No school today in the tradition of Columbus Day, which of late, teeters on the brink of political correctness. As an Italian-American, I have mixed feelings…some which have roused the ire of the powerful purists and some which bring base … Continue reading
This day of remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., days before an inauguration that leaves the world breathless, reminds us that we still have far to travel to claim a tenable, legitimate sense of peace, empathy and justice.
Changing situations without offering solutions of necessary and proper nurturing does not bode well. One of the first “rules” in leadership learned in extended research and investigation emphasizes understanding leadership as service to others…and beneficial change as requiring time with due diligence. Assessing the realities of a civil society in blending individualism, freedom and community begs for balance.
Chili is a delicious combination of a number of ingredients needing the right amount of spices in the correct proportion nurtured with a steady temperature. Balance in the recipe will result in a satisfying dish. Even the most expensive ingredients can be ruined by not following the recipe.
NIMB ~ presupposes that bringing anyone into another’s sphere of influence automatically means lowering your own standards. Yet most of us have benefited over time, with education, peace of mind despite difficulties and fair & proportioned opportunities for work. The struggles our ancestors faced repeat still today.
Sowing random seeds just to propagate may or may not yield desired results. Planting with a plan in mind, watering and giving adequate nutrition daily and consistently, trimming and thinning when necessary, protecting against disease and harmful elements, caring for development and not just creation will likely increase the chances of successful produce, as any farmer knows. And all of this arises in an atmosphere of understanding the value of hard work persevered alongside fair and real opportunity…
The August summer heat would not relent as she defiantly arched her elderly frame to rise from the cracking concrete stoop in this ignored part of the city.
I walked up the block with a crumpled dollar bill for the ice – without the syrup. Sweat scattered from my hairline. My face and neck burned scarlet.
The makeshift plastic table was wobbly-arranged for quick sales anticipated from the two buses of people who visited for a mere afternoon, scheduled in to clean up the neighborhood through a service agency. All in the name of peace and solidarity.
A battered aluminum urn, dented from years of use, held ice that would shave pieces into a forbidden Styrofoam cup – a cheap fix. A neat row of glass bottles with plastic pumps each waited with their blaring color of sugar syrup attentively for its snow-cone debut – chartreuse mint, tangerine orange, bright violet grape – nothing known to Nature. My only wish was the frosty shavings to melt my dusty, gritty throat.
She rose from the stoop as I smiled deeply breathing in front of a torn plastic umbrella, offering some shade. Her cocoa-colored skin clenched hard onto muscles whose strength was all but gone from years of sacrifice. Her knotted, ebony hands buckled from years of toil…fields, factories, mills? I couldn’t imagine. This heat would not stop her today. Nope. No way.
“Just ice please.” I handed her the dollar bill.
She pulled the black plastic lever to shave the ice into slivers of cool relief. Gently she extended her arm giving me a cup filled with ice shavings and started to count out change – one worn quarter, one dime and three nickels. Her hand trembled as she counted and then my eyes rested on her wedding ring encircling the on her left hand.
The simple band was of thin gold, but the worn beveled edges reflected the mysteries of a previous life filled with more joy than today brought. The pattern of the bevel was exactly the same as the wedding ring belonging to my grandfather which I wore in the middle of my right hand. I had asked for it and wore it every day without fail since his death. Nonu’s hands were the worker’s hands of a turn-of-the-century Italian immigrant – massive, skilled and unfaltering. They could crush rock, melt brass or graft five different apples on to one tree for autumn pies Noni would make each year.
I reached for her left hand with my right so she would see my ring as I touched hers. She slowly lifted her eyes to meet mine. Her heavy blink under sagging eyelids gave way to a weakened smile as time and space held us united in some unexpected enigma made for this day.
“No change”, I said, “and God bless.”
Today, we had visitors at school. One of the most compassionate and caring groups of people who care for and help others adopt greyhounds. These loving animals are “run” for years for entertainment. (Those of you who know me understand that I have a problem with this concept!) When they are no longer able, they are useless for the entertainment industry that profits from them. The Long Island Greyhound Connection will put you in touch with these docile, gentle creatures who need love, so many of which become therapy companions. Consider firstname.lastname@example.org
while we are captivated by one event, there are millions of events happening simultaneously. as one sage told me years ago, if you are dismayed by present events…”wait and in your interim, seek peace.” change is constant. your thoughts, your actions, your words and prayers will bend change towards the positive, regardless of that which you encounter in the moment.
After 9, before 10pm….cars rev their engines as they drive down the block, zooming by catapulted by some strange energy on a Sunday evening when most are usually winding down the weekend before Monday’s workday morning. Blood Moon Eclipse begins. An historic weekend ends. My prayers are stronger, more convincing and I feel I am witnessing part of a call like never before.
The grass had been replaced by moss which had grown painstakingly around the trees in the shaded grove. My friend, with whom I agreed to take a ride “out East” needed to talk with several of the residents so I took a stroll in the silence while she discussed. Three swans floated on the lake in-between occasional surface plants that broke the ripples of the water. I felt the presence of Nature as She breathed with me in synchronism on Her Path. I walked to the gazebo and the swans glided towards me. Unbelievably, I felt enveloped, cared for and loved in solitude without anyone nearby.