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Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

Yesterday, my cell phone was acting hot and wonky, so I turned it off. All the way off; I plugged it in and forgot about it in an upstairs bedroom. Well actually, I did remember it when we decided to walk down to the Farmer’s Market for lunch, but then decided I could do live without it.

There were no pictures of my hand holding an itty bitty TN statehouse. No pix of tourists stopping on their Hop On Hop Off trolley to take pictures of us locals eating lunch outside and wondering which Country artist we might be. No videos of us singing and twirling to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in the middle of the booming Carillon bells on the Bicentennial Mall. https://www.trolleytours.com/nashville/carillon-bells

And I can honestly say it was one of the ten best days of, let’s just say, the past five years! And it wasn’t just my incommunicado state of being “In the present,” without beeps or Insta. It was also the first day the sun decided to shine again after so many days of rain. I saw our cardinal at the bird feeder in the morning and at twilight. And…. it was sweater weather! Finally the Autumnal Equinox begins!

I told Bob it’s only natural for people to love the season of their birth. For me it’s the outlandish color of Ginkgo trees, the old feel of new school shoes, the smell of burning leaves. And whenever there’s a chill in the air, I just have to make chili! Luckily we still have peppers in the garden.

“It’s like this all the time in California,” he said.

Well that’s true. In the South we have maybe two weeks of this weather if we’re lucky. I also have a very loud squirrel named Kevin reminding me he needs to fatten up for winter!

Plugging back into the news stream this morning, I heard Eugene Robinson of the WAPO discuss the stalemate in Congress over Police Reform. It would seem that Republicans, even Black Republicans, were willing to leave the table over qualified immunity – a term Robinson called “qualified impunity.”

Qualified immunity is a defense that law enforcement and other government officials can raise in response to lawsuits seeking monetary damages for alleged civil rights violations. Unless the plaintiff can show an officer violated a “clearly established” right—meaning a court already declared similar behavior in a previous case to be unconstitutional—the officer can’t be held liable.

https://time.com/6061624/what-is-qualified-immunity/

Being able to sue somebody in America should be our birthright! Right? If a doctor forgets an instrument, let’s say he left something in your abdomen after surgery, and you are injured or die because of his/her negligence, you can sue for damages… you can sue the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the hospital! Hell, you could probably also sue the maker of the instrument.

But if a police officer mistakes his/her taser for a gun and shoots you dead? Or maybe they got the wrong address and shot you in your own bed? Well, mistakes happen. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that qualified immunity allows officers to, “shoot first and think later.” 

Was I just naive to think we could actually work out some bi-partisan plan to save our democracy? To pass an infrastructure bill, to undo all these unnecessary, tedious and costly state recounts, to keep Roe steady and strong for American women?

In Texas, one can sue a doctor for performing an abortion, but not a police officer for killing an innocent person. My splendid day did a deep dive until I remembered we were getting the Grands tonight for a sleepover!

May I never be immune to the sound of children’s laughter.

About to release the butterflies

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Maybe it’s because I was reading about an English photographer and gardener who pivoted her lens to her own backyard as the Covid pandemic hit the UK. I love stories of resilience like this; your life is just chugging along happily and suddenly the world shuts down… Ola Maddams captured wildlife in their own element with a heat-sensing camera. I adored her incredible shots of hedgehogs and the occasional fox!

At least I think that’s why the word “hegemony” came to mind.

…the dominance of one group over another, often supported by legitimating norms and ideas. The term hegemony is today often used as shorthand to describe the relatively dominant position of a particular set of ideas and their associated tendency to become commonsensical and intuitive, thereby inhibiting the dissemination or even the articulation of alternative ideas.” 

https://www.britannica.com/topic/hegemony

My interpretation of hegemony is that a ruling class comes to power without a single gunshot. They spread their ideology through stories, propaganda and coercion until it seems normal. If the Taliban think that maintaining their control of Afghanistan will be easy, that killing anyone who may have been associated with the resistance or American interests will cement their power, they are wrong.

Our lasting legacy in a 20 year war of occupation will not be American schools and hospitals, it will most definitely not be free and fair elections. But what we have left is a new generation that knows what freedom feels like. Young people who know there is a culturally conservative way to practice Islam, but also a rational reform way of practicing their religion. Young women who feel it is their God-given right to be educated.

And what makes our departure different from every other colonizing force in the past? The internet can be smuggled under an abaya in the palm of a woman’s hand.

A neighbor in VA was from Iran. She once told me that women would cover their fancy Western clothes with a big coat when they went to a wedding. Self-called morality censors on the street would never bother them, or maybe they were paid to look the other way. Coats would come off at the wedding venue and alcohol would be served. Where there’s a will….

The Bride and Grands collected toiletries for the Islamic Center of Nashville on 9/11. The Imam told us they are expecting to help relocate around a hundred Afghan families to middle Tennessee. Bob and I took off our shoes and toured the mosque while the kids played on the soft, padded carpeting.

Everyone was so friendly. It felt good, even cleansing to do this small mitzvah on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The Hebrew word does not mean a “good deed,” it’s a bit more complicated.

The definition of mitzvah: “Mitzvah literally means “commandment.”  In fact, Jewish tradition understands exactly 613 mitzvot (plural of mitzvah) to be derived from the Hebrew Bible. The 613 are listed in Maimonides‘ Sefer Hamitzvot (Book of the Commandments), divided into “positive” (things one is required to do) and “negative” (things one may not do) commandments.”

I feel a positive charge in the Fall air, except for a certain legislator from West Virginia. Maybe Manchin is just a slow poke and he’ll see the light soon.

We gave the Love Bug a butterfly kit for her 9th birthday and she received her caterpillars last week. They’ll soon be emerging from their chrysalis to be released in their garden, joining the fuzzy bees tunneling into the outlandish, pink rose-of-sharon blooms.

Let’s hope that in the coming year all the anti-vaxxers and climate deniers, anti-semites and Islamaphobes find themselves overwhelmed by the hegemony of naturalists. By a love for the diversity of humans, animals and habitat.

Photo by Ola Maddams https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-58327374

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In this heat, you’ve got to start your day pretty darn early. It takes me about an hour to water the gardens. We also have newly planted figs and an evergreen that needs daily care. If I’m not done by 9 am, the #heatwave knocks me out. Just checked my phone, yep it’s 83 and it “feels like 90” at 10 am. The windows are perpetually covered with condensation, and my glasses fog up as soon as I open the door.

But this day started at 5 am, when I woke up and finished reading my book, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. It left me thinking, instead of sleeping for another hour. She is one of my favorite writers, and this story is a not too subtle attack on climate deniers. However, it’s woven deftly into the everyday dynamics of a young farming family in TN, and the mother Dellarobia, is our protagonist. It touches on poverty, on women and independence and on class bias, all while trying to figure out why a million beautiful monarch butterflies have decided to roost on Dellarobia’s mountain.

So of course I had to do some research, and they did only just discover this roosting behavior almost forty years ago in 1975 which is pretty new in the world of scientific discovery. nat-geographic-cover-e1295402536266Roosting is a wintering over, a sort of dormant time for the butterflies when large clusters hang from trees and hibernate in plain site. Normally they will migrate and roost in the mountains of Mexico, but in this fictionalized version they’ve arrived in Appalachia like a miracle from God to the poor people living there. http://texasbutterflyranch.com/2012/07/10/founder-of-the-monarch-butterfly-roosting-sites-in-mexico-lives-a-quiet-life-in-austin-texas/

The monarch is our state insect and sometimes they will land on my shirt! Unfortunately while watering this morning I came inside with your normal everyday tick attached to my leg. I’ve learned not to panic when I see these critters sucking their way into our dogs, our children or my leg. We’ve probably dislodged hundreds over the years with our bare fingers – I find that much easier than trying to use a tweezer. But now I do keep the tick around for Bob to look at when he gets home, just in case. In order to transmit Lyme Disease, the tick must stay attached for 24 to 36 hours in order to transfer the LD spirochete, http://www.aldf.com/lyme.shtml so a good rule of thumb is to always do a tick check when you come inside.

Here is a picture of my butterfly tree, as seen through the sleeping porch. It is currently buzzing with honey bees!    photo

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