Thursday, May 24, 2007

summer blessings

I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it
nothing fancy.
But it seems impossible.
Whatever the subject, the morning sun
glimmers it.
The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open
and becomes a star.
The ants bore into the peony bud and there is the dark
pinprick well of sweetness.
As for the stones on the beach, forget it.
Each one could be set in gold.
So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds
were singing.
And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music
out of their leaves.
And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and
beautiful silence
as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too
hurried to hear it.
As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs
even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing,
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing,
So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,
and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,
So happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being
locked up in gold.

-- Mary Oliver

Things I am grateful for tonight:

I am lucky enough to be on vacation! We are leaving tomorrow to take a road trip to visit friends whom we rarely see because we tend to go north not south on our wanderings. Over the next five days we will be visiting friends in Falls Church, VA, Alexandria, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Lynchburg, VA, and Raleigh, NC. We'll also be spending a few days relaxing in Hilton Head, SC.

The weather is perfect. I'm leaving for a road trip tomorrow morning with my sweetheart. I will be away from the office for five days. I just ate two delicious slices of homemade sourdough bread (thanks Alanna!). I did a presentation today with Mike for the first time ever - and it was a success! We presented to a group of legal aid lawyers/workers on how to do "fun and effective community education" at their statewide conference. Last night I sat outside at the hotel the conference was at and drank a glass of red wine and enjoyed the lovely night breeze. Today I took a nap by the river in Harrisburg (where the conference was). Today walking home from the train station we ran into some neighbors who were reminscing about how the neighborhood used to be - they have both lived in the neighborhood for over 40 years. Today I heard Jonathon Kozol speak and was reinspired to work on the racism and segregation that plague our schools.

I will be back here in a week with pictures and stories from our trip. Until then, I hope you all are enjoying your own summer blessings.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

at long last

i have a moment and some energy to sit down and blog.
sorry for the long absence!

i thought i'd share some of what i've been up to...both the good and the not-so-good.
a lot of the last few weeks has been spent in sadness. two co-workers are going through incredibly hard times - one recently lost her six month old baby and the other is struggling with advancing cancer and a terribly unjust health system that would not approve the surgery that she desperately needs. luckily she is a domestic violence advocate, so has the skills to advocate for herself. she appealed the insurance company's decision to not pay for the surgery and ... she won! she'll be having the surgery at the end of the month. that is at least some small solace.

on a brighter note, i had the opportunity to be a part of the student's constitutional rights institute, a project of the american civil liberties union PA that brings together students to explore the role of the law in LGBT people's lives. the students participated in a mock supreme court argument using a real case from florida in which a gay couple were denied the right to adopt an HIV-positive child who they had been caring for for many years as a foster child. the students were absolutely brilliant - they were thinking critically, making smart arguments, and all the while doing it with a sense of humor and wit that i often find hard to maintain in the face of such oppression and prejudice. it was really amazing to see in these LGBT youth and their allies the next generation of leaders in the movement fighting for equal rights for LGBT people.

the weather has turned lovely in philly. this has meant trips to phillies games and discovering that there is national park right outside of the city! it's called the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. the refuge is home to over 300 species of birds.

on one recent warm sunday afternoon i headed out to art buggy. art buggy is a competition in which participants create a buggy using recycled (or new) materials that must be 1) fast and 2) create a piece of art when the buggy is pushed. as the website says, "The art should capture a record of the journey through mark making." poetic, huh? buggys are paired together and put to the test in heats. in a buggy derby. quite
fabulous and fantastic. here are some pictures so you can get a sense of the creativity and fun
that ensued...