safe passage (and happy anniversary to us)

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Thirty-eight years. It doesn’t even surprise me anymore. We’ve been married longer than not, and loving each other for pretty much all of our adult lives (though the adult thing is open for interpretation). It’s a great gig, and we’re lucky to have it. The other night I was thinking that the thing about a long term marriage (or at least mine) is that you know when to leave each other alone. Or maybe that it’s ok to leave each other alone. I know that doesn’t sound romantic, but it’s just the flip side. Romance still shows up (doesn’t it?), but sometimes it’s simply paying attention to each other. Like how I paid attention to Steve’s love for his homegrown lettuce and kale, and am gifting him with the very romantic OXO salad spinner this year. And how if he loves me, truly loves me, he will bring me coffee, silently, and not say a word until I have finished the second cup.

We’re headed, as usual, to Point Reyes to celebrate. A few months ago, I wrote a poem that started out to be about bridges, and ended up being about marriage.  It goes like this:

Safe Passage

When the space feels too vast
between your breath and mine,
your courage and my fear,
or the other way around,
one of us has a map, already in hand.
That is how we’ve done it, all these years.
That is how we’ve crossed the bridge.

What made us say yes, oh yes,
under the oak tree in the meadow
before our family, friends and three dogs
in their festive bandanas?
We were so young, how did we know?
How could we imagine the span
we needed to build and cross?

Yes, oh yes, to safe passage,
a bridge, and the trust to keep going
through this life, and the next, and even the next.

You’ve been my bridge, and I’ve been yours.
We’re not yet to the other side.
Come. Hold on. Walk with me today.

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while you were gone

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Three and a half days. It’s been a while, since you were there and I was here.

I thought it might be fun to be alone. You know, so I could do stuff.

The first night I accidentally woke at 3:30 in the morning, thinking it was 6:30 and made a pot of coffee, enough for two, before I realized that it was darker than dawn.

I drove to the wine country and held Ali’s baby, just a little, since you know how I am always a little afraid of breaking them. It was a long drive and for four hours I listened to podcasts about poetry and spirit and life and longing. I drank champagne and ate cheese with Kathy, and we congratulated ourselves for making it from ages 15 to 60 with wonderful daughters, son-in-laws and our own marriages intact. Chuck gave me sunflower seeds, two different kinds, for your garden.

The hills were so green, I thought they might swallow me up (and I half hoped they might).

I bought a few new clothes, and then returned most of them. I realized I was the oldest person in that particular store, both times. That might have been the problem with the clothes.

Ate avocado toast for dinner the first night, popcorn the second and a spoonful of peanut butter the third.

Spray painted the patio chairs so bright they glow. They might fade, or I might repaint. Or I might learn to love the glow.

I read and wrote and did laundry and put a new shoe rack in your closet. I cleaned up the dead plants, and potted a few more. I moved the jars of rocks outside, because nine jars of rocks in one house might be too much.

I only forgot to water your stuff once. Maybe twice. Let’s say once.

Replaced the upstairs shower curtain, straightened the book piles by our chairs and hung three new bulletin boards in my studio. Watched some baseball, painted my nails and read every page of the Sunday New York Times.

I went to bed early and got up with the sunrise. I snored. Without you here to annoy, my snoring had only me to annoy. It was lonely, snoring without you.

It wasn’t as much fun as I had imagined, being alone. It was ok, but it’s better when I am there and you are here, and better yet when we’re both here or both there.

I can’t wait for your plane to land tonight.

Love, Kim

 

 

here we stand, connected to each other

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This weekend I was reminded again, how we are all connected. How we are all neighbors. And how we all are standing with each other.

Our town of Davis, is known as one of the most liberal communities in America. You may have heard of us. Rush Limbaugh (who worked in Sacramento for many years) refers to us as “the people’s republic of Davis.” We have a toad tunnel (good idea, didn’t work so great). We are a nuclear-free zone and a Sanctuary City. Our bicycle-to-person ratio is about even (with the bikes winning).

Our town is mostly good, but sometimes bad things happen here. Last week, our beautiful Mosque was vandalized. Broken windows, slashed bicycle tires, and perhaps the most emotional and disgusting act, bacon wrapped around the door handles.

It was a difficult week for all of us, but imagine what it must be like to be visibly Muslim, and to know that you are on the government’s list, based on your religion?

But then a neighbor stood up. And another. And another. Hundreds of neighbors, connected by our need to do something, anything, for social justice, human rights, religious freedom (hey that sounds familiar, isn’t that what our country was based upon?).

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On a sunny Friday afternoon, we gathered in Central Park, to support our friends and neighbors. The crowd stood in silence, as we witnessed our Muslim brothers and sisters in prayer.

I saw my friend, Kamal, in the front row of the prayer group, and was honored to hear him offer the Call to Prayer. I’ve known Kamal and his wife, Anne, since Alex and their son, Nassim, were four. They went through school together, birthday parties and play dates and graduated from high school together.

My friend, Robb Davis, who is now our town’s mayor, spoke emotionally about our collective brokenness and shame, and the power of love. I worked with Robb at Freedom from Hunger, and Steve and I are good friends with him, his wife Nancy, and his daughter, Kara. We did Robb’s campaign materials when he ran for office two years ago.

Steve and I stood with our good friends, Dave and Vicki, who we have known since our girls were ten, playing softball together. I saw Sheila across the way, her daughter played with ours.

I realized later that the organizer of the event, Kate Mellon-Anibaba, is the older sister of one of Alex’s dear friends. They spent several summers together as camp counselors in Marin County.

A woman came up to me and identified herself as someone I worked with at Explorit, many, many years ago. She’s been reading the blog ever since, and was inspired by my previous piece on Resistance. She’s starting a website with resources for resistance. I hope I can help her.

The speakers stood on the steps of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, one of our favorite clients. The logo Steve designed for them is one of his best pieces of work, ever.

We stood behind a group of young Muslim girls, wearing jeans and hijabs. Younger than my daughters, but reminding me of them.

I looked around, and saw my neighbors. I saw my town, connected and connecting. Protected and protecting.

Our country supervisor, Don Saylor, said “This is not something foreign,” he said. “This is not something strange and faraway. It’s us. This is our community.”

Yes, it is.

While we were standing side-by-side, in the sun, on a beautiful Friday afternoon, the president was signing his shameful executive order to ban refugees from certain countries (though not the ones where he does business) from entering our country. Alex works for IRC, teaching cultural orientation classes for newly arrived refugees, many of them from Syria and Iraq (including some who worked for the U.S. government). Refugee resettlement has become a daily topic in our home.

I have hope that our connection and our commitment to each other, the neighbors we know, and the ones around the corner, will be stronger than the government that is working to break us. And I am trying my best to stand up, speak up and support others.

Because, we are connected. Even in ways we don’t yet know.

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The Davis Vanguard had a nice piece on the event. Thanks to all who made this possible. I am honored to be in your community.