AWAKENED BY A STAR

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AWAKENED BY A STAR

September 22, 2015
Last night I was awakened by a star. The night was late, only an hour before the lightening of dawn. I rolled over and there was this point of brilliant light in the sky shining through my bedroom window…moving it seemed. A plane? Oh, yes, it was definitely moving. But no, it stayed too long, not really progressing quickly in its flight across the sky.

“Was it the late rising moon?”, I pondered, as I peered among the dark silhouettes of the trees weaving in the gentle night breeze. Groggy and confused, I questioned that it couldn’t be the moon rising, for only the night before it had stood, a yellow orange perfect half of a moon like a cut out decoration in a stage play, hanging low in the western sky. This bright glow was east toward the dawn.

The star seemed to be where Sirius often stood.. But it was so intensely bright, even for Sirius? Irresistibly beckoned, I got up and went out into the night.

The stars were brilliant, every constellation crystal clear against the indigo sky. Orion’s belt was especially prominent from where I stood, chiseled radiating light encircling each star as they commanded their appointed space on the stage of the universe…all in full dress as though assembled in homage to this brilliant one among them.

What was this stunning point of light there in the Eastern sky?? It was in fact the planet Venus in all her glory! And what glory!… (next morning I would read she was just then at her most brilliant ever, seventeen times brighter the Star Queen, Sirius, the brightest star in all the sky.)

Venus winked among the leaves of the pines and oaks… I was fascinated…
Never, except for the sun, have I seen such celestial moving brilliance. She radiated, she displayed…she moved, she danced … Her beams of light came into my room and across the bed, sending warm gold rays of penetrating light to me like loving scepters, magic wands, bestowing cosmic blessing. I held my hand up to see if I could see it in this light…Almost… I was riveted.

I recalled the words of the verse by Rudolf Steiner laid into my heart by a dear friend, Willi Sucher, who loved and knew the stars with an awareness few in this world have.

The stars once spoke to man
It is world destiny that they are silent now
To become aware of this silence can be pain for earthly humanity
But in the deepening silence.
There grows and ripens
What humanity speaks to the stars
To become aware of this speaking
Can become strength for Spirit man.

Then as I watched the compelling celestial light disappeared, gone behind the trees. Only blackness prevailed. I felt overwhelmed with a longing for the beautiful presence. Suddenly I felt alone, bereft. Abandoned. What a spell she wove!

My logical mind took over. It is you who have lost this shining planet. For you are on a moving earth, turning on its axis. It is you on your planet earth who have turned away from the light. The metaphor was stark… personally, collectively, universally. “Turned away from the light.”

The deepening darkness of materialism, the unspiritual view of ourselves and all around us is so pervading in our thinking and so much of our doing. The discord that prevails across the world as myopic money and power crazed world leaders exert cruel dominance over fearful, denying, disconnected citizens in our war besotted countries on every continent, with all too many of them often poignantly fleeing into drug numbed isolation or fleeing for their very lives. Materialistic outlooks such as the idiotic destruction of our planet earth for short term gain,egocentric thinking that block us off from each other and universe, blocked from the universal light of love and connectedness.

Here was Venus calling from the Universe giving us the message… brilliantly! It’s about love and life and connectedness, people. Stay united with the holy universe and the blessed earth that gave you life in the first place!

What was so amazing is that it only took a few dozen minutes for her to go in and out of my sight as she danced across the sky as I alternately basked in wonder in her light or longed for it in the darkness. One could tangibly see how the earth was moving in relation to the heavens. Waves of cosmic stardust seemed to fill the room enlivening me, a vital warming, loving presence to the room.

The words set to the Russian folk song rang through

If we people live our lives, as if it were song for singing out of light
Providing music for the stars to go dancing circles in the night.

She was there, dancing and radiating Venus love circles in the night… With the rays, the light, waves of healing touched me. I was blessed with her rays, over and over…the wonder of it.

So how does humanity speak to the stars?
For me, at least in that moment, they rose in my heart like with the first simple stammering words of a star struck child, wide eyed with the wonder of our world,and echoing back the loving light she so graciously bestows, especially so this night.

“I love the stars.”

Nancy Jewel Poer, September 22,2015

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IN THE NAME OF MILLIONS

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IN THE NAME OF MILLIONS
THE MISSION OF AYLAN KURDI, AGE 3

A spiritual hero, only three years old, has come forward with a mission to awaken humanity to the insane trajectory we are on.

His tiny body washed in from the sea and exquisitely placed in death lay poignantly still, face down at the shore line in the rhythmic lapping tide, both arms at his sides and his palms up as if waiting to receive an answer from all of us regarding his sacrifice. The little feet were still clad in shoes, so sweetly placed together in repose. The photograph Immediately went viral on world social media. it has been an image to strike to the core of human conscience crossing all divisions of nations, religion, status and cultures.

Aylan Kurdi, one of the thousands of refugees fleeing war and devastation in their countries, died at sea in a drastically overloaded boat with his father and mother trying to escape from Syria, where much of their remaining family was massacred by terrorists. His father, Abdullah, was desperately trying to save his two young sons from drowning in violent seas, and felt them going, releasing one to try to save the other. His wife, Zehin, whose delicate beauty is mindful of a Muslim Quan Yin, seeing her precious sons slip into the ocean, followed them into the turbulent waters and drowned as well. A passionately devoted mother crossing the threshold with her two sons in the primal waters of the sea as there was no safe home on this earth for them.

In a handful of childhood photos, Aylan, looks at us with innocent yet wisdom-filled eyes and in one picture, very formally dressed, he opens his small hands as if offering a proclamation of world blessing. In several others he is squinting, eyes closed, grinning perhaps somehow inwardly amazed at the magnitude of the impact he is about to make on the world. He wears a shirt with words to ponder.. ‘Mysterious space riders’.. In another he cocks his hand to his ear as though asking if we are hearing what is the sound of suffering around the world.

Aylan for the moment has brought together East and West, a nearly impossible feat. He has struck the common heart chord in humanity. The cry of ‘Humanity Washed Ashore.’ and “Humanity Failed,” has accompanied the event around the world.

Even the tabloids interrupted their vapid fare of celebrity scandals, cellulite, deranged and decadent behavior we so crave for entertainment, to feature the moment of real human confrontation with what we are doing.

With his death, Aylan speaks for millions who have so tragically died with a clarion call into the deaf distancing of our collective responsibility with the cruel phrase, ‘collateral

damage’ given to the innocents, women and children who die and die everywhere in war. All those who die tragically resulting from the manipulations of those who are exploiting the world and its peoples. His death challenges the ever present war profiteers who, skunk like, radiate the unremovable stench of insatiable greed, the Koch’s, Haliburtons, Rothchilds, and others throughout history who profit on tragedy. His death challenges the many leaders and countries who colonized the world the way they did with rapacious use of power, cheap labor, and ransacking of local resources. It all now comes home to roost in Europe as the refugees from those mistreated colonies stream in. His death challenges the hideous customs of old cultures that cruelly degrade and destroy women and hold them, and thus their countries and economies, in poverty and servitude. His death challenges the corporate undermining of small family farming with industrial agriculture (instead of supporting families with local sustainable self sufficiency) and that leads to starvation, poverty and migration.

This is the 21st century, surely a time to take our honed sense of individual self consciousness and apply the zeal of battle to the transformation of our own inner demons so the world will stand a chance. Face up to the demons of fear, prejudice, greed, jealously, apathy, depression, chauvinism, nationalism and hatred. A time to abhor the parading of race hatred as a political tool, the antithesis of a moral stance (read Trump)

This is the Michaelmas time of the year. The archangel Micha-el, the angel of truth, courage, cosmopolitan awareness and spiritual courage, is honored in all major religions,Hebrew, Islamic and Christian. He battles the dragon, transforms the soul, and emerges victorious.

The message of Micha-el is that we must strive for greater spirituality, our highest humanity and he challenges us to line up our lives with the higher moral universe. He stands for finding world brother and sisterhood and strengthening our spiritual individuality so our moral conscience can begin to transcend all the barriers that would divide humanity from one another. Aylan has stepped into world leadership, for this moment in time, to accomplish just that.

Nancy Jewel Poer, Michaelmas, 2015

AS OLD AS SIN

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It’s as old as sin. Humiliation and dominance of another human being. Not human really. It is behavior at the animal level but worse because there is some degree of human consciousness behind it that knows better.

Texas traffic officer Encina dragging Sandra Bland from her car is only one more visible example that has made it onto film. He clearly provokes her, threatens her. He can’t stand it because she is not passively submissive to him. On a near empty wide highway, Encina stopped Sandra’s car. He had just made a quick U turn to go after her and was speeding up fast behind her. The film shows that Sandra, driving ahead of him, had pulled into the right lane, as we all would do, to let patrol cars and emergency vehicles pass. There were virtually no other cars on the road. After leaving her waiting in the car for the better part of ten minutes, he comes back and taunts her with the question “ What’s wrong?” when she appears irritated. She tells him the clear truth in short clipped sentences. He later described how she looked straight ahead, wouldn’t look at him. Definitely not submissive enough. He was going to change that. He told her to put out her cigarette she had lit while waiting. She knew her rights, she was in her own car. He escalated it and forced her out of he car threatening to ‘light her up’ with his taser. He was literally going to take her down and he did, hand cuffed and shoved to the ground. When she called out she had epilepsy he cries, “Good!” as he slams her down.

Sandra Bland had done nothing wrong, in fact she made the lane change as we all could have done. But she was black, she was a woman, and she spoke up to the dominating violence of a man arrogantly abusing his power. She taunted him back with angry crude language for using humiliation and his domineering position to be a so called man. In calling in his report he will further reveal his chauvinism in the snarky guffaws when asked if she had done physical harm to him.

She’s dead now. Died in the jail by hanging. They will focus on the fact she had other brushes with police, used some pot, etc. She was an activist in raising awareness about police brutality. In January she had prophetically stated in angry dismay regarding the slaying of unarmed African Americans,… “ we’ve seen of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.” Samuel DuBose, for example.

But the real deal is she stood up to the degradation with defiance when she had done no wrong, because in her soul she knew such humiliation just cannot be left un challenged anymore and she had the guts to speak up. Even if this degrading humiliation is world wide, even if it is very, very old and represents the way racism and slavery and domination of another human being, especially women, has worked for a long, long time it needs to run its course. For more than ever before, it is very, very wrong. Sandra spoke up.

Is the officer all bad? One could say he is representative of many human beings. Lacking self knowledge and basic levels of self mastery, he was triggered in lower reactive parts of his brain to take control and overwhelm her and did so with obliterated thinking, with below the belt gut reactions, to a perception that he was losing control. Fight, fright, flight- all primitive responses that gave rise to brutal responses to perceived confrontation. Ugly. When devotional human capacities and the higher capacities of sound moral judgement have not been nurtured and supported, then higher sound decision capacities will not prevail. Examples abound. Isn’t it time we acknowledge that people raised with hatred and prejudice, humiliation and mistreatment bred into them at base level that can become constant festering wound? They can then grow to be adults with a lot of darkness in their own souls, of self loathing, of cruelty, of outer arrogance? And as it festers within they can project it, throw it onto someone outside themselves, especially if that individual has a darker skin which would mirror for them the dark shadows inside?

It happens all the time. We are all triggered at primal, basic, unthinking, reactive levels in our brains. When this is not recognized and faced we end up with a unraveling culture as we have today and many untrained, uneducated or unaware individuals, conditioned by video games and armed with lethal weapons and no wisdom how or when to use them. Add to that the pervasive drugs in the mix and it is a bleak picture indeed.

It is time to wake up to our human nature with its potential for spiritual strength and all too base weaknesses and all the toxic substances that make us weaker. It is long past time. African Americans and anyone having to endure unwarranted hate and prejudice have disproportionately had to take all this. Further, we bear a legacy in our collective American consciousness that belongs to this country for we have participated in the worldwide sin of slavery from our founding days. The fearful gut instincts of those in power had to keep slaves ‘under control‘, to keep inner and outer darkness at bay, by any means, brutally, physically, fearfully, financially, socially, through taxes, or voting laws, incarceration, whatever works. To this day. (Dear God, if only we could spend a fraction of what we do to jail people on supporting mothers and children in their earliest years of life when it matters so much!)

It is truly inspiring to know there are so many African Americans who have endured this and triumphed as human beings. We can and should be in awe of the deeper humanity they can model for us. Truly evolved soul capacities. Can we recognize such individuals can show the way for all of us in what it means to be truly human? oldest black church in America. That evening they had welcomed an unknown white man into their circle. He sat with them awhile before slaying them.

What a group of special individuals they are! Young, old, doctorate in biology, beloved town librarian, brilliant dedicated ministers, legislator,long time cleaning woman of the church, speech therapist, coaches, achievers in outer careers and their communities but more than that, they were achievers as moral human beings. Together they have sacrificially in their death given spiritual light to shine on a deep, deep problem. Surely they are welcomed to the other side favored by God No doubt some of them had faced inner and outer obstacles of hatred and humiliation but instead of turning it to hatred and darkness in the soul, with the power of the spirit they transformed it into love and service. Can we realize how such souls shine with the white light of compassion, devotion and the love of God like a beacon of love made human? For warmth and light shone through their deeds. Those describing their lives are describing love in action. This was a group of people with the common knowledge that a caring and open heart in service to God is the most precious possession a person can have. And they knew to be filled with hatred is to poison the heart. Georgette, the mother of the twenty six year old Tywansa the man with the radiant smile for everyone, puts it so clearly, “You can’t have love and hate residing in the heart at the same time. We’re just going to have to love one another.” The timeless truth of St. John’s words spoken from her compassionate soul in the face of the murder of her son.

Even in the tragic moment of the massacre, some of them could forgive the heinous deed with their firm spiritual wisdom. I deeply admire this. True humanity has graced these lives,with the higher, greater moral qualities given selflessly to the world around them. Tywansa (center) in a last post to social media, put the question for us all to ponder now… “Ever notice how the mainstream media treats black protesters and white rioters differently?” Tywanza died trying to save his Aunt from the gunman’s lethal barrage. He left on his Facebook page the words of Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Sandra’s life has left its impact. The nine martyr’s lives have left their impact. Can we be aware of the soul searching asked of us all to acknowledge and address the darkness in our own hearts and labor to transform it and put it into the service of higher loving powers as they did? For in the end the question asked of us all will be: Did his or her spirit choose to express the highest humanity? Did they choose the domineering humiliation of others or strive for the the kind, the loving, and the good and put it into the world?” We write the script of our lives as an answer to those eternal questions.

MY AMAZING BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

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My oldest grand daughter wished me an amazing birthday and it was – a whole weekend of incredible events, but for today I share the morning  of my 84th when I was back in the air again at the controls of a plane.  Even the sky was full of exclamation mark clouds as I was flying over our beautiful Sierra foothills in the company of my pilot son, Cameron, and husband Gordon.  What a privilege and joy, expressed in my favorite flying shirt I wore for the event – a motto of encouragement for women, and all of us!

“I learned what every dreaming child needs to know……

no horizon is so far that you cannot see above it or beyond it!”  WOMEN FLY!  (Beryl Markham)

WOMEN FLY!

FOURTH OF JULY – AN AMERICAN SPIRIT

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55 AND STILL ALIVE!

He was a logger and that says a lot right there! He visited us the weekend of the 4th of July. It just happened to be his on his 55th birthday and he brought his second youngest son along, one of six.

They had come with an offer to take away some of the grey pines that grow prolifically here at the ranch, a wild chaotic tree, I call ‘wanabe’ pine trees that grow fast with dozens of limbs akimbo, and are good for nothing we can use them for… no good for fence posts, or lumber, or firewood, and in wildfires they can make a torch over 100 feet high. When grown they can shatter spontaneously, making them dangerous around buildings.

But Wayne had a logging business cutting and hauling them, carved out of grit, years of tree removal know-how and local business connections. He and his son, with minimal big equipment, are taking these trees to a local saw mill where they are chipped for pet litter to be sold in local stores. He bragged they get preferential treatment when they bring their logs to the small local sawmill. Because they are easily unloaded they can move up in the line ahead of the corporate big rigs and be quickly back on the road for another round. He had carefully figured his margins and felt he could make some money at it.

He was getting tired of climbing and goodness knows he done enough of it in years as a lumberjack. He didn’t mind sharing some of his stories as he sipped his coffee, and they were wild adventures. He looked at us with a toothless grin and a serious word, “‘Fact is in this business you need to be able to handle these trees that are tough and unpredictable to cut down and load without getting killed.” That was the truth of it. Not everyone can do that.

But he welcomed the challenge and he worked his equipment as hard as he did himself. His son pulled out his cell phone and showed me a picture of their 3/4 ton Ford pickup carrying a full two and half tons of logs. He drawled that people would stop and stare with disbelief as they went by. He laughed about one man letting his ice cream scoop fall to the ground as he watched with open jawed awe. Wasn’t hard to tell the son was proud of the Dad. He was a broad shouldered, husky lad who did the chipping for the operation, but would never be the man his dad was, his video game paunch was all ready well in place at 26.

I loved the story of their operation, full of initiative, small and intense, working with other folks locally and selling to the local merchants and local people, and I told them so. “This is what we need to make things work now at the community level”, I told him and added that I fully supported it. “ Well”, he drawled, “if I had the equipment I’d like to get bigger, but there are sharks out there, big ones believe me, and when you can’t control your own operation they’ll bite you”.

The stories rolled, abetted by his son, looking at his Dad with proud warm eyes. He was a partner in the business, and told us his Dad impressed on him the value of earning and managing his money. He had been paying his own rent at home since he was sixteen and let us know he was paid three years ahead!

The logger stood up to go, his frayed work shirt covered a body as lean and trim and buffed as a youth. He moved like a cat, every gesture sure, mastered. No doubt this man knew saws and trees and a whole lot about cutting them down but he was humble in his assessment. “I’m still learning and for sure I’ll never know it all.” Tough, responsible, proud, with room for growth and a twinkle of mischief… The American Spirit.

“Let me tell you about the time I worked for a man on redwood trees. He was trying to find out if I had the juevos for the job, seeing if I could take down the toughest tree he had right by a bunch of high voltage power lines. It was so high you had to climb up through the fog. So I set out and about 160 feet up there I hit the fog and couldn’t see a darn thing… much less the power lines.”

“I then I came up over it. Have your ever climbed above a cloud? Do you know what it’s like to do that?” he asked. We both nodded and smiled. We are pilots. He went on, his tanned lined face somehow softened… as he tried to put words to his experience… “That did it… I would do this forever… there were rainbows everywhere…I can’t tell you…” His voice trailed off.

Raw wonder shone from his pale blue eyes and one felt all the years of fresh air, and pitch and forest scents, and swaying trees and dangerous climbs. But the view from the top… the rainbows and the wonder of it…. the American Spirit, tough, honest, resilient, enterprising, willing to work with incredible will, and an open soul to know the wonder and beauty of this amazing land, this amazing world we live in. As we wrapped up the visit, I shook his hand and said both for his benefit and his son’s, “Wayne, you’ll be a legend in your own time! Happy birthday!”

62 YEARS TOGETHER!

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May 28, 2015

Sixty two years and we’re in up in the air again. We are pretty amazed to have made it to our 62nd wedding anniversary and we celebrated with the favorite shared activity of our lives. We went flying! This time our son Cameron piloted the Cessna 172 as we flew over to a nearby town with a restaurant at the airport for lunch. But at one point I took the controls for some minutes and the great loud flying beast responded to my feet on the rudders and hands on the wheel in acceptable turns and steady flight. Though my licensed piloting years were few, Gordon flew for over 60 years. Our love of flying never fades. As long as mankind has been on earth he has wanted wings, perhaps in memory of our spirits being free of the ballast of the physical. To fly on the physical earthly plane involves a loud, greasy engine to enable being aloft, but its worth the trade off.

It has been nearly three years since we have flown. In that time we both had open heart surgery to replace aortic valves. The same surgeon lifted up our hearts in his hands and now we are given a few more years of grace to be here together, to hope, to live, to learn and to love.

As we prepared for this anniversary flying adventure, there was some initial doubt as to whether we could make this sort of celebrating work. That is the part about actually getting in the plane. We both had intimidating moments as we looked at the cramped cabin and high step up and wondered if these mortal frames could match the desire to go. But with some serious strategizing we managed to bend, fold, and flex at the proper creaky joints and scooch ourselves into place and make it work! We had a pleasant lunch enjoying the sights and sounds of planes landing and taking off before us on the runway.

How we both have loved flying in our lifetimes! On take off the familiar feeling was there once again..nothing like it. Mind you the plane is loud, very loud. But you get where the thrum of a well tuned engine is music of a special kind. The moment of lift off…it is indescribable,… breaking free,.. ‘slipping the surely bonds of earth’ as the famous poem states. Heart and soul leap along with the freedom of leaving the ground and the landscape flows away behind you as you rise into the realm of air. A different kingdom.

Then you are up there, getting perspective on all things. Everything opens up. Horizons are now vast, wide and clean and far. Aloft in the sky. Swooping like a bird in a steep bank we can look down over the wing struts and identify the land marks and take in the measure of the land, the long range of the Sierra patched with snow. We fly over our home, White Feather Ranch there in the pines on the ridge above the rivers.

As we land we share a deep sense of joy and gratitude for our lives, our family, our friends, our experiences, the blessings we have known in all our years together and the freedom and privilege of being able to fly. Even as we read these written words about our sharing this love of flying and all our years together, we look at one another with knowing smiles, and eyes filled with knowing tears. “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, Swiftly fly the years.. one season following another, laden with happiness and tears.”

MEMORIAL DAY THOUGHTS – THE VIETNAM MEMORIAL

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Maya Lin is the designer of the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C. The design was chosen in an anonymous contest open to many. She was an architectural student at Yale University at the time and only 23 years old. The question could be asked if the selection of her design would have been made had her identity as a young Asian woman been known by the judges. Highly unlikely.

Nonetheless, the artistic judges that responded by selecting her design did so out of recognition of the intuition she brought to it for it is a deeply truthful expression of the destiny of America. Maya Lin had imagined the memorial as a furrow of earth turned up to the light, as if opening the land with a plow and bringing light into the darkness. In visiting the site, one descends down by the long wall of the memorial as though going into the earth, for it is mostly below ground level. The image in this memorial of America’s deeper destiny is profound. As a nation we are meant to penetrate the secrets of the material world, to work in practical ways deep into physical matter and bring that work forward to benefit the world. But as the memorial reminds us, in so doing we come to the threshold of death and are challenged to understand the spirit beyond death and behind matter itself. We are called in the West to go through matter, materialism and death and come to the spirit that lies behind all life. We are challenged to come to a resurrection of consciousness. An act of true freedom.

The memorial beautifully meets the observer with its polished black marble wall, so clear and mirror-like the observer faces an image of him or herself. One can say it is like standing at a threshold of death and awareness. The sun, (and the light of the viewer’s consciousness), shines on the polished black wall. All those who have died are represented, their names carved into the granite. Not as one might expect on a military edifice, organized into squadrons and platoons, but flow together in common sacrifice, inscribed in the order in which they died. The world of the living, the world of the dead, the threshold in between; a spiritual truth represented in simple elegance of this memorial.

It is touching that there were veterans who could not fully encompass the deeper meaning in Maya Lin’s work and asked for another statue of combat soldiers to be placed nearby as a more ‘realistic’ honoring of the Vietnam dead. Maya Lin’s creation is one of the most moving and awakening memorials in the nation’s capitol and one of the most visited, as people are instinctively drawn there for the deeper truths it embodies. Coming to it can truly be a threshold awakening experience. As a nation we are standing at this threshold of death and whether in our thinking and deeds we will serve life or death and materialism. The need for awakening is tantamount for the sake of our future and that of the world.

Maya Lin also designed the Civil Rights memorial in Atlanta Georgia, again bringing her beautiful artistic capacities to the design. It is a black rock, a rounded chalice like shape and leveled across the top like a full cup. It is inscribed with the names of those who died, and gently washed by a continuous veil of flowing water, waters of forgiveness, of hope, of cleansing, for a nation that must heal and transform and make peace with its history.