We’re looking forward to a high of 77 today, with mostly cloudy skies and a 40 percent chance of showers. We didn’t quite get our fill of rain yesterday!
Birthdays today include Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bangladeshi social entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus (1940) and comedian Gilda Radner (1946). Mel Brooks turns 90 today, a step closer to being a 2000 year old man.
In the early morning hours on this date in 1969, riots broke out in response to a police incursion at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, inaugurating the modern gay rights movement. Interestingly, it was the 40th anniversary of the death at age 84 of a lovely man named Edward Carpenter, who was a sandal-wearing, vegetarian English libertarian socialist and a pioneering gay liberationist. Inspired by his friend Walt Whitman, he wrote books which gave hope to LGBTQ people across many largely closeted decades, but his appeal was broader still: he was a philosopher and poet whose words still speak to all kinds of people living in “jerry-built, cheapjack, commercial civilization” and looking toward a world of union with all humanity and Nature (His mystic vision had a lot in common with the “good life universal” of World Fellowship founder Charles Weller.).
Carpenter lived openly with his partner George Merrill on a farm outside Sheffield. One day a clergyman came to the door trying to convert them to one sect or another. Merrill ran him off, saying “Can’t you see we’re in heaven here?! We don’t want any better than this, so go away.”
The last couple of days I’ve been dipping into Carpenter’s autobiography, “My Day and Dreams,” written when he was seventy. In the last chapter, he reflects
“What is the good of my working for a state of things which will certainly not come in my lifetime? What is the compelling force which causes me so to work when it would be so much easier not to work and merely let things slide? If, as one must suppose, it is something organic in Nature, it must be that I myself will be there. I, the superficial one, am working now for the other “I”, the deeper one—who is really present even at this moment (although he lays low and says nothing about it) and who in due time will consume the fruits which he is now preparing.”
Have a Carpenteresque day!