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Memorial Day Observation

Indiraganesan, liberty, 2014

Indira Ganesan, liberty, 2014

I looked out my window, and was struck by the flags flying nearby. It was as if I were seeing them clearly for the first time. I take the nature of freedom to choose in this town too much for granted. Every once in a while, I remember where I am living, and how different it is from so much of America. When I see a shy same-gendered couple walk by, I see their palpable relief that they can hold hands, in public, without embarrassment. They are on vacation, and for the time being, they are safe.  It is 2014, and seems trivial to state the obvious, but civil rights are still fairly new in our world.

All around us in the world, new right-wing leaders are squirming into place, dusting off their shoulders, making sure their buttons are in place. We who are liberal are open-mouthed at their ascendancy, wondering what is next. We take too much for granted. Violence is perpetuated against women every day.  Our society lets children shape violence in their hearts, and gives them guns.  I write this from a comfortable chair, yet as a woman, I know that the threat of rape, of violence, of bias is part of my reality, and my life is shaped by that. Without a doubt, I dream more than I act.

Last week, a dear friend’s dear father passed away, Dr. Vincent Gordon Harding, who advocated in a gentle yet firm way for equality and liberty. He, together with his late wife, created and ran The Veterans of Hope organization, committed to educational awareness and action towards a more just society.  He is remembered in obituaries for writing Martin Luther King’s Vietnam speech, for the books he authored, and causes he embraced. I remember him for his kindness, his laughter, and the lesson he gave me long ago which I use in nearly every class I teach.  It is an exercises in remembering the stories of the women in our families, the ones whose stories get forgotten until they are repeated and shared.

My heart goes out to his family and, who continue to inspire me, whose compassion, intelligence, and joy I treasure.

Links:

About Dr. Harding:http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/26/remembering_vincent_harding_the_civil_rights

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/22/us/vincent-harding-civil-rights-author-and-associate-of-dr-king-dies-at-82.html?_r=0

http://www.onbeing.org/program/civility-history-and-hope/79

A garden must be planted

Indira Ganesan, garden fence, 2014

Indira Ganesan, garden fence, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Amelie Garden in progress, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Amelie Garden in progress, 2014

Regardless if one stays or goes, the garden must be planted, if only to provide beauty and pollination and fragrance a few brief months.  In went the herbs, the annuals, the seeds.  My neighbors and I will have salad with edible flowers, and maybe some one else will provide tomatoes. In the back, late autumn vines will open up with color.  The columbines are nodding, the violas brighten, and foxglove emerges confidently.  I have sprinkled love-in-a-mist, alyssum, poppies, and hollyhocks  in between plantings, and will not pull any weeds except the most identifiable to give the green shoots a fair chance.  Somewhere, inside one of the Shakespeare plays, is a gorgeous piece about flowers, about cowslips and lilies. For years, I put off adding a roses, thinking I will not be here long enough to enjoy them, but last year, I rescued three, and they have survived the terrible winter, as has the dicentra, clematis, cinnamon ferns, and sweet william. Why is it writing the name of flowers gives as much joy as being in the garden? What are you planting and tending? Let’s compare garden notes.

Indira Ganesan, Alba, sweet william, forget-me-nots, 2014

Indira Ganesan, Alba, sweet william, forget-me-nots, 2014

Inviting the muse in San Diego

Indira Ganesan, San Diego Marina, 2014

Indira Ganesan, San Diego Marina, 2014

When I travel, the muse accompanies me, but she flies first class, while I fly coach.  Meeting her then is a happy accident.  I am in San Diego, to see old friends and attend the 2014 Ashtanga Confluence. My muse can do ashtanga, all of the series.  I don’t want to be like my muse, but I would like her light to light my light.  What I seek is a way to get a novel started from a mere twelve pages of notes that I plucked from nearly 150.  I came to the confluence to maybe learn steadfastness and keep on trying.

David Swenson, one of the yoga teachers here, said that one doesn’t seek a guru per se, except to take an unlit candle to a cave, say, and if there  is a fellow there with a lit candle, maybe he will let you light yours from his flame.  My teacher, Richard Freeman, said the most interesting things happen in the interfacing of ideas, while at the same time, the spaces between words are the most interesting.

My next move.  My next book.  My next time on the mat.

Move: Not dire.  Soon, something will materialize.

Book: Not dire. Not Dior. Not a Diorama. Just a novel, a simple 80,000 word something between hardcovers, extending the life of Meterling and company.  I have to situate the book in a specific decade.  I was in my twenties in the eighties.  My characters are in their twenties in the nineties.

Mat: Wednesday.

P.S:  No more red-eye flights for a while.

 

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