Embrace Nature

Embrace Nature

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post-Christmas Consciousness

Well, that holiday that so many people look forward to the whole year has come and gone in the blink of an eye, and here we are with leftover wrapping paper, empty boxes and empty homes. It's time to start cleaning up the pine needles and dirty wine glasses and start thinking about those New Year's resolutions or something, right?

Last night the coyotes were howling again, just like they did on my first night here in Santa Fe. It reminded me of the poor thing that got itself stuck in the upright pipe in the ground in the backyard. All we could see was the tail, and sure enough, when Rick yanked it out of the ground, it was in fact a live coyote!

I have been thinking about what I learned from being stuck in the house for 3 days. The night I picked Sam up from the airport, the snow started, and it didn't let up for about 24 hours. Then the cold decided to stick around, and our driveway became an ice rink. So much for getting into town with my Hyundai. Even the chains were no help. It was maddening to feel so trapped, so sequestered. I realized I missed the sun, even for those few days, and it made me wonder if the persistent shadow of Seattle is a bit too much for me. It also made me wonder if I should get some cross-country skis.

I'm exploring what friendship means and who friends really are. What makes a friend? Why do people put themselves on the line? What does "a friend in need is a friend indeed" mean? We put out calls for help or shouts of joy and true friends join us for both. Right?

The turning of the year brings up feelings of excitement and anticipation, of reminiscence, of hopefulness. We want next year to be better. We want it to hold happy surprises. We take action to make these things come true. Right?

So let's do this thing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fat and Stupid?

I'm meeting all sorts of great people here in Germany. Just yesterday we spent some time with a Finnish girl who has been an au pair here, and is now studying at university. (Did you know that in Finland, not only do students receive €500 per month to go to college, but tuition is also free? And this is in addition to a national healthcare plan.) One comment she made has been burned into my memory, and will remain food for thought for some time to come:

I can't believe I know two Americans [referring to me and my host Vanessa] who aren't fat and stupid.

Frustrating. Yet at the same time, it makes me want to figure out a way to change this stereotype. Is this possible?