Digging Out from November 2019

Carol A. Hand

A few days ago, I wrote these words in the morning.

Please tell me that all of the craziness in the world has a purpose
– that clouded eyes will once again be able to see that the mad rush
to own things comes at the cost of life’s wonders
as piles of garbage and toxins fill the earth, waters, and skies
– that closed hearts will open with compassion for the suffering of others
as children are ripped from loving families seeking refuge and put in cages
while farmlands flood and forests burn and bombs destroy people’s homes
– that people really are learning something that will help them become wiser
and more aware of both the beauty and ugliness of their immediate surroundings
by gazing nonstop at facebook, twitter, google, youtube, and instagram
Please show me something meaningful I can do now
to make a positive difference while I am here

*

When I came home after walking my little dog, an idea came to me. Why not share the play I wrote about Ojibwe child welfare a few years ago with the tribal college where I teach? Of course, my amateurish effort would need a lot of work, but it could make a difference. I called a friend to see what she thought of the idea and discovered the power of synchronicity. She had just met with a former student who wanted to use theater as a way to engage tribal youth. So I spent that day and the next editing and rewriting. The new draft still needed an ending when I had to put it aside for Thanksgiving.

It has become a family tradition to have Thanksgiving dinner at my house. I am the eldest member of my family now. There are so many reasons why I could be cynical about a fictive national holiday, but I really do count my blessings every day, and my family is at the top of the list. So I began the multi-day tasks of cleaning my house and cooking. This year, I decided to do something a bit different after dinner. Last year we all read parts of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. This year, I asked each family member to read something special I wrote in the past for each of them. My daughter read a poem I wrote for her daughter, my granddaughter, A Song for Little Rose. My granddaughter read a story I wrote for her brother, The ‘Tinky Bush Story. And my grandson read a story I wrote for my daughter, The Lesson of the Butterfly and the Message of the Wind. The little room was filled with light and love and laughter.

The reflections some of my students posted early are a blessing as well. They described important things they learned about themselves and their communities in the research course that will be meeting for the last time this coming weekend. They will all be graduating soon and hopefully will remember and use what they learned about the importance of observing life and thinking critically from a social justice perspective.

I am also deeply grateful to all of my friends in the blogging community. I have not been able to respond to comments or visit other blogs very often. My life has been an emotional rollercoaster ride during November. My way of coping is to stay busy trying to do what I can here and now to live according to the three principles I mentioned in a previous post – compassion, patience, and integrity. It is impossible for me to predict when I will have time to blog regularly again. I have new courses to prep during our brief semester break and a play to finish soon. Please know I send my best wishes to all of you.

Let me end with some photos of November’s lingering gift as I begin the slow heavy task of shoveling snow on this first morning of December.

*

37 thoughts on “Digging Out from November 2019”

  1. It’s always good to hear from you, Carol. Best wishes to you, too ❤
    I wish you success in producing your play about Ojibwe child welfare. It's rare that we ever learn about the positive difference we may make in the lives of others, but we should go on doing whatever little we can anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is always a gift to hear from you, too, dear friend, and read your blog posts. Someday I hope to have time to read your book!

      Working on the play makes me realize how much I have changed during the past three years. Life’s challenges can help us grow. I have become more thoughtful about the hoped-for outcomes for the audience. With editorial suggestions from a gifted writer, I have a clearer sense of how to write something that will be performed rather than read. I promise to let you know how well it works…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for sharing your humor and kindness, Saadia. It’s surprisingly warm today, but that doesn’t make the shoveling job easier. I was only able to shovel 10 feet of sidewalk this morning, with 40 more feet to go yet in the front yard. My car is still half buried and I have buried bushes and downed pine branches to deal with. I wish I could wait until spring! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been a month of being pulled this way and that for me too, Carol. And I have been absent from the blog world we share. Life takes its twists and turns and we maintain our balance as best we can; may you keep holding on to moments of beauty and peace.

    Sending a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful, lovely comments, Bette. This has been a very hard year for my family and it felt right to give them each a chance to see and give voice to each other’s strengths and special moments. It’s something we plan to do again in the future…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love you too, dear friend. I was just thinking about you today and was delighted by the news you posted on your blog.

      I won’t be driving for a while. My car is literally surrounded and buried under piles of heavy, wet snow, with some drifts over 3 feet deep. I do hope I can dig her out by the weekend so I can make it to my last research class

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    1. It was, and still is, a daunting process, Sha’Tara. In some places, the wet, heavy snow is at least 3 feet deep. I shoveled for hours and I still have many more hours of shoveling to go. But it was a warm day and a good excuse to be outside working. Finding a place to put the snow is becoming a challenge, though!

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  3. Carol, I know you know this, but be care with the snow shoveling, this came to me as I looked at your photos. It’s amazing how much more snow you have in Duluth than we get here in Homer, Alaska. And even still, I let my husband do the little shoveling. I miss the conversations you had time to share with me a few years ago. But I’m happy you decided to return to what you love, teaching, and that you find time to share your life with your readers around the world. Wishing you and yours continued happiness, love, and warmth through these cold days ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful, lovely comments, Skywalker. Shoveling will take days. Today, I hope to rescue little arbor vitae bushes that are buried under more than a foot of snow. Maybe I will make it to the front gate, too, but it is heavy work that I pace, often leaning on my shovel as I gaze at the beauty around me. Wishing you all the best, too, dear friend. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, dear Eddie. It is a LOT of snow. The news reported 20 inches of heavy, wet snow but some of the drifts are more than 3 feet high. Digging out will take days! But this morning, the sun is shining and the snow and air were sparkling when I looked out of my front window.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Carol, it sounds like a loving Thanksgiving. Your pictures show quite a snowfall. I have heard the snowstorms around the Great Lakes are something to behold. With all that shovelling I hope you were able to think over the ending of your play. Perhaps it was at the bottom of the steps or buried at the end of the driveway. 🙂 Take care and, seriously, take it easy with the shovel. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

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