Sunday, March 29, 2015

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto ... .

... and the Yellow Brick Road looks unexpectedly familiar.  Though there have been rough places and demons to do battle with along the way -- little here is surprising.  And I blush to admit that so unashamedly.  It's not that I don't see the specialness of it all, it's just that the miraculous aspect of everyday life is something I'm tapping into more and more these days, with a growing sense of wonder that we tend to walk through the miracles each and every day without fully appreciating this life as it unfolds before us in whatever ways it expresses itself.

Wish I could figure out how to share the great video piece that ran throughout the Department of Interior on their weekly "This week at Interior March 27, 2015" but you can access it on if you wish.  I can't figure out a way to link it, or, to even fix it so that you can copy and paste, and today is Sunday and I'm at home without the benefit of being able to have our graphics person, Luther Bailey, walk me through it.

Suffices to say that last week's visit to Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park of not only the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, but Jon Jarvis, National Director of the National Park Service, and, regional director Chris Lehnertz, as well, spent Thursday afternoon with us, and a warmer more congenial group I've rarely experienced.  What a time!  Sally Jewell is someone I'd find it very easy to love.  What a charismatic and lovely woman is she!

That they were truly impressed by what we're building here was clearly obvious.  That we're layering back in the nuances and complexities of the Era of WWII at a time when those lives and times are so often compacted into bumper stickers is being appreciated by Washington.  It is clear that those whose work guides our ability to do that are fully aware of our challenges and small victories.  I don't think I've ever felt so affirmed.  So surrounded by enablers.  We all did.  

The day ended with a quick drive home to change out of uniform and into more glamorous civvies to attend a reception at Alumna House on the UC Berkeley Campus -- held in honor of the dignitaries gathered here for consideration of plans for the upcoming National Park Service Centennial year 2016, and to tackle the vitally important environmental questions that are before us as a nation and a world.

... it was during the reception in that lovely tree-shaded gracefully designed building that I felt the first pangs of being completely awestruck by the unexpected turn my life has taken in recent weeks.  Upon arrival I entered the room where there was not a single familiar face.  Having outlived most of my contemporaries, I'm now facing a re-peopled world.  I'd arrived far too early and before the others came.   But standing nearby was the UC Board of Regents Chair, Janet Napolitano, and just beyond, historian Douglas Brinkley.

The world of the Academy was alien to me, but reminiscent of the years spent as a faculty wife, Mrs. Dr. William F Soskin, Ph.D., research psychologist connected with Tolman Hall on this very campus.  I'd never quite fit into that Betty's shoes, and the ten years we spent together hardly made a dent in that insecurity, though they brought new opportunities for learning previously not open to me, and re-cast my known world with new friends and possibilities.  It was those years that launched political Betty.

This time I'm the grownup!  These are the kids.  I've attained an eminence over the years through  unsubscribed and unintentional ways but it doesn't really matter at this point.

The game's almost over ... and just when I'm finally beginning to understand the rules of engagement ... .

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