Betsy Taylor is executive director of the Center for a New American Dream in Takoma Park, Md.

Sunday, 16 Jan 2000

TAKOMA PARK, Md.

This morning felt like winter. It was wonderful to have a rush of frigid air in my face for a change after such a balmy December. Hoping for snow!

After some silent meditation, I browsed through the newspaper and was interested to see a piece on sport utility vehicles. Kara Kockelman at the University of Texas at Austin just released a study on the impact of SUVs, trucks, and minivans on traffic congestion. Turns out that these vehicles aren’t only contributing to climate change but increased vehicle size is also adding to gridlock. On the positive front, the New York Times also featured President Clinton’s recent historic decision to designate three new national monuments. He has now set aside more federal land — outside of Alaska — as monuments than any other president. My great-grandchildren thank him.

I attended an Adelphi Quaker meeting this morning. It was a pleasantly silent gathering. One woman spoke about the difficulty of believing that there is anything of ultimate meaning in the universe. How do you commit yourself absolutely to the possibility of a current of goodness, of a higher power, of the Light, however you define it? This was the question she posed. How do you do this in the midst of doubt and darkness? Ultimately, she spoke of surrendering to mystery, to faith, to the visual image of resting in God’s hands.

I spent over an hour on the piano today — a joy! One of my litmus tests regarding my own personal balance is whether I’m still learning new music. I’m working on two new jazz numbers now. It’s unusual for me to grab so much time on the keyboard.

My husband, Denny, joined me for an hour bike ride in Rock Creek Park — one of the most beautiful urban parks in the country.

This afternoon we honored Martin Luther King’s memory by attending a Living Wages rally at the local high school. It was uplifting to see such a diverse group of people pressing hard for an increase in the minimum wage in Montgomery County, Md. It was also one of the first times in recent memory when I joined with business leaders, labor leaders, ministers, teachers, students, and local citizens to sing songs of change together. My kids enjoyed it.

In the nooks and crannies of the day, I did what many do on Sundays: laundry, bills, coaching my children on their long-term homework, and walking to the co-op for groceries.