Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sometimes the Gods Offer A Miracle


Those Eternally Linked Lives 13  May 21, 2017

My phalaenopsis orchid has twenty blooms,
each a revelation. All the green-white
lanterns have become exuberant faces,
winged like butterflies. Outside the window
green sweetgum stars flutter, then dance
when the wind picks up. Sometimes the
gods offer a miracle so easy to turn down.
It could never work. It isn’t enough. We
did wish for more, yet to connect as we 
did kept us safe and happy. If sometimes
sad, yet out of despair. We were too busy
flinging ourselves those impossible 
distances to grieve at what wasn’t possible,
given who we were and what we valued:
truth and faithfulness, joy in helping others
see what we saw. Since you died, there
are new shadows. A great darkness hovers:
cruel, making hatred seem normal, claiming
evil is good and good is evil. The human
spirit has been here before. We know how
to die if we have to. Meantime we keep
singing our hymn to liberty, justice, and
mutual love.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Such Perfect Love


First Snow by Nikolai Smirnov. Village Farm in Russian provinces

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 12  May 14, 2017

How could I forget those days we spent
in my village when you came for two
weeks to North Carolina? We didn’t
sleep together yet our spirits fused.
Your warm hands caressed my neck
when I was driving. You’d take me 
to a large oak, take off your shoe, and
put your foot over mine while we prayed
to the spirit in the tree and over all.
Sometimes you were angry, or I was, 
but you’d say we had to talk, and we
would. Such perfect love left us raw
when anger flared. We’d lose Paradise
and then re-find it. We tried to part,
but couldn’t do it. So we carried each
other’s souls the rest of our lives. 
Your wife and son ministered to your 
failing human body. You wrote one
letter after I sent you my love poem
This River. You were glad our story
was being told. Your wife forgives me.
So do her sons. Somehow I added
richness to your life as you added grace 
to mine. The mystery of such love is
never fully understood, but it stays.
I will never forget those hours and
days when our souls were simply one.

They still are.



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Resurges


Spring garden a few years ago. Beets and onions.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 11 May 7, 2017

Slapped down by a Cold Front, Spring
resurges; yellow green of new leaves; 
purple-veined beet greens, lettuce leaves
crowded close. I pick my salad. The figs 
undeterred. A few dead branches from
recent years’ hard freezes don’t discourage
them. Forsythia is resurrected; the
hydrangea’s third crop of leaves is
still alive. I’ve made room for the
new iris bulbs. Bird song is early
because they’re nesting, feeding young.
No time for love tunes. A freshening
wind as the sun pulls the earth back 
to warmer soil, more blooms, and
swelling pea ponds. All is steady,
safe, worries laid to rest. The dog
and I slept well. The sleep budget is
balanced. Evil men are doing harm,
but we will stop them, one at a time.
When you have justice on your side,
sooner or later you win, and if need

be, you win again and again.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

That Precipice of Ecstatic Joy

Drawing of crane on roof by Mikhail Bazankov for Beaver Soul.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 10 April 30, 2017

Once you were alive and acting silly. 
2001 when this photo was made
in the garden of Sveta’s father who
was dressed as a scarecrow. Marja-Sisko,
dear Finnish friend, on the other side of
our host, smiling. Behind us a lively
garden, some rows under row cover.
I was happy and stood close to you.
Sixteen years ago. We’d loved each
other eleven years, and sometimes
tried not to. It never worked. We each
played our parts. We had produced
our Earth and Soul anthology of North
Carolina poetry in English and Russian.
Copies went all over the Kostroma
Region to schools and libraries. Our
love was like that: almost all for
other people. For us a few moments 
here and there of standing on that
precipice of ecstatic joy, clothed 
in a single communion, words being
unnecessary. It began when we had
no words, two writers with no shared
speech. I learned Russian. Yet you 
told me your love so many other
ways: gestures, laughter, funny faces,
silly songs, anger, drawings in that
very book we engineered together.
A man and woman stand before a 
mountain they wish to climb and
leave their world behind, eat greens
and berries. It didn’t matter. Arm in
arm, free. The walk we never took

but never forgot we wanted to.

***
Geese flying by Mikhail Bazankov for Beaver Soul

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Grace and Gracie


Grace Roys with one-year old Gracie, 1916. Nanking, China

Those Eternally Linked Lives 9 April 23, 2017

Could Grace be eternally linked, too?
I think so. Not on purpose. I didn’t know
her when I was six and she was fifty-five. 
She was home, not hospitalized then, 
but whimsical and hard for Mother, 
who was probably hard for her, and I
must have reminded her of her lost
child, Gracie, who died when she was
eight. There are the loves given to us
all unknowing, not planned, but something
deeper and kinder is at work, though
at age six it didn’t feel kind. It felt scary.
Grace defied Mother and took Margie
and me to get our hair cut and permed.
Later she brought bunnies for Easter.
They lived outside and regularly
escaped into the local Victory gardens.
Mother had to chase them and bring
them back. For some reason I can’t 
fathom, my deep mind took in the two
Graces--maybe because they were models
that fitted--even though one was crazy
and the other one, dead. I had that same
sensitivity that makes an artist, which
Proust called les grands nerveux, or
neurotic. Too finely tuned not to care,
not to speak. I was sick but didn’t die.
I was impulsive and bold, but didn’t 
go crazy, and only mildly neurotic.
Now I know why I must keep Grace
in my life. She was the artist who failed,
who had too much guilt and fear to fight
the rigidities in the world around her.
But I can lay my fears to rest. I’ve been
bold and openly loved whom I loved,
and now am speaking every truth I
see, and I know I’m sane. Furthermore
people listen. The orchid in my window
gives me a new bloom every day, and

my mind’s depths offer revelations.

***

Christmas 1944, Left to right: Mother (Margaret), Grace, Mrs. Mary Shannon, Judy (age 6), Esther Beth Shannon Rogers, Margaret Elaine (Margie), on side porch of my Roys grandparents' home in Norman, Oklahoma.

See blog for April 16 (above) to order Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16.
Update on sales info. It's available now both in paperback ($26) and in e-book (Kindle for $9.99) on Amazon. Also on Amazon UK, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, India, Japan, Italy and Mexico. You can buy at www.wipfandstock.com, too
For a signed copy from Judy Hogan, send $30 to Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559-0253. judyhogan@mindspring.com for more info.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16 is published


Those Eternally Linked Lives 8 April 16, 2017

On the occasion of the publishing of Grace: A China Diary, 
1910-16 on April 12, 2017

Last night the first orchid bloomed, and
outside green was winning again: trees, 
grass, fruit trees, seedlings, and healthy 
weeds. Everything reborn, and I rise from
dreams that took me somewhere else until
I forgot this world, today, and how Easter
brings blooms. I have a good life, my own. 
I took risks over and over. Wherever I 
went, I found people to love, and now 
I’m rich in friends. My writings are coming 
into print, and my friends are buying 
my books. I wanted to understand 
Grandmother Grace’s life, and now I do. 
My friends want to understand, too. Grace’s 
sorrow took her mind away and others 
inherited fear, fear of losing their minds. 
I had fear, too, but I stayed my course, 
kept up my courage, trusted my deep Self. 
My wish and my kindness opened doors 
others found locked and barred. I’ve 
brought Grace and Harvey back to life,
not without pain and fear, but we’re
assuaged now. My health holds. When
dreams take me away from myself, I
always return. I’m okay, now and 
forever, and so is Grace.

***

The mothers' group (ISC) who started the Hillcrest School in Nanking for foreign children. Grace holding baby Margaret, my mother, is second  from left. 1913.

***

GRACE: A China Diary, 1910-6 edited and annotated by Judy Hogan. 
Authors: Grace and Harvey Roys. Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon. 
ISBN: 978-1-5326-0939-8. Paperback: $26.

–BACK COVER QUOTES

“This thoroughly annotated five-year diary, including contemporary accounts of the retreat colony Kuling and schools in Nanking, provides rich and illuminating primary documentation toward understanding the daily personal, family, social and professional lives of American educators and missionaries in early 20th century China, the native culture in which they devoted themselves, and their influence on subsequent generations. A graceful window on the lives of Westerners and Chinese alike.” J. Samuel Hammond, Duke University.

“Grace, a rich portrait of missionary life in early 20th century China, is told through diary entries, photos, narratives, and an epilogue by Judy Hogan, editor and annotator of her grandmother’s diary. Most poignant for me, as a former missionary child, is Hogan’s appreciation of Grace’s difficult transition from the China where she spent her first 32 years to the United States where her mental illness took flight.”–Nancy Henderson-James, author of Home Abroad: An American Girl in Africa

Orders to: Judy Hogan, PO Box 253, Moncure, NC 27559. $30, includes tax and postage.

Other places to buy Grace: 
The publisher via their website by April 22: www.wipfandstock.com
Amazon; in two-four weeks, by May 10, 2017
Ingram: in four weeks, May 10, 2017
Kindle: 3-6 months from April 12. ISBN: 978-1-5326-0940-4

The hardback will also be available at some point: ISBN: 978-1-5326-0941-1

***

The Roys children in 1917 Dick, Gracie, and Margaret, Nanking, China

Sunday, April 9, 2017

No More Coal Ash in Moncure


Judy Hogan and Sheila Crump following Gospel Sing at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, January 2016.

***
It is with great joy that I write that our two local groups, Chatham Citizens Against Coal Dump(CCACAD), and EnvironmentaLEE (E-LEE) have won our court case against the dumping of coal ash in our Moncure community, in Brickhaven as of March 31,2017. Judge Fox of the Superior Court in Chatham ruled in our favor. Here’s the gist from his opinion:

From the last page – the DECISION:
1. WHEREFORE IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED THAT:
1. The Final Decision is AFFIRMED as it relates to the use of the areas already mined or otherwise excavated in the two coal ash disposal sites (Brickhaven and Colon Road), and
2. The Final Decision is REVERSED as to areas not already mined or otherwise excavated, and the two mine reclamation permits were issued improperly by the Respondents and are hereby REVOKED. 

***



John Wagner and Judy following Gospel Sing, January 2016, holding gift tray made by Dean Tipton.
***

The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, our parent group, backed us all the way. Their employee, Therese Vick, who has been helpful from the beginning in December 2014, has issued a press release. Here is part of it.

Judy Hogan, president of Chatham Citizens Against coal Ash Dump said that Judge Fox’s decision “gives me great pleasure in so many ways. We watched our comments at open hearings being ignored, the permits to do this being given rapidly, and the trucks running, then the trains, but we kept saying to our skeptics; “It’s not a done deal!”  E-LEE co-chair Marsha Ligon echoed Hogan. “Good things come to those who wait; we are thrilled that Judge Carl Fox ruled in our favor agreeing that the plans for future use of the Colon and Brickhaven clay pits cannot be entirely considered an act of reclamation.”
BREDL organizer Therese Vick stressed that “not one more shovel of dirt should be moved at either site. The DEQ improperly issued the mining reclamation permits, and they knew it. ...The DEQ is under new leadership. It is time for Secretary Michael Regan to right his injustice, and stop trying to defend the indefensible.”
***

Our CCACAD meeting Friday night, April 7, at the Liberty Chapel annex building in Moncure, celebrating our victory. Photo taken by Donna Strickland.
***
Judy’s poem this Sunday morning, April 9:

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 7 April 9, 2017
For Judge Carl Fox

You were told to hang on, and you did.
It took patience and a great faith to
sustain hope that a huge, rich public
utility company could be defeated by 
a handful of determined citizens. You
worried for their health. Too many were 
already sick and getting sicker from
coal ash toxins in the air. Wells were
poisoned. Risks were taken with
drinking water. All around us the
skeptics were immovable. “It’s a done
deal.” We were considered controversial
for demanding justice. Then a wise and
thoughtful judge told the truth. Dumping
coal ash was wrong; you have to stop.
No more trucks and trains, cutting trees
and digging holes. Your permits are
revoked.  I was stunned yet I saw for
the first time since this plan emerged:
truth and justice alive at last in a
court of law. The constitution remembered.
“Liberty and justice for all.” We hugged
and told stories Ten of us who’d been
faithful, but many more helped, prayed,
gave us space to meet, to sing, sent
money for our lawyer. This small group
of concerned and committed citizens
did change a wrong to a right. We’re
alert now. Best if the huge, rich, public
utility company sets aside its tricks 
and begins to consider justice for its 
customers and truth from its employees.

It’s not too late.

***


Judy with sign made by Martha Girolami March 2015.