hope springs eternal

AS in, here I am dealing with this Editor again.

It seems impossible at this point to overstate the awfulness of the situation in this country right now. People are at breaking points and many are behaving very badly indeed. Others go about as if nothing is happening. Meanwhile, the practices that have brought us to the edge of global destruction continue, unabated, and then of course there’s the ever growing Flat Earth Society contingent which seems to think that any kind of parity, fairness, compromise and service are all totally out of the question. Things are happening that are too awful even to consider all over the place, and we’re funding them directly or indirectly.

THUS! it is with joy that I can relate the following. In the past few weeks, two books were published, written by women I am proud to know and call friends. While being different in subject, both are memoirs by brave, smart, compassionate women who are doing what I consider to be Big Things, which involve walking their talk: a kinship relation with all life and beings, and working for a truly better world and life for all.

One is OUT OF THE CRAZYWOODS, by Cheryl Savageau. A First Nations poet who lives in Massachusetts, this book is about mental health, what it means in reality and how it is handled in this country. It is a deeply painful story, really, but incandescent and beautiful. Ultimately completely affirming, it is a book I think everyone would benefit from reading. While you’re at it, check out her poetry too. It’s wonderful.

The second book is MEDITATIONS WITH COWS, by Shreve Stockton. An adventurous, creative and inquisitive soul, this book is the story of how she came to devote herself to sustainable meat production in Wyoming. The facts of how animals are raised here now, what that does to everything on every level (like, for starters, have you ever wondered why things don’t taste the way they used to?), how to do this another way that really works better for everyone involved including the bovines- all these things are presented in the context of daily life with cows and all the other creatures, great and small, who live with her. Another bonus is, great photography. There’s also another book you can explore as well- about a coyote named Charlie!

These books are written by very thoughtful, creative people, both of whom DO walk their talk, and DO believe that we are all One, from bugs to broncos to homo sapiens and flowers and all the rest of it. The work being done by both is the kind of thing we all really need to be aware of and hear about now, when it is getting so dark. Reading these two books gave me hope and restored my tattered faith. Also? made me laugh, which is equally important.

Now, having voted, I intend to take a long nap in hopes of restoring my customary bounce and joie de vivre. Blessings and thanks, and take care of each other and yourselves.

watching Rodan

In addition to slavishly watching fire maps, power outage warnings, weather reports and evacuation listings, we found ourselves watching the movie Rodan the other evening. Yes, from when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and yes, from the era of Monster Movies Starring Godzilla and various other giant reptiles and moths menacing Japan.

The description of the movie went like this:

“A bug eating Pterodactyl flies out of a coal mine and wrecks Japan with sonic booms.”

At a news conference in the movie, a scientist is asked what he thought caused Rodan to hatch at this particular time. The Partner immediately spoke up. “The Electoral College“.

This did make me laugh in the moment but it also had a rather eerie and menacing ring of truth. I mean: bug eating, flies out of a coal mine, wrecks things with extra loud noises? I leave it to you, Gentle Reader, to ponder.

Meanwhile, here we are in the Fire This Time. People are having to evacuate twice this time, for totals of up to five evacs for the past couple of fire years. The acreage is staggering, and we’re about 15 miles away from a real doozy of a blaze. Post traumatic stress is in your face here everywhere, we’re all in tears unexpectedly and nobody can breathe. The upside to it is that at last, most people are wearing masks. The dime finally dropped, given that counties up here are on various levels of lockdown because of the (big) jump in COVID cases. There’s even a bit of tut tutting and glaring at those individuals wearing MAGA hats or No Hablo Libtard shirts, pushing their way to the front of whatever line one might be in, maskless. (Really! A man did that to me a week ago, turned and glared at me, and I said, age before beauty, dude!) It’s harder to cope with the Valiant Mothers tugging their kids around, maskless- there’s really no response to, I’m a rebel! Not wearing a mask!

So. I’ve been thinking back to early Spring, which seems now like another geologic age. The flowers were extraordinary this year, profusely blooming and extravagantly colored. It got too hot too fast and the garden didn’t do all it might have but we’re still getting tomatoes and chilis so that’s a good thing! The animals around here have pretty much made this property their homes now, deer, turkey, who knows who else, and it’s actually really fun walking around seeing all the places various and sundry bed down. The birds are laying low in all the smoke but in the evenings they cover our front garden, and the squadron of lizards darts around among them. In spite of the fact that we haven’t seen the sky for more than three days in the past several weeks, and in spite of the fact that everything seems bound to burn to a crisp, AND in spite of the fact that it feels as though it may never rain here again….the natural world supplies the energy and sustenance for the heart and soul required to keep going these days. The Spring was almost saying: Look! don’t despair! What’s real IS real, and what isn’t, isn’t. Fear not. We CAN be peaceful and happy, here and now. We CAN believe in the power of actual truth, real beauty, love and understanding. And, of course: believing leads to manifesting. Surrounded as we are by the wild world here, it’s not impossible to believe that real change is coming. The earth itself is drawing it forth. All we have to do is BE. BEING links you to what IS, distances you from the pushes and pulls of the individual concerns, the ego, the fears that keep everything shut down. As a friend says, this ain’t for the faint of heart. But it IS for the HEART. There’s still a big huge beating one all around us and we can help it live. Fear not!

Also, if you’re in the benighted U.S.? PLEASE VOTE.

As always, blessings and thanks! Take care of yourselves and each other, as well as the random squirrels.

deeeeeeeeep breath

It feels like a river of dread is what I’ve been propelled through and over for weeks now.  We’re all inner tubing down this thing, of course. For extra fun, here we’ve had: a few weeks of daily temperatures above 106f/42c; someone trying to drain my bank account with all due ensuing joy at trying to rectify the situation when you cannot talk to anyone because Covid, and it all has to be done online and…hahaha, internet service has been terrible due to heat; a large and scary fire at the end of our road requiring 7 fire trucks, 4 aircraft, 1 sheriff and 1 fire chief; bureaucratic snafus up the yang; some health issues- anyway, more than enough stuff to make my heart jump out of my chest, stand in front of me and say HEY.  I CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS.  And then, of course, there’s the World.

While taking some, in fact, a LOT of, comfort in the fact that we’re all feeling the same things, my confidence that we will all work together to rise above the tide of crap and move forward is not at an all time high.  It was encouraging somehow, at a recent doctor appointment, when the Doctor said, people here are really strange.  Really jittery.  They don’t appreciate the beauty around them. It’s just weird.  No kidding, I said.  She’s from Texas which in a way makes this remark even more telling.  I mean: this is CALIFORNIA.  Then I remember people I used to think of as friends, also in California, who revealed that they essentially believe in Pizzagate .  Like the woman in the propane store who told me not to worry, enjoy myself, all this will be over at some point and was referring to the Rapture and not a lessening of our..er…viral load.  The concept we hold on to here is that this IS a pretty strange place, and it can’t be this way everywhere.  Right?

It seems logical to me that COVID 19 will be dealt with and SOMEBODY must know some actual facts about it, which would not be apparent to the average person in this country.  The lack of, and mis-information is mind boggling, and there really is no good reason why this infectious disease is still so powerful except: we are at a point in this country where we may really not continue even in the incomplete democracy we thought we lived in, unless everybody puts their kool aid cup down quick and in a hurry.  When the inhabitant of the White House says he wants the post office to close because otherwise, to put it simply, he won’t win the election, which is all that matters? when said individual suggested drinking disinfectants since they might do something about the virus and why not since you can’t get a test anyway? when it is revealed that the same individual caused needed pandemic aid to be withheld from “blue” states because? they didn’t vote for him? and when we continue to be subjected to racist, sexist, idiotic statements presented as fact? it scares me.  Marge Simpson, for heaven’s sake, has to defend herself. Suddenly there’s “diplomacy” in the Middle East? perhaps it is more an alignment of where the weapons and money are going in truth. The functioning US government is being dismantled, justice is more than elusive, environmental and civil protections are being slashed without anyone even knowing until after the fact? The fact that Breonna Taylor’s killers have not even been charged or arrested or anything? The founding principle of separation of church and state seems to be more and more a blurred line.  Photographs of postal service vans being removed by huge trucks in Los Angeles and not for repairs have been viewed.  It just goes on and on, and nothing is done to even address the very real questions raised by what is being said, and seen, and done.  And the manifested concern seems to be whether or  not one can go to a bar or get a tattoo.  Or be abusive in public at will. Exercise, you know, their rights.  Because, as I have been told more than once, this is what patriotic rebels do.  Someone actually said to me recently, very politely, that I, and people like me, (as in, appears to be a Democrat) really should be dead- that’s the only way we’d be “good”. Not EVEN kidding.

So. Yeah.  I fell into a pretty deep hole, which I realized one day when a petition to stop baiting and killing of bears (misnomered as “hunting”) completely gravelled me and I could hardly proceed with signing it.   It did get signed, of course, and we proceed with things like making dog biscuits (healthier! and also Someone may be a TINY bit spoiled), mayonnaise (now MIA in local stores), fig jam, salsa with our chiles, and tending to the welfare of this little family.  Keeping us stocked with the best mineral water on earth, Topo Chico. Making remedies and remembering that the Thing is to stay with what you know to be true.  Nature and kinship is what is true.  Love is what is true, and even as I sink into the attitudinal morass at times, still love for all of us rises more strongly than ever.

The question is, in this moment, about co-existence.  Is it possible? I always thought it was even though experience showed me it was generally a rather dicey proposition.  In the past, my belief that we could all get along and understand each other and accept differences and share what we know seemed unshakeable.  Non-violence seemed the only real way.  Now I wonder.  There are people with whom I really don’t want to communicate at this point, in the sense of not wanting to accept their abuse or lack of truth.  Another part, which may actually be a good thing, is I am no longer willing to compromise, fudge, elide,  what is correct for what someone else wants or finds pleasing or is willing to threaten me to obtain. (Apparently, according to a friend from high school, I was “always an outspoken bastard”, so maybe it’s just an old attribute rearing a head.) Bravery, after all, is often about keeping going in spite of how afraid you are, being of assistance where you can, sticking with it against apparent odds…more than it is about force or power over another.  In that vein, onward! Blessings and thanks as always, and take care of yourselves as we all carry on.

At the Not-OK Corral

Dear o dear, Gentle Reader.  Things are Quite Gnarly right now and the cavalry does not appear to be anywhere in the vicinity.  I guess we are going to get to be our own cavalry this go round, and for the foreseeable future.

Naturally along with many others, I have been wondering just How we are all going to talk to each other about what IS and what to do and all the rest of it….the polarization is like being a walking pair of sunglasses at this point.  I found myself having the thought that it might not be possible at all to get through to some people, no way to talk to or reach them, and how can that be?? Not to mention how truly scary the overarching situation is, COVID-19 aside.

AS usual, Universe to the forefront.  Pondering this question ad…well, too far…I recently found myself actually dealing with it in person.  Admittedly it took me a minute to realize I was in the process of investigating something complex.  But! There I was, in the farm supply store, innocently minding my own business and getting food for the dog. (That part of it, at least, was a success. I got a different flavor this time, turkey and pumpkin and Somebody has been poncing around grinning ever since.) It took a moment to realize that not only was I the only person in a fairly full store wearing a mask, but that some of the other patrons, and employees, were standing at the cash registers, literally glaring at me.  You’re wearing a mask! someone said in a stern tone.  Yes, I said, I am. We don’t wear masks around here! I do, I said.  I was starting to be a bit not happy about this.  But I stood there with the dog food and treats, quietly.  WHY are you wearing a mask came from the glaring section.  Because, I said, it is the right thing to do.  It keeps us all from catching this virus which, despite what you might want to believe, IS real, IS around and by the way, we went from zero cases to over 100 in less than a month, in a somewhat underpopulated area to boot.  So it’s just common courtesy and common sense.  Basic hygeine and infectious disease prevention.  Just what  you’d do for your cows if they had something wrong with them.  The glarers, while having to admit the correctness of the words, stood a bit taller and glared even more.

Fortunately at that moment the man who works at this place, loves the Dog and is friendly to us, came in and came to my rescue.  The glarers scattered as he briskly told me how much his wife had loved the sourdough bread we brought him (well, it was the DOG’s idea, being his favorite thing and all, and he wanted to share it with a friend), and she wanted to know how I did it and what not.  I told him she could call me anytime, and once you get a good starter going it’s mostly about the flour.  A path cleared around me as he lifted the purchases up and took them to my car.  Given that this was the next day after I’d spent three hours getting a wheel fixed on the car, and found myself retreating to a far corner of the place since it was full and nobody was wearing a mask and there was a lot of loud conversation about “these rotten protesters”  “what kind of idiot wears a mask?” and the usual I’ll do whatever I want sort of thing, it is probably not all  that surprising that once I was safe in the vehicle, the shaking began.  (The fun folks at the car place even made the woman working the front desk burst into tears after they’d all trooped out, so it isn’t just Me.)

And, yes.  That kicked off a few days of bleak thinking.  There appeared to be no hope at all, from the perspective of the hole I was in.  It seemed like dialogue and moving forward was impossible and even though I know that under anger is pain,  I found no interest in myself in toddling one of these individuals along to a clear place in the woods. Then of course the realization dawned that, no, you don’t even have to go there.  Just embody what you know to be true, which of course is coming from the heart, coming from being grounded in the reality that nature shows you every second if you look.   Maybe I am getting the hang of this by now, never having lived in a place like this before  for this length of time.  Probably a good thing since it looks like this is the place, for a while.  Do no harm, and take no shit seems like a good model in the moment.  Set aside the loneliness and put observation in that space instead.  Also I remembered in a flash something that had happened a couple of weeks before, right after the Governor said everybody had to mask up period and there was A LOT of complaint, let’s just say.  Several errands, some of which had the testiness described above, and the last one, which was like a visit from an angel.  There is a panaderia in this town that the Partner really likes and I must say, their conchas and raspberry coconut things are extraordinary.  So, I go in and the young latin woman at the counter is sporting a beautiful mask, embroidered with flowers.  Mine is a terrific silk/wool number a friend of mine created in shimmering colors.  We looked at each other, pointed at each other’s masks, and said, que belleza!  Then, out of nowhere, the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams came on the radio and…we just danced with each other, twirling around the floor.  A moment of joy.

So THAT is how we do it.  One moment at a time, and it’s OK if the time outs in between have to be a little longer than usual.  There really is no room for  darkness in one’s soul now, and if the opening to the light must be done as gently as possible, especially given that we’re being hurtled pretty brutally toward an unknown target, that’s OK too.  The thing is to show up.  As always, blessings and thanks to all.

something following me

An old Procol Harum song, it’s about someone essentially confronting death.  “Imagine my surprise/I thought I left it at home/but there’s no doubt about it/ it’s my own tombstone.”  The tombstone sits next to the guy in the movies, at the dentist, everywhere.  Which, when you think about it, is a bit like where we find ourselves now.  We are followed, and even preceded, everywhere by the potential of death and destruction.

There are lots of deaths we all experience of course aside from the deaths of the living beings we care for and know. Attitudes, dreams and situations die out in our lives.  Beliefs die.  This is a good thing, of course, if we keep focus on our hearts and what is in fact true.  Not easy, but more dynamic than fitting oneself into a space created by some larger entity like one’s family or country or politics. Or religion, or…an endless list, Gentle Reader.

In any event! In this rather dismal period we now live in and through, the fundamental issue is that things are not at all what they seemed to be, or what we were told they are or were. The foundation of things is, and has been, rotten. No getting away from it. The truth is coming to light every day and a lot of it is excruciatingly painful.  Even if one thought one knew at least some of this before? Things like the fact that George Washington, far from having wooden teeth, had dentures made from the teeth he pulled from the mouths of his slaves. (How could you even conceive of “owning” another human being? I can’t even say I own my Dog.) So yes, dear, the “father” of our country was in fact pretty much a massive bastard.  And you don’t have to wait.  There’s a lot more.  Some simple research into the actual origins of “police departments” will be revealing, just for one instance.  I suggest soda crackers and 7up be handy while you do this, just in case you make yourself sick. Which you probably will because it links to many more actual facts that are just about precisely opposite to what is being put out as truthful history.

So as always, what is to be done? That old saying, if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem is really true.  Just as you wouldn’t allow some icky slimy mold to grow on, say, your toothbrush, you can’t act like the slimy mold of the current milieu does not exist.  You must clean your metaphorical toothbrush.  You cannot hide behind the hateful tropisms of the powers which are doing their damndest to stay in control.  To do this is to actually say: you’re OK with evil.  People’s suffering doesn’t matter, not really.  Not as long as you have your security (illusory at best) and privilege and life continues on more or less as usual.  People will deny that this is what it is, of course.  Me? Hateful and racist? Sexist and bigoted? Selfish? oh no.  But I AM better than most other people. And it is my right….blahblahblah…to do whatever the fuck I want no matter what the effect is on anything else.  My wishes are all that matter.  Forge ahead, oil companies! Who cares how many people are homeless in this world? Doesn’t really affect me!

What this sort of thing does to those who are outside that particular loop is nightmarish.  Traumatic. Crazy making. It makes you think twenty times before you do anything. Not to mention it all being a travesty of what is professed to be true.  George Carlin said, they call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it.  And this is what it looks like now to me, in a way.  The sleepers are refusing to awake and the bed is on fire.

The Dalai Lama has said non-violence takes a long time.  And it does.  And, ultimately, nothing is really achieved through violence and anger- those energies have to be harnessed to work cleaning all those toothbrushes, so to speak.  Personally I really don’t know exactly how to proceed given that at times I think a rocket launcher would be a good thing, except for striving to set aside the fear that keeps one from speaking out, from disagreeing with people, from allowing things to go on unremarked.  But. The time is now to stand in the light and see what can be done right in front of you, for a start.  And that does mean speaking up, at a minimum.  What is wrong is compounding the suffering on this earth.  What is right is working to alleviate that suffering as much as one possibly can.  What is right is also LEARNING and OBSERVING and HEARING.  Every day.

Blessings and thanks to you all! Keep healthy and safe.  Meanwhile, here? It’s 107F and the fire planes are zooming around.

 

a rain of bivalves

Adding to my joy, Gentle Reader!!!! WordPress has instituted a “new editor”.  Perhaps I am a dinosaur but really? I JUST WANT TO WRITE.  I DON’T NEED CLEVER BLOCK LAYOUTS.  Anyway it is another challenge to this little bear’s brain, but I figure, what with the success I had with our doctor internet “portal” after it got changed and whammo, there appeared to be no way in hell to do what I wanted…and I managed to close my eyes, breathe and say: ok, point me to it! and suddenly  found the right thing to press…there’s always hope.

Anyway, I digress.  A friend in Canada reported that after a recent rainstorm she went out into the yard around where she lives and found: an intact clam. She lives a LONG way from the beach.  As do we.  And? The Partner found a fossil clam in our yard. The world is full of wonders.  One has to think, though, about the actual suction involved in getting a clam from the beach to a few hundred miles inland.  As it turns out, this seems to replicate the state of my brain now, although sadly no one has reported finding it in their yard.

While comfort and support can be found in words, be it Martin Luther King Jr., Cornell Wilde, James Baldwin, HH the Dalai Lama, or even Winnie the Pooh, and while we know we all gotta rely on our hearts and souls first and foremost to navigate? At the moment I cannot seem to get away from the wrenching nausea the past few days have elicited.  Try as I may I cannot forget all the history I have witnessed, the hopes raised… it is a huge effort to stay in the now, watching essentially WORSE AND MORE OF IT.  How many more times? What are those in power even thinking? and I use the word thinking very loosely.  I mean: I’VE been shot at by police, had them shoot windows out of my apartment, kick the door in….all kinds of things that happened back..er…in the 70’s.   From marches and murders, Watts to Rodney King, it has all been something watched in a kind of suspended disbelief, like, surely this isn’t really happening, except it is and bummer for you it’s in YOUR neighborhood. (Sprightly Dinosaur takes a bow).  The underpinnings of things in this country seemed horrible but one had hope, and worked, for change- you kept on, kept trying, kept working for change.  There was also the possibly deeply naïve thought that, change happens, right? Surely SOME of it has to be good.  Also one worked on one’s own interior development and this can make a person think that, hey, it will help! Do no harm, do the best you can, help others, be a steward not a consumer….and yet now? I find myself, who used to have extended dialogues with people pondering shooting down police helicopters about how important non-violence is, the need for a perspective, now completely understanding that people are pushed to the brink after another 50 years of this crap and thus, things are going to get broken.  So now I have to reread William T. Vollman’s Rising Up and Rising Down.  Which is an endeavor.

It’s helpful for me to remember a friend who was also a cop.  At first my inclination was to stay away, after all: POLICE. Nonono. But he turned out to be someone with a huge heart and a searing insight.  The last time I saw him, he was undercover investigating a White Supremacist Militia group that also specialized in methamphetamine, and that made me fear for his safety.  It was not a good thing when he disappeared from the places I usually saw him. The lesson there was you can not have an idea of what a person is like until you interact with them. Period. This being true across the board, it really makes you wonder how people justify all the prejudices and assinine attitudes they have…until the next really awful realization dawns and that is: This entire country has been built upon just those prejudices and it is, really, far from a level playing field.  The deep holes are arranged Just So. White Privilege is something that happens every single day, and even White people are irritated when someone pulls that crap on THEM. I’ve seen this more than once in the Costco Pharmacy line, and people really get teed off when they hear me laughing. Others, of course, don’t have the luxury of even having an attitude. The Partner looks at me sternly in such moments because HE has never had this dawn on him, having known it from the jump.  Plus, living where we do is an every day, all day, demonstration of said fact.

As usual, what is to be done? Jeeez. I’m aware that the loss of joy and focus is integral to any, shall we say?, defeat.  Eric Bibb’s song, I heard my angel sing, speaks to this: “I saw an old devil walking my way, he said Heaven’s closed, go home and don’t pray”. There’s a way in which all of this is illusory of course, but the pain is nonetheless real.  My hope is that the frustration and sorrow we feel can be seen as temporary and mobilized into energy to make the change that must happen, by ALL of us.  If we are to survive at all.  I still believe in this as possible.  The false duality must be dispensed with, power over has to go, and economics have to be on another entire body, not just another foot.  These are all really big shifts, and who knows how long the planet is going to wait for us to quit screwing around?  Anyway, blessings and thanks to you all! Be safe and nourish your joys, as they feed your soul, which helps us all. (I think anyway…..)

 

(However, a caveat to the unwary.  Antifa, which isn’t even an actual “group”, has been designated a terrorist organization.  Despite the fact that this isn’t something that can be done by….an official in the White House…what it does mean is that you, anyone you know, or don’t know, can now be arrested, charged with terrorism, and be sent…to one of the many hells on earth we taxpayers support.  It’s easy to  think this is nothing, or “fake news” or any of the other malarkey we tell ourselves, but it isn’t.  This kid of thing has been happening and now it can be even worse.)

fugues and refuges

I thought more than once about writing here of late, and thought, well, hmm. If everyone else’s inbox is like mine, since many bloggers are posting many times a day, maybe it’s not the right thing to add to the excess verbiage. The old patterns, life and otherwise, have seemingly disappeared, and the urge to “do” is lessening by the moment. The fugue enters here and then, at about the fifth musical sentence therein, there’s a big spacious area which, even though it seems to be surrounded by fearsome beasts, really isn’t. Or at least, not completely. Exploration takes a new direction!

So, of course, finally I succumbed to the lure. It turns out that we all feel pretty much the same things now and that in itself creates an energy and lift, and thus: Hope. Ready, Set, Write!

One thing, maybe the main thing, that is comforting now is how much really wonderful behavior we see manifesting, the bravery and love and heart. Nature is throwing all the beauty at us she’s got, at least up here, and there is so much bird song to be heard that you can’t help but be full of joy. Still, one is also quite continuously reminded of Samuel Johnson’s observation: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. We have several poster-child quality examples of this before us in the moment.

And really? One more belligerent, obese individual stuffed into something that looks like the American flag, carrying an assault rifle? to protect their right to…what? Inflict their germs and attitudes on everyone around them? All in the name of patriotism, country and whoknowswhat? It makes me very sad on many levels, even as I know the only response is to Love, and extend kindness, even if it is bound to be refused in the moment. I actually had to tell such a person (actually on several more occasions than this example, too. It makes going out, that one time a week, SO much fun, what with the Lysol we carry and the gloves and all the rest of it), in our hot spot of a Post Office, to move his unmasked six inches from my face self, and get on the marked spot six FEET away showing where to stand. His response was, it’s not real, I’m an American and I can do whatever I want, You Got a Problem with THAT???? I looked at his American flag t-shirt. I looked at him- poor, angry, fearful man. At times like these I really wish I was taller- perhaps foolishly I think it might make someone less inclined to attempt such silliness. ANYWAY. He did not move, this guy. I smiled (through my mask) and said, Sir! I fully support your right to have and express an opinion. But. You don’t get to disrespect me, my family, and everyone else, by potentially giving me a life threatening disease. It’s really pretty simple. And temporary if we all cooperate. He moved.

Whether or not this sort of thing is a building block for a more harmonious society, is something we’re about to find out. It’s hard, and pointless, to argue with someone toting an assault rifle. Each time something like this happens, the ability to stand in hope gets a little stronger and perhaps that is the real lesson of the moment. Or any moment…..

To distract myself from Thinking about all the Things I can’t Do A Thing About, I made a fruit pizza. The Partner likes these better than pies, so what’s not to love? Basically you make a soft pizza dough with the normal amount of yeast and flour, using a bit more water, avocado oil, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 of salt, and after a short rise, putting it in the refrigerator. After another half hour to forty minutes (or even overnight), take it out, punch it down, let rise again. Then, shape, place on whatever baking thing you use, brush melted butter over it, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar, layer fruit, drizzle with honey, bake for 15 minutes at 500 f. This works really well with soft fruit like fresh figs, peaches, and berries.

I am grateful, as always, for all who read me! May we all stay in harmony and readiness for the new world we are to build. Blessings and thanks!

 

Daniel DeFoe

His book, Journal of a Plague Year, intrigued and scared me when I read it at age 11. Sometimes now I wonder if my concerns with plagues and what it might have been like to live, as just a regular person, in societies going through such things, or, say, in Germany as Hitler took power, were either a presaging of the world I find myself in now, or a line into such experiences. Not that it matters all that much, since I do believe that all knowledge is available to us if we Enquire.

Anyway, here we are in our very own Plague Year and as it becomes ever more terrifying and intense, at the same time the lessening of pollution on the planet has produced some rather immediate gains. We’re even seeing some plants- ferns in particular- here that we’ve not seen before. The Partner often accuses me of always assuming something good will happen, and in general I have to admit he’s right.

Notwithstanding, then, the complete absence of some supplies like toilet paper (I don’t understand why people stockpiled this but….) and bleach, and the fact that we’re supposed to stay home except for going to the grocery store (again, with empty shelves, one wonders about that too….) where things like milk and eggs have all but disappeared…and in spite of the even more terrifying reality of our government and its priorities and the lack of information one can believe…still. I decided that in every moment where I get blown out of sleep or concentration by anguish and worry and sorrow for all the suffering, and worry for my friends in Europe and elsewhere….I recite the all-purpose Buddhist prayer I was finally able to commit to memory. It’s been non-stop challenge and crap for us for some time, and when this hit I thought, ok, at last it is too much. So I made an effort to commit the simplicity of this to myself, and while at times it seems over the top to even conceive of such things, it helps more and more every day to provide perspective and refresh the ability to, as Buddha said, strive on. I naturally move on to the tree spirits and gods of the land and flowers, but the initial leap starts here:

May all beings be peaceful.

May all beings be safe.

May all beings be happy.

May all beings awaken to the truth of their own inner light.

May all beings be free.

SO now? The Dog requires my undivided attention. Yesterday I foraged out for his food, successfully which was a very good thing. He has a special friend at the place we go, who was worried about him not being with me…IS HE OK?????? I responded that he was sheltering in place as directed, and everyone laughed. I thought again how love really does unite us all, some how, some way. But I reaffirmed my solemn promise to spoil the dickens out of the Dog and now? he wants a snack and a walk. Luckily we’re in the middle of nowhere and can do that. Another very good thing.

Blessings and thanks, be well and mindful and remember we really are all One.

worlds within worlds

I remember the first time I saw a picture of water bears. It was like the first time I saw the Hubble telescope pictures of the universe- an opening of a door into the real grandeur of reality. The inside of a drop of dew! The distances in the night sky! The incredible song the body sings in sickness and in health, the twirling molecules…!!!! Then there’s things like paintings and souffles and Spring and gardens and……

SO ANYWAY. Recently I visited a world within a world and while it was challenging, it was also instructive and in the end kind of endorsing.

Among the many things the Previous Tenant left undone was paying the fees to the Homeowner’s Association here. Net net, HOA fees are pretty much cast in bronze, stone, lead…permanent. The figure was, to me, large. I commenced research on the pertinent laws, asked some questions, finally got a very interesting page of handwritten numbers from the Association. All this allowed me to make an offer to the Board of a repayment sum that, while not thrilling me to part with, would clear the matter once and for all. Labors of Hercules? piffle. In any event, the matter was settled and my offer accepted and my business- like proactive approach appreciated.

But, and there is always a but, right? The meeting occurred during last week’s State of the Union address. Which had to be watched with baited breath and approval, while I, praying for equanimity, cast my eyes over displays of confederate flags, heard things like ALL DEMOCRATS ARE AWFUL and WELL NOT ALL. SOME ARE GOOD PEOPLE, and HERE, HAVE SOME (****** ****), an old name for Brazil nuts that is beyond even being offensive it is so awful, and more of the same. Actual applause at the remarks about OD deaths being their lowest ever. I realized I was sitting in a room full of people who, while being perfectly nice, were very akin to the guys who surrounded me the last time I voted in a Presidential Primary and escorted me, roughly, out of the building because they saw I had voted for Sanders. It was, for a moment, quite scary. Also? What is to be done? There was clearly no point in discussing any of the opinions proffered from my point of view, as it would have been a divergence from the “schedule” not to mention potentially life threatening. ( Also my point of view involves things like plant medicine and energy and the actual oneness of all, and at this point I am not trying to prove anything to anyone, except that we ARE all here together and it makes sense to act accordingly.) It made me for a moment feel like a coward. However. As I sat there, breathing and hoping I had a smile on my face, I thought about how actions speak louder than words. I thanked them for their kindness and consideration as it related to my situation. The group appeared to have some awareness that I was not “one of them” and very painstakingly told me all about who Rush Limbaugh is. I said thankyou, I did in fact know about him. Neutrality in action. I found myself handing bowls of popcorn around to everyone. Finally the thing came to an end and we all trooped out into the inky, now late, night.

I got home and my heart rate was enough to make me feel like my head was going to explode. As I proceeded with baking bread, even at that late hour, chattered to the Partner about what had happened, and got licked to smithereens by the Dog, it came to me that actually the whole thing was a kind of success. I could see the bigger expanse of all of this, the water bears so to speak, and realized that yes, it is pretty awful right now. But as long as we can sit and speak to each other and act in a mindful way, some kind of progress may in fact be made. To demonstrate to someone who basically thinks you’re some kind of sub-species that in fact, you’re pretty much just like them minus some of the fear, turns out to be a fairly good sized thing. Then the questions about how one might have come to this understanding of x, y or z can be asked. So while I still feel the weight of the thought form around here, it doesn’t scare me as it used to. The power of love always wins; the thing is to see just how many worlds of love there are and how they may be bridged from what seems impassable and impossible to some kind of constructive action. I was completely and totally, and am still, blown away by the depth and breadth of the unconscious but complete dismissal of and contempt for anyone who wasn’t like these people, which is to say in this case White Republican Men. But I don’t feel powerless in its face, at long last. It is important not to ignore the realities of such things, but it is equally important to know that peace and love can work wonders in all worlds. Turns out that takes some grit and determination but one does have to get out of the pink paradisia calm shell some times! I did discuss this with a person who I like and respect and when she said she was impressed with the way I handled it, I was relieved.

Blessings and thanks, as always. Take care of yourselves!

going outside

It has been some time since words appeared to me in any kind of sensible, translatable manner.

What with everything that’s happened (last year for example), IS happening (the terrifying plummet this country is taking into fascism and the cognitive dissonance impressario, aka bloviating pustule), and the unexpected intrusion of heartbreak from a helicopter crash , things got slowed down and ALMOST at a place of stillness. This whole time period has been mostly about seeing what is going on inside, around here anyway, and while that level of reflection is necessary in order to move forward, it’s not generally the most fun you’ve ever had. Things seem to be so stark right now, what appears to be obvious good and evil and combinations thereof, that as always about the only thing one can do is BREATHE, and focus on the beauty that exists and the good that one can do oneself.

SO. The Partner decided that it was time for the Dog to go leashless now that we have this enormous backyard, so to speak, for Long Walks. Once my brain manifested and I thought: “bring treats!”, the whole process got a LOT easier. And here, today, we see the result above. We go outside, the Dog and I, and wander around at length. It takes him a long time to get everything smelled, after all, and there is the additional pressing matter of Letting Everyone Know The Dog Is Here Now. It’s been interesting to watch him stake out ever larger territory, reinspecting previously peed on spots and applying any necessary touch ups.

As always, I get up thinking, ack, my back! or I don’t want to or I don’t have time or, or, or…..and then I realize: this is a grand opportunity of the sort that doesn’t often come. To be able to step out of my door and directly into nature and wildness with the Original Goofball, the Dog, is wonderful. It’s also quite a workout and improving for the legs. The other really spectacular thing is that while we’re out there a whole different sort of thing happens and the what if’s and to do’s and memories and everything recede and assume their proper proportions. Even though there are rattlers and every kind of biting bug and tick, and wild pigs and mountain lions out here, it feels incredibly calm. You can feel those who live on this hill, furred and feathered, watching us and often even coming out, saying, you are welcome here, don’t be afraid. Today the hummingbird came out in the morning and reminded the Partner and the Dog that it was high time for the feeder to be tended to.

I am grateful for all of this, even though it is challenging and precarious and fires and twenty acres oh my! and we keep finding out more things that the Previous Owner did not take care of, more big bills and people to deal with, not to mention the fact that now we know we’re staying, it’s time to get our space improved, too. This has largely had the effect of making me want to hide, but that has also got to do with everything that has risen to the surface of my soul. Turns out this is a thorough going renovation. I feel quite hopeful about it all, though, especially since when our neighbor across the road took it upon himself to give our number to a contractor to fix the mobile whatever it is next door, and I get a call from some totally unknown person on an unsolicited mission, I was able to (1) get that guy to laugh even though he was expecting to make some money, and (2) politely tell the neighbor that even though it was incredibly sweet of him to be thinking about something so totally out of his concern, we really are moving along on our own, thank you very much. As amazing as it is when people think they must stick their muzzles into things that are not their business, it is even more amazing when one can deal with that as what it is, a momentary error message, and have everyone move forward with minimal raised fur. Progress is being made. Now if I only had a magic wand to wave over Washington D.C.

Blessings and thanks to you all, as always!