Bodega Bay Beat - July 2011
THE BEAUTY AROUND US
June was a lovely month. It began with the Bird Walk living up to its name and providing wonderful vistas filled with birds. June 2 there were approximately 200 white pelicans sitting, and then flying in formations that the Blue Angels would envy. There were two different groups of Canadian geese, eight egrets, warblers and gulls. There were ducks and the usual brush visitors (tit wrens, sparrows). What a display. Then on a trip to the Head at least two whales were blowing and hanging out.When one breached, not once but twice, the appreciative “ahs” from the watchers surely made the whales feel appreciated. What a place we live in, here—spring dances at the Grange and various potlucks, and pancakes prepared by and for the Fire Department.
In addition to the surrounding beauty, many of us spend countless hours “doing good.” If you see someone hungry; homeless, how do YOU respond? In May the community honored some of those who DO something. The Empty Bowls event honored the Redwood Empire Food Bank .The Food bank has 5,000 volunteers who have fed those they can for 24 years.(last year 78,000 people) Now there is no more space and far greater needs. Hopefully they can raise the funds to expand next year.
FREEDOMS AND THE FOURTH
The Fourth of July is here. Fireworks, parties, good wine and food. What does the Fourth of July mean to you? Do you take the time to think about the freedom/independence we celebrate? We still have the right to worship as we will (or not) and we have the right to be safe in our homes. We have the right to assemble (to attend any meeting we wish, so long as the agenda doesn’t include any proposed terrorist acts) and the right to elect our representatives (even some imperfect ones.)
But Freedom isn’t free. Our troops that we have sent abroad can tell us that firsthand. But those of us at home have a job to do, too. We must be vigilant; vigilant to keep our schools funded and active; vigilant to work to have all our citizens have enough to eat and a place to sleep. We have the right to vote; USE IT. We can’t beg out of every jury summons and still say we believe in the right to trial by jury. We need to watch the US Supreme Court closely. They must not abrogate our right to counsel (Miranda) nor of our right to privacy (for now, carry your cell phone in your console in your car --any stop might make it searchable without a warrant) and certainly not our right of choice. (Roe v. Wade.)
We must protect our right to a process before conviction/punishment. The government must PROVE us guilty of crime. Juries have been known to exculpate those who the public has condemned. But there IS a process; charging one with crime is not enough. That belief is why so many of us are ashamed of the Guantanamo program. Some argue that the end does justify the means, but if we are convinced of that, we can’t honorably argue that we still believe in the rule of law and the right to a fair trial. Bourmedine v. Bush (No. 06-1195) prevented the ” detainees” from accessing the rights we take for granted, even though some of those detained were essentially bystanders. It is time for us to work for the right of ALL accused to be heard. The Fourth of July should inspire more determination to work for the protection of all the Freedoms we cherish (Norman Rockwell painted this so well.)
BEAUTY AND LOSS
May and June brought beauty and some real losses. One of the charter members at Fisherman’s Chapel, Helen Harper, died. She could always be counted on to pitch in; straightening chairs, welcoming people or playing a good game of bridge or golf. She loved life, and we all loved her. In typical Helen style, she was to have played bridge the day she was taken to the hospital. She called her partners to inquire whether she should come so they would have a fourth or call 911.
When they called 911 she was put into intensive care with a heart attack and never came home again. She declined surgery and died May 21, peacefully, surrounded by grandkids, children and friends. Her mind was sharp to the end. She was grateful for the 92 years she had enjoyed life.
Another charter member died in May. Sybil Brown died in Nebraska, where she had gone to be with her children. Sybil, who was 87, had been the first musician (first the old organ in the closet at the community center and then piano when the Chapel graduated to a Yamaha.) She, too, refused medical intervention (dialysis) preferring to live out the life God planned. She contributed greatly to Bodega Bay and the Harbour.
We are grateful for those who have come before. We celebrate our Day of Independence by pledging our every effort to support the efforts of those who preceded us; and to vigilantly protect our earth and our Freedoms for those who come after us.