As I Made My Way Each DayMay 19, 2017 11:44 am
A Resistance poem – how I survived a personal medical crisis, then joined a movement to save us from a national crisis.
Joining the ResistanceApril 2, 2017 4:33 pm
With the growing crisis that has swamped our country, I put aside any creative writing projects, focusing on many levels of resistance to the current corrupt administration. I’ve marched, rallied, volunteered, protested at my MoC’s office, held emergency resistance meetings at our house, emailed, faxed, posted and shared on social media. Then the realization came that, no, I hadn’t stopped writing at all. My focus had simply shifted.
Here are a few highlights of the ongoing communication to my Congresspersons.
Investigate the Russian interference in our country’s election process and the American traitors who participated in it. It’s an un-American and traitorous act to ignore such an attack on the United States. This is a nonpartisan issue and you should be outraged by it. Investigate!
Do the moral thing for the American people. Protect the ACA and Medicaid. The Trumpcare plan will make healthcare beyond the reach of Americans who need it most. Trumpcare is a dangerous and ill-advised travesty. Stay on the right side of history. Bury Trumpcare in the garbage pile in which it belongs.
Please protect our environment and our future by protecting the funding of the EPA, the National Park Service and other vital government services. These agencies were set up decades ago for a reason- to protect us and our country. They must continue their service to us.
Put country over party and protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. Trumpcare was patched together without proper public review and will devastate the lives of millions of Americans. Do the moral thing. Do the patriotic thing. Protect the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.
Health care is a human right. You have a sworn and moral obligation to protect the well-being of the citizens of America. Do not take away affordable healthcare from millions of us. Do not sentence so many of us who have life-threatening illnesses to a sure death because we couldn’t afford healthcare via the heartless Trumpcare plan. Vote against this horrible bill.
Do you really think voters in 2018 will forget that you took away healthcare coverage for tens of millions people? The political landscape is changing dramatically because of Trump’s election and our elected officials will be held accountable like never before. Do not repeal the ACA or pass the Trumpcare bill and endanger the lives of so many Americans.
Oppose the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. He and his conservative extremism will not restore legitimacy to the Court, especially not when the highly qualified and highly regarded Judge Garland was refused even a confirmation hearing. Instead, allow Judge Garland a hearing.
Please support a resolution requiring Mr. Trump to release his tax returns. This administration lacks transparency and too many questions remain unanswered about his business alliances. Corruption should not be allowed to flourish in our country’s highest office. Trump must release his tax returns.
Establish an unbiased independent commission to investigate Mr. Trump’s many Russian connections. It is obvious that Mr. Nunes is complicit in a cover-up. If Mr. Trump has committed treasonous acts, he should not go unpunished. It is un-American to ignore such a red flag as this.
We American citizens are not commodities to be sold out to the highest bidder. Online privacy is just as important to us as the privacy of our own homes. Give us laws that protect us more. Don’t take away the privacy we already possess.
The Trump-Russia collusion must be investigated by an independent commission. Our democracy has been attacked by a foreign power that apparently still has numerous connections to this administration. Use the power that we, the citizens, elected you to hold and protect our sovereignty and democracy.
Just a little note to say we’re watching. Thanks to Trump and his corrupt regime, the world is now watching. We will make sure everyone keeps watching. We will continue to speak out, to rally, to march, to resist every way we can. You, our elected representatives, have a chance to protect America from this corruption and we hold you accountable. Treason and corruption should not be tolerated, especially not in our country’s highest office. Do your duty; investigate Trump and refuse to confirm any more of his appointees, including Gorsuch, until Trump and his cabinet are cleared of all wrongdoing.
And, lastly, a message especially for our own US Rep. Lamar Smith –
Thanks for drawing attention to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. By your criticizing and trying to diminish them, I have now become aware of them and have become a dedicated supporter. Your anti-science demagoguery shames Texans and reinforces the prejudicial view that we are ignorant yahoos. Our state is a science and technology leader and you should proudly proclaim that and support us, not shame us with anti-science drivel.
How Not to Climb Down a MountainNovember 19, 2016 9:02 am
I had wanted to get off the mountain quickly, but not that quickly. In fact, the descent was becoming alarmingly rapid.
It had started out as an exciting outdoor adventure. I had parked my car on top of Wolf Creek Pass in southern Colorado and intended to backpack and camp my way down the mountain over the next ten days. There had been record snowfall the winter before, so six to eight feet of snow still lay on the ground in the middle of July, with temperatures in the mid-seventies.
I hiked until daylight began to fade, looking for a campsite somewhat free of snow to camp for the first night. I found a sheltered area underneath a large fir tree, set up the tent and started a fire. Then the altitude sickness set in.
That was unexpected. Growing up in central Kentucky and living in middle Tennessee, I had no experience with altitudes over several hundred feet. Even the Appalachians’ Clingman’s Dome, at 6,644 feet, was not high enough to inflict that level of agony. Wolf Creek Pass was almost 11,000 feet.
My head ached so much I thought my skull was splitting. I was so nauseous I started vomiting repeatedly. Rehydrating did not help, nor did the aspirin I had brought along. The only solution was to tough it out through the night and get off the mountain at first light.
When morning came, I packed the tent and gear into the backpack, cleaned the campsite and headed in the direction the map showed as the trail down the south face of the mountain. That was relatively pointless, for not only was the trail buried beneath several feet of snow, the snow was so deep that the trail markers were buried as well. The open areas between the trees seemed to be the smoothest way downward, so that was the path I chose.
As I plodded onwards, the angle of descent became steeper and steeper. If the trail had been visible, it would have zig-zagged down the mountainside. If I had not been in such pain from the altitude sickness, I would have zig-zagged as well to make the descent safer and easier.
Instead, I headed straight down, intent on getting off the mountain as fast as possible. I worked cautiously, digging each footstep through the icy crust and into the snow, then testing for stability before shifting weight from one foot to the other.
Still, the inevitable happened. As I made a cautious step, the sixty pound backpack overbalanced me and I fell backwards onto the icy snow. At the same time both feet went up and I started sliding. The heavy pack became a toboggan that held me flat.
I tried to stop the slide by digging into the snow with my hands and feet, but I continued to accelerate. The sliding quickly reached the point where I would either break my legs or launch into an uncontrollable tumble if I didn’t lift them.
Either way, the inevitable result of this freefall would be a deadly crash into a boulder or tree or a deadly plunge off a fast approaching precipice. As my life flashed snowily before my eyes, logic kicked in and I realized that I could somewhat steer the blazing descent by rocking to the left or right.
Ahead of me was a small dense fir tree that was like an umbrella, sheltering its base from much of the snowfall. It had a deep protected bowl underneath it. I rocked to the left and used my left hand as a rudder to steer myself in its direction. I flew into the bowl like an eight ball going into a corner pocket, grabbing a limb to halt the momentum.
I sat underneath the tree until the adrenaline rush faded, then resumed my descent. This time, I worked from tree to tree, making sure one was always within reach or directly below me, so that I could slide towards it if I fell again. Eventually the trees thickened into a forest and the descent began to flatten.
I encountered no more dangers, except for the spare tire sized patty of fresh bear crap in the middle of the hiking trail that I stumbled upon when I dropped below the snow line. My camp at the end of the day was in an aspen grove at the edge of an alpine meadow, free of altitude sickness, free of snow and far from the bear.
The Neighborhood SpiritOctober 31, 2016 11:16 am
“Do you ever see anything unusual in your house?”
Ah, that question.
We had a new neighbor renting the house next to ours and I had stepped over to welcome him to the neighborhood. That was one of the first things he asked. He went on to explain why he asked, although I already knew the answer.
“When I’m in the living room, I can see the reflection in the dark TV screen of a tall thin man coming down the stairs and crossing the room. It happens over and over. When I put up my Christmas tree, it really frustrated him. It’s in his path and he walks up to it and stands and stares, then turns and goes back up the stairs. Then he comes back down the stairs and stops at the tree and stares again. He does that over and over.”
I told him that previous occupants of the house had seen the same tall thin figure. He seemed to travel between their house and ours. I had caught him lurking in our garage . A pall of sadness surrounded him.
Other neighbors a couple of houses from us also had experiences with spirits and unexplainable events. That area of Austin seemed to be a paranormal hotspot.
The renter next door eventually moved on and the owner of the house moved back in. He was a software programmer and his focus was on code writing and testing methodology, so I don’t think he was ever aware of his spiritual housemate. He never mentioned experiencing anything unexplainable in his house.
When we prepped our house for sale, we performed a cleansing just to make sure the new owner did not inherit the morose spirit or anything else. The house felt light and bright when we emptied it and moved. I don’t know who the sad spirit was or why he was so tied to that area, but he is still memorable in the overpowering strength of his negativity.
The History Around UsOctober 22, 2016 2:13 pm
As I settled deeper and deeper into the healing relaxation of acupuncture, the air in the tiny therapy room chilled and the walls faded away. I was suddenly outside, standing in front of a house. It was a grand house, especially for the time, though not quite a mansion. It was only two stories high and the six columns on its front were much too large and disproportionate for the size of the house. It stood in the city, but there were no other houses close by.
Low gray clouds covered the sky. The air was cold and snow swirled in the wind. Further down the street, two women walked side by side, their dresses full and long and filled underneath with layers of petticoats. One dress was bright reds and yellows and whites and the other was a rich green. They had thick shawls pulled close around them. The style of their clothing looked to be from the 1890s.
Directly across the street from the house squatted two Black men dressed in work clothes. They talked between themselves as they patiently waited in the cold. They were not allowed to approach the house to do their work until their overseer came by to shuffle them in and watch over them as they worked. They would be arrested as criminals if they entered the house unsupervised.
I was seeing history come alive around me. This might have been alarming, except it had happened before during acupuncture sessions. The deep relaxation of the acupuncture was like meditation, opening a new level of awareness, seeing and feeling the history of a place, which endures after time moves on.
Since my acupuncturist is located in what was once the historic Black community of Kincheonville south of old Austin, I assumed that one or both of the Black men I saw had lived in Kincheonville and traveled up to Austin to work. I was seeing a bit of their own history that had been indelibly tied to the place where they once lived.
When I got home, I googled ‘1890s house in Austin Texas’. There it was. I had not recognized it. The Texas Governor’s Mansion is very different now, hidden behind high walls and fences and trees, with extensions and additions tacked onto it as it grew into a true mansion. The old photo that the search had found showed only a large square house with an oversized portico standing forlorn in its large yard. But it was unmistakably the same house that I saw.
It’s remarkable that these imprints of history persist, that they’re out there ready to be discovered. I’m amazed that acupuncture has brought me the level of awareness to see them. They’re unexplainable, but they are undeniable, especially when you so vividly experience them.
Each Time I Cast My BallotOctober 12, 2016 5:19 pm
The War of 1812 is not as well known as the American Revolution. I call it the Re-War. England didn’t want to give up its American colonies, so thirty years after she lost them, she tried to retake them. The English attacked from Canada, from the Atlantic, and finally from the Gulf of Mexico.
Fortunately, the United States had Kentuckians, thousands of sharpshooters who volunteered to fight the English in states far from their homes. Over 25,000 Kentuckians volunteered. It’s estimated that four out of every six men of fighting age in Kentucky fought in the War of 1812. Almost two-thirds of the casualties were Kentuckians.
Two of those fighters were my great-great-great-grandfathers Langston Williams and Samuel Miller. They both lived in Allen County, Kentucky, and would have known each other, for Langston William’s grandson, William Briley Newton Williams, married Samuel Miller’s granddaughter, Fannie Miller, my great-grandparents.
Samuel Miller served in Mitchusson’s Regiment of Kentucky Detached Militia at the Battle of New Orleans. Here is his entry in the Allen County Deed Book appointing his attorney to manage his service pay.
Dec. 28, 1816
I Samuel MILLER of Allen County formerly Warren County Kentucky … appoint John WALES of Allen County and state aforesaid my attorney … receive my pay from the United States for a tour of duty under the command of Captain Thomas GRIFFIN in the 14th Regiment of Kentucky detached militia … Signed: Samuel MILLER
Even making the fifteen hundred mile journey to New Orleans was an ordeal. When the men rendezvoused on the banks of the Ohio River to make the long float from there down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, the boats that had been promised were not there. The Quartermaster bought whatever dilapidated barges he could find and the troops used axes and frows to cut and shape lumber to patch them. They had also been promised suitable clothing, blankets, tents, arms and munitions, none of which were available. Many arrived only with the clothes they wore and nothing else. They only had a half supply of rations and few pots or kettles in which to cook.
Despite all these obstacles, the Kentucky volunteers arrived at their destination and played a crucial role in winning the Battle of New Orleans.
Langston Williams served in Hudspeth’s and Brown’s Regiment, Kentucky Militia, for two tours of duty. He probably fought in the Northwest frontier, helping to recover Detroit and other cities from the English. To reach the frontier, he and his fellow volunteers would have had to march from the southern border of Kentucky north to Ohio, then cross Ohio northwards into Michigan and what is now Ontario, Canada. That would have been a march of well over five hundred miles, much of it along primitive roads and hunting trails. They would have had to hunt to feed themselves as they traveled, for there would have been few inns and taverns along the way.
The hardships these patriots endured to protect our country shames anyone too lazy or indifferent to even vote. Voting is a small effort that helps to keep the United States a nation of the people. Each time I cast my ballot in an election, I do it to fulfill my duty and commitment to our country and to honor my ancestors and their sacrifices.