Debra A. Copeland




Think Pieces (18)

Posted 01/02/2020 09:33:51
Category: Think Pieces

                                                                  The Pond 


The fish have gone to sleep. They started coming for feedings in fewer numbers, and sluggishly. Then one chilly day, they came not at all. The first time they didn’t show up for lunch, I imagined it was because of the heron which flew off the dock as I approached. There had been drama, no doubt. Or maybe the fish had gone into hibernation, and the heron, as it stood gazing at the pond, had been engaged in wistful remembrance of a season now past. I didn’t know. So I Googled it. Question: Do pond fish hibernate?

Answer (paraphrased): Pond fish, being cold-blooded, keep a body temperature the same as their environment. Thus, their bodily functions, as well as their activities, are cyclic. 

Pond fish don’t, however, go into full hibernation as some animals do but, rather, into what's called “torpor” as they seek out and sink to the warmest pockets at the bottom of the pond. Here, their metabolism, reflexes, and breathing all begin to slow down. They basically nap through the winter. I’m feeling a little sluggish myself as winter approaches, and wonder if it’s natural—if, perhaps, what’s unnatural is going like gangbusters all year round.


“Want a Rush? Feel alive, come skydive! You'll feel like a feather on the wind when you're flying at 120 mph through the atmosphere. Skydiving is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that will get your heart pumping!...

“Want  a View?... Want Options? You can do a tandem parachute jump or a solo Accelerated Freefall (AFF) for you extreme extremists! Either way, you can cross this experience off your ‘bucket list’!”

The above quotes were taken from skydiveSUPERIOR's website, which I visited after learning that, on November 2nd, in Superior, Wisconsin, eleven skydivers proved themselves superior when two planes, in and on the wings of which they were riding, collided in midair. Doing everything in their power to avoid the flaming missiles their shattered planes became, and exercising physical maneuvers normally possible only in Hollywood, the divers became powerful birds in flight who, even after such a harrowing engagement high in the sky, managed to land safely, with the grace of swans. One of the pilots turned what should have been a crash landing into a touchdown as light and pretty as anything you ever saw—so pretty, in fact, it’s hard to believe he did it with a damaged propeller and broken wings.

One of the divers said he believed guardian angels had been with them every step of the way. Another said that if just one person had lived, it would have been a miracle. But on this day eleven miracles occurred, and all of the divers walked away unharmed. And, as if choreographed by a Hollywood director, there was a twelfth miracle: they even landed in the drop zone!

The lives of these eleven people have no doubt been changed. But the one thing that will not change is their love of skydiving, which they all say they’ll continue to do. One woman said she couldn’t live her life trapped in a “box of fear,” which is what she’d be doing if she didn’t go up again. Her words reminded me of a mantra I read recently:  Remember, when things fall apart better things fall into place. I find myself wondering what will happen in the lives of these eleven young people, how the reverberations of this strange event will rearrange their world.


In conjunction with his My Hope America effort, and to mark his 96th birthday, Billy Graham, the famous Southern Baptist preacher, proclaimed this month that what this nation, as well as the whole world, desperately needs is a Spiritual Movement. I couldn't agree with him more, and would be happy to inform him, along with the rest of the world, that you don’t have to worry, it’s already underway, and it's being led not by patriarchs like Graham, but awakened women.   

In the 1950s and ‘60s, my grandmother and my mother never failed to watch Billy Graham whenever he pitched his particular brand of religion on TV. I couldn’t tell you how many times I stood in church as a girl and sang “Just As I Am.” On the rare occasion I hear the song now, all these years later, it still stirs something deep in me. A forerunner of modern-day mega-church preachers, Billy Graham was an evangelist whose sermons resonated with people of a particular region and culture. As an adult, I personally developed a preference for the words of Martin Luther King, a better educated preacher whose sermons ring with truth both timeless and universal. To me, Billy Graham is a minor prophet. Dr. King was Moses.


This month former First Lady Laura Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton participated in a symposium entitled, Advancing Afghan Women: Promoting Peace and Progress in Afghanistan. Mrs. Bush, and others, placed special emphasis on the importance of continuing American support in that country to help ensure there is not a setback in the progress which has been made. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Ms. Bush wrote, “We know from our own history—from the Civil War to women’s suffrage and civil rights—how hard and long the path to freedom is. As the people of Afghanistan continue on their own hard path to freedom, they must know that we are with them.”


My heart aches for the people of the Philippines. I offer prayers for the many thousands affected by Typhoon Haiyan. May the survivors receive the aid, comfort, support, and love they need to heal and carry on.