A Note from the Publisher:
My neighbors across the way are having a new roof put on. As I dug around my messy yet-ridiculously-beautiful-anyway garden last Sunday, the workers’ rapid-fire conversations and laughter flowed over the rooftops too fast for me to catch more than a word or two, underpinned by wild Mariachi and Ranchera songs playing full-blast, heavy on the tuba bass. The hard work of roofing felt like a party and, by extension, toiling away in the weeds and tulips and starting-to-fail wisteria of the miraculous, rainy springtime flourishing back there, I was kind of in on it, kind of the wallflower watching the swirling dancers with hardly any envy. No, I didn’t want to be up on the roof with them, bopping and hammering away, but I was grateful to hear such lightness in the midst of my near-constant anguish over the world, grateful there could still be a party during a work party, and music, and rain, of course. You have to pep-talk yourself, you have to find the cracks in the sad, sad state of things, and put some art and music in them.
Working on this issue of REM has presented a similar situation, the helpless feeling sorrow I’m sharing with the entire world for Ukraine and for our own democracy that’s in danger, underpinned by the fervent desire of busy people hoping to take actions that serve peace, give comfort, retain freedom. This month, we’re running two stories instead of our usual one, and there are many ways to help, to take action, to give and participate. Right now, plans are progressing for the Ukraine event coming up so fast—May 1—to get some significant money together to help feed and house and support the five million refugees fleeing untenable conditions in their country. And as another example of altruistic pursuits, for decades, dedicated volunteers have kept Point Cabrillo Lighthouse flashing its beacon out to sea, another symbol of our human desire to offer solace to those in need.
There are so many things left off this list. For instance, Mendocino County Youth for Climate is a group of very young environmental activists. Founders of the group, Sara Rose and Ravel Gauthier, have been invited to attend Earthx2022, a huge expo/conference/festival in Dallas, Texas. The EarthX tag line is “Change Happens Here.” Well, thank heaven for change and please hurry! “EarthX is an international nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to educating and inspiring people and organizations to take action towards a more sustainable future worldwide.” We send these two firebrands, Sara (sixteen) and Ravel (twelve) with our blessings and our hopes that their youth and energy will carry this heavy load into a brighter future.
See? We can’t move if we allow ourselves the indulgence of sinking to despair. We have to climb on the Pollyanna train and ride it as far and generously as we can. Give money. Give time. Give donations of anything that can be helpful. Don’t have a big bank account? Make some cupcakes and donate them to sell at the festival. Volunteer for work parties. It takes muscle to put on a fundraiser of this scale. The point is, the self pep talk is necessary and the action keeps our heads up and our hearts hopeful. Even a tiny donation can be useful. I urge you, every single one, to find the cause that speaks to your heart, the one that makes you cry, and give something of yourself to it. The world is in great need of your love and your music and your hard-earned cash, your time and talents. Time to dig deep.