Mary Beth Writes

I haven’t slept well in two nights.  I pop wide awake about 2:00 and then listen to podcasts, look at boring YouTube videos (so many crafts one can make with concrete, none that include Jimmy Hoffa), practice relaxing my muscles, practice staring at dots behind my eyelids -and finally at 5:00AM I fall asleep. Since I’m retired I can still sleep in until 7 or 8:00, though twice now the 3-year old granddaughter has called early and her first astounded words are “Are you still in bed, Grandma?”

Possibly I am part of the global citizens who are stressed and insomniac. 

Or possibly I have been drinking five cups of coffee a day.

Why, you ask? Well, because I’m here and I can.

Sometimes we are part of humanity in crisis and sometimes we make dumb choices - and it’s a narrow line, isn’t it?

I've had two cups of coffee today and one glass of wine. Let the reader beware. 

HOLY SPOTTED WISCONSIN COW!

In spite of the most brazen attack against voter rights most of us have witnessed– when the Wisconsin state Republican party insisted that voting had to be in person or absentee ballots had to be turned in by the end of 4/7 – and this rule was announced 4PM on 4/6 – in spite of this dangerous decision that created an impossible impasse … Jill Karofsy won!  A judge not beholden to either party!

I feel as if some of us right here helped moved the karma needle on this. I wrote to my reps, I parsed what they responded and asked you to reply and eleven of you did. Thank you. I was paying attention and each time one of your said something, it made me stronger and braver.

Yesterday morning I worked more hours on our combined outraged voices, preparing our bit of the onslaught of ire against the travesty.

And then! Yesterday evening! The startling news broke into our wonderment! Karofsy won!

Right-leaning judges on the state supreme court still have the majority – but instead of 4 to 1, it’s now 3 to 2.

The determined passion of women and men who stood in long lines for ridiculous amounts of time – that image will not fade quickly.  There is anger and power afoot.  The muggles are beginning to see the powerful wizardry used against them – and they are pissed.

1700-1750(ish) the French were the Europeans du jour along most of the northern and Mississippi River parts of north America. In those decades the French king and his lords and advisors finally woke up to what native allies, resident soldiers, explorers, missionaries, and traders had been telling them for decades. If the French wanted to not lose control to the British, they needed to build forts. 

In 1750 the French built impressive Fort Carillon on their “southern boundary” where long, skinny Lake Champlain entered a short chute of rapids that were not too hard to portage. (You portaged here, then sailed Lake George, then navigated over to the Hudson River and on to NYC.) Fort Carillon was built at an incredibly strategic point between navigating all of Canada and navigating all of New England/the colonies.  

During the Seven Years’ French and Indian War (dumb name, should have been called World Powers War #1) , England won control of Ft Carillon from the French and renamed it Ft. Ticonderoga. (A native word that meant where waterways meet)

When France built this place, it was oriented southwards to intimidate Brits who might be coming north. In 1775 the Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold, and the Green Mountain boys attacked and won Ft. Ticonderoga from the British, who then fled north to Canada. (Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold did not like each other one little bit. Seems like another moment ready for Lin-Manuel Miranda)

So now the fort belonged to the rebelling colonies.  And who were we fighting? Yes, the British, who could sail down from Canada right back to this pivotal spot. 

Everyone knew this was a super important piece of real estate to own, inhabit, keep in good order, and defend. From George Washington on down, it was accepted that we had to keep and defend Ft. Ticonderoga. It was 1776 and 1777. Generals and more men and supplies were sent to Ticonderoga.

Including two guys in their early 20’s, just out of college, who looked at the lay of the land and said to their superiors. “Look.  Do you see what we see? Ticonderoga is set several hundred feet inland. It faces south. The British when they come, they will come from the north.

“There are hills across the lake and river.  Those hills are HIGHER than the fort! With weaponry now available, anyone can go UP those hills and shoot DOWN into Ticonderoga.”

Those young engineers and some others set to work explaining, showing, building defensive positions on the higher hills.

But the old generals knew Ticonderoga; some had spent parts of their younger careers in it. It was a beautiful and massive complex, built las a brick-walled star around many sturdy buildings, around well-equipped quarters, a small hospital and surgery. Barracks, kitchens, larders, places for powder and armaments.   

So no one changed their plans and late that fall the British came and everyone realized they were sitting ducks. The Americans escaped in the middle of the night, fleeing by road, woods, river, however.

Generals and politicians went NUTS when they heard what happened. Washington had fits. Careers were lost. Court marshals were held. It was a huge, giant mess.

The following year the men and women who were the American army WOULD fight the British on a rambling piece of geography at Saratoga. There they would win a series of battles that would turn the tide of the war.

But today, reading this piece of history again, I was so struck.

Do not defend handsome old ideas that face the wrong way. Look and look again. See where you really are. Figure out what you CAN defend and put your smarts, energy, and resources there.

I’m reading “Saratoga: Turning Points of America’s Revolutionary War” by Richard M. Ketchum. It seems as timely as Twitter.

Comments

Mary Beth you are not alone with the insomnia thing I've been falling asleep only to awaken at 1or 2 in the morning and then falling asleep at 4 or 5 and then sleeping until 9 or 10... I take melatonin and Benedril to help me sleep but it's hit and miss... A friend is having the same problem, his sister's a nurse and recommended the Benedril for me... I don't think we are the only ones...

I love it when you get incensed Marybeth. You are a righteous woman!
Mary Beth's picture

Making me grin over here!

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The Badlands

4/29/2022

The Lakota call this land "mako sica" which translates into "badlands." They and many other wanderers and settlers named it this because it is so hard to travel through.

Wade in the Waters

4/28/2022

This is a small announcement that could be a lot of fun for some of you.

For the past two years Len has been a volunteer Wisconsin stream monitor. Once per summer month Len and another guy (with whom he has become friends) check water quality and stream-bed life at a few local sites. Before they started, they received clear but uncomplicated training in order to understand what is being looked for and how the testing equipment works. And they received hip waders!

Who's in the Mirror? Representation Matters

4/19/2022

Who’s in the Mirror? Representation Matters

Old story, I’ve probably mentioned it before: In 1977 I was visiting a friend in Ohio for a weekend. We went to her United Methodist Church on Sunday which is in itself amazing since we were two single 20-something women who had been out drinking the night before.

In just spring

4/13/2022

We know what the “Signs of Spring” are, probably because we did so many "Signs of Spring" art projects in grammar school. We know what to notice. Green shoots. Birds singing. Kids playing outside with kites, jump ropes, and jacks.

Why do we celebrate Signs of Spring but not Signs of Winter? Hmmm? Maybe Winter ought to look into this and make a complaint?

Meantime, Karen K sent these photos. Look at these lovely pale-but-not-boring colors and hues.

The Day I Moved Into Chicago

4/8/2022

Franc and I had a conversation about men who won’t or don’t explore their feelings over in yesterday’s comments section. If you want to chime in that topic is still wide open like a swanky whale swimming through swales and swells, swilling for krill. (I don’t know where that came from either. Follow the muse.)

Also, I suggested that if you have photos of Spring where you live to send them to me and I will post them. David sent this from Raleigh, NC. Drying puddle. Yellow aura of pollen. Yup, it’s Spring.

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