Monday, April 23, 2007

Big Day. Bob is really doing the job application process here in Austin and odds look good. They are building a new elementary school, Overton, which will be a low income, Title
One school with lots of opportunities for nature study because of its location near Decker lake and ponds. Bob was called back almost immediately after emailing in his letter of interest and we delivered a resume to the principal (currently at another school) and also to an Alliance School which needs a second grade teacher. Bob has so much to offer and actually looks as good on paper as in the flesh. At this point I do think he'll be back next year, and that will be good for all of us.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sweet Sunday. Danny's First Holy Communion is only two weeks away and the preparations are of the usual high quality a St. Austin's. Danny is excited he will be able to participate in the mass more fully and receive God's love in a new way. He seems to get communion as a medium of connection - a beautiful thought.

Spring is outdoing herself this year - probably because of cool temperatures and lots of rain. Bob, Lobo and I walked at McKinney Falls this afternoon and, on a trail very familiar to us both, were astonished by the size and richness of the wild flowers. They were the same kinds as other years - but more, taller, brighter, healthier. I felt immersed in a painting executed by a hopeful creator. Bob and I (not Lobo) went out for Tex Mex later at Maudie's, a restaurant Ruth recently told us about. It was fun. Fun has its place and sometimes I forget that.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It has been a bloody and awful week in the world - brought close to home by the Virginia Tech shooting. However, this Friday afternoon was blissful here. I spent it with all three grand kids at their house - just an ordinary afternoon. Zachary and I walked home from HEB on a sparkling spring afternoon, read stories, played with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. KK and Danny came home from school and we all worked on picking up toys. Two neighborhood boys came over to play with Danny. KK talked with her best friend on the phone. We ordered pizza, baked cookies and watched (can't believe I'm admitting this) Scoobie Doo II on video. It was completely gof and KK loves it so much she has memorized it and recited with the actors - quite well. Danny fell asleep during the movie. Bob arrived tired but safe from Corpus and Joanna and James from work. It was completely ordinary and utterly precious, a time without conflict or pressure, just precious time together. A real blessing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bob is seriously filling out his application for jobs with Austin Independent School district, and jobs are beginning to pop up, including a second grade job at a nearby Alliance School. I am egining to feel excited about the possibility of having him home. And Ruth has an interview Tuesday for a political (environmental) canvassing job. She is excited about a chance to work as an activist and would be able to keep her studio open.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

233 people were killed by bombs in Iraq today, 200 more than in Blacksburg Monday. There is a lesson for me in the balance of those numbers - a perspective lesson. Its interesting how as the days pass I understand Bob's lens better, the lens of global perspective.

Today kids all over Texas - fourth graders at least - finished their TAKS tests. Bob's kids finished. He thinks they did well on reading and he isn't sure about math. KK finished and seems tired but satisfied. There was no homework for KK today or Danny either. He and his Daddy went on a field trip t the Austin Nature Center, which was fun. This sunset Ruth took pictures of the kids in a field full of bluebonnets (very Texas tradition) and the five of us wend out to Fudruckers for hamburgers (family tradition). It was fun watching Ruth in photographer ode and the kids posing and preening, gorgeous compliant, helpful kids with great style sense. We had a good evening and its later than it seems now. I will be responsible and go to bed.
I was thinking during the night about Bob's tendency to draw attention away from particular attrocities to the bigger picture of huan attrocity in general. I think this has bothered me because it feels like an attempt to shut down my emotional response to the close and present pain. He says that is not what he intends and I have to believe him, so it occured to me think maybe he is using the smaller events as a lens to see the larger and more distant events more clearly emotionally - to feel the pain of every terrified family in Darfur when I look at the terrified faces in Virginia, as a bridge to universiality. When I think about it that way it makes sense.

I' still distressed that too many people, press and people on blogs and in general, are looking for someone to blame. This can't be about blame. That's just an oversimplification , anxiety avoidance. If we can blame the police or the university then if everybody does everything right in the future we're safe. That's a dangerous illusion. There is no safety, just the human capacity to love, comfort, and help each other heal as derived from our individual understandings of God and the universe.

I watched the convocation at Virginia Tech on the internet too late last night. It was beautifully staged. I held back my cynicism about President Bush - that he was grabbing at a moment in which he could present a sympathetic face - and believe he did the best speaking job he's done, offering real comfort to those students even if he did have mixed motives in being there. I was moved by the voices from different religions, the truly eccuminical flavor of the event The Iman, I think, spoke with particular presence and compassion. And Giovanni , the poet professor who spoke at the end absolutely grabbed my heart. I learned this morning that she had the shooter in her classes, was disturbed by the darkness of his writing, tried to help hi find a different voice, and eventually had him removed from her classes. She spoke with such passion - so alive. She embodied the cosmic AND for me human capacity for vulnerability AND resillience, violence AND healing, despair AND hope I think art calls to my emotions and spirit more strongly than religion - more easily- and she sure did.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I have the news about the Blacksburg shooting on in the background - people trying to figure out why the young man who did the shooting did it. I watched the students at the candle light vigil, chanting "Let's go Hokies!" as if at a football rally, but with a deeper meaning, a sense of group unity and identity. They are still in shock, not in their feelings yet, most of these kids - trying to make sense of acts and losses that make no sense. I read the post of a Virginia Tech student who urges all of us not to blame police or university administration, not to look for mistakes, but simply to grieve and pray for the victims and their families. I heard the tale of the heroic professor who was a Holocaust survivor, who threw himself against the door yelling for his students to jump out the window. He bought them some time before he was killed, oddly on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I'm still horrified by photographs of bloodstained sidewalks in the April snow and the fact that the shooter chained the doors of the engineering building so no one could get out.

Bob reminded me that horrors greater than that in Blacksburg happen every day in Darfur, and in Iraq frequently. He is always able to see the bigger picture, that people here in the US who look like our kids are no more valuable than people in farther corners of the world. He is so much the big picture person, the eagle. I find myself torn away from my feelings about the Blacksburg situation by Bob's comments on the big picture. Its hard to feel everything - to be in full empathy with all suffering - not to overvalue the suffering that happens in places I've walked around people I know.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I've had a difficult week or two, (difficult because of work stress and a sense of low energy and overwhelm) I've not been able to get my fiction piece (the Charles chapter in the porch fiction) up on the computer, in any kind of shape. Now this morning there were murders at Virginia Tech (a rampage, massacre, carnage, like Whitman on the Tower back in 1966 except this time the victims were trapped in classrooms and halls rather than picked off from above.) Virginia Tech, is in Blacksburg, in the pretty little college town of Blacksgurg - hilly, green, wholesome seeming, - today snow scattered. Bob's extended family lives in that town, and chose it partly for the feel of the town.. The family is safe. My sister in law headed to campus when she learned of the shootings. The campus is part of the extended family's everyday landscape.

Ruth wrote in her blog about feeling less shocked by the violence than by kindess between humans - that she was more surprised by the heroism on 9/11 that by the violence. I initially responded that it was different for me, that I usually expect humans to behave well, take goodness for granted. But when I started to try poetry on the campus shooting my mood was darker. Odd.


Shocking that April snow
surprises me more than
carnage on campus.
sidewalks running blood
should shock more than
families opening homes
to displaced students.
Humans killing humans
Humans helping humans.
I take both for granted.
Horror and heroism,
Violence and kindness.
I accept both. Shocking.

My Daughters

My daughters will die
don't know when why.
I must expect, accept
their deaths or drown
in maternal insanity
No wise decision,
No locked door
No healthy lifestyle
nor medical test
can protect. them.
I accept they will die.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I'm writing here tonight to write, to reclaim the possibility of writing here. I've gotten so far behind that I'm afraid I will not pick up this thread again - so late at night in the middle of Passover under the big but waning moon I commit to myself to start writing a little here every day again, to backtrack and pick up pieces. Writing is so much easier when I have some kind of momentum- flow, and I've lost that. Time to create it again.

It is full spring, Passover, Holy Week, almost Easter. The world is newly green, but green, no more blossoming trees. When I look out my window I see a canopy of leaves - leaves everywhere - have to make an effort to see sky. Its easy to forget the bone structures of the trees, so visible a month ago. Seasons shift quickly. The children's trees are growing beautifully. I saw a squirrel in Danny's tree the other day - first squirrel I remember there.