Today the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70. That means it is younger than my mother’s generation. It means we are still in the very early stages of creating a truly inclusive, compassionate, just world. No wonder the work is hard, and the path is rocky.
The opportunities to make progress are everywhere. As Eleanor Roosevelt said:
“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
Today in the northern hemisphere we experience the most hours of daylight for this year. In my valley, we are also gifted with blue skies, mild temperatures, and 25-30 mph winds. We’ll batten down the hatches, and enjoy stealing moments outdoors in sheltered areas, because we know that in about six months, on the shortest day of our year, we’ll have forgotten the “breeze” and will be longing for the light and warmth.
May the cycles of the seasons bring joy, as they remind us that nothing is permanent: not wind, rain, or sun; not sadness or grief; not pleasure or comfort; everything changes, including us.
I write this the morning of Christmas Eve, with a heart full of gratitude. Despite some frightening world events, this day I’m reminded of how many good, loving, kind, compassionate, and hilarious people I have around me.
The sun is out in our beautiful valley, creating a pale blue sky that sets the white blanket of snow sparkling. I live in a painting, it’s so lovely.
Our home is warm, stocked with food, and ready to shelter friends and family as they pass on their travels.
Whatever holiday you celebrate, or if you simply celebrate each day as its own gift – enjoy. Take care of yourself and those around you. Be well. And thank you for being a valued member of our human family.
Early December. Almost four weeks post-US election. Cold and clear here in my town, with brisk winds that sweep the clouds out of the sky.
Writing continues. I hop around from a novel manuscript to a blog serial to short letters to friends about the state of the world, trying to make sense of it all. Or just to hang on to one another. Whatever it is, I’m writing my way through it.
There might be a metaphor in this weather of ours. The way the cold wind stings and scours, makes it hard to stand up straight, makes us lean as we walk, and yet leaves those gorgeous blue skies in its wake.
In the last 17 days I’ve done a lot of writing. I’m making progress on developmental edits on my novel-length manuscript and I’ve drafted six more episodes of the serial.
Since the election, I’ve also spent time with local organizations doing peace vigils and marches. In our community, several weeks before the election, some KKK recruiting pamphlets were tossed onto driveways and sidewalks. It prompted many to respond strongly, organizing neighbors using a “Not in Our Town” methodology, including city and county official proclamations and a peace march of about 500 or so people that I was able to join this week. My online time has been devoted to researching ways to participate in upholding the values I cherish:
inclusion, compassion, protecting the vulnerable, protecting our mother earth, and loving kindness for all
And these values find their way into and through my writing, as characters grapple with the real issues we confront. Oh, and one more: