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So this weekend we finally hosted friends from Alexandria.  Dan and I are members of a group focused on Deep Listening and, while we kind of take the summer off, we decided to do a mini-meet-up for the gang here at the Harn.  It was a wonderful chance for a few new people to experience what we’re doing here and it was great for us to get some more feedback on the place.

We spent some time cleaning up the place which included a thorough sweeping and reorganizing of the porch.  We typically do this clean once in the spring, as we begin spending time on the porch, and once mid-summer to enjoy a clean porch for the fall season.  It is so grand to have everything organized again, especially since Dan has almost finished the wall in the porch to assure no Asian Beetle infestations in the arctic entrance (like we had last year).  Sherry was the one member of the group that stayed overnight and, as the most frequent lodger in the arctic entrance, we’ve named it “Sherry’s Nest”.  It’s her favorite place to stay here at the Harn, this little 7′ x 7′ “nest” in the woods.  Next time, I think she’ll bring her puppy to enjoy it with her.  We think this was her fourth stay, so she’s edging in on Sadie, our most frequent flyer.

We also worked on making a bunch of food: Amish oatmeal, rhubarb/apple crisp, roasted beets and beans, zucchini noodles, and Einkorn bread.  In fact, I’m really glad everyone was an afternoon arrival as I had decided to also cram in canning of 4 quarts of green, yellow, & purple beans from Merry Gardens Farm that morning.  Happily I was able to get most everything done before eleven.  What a busy morning!  We did get to listen in on Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me, which was highly entertaining as usual.

Guests started arriving in early afternoon with Susan and Mike arriving first – bringing fresh bread and hard cider, quickly followed by Sherry with Surly and sugar-free soda.  Lee and Reed were delayed by a turtle rescue near Itasca Park.  Said turtle was nicked by a passing driver, breaking the back end of the shell.  hope the turtleWe quickly fixed it with, of all things, duct tape, and set the turtle into the yard to explore.  We named the turtle Hope and Hope found shelter in the shade and took a little snooze.  Hours later, as we headed out for a forest walk after a fine meal pulled together with watermelon and hummus from Lee, and we found Hope had headed off to new adventures.  We anticipate seeing the turtle again as we welcome this woods becoming a new home for Hope.

As I said, these friends are from our group that practices Deep Listening and I’d suggested that if we wanted to have a session, I thought Hope would be a good topic.  Our fearless leader, Lee, had looked for a topic and found one that seemed good, though not exactly Hope.  When she went to print out the quotes and discussion questions, the book magically opened to a study guide for Welcoming Hope!  Five of us enjoyed a lively, thoughtful, and thought provoking discussion of this topic.  Here are some of the things I gleaned from it:

  • One member suggested that the seeds of hope are planted in times of strife. As I thought on this I realized that, indeed, when one is faced with “enough” of any negative situation, it does instill action with a sense of hope that things must improve.  I think about the Black Lives Matter movement and #MeToo.  These people were like, “This is enough, it’s time to stand, no matter what.” And look at the differences that are being made – slow progress, maybe, but progress nonetheless.  [I did hear that there is potential that Michael Brown’s case may be brought up for review in Ferguson and, investigating that realized that his mother is running for City Council – yahoo!  Here’s MSNBC coverage, Wesley Bell comes in about 5:35 to speak about his reasons for running and his victory.  Another win for The People!!]
  • One shared simply that hope is an attitude that, when held, makes every day more happy, even if all that is hoped may not materialize.  It is my experience that, when I am hopeful, I am happier.  Hopes being dashed is difficult.  But I believe hope held is a most critical aspect of continuing to move forward in working for a cause.
  • I commented on my current waning hope in the fight against Line 3 but was encouraged by one sharing that hope is perhaps more importantly about intention and motivation than it is about goals and outcomes.  The hope is in the process, I do see that.  I noted that, while we lost at Standing Rock in that the DAPL was built, we made huge progress in opening the eyes of many and, just this past week, a federal judge was set to rule on whether the DAPL line would need to stop pushing crude.  It seems that since the permits were issued without a proper review of the environmental impacts, the situation warrants reconsideration.  Here’s MPR’s coverage. The ruling was expected by August 10th but has been delayed until month end.  It seems some remain skeptical based on the last comment in this article.  Watching current events as those in power continue to side with corporations and rather than citizens, who can blame them?  But my realization was that, even my current work that may result in Line 3 still being built in Minnesota, is important work and I need to get back on the horse and continue to ride forward.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.   ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.