Fourth of July in the Berkshires...

The fireworks and cookouts are over, many are headed for bed and I give thanks for the blessings and challenges of this era. The NY Times is reporting that there is a crack in the Iranian dictatorship "as the most important group of religious leaders in Iran called the disputed presidential election... illegitimate."

Aretha Franklin sang at the Capitol in Washington, DC and Arlo and the Wailin' Jennys played with Garrison Keilor at Tanglewood to mark Independence Day in the USA. These are crucial times: we have the chance to make authentic advances in health care for Americans that is affordable, begin to change our consumption of bio-fuels and move towards a greener economy and maybe get a little closer to our highest ideals.
Or we could piss it all away, too.
This poem by Julia Kasdorf says so much to me about this moment and our potential response...

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewing even if I didn’t know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.


So does this tune as reinterpreted by Canada's sweet Wailin' Jennys that my wife, Dianne, sings with such tender vulnerability that it always revives my sense of hope. Happy Fourth of July...

Comments

Media Mentions said…
Happy independence Day! http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=6WK4J6JK7ZH2&preview=article&linkid=e9ae3024-e9d4-4386-9eed-d0405c96f7e5&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d

MediaMentions
Black Pete said…
Happy Independence Day, RJ!
RJ said…
Thanks, my man. And belated Canada Day to you, too.
Rev Nancy Fitz said…
Nice to read your blog my friend. Always gives me something to think about. Life keeps rolling by at a fast pace. I heard Phyllis Tickle speak about "The Great Emergence". When I read the book, i'll blog about it. take care.

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