Even though I was very young, I remember the tension and anxiety of the Vietnam War well. Closing in on the draft age will make someone pay attention. Yet for all the division back then, this moment seems much worse. 213,000 dead as of today, the economy battered and the virus revealing exactly how mean our social order is. Essential workers, usually people of color, are exploited daily. The suddenly unemployed now lack wages and health insurance. The system is rotten, any honest person can see that. There is much to repair.
An adult is on the way, the nightmare will end at last. The GOP is about to be decimated. They refused to remove the sick leader when they had a chance 10 months ago.
As I grieved Ruth Bader Ginsberg`s death I learned so much about her that inspired me. As principled and certain as her convictions were, she never demonized her opponents but instead tried in her most creative arguments, to persuade them. Everyone notices how polarized our country is right now but it doesn`t have to be like this. There is no coming civil war or succession of states. I have little patience with those that swear they will leave the country. That is the ultimate white privilege, just walk away. We are here together, bound by our history together as brutal as that may have been. If the liberal West Coast became its own country where does that leave our black citizens in Alabama? No, if the unthinkable should happen again, we will need each other more than ever. We just need to take some deep breaths and learn to listen again. Let respect be non-negotiable.
All the while pressuring the powers that be for economic justice and opportunity.
When I last wrote a blog post, the fires in Oregon had just begun. I was in the evacuation zone told to be ready. The flames never came close thank god but my husband`s hometown of Mehama was destroyed. What everyone in Western Oregon had to endure was smoke of an unimaginable magnitude. The air was between 400-500 on the air quality index for nine days. Under 50 is considered healthy. My hundred year old house could not keep it out. It was like the air wanted to kill me. I did absolutely nothing to avoid taking a deep breath. My studio was off limits because my radon remediation system is based on bringing air in from the outside to displace the radon. The experience was so extreme it put the corona virus into a new, proper perspective. I is nothing compared to what is coming by way of a hotter climate. When a rainforest dries out, there is a whole lot of fuel that can combust quickly. Controlled burns, the way the natives used to do them, is the big conversation now. No one wants to go through that again, it was truly terrifying.
Falls Creek, the jewel like tributary of the Umpqua River burned in the fires. I`ve only seen it twice, it isn`t nearby. The first time I entered it with John we had just had the worst fight. There was a parking lot so I pulled in and we began to walk in silence. The mossy geology there is so special; a small rainforest stream winds among enormous boulders that are draped in vegetation. The beauty is staggering and our discord was overwhelmed.
Below are some of my paintings of the canyon;