So I got it ordered, picked up and sat down to watch it with more than a little feelings of just blah. The first five minutes convinced me that I was in for a few hours of difficulty, maybe not boredom, but not really any interest either. I got a large glass of grapefruit juice and slouched down on the couch to keep watching but also so I could continue to watch the snow coming down outside the window and the sun slowly dissolving into the dark. I then spent two hours watching the saga of Ethan Edwards and his search for his missing niece named Debbie Edwards after she was stolen by a Comanche Indian raid. He traveled back and forth for over five years with a companion named Martin Pawley- an adopted young man who lived with and grew up with Debbie and her family.
“And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.” - Matthew 2:8
Martin - “They raised me”
Ethan - “That don't make you kin”
Funnily, enough... that does make you 'kin' in my book. I see family as those who stick by you, who love you, who look out for you and with whom your life would not be complete. I have many family members who share my blood, but I know people who share my blood and who really are not family. I have family in whom no related blood flows, but in all other ways they are my kin and I cannot see them as separate. I grew up with three grandfathers and while a child should never have a favorite, I did and still do to this day. Grandpa Carlile is the grandfather that I think about, I miss, and I know I will feel the loss keenly when he is no longer able to be a part of my earthly life. Sometimes, people remind me that he shares no blood with me- that he is my step-grandfather... but that label isn’t who he is and doesn't change who or what he is to me. If he had been kidnapped and lived in another culture for a while, I wouldn't hesitate to take him back... no matter what. As with all obsessions, Ethan puts everything he's got towards his plan and desire to find and rescue Debbie, but is unable to see the reality of what he wants. When he finds her, she can't live up to his expectations (can any obsession do that?) It takes more experiences and time before he is able to learn not only about how to understand and deal with the reality he faces, but also to actually understand himself. I would wish him happiness with his new understanding of humanity and even family, but as he is really a fictional character.... I will simply try to remember the lessons of the character.
Brad – “They gotta stop sometime. If they're human men at all they gotta stop.....”
Ethan - “No. A human rides a horse until it dies and then he goes on foot. Comanche comes along, gets that horse up... rides him twenty more miles... then eats him.”
The start of the film with the burning flag was a really potent image. The flag- whether it is a stamp, a name, a picture, iron on art, etc... makes a very specific statement. It is a loaded image that creates a picture no matter who looks at it and in many cases makes a political statement as well. For some, the flag is a symbol of pure nationalism- some love America to the point of blindness and the flag symbolizes this feeling... the feeling of power and strength, the assumption of God's blessing on this, the best country. Even that God fits a profile- white, Christian, silent and unchanging through the years. For others the flag is a symbol of a country that they love and feel loyalty for, but they are also able to recognize that America and its flag can also be seen in very negative ways not only by some of those who are protected by its laws, but by many around the world. The image of the flag is seen for what many see as its true colors... the symbol of oppression towards many in the world... it's citizens, other states...anyone that isn't useful or in line with what 'America' wants. It's hard to attack these ideals and governmental policies, so people attack it's image... and that is the flag. There are many ways to insult or desecrate the flag, but burning appears to be one of the most popular. By total destruction as flames quickly like over the sewn threads and they vanish into smoke that is pulled up towards the sun. So, as I watched this image, I felt the pull of both sides of the argument.... those that I know who cannot see anything but their idealized vision of the world and those who have felt the pain and oppression that is the flip side of nationalism. And there is no middle ground- because individuals will force you be be part of one side or the other. I do not allow myself to use the flag or its images on anything. I do not use it on stamps, hang it on the wall, or even use decorations that use the colors or patterns that suggest or remind. I have been told by people that my dedication to that 'idea' is treasonous and that I am ashamed of my country, but I see a very fine distinction between love of my country and it's ideals... and the reality of what it truly is. What is truly does... and what it has done in the past. So I felt that pain and that anger as I watched the flag... and as it slowly began to burn, I didn't need to hear the world to feel the suffering, the pain and the anger. I could see it grow and build as the flag burned... a flame of heat that might never be extinguished...even though its object has vanished into smoke and ash.
So many times I heard the word 'boy'... and finally I got it. When I was in high school I used to call male classmates 'boys' if I thought they were immature or acting that way. One of them was black and the few times I called him a boy, my kind teacher would pull me aside and tell me I couldn't do that because it was racist. And I would walk away really confused and frustrated. I have never considered myself a racist and I couldn't see how the word boy could be racist... The N word, yes... but boy no. I see it now. More than twenty years later I understand and I am really horrified by my lack of understanding. As a silly white girl, I didn't get it and as an older but still silly white women I know see a glimmer of understanding and I am filled with the shame and remorse. Tyler, I never meant to really hurt you. I never saw myself as being racist or making any comment about your skin at all. I saw myself standing up for myself and calling out immaturity when I saw it. I am truly sorry. I wish I could take those words back and I will admit I do not use them anymore. Since I couldn't understand why they were racially offensive, I just didn't use them anymore. I learned new words that were probably more effective and I still use those. I know of no way to make amends for my ignorance and foolishness; in fact, I suspect that my new understanding shows how immature I was and what a small child mentally. I ask for your forgiveness and hope that whatever pain I caused was small and hopefully gone.
Elijah Mohammed : The question is -who are you?
All of us ask this question to ourselves at some point in our lives... and how we answer it determines our whole lives. His choices changed his life and the lives of many. Just as our choices change our lives. I know a few people who seem lost and I am unclear if they can answer the question that Elijah Mohammed asked. Sometimes I am not sure that I can honesty answer that question. There are times when I feel very confident of the answer, but the jargon that spews forth from my mind is a list of labels and if you think about it.... no person can be summed up in labels nor should they. Aren't labels really a way of wording or acknowledging a trait; a piece of the whole, but how can a label or lots of labels encompass the whole? I am a woman, used to be a wife, a religious observer, a writer, a mother, a celiac... and yet, none of those labels tell you much or give you a clear image of who I am, what is important to me.... anything. What a powerful individual Malcolm X was... to question and question and to work to really understand himself and develop his ideas. The self awareness and control that requires is something that many people never develop- it is certainly not one of my strong suits.
"Whites can help us, but they can't join us. There can be no black/white unity until there's first some black unity. We can not think of uniting with others until we have first learned to unite with ourselves. We can think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves..."
"I told you to look behind the words and dig out the truth...locked us in chains, 100 million of us, broke up our families, cut us off from our language, our religion, our history.... "
quickly to fill all space
cool sheets press against my cheek
arms flayed, spread out
feet dangling in the air
a slight breeze moves the air
leaving ripples of breath and hair
floating, gliding, sinking in the deep
and even though my physical sense hasn't moved
hasn't budged, hasn't twitched
the riptide of need to rest, to forget, to lessen
A whirlpool of darkness, soft voices and purring
And you sink down, down into the abyss
the light patterns on your lids begin to fade
from white to green and blue
and suddenly you're gone and only spiritual remains
The tide flows by and pulls you in.....
… the hamster on the wheel
… the fears of your heart
… the images of film explored
… the joy of memories relived
… the revelation of things to come
together they flow, merge and tug your mind
As they merge, your breathing slows
yet your mind is full of visions
sometimes you backstroke and float unaided
and sometimes your fears win
Suddenly, the blue turns light
the darkness quickly fading
the movies gone, the images dissolve
only the emotions remain, dripping off
My eyes crash open, appendages start to twitch
consciousness and self break free
A stretch, a yawn... and the images are gone
A day of possibilities beyond
and yet I smile and think of evening
for the joys of night swimming
So it's time for an official introduction to the new – well, newer to me at any rate- cat siblings that I have adopted. I mentioned them in a previous post, but they are now settled in and even have names. As such, I am ready to give them a short and proper introduction.
They still help me sleep and together they are quite a formidable and fun pair. With the addition of Finny- another story that I may tell one day- my household is full and complete. Even now as the night comes in, I sit surrounded by purring friends. I have a good book and a warm stove and everything may still be in slight disarray from moving but everything feels orderly and peaceful. So a hearty welcome to my new housemates and friends! :)
So, I have finished moving into my new place! I am really excited about it for so many reasons and even though I still have some unpacking and arranging to do, I feel more comfortable than I have in a long time. It doesn't look like much- it's just a small cabin, yet its so much some comfortable and I feel more free than I did in my two bedroom apartment. It's funny how having less makes some things harder, but many important things easier.
I love having land to hang out on again. I have already started imagining and planning for a small garden in the spring and I am wondering if maybe having ducks would be a possibility again- not wondering too much because I will be working so much so I wouldn't be able to enjoy them or keep them safe. I have already tried to enjoy some time sitting outside looking at the stars – feels too cold to do for long right now- but I am looking forward to it in the spring evenings. I love having wood heat again... its a more comfortable heat and while I am still getting used to the rhythm of starting and keeping the stove lit and fired up again, its wonderful. It is so much more comforting and feels more right than a thermostat does. I have to pay attention to the weather, to how I feel, to the air around me... and as such I think I get a better appreciation of it.
I love the huge amount of windows- boy the cats do as well. When I am working outside, I will see them sitting on the sills enjoying the rays of sun that come through the pains. I love that it is within the living boundaries of the church I need to attend and so I no longer have to worry about difficulties there. I love the rustic look of the place itself and even some of the problems- I find myself thinking of ways to fix or modify them. I love the size of it and how it is pretty darn cozy. How many people live in places that they really feel are great places to live for all parts of them. I suspect that not many people do as otherwise, home décor wouldn't be such a popular thing as we try to turn our homes into things that we like to look at and let others look at instead of enjoying the place for the environment it provides. (I recognize that I have over simplified that idea.) It feels like a place to be happy and to grow in.
So here is a picture. Like I said, not fancy... but perfect all the same. :)