Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, February 02, 2013


Painting by Diane Widler Wenzel whose blog is Umbrella Painting Journal

Imbolc, Ewe's Milk, February 2 is the traditional, Celtic end of winter with the coming of spring. I know it's not what the calendar or the sun phases say, but it's what is revealed by nature and with the new lambs. Almost always we have our first lamb by this time and the rest follow shortly after. Because we don't control breeding of our sheep, the rams are with the flock year round, this isn't quite as tidy a business as it would be in a more corporate type ranch. We operate with the seasons and the sheep determine those.

We know it's still winter by outside cold temperatures and in my valley the darkness, fog, long nights, but those nights are little by little shortening. And the plants outside know this. I can see some of the first growths coming up from the soil, buds swelling on the end of trees and shrubs. 

digital painting-- sun breaking through darkness

We are still in the dark but with the bursting forth so near, it's a good time for meditating, for thinking of possibilities, of our own growth. As the light grows, we see more shadows. It is a time where the ancients would say we may open our third eye to see the truths that the world around us does not reveal. 

My dreams have been rich, not so much dreams of what will come but vivid dreams with color and events. I am writing a new book and it's been coming together in very exciting ways. I know for those who dislike romances, that won't seem a big deal. It's a big deal to me as these characters take on life and action. They grow as outside I see the buds expanding ready to burst forth.

While I am doing a lot of internal work (analysis of a recent dream is in my Rain Trueax blog), writing many hours each day, time with family in Central Oregon, planning for activities later this spring and summer (beach trip with friends and Yellowstone in July), I am also reading the papers, listening to some news and thinking about our country and the directions it is expanding.

As a woman who has always lived by the laws, I have had a hard time with what has happened here regarding immigration. When we haphazardly punished some for immigration violations while others have been rewarded, immigration has been an issue that has troubled me (and I've written on it before with the general conclusion we have laws and they should be obeyed). Basically I had felt that it can't be right for Americans to profit from cheap labor because they looked the other way on immigration for their own profit.

For years I didn't like the idea of amnesty and thought in terms of better border security (it's not all about Mexico), enforcement of the laws, work regulations that kept illegal residents from benefiting from coming without permission.

But at the same time, I recognized that at one time everybody came without permission. When my grandmother's grandparents came from Germany and bought a farm in South Dakota, I doubt they had permission. On the other side, my great grandfather came from Scotland. Who did he have to ask in the 1800s? Even the relatives that came earlier, some to what was New Amsterdam in the 1400s, there were no green cards or even Visas. They just came if they could afford the boat fare. If not they may have sold themselves into servitude for a number of years to gain passage. 

So here we are today with rules and regulations that are regularly broken. In January President Obama basically announced he goes along with the Senate Eight on a proposal to strengthen borders, work regulations, loosen up on the number of green cards and work visas, a path to citizenship, but one that makes those 11 million here illegally get to the back of the line and pay back taxes.

First of all why would they do that? How many years would they then have to wait to work here legally? Let's assume they have jobs now, do they give them up to the ones who waited to do it legally? Are we giving them a pass on that until they do finally get their papers-- and if so, then some of the new law is like the one under Reagan.

My questions are why will the Senate and Obama proposals work better than what happened under Reagan? Will they just open a door to more illegal entry? Is it actually fair to undocumented workers currently here since they weren't the only ones contributing to what happened. Someone hired them whether for steady jobs or day labor. They were rewarded by Americans wanting their gardens cheaper or construction or food production enabling those who didn't look too closely to get lower prices.

Maybe it's that I am getting old, but I wonder now if we have any ability to actually control borders in a country like ours where entry comes so many ways. Is the world so changed that all nations with borders need to rethink this as one world and one people with all the various ethnicities, religions, genders, and cultures? I get it that you must protect resources except from those other countries, how many of them did someone exploit their resources already?

The talk is allowing in more people with training and skills. Less who do gardening. Is that going to be fair to Americans who did train and develop skills but find their wages depressed by the competition? Who benefits from that?

So I think the immigration problem didn't happen solely due to those who came here without papers. This country contributed to it. Can it be fixed now by new regulations, expanded numbers of green cards, more enforcement at the work place, allowing companies to expedite the green card for what has until now been an illegal employee? I have my doubts but what is going on right now is unfair. 

The world is changing just as Imbolc signifies our way back to growth and more light, maybe it's the right time to make a change with immigration that will actually work if that's possible. I know one thing-- as I get older, I feel less need to control everything-- maybe it's an awareness I can't anyway.

There are many [traditions regarding Imbolc] but the main thing is light is coming-- which is reason to celebrate.

 .one of my oil paintings-- Bird Woman


Taradharma said...

a thoughtful (and thought provoking) post, Rain. My feelings regarding immigration pretty much mirror yours. So many pros and cons, history and class struggle. People come here looking for a better life. If they could get that in their homeland there would be no incentive to leave. All our ancestors came here uninvited, seeking to improve their lot. Who are we to say, "Hey, we made it here, but you cannot."

Love your writing about Imbolc and the lambs, the green shoots and the coming of the light. And the awareness that we don't really have control of anything...it's liberating, actually.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Thank you for using my painting. And yours are very rich. I don't know why you needed mine. As for the thinking on immigration, great post. If we could enforce the laws on immigration, another problem looms. Friday I saw beggars on a street corner here in Albany - a mother, a stroller with an enfant and in the background around the corner a father. The sign said "Help family of three, jobless. God bless." They looked as thought they could be illegals. If employers quit hiring illegals, will they go back home or end up on the street like the family I saw? It is very expensive to travel.

Kay Dennison said...

I love Diane's paintings -- she is so gifted!!!

Having worked for our local Hispanic center, I am well aware of the plight and problems of many of the immigrants as well as the problems that sent them here. There are no easy answers to them.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm not sure I understand the Immigration Problems....I think of my Maternal Grandmother, who came here from Lithuania at age 13, by herself...landing in New York and going through Ellis Island. How bad things must have been for her to take such a drastic yet hopeful step at such a young age---knowing no one...!!! How Brave!
And my father, coming from Latvia at age six, with his oldest sister and youngest sister, to join their mother, who had come a few years before with all the rest of her living 13 children---again, New York and Ellis Island....
Life has changed for so many in the more than one hundred years PLUS, since my Grandma came, and since my father came----One cannot compare the "then" to the "now" and yet the deep motivations are basically the same, in many ways...I have no answers. I just wish we could welcome ALL who come to our shores, no matter how they got here....I wish that we would live up to the words on The Statue Of Liberty...."Give us your poor...." etc., etc., etc.....

Rain Trueax said...

I think it's the conflict we all face, Naomi. We want us to be a land of laws and yet often the laws are very unfair and we should stand against them. Immigration hasn't been even since the limitations were put in place and if we encourage only the trained to come here, that changes economic dynamics yet again. I tend to think it's a world economy and maybe if people didn't think they could steal the resources from other places and come back here to profit from them, if they understood it was a one world economy, they'd look at immigration quite differently. We need to be a strong people ourselves which means value education as much as many of our competing countries do. A lot in our country do not feel that way-- they either already got theirs at a reasonable cost (like my generation) or they fear education as it will take away their control over 'facts.' There is not much easy about any of it.

My daughter said that Obama's plan is more friendly to those already here than it looked to me to be. The eight from the Senate are evidently using the plan Bush tried to get through but was blocked. The Obama administration has been deporting undocumented workers at record rates according to a recent article I read. So I don't know except it's very unfair as it is right now and a lot of it is Americans who want cheap labor for the why of it.

Ingineer66 said...

I read an article today about all the Pagan and Christian Holidays celebrated around February 2. It is half way through winter and the Germans also celebrated something that I noticed last night when I lit the barbeque while it was still light outside. At the midpoint of winter it is light enough to eat dinner before it gets dark. That is something to celebrate no matter what else you believe in.

There have been a lot of illegal workers leave because of the bad economy.

I think they should seal off the border with the military if necessary. Unlike in our past, we have a bunch of Marines that have been well trained in Iraq and Afghanistan on how to do security and deal with a civilian population. And we have a bunch of them with nothing to do now that we are winding down in Afghanistan.

Then when the border is secure, let in every worker that wants to come in. Charge them $5,000 which is half what a coyote charges and finger print them and take their photo. That way we know who is here and the drug runners and criminals and terrorists will have a much harder time getting across.

That is why the Reagan amnesty did not work. We did not close the border after it was done. And this plan that we are somehow going to magically patrol the border with drones is a joke. We need more boots on the ground. Right now the Border Patrol cannot even come close to catching all the people they see sneaking in on the cameras they currently have. All more drones are going to do is give the people in a dark room in Oklahoma more to watch.

Ingineer66 said...

Maybe it happened before. But for me the great national disrespect for the law really got going with the 55 mph national speed limit. Almost nobody drove it because it was a stupid Federal Law about something that should have been left to the States and Traffic Engineers. It made many otherwise law abiding people criminals. And many western States essentially ignored enforcement of it. So if I do not have to follow one law maybe others are not important either. I fear the same thing is about to happen if they pass any new Federal gun laws.

Hattie said...

I like your thoughtful take on important matters.
And I love your meditation. I happen to know something about the beautiful part of the world where you live, too. You are lucky to be there with your spring lambs.