Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

some days are harder than others

Fortunately we can begin with a gratuitous dog picture:

iAMthecutest

because otherwise, traction is not available at this location.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Things are, it turns out, REALLY dependent upon one’s state of mind.  Ascension, for example, is real, even if the “definition” of it can be so airy fairy you think it’s got to be almost a scam of some sort.  The part that gets funky is realizing you get to implement a whole new mindset in the same place you were before.  One works toward inner peace and balance, and to do no harm and perhaps be of service.  That seems like a reasonable goal.  New mindset doesn’t sound like it should be a problem, right?  But.  I realized I was kind of thinking that new mindset might also involve a different actual place.  Silly bear.  What would the point be of achieving developmental progress in some easy, relatively problem free place?  After all, it’s EASY to maintain equanimity for the most part when your World isn’t acting like it wants to kill you.  The trick is realizing it’s all an illusion and there to be observed and experienced, no tampering required.

The no tampering part seems to be a bit of a sticking point.  Gardening gives you plenty of opportunity to see the problems with tampering- Nature doesn’t do the dumb stuff, and I have always wondered why humans felt they needed to “improve” it or change it.  Hybridize, clone, and fake it to literal death is more like what happens.  There’s really no good reason why anyone should be going hungry on this planet.  Except of course that the thrust of food production is toward mono-culture, chemicals up the yang, and killing the soil and all the pollinators in the process.  So there is desertification and food that actually now, for extra fun, makes you sick via endocrine disruption, heavy metal poisoning, not to mention nutrient deficiencies. All of which are presented to the public as no problem! and starving people….well, change the channel.  No problem!  I like to, and do, believe that people will turn the tide on this process, invest in community and personal gardens, and quit acting as though profits for the petrochemical industry are more important than anything else.

Of course, profits are kind of the bottom line of ick in all this.  It’s all about making money for a limited number of people, whatever it takes.  Poison the water, poison the air, who cares?  As long as we have control over it, a patent here and there on something that Nature made? it’s all good.

Which in a meandering sort of way leads me to the next light bulb that went off in between things falling over, the Dog eating a centipede or something and barfing all over the carpet, and my seeming inability to plan my activities in such a way as to allow their completion (this latter is of course a combination of procrastination and the bloody weather, for the most part, since I now allow a good several minutes or so at some point in the day for blubbing and decompression so as to get that Out of the Way in Order to Get Things Done.)  And this is? that in this country now, we no longer have the “rule of law”.  I personally find this rather scary, having long thought that reasonable rules, enforced by concensus and in practice, with processes and safeguards and attention, creates a more livable situation than not for everyone. Aside from the militarization of police, this is best exemplified in action by all the recent legislation around marijuana.

A lot of people probably think this has nothing to do with them.  And maybe it doesn’t except for the fact that there are  outright lies being stated as truth (such as there’s no research on the plant, it’s a “gateway drug”- which can be said of anything if you’ve got the brain chemistry for addictive processes) and thus as justification for certain actions, and this is a trend, across the board, about everything. Lies do not make good legislation or rules for living. The other thing is.  The overarching Federal law says this plant is illegal.  Some states have voted to make it legal in various situations.  Not dicey enough? local jurisdictions also have the ability to determine “legality”.  So.  We have something that’s illegally legal, and while there may in fact be a “law” that says everything is copacetic, there are generally at least two governmental entities in any given spot able to say the exact opposite.  Which means people can really get hurt.  For no reason I can see except the money to be made- the profits, if you will.  I always kind of thought that as soon as big tobacco and big pharma could get together on the profit margins, the stuff would be legal.  Now, here in California, it’s “legal”, with the federal and local caveats, and? to be taxed at a rate that makes credit card interest look like a bargain.  Philip Morris does not appear to be driving this particular bus- but investment bankers do.  So.  Aside from my general preoccupation with nature and healing and saving seeds and not poisoning things and all that, what makes me crazy about this is that “laws” are made, having huge impact on people’s lives, based on nothing except somebody’s desire to make money.  Just like the housing market bubble is being blown back up again, the thought form that creates this stuff is going full tilt.  And that is something that will lead to no good.

So net net the thing of it is….having a whole new mindset in the same place can actually move you forward.  It lets you see things more as they actually are, and you more as you are.  Then you can formulate ideas and actions.  While none of us can really tackle the beast whole, we can behave properly in our own lives, whether or not there is an external rule of law.  Another thing that means is we can no longer assume someone else will take care of things.  It means we have to stand up for each other, be conservative in the true sense of not wasting or abusing ANY resource, and establish the real rule of law, which of course, is love. ( See picture above for clarification if needed.)  It isn’t selfishness or profits or any of the things people turn to when their hearts are moribund and you need an electron microscope to detect them.  The real question now is what about all those hearts, after all? Blessings and thanks!

what muscles look like

The heat here has been, frankly, unbearable.  Having to be out in it for about four, scattered, and ever so slightly back breaking hours a day has been something I decided to view as Training, like for a marathon.  Fortunately we have a 50 foot long hose that weighs about ….oh, who knows how much.  But it’s heavy and has a mind of its own, we know that much.  I’m thinking I should do a You Tube video with it, a new exercise program- this could really be something!

Anyway it was fun when I went to the doctor (no more visits now! honestly, but everything takes about ten times longer than it needs to in the brave new medical world) and he said, wow, look at your BMI! You’re overweight!  I started to giggle, at which he actually looked at me.  Do I look overweight or inappropriately or excessively jiggly to you? I said.  He shook his head no.  OK then, feel THIS I said, extending my arm to him.  OH.  He said.  Yes.  I said.  Muscle.

So muscles are another one of those things that can be there but be unseen.  The usual adherence to preoccupations and entrenched ways of thinking can be continued without interruption.  Everyone’s prejudices and biases can remain intact.  I ruined his diagnostic day, sadly, as he was about to launch into the cholesterol and weight loss speech but realized it was totally off base. ( IN fact at this most recent appointment I had lost a fair amount of weight due to the above mentioned training regime.  And sweating, and stuff.) As he gathered himself, the eventual bright spot was the undeniable truth about my lungs to which he now had to attend.  In last year’s medical fun fest it turns out that in the process of collapsing my lungs, then filling them with fluid, then using god knows what crap to empty them?  Permanent damage was done.  I am pretty sure I can heal this up, actually, and more on all that soon because I am working on Something Big!……  But I am also going to file a formal complaint against the surgeon and anesthesiologist, because the past 18 months of not being able to breathe or do much and having my lungs crink up like squashed dixie cups in the middle of the night? has been hell.  And I don’t think they should have carte blanche to do it to someone else to whom, in their paradigm, attention need not be paid.

So.  You know.  This may be what passes for fighting the evil empire at the moment.

Other than that, it’s largely been armed struggle just to keep things alive out here this month.  We did get straw bales placed against the outside of the yurt, and they do provide some much needed insulation from the heat.  It’s still 85 in here all day but that, GR, is a whole lot better than 95.  Given that it’s about 112 outside, lowering on some days to 95 at midnight.  The Dog has reluctantly understood that it IS too hot out there for his paws and limits his excursions accordingly. We’ve had some Bad Dog Mornings, where he does naughty things like run down to the main road and eat dead things, returning up the driveway skulking and later? for extra fun, emitting the fart to end all farts.  Which, of course, hung in the heat for longer than it needed to.  It seems like a miracle that our garden is still alive and to the naked eye, flourishing.  It’s  really  too hot now for the vegetables to do much but we do have a LOT of cucumbers and chard.  We’ll have a few tomatoes but the plants have suffered since I am not nearly as good as the Partner is at picking those noxious hookworms off the plants.  Still, I’m feeling pretty good about it all at the moment.  There look to be enough San Marzano tomatoes to make some sauce, anyway.

Having it be too hot to cook has been a cha cha cramping sort of thing, too.  But!  I butterflied a game hen and marinated it in shallots and turmeric and chilis and stuff….not too bad, really, cooked in a grill pan.  The surprise was the aroncini I made with the end of it and the left over rice which was its accompaniment.  Aroncini are those wonderful croquettes made from risotto, with vegetables and cheese inside and crisp exteriors.  I thought, OK, left over shredded game hen, rice, let’s make those.  Imagine my excitement when I remembered it wasn’t arborio rice I’d cooked, but basmati in coconut milk. Deciding to do it anyway was touch and go, Gentle Reader and I feared ghastly failure.  I couldn’t get them to cohere (a lot of that going around….) because arborio and basmati are two really different creatures, and bit my lip as I plated their reasonably shaped in the end crispy selves.  Also important because the Partner has not been eating through this illness so whatever I do give him needs to be good.  And you know what? they were.   So further encouragement not to give up, dear friends.  Anything is possible and with a bit of effort, can happen.  From rice balls to evil empire, we can do it.

Thank you all, as always.

sartre lives

In a word, GR, NAUSEA.

So.  We now have Turkey, Baton Rouge, Minnesota, RNC., the Mediterranean Sea full of ghastliness, somewhat reminiscent of Otay Mesa, and more.  Even the police around here are nervous, looking at everyone as though a barrage of gunfire will erupt at any moment.  Given that it appears that the police around here are crack shots, based on the news, I don’t know why they’re uneasy. Yes, being a policeperson is a challenging job.  But no, you don’t just get to shoot people because they’re…well, whatever.  We are, after all, supposed to have a “rule of law”.  Not a rule of, I don’t like how you look so you are getting blasted to kingdom come. And, if you are being honest, you have to admit that this sort of thing happens All the Effing Time.  Here.  And, everywhere.  But the U.S. is kind of an epicenter of violence, oddly enough.  Or not oddly.  Just enough.

Moreover, it’s a really humiliating, more than usual even, time to be an American citizen, what with this “election”.  I look at the images of the individuals “in power” on TV, everywhere.  Istanbul to Cleveland, all of it.  Nobody looks even remotely human, like they’re not from this planet at all.   I’m horrified and saddened even though I am fairly sure this is all part of an evolving cosmos and world and really it will all be as it should, and fine, and well.  Still.  This is not the world I thought I used to live in.  I’m sorry, but really.  Trump? it’s totally inconceivable that anyone with even a small portion of a working brain could think he would be a functional, positive, competent leader of anything.  His business record includes, to my understanding, SEVERAL bankruptcies, not just one- and what this means? Is he defrauded everyone who invested in him.  UNBELIEVABLE FINANCING, we might call it. So, voters? Caveat emptor.  Just bring a barf bag and your check book.

But of course those feelings will not move us forward, and forward we must go.  In our world, we still have one person down and massive gardening duties as one result.  The Dog is using this time to great advantage.  For the first few days he ran wild outside, doing Bad Things Which Culminated in Vomiting since Mommy was Busy Elsewhere (with Daddy, of course).  Now we’re in more of a turbulent holding pattern, and for the four plus hours or so it takes to do what absolutely has to be done outside every day (temperature setting on BROILER), the Dog is in a state of bliss.  He paddles front paws in his water tub (yes, he does want to go swimming), flies over the deck with those same wet paws outstretched and tail extended gracefully, rolls in stickers and sits in mud.  He laughs, he smiles, he races back and forth carrying either an old slipper or small log in his mouth.  On the whole, it is in fact a lot of fun, I am getting MUSCLES.  Serious muscles, Gentle Reader.  Sort of an odd time in life to get buff but it is what it is.  And the plants are happy which is the true Big Deal.  We’ve got cucumbers and zucchini and grapes and chard already, which is exciting especially given my spotty  focus this year.

Other than that? I’ve had only one brilliant idea.  Kentucky Fried Chicken has had some, for them, quite witty commercials lately, featuring different people as Col. Sanders.  The most recent one features George Hamilton. ( Extra Crispy.)  I think the obvious next choice for the Colonel is Christopher Walken.  Followed by Samuel. ( Jackson, that is.)  It’s good to know in this dizzying world that I can still have ideas, after all.

I leave you with a picture of someone who does not like papparazzi:

dontwakeme

And of course, my thanks for reading.

in another part of the empire

I’m often struck by how, in the end, so many basic concepts- political, religious, behavioral- get argued about even though the arguers in point of fact share the exact same view, just in different words.  There’s a great African story about this.  One day a God, being the usual god-like shit disturber (and male, FYI), decided to walk down a road which separated the fields of two villages.  He painted one side of his body blue, and the other red.  He was big, too.  Probably radiant.

So there he is walking down the road humming a song he was working on, and the villagers are out pulling weeds and thinking of witty ripostes as we all do at such times.  Suddenly someone looks up, says OMG!! THERE’S GOD!! AND HE’S BLUE!! at precisely the same time someone on the other side of the road says, OMG!!! THERE’S GOD!!!! AND HE’S RED!!!!!

Shouts and jostling ensue, and things are getting tense.  What does the God do?  He walks back up the road, the other way this time, so that?  The colors are exactly opposite.  Which leads to anguished howls of OMG!! THEY WERE RIGHT!! GOD’S (whatever color)!! answered by, OMG!! THEY WERE RIGHT AND NOW…THEY’RE SAYING WE’RE RIGHT…AND….net net the villagers swarmed over the road and began flailing gardening tools about wildly at each other.  Because God, right?

Finally, having gotten a little bored with this exercise, the God stands in such a way that everyone can see all of him.  YOU BIG SILLIES,he says, or words to that effect.  OMG. GOD IS GREAT AND MULTICOLORED. NOW WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO PULLING WEEDS, the villagers all say, or words to that effect, and which ones were grateful and which ones wanted to go back and fight is left to your imagination.  It is indicated, however, that some of the villagers actually realized on the spot that it didn’t make a bit of difference what color God was or is.  The incredible thing is that such a being exists at all, and that is amazingness enough to take a lifetime to truly understand and act upon. Also? God has a wicked sense of humor, which means that both those who lack compassion AND those without humor are pretty far from the tee, or weed patch, they’re supposed to be on.  One can only assume both villages did something like comedy competitions for a while to hone their humor skills after being taken in so completely.  Yah, they’d probably say.  So and so! What a goof! Started a whole new religion with a PURPLE God!! hahahaha…..

So it is with many things.  I was at my landlady’s after the Primary election, and met her gentleman friend, who told me, YUP. I’M A CONSERVATIVE and you KNOW WHAT? They tried to keep me from voting, saying I had no party preference!  Didn’t want any votes for Trump!  Given that this place is a reactionary hotbed, I murmured, I have a hard time understanding that but whaddaya know?  They did the same thing to ME.  It was one of those moments where the red and blue of God were quite visible and it is, albeit remotely, possible that some kind of meeting of the minds in compromise was reached on a few “conservative topics”.  This sort of thing always makes me reach for the tequila but there is just so much of it right now that I’ve had to break down and stick to water.  Still- it is a bit easier to navigate these shark, rock, crocodile, rocket launcher and yeti//bigfoot infested waters of the now when you can remember that really, we are all talking about the same thing.  It may be that some simply don’t know who or what they are, and maybe they never will given an intense attachment to STUFF and therefore a corollary lack of care for  PEOPLE, and so they think their language is the only one and refuse to listen to anyone who says, look! God was blue and now he’s red! even when they can see the same thing with their own eyes. (I think Marx and Engels referred to this as false class identification…) Nonetheless, it really is both/and, not either/or, or even worse neither/nor.  Regardless of whether you see the whole face or not.

And in truly exciting news, we have a shower for the first time since we’ve been here, thank you Partner!!!  I had forgotten how wonderful showers are.  Another reminder about what really matters, and mostly it is the simple things, adequate shelter, decent food, and beyond that the ability to appreciate the world and express love in it.  While remembering all the different words for same, of course……

picking up the pieces

Good lord, Gentle Reader.  I completely lost it last night after seeing, yet again, a shameless, depraved, pointless and nasty execution on the evening news.  For a minute I thought I might be “getting used to” this stuff, but.  NO.  NO.  It is time, Gentle Readers, to stand up and say absolutely not, no more, get your heads out of the paper bags and think.  Living as we do in a place where people snarf around about second amendment rights and how “law abiding citizens are being turned into criminals” with “background checks required!”, it never goes too well when I ask what about your basic right to life?  What about your basic right not to get shot dead by someone just because they can?  The out of control emotion in the voices of the shooting officers sounds to me as though they are too unbalanced to be performing their duties.  What about that? Those who protect and serve all too often ignore and ravage and aren’t even as mentally well adjusted as the perps they arrest.  What has happened to people?  I walked into the garden and just stood there last night.  Wondering what I can do about all this.

So, today when an Adele song came on the radio as I was driving home from a lengthy waste of time cum frustrating ritual public humiliation (Medical tests needed.  Medical tests not paid for by my “insurance”. No medical tests for you, in that case, so bye bye.  All of it happening in full view of a dozen or so people.) it seemed not unreasonable to burst into tears in the privacy of the Trusty Subaru.  And, bursting into tears can be quite therapeutic- it gets the static out of your wavelength, and then you can, from a calmer state of being, approach whatever it is that’s making you cry.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  So it’s just pretty strange, because while I KNOW that it is all energy and all moving in the direction it is intended to move, and that knowing gives me a degree of peace…at the same time? It just seems to all be blowing up as we speak and it’s indeed hard to keep the faith.  Of course that just makes it more necessary.  So I’ll do what I always do in these drastic moments: cook.  And say some prayers for all of those grieving for their loved ones, everywhere. My hope is we can all put down our anger, and pick up Love wherever it was last seen.

Thank you.

pain in my heart

Things coalesced today to remind me that in fact, for all intents and purposes, we ARE in the dumper.

While I realize ever more clearly that we are all in the midst of a pretty volcanic shift, and for the most part I can navigate that with relative success, at the same time there are moments when it all crashes into my forehead and I wonder how much longer I can go on living in this world.  The Dog and the Garden make a big difference, of course and I’m hoping that this weekend’s “cooldown” (to 87 instead of 107) will allow me to at last plant our burgeoning seedlings.  Plus bake some requested cookies for a friend in need- one hopes that 87 will allow the making of buttercream to proceed without incident.   The Dog had a moment of doggie disobedience earlier today and tempers flared; now they’re just at a simmer.  I’ve been handing out strawberries and ice cubes to the parties involved.

Still.  The election on top of everything else pretty much fried my circuits.  People were actually speaking in raised voices in the polling place about things that froze my blood- you know- The Wall with Mexico.  Muslims.  Everyone who either didn’t look white or had a Spanish surname (me) got extra grilling before their ballots were handed over.  I’ve been voting for a long time now and this year? They showed me as having no party preference and thus eligible for only a provisional ballot.  Which may, or may not, get counted. HOW GROOVY IS THAT?  I finally, using my best I come in peace but let’s get serious act, got things horsed around, voted, and then? This county has an electronic ballot counter which, excitingly, puts the name of whoever you vote for up on a video screen that anyone standing nearby can read.   My screen said Bernie Sanders, and it felt as though I barely escaped with my life and a tootsie roll, slamming the door on name calling behind me.

Then, glutton for punishment that I am, we went to the post office.  Where I was greeted by two things: 1) A new bill from my insurance company that was astronomically higher than it was before and 2) A man wearing a tshirt that said “Hillary for prison in 2016” who gave me a wolfish grin and said, funny, ain’t it?  Luckily he accepted silence as an answer. (Later, getting propane, I saw one that said “I refuse to learn a foreign language to accommodate the illegal immigrants coming into MY country” on yet another elderly white man who refused to believe the sidewalk was for anyone other than him .)  Just to add to my joy, I found that essentially now nobody will insure me for anything except my current company, for the aforementioned fortune.  I live in a place with a lot of fires, and my car is old.  It’s kind of like the internet around here: You gotta have it but nobody will provide it to you.  So net, net: the fat white man who crashed into me continues to cause trouble.  I’m betting he voted for turd with teeth, too.

There is of course more, although the good news appears to be the cartels are out of our neighborhood this season.  I constantly remind myself that it’s all a call for kindness, for love and compassion, for rectification of disharmony.  Perched on the high, pointy spot of my current life, it seems dicey but I do it anyway.  And on days when I’m inundated by the effing effontery of life, I do wonder if there is any point at all to what I do. It certainly at times looks like an entire geological age of catastrophe, my little existence.  At the same time it is so clear that there IS intrinsic goodness in our universe, and we can’t wait for results to do what is right and caring.  In that vein I’m going to give the Dog another ice cube, and say bless you to all.

 

shaken AND baked

The Dog is taking the triple digit heat in a Sensible Doggy Way.  He’s snoring on his bed, coming out periodically for ice cubes and the odd chicken dog sausage.

I’m sitting in a heat induced stupor with spinning wheels, for the most part.    The one year I am totally on top of starting my seeds, it’s too damned hot to plant the seedlings.  My Looming Project, re-doing the website, is acting like a wayward foxtail in a sock and making me the teensiest bit anxious and procrastinatey.  Partly it’s because I read an old blog about when I did it the first time, so long ago.  I forgot how much screaming was involved and the over the top frustration level (oh, you mean this browser DOESN’T SUPPORT THIS ACTIVITY? AND YOU SAY NOTHING IN THE INSTRUCTIONS?), and the daily tide of you can’t keep a thought in your head for two seconds is not abating around here.  I realized I was fretting over a shopping cart button, in short, while I was looking for remnants of a thyme plant.

Deciding to abandon that for the present in order to wipe the sweat out of my eyes, I’ve been trying to also not focus on the fact that Donald Trump is making an appearance in this podunk place today, at the Redding Airport. Waving to the Folks from his Personal Plane.  Suddenly we exist here, it seems.  Bernie came to Chico, which makes some sense as he actually has a brain and some ideas.  But Trump is the LAST thing anybody up here needs since they’re mostly 98% fully crazed and well armed to begin with.  A conservative hotbed where until quite recently I could count the number of black people I’d seen on one hand, and men in the post office make jokes about how the only “Allah” they like is “ala carte”.  Haw haw and all that.  They’re probably lapping his antics up like seals getting fish in a circus, right this minute.

That may not, in fact, sound very “nice”.  And there’s always the thing of not letting the other person’s Stuff poison you.  But there’s also such a thing as kowtowing to the fuckery and I for one am struggling with balancing the overt perfidy of people with the truth of our oneness and the absolute necessity of honoring that through love.  I’m tired of acting like this whole thing is working.  I read recently a good analysis of anger and resentment, which we see manifesting on every news program and interview.  Anger happens when you learn something you didn’t know (in this case it might be something like: There will never be a decent job for you, so sorry), and resentment is doing something you don’t want to do.  Which in this case seems to mean behaving cooperatively and as though one is not the entirety of the universe.  The hangdog, uninformed victimization one so often sees is very disturbing indeed, since it leads to so many problems down the road.  People believe things they must on some level know are not true- but hey, they saw it on the internet.  Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are coming into the country.  If so, where are they?  Not here, since they’re not coming.  The Egyptair flight that went down- Trump brayed out that it was a terrorist bombing.  At present that doesn’t seem the most likely cause.  Will he ever acknowledge he shot his mouth off without knowing what he was talking about?  Given that the answer to that is a no doubt resounding NO, is this the sort of person you really want wielding power?  I’m not saying I’m happy with the other part of the spectrum which seems to be in favor of supporting the noxious status quo.  Still, it seems a sounder choice than someone who behaves as though being a crude embarrassment to the human race is a good thing.

The bigger problem with this is, of course, that people gravitate to such negativity, such bullying, and such straight-up disrespect for intellect and cooperation and each other.  Not to mention plants and animals.  Sometimes I think we’ve been so saturated with TV, computer, media images- where everything is split second, truncated, and meanings are fluid- that it has changed the very ability to pay attention.  There doesn’t seem to be much of that going around.  It’s like everyone is following the breadcrumb trail left by the evil empire, not caring if they’re going over a cliff or not.

Knowing as we do that this sort of thing has gone on for all time, just like people forgetting to put everything back in their picnic basket after lunch and then criticizing each other when the spoons seem to have disappeared, it still seems a challenging thing to resolve.  I do believe that things will shift and change, and that more and more human beings are rising to just that occasion- being real human beings.  This is a matter of joy to me whenever I encounter someone who is actually Living their Life.  Maybe that’s the thing.  So many of us are trying to run away from ourselves, our feelings.  So many people don’t even cook their own food.  So many don’t understand that they have abdicated their ability to think for themselves, and as a result will say things like “all the prices went up right after the minimum wage was raised and it just made things worse”.  No ability to look and see, or see what you’re looking at, or that hoary chestnut, consider the source.

When I did my herb farm apprenticeship, one of our teachers said we should remember that one day soon, planting your own food and medicine would probably be a crime.  At the time I thought it was a bit hyperbolic.  Now I’m not so sure.  But I’m certainly going to keep doing it.  (As we all should.)  And remember that loving kindness is worth more than almost anything- except perhaps water.  And air.  And Earth.  And ice cubes, if you’re a dog.

 

fire and rain

I actually drove through such a thing this past week.  As you go north from Berkeley up to Redding, I-5 passes rice fields which, at this time of year, are burned.  The smoke, a very particular shade of brown,  is generally so thick while this happens that you can’t see anything, which makes driving even more problematic than usual (what with dozing truckdrivers and skinheads in pickups with hand grenade decals covering their back windows).  On this particular day, the fields were on fire, and the smoke rose up covering the horizon like a giant man standing square across the freeway, bending down with his arms ready to scoop up all who passed through.  It was also pouring rain. So it was strange, seeing flames and smoke in the midst of a downpour which turned into a hard and fast hail a few miles up the road.  By the time I got home, the sun was shining and it was hot.

The sensation of passing through something that was trying to scoop me up was intense and there really was a sensation of relief and escape as the smoke disappeared back down the road.  Naturally this made me think about THE SAME OLD THING- what is to be done?  We all have these tableaux daily, moving through time, approaching danger and reaching safety- and of course vice versa.   Now, whether or not you believe denial is a river in Egypt, it truly feels as though all of us are on the brink of a colossal drop into something malevolent.  It also seems to me that this malevolence has been, essentially, conjured by the absolute refusal to awaken, and the greed, of the tiny number of people who actually run the world.  Bill Maher pointed out in one of his New Rules that the six Walmart heirs have the same assets as 130 million of their fellow Americans.  Six.  One hundred and thirty.  Need I say more?

I also had occasion of late to observe the very real class differences in this country, which are supposed not to exist.  They do, though, and the sense of entitlement of those in the gravitational orbit of the “top” is quite striking.  They clearly live in another world from the one I’m in, and the one I’m in? Can just go to the infernal regions as far as these fine folks are concerned, and the sooner, really, the better.  All very polite of course, but really.

Still, one endeavors to see beyond the “apparency”, and even though the conduct of politicians and the powerful is reprehensible for the most part (do we even need to name names?), there really is something more, and that more, however obscured, is in fact what affirms life rather than monetizes it. No matter how dark it seems.  It is in the move toward that “something more” that, bit by bit, the light begins to be ever more equal to the dark, it seems to me.  I’ve spent years (ACTUAL YEARS) trying to open myself to this “what is” and now while my mind says, OMG! DUDE!  WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! my heart says, all is well.  Love, and keep your eyes open.

And love is something a whole lot more all encompassing than I ever thought.  I realized the other night that even now my understanding of love is limited.  Love is really a universal, everywhere all the time, trans AND impersonal force.  If you can stay with that love, the answers may not be immediate but the questions are pertinent and revealing.  It also turns out that staying in that love also allows you to walk away from things that harm you, and lets you know that no harm really results from being truthful in a spirit of love.  My success with this is spotty, of course, but there is ever more of it, so who am I to complain?

In other perhaps more important news?  All the seeds I planted are coming up and the happy dance is being done daily.  Squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, cabbage, beets, sunflowers, peppers!  AND.  The vet originally said he thought there were probably three dogs in The Dog.  We had two narrowed down, retriever and pit bull.  The third dog has finally stepped up, unequivocally.  And the prize goes to GREAT DANE.  I kid you not, Gentle Reader.  The long, narrow fingers of the paw, the slim but graceful hips, not to mention the facial markings.  Not to mention the TALLNESS and the LONGNESS OF THE LEGS and BODY.  And the all round general ever bigger overall stature.  So it’s exciting.    We really are running with the Big Dogs.

clouds of color

The wild plum and cherry trees are blooming now, and they look like clouds that have come down to earth to talk.  The redbuds came out all at once, from Monday to Wednesday, and the juxtaposition of mauve and ivory against the brilliant green of the pastures and the varying foam green and pink hazes of the trees beginning to leaf out against a brilliant blue sky is astonishing, to say the least.  Dot in a few cream colored cows and dark sheep and it looks like paradise, interrupting as it does what seems like one long season here: BURNT, which is divided into HOT and FROZEN.  A bit of gold and wine fall color to mitigate the dried grass colors as we pass from Hot to Frozen, then dark, dark brown and if we’re lucky, MUDDY and cold, with hints of green if you really look.  Spring is even more fleeting than fall but so completely ensorcelling you almost forget that it hardly happens, and its succession of wild flowers goes by in a flash.

In the meantime, the Partner is building some actual steps going into the garden from the deck and soon there will be absolutely no excuse for me not to go out and start pulling weeds.  How we’ll keep the dog from destroying everything this summer is haunting my dreams, but I fully expect him to understand once we’ve explained it to him a few times.

It came to my attention that he really isn’t like other dogs, the Dog.  He, after all, did not really have the benefit of mom and fellow pups to teach him doggy sorts of things since he was all on his own by the tender age of two months.  Being the avatar of love that he is, he just simply assumes that everyone wants to kiss him as much as he wants to kiss them and there is simply no time to waste.  He can jump really high, too, did I mention that?  We were at a pet store looking for a training leash thing to attempt to put an end to Pulling, and they tried to sell us a puppy training package.  He was jumping and smiling and dragging me hither and yon and for a minute it seemed reasonable. Fortunately the Partner’s rationality took over, and he reminded me that the Dog is really a WILD dog, not a tame store purchased dog or even a grown rescue individual.  It’s kind of like expecting a Martian to immediately enjoy a cotillion.  He’s more like the two of us in terms of his responses to things, given his initial orphan status and strength of purpose- I mean, he’s a goof dog but at the same time has an iron paw in a furry glove. He really IS smart and insulting his intelligence isn’t going to work very well, as I have learned. He has an excellent Stern, if Droll, look for moments when I’m making an idiot of myself.  It was a good lesson in not attempting to push a situation into a shape it didn’t want to be in, in any event.

It seems at this point that thinking about consequences is a huge part of life now.  Instead of compulsively doing what one has always done, it seems impossible to not stop and review what’s actually happening, and do it differently this time.  Some days that feels good.  Other days it feels like being completely lost with a map that’s disintegrating before your very eyes.  Those are the days it’s helpful to remember something Gandhi said, which was that whatever you have to do may be very insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.  Whether we believe we’re Ascending or Descending, it’s for sure all changing and fast.  If we can keep our attention open to that, we might have a chance.  I’m now going to go practice my dog speak and perfect my taco preparation.  More on tacos, and galaxies, soon.

yet another day

So, yes, we were continuing our morning investigations into good and evil (sometimes I wonder about us).  I was thinking about that idiot dentist who killed the lion- he’s kind of my current meditation practice in pondering forgiveness, unity, etc.  The impact of even one person’s evil deeds spreads exponentially, we can see pretty clearly here.  An endangered animal is dead, his offspring will probably be killed, the hunting guides are on a slippery slope, the dentist’s employees will probably have some serious job worries.  Does a “good” deed have the same impact? Where it spreads, visibly, and you can trace it if you’re patient?  The Partner thinks not.

I am not sure.  I’ve been trying to develop a more relaxed attitude about things, taking the long view of how things always do tend to work out and what not, trying not to panic UNNECESSARILY.  It does seem like good ultimately does prevail although it takes a godawful long time.   But here we are in a world where you regularly see the most horrifying interactions on the evening news- those who are to protect do the exact opposite, and we’re ALL endangered species.  It only takes one experience to understand what it really means to be the person who gets stopped by the police for a tail light issue- the fact that it runs contrary to everything you might have thought about the country you thought you might’ve been living in only adds to the awful, sinking quality of it all. The thought that desperate people are trying to do a mass bum-rush through the tunnel in the English Channel is almost beyond belief.  And, yes, there’s the lion.  And the polar bears and the salmon and the radioactive Pacific Ocean.

So.  I’m not altogether clear on what it is I DO think about all this except I find at bottom I have hope.  Inexplicably and apparently irrevocably.  We picked two melons in the garden this morning (prior to discussing good vs evil) and even though I know Monsanto is ever ascending, at least in the US, still- there IS magic, it exists and it works and we disregard it at our peril.  Thus, I will now trudge back home in 110 degree heat, after feeding my landlady’s horses, and? have some watermelon and ponder the grandeur that still really does exist despite all the stupidity humans toss against it.