Letter: Thoughts on a prosperous and productive New Year of the Rat

I just found three pieces of paper in an old folder in my files. After using the folder to transport photocopies and stamps, I looked at what was in the folder.

I was astonished to find these quotations I hadn’t seen for seven or eight years, which just about sum up my philosophy of life.

“Happiness lies in being privileged to work hard for long hours doing whatever you think is worth doing.” Robert Heinlein

“Offensive speech, bad manners, and filthy toilets all seem to go together.” Ibid

“If you’re not prepared to die, when you’re almost 60, then I would say you’ve been falling down on your philosophical responsibilities as a grown-up human being.” Barbara Ehrenreich “Living With a Wild God, 2014”

“Children, we call upon you to stand for yourselves and for each other,

For the plants and animals and all the living beings.

For Gaia

You are precious

Lightworkers of Earth.

If not you, who then?

Who will change your world?”

Unattributed, so maybe I wrote it myself. Or not.

I know I wrote this poem, in early 2009:

Our Heritage

The morning after the Inauguration,

In a picture taken in Atlanta

At the time of the Swearing In,

On a T-shirt worn by a celebrant,

Were these words:

“Rosa sat so Martin could walk;

Martin walked so Barack could run.”

To those words I now add:

Barack ran so we could wade;

So we could finally,

After 40 years in the wilderness,

Wade across the Jordan,

Each in her own heart

And all of us as a people,

And begin anew.


Barack won, and we won, because

All of us said in our hearts

These words:

“Here and now,

Though Moses no longer leads us,

We can and will,

Together as a nation,

Cross over this Jordan

And enter the Promised Land.


Now we stand, dripping wet,

On the other side, el otro lado,

Ready to build anew

Our sweet land of liberty,

With justice for all,

The happiness we have so long pursued,

And also joy –

Joy like that on the

Radiantly dark brown, tawny, golden

American face of the young girl

Wearing that shirt,

In that picture

On the global web of

Harnessed lightning, genius,

Rocket science and imagination

That now unites our

All-too-human family.


Let’s get back on track, shall we?

Alima Fairchild