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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sometmes the greatest beauty


1/31
Walking down Amsterdam, I meet Teddy on his way to the church with a load of toilet paper from the dollar store for the restrooms. I tell him I had an e-mail from a neighbor to the north who had seen at 8:15 pm and later after 11, a circle of people in the back yard passing what looked like a lit pipe.She asked me to remind the group about curfew. 
Curfew was the leat of my concerns. People not supposed to be back there anyways. Was supposed to be move out day. Plus, well....Teddy says he’ll tell Rafael. But when I get there, we sit down and talk. Rafael had been letting people go back there to smoke so they wouldn’t congregate in front of the church. Sometimes folks share handrolled. But he understands the issue. People are watching. Plus voices carry. Plus...
Time to check our report to Presbytery one last time and then head to the copy shop to get 200 copies, then cab to Union for the meeting. 
2/1
The morning after. Never got to really speak, share our report. The weight of institutional bureaucratic language, the insular presbyworld while outside everything is breaking loose. Reflecting on the end of the day of white liberal hegemony. (Check Chris Hedges’ Death of the Liberal Class.)Time to take a breath, regroup. Keep moving ahead.
Teddy, Steve and Rafael are gathered with Danielle, talking about the exodus, this interim phase, the new coop coming into being. How these discussions are going on all across the country in Occupy hibernation. Factions sorting out the divisions between hard core activists and those who see creation of cooxperative communities as cell groups to carry the next phase forward, connecting to other affinity groups. The evolution of strategy theory/praxis is intriguing to watch.
Much as I’d like to be downtown to be with Tracy and a rally for arrested Chinese workers, I’m committed to being here and meeting Katherine and Laura for the grand tour of the church. hard to describe Laura beyond story teller extraordinaire. Chris is in Mc Alpin, sweeping, with the splintery floor a sisyphysian task.I make the joke, he seems to get it.  Laura’s  sense of excitement about the place, the center, is real. Again, possibilities.
I’m getting ready to go meet Jim at the office to talk about Presbytery, OWS, possible Presbyterian New Story article. Marc is in the sanctuary, testing his speakers, the sounds of Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler’s guitar rattling the walls..money for nothin’...., ah the sultans...
Late in the day, trying to wrap things up. Tia comes through on her way to prepare for tonight’s Sanctuary class. Occupier Richard ducks in to say You guys are awesome, just awesome...I’m trying to leave, visit Rachel, and my phone rings. 
It’s my mom. My friend Ed De Lair has apparently just dropped dead in New Mexico. And I’m dumbstruck. Ed was solid. Classic Pittsburgh guy. Pastor of our neighborhood church back in Pittsburgh. Lived round the corner back when we lived in a house with a yard like normal people. Maybe ten years younger, his first three kids matched ours agewise. Same school, soccer, little league, basketball.Families, friends.  When I lost my job, he was there. He was always there.  Not dramatic. Not shiny. Just solid. Quiet. Solid. Did it the way it was supposed to be done.
Andrea reminds me that because he worked jobs like me, his pension is minimal. Not sure if he and Becky owned property. 
For awhile he lived on my mom’s street. He’d drop by. Do little, small helpful things. I rested easier, knowing he was there. I remember watching him on a mini backhoe building a labyrinth in the church yard. His peace garden never got built. Recently got his dream job in New Mexico, at Ghost Ranch, Georgia O’ Keefe’s little place. I wanted to see him there. I’m not careful with myself. Ed was. I’m here. He’s not. Not fair.  When I see Jane, I burst into tears. She hugs me. 
Sometimes the greatest beauty is just being there, being who you're supposed to be.

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