Mid-November Reflections – 2021

November 4

Greeting a cold bright morning

watching a shower of golden leaves

falling steadily from the popple and cottonwoods

frost glistening on wilted grass

listening to the whir of traffic, a distant crow call,

and the rustle of crispy leaves

as they blanket the earth

*

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*

November 14

Yesterday, I wrote down words that flowed through me, a poem of sorts. If it’s accepted for publication, it won’t be posted here. Yet I wanted to share some of the things I realized in the process of trying to explain thoughts and feelings about what we have all lived through during the past two years. I asked a friend to listen to the poem before I sent a draft to the potential publisher. She pointed out that the poem highlighted the advice I shared with her a while ago that had helped her through a difficult time. I didn’t realize how consistently the strategy I shared with her has helped me face challenging situations in my own life.

I learned to repeat a simple mantra in my thoughts.

Just breathe,” I told myself when I faced an audience of 50 people or more, when I stood before State legislators to present testimony, when I lost someone dear, or when I had to resolve conflict in contentious situations. It’s a mantra that helped me survive the challenges of asthma, anxiety, and allergies that have periodically forced me to consciously focus on breathing. It helped me survive an undiagnosed illness in mid-March 2020 that left me struggling for breath for more than a week, returning periodically for several months afterwards. Hopping on a self-propelled treadmill, I forced myself to keep breathing. “Just breathe, just breathe, just breathe.”

It worked. I am here to write these words, grateful to my daughter who delivered groceries to my doorstep when I was too sick to go out and was unwilling to expose others to whatever I had.

As I wrote my poem of sorts yesterday, I relived heartbreaking events. I thought of the Corona virus that continues to strike indiscriminately, disabling and killing millions around the globe as it attacks people’s ability to breathe. And I thought of the masks that make breathing harder but may protect others which have caused so much controversy. I thought of George Floyd’s words as he lay dying during a painful, brutal, police execution on May 25, 2020. “I can’t breathe.” I thought of the fires raging around the globe making the air unbreathable thousands of miles away and devastating so many lives in the process. I thought of the discharges from industries that fill cities with toxic pollution, often located in the poorest neighborhoods throughout the nation and the world. Breathing clean air is a luxury that so many people do not have. Being able to breathe free of oppressive forces interwoven throughout social institutions is even rarer still.

There’s not much, if anything, I can do to change global conquests for control that leave so many people gasping for breath or thirsting for safe water to bathe in, drink, and share with crops to feed families and communities. But I can set aside time each day to breathe and reflect, to envision practical ideas for raising awareness, encouraging caring, and inspiring local solutions that just might mobilize others to engage in concrete, constructive efforts to live with greater care for each other and the earth.

For now, I am grateful I can “just breathe,” and do work that may help others do so, too.

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24 thoughts on “Mid-November Reflections – 2021

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  1. Wonderful post! Lovely flower it looks like it already has frost. A week later snow. Wise words that took my breath and returned lost memories. My father struggled for breath. He said it was like trying to breathe through a smaller and smaller straw. I look forward to the poem but can’t imagine it is better than what you posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing memories about your father, Bob, and the powerful description about how it felt to him as he struggled to breathe. That must have been so hard to witness. Chi miigwetch, also, for your always thoughtful, supportive comments. It means a great deal to me because I value your “no BS” perspective.

      Today, I did find out that the poem was accepted by the published without revisions. I promise to send a link once it comes out. In the meantime, I send my best wishes to you, dear friend. 💜

      Like

  2. I wonder if that early undiagnosed illness might have been Covid, Carol, I do think perhaps it arrived before we recognised it. I agree that this last couple of years has been sending us a message about ‘breathing’ – or the inability to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An astute observation, Andrea. It was about the time when the first COVID surge began here, and just after the college where I teach transitioned to an all online format in response. Little was known then, testing sites were difficult to find or access, and interventions were of questionable value. I could still find the motivation to keep working for the sake of the students whose lives were upended. Thankfully, we all survived.

      I appreciate your always thoughtful comments., Andrea Sending my gratitude and best wishes. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and a part of your world!!.. think perhaps in today’s fast pace world, folks forget to stop and “breathe”, and while breathing take in the world around them…. 🙂

    Until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, it is so delightful to hear from you! I am glad to see you are posting again and appreciate your kind words and the advice you share with your kids. Sending my best wishes to you and your lovely family. 💜

      Like

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