Here in Sebastopol, where I live, someone loves driving around in his pick-up with a huge American flag attached to its bed. So far as I know he does it every day. I suppose he is making a statement about his patriotism.Every week on the main corner here in town for years two groups face off, one loudly “supporting our troops” the other more quietly supporting peace.The first waves flags and to my mind, sadly the second group generally does not, giving the first a visual advantage they do not deserve.
Among people with more progressive sympathies patriotism has gotten a bit of a bad rap by being equated with those who talk the most aggressively about it, and shove their views in everyone’s face.It’s rather like religion getting a bad rap because of the excesses of those who make the most noise about it.I think this is too bad.Patriotism is a complicated emotion and a complicated commitment, but it is very real for most of us.
This pentagram is built into a small tower in Presidio Park in San Diego, California. The pentagram is on the tower roof, open to the air, which is reached by climbing a staircase.
The official name of the Witches' Tower is the Pattie Memorial, commemorating the first American to die to California. It is supposed to be built close to where a historical guardhouse and jail used to be. The Pattie Memorial is a storage building. Presidio Park is very convenient to the hotels on Hotel Circle. Multiple layers of candle wax on the pentagram attest to its ritual use.
There is an apple tree on our family homestead that is about as old as my mom (80-90 years). The apples are thin skinned and yellow, but pleasantly tart and flavorful, and are perfect apple for sauce or baking. I’ve made more than one trip up to Maine specifically to catch the apples for sauce. Wasting them seems like sacrilege.
The tree grows out of the center of the stone wall the borders the property and has been becoming more and more top heavy while the trunk rots. Apple trees are very tough. As long as one thin strip of bark remains intact, the tree will continue to bare fruit. It needs only sun. Unlike annual vegetables, one cannot grow an identical apple tree from apple seeds. Apple DNA in the seed is diverse, and every new tree grown from apple seeds will be different.
There is lots of talk in modern Paganism about 'holding space'. It's an idea I rather love - the focused intention and purpose of a (usually ritual) act. But how often do we consciously realize the holding of space in the everyday as well? How far do we become beholden to it as we take it for granted?
Perhaps you have heard the term “food culture.” It is the idea that a particular group of people eats a particular group of foods. Cajun, for example is from Louisiana. It is spicy, and includes a lot of fish, or German cooking, that uses cabbage and sausage. Both use the foods that are locally available to create a particular flavor palate. Food culture is trendy. Which is funny because it is just what people eat because they had to. Germans ate- and still eat – sauerkraut because cabbage grows well in Germany’s northern climate. People on the gulf coast eat fish because it is available, and spicy foods because it is cooling to do so. Food culture is about place. Barbara Kingsolver says food culture is “an affinity between the people and the land that feeds them.”
For Europeans, this is a straightforward proposition. There are long traditions there that are supported by not only differences in food availability, but in differences in language. For North Americans it’s a different story. We do have some things that support local food cultures to be sure, in our early years here, it was a matter of pride for a woman to source her family’s needs close to home rather than importing from England. This was one of the ways that women contributed to the Revolution.