city versus country

A friend comments that the country used to outnumber the city folk but now it’s the other way around, and that the split in our country is about values.

Hmmm. I am thinking about that. I am a city girl AND I am a country girl, both. We moved every 1-5 years and I was in cities and in the country. However, my family also had two anchor points. My mother’s family has shacks on a lake in Ontario, summer shacks. My father’s parents had a house on the beach in North Carolina on the outer banks. Wind and water in both places and we never watched tv in either place, because we were outside until we fell exhausted into a tent or into bed.

I don’t agree with my friend. I think we ALL share some values: that no one should go in a school and shoot kids, or a church and shoot people, or a store and shoot people. Right? We all agree on that if we are sane. That is a starting point. I read the mediation books when my (now ex-) husband was getting certified. The mediators start by trying to find the common ground.

I am pretty much equally comfortable in my small town, the woods, on the water and in cities. My friend warned me about Seattle being dangerous now. Well, it’s a matter of scale. I went to high school in Alexandria, Virginia and I lived at 3rd and Massachusetts in Washington, DC back in the 1980s. I was pretty careful just walking to the metro in that part of Washington at that time. I pay attention in Seattle, but in these cities I know what I am paying attention to. I ended up alone on a metro car once at night. A man got on at the next stop, looked around the car, grinned and came and sat next to me. I thought, oh, Sh-t, this is not good. I ignored him and continued staring at my book.

“Hi, what’s your name?” he says.

“I am reading.” I say coolly.

“Come on, honey,” he says.

I shut the book, stand up, and he lets me pass. I stand by the metro door until the next stop, get off that car and get on another car with more people. The car did have emergency alarms, so I could have hit one, but he let me by so I didn’t. I was kicking myself for being alone on the car, but honestly: what a stupid nasty male chauvinist threatening jerk. I shouldn’t have to worry about this crap. But after that, I didn’t get lost in a book on the metro because I had to pay attention to avoid being alone on a car. Annoying as can be.

My friend says he gets lost in cities. I don’t. I start building a map in my head when I arrive in a new city. It is completely automatic. If I am driving, it’s based on the highway. If it’s by airplane, it includes the airport, the hotel, the conference center. I have been to San Antonio once, but I stayed at a hotel along the River Walk and the conference center was towards the center and south. I could draw part of the city, still. I love maps!

I can’t say that I would be comfortable if dropped in a city in another country, necessarily. I was pretty happy on my trip in March, which was abroad. There are levels of familiar and what are the languages in common? Are there any?

What are these values that people might be split on? I read that people are polarized and can’t get along, but I don’t agree. I did Family Medicine in this town of 9000 for 21 years, and I had people from town, from the county and eventually from three other counties. I had nine people who had to take a ferry to see me. Talk about inconvenient for them. My people are all races, all genders, age zero to 104, all different stripes of politics. I don’t care what their politics are: I am there to see if I can maintain or improve their health. This could mean anything from encouraging exercise, doing a pap smear, diagnosing diabetes to discussing hospice and end of life issues or telling someone that I do not think they are safe to drive. This is not about “pleasing” people: recognizing opioid overuse in a person does not endear me to them. But it is about doing the best I can for people and with people. And isn’t that a value we all share too?

Now we have common ground, two areas to stand. Grow that space. Peace me, work for justice and kindness and peace to you.

mask up

Care for your family and friends and community. Mask up and do the best you can not to get nor give Covid-19 this season. The winter is dark but the sun will start returning to us soon. Like the seeds in the ground and the trees with no leaves, we can get through this dark season caring for each other.


There is not ONE list of Seven Virtues. One list contains courage and another chastity. Chastity is on the list that matches the Seven Sins: so chastity is the opposite of lust.

Here is a definition from Webster 1913:

1. The state of being chaste; purity of body; freedom from unlawful sexual intercourse.

She . . . hath preserved her spotless chastity. T. Carew.

2. Moral purity.

So dear to heaven is saintly chastity, That, when a soul is found sincerely so A thousand liveried angels lackey her. Milton.

3. The unmarried life; celibacy.



4. Literature & Art


“Freedom from unlawful sexual intercourse”? That would imply freedom from being sexually assaulted or raped, wouldn’t it?  That is a bit different from the definition of chastity from now:

1. the state or quality of being chaste


And so I look up chaste:

adjective, chaster, chastest.

1. refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion; virtuous.
2. virgin.
3. not engaging in sexual relations; celibate.

4. free from obscenity; decent:

chaste conversation.

5. undefiled or stainless:

chaste, white snow.
6. pure in style; not excessively ornamented; simple.
7. Obsolete. unmarried.
I hear that there are men in our government who will not dine alone with a woman other than their wife. I am at the point where I want to say, if a man can’t control his libido and take responsibility for his own chastity, I don’t think he should be allowed a job in our government and I certainly don’t think he should have any power over whether we go to war. He has no self control around women? He fears a woman tempting him? He thinks women are angels who preserve chastity or devils who tempt? Out with him, fire him, impeach him. Women are people just as men are and I am tired of men wanting women to carry the responsibility for morality. Learn to control yourself. Chastity is YOUR responsibility as a civilized human being, and if you can’t do it, step down.
When I chose my A to Z theme as 7 Sins and friends last year, I was thinking of the sins as emotions: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth. I don’t think of chastity as the opposite of lust: I would think of the opposite of lust as disinterest in sexual activity. So chastity is not a word that I would think of as an emotion. The “moral purity” and “undefiled or stainless” definitions seem more about thoughts than about emotions. It interests me that from 1913 to the present the definition has changed from celibacy to virgin because those words have different meanings to me. One could be celibate and not a virgin, and one could also be “undefiled or stainless” and be attacked. I think that I am barely scratching the surface of complex archetypes and ideas that change.
The photograph is my plum tree, five days after the previous photograph. I am glad that my plum tree is not chaste and produces such beautiful blossoms and plums.