Category Archives: Culture

Pretty in pink, but prettier in purple

I always get a thrill driving across the George Washington Bridge, especially at night. This particular crossing was a Friday  in early October, just last month. It had taken me quite a while to even get near the George Washington.  Stuck in traffic for an hour on I95, the weather changed from clear to rainy as I neared the bridge.  The infamously polite New York drivers made the approach to the bridge even more challenging when construction required a lane merge.

Limos, trucks and huge SUVs claimed their status on the road, overtaking more humble vehicles like my own.  After all, it was Friday night so  city-driving rules  applied in this teaming traffic tie-up.  With seven more hours of driving before me I was, quite frankly, quickly losing my Zen.

I took a deep breath in and a deep breath out.  Breathe in calm; breathe out tension.  This didn’t help a whole lot.  I took a breath mint.  That didn’t help either. Traffic was still not moving at all. I called on Reiki spirit, on the power of light & love, and I started to feel better.  And then, my lane starting moving.

Finally, finally, I was on the George Washington Bridge… but  more than that… the bridge’s spans were lit in Purple colored lights!  How beautiful the bridge looked in the rain. How absolutely unexpected and  amazing. I captured it in a photo.

Lights on George Washington Bridge

What did it mean, I wondered, these Purple colored lights?  And then my mind turned to late September and the tragic death of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers’ student who had taken his life on the bridge; these Purple lights must be a tribute to him.  How wonderful, I thought, society is surely changing when acknowledgement of such a senseless loss could be honored in such a public display.

How beautiful those Purple lights looked to me. My Zen feeling was back. It seemed to me in that moment, that tolerance for differences, as well as intolerance for persecution of those differences, were true possibilities.

 I drove across the George Washington with a pretty good high. I drove across the George Washington with loss and sadness for a young man’s life and his parents’ grief.  The Yin always with the Yang.

Of course,  my story does not end there. After crossing the Bridge, I headed south and exited at a rest stop. I sent my daughter the photo I had taken and texted her how touched and amazed  I was by the Purple “memorial lights”  on the George Washington Bridge. She quickly texted me back……”the lights are Pink, it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month”.

……I sighed.  ……I reflected.  Pretty awesome Pink lights, I thought!   We’ve come a long way to get Pink lights on the George Washington Bridge.  Society just needs to go a little further to have Purple lights on the George Washington Bridge.

Life is fine,

Sarah


Family of Man

Friday morning, on NBC’s TODAY show, Meredith Vieira interviewed a man who had risked his life to rescue a dog trapped in a Utah canyon.  When she asked him, in essence, had he considered that he was risking his own life to save a dog’s life, he replied …..”it was never a question”.  A shift has occurred and I don’t think its been fully acknowledged.  If this shift has not yet occurred for all of us, it has certainly occurred for many of us.  Dogs have reached the status of being part of the Family of Man.

I suggest that Zak Anderegg, the rescuer, responded with a gut reaction – a dog in trouble;  one of our kind;  rescue it!  Now, I’m certainly not  putting forth a genetic argument of inclusion.  But the qualities we love most about dogs –  unconditional love, loyalty, empathy,  curiousity and forgiveness – are the qualities to which we humans aspire. 

Ace in the hole: He saved dog trapped in canyon – TODAY Pets & Animals – TODAYshow.com.

Some people might argue that the social rules of dogs aren’t at the level of human interaction using this as an argument for exclusion from our family.  But then, social rules vary quite a lot in the human species.  Abundant examples of less than exemplary  human behavior abound. 

If you need further evidence for dogs’ inclusion in the  family of man, than it would be this. Dogs remain in the present moment without benefit of meditation or spiritual guide books.  They are present and grateful for the gifts at hand.  They enjoy the party of life.   And often,  dogs  lead us to that  party, in helping us find that joy.

Please give me no arguments on cognitive capacity or limbic brain processing.  I know what I know.  Dogs deserve to be counted in the roll call of family, micro or macro.   I count these dogs as family members, both past and present – Coco, Pepper, Max, Cicero and Jez –  I love you forever and for always.

family member Jez

                                                                                                              Life is fine,

                                                                                                                 Sarah