Archive for the ‘Filosofía’ Category

“All You Need Is Love”

April 9th, 2010 No comments

I love old houses, cottages especially, that link the street to another time.  So much the better if they have not been rehabilitated.  There they stand, in all their glory, proudly showing their scars.  There is one such cottage at the end of our street, on the corner of 27th and East Cherry in Seattle’s Central District; and it is beyond glorious, not just on account of itself, but because of the tree it is connected to.  You can read more about this tree at

The pear tree dwarfs the house it watches over, at 27th and East Cherry in Seattle.

The huge tree is a common pear, pyrus communis, planted in 1889.  It dwarfs the house it watches over, and like other city trees it has witnessed more action and tragedy in one century than the sequoias have in five.

The branches from this one tree fill the entire garden, and drape the picket fence.

A little more than a year ago, a young Seattle man, Tyrone Love, was gunned down in the next block, and his murder remains unsolved.  You can read about this tragedy under the heading “Young Guns, Stolen Lives” at

A plaque has been installed, giving the year the tree was planted alongside its Latin name.  Across the top of the plaque are the words, “All You Need is Love,” timeless wisdom in recognition of how pear trees grow and in tribute to Tyrone.

The plaque tells how pear trees grow, and honors Tyrone Love, who died nearby.

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Seattle Cancer Doctors

March 24th, 2010 1 comment

I’d have preferred to meet four of Seattle’s best cancer doctors at some swell party in the Sorrento Hotel, but I had no choice in the matter, and so I met these amazing women in their professional capacities:  Dr. Smita Jain, a diagnostic radiologist; Dr. Debra Wechter, a surgeon who has been named one of Seattle’s “Top Doctors” by Seattle Magazine; Dr. Nanette Robinson, a hematologist-oncologist; and Dr. Michelle Yao, a radiation oncologist.

I did not take my breast cancer diagnosis lightly, but it filled me with joy to realize that four of the best cancer doctors were women, whose roles could barely be imagined a generation ago.  They shoulder their responsibilities with incredible aplomb, and make the diagnosis and cure of cancer an everyday affair.

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Take Care of Yourself

October 3rd, 2009 1 comment

Our friend Jim sent this today:  “‘You have a solemn obligation to take care of yourself because you never know when the world will need you.’ –Rabbi Hillel.”

And I would add that if we don’t take care of ourselves then everything our mothers and fathers and heaven and God and the universe did in getting us here in the first place and loving us and educating us and putting up with us and seeing the best in us and investing in us and giving us a kick in the pants when we needed it is wasted.  And all the entertainments they made to delight us and help us over the rough spots, sunsets and sparkling days and deer and raccoons, lemon pies, and homemade biscuits, are wasted. So I say we’d better take care of ourselves. And I would add that with all the problems remaining to be solved, there is no doubt the world needs us.

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Being You

July 15th, 2009 No comments

For weeks I have been trying to write about “being yourself.”  It’s a slippery topic.

I once wrote the following: “To write truly, just make sure you are yourself when you sit down to write.”  (And I should have added, “Keep on checking as you go.”)  The trouble is, I have a big struggle with being myself, myself.

The most helpful things are so simple that it’s no fun writing about them: pay attention to the air in your nostrils; tell the truth, or at least, don’t lie; focus your eyes; keep your own counsel; do what’s right so you can sleep; be poised for action; don’t refuse to be “here,” use your imagination to lighten-up parts of your body.

After a while the whole thing sounds crazy, and the truest things sound craziest.  Well, that’s a beginning.

I picture myself at nineteen.  I am the passenger in a shiny Chevrolet driven by the young man I am dating.  We are driving across the industrial belly of Seattle, on our way to a nightclub.

I am tensely pretending to be what I already am– a nice, attractive nineteen-year-old girl– and desperately trying to think of something that a nice, attractive nineteen-year-old girl might say.

My date turns to me with a disconcerted look and says, “Don’t strain, for God’s sake.  Just be yourself.”

I don’t remember what I thought next, but it must have been something like this:

“Oops! Oh no!  What have I done?  He sees though me!  What if he never calls me again?  How can I fix this?”

And, not knowing what else to do, I would have intensified my pretense of being who I already was.

Because I had no idea what it meant to be yourself, not then and not for a long time afterwards.

The feeling of being not-yourself is a smarmy feeling.  You feel ashamed all the time.  The moral judgments are unrelenting.  If you’re kind and nice, you’re on your case immediately: “I’m so insincere, so sugary, so slimy, and so awful– I bet people see right through me.  Why can’t I be spontaneous and sincere like everybody else?”  If you’re bad, as we all are sometimes, then you’re bad, of course:  “The real me has put in an appearance, and  I’m bad to the core,” you think.  There’s no way out between being slimy and inauthentic or rotten through and through.

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