Quotes and Flowers of Nairobi

SEASONS IN NAIROBI

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”       ― Albert Camus

The flowers of Nairobi can only be understood by photography.  I’m not any kind of purist, but the flowers here need only the opportunity to be seen.  They grace trees, bushes, sidewalks, car windows, porches, balconies, hair weaves…. they are spectacularly brilliant.   They make me think of things expressed better by others:

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”  ~Jim Rohn

“A weed is but an unloved flower.”
― Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”   ― Georgia O’KeeffeGeorgia O’Keeffe

 “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”   ― Iris Murdoch

“Feathers blowing in the wind is no more a bird than a pile of crumpled up receipts from champagne, chocolate, and flower purchases is a true indication that a man loves a woman.
”  ― Jarod KintzThe Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They’re Over.

 “You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.”   ― Steve Maraboli

“If flowers were boogers, I’d pick a few big ones and flick them on your grave.”
― Jarod KintzIt Occurred to Me

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent!  But I was too young to know how to love her…”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

“I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

  “Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”   ― Heinrich Heine

“One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.”
― Susan Wittig AlbertAn Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries 

“In a rich moonlit garden, flowers open beneath the eyes of entire nations terrified to acknowledge the simplicity of the beauty of peace.”   ― AberjhaniElemental: The Power of Illuminated Love

“The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower—suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.”   ― Katharine Hepburn

“Flowers don’t tell, they show. That’s the way good books should be too.”   –Stephanie Skeem, Author of Flotsam

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE A schizophrenic love-hate thang

Occasionally I like to delve back into politics, mostly just to see if I still can.  I touch on money, sex and religion sometimes for the same reasons.

There will be no photos today.  You have to read my words…every one of them, or go to the previous story for  photos (and an awe inspiring story about a woman I admire here).

So, imagine today as I play around on Facebook for the first time in many weeks, I find the Israel-Palestine story of my youth again in headlines.

I spent an inordinate amount of time reading up on this Middle East conflict thing beginning in high school and extending into my university years.  I learned some facts, which usually flew in the face of people’s opinions to me.  I wanted to know what the story was, what spawned the Hatfield/McCoy argument, and why my Jewish friends and Arab friends neither one could tell me the genesis of the whole thing.  Nope, just that “Israel did ‘x’ first”, and “No, Palestine did ‘x’ first” yada yada.

Palestine feels kinda like this:

 Israel feels kinda like this:

This is probably how the Hague sees it:

Thanks to all the artists whose cartooning is on the net to help us understand.  Had my mother been their mom, that nonsense would have been jettisoned long ago after the first strike.  She had this way of not giving a rip who started what when or how when she came home from work after a long day as a single working parent of four kids.  Good parenting is hard to come by these days.  Thanks, mom.

You know, it occurs to me with my experience in Africa where people are scrounging harder just to feed themselves that these arguments happen MUCH less.  Well, sort of, but I digress…

So, in reading headlines today, I see two headlines almost instantaneously…

  1. Al Jazeera English

‎”In light of today’s announcement, let me reiterate that this administration – like previous administrations – has been very clear with Israel that these activities set back the cause of a negotiated peace,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said on Friday.

AND

2.  (CNN) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is receiving bids to build a five-story complex for the Israeli Air Force, or IAF, near Tel Aviv. 

The facility, mysteriously dubbed “site 911,” will be built under the auspices of the Foreign Military Sales program and is expected to cost the U.S. between $25 million and $100 million, according to a solicitation for bids posted on a U.S. government website.

Only U.S. construction firms are able to bid on this contract, and the deadline for proposals is December 3, according to the notice. The notice, first reported on by The Washington Post, includes structural plans that show the first three underground floors are roughly 41,000 square feet and will include classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3 and shock-resistant doors throughout.

…… And as I finish my makeup and prepare to go find Christmas in a box for a summertime Nairobi celebration, I realize the battle isn’t about either of these countries.  It is in fact about my country and what we do and think about those countries.

I’m fairly sure the purpose to resurrecting this story is to keep us (U.S. get it?) in fear …….and paying our tax dollars to a “cause.”

Doesn’t matter which side of the cause you place your gauntlet, nor which story you believe first, just so long as you feel the passion of the cause and place that gauntlet somewhere in a battle you have no business entering.

Tough talk from a white chick in Nairobi I guess.  My cause is different these days.

Ok, I need a picture….

Susan’s Rose, Shilling by Shilling

African roses are so beautiful.  At the end of this little piece, I will invite you to do something with Guled and me involving an African Rose, a holiday act of generosity if you will…..perhaps just a shift in holiday generosity.  I have learned a great many things while here in Kenya.   One of those things is that Americans are genuinely givers.  I think we can change a life.   Read on…
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.”                                                              ~Edward Everett Hale, American Author, Clergyman

I am not always sure why I am in Africa, but whatever my hands find to do, I do it.   When we arrived, Guled made friends with a guy here at the compound and we became connected to his two younger sisters, his “Auntie” Susan and his mom Esther.  Esther brought Susan on to take of the children, and in Africa they use the term “Auntie” instead of something like nanny.

Susan and I had a lot of opportunities to talk as the girls and I worked on schooling issues.   One such conversation struck me and interestingly I became involved in the same area with the children’s rights foundation for which I now work.  Susan, though she is very private and thinks her life holds little interest to outsiders, has given me permission to tell the story in brief, and so I will:

Some 19 years ago, in a small upcountry village while in high school (in Form 3 I believe, like 10th or 11th grade to us), Susan met a boy whom she loved.   She was a good student.   Interacting with her all these years later, I would venture to say she was even a remarkable student.   As is very common in Africa when a girl gets pregnant, she believed she would marry the boy and begin her adult life.

This was not to be.  Rather, due to long-held traditions or beliefs in the upcountry, her parents required her to drop out of school and take care of her child.  She did care for little Rose, nurturing her and teaching her all the things life holds for her, and also all the things life ‘should’ hold for her….like respect and no poverty and a meaningful career.

Susan made a decision that though she could not continue with her education and build a better life, she would devote every single resource, every ounce of energy, to making absolutely sure that Rose would be the first of a generation to complete her education.

Rose is now 19 years old and has been accepted to a very good University.  Not a college, but a University.  In Africa, this is the demarcation between poverty and a shot at some kind of success if you are smart enough.  In 2011, statistics show that 70% of Kenya’s population is under age 30, and number somewhere around 10,560,000.  Of these, 40,000 have tertiary education.  http://www.youthaffairs.go.ke/.

If these statistics are anywhere near real, this is really Africa’s top 1% (.379% to be precise) and Rose has made the initial cut.  In the US, we take out loans and make sure our kids get the university opportunity.  Here in Africa, economics make it virtually impossible for a student from the rural villages to access any advanced education, no matter how bright and hardworking they are.

Rose, with the total devotion and dedication of her mom, has gotten this far.  This weekend, today, November 25th, outside Meru, Susan is holding a fundraiser in the village community.  People from all over will come and help shilling by shilling (that’s like a penny) to raise the $70,000-$100,000/= Rose needs to have with her when she reports to University in January.  But wait, that isn’t US dollars.   That is Kenyan shillings.

Guled and I have decided to help because we know Susan, and we’d like to put our Christmas presents into Rose’s education this one year.

$70,000 US dollars is staggering but if it buys an education, we tolerate it.  Rose doesn’t need that kind of money for the same opportunity.  $70,000 – $100,000 Kenyan shillings will buy this girl a future.   Divide by 85 and you see we are looking at about $825 – $1176.47 US dollars.

A single US dollar will make a difference, shilling by shilling.  

If Rose can report with 70,000 shillings and the money to meet her basic needs (another $30,000 shillings or so), government loans and grants will take her seriously and cover the rest for the year.

Help us make this happen for her.   We can’t give gifts very well this year, and we can’t bake stuff and hang out with you guys.  But this we can all do together… just get them a little closer if we can.  Contact me here or on Facebook with an email, and I’ll send my JP Morgan Chase account number so you can deposit there.  It’s the easiest way I can think of.  Since it costs a flat fee for me to transfer money into Kenya, I’ll wait a few weeks to gather.

I’m telling you guys, even a single US dollar will change the life of this family and their generations.  Guled and I changed our needs slightly and sent our first dollars to Susan today.

Ginger Tea the African way

Long ago and oh so far away in another land, Hakim taught me to make this ginger tea.  My throat was so sore, but this really did make a difference.  Now, I just like to drink it on the balcony in the cool air.  He brought honey from the UAE but I made it with raw honey in the States and it worked well.  Some people use lemon also, but I just can’t find them in good condition all the time.  Here is the recipe for Kenny and anyone else who might want to either try it, or just have their home smell amazingly fabulous and a little holiday-like:

MIDDLE EAST/AFRICAN GINGER SPICE MILK TEA with HONEY

INGREDIENTS:

  • Fresh ginger root
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Ground Cardamom
  • Ground Clove
  • dash of sea salt
  • African honey (or raw honey)
  • Milk or cream
  • 1 pot
  • 1 strainer

PREPARATION:

Put about 4-5 cups fresh water on to boil.  Turn heat to medium as soon as it boils.  Put a dash of sea salt in the water as it is heating up.   Sprinkle about 1 tsp clove and ground cinnamon into water, and ½ tsp cardamom.   Adjust to taste.  For example, I put in about 2 tsp clove!   Strip ginger root skin to expose the flesh, and either grate or slice in small pieces about ¼ cup worth and put in water.

Because ginger root is not always fresh and pungent, put in around 1-2 tsp ground ginger.   This will give the ginger quite a bit of strength to battle a sore throat, so test and use carefully.

Allow to steep on very low heat for 10 minutes.   Try first cup by straining tea and filling cup about ½ way.  Add honey to your likeness.   I use raw sugar as well sometimes.   The tea will have a strong ginger bite to it, so add milk (or cream) to mellow the bite.  Guled drinks it ½ milk ½ tea.   Leave the pot on to steep and add ingredients to it throughout the day.   Your home will smell divine also!  

Call or write with questions!

Ann Time – Traditional Kenyan Time, An Anomoly, and The Art of Saangapi Clocks

Clocks clocks – Off to negotiate a salary today, and our Nyanya Ann is coming in at 9 to do the laundry since she will be attending a wedding tomorrow.   At 9:15 I am concerned for her because she has not arrived and I call my trusty friend Eunice because to call Ann would be fruitless… we do not speak any of the same languages!

So Eunice agrees to call Ann and find out what is happening.  A few minutes later my mobile buzzes and it is Eunice… laughing again.  The last time this same scenario played out, I had apparently told Ann to put grandmothers in my stew!

Yes, another culture miscommunication, one I should have been ready for because I had read warnings about it with regard to business meetings.  You see, in traditional Kenyan time, two things are vastly important.  First, there is not such thing as time.  A meeting is scheduled at 1 pm but perhaps they show up at 2 pm (or 3 or 4 even).   The other important thing of note is that traditional Kenyan time begins at my 6 am with hour 1.   That makes my 7 am hour 2, 8 am is hour 3…. something like that.

All I know is Ann told me 9 and I thought she obviously meant NINE!  As in the morning, as in MY world and MY time.   Come to find out she planned on being at our house at 3 pm my time.   So perhaps from hereonout, I will call this Ann time.  Check out the Saangapi clocks for amazing handcrafted artwork.

THE PLATTER OF TWO – POLITICS IN AN ELECTION YEAR; OBSERVATIONS OF AN AMERICAN LIVING IN EAST AFRICA

See the silver platter?  Two choices offered – a red and a blue….and I am respectfully disinclined to acquiesce.

What if we stopped believing the story that there are only two viable options for President in this country?  What if We The People pulled up the bootstraps of our reserve and common sense, and respectfully declined to acquiesce?

We The People, the electorate, seem held captive by our own processes which we presumably set up to govern our lives while still preserving some basic freedoms and civility.  What We The People have done to ourselves is a crime of self-aggrandized proportions.  Look it up.  I’m tired of writing to a 5th or 12th grade reading level.  Catch me in a mistake.  I make many.  DO something.

I am observing the presidential political process from a differing vantage point, and what I see helps me understand why I, a civilly conscious adult female, well-educated and plugged in to the “box” and system, feel so absolutely disenfranchised.  I have spent my life doing it “right”.

I and others just like me, white landowners if you will (Ok, I’m a female but you get the reference, don’t you?), have not only ignorantly allowed this end result, we probably created it.   I consider our educational system to be a driving force in mollifying the masses to acquiesce, to succumb to what it told us was the proper execution of our responsibility as a citizenry, i.e.:

I choose from the two candidates which I am served.   I play the platform and party game.  I align myself with the opinions and ideas they present that I “feel” most strongly about, and talk myself into not caring that their views on the other stuff don’t matter as much.  I go to conventions and tell people that the Republicans are conservative with money and will guide us in a fiscally responsible manner, or that the Democrats are compassionate to people and causes and will make sure we take care of the masses, I vote in primaries (an interesting process in itself to ensure that no viable candidate rises outside of the bi-partisan system; because I am registered “independent” I am not allowed to vote in primaries….they can tell me “The People” I can’t vote?), and then I vote again once those two men are chosen.  A woman will soon break that glass ceiling and energize the people to keep aligning with one of the two parties offered (I had a dream once that it was a female Clinton, but I could not tell which because they both looked alike), but eventually they will run out of emotional pulls to draw the people, and like in Orwell’s 1984, will create more crises to keep the people in just enough fear to never break ranks.

Somehow, we are gonna wake up and realize that all this arguing about parties and platforms matters not one whit because it has NOTHING to do with governing morally or ethically or effectively.  It is the “flattery of knaves” in Edmund Burke’s language.  More on Burke later.

At least there are still some electorate with genuine passion for their beliefs.  I have such respect for that genuine character that the stance on the issue becomes sort of a non sequitur.   We can work with that genuine nature, though if Facebook is any indication these days, it is just a perpetuation of the same veil that keeps us all not thinking for ourselves because we are moved solely by passion….

….until a refreshing comment from a young woman surfaces, and I feel a breath of fresh air in the stale environment…and I think to myself, “That really is a good and proper answer.”  She isn’t even talking politics, but addressing one of those Big 5 issues in a social context, one that arises every single election:  abortion.  Yup.  The one that never goes away.  In this case, teen abortion.  The one that keeps us all running to either the Hatfield’s side or the McCoy’s side of the fence, and stomping our feet with our impassioned beliefs on all sorts of stuff that will never EVER be proven to anyone’s satisfaction one way or another because it is a very personal and private journey….. anyway, here is her refreshing breath of air ……

“I just heard someone say that abortion is the solution to teen pregnancy.  I disagree.  Not being reckless as teenagers, safe sex, and continued funding into planned parenthood might help a little, but talking like we need to ‘cure teen pregnancy’ is ignorant.”

I have chosen to leave the agency name without capital letters as she wrote it, because that agency name is the cusp of the passion argument and it has nothing to do with the point she clearly makes…so I don’t care and I hope you don’t either.

“I’m allowed to have opinions on this!”

She is allowed, because she was a teen mom, and is still a mom, who chose to grow up and raise her daughter. 

“I understand certain situations where abortion seems like the bet [sic] course of action, however, simply killing the baby because you don’t feel that you are old enough, responsible enough, or that you just don’t have the desire is sociopathy.  If you don’t want a baby, don’t get pregnant, and if you do, grow up.  Either raise your baby, or give him to someone more capable.  Abortion shouldn’t be used like a band aid.”

Now, anyone brave enough to have read this far, (and balanced enough not to allow passionate anger to take them on a spin-off issue) may see  the amazing nugget in her whole approach.  It has NOTHING to do with parties or platforms and beliefs….

…it has EVERYTHING to do with our humanity and our collective ‘sociopathy’ apparent in our band aid mentality on the abortion issue she sees.  Sociopathy, my new favorite word because it melds nicely with politics these days!  I’ll define this one for you:   A noun used in psychiatric circles, reasonably means the state of mind of a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

“Either raise your baby, or give him to someone more capable.  Abortion shouldn’t be used like a band aid.”

Bold and italicized for your convenience.    And therein folks lies the future if you will grab a hold, stated in the crystal clearest of terms by a young mother who knows her stuff, has the authority to back it up and the mettle to call it out.

It is time to interject some ethical and yes, even moral, common sense and responsibility.  And let me be clear, I am not saying it is time to interject a particular religion’s moral fray, or to get caught up in the religious nonsense surrounding issues that we seem to be cutting our teeth on these days (and cutting one another up with as well).  This is not a comment on whether to abort, when to abort, how to abort, if to abort, or whose right it is to decide to abort, so don’t even go there or you will miss the point… again.

It is about using something as a band aid for the convenience of the individual or society, and whether that convenience is any kind of ethical or moral choice to make, regardless of your blue suit or red suit.

If that kind of nail-the-real-issue-on-the-head comes from the younger generation, then I propose to you two things:  First, we are going to be ok.  How she got there, whether her parents taught her correctly or gave her fuel to do it all differently does not even matter as much as the fact that she got there.  We probably just need to stop ranting about issues and political parties as we’ve been trained, and instead have the mettle to grab our bootstraps and support and raise our kiddos with the ability to think past their government-infused education designed to preserve the system (I know I know, for another day, people – I love almost every teacher I have met.  It ain’t them …it is bigger….called apathy of the masses).

Second, it is time to recognize that We The People sadly have given our system the power to tell us there are only two reasonable candidates in a presidential election, and that we have to pick one based on a conscripted issue like abortion.  Yes, conscripted.   Look it up.  Here’s a resource to do so:  www.dictionary.com .   Proper word choice?

The “Two candidates” rule is only a rule if We The People say it is a rule.  Isn’t that right in a Republic?  Oh wait, we think we are a Democracy?  Hum.  Do we even know what we are?  Did we become a corporation some time ago?  Does it even matter?

Systems may take time to change, but they can change.  One must first recognize that it is broken, and then one must have the mettle to stand up and call the meeting to order.  If you want to bring duct tape, then fine, but just get there.

I am offended to my core when I hear that my vote would be “wasted” if I voted for a candidate other than the two presented on the silver platter before me.  In the business world, this kind of nepotistic self-preservation produces corporate business ‘dry rot.’  My intellect cringes and I am sad to be counted in a group that is so sightless…and by that, I mean every single one of us.  I don’t want to participate in that anymore, especially when a young mother gives me such a breath of fresh air.  I have been sightless, accepting for a time that I had to be a realist and pick the lesser evil of the two.  This is the age of information (and disinformation- get educated to be able to tell the difference) and its dissemination, and while We The People have misused that bourgeoning “power of the press” to spout emotionally inflammatory opinions with zero support through comment widgets at online news forums, we also can use it to spout some wisdom and clarity.

Read some Edmund Burke, an Irish political philosopher (1729-1797).  I won’t tell you upon which side of the fence history sets him, but he has been credited, most likely in error, for that famous quote that goes something like this:  “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”   After today, I have this theory that his more-than-literate and brilliant niece or nephew said it and he thought it hit the nail on the head.

What I really like that is attributable to him is this on the flattery of knaves:

“When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people.”

Maybe that is what I feel all the time… flattery and zero substance.  The passion surrounding a candidate acts like a veil in the media so that it is difficult to discern whether or not there is substance.   The end result?  Burke again:  “Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.”

And We The People apparently like the whole thing because we are rubber stamping it so it continues.  Talk about the living Hunger Games! 

Why is it that those most suited to lead my country are the ones not on the platter of two?   And why do we honestly think that a single man called President is the one who has all that power, when a congress of 535 (look it up!) seems to hold that guy hostage on a regular basis unless that guy connects with big enough business to affect the pockets of the 535?  And do not get me started on theorizing about the star chamber (small letters on purpose).   Look it up.  And talk about dry rot in the ranks….. How can those 535 members, many of whom seem to be “career” politicians with little to no touchstone to the commoner’s lifestyle (grandiose you think?), represent what that common majority thinks, wants, experiences or feels?  How can you understand the commoner when you live in a glass and marble house?  I am living in the midst of a Kenyan “slum” in my glass house and “I can have an opinion on this.”

Does anyone consider these questions EVER?   If I had a secure income, lifetime health insurance, and immunity from a variety of things, drivers to take me places, underground garages so that I never have to get in my car with wet, muddy feet, I think I would be so pacified into a place of mediocrity, that I would be clueless as to the struggle.  And folks, that lulling is on BOTH sides of the chamber.  The first balance of justice in this conversation of one. 

I am watching the process from the outside for the first time….really outside!  Living in Kenya and realizing just how amazing our American system of government “should” be moves me to throw my hat in the fray.

I am disinclined to acquiesce, and do NOT tell me I am powerless, or that my vote doesn’t count.  It damn well counts.  So does yours.  It counts because Devorah said what she said and because little Adiya is here to smile.  It counts if we make it count.  And now for your viewing pleasure, an openly clear emotional pull: 

I am more at peace today because I understand what has bothered me so much in politics in my adult life.  She has given me a handle on why I feel so disenfranchised after working so diligently all my life to be a good, upstanding American citizen and human participant.   She has also given me great hope for our future and its leaders as they poise themselves on the cusp of being handed the baton.

~2012 Greatzane Cynthia L. Hampton

My personal note to my niece:

Deb, I am so inordinately impressed and proud of you, and I think everyone should know just exactly what kind of diamond you are becoming… you and those around you with the same kind of passion and ability to call it out.  We have been so fractured that I don’t think you know just how impressed I am with the woman you are.  It is time to put the anger and frustration into meaningful work to make things better.  It is, after all, your destiny.

And more on a side note, maybe part of the problem is that we are so busy making sure we give our children all the fish they could possibly want (future on a silver platter) that we have neglected to teach them how to fish, or even to enjoy the amazing journey of it.  See what you can do about that.

~Oh Favorite Aunt Cyn

Winter in Nairobi II

The colors of Winter in Nairobi never cease to catch my attention. Even the sunburn is color in winter here.

Stand By Me…

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

When the night has come and the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No, I won’t be afraid, oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling, stand by me, oh, stand by me
Oh, stand, stand by me, stand by me
If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling, stand by me
Darling, darling, stand by me
Whenever you’re in trouble
Won’t you stand by me, oh, stand by me


We just thought some people might need an uplift. This is the version of “Stand By Me” played around the world!  

A Ship in Port is Safe, But That is Not What Ships Are For – A Letter to My Friends, Family and Myself When We Think I am Crazy

“A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” Grace Murray Hopper
US admiral & computer scientist (1906 – 1992)

I have this longing for the ocean… I like lakes, but something in me loves the salt water ocean.  I have never quite honored that.  My grandfather, Captain Reed Turney Roberts (Annapolis class of 1923), together with my mom’s “Uncle Arlie,” (family friend Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, last Chief of Naval Operations, the father of the modern Navy – cool, huh) gave my mom a deeper love and connection to the ocean, begun for her I think in her young years sailing with her Uncle John off the shores of Mt Desert Island in Maine.  What freedom that must have been.

I can smell the salt water now, remembering when Cassie and I watched in silence, except for the ocean sounds, as the regatta ships sailed past us on the Sea Wall all those years ago.  I have not been back in many years. 

Perhaps my DNA just has an inherent understanding of oceans and ships even though I know nothing about sailing.  You see, if you are a ship and you remain docked, you never accomplish your purpose in my mind.  Docking for ships is a short time of rejuvenation, drying sails, cleaning, painting, polishing brass and stocking the hold.  Important, but short-lived.  Docking is only a tool to make sure the ship can then fulfill its purpose of sailing.

But make no mistake….   the ocean storms batter and can be a cruel mate to a ship.

Does this mean a ship should not sail?

In the tempest of my understanding, I have to remember this when I feel like I am drowning.  The ship’s journey may be to a destination presumed, but that does not mean the reality will match the travel documents, and the condition of the ship on its arrival is not guaranteed.  For ships, we inherently know this and have accepted it.

I found a poem I thought I’d share for friends who, like me, feel the pull to journey out but know that they cannot carry expectations, even though some of our loved ones need us to have a better plan, and for the anchors who love us and struggle to be ok with us.  For both the anchors and the ships, not understanding one another’s purposes fully, just remember that if we were all made the same, most all of us would be unnecessary and there would be a great deficit.

I just had this fleeting moment of memory with my great grandmother as we sat out on the deck overlooking her dock, glancing left towards the home of the shipping magnate Mr. Homer and his new dock, seeing it “dry docked” because the builder/designer apparently did not understand that the ocean had tides (or as Tinka suggested, perhaps was nipping at the bottle in a crucial moment of his design process..something like that).   We had a good chuckle together.

Sometimes even the dock is wrong.  Wow.  This could have been written better, but the editing process will take away its passion so I respectfully decline.  Thank you Todd and Lydia for reminding me of who I am, though that was probably never your collective aim yesterday.

Ships Are Safe in the Harbour (author unknown)

 

All I live for is now
All I stand for is where and how
All I wish for are magic moments

 

As I sail through change
My resolve remains the same
What I chose are magic moments

 

Because ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are made for
The mind could stretch much further
But it seems that is not what our minds are trained for

We call for random order
You can’t control Mother nature’s daughter

Ships are safe in the harbour
But that is not what ships are built for

 

The witch hunter roams
The scary thing is that he’s not alone
He’s trying to down my magic moments

 

As we sail through change
Ride the wind of a silent rage
And sing laments of magic moments

 

QUEEN LYDWEENA AND THE POLAR PLUNGE

The Title really sounds more like a children’s story, and perhaps in some way it is.  It is the story of Lady Lydweena and her push to conquer the plunge in the Land of Neder.

Long ago and far away back in early March of the year Two Thousand and Twelve, Lady Lyweena, known to a host of admirers across the land as Lady Lyd, announced that much to her chagrin, she had missed a number of Polar Plunge events in the realm and wished desperately to conquer one.  Oddly and with the timing of the gods, that very next day would be held in the Land of Neder the annual Frozen Dead Guy Daze/Days, replete with lords and ladies plunging into the polar waters of the kiddie pond at the lake in the town’s center, being supervised by the King’s Royal Fire Fighter Hotties.

Lady Lyd and I hooked up with friend Marla, packed up the kids and snow gear, and headed up the mountain in the trusty chariot (making some aweful front end screamage) to watch the festivities and perhaps, if she did not lose her chutzpah, Lady Lyd might jump.   Here are the down and dirty moments surrounding Lady Lydia’s jump and her coronation to Queen Lydweena! Queen Lydweena and the Polar Plunge

I’ve had Africa on the brain too much and missed completing some important memories, but selfishly I am so glad that it sat in dormancy until today and I could relive a bit and remember now!  I do not exactly or formally have Queen Lyd’s permission to post the video, but I’m hoping (fingers crossed) the Royals will allow it.