Making America ‘Real’

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These last months there’s been a lot of talk about making America ‘ours’ again. Hello? That might come as big news to those early North/South American settlers. Remember those guys who came from Asia more than 20,000 years before the Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria ever cruised these hallowed shores? The indigenous native populations, who treasured forests, nature and spirit, were the original owners of our fair land before they got their walking papers. They had make room for the upstarts from across the pond; the new kids on the block took over big time. Now, I’m not saying we haven’t done a great job with the place. It’s flourished nicely these 241 years since we made it official. I’m pretty darn proud of this America, even though it has a shadow side we sometimes conveniently forget.

So, we shipped the first owners to the hinterlands. Weirdly, though we couldn’t understand why they weren’t thankful for the ride! (We get a little defensive about ownership and the acceptable types who should live here.) This country was becoming  pretty nice place and soon more settlers came and set up shop.  Others got the memo that the place was open for business and they came in droves, but as the land slowly sprouted farms, ranches and tiny cities, we needed to call in the ‘help’. So we grabbed them from another continent, then owned, traded, worked the frightened captives we indignantly believed had no right to be here! We have a little problem with this ownership thing.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms 
it will be because because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln

The Chinese, Italians, Irish and Germans also traveled the high seas to this land of opportunity but the welcome sign wasn’t always up for them either. They came escaping wars, poverty, and starvation only finding they now would struggle to survive, and fight to belong. They built our railroads, worked in fields, and factories. Yet, for many years, finding a place in their new home’s pecking order came second to simply knowing their place. Continue reading

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Under the Big Top

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I never joined the circus. Actually, I’ve never even been much of a fan. Too many rings to watch at once. Too many nail biting high wire acts. Too many animals tethered and tamed instead of wild and free. And the clowns, yikes, the clowns. Maybe I was just a weird kid, but the circus was never a big ‘must see’.

Still, I must say I felt a teeny bit sad when the 146 year old Barnum and Bailey Circus recently pulled up stakes for good. But, hey, even the biggest show on earth would have a hard time competing with the red, white and blue Big Top of — politics.

If, like me, watching more than one thing at a time makes you dizzy, refer to your program and buckle up. There’s enough action under the Big Top these days to make your head spin. Precarious high wire acts. Slights of hand. Tricks that can keep you stranded in the air with no safety net. From acrobats to animal trainers, no one seems to like each other very much but every one is worth watching.

High flying tricks emerge energetically from every spotlit ring. Some are intriguing; others could turn catastrophic in a heartbeat. All the balls are in the air and where they land no one knows – yet. We watch every act with interest or fear, approval or upset. Performers go through flaming hoops or emerge from clown cars. And we’re left to wonder what (or who) is going to bounce off the trampoline. Welcome to life under the Big Top. Continue reading

Ready or not . . .

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMzAAAAJDZmNGEwNDkwLTA0ZTYtNGFhZC1hNmI0LTc5MWM3Y2Q4MDcyOQ. . . . . . . you’re on your own.

Wait, what?  I really didn’t order that. Star-spangled freedom wasn’t on my wish list. Been there, done that. I know independence is a good thing– both for people and countries. Being able to stand on your own is an asset in every situation, whether you choose to walk solo or not. Brexit may be one of those times when that ability may be tested.

When I met my husband, I walked into coupleness with eyes wide open – and then some. Having been married before, I knew the difference between being controlled and being intimately connected. Having a base, feeling ultimately at home in a relationship, that’s a cool thing and what we strive for, right? Unfortunately, when my almost-fairytale ended a few months ago, there was no ‘happily ever after’ – at least none that my emotional binoculars can see right now.

My husband’s sudden death set me free into a life, an independence I hadn’t planned on or wished for. Unlike the independence we celebrate today, that kind of freedom doesn’t invite the Grucci brother’s famed fireworks. Nothing about being cut loose in a sink or swim ocean of grief calls for flag waving or bbqs. (I’ve never been a hot dog and beer girl anyway) While I celebrate the heck out of our United States today, sometimes freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be if it’s the last thing you were looking for instead of what you were fighting for. Continue reading