bus. She grew up in the 30's and 40's. My own Grampie was distrustful and suspicious of Black people, though when I was a child, he often visited our church and during fellowship time played horseshoes with Mr. Patton, a Black man who oversaw the hospitality apartments at the servicemans center (which is how my mother, a local girl, met my father, who was in the Navy). 

This past week has made me uncomfortable, beyond just feeling appalled and horrified that a Black man was killed needlessly by a white police officer. I have felt it is time to dig into why I feel discomfort and why I feel guilt and why that's a good thing. It IS a good thing. People, we need to wake the fuck up! How, how can we sit on the sidelines and think that this isn't our fight? That we have no right to be part of this? How can we think, like I often have, that maybe my presence is resented and not wanted? Ok, those are selfish thoughts! IT'S NOT ABOUT US OR OUR FEELINGS. It's about fucking justice. It's about no longer being silent because when we are silent, we are adding to the oppression. There is no neutral ground. We are either for it or against it. And by god, I'm against it. I will stand up and use my voice and actions to show it. I will acknowledge the oppression my ancestors have used to dehumanize the ancestors of my Black brothers and sisters. I will cry and feel all the feelings that come. I will not be silent any more. I will do the tiny part I can to be part of something much bigger, hoping, praying, determined, that together our unified voices raise a cry that will not be ignored. 

So this past week has been one of much thought and reflection. As I've gone about my daily life different passages of the Bible flood my mind - I memorized so much of it as a child, and those verses still come to me without thinking. This verse especially has been on my mind this week: 
 "Now Cain [e]talked with Abel his [fbrother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.  " Genesis 4:8-10
And this one:

 "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. " James 4:17

I cannot be silent any more. WE cannot. White people, we cannot. Believe me, I know all the excuses we can come up with; we ourselves here and now are not oppressing Black people, right? We have friends who are Black! We have family who are Black! We aren't racist. We think everyone has value. We don't see color, right? We are all one race - the human race! Right?? Right? 

Black lives matter. They matter so much. They are members of our family who deserve for us to step out of our comfort zone and help right now. We need to be there for them and let them know we have their back. We are there for them. We see that they are Black. We acknowledge them. We acknowledge the opression they have faced - often at the hands of people who look like us. We apologize, we acknowledge our own addition to their oppression, by having been silent and standing by.  We are humble. We educate ourselves (I'm such a baby starting out - but I'm goddamned going to learn!) We listen. We stand with them. We speak with them. We make a chain that cannot be broken.

So instead of sewing and crocheting or painting or doing other things like that I'm making signs and even though I am slightly terrified I'll be going to my first BLM protest this weekend and taking a baby step towards doing what I ought to have been doing all along. We can't be quiet. This isn't right. Nothing can be solved by doing nothing. 

It doesn't feel quite right to put in pictures so I'll end with that. For now. I love you.