Posts Tagged ‘Justice’

following the nose

In keeping with the spirit of the times we’ve been shifting and changing and tilting and whirling.  The Partner’s birthday came and went and on the whole? it was a success.  Roast chicken with herb butter, Popovers,  Mexican chocolate cake with coconut cream caramel frosting.  Yes.  If I say so myself.  The Dog got his current favorite treat, a Whimzees Vegetable Ear, and he also got some chicken breast wrapped in a bit of popover.

There was more to it, of course.  While The Dog zonked out in a blissful full stomach stupor, an injury the Partner had inflicted on himself a day or so before (to wit, whacking his knee with the wood maul) worked its way through his system and resulted in a seemingly strange symptom- lung congestion and the cough from infernal regions.  So we were up all night long and I wrestled, for the most part, with Dread and Powerlessness about once again entering the fray and trying to secure a doctor appointment while wondering what in the world to do NOW. ( This appointment business means dedicating a day to calling various and sundry official places and going through various and sundry assumptions of the position.) (A few days later I DID actually get this wrestled to the ground.)  I managed to get myself to a neutral position about it all, remembered to say the Cosmic Please and Thank you, and asked for some insight about this new and unwanted development.

In about an hour I opened my eyes but before that happened I saw a picture of what had possibly happened to the Partner’s lungs.  Reviewing my text book (because my brain is a literal sieve) I saw what had happened.  And, it had to do with the flow of energy through the body, as it goes through various meridians and organs.  The whack on the knee initially involved the movement of liver energy, which passes through the knee and ends where the lung energies begin to flow.  So we had an impingement on one flow that wasn’t usually problematic, but which went directly into one that has been a lifelong project, thereby creating a temporary blockage.  Adding to that the fact that the injury itself occurred at a time where another bodily energy was moving  which is not the strongest element in the P’s constitution, and? You have a disruption of the lung energy as it begins its circuit through the body.  And the infernal coughing began at the time the lung energies begin to move, and ended at the time they move into the next thing.  I was even able to explain this understandably.

The big thing about it though, over and above the fact that I finally, reflexively understood something I’ve been doing for a long time, was that the fear and anxiety level for both us was immediately gone.  We both understood what was going on, and what would be of assistance, and sure enough in another day or so, everything was fine.  And really there wasn’t anything “to do” except be kind to the affected areas, lessen inflammation and keep a good fluid intake going.

So of course I thought about it all.  Things that seem so intimidating, so complex at the outset really do open up with simple Attention.  When I initially began studying all these things, the plants and botany and anatomy and sidereal time and all the rest of it, I thought I must’ve been nuts to think I’d ever “get” it.  But something prevailed against that residual lack of confidence and now? Cake and understanding a cough in the same day? There’s hope, and it can be brought to life by just Letting It Be each time you think something is impossible or whatever word you use for OMGletmeoutofhere sorts of things.

Not to mention the other big thing which is the very imperative current necessity to disregard what seems like “truth” coming from what seems like “authority”.  The sense that you cannot handle whatever it is that is in front of you, and some larger “thing” is going to have to “do it” for you.  Or to you, or over you, or whatever.  As in, oh dear, we have to see a doctor and there are no doctors and this is going to be AWFUL. Or whatever the case may be.  “Things” seem so overwhelming it’s easy to let everything you see in a day bleed into everything else.  You know- terrorterrorterror, or whatever other fear inducing message is being murmured about.  In fact? Not so much.

SO.  It may have been the Partner’s birthday, but I feel like I’m the one who got the present.  Love and Understanding.  Not to mention dog kisses.

t’aint funny, mcgee

That phrase is from before even my time but it always made me laugh.  Until today, when I realized once and for all that? it really AIN’T FUNNY, and it is of course still largely about how you respond.

Setting aside the….spiderweb diagram of phone numbers I plowed through today trying to get a doctor appointment for the Partner.  We get assigned to a “practice” (and believe me, it IS practice, for them.) and that’s the only place we can go, per our insurance.  So that’s all fine and dandy until you live someplace like this, where: there aren’t hardly any doctors.  Apparently.  You thus get assigned to a practice and can’t go anywhere else, and you can’t be seen there because their “doors are closed to new patients” as they told me today.  Which is what the prior practice we were assigned to said. So your option is to go to the Emergency Room (and this does still make me laugh: what a misnomer! son of oxymoron) where they will do tests and stuff and then tell you? You have to be seen by a doctor.  So you’ve just wasted about 12 hours of your life and possibly contracted an incurable infection to boot.  And this is if you can be seen in the ER, because another thing that happens around here is chronic Code Black.  Because? No doctors.

In combination with everything else of late, this most recent development caused just….the…..teensiest…..SNAP.  But, soldiering on, I switched the coverage for the Partner to another option, having been told that with this, you can see “any doctor in California.”  The person who did the switching, (from a foreign country, and after a wait on hold full of advertisements for cable tv, car insurance, and Walmart) could give me no information of any kind whatsoever except that she’d done the switch.  That was helpful.  So net net, more phone calls more tooth gnashing and then the light bulb went off.  You still have to be assigned to a practice with this “new” coverage and can’t go anywhere else, yes. Nothing like everyone being on the same page even if they don’t know what book they’re in. But it doesn’t have to be in the same county as you are.  Thus, with the probably very last two synapses in my bomb blast of a brain, I thought: Let’s get him assigned to a Specialist! That’s what he needs!  Because surely, God, there must be doctors in some adjacent county. Mustn’t there?  A search turned up said doctors in said “specialty”.  I felt like I had just wrestled Godzilla to the ground, because even though it will be another ten days before we get the paperwork, and he will be assigned to yet some other place that won’t see us, we can request a provider and be assigned thereto.  At least that’ s what they said.  Then it will be a mere 100 mile drive.  But hey.  Lemons, lemonade, yes?

But wait, there’s more.  I unfortunately turned the news on to the continuing reports on the Khan debacle.  AND:

  1. The New Yorker had a recent article about an Afghan immigrant named: KHAN, who ultimately found his way to Wyoming where he sold tamales.  He was totally beloved by the tri county area he lived in, and? Came here long before..that person, cause of said debacle, who is running for President on the Republican ticket’s family ever did.  Also another relative founded the Joffrey Ballet.  So I just have to wonder why all of a sudden everybody acts like having Muslim American citizens is like a recent and terrifying visitation from Mars.  Instead of what it is: People simply trying to create decent lives for themselves and their families and as a corollary? Their communities. Why is this history being re-written? Wait.  Did I just say that? Naivete rears its silly head again.
  2. I read a blog yesterday by a blogger I generally like very much.  This was about current politics, feminism, the Presidential election.  Weirdly, the whole thing left me cold and oddly, I found, reactive.  Because on the whole, I realized the tone was grating to me. I fought many of those hoary battles for basic equity for women.  These battles have meant that many younger women have been spared the more grotesque situations of yesteryear. They do not, thus, seem to realize that it is still all vitally at stake. ( And really? One more reference to feminists as  women who didn’t shave their armpits and I am going to scream.)  Plus I find at this point that I am a bit taken aback by anyone who looks at this election situation, and can’t stand up and say, ya know? I’m not crazy about Hillary but I am not voting for someone who to all appearances IS crazy and whom we know is dishonest and disrespectful.  Because we are at a rather watershed point, and while in some circles it’s fashionable to say, oh, let it all blow up, change is inevitable, it won’t make any difference, it’s political, or whatever….that is abdicating one’s responsibility as a human being which even if we shift dimensions we will still, with my luck,  retain.  And to pay no more attention to matters like who is going to “run” the country you live in than seems apparent when no thoughtful comments are made on the subject, is also abdicating one’s responsibility.  Which of course leads to:
  3. I realized that all of this is simply: my tiny human body’s opinion.  So I turned again to investigate the attitudinal issue.  Always good fun.  And what this (unmentionable) individual cited above has in common with my doctor appointment struggles is this.  Both things make me feel out of control, powerless, and frustrated beyond tolerance.  Both things represent, on some quotidian level, exactly what is not right with the world now.  There is no accountability and people really don’t matter a whole lot once you get out in the bush.  We’re all right on the edge.
  4. When on the edge, it’s good to stop.  It’s good to think about how you got there, and do you really want to jump? or do something else.  Silence in the cranium, please, in other words.  I stopped, and it really was best.  I was able to avoid posting a comment on the aforementioned blog, which I really do like very much, that would not have accomplished anything constructive in the long run since I was so reactive.  I was able to stop and think, well, this doctor thing hasn’t worked the way we were doing it.  How ELSE might I approach this.  In both cases, much more satisfactory results.  And, anyway.  If I want to point out how dangerously close we are to lighting the firecrackers on every feral cat tail in the world by not standing up and saying that…Trump is unacceptable, on human terms, and should not be pandered to? So far I can still do that.  But after having, at least, THOUGHT about it in relative calm, and having not interfered with another person’s ability to do the same thing as they see fit.  Win win, even if temporarily.

Thank you, as always, for reading.  I appreciate it very much — it helps to know that one is not the only bear left standing. And I’m sure you’ll be thrilled to know there are More Dog Pictures coming.  Now that, GR, is something to look forward to.

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.

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.

 

slippery streams

There’s something about blogging that is, naturally, just like real life.  The important thing is to do it, be it, not overthink or overreact, and to be, as Einstein suggested, free of the opinions of others- all without becoming an asshat in the process.

Of course that brings up the pernicious influences and backsliding sorts of things, like wow, people like this! I’m OK! or, oh no! no one likes this and I’m not OK!  Perfectionism creeps in, elongating into procrastination and nothing doing.  Like it all is so important on the opinion level.

I’m coming to the realization that the opinion level is where we get sick, get stuck, get distracted and removed from purpose.  It’s kind of like the monetization of your hopes and dreams, wherein for the most part they get crushed and you forget what time it really is.  This can be in the form of working at a job you hate, or becoming overly focused on “being successful” in whatever thing you’re doing and turning it into a carrot on stick scenario.  It can be about sticking to a paradigm or mindset, and insisting others do as well,  because you’re too afraid to step outside of what you think your safety level is.  In any event, all of this tends to separate you from your true self.  Without connection to your true self, what can you really do?

The use of one’s will is an interesting thing.  Too much focus on that and you’re stuck in an egoic quagmire, not enough and you’re without boundaries.  Religion, and actually? advertising, both attempt to define what will is and how it is to be used, but that’s just more of the imposition of external authority we’re all so used to, instead of doing the thinking for ourselves.  Life could be a whole lot easier if one were able to drop the opinions and external controls and just get in the flow of what is actually going on, respond to it, and go from there.  It changes the nature of pain completely, for one thing.  You’re not clinging to it like a burning spar in a shipwreck.  You feel the pain, for sure.  But if you’re moving in harmony with what is around you- and however inharmonious it may be you can do this- the overall field of energy can be seen for what it is, which is? LOVE.  With that awareness one is, somehow, able to continue, to go on, to proceed and succeed.

It is probably no mystery that this precise issue has been turning me into a bit of a couch potato of late. ( The weeds in the garden think they’ve won the battle, hands down. But.) There’s something to do, but it’s raining.  I have an idea, but I just forgot it.  How much energy is there to use today? What the heck was I doing before now? I almost feel like someone who’s been brought back to life as I look at the tools of my existence, realize I’m quite able to use them but don’t necessarily connect any more with the steps that got me to technical proficiency.  The big thing is ALWAYS not to run away from feeling.  Not to wallow in it either, but to simply look and experience and see it as truthfully as possible.   This process is leaving me with an interior that feels scrubbed and empty and ready for the next life to come in.  It is leaving me with the ability to focus more on what IS and not what I think I may have LOST.  The pain is still there; sometimes I feel my heart literally contract and bleed when things pass across my mind’s eye, as well as when I just look at what is happening right in front of me.  But the important thing is that our isolation from each other is an illusion.  Our thoughts do create tangible results.  The rest of it is, actually, pretty straightforward. If it is challenging in terms of implementation when we think of things like, say, Trump,  or Syria, or the gas leak in southern California, or bees or plant seeds, that is the point where we step back, take a breath, and apply ourselves to how we can cooperatively re-do our reality, shaping it in balance, not in fear.  The challenge is to find a substitute for violence and constriction, isn’t it?  That certainly seems like it might well start with observing our own, true, inner spaciousness.

Meanwhile, I was gently lured into the day by the Dog, who woke me up by first belching quietly in my ear, then beginning to hiccup into my neck.  Reminder, if one were needed, of how much I have to be grateful for, not the least of which are YOU, Gentle Readers!  I am always humbled and surprised and happy that you are out there.  Let us go forth, yes?

the good news

And in spite of it all, there is good news, primarily that Sam has made enormous leaps in healing.  There’s going to be a bald spot there for a while but he seems much calmer overall and the gruesome injury now is a marvel of restoration.  He actually relaxed into my hand when I petted him today instead of frenziedly leaping around wiggling.  The Dog vs Cone bout ended badly for the cone, but otherwise all seems well.   Also, I made an above standard creme brulee.  I know this because we both sat there inhaling it and remarking almost simultaneously, gee that didn’t taste like much did it but is there more?

Meanwhile the ongoing quest to live one’s life continues.  Having recently changed my ways, from being the Tasmanian Devil of Anxiety Doing it ALL, to someone who at times simply sits still and does NOT get it all done, it’s a pretty different world.  Things seem simpler- until you get outside.  Then of course it’s like a raging storm of weirdness and maybe that is just the way it is, has been, and will be.  It all depends on how you look at it.

It isn’t so hard to see that we here on this planet are at a very pivotal point which may be tipping toward our extinction.  Fishermen up here are bitching wildly because one five mile section of the Sacramento River may be closed to salmon fishing from April to August.  This is a nearing last ditch attempt to save the Chinook salmon, which to me at least seems to be a pretty big deal.  But the fishermen seem to think that tourism and getting rid of whatever salmon actually make it to this point are both more important than having salmon into the future.  Never mind that the water temperatures are at times too high for spawning to occur properly so people need to be careful and at least try not to make it worse.  Oh, no, we gotta drive all five of our half ton gas guzzling pickups to the bank of the river and fish to the death.  I mean, I get it.  I love fishing.  But I also recognize salmon as Big Medicine and that is always going to be more important than one’s personal desires.

Our world has been centered on money for a long, long time. ( At least 2,015 years if you believe what you read in the Bible or see on TV programs about it of which there were, let’s just say, a plethora of late.)  Clearly this isn’t going to work out in the long run but the adherents to this system don’t seem to be capable of reflection, much less stopping what they’re doing.  There’s enough oil already out of the ground to last for a long, long time.  NOT TO MENTION WE SHOULDN’T BE USING IT ANYWAY.  But, gosh.  We’ve got to go up and drill the daylights out of the arctic, then proceed to the antarctic for final cleanup.  I wonder where they’ll put it all?  Perhaps they can use the dried up riverbeds as storage- after all, there probably won’t be salmon there if this all keeps up.  Maybe they’ll figure out how to water lawns with it.  Anything is possible.

Otherwise?  As I plan where things will go in the garden I can’t help seeing in my mind’s eye the picture of a man being shot in the stomach in the street in Kiev, and in the back in South Carolina.  Sometimes you really do just have to keep going on and one should indeed hope for the strength to do what needs to be done.  Still, we’re watching the antics of Tyrant’s glittering hummie offspring as they hover and zoom around the yurt, chasing each other away from the feeder only to float down on it like fairies seconds later.  There is always hope, and good news too, if you know how to look, and maybe more importantly, how to appreciate what you see.

 

big wheel turns and turns

Amazingly enough, Gentle Reader, I got monster flu number three! Yes! From my neighbor who flew halfway around the world and brought us all back….bwha hahawb..cough…..cabin fever.  This was especially festive stuff which turned both my eyes bright red and caused mucky ooze to stick them shut.  Plus…well.  Never mind.  Viruses are fun, especially the mood swings.

Whilst trying to remember it WAS “just” flu and marshalling herbs and things to combat the infestation (I recommend usnea, elderberry, ginger to drink as teas and oregano, thyme and ravensara oils to breathe in.  Works wonders.) I watched a fair amount of television and my eyes had ungummed enough to sit through Lawrence of Arabia over the weekend.  Followed by hearing the aptly named Larry Fink, grand mucky muck of Blackrock, interviewed by Charlie Rose.  There, when I had just got my head uncongested, I went and let it explode again.

Lawrence of Arabia really floored me.  When I first saw it, I was of course struck by the Grand Sweep, The Romance, The Handsomeness.  This time? It seemed more like a documentary or something you’d see on the news now.  Same places and towns, same fights, same viciousness and perversity, same black flags, same evil multinational manipulation and same half crazed individuals taking center stage.  Really? A hundred years later and we are still in the same place?  I felt like a foolish and deluded bear for sure.

Then, there was the Interview of Fink.  Hannah Arendt was very right when she described the banality of evil.  This guy? Aside from the manicure and slash mouth, he looks in fact quite banal.  And seems to be thinking that the propaganda the Legacy Group dishes out is true or at least ACTS that way.  I wonder if in his own mind he knows what total shits he and his cohorts are?  An incredible thing he said, as a good economic indicator, is how great technology is.  America is uniquely positioned to gear up for manufacturing jobs again, and the great thing is they won’t require many human employees.  So the employers could actually “pay them five or ten more dollars an hour”, there being fewer of them and all.  And since the labor costs are lower, YEEHAW.  Profits up the kabonga.  He also thinks more entrants in the oil and gas production sector will make more product available and more people will buy that product, i.e. gasoline.  In one swell foop he just shovels cement over the deep holes of unemployment, poverty and inequality, and of course climate change.  I wonder who the hell is going to be able to consume all the crap he visualizes being made? When they don’t have jobs which would provide them with money.  Also when the earth has been so destroyed by human activity that you can’t do anything anyway.  Maybe I’m missing something here.  The one thing he DID at least admit is that we don’t need the Keystone pipeline.  Kind of a shocking admission, but even then he extolled the safety of a pipeline and drilling over rail transport.  Those dratted rail cars to tend to turn over and despoil vast areas, after all. ( I guess he and Warren Buffett may not be seeing eye to eye.  Anyway.) Why not just blow it all to hell to begin with and get it over?

Honestly.  Some times I despair.  But then I think, well.  I’m still here and that must count for something.  There must be some balance somewhere and things do change.  In the meantime, Spring has made its brief appearance. They joke up here, yes, that if you go away for the weekend you’ll miss Spring and it is true.  A couple of years we had a splendid pink radiance from all the buds on the oak trees before they became green, which was totally astounding.  This year the poor dry things have just leafed out, overnight, with their translucent green brilliance.  It is amazing and all the bluebirds and jays provide just the spark of color needed.  The shooting stars have come up and some of the California Valerian and Queen Anne’s Lace.

I kind of thought (” “) in the press of all the recent stuff that a sensible course of action would be to fill my brain with the awe I feel looking at those leaves outside instead of the rage I feel when listening to what passes for Power in our world.  You can’t pay attention, and you can’t NOT pay attention, and one element in today’s weirdness is that even though supposedly there’s all this information around so many people are completely unaware of what’s going on three blocks away from them- so therefore it doesn’t exist.  It’s an interesting effort, because one thing that happens, if you’re honest, when you listen to those Power Puffs, is that you realize they not only don’t care about you.  It’s that they really find you completely expendable once you don’t fit as a cog somewhere in their apparatus.  You truly have no value.  Since the things the Power Puffs are talking about are often matters of life and death it is hard to know what to think.  But I’ve decided at long last, and I think I can stick to this, to go with the magic I know outside the walls instead of the destruction being offered inside them.

It can be hard to live a life based on proper foundations.  We confuse our wants and needs and complicate things over and over, expecting something outside us like another person or a job or whatever it might be to provide peace and satisfaction.  That isn’t really the way it works long term, however, and things built on faulty foundations wind up falling down and having to be rebuilt.  We’re all obviously right smack in the middle of such a coming rebuild, and perhaps the best thing to do is to concentrate, refine, simplify.  Once you’ve done that on a material level, the real fun starts because then? You get to do the same thing in your head! Good fun and well worth it, however. And we definitely have to approach our lives with a different set of concepts than we started out with if we want to get somewhere different.  Which I think we do.  What would we look like if we let ourselves just simply be who we really are?  Not the exploded drag queen/superstar/perfect toothed/master of industry/size 00/rich/monetized-so-I-Think-I’m Happy version of it, but just the real day to day unsequinned version- the humor and endurance that makes the full dress version of oneself, when it comes out, so wonderful.  A real endeavor, this- to see it is all always there, and somehow that we may pick a path that, if not totally good for all, at least does no harm.  My Bulgarian yogurt came out well, and that I suppose is a good start, and finish, for today.

Blessings and thanks.

on sleeping

The arms of Morpheus, Gentle Reader.  Those were arms I never really knew until, oddly, we moved here.  I was a bad influence in pre-school for the dual crimes of blowing bubbles in my milk carton (allergic but they gave it to me anyway and INSISTED I drink it.  After the Bubble Imbroglio, straws were never again presented to me.) and also for never, ever, being able to go to sleep at nap time.   This badness persisted into kindergarden.  Why did they care if I was being quiet? Always a mystery, that was.  After that it morphed into an overall sports inability and general misfit-ness, enhancing the insomniac tendencies until they ruled all.  I stayed up all night more often than not, painting or dying clothes or making complicated recipes.

A lifetime of insomnia, then.  But for some reason, since we’ve been where we are, I’ve been SLEEPING.  Ten hours a day is an average and I could, if allowed, do more.  It’s downright weird to wake up now and realize that the last time my eyes were open, it was another day altogether.  I like it though.  Even though at times I feel like I’ll never be “rested”.

The point of it is, however, that things really do get better.  We really do heal.  It would help if we could be a bit more careful about the injuries we inflict on ourselves in our travels, but on the whole things can be balanced.  The Partner sometimes has a rather avuncular approach to this sort of topic with me, like yesterday morning.  He was complimenting me on sleeping, especially since he’s had a front row seat to the other thing.  I was pushing hair out of my face and clutching my coffee, mumbling incoherently since I’d just got up after he angelically made breakfast.  Then he said, after I answered his question about whether or not I remembered a possible fall that created the eternally sore place in my back, which I did- all several of them- that really, I am pretty crocked up.  I just don’t acknowledge it.  He worries about me, it turns out.  I understood in that moment that…that time? when I fell down? and he screamed and clapped his hands over his eyes? it was because he was afraid for me and I am such a poster child for accidents will happen that it can be all too much for someone with a delicate constitution. And there I was, taking it personally.  Besides, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked.  I’m a very relaxed faller-down what with all the practice; if you don’t harden to things, they don’t hurt you so much, in that context anyway.

The thing that is interesting about this is:  The injuries, mishaps and cave-ins don’t have to dictate what happens forever.  You can change things in your own mind and the body will go along with reasonable proposals.  In fact, it really is possible to do a pretty thorough going restoration of self, no matter how scary the initial insult may be.   The big thing is recognizing that it needs to be done.  Then, things appear when they’re needed and if you can just get yourself to be quiet and do what you tell yourself, things change.

As I was reviewing all this in my mind, I thought of course about the state of the world.  For a change.  The same thought struck both of us at the same time, which was this whole business of the Caliphate Bringers, all of them.  What they are? Is a bunch of furious young men with nothing to do and no prospects.  A ghastly present and a non-future in a game that is rigged to the gills.  So they’re playing another sort of game where everyone seems likely to die but before that happens things will get the daylights torn out of them, and doing pretty well at it.  What would it take to shed some light in those raging corners?   How can you get someone to be still for the moment it might take to reach a hand out, with cogent tasks and self respect offered?  It’s the same way we have to talk to ourselves in order to heal, is what I think.   But in order to want to heal you have to recognize there is a wound.  And really, only you know what that is even though it is something we all share.   Then, you have to decide that you really don’t want to continue with that wound, it stinks, and where’s the iodine?

It seems ridiculous to me at times, but more and more it seems as though there might, just might, be a tipping point of sorts.  As grim as it seems out there in the world, as scared and angry and confused as things are and as stupid as the direction seems to be (as in, Polar Bears really are going to be extinct in the not too distant future because of what humans are doing), I still believe that if enough of us simply connect to the light inside us, the darkness will recede.  I know that happened for me, so it has got to be possible for anyone.  Sleep is a great thing.

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.

 

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.