This and That . . .

It’s been a busy few weeks! Hubby and I made that spring trip back to WA state for a week. Madam St. Helen was being coy and hid behind clouds the day we visited. Of course had we gone the day we originally planned we would have been braving temps in the low 30s and snow! In mid-June! But even under clouds the mountain was awe-inspiring and as you can see, there’s some greening of the once barren landscape.

The backyard jungle is slowing transforming into a pollinator garden. There are still sprigs of poison ivy and Virginia creeper popping up, and I’ll be digging up trumpet vine roots forever, but at least the other digging I’m doing is for beds of flowers the bees and butterflies love.

Left is before, right is current. Sliding the full length of the photos gives the full view. Spots where there is growth is because it’s supposed to be there.

Last week I made a quick trip to Florida with two dear friends. A few days of prayers and laughter and Scrabble are always good for the soul. I’m looking forward to the next visit.

AND over the 4th of July weekend the final selections for Kakalak 2022 were made! The work isn’t finished but the hardest part is. We still have to order the poetry and art so all the pieces flow into one another, and the anthology reads like a cohesive journal and not simply a collection of random disconnected pieces. We score each submission on its own merits, not looking at themes or patterns, but at this stage–when looking at the final selections–patterns and themes emerge. It’s this part of the process that feels like magic and I can’t wait to see how everything falls into place.

Speaking of the 4th of July, how did you celebrate this year? Growing up, my home town Jaycees sponsored a several day carnival in the park. I can still picture the small ticket booth with a line of kids and adults snaking around, waiting for tickets for the Tilt-a-Whirl, Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and all the other rides. Along the back edge of the park were the games of skill with the stuffed animals hanging to be won and all the plastic cheap things that were actually won by most of us. The park smelled of straw, cotton candy, motor oil and fumes, popcorn, and hotdogs. We lived close enough to the park my sisters and I could hear the carnival music, the shouts, and laughter from our bedrooms. The week ended with fireworks set off at the football stadium and we’d watch the bursts from our front yard.

More recently, some friends would host a cook-out and the husband would light up the neighborhood with flares, rockets, starbursts, and sparkles. The last couple of years we’ve stayed home with our own little grands with burgers and sparklers.

But this year I was fatigued. Some of it was from traveling and late nights working on Kakalak, but some of it was being caught between ‘this or that’ and ‘this and that’. The difference? I have friends who refused to celebrate the holiday because of recent court decisions, recent depositions and hearings, and recent shootings. They’re so overcome with disappointment and disgust, anger and hurt they find nothing to celebrate. It’s either ‘all this or all that.’

Then there were family and friends truly embracing the red, white, and blue. I loved seeing all the photos of ‘big’ kids and little kids wearing their patriotic colors and waving flags as they watched local parades. My own grands were with their other grandparents for an annual golf cart parade – the golf carts decorated with streamers, bunting, and flags. As people shared pics of their gatherings I could hear the sizzle of burgers and chicken on the grills, taste the beans, potato salads, and watermelon. I could see the joy on their faces. And knowing these family members and friends, I know they’re aware of our country’s flaws. They see ‘all this and all that’.

On the local news on the 4th, we watched a dozen men and women from NC pledge their allegiance to the United States as they became citizens.

Instead of going anywhere that evening, Hubby and I watched the Capitol 4th of July from Washington D.C. The gathering was a true celebration that didn’t end in gun fire but in beautiful fireworks. It was reaffirming to see the diversity in the crowd and on the stage. It was reaffirming to see the smiles and joy on the thousands of faces who also acknowledge ‘all this and all that’. It was an evening of hope.

Growing the mindset of this and that, whether it’s seeing our country, our family, or our varying social and religious beliefs is hard work. May the rest of the summer provide you with opportunities to see and in your vacations, family gatherings, or just sitting out in your back yard pondering.

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