Our Better Angels

It’s not hard to be despondent these days. Economic uncertainty. An untamed pandemic. Brutal political polarization and people becoming violently unhinged in airplanes, not to mention a looming climate crisis that is breaking land-speed records for devastation.

And then, there is Ukraine.

I grew up seeing brutal Vietnam War photos, but nothing prepared me for the onslaught of the horror of the photos from Ukraine. Mariupol gutted. A family gunned down in their tracks as they tried to escape with their luggage, their children strewn on the street. Tables set with food still on the plates in bombed-out apartments. Perhaps it’s the cumulative state of the world that has made my nerve endings so raw, but Ukraine seems different than Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Vietnam, where the slaughter was no less tragic. It seems more personal and futile perhaps because Ukraine seems so urban and familiar. Kiev could be Brussels or Boston or Berlin.

But then, there are moments of inspired resistance.

When I heard about a dance recital that was set to raise funds for Ukraine, I wasn't sure what to expect. I packed a camera as always—you never know. The fundraiser, which was hosted by the Desert Dream Dance Company in Santa Cruz, CA, was a poignant evening of stunning beauty, hypnotic rhythms, and graceful peace. The amazing women who took the stage rebuked the tragedy in Ukraine by delivering a passionate, flowing, two-hour performance. It was cathartic and gave those of us who were lucky to be there some needed relief from the underlying grief many of us are feeling these days. Not to mention raising a good amount of money to help those most in need in Ukraine. Here are just a few moments--magical is not too strong a descriptor.

If you’d like to donate, here are a couple of links:



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