Hoping Against Hope

Double-or-triple click to see a larger version of the photo.

It has been a rough past couple of months, not just for our family and friends, but for the world.  Personally, we traversed the country back to CA for a period of time and it was rather much of an upheaval for various reasons.

Then our daughter’s best friend since their days in high school went into the hospital in the desperate need of replacement lungs due to what appears to have been the result of black mold hidden inside the walls of their home.  As she was waiting for the lungs, she had heart trouble…then was dropped from the transplant list, then re-instated in need of both heart AND lungs.  She finally got them, but right afterwards the heart stopped working…and not too long thereafter, when it became clear it wasn’t going to re-start, she died at 32 years young, leaving an adoring husband and two little ones (4 and 2).

There have been more shootings and there is instability in the Ukraine and again in Iraq.  I read today that the Taliban just chopped off the fingers of those who recently voted in Iraq in retaliation.  And it all makes me sick.

On Saturday, we needed a break and went to Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.  In the locale is a statue that caught my attention and is the subject of today’s photo.

It is part of the The International Cheemah Monument Project, which involves placing either 18-foot tall bronze monuments in public places worldwide to create an inspiring bridge between cultures.

The Cheemah Monuments celebrate cultural diversity, world unity and care for the earth.  To date, three have been placed — in Germany, Spain, and the United States.

Speaking at the State of the World Forum in San Francisco, a gathering of 700 leaders from 120 countries, the Osprey Orielle Lake, the sculptor, said the purpose of the statues is to remind us of the need, and hope, for healing the divisive conflicts in the world today.

She went on: “The statue, Cheemah, endeavors to bring a message of hope and beauty to all of us. Cheemah is a symbol of light that illuminates the best in humanity.  When each of us gives our best we can create solutions so needed in our time. Cheemah carries the fire torch of hope and peace adorned with medallions of the world’s hemispheres. These medallions represent our wondrous earth.

“Upon the torch there is a ring of five colors representing all the different peoples of the world.  The majestic golden-colored eagle represents the sun with its far-reaching wings that touch us all, like the rays of the sun.”

I wish that a statue could bring about all that kind of change.  If it could, I’d become a sculptor.  Alas, while I like the idea, I believe it takes a lot more than sculpture to heal all that is wrong with this world.  And as usual, that kind of change starts with each of us.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting Washington, D.C.

Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was moving. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock around Fredericksburg, and set it on the road to Pennsylvania. Lee and the Confederate leadership decided to try a second invasion of the North to take pressure off Virginia and to seize the initiative against the Army of the Potomac. The first invasion, in September 1862, failed when the Federals fought Lee’s army to a standstill at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland.

Lee later divided his army and sent the regiments toward the Shenandoah Valley, using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen. After the Confederates took Winchester, Virginia, on June 14, they were situated on the Potomac River, seemingly in a position to move on Washington, D.C.  Lincoln did not know it, but Lee had no intention of attacking Washington. All Lincoln knew was that the Rebel army was moving en masse and that Union troops could not be certain as to the Confederates’ location.

On June 15, Lincoln put out an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it was an indication of how little the Union authorities knew of Lee’s movements and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.

In slightly more than two weeks’ time, the two armies would collide in a tiny Pennsylvania hamlet named Gettysburg, and the tide of war would turn in the Union’s favor.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  The human brain consists of approximately 100 billion neurons (which is as many cells as there are stars in the Milky Way). Each neuron has somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 synapses, equaling about 1 quadrillion synapses. If all the neurons in the human brain were lined up, they would stretch 600 miles. As a comparison, an octopus has 300,000 neurons, a honeybee has 950,000, and a jellyfish has no brain at all.


2 thoughts on “Hoping Against Hope

  1. Sorry to hear about your tough times. Gut-wrenching stuff about the young mother.

    Truth be told I have a tough time dealing with what goes on in the world myself. I’ve since built a nice little shell for myself to isolate and separate. But then I have the Internet, so….. sigh.

  2. I think we all have our protection and escape mechanisms. There is so much pain in the world that we couldn’t bear it at times otherwise.

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