Blog

2 days ago

Mary Pipher

I am spending a great of time looking east out my windows toward Holmes Lake, toward the sunrises, the moonrises and the sunsets' reflections in the lake. Late afternoon December light just knocks me out. It reminds me of Alaska light, so pure and silver. In addition, lately a bald eagle has been cruising above the lake hunting for ducks and geese, as well as our abundant coots.

My spirits are high until I think about the circles beyond my own little world of family and community. Then I feel the pain of a country torn apart by fear, anger and greed. And confusion.

When the eagle comes, I stop whatever I am doing and I watch his every move. I hold my breath when he swoops low for prey. I feel an invisible line of hope between my eyes and his massive white head, as if somehow my watching this eagle, or shall I say, praying to this eagle, could somehow save us.
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1 week ago

Mary Pipher

This morning I am thinking about children. Yesterday I attended a climate march organized by students. As I shivered in the shade of the Capitol, I listened to sixth graders from Prairie Hill talk about our climate catastrophes and their lobbying efforts in our unicameral. Driving home, listening to NPR, I heard of the 16-year-old boy, held at the border who, alone on a cement floor, died of pneumonia. Last night at a winery, a woman showed me pictures of her son, a Marine, with his friends. They wore their uniforms but they were clowning around like teenagers. They didn’t look ready to fight America’s wars.

Surely, any definition of a healthy culture would include the idea that adults take good care of children. I can stand my own pain in the world, but I can hardly bear it that we inflict such suffering on children.
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3 weeks ago

Mary Pipher

Last week, we drove to Canada to watch our grandsons while our daughter volunteered with refugees on a Greek island. It was great fun. I chorded a Coldplay song while Coltrane sang it and introduced Otis to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. We did art and played hide and seek. I fixed the boys’ lunches and Jim did laundry.

By Saturday we were ready to come home. We left their home at 4:15 for the 16-hour drive home. For a few hours, we drove in the dark with only a sliver of moon rising behind us. Then, when the sun rose, we could see the frosted fields and old oaks of eastern Michigan. Going home is such a both/and experience. I love my own bed, my coffee maker, my friends and my cat. Yet, each mile we drive takes us further from our personal sunlight in the east.
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1 month ago

Mary Pipher

At sunrise this morning, I looked out on grasses dusted by snow, branches silvered with frost and a frozen Holmes Lake. I was delighted by the wintry scene before me. Just then a young fox, dark-red and healthy, pranced along our southern fence. We haven’t seen foxes lately and this one, on such a sparkly day, gave me hope. News of the world has been heartbreaking and who better than Buddha Fox to say “Cheer up, there will be a better time.” ...

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1 month ago

Mary Pipher

Airport Security should be re-named Airport Insecurity. When I flew to Canada to celebrate my 72nd birthday with my daughter’s family, my Nebraska airport was a having a day of “extra security.” That meant we were x-rayed, patted down, and tested for drugs and explosives. I watched parents with children, students on their way to a conference, young couples on their way to a beach and businessmen en route to dull meetings--all delayed while we were carefully checked for the size of our toothbrush tubes and for weapons in our shoes. I could feel the stress emanating from my fellow passengers, especially the children and the students. The TSA process is designed to make us feel afraid.

I am always nervous in these lines.
Will the metal bracings in my hands cause an alarm to sound?
Do I have any liquid in my water bottle?
Will my carefully packed suitcase be rifled through for contraband?
Will the licorice I am bringing to my grandsons be confiscated?
Will I miss my plane?

Meanwhile, as I stood in this long line, I thought of the ridiculousness of our collective situation. Ordinary Americans are subjected to cumbersome and embarrassing procedures, while our president calls the president of Turkey and relinquishes our protection of the Kurds. As they fight to save their homes and families, they abandon the prisons in Northern Syria and hundreds of high-level ISIS prisoners escape. Our country befriends the thugs in power, betrays our allies, cedes Syria to the Russians, and furthers the global control of Vladimir Putin. Everyday our president’s haphazard and cruel actions cause more people to hate us.

Of course, we need some airport security, such as metal detectors and identification checks, but the system we have is not really about security. It’s about creating fear. It serves to constantly remind us that we are in danger and only the government can protect us. The messaging is about suspicion of each other, a threatening world, and the need for a strong military and internal surveillance service.

While we spend billions to test the traveling public, we allow our citizens to die for lack of health screening and we have a president who thinks Colorado is a border state. We are a county in meltdown and, like the sheep we become in security lines, we accept what we do not know how to change.

I have no solutions, but one suggestion. For the moment, let us just wake up to the craziness of airport security, to our cruel Halloween clown of a president, and to the folly of protecting ourselves by buying cruise missiles and patting down old ladies at airports, when what we most need to do is simply become America again. Our greatest safety comes from being loved and respected as country that protects human rights and stands for democracy.

Meanwhile, we need to remember that almost all of us are better than our leaders and that we can trust and love each other and indeed even fly on a plane together without taking off our shoes first. If we cannot confront power, we can at least acknowledge its folly.
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