Posts Tagged ‘food’

the wonder of pigs

Yes, those two little cuties down the road are continuing to radiate much needed wonderfulness.  Now that it is unequivocally winter and cold, people are scrambling around to protect their smaller animals, and those two little pigs got their very own set up in the nick of time.  They look almost too small to be without their mother, so we were both relieved to see them the other morning, sleeping nose to nose on a lovely bed of fresh straw underneath a heat lamp.  The chickens and ducks were fanned around their straw bed protectively, shushing everyone importantly and fanning their feathers.   That was a manger scene I could get into.

At present, Gentle Reader, that’s about the ONLY thing I can get into.  Things just seem to get stranger and stranger, and it gets harder and harder to keep the world at bay.  One thing is for sure, though.  People really should tell you, in those formative years, to pace yourself.  There is a lot of work and stuff to be done  and if you go at it like you’re killing snakes your whole life, there comes a point when you are going to be very tired indeed.

This realization came to me while pondering both my work and Thanksgiving.  I like Thanksgiving because I like the food.  As a “holiday”, I can’t say much for it:  Commemorating, as it does, the kind of kickoff of genocide that gets called nation building, it doesn’t grab me.  In fact, if anything, it plunges me into an ambivalent froth.  I used to deal with that, I see now, by magnum opus cooking.  I’d bake whole pumpkins for pie.  I’d make cornbread for stuffing, bread, rolls, stock, roast chestnuts….the whole thing.  Plus turkey.  Vegetables. Extra cranberries. What I’m thinking about now is how one balances the desire for the decent meal with the reality of finite resources in terms of time and energy.  Which as it happens I am also thinking about in relation to my work.

Somehow one has to keep the process in mind, and all of it, while building things.  The end singular goal doesn’t necessarily give you the right stuff.  In terms of work, the economic goal cannot be the only one.  This business of being true to yourself is not easy, especially in a world defined by something as abstract as money.  In the end I’m thinking more and more it’s a test of faith in a way.  You just have to trust that applying yourself thoroughly to things will be enough, and you will move on.  You have to remind yourself that every item at Thanksgiving does not have to be made by you yourself.   It’s the process that counts and the feeling you have in your heart.  One day at a time.




previously undiscovered circles

And those circles are you know where, Gentle Reader.   Honestly, at times it is overwhelming, this life we’re all living now.  Mine seems intent on demonstrating to me that every bridge is already burnt and there’s no use crying over spilled milk.   Which of course is excellent advice but not altogether pleasant.

I balanced the early morning sight of two brand spanking new tiny pink pigs, eating breakfast in their yard with the two white ducks down the road, against the experience that followed in an official setting of a sort of concussingly boring ritual humiliation.  Which had followed a couple of other similar experiences in completely different settings.  Plus a LOT of technical difficulties.  So, yes.  I felt as though a gauntlet had been passed through and I maybe had finally been hacked to pieces.  I made the Partner take me to the salmon hatchery  to recuperate.  It’s really one of my favorite spots around here.  Earlier in the year when we were there the fish were present en masse, going up river. It was maybe the most astonishing thing I’ve seen.  Those fish were so majestic, so incredibly beautiful, so powerful- it was totally clear that they are indeed the expression of divinity that the native peoples who live with them see.  So as I stood over the metal grates above the living, rushing water, I breathed them in, in spirit at least since they’re all gone for another year now.   It led me from the unreal to the real, although there was a rather horrendous lag time of a day before the goodness kicked in, so to speak.  Fortunately, there was vodka.  I guess the thing of it is: You are going to feel everything in a given situation or experience if you are alive in it.  But the feeling moves on and no matter how great or difficult it is, it’s temporary.  A true matter of perspective- one day you can feel as though nothing is worth the effort.  Give it a minute and you come around again, back in the dance.  What is, is, and always shall be.  What isn’t, is not, and never will be.  Upanishads, I think.

As usual, to assist the climb back in off the ledge, there was cooking.  While watching a program on the recent space mission to that comet and learning that it cost almost two billion dollars, taking ten years to get to a place where they already knew what they’d find and moreover? might explode at any minute and not be there when they arrived- a ridiculous proposition demonstrating today’s corruption of science – I pondered the simplicity of what I was making for dinner.   Which was that heavenly Persian chicken dish, in a sauce of walnuts and pomegranates (ours!) and onions (also ours!).  Salt and pepper and butter.  Simple.  But wonderful.  And EASY. So that’s the current goal.  Simple and wonderful. I can’t help thinking that it is that basic connection every day with the what IS that provides the wherewithal to live- the real food, the rivers and skies.   The fact that culturally people seem to think they can’t be bothered or don’t have time is one of those things that will shift, maybe unpleasantly for a while especially given the current parameters.  But I really do think that the more we all get back to the basics of being alive, the joy of recognition of beauty and assuming responsibility for our selves, the better off we’ll be.  It seems to work every time for us, anyway, when we remember to focus.

Thank you!


bears, pink mountains, and fracas

That’s pretty much it of late, Gentle Reader.  I hardly know where to start.

1) Obviously last week really was tough and not just my imagination.  On the way into town I saw two cows having a fierce argument, butting heads and roaring.  I felt the same way and was somewhat calmed by the thought that it was just the order of the day.  This was after fighting off the two pit bulls who were living across the road from us while paying rent, and before the pickup truck in front of me on the road with a whole bunch of garbage bags in the back managed to flip open its back gate and strew bags all over the road.  It was like barrel racing in a car.

2) We had a large bear.  We did.  I was pretty excited, really.  He was (I’m assuming it was a he, about 300 pounds worth) very neat about moving all the metal fence posts, cinder blocks, rocks and tarps from atop the garbage pile, delicately extracting only the newest bags in order to first slide them down the hill then drag them about a third of a mile away for further perusal.  I actually DID hear him one morning and felt quite strongly that it would be a mistake to open the front door, not knowing what was really out there and all.  Which it would’ve been , except I would have seen a real bear.  Anyway he has moved on for the time being and we’re thinking that we’ll put the garbage even farther away from the yurt pending dump runs- that way the danger of getting the walls clawed through will be minimized.  Perhaps.  But what a pawprint!!! WOW.  It’s quite something to see that a creature that big was just inches from our heads.  I thought it was pretty cool.

3) The landlady’s errant dog who has been barred from our garden via fence continues with her new trick of rushing to the post where the electrical box is and jumping on it just so.  It’s exciting being plunged into darkness at odd and unpredictable moments., but then again, knowledge is power and at least we know that with a walk of a half mile and a flashlight we can usually get things up and running again.  SO EMPOWERING.

4) But not as exciting as the continuing visits to the hill here from the sheriffs and their helicopters and trucks.  We have no idea what they’re doing but there it is.

5) Mt. Shasta finally has snow on it and in the evenings it looks PINK.  Totally amazing.

6) And then there’s the mid term election.  The local TV station on which we watch news was not coming through (many calls to the engineer later it mysteriously came back on) so I actually missed quite a bit of the returns, but not enough to avoid being seized by the thought that the end may really be near and people really cannot see the forest for the trees.  I mean: When a gubernatorial candidate says eliminating the use of plastic bags statewide in California stores is “irrelevant”, you have to wonder just exactly what planet he’s really living on.  One seemingly without oceans.  Dear, oh dear.

7)  Hope springs eternal and somehow we put one paw in front of the other every day.  Muffins are helping, oddly.  Quickbreads turn out to be remarkably restorative when one is having intermittent weirdness.  Pumpkin and pineapple for starters.  And, since it hasn’t been infernally hot in the daytime or freezing at night, the garden has taken a new leap forward and we still have some tomatoes and squash and volunteer bok choy.  I admit I’m spoiled by this garden!  Roses are blooming and the hummingbirds are buzzing around us all the time.  I saw a roadrunner the other day too!  Which really just about says it all, since we have coyotes as well.  Acme dynamite, anyone?

8) Beep beep, I guess.  For now.

saved by a tomato

Indeed, Gentle Reader, yes.  This morning I woke up and felt like a squeezed out tube of something.  Like a car up on the rack completely drained of fluid.  The Partner noticed this as I remained unresponsive when the blessed elixir    the coffee cup was placed before me.  He then, without saying much, placed tomatoes from the garden (picked a day or so ago) in my hands.  The effect was remarkable.  Suddenly I felt as though a living thing was breathing its heart into me and just like that, I came to.  Noticed the coffee and everything.

It was quite extraordinary, even if I did realize that since on some level this is what I do for other people in a way (here, drink this! put this on your forehead! hold this rock!)  it only made sense and of course it works.  My goodness.   The impact of things themselves is something often overlooked in today’s world, I think.  It is also true that most of the food people eat now is really totally dead.  You pick it up and feel? Nothing.   These tomatoes, though, practically sang in my palms.   It made me wonder if really, help is at hand for this world and it’s simpler than we might think. I mean: reconnect directly with the real world- the world that has animals and food and actual people you talk to in it.  The rest begins to take care of itself in that dance of time you recognize after it is over.

Lately I’ve been having conversations with people where they’ll say how awful they feel right now, how alienated and empty.  Then they’ll look at me and say things like, well, but you don’t feel this! (To which I respond with a strangled cry, of course.)  You like to cook! You ENJOY those things.  Like gardening.   I’m not interested in any of that, they’ll say.   I don’t want a spiritual grounding.  But I spend too much time on Facebook.  Well, I say.  Interesting.  You cut yourself off from everything that actually keeps you alive and then wonder why you feel so bad.  Since we do have to eat, shouldn’t we pay attention to that?  A spiritual grounding is not a confining religious program of doctrine.  It’s simply the ability to breathe in and realize you are part of a huge, humming entity and the longer you keep your heart and eyes closed to that, the more you suffer.  The sooner you realize you truly can breathe in this medium, the sooner you begin to actually live.  Marx wrote that people do things by hand, make things from scratch as it were, as an antidote to alienation.  There is something to that.  The time you spend learning to make bread or knit or build a cabinet is profoundly helpful and empowering.  You learn how to be at home with yourself and the earth and the record of your progress is right there to see, in a garden or scarf or cement counter or bicycle or engine or whatever it might be.  We’ve been bamboozled a bit, I think, by “technology”.   It’s kind of the same thing as being told in grammar school that you “can’t do math”.  We now seemingly all think that not only do we not need to do things like cook our own food or read a map because some technology can do it faster- we think, really, that we are not able to do these things. It’s “too much work”.   It is true as well that on some level the technology is smarter than we are.  It speaks a totally different language which takes a different sort of brain to understand and utilize properly.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, either.  It’s just that it should be another piece of the whole, and not a full frontal black and white operation, from which, given the politics of the world, many are excluded off the top.  It shouldn’t be a choice between spending hours liking things online or paying attention to real needs.  It’s just that paying attention to real needs generally means feeling what you are actually feeling.  That, of course, is what our culture is optimized to have you avoid.  Boy, oh boy.  Sleepers awake.

But there was also something this week that made me laugh so hard I just knew things are moving along as they should, somehow.  Dashing to the post office, as I got to the end of our gravel pit aka dirt road, what did I see but a passel of small pink pigs.  One velvety tiny brown one. The most adorable looking little cuties ever.  This, of course, was nothing like what I expected to see on that hiccup of a bridge and it took me a minute to adjust the gyroscope, stop the car, and realize these were probably our friend’s pigs out for an unauthorized stroll and not the usual wild pigs who would’ve  been chewing the car bumper by that time.  His animals often get out and they all have the same charming, frank but devious demeanor of a kid in a candy store.  We can be out here! yes! What?! Carry on!! We’re busy!!  As I sat there one small pig got so excited in telling the story that it toppled over onto its side.  Quickly scrambling up, just a bit muddier for the wear, and continuing the exciting pig escape story,  I looked at them all and just thought: Life is beautiful.  When I got to the fire station, which is the first place the cel phone works, I called home, The Partner called our friend, pigs were brought back into the fold, and all was well, once again, in the now.  As, weirdly, it is.  No matter how it seems.

the learning precipice

Things have been, Gentle Reader, more than usually challenging and difficult and I am facing October hoping it isn’t like September was.  Because September was AWFUL.

However.  There is a smattering of snow on Mt. Shasta at last.  The lady down the road who has geese sets out small blue plastic swimming pools for them and it is a joy to watch them paddling around.  We have literal parliaments of birds in the garden in the mornings, taking dew baths and eating bugs.   I figured out an easier way to make spaghetti sauce.

I also realized something pretty big about being human and how we actually change.  One of the weird things that happened last month was for the first time ever, I lost, spectacularly, my temper.  I banged a shovel on a metal gate until sparks flew.  In that moment I had a panoramic view of why people get angry, why they act out- all those things I thought I just couldn’t understand before.  On the one hand, such an exhibition produces desired results at times- and I suppose this particular time I was very lucky to live through it.  But I thought a lot about how things are now, how people can feel so alienated and disenfranchised and without recourse or alternative, and how desperate the situation is for so many in this world for things to be going as they are, so much violence and anger and frustration and basic WASTE.  At the same time I realized the enormity of the connection between all of us.  We all feel the same things whether we know it or not, and there is a huge movement between all of us:  of feelings, of thoughts. (It’s hard, of course, to think that anything resembling thought goes on in the minds of, say, the Koch brothers- those guys who pronounce their name like the beverage and not the body part they mostly behave like.  Still, it must be possible.)

Then, imagine my surprise when I realized that all these Opportunities for Growth that have surfaced lately?  I asked for that.  I had an opportunity a while ago to do some deep work.  I asked for help with a family issue, a personal relationship issue, and for help dealing with my many fears.  Of course I thought that the problematic elements would just sort of…float away.  I would be released from them.  Just as we all do, hope that our trials and tribulations will be taken from us.  BUT OF COURSE in order for that to happen, quite a bit of work must be done.   The first two concerns were, in fact, dealt with and they were two of the hardest, most painful things I’ve ever gone through.  Then, there’s the fear.  You can’t divest yourself of fear until you really know what it is, it turns out.  You can’t pretend you don’t feel it, can’t ignore it, also can’t let it run your life.  Just like in PTSD, the fears drive through your brain in horrible clockwork.  And just as in PTSD the way out is through, in noticing what comes up, what color that car in your head really is and also? it isn’t really a car.  Suddenly, after a lifetime of application, the fear reveals itself as what it is.  A thought in reaction to a circumstance.  Change your thoughts, the circumstance is changed as well.   Or more properly, its appearance is changed.  There is, as the Buddhists say, no cure for hot and cold.  And fear is like hot and cold- another experience, another sensation.  It may not be curable, but it IS explorable, and that is the key.

The thing of it now, though, is so many circumstances are so dire and intractable it might not seem like it matters at all how you think about them.  But I think it does.  How you perceive something dictates how you respond to it.  Take injustice.   The perpetrators of injustices are often not accessible, seen or even exactly known.  How do you combat something like that?  Things have taken such a direction in my life that I no longer have trust in any of the forms and infrastructures of society.  I also believe, still, shovel incident notwithstanding, that non-violence is the only lasting proper method for change.  This puts the responsibility squarely on one’s shoulders, then.  We ourselves have to shape our lives the way WE want them to be, regardless of tyranny, stupidity, poverty and greed.  There may be no basic services available to a person.  That person then has to forage, make connections, and create an alternative.  This means leaving a lot of things behind, but mostly things like materialism, complacency, disinterest.  It means you have to start actually thinking on your feet, being responsible.  Putting fear and conformity aside even in the most difficult situation really does allow space for movement and change.  It isn’t easy and I can’t imagine most people even want to touch this whole thing with a barge pole but nonetheless it is what is staring us all squarely in the face.   Or, me, anyway.  You gotta align self with Self and with the big picture.  Then? It isn’t easy or perhaps all that different but it is better without all the static.  And every day better gets better, and the strength and will to carry on grow, and great things can happen.  Great things aren’t always seemingly big things either.  All the small things everywhere add up to something though, and it is just starting to seem like there’s a reachable cohort working on peace, love, and happiness. So let’s introduce ourselves and carry on.


off to the races

I have to say, Gentle Reader, even by MY standards the past few days have been  like a combination of Survivor, Godzilla, and a stampede of bison during a large size hail storm with the gong section of a Chinese Opera Orchestra playing along.

On the positive side:  It was the Partner’s birthday.  I made a cake and arroz con leche and game hens and shrimp cocktail.  And cocktails, of course.  And some really fantastic purple potatoes from the garden.  We actually had a lot of fun AFTER we got past the non-positive sunrise wakeup call from the landlady’s dog.  During which wakeup exercise said dog killed all my chile plants, dug the crap out of one raised bed and our compost heap, and attempted to dig several large and important plants out of their containers.  I almost lost it altogether and may have murmured something about you won’t have to worry about who’s going to kill your dog if this happens again.  Since this was the, oh, say FOURTH TIME.   Each incursion has caused some significant damage and this dog does some very acrobatic things to get into our space.  Apparently there is some mystery about what happens when you let a large, untrained ratting dog out the door at 5 am and don’t bother to go with it or check on it or anything like that.   It’s a dicey proposition to let your dog out like that around here because everyone is fairly heavily armed.   Country living and second amendment rights, after all.   Just Friday night, for example, there was a long, REALLY long, volley of automatic weapons fire.  It may have had something to do with the visit of a sizeable portion of the Sheriff’s Department the prior Friday elsewhere in the neighborhood.  Or it may not have.  Anyway.  It seems, for better or worse, that no dogs were harmed in that incident.

We’ve also been preparing legal documents and digging out tax returns and all kinds of awful stuff like that.  Sometimes I feel as though, really, no more.  NOT ONE MORE THING.  I get over that when I see the little wrens taking baths in the water seeping down into the plants as we water them in the mornings, flipping their wings and sending sprays of water into the air.  We also have a gang of hummingbirds now who have been chasing each other around every morning with incredible feats of derring do, sneak attacks, and nyah nyah nyahs.

But then I see something like the picture of people waiting for food in a Syrian refugee camp.  Thousands of people, as far as you can see, standing between ruined buildings about ten abreast.  Even hummingbirds can’t quite get me past that.   I find I’m at a point now where everything that gets said about what’s going on in the world sounds like a big, fat, lie.  We abandoned the gold standard as the value base for our money, yes, and now use what? OIL.   Yes indeedy.  In fact, the same stuff that seems to be funding the Caliphate Bringers.  Someone explain to me, please, just why it is we don’t have a huge effort moving to get things solar and methane energied, among other things, just to move us along and out of this gigantic sink hole filled with $#!^ that we appear to be jumping right back into the middle of.   Still it is somewhat interesting to see such a funding source being used by opponents in a struggle.  Or whatever it is.  Then there was the young girl on Bill Moyers who spent several minutes saying that it was really OK and a good thing to use selfishness as a reason to be concerned with climate change.  I must say things seem pretty extreme now, the lines are drawn and while there are many people, young and old, trying to do the right thing, there seem to be many, many more doing the wrong thing.  Over and over.  Unthinkingly.  Selfishly.  I find myself feeling real, actual fear about the future, and not just because my own situation is so weird, precarious, and somehow wonderful when I can keep breathing.

It really is important to stay with the awe we feel in life, but sometimes it is so hard to pick oneself up and carry on.  Today’s motivation may just be cake.

the voices in our heads

And, yes, we’ve all got them.  Not so much a heard thing, perhaps, as felt and known.  You might call them thought forms, as did Alice Bailey.  The thing of it is, we all have our own and then! We also are subject to the influences from everyone else’s as well.

It is possible to rise above this input, I think.  We saw a program about jazz musicians, one of whom described what his version of this voice said to him.  He of course had the lovely critic sitting in his head telling him he’d never get it right.  You have to wonder why that critic is so often there, is so universal, and so often flies under the radar.  As in, you’re not consciously aware you’re telling yourself this awful stuff.  In this case, the musician was ravishingly accomplished but you could see that something had left a mark.

Meanwhile, back at toadstool central, events have flowed in such a way as to confront me with an impeccable sequence of all my deepest rooted fears and senses of inadequacy and out-of-body-while-chopping-vegetables-with-sharp-knives sort of thing.   Some weekend, in short.  Again? I think to myself.  Now?  REALLY?  But in the moments where the ability arises to say, well, this is a thought and that’s all it is?  Reality is reality and you don’t need to interpret it with your old issued at birth instruction manual?  A sort of spaciousness comes into the chest, lowers the shoulders from up around my ears, and the old thought form of failure and fear dissipates and fades even more.  It is quite a bit about letting yourself entertain thoughts of success, even though what that success might be is not visible particularly.  About saying, well, this whole thing may blow up but *I* don’t have to.  I may have to take a martini cure or two but it really is true: You can’t step in the same river twice.  So why worry?  At bottom, either you live through it or you don’t, so why waste time thrashing about as though there were some other ultimate results.  There is so little we can really effect and affect on some level, it seems sensible to at least attempt to focus on the areas where a dent might be made.  And this is generally in the area of how we are thinking about things, and in the attempt to at least do something a bit differently this next go round.  No matter how convoluted or self serving or whatever it might be that someone is saying or doing, if you can stay out of the force field of it all and just BE there, things can move for everyone.

In that vein, and in our ongoing locavore quest, we went to a local farmer’s market over the weekend.  While we can now stroll by the vegetables, this particular market has meat which is organic, pasture raised, and fed non-GMO food.  This was what we were after and wow.  I emerged from the market bearing a dozen chicken feet and some pork lace fat, among other things, for stock and wrapping things in, respectively.  Lamb next time perhaps. The really nice thing was how comfortable it was to be there and how easy to talk to all the farmers and purveyors. Nothing like the farmer’s markets we used to sell at in the bay area where everyone was a bit more closed off.  It felt like being at home, at long last.   That is an experience we haven’t had much of for some time,  and the pleasure of it was enough to carry us both along in a most reviving and pleasant way.  We rebooted a bit.  So, it’s odd how things come in groups of experiences, complete lesson plans if you will.  Once you develop the ability to enjoy the unknown quality of it all- as in start to finish no guarantees or maps-and trust yourself and your crew to navigate, there are possibilities that I at least find I’d never thought about.  For today that is what I’m sitting with, anyway, and my teeth only chatter once in a while.

retreat into nature

100_1560Well, really Gentle Reader.  The world is too much with us of late, and it can be hard to remember to just do what is in front of one to be done, as best as one can.  HOWEVER:  Here is a picture of my friend Sam.  Dog of the West.

Every time I come to my friend’s house, Sam races out to meet me and be thoroughly petted,  then runs ahead to get up the stairs and attempt a force kiss.  He has lovely teeth (for a dog) and an imposing nose up close.  He’s very gentlemanly, especially compared to one of my landlady’s horses, who literally trotted over to the fence of his corral the other day, shook his mane at  me rather summarily, stretched out and planted a huge kiss on my ear.  Yesterday I saw this horse do something really astonishing.  The unattended water hose was running full tilt into their water tub (what drought?  WHAT WEST NILE?).  Suddenly both of the dogs there ran up to me, soaking wet and looking for a place to put their muddy paws.  I looked toward the corral and what did I see but the horse holding the hose in his mouth, spraying it expertly around him.  Then he flipped it a bit and got the end in his mouth so he could drink from it.  All this with the most intense devil may care sparkle in his eyes.   Young Rabbit continues to play hide and seek with the Partner, and Tyrant the hummingbird has started doing trick flying through his arms when he’s holding buckets.

So that’s all good, it really is.  And another good thing of course is the garden.  Although it didn’t produce as extravagantly as last year, we did have more different things this iteration and the ones that did well are totally off the hook.  And, as happens with gardens, you get to figure out things to do with all that lovely stuff.  I made chilaquiles with red chard and scallop squash last night, in a tomato broth made from our violet jaspers and hot peppers.  For desert we had something I thought came out really well: fig granita.  Our fig tree seems to really like it here and each year produces more and better figs.  I still have jam from last year and we’ve eaten our way through many a gallette and salsa in the meantime.  Since it has been so hot this year however, it has been challenging to cook, and I’m actually still secretly glad I don’t have a zillion tomatoes to can.  Thus my original idea of an upside down cake for the figs this week was quashed because it was just too darn hot to bake.   I had to think of something else that didn’t involve too much heat.  And, voila.  I trimmed and halved the figs, put them in a pan with the zest and juice of a lemon, some local honey and a bit of water.  Cooked them until they just started to soften and release juice.  Immersion blendered them, and chilled.  Then, into the freezer for three hours, with interspersed fork raking over surface.  Scraped into a glass with a small splash of Port over the top, it’s beautiful, delicious, and good for you.  What more could you want?

Aside from the obvious, of course.  We’ve decided after many lengthy discussions  in front of the swamp cooler             that there are some simple infrastructure and policy things that could make the whole world a better place.  One- go back to industrial hemp production. Everywhere would be good, but the U.S. would be a start.  This would provide food, fuel, fabric and paper. And jobs.  It would replace cotton, ramp corn down, and help with fossil fuel use.  Hemp is a miracle of a plant and it is rather confounding to see it outlawed both industrially as well as medicinally.  A major foot-shooting, there. Combine this with an actual focus on solar energy and a removal of selected dams.  Pollution reduction and environmental restoration.  Just a few small things would make a huge difference and maybe start a return to balance.  It seems to me that a huge part of the world’s dysfunction is that people, men especially, don’t have anything to truly do.  Whole segments of populations and societies are almost completely alienated at this point.  Individuals don’t have jobs or a real way to provide for themselves or any family.  When no self reliance seems to be possible, a return to connection to production for the basic person would be a huge step forward.  All the seething young men you see waving guns around all over the place would probably, if given half a real chance, be quite happy to have a productive existence.  You have to wonder why these sorts of things don’t get done but then again, you know already.  It’s kind of like how mystifying it is that big Pharma doesn’t have any kind of near to adequate supply of medicines that people might really need- excepting of course Viagra and opiates.  Which at the most recent examination do not appear to be much good for anything in the long run except they both do appear to have side effects that…well, heck.  That can create things in your body that mean you get to buy more pills, and maybe hire lawyers.  For sure you’ll need an insurance agent.   But they don’t deal with the real life problems people face, like auto-immune disorders and viruses and many bacterial issues.  Or pain, really.  Oddly, you have to go back to something a bit more old fashioned at this point to deal with those things- but that is, as a friend used to say, a whole ‘nother Geraldo show.

Sometimes it feels as though where we’re going as a species is too scary to contemplate, so I for one am glad that figs still exist to provide that much needed reality check.  And people’s hearts, in which I still believe quite firmly.


that old black hole

One of my favorite songs, that is, by Dr. Dog.  “looks like that old black hole/no matter how i try/ i set out every day/never to arrive”.  Or something like that.  A wonderful song, in any event.

But really.  There are SO MANY black holes in daily life now it really gets to be quite the endeavor to navigate.  The nature of reality seems to be such these days that people really cannot take it in; it’s too painful at times.   I guess I’m grateful for all the humiliations I endured as a young person, because now I really don’t care too much what people I don’t respect think of me.  Many of my friends are waking up to the fact that the rewards they went after are simply not there, and they are surrounded by people they don’t respect who have some measure of power over them.    One of the key lessons in life, it turns out, is knowing when to leave.

The other thing that took most of the air out of my cranium, temporarily, was this week’s doctor visit.  An annual physical, yes, with a doctor I’ve seen for years. ( I’m not going to go into the horrors of the mechanics paying for such a thing: let’s just say that really? The Affordable Care Act is a quadruple win for the insurance companies.  If you’re poor? You have absolutely no choice whatsoever about the care you get, and let’s just say it can be summed up in a six letter word that starts with “c” and ends with “y”.  It is, after all, against the law not to have health insurance.  Which, if you’re poor, you cannot afford.  The alternatives are the equivalent of nothing. )Anyway, her office has become completely computerized, all the records are in a cloud now, and the really great thing? Is you get to sit on a chair with a paper towel on it by the door to the exam room with that fetching gown they give you on, with a person sitting next to you TYPING IN EVERYTHING you and the doctor say to each other.  Then, you get to get back up on the table having redeposited your clothes on the aforesaid chair, and the three of you get to enjoy your rectal exam.  It’s great, let me tell you.

So, when the doctor asked me if I had anything I wanted to discuss with her, I said, yes, but with YOU.  Not the rest of the world.  Then she asked me if anything was bothering me and I heard myself emit a rather short, barking laugh.  Oh, I said, I wish I’d known you’d ask me that.  I’d’ve brought a SCROLL.  She seemed rather shocked at my state of glowing good health, considering the challenges of my daily life now.  Irritated as well that I refused vaccinations for things I don’t need them for, like flu and shingles.  A high point was when I responded to the query about whether or not I have heart palpitations.  Of course, I said.  I’m out of my mind with stress most of the time BUT THAT’S WHY I MEDITATE.   And no, I don’t need an ortho consult for my hip pain.  THAT’S WHY I DO YOGA.  Anyway I found it all rather unsettling because, I suppose, it was a search light focused on how far out of the world I used to live in I am now.  Which I am happy about, yes, but.  It’s as though once you exit that regulated world of job and commute and all the rest of it (get up in the dark, shit, shave, force feed, as the poet Bukowski- I think- wrote) people cannot even look at you.  You don’t exist to them in the same way and there’s even a bit of withdrawing, as though they might catch whatever it is that you’ve got:  that thing that allows you to live outside their known world. My teacher always said one should be their own testimony.  I’m finding that a rather interesting prospect, because  my intact condition- my testimony, really- seems to be unbelievable to people like, say, my doctor.  My impression is thus that the work I do is not taken seriously.  At all.  Like studying and applying thousands of years of observation and practice counts for nothing, and herbs and proper food are irrelevant.

Oh, well.  I had other things to attend to, which I did.  On the way home (since I had to go down to the bay area for this appointment and thus drive back home later), I saw a rabbit peeking out of a hedgerow, and a flock of geese resting in a field.  The sky looked like an opal.  The hills are cracked and burnt  but the irrigated rice fields reflected a deep blue sky setting off an ethereal green.  Magic exists, and we must carry on and we must help each other.  That is, anyway, what I decided, yet again.  I got home after some digressions, the Partner dashed out to cover me with kisses,  and had some lovely vegetable stew I’d made the night before ready for dinner.  It smelled wonderful, the stars were out, and that is really about as good as it gets if you’re honest.  Peace be with us all.


I suppose it had to happen eventually.  The deer simply could not take it any more, not one second, no sirree.  They’ve been somewhat restrained, but let’s just say we are now markedly flowerless and top branchless in the vegetable garden.  The fencing in the back was a bit crumpled as well- we’re thinking that’s where they jumped out.  The Partner is busy, as we speak, arranging a more formidable bank of deer fence and netting.   The little darlings ate the purple silk off our corn, too- probably washing down the potato flowers.  I have often thought, seeing their seemingly infuriated (judging by depth) hoofprints outside the fence, that one day there’d be a deer who would not be deterred.  It’s interesting in a way to review the various pestilential scourges we’ve endured here.  Veritable Legions of flies!  Not to mention: The ants! Swarming through the yurt at 3 am in the days when we were still sleeping on the floor.  The crickets! Stuck in the insulation and singing their hearts out between 3 and 5 am.  The scorpions! Just…never mind.  The snakes! Gah.  Then there was the LOCUST INVASION.  Indeed, I think it was just last year but who can remember for sure?  We were driving up Highway 5 from the bay area, and there were literally so many grasshoppers flying through the air we had to pull over in order to sluice the windshield off so we could see at all- there was a viscous muck all over.  I struggled with myself over a couple who’d been obnoxious, rude, and bad drivers, in a BMW convertible with the top down.  Part of me thought:  Finally! Just deserts.  The other part thought: EWWWWW.  Nobody really deserves that.

Then again, what DO we deserve?  We had a dual head explosion the other evening, the Partner and I, upon learning that in essence, the U.S. has paid for Israel’s dome of iron or whatever it is missile defense system.  Meanwhile, there are many of us here in this country who could really use some freaking help.  How is it that this country can give billions away to Pakistan and other places, and a great many of its own citizens are living in poverty because the corporate entities on whose behalf the whole thing takes place have moved their production and business elsewhere, excising  jobs with surgical precision.  I ask you?  I also found myself shrieking a bit incoherently when I heard a CEO say that US corporate tax structure had to improve or they’d all go somewhere else where it was “fairer”.  The corporate entities in this country may APPEAR to have a large tax burden, but wait!  There’s more, because in every area those taxes are offset by loopholes and rules and things that mean, essentially, these large corporate entities PAY NO TAX AT ALL.  Take Pfizer, for example.  Those poor, poor, devoted people slaving away to provide healing for the world- so what if their profits are in the billions.  They simply should not have to contribute a thing more.

It’s hard to know how to proceed.  It is true that if you want things to change you have to experience said change.  This involves challenges and shifts in behavior.  Nobody really likes this.  I think it is fair to say that the Partner and I have for the most part put our “money” where our mouth is.  We live simply (to put it mildly).   We eat local food- of which, sadly, there will be less because: DEER.  But that only introduces us to the fact that life is always changing, it is not going to be the same, and that applies to everything across the board.  The whole system is so skewed right now that it almost seems no part of it can remain for positive change to happen.  For example.  We don’t eat much meat, but we do eat it from time to time.  We haven’t been eating beef because….well, because it doesn’t taste like beef anymore, and God knows what’s in it or in what horrendous circumstances it existed.  We even live in a place where cattle are raised; still we can’t get any decent meat for the most part.  We went shopping yesterday and in a moment of throwing things to the winds, actually bought a small steak.  From New Zealand.  This is hugely against everything we usually do, but apparently that atavistic longing for STTTTTEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKKKK was overpowering.  The thing of it is, the steak was wonderful.  It tasted like steak, wasn’t astronomically expensive, cooked like a real piece of meat.  But how can it be that we must buy something from another country, a long way away, to get something decent?    Especially in view of the fact that they’re probably eating US meat in New Zealand- trade agreements and all. This is precisely the sort of stuff that must change immediately if there is to be any hope for any of us.  I for one would like to see a world for people and not petroleum.  I would like to see a world where human beings took their proper position in the world- not one of domination but one of cooperation coupled with self reliance.    The world gets very small at times when what is both reasonable as well as unreasonable is discarded and what remains is placed out of reach.  Decisions can be hard to make- or else any ability to make and act upon them is so remote as to be moot.  In any event, we’re having vegetables for dinner- our deer don’t eat chard it seems, but we do, so it’s all good on one very small level.  Now, for the rest of the world- remember? Think globally, act locally.

There IS always a way, and this is important to remember right now.  We can do this.