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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

stars and stripes


When we moved to the farm five years ago there was a flag in the basement, which we were not inclined to hang. We didn't have anything against displaying the American flag in the holder on the front porch. We just weren't flag wavers.

Tonight after watching the inauguration, we decided it's time. For the first time in a long time the American flag feels like a symbol of unity, not division. So we dug out the flag with its little eagle at the end of the pole, and I trudged out in knee-deep snow at 8pm and mounted it in the bracket, near the snow-covered spirea bush. We turned on the porch light, since you're supposed to have a light on it if you leave it out at night.

But there was already a light on it, a 'star.' You can see the planet Venus in the western sky behind the flag, the planet named for the goddess of beauty and love. 

112 comments:

Dakota Bear said...

God Bless America. What a wonderful day.

janice_phil said...

i love ur blogs...i love world events...

Bill said...

"For the first time in a long time the American flag feels like a symbol of unity, not division."

I feel it too. I fought for this country and for the first time in a long time...I feel it again.

The Zahir said...

I can picture the entire trip from your living room to the porch ~ I'm amazed at how much we all long for that same unity. God Bless the USA again

J and Z said...

well done! we had the most miraculous sunset here today (MN) - hope instead of fear....works for me...

Wendy said...

Welcome back Pride! Yay for us. Today is a great day. :)

Ryan D. said...

Seems so fitting that love and beauty are bestowed upon our nations flag. :)

Kass said...

Loved that post. And that you put on the porch light- and that Venus was shining. Although a Republican and I voted for McCain, I am still an American, am proud of our country and our new president.

HEMY said...

There's always a first time in evrything..=]

Nautankey said...

Great snap and a wonderful write up to accompany it :).. Wish good things happens

Painting said...

Warmly welcome to visit http://www.art-ych.com
Oil painting
Oil paintings
Painting

humanobserver said...

A brilliant composition...My best wishes are with the new American president...Thanks a ton for leaving a comment on my blog...

Linda Pendleton said...

I like your comment about "freeze a moment" in regards to your photos. Never thought of it that way.

Also love your comment: "For the first time in a long time the American flag feels like a symbol of unity, not division." I think that is what many of us have been feeling. Today was about unity, acceptance, tolerance, and equality--and much needed change. Let's hope all these good feelings stay. I'm hopeful and optimistic that there is a new postive energy now flowing, and change will take place.

I also love your description of our President! I also see a Zen quality about him. :-)

Linda

alice said...

I do understand. What a great day, so touching. What a long road too...
Thank you for visiting my little blog, Ruth.

kanmuri said...

I live in Japan and for Japanese people all white people are American. Until Obama came, I felt somewhat insulted to be called American (I'm Canadian), not because I think American people are bad or something like that but because of the "Bush image" of America. For the first time, I wish I was American to share the excitement, to feel the patriotism. Of course, Stephen Harper is another reason for not being too happy about not being American.

Anyway, I hope what I wrote is understandable... And I hope I didn't insult anyone...

Donica said...

Well done!! After reading your post I realized I have been feeling the same way but just couldn't find the right description..."unity not division"...that's it!

Stiggy said...

Hi Ruth, we watched the inauguration yesterday - it was an amazing thing to witness.

Unfortunately in our country, we aren't allowed to fly our national flag - the 'Union Flag' on our own property - neither can we fly any other type of flag - just in case we offend someone of a different nationality!!!

One person over here in the UK flew a 'Jolly Roger' pirate flag out for a kids Birthday .... and was heavily fined for doing so - our contry has gone mad!!

Anyway - A lovely story following an incredible day!

:D

Susan said...

Ruth, my flag is coming out of the closet today. Thank you for inspiring me. Wasn't yesterday just wonderful!

meryl's musings said...

What a beautiful post. We celebrated with some new friends last night, toasting the possibilities for the next four years.

Sammi said...

Your flag looks beautiful.

Also as above says, I think I'll settle for a cup of tea ;)

Ruth said...

Dakota Bear, I feel things are different today.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much Janice. I don't always post about current events, but sometimes I just have to.

Ruth said...

Bill, your inaugural post blows me away. What you've experienced for our country gives your viewpoint incredible power. I'm so grateful for this sense of unity. I hope it will last. But I feel it's up to us, not just the President. Thank you for all you've done.

Ruth said...

The Zahir, I hadn't thought about it, but plowing with my legs through the snow - kind of like the cold river in Obama's speech - is symbolic.

Thank you for your comment.

Ruth said...

J and Z, oh! I hope you'll post a picture.

Ruth said...

Wendy, it's such a new feeling, just trying to absorb it.

Ruth said...

Ryan D., it touched me so much to realize that.

Ruth said...

Dear Kass, thank you for sharing that, and for your openness.

I hope everyone will watch the clip of the John Adams story, showing them moving into a very different White House.

Ruth said...

HEMY, a first I didn't expect.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Nautankey! Nice to see you. And thank you for your wishes from the other side of the world. What we do here affects you too.

Ruth said...

Keep up the art writing, Painting.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Deepak. Another friend from India who stands with Amerians hoping for the best.

Ruth said...

Alice, a long road to this place, very long.

I love visiting you, Alice. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Kanmuri, understandable and interesting. I have wondered if this would happen. How things have changed!

Ruth said...

Donica, YES!

Ruth said...

Hi Stiggy. I never knew about the law against displaying flags in the UK.

Thank you for sharing our joy.

Ruth said...

Susan, let's take back the flag!

Ruth said...

Meryl, cool way to start a friendship.

It does feel new, I hope that will last.

Ruth said...

Sammi, come on in!

Thank you.

Ruth said...

Linda, sorry I skipped over you. Yes, Pres. Obama is quite calm and seems to be centered. He will need it, can you imagine?

Your video clip is beautiful today.

Amy said...

Yesterday the crowd at the mall was America! a gorgeous day indeed!

Ruth said...

Amy! The day was momentous. Whatever comes now, it was our day.

lakeviewer said...

Ruth,
Thanks for a luminous blog.

Love the Rumi poetry.

sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com

dutchbaby said...

You chose the perfect occasion to dust off your flag. I like how you pointed out that the celebrants go beyond Earth's atmosphere. Venus is a beautiful witness to this historic day.

Nathan said...

"For the first time in a long time the American flag feels like a symbol of unity, not division."

So true. Looking at it from an outsider's perspective, it seems that the view of America is finally changing for the better

Rachete said...

It is an exciting time for our country!

http://racheteapaintersdiary.blogspot.com/

Vickie said...

what a pretty photo : )

Muffin said...

I can't agree with you more. You have a way with turning words into gold. :)
I don't think you could have picked a better time in history to finally hang our Flag.

Christina said...

Aww... I hope a beautiful breeze, blows for your flag to wave high and proud. ; )

Anet said...

It's good to be renewed, renewed in hope!

photowannabe said...

Totally awesome Ruth. I love the "light" on the flag.

Peter said...

What a nice feeling we now all share again, at last!

BrieAnn said...

I wondered why I didn't have a flag to put up several times throughout inauguration day.

I hope this feeling lasts and lasts.

Rebecca said...

My sister and I watched the ceremony at home and we clapped and cheered anyway! We could not have been more excited! We even clapped and cheered as we watched the helicopter take away Bush and Cheney. (Even though I detest him, I did find a soft spot in my heart for being in a wheelchair on his last day as VP.) Today Obama began to prove he meant what he said and I am very, very hopeful for our future. I feel proud of this country again!

Ruth said...

Lakeviewer, that's a beautiful word, luminous. Thank you for that.

Now Rumi, he's luminous.

Ruth said...

Oh Dutchbaby, it feels so "other" that I almost feel extraterrestrial. We needed a big dose of love and beauty, and we got it yesterday.

Ruth said...

Nathan, it was a pretty good first day on the job, taking the first step to close down Guantanamo.

shicat said...

A cloud has lifted,we have hope and promise. I have not lost all of my anger from the Bush years, I suppose that will diminish with time. Yesterday was incredible.

Ruth said...

Rachete, it's exciting for us, and for the world too. I know some aren't excited though, they're afraid. I wish they could celebrate this.

Ruth said...

Vickie, I'm surprised I was able to lighten the photo enough, and that it was in focus. I'm not good with night shots yet.

Beth said...

and what a great day it was !!!

Barry said...

Sometimes, Ruth, what you have to say is just perfect.

This was one of those times.

TwistedSerenity said...

Aww, I love your post! We're a military family here...so very patriotic! I couldnt agree more, I think Obama will be good for us!

Be one with the Fro said...

Wasn't it a glorious day yesterday? I was hooked on the TV ALL day. I couldn't wake up this morning because I was so exhausted. I hope and pray that it will be a good 4 years. I know there will be tough times to face, but overall I think it will be good.

Keep on blogging!

Wrensong Farm said...

Unity not division...I have that feeling as well, and it encourages me to think more positively on what our Nation can become.

Ruth said...

Muffin, when I drove home from work last night and saw the porch light on and flag waving, I felt very odd. I am looking at myself and wondering what I did with Ruth?

Ruth said...

Christina, last night when I drove home from work and pulled in the drive, I thought of your words here, because the breeze was blowing through the flag. It was so beautiful - and BIG!

Ruth said...

Anet, this feels so good. We're watching a president who wants to do it right!

Ruth said...

Hi Sue! When I walked out with the flag and saw Venus, I was stunned at its brightness.

Ruth said...

Peter, something feels different, and I don't think it's just our new President. I'm just enjoying it. It feels like a release of creativity all around.

Ruth said...

Yes, BrieAnn, I hope the feeling will last too. I really appreciated what you posted about this at your blog. While the feeling might not last, something has changed, and we can't go back.

Thank god!

Coffee Messiah said...

Nicely said.

Although never a flag waver, it certainly is time to start feeling better about being an american ; )

After 9/11 we eventually had to put flags on the window of our coffeehouse, as we noticed a slight decline in customers then.

It was weird.

Cheers!

Ruth said...

Rebecca, well, I didn't have quite that reaction to Cheney in a wheelchair. I had more of an image of creepy old Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life." Ahh, it felt good when Mr. Biden was sworn in.

Ruth said...

Cathy, yes a cloud has lifted, something has shifted, we've been released from something dark.

Ruth said...

Beth, we're so lucky we can watch it all on TV.

Ruth said...

Aw, Barry, thanks.

You know, I feel the same about you. Really.

Ruth said...

TwistedSerenity, thanks so much for your comment. I'm ready for patriotism to be something new and fresh, worthy and open to critical thinking.

Ruth said...

Be One, I will have the images from the day in my mind always. The day lived up to my expectations, and then some.

Ruth said...

Hi Tammy! Sometimes I think I've gone over the top. But maybe we need a good strong dose of positive for a while to get us through the rough road ahead.

Ruth said...

Coffee Messiah, wow, that is interesting, and disturbing. Yeah, weird.

delpine said...

Your posts always move me. Its amazing what one can find in the basement or attic of a newly bought house. Back in the 60's Alex & I found an oil painting which had a slash in it. We took it to Sotheby's who think its by a famous English historical painter Bejamin Robert Haydon--needless to say it is now framed and has 'pride of place' at home - still with its slash. Be warm & happy!

Kerri said...

Beautiful Ruth!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, I know exactly what you mean! For the past eight years, patriotism was redefined. It seemed that to fly the flag meant that one was in totally agreement with the administration and its policies. I could not do that. But now, like you, I feel inclined to do so. America feels like home again!!

Nathalie said...

Ruth I'll be the 84th to tell you how much I rejoice with you in those times of hope. We're with you all the way. Can you see my smile?

Ruth said...

Delphine, oh, you found a treasure in your basement. How fun!

We too have a painting on the wall with a slash in it. My dad's mother painted a beautiful dark still life of corn, and in the move my nephews punctured an L going round something too closely.

Ruth said...

Kerri, I'm still gushing.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Pamela, I'm so glad you understand. Before, it felt like waving a flag was about military defense and aggression.

Ruth said...

Dear Nathalie, actually half of these comments are mine, so you're really #42 (kind of like Obama saying he was the 44th person to hold office, but he was only the 43rd because Grover Cleveland served twice). :D

I can feel your happiness all the way across the pond. I don't know if we will all stay so elated, not likely. But I am savoring it for now.

Mrs. M. said...

I think the flag represents different things based upon our perspective. You found strength in the hope of change, and now want to express it in this way. We have flown our flag our of respect for our family members who have served our country and are now either in retirement (Garland's brother, career Navy), and my father and grandfather, passed-away veterans.

I liked what I heard Tom Brokaw say when he talked about the continuing need of partisanship to pursue compromised change, not just non-partisanship that accomplishes nothing.

Gwen Buchanan said...

I like this sentiment, Ruth... I love your photo... something very special about Venus watching over it... very touching...

we can believe...

rauf said...

Sentiments are good within limits Ruth. Nice to be poetic, but not very seriously at the cost of losing the grip. The impact of grief would be hundred fold when the people we trust let us down. Hope this doesn't happen.

missy said...

you're not alone in your feelings. i always said i was born 20 years too late...but now, for the first time, i know i was born EXACTLY when i was supposed to be... in perfect time to experience this beautiful awakening of the american spirit. it's amazing!

Oliag said...

...Isn't it just amazing to see, hear, and feel how excited everyone is with this change in the air?

Ruth said...

Mrs. M., well said. It's easy for me to open up into patriotism now. It was hard when it felt that to be patriotic meant supporting a mindless warrior mentality. But I admire those who serve, and I respect the reasons you have flown the flag.

My elation will fade. It will get grounded over time in reality. But I hope progress will go on toward what Tom Brokaw said. We have to figure out what we have in common, what we can agree upon, and work for good.

Ruth said...

Dear Gwen, love and beauty is always there. I want to always be conscious of it, even when I don't feel it. It was there before Nov. 20 too. It was harder then to see it.

Ruth said...

Indeed, rauf Abi, when grim realities remind us that maybe circumstances haven't changed all that much, we will get angry and disappointed again. What I hope is that this change has made me different, more ready to participate and act. It feels that people made this happen, at the ground. So now the expectation is that we will have to keep making things happen. I think he has succeeded at that. And you are right at your post, that Mr. Obama can use that people strength and technology to change us from the bottom up. He needs to.

Please keep after me with the facts, rauf. I always want to balance dreams with facts.

Ruth said...

Missy, I was glad to see Mr. Obama's list of tasks his first days in office at your blog.

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Mónica said...

Nice :D we are all celebrate! (with flags in heart)

Tony said...

Tonight after watching the inauguration, we decided it's time. For the first time in a long time the American flag feels like a symbol of unity, not division.

I did not read every comment above, but I am clearly in the minority. I think this is a truly sad statement. I believe that a persons feelings say much more about the feeler than the object of the feeling.

But please know that, though I did not vote for my new President, I too am more proud of my country in that we have taken a significant step toward color-blindness.

Blessings.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Kin'xp. I tried linking to your blog, but it wasn't at your profile page.

Ruth said...

Hi Mónica, glad you're happy with us too. I hope the energy will help things change.

Ruth said...

Tony, thank you very much for your honesty and for taking time to comment. Yes, how we view race in this country is changing, partly thanks to this election.

Maybe I have been mistaken, but my distinct belief is that flags being displayed at private residences in the past 8 years have for the most part meant:

- support of the current administration's policies
- support of the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
- support of fear mongering
- support of defense as our first priority

No doubt some flags displayed were at homes where servicemen and women are represented, and thanks to them for their service and sacrifice. Again, I don't care if someone else wanted to display a flag. I was too disturbed by our illegal wars to appear to be supporting the Bush administration.

Those who speak in support of the past administration's policies have been very divisive, making it seem that anyone who criticizes government (i.e., Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, our preemptive wars, etc.) is unpatriotic.

What we are expressing with our flag is hope for other ways of approaching the world, diplomacy before guns. The other items on the agenda, such as civil rights, volunteering in local communities, getting our hands dirty to make this country work. That's what the new administration represents to me.

I recognize that President Obama will likely expand the war in Afghanistan. This disturbs me deeply, and I don't know the solution.

A flag on our porch doesn't mean we agree 100% with what our country's government is doing. It is a symbol of standing with our President for change that badly needs to happen. We did not feel in the last 8 years that our country was heading in the right direction.

CSouthwell said...

Ruth,

Thanks again for dropping by my blog, and i had a fantastic birthday.

I wanted to know if you would be kind enough to take part in my Project in February.

There is more info on my latest blog post now. I hope to see you joining in.

Take care, and I'm glad you hung out your flag.

Charlie

http://laughterminute.blogspot.com

crazywisher said...

APPLAUSE APPLAUSE... :D

Ruth said...

Thanks, Crazywisher. I tried leaving a comment on your blog, but it wouldn't load the box. :(

Please try joining a local group - for skiing, or a book group, or knitting. It will give you something to look forward to every week.

Geeky Black Girl said...

Wow, this really resonated with me. I was just going through blogs and the imagery caught my eye at first so I stuck around to read. To watch my mother cry the whole day of inauguration as she was feeling some content and unity with her country that she had never really felt. She grew up during segregation as did her mother so this day was something she never thought would come in her lifetime. I, too, am PROUD to be an American.

Ruth said...

Hi there, Geeky Black Girl. This alone, what you wrote, is why the day was profound for me. The Presidency will go on. Things will happen. He will have to prove himself. But the day Jan. 20 was huge.

LionHeart said...

When you disagree with your government, and are not always happy with the directions your nation is moving in, yet you still love your country and it's people, and you still support your government, that's an expression of patriotism which goes beyond the fads and hype of the moment. It's a truer, more honest and adult patriotism that understands, unselfishly, that you cannot always have your way in all things, but that doesn't mean you feel any less a part of your country. Many of us are taught this basic understanding as children.

When you agree with everything your government is doing and every direction your nation is moving in, it's very easy to be 'patriotic'. After all, your 'Yes!' is part of a chorus of like-minded voices singing the same tune.

My flag waves proudly from the holder on my front porch, regardless of who is President, and regardless of whether or not I agree with each and every policy and decision that my President makes. As an American, I have that right to an honest disagreement and forthright dialog, without the need to denigrate those who disagree with me.

Ruth said...

LionHeart, thank you for saying this so well. I agree with you, that what you have done is the truest patriotism. I admire your broad lion heart that has that capacity. I'm touched actually.

Whether it's immaturity, or dishonesty, or a small heart, I would not have found it possible to hang a flag since spring 2003.

I hope by not hanging a flag I have not denigrated those I disagree with.

1hunk2kids3labs said...

I have enjoyed your posts. I noticed you made reference to sizzling fires. Do you ever cut your own firewood? I posted about cutting wood today. My family and I really enjoy getting out there. We live on 23 acres. The activity seems to break up the monotonous months of winter. Thank you for the warmth, hope and all around positive energy you inspire.

Ruth said...

1hunk2kids3labs, Awesome! I can totally relate to what you wrote at your post. We have 5 acres, and lots of dead wood, so my husband goes out with the chainsaw and goes at it. Usually I help him load up his pickup, then we drive it up to the corncrib and stack it.

In last summer's quick wind storm (remember that one??) we lost half of a mature maple, right across the driveway. But we have been burning it all winter! It's almost gone, and this weekend we need to get out and cut some more.

I've never split any myself! That freaks me out a little. But you're inspiring. Maybe someday I'll have the nerve.

Thank you so much for the sites, I'm going to the woodheat.org one now.

Oh, and last year we actually got billed for our propane tank "rental" because we didn't use the minimum propane to waive that fee!