In early 1980’s I wrote to Helen Nearing. Her reply letters are tucked away in a box of memorabilia I keep intending to go through- some day. We were homesteading in the mountains alongside a state park, and endured what we called “Liquid Raid” being sprayed on us, to keep down the mosquitoes. Tourists might not spend their vacation money in a place where these insects appear in swarms and bite unmercifully. That’s what we were told by the local government.

Helen’s reply, in essence; we can run but we can’t hide from society’s worship at the altar of the dollar bill rather than concern for the health and well-being of its members. She mentioned a nearby nuclear plant as an example of being unable to find a place to live away from “progress.”

On a different note, I found this in a search online, and it resonated so powerfully within me, I had to copy it so I could re-read it at my leisure.

“We’ve both had losses and known sorrow, but we’ve not permitted them to dominate the positive aspects of our lives.”  Helen and Scott Nearing in an interview. [Mother Earth News Magazine, March/April 1980]

“When some untoward event has overtaken us — such as the death or alienation of our nearest and dearest — we try to center our attention, first, on the basic purposes of life (and death) . . . and then on the lessons to be learned from the particular tragedy. We believe everything that happens to us includes opportunities for self-education. Therefore, we try to make our lives affirmative rather than negative, for — in its totality — life is an affirmation.

*Photo- my kitchen windowsill reflecting end of summer and some plant slips to nurture through the cold winter; a reminder of growth, renewal, Spring and life, especially with a snowy backdrop in the coming months. Please don’t copy my stuff shown on this site.

– The spam (!!) from sex sites, dating sites, and general junk, by calling my last post Women are Half the Sky,  a truth and a book / movie title, thanks to Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Cheryl WuDunn. They tell the truth, exposing human ugliness. The Nearings lived and wrote their truths too.       If we want  exemplary lives, we have to try to live our own truths.

Here’s a small bit of my friend, Peggy’s story. I met her 4 years ago; 2 moms, each with a son with Down syndrome, finding each other in a health food store. How could it NOT happen? Peggy’s daughter died in a car accident about 12 years ago, leaving 3 boys without a mother. Two years later fate left them without their father, due to another traffic accident. So Peggy and Joe took in their 3 grandsons and raised them. The youngest is now almost 18.
Despite Peggy’s deep and lasting grief at the death of her daughter, she continued to support, guide and nurture her son Bob. And she has stuck like glue to me, through thick and thin. In retirement from a 40 year career with the symphony, playing cello, she can no longer grasp strings or bow due to severe arthritis. Yet her voice lifts when she sees my number on her phone screen, as does my heart. We share the qualities of steadfastness and empathy.
Nato’s recent clinic visit brought me into contact with a “professional” I took in dislike. Why? In my opinion she judged my son, his ability, his disabilities, his needs, his wants, and his security. It also seemed like she judged me too. {And found me wanting?!}
So I wondered aloud to Peggy on the phone last night; what happened to civility and positivity? Why can’t we say; gee that’s a great idea and have you considered this one, with which I’ve had some success? Or how about this? You’re doing a great job [at work] yet could we promote this product  a bit more? Somehow we feel less intimidated and more part of a team when suggestions rather than criticisms are spoken. I’ve decided I’m going to try to pause before I speak, and listen to what I say and how I say it in the next few days. Change is possible, if only we’re aware. Notice my use of “we” when I mean me? 🙂

For Peggy and all of you out there. Here’s a young woman with a very lovely voice, and a cellist who keeps his bow in his back pocket when not in use, which gives my Nato the giggles!


P.S. The previous post generated LOTS of spam, including from many “dating” sites. Canned ham indeed! **The knitting shown here is part of a special gift for Peggy in honor of her daughter. I chose shades of pink and white for — the spiritual softness of the look.