I am a news follower, and in 2022 there were moments and movements that moved me.
Most notable to me, as a woman, is the strength and daring of women of Iran, and their male supporters, who protested in great numbers against the oppressive misogynistic culture that dominates their world. There are still so many places on this globe where women’s lives are tightly controlled, their dreams repressed, their futures bleak.
The courage and determination of the Ukrainian people to fight the aggression of an old-style autocratic leader trying to take over their independent country, an assault marked by cruelty and widespread destruction. When I taught English in Prague years ago, during lessons on the future tense, I would ask: “What do you think will happen in the future?” My older students often grimly responded: “Another country will come to take us over.” Having ancestors from eastern Europe, I am especially touched by their struggles, hopeful those once Soviet countries can remain sovereign nations.
In my land, my gratitude goes out to Congress for legalizing same-sex and mixed-race marriage, a long overdue recognition and acceptance of the lives of so many friends and family I love. We can no longer count on the integrity of the Supreme Court, which now seems to vote its religious beliefs, stepping backward to repeal the right to abortion, rather than to uphold rights for all people, no matter their life choices or situation.
Hoping, but not expecting, that government leaders have the courage to limit gun sales and ownership in a meaningful way. I cannot understand how senseless killings, of children no less, can be allowed to continue. The Second Amendment to our Constitution was not intended to facilitate the violence among its people that we are experiencing. These terrifying shootings make us all fearful, and have branded my country as an unsafe place. Having lived abroad for many years, I recall my students’ fear to travel to the United States due to widespread violence. How could I have assured them otherwise?
I watched every minute of the January 6 insurrection committee hearings. I applaud their recommendations to the Justice Department to charge former president Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for committing crimes against the government, attempting to subvert the election process and the peaceful transfer of power, in an attempt to keep himself in power. Although I am under no illusion that these charges will result in any punishment, I respect and appreciate the integrity of the committee in their efforts to bring out the evidence to the American people. Their detailed investigation and report will ensure that those events will go down in history as important cautionary landmarks in our sometimes-fragile democracy.
As for my own life, still wary of the pandemic that circles the Earth, my wanderlust has cooled a bit. I’m not planning those long-flight over-the-ocean journeys. Instead, road trips around my own country have been calling to me, especially the U.S. southwest. I took time this past year to listen to the calming rhythm of the ocean surf and the calls of shore birds, wander among pastel desert colors, spot the rare bursts of blooms from spiky green cacti, hike red cliffs of eroding stone, commune with a bit of wildlife, and enjoy exhibits of indigenous art and pottery in adobe buildings.
May you find hope and good times this new year and perhaps some constructive challenges to keep you enjoying life. As before, this blog will continue to share some of my previous travels and more to come. I’ll leave you with a quote from artist Georgia O’Keeffe, whose desert lands in New Mexico I visited recently.
“If you can believe in what you are and keep to your line – that is the most one can do with life.”
– Georgia O’Keeffe
My new year’s greeting and photo from a timeless place during 2018 travels:
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Email me at: Ruth@RuthRosenfeld.com