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It was a wonderful weekend with Kelsea. I have been wanting to write more, but feel overwhelmed by so much of what is happening in the world, that my fingers feel as though they’ve lost their voice. Know that I am working on it. I have so much to say, and yet can find no words.
Two of a Kind

Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” — William Faulkner

Daily gratitudes:
Support
Firefighters
Kelsea
My grandfather’s wedding band
Patience

 

I love shooting reflections. At the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, they usually do a dip and drag in the lake, but conditions were warming up too fast this year, so only one or two balloons accepted the challenge.

DSCF2268

Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

Daily gratitudes:
That Bridget’s dad is such a remarkable fighter
MKL
The Voodoo Donut fairy
Books
That the passive-aggressive postman did NOT leave my package of paper in a puddle

 

Beauty can be reflected in unexpected places.

Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard and really amazing is to give up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”  —  Anna Quindlen

Daily gratitudes:
Three minutes of rain
Catching up with old friends
Gardenias
Nice people
White picket fences

Rocky Mountain PBS is showing the Ken Burns film “The Civil War”.  I just came upon it tonight, and don’t know if this is a one-night affair or if it will be rebroadcast again this month, this month – and April 12 specifically – being the start of the Civil War.

I first encountered this film on my honeymoon.  We were winding down and spending the night in Taos, New Mexico in a chain hotel, eating Lottaburgers and purusing the cable channels when we found it.  I had no idea what it was, but I was fascinated and entranced. On viewing it tonight, I find that I still am.

I’m not quite sure why.  Perhaps it’s because Ken Burns obtained an amazing amount of photographs from the era and the battlefields.  I have no idea where he found them all.  Perhaps it’s because it’s simply a marvelously well told story that brings this important chapter in history leaping so vividly back to life.  Perhaps it’s because the background sounds – crickets, frogs, cicadas, the cries of blue jays – take me back to my beloved homeland (I am, and will always be, a Southerner).  Perhaps it’s because I fell a little in love with the late Shelby Foote the first time I heard his honeyed drawl.  He was always one of the people I’d have at my dinner party, if I could invite anyone in history.

The War Between The States was (from a Southerner’s perspective) a war of honor and identity, with very little glory.  It was an economic war, with slavery being the lynchpin of the Southern economy.  It was futile for the South in the end, and caused a rift within the country that has never entirely healed.  As I’ve said before, some Southerners still seem to be fighting the war, and I have always had a sense that the South is just biding it’s time, waiting for the right moment to rise again.  There was a pridefulness about the War that I was aware of even as a child growing up in North Carolina 100 years later.  I can still recall old men – grandsons of Civil War veterans – marching in their grandfather’s uniforms in a parade down Main Street once.  I remember my father had to explain it to me – I must have been very, very small.

A few years ago, Kelsea and I did a bit of a Civil War tour as part of a trip to Virginia and Maryland.  We went to Manassas, Loudon, Antietam, Harper’s Ferry, and a few other spots, exploring, learning and picking up the vibe of places where so many lives were lost.  It was powerful and we’d both do it again, investigating some of the many other sites we didn’t get to see.

All this is feeling particularly close to home these days. Perhaps it’s because of a certain uneasiness in the world and the economy.  Perhaps it’s because 1% of the people in the US are taking in 25% of the nation’s income, according to an article by Joseph E. Stiglitz in Vanity Fair.  With the uprisings in Egypt, Libya and other Middle East countries recently, protesting inequality and injustice, I wonder if we in this country are not due for an uprising of our own, one that pits class against class, similar to our late Civil War.  If such a battle were waged, who would triumph?  And would the price of victory be too high for anyone to pay?

As I say, this film fills me with reflection.

Sometimes you must step outside your comfort zone to know its boundaries.  It is not unhealthy.  I have always believed that you need to know both ends of a continuum – you need to know an earthly heaven and an earthly hell in order to understand where you fit, to know your place in your own life.  That place will vary from day-to-day, from year to year, and can change, grow, twist and evolve with your circumstances.  And when change happens in your life, that is when you need to test the strength of the walls of the house of your soul, to push against them, to climb out of the window and see what it is on the other side.

Sometimes, the walls dissolve completely.  Sometimes you find a new house,new rooms.  Sometimes though, where your spirit lives simply expands to encompass new knowledge of your own soul.  You keep that which you thought was a part of you, because now you no longer just think it is a part of you, you know.  And even though that part of you may not look the same as it did when you first found it, it is still something you recognize, something that you must now adjust, and adjust to having, as a sculptor crafts a block of clay to reveal the form that lives within, shaving, trimming, carving, tweaking, until it is gently and restfully complete. 

It feels not unlike a birth.  Once a seed is planted, it grows and changes within you.  Sometimes it is comfortable and sometimes it is not, and there comes a time, finally, when you must push and struggle and show infinite strength to bring that fully grown seed into the light of reality. 

It happens over and over again in this life.  And in the next one.  We must recognize the joy in the process and the joy in the pain, and never, ever deny any of the truths that we know about ourselves, no matter how much we may doubt, dislike or distrust them. We cannot put pieces of ourselves aside when they are inconvenient or uncomfortable.  We must only learn how to accept the flawed perfection of ourselves with open arms, open minds and open hearts.

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