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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bodega Bay Beat - September 2011

End of Summer
August, the ending of summer, late mornings, time to read; time to relax.  But August is also, the month where we have time to begin to start thinking about beliefs different from ours, whether it is about Bohemian Grove or the celebration of Ramadan (when self-denial is designed to urge believers to resolve conflicts) Those precious minutes are cherished.  August, the month of picnics, swimming in the river, fog on the coast, county fairs, soaring stock markets,  has come and gone, leaving good memories, but old conflicts sadly, remain. But now, refreshed, we are ready to go forward.

September Song
September has come.  School has started, football practice has begun. Sometimes the Giants even hit a few. Days begin to shorten; work replaces vacations.  September means sunny days on the coast and fewer visitors to enjoy them. 

September is like the end of adolescence; the beginning of adulthood.  It is time to pay attention to the stock market; time to think about where work is going.  September begins the political scramble in earnest; the third class bins in the post office fill up with un-read flyers. Overriding all other concerns is the downgrading of US credit, and the tanking of the stock market.  Economic optimism is hard to find but fortunately we had the respite of August to carry us forward.

September is a time of community events. The Big Event in Bodega was very successful (they fed more than 600 hungry visitors.)Folks really pitch in when the cause is as good as building a firehouse like they are doing in Bodega.  Elbow grease is plentiful on a work-day at either the Community Center or the Grange

This month begins the local Farmers’ Market at the Community Center, and the continued effort to get the Community Center solvent, so the County won’t even think about asking for it back.  Kudos to Diane and Michael Bundy who have taken on this project (they have done so well with the Cabaret at the Grange, that their skills are well known.)

Flea Markets abound.  The Grange ones which started August 27 and continue on Saturdays in September give a good reason to get rid of goods cluttering up your closets. Many charities welcome donations. This is the month to recycle outgrown school clothes, and to start tucking away little treasures to use for Christmas. Unless the economy rebounds, we all may have to tighten our belts for the upcoming holiday season.

In just a few weeks our vacation memories have begun to fade.  My long anticipated trip to South Africa has become a soft composite of respect for a nation healing itself with a commitment to Truth and Reconciliation (after the horrors of apartheid ) coupled with the cherished memories of the beautiful country and the joys of watching elephant herds in the parks and early-morning jeep trips spent trying to view the wily leopard and rhinoceros.

Travel gives you perspective.  No matter how we moan and complain about losing money (stock market) tightening our belts and giving up that extra latte because our gas suddenly costs more, our problems pale into small bumps in the road, when compared with other people in other countries who never know whether the knock on the door will lead to death/mayhem; or whether some zealot will explode a bomb next to Starbucks or even in the school yard. Even in our own country there are large groups of angry, disaffected (but economically affected) youth who feel by-passed by the good life they think others are enjoying.  We struggle to find how best to help. 

Over and over, it appears that our best course of action, both at home and abroad, is to encourage education—ourselves, our kids; kids overseas.  Young people who can read and write, and who can watch the world on the Internet, are definitely less willing to strap on a vest full of explosives just because the mullah has told them that is their duty.  Young people, here and abroad, are much less willing to resort to violence if there are realistic expectations of jobs, schools for their kids, and homes that are safe and secure and not being snatched out from under them by gun-toting military or by crooked bankers. We can keep reminding ourselves and our elected officials about turning our backs on those in trouble—for any reason.   Every little bit helps.

The Days Grow Short
September is a time of new beginnings. The Gravensteins are going; soon the pumpkins will be ready. Schools are open, Fisherman’s Chapel has two new ministers, Grange has sponsored a new series of documentary films, the Community Center is getting a new life with clean windows and community support.  Find a charity that needs your help (most do); write a letter to Cal Trans telling them to lower the speed limit past their ill-maintained maintenance station, buy a cookie the next time the 4-H has a sale, and most important of all, get ALL of our kids into school, or into a strong educational program and help them stay there. Education helps ALL of us.  Increasingly, we haven’t got time “for the waiting game.”  Brighten your own corner…and we all benefit from the light.