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Reflections in the Silver Cup


Teec Nos Pos in the Navajo Nation

I've been posting some tidbits about the helpers I've seen in these times. There are businesses that are helping their employees and businesses helping health professionals and businesses stepping up to create ventilators and protective gear. Let us sing praises to the helpers everywhere.


Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX ) is the company that distributes the audio version of my book, To Drink from the Silver Cup to Audible, iTunes and Amazon. To help their authors, including me, during the pandemic they are increasing our royalties by an additional 5% during April, May, and June. 5% may not sound like much, but it will be if lots of people purchase audiobooks during this time.


John T. Price, memoirist, essayist, nature writer and creative writing professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO), had this to say about the text version of To Drink from the Silver Cup: "From Navajo dwellings in New Mexico to Scandinavia to the evangelical Midwest, Anna Redsand's beautiful, heroic story is for anyone who has ever felt outcast from a community they love and tossed into the desert of doubt and despair. Here you will find spiritual hope embodied, and the promise that, no matter where we are lost, it is possible to find our way home to new communities of faith, compassion, healing, and belonging."


After he read the book and wrote that blurb, John heard me read at UNO, and afterwards he said, "Reading your book was wonderful, but hearing you read gave me a completely different experience of it."


So this post is a request for your help. If you haven't heard me read To Drink from the Silver Cup, now could be the time. Or if you know someone––anyone––who would enjoy hearing it, if you need something to listen to while you work out or go for walks, in the time of Corona, please consider helping me and buying the audio version. Add to my take, and support the workers at ACX, who are supporting their authors.


Go to the iTunes Store in the iTunes app on your phone or computer.


Or get the book on Audible at:


A grateful thank you in advance.

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I brought down the trash last evening and sat in my RAV for a few minutes to let the battery charge up. Getting out I felt my love for the RAV and my longing to go somewhere with it, live in it for a while again. And then I walked the perimeter of the parking lot. It didn't matter that it's a parking lot filled with cars and dumpsters, because there was all the pink and the baby blue and the slate blue—everywhere, except in the west. There the gold and the tangerine. The sky. So I walked backwards for a while to joy in the sundown there. And the granite upthrusts of the mountains were dusky rose, and I felt so blessed to be here, to witness this unbearable beauty. And people moving in their cars through the lot waved to me and that, too, was a blessing.



~ Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems: Volume I


Have you ever seen


in your life

more wonderful


than the way the sun,

every evening,

relaxed and easy,

floats toward the horizon


and into the clouds or the hills,

or the rumpled sea,

and is gone—

and how it slides again


out of the blackness,

every morning,

on the other side of the world,

like a red flower


streaming upward on its heavenly oils,

say, on a morning in early summer,

at its perfect imperial distance—

and have you ever felt for anything


such wild love—

do you think there is anywhere, in any language,

a word billowing enough

for the pleasure


that fills you,

as the sun

reaches out

as it warms you


as you stand there,


or have you too

turned from this world—


or have you too

gone crazy

for power,

for things?

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Found on an acequia wall in the North Valley

With apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez


People are noticing that emotions might be riding higher than usual right now. True for me, too. I don't easily feel anger. I'm much more in touch with sorrow generally, with feeling hurt. But Monday I got two emails that I responded to (internally) in a high dudgeon of anger. At another time, I would possibly have been somewhat angry, but not like this. I let the anger be there all day—doing none of the work I had planned, not going outside even once, taking two naps, reading in bed—sulking if the truth be known. Indulging my anger.


Or maybe I was doing something else. In the past couple of days I've seen two memes advising us in the time of COVID-19 not to pay attention to those other memes that are advocating self-improvement in the face of devastation. Instead, they say, Be extra tender with yourself. We are in a time of collective grief. It's all right to be sad, angry, even despondent (though I hope none of us gets stuck there). It's a time for accepting what we're feeling, a time for gentleness with self and others. When I think about self- acceptance, I so often remember the simple, profound prayer of memoirist Patricia Hampl, in Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life: "This is how I am." That's all. This is how I am. It is all right to be how and who I am. In fact, it is probably a duty.


Perhaps the recommendation itself sounds like self-improvement. I guess if you tend to be harsh with yourself, being gentle would be an improvement. Accepting myself exactly as I am—also an improvement because I'm often not there. Nevertheless, in trying to show the face of love here in the time of Corona, in revealing a silver lining or two, I hope I haven't been guilty of advocating self-improvement. If I have you may chastise me. But gently, in love, please.


When the thumb of fear lifts, we are so alive.

                                  ~ Mary Oliver,

from "May," White Pine

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With apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez



Some Things I've Learned about Cooking


Even, or maybe especially life's trials, even something as horrific as this pandemic, can have its uses–in this case, lessons that can be learned. I loved to cook—way back when—before I had a child whose Like-repertoire was extremely limited, and cooking became more of a Have To than it ever had been before. I got into the habit, or maybe I always was, of buying only what I thought I would need for the meals I planned to make. Then, a few weeks before I went into self-quarantine, I started stocking a few non-perishable food items at a time, figuring the time was coming. Suddenly I had overflowing cupboards. I had choices! I didn't have to make what I planned out before shopping. There wasn't a plan, and there were many things I could make. Suddenly my level of cooking expanded. I know a lot of people are cooking more because they're not going out to eat, and they're staying home more with more time on their hands. But that's not it for me. Except for errands I needed to run or walks or hikes, I pretty much was at home. For me, it's more cooking because: more choices. It probably means I'll shop somewhat differently when this is over.


I had a craving for cornbread but no cornmeal or flour or milk or baking powder. My brother and his wife did some shopping for me, and the shelves were empty of a lot of things—regular flour included. There was, however, coconut flour. "Sure," I said. How different could it be? Luckily, I took a look at the back of the bag before mixing everything and putting it in the oven. It said, "Coconut flour is highly absorbent. This means you need substantially more eggs than when baking with almond or wheat flour." Hmm. There was no hint as to what "substantially more" might mean. I use my mother's recipe, which calls for one egg. I've used two for years to yield cornbread that's lighter and also holds together better. So I decided on three for this recipe. I had to bake the bread about 2/3 of the time again as long as called for, possibly because I used my toaster oven and a smaller pan. It came out rich, held together nicely, was quite moist and dense, and had a coconut-y flavor that was okay but took a little getting used to. I also made lentils and added something I don't care for in salad dressings—balsamic vinegar, which made the dish superb.



Kindness. Just witnessing and receiving the kindness of others


• Cheyenne's friend's husband, who is predictably young, went to the homes of the elderly in their neighborhood to ask if there was anything he could do for them.


• A Sikh community in NYC cooked hot meals for more than 30,000 isolated people.


• Starbucks gives free coffee to healthcare workers.


• A friend's son's teacher wrote chalk messages of love on the sidewalks in front of her students' homes.


• A neighborhood message board suggested a "bear hunt" for children in the vicinity of an elementary school, asking people to put stuffed animals in windows for children to "find."


• The Columbia Sportswear CEO cut his salary by $10K, so retail employees could continue to receive their regular pay.


• People made music from their balconies, porches and windows, creating community in the process.


• We check in on each other by phone, Face Book, and emails, and suddenly it is with much greater frequency than before and perhaps with people we don't often reach out to.


And so it goes. There is kindness everywhere. I have seen more evidence of kindness than of anything else.

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