Wednesday, December 17, 2003

There's much to be said for consistency, routine, and setting a rhythm to one's life...

Did pretty well with my writing -- at least until the routine was broken by the unexpected (bout of flu) then the spell was broken. Getting back into a pattern of writing a bit each day proved to be more fragile than I might have thought or wished.

The pace of my life is such that even a brief pause creates an impossible backlog. This was a first for me, at least for a period of the past several years. The advent of the age of email has wrought havoc! My desk computer turned into a monster that held my entire life hostage with my Palm Pilot adding to the confusion. My life is being dominated by machines, and it's all of my own making!

On the first day of my return (a week ago Monday), there was a four-hour session with a coalition of environmental groups who are working to save Breuners Marsh -- a beautiful stretch of shoreline along San Francisco Bay that's being threatened by both contamination by mercury and other vile chemicals on the one hand, and acquisition by Signature Properties for a huge housing development on the other. "Save the Marsh" is the rallying cry, and "The State" (moi) has a role in helping that to happen. I felt very small and pretty vulnerable after ten days of illness, but life does have a way of either engaging you or plowing you under!

Catching up with my calendar plus our Holiday office party, plus the annual Day at the Races at spectacular Golden Gate Fields in Albany; family birthday parties (another this evening), meetings re the Barbara Alexander Academy (still trying hard to help it to survive and regain its charter), staffing Assemblywoman Loni Hancock (yesterday) at the dedication of a newly day-lighted urban creek, and, and, and ...

And surviving the loss of Fr. Bill O'Donnell, activist priest who lived through over 200 arrests in the causes of the United Farm Workers; the protests at the gates of the School for the Americans; long ago and current People's Park protests; and about any other Progressive cause one can imagine over the past several decades. Fr. Bill was memorialized on Sunday. It was a great loss to all of us who knew him and shared concerns in common. Each such loss brings a sense of awareness of one's mortality - the inevitability -- the inexorable passage of time ... .

Have been asked to keynote the Martin Luther King celebration in the city of Walnut Creek (nearby suburb where we lived for many years) at the commemoration of his birthday in January. The Mt. Diablo Peace Center is hosting the event. Hesitated at first, but only for a few minutes. Writing a 15 minute speech for the occasion will give me a chance to re-assess where I am on the continuum of change in the areas of civil rights and civil liberties. The contrasts in my life (lives!) over the years will provide a broad canvas upon which to draw together my thoughts on the subject. Maybe the thinking is more important than the delivery of such a speech. Though it's not easy to be in both a period of active participation and retrospection simultaneously. We'll just have to see if I can manage it.

Maybe I can work that through here ... but it would surely help if you'd provide some feedback while I do so. Do you suppose?