Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicken Gal

Cluck. And then cluck again.

Yes, it was just another day in Spokane. There I was, leaving Huckleberries (our local organic food store and all-around reliable neighbor). And there she was, sticking her neck out, and back in - out, then in - and then out again - as she pecked the grass for a seed or two in front of the house across the street, looking wholly out of place (and dangerously close to a store that loves its free-range chicken).

I thought of telling her to back away, girl - back far, far away from the eyes of those that scan the streets from the store's back door - but I took out my phone instead, and took a photo of her bobbing head.

There we were, on 10th and Monroe, smack dab in the middle of the lower South Hill - me with my camera, her with her intentions... I tried to catch her on her head bob up, not down, but she eluded my endeavors - though at one point, she looked up as if to say, "All right, take the photo. Take it now!" But her pause in action came just at the moment that my thumb got stuck to the side. By the time I clicked, she had bobbed back down again.

Still, I did get a shot or two - of her on the lawn - of her approaching the driveway - of her crossing the driveway - to get to the other side, perhaps? It was a punchline in the making...

There was a point when I remembered the wafting of scents of grilled teriyaki chicken cooking inside this lovely store - not today, but other days - and I thought, no - it can't be that she's escaped from there. Can it? But just as I wondered, a boy - two of them - came out from the back of the house where she was. They were laughing and looking, searching for - yes, a stray chicken. One stood in front of the gal, a hand on either side of her and then, in one instant, he caught her between his hands and scooped her up. I heard them say something about "Animal Control" and I said (from the other side of the street), "Is she yours?"

"Yeah," the boy carrying her said. "She gets out a lot."

She likes those seeds on your lawn, young man.

I didn't think to ask her name. Hen, I think. Or Chicken Gal. That, I like. It is how she shall now and forever be known, at least on this blog. Her name - what we called her - was Chicken Gal.

Yes, this is Spokane - where you can meet whatever farm or wild animal you might want - a Fat Robin or a Raven, a baby Skunk and now this Chicken - oh, and the Coyote - don't forget the Coyote. The Trickster, is how we knew him. I wonder how he is?

Spokane. It's a town of adventure, no matter how small. Just look. You'll see.

Monday, March 26, 2012

WOW and Sarah

Apparently "War on Women" is being abbreviated "WOW." Wow, indeed.

The Republicans have been making such bad choices. It's like how my 4-year-old nephew describes the game of football: "Bad choices. Good choices. Watch the flag!" I find it difficult to believe that Republicans don't understand this - in the context of football or politics. But they don't, apparently. It's been like watching a train wreck, in slow motion - and then watching it wreck again (with the non-uterined humans creating the biggest collisions).

Spokane's local paper, The Spokesman Review, decided not to run the Doonesbury columns last week that commented on Texas' mandatory sonogram law. That was just one of the reasons I had last week to say, "Wow." I loved one of the letters to the editor (which the Spokesman did print, to its credit), entitled "Where Is Doonesbury?" - It read in its entirety, "My husband has been yelling about this all day, and I’m about a hundred times madder than he is!"

In the midst of the Republican party's one-two punch on women (eliminating contraception funding while simultaneously, state-by-state, requiring these sonograms), I have also happened upon a couple of Facebook entries that talks about how women need to be submissive to their husbands. This was sort of a weird parallel, and were postings by two different people who I really like (well, I guess I should like them - they are my Facebook friends). I do think this female legislation will find its way to the trash bin over time, as I do not see it as sustainable in the end. But perhaps it is driven in part by this intense desire by sane people to read the Bible as saying that a wife is supposed to just do as she is told....

This was, at least, how the two Facebook postings interpreted that portion of the Bible.

I'm an inconsistent reader of the Bible. I'm more spiritual than religious and so am eclectic in how I gather my God information. But I was raised Lutheran, love biblical stories, and certainly have deep respect for the Bible, and what it is wanting to tell us. I'm a little more Jewish in my approach to the Bible, I think - meaning, I would have loved studying the Talmud (the Jewish writings that interpret and explain the Torah - known in Bible-world as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). I'm likely one of the few out there who "gets" how Ezekiel's Chariot epitomizes metaphysical alchemy. I love the Psalms. Job perplexes me - both the book and the man. Oh, and I won "Bible Baseball" in third grade - a board game - because I memorized the most Bible verses in Sunday School (though that had less to do with the Bible and more to do with my competitive spirit - I wanted to win!). So I may not read the Bible every day, but I do have some nuanced understandings of it.

When I read these Facebook postings - all feel-good and generic, without any explanation of how submission was supposed to work in, for instance, a domestic violence relationship - I thought, this can't be right. I've always known this submission thing was a little off because - well, because God made me and I am not built to be submissive, and I just don't believe that God would make me who I am just to have a cosmic joke - a good laugh at my personal expense. In fact, I've spent a lifetime growing out of "good girl" mode - a lifetime of learning to challenge imbalanced authority because it was in my DNA to do so, even as it was also in my DNA to be well-behaved. And yes, I've never been married, so maybe it ends up a non-issue. But I just can't imagine God would make me who I am and also state that all women need to be submissive.

So when I saw these Facebook postings, I did what I often do when it comes to the Bible (or any writing of authority, for that matter): I dug. I went to the source - well, to interpretations of the source, as I can't read the Bible in its original language. I found some cool things - like the word "submissive" has been perhaps incorrectly translated - it should read "cooperative" - things like that. At one point, an author pointed out that the Bible (the "submission" thing is in a letter in the New Testament, btw) states to be submissive "like Sarah." And anyone who knows about Sarah knows that sounds like code for "don't be submissive." It would be as if the Bible said, "Be without opinion, like Beth." Ha! I would know exactly what that meant, if I read it.

So here is the thing about Sarah: I always thought, "Sarah's a b----." She was great, and Abraham's wife, and Isaac's mom and all, but there plenty of moments in the Bible where I just thought, "Sarah can be such a b----."

Then I read a wonderful book - Orson Scott Card's "Sarah." It helped me understand - Sarah was just being tough as nails - was just attempting to figure out how to serve God's will, and manage Hagar and the birth of Ishmael - a situation Sarah created but then became caught up in, without easy answers. She was strong. She followed what she understood God to tell her. Abraham had to do what she said. She was not just being mean. She was being clear - and a model for women like me, caught in our own challenging circumstances, learning to stand firm even as human authority attempts to contradict. "Submissive like Sarah" - that's something I can do. And for as strong-willed and headstrong as I am, I can be pretty malleable when I feel guided spiritually to take a certain path - I will take it, against all odds because I feel I must. "There is nothing easy within this challenge except the challenge itself." So that would be "submissive like Sarah" too, I think.

Maybe WOW and Sarah are not related topics - maybe I should have written two separate posts for them. But it feels like they are well tied together - hence the substance of this entry.

This is a great article on the Sarah submission topic:

And this is a great article of one woman's experience in Texas with regard to sonograms: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/the-right-not-to-know

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bird Haven

My car must be a magnet, or have a magnet in it.

This morning started with two big robins around it - perhaps related to my Fat Robin of a couple entries ago? They scooted away only when I made clear my intention to not hover but actually get in the car and drive to work. Hardly had they scattered and I was on my way - rounding a corner in my quiet neighborhood - when a raven flew at me, as though he was going to skid into the passenger window pane. Only at the last moment did he avoid collision by flying up and away towards a tree. He came so close that I saw his underbelly, and his clawed feet curled up beneath him. I'm surprised I saw his feet so clearly (black on black, as it were), but there they were. As was he. In the moment, I think I was much more concerned about his safety than he was.

I wonder about the attraction. It isn't as though I'd just washed the car.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cool Dream

So I woke up yesterday having scored a touchdown in my sleep. This is not a metaphor.

There I was, playing for an NFL team - I do not know which one (my only angst) - and then there I am, on third and goal, the go-to running back, holding the football, running to the end zone, looking for my lane... when suddenly it is all open in front of me - only one defender stands in the way - he's not much taller than me - he's the one who looks like a deer in the headlights, I'm the one who knows what is going on... I run into the end zone, untouched, scoring the touchdown (no spin moves needed, and hardly a leap, zig or zag)...

And then I woke up. What a great dream. The only sad part was that I woke up before I had a chance to do my touchdown celebration. I would have liked to have seen how that looked. Oh, and I was a little perplexed that I didn't know which team I was playing for. I believe it was the home team though - our uniforms were white, as I recall.

In my awake state, I remembered an earlier part of the dream. It was still the NFL, but it was a scrimmage rather than a game. I scored a touchdown as running back during the scrimmage too, but at the time I thought they were probably just letting me score because I'm a girl and it didn't count and they were just trying to be nice.

But then in the game - it was a real game (dreamland real) and I scored again. This time, nobody was trying to be nice. This one counted.

It wasn't the first time I'd dreamed that I was a player in the NFL. There was one other time - I was a running back in that dream too - for the Philadelphia Eagles (I love the Eagles) - but that time, there was no touchdown - it was in the middle of the field - there was a much better defense - I was barely able to go forward - I needed to use my spin move - which I executed flawlessly, by the way - until that dream, I didn't even know that I had a spin move!

What was different about yesterday's dream was that I didn't know which team I was on - which team had drafted me. In past NFL dreams, it's always been the Eagles. Besides the dream as a player, I've dreamed once that I was the walk-on coordinator (clipboard and all), once that I was a confidante to the coach (Ray Rhodes at the time), once that I was a spectator during preseason training camp and sat with Bo Jackson as we talked over the Eagles' prospects for the year (he seemed like such a nice man).

It does surprise me that I keep playing the position of running back in these dreams. I'm more of a defense person - love, love watching corner backs play - such athleticism. It's how I usually practice law too - on the defense - criminal defense is where I got my start in the law - my first plaintiff case, I was almost confused - I had to initiate everything! The lawsuit, the discovery requests... And in soccer, I almost always play defense. So you'd think in dreamland, my subconscious would have me play defense. I guess my subconscious has other things in mind.

I do love football. Of course I love many sports - heck, I wrote a novel about baseball! - but football ends up being my go-to sport, for some reason. Baseball too, at times. At least I can play baseball (in softball form). And baseball is more often a metaphor to me - a metaphor for life - how there is no deadline, and how whatever happens is up to the teams. If nobody makes a move, the game will go on for infinity. If nobody scores, then nobody wins - or loses - or wins, though. And isn't that key? In my baseball novel (Until the End of the Ninth, about the Spokane Indians' minor league team in 1946 that dies in a bus crash midway through the season), there is a section that talks about baseball's structure. It is in the context of the Indians having beaten the team from Victoria, B.C., on May 16, 1946 (40 days before the bus crash) by tying up the game in the 9th inning and finally winning in the 12th:

It took a lot, to beat Victoria like that. More than perseverance, more than hope - faith too, and maybe a commitment to the mundane. Always a commitment to the mundane. Playing day in, day out, game after game, pitch after pitch - and then, in a moment's silence, when all seems statically standstill, someone does something to change the flow, or create it.

And isn't that the way life can be?

Maybe I'll dream about baseball tonight.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fat Robin

Just outside my window, just the other day, was a big ole robin - rotund, from all the worms he had been eating - and I thought, egads man - don't you know it's winter here? Where in the heck are you finding all those worms? He was not in any way telepathic as far as I could tell, as not once did he look my way to acknowledge my consternation. Funny, funny bird.