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I’m sad and worried for the people of the city of Oaxaca. For weeks, the Zócalo (central square) has been full of the tents of protesting teachers and the sellers of food and cheap goods that have seized the moment. Tensions have been high, with various roads out of the city under blockade, and the state police killed nine people last week.

Now the warning is going out: at 10 p.m. (35 minutes from now), the military will sound an alarm to tell everyone to stay in their homes, and shortly after that, they will move into the Zócalo and move the protesters out. If you are a praying person, please pray for a good outcome. If you do something else to help people deal with conflict nonviolently, please put a little more into your efforts in support of Oaxaca.

One of the minor flaws of the San Francisco Bay area is its lack of thunderstorms. It is less thunderstorm-prone than almost any part of the country. I am sure this is good news for our cat, but the human members of the family love thunderstorms and those of us who grew up in the northeast miss them.

Oaxaca is coming to our aid. It rains a lot in June and July here, and the storm is often accompanied by thunder and lightning. We had lots of lovely rumbles all afternoon today, and I got out my oil pastels and drew the view from our window, looking past the curtains to a big frond-y plant and the door across the courtyard. My daughter declares me an expert in the medium, but I, who have a vision in mind, not to mention a familiarity with Cassatt and Degas, conclude that I really want to learn how to use pastels. It was a lot of fun, but the results don’t even merit the term “novice.” Maybe the next attempt will be just of the plant. It is what really caught my attention.

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