Soothing Things

I have been far to busy and stretched for time in the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been a bit on the stressed side the past couple of days in particular.  Nothing major – just lots of little things.  Little things have a way of adding up to feel as large as an elephant, though, have you noticed?

I remember being told once (and I suspect it is true) that scientists say that blue is the most soothing color.  Do you know what the second most soothing color to the human is?  Green.  How wonderful that the sky is blue (half of all we can see) and that most of the rest of the world (outside of cities anyway) is green with grass, trees and even sea-green at times (when it’s not blue!)  Someone knew what they were doing when they decided upon this color scheme!

Anyway, today I was looking for some photos that I was supposed to send to someone for a work project, only to discover that I’d deleted them somehow.  That was one more little stress for today (for me it was a stressor because I like to be very responsible and felt like I’d let folks down).  But as I was looking for those pictures, I was searching through every photo folder on my computer and ran across today’s picture.  It isn’t a spectacular landscape, a cute puppy or even a plant or flower.  It’s just a picture I’d taken much earlier in this year and had tucked it away and forgotten about it.  When I looked at it, though, it brought me peace.  A patch of warm sunshine, green grass, a stream meandering among some rocks and under an overpass, a few blossoms on the overhanging trees.    Ah! Soothing.

Maybe I just need to look a bit harder each day to see more of the soothing things that are all around me all the time.  Maybe you do, too!

_MG_0804_5_6_tonemappedON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1862, more than 300 Santee Sioux were found guilty of raping and murdering Anglo settlers and are sentenced to hang. A month later, President Abraham Lincoln commuted all but 39 of the death sentences. One of the Indians was granted a last-minute reprieve, but the other 38 were hanged simultaneously on December 26 in a bizarre mass execution witnessed by a large crowd of approving Minnesotans.

The Santee Sioux were found guilty of joining in the so-called “Minnesota Uprising,” which was actually part of the wider Indian wars that plagued the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. For nearly half a century, Anglo settlers invaded the Santee Sioux territory in the beautiful Minnesota Valley, and government pressure gradually forced the Indians to relocate to smaller reservations along the Minnesota River.

At the reservations, the Santee were badly mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and contractors; during July 1862, the agents pushed the Indians to the brink of starvation by refusing to distribute stores of food because they had not yet received their customary kickback payments. The contractors callously ignored the Santee’s pleas for help.

Outraged and at the limits of their endurance, the Santee struck back, killing Anglo settlers and taking women as hostages. The initial efforts of the U.S. Army to stop the Santee warriors failed, and in a battle at Birch Coulee, Santee Sioux killed 13 American soldiers and wounded another 47 soldiers. However, on September 23, a force under the leadership of General Henry H. Sibley finally defeated the main body of Santee warriors at Wood Lake, recovering many of the hostages and forcing most of the Indians to surrender. The subsequent trials of the prisoners gave little attention to the injustices the Indians had suffered on the reservations and largely catered to the popular desire for revenge. However, President Lincoln’s commutation of the majority of the death sentences clearly reflected his understanding that the Minnesota Uprising had been rooted in a long history of Anglo abuse of the Santee Sioux.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The giant red star Betelguese – the red star in the shoulder of the constellation Orion – is 700 million miles across, about 800 times larger than the Sun. Light takes 1 hour to travel from one side of the giant star to the other.



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