Welcome to my newsletter, Abbe’s Ruminations. I mull, contemplate, ponder – old and new experiences, finding what I call the joy and laughter of repetition or the abandonment to not knowing.
Many times, in my life, I’ve lost my bearings and moved forward in a fog. I search for the side lines, the white demarcations to show me the way. Eventually I arrive at my destination late but intact.
I find myself without a compass with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. A shroud of clouds and rain shower me with a deep sadness. The world has lost their way drawn into a war that not only threatens millions of innocent lives but has turned humanity upside down.
I was never good at map reading. It took all my concentration to visualize the reversals of direction. I’d search for the roads going east while we were going west. Maps are flat while reality reveals mountains as marks to head toward, and the ocean’s edge nudges you back toward land. No GPS guides through destroyed roads, toppled buildings, missing road signs and signals.
The erasure of what holds us secure demands courage. The Ukrainians stand firm as the ground crumbles. Our assumptions of the world have been up ended and nations scurry to respond. Treading lightly in the fog of war, the word “aid” magnifies in scope.
The Ukrainians stand united even as they suffer. They carry within, a deep devotion to humanity. A humble valor that sets aside personal needs, looks to fortify love-ones, and restores our faith. They believe in their potential and the future of the world.
Finding my way means acting, righting wrongs, understanding anger, looking for a new route out of divisiveness. The world stage is made of many. Alone we must unite in new ways, remove barriers in our minds. One person strengthens another.
I was encouraged this past weekend as I talked with my son about his heritage. He had no idea that my grandparents on my mother’s side immigrated from the old USSR leaving Kiev during the pogroms in 1905. History merged with the present world. Connection makes events real.
I was encouraged as I sat with my youngest daughter, in her church. I came to be with her to hear a message of hope from other sources. Their small congregation had already raised $70,000 to send food and necessities to Ukrainians. I left with the minister’s message. “We all belong.” Similarly, the travel company I have gone with to Africa, Southeast Asia, Egypt, Israel, and other countries has raised $800,000 in two days and is sending it to their contacts near refugee camps just outside of Ukraine. The world unites and acts with conviction.
I was encouraged by eldest daughter and grandkids as they participate in their neighborhood, volunteer at their schools where needed. Playing hide and seek, I waited in a closet for Lane and Paige to find me. Suddenly overwhelmed, I felt the fear of all those who must hide to survive. My grandkids noticed my sadness and assured me hiding for them was only a game. Yet I know they take fear to heart. Paige worries about so much… wanting to erase germs, illness, pain from life. She has empathy for others and takes this to her heart. I asked Lane and Paige to place their fingers on my neck, just below my jaw, to feel my pulse. Then to do the same on themselves. “This is your heart pumping love…. When in doubt feel it.”
When I am truly lost, I seek my moral compass, the one connected to the heart. I reflect and make sure I’m asking the correct questions. What action will get the result I need, what priorities are essential to my core being, what helps the present as I must first take care of the crisis before I can work towards the future?
The fog may last a long time, the white lines may not appear on this road. I realize that my internal bearings remain constant. They are magnetically connected to the heartbeat. If I feel and listen, I can aid myself and others. The destination shifts, priorities realign, the world tilts back on its axis.
And still people sing, dance, share. The seasons change as the days get longer, let us be the light.
Thanks to www.Wordsmith.org and A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg, I have received for the last twelve years in my in-box a “word” with pronunciation, meaning, etymology, and usage. I must confess that the words eek into my brain and sometimes into my stories. Here are two words that struck me as noteworthy:
MEANING: noun: The study of documents, especially historical documents, in an effort to authenticate, date, interpret, etc.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin diploma (a letter of recommendation or an official document), from Greek diploma (a folded paper). Ultimately from the Indo-European root dwo- (two) that also gave us dual, double, doubt, diploma (literally, folded in two), twin, between, redoubtable, dubiety, diplopia, and didymous. Earliest documented use: 1808.
NOTES: In ancient times, an official document was folded over and sealed. A diplomat is one who carries a diploma, literally a folded paper or a letter of introduction. You could say that in diplomatics one vets a document to make sure it’s not been doctored.
MEANING: noun: An acceptance of two contradictory ideas at the same time.
ETYMOLOGY: From George Orwell’s novel 1984. Earliest documented use: 1949.
NOTES: Better to do double entendre than to doublethink.
The scholars, scientists, and doubters poured over the documents, none willing to be in the camp of diplomatics, verify that the grass was green when they knew it was brown. They couldn’t take a leap of faith, doublethink that spring would come and with-it rain. The brown would turn green again. Life and death are contradictory and exist even in one plant, one existence.
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.~Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia (23 Jul 1892-1975)
The beginnings and endings of all human undertakings are untidy.~John Galsworthy, author, Nobel laureate (14 Aug 1867-1933)
My next novel about Sealy, progresses. I’m over the half-way point and the plot thickens. I’ve unintentionally created a mystery and a romance. Memories and events act as threads weaving together lives. The characters discover new insights about themselves and their past. The next part of the novel deals with how they use this information to better understand the previous generation and its impact.
I’m giving myself another year to finish the first and second drafts and prepare for publication. Look to 2024 for a release. Slow and steady I go…
I encourage all writer’s secretly wanting to publish a children’s book or to know more about the business of promotion to click into the Skagit Valley Writers Event page for the specifics on my workshops. Please RSVP on the website.
The workshops may have passed by the time you receive this newsletter, however if you join Skagit Valley Writers for a mere $25 annually—the website will have recorded the events for members to view.
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Lisa Dailey from sidekickpress.com revised my website giving it a cleaner look with easy access to ordering direct as well as from various retail stores.
I’ve been enjoying reading the Village Book anthology, Interconnectedness, in honor of Greenwood by Michael Christie, the featured book of 2022 Whatcom Reads.
I’m proud of my entry, page 176-179, entitled Roots have Memories. Unknown to me at the time of writing, it deals with the pogroms of 1905 and the lives of the descendants. Fiction based on history, a short story that offers hope.
This collection sits by bedside as each night I read one to three entries. Sixty- six incredible writers wrote in distinct voice that pulled our lives together and showed how we all belong.
You can order Interconnectedness from Village Books. All proceeds will be donated to the Whatcom Reads Program.