I might never have given Bastille Day two thoughts, were in not for Martha Lunney. I interviewed Martha for my first women’s studies class at the University of Southern Maine in the 80’s. She was the only paid staff member for the Feminist Spiritual Community in Portland, Maine and I was diving headfirst into feminism and spirituality. As I recall, she was generous with her time and sparked interest enough that I participated in the FSC during the years I lived in Portland.
About ten years later, I got on the San Francisco Muni’s 24 Divisadero line at the corner of Castro and 19th Street, heading home after a day of work. To my surprise, Martha Lunney was sitting on the bus, so I sat down and said “hello.” She didn’t remember me, but she wished me Happy Bastille Day. I’d heard of Bastille Day, from having taken several years of French, but I didn’t understand its significance to her. She explained that for her, the day was symbolic of the ways we can break free of ties that bind us, whether self imposed or those imposed by others and that it could be an opportunity for a personal revolution.
I might have forgotten this lesson, had I not gotten on the 24 Divisadero a year or two later and found Martha Lunney sitting on the bus. I sat down and said “hello.” She didn’t remember me, but again wished me a Happy Bastille Day. Although I have not seen her since this bus ride, I have remembered the lesson and have embraced it as my own.
Bastille Day, or rather the season of Bastille, has carried more of a charge for me this year. I am looking around at outmoded behaviors and stuff in my life. Piles of dust and detritus are begging to be given the boot. As with dust, the gradual accumulation has become heavy and suffocating with time.
Conversely, things of importance are more easily seen after dusting, hence today’s blog post. I don’t have a map for the writer’s journey; I only know that I’m on it. It’s a stumbling journey for me, one filled with uncertainty and doubt and judgment about the uncertainty and doubt. Judging the journey is at the top of the pile of things that have got to go. This is one shackle of a lesson that I may need to shake and keep shaking until it becomes my path, my pattern, and my revolution.
Viva la revolution!