Sunday, September 17, 2017

You Know How To Go It Alone



My bumper crop of zinnias back in October 2009.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 29  September 17, 2017

When you have an inner guide, be
thankful. You know how to go it
alone. You listen to those who
care and worry about you, but
ultimately it’s up to you as you
enter that stage of your life when
more losses will come your way.
For eighty you’re not doing too
badly. As it gets harder, you find
the grit you need to hold your own.
“A day at a time” is always a good
approach. Keep listening to your
deep wisdom. It has never let you
down. Your own individual path
is well-marked now, but such paths
always throw up something new.
Not everyone is up for the wholly
new, but you are. Keep yourself
fit and happy. Enjoy the orange 
zinnia that survived the dog’s vole
digging and being bent down by
the wind only to rise and flourish

anyway. Take a leaf out of that book.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Every Reason to be Happy and Brave



Those Eternally Linked Lives 28  September 10, 2017

The answer is 
simple and obvious: in our deep
souls we know we can’t be seriously
harmed if we refuse despair. Insights
will arrive. Courage will appear
against the odds. The grain of the
universe doesn’t go away. Furthermore
other people gather around us, one 
at a time. If we ask, we receive, and
not infrequently, we receive the help
we need before we ask.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 19

Slowly I clear weeds, pick grapes,
cook out the juice and make Muscadine
jelly. The hens get the grapes. They
lay better. The zinnias rise again
and bloom. The spider lilies make their
annual surprise and throw up exultant
pink petals and whiskers. The next door
cats make friends with Wag. Are they 
keeping warm together at night?
Arching over the garden weeds are
sunny yellow flowers. I forget their
name, and the rainbow lantana. The
high grasses aren’t dwarfed but have
competition. Reckless blue and purple
morning glories cover the porch
railing, determined to cheer me up.
My heart is pronounced normal.
I heal and resume more work as
the air cools. I tackle the high
grass a little at a time. My students
bring laughter and comfort. Observation
wins over theory. I have every reason
on earth to be happy and brave.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

You Know How to Weather Storms


Indoor zinnias from 2011. Not to plentiful in 2017, but here.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 27 September 3, 2017

When I can’t see
very far ahead, I hold on. I’ve been in 
so many dark places before. Light 
always finds me sooner or later if 
I keep myself from despair.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 16

This life is not for
the faint of heart. We let go only what
we must; hang on for a rough ride, remount
our courage and listen to our hearts. It’s 
the only way to stay whole and keep our 
true Selves in tact until we die and see 
that Death is still some distance off.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 17

Sun is back after our storms
that flung down dead branches
but watered the grapes, zinnias, and okra.
I revel in three zinnias, their petals
fanned out to imitate suns, and I eat
five okra, some so tough only the seeds
are edible. I make tea from my huge
crop of lemon balm, and the dog and I
resume our normal walk. We both
sleep hard these days and have less
patience. I can tell I’m healing. I’m
not ready to be put on a shelf. It’s
up to me to keep up the yard,
check on the hens, keep my active
healthy lifestyle. Aging takes courage
in a new way. Other people worry
and need reassurance. When she took 
my heart’s pictures, I could hear
its steady beat. I’ve had doctors
try to slow me down before, but
the wise ones listen to me. Trust
myself. I feel good, normal. Worry
wears down the soul. Let it go.
Move the dead branches. Watch
for the zinnias to rise again. Check
the grapes and okra. You know how
to weather the storms, in the sky,
and in your soul.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Courage Found and Rewarded


Those Eternally Linked Lives 26 August 27, 2017

Everything I do counts
in the long tabulation of the 
centuries. “Be of good cheer,”
sounds in my ears. Sun reigns.
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 14

I heal. Again. Courage found and
rewarded. I rise to my problems.
One at a time I’ll overcome
both my new and my old fears.
We have cooler days and nights.
I can work outside more often.
Sun is less of a threat. My son
calls to say he may be able to 
move here sooner rather than
later. I rejoice. I am confident
we can work out and through
the minor problems, if he finds
his way to returning home. I
Already have good help, but the
thought of his near presence
comforts me in a new way. He
has respect for my independence,
but he wants to help. I stayed
unbiased while he wrestled with
it, but finally said, “If you can
work it out, I’ll be glad.” The
mysterious partner inside me
is grateful. This counts, too, and
helps me finish my work on earth.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Some Things the Memory Won't Let Go Of


Those Eternally Linked Lives 25 August 20, 2017

Finally, a letter from Yuri–three
typed pages, but my Russian is
half-forgotten. I get out my big 
dictionary. When I wrote to him
in late June, I’d been reading my
diary pages from when I’d stayed
with him and Vera twenty-two years
ago. He congratulates me on my 
Jubilee–eighty years–most of them 
writing. How they nurtured me back 
then, and they’re still alive. We both 
lost Mikhail, whom he calls Misha, 
and sends me a note he wrote Misha 
a month before he died. They both 
longed for their childhood villages–
gone now but never forgotten. Yuri 
remembers the yellow flowers under 
the cottage’s window. Mikhail remembers
being put upon a horse and seeing a 
pink sky, then falling off the horse. 
A recurring theme everywhere I went: 
the lost village, the rodina, birth village, 
lost and never forgotten. A holy grail 
to those who remember. He kept taking
me to see the village houses. Once I 
stayed in one. He took me into the taiga,
the wild forest, where his village had 
been until lost because of the push for
communal farms, and then the war
when twenty-seven million died
in battle or in prison camps. Some
things the memory won’t let go of,
as long as we breathe. We still love
those who loved us, and to whom
we opened our souls. It’s called:

reaching the heart.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Things Change All the Time



Judy with reluctant hen, early spring 2010, during chicken workshop

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 24 August 13, 2017

We forget: things change all the time.
People change their minds. Our
weather changes. Chickens like their
routines, but they change where they
roost, sometimes hide their nests.
On an old farm, despite neglect,
things grow. A Rose of Sharon leans
through the fence to say hello. Little
blue flowers appear on the Wandering 
Jew. Figs ripen and some spoil from
all the rain. After a slew of problems,
a respite: a gift I’d given up on,
forgotten. I got hurt, but I’ve been
healing. I spoke some hard truth,
and was invited to speak again. I’ll
have students in September. My soul
settled in for my older age. I have
to consider my heart, my balance, and
how easily I forget. The weeds feel
impossible, but I know how to summon
helping hands. Wag and I do our daily 
walk steadily. I work on manuscripts
I’m determined to publish; plant a few 
more beans, find enough figs to sell.
My life resumes its normal rhythms.
Rain replaces the heat wave. 

My soul is peaceful once again.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Outwitting Other People's Worries


Judy with new books at book party May 21, 2017. 
Photo by Johnsie Tipton.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 23 August 6, 2017

Banishing fear has 
become a habit. Every time I outwit other
people’s worries, I stand taller in my own
view. All it takes is courage, helping those
who let me, and taking in gratefully those
loving hands that give me a reason 
to stay alive. –Those Eternally Linked Lives 18

I do keep staying alive. I could have died 
on Monday. Instead I fell as I raced 
across the road to avoid a speeding car. 
She wasn’t looking, she said. She stopped,
pulled me off the road, called nine-one-one.
Other cars stopped, including a sheriff’s
deputy. Then the fire department and
two ambulances. I recognized the voices
of David and Jerry. Claudia came up. 
I asked her to put Wag behind the fence.
Later she came back to pray with me. 
The phone kept ringing even during the
prayer. I did hit my head. A scalp wound
bled. John Bonitz called. Was I okay?
He heard a car hit me. No, I fell, but
she could have. I’m okay. Sheila called 
to say she and Rhonda were coming 
over. Then John and Wayne Cross
stopped to check on me. Emails and
phone calls. Rhonda checked my scalp: 
“It will heal.” Jeff took me to pick up
my truck. Emma stopped by, having
heard the rumor. Sally wrote from Alabama.
Katie, from Asheville. Then Keely, Donna, 
and Terica brought me groceries. Maybe
I couldn’t get to a store? Fruit and other 
things I never buy on my simple diet, 
but I’m enjoying them. Angelina says, 
“You could use this in a novel. I keep
telling people the car didn’t hit you.” 
What did hit me was people’s care:
 I had to be all right. I am. Healing 
well; reminding my children I want 
to stay independent, follow my deep
wisdom. Falling’s no fun, but once
again I learned: people love me. 



Sunday, July 30, 2017

It Takes A Long Road to Reach the Heart

Geese Flying. Drawing by Mikhail Bazankov, 1937-2015

Those Eternally Linked Lives 22  July 30, 2017

The tree we made between
us seeded itself and new flowers
open like white dogwood in North
Carolina, tight knobs while Spring 
hesitates; then open-handed once
She makes up Her mind, their
petals reminding us of where, once,
the hands of a good man were
nailed to a tree. Goodness is always
going to suffer in our world, but if
goodness seeded itself, and new
trees grow, and new flowers open,
and new springs give new cause
to laugh and delight in one another,
to speak the heart’s truth knowing
the other listens and cares, it is
enough. . .
You said that one must travel
a long road to reach the heart.
How far have we come now?
I can’t remember very well the
beginning. We opened our souls’ doors
to each other freely then. We laughed
and we were sad. You said, when
I left, “It’s only a light sadness, 
Judy.” Soon I leave again. For me
the sadness I feel has never been
light, though I carried it easily.
What choice did I have? No one
knows how much we say to one
another when we don’t speak a word.
From Sun 20, December 1995

Did we reach the heart? I think so.
We both had many claims on our lives, 
but from the first hours we wanted to
give everything we had to give. Later we
learned our limits and the long road
appeared. We said nothing would
hinder us–neither the thousands of mile,
our lifestyle differences, nor the language
barrier. Yet all those had their power to 
impede the flow of a love we could
neither deny nor let govern our lives. 
It’s one way for souls to fuse: when 
there’s no other alternative. Our love
became a powerful force in fostering
 understanding between two distinct
and very different cultures. Despite
our suffering we did not only reach
each other’s hearts, we stayed there.
The little wooden bird you gave me
still flies. When the light is right, its
shadow dances on the filing cabinet.
I still see you in my mind’s eye, feel
your tight hug as you whisper: “You’re
a hero.” Hear your laughter: “We were
fools!” Then you added: “And miracle
workers.” I can ask no better gift
than to have traveled that long road
to rest safely in your heart.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

An Island of Sanity and Love



My figs back in August 1911. Not quite so plentiful now, but they're coming along after hard freeze set-backs a few years ago.

Those Eternally Linked Lives 21 July 23, 2017

I want to root myself here, create an island of sanity and love around me, draw my children, grandchildren, and friends here to see me, and contribute as I can to my community. 
From my goals stated in 1996-2012

It will be nineteen years in December
that I have lived in this small house in
Moncure, with a garden, an orchard, and
a small flock of hens. I’d already then 
been given many gifts: by a banker, who 
outwitted the mortgage rules; by friends
who helped paint and weed-eat and
move a big pile of bricks, which became
my flower garden. Even before I moved
in, I joined the fight to stop a low-level
nuclear dump. We did stop it. Then we
stopped three attempts to site a landfill
and ended ten years of bad air pollution.
I worked to elect more careful county
commissioners, then to keep out fracking,
and since 2014, coal ash. This time
they pushed in before we could stop
them. It took a judge to halt that, but
they’re holding off our justice again. 
I hold steady, but more problems have
surfaced: my water heater quit; my 
heart began racing; now it’s high
heat warnings keeping me inside
while the weeds flourish. Yet people
turn up to help me: Mike, to challenge
the water heater’s diagnosis; Harold
to mow; Merle, bringing tomatoes
when my bushes stopped producing
shortly after they began. Then two
men from my electric coop, got
the water heater back on track. Many
helpers when I needed them. Everyone
has annoying problems, but I’m older;
so is my water heater and my farm.
Despite unruly weeds and heat, 
the figs, grapes, and apples are plentiful. 
Some rain would help, and cooler weather.
All this help puzzles me, though I’m very
grateful. Then it hits me. I wanted to
create an island of sanity and love. Looks
like I did, despite the weeds, my aging
body and what belongs to me. The big
world does grow more difficult, but in my 
world there definitely is sanity and love.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

You can't have enough courage


Full summer, flowers and brownies, 2010.

Those Eternally Linked Lives 20  July 16, 2017

Even if the brakes are being put on
slowly, we know the end of our lives
will come. We can’t be blithe as
once; yet we can live as normally
and joyfully as possible. The doctors
are not worried. Their tests reassure
them that my heart jumping around 
and out of its steady rhythm for an 
hour can be lived with. For me it is
an unmistakable sign to pay attention:
walk, yes; work, write, dig. See to 
the hens, mow and weed-eat; lead
my village in the fight to stop a 
coal ash dump, but rest and eat
well, stay alert, respect the signs
as you accumulate years. You 
can’t have enough courage or of
the vision that shows you your way, 
a step at a time. You’re still here,
aren’t you? Still thriving, loving
those who let you, filling each
day with work completed? Your
conscience is clear; you see all
too well into the hearts of others

whether they imagine yours or not.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

If Need Be, You Win Again and Again


Zinnias on my kitchen table in August 2011, after Hurricane Irene.

Those Eternally Linked Lives 19  July 9, 2017

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. 
–Those Eternally Linked Lives 11

I knew, when I wished to live
a long time, that, as I approached
a hundred years, living would
become more difficult. Even as
my body ages well, it is more
vulnerable, needs more care,
its regular exercise, healthy diet,
and for its sleep budget to be
balanced. I have my commitments
I can’t say no to, for myself and
my writings, for my children and
friends, and for my community
here in Moncure. It has always
been a balancing act–never moreso
than now. I hold my own, but it
takes more ingenuity to outwit 
my gradual aging and the deadly
poisons let loose in our twenty-first
century world, out to kill us and
destroy our hope. The answer is 
simple and obvious: in our deep
souls we know we can’t be seriously
harmed if we refuse despair. Insights
will arrive. Courage will appear
against the odds. The grain of the
universe doesn’t go away. Furthermore
other people gather around us, one 
at a time. If we ask, we receive, and
not infrequently, we receive the help
we need before we ask.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hope Over Fear


This photo of my figs from August 2011, after Hurricane Irene

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 18 July 2, 2017

"Every single day, we need to choose hope over fear, and diversity over division.
Fear has never fed a family nor created a single job.
And those who exploit it will never solve the problems that have created such anxiety."
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
in address to UN --From Louise Penny’s July 1, 2017 NL

From childhood you were sheltered
and nourished by a grace mysterious
and never named, but it opened 
doors most people never see or 
if they do, fear to open. –Those Eternally Linked Lives 6

In all this growth of green–vines, grasses,
fig leaves and tiny figs, the tall swaying
tulip tree, the grass I need to cut, the iris
and daylilies holding their own against
bamboo grass–where is the grace that will
hold me steady on my own course, the one
I chose, not going against the universe’s
grain, but having to tolerate fear in others
for me and hatred when I succeed; even awe
when I defy the doctors’ wisdom. How 
can I be still young, my flesh still firm; my 
heart holding its own. Banishing fear has 
become a habit. Every time I outwit other
people’s worries, I stand taller in my own
view. All it takes is courage, helping those
who let me, and taking in gratefully those
loving hands that give me a reason 
to stay alive.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hang On For A Rough Ride


Those Eternally Linked Lives 17 June 25, 2017

The tallest tree–the tulip–shimmers in
a world of green. Vines climb the fences.
My flower garden weeds are three feet
high, the annuals higher. Daylilies had
to fight off bamboo grass. The figs have
so many leaves I can’t see the dead 
branches, and I know those infant knobs
are swelling. A day finally dawned without
rain. Soon I can mow, and tackle the
high weeds. The hens took it all in stride.
Muddy, bedraggled feathers were clean
and white again when the new day arrived.
Even in human beings life renews itself.
Sleep heals; dreams restore our cells and 
our souls. We are new again every day.
One look out the window, and we know
what we have to do. This life is not for
the faint of heart. We let go only what
we must; hang on for a rough ride, remount
our courage and listen to our hearts. It’s 
the only way to stay whole and keep our 
true Selves in tact until we die and see 
that Death is still some distance off.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Light Always Finds Me Sooner or Later

Early spring, 2011, thyme in bloom, and oregano behind it.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 16  June 18, 2017

It rains, and green surges. Again I can’t
keep up. I engage with deeply rooted
weeds and mud. The work I need to do
is everywhere visible. The orchid is casting
its blooms. Ten months until they come
again. Human effort feels so small against
that tide of growth. Simple sun and rain
send green hurtling forward. Sweetgum
stars obscure my view out the window.
Yet the self-heal blooms; the daylilies
make each day new. Later too much heat
will slow things down. Wet soil helps
me yank out the worst weeds. The hens
are happy, making their straw into new
nests, the wet earth sending more bugs
to the surface. Sometimes it’s hard
when so much is up to me. Yet I flourish,
walk, eat, and sleep well; thread my way
through difficulties; ask help; do my
part as the days allow. When I can’t
see very far ahead, I hold on. I’ve
been in so many dark places before.
Light always finds me sooner or later
if I keep myself from despair.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Such Intangible Communion


At Judy's book party, but notice the Finnish hand-crafted bird.

****
Those Eternally Linked Lives 15  June 11, 2017

We each had a hand-crafted Finnish bird–
mid-flight. Snow goose or swan? You bought
two. One for me in my village; one for your
apartment in town, which I saw when we 
drove home from your village. You had been
cruel and angry, only a little less as we
traveled. That day the bird told me everything
I needed to know. It still does now that I
live in another house, another village. Sometimes
what’s tangible reinforces what we can’t
touch or know with absolute uncertainty.
Belief is all we have and then that knowledge
that makes proof irrelevant–some direct
seeing that passes all the roadblocks and
doubts. Of course there are skeptics and
sometimes we’re assailed by doubts, too.
But the bird persists. One look reminds
us. You’re not there in your town or village 
any more, but this bird here has its 
continuing message as it moves in the
fan’s wind: “I’m still here. I’m inside you.
Heart to heart is what matters.” For us
that part was easy. The hard part was
opening such a truth to other people
when they can’t imagine 
such intangible communion.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Doing What I Need to Do


Judy at her May 21 book party holding two new books, Political Peaches and Grace: A China Diary, 1910-16. 
Photo by Johnsie Tipton.

***
Those Eternally Linked Lives 14 May 28, 2017

The peas are nearly finished. I pick
beet leaves, half-grown lettuce,
two firm bright green peppers, fronds
of lemon balm and peppermint for
tea. The hens gave me seven eggs. 
Sun again after so much rain brings
out tiny bumps that will be figs by
August. I hack at poison ivy, pull
handfuls of bamboo grass, mow
the backyard where Wag’s vole
holes outdo the grass. Dale comes
to change my flat tire, puts on
the spare. I drive thirty miles for
the flat to be repaired. Harold mows
more of my yard than I had managed
and leaves before I can thank him. 
Birthday wishes come by mail,
e-mail, and phone. The waves I
make in the wider world are scarcely
noticed, but I fall asleep reassured
that I’m doing what I need to do.
My less reliable memory is good
enough. Everything I do counts
in the long tabulation of the 
centuries. “Be of good cheer,”

sounds in my ears. Sun reigns.

***
More book party photos by Johnsie Tipton on May 21.

***

Judy having signed a copy of Grace for Dean Tipton.

***

Behind the book cases, left to right: Dean Tipton, Carol Hay, Judy, and Linda King. On the couch: Skip Baker. Drawings by grandchildren some years ago. The bird flying, a gift from my Russian friend Mikhail in 1992.

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.