March 1, 2002

Dear Friends

In an interview by Lora Alcarian for the Bailey, CO FLUME, Lora referred to me as a septuagenarian - and that's true. She also wrote, "Justine Merritt has stitched together the most magnificent of lives," and this morning as I sit to write the March Letter on the patio of Marlene and Tom Defilipis' home in Arizona, I smile. For that is true also.

Here I sit in brilliant desert sunlight making tiny, tiny stitches to create the exquisite fronds of Oregon's bracken fern as I hold this month and these beloveds in my prayers. Back and forth, in and out from Eugene OR to Pat and Paul O'Connor's in Tucson AR where I made the first stitches of the bracken. Back to Ann and David in Eugene, then to Las Vegas for the 25th wedding anniversary mass and reception celebration of Josefina and Juan Covarrubias. Then back to Oregon to be with daughter Regna and her daughters. Today jet trails streak across the clear blue sky in Lake Havasu. YES! February has been full of frequent flyer miles, old friends, new friends, children, grandchildren, security lines and all those thereto attached.

As a peace advocate, a pacifist, I am on this journey to encourage others to sew to speak, to create Ribbon pieces that I call Tangible Hope. There are many of us whose feelings, whose convictions, stem from the belief that as humans we are called to say there are alternatives to war even within the terror, grief, fear and rage growing out of September 11.

I believe we are a people who love our country - its peoples, its beauty, its energy, but a people who cannot always support the nation's policies. Our feelings, our convictions, are not reflected in national polls but our needles, looms, paint brushes can create pieces of fabric, 18"x36" of pieces to the Peace.

I believe there are three threads held in each Tangible Hope segment: what we cannot bear to think of as lost forever through terrorism or wars of retaliation. Another vital thread is of our concern for the environment of this lovely earth. And the third thread is the one from those days when our stitches or paint strokes, our quilting or our weavings, are also of the pain of a loved one long dying and then, of their death as they are Returned to Love.

March's poem, "Later," is based on a glorious embroidered segment from the Ribbon around the Pentagon that says:
"I dream of giving birth to a child who asks, 'Mother, what was war?'".

The embroidery this month is Maggie O'Connor's piece of counted cross stitches. The THANK-YOU is to Virginia Yankoskie of Portland who is also a resource person for Tangible Hope, with others, in Oregon.

March will find me in Arizona, Illinois, Colorado LINK

May God continue to guide and protect you

with Love,


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