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Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska and Republican Candidate for Vice President, has some problems with the native people of Alaska, it seems. Her record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues is abysmal and not what one might expect of an outdoorsy woman and a “champion for people with special needs.”

Thanks to poet Joy Harjo for this information.

Nothing can spoil this morning. The rain has stopped. The birds sing and starlings pursue a crow across the gray sky. Clouds still hang low over the woods. It’s cool.

The whisky barrels by the woodshed stand or lie in wetness, one of them with wet weeds up the navel, others rolling in the soaked chips of wood and bark.

Someone has sawed a keg in half, and it is one of the most beautiful objects on the property at the moment. An example of wabi-sabi (simplicity) that Suzuki talks about. With joy, yesterday, I smelled the charred barrel. How beautiful to see it catch rain.

Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Lawrence S. Cunningham, editor. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996: 281

It is an ongoing temptation to think of ourselves as living under a curse. The loss of a friend, an illness, an accident, a natural disaster, a war, or any failure can make us quickly think that we are no good and are being punished. This temptation to think of our lives as full of curses is even greater when all the media present us day after day with stories about human misery.

Jesus came to bless us, not to curse us. But we must choose to receive that blessing and hand it on to others. Blessings and curses are always placed in front of us. We are free to choose. God says, Choose the blessings!

September 2008