The news is out, the electoral college has spoken, and we have a new president. More than half of you receiving this will not be celebrating. I suspect some will be tempted to start packing . . . But I am glad and grateful for yesterday. Here's why: Six years ago I was in Guatemala with my family for the winter. We were there during the last months of an upcoming election. The body count at that point: 50. Fifty candidates running for office, including members of their family, had been assassinated. That's how some people in Guatemala voted---with a bullet.
The scene yesterday at my neighborhood ballot office was like a party. Friends, neighbors, on both sides of the political fence, visited, laughed, marked their ballots,
proudly slapped their "I Voted Today" stickers on their chest and went home to watch the results with their families. As for me, I did not pack my bags after hearing the results. I baked an American Flag cake and served it with ice cream to my sons.
The election of either man to office does not change who I am to be, who any of us are to be: people draped with the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. NOW is just the time to be who we are called to be.
Other news comes today, happy news from Far aField Notes, news that makes me want to shake off the apple of "self-control" and just dance: I am opening my fishcamp island to ten writers for my first annual Harvester Island Wilderness Workshop. http://www.leslieleylandfields.com/p/harvester-island.html
It's a big step. I'm taking it in faith, wanting to share the incredible resources of this place----but I take it in fear as well. The terrible beauty and fishing life on this island has stricken and scarred me----and it has healed me as well. I know it has done the same for others.
I offer this experience in all its fullness to ten fiction and creative nonfiction writers. It will be unlike any other writer's workshop I know of. Morning workshops will be followed by afternoons whale and wildlife watching
(you can almost touch the whales and sea lions), beach and mountain hiking, boat touring . ... and every evening we'll all prepare our own fresh seafood dinner pulled from our own front yard waters. It will be an extraordinary time. More information here, along with a slide show of some of what you can expect.
Thank you for journeying with me----in these pages, to my islands, to the places and people we hope to become.
It's a good life, here in this country
and on the islands I make my home upon.
We're not where we need to be yet,
any of us.
But longing for the good, the right,
the pure, the beautiful,
the kind, the faithful---
the taste of that wistfulness and hope
and even our imperfect efforts
to embody these goods,
is often as sweet as receiving them.
Along the way, our longing, our efforts
may spread kindness and hope
to those as wanting