This morning I left on foot early to run some errands and get in a “city walk”. Most mornings I get the news online by reading a couple of different papers, one more liberal and the other more conservative. I had just started to read the news of the day and after skimming the headlines, I decided the healthy response was to close my iPad.
While out and about I stopped into a coffee shop (easy to find in Seattle-not all Starbucks either;) to have a cappuccino. I opened a copy of The Stranger, which is an alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle. There was an article about one of the winners of the 2016 Stranger Genius Awards. Winners are selected by the critics at The Stranger who spend the year “looking at, writing about, and arguing over art” and give awards in five categories: visual art, literature, performance, film and music. Barbara Earl Thomas won the award in the category of art this year and many of her acceptance speech words (I was even able to pull up the YouTube video of the speech) really made me think. Some of what she said included:
“We are in a very critical point in our history as human beings.”
“Our history, our place on this planet, the things that are each and every one of our responsibilities, are coming to bear right at this moment.”
“If you can’t be kind, at least be civil.”
“When I see you and relate to you, please say hello, please smile”.
“Everything we do matters”.
I was not familiar with Barbara until I read her acceptance speech words. This very talented Northwest woman not only is a writer, she is also a visual artist. The above picture is from her work entitled the Book of Fishing. I loved these series of linoleum cut prints. This one reminded me of cleaning fish with my older brother.
Whether we read or watch the news, the predominant stories are filled with negativity, cynicism, tragedy and loss. We need to be informed and not stick our heads in the sand, however think about how much news is too much news. Each of us knows what we need to do to take care of ourself first so that the information we hear or read does not affect our ability to be there for our family, our friends and our community. Ask yourself if you know when to close the laptop, turn off the television or politely exit the conversation or debate. What we do does matter.
My blog picture is of beautiful ivy covering the side a building I walked past. The fall color was dramatic. Getting out and about was a great way to start my day!