Here is the view today from the back door of our house, two days after the 2020 fire season began. I have never felt so helpless as I do now.
Life gives, and life takes away. It was a tough summer for the two older hens at our place, and my happiness about raising a large flock was short-lived. On June 7, beautiful Helen (Frankenthaler) (l) died of unknown causes. On August 11, beautiful Jane (Eyre) (r) died from complications of being “egg bound” (an egg that cannot be laid and cannot be removed from the body). Helen was a sweet “mother hen” type. Jane was stately and dignified. I miss their unique presence in the chicken yard!
MoveOn, the NAACP, Working Families Party and other national organizations are organizing #SaveThePostOffice Saturday, which asks Americans nationwide to show up at post offices across the country at 11:00 AM on Saturday, August 22, to save the post office from Trump and declare that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy must resign. (Forbes magazine news feed, 8/17/20)
Here in Aurora (population 1,000), 8 of us (7 adults, 1 child) held an hour-long demonstration near the USPS site along state Route 99E. Even on a pandemic Saturday, there was a lot of traffic. From the passing cars, pick-ups, 18-wheelers, RVs and motorcycles, we counted 1 thumbs-down, 1 raised middle finger and 1 shout of “Trump 2020”. We lost count of how many thumbs-up, “V” peace signs, hang-10 gestures, friendly waves, honked horns and shouts of “you go” that we got.
One more reason to Vote Blue on November 3. Vote Biden/Harris to safeguard, among other pillars of our democracy, the Post Office.
Two not-for-profit organizations close to my heart have moved into virtual spaces during the pandemic. Social distancing is easy there but the “appeal” can be harder, so I encourage you to do what you can to support these vital communities whose work brings beauty and value to us all. Thank you.
Quilts for Empowerment, which my friend Mary Ann McCammon started almost 10 years ago to work with at-risk women and girls in Kenya, will have its annual fundraising benefit “live” via Zoom on October 17 from 2-3pm. The traditionally popular silent auction will start online on October 10 and conclude right after the benefit. (I’ll have some watercolors in the auction!) All the details are at www.quiltsforempowerment.org, along with QFE’s history, mission and accomplishments.
Aside from the vital funds raised once a year at the benefit, QFE has traditionally obtained half its operating funds from quilt shows, bazaars and so forth that happen all year round. Obviously, those venues are gone, for now! But there’s Etsy, where QFE now has a store. Please come browse and buy: www.etsy.com/shop/quiltsforempowerment.
My dear Sister-friends at the Queen of Angels Monastery in Mount Angel are now offering many of their previously scheduled in-person retreats, spiritual direction opportunities and other programs via online platforms. I can attest to how well this works! And though the Monastery buildings are closed to the public, the peaceful and spirit-soothing grounds (including the labyrinth!) are open for walking. (Just bring a mask in case you met up with a Sister.) Please visit www.benedictine-srs.org for information, including how to access the Sisters’ very enticing gift shop.
Most of October will be virtually devoted to the annual “founders’ day” festivities, traditionally a large source of funding support for all of the Monastery’s needs, especially those of the retired Sisters. Kick-off will take place via video on October 4 and you can attend “dinner” on October 25. All details will be on the website.
My friend Heather Andrews recently designed and unveiled THE most magical website ever — “EntoWhimsy”, found at www.heatherandrewsbugs.com. Please take long look. You will be charmed and delighted. And you will learn a lot!
Heather is an entomologist and a jewelry maker and an artist and a musician and a web designer and a gardener and a super friend. She writes beautifully about how her love of nature has inspired her to follow a uniquely intertwined path in life — professionally in the world of science and personally in the world of artistic expression. She writes beautifully about nature, period.
And for these especially trying times, Heather offers a prescription of sorts — spend time outdoors, as she does. She writes: “I strongly encourage you to do the same, go out and find a beautiful, pristine place, and focus on deeply inhaling the clear air, listening to the birds and insects (or perhaps complete silence), and filling your eyes with the incredible sights.”
You may remember Heather as one of the artists in my Aurora art gallery that I closed at the end of 2018. “EntoWhimsy” is also the name of Heather’s Etsy page, where she now sells her work.
According to idioms.thefreedictionary.com, “showing one’s colors” means “to reveal what one truly believes, thinks or wants; to act in accordance with one’s real personality, character or disposition”. The phrase originated in the 1700s, when sailing ships began flying their national flags, an especially important identifier in times of battle. I am aware that the phrase has been co-opted by some who use it to express their negative anti-social beliefs, thoughts or desires — especially in the realm of race relations — with the whining justification, “But this is what I really believe (or think or want)!” I reject that meaning of “showing one’s colors”. Instead, I am happy to make positive and visible statements in front of my house, every day, as you see here and below. The three “topic” flags appear in rotation, and the American flag is the constant. For more context, please scroll down to see my News entry on 1/2/20.
For the origin story of this flag image, please scroll down to see my News entry on 11/11/19.