Sunday, September 30, 2018

The persistence of joy

Last week was a devastating one for this country. Next week promises to be no less so. This was what it looked like in my house as we watched the judiciary committee vote on Kavanaugh on Friday afternoon when, in a surprise development, Senator Jeff Flake called for an FBI investigation into the supreme court nominee's past, after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford courageously and credibly testified that, back in high school, Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her. Like so many women, I'd cried watching her testimony. The White House has since placed limits on what and who the FBI is allowed to investigate, so I predict more sham proceedings in this matter.

These lovelies were at my house waiting for my daughter and her boyfriend to get home from work. My kids, my niece, and their loves were all heading to Ithaca for the weekend to attend Apple Fest with their cousin, my other niece Dani, who is a senior at Ithaca College and will graduate in May. My son and my niece also went to Ithaca College, and my daughter and her boyfriend went to Cornell University in the same town, so it was old home week for all of them. My son's girlfriend and my niece's fiancé called themselves "the Ithaca virgins."

From the pictures they sent me yesterday (because they know me and know how much I love glimpses of them living their grown up lives), I don't think there are any virgins left in the group. That's Dani and her roommate and bestie in the middle of the group selfie. They were paired in a double in freshman year and have lived together every year since. I love when that happens.

I post these pictures to remind myself that joy can be persistent, even as we fight for our country, even as we call our senators and march in the streets and have conversations outside of our silos and write.

And yesterday, more intentional acts of joy: The man and I, and our friend Leslie, went to see the exhibit of Georgia O'Keefe's Hawaii paintings at the New York Botanical Gardens. After viewing the vibrant canvasses and marveling that I was looking at works touched by the master herself, we spent a wonderful afternoon wandering through nature, strolling and riding the tram through the woodlands and around the extensive gardens, and reveling in our fresh air exhaustion come evening.

I'm going to try and copy one or more of the paintings in the exhibit. I'm pretty sure they won't look anything like the originals, but maybe I'll have a derivative work that served to calm my jangled news junkie mind as I was creating it, that will teach me something about the delicacy of brush strokes and the blending of color, and that will please me to look upon afterward.


  1. Yes indeed! Witnessing the joy of our young people. There is joy to be found regardless. So good to hear that you are planning to engage in the joy of painting.

  2. Your kids and their friends and relatives look like they had a good time. I am deeply envious of the green trees and sunny skies, although the sun has finally to come out this afternoon.

    I'm trying to avoid the news right now, not because I don't care but because I can't change anything in another country. That POS called the president is bringing the whole world down with his rage, anger and petulant self centeredness.

  3. The kids are beautiful. A real beacon of hope in this dark time. I visited those gorgeous canvasses 2 weeks ago when I was in the city. Incredible. How I love the NYBG. Have you seen the Holiday Train Show? And now thanks to Rebecca, the Sea Glass Carousel is on my to do list.


  4. Remember that Beatles' song? "How does it feel to be/One of the beautiful/People?"
    That is what's in my head right now. Every one in your family is one of the beautiful people.
    And you are the most beautiful of all in heart and in soul and in every other way.
    I think your idea about doing a painting is sound and good. I read a little thing in the New Yorker yesterday about a group of people who get together at a Taco Bell simply to draw. Some of them draw stick figures! Some of them can "really" draw but all of them love the time to sit down and simply be with pen or pencil and paper. And maybe eat some Taco Bell. It is called the Taco Bell Drawing Club and something about it sounded so perfect.
    Life is too complicated and right now it seems too hard. Small and profound intentional joys are the way to get through it all with grace.

  5. Like Ms. Moon said, they are all gorgeous. I want to be one of them. They just radiate joy.

  6. a beautiful family full of joy. thank you for this. I am totally disgusted at the Republicans. this blaming of the Democrats and accusing them of destroying the integrity of the process after they refused to even interview Merrick Garland and left a seat open for over a year just makes me so angry. they are hell bent to force through before the midterms because a case is coming up about protecting people with presidential pardons from being charged at a state level so that Trump can pardon them all and get off scot free.

  7. I love seeing the photos of the kids, that generation who will grow up and change the world. I have hope when I see their faces.

  8. These young people are the future.

  9. Thank you for sharing these beautiful happy faces! It does help lift some of the heaviness.