When a fish falls in love…

Observations

The Ugly Side of America


Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Image via Wikipedia

The latest attack on President Obama comes from a “so-called” intellectual by the name of Newt Gingrich.  He referred to Obama as a “Kenyan tribesman”.  I am insulted and I hope many others are also insulted, whether you are black or white. We don’t have to agree with the current politics but since Obama has taken office he has been met with derision, disrespect and virtually no support for his efforts to turn the country around. People have short memories and look for scapegoats.  Rather than holding the previous administration responsible for the current crisis, it is easier and more popular to blame the current administration.  It appears that there are a certain number of white men who continue the tradition of racism by publicly humiliating Obama and cannot support him as a man or as President because he is black.  It doesn’t matter that he also has Irish roots, most black people do have Irish roots if you check out their DNA. But that is due to slavery. Obama’s parents were in a consensual relationship.  So one week this racist group questions his religion and the following week question his motives as being related to his dead father’s wishes.  And at the same time, some of those same people want to lump all Muslims into the same bag.  Many Muslims, Jews and Christians lost their lives during 9/11.  What kind of America do we really want? An America driven by a paranoid minority? An America that can’t move on from its ugly history?  This is the ugly side of America. We are in big trouble if this is the road that we are on.

Fire Island


I first went to Fire Island in 1982. A friend of mine had rented a place and invited my family and I out to the island. I remember taking the ferry from Bayshore, Long Island. It seemed to take forever. When we arrived I had no idea that we would be so close to the beach. And there were deer. I had never seen deer on a beach before. Being from Los Angeles, I had never seen a deer up close and certainly never at the beach. That first visit to Fire Island did not leave an impression. It was beautiful but I did not attach anything special to it. Twenty six years later I was taken to Fire Island by another friend. This time I saw it from a different perspective. It was not like I had remembered it. This time it had a seductive quality. Breathtaking waves, miles of beach, dunes, the Lighthouse, and glorious sunsets. I guess I noticed things that I did not notice before. I don’t know why it was so different. I also did not know what an impact that Fire Island had on my senses until after I left it. Once at home I would think about it and how the waves sounded crashing against the shore. I did not need to hold a sea shell to my ear to hear the sound of those waves. It was embedded. What I find intriguing about Fire Island is that the ferry is not the only way to get there. It can be walked to from a parking lot that is a considerable distance away. One path takes you by the lighthouse and another path takes you along the bay. There are beach cottages of all sizes and descriptions that go from the bay to the shore. What I am amazed by is how much I missed the first time I went to Fire Island and how much I noticed the second time. Subsequently each time I go I see something that I did not see before. It is not that it changes. It is this feeling that comes over me whenever I am there. I feel as though I have been set free and that all is right with the world. The ocean reminds us of how small we are and that there is something out there bigger than all of us. I gain perspective when I am at Fire Island. I realize that no matter how great my problems might appear, the ocean is greater.

Upbringing


We cannot ignore the importance of our upbringing.  If we are lucky, we are blessed with good enough parents who do their best with what they know.  I can credit my parents with most of what I hold near and dear to my heart.  I can remember my father going to work everyday with a suit and tie to his job as an auditor for a large hotel/motel chain/apartment chain.  He and another man were African-Americans working for a Jewish man who owned the chain.  This was way before Civil Rights, so it was rare to see two black men holding such visible positions.  My father would come home from work, maybe take a nap before dinner and then we would all sit down at the table for dinner. It was just my brother and I and our mom and dad. We were a small middle class family. I say middle class because my father was able to support us and allow my mother to stay home and take care of the kids and the home.  My parents made sure that we spoke properly, that we went to good schools and that we were cleaned up before we went out to play.  They also made sure that we felt equal to everyone.  They exposed my brother and I to classical and jazz music, different kinds of food, different kinds of people and art.  My father loved to garden and his rose bushes were the envy of the neighborhood as well as the peach and lemon trees planted in the back yard. He once made an arbor for a fuchsia colored Bougainvillea vine that bloomed profusely most of the year.  My dad was a self-taught landscaper and made our front lawn look like something out of Beverly Hills.  He would haul huge boulders from construction sites all by himself.  I still can’t believe the strength that he had for such a slightly built man.  My mom was a self-taught gourmet cook, an artist, a writer and seamstress.  Mom and dad also entertained a lot.  There were barbecues in the summer and cocktail parties with jazz playing in the background.  As a family we took long drives, sometimes driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco just for a weekend. Or we would drive to San Diego, Palos Verdes and to the mountains of Mt. Baldy or Big Bear.  Dad loved to drive.  We lived the good life with very little money, because we were not wealthy, because my parents had taste.  Where they got their taste from I am not too sure about.  It must have been their upbringing.  So I owe my taste and appreciation for everything that I love :  music, art, gardening, travel, food, hard work, a can-do attitude, self-learning, education, and the importance of family to my parents, who brought me up.

The Importance of Ignorance


Ignorance serves a purpose.  Without ignorance there would be no power. Without ignorance no one would be able to be taken advantage of without their consent.  For centuries ignorance has played a role in allowing a few to gain control of the majority.  It is true even today all over the world. Those that want power must depend on the ignorance of those that they want control over. Look at today’s events and the role that the media plays in distorting the truth as well as the pundits that assist in this distortion.  A good friend of mine once said that the truth is always somewhere in the middle.  Which is why we should avoid extremes.  Can truth be subjective?


Most of what I write is in the form of poetry. I am most inspired when I am in love. I have been in love for two years and have lots of poetry to show for it. But that is all I have to show for it for the exception of some beautiful memories. I wonder sometimes why love has to be so complicated when it could be so simple. Just fall in love and let the experience happen. Why put restrictions on it? But of course things cannot always be the way you want them to be and expectations usually lead to disappointment. People can’t always meet your needs and timing is also a factor. But I am curious about the “fear factor” in love. Such as when someone says that they cannot be in a relationship because they are afraid, even though it is seemingly a great relationship. I am puzzled by this. When a person says to you that you are their cup of tea, that all is good, that there are no issues, why then would fear be the reason to not go forward? Isn’t that what most people are looking for? The person that you finally find that makes you happy? So the poetry is a way of expressing my feelings but the poetry does not necessarily express the feelings of the other person. I may try to incorporate their feelings into the poetry but it might not be their true feelings. Poetry is very personal and people don’t always get it. But that’s ok because if it comes from the heart, it is honest and that what poetry is to me: honesty.

withinreach3@yahoo.com
snaffy
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