Tuesday, December 8, 2020

December thoughts

 I recently finished an amazing book, The Overstory by Richard Powers. I completely understand why it was a NYT bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for 2019.  The book is startling good, crisp literature.  It was intriguing to follow nine distinct characters all in their own stories to find how they all connect in some way or another.  I love trees, am a known tree hugger, and get riled up by people who don't care about simple things like one use items that just get tossed away so this book spoke to me on the level that all our actions should lead us toward a greater good. I'm not a fan of paper napkins, paper towels, cardboard coffee cups, and small plastic beverage containers even though some of this is recyclable or composts naturally as paper does but why buy consumables that are just to be thrown away? It's just me, I get it, most people don't think about these things at all. I believe that in certain areas of the country clear cutting forests for profit may be changing as public opinion, research, and natural disasters like mudslides show how groves of trees benefit our habitat as well as animals. Richard Powers does an amazing job of helping us to see the connection between trees and other living beings. "They stand under the circle of camouflaged Platanus, that most resigned of eastern trees, on the spot where the island was sold, by people who listened to trees, to people who cleared them." (451)  I will remember and treasure the message in the book for a long long time. 

I'm also one and a half chapters away from finishing Ibram X. Kendi's NYT's bestselling book, How to be an Antiracist, which I began way back last February. I'm not good with nonfiction. I started reading it with a teacher group through Facebook but I slacked off about chapter 12 and then I was invited to join another book group with two friends and that motivated me to push me through to (nearly) the end. I appreciate Kendi's writing and his willingness to share his own story with mistakes and racist ideas.  It's a lot of unpacking and deep thinking and probably a book I will refer back to as I continue to understand our journey better. 

Now as I stay up past my bedtime to write I am mindful of my sleep issues. For eight long years I have struggled with insomnia and waking up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep. I don't feel stressed, I'm in good overall health, and I practice meditation and yoga, drink tea, and generally am not on screens at night. Recently a writer on Twitter that I follow mentioned her own struggles with sleep during menopause and I literally heard an Hallelujah choir sing as I read her comments and others over this issue. I've battled this for so long without real understanding from the medical community and found no similar experiences when I discussed it with other female friends! In just one small social media post I felt relief to know that I was not the only one. Thank you Jo Knowles; your simple statement gave me relief, still no solution, but maybe that's somewhere close at hand as well. Life affirming changes happen through books and even small snippets on social media!  

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