Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for the ‘Chronicle’ Category

Birthday Squared

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In a classic demonstration of Cyndie’s gift of thinking about others, the planned driveway celebration of her birthday this year was secretly morphed into a surprise celebration of her brother, Steve’s 60th birthday which occurred in April when the family was unable to gather. Cyndie collected thoughts about Steve from all the family and a list was made of the top sixty things we love about the new sexagenarian.

Each thought was numbered and randomly distributed to those present so we could read them aloud to the almost safely distanced tribe.

It was a lovely display of family love on a fabulously lovely June evening that became a birthday squared celebration.

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Written by johnwhays

June 5, 2020 at 7:51 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , ,

Her Day

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My trusty sidekick for 40-some years of my life is having a birthday today! Send love to Cyndie! She’s a horse-whisperer without a horse.

At least we still have each other.

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Happy Birthday, Cyndie!

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2020 at 6:00 am

I Hope

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Yesterday afternoon, it occurred to me that I don’t have the same skills for conjuring up “hope” out of nowhere like I do for manifesting “love” by way of a basic mental exercise of simply doing so. Could that be a remnant from a life-long propensity for a dysthymic depressiveness?

The violent clashes between protestors and police forces seem to be getting worse around the country, while things have calmed down dramatically in the Twin Cities. Part of me fears the local rabble-rousers will become re-enthused by the expanding uproar and want to get back in the game.

Another part of me fears the possibility all this turmoil will be for naught, like too many times before. In a year or two, or five, a white police officer will kill a person of color and we’ll still be questioning how this could have happened again.

Cyndie is working a different program. Hopefully, she will prove to be more successful than me at mentally growing neural networks of hope by reducing thoughts focused on the angst of violence, looting, and arson and the racist hatred and inflammatory rhetoric fueling it all and replacing them with visions of the world as a place of equal love and acceptance for everyone.

If we can imagine it, we can build it. If we build it, they will come?

Let there be hope.

All you need is hope. Hope is all you need.

We hope you, yeah, yeah, yeah.

With a hope like that, you know you should be glad.

I Hope

Dixie ChicksĀ  – Writer(s): Martha Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison, Keb’mo’

Sunday morning, I heard the preacher say
Thou shall not kill
I don’t wanna hear nothing else about killing
And that it’s God’s will

‘Cause our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They’re gonna be like us
So let’s learn from our history
And do it differently

I hope, for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope, you’ll have more than you’ll ever need
I hope, you’ll have more happy ever after
I hope, we can live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery
I hope, I hope

Oh, Rosie, her man he gets too rough
That’s all she can say, he’s a good man
He don’t mean no harm
He was brought up that way

But our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They’re gonna be like us
It’s okay for us to disagree
We can work it out lovingly

I hope, for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope, you’ll have more than you’ll ever need
I hope, you’ll have more happy ever after
I hope, you can live more fearlessly
And you can lose all the pain and misery
I hope, I hope

There must be a way to change what’s going on
No I don’t have all the answers

I hope, for more love, more joy and laughter
I hope, you’ll have more than you’ll ever need
I hope, you’ll have more happy ever after
I hope, we can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery
I hope, I hope

I hope, I hope, I hope

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Written by johnwhays

June 3, 2020 at 6:00 am

Protest Exhaustion

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Night after night, we who aren’t out violating curfew instructions just can’t get ourselves to stop watching the uninterrupted live coverage of what is happening in our communities between people protesting police misconduct and the battalions of police and the national guard who are tasked with enforcing regulations. It’s exhausting.

I think that’s one of the points the protesters would be happy is being made. Imagine how exhausting it is to be “living while black.”

Three nights ago in Minneapolis, the drama on our television screens was hours of media coverage revealing overt vandalism, looting, and arson in the unbelievable complete absence of police action. Two nights ago, the scenario changed dramatically in that the freeways around Minneapolis and St. Paul were closed early and a very heavy police and national guard presence showed up within an hour of the curfew to control outcomes.

There were a lot fewer fires.

Last night, there was hope that a full day of peaceful protest would end quietly, but then a maniac driving a semi barreled toward thousands of people crowded onto the 35W bridge, and chaos ensued.

Even after a full night’s sleep, I still feel exhausted by it all.

When can we get back to just worrying about the contagious virus for which we have no vaccine?

When can we get back to concerns over how the millions of people facing financial calamity resulting from the pandemic will keep from going hungry or losing what little possessions they have?

Which came first, the angst of racial oppression or the angst of the pandemic?

One foot in front of the other. One deep cleansing breath at a time. I think we are going to need to figure out the trick of carrying on with everyday life even while exhausted, because the change we need to happen is going to take more time than just a week of overnight riotous protests.

Afternoon naps make a lot of sense in times like this.

We could also work on the visualization of planting our love to the world like a seed in the ground that we feed and nurture and watch as it sprouts and grows into a towering tree. Make it a time-lapse visual, so we don’t have to wait a hundred years for the love to get to its maximum height.

<yawn> I’m going to do my visualization while lying down. With my eyes closed. For a couple of hours. Couple-eight.

Oh for a full night’s sleep again…

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Different Tracks

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Our grass is growing fast and the ground is saturated from recent rains so I decided to use the power trimmer to mow areas with standing water to avoid creating muddy tire tracks. While focused on the grass in front of me, I was oblivious to what was happening behind me.

As I shuffled along at a slow pace, I was leaving muddy tracks behind me. Ha ha! Oh well.

I trimmed along the paddock fence from the outside and then stepped inside to clean up around the overhang. With no horses grazing the paddocks, the grass in there is growing pretty tall.

It feels very satisfying to transform the place from looking abandoned to freshly trimmed. It’s only partially abandoned.

This morning we are abandoning the property for a few hours to attend a socially distanced graduation ceremony for Cyndie’s niece, Althea, on her family’s driveway in Edina.

I appreciate the attempt to accomplish some traditions amid the upside-down turmoil of a global pandemic and civil unrest.

In the middle of my afternoon of mowing yesterday, I claimed a block of time to watch coverage of the launch of the manned Dragon capsule as it happened. In the evening, I watched the news broadcasts of police and national guard soldiers arresting violators of the curfew put in place to quell the looting and riots that have unfolded amid the protesters who are fed up with police abuse and unchecked murder of black citizens.

Remember when kneeling during the national anthem was the attempt to express protest over police misconduct?

While I am making different tracks in our wet areas, protesters are seeing a need to use different tactics to bring a change in the unacceptable status quo of equality being professed but not enacted.

We shall overcome, someday.

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Written by johnwhays

May 31, 2020 at 8:00 am

Can’t Breathe

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Anger boiling over in the form of roiling balls of flame with no visible public servants on hand to contain the rage as daytime turns into night makes for a disturbing meditation in the moments before nodding off to sleep.

It is hard to breathe through our masks.

It is hard to breathe through the smoke.

It is hard to breathe when being choked.

It is hard to contend with the fact that all I was going to do was breathe in our forest air yesterday and beam love to the world, yet the Pentagon needed to put military police on alert as protesters ignored curfew orders and ignited numerous new fires.

Morning turns the tide and reasonable people emerge with brooms and trash bags to pick up debris in an attempt to hasten the healing of the damage done overnight.

It’s an interesting dynamic to watch the venting of angst built up over multiple generations and centuries of time followed by the immediate effort to clean up the present damage which will actually require generations of repair to remedy.

How many years of treating people of color (and women and LGBTQ and homeless and impoverished and mentally impaired human beings) with equal respect to their white counterparts will be needed to complete healing that is the dream of healthy well-meaning communities of enlightened citizens of the world?

I’m not sure I can breathe that long.

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Written by johnwhays

May 30, 2020 at 8:42 am

Stress Squared

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Just when we thought the problem commanding our attention was an invisible virus contagion with potential to kill that has shut down life as we knew it, centuries of systemic oppression have boiled over in response to another murder of a black man in police custody, this time in Minneapolis.

It’s mind-numbing.

Unfathomable that so many people were present during the incident and either chose not to or were unauthorized to intervene.

My commute home yesterday took me uncomfortably close to some of the riotous protestations underway beside the freeway, but beyond a momentary slowing of traffic in the area, the worst disruption for me was hearing details of what was actually happening at that moment on the live radio coverage as I passed by.

The activity in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul was disturbingly close to where our daughter, Elysa lives.

Hearing about the transformation from protesting to arson and vandalism by some people is heartbreaking.

There is stress stacked upon stress, stacked upon stress.

It is hard to know how much influence one can have from a distance, standing among the trees of our forest amid a chorus of bird songs and frogs beckoning, sending love to all those people in the thick of things just 50 miles away to the northeast.

Today, that’s what I’ve got to offer.

I wish it could put out fires. Or, better yet, keep people from ever starting them.

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Written by johnwhays

May 29, 2020 at 6:00 am