Sunday, September 21, 2008

Over the Clouds in Kentucky photograph

Over the Clouds in Kentucky photographs All rights reserved JHM ©08

Let's Dance

Over the Clouds in Kentucky photograph All rights reserved JHM ©08

There are those moments when I do not feel awesome, but it is so wonderful to know people think I am.

There are those moments when I wonder am I clothed in my right mind?
(I am) Or if I simply have my head (still) in the clouds.

There are those moments when I can wake up in a panic hearing in my own head "What have you gon 'n done?" It last only for a moment because somewhere deep inside of me that I have not found the words for (yet) terlls me I am indeed on the right path. It just that I have not yet known what the "it" is and when "it" will be.

But I have to let it be. The alternative is not feasible. And I also know I am not alone. There are many others going through and probably in a more dramatic way then I something enormous for them (or for me).

This has indeed been a year of change of new beginnings personally, professionally and socially. Here I am "wandering through the wilderness" as I reinvent my life.

While right now I do not have a permanent address, but it is not stopping who I am or what I need to do.

I came here on faith and trust that in the end all will work itself out. Ironically with my being on the "Edge of the Water" I see so much how I've grown and seeing things clearly now. My resiliency, humor focus & tenacity is rock solid. What is fairly new is (still more) experiencing l the falling away of dead or dying leaves, metaphorically speaking.

It's like I told someone last week, I could have sat in G'boro wringing my hands and in the end still would have been losing my home (I chose to leave though for the record) and wringing my hands or I could have gotten up and done something (which is what I am doing).

There's no way I've ask anyone for permission, approval or criticism in doing this. The difference for me is that I have so focused and tuned out people's negativity, cynicism or discouragement. We all have known people who take delight in dancing on the grave or have not yet face the sort of man or woman they ought to be. I am seeing people struggle valiantly trying to maintain or hold onto a life that really is no more or was as King Solomon said "Vanity and striving after the wind". And in the pursuit of it are slowly watching their humanity (and their sense of doing the right thing) slowly seep out the bottom.

My belief is first is that I do no harm nor do I want people to harm me. If they cannot uplift /encourage/ support/ celebrate/ make provision then at least do no harm. And that includes themselves or someone they see in a level of vulnerability. Blaming, berating mocking someone Else's vulnerability will not and let me emphasize will not stop time and unforeseen circumstances from happening to you, if that is to happen.

I am indeed somewhat tired and ready to have my own place to lay my head and get to work, but it is coming. I've met many people who have much to my surprise that I was encouraging them and who have been tracking my travels and very very few who would do harm. I was quite disappointed in one artist I (used to) know who thought I was just vulnerable enough for them to take advantage of. And she did, but not to the degree they wanted to as I was quite adept and gave myself permission to vacate the area so that would not happen

There were others (very few) with whom I have supported, mentored, cheered etc who when it became time for them as young people would say "man up" that did not, would, not. Sometimes the testing is not for the person who may be eperiencing difficulty, but for the ones around them to should what sort of man or woman they could be. Some will rise but alas many will not though they will be replete with numerous justifications as to why they could not or would not.

Understand people can only do what people can do and ducks can only quack so I am not mad at them. I am not an anything with them. Once upon a time I would have agonized and made myself sick or silly over what did I do wrong or how can they do this to me or I am so embarrassed or this should have happen to me yada yada yada, but no not this time.

It is me and me (though not completely alone) who have faced the woman in the mirror and not only have taken responsibility for what happens from this moment on no matter what anyone else might say or do.

There was a quote in a movie I saw recently. In fact, Tyler perry's "The Family that Preys" where the Alfre Woodard character in the near end of the movie in the funeral scene as she gives the euglogy states in reflection:" I spent most of my life giving it (her life) away. I think I am going to keep the rest for myself" and she takes off in her friends car for a trip to parts unknown. She simply says to the her friend's picture "I think this time we go North" while Gladys Knight sings her heart out Lee Ann Womack's
"I hope you Dance".

That song has stuck in my head every since then

I Hope You Dance

Lee Ann Womack
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder

You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger

May you never take one single breath for granted

God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small

When you stand by the ocean

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens

Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance

Never settle for the path of least resistance

Living might mean taking chances

But they're worth taking Lovin' might be a mistake But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart Leave you bitter

When you come close to selling out


Give the heavens above

More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance (Time is a real and constant motion always)

I hope you dance (Rolling us along) I hope you dance (Tell me who)

I hope you dance (Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)

(Where those years have gone)

I hope you still feel small When you stand by the ocean

Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens

Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance A

nd when you get the choice to sit it out or dance


I hope you dance I hope you dance

(Time is a real and constant motion always)

I hope you dance (Rolling us along)

I hope you dance (Tell me who)

Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)

I hope you dance (Where those years have gone)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Harper's Ferry West Virginia

Side of Amtrak train at stop Photograph by JHM
Harper'sFerry sign Photograph by JHM ©08
Harper's Ferry from Train Photograph by JHM ©08
On the Way to virginai Photograph by JHM ©08

Taking the "A"Train:Amtrak that is...

Photograph Shot at Washington DC Union Station- ©08JHM

I love this quote sent to me:
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any
direction you choose
.~Dr. Seuss

It is hard to believe its going on almost 3 months since I've started this adventure and have I learned a lot. One of the things has been for me the most important is:

1st how much I have grown.

2nd. To be able to replenish my heart's resovoir of love, respect & dignity by those who known and been my friends for a very long time.

3rd. To see things that if I had sat where I was wringing my hands all I would have had to show for the wringing is sore hands. Instead my eyes were filled to overflowing sights, sounds and smells that would have past in the winds of regrets.

4th That I will be just fine when all been said & done

5th That Little by little does the trick (thanks Aesop)

6th I am today what yesterday has made me; tomorrow I shall be changed by today’s experiences.

And off I go to what awaits me. There will be more to follow.

How cool is that?

Wandering Moon

Cultured Windows: the Cultural Art Center Greensboro,NC Photography ©08JHM

- Remember tonight, for it is the beginnings of always~ Dante

Berea College Presents On the Edge of the Waters

"On the Rocks" photograph Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney ©08

Berea College’s Black Cultural Center and African & African American Studies
present their first of the 2008 Tukule, Tusome; To Eat, To Learn Luncheon Series
Monday, September 22, 2008 featuring

“On the Edge of Water: Reflections of a Changing River
A Woman’s Perspective of Katrina”

With contemporary artist Jacquelyn Hughes Mooney

The event begins at 12 noon (Lunch begins at 11:45 a.m.), Commons
Join us for a perspective on the Katrina Disaster three years later…

Exhibition & Reception featuring My Soul Up Over the Moon Collection
Slide presentation & poetry will begin at
6:00 p.m., BCC (Alumni Bldg. 206) & Student Organization Lounge
For more information contact the Black Cultural Center 859 985 3797
Free and Open to the Public

Ms. Mooney is the former Artist in Residence for Bennett College for Women from 2004-2007 & is the owner of I am Moon Studio.

She has been archiving and presenting about the lives of Gulf Coast residents & their families across the country since 2005 in a variety of venues so the resilience and tenacity of people whose lives have been changing since the storm. Her Changed Waters series have been seen in a variety of settings around the U.S.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To Be Victorious...

The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves.

- Anonymous

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just One Time

This was no cry wolf.

No howling wolf with no results...

People complained when ones did not leave... when "nothing" was done.

People complained when ones left and "something" was done

No one would know if the levees would hold. Thank goodness they did. But had they not held, a tremendous amount of lives were saved because of this major evacuation.

If the people did not evacuate and the levees did not hold, then heads would have been rolling about the failure of the officials, failure of the people who did not leave, you name 'em, somebody would have had something to say.

Anyone with half a brain knows that if you will live in a post Kastrina Gulf Coast or for that fact anywhere that may be disaster prone, you better have an evacuation plan something to get out of harm's way.

Sounds like good common sense.

Even if you have had 100 + false starts, all it takes is ONE which is what Katrina showed.

I remember people used to tease me though somewhat gently when I would get out at a Cat 2 and those same people stopped teasing with Katrina. Though N.O. had not had, prior to Katrina, something that major since '64 Hurricane Betsy, the stage had been prepared for a Katrina.

The bottom line is the area is still struggling to regroup from Katrina with/ without a Gustav. Or for that matter since we are only halfway through the hurricane season ,all the others that are queue out in the ocean. What has been so sad is, as was commented to me yesterday by an observer who themselves would have probably not paid attention if they did not known me and that New Orleans was my home, that how many people they knew that paid little to no attention to this storm. That apparently since it was not happening to them or they since they had formulated opinions about "those people" it was nothing more then a blip to them along with blips that happen in a given day.

Some of that is indeed human nature. We tend to pay more attention to things that happen in our world and anything beyond our nose tips has not a lot of relevance for us in real time. And if one does pay attention for a second, we very quickly form opinions and judgements , in 20 second bites, to justify unfortunately with a jaded cynicism so we do not have to respond.

There is a huge opportunity right now to go back and correct what was not done in Katrina and the fact that this evacuation seemingly went so well is evidence when people work together and put their heads/experience/wisdom together show we have a capabilities to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

Though not perfect this was a good test run. We may not have another opportunity for a trial run.

We could fall down and get up many times. Will one stop and throw in the towel because they didn't get the major dramatic rush they thought they would get with watching vicariously as this was the newest action flick? Or overlooking the obvious that perhaps this was a necessary trial run? Working out the "bugs" so to speak.

Or the cynics claims of "Aha! Oh they just cried wolf so lets not bother" until another Katrina like issue threatens to destroy it/us all?"

Perhaps at that point it will just simply water under the bridge (pun intended)

All it takes is one time...

Just one time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

On the Winds of Order-Hurricane Gustav & the Gulf Coast

" Down the Road"©08JHM Photography

You can complain because roses have thorns. Or you can rejoice that thorns have roses.

- Ziggy

In fact bear with me as I speak here as I am still in the middle of processing things.

Since we knew Hurricane Gustav was heading to the U.S. I've been able to reach perhaps 75% of the people I know in the Gulf Coast happily being able to say did indeed evacuated. What a relief though of course I know of some who just rebuilt there homes

I want to implore people who are watching not to make presumptions about the people who stayed behind as it may not what you think. Some have stayed because they have sick family members who could not be moved to the Children's Hospital who had babies, yes babies who have had heart surgery or born prematurely and who evacuating them would be certain death to the man who felt he could not leave because he felt he would be abandoning his wife. They tried to leave during Katrina and the roads were so impacted that they decided to go back home. His wife drowned....Perhaps for grief? Loyalty? Remorse?

Can we not understand that? Most of the ones who have stayed which is roughly about 10,00 are in the higher areas of N.O which did not sustain devastating damage in Katrina.

But in my thinking as I am watching this irony occur and hoping along with everyone else that the partially redone levees hold when lo and behold they showed my childhood area of the Lower Ninth Wards and the levees with the water over topping.

Looking at this impacted to me why it is important that these levees hold. This will tell the tale. Plus in a ironic way the Westbank which was the area that turned on other New Orleaninans with guns and blocked a foot evacuation threatening to shoot to kill as they did not want "those people" there now in a twist of fate now are being tried and tested. The levees on the Westbank did not break in Katrina & thusly no one knows if they will hold or even post Katrina if they have had defects due to aging or defects.

No one would know until a storm came and Gustav is now providing the test. But using the reasoning of Gustav this is an opportunity to do what a African proverb states "It is no shame to go back and correct what was not done" or as the Bible states godly sadness that befits repentance one being righting the wrong.

Perhaps things that were out of order during Katrina will be put into order this go around. Kinda like Gustav stating (if winds could talk) "I sent my little sister Katrina and you did not heed, so now big brother Gustav has to come along for emphasis". Gustav meaning is "royal staff" or "Staff of the Goths".There were apparently a number of European royalty with the name Gustav. Katrina also German translated means "pure".

Of course I am saying this somewhat tongue in cheek but sometimes the test may not be for the person or thing that is experiencing the difficulty but for the observers as to what they are going to do (or not do).

Ironically just a couple of weeks ago some of us were talking about how the Gulf Coast appeared to be forgotten as people went about their lives and things, challenges and other events crowded in. The economy, gasoline, job loss, dispossed homes, bankruptcies etc. Katrina was not any longer a worthy news bite as people decided "those people" should have been better by now to the "oh they are just whining wanting handouts" to "I got my own problems" forgetting that these are real people and that a Katrina like event can happen to each and everyone of us in some way, Even if we manage something life changing once, it could again and again and again and again..

Someone told me and I do not know the author that "one can be irritated to greatness" meaning being pushed and prodded and molded and tried into being a better person then we once were. One thing about going through iron hitting against iron it makes it a stronger more useful material. Some of us will develop a greater capacity for fellow feeling and action.

Will that be you? Will it be me or someone else?

However there are people that will dig there heels in and fight with all their might to the death figuratively or literally to resist what may need to be altered or done. (Or undone) But yet others will rise up and make extraordinary changes (for themselves) That extraordinary change may be just a blip to other people but may be exactly what it needs to be for the one who is making said change.

So now where will you (or I) be when it is our time which is now?

That may be for ones who are doing things like needing to make major changes in their life or even minor one i.e losing 5, 25 or 105 pounds for health or walking away from a dangerous home life, changing careers or like in my position doing this Moon's Great Adventure. At the end of the first phase of this, I do not know where I will indeed lay my head, but I do know that I have no regrets doing this as if I had stayed where I was wringing my hands all I would have now 7 weeks later I would have been still sitting there wringing my hands.

I can tell you that since I took that first step toward putting things in order, my pain level has decreased about 50% and up until a few days ago the heart palpitations had totally ceased. I am feeling more and more like my old self, but in actuality better then even my old self. Though not all of the experiences have been uplifting, of the types that movies are made of, they though have been powerful.

I am still processing them and may for sometime to come. But I will have to say that 95& of the adventure thus far have been powerful and good.

Ironically if it had not been for a totally unexpected & unplanned for glitch about 3 weeks ago I would have been in New Orleans last week & this. That was part of my scheduled plan and would have been on one of those bus, gus getting out of there! This is the second time (for emphasis) that I was delayed or a circumstance change where I was suppose to be, the other time being Katrina, that prevented me from being in harm's way and put me in a position to where I could be of better service.

So initially as I reflect back on 3 weeks ago what seemed to be a major glitch now is a blessing in disguise and I didn't even know it. What was different was I handled the glitch, changing lanes and kept on pressing. One thing about trials one will indeed learned resiliency unless they fight tooth and nail to resist being molded that comes or when things need to be put in order.

So now where we will be?

I know for me I will continue as the Chinese proverb states "Fall down seven... Get up eight".

Even under these sad circumstances and people are anxious, worried not knowing what will await them, there is still a guarded optimism that perhaps what was not there the first time is now in place and in the end it will gonna be alright.

And how cool is that?