A First … and a Last
Aug 17th, 2005 by aBhantiarna Solas

So today LightBoy crossed the Rubicon. He swam out to the raft. Alone. Unaccompanied. LightHusband and I watched from the porch. Lightgirl was already on the raft with her friend. That was the carrot. He’s been trying to do this since we got here. He’s had permission. He’s capable. But he didn’t think he could. And today he did. He had to work his way up to it and he wore a life jacket and a noodle … but he did it. Alone. He conquered his fear. Alone. I was really proud of him. Then I was sad too, because once it’s done … it’s done. And after all that build up, he did it so casually. We couldn’t even celebrate. Because we didn’t want to call attention to all the times he’d chickened out.

Then he chased his sister and her friends yelling “I am Black Jack, the Pirate. Fear me!!” Now look at the picture and tell me if you’d be afraid?? What a silly boy!

A Day Late …
Aug 17th, 2005 by aBhantiarna Solas

… and a dollar short … but here’s my list for List Tuesday.

The Things I Love About Vermont.

It’s Clean. Most of the people here love the land and they keep it clean. So the roadsides, and lakes and streams are not so littered with crap. and trash. and stuff.

No Billboards. By law. The state outlawed billboards about a hundred years ago and so we don’t have them littering the roadsides either and the whole state is much prettier.

People bike here. And there are biking lanes on alot of roads. And if there aren’t biking lanes, most of the drivers expect that there will be bikers (as in bicyclers not motorcyclers) and look out for bikers, mostly. Drivers here are respectful for the most part and look out for other vehicles … even vehicles which are not other cars. Imagine that!!

I’ve actually lived longer away than here, but I’m still a Vermonter. And when I come home, people still know me and still know my family. This actually happened today at the chocolate factory where we had lunch. The owner knows my brother (who makes jam). It’s a small state and you always know someone. I like that … it keeps everyone respectful.

There are four clear seasons here. Well … really five, if you count mud season. But we like to ignore that until it’s upon us in the middle of April. But when the mud is up to your hubcaps, you really can’t ignore it!! The good thing is that it doesn’t last long. And it’s followed quickly by a really gorgeous spring and it’s always accompanied by sap season (which is the running of maple sap which means MAPLE SYRUP!!)

What I wish I could remember is why I wanted so desperately to leave when I was 22. But I did. Of course, if I hadn’t I never would have met and married LightHusband so … I guess it was all worth it.

Aug 17th, 2005 by aBhantiarna Solas

I read the following article and I needed to share it in it’s entirety without staining it with my thoughts. You just need to read it. It’s from the New York Times this morning. I’ve added Grace by U2 … I would have added the song to play while you read the article, but I don’t think you can do that in Blogger … so you’ll just have to read the lyrics.

August 17, 2005
A Moment of Grace

In an age whose crabbed sense of justice finds expression in dismal phrases like “zero tolerance” and “three strikes and you’re out,” the events in a Long Island courtroom on Monday came as an undeserved gift, something startling and luminous.

It happened when Ryan Cushing, a 19-year-old charged with assault for tossing a turkey through a car windshield last fall, approached the driver he nearly killed, Victoria Ruvolo. Ms. Ruvolo, 44, suffered severe injuries and needed many hours of surgery to rebuild her shattered facial bones.

When Mr. Cushing left the courtroom after pleading guilty, he came face to face with his victim for the first time. He said he was sorry and begged her to forgive him.

She did. She cradled his head as he sobbed. She stroked his face and patted his back. “It’s O.K.; it’s O.K.,” she said. “I just want you to make your life the best it can be.”

She takes the blame
She covers the shame
Removes the stain
It could be her name

It’s a name for a girl
It’s also a thought that
Changed the world

And when she walks on the street
You can hear the strings
Grace finds goodness
In everything

Mr. Cushing was one of six teenagers out for a night of joy riding and crime, which often happens when childish aggression and stupidity merge with the ability to drive and steal credit cards. The five others have pleaded guilty to various acts like forgery and larceny, but Mr. Cushing, who threw the turkey, could have faced 25 years in prison. At Ms. Ruvolo’s insistence, prosecutors granted him a plea bargain instead: six months in jail and five years’ probation.

The prosecutor, Thomas Spota, had been ready to seek harsh punishment for a crime he rightly denounced as heedless and brutal. “This is not an act of mere stupidity,” Mr. Spota said. “They’re not 9- or 7-year-old children.”

That is true. But Ms. Ruvolo’s resolute compassion, coming seemingly out of nowhere, disarmed Mr. Spota and led to a far more satisfying result.

She’s got the walk
Not on a wrapper on chalk
She’s got the time to talk

She travels outside
Of karma, karma
She travels outside
Of karma

When she goes to work
You can hear the strings
Grace finds beauty
In everything

Many have assumed that Ms. Ruvolo’s motivation is religious. But while we can estimate the size of her heart, we can’t peer into it. Her impulse may have been entirely secular.

Court testimony by crime victims is often pitched as a sort of retributive therapy, a way for angry, injured people to force criminals to confront their shame. But while some convicts grovel, others smirk. Many are impassive. It’s hard to imagine that those hurt by crime reliably find healing in the courtroom. Given the opportunity for retribution, Ms. Ruvolo gave and got something better: the dissipation of anger and the restoration of hope, in a gesture as cleansing as the tears washing down her damaged face, and the face of the foolish, miserable boy whose life she single-handedly restored.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

She carries a world on her hips
No champagne flute for her lips
No twirls or skips
Between her fingertips

She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hers
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stains

Because grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

Grace finds beauty
In everything

Grace finds goodness
In everything

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