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VNV Tuesday – Speaking Her Truth: Modjeska Monteith Simkins (1899-1992) 4/3/18

Mary Modjeska Monteith Simkins, sometimes called the matriarch of Civil Rights activists in South Carolina

Modjeska Monteith was raised to be an activist, although it’s doubtful her parents would have phrased it that way. Her father, a master brick mason, and her mother, a schoolteacher who only quit teaching when Modjeska was born, were affluent by the standards of the day; their financial independence enabled them to stress the importance of racial pride, Christian mission, community service, and respect for education.  Her father, the son of a white lawyer and his domestic servant (and a former slave), did not want his family to live subservient to the white world and emphasized the importance of supporting one’s own people.  He kept pictures of famous black people in the home, and he made sure his family reached out to those neighbors who had less.  Through their church, they often visited and cared for the ill or the desperately poor.  The family supported black-owned businesses and were even part owners of a black-owned grocery store.  Without realizing it, her upbringing was preparing Modjeska to be one of the “talented tenth.”

Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way

I was at the Austin march on Saturday & it was amazing. What a smart, talented group can pull together in a short amount of time. People were happy & friendly — it reminded me of AIDS Walk Austin & the Hill Country Ride for AIDS. And, because I’m me, a U2 song was playing in my head — Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way. Especially these words: “write a world where we can belong to each other, and sing it like no other”. It seems to me that’s what this generation of activists is doing, and that’s what the Hill Country Ride for AIDS does. And then I saw an Instagram drawing that Bono did for David Hogg after he heard that they were listening to U2’s music. Seems I was more in tune than I knew.

Springing into Spring – No Kidding!

Today at 16:15 UTC (11:15am CDT), the Spring Equinox will occur.

An equinox occurs twice a year (around 20 March and 22 September), when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth’s equator. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.

The amount of daylight and darkness became equal over the past few days (on March 18, here) and soon daylight will extend ever deeper into the evening and the early morning hours.

Spring is about hope and new beginnings and the sheer joy of being outdoors in the light and the warmth. Here is some (light!) kidding around as we celebrate this year’s Spring Equinox.
(Place your cursor on the photos to read the hovers*)

The Columbia River Rolling Into the Pacific Ocean -Part 2,

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment Washington, at the mouth of the Columbia River

We left off in Part 1 at Celilo Falls and The Dalles Dam, the last dam before the river meets the ocean. This remaining portion of the river’s journey is also spectacular although the landscape takes on a different character.  After leaving the Canadian Rockies, the terrain along the river has been relatively barren, semi-arid plateau with the river cutting deep canyons through ancient basalt flows. The vegetation is largely shrubs and grasses with some pine where it approaches the mountains.

Leaving The Dalles, the arid brown landscape of the Columbia Plateau gives way to greens of a more marine climate as it heads toward the ocean. This change is exemplified by the lushness and pastoral beauty of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.

A diary about positive things (& raising money for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS)

I’ve been keeping my head down lately, because my heart cannot take any more negativity. There’s all the awfulness in the world, and then my best friend is in hospice with the nth recurrence of brain cancer. She fought hard for four years, which is a lot longer than many with glioblastoma get — and her daughter is getting a break from her profs at MIT, they are letting her spend a lot of time down here. I go visit as often as I can, but she is sleepy a lot; I try not to think of any one visit as being the last. Another friend died in a car accident in January, and a friend’s mom — who I called my substitute mom when my parents lived overseas – is in the hospital with heart failure. So you can see where my heart is a little fragile.

HNV Tuesday – Speaking Her Truth: Diane Nash (1938- )

Years later though she could recall almost every physical detail of what it had been like to sit there in that course on English literature, Diane Nash could remember nothing of what Professor Robert Hayden had said. What she remembered instead was her fear. A large clock on the wall had clicked slowly and loudly; each minute which was subtracted put her nearer to harm’s way….It was always the last class that she attended on the days that she and her colleagues assembled before they went downtown and challenged the age-old segregation laws at the lunch counters in Nashville’s downtown shopping center. No matter how much she steeled herself, no matter how much she believed in what they were doing, the anticipatory fear never left her.
Excerpt from the prologue of The Children by David Halberstam

“Roll on Columbia” The River that Drains the Pacific Northwest – Part I

The Columbia River, near Wenatchee WA, about mid way between its origins in British Columbia and its mouth at the Pacific Ocean.

 

I grew up along this river in the Tri-City area and have had occasion to travel along much if its1,200 mile course from British Columbia to its mouth where it joins the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River and its adjacent territory has a long and storied geologic and human history. More recently it was in large part instrumental in the settlement of the west and particularly the Pacific Northwest. The river was the last leg of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition which ultimately contributed to the opening up of the Washington and Oregon territory for settlement.

I’ll present the river in a two part series as it got kind of lengthy. This first part covers the river from its origins in Canada to The Dalles and Celilo Falls Oregon. The second part will cover its last 180 or so miles as it approaches and then meets the Pacific Ocean.

VNV Tuesday – A Self-Care Reminder 2/6/18

We get by with a little help from our friends…and by practicing self-care.

I love winter, but in my neck of the woods, the enjoyment comes at a price. For every peaceful snowfall, there are sidewalks to be shoveled; for each moment of ice-covered marvel, there is the stress of navigating slick roads; for each breath of crisp, clean air, there is the effort of staying warm. When you add that to the ongoing shitshow of the Current Administration, it means a lot of energy, both physical and emotional, is expended, and my reserves start to run low. We’ve all talked about self-care since we knew #Resistance was going to be our only path forward, but now seems like a good time to remind ourselves what that means.

Spring is in the air!

At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.

Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls begin breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring, the owls are already beginning their nesting year.

(Don’t forget to hover* …)