Maria's trip to India was both wonderful and disruptive, it took both of us all week to begin to get back to a normal schedule. We are returning to life. Today was the first day that Maria was back in her studio, she had lunch with her friends, she looks and seemed normal. She didn't crash until the late afternoon.
I think she is herself again, and she is talking about her work, I am getting finally back to my book. I went to the Mansion today, and Connie cautioned me to make Maria rest. Tell her I said so if she fights you, she said. Good luck, Connie, I said. But Maria has been listening to me, she is coming out of her great fatigue and emotional exhaustion. She did rest, and tomorrow we will begin venturing out.
It's also time for me to re-focus on my life. I am getting my head back into my book – naive to think I could do that while the trip to India was underway. What's in my head is answering the call to good. I do not, will not, expend my energy arguing about politics, I do not need people to agree with me, I am not seeking the approval of others.
Nancy messaged me on Facebook in a polite but huffy message requesting that I remove her from my blog mailing list because she loved reading about farm animals and rural life but I had been mentioning politics, and she was getting uncomfortable. I told her she could unsubscribe from my mailing list at any time, she didn't need any help from me and I wished her well. I have no interest in publishing a political blog, but even less in only writing about cute animals and pastoral farms.
I share my life wherever it goes, and I will not pretend the outside world does not exist. Nancy will be happy, I hope, on many other blogs that do just that. I sincerely hope she finds what she needs to find.
For me, this coming time is not about the left or right, or supporting one politician as opposed to another, it is about pursuing my own call to good. This is not something Nancy or anyone else needs to agree with or disagree with, it is just another chapter in my curious life and I would be lying to my readers if I did not share it, along with the colorful photos and the appealing animals. I have never misrepresented my blog or my life. It goes where I go, and that seems to have worked well. Nancy seems quite alone in her complaint.
What is my idea of good? Pursuing compassion and empathy and humanity. A government that cares about human beings and protects them and treats them with compassion. Caring about the weary and the dispossessed.
I define that in as focused a way as I can. I will not turn over my peace of mind or hard-earned life to a political party or leader. I will not spend my time arguing my beliefs. I will instead go out into the world and do good as I see it, and very little of that is political to me.
One effort is the Mansion, an assisted care facility I have focused on, with the remarkable support of so many people. We are reaching out to isolated people at the edge of life. We are sending them letters, messages, photos, gifts, yarn, games, cookies and flowers. We are raising $10,000 so they can buy a new van for the Mansion. We are sending them messages regularly so they understand they are loved and cared for, we are marking the holidays with them so they will not feel abandoned or alone.
When they have individual needs we can fulfill, we try to do so.
This is a long-term project for me, and I think for others. I want to stay with these people and help to brighten their lives and give them hope and joy.
It helps me to stay grounded, to do good, it is quite selfish, it is a way for me to transcend discord and hostility and channel my own energy into a series of positive and for me, uplifting visions. Around me is an Army of Good. Everywhere I hear lament and complaint, I will not speak poorly of my life or complain about it.
I am working, where possible to support the idea of community in rural communities, whether that means supporting farmers in their many struggles or helping the Round House Cafe stay on Main Street. We have helped to raise nearly $70,000 so they can survive and help turn the tide of destruction and ruin that has engulfed so much of rural America.
Along with others, I support the struggle of farmers and animal lovers to keep their animals and property in the face of natural calamities and a strident and often cruel movement that claims to support the rights of animals, but does not. Sometimes this movement wantonly tramples the rights of people and treats them cruelly and without empathy or respect.
I believe this movement is driving animals away from people and placing them at risk.
We helped raised more than $70,000 so the farmer Joshua Rockwood could defend himself against demonstrably false charges of animal cruelty, keep his farm and get his horses back after they were, for all practical purposes, stolen from him.
Along with many others, I have written about and tried to support the cause of the New York Carriage Horses, who have faced harassment and unjust efforts by the government and animal rights groups to take away their freedom, property and way of life without cause. The carriage trade has beaten back two serious campaigns to ban them from New York City without cause or due process, and end their 150 year old business.
They are the safest and most regulated form of transportation in all of New York City, no New Yorker has been killed by horses in the entire history of the carriage trade, and very few horses have been injured or killed in the course of their long and glorious history there.
Doing good for me means supporting refugees and immigrants as they struggle to embrace the American Dream in the face of fear and defamation and misunderstanding. We have raised thousands of dollars for the Amazon Refugee Gift Page, a simple and inexpensive way to welcome legal and hard-working refugees to America. To me, this is an honored American value, one that is close and personal for me, and I see, for many others.
I will pursue this idea of good while continuing to write about my life, my farm, and the animals who live here. I choose not to argue, but to do good, not to divide people but to help people in need. I will always listen to the ideas and wishes of people of conscience. I do not ask others to argue with me, or tell other people what to do or think.
I seek to use my words and photographs to do good, bounded and within reason and without judging or condemning people who have different values or who disagree with me in a civil and respectful way. People who are uncomfortable with my efforts are welcome to stay and free to leave. I will not argue my beliefs with you.
As always, I want to be open about what I am doing.
People with different values and ideas are welcome here, and this will always be a safe place for them.
As the fog and emotion of the India trip recedes, and Maria regains her energy and creativity – she is already selling tote-bags made by young women in Kolkata – I will keep moving forward.
Maria is the Queen of Good. Those of you who wish to join me in some or all of these ventures are an Army Of Good in my mind. We have already done a lot of good, there is a lot of work to do. I'm ready for it. My blog can be a force for good, and I am so very proud of that.
I will continue to focus on and expand this idea of doing good, but I don't want to wear anyone out or lose focus. I want to be thoughtful about it. I wish I could do more, but I believe in doing good in small ways, one step at a time.
I think good is just as infectious as argument, and much more powerful. This is my faith and my purpose, I feel awakened, hopeful, energized and relevant. Doing good feels good and thank those of you for following me in this new chapter and for joining it.