The world is too much with us
How to come together in a world that wants to divide us
“The world is too much with us.” The poet William Wordsworth wasn’t thinking about war when he wrote the sonnet that begins with these words. He was bemoaning the Industrial Revolution, which brought about an increased preoccupation with material possessions and turned people away from the glories of nature. He was a romantic after all.
Yet, these words come to me unbidden when I feel the weight of all that divides us, not only from nature but from each other. I felt it yesterday when I could not pull myself away from live news coverage of the attack on Ukraine long enough to write about Esi Edugyan’s exceptional CBC Massey Lectures titled “Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling.”
I listened to the lectures earlier this month, while walking the dog, and I was utterly engaged and inspired by her brilliant takes on the Black experience in culture and in history. I knew I wanted to explore what she has to say here with you. But, yesterday was not the day. Nor is today. I will be back on Sunday with a deep, deep dive into Black history and Afrofuturism.
Today, I want to turn my gaze once again to Ukraine. This time, instead of focusing on the bloody history between Russia and Ukraine, I choose to celebrate Ukraine’s rich and vibrant culture. I also share a few ways that you can help the people in Ukraine if you are feeling helpless.
Sifting through the culinary culture of Ukraine to find nourishment and joy.
I am a big fan of Ukrainian soul food as is chef and cookbook author Olia Hercules. Although she resides in London, England, Hercules grew up in Ukraine. She has deep roots there, not to mention family. Her parents are currently hunkered down in their home, refusing to evacuate.
Hercules writes openly and emotionally about the situation in Ukraine on her Instagram profile. And, she is encouraging followers to get involved. Planning fundraisers and, alongside Alissa Timoshkina (a Russian cookbook author and friend who also lives in London), encouraging people to #cookforukraine.
If you’d like to join them (or learn about cooking in Ukraine), start here:
“Summer Kitchen with Olia Hercules: 3 Ukrainian Recipes that Embrace the Great Outdoors” (The Calvert Journal, 7 July 2020).
I think I might make the curd cake with caramelized apples this weekend.
Let the music of DakhaBrakha transport you to the heart of Ukraine.
DakhaBrakha is a world-music quartet from Kyiv, Ukraine. Reflecting fundamental elements of sound and soul, Ukrainian “ethnic chaos’ band DakhaBrakha, create a world of unexpected new music.
The name DakhaBrakha is original, outstanding and authentic at the same time. It means '“give/take” in the old Ukrainian language.
Not sure where to start? Check out their Tiny Desk concert and let the opening harmonies wash over you.
Take action and support organizations with their boots on the ground in Ukraine.
For years, I have turned to historian Timothy Snyder to make sense of history and politics in the so-called bloodlands of Eastern Europe. He has been writing about the current situation in his Substack newsletter “Thinking About . . .” for the past few weeks. In this issue, he shares “a few more ways to help Ukrainians,” including Libereco Partnership for Human Rights and Caritas.
Olia Hercules and Alissa Timoshkina also recommend ways to help on their Instagram profiles. As I write this post, their lists include:
Molotok - an organization raising funds to transport children and young people from Transcarpathia to safety
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