Life and Death 3 – Loss 9 – Love 2

This is why we die: Not because the beauty and the awe of being alive wears out (in some people, this was never really on) not because we don’t have food or shelter or TV programs to watch.

All of a sudden, we look attentively and our affections are all gone. They have moved away, passed, or lost their memory. We feel old and tired but more importantly, we feel alone and unnecessary.

So there it is: without love, we are no more… because in our lifetime we have come to embody that which we knew all along, but in our youth pride kept denying until deny we could no more. Love is all that counts, and all there is.

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Desiderata

May you grow up to be an artist.

May your hands caress stone the way some past artists’ have caressed clay or canvas.

May your words be the same as everybody else’s but not quite, your words able to syphon souls to their own private destinies.

May you have the insanity that goes with art, with art, with art whatever art is.

May you have the courage to yell epiphanies at an intersection, or obscenities in a court.

May you walk the trail barefoot, bereaved, and blessed.

May your footsteps fall differently in the sand or in the snow that a child passing by would notice them amidst the thousands. May that child yell: “oh-look!” and be ignored by adults, and not despite this but because of this, dream of being you.

May art stick to you forever, or at least, stick to you long enough after an evening of gin and sorrow.

May you not need someone the way the artist writing symphonies did not need anyone.

May your body can deteriorate in beauty akin to and old dusty rose next to a fresh pineapple on the breakfast table.

May the world celebrate you the way hands touch the steering wheel of a sports car.

May you grow up to be and artist, and your art be like a day so pure that it goes unnoticed in the world’s memory.

 

Rome, 2015

People 6 – Silver Linings 3

I take a walk almost every morning down the river bank of my city, a few blocks away from home. As I go back, I cross a bridge called Ponte Sisto.

The bridge holds some of the fondest memories I have; and it also holds an interesting array of street musicians and beggars. They all have their time slots and their corners. In the evenings there is the young, tall guy with a cane, somewhere from Eastern Europe, and there is a Lenny Kravitz lookalike playing a Gibson. Mornings you can find the Filipino guitar player wearing a Mexican sombrero and an old, haggard beggar.

I feel a pang of sadness and discomfort when I pass all of them, and give them all a silent prayer each time.

One day, much to my surprise I saw, a few minutes before his “shift” started, the old beggar on his cell phone, talking loudly and merrily to someone.

My sadness was gone: not because he had a cell phone, but because he had someone to talk to, any given Tuesday at 7:15 am.

Life and Death 2 – Loss 8 – Love

I’ve come to realize that death will end a life, but it will not end a relationship.   For the relationship will live on in the mind of the survivor, who will search for some resolution he or she will never find. -John Samuel Tieman, On Poetry and Remembrance letter

 

A relationship with someone we love, regardless if he or she has died, has no resolution… because in fact our ties and our affections have no resolution.  They have no end as they – if you look closely – had no beginning…  Love has no beginning and no end, it just is.  What we call the beginning of it is just the day we were able to see it.  And of course, once we have seen it there is no turning back.

On Evolution 3 – The World 8

I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry… I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

 Mildred Loving, 2007

 

Almost 50 years after Loving vs. Virginia, another milestone… Thank you to those who pull humanity forward.

The World 7 – Nature 3 – Parallel Worlds 3

Nina is beautiful and looks like her dad. Her nose is pointed and her eyes are green. Her twin brother, Luca, is beautiful too, though in a totally different way– his eyes are huge and even if he is 4 months old, he already has a twinkle in his eye, just like his dad.

So if they both look like dad, how can they be so different?

Easy answer: they have different dads.

Nina and Luca were born after my friends, a charming gay couple, started the long journey towards California to enter the world of surrogate parenthood. I have never seen a couple so well assorted as them, so close and so made for each other. They have been together since the day they met, more than 20 years ago. After 20 years, as many couples they too started ripening the thought of building a family and inched their way towards their dream; finally this year the surrogate program and network made it possible. Not only did they make their dream come true, they did it establishing a significant relationship with the women directly involved, the donor and the surrogate mother; a relationship that went well beyond mere respect and included very special gratitude and bonding.

Luca and Nina were literally born from a network of love.

 

I have told Nina and Luca’s story to some people, cautiously. My friends do not make any secret of their journey; they will gladly tell the details of how their children came to be. However, this is a delicate matter that can stir diverging opinions and judgment in people. It can be surprising to find out who thinks what about the issue. There is no telling who would find it a fantastic thing, and who would find it crazy.

That it is a radical event is for sure, even if it is happening more often every time. Would I do it? I don’t know, and I say this not because I have any opinion against it, but at my age I know better than to answer a question regarding what I would do in any situation. Would you hit the person who’s trying to steal your bike? I don’t know. When and if I catch someone stealing my bike, I will see what I am inclined to do, and that’s when I will I know.

 

But this is not about my opinion, or anybody’s. This is not even about the love that has pervaded every aspect of this journey, and that brought to the world two adorable and peaceful children nor about my friends’ courage and determination which in itself is doubtless and astonishing. This is not about moral, ethical, religious or biological issues.

This is about you and me.

 

This is about showing all of us, beyond any shadow of doubt, that when love is present, anything is possible.

Antidotes 2 – On Evolution 2 – Lesser Harm 2 – Choices 6 – The World 6 – On Fear 8

The problems we face cannot be resolved at the same level of mind at which we created them.

Albert Einstein

…[H]e who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.

Anwar Sadat, In Search of Identity

El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.

Benito Juarez

When things like the Paris Charlie Hebdo killings or 9/11 happen, the world takes a look at the events. Thinks. Asks.

First question: Who? Investigators are quick to give us an answer: this or that terrorist, criminal, or underground organization.

Second question: Why?

Those responsible for some reason are full of hate. Or for some reason want to take over this part of the world. Or for some reason they feel the need to destroy. One thing is for sure: these persons were free to come and go, free to assemble, free to access information, free to plan, free to think and free to express.

In our haste to blame we point a finger at the only certain thing, disregarding a whole array of complex and profound reasons. We conclude that these things could happen because of freedom.

Finally the third question arises: How? How Can We Stop This From Happening Again?

And curious enough someone comes up with an answer so fast that some of us wonder if it hadn’t been prepared beforehand. The solution is given as inevitable, and in its naïve simplicity it quenches fear-struck citizens’ thirst for immediate action and shallow politicians’ thirst for a claim to fame. The solution is to increase control, build higher walls, tighten the grip, increase the ranks and budgets of police, military, and intelligence. The solution is to limit liberty.

Indeed, those responsible for the events in Paris were free to come and go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express.

Weren’t also the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther, Siddhartha Gautama, Voltaire, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Gutenberg, Mahatma Gandhi, Marie Curie, and millions of other famous and not-so-famous individuals who have worked for the advancement of mankind, at least at some point in their lives, free to come and go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express? Wasn’t our world made a better place largely because of people being allowed to come, go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express?

Today, as every time that a similar event has taken place, part of the world advocates that at least some individuals not be allowed to come, go, assemble, access information, plan, think and express. Yes, in a perfect world, authorities would be able to single out each and every one of these individuals; in a perfect world, the process of finding these individuals would not harm other innocent and constructive human beings. But the world is not perfect and there is a growing belief that the antidote for violence should be violating the liberties that are a foundation of our society, exactly the ones we find in Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Some call it ironic that Charlie Hebdo was advocating freedom of speech in the form of satire, and that now to vindicate them freedom is at risk; I call it simply adding insult to injury.