Spring

Today is the first day of spring. I’m sitting at my desk, looking out the window at how this delightful turn of the season is awakening life. Squirrels are running and tumbling with joy. Birds are peeping—wrens, finches, robins. The honeysuckle has sprouted leaves. The Japanese maple has begun sending out its frilly, mahogany leaves.  The white and purple hyacinths and the small fragrant daphne odora scent the air. It’s heady and exciting.

I see pictures of lambs and kittens and puppies.   Grandfathers are pushing their grandchild in a stroller to the nearby park to play. Neighborhood cats are running around our back yard, timorously coming closer for a little kitty treat.

This is the time for birth and renewal. I always find a bit of heartache with the coming of spring. As all new life comes forth in pain, as new mothers animal and human nurture their young, I think of birthmothers who have, through love, given up their newborn for someone else to raise. Trust, hope and faith collide in making that decision, but overall is the power of love and the courage to do what’s best for your new life. That, to me, is the heartache and hope of spring.

Here’s Wordsworth:

There was a child went forth every day,
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the
day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning-glories, and white and red
clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the
mare’s foal and the cow’s calf,
And the noisy brood of the barnyard or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there, and the
beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads, all became part of
him.

The Faces of Domestic Violence

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In a recent article in The Guardian about the victims of domestic violence in the UK the work of Ingala Smith, Women’s Aid and Nia Project is highlighted.  Their project, The Femicide Census:  Profiles of Women Killed by Men, is a database that will detail the faces, lives and accomplishments of every woman who is killed by a man.

“We record all the killing of women by men. You see a pattern,” says Ingala Smith, leader of this effort.

By scouring news websites and police reports, she pieced together what she says is an important pattern in the way crime and other statistics are collated. It became a personal tribute, too.

“It’s really hard sometimes and I admit I’ve had a cry now and again,” says Smith.   She believes that a photo captures a moment.  “What suffering [the victim] endured, and the suffering that continues for their family is so very hard to grasp,” says Ingala.

At the Grammy Awards this past Sunday,  President Obama delivered a taped PSA to encourage artists to use their skills and passion to help end domestic violence.  President Obama’s spot encouraged personal responsibility for ending domestic violence. “It’s on us — all of us — to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all our young people — men and women — can go as far as their talents and their dreams will take them,” he said.

Thirty years ago, when I was in an abusive marriage, I would never have imagined such openness and calls for change, especially from a president of the United States.   I know change is coming.  It won’t be in time for many women, but I hope it will end abuse for our children, grandchildren and their progeny.  Putting a face and biography of each victim will help.  It’s not easy to forget the eyes that stare at you from an unhappy time in the victim’s life.

Writing Memoir

Writing memoir is a look to the past. It springs from a deep seated need within us to tell our stories to each other.

To look back upon one’s life in satisfaction is to live twice. We exist in time, from eternity to eternity. Our beings have no end and no beginning, only the various lives our souls live, always learning and always loving. I age with such happy contentment, not that the road has been hard but indeed because it has been hard, rocky and fraught with tension and tears. I age with a desire to impart stories to understand how life works, to know the people who passed before and the stories they left in their wake, and how it affects us, what we think and do, and who we will become.

When I think of my sons and the place they have on the continuum of my life and all life, I am stunned by the enormity of this world and this planet. The mystery of fate and destiny always baffle me, but I will take what I’m given. Because I’ve been given the happy coincidence of two sons who lives have woven through mine throughout many lifetimes.