Thursday, November 16, 2006

Birthday Blog Entry

It's my birthday---and it's beautiful. I am writing this from our living room, which has almost an entire wall of large windows. Outside, the afternoon sun hits the trees and lightens their various colors: mustard yellow, deep greeen, a lime green, purple like a cabernet. There isn't a cloud in the sky, and a light breeze lifts the leaves now and then. I would guess it's around 70 degrees.

Our daughter is playing with our cat. Our daughter is now sixteen months old and walking, proud of herself for petting the gato grande (as we call her) gently as the cat purrs and S giggles. It's beautiful. I could sit here forever.

There is so much I feel good about---simple joys like this, as well as the good energy unearthing itself here in Fresno tonight and currently in Bolivia (for some reason I am thinking about Latin America today). Tonight, in Fresno, the Dixie Chicks are playing at the Save Mart Center. I will not be there. But Peace Fresno, a fantastic organization, has arranged a high profile demonstration calling for the impeachment of 43. I would like to go to that. As the slogan goes, "86 43." There is a more interesting event at that campus tonight---Daniel Chacon reading from a new book in progess called So Easy. I will be there. I think Dan's writing is remarkable. Rudolfo Anaya agrees.

And at Democracy Now!, there is a great interview with Bolivian President Evo Morales, the first indigenous elected President in that country's history. He was elected ten months ago and has pledged to create bonds with, among others, Venezuela and Cuba. He has spoken openly against several U.S. led interests, including the demonization of the coca leaf, which is very commonly seen, consumed, chewed on (you name it) in Bolivia and Peru. In fact, I am wearing a yellow t-shirt right now that I got in Peru several years ago. In the center of the shirt is a green leaf, and the caption above it reads "La Hoja de coca no es droga" (The coca leaf is not a drug). In Lima, Cusco, La Paz, and other cities and towns I visited, the leaf is common as chamomile is here. But the U.S.'s warped drug policies and hypocritical "War on Drugs" wages on, while Bolivia remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemispehere, along with Haiti. Apparently, at the U.N. recently, Morales held up a coca leaf to drive home the point that it is not the evil substance the U.S. has made it (literally and figuratively).

It's my birthday. I got a couple of wonderful gifts. My wife always gets me great gifts. And I'm enjoying life because of these other gifts---the shift in political landscape: the House, the Senate, Fresno's City Council, the New Speaker of the House, and Evo Morales in Bolivia. Even the new elected leader in Nicaragua. Hallelujah.

Gato grande has moved to the window to watch the birds skipping along the small yellow roses. S, our daughter, is playing with a book about bears. And I am grateful for another year.

20 comments:

barbara jane said...

life is good, my friend. happy birthday!

Lyle Daggett said...

Happy birthday, Lee.

Poet Sharon Doubiago, who in the late 1970's travelled in the Andes region, and was specifically in Cusco and Lima among other places, told me once that one of the reasons it's common there for people to chew (or otherwise consume) coca leaves is that it helps compensate for the effect of the thinner air at high altitudes. I think it dilates the blood vessels (though I may not have that quite right).

Although I remain skeptical about Democrats (due to the tendency of many of them to evaporate politically when the heat is on), I'm also cautiously happy that there are anyway fewer Republicans in public office.

As it happens, I live in the congressional district (Minneapolis) that elected Democrat Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the House. He ran on a strong anti-war position and is good on social and economic issues. I voted for Ellison. I hope he maintains the will to hold onto his principles in the high-stakes action in Washington.

Lee Herrick said...

thanks, barbara! i've grown to savor each day, much less the good fortune of another year. hope all's well in the bay area. i'm finding the discussion of the potential for a "silli-woman" interesting, btw. and also, btw, while i don't know oscar, i feel like telling him 'hello.' hope ya'll have a good weekend.

lyle, thank you. i hope ellison does well and yes, that he is able to refrain from the pull of politics and special interest. our governor, the terminator, ran on a campaign years ago that said he did not need special interest money, but that all changed. he did just win re-election, though, and he's really popular here. i think maria shriver doesn't hurt his reputation, either.

i'll have to read more about dubiago. but she's right---coca leaves is chewed (like leaf tobacco here) in the cheek in large quantities regularly, especially in the highest altitudes of the Andes. My wife and I took the four day hike through the Andes mountains to Macchu Picchu, and nearly all the local Peruvians were chewing it. It's also served in most restaurants as tea.

speaking of altitudes, in Cusco---if anyone reading this is looking for a great town to visit in South America---the air is cleaner than practically anywhere I have been on earth. beautiful. it literally smells good.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Lee (yesterday)! Hope you had a good one. Sounds like it.

Emmy said...

Anonymous is Emmy. Accidental.

Sheryl said...

Happy Birthday!

jenni said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEE!

(sorry i'm late)

Lee Herrick said...

emmy, sheryl, jenni: thanks very much for your birthday wishes. you know, in a weird way, it feels good to be a year older. hope all's well.

Jilly said...

happy birthday

Jessica Smith said...

i'm totally out of it this week, but i wanted to say happy birthday before it was too late! so-- happy birthday!

Puka said...

Happy birthday, Lee!!!

sume said...

Wishing you a (belated) Happy Birthday, Lee! May you enjoy many more years of inspiration, simple joys (a few big ones, too) and happy days.

DN rocks. Such a nice change from mainstream news. Thank goodness for broadband and streaming media!

Lee Herrick said...

thank you, thank you jilly, jessica, sume and puka!

Susan said...

Happy birthday, Lee! Good to hear news of your daughter.

Michael Parker said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Lee!

daddy in a strange land said...

D'oh! Happy belated b-day, Lee, and I owe you an e-mail, too! :)

Oliver de la Paz said...

Whoops! Belated, bud!gy

mor chang said...

Happy Birthday! Lee! Have a pleasant joy!

Lee Herrick said...

hey ya'll, thank you very much for your birthday wishes.

Pearl said...

I don't come around here nearly enough. Glad to hear you had such a wealth of a BD. :)