Friday, October 29, 2010

Expedition Give

It's raining today in Atlanta.  I welcome this precipitation as release from the pattern of heat and sun and have fittingly passed gray skies with two cups of earl gray tea with milk.  Thanks to the calm weather and my participation in Expedition Give, I have been sincerely reflecting on values, community, charity, and empowerment.

When my work colleague approached me about teaming up to participate in Expedition Give, I enthusiastically accepted the invitation.  Expedition Give is an easy sell--an all day scavenger hunt around Atlanta with a community service twist.  Participants collect points for performing community service projects and collecting items to donate to various local non-profit organizations.

The scavenger hunt is days away but all teams have the opportunity to arrive at the starting line with points by successfully completing a list of five tasks.

So far I have...

bought 4 cans of soup.
bought one box of macaroni and cheese
bought one blue winter hat.
wrote one letter.

The letter I wrote was in response to the following:

Fisher House does an amazing job taking care of the families of soldiers who get injured or sick. Hand write 2 letters to the FAMILIES of these soldiers thanking THEM for the sacrifice THEY make and offering words of encouragement. The letters need to be unsealed and generic (can be given to any family) so that Fisher House can pass them along to military families here in Georgia. 

Thankfully, Wislawa Symborska found her way into my thoughts and served as my eloquent muse, yet again.

"To your family, our country's unsung heroes,

Thank you for your contribution to the security and sustained success of our country.  You have offered your most precious gift, your family member, to serve the USA and for that I am truly grateful.  I would like to share with you a poem from one of my favorite poets, Wislawa Szymborska.  Many of Wislawa's poems showcase the aftermath of war and genocide on her beloved Poland's collective consciousness.

I hope you find beauty and comfort in this poem and know that our country supports you in cleaning the emotional wreckage from the relentless ravishes of war.

In Solidarity,

Emily A Baughman

"The End and the Beginning"

By: Wislawa Szymborska
Translated from the Polish by: Joanna Trzeciak

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won't
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the sides of the road,
so the corpse-laden wagons
can pass.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone must drag in a girder
to prop up a wall.
Someone must glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it's not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

Again we'll need bridges
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

Someone, broom in hand,
still recalls how it was.
Someone listens
and nods with unsevered head
Yet others milling about
already find it dull.

From behind the bush
sometimes someone still unearths
rust-eaten arguments
and carries them to the garbage pile.

Those who knew
what was going on here
must give way to
those who know little.
And less than little.
And finally as little as nothing.

In the grass which has overgrown
causes and effects,
someone must be stretched out,
blade of grass in his mouth,
gazing at the clouds.