“Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” ―Doris Lessing (1919-2013)
—Rabindranath Tagore, from a 1919 letter to Mahatma Gandhi in which the Nobel laureate offers these and other words of advice cautioning Gandhi on planting the seeds of intolerance.
While searching for a lead image for this week’s episode with Eve Ensler, I discovered this incredible photo by Agung Parameswara. The episode’s title? “A Second Wind in Life: Eve Ensler on Inhabiting the Body After Cancer” in which the author of “The Vagina Monologues” talks about her violent childhood, about women being obsessed by their bodies and yet not inhabiting them, and how cancer helped her make peace with her own.
In the photo, a Balinese Hindu devotee performs the Melukat ritual during full moon at Sebatu holy waterfall in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. The Melukat ritual, where devotees bathe in the holy water of a spring, waterfall, or other water source believed to have the apropriate cleansing power for purification, is a symbolical and literal cleansing of the body and soul aimed at preventing misfortune and bad luck, including sickness or havoc caused by daily activities and sins.
For Rachel Button, who hails from metro Detroit but now lives in the state of Washington’s North Cascade Mountains, images of a Veterans Day parade on Woodward Avenue in Detroit remind her of the march that often goes unacknowledged. Specifically, Eric Seals photographs for the Detroit Free Press inspired her to write this poem:
You wanted the poor and tired huddled masses—
the slack-jawed and stubbled—
but we march alone on Woodward
uniforms stiff on our still-broad shoulders,
The Free Press took pictures.
Photos of men,
marching a street edged by empty sidewalks,
black men and white men
some of us in leather and flannel
others in uniforms which trim our bodies
into silhouettes framed by brass buttons.
Imagine the hands at our sides:
wrinkled, smooth, freckled, gloved—
scarred by cuts and burns, scrapes and time—
hands that held babies,
hands that held our heads when loneliness
felt too heavy to hold on our necks.
We bend into cold with something like pride
not for the battles we fought,
but because we’re still standing, walking, moving,
together, slapping our shoes on Woodward,
standing straight, even if not one soul watches.
For an engaging and informative read, I highly recommend John Carlisle’s columnaccompanying Mr. Seals photos.
We ought to see more photos like this in the news. They are out there.
An Afghan nomad kisses his young daughter while watching his herd in Marjah, Helmand province, on October 20, 2012
AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus
(Source: ldnsyndrome, via ghazalaa)
Julie Zelle and Mikel Ellcessor share a lighter moment before our first board meeting in On Being’s new offices. Golden.
The incomparable Jay Cowles and Krista Tippett emerge from a tour of our new studios before our first board meeting in the new Loring Park space. Love their postures.