03 August 2017

We got too big for the world

Kohr’s claim was that society’s problems were not caused by particular forms of social or economic organization, but by their size. Socialism, capitalism, democracy, monarchy—all could work well on what he called “the human scale”: a scale at which people could play a part in the systems that governed their lives. But once scaled up to the level of modern states, all systems became oppressors. Changing the system, or the ideology that it claimed inspiration from, would not prevent that oppression—as any number of revolutions have shown—because “the problem is not the thing that is big, but bigness itself.”

http://lithub.com/we-got-too-big-for-the-world/

16 July 2017

Out and about on the homestead

















We have a dear friend, living relatively near to us, who is fairly housebound with oxygen...maintains a jovial demeanor, though. Has a beautiful view of the forest and a lake with otters, loons, bald eagles, beavers...we were in town yesterday and picked up groceries for her and ran some errands...Cheryl made up a bouquet of cut flowers from our yard...for a friend...and we went and visited for a while...Cheryl is a constant help to our "shut in" friend...(although she does get out now and again)...



12 June 2017

Simplify...it's a global imperative now.

We make choices, we decide what our priorities are, and we give up certain things to gain others. Adding more and more to our list of “have to’s” is killing us. Because if everything matters, then nothing matters. The beauty of life lies in its finitude—everything is fleeting, so everything is more precious. Living in light of that reality helps us to choose what matters most in each moment.
As Charles Mingus said: 'Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.' Or E. F. Schumacker: 'Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.' Hans Hofmann: 'The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.'
Simplification can be very elegant.

22 May 2017

Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, etc...rarin' to get out of the greenhouse and into the garden






Vietnam:


As an advisor and liaison I lead native troops but nonetheless was looked upon as the "supreme local power", way too much power for a very young man, just out of adolescence. I used my power as a good soldier at first, fighting who was perceived and inculcated in me as the enemy. . .and if I didn't do it, I had the definite impression that very little would get done. . .However, after nine months I had an epiphany in the form of a chopper pilot asking for permission to engage, "Three military aged males with packs and weapons evading"...rote, scripted, common parlance. For some reason it was too pat, too familiar. I asked for his altitude, to which he replied some distance which would make identification of packs and weapons or gender nigh on to impossible. I suggested he go closer to find the true nature of his target. I didn't hear back from him for an inordinate length of time. So, I keyed the mike and asked if he'd identified his intended target. He responded, "Yes, disregard...it was a mamasan with two baby sans doing their laundry by a river." How many times in the past had I cleared requests to fire? Never again in any time of uncertainty would I be so gullible. I became the meanest bastard in my area of operations...unless there was contact, I generally denied requests for fire. I became very anti-war at that moment...always before it had been a song at camp, an idea...not a mind blast of reality. I was forever changed.

07 May 2017

Mother's Day is coming up

My mother was born on 21 June 1913...she passed in 1997.  I do miss her.

She's the one in the rumble seat...not quite 17.


In the greenhouse

Peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, squashes, basil and other tender plants...growing stronger, and taller...

Usually it's not until Memorial Day that all chances of frost have passed...this year, again, is a weird one...we had high 60s (F) a month ago...followed by snow and ice storms and consistently cold weather...now we're back in the high 60s and the forecast isn't showing a hint of frost...even on the "lilac moon" or shortly thereafter.  Full moon on 10 May.



Dragons

Dragons guard my ground
at my feet, my moccasins
The trees, a slight breeze


17 April 2017

Hepatica today


There is an ancient Indian saying that something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it. My people have come to trust memory over history. Memory, like fire, is radiant and immutable while history serves only those who seek to control it, those who douse the flame of memory in order to put out the dangerous fire of truth. Beware these men for they are dangerous themselves and unwise. Their false history is written in the blood of those who might remember and of those who seek the truth.
~Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman

01 April 2017

A Song for Myself, of Myself

In the 70s I spent a great deal of time with a group of people who were adherents to the Sufi Islam tradition, one of whom I was particularly close and intimate with. In the 80s I spent 2 months at a remote hot springs in the mountains of Mexico, practicing asceticism...mostly because I was in extreme poverty, although I wanted for nothing. I met three Gnostic Christians, two initiates and one teacher...the two initiates were preparing for their life together.
I followed the principles of Taoism, especially just before and for a number of years after Cheryl and I joined in union. She, too, was on the same path.
I mention these people because they are all adherents of different philosophies, religions if you will...and yet were beings of great peace and wonder, of celebration of the physical world and bodies into which we've been born. No jihads, no condemnation, no threats of violence nor judgments...
Be in peace and wonder, feel your body pass through the air, smell the scents all around, listen to the birds singing spring alive. Smile and fill your hearts and souls with wonder.
~A song for myself, of myself

08 February 2017

The "Simple Life"

The simple life is sometimes viewed as an approach to living that advocates a barren plainness and denies the value of beauty and aesthetics. While the Puritans, for example, were suspicious of the arts, most advocates of simplicity have seen it as essential for revealing the natural beauty of things.
Many who adopt a simpler life would surely agree with Pablo Picasso, who said, "Art is the elimination of the unnecessary." Leonardo da Vinci wrote that, "Simplicity is the ulti...mate sophistication." Frederic Chopin wrote that, "Simplicity is the final achievement ... the crowning reward of art."
The influential architect Frank Lloyd Wright was an advocate of an "organic simplicity" that integrates function with beauty and eliminates the superfluous. In his architecture a building's interior and exterior blend into an organic whole, and the building, in turn, blends harmoniously with the natural environment. Rather than involving a denial of beauty, simplicity liberates the aesthetic sense by freeing things from artificial encumbrances. From a spiritual perspective, simplicity removes the obscuring clutter and discloses the life-energy that infuses all things.
Some worry that if a significant number of people simplify their lives it will reduce demand for consumer goods and, in turn, produce unemployment and economic stagnation. While it is true that the level and patterns of personal consumption would shift in a society that values green living, a robust economy can flourish that embraces sustainability.
Although the consumer sector and material goods would contract, the service and public sectors would expand dramatically. When we look at the world, we see a huge number of unmet needs: caring for elderly, restoring the environment, educating illiterate and unskilled youth, repairing decaying roads and infrastructure, providing health care, creating community markets and local enterprises, retrofitting the urban landscape for sustainability and many more. Because there are an enormous number of unmet needs, there are an equally large number of purposeful and satisfying jobs waiting to get done. There will be no shortage of employment opportunities in an Earth-friendly economy.
A central and exciting task for our times is consciously designing ourselves into a sustainable and meaningful future, from the personal level outwards. In envisioning what this future could look like, it is important to not be bound by old stereotypes and to instead see the realism and the beauty of simpler ways of living.


~Duane Elgin         http://www.huffingtonpost.com/duane-elgin/four-misconceptions-about_b_937115.html

25 January 2017

A state of torpor

The days are growing longer
or does it just seem that way
with the endless frigid temperatures
trees done popping, now they're cracking
perhaps not alone are they...
Most small bird species simply fly away
from winter's harshness
while small birds like chickadees and nuthatches
do a balancing act every cold winter night
Chickadees self-induce a state of torpor
slowing down their metabolism
Yes, torpor is my current state
I've learned my lessons well...
lethargy
sluggishness
inertia
listlessness
languor, lassitude, laziness, idleness,
indolence, sloth, acedia,
somnolence, weariness, sleepiness
"the feeling of torpor lingered for weeks"
The white-footed mouse, like the hobbit
stays active all winter
but gets through cold spells by communal nesting
huddling together in tight burrows underground

24 January 2017

The Hut at the Shire

We have a hut in the wood, not many know its whereabouts, with cherry trees which blossom nearby and in winter the fruit of the highbush cranberries red in the snow.  Two cedar door posts for support, and a lintel of oak.  The roof covered with earth grows squash in the summer.  A little hidden lowly hut which owns the path filled forest.

Trees of apples of great bounty; seemly crops of small-nutted branching green hazels growing in clusters like a fist. 

Excellent water gushing forth from hand pumped wells, a cup of water splendid to drink.  Tall deer, does, wild turkeys abound.  Foxes come to the wood before it, all is delightful. 

The songs of the many hued warblers, the carol of the thrush, pleasant and familiar about the hut.  A nimble singer, the combative brown wren from the hazel bow, woodpeckers with their pied hoods in vast host.

Fair white birds come, cranes,  swans, pelicans, the lakes and fields sing to them...the mellow plain, delightful and smooth. 

The voice of the wind against the branched woods, grey with cloud; cascades of the river, the trumpeting is lovely music.

Beautiful pines serenade us, they are not hired; I fare no worse at any time than do you.

Though you delight in your own enjoyments, greater than all wealth, for my part I am grateful for what is given to us through Mother Earth.

Without an hour of quarrel, without the noise of strife which disturbs much of the world, grateful to the Mother who gives every good to us in our hut.

(paraphrased from memories of an old Irish tale of centuries ago)

19 January 2017

Is CBC1 now Radio Free America?

Perhaps we can only get truth and clarity from radio programs from outside Trump's America. Yes, it's come to this. CBC may become Radio Free America.  Take 54 minutes out of your day to really listen to this October piece, aired before Trump "won" the presidency. Re-aired tonight.
Radio Free America

It can happen here.

He promises to “make America a proud, rich land again,” rails against blacks, Jews, and Mexicans, and makes it a point of criticizing the press, whose editors he accuses of “plotting how they can put over their lies, and advance their own positions.”
No, this is not a description of 2016, and the candidate is not Donald Trump—although you can be excused for thinking so. This is, instead, a character named Buzz Windrip in Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel, It Can’t Happen Here, a cautionary tale about how fascism comes to America.

05 January 2017

When Winter Comes To A Woman's Soul



"When winter comes to a woman’s soul, she withdraws into her inner self, her deepest spaces. She refuses all connection, refutes all arguments that she should engage in the world. She may say she is resting, but she is more than resting: She is creating a new universe within herself, examining and breaking old patterns, destroying what should not be revived, feeding in secret what needs to thrive.
Winter women are those who bring into the next cycle what should be saved. They are the deep conservators of knowledge and power. Not for nothing did ancient peoples honour the grandmother. In her calm deliberateness, she winters over our truth, she freezes out false-heartedness.
Look into her eyes, this winter woman. In their gray spaciousness you can see the future. Look out of your own winter eyes. You too can see the future."
~ Patricia Monaghan

04 January 2017

Be cautious of your sources, lest you be swayed by propaganda. Find your own way home.

We get caught up in monikers and labels...I'm much more conservative than most conservatives, much more libertarian than most libertarians, much more progressive than most progressives and much more liberal than most liberals...how can that be? Well...it's like someone identifying as Christian. Do they mean evangelical christian, christian identity movement, liberation christians, christianity which has gay ministers, christianity which condemns same sex relationships as of satan, christianity which believes the earth is 6000 years old, or christians who believe in evolution. Through distortion...Mother Earth becomes Mary, the mother of Jesus who was born near the winter solstice...pro-paganism...pro-pagan-da...Ambiguous, distorted, easily twisted into any propagandist stand one wishes to take.
Be cautious of your sources, lest you be swayed by propaganda. Find your own way home.

Conservative me is smart not to want to destroy the earth, but conserve the natural and honor the Earth...Liberal me knows that we need social programs, especially in a nation as diverse as this...to pull people out of poverty, create livable, affordable, sustainable urban conditions...greening them as we go, public transportation, bike trails, decentralized schools walking distance, better neighborhood medical triage...taking the opposite track, destroying the Earth for short term gain, turning our backs on the plight of poverty and inner cities, further centralization of grids and medicine, more specialization is a recipe for disaster, civil unrest, neighbor against neighbor, factionalism, blurring of lines...


We got too big for the world

Kohr’s claim was that society’s problems were not caused by particular forms of social or economic organization, but by their size. Sociali...