Thursday, July 8, 2021

#189 / Keep Swinging

That is Henry "Hank" Aaron pictured at the top. As Wikipedia tells us, he is "widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball players in history."
Carolyn Finney, who is pictured right below Aaron, is a "storyteller, writer, performer, and cultural geographer," and is the author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Finney is also a new columnist for the Earth Island Journal, where her first column was titled, "Keep Swinging." 

"Keep Swinging," according to Finney, is Hank Aaron's best piece of advice. She quotes him to that effect:

My motto was to always keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.

   “Hank” Aaron, Baseball legend, civil rights activist.
I liked what Finney had to say in her inaugural column for Earth Island Journal:

I’ve been thinking a lot about baseball great Henry Aaron who died recently at the age of 86. About his achievements in spite of the humiliations, slights, and threats he endured throughout his time on Earth because the color of his skin reminded others about those memories behind the curtain. But no matter how hard it got both on and off the field, that man came to play every time.

So, here’s what I know for sure: We are in a moment of convergence where our past is present and our future is still in our grasp. And we are faced with ourselves and this planet we call home at every turn. With a shout-out to the ancestors (yours and mine) let us witness, work, and lean into this moment. We need to stay in the game. Stay committed. And yes, we tread water sometimes. But we keep on swinging.

In the coming months, I’d like to think out loud with you about some questions on my mind: Whose land is this anyway (reparations and Indigenous sovereignty)? Can a girl get a witness (hiking while Black in the Himalayas)? Are you my mother (blood relations, the practice of kinship, and the love of a cherry blossom tree)? And what might a Black Walden Pond look like?

I’m nervous, excited, and privileged to be in this conversation with you because the truth is, when I think about this Earth and my place in it, I’m still that skinny black girl believing in the possible and what might emerge when we come together with intention and open hearts. I am because you are, you know what I mean? We the people. Let’s do this (emphasis added).
Thank you, Carolyn. I like what you say!
We the people. Let's do this! 
Keep Swinging!

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