Posts Tagged ‘violence’

in the wilderness

It really is the wild, wild west where we live.  An unincorporated area with a town split between two counties, there isn’t much law to be found here and what there is? Highly questionable. The other night when we heard strange noises- probably a mountain lion but could have been a human- and concomittant ATV noise and gunfire, I found myself hoping earnestly for nothing more than it to completely pass us by.  I actually buried my head under a pillow. If there were a fire up here, we’d be in trouble too because all that Cal Fire would do is establish a perimeter and let the interior burn- because there are so many marijuana growers in this area.  There’s also only one way out of here.

It’s hard to get a fix on how one lives in a place like this, but aside from the political and meteorological vagaries of it all, there is really a magic and wonder to it that’s quite extraordinary.   I think, actually, that this is a place that was used for ceremonial purposes by the original inhabitants, not lived in.  The energies here are intense and the ecosystem is fragile.  But in the mornings as we have coffee, the quail family walks down the hill, the rabbits walk up, the finches and titmice and hummingbirds do an incredible dance with each other, and the woodpeckers and magpies swoop through the trees.  We have dragonfly swarms around the yurt, and when the geese are moving up and down the coast there are huge V’s moving through the sky.  Butterflies and resplendent lizards, electrifying skinks.  You feel completely held by the beauty and it is as though everything is in perfect order throughout all time.

Which, of course, is why there is so much cognitive dissonance the minute one’s attention is turned to other humans and the world at large.   Yet another Thing Happened that left me reeling and unmoored.  Having to do with seeing the distinction between appearance and reality, or more properly what I thought was happening vs. what was happening.  Misplaced trust, actually.   This was on top of two rather horrible realizations about world events: One, the drought is even worse in Central and parts of South America than it is here.  So, apart from having to flee from deported-from-U.S. gang members who ply violence and extortion with gusto in their now-home countries, the refugees coming across the southern borders of the U.S. are also fleeing starvation.  I noticed at first how nicely dressed many of the kids were, and just now realized that they had been dressed with the hope of finding success.  Food and relief from threats of death- that’s success.  Thing the second was that there are indeed people from the U.S. fighting with the Caliphate Bringers.  Essentially we’ve got the mirror poison here to what exists in Iraq and Syria.  Always with the duality, eh?  What happens when we finally catch our own tails?

Anyway.  When the curtain gets pulled, there is a lot more to look at than I ever expected, is all.

once again, with feeling

The ten thousand things can really trip you up, Gentle Reader.  It often seems to me that calm is an ever more elusive state of being, and I have to wonder at such times what is actually going on.

The instability of daily life sometimes comes at you and suddenly, whammo, there’s anxiety and wondering and you’re not exactly in the present moment any more.  Perhaps it is that in order to move through one’s day, an elegant flexibility is required.  Like repeating a World Series title twice in a row, it can’t always be done.  Sometimes there is no elegance to be found and flexibility is a word you have to look up in the dictionary.  There is help for it, however.

We finally watched “Dallas Buyers Club” over the weekend.  I knew it would be a bit of emotional tough sledding, but it turned into a mammoth snow free ski jump, completely unexpectedly.   I worked in the AIDS clinic at S.F. General in those days, and later on one of my closest friends succumbed to the disease’s awful ravages.  I saw a lot and thought that, perhaps, I had some perspective.  OH, YOU ARE SO FUNNY SOMETIMES.  Somehow, in watching that film, the emotional truth of those days rose up intact in my chest and it hurt like hell.

Still reading Pema Chodron, one thing recently struck me- the thing that happens when you meditate and suddenly become aware of the pain we all feel, the suffering we all endure.  That moment of connecting to and experiencing directly what others feel makes you weep at times. So, watching that film, I realized the pain I felt was really the pain of others.  I also realized how incredibly fortunate I’ve been in having my heart opened to love, the giving and receiving of it.  Even with the losses and hardness of it all, being able to experience love and walk with another living being through it all- that is really the core experience for us as human beings.  Spirit doesn’t urge us to love and refrain from harming only a select group.  We must love all.  And, for extra fun, we get to park our egos at the door.

Anyway, I thought of my friend so long ago, and realized that in fact even with all the horrors of those days, the good is what I remember, and that goodness of heart and greatness of spirit of my friend is what endures and will never be destroyed.

Then? We saw a documentary about the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.  Another instance of feeling another’s torment, and this time my sense of it was a bit different.  This particular pain is something that as a world we must not be tolerating- this pain isn’t about empathy, it is about the necessity of change.  It is time to put our feet down and say, OK, enough of this unrestrained cancerous political and economic strangulation.   I suppose this is the other place all my roads lead to- the place where I feel we simply must pull ourselves together RIGHT NOW.  There isn’t time to continue behaving like spoiled brats.  There really should not, can not, be acceptance of people having such degraded states forced upon them from without that they, basically, lose their minds.   This happens everywhere in a lot of different ways. There also, really, should not be rivers that can’t flow because they’re dammed up, and animals that can’t live because their space is gone, and people who starve because the food supply has been tinkered with to a vanishing point.  Why is it so hard for us to feel the spaciousness in our hearts and let that guide our behavior?  When I look at the level of military materiel US police departments are getting- and the amount of money all that stuff represents?  I just wonder what kind of madness is possessing these people.  Children are going hungry, and you, Mr. Small Town Uptight Policeman, need a tank to drive that’d feed everybody in your town if sold for cash.  Why is that?  Perhaps it is because that one special ingredient, love, is missing.  The subject/object relationship is skewed almost beyond redemption it would appear.  I propose their immediate reunification- now, for a plan.  I’m sure there’s one floating around- my kingdom for a butterfly net!

creatures and habit

Well.  Monday really WAS a pretty uphill, perhaps even truly awful, day, wasn’t it?

Getting in touch with the reality of how we all suffer and experience pain is probably not anybody’s first choice of what to do today, but there it is.  The feelings we have, what we think about things- all such a mystery in terms of Other People.  So when someone, Another Person, does something we find unexpected and shocking, everything gets thrown up into the air.  It’s amazing that it takes the pain of experiencing that to show us that we really are all deeply connected.  Obviously I am referring to the death of Robin Williams and the rolling heartbreak that has followed. A brave soul, continuing a journey that we can no longer see.  It’s not hard to understand.  It’s just hard to live with.

Then we have Missouri.  Jesus God, people.  How long is it going to be before people finally wake up and smell the coffee in this country?  We have a militarized police force which, in many areas, doesn’t  even do things like respond to burglary calls or do basic protect and serve stuff.  I watched apologists on PBS saying things like, well, smaller municipalities don’t have this issue (of police beating and shooting unarmed civilians).  Clearly, they haven’t been HERE, because if they had been they’d know that the police in these parts often shoot first and forget about taking the names.  A former mayor of Ferguson said in what seemed almost word for word lockstep with George Wallace that they really had tried to recruit African Americans for the police department but those people just wouldn’t come to the Academy- it was hauntingly familiar language to what we’ve heard forever about why inequality (which is an inadequate word for this stuff) persists.   There was some talk about how surprised people were at seeing the tear gas and shooting and unrecognizable authority figures in battle dress taking aim.   Again, I just had to wonder where they’ve been for the past fifty years.

Another opportunity to take a deep breath.  The only thing for it is to keep trying, I decided.  Keep putting love first, and understanding.  When I’m thinking in the old way, it’s frightening looking out at the world.  When I come from a place of letting go and taking in to let go again, it’s still frightening but at the same time the possibilities are visible.  Dimly, yes, but visible.  Non-violence takes a long time, as the Dalai Lama remarked.  A good bit of non-violence resides in not adding more fuel in the form of one’s own negativity, fear, and opinions to whatever is swirling around us.  Fuses are short all around, which means we need even more to make the effort to see the common threads in things and try not to set them on fire.  Today’s challenge.

dominion and caliphate

Jeeeeeez, Gentle Reader.  It’s hard not to wonder which is going to happen first:  Armageddon, Apocalypse, or Return of Common Sense to Small Portions of the Planet Which We Hope Will Continue to Arise and Also? Happen Really Soon.  The common sense, I mean.

We have here what looks to be like the shaping up of another religiously inspired world catastrophe.  The Inquisition, the Crusades, the wars between Shia and Sunni and Catholic vs Protestant- none of those, apparently, have been enough. Not to mention the joy bringing aspects of colonialism and imperialism on older spiritual traditions.  No, ISIL, or ISIS, or whatever they call themselves to distract you from the fact they never show their faces, aim to re-install the Caliphate now.  We’ll be whizzed, in that event, back to the 7th century.   Here in the U.S., the Supreme Court seems to be a sub fusc organization whose only purpose is promoting the Dominion, which is the Caliphate spelled with a Christian syllabary.  Again, whizzed back to the 7th century- if we’re lucky.   It might be even further back than that, given the propensities of the Dominion’s advocates to support positions that were probably felt to be retarded in the stone age.

I have really just about had enough of this crap. Money is not the Ultimate Reality.  Corporations are not people.  Women ARE people. Children and elders are people.  People need food and water that isn’t poisoned simply so someone at the top can make money (research Tyson Foods and Unilever if you think I’m even kidding.) People need work that sustains them.  Capitalist values degrade everything they contact and establish a world view that if you aren’t “rich”, you aren’t successful, it’s all your fault and besides, you’re probably not a good person anyway.  Inequality is the actual name of the game. ( Unfortunately Communism did not cut the mustard at all, and the drawing board seems lost as far as such organizational matters go.)  Religion is about external authority and being told what to do in a maintained posture of fear.  In the 21st century it seems to me that it’s way past time for people to sit up and get their heads out of the paper bag.  Then again, when they do that it’ll probably be just in time to throw up into it.

But on to a more important topic: futbol.  We’re pretty convinced at our house that somebody just might have put a curse on the Brazilian team.  They had been behaving rather badly up to the game with Colombia which was execrably officiated for the most part in Brazil’s favor.  Just at that point, about say, 60 minutes into the match? we’re thinking somebody strangled a black chicken.  Because after that game? Brazil couldn’t do doodly.  Karma is an interesting thing, really.  It would be nice if it could catch up to our  C and D friends mentioned above before they do any more damage.

Here is part of a poem by a woman named Kate Compston, which I read this morning while trying to shove the roaring dinosaur head back outside my brain,  where it belonged:

“… me the movement I must take

toward a wealth not dependent on possessions

toward a wisdom not based on books (Ed note: books are still good things!)

toward a strength not bolstered by might

toward a God not confined to heaven

but scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognized…..

help me to find myself

as I walk in others’ shoes…..”

We live in hope, of course, even when we are out of sorts.

The Now, with circus music

The eternal now, right Gentle Reader?  We strive to stay out of the future and ahead of the past, and then…..just when you think it’s safe to get out of bed/work/do anything….BAAAAYYYYYYYAAMMMMMMM!!!

There are complexities in our living situation which I have not touched upon, and since all roads lead to Rome and all happy families are the same, it may not matter much about the actual details.  However.  Suffice it to say that a Hummer has manifested in our “neighborhood”.  Regularly blaring out Ranchero music at something over 150 decibels.  In consistent, if unpredictable, lengthy dreadful driving all over then parking at the top of a hill for maximum effect sequences.  It actually woke me out of a (let’s face it: torpor) deep sleep early one morning.  I found myself sitting up with my heart pounding and the glassware rattling.  In that moment I recalled my friend saying, just the prior week, jeez, isn’t it amazing? Ranchero music!  I can’t stand it but I love it, it reminds me of living in (—–).   I have never found Ranchero’s circus-like cadence appealing, to be honest.  Mariachis at least allow my mind to drift back to Mexico City, and the lyrics are always interesting.    This stuff? Not so much.  In fact, at this particular early AM juncture it made me want to take the shotgun, go across the road, and blow the Hummer and its musical apparatus to kingdom come with an imagined expert perfect shot.  Since I didn’t have my glasses on that was a complete non-starter.  Since, also, the heat deep fried the CD player, finding something special like the Thai Elephant Orchestra, or Maria Callas, or AC/DC, or the Eels, or one of my personal favorites: Now Go Away, to blast out the front door wasn’t an option either.  Once again, I had to Grow Up.

The additional fun thing about it was of course that the owner of the property which is the current resting place of said Hummer and mad radio operator, when asked to step in and establish some ground rules, essentially refused.  He’s afraid of his tenant the Hummer Man as it turns out.

So.  I had to really analyze what the issue was here.  It is the same issue that runs through everything else, on some level.  Nobody wants to do the right thing.  An element of the bad enters a situation, people either think it doesn’t concern them (wrong) or they’re afraid (silly), or they don’t want to be bothered (wrong).  The entire situation degrades, and each intrusion of crud just brings it lower. In our particular locale, people need to be mindful of this sooner rather than later.   In this specific case, this behavior made me feel completely disrespected, as in I am minding my own business and working away- why must someone eviscerate my peace and quiet?   This is why I’m really glad I didn’t storm out and demand action – because on some level, everyone in this case feels disrespected and nobody wants to step forward and initiate cooperation.  Being angry about it would just provoke conflict, which of course is at least a bit of the original intention.  People manifest the discomfort they feel within externally, thinking this will save them pain.  Anyone who disagrees with the behavior encounters the wrath of the discomfort manifester.  Standers by may feign total unawareness of the scene.  You might call it Barfight Syndrome.  Or bullying.

And here we have the bigger picture of life today.  I’m working out in my small but active mind what to say to all involved, remembering a story about the Buddha which I have struggled to understand and implement.  It’s the one where he’s teaching someplace and some complete jerk just interferes, heckles- well, you know.  Plays his Ranchero music really, really loud.  The Buddha asks the man if he can ask him a question, and getting a yes to that says, if I wanted to give you a gift and you didn’t want to take it, who would it belong to?  To me still, the heckler responded patronizingly.  Yes, the Buddha said.  And even knowing that, I cannot accept your abuse.  There is a way, then, to stop the rain of B.S.- you just have to stay calm and in what is true for you.   So as soon as I get my current Donald Duck tone out of  voice and posture, we’ll attempt just that.

Meanwhile in more uplifting news, I saw a brand new baby calf the other day, just arrived.  The calf and mom were nose to nose with each other, calf glistening, mom breathing calmly over its little head.  It was the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in a while.  Then, last fall’s potatoes that didn’t quite grow? Have sprouted full force, as has some red romaine from the same time.  The rabbits are back and the bluebirds give us doses of BLUE all day long.  We’re always at the balance point, the knife edge, of everything.  There is also hope and faith that is produced by a lengthy relationship with another human, and here I speak of The Partner.  We have our conflicts, to be sure.  They feel devastating- similar to Mr. Hummer’s effects.  But when one can remain calm and not react to the initial GIANT THING THAT’S PISSING ME OFF- miracles do happen.  The bigger picture shows itself and, as usual.  Really, no reason for too much worry.  Now, to tell that to my chest.

Oh dear

Attempting this blog today may be just the final epitome of silliness, given that the cursor is flying all over the page and the fonts are changing in front of my eyes like something in a horror movie.  Too close to Halloween perhaps.

Still, the message of late is pretty clearly: DUDE! You can’t know it!  Don’t take it serious, too mysterious.  Etc.  As in, one toddles forth attempting to do one’s best and totally weird things happen.  Yesterday, for example, an armed robbery took place about a mile from where we live.  ARMED ROBBERY GENTLE READER, IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  For this, I thought, I moved out of the ‘hood?  The stories are verging on confabulatory, but still.  I was  rather bummed out to hear the peculiar tale-  nine armed black men being, apparently, the perpetrators of this strange occurrence.  Like a bad limerick or something, because one of the things about this part of the state? Diversity ain’t even a word.  It is mind numbingly uniform and blindingly white.  It wouldn’t, would it?, strike you as sensible to plan a crime in such a recondite place with such..a highly visible crew?   It’s also strange that nobody heard the gunfire- but only those in comas might have been home at the time, perhaps.   So while I was puzzling over this oddity, another thing happened.

There I was, innocently minding my own business.  Or trying to.  An ostensible editing job came my way.  I was pleased and excited.  Except it turned out to be some very strange sort of scam wherein…well, let’s just say I was at my P.O. box, looking at a large envelope that contained a large-ish check.  No idea of provenance or purpose.  Supposedly for the edit, no contract or terms, no invoice, no agreement.  No completed edit.  No nada.  Can you imagine the stomach churning moment that ensued when I saw myself with, literally, the means of small salvation in my very paw, which I could not reasonably use.  Which clearly was..not kosher.  It just made me wonder, you know?  JUST WHERE EXACTLY IS THAT BULLS EYE PRINTED ON ME?  But.  The article I submitted to…something…somewhere….was received, at least initially, favorably.  So now I’m having a tiny nervous breakdown.  After the past week, I think I deserve it.

The blue birds are back, and the Partner found a fantastic Flicker feather, with an ORANGE shaft.  I’m OK as long as I keep it simple.  Why is that so hard to remember?


Things of the moment

Why is it, Gentle Reader, that all the marvelous sentences tumble through one’s brain when one is NOT WRITING?  Anyway, here we are at another juncture where we’ve scrambled up a rocky hillside and are surveying what’s next.

One thing is, The Parrots just had their birthdays and now they are nine.  Pretty grown up, actually. I remember them as babies, marching back and forth on the top of the bookcase when it had Christmas lights on it, giving them the appearance of old vaudevillians in lime light.   Yesterday when I opened Poppy’s cage I was greeted by a mess way beyond her normal trash and thrash scope- there were feathers scattered hither and yon, peanut shells and half eaten crackers all over.  I realized I expected her to emerge with a lampshade on her head.  Instead she just strolled out, cocked her head and let it be known that SHE, at least, is a VERY BIG BIRD NOW.  CAPISHE?

Another thing is we, or I should say The Partner, had to kill a(nother) rattlesnake a few days ago.  It was oddly upsetting for both of us.  The first one, the first summer, was right at the front door and I found myself taking a half Xanax.  This time was different somehow.  We tried to convey to this snake that it really couldn’t be in the middle of our garden plants, coiled around a pot, waiting for lizards.  Even knowing that the snake just wanted what all of us want: to be happy.  We still couldn’t let it keep eating the lizards and frogs and also?  I have to say that although I have come a long way and can now handle finding frogs in my frying plans with aplomb (they see me coming and absolutely INSIST that I take them and put them just exactly so against the lattice for them to tippy toe off), the thought of a poisonous snake coming into my kitchen was quite simply too much.   Even without intending to, you know a rattler will probably wind up biting you just because it is what they do from time to time.  So The Partner had to take his rifle out and dispatch the snake into the next iteration.   We talked about it, since I apologize to every fly I finally manage to swat, and The Partner dislikes unnecessary destruction.  It was strange in a way because we live in a place where people shoot snakes- heck, they shoot everything- without giving it much of even a first thought.  And there we were.  Having a snake funeral.  Pondering the imponderables.

The really amazing thing about it, though, happened in the evening.  The Partner was making his usual last circuit of the garden when suddenly, a lizard ran over to him from about ten feet away, got up on his foot, and looked him right in the eye.  It was very plain that he was saying thank you.

Which just, I think, goes to show you that there is, in fact, a natural order to things.  Sometimes it includes difficult things, things you don’t totally understand (as in, why can’t I talk to that snake and get it to understand?  Then I think: hah! for heaven’s sake.  What about all the people I experience that with???) but it does speak and have life, which, if you listen, provides guidance for even the rockiest of roads.  Which we, like many others, find ourselves on more or less routinely these days.  It is, however, what it is.  Discovering the joy in things is part of this guidance, and understanding that there is a balance between everything which is somewhat maintained by that joy.  We all have our work cut out for us, don’t we?  I still wonder about the snake, but that’s another post.  I still haven’t figured out about abrupt deaths, see.  Killing things,  illnesses.  I understand it, and I don’t understand it at the same time.  You’d think I would.  But I don’t quite yet.


I decided yesterday was a Study Day and sat facing my zillion pound book on reading the pulses.  Too bad the tv was on and the news streamed through endlessly, disturbingly.  According to the BBC, WordPress got attacked, and all kinds of nasty other things happened besides the Big Nasty Thing in Boston.  I managed to concentrate on the meaning of wide, absent, full, hollow pulses nonetheless.

The quotidian crud has, indeed, been driving me a little batty of late.    I did manage to get my taxes filed online after some effort (and got a charming email from the IRS congratulating me on my success)  but I can’t help but wonder how it is that I had to pay when…well.  Let’s just say it’s a bit incomprehensible….Pfizer has no reportable income.  Pfizer? No reportable income?   I also have been struggling with confusion over how, exactly, U.S. Social Security can be termed an “entitlement” when one has paid into it for lo, so many years.  And, as usual, I wonder how “elected officials” can blatantly disregard the instructions and wishes of their constituents in favor of the corporate interests (NRA, this is about you!) who pay for that privilege if not any others they benefit from (like, you know, infrastructure and stuff).  So I’ve been pretty mad, actually.

I think it has to do with the sense that people who really don’t care about anything except money have so much control over how all the rest of us live.  Or don’t. Who gets electricity or bandwidth or clean water or education or doctor visits.   Finally it seems to me that their time must be coming to an end.  The historical sweep of what has often been referred to as the Piscean Age, with its patriarchy and authority substituted for things of the spirit- JEESH.  ISN’T TWO PLUS THOUSAND YEARS ENOUGH?  I saw a man in Tikrit and a man in Boston yesterday on PBS, both in the same situation and both incandescent with pain.  This sort of grisly, meaningless violence really just has to stop, and stop now.  And the only way that can happen is if we all make it so.   Given that we have to make an effort in life anyway, why not make an effort toward the good?  Toward curiosity and cooperation?  It’s hard.  It’s not impossible.  You just, as Martin Luther King Jr. observed, choose love.  Hate is too heavy a burden.

There is also a question of time.  As in, we don’t have that much.  All this stupid stuff? Really it makes me wonder.  Do we really have time to be obstinate and uncaring toward each other and toward the earth we all live on?  No.  But the question does arise as to what one’s proper response is when experiencing such things.  I still think that stepping back, taking a deep breath, and being open even while not accepting abuse, just has to be the first tool we pick up every day.  I’m more convinced than ever that even though non-violence takes a long time, it is the only workable way to proceed.   Since this is something I have a bit of a time with myself, we’ll keep working on it with the daily variations in levels of success and all that implies.  Dealing with one’s intrusive thoughts is a big piece of all this, and there will be more on that topic to come.  A key to balance outside oneself is balance INSIDE, and that has elements of being a habit that can be developed.  Until next time!

This is how we wake up

In the mornings, I mean, Gentle Reader.  Today I opened my eyes to a vision of Albert Einstein talking about energy.  E= , etc.  That discovery of his really turned things over and people probably didn’t even really realize it.  Maybe they still don’t.  But energy can be neither created (I can vouch for that) nor destroyed (not so sure sometimes), and it involves a complex dance of matter and light speed…A truth that has probably been known to the Sages of Old for ever, but still.  So anyway I started thinking about how really, there IS so much to know and pay attention to.  How do you decide, given that for the longest time one may not know what actually interests one, especially if the crucial division between FACT and FICTION is not made.  It makes it very hard indeed to know where to sensibly direct the attention.  We live in a society with lots of rules about “right” and “wrong”, but when you think about it, the rules often have not got much to do with what really IS right or wrong.  There’s right and wrong in mathematics and chemistry (try baking a cake without measuring!), and it is wrong to intentionally inflict harm I think we might all agree. Or we should, anyway.   A lot of the rest of it is not just a tissue of lies but a mammoth fiction quilt created by someone whose taste is all in their mouth.  So it can take a while to actually realize what the things are that actually matter in life, matter whether or not they are known to one and acknowledged- in short, to ascertain what the facts are.  Then, if you’re like me, you can wonder how you wound up with such a different set of facts to be interested in than almost everyone around you.

Of course a certain amount of these differing sets of facts we all believe in can be chalked up to life experiences.  The Partner often says he doesn’t understand me because through all the incredible peregrinations of my so-called luck, I LAUGH about things.  This is because why?  Because, a) things ARE funny and b) what’s the alternative?  Mayhem.  (Which would often be HIS selection, in the heat of the moment.) So when, for example, a small but fairly critical percentage of my mail gets returned to sender and reaches me if at all as though by overland wagon train, and I go to the post office and say, ????????, and THEY say, oh, gosh.  We can’t tell without seeing what was in the envelope (a bank statement, people), and it was most likely just…well, net net.  It was most likely just some renegade individual making a mistake.  Often.  At the same time, they’ll put mail in my box from my friends that has only my name and the city and state on the envelope.   I love my post office, really.  It’s just that the constant, unrelenting drip drip drip of fracas at times can get to a person.

Which led to the penultimate AM thought, propelling me out of bed and into the Day’s Reality.   Which is more than gnarly enough, let’s just say.  At a juncture many years ago, after a life disaster of epic proportions which propelled me on the initial bump bump bump down the stairs of financial and any other sort of stability, I had a thriving business doing transcription.  Oh, I know.  DINOSAURS WERE ROAMING THE EARTH THEN.  But.  It was something I was good at, times were tough, and I found myself as the designated person to transcribe all the interviews of accused murderers being defended by either the Public Defender or volunteer, Pro Bono, attorneys. in Alameda County.  Which contains in it the City of Oakland, among others.  So there were some big murders.  Hell’s Angels bar shootups, furious renegade Injuns and National Guard members driving cars with screwdrivers instead of car keys and shooting people on the 580.   Listening to all these people talk about what had happened, what they’d done, hearing the denials and reasons and prevarications, and sometimes finding some parts of the interviews that no one had picked up on which had positive meaning for the client involved- all of this, of course interspersed with long sections where the interviewee would be mumbling into their armpit, followed by the Detective dropping a pencil (always a pencil, for some reason- I guessed it was for the bouncing) right next to the microphone and having the experience of a steel beam being shoved into one’s ear….that was the life.  But it did give me a different sense of FACT than I’d had before.  There was a whole lot more despair and anger out there in the world than I had ever imagined.  (Which is actually saying quite a bit.) There were people who really, on some level, had never separated fact from fiction, and thus could perform actions that left people outside their situation wondering how anyone could DO something like that.  So here were these people, breaking the laws of the society, performing irrevocable acts almost heedlessly, living in circles of hell and not being able to see or do anything else.  They were relegated to a paradigm that would encompass their entire lives: Prison.  Or an untimely death.  Or both.  It seemed to me then, and now still, that there really must be some way to explain things to people so they start to see there are other options than these.  More options than rage and sloth and running from the dark things inside.  Lots of facts, lots of fictions.  At times, hard to decipher.

So, anyway.  That’s how TODAY started.  We also saw something called “harmonically balanced water” for sale when out and about, and several other quite odd things.  This end of the world stuff could really go either way, it’s looking like more and more.  Meanwhile.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes.  We could finally see all the mountains today, first time in weeks.  That must be a good thing, at least.

The Buddha Palm of Anxiety

If you’ve ever watched Kung Fu movies (or even Kill Bill), you know about the Buddha’s Palm move.  One  arcane motion at the sternum area by your opponent,  and you’re toast, basically.   So I decided to call the feeling I have every morning upon opening my eyes the Buddha Palm of Anxiety.  It feels as though the end must be near, but one breathes carefully through it, tentatively approaching coffee and the light of day.  So far, it hasn’t killed me.  A wonderful thing about living in a round space, it turns out, is the way you can turn pacing into a meditative, calming act.

So, another day.  Another list.  Sometimes there is so much to do, or it seems so,  that it is tempting to think the Palm has had its way and one is indeed about to breathe one’s last.  Still, one paw after another and before you know it, things have gotten crossed off the list.  Big things like TAXES and INVENTORY and ORDER LABELS.  Other things, like THERE WAS HOW MUCH PLUTONIUM IN THE WATER OFF JAPAN ?? and THE BOEHNER OF OUR EXISTENCE and CLEAN OUT THE STORAGE SHED AGAIN and WHAT IF THE POST OFFICE SHUTS DOWN and MONEY???!!!!???? and what, exactly to do about troubled gastrointestinal systems and the lack of adequate numbers of hours in the day and, naturally, amidoingtherightthinghere? among many others, get moved up accordingly.  Although it can seem like a snail’s pace things do get handled and deadlines get met and copy gets written and cookies get baked.  Birds get played with, clothes get washed, I discipline myself NOT to look at ANY stats for a few days (and thus not wonder what the heck kind of site might be), along with Just Saying No to all the solicitations I get to be Somebody’s Expert for only a twenty percent commission, or do radio programs for a mere $7k investment.  It’s dizzying, really.  Meanwhile we’re waiting for the ($79) delivery of the insulation materials we got at Home Depot.  It will no doubt come as absolutely no surprise, Gentle Reader, that it is supposed to rain for the next several days, starting on delivery day.  After having been almost 90 for a few days.  Oh, well.  One ballbuster project at a time, right?  One or two really good days, ten indeterminate, two or three really awful days, and so it goes.

Meanwhile there is a spot in the road on the way into town that probably needs some kind of exorcism.  We’ve now seen two really awful, awful things there.  One was the hacked up bodies of a few pheasants.  Then yesterday someone had put a dead coyote on a post.  The pheasants had probably fallen out of a truck- they were farm raised, and some terrific person was probably going to stock their land with them for noble hunting purposes.  It was horrible and I couldn’t get over it for some time.  I mean: If you hunt in order to feed yourself and your family without wasting resources, that’s one thing.  To shoot defenseless animals for, basically, an ego boost, is quite another.  Yesterday’s coyote was even beyond that.  I happen to like coyotes, having been saved by one of the four footed variety.  I think this:  If you kill all the wolves, there are no predators for the coyote.  If you have small livestock out unfenced in an area where there are coyotes something will happen. And if you don’t have such a situation, WHAT THE FREAKING DAYLIGHTS IS YOUR PROBLEM????  I think, basically, it is idiotic to curse, as it were, the kettle for being black.  The other thing I thought was THIS.  People do the same things to each other as this undeveloped human did to the coyote.   On the way back home, someone had put up a sign next to the coyote and I think a flower.  I was glad to see someone registering strong disapproval of this debased behavior, although it was not altogether clear if this was the opening salvo of a vendetta or what.  The sign, lettered in large purple block letters on a corrugated surface, read as follows:




It’s hard out there.