What better way to relax than with puppies in a basket? These guys are too cute.
In 1998, the United Nations designated March 22 to be World Water Day, a day we examine this vital resource and it's impact on people around the world.
Clean water is something those of us here in the United States and in other first world countries often take for granted. It isn't always so. Within the past few years, children were poisoned in Flint, Michigan because of lead contaminated water and we've had Native Americans in Standing Rock, North Dakota, protesting against oil pipelines that threaten their supply of clean water.
The problem is even more acute in third world countries, were clean water is far from being a given. The UN estimates that 1.8 billion people use drinking water from contaminated sources, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Unsafe water and poor sanitation cause around 842,000 deaths every year.
Several years ago, the UN, in co-operation with countries around the world, pledged to make sure that everyone has access to clean water by 2030.
This year's theme, Why Waste Water?, is about reducing and reusing wastewater.
Like me, you probably learned about the water cycle sometime in elementary school. It is a simple concept: Rain falls and then evaporates back up into clouds. The clouds get heavy with rain. Rain falls.
It is, of course, not quite that simple. In the real world, rain falls and people use the water to drink, to water their livestock, to water their plants, and to power industry. Used water becomes wastewater. Untreated wastewater can be filled with all manner of harmful pollutants. Here in the first world, we filter our wastewater before discharging it back into rivers and streams. But in the third world, water is often discharged without much filtering. Or, if filtered, the filter systems may be old and unable to remove certain toxins.
Properly filtering wastewater to make it potable again is a key part of this initiative. Safely managed wastewater will gives people living in extreme poverty a sustainable and affordable source of water.
According to the UN, the benefits of this initiative far outweigh the costs. These initiatives will provide new business opportunities and create green jobs. To my mind, it is hard to put a price on good health and environmental sustainability.
Water is at the very center of life. It is priceless.
For more information on World Water Day, please visit http://www.worldwaterday.org/
Three Poems from the Collection Gathering Dust in My Closet
I dance on foreign ground
always teasing out
the unfamiliar with my toe,
moving town to town
selling snake oil from the back
of a painted wagon.
At night the moon comes up,
full and wagging light,
a silver dollar for me to follow
making that empty shell of a promise again:
This time, I will bring you home.
I spoke you first.
You, with your guttural clacking
Ich being Deutch
You must stick the word in your throat,
hawk it up.
Your words are lullabies,
the fairy tales that clicked in my ear.
I was breast fed on them.
I held them in the gully of my mouth.
I write in a different language now,
write in impossibly lengthy words garnered from a collegiate dictionary
I have forsaken you
Left you for dead like the Latin I learned
in the eighth grade.
I can't remember how to say your name
Can't remember how to say I love you.
The bridge I crossed to the schoolyard
was old brick and asphalt suspended
over a highway.
Every morning, I pledged allegiance
to a nation and a strange new language
I stood with my hand over my heart,
sang God Bless America
as though it were the land of my birth.
At home, Mutti cooked apples and potatoes,
Himmel und Erde,
Heaven and Earth.
Old songs rose from her throat
as she remembered Oma's kitchen,
She would have built bridges over oceans
for the embrace of Oma's arms.
Who couldn't use a little escape to the beach? I'm giving away a copy of The P-Town Queen, a romantic comedy that one reviewer called "laugh out loud funny."
Enter by following this link:
PS Don't forget to get your free copy of The Whisper of Time. See details below!
Tis the season for giving, and I'm all in!
I'm giving away one hundred free copies of my time travel novella, The Whisper of Time, at Smashwords.
The Whisper of Time is a short, sweet romance about a young woman who moves to Vermont and finds she's moved a lot further than she first imagined. You can read more about the novella on my Whisper of Time page.
To get your free e-copy, go to the link below and at checkout, put in the promo code:
A Question of Love
Look around you-
all the ways of love are in the light dancing on the river
in the rain soaked branches of the trees.
All the ways of love are in the wings of swallows,
in the feather soft riot of flight
When spring comes, they will build again
under the eaves of my house,
layering blade over blade to shelter their hatchlings.
And who can say what love is?
No more and no less than the birds who shelter
their children under the eaves
No more and no less than the branches damp with rain
No more and no less than the river that flows and flows,
gathering the waters of the storm
I will seek
the wildness of the world
heart of my being
wildness of the world
center of my being
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, not that long ago, the people of a large nation lost a war. They were reprimanded for the loss, shamed badly, and forced to pay restitution. And so, on top of losing sons and husbands and fathers to a losing cause, they also lost their dignity. Times got hard around the world. The stock market crashed and things got a shade desperate. The people worried they wouldn’t have enough money to pay the bills, they would not be able to provide for their children. And to add insult to injury, crime was on the rise as it often is in hard times. The people now also feared for their safety.
Along came a candidate who promised them he would keep them safe. He promised to upend the weak system that refused to fight for them, refused to help give them a better life. He promised a strong nation that would once again be respected by the world. He also mentioned, once or twice, that communism was ruining the world and that journalists were not to be trusted. Oh, and he said the Jews were an abomination and a threat and that they needed to be, at the very least, driven from the country.
Some people didn’t like this leader’s rhetoric. But he was a heck of a good speaker, one of those gifted speakers who could fire up the crowd. So, those people who didn’t like him were ignored. What did they know anyway? The guy promised prosperity and safety and a good job. Besides, the rest was just idle talk. He didn’t mean it, not really.
They voted him in.
Feeling emboldened by the leader’s rise, some people began turning on their Jewish neighbors. They called them communists, they called them dirty, and they told them to get out of the country. Some of the people didn’t like what was happening, but they didn’t stand up to it. They weren’t Jewish, after all. And besides, what could they do? They were just trying to keep their own heads above water. Life was hard for all them. They didn’t speak up because speaking up could get you in a heap of trouble. If you stood with the Jews, you became one of them, and who wanted to be beat up?
Soon the Jews were being shipped off to camps. And anyone who was crazy enough to speak out was being sent with them. So were gay people and gypsies, because they too were different and therefore a threat to the nation. And communists and journalists, because there was no room for them, either.
This is the story of my birth nation, Germany. It is my grandparent’s story, my parent’s story. We all know this story does not have a happy ending. By the end of it, six million innocent men, women and children had been murdered in the camps. The country was left in a heap of rubble. History judges the German people harshly for what they did. The blood of six million is carried on their souls. I was born more than a decade after the fall of the Reich, and I still carry the guilt of what happened to those six million people.
This story, with it’s terrible parable of unspeakable sin, is why I am so reactive to what has happened in my adopted country this week. I see parallels between the rise of Trump and what happened in Germany two generations ago. Now, you might think I’m over reacting. Honestly, I hope I am. I hope, that six months from now, a year from now, five years from now, you can come back here and call me a fool.
But look around you. Already the hate has started. And before you tell me how the progressives have thrown a hissy fit and how their anger has boiled over into riot, please know that I don’t condone violence. Not on anyone’s side. Before you tell me I’m just another liberal who is trying to make you feel bad, please know that I don’t care what your political leanings are. We don’t get anything done if we spit at one another. But look around, the emboldening of the KKK, the bullying of gay people, of black people, of Latinos, and particularly of Muslims and Muslim immigrants is a real thing. It’s rise over the past few days is a real thing. Children are afraid, people are afraid.
A lot of you who voted Trump are very clear in saying that you are not racists or bigots or xenophobes. I believe you. Some of you are my neighbors, some of you my friends. I know you cringe, as I do, at the idea of genocide. I know you didn’t vote for him because he was a racist. You voted for him for all those other reasons, for better jobs and a kick ass America that the world respects again. You wanted to upend all that gridlock in Washington that isn’t doing any of us any good.
But here’s the other part. If you voted for this man, you turned a deaf ear to the racist remarks he made. When he condoned violence at his rallies, you said the media was just overreacting. When he aligned himself with the Alt right, which includes and welcomes both white supremacists and neo Nazis, you said it didn’t matter. You may not have voted for these things, but you own them anyway. And those of us who didn’t vote for Trump, those of us who saw these things during his campaign and were reviled by them, we have to own them too. Because we wrote Trump off as crazy and we couldn't imagine that more than a few people would vote for him. What matters now is that this is our country and this man is going to president, and we cannot put our heads in the sand.
The only way forward is if we stand together before it is too late. Stand up for what you believe in and value. We all know that hatred and violence against people of color, against gay people or Muslim people, Jewish people is wrong. Dead wrong. You have a sense of decency. Stand up to these things, denounce them LOUDLY. It is the only way. We are good people. Let’s not be the people who have blood on their hands for the next hundred years.
Today, I grieve for the beautiful dream my country has decided to pull apart. I grieve for the legacy of a wonderful president. Today, I mourn the hatred and anger that seems to have swamped us like a tide. I worry for my children, my children's children, and what kind of future we can give them. I worry that democracy doesn't work when half of us did not want this outcome. I grieve for black people, brown people, LGBT people, native people, and people who are not Christians, who must wonder if they still have a place in our nation. I grieve that half the country has decided not to honor diversity, not to honor the rights of women, not to honor our environment.
At the edges of my grief is an unbridled angry. It is not that I didn't get the result I wanted. I could live with that, I often have. It is that this result is so utterly repugnant. This result is terrible in all ways.
To those who voted for this man, I've tried hard to understand your dismay, but at the end of the day, I can't. I'm middle class and white. I do not have a lot of money, I can't afford many of the things I'd like. But get this, my life is blessed. I have a home, good food, a car. I have a family and friends that I love. This country has been good to me, the immigrant daughter of immigrant parents. So I have a hard time understanding your idea of hard times.
You want to make America great again. To bring it back to the hazy, nostalgic wonder days of your childhood. You are looking through rose colored glasses. The past is the past, we cannot go backward. We can only move forward. And, if you were to take those glasses off and truly look, would you find a the past wasn't all that great. Certainly not for women who were harassed in the workplace and who were limited by the very fact they were born female. Certainly not for people of color, who had to endure and fight endless indignities in the time of Jim Crowe. Certainly not for any immigrant group who came to this land poor and uneducated and struggled to find work in a nation that did not always welcome them. Certainly not for gay people, who had to hide their very natures for fear of reprisal. Certainly not for those who went to war and came back wounded and betrayed.
Half of my country has cast away votes on a fantasy, and put faith in a megalomaniac who promises that he alone can turn back the clock.. This is not a change for the good. This is an ill wind that will chill us all to the bone. Make no mistake, it will not go any better for you than it will for me.
But half of us have chosen something else. We wanted something kinder, something that repairs the system we have, that builds on our progress. We grieve now, but we will be heard.
I accept what has happened, but I do not stand by it. For this is my belief: our love is stronger than our hate, our kindness is a far, far better thing than our divisiveness. I stand now and will continue to stand for what I believe in. I live in hope that, in the end, those better things will prevail.
This writing journey, this life, is a long road full of pitfalls and wrong turns. Also, incredible beauty, kindness and friendship with those I've met along the way.I'm so glad you're here to share the road..
Find me at Story Finds