By Carol Harada
I write to you from my kitchen in rainy midwinter San Francisco. The refrigerator hums and I’m drinking tea. I imagine you in your kitchen, reading this in a quiet moment. I want you to know that the dreams I have for something better include you, all of us in this land of possibility. I still believe in the American dream, this experiment in democracy, and I’m willing to work with others to make it more real for more people.
What I want for us all is basic and humane: clean air, fresh water, and good food every day. Are your skies blue? Because I live by the ocean, the air is cleaned and moves eastward daily. The light can be achingly crystalline and sharp. How is it for you? Do your kids have an open space so they can run and play? Do they have to carry inhalers, their hands not free to be kids’ hands, getting messy in the mud and dirt? I hope there’s a green place to let your dog off the leash, a place your family likes to go to remember being part of the land and water.
I go down to the beach, just across town. I do not surf or even swim very much, and the water is wetsuit cold here. But the ocean buoys me up every time, feeding me with calm, beauty, and bigger perspective. I walk along the shore of the bay, on Mount Tam across the Golden Gate Bridge, over the hills of the city. Nature is right here as red-tail hawks fly over and coyotes now inhabit some of our parks.
Can you, like me, go to your kitchen sink, open the tap, and drink clean, clear, good-tasting water? Or do you live in Flint, or someplace equally corrupted? Is your water brown sludge or flammable? I want you to have a clean, protected source of water. I want your kids to grow up drinking more water than soda or pop, knowing that Water is Life. I want your whole watershed to be safe from predation by those who would befoul it for short-term gain.
My wish for you is to be able to eat really good food every day, to be nourished body and soul. I want you to have access to locally grown food from farmers and ranchers and fisher folk who are wise and kind, not beholden to pesticide companies. I want them to know how to treat the land and air and waters right. I want your kids to grow strong and be vital with food as medicine. I imagine you and your friends and family enjoying great home-cooked feasts. I wish for you that your kitchen table is blessed with company, you home filled with the aroma of something good to eat.
Clean air, fresh water, good food. Basics I want ensured for you, for us. More than that I want you to have a great place to call home. A shelter, a refuge, a place of togetherness for you and your family. I want you to be safe and dry and warm when it’s cold outside.
I want you to have work that sustains you – financially and meaningfully. I want you to have more than a job, but a livelihood, where you can feel good and valued and respected for your skill and unique qualities as a person. I want you to feel needed in this world. What you bring is so needed.
I want so much for you, for me, for all of us. But it shouldn’t be so much, not for a society as rich as ours. I want to know that we look out for each other and that our laws serve all the people, especially the most vulnerable. I promise to stay awake to these wishes and desires and work to make them more real. I don’t know what your life is like, but maybe you want some of this too.
Please write back, if you want. I’m here, wishing you well.
About the writer
Carol Harada is dedicated to fostering creativity and healing, and the shared territory of spiritual practice. She’s grateful to live in San Francisco and write in the company of Laguna Writers. For more, see deepriverhealing.com and carolharadacreates.com
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