Yesterday morning, I left Berkeley in my car with a suitcase, a bag of food, and a plan to get to Louisiana at some point. I’m not sure of the path I will take, or how long I will be on the road, but I am happy. Free and unreliable and doubled masked. My first destination: Cambria, 200 miles south on the California coast.
As of Monday, we are in the Age of Aquarius, thanks to the convergence of Jupiter and Saturn. What a time to be in Sedona, Arizona. You probably know Sedona is a community about half way between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, famous for its dramatic geology. I am staying with friends, Belle and Bill, on a piece of land adjacent to thousands of acres of national forest and a few miles from the Red Rocks.
About ten years ago, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I’m not here anymore. Like a bucket list. It included living long enough to hug my grandchildren. It also included “saving a life.” At the time, I wasn’t sure how I was going to save a life since I’m not a medical professional and I’m not very strong. But I now realize that “saving a life” doesn’t require a dramatic gesture to prevent someone’s imminent death. It’s also helping people feel hope, easing their pain, and supporting their path with dignity. This isn’t very hard to do.
“What’s your favorite country?”
When I say “rural Louisiana,” I know what y’all are thinking out there in California. But it’s not like that equally everywhere or with everyone here. Just as there are swamps and republicans in the Bay Area, there are Unitarians and three varieties of kale here.
In 1980, an aging Yemeni woman living in a Palestinian village was involuntarily relocated to a bland immigrant camp. She was an artist and felt stifled by the white walls of her new house, so she bought cans of paint and, over several years, covered her white walls with the rich motifs of Yemei embroidery. https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/afias-house-shlomi-israel Her project got her through a difficult time, and it is wondrous.
I have been listening to the Senate hearings to confirm a judge who seems to agree that the Voting Rights Act represents “the perpetuation of racial entitlement.” The conversation reminded me of the “racial entitlement” I observed during the 2004 presidential election. I went to Reno, Nevada, as a poll watcher for a national nonprofit organization. I went with a group of friends not expecting much. Here is what I saw in only six hours in a city where the polls were managed by the local GOP:
In the past six months, I have been operating at about 30% capacity. Yes, I have tried volunteering and writing and baking. I hike a lot and keep in touch with friends and family. I remind myself how good my life is, but my feelings ignore my thoughts. At this time of my life, I need new places and people and ideas. I need instability.