Monday, July 14, 2014

Mowing the Lawn Ahead of the Rain

Mowing the lawn ahead of the rain
The sole of my favorite shoes gave way.
Thwappiting  underfoot,
The tattered rubber taunted me
With the news that these shoes were older than my grown child.

My palms blistered as I raced the storm
Fussing that they were once
Painter’s hands
And that a handshake from the fresh faced girl
I was long ago
Made the boys wide-eyed at the callous and muscle and bone.
These hands worked hard.

When did I buy these shoes?
Sometime after my first was born, facing the wrong way up,
Sauntering into this world after 44 hours
Trying to make up his mind.
Before my second, though, who never did anything before he was ready
Bursting out and into my arms after an hour and a half.
Two days or an hour, a labor of love.
This body worked hard.

Guess I don’t need these raggedy shoes
I’ll garden bare-foot and fearless
My fingers calloused for strings
Playing my own lullaby as the mother-me sleeps
(at last!)
And the crone roars awake.

Sarah Gowan - July 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Don't Eat the Grape

My mom raised us to believe that even the smallest of acts can have powerful results. For instance, our family supported the United Farmworkers Grape Boycott in the late 1960's. This was no small act of defiance in our fairly conservative church community. I remember picking the lone grape out of my canned fruit cocktail at Girl Scout camp and trying to explain to the bewildered troop leader why it was important to honor the boycott because the migrant workers need our help. I was away at camp - who would know any different? But mom had raised us with the understanding that our actions do matter and I knew deep down that not eating a single grape at sleep-away camp does indeed make a difference.

What an incredible lesson for a kid. When the United Farmworkers declared their non-violent strike a success with the signing of union contracts, I knew that my small choice to not eat grapes had helped to change the lives of thousands of migrant workers in a big way.

So today the news is full of corporations that want to control women’s health care choices, corporations that want to control our food, corporations that want us to go to war for oil, all driven by a grinchy 1% who simply wants all the things and will stop at nothing to get them. I’m overwhelmed with the tidal wave of injustice, insanity and imbalance and can’t imagine how we could slow it down, much less stop it.

Except we do know how.

Don’t eat the grape.

In other words, make your small actions count.

Boycott. Choose to not spend your money with corporations who are in opposition to your fundamental beliefs and buy from companies who support your vision of the world.

Vote. If you are lucky, you can vote for the politicians who think the way you do. At the very least vote for the one who is the least offensive.

Speak. Tell people why you are making these choices and encourage people to spend their money and their votes wisely.

None of us can hope to stop the flood of greed, fear and injustice alone, but a million careful choices add up to a mighty strong wall. Not to mention delicious grapes for everyone someday.