Monthly Archives: August 2013
Today’s inspirational spark:
Here is the full text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech (ABC News). Dr. King delivered this speech on August 28th, 1963.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.
But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Famed King speech almost didn’t include ‘I have a dream’:
Read about the role of Mahalia Jackson by clicking the link above.
I couldn’t decide if my cat’s indecision was funny or not this morning:
More animations, cartoons, and kitty stuff at http://www.simonscat.com/
Today’s art spark:
Check out the beautiful photographs, typewritten haikus and poetry, and other art at tylerknott.com.
Three samples –
I was gone for a few days on a hiking and backpacking trip…
A lot of what I have read online makes it sound like these kinds of trips are glorious in every way and even easy.
Hmmm… That wasn’t exactly my experience…
Task: Help a friend fulfill a bucket list wish item –> climb North Fork Mountain in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.
The following is my own very biased account of what transpired during that trip. In summary, Day 1 = Angry, Day 2 = Making Peace, and Day 3 = Mixed.
Less than fifteen minutes on the North Fork Mountain Trail, I renamed it the “WTF Trail.” 😦
My backpack was too heavy and ill-fitted for my petite self, the switchbacks were too numerous and steep, and I had vastly underestimated my fitness level for this “moderate to strenuous” trail.
I also quickly came to believe that Mother Nature was out to kill me.
Here’s the evidence:
Exhibit A: Downed log directly on the footpath. I had to maneuver around said log AND avoid one of Mother Nature’s minions.
Exhibit B: You can’t see the deadly spider in this little Vortex of Doom, but I saw it and it was not cool. This was not directly on the footpath, mind you, but I was like, “Oh great! I hadn’t even thought about scary spiders possibly being an issue on this trip.”
Exhibit C: This is a baby plant. This baby plant ALREADY has sharp spikes on it. Now imagine lots and lots of mature plants with spikey spikes = scratches along the way and the fear of getting jacked up if I fell down the side of the trail.
Exhibit D: Rocks. Okay, okay, of course there would be rocks on the footpath, but what you don’t see and certainly don’t know in advance is that Mother Nature has strategically placed hardship obstacles at key points on the trail like when you feel like you just.can’t.go.on.anymore and them Bam! Hello serious rock situation!
It did not help that I sabotaged myself by bringing “Joey.” Yeah, I named my pack. I had to find a way to come to terms with this behemoth on my back, so I gave it a name.
The entire first day, I would say things like “Joey, get it together” or “Joey, I really need you to lose some weight” and “Joey, I’m sorry but I think I’m leaving you on this mountain.” On the plus side, every time I took a sip of water or ate something, I felt a small victory for reducing my load.
It was probably a very good thing that my friend was further ahead of me on the trail most of the time and it was mostly a solo hike. This prevented him from hearing me swear like a sailor (I was a Navy brat), observe me getting angry at the most silliest of things, and seeing my scrunched-up cranky face.
If you are ever angry at the world, I recommend going into the woods. All your anger will get redirected at Mother Nature. Now I have no idea if that’s healthy, but it’s at least a break from your regular headspace stuff because most of the time all you’ll be thinking and doing is one.foot.in.front.of.the.other… And it can be quite humbling. Your life and identity back home are actually not that bad in the grand scheme of things when you get schooled by Mother Nature every minute on a trail. In fact, you start appreciating things waaaay more when it’s back to basics. Of course, most of that is in hindsight after you get home. 😉
Day 1 did include a couple of beautiful views, which thankfully broke up my lengthy angry period:
Long story short, my friend and I realized that our original trip plans were a no-go. We were too tired and achy and weak in Mother Nature’s eyes to continue, and so we adjusted as needed. 🙂
Explore a bit and then head back.
Instead of taking the exact path we had taken in, we decided to take a “shortcut” down the mountain, i.e., Landis Trail.
It was steep as s – – t, but worth it because it was beautiful and faster to the road at the foot of the mountain.
Once on pavement, this was me joking around… well, kind of…
And then I was so happy to finally see the rental car!!!
Appropriate license plate, yeah?
We later drove on a long, windy road, much to the glee of my friend who tapped into his inner race car driver to make our way to a campsite. Once there, I greatly enjoyed tubing the river, which as a side note reaffirmed yet again that I’m a total water baby:
It was on the river that I began to make peace with Mother Nature. It’s hard to be angry around water, especially after seeing a playful baby river otter splash about.
Camping with facilities nearby such as showers and toilets makes a big difference to my camping experience. I thought I might be someone who could really rough it in the woods for a week or more, but I have learned I am not that person (unless a team of kind souls were willing to carry my gear for me, but even then, I’d probably feel too guilty)… and I am glad I know this about myself. 🙂
Seneca Rocks day hike. We took the easiest route to the overlook, but it was not that e-a-s-y people…
This was more my speed and I had a good time without “Joey.” He hung out in the car. The Discovery Center was informative, and I appreciated the staff answering my questions about the area.
Overall Lessons Learned:
(1) Do more research prior to a big hiking trip so as to properly train and prepare for the terrain.
(2) Taking a bucket list trip that is not your own has its pros and cons.
(3) Fried potato wedges dipped in cheese sauce and baco-bits is surprisingly tasty (Front Porch Restaurant).
(4) West Virginia mosquitoes are not as bad as Texas ones.
(5) Joy is amplified after a lot of pain.
Am I proud I did this trip? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably not or at least I would make some changes to the itinerary. Would I recommend it to others? Yes, but not to the faint of heart.