Sea Us Now & Black Beach Culture

Photo from Sea Us Now

As a Virgo Sun and Taurus Rising, my astrology is deep into the earth. That may explain why I love my plant babies so much!

But some of the best times in my life take place near water. Not long ago, I learned that I’m a Scorpio Moon, which adds some water to my chart. Growing up on the East Coast may have a lot to do with it too. Living in Quincy, Massachusetts, I’m just a couple of miles from the beach. When I open the windows in the summer and the wind blows just right, I can smell the salty air — one of my favorite scents.

There was a pool in the apartment complex where I grew up, so I swam a lot. I loved doing handstands under water and playing Marco Polo. I lounged by the pool almost everyday during the summers and played ping-pong in the cabana. As children, my brother and I took swimming lessons at the local college. Our parents brought us to the beach for picnics and lots of swim time on the Cape. As a young teenager, I even went to marine science camp.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized many considered it unusual for African Americans to swim. When you think about movies showing beach culture, often focused on surfing, someone like me usually isn’t there. But things are changing.

On Instagram, I found a group of Black women surfers calling themselves Textured Waves. Their website describes who they are and their goal.

Textured Waves [w]as created to propagate the culture and sport of women[‘]s surfing towards women of color and underrepresented demographics through representation, community and sisterly camaraderie. We value integrity, inclusion and advocating diversity in the water.

In the early summer, Textured Waves premiered a short film called Sea Us Now, which was created in collaboration with Seea, a progressive women’s surf brand. The film itself is extremely short, but the conversation around it is fascinating and worth watching.

It reminded me of the importance of creating something for the future. Documenting that yes, Black women surfers are out there enjoying life right now. Their existence shows a roadmap for the next generation. The conversation alludes to the precarious history of African Americans and water. Our African ancestors were brought to this country in ships. Many suffered horrifying deaths at sea and those who lived witnessed it. There is also a strong history of racial discrimination at public swimming pools in this country. If we look at the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, even our drinking water is harmful. African Americans have ancestral and current trauma involving water that needs healing.

The joy of Sea Us Now starts that aquatic healing. It feels like a daydream. The women of Textured Waves in colorful bathing suits catching the waves. The sound of moving water, peaceful music and driving in a vintage car by the seashore. Carrying their surfboards. Palm trees and ice cream. Short vignettes of style, beauty and warm weather. Flowering trees blowing in the breeze along with their natural hair. Sisterhood. A carefree afternoon. Time for reflection and dreaming. The gift of exercise on the beach. Black health and wellness.

They describe the film as “a re-imagining of our history with the coastline and the sea” and “a love letter to our past and our future.”

If you want to skip right to the film, it starts a little after 25 minutes and goes until almost 30 minutes. But I do hope you watch the conversation.

It’s quite striking that the timing of the film’s release was in the midst of the protests after George Floyd’s death. Watching the video of his murder made me physically hurt. This film is like a balm for the body and soul. In the midst of everything, we can still find happiness and peace. We always have. That’s how we’ve survived.

:: :: ::

Screenshot: YouTube

An Apple Found Poem

apples inspired a found poem

Last weekend, some friends and I went for a walk around Franklin Park. This park is Boston’s largest open space and the crown jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted‘s Emerald Necklace.

It was a beautiful day and October’s colors were in full effect. One of my friend’s co-workers recently bought a home and was surprised to find that she has an apple orchard. Can you imagine? A surprise apple orchard!

Because now she has too many apples, she’s giving them away to everyone she knows. My friend took some and I was lucky enough to leave our walk with dozens of apples. I stewed some with ground cinnamon, ginger and a touch of honey. I still have about a dozen left and not yet sure what I’ll do with them. Maybe make another Dutch baby? An apple crisp?

In any event, these gorgeous beauties inspired me to write a found poem. Back in 2010, on the first iteration of this blog, I discovered found poetry. I’m forever hooked! I love poetry and writing found poetry is easier than starting from scratch. It’s fun too. Like a word game!

To write a found poem, find some text – a book, magazine article, blog post, etc. As you read it, pull out words to create your poem. Ta da! You wrote a poem.

Below is the found poem I wrote using the article 5 Health Benefits of an Apple from EatingWell.

An Apple Found Poem

Doctor away!

Truth.

Apple-licious ways.

Flesh and skin.

Cooked and baked.

Fresh.

2 apples.

8 weeks.

You benefit.

Reduced risk.

Thanks.

You guessed it – apples.

Slices satisfied people.

Applesauce, apple juice.

Granny Smith, McIntosh, Golden Delicious.

Tops among fruits.

Don’t toss the peel.

Found.

Time Travel With Merriam-Webster

If there’s one genre that gets me every single time, it’s time travel. I absolutely cannot resist the concept.

So I was thrilled to recently read that a physicist came up with calculations that eliminate the paradox problem. You know the issue when someone goes back in time and has to worry about changing something and destroying the present? Apparently things would all work themselves out somehow. Yay?!?!

Not only is the time travel genre fun, but it’s a great way to learn some history. I find myself wondering if certain parts of the story lines are true, so with some quick research, I’m able to find out.

Recently I enjoyed a couple of time travel series on Netflix. Since I also love foreign films, the variety of time travel shows available exponentially increases with more languages included. Back to 1989 is in Mandarin and placed in Taiwan. Live Up to Your Name is in Korean and takes place in present day South Korea and goes all the way back to the Joseon Dynasty.

So why am I bringing up time travel today? Because Merriam-Webster is playing along with the idea. They have a link you can go to and travel back. Pick the year you were born or any other year. You’ll find out when certain words were first used in print. The earliest year you can go back to is 1500, then by century and generally before the 12th century.

I went back to 1964 and it surprised me to find some of these words used so early. They seem more modern! Others are interesting in that the terms have changed and are used differently. It also makes me think about how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Below are a few.

AAA, black hole, carryout, colorism, condo, drink-driving, endangered, fentanyl, garage sale, gender identity, gigahertz, grandparenting, graphic novel, gun control, homophobia, hydrocodone, mack daddy, minicam, miracle fruit, mitochondrial DNA, naloxone, pants suit and pantsuit, point-and-shoot, precalculus, precooked, quinceañera, rat fink, red bush tea, retribalization, reverse discrimination, skinny-dip, slow-wave sleep, street hockey, table sugar, tostone, triple jump, xanthan gum, zip-code

If you have a few minutes, take a trip back and let me know what you think!

+ + +
Screenshot Image: Merriam-Webster

Ocean Spray All In On The Dreams Challenge

 

Ocean Spray Dreams Challenge

By now you’ve probably seen the viral video by @Doggface208, where he peacefully glides along on his longboard, singing Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, while joyfully chugging down a big jug of Ocean Spray Cran·Raspberry juice.

What’s not to love? Great song. Happy guy. Delicious and healthy juice. Plus I love the local connection with Ocean Spray. Their corporate headquarters are in southeastern Massachusetts, fairly close to where I grew up. I remember visiting cranberry bogs as a kid. But I digress.

So anyway, sales and streams of the song skyrocket. Fleetwood Mac gives their nod of approval on Twitter. Then Mick Fleetwood makes his own video doing the same.  A new meme is born – Cranberry Dreams or Dreams Challenge.

The man behind @Doggface208 is named Nathan Apodaca. A recent profile of him in the Los Angeles Times shares that he buys the large jugs of juice to save money and drinks about one a day. “The colder, the better.” According to the article, his car battery had died the day he recorded the now famous video and he was on his way to work.

Since he was having problems with his car, Ocean Spray surprised him with a brand new truck! A video was posted a couple of hours ago on their Instagram feed. Of course the truck is filled with more than enough juice to last for a little bit. Ocean Spray CEO, Tom Hayes even did his own version of the Dreams Challenge.

I wonder who’s next!? Does this thing have momentum? Stay tuned.

*Updated 10/8/2020* The answer to the question about momentum is absolutely yes! Have you seen the fly from Pence’s head during the debate? Take a look at this hilarious video with the sound on.

+ + +
Screenshot: Ocean Spray Instagram

Massachusetts License Plate MV 1

Massachusetts License Plate MV 1

If you’re driving around on the roads of New England, you might want to lookout for Massachusetts license plate MV 1.

What is it about us in the Bay State, that makes us obsessed with low number license plates? I’ve never had one, but always notice them and wonder about the owners. These plates are prized family heirlooms passed from one generation to the next.

Well, apparently the generation passing didn’t happen for the MV 1 license plate. Because this past Sunday, some lucky person bought it. The Vineyard Gazette reports that it was purchased via live auction for $46,500.00.

Celebrities are no strangers to the Vineyard and Seth Meyers, who was visiting with family, hosted the Zoom event. He joked that the winner of the plate would still need to make a ferry reservation and that motorists should acknowledge them.

Be sure to say thank you — maybe two polite honks. But this is New England . . . so if they cut you off, feel free to give them the middle finger.

Most of the proceeds go to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, so the money raised will do a lot of good, which I had no idea until now. It’s nice to know that these vanity plates benefit people in need.

So if you play the license plate game, you might want to add a twist and focus on low number plates.

+ + +
Image: Possible Dreams 2020