Cleanse ye your eyes, so that ye behold no man as different from yourselves…. See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness. ~Baha'i
The tune for this blog name goes along with the fine and impressive aria O sole mio.
As a token of my appreciation of the new ear worm in my head, I give you, for three minutes and twenty one seconds, Signor Luciano Pavarotti, no twiggy build himself.
My unexpected area of focus on the day of my breast cancer surgery (June 13) was — embarrassingly — my weight. A scale in the surgical prep area was the first one in a dozen years that I’ve been able to stand on, crutches and braces along for the ride. It had a broad, non wobbly base and a strong railing around it.
My moments on the device disclosed that I am some twenty pounds heavier than I thought I was. Er… pretended I thought I was, if we are being honest. And what would be the point of fibbing to my blog?
Photos taken of me on such occasions as my daughter’s wedding and a pleasant trip to Fresno’s Japanese Garden gave me to speculate that I might be reaching more of a barrel shape than the woman shape I previously thought I had. The surface mind poo poo-ed the notion that these images depicted the actual Emily.
The Inner Emily, nonetheless, was deep into panic mode. Because, well, how DOES one shed weight when so many hours a day are spent in a lovely power wheelchair?
Here, for your studious picturing of me lounging around in my upcoming new, attitude-laden wheelchair is the manufacturer’s image of it and its capabilities:
Twenty pounds is a great deal of extra personal real estate for a very short person to cart around.
Thus about the time I groggily noticed that the world was still there as the anesthesia wore off my mind began plotting means of dropping the excess Me.
The problem has not been that I eat too much. My vegetarian diet has included almost no refined grains, little fat or sugar, lots of fruit and veggies, for years. So maybe there’s been rather too much cheese, but who was counting?
Never slim because that’s not my body type, with or without the polio, my okay weight began shifting into bad three and a half years ago when my shoulders started with severe issues. The doctor thought this would be either rotator cuff injuries or the wear and tear of walking around with wooden crutches for sixty five years. Or both. Didn’t make any difference to me what the cause was — I was, due to the incapacitated shoulders, quite unable to push myself up into the cab of my faithful pickup truck and get myself to an Albuquerque medical center for an MRI.
So I pampered the shoulders for a few months until they stopped with the hurting. However, once recovered they were weak and unable to bear much weight. Or allow me to walk around for long before my arms would start to go numb.
That sort of thing took away much of my ability to do things like yard work that had once given me pretty good workouts. Less walking around is an obvious calorie enhancing activity.
So here I am.
For now I am doing the Dr. Fuhrman Eat to Live diet, which helped in the past when I also wasn’t equal to much exercise. It’s vegan, with very little fat or sugar, tons of veggies fresh and cooked, plenty of fruit. Legumes, a few nuts and such are encouraged.
I’ve been at it for over a week now and my clothes feel slightly looser. Wahoo!
Meantime, Fresno temperatures have been in the range of 108º for days, rather quelling even the dogs’ enthusiasm for outdoor exercise. But we have managed to record a few of the lovely flowers and trees around us. Very healing enhancing, these lovely things are.
108º heat keeps the dogs in the shade on their mid day walks
Silk tree flower in the neighborhood. AKA mimosa tree. Photo by my daughter, Jericha Rendon.
It came as no surprise, really, yet when I read earlier today that the President of the US has decided to get the United States out of the historic Paris Climate Accords, the news returned me to that same sense of incredulity, shock, dismay, and finally deep swamps of sorrow that I felt last November on election night.
But now I am meeting a second big struggle with a disease in my life, since my breast cancer diagnosis a couple of weeks back. In considering today’s news about this withdrawal from shared international responsibility it feels as though those who would jump in to do their parts in working out solutions are being hindered by the cancer of ignorance.
I hope — believe — that the innate creativity and optimism shared by many people in the United States will find ways to navigate around the stones of ignorance now impeding the flow.
My hope is for the greater world, for the staunch hearts and minds of Americans whose love for their own country does not mean withdrawing into it in oblivion to what goes on around it, who are kind, generous, hard working, hopeful, creative, caring, responsible people. Capable of seeing the shades of grey that define so much in lives well lived. Incapable of believing, among other things, that neighboring countries are crammed with evil minded people intent on doing all sorts of nasty things in the US as soon as they can just sneak in. That we ought to build a colossal great wall along a border to try to stop them.
Never in life have I been a political animal, and I don’t intend on ever becoming one. So this is not a partisan rant of any kind. But I am a lover of and believer in science, plus a life time member of the Baha’i Faith with its profound emphasis of the interconnectedness of all human beings.
And the beauty and general awesomeness of Earth with its varied systems of life, its relation to other planets, the galaxy it is a wee part of, the billions of other galaxies — many so much larger and more impressive than ours — it’s been at the heart of me for as long as I can remember.
When I was going through the pain, the enormous changes in my physical capabilities that paralytic polio had left me with at the age of five, something that contributed hugely to my good recovery was thinking of the beautiful wooded areas, the little streams and ponds, the myriad colorful insects, birds and fish that we saw all around back home. A few loving friends sent me such hospital-acceptable gifts as a small palm tree in which the exoskeleton of a cicada cleverly perched. How many hours my twelve year old self, locked inside a body cast for long months as I had to lie in bed, spent extrapolating whole systems of life, glorious forests in tropical regions, summer choruses from the Massachusetts katydids I was familiar with, flights of amazingly colorful birds in tropical palms, from that little tree and empty bug husk.
Years later I was sufficiently impressed by the rather ghastly movie, Soylent Green, that I still haven’t forgotten it. And I fervently hope things never come to such a pass that the closest people come to nature is to be allowed to watch films of long-gone scenes of forests, rivers and creatures as they are euthanized when old or sick.
Paris is directly linked to a process the US administration deplores. Yet globalisation is a process that cannot be turned off. Something to work with, rather than turn one’s back towards. Humanity has evolved and invented technologies and systems which necessarily link together all sorts of countries and cultures. No one is prepared to easily roll back the internet or medical breakthroughs, as examples.
With the advances of globalization come changes in economies that hurt some people for some time, yet offer opportunities to create and to work in new, emerging jobs and fields.
And then comes this “America First” rollback into old ways, possibly in the interest of extractive industries whose better days peaked decades ago, which were key to the climate damage addressed by the Paris Accords.
Despite nostalgic Christmas cards and love for Laura Ingalls Wilder stores, how many of us honestly would choose to live a century or two ago?
As the Industrial Revolution unfolded people had to make the same sorts of tough choices regarding their livelihoods that we do now — in pretty much every country, every culture, every epoch of history. Adaptability is what slowly carried the human race away from cave dwelling.
It will continue to do so. It’s a time to be creative, to see what we will make out of the challenges ahead. I, for one, can’t wait to see. I have faith in people’s ability to move forward when there is a big need.
Change is the one constant in the universe.
So, to me, the whole idea of “America First” slogan is based on shifting sands.
Which brings me to the campaign cry that “maybe there is something true about the idea that humans may be affecting the climate somehow, perhaps, possibly, but we need more research — a lot more research — to know anything about that.”
Yet it is widely accepted that independent scientists around the world have firmly established the poisonous role fossil fuels play in Earth’s shallow atmosphere. Poll after poll indicate that this is what the majority of Americans believe.
Resistance to the cancerous apparent ignorance of politicians can be swift and to the point. Researchers just published a paper refuting, handily, the uninformed arguments of the current EPA director, who questions human-caused climate change. Yet it has not swayed that individual’s opinion.
What can be the justification for withdrawing the country — a decision made, apparently, by a small cadre of people in the executive branch — from the Paris Accords? Only two — TWO — other countries are not signed into those accords. Syria was too busy with its internal vast war, and Nicaragua didn’t see that it had much to do with global warming one way or another.
So the bedraggled United States of America goes down a rabbit hole, averse to any leadership it could have had, leaving the other 195 — oops, 194 now — countries of the world working in an organized manner to create systems which can slow down and eventually halt the forces that contribute to planetary warming.
Much is to be learned from working with others, little in building great walls along our borders and slinking off the world stage, washed up leaders in the technology and creativity that will lift the world out of the atmospheric disaster threatening all of us.
It is a fine thing that there are talented people in other parts of the world who are ready to step up to take care of what the US won’t, now. As a country, of course — there are innumerable businesses, organizations and individuals who will work all the harder to combat global warming now.
These are thoughts zinging through my mind as I write down these few, in my semi-measured response to today’s Very Bad News. Good that will eventually come of it. Could be disasters, too. I don’t expect to be around long enough to see how things play out in the long, long run. I do care, very much, about all the people, creatures and systems that are affected by what we do, or don’t do. My own grandchildren and their descendants alongside everyone else’s.
At least let’s be scientific about it.
Of course the planet takes care of itself, in geological time. It’s the human race that stands to learn or lose by this enormous common climate challenge that we have — some of us — brought on ourselves.
I respect the views of others. There is so much to gain through consulting objectively, listening carefully, thinking long before responding to unfamiliar ideas that come from people who look different, speak other languages, practice strange ways of living.
Those differences are what makes the process of change so exciting to be party to.
“The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.”
“See ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends, for love and unity come hard when ye fix your gaze on otherness.
Life of a Family Dairy Farm. Senior aged husband and wife. The good, bad and ugly of the business. We love it and will try to present an ongoing tale of what happens here. Meet some of our animals and characters born here. Enjoy!