Complicit

I have been brooding today about Bill Cosby. Does it really matter whether a farmer/schoolteacher/mother/poet forms an opinion about the Bill Cosby rape story? I can just ignore it all, say it’s none of my business, and move on. It’s a mark, perhaps, of our shallow culture that we get wrapped up in the lives of celebrities to the point that uncovering a celebrity’s history of sexual predation would throw me, would cause me such a sense of intermingled fury and grief. Perhaps. Still, I think when someone is lively or delightful or thoughtful or beautiful in the wider culture in which we participate, we do feel a connection that goes beyond the merely mundane. I wept when violinist Isaac Stern died, when the poetic voice of Maya Angelou passed on, when Robin Williams left us with only memories of his laughter. So I supposed this response isn’t preposterous.

But there’s another piece of it that’s really bothering me today, and that is that when this recent part of the story broke this past week, I had a moment of deja vu: “Oh yeah.  Wasn’t there something about this a few years ago?”  As I began to read the account of Scott Simon’s questions and the stories of more and more women coming forward, I remembered that I had read earlier–and damning–accusations a few years ago. Why did I forget?  Why did I put that out of mind and go on accepting Bill Cosby as America’s Mr. Funnyman?  America’s Everydad, as Mark Morford called him. And that’s the thing that bothers me, because that’s a hallmark of rape culture–that the predator can so often minimize his crimes in the face of his power or celebrity or general congeniality that people either don’t believe the stories of his victims or they participate in the minimization, ignore the true implications of the accusations, and go on living as though nothing has happened, and the victim gets violated again, this time by the world’s refusal to acknowledge her story. Again, why does it matter what I think? Why should I bother to form an opinion on the matter? It troubles me, though, that something in me would have minimized the earlier stories, would have lived in denial that someone who brought such delight and wonder into our homes could be cavalierly destroying people’s lives. I feel complicit in the culture of denial. Sullied.

 

Gratitude List:
1.  Hiking at Sam Lewis State Park. Every time I go there and climb on the rocks with the kids, I am more and more aware of how old I am getting, how clambering over the big rocks is getting harder and harder. Still, it’s worth the scramble up to the top of the rocks pile, to look through the trees to the River, to imagine what it must have been like for the First People who walked here to stand perhaps on the very same rocks looking out to the River.
2.  Sharing the awe. Yesterday in my last class, I mentioned something about the morning’s sunrise, and suddenly three or four students were all talking at once, clamoring to tell their experiences of watching the sky that morning.
3.  I don’t have to figure it all out.  I don’t have to be perfect for every moment.  I just need to be Present.
4.  The last assignment in the course I am taking was to watch a video on renewing energy, on play and flow and working joyfully.  And then to go play for an hour.  I took that seriously, and we all spent most of the day with the Legos, sorting and building and playing.  It is very satisfying to be assigned to play.  My children loved that.
5.  Colcannon

May we walk in Beauty!

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Reminders

Gratitude List:
1.  All my Facebook friends who write gratitude lists, which reminds me to do my own.
2.  The bolt of magenta that flowed upward from the morning’s tangerine sunrise onto an indigo belly of cloud.  Sounds a little over-done to read it like that, but that’s kind of how it is with these morning sunrises.  Show-offy.  I’m not complaining.
3.  The same tangerine and magenta in the sunset today.  My life feels a little closed in these days, driving into sunrise on my morning commute and into sunset on my evening commute, and indoors for the hours between.  But hail and welcome, Winter, anyway.  And thank you for the colors.
4.  There’s this thing about the crows.  I can’t quite figure out how to work it into a poem.  I want to say that I am a row of bare white sycamore trees with crows in my hair, crows like thoughts above me.  Perhaps it’s crows and sunset.  Crows and sunset and bare trees.  What is the riddle that keeps asking to be noticed when the crows fly?  I love them so.
5.  And sundogs.  Also in the crows and sunset train.  Still, their own thing.  They way they settle gently on top of a cloud.  How they brighten the sky directly outside their arc.  How they suggest a full circle spectrum around the sun.

May we walk in Beauty!

Sing You Gently Joy

A chant poem, inspired by some women I love.

Here in the house of exhaustion
Here in the place of retreat
We’ll sing you gently joy
and hold your heart in hope

Here when your way is weary
Here where your heart is uneasy
We’ll sing you gently joy
and hold your heart in hope

Here when the day closes over you
Here when your sighs bring tears
We’ll sing you gently joy
and hold your heart in hope

Here where the way seems hopeless
Here where the rage overflows
We’ll sing you gently joy
and hold your heart in hope

Here where the No overcomes you
Here where despair abounds
We’ll sing you gently joy
and hold your heart in hope

Here in the birthplace of the fear
Here in the abode of loneliness
We’ll sing you gently joy
and hold your heart in hope

 

Prompt for Saturday

Well, it’s got to be a snow poem.

 

Gratitude List:

1.  I know I write the word “Sunrise” a lot in these lists, but really.  This morning’s sunrise glowed magenta like burning coals through the snow-clouds covering the ridge.
2.  The beauty of the Susquehanna when it is iced over, with little channels of running water here and there, and the morning sun sparkling on the surface.
3.  Little birdy footprints in the snow, like cuneiform, like code, like augury.
4.  Joy and the friends who remind me to be joyful.
5.  Gratitude lists.  And Regina Martin’s observation that the spiritual discipline of the gratitude list makes you start to take notice immediately when you wake up–you start to look for what you will put on the list for the day.

May we walk in beauty.

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Rose hips in winter (photo taken in 2006)