** Birthday Thoughts, Crocus & Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. **
An early gift for pollinators (and me)
65 years ago, I was born in Manhasset, NY, on Long Island, the first kid in my family to be born outside of New England in over 200 years. According to my mom, she was overdue with me and, on the advice of her mom, she went bowling to help induce labor.
Today, on my birthday, there were an number of gifts waiting for me outside. Forsythia beginning to bloom, daffodils budding out, a cardinal singing in the trees, and crocus. According to a version of the Persephone myth I read a good number of years ago, crocus are the flowers that Persephone caused to bloom to remind her mother, Demeter, that she would be coming back from the underworld to spend the next two seasons with her, before having to leave again. The cycle of the seasons. Death and rebirth. The light out of darkness.
52 years ago, on my 13th birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. A little under five years before that I had listened to his "I have a dream" speech, and was so moved by it that, 8 yrs old, I had gone up to my room afterward and recited as much of the speech as I could remember, ad libbing what I forgot. This morning I listened to it again, during the hour of my birth. If you've got the time, and you want to listen to it also, you can find a version of it here:
In this time of sheltering in place and staying safe so that we can help keep others safe, it has been comforting to explore the past while planning for the future, and MLK's "I have a dream speech" was a profound influence on me. In the coming weeks, I'll share more of them, with links to their work, but this is the one that means the most to me today.
As a traveling hermit of a storyteller and singer, the beginning of aspiring to move others with words and music feels like it started here, with that speech. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." An act of kindness, a smile, can be a crocus in someone else's spring.