My parents and all of my brothers and sisters traveled to Asheville, NC to say goodbye to Aunt Val and to be with her children, their spouses, and grandchildren. It was a good gathering of loved ones and a perfect time to remember what is really important in life, to remember what sustains us through it all.
Apart from the very sad passing of Aunt Val, it was the best. Christmas. ever. Julie and Greg visited from St. Louis, with pup Paolo, and Steve's family came for Christmas dinner. I am so grateful.
So goodbye Aunt Val, and goodbye 2011. What a year this has been, both personally and in the larger world. I have learned so much in the last year, have deepened my understanding of the world around me in so many ways. In just a few words...
- I learned that I don't know squat! There is SO much to be learned about people, the earth and biosphere, politics, religion and spirituality, science. Each day I discover a new idea or bit of information and think I am getting a little bit of a handle on things, only to be challenged the next day by something very different.
- Still. No excuses. Gotta keep at it. It is my responsibility to try to understand as much as I can about the world so that I can do my tiny part in sustaining its good.
- I realized more than ever how tired and sad I am about the fighting that goes on in the world. Just watched an HBO special Wartorn 1861-2010 and Steven Spielberg's masterful War Horse. Please. For the love of God and all that is good. No more.
- The natural world - of which humans are a part - is a beautiful and complex being whose existence is being threatened by selfishness, greed, and ignorance.
- We can turn it around. There are millions and millions of people working together to make it right, from Bill McKibben, Tim DeChristopher, Terry Tempest Williams, and Majora Carter out in the larger world, to Ray Ely, Chris Condello, Tom Hoffman, Danielle Crumrine, the YERT guys, the Friends of Blair Mountain and Brenda Smith in my own smaller world.
- And of course there are the Occupiers and Protesters across the globe, reminding us that each person has a voice and an important role to play in the creation of a fair, just, healthy, and loving world.
- What was also very clear to me during the last year was that the people, my loved ones, are what matter most.