THE WORDS OF RACHEL CORRIE (b1979-d2003)
ON LEAVING HER HOME IN OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON…
We are all born and someday we’ll all die. Most likely to some degree alone.Vividly remember the day I heard about the circumstances of this young American woman's death in Palestine. As I am writing this, all those feelings come back to me. My rude awakening to the real world began with my journey to Guatemala and Honduras in 1991. Innocently I packed my bags for that trip believing that I would photograph some colorful market scenes, return to Taos with enough material for 100 or so oil paintings. Little did I realize that I would come back without any shred of blissful ignorance. I had seen the bitter truth of my country and the consequences of its devastating influence around the world. My shining city on the hill was no more. My Disneyland worldview disappeared ...
What if our aloneness isn’t a tragedy? What if our aloneness is what allows us to speak the truth without being afraid? What if our aloneness is what allows us to adventure – to experience the world as a dynamic presence – as a changeable, interactive thing?
If I lived in Bosnia or Rwanda or who knows where else, needless death wouldn’t be a distant symbol to me, it wouldn’t be a metaphor, it would be a reality.
And I have no right to this metaphor. But I use it to console myself. To give a fraction of meaning to something enormous and needless.
This realization. This realization that I will live my life in this world where I have privileges.
I can’t cool boiling waters in Russia. I can’t be Picasso. I can’t be Jesus. I can’t save the planet single-handedly.
I can wash dishes.
Llano Quemado, N.M. - Journal entry February 10 --A flood of biblical proportions!!!! Was working on my computer in the back of the house - when I went into the studio area about an inch of water. Back to my office - another inch of water - no internet, no phone, and blissfully no TV! An unsettling week - the Impeachment and round the clock noise about the glitch in the Iowa caucus. It is rumored that renegade Republican sympathizers jammed the phone lines so that delegates were unable to call in their vote totals. Even that noisy reprobate Steve Bannon was a guest on the Bill Maher show gloating and oh so smug over the administrations “victories!. Watching the firings of those people who bravely testified was a fully expected nasty conclusion to this second week in February. Watching them perp walked out of the White House gave me Sen. Joe McCarthy flashbacks! After more than three years of hoping things will turn around and our country could have a chance to heal from the division and vitriol, not being able to watch TV tonight is truly a blessing.
A new book arrived this week - Mary Oliver’s essays titled UPSTREAM. She describes the awesome nature around her and her words are ever so peaceful and calming - so welcome tonight! Perfect!
Despite all the craziness in Washington, real life takes over and one needs to allow and trust that there are beneficent forces in the Universe - this dark time cannot last forever….so I tell myself. The Fog of Politics!
Years ago I read a book by Serge Kahili King, a Hawaiian kahuna. His teachings were about creating one’s own reality….impossible to do when the whole world feels so dark and out of whack. Gathered some books around me - always a big stack next to my bed. Reading was once my greatest joy; now the pile sits untouched for days, even weeks because I watch the news, hoping for some respite from the chaos. Once my best friends they have been replaced by the iPad, Facebook and all the grisly cable news. How truly SAD!
Watching virtue and morals crumble every day - crooks and liars accountable to no one is making me physically ill. Time for me to create my own reality one more time. At the tender age of eighty, I can’t afford to waste time wishing and hoping life will go back to “normal” because theywon’t. Our country is forever changed!
Time to take the focus off things I cannot change. I need to believe in beauty again. In between moppings tonight, I looked out my studio window toward Taos Mountain at sunset. The sky turned a pale pink and slowly the full moon (a Supermoon they tell me) began to rise over the Pecos foothills. Forgotten during my move is an unopened double CD set of Pavarotti’s Greatest hits. Tomorrow I will sit at my easel and complete a small painting to go to auction on eBay next week - it just might make someone happy. I can’t make the world sane again, but maybe I can try to create some peace in this corner of my little world. Time to do the dishes...