• Category Archives Great Work
  • The Rights of Nature

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Tara. Joanne. Jamie. Ginny. Janice. Scott. Wild Mountain Ranch tenderloin. The Rights of Nature. New Zealand. Maori persistence. The Whanganui River. Its legal rights. Constitutions that protect the rights of nature. My Lodgepole companion. Tree huggers. Regenerative farming. Land as itself, not property. Shadow Mountain. Its rights.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Rights of Nature legal revolution

    One brief shining: So I tried the Pomodoro method yesterday, work intensely for 25 minutes, 5 minute break, do that three times, take a 30 minute break, and found it helped me keep reading and not get distracted by oh, an e-mail, wait I’d like something to eat, maybe I should put that new light for zoom together; it’s for working on a longer project requires focus.

     

    No. I’m not going back to the work world. I like to increase my productivity if I can though and will try different methods from time to time. Right now I’m trying to get this book, The Rights of Nature, read by Saturday for the Rights of Nature bookclub. Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Land Library it’s in the sweet spot of my passion: our world and how we humans can live within it. Over time.

    If you want to feel better about our species, you might find this book worth a read. It summarizes the theoretical (jurisprudential?) movement of the same name. This legal movement is active in many nations around the world including the United States and Canada. It tends to gain ground through individual lawyers and certain types of NGO’s like the Community Environmental Defense Fund and GARN, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, though in some places like Ecuador mass political movements have played a role, too.

    New Zealand has made important advances in their legal system by giving personhood to the Whanganui River and a former National Park with the unusual name of Te Urewera. It means burnt penis in Maori. Apparently a chief rolled over onto a fire and died there. Both the Whanganui and Te Urewera now own themselves and have human advocates who can file lawsuits and speak on their behalf to the New Zealand government. Imagine if the Mississippi had the same rights as a corporation Which is also a legal person in the U.S. Or, Shadow Mountain. Or, Lake Minnetonka. Or, Lake Superior.

    You might recognize that this movement has roots in the lifeway of indigenous people. It does. The Maori played a key role in changing New Zealand’s laws. A Maoriiwi,tribe, championed the Whanganui river personhood because the river is central to the iwi’s identity.

    Gonna add certain of these NGO’s to Charlie’s List. I’m beginning to see a web of interrelated ideas, actions, and groups that are already at work building a sustainable human presence here on Earth. For the future of humans as a species this is work that has to be done and done now.

     

    Just a moment: On Netflix. The anime series Blue-Eyed Samurai. This is a story of Shogunate Japan when Japan had closed itself off from the world. The plot follows a blue-eyed Japanese child, a pariah because of the child’s Portuguese father, one of four white men in Japan at the time. He raped the child’s mother. Revenge drives the story.

    For anyone familiar with the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the same era in Japan, you will see the careful attention the animators have paid to them as they created this series. Japanese puppet theater also gets a central moment.

    This is adult fare and a complicated, compelling story rendered in the most beautiful anime.


  • Bullfights.

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Snow. Big Snow. Cold night. 13 this morning. A fine Shabbat. My reupholstered couch. Ackerman’s. Reorganizing, again, those books that have infiltrated the living room. Feels so good. Getting facile with my bar mitzvah Torah portion. Wild Mountain Ranch. Regenerative farming in Boulder County. Bullfighting and its cultured despisers. Great Sol. Dependable.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: El Toro

    One brief shining: In 1995 I bought a ticket at the Plaza del Toros in Mexico City, sombra, and went into the largest bullfighting arena in the world, most notable initially were the steeply sloped stairs leading up and up, the entrance to each row of seats marked with tin Corona cerveza buckets loaded with ice awaiting thirsty patrons, blue and white emblems on them, I sat down, only four rows from the arena itself, unsure what to expect.

    Found my notes from the bullfight. It was 1993, not 95. And the cerveza buckets were more toward the bottom of the arena, fewer toward the nose bleed seats.

    The Plaza del Toros is circular with a large ring in the center where the bull’s lives play out. The concrete rows of seats go up steeply from a wooden fence that separates the first row from the ring. Inside the ring itself wooden fence like structures provide protection for bandilleros and even toreadors. A gate on the side of the arena furthest from my seat opened for the march of the toreadors.

    Writing about this because an article in the New York Times announced that the Plaza del Toros reopened last week on January 28th after a two-year hiatus. Animal rights groups succeeded in a temporary ban and have cases before the Mexican courts now to ban bullfighting all together. Until those suits play out the largest bull ring in the world will continue offering bull fights.

    This dovetails with a book I started reading yesterday, The Rights of Nature: a Legal Revolution That Could Save the World. I’m in a bookclub out of the Rocky Mountain Land Library that will discuss this book in March. In the first chapter I read the author, David R. Boyd, writes about how it takes time for cultural change to occur. His references reminded me of Thomas Khun’s Theories of Scientific Revolution. Slowly. Slowly. Then all of a sudden Great Sol replaces Earth as the center of the Solar System.

    Boyd believes that the animal rights movement, a Mexican contingent of which shut down Plaza del Toros for two years, will occasion such a cultural shift about animals and that that could undergird the movement to finally give the rest of the Natural World legal rights. Ecuador has already done this as has New Zealand and 22 other countries to varying extents. May it be so.

    Will finish up about the bullfight but wanted to underscore here the Rights of Nature movement. It’s a really big deal and coming soon to a state or national constitution near you.


  • Intention

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    January 1 gratefuls: 2024. A new year fresh and out of the box. Great Sol. Luna the magnificent. Orion. The Great Bear. Polaris, the true North Star. Each and every Lodgepole, Aspen, Ponderosa. 2023. With all its troubles. Climate change. Gabriella. Axolotls. Regenerative farming. Soil. Microbes. Roots. Rhizomes. Bulbs. Corms. Potatoes. Heirloom Tomatoes like Cherokee Purple. Steak Diane. Cooking.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: 2024

    One brief shining: Without a sound at least here on Shadow Mountain a new year slipped across Black Mountain without notice to my wild neighbors or even to me as I went to bed at 9 o’clock having eaten my steak Diane, mashed Potatoes, and a Corn/Bacon/Red Peppers side washed down with my favorite beverage, water, and slept through the transition from midnight 2023 to an election year.

     

    No resolutions this year. A few intentions. Kavanah.

    Listening to music more. Something I let slide as computers and Alexa pretended to fill that void in my life. They don’t. Buying a good cd player, amplifier, speakers. I so love chamber music and Renaissance music. Both of them move through my body with gentle and nuanced vibrations, drawing me into and up from my inner world to another world filled with sound, changing sound.

    Each Friday night, at least most Friday nights, of the concert series for the year, I went first to the auditorium at St. Catherine’s when Dennis Russel-Davies was the conductor and after to Rice Park in St. Paul, to the Ordway, found my subscription seat, sat down, and let myself open to the music of the evening. For over 20 years. I met Kate there.  Like many of us as we got older, the drive in from Andover made each Friday night turn in to the occasional night, then the very occasional night until we failed to buy a series. After that those wonderful nights faded away.

     

    Turning my political energies toward the not so distant future. With papers like the Washington Post declaring 2023 as the year climate change arrived, adaptive strategies that can feed the World, restore Animals and Plants to their original habitats or help them move, and heal the devastation of our petroleum addicted economy must come on line. In my way I will discover and promote organizations and individuals working to those ends. I’ve already mentioned some like perennial crops, regenerative farming, and ecosystem restoration. But I’ve only just begun.

    This is a shift for me away from front line justice work or the work of laws and politicians, and even away from work on climate change itself. Though I’ve done little of any of that of late. I’m leaning into Thomas Berry’s Great Work for our generation, creating a sustainable human presence on Mother Earth, not by working against carbon emissions or anything immediate, rather by focusing on the sustainability of future human life.

     

    Painting and sumi-e. Grief. The idea of a move to Hawai’i. Desuetude. Faded on this one. Clearing and cleaning my loft this month will get me ready to return. Not because I’m good, but because I love color and shape and creating.

     


  • A Bold Return to Giving a Damn

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Tara. Her new puppy. Cold. Snow. Sleep. Gabriella. A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm. Amazon. New Phone. Wallet. 2024 on the way. Poetry. Road Less Taken. Lines Written at Tintern Abbey. Kubla Kahn. Notes on a Supreme Fiction. Circles. Leaves of Grass. Ozymandias. The Raven. Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. The Wasteland. Song of Myself. The Second Coming. And so much else.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Poetry

    One brief shining: The end of another year approaches, our penchant for deciding calendar dates as the always orbiting Earth’s journey around Great Sol continues, brings us to Pope Gregory XIII who chose in October of 1582 in his well known Papal bull: Inter gravissimas to change the rules for leap years to prevent the Julian calendar’s drift away from the solar holidays, oh you didn’t know, well neither did I but Wikipedia did.

     

     

    Gabriella. My adopted Axolotl. She’s swimming in the chinampas canals along with other wild Axolotls who will repopulate the ancient waterways of Xochimilco. I get excited about this project because it’s both the reintroduction of a wild species into its former habitat (see the five Timber Wolves released a week ago in western Colorado) and a project that supports indigenous farming methods healthy for the chinampas themselves. This kind of work will enable our grandchildren to have their best chance to adapt to a warming World.

    A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm, Six Generations, and the Future of Food relates the story of Will Harris and his disillusionment with Big Ag 30 years ago. The successful transition of his family’s farm to regenerative farming makes compelling reading if you care about the source of your food. This farm is in southwestern Georgia, but it’s an example, not singular.

    The USA Regenerative Agriculture Allliance, Inc trains farmers in regenerative practices. Yes, it’s about good food, food raised without pesticides, fertilizers and other “inputs” that defy the natural cycle and deplete the soil. But, it’s also about how to live in a warming World. Someday regenerative agriculture will use the perennial grains and other crops under development at the Land Institute.

    Want to volunteer in the work of Ecosystem restoration? Look at the Ecosystems Restoration Communities website. They do restoration projects all over the world. The expertise and practical knowledge developed as these organization go about their own individual missions will become the Seedstock for a World that can no longer afford any depletion of natural capital.

    What’s natural capital? An accounting method. That’s right. Accounting. The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University develops accounting methods that define the value of Ecosystems, Oceans, the Water cycle, Forests. Why is this important? Regenerative agriculture is a good example. Corporate farming, by far the dominant model in the U.S. and in most of the World, treats Soil, Crops, and Animals as so many widgets to be manipulated for increased profits. Their accounting methods do not have to take into account the value of the Soil, the Rain, the need for dna diversity in both food Crops and Animals. They don’t have to reckon with the future costs of ruined Soil, the dangers of monocultures in such critical crops as Corn, Wheat, Rice. Maybe they’re not as profitable as they think.

    OK. I’ll stop. For now. But I will return to these adaptive approaches that will help Ruth and Gabe survive in a much changed world.

     


  • See Beyond a Dystopian Future

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: New Snow. Cold. Christmas Eve. Ancient Brothers on Christmas. Animism. Joseph, his brothers. Jacob/Israel. Steel gray/blue Sky. Flocked Lodgepoles. Bears in hibernation. Elk and Mule Deer resting. Fox and Mountain Lions hunting. All wild neighbors adapting to the Snow and cold. Paul and Max. Kate, of blessed memory. Kep. Rigel. Gertie. Vega. Who left Shadow Mountain. Jon, too.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fire

    One brief shining: Diane gone to Taiwan, Mary and Guru traveled south to Melbourne, my son and Seoah dress for the cold in Songtan, Mark remains in Hafar, while I look out my window for Black Mountain, it’s not there.

     

    Asked the folks at the National Autonomous University of Mexico to send me a photograph of my adopted Axolotl, Gabriella. They obliged. She’s a beauty. In an Axolotl sort of way. When I get my phone cord up here to transfer pictures, I’ll post it here.

    This project has my attention, the reintroduction of Axolotls to the chinampas canals in Xochimilco. Next I’m going to support one of the chinamperos who farm the chinampas in the traditional way. As I wrote before, this kind of work prepares the World for what comes after climate change. I feel a need to support folks willing to see the future beyond dystopian writings and fever dreams. And my lev, my heart/mind, seems to always land on folks caring for the land, for wild creatures, exchanging the old ways, the bad ways for Earth friendly farming, for chinampas canals clean enough to host again the Axolotl.

    This work, a necessary part of the Great Work of our time-creating a sustainable presence for human beings on Planet Earth-does not push back against carbon emissions or try to change the minds of politicians. Though that’s so important and critical for Ruth, Gabe, Imogen, Max and all the grandchildren. It imagines a world once again attuned to the rhythms and needs of the soil, of Plant life, of Animal life, including but not privileging, human life.

    At this age I want to say Yes instead of No. I’m weary of the struggle against greed and exploitation, oppression and entrenched bigotry like racism and anti-semitism. Though again that struggle is so important for Ruth, Gabe, Imogen, Max and all the grandchildren. I’m searching, scanning for projects and ideas that will last, that will ensure food and healthy ecosystems, that have faith in the future, that build that future starting now.

    I can’t support them all and I can’t support the ones I do very well, but I want to have a link, a real connection to them. Money is one way. Making their work known is another. Finding those committed to this work and celebrating them is another.

    We can learn again to farm with the Land, not in spite of it. We can clean our Waters, protect Mountain Biomes, seed Ecosystems with Animals and Plants eliminated by human activity in the past. Five Oregon Wolves have dispersed this week here in Colorado, for example. This work happens on all continents, among all peoples. I love them for it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • All the grandchildren will need them

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: The Geminids. The Sky. Outer Space. The James Webb. Orion. Aquarius. Polaris. The Crab Nebula. Fusion power, may its potential become reality. The Darkness before a Winter Dawn. Fog. Driving through a Cloud. Prostate cancer as a chronic disease. Phonak. Split keyboards. Wireless mice and keyboards. My desktop, old faithful. With me since 2016. Cernunnos.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My sibs

    One brief shining: On the seventh day of Hanukah I will take out eight beeswax candles, small tapers, and starting from the right place them one at a time until all but two candle holders have a candle, the eighth candle, the shamash, lies in front of the menorah ready for its servant role as bringer of fire and light to the other seven candles, when the others burn the shamash will go in its central holder, ready if needed.

     

    Still learning. Supposed to light the candles from left to right, always start with the new light. This festival honors a small group of Maccabean soldiers who liberated the temple in the second century b.c.e. The Temple menorah had only six lights plus a shamash, the helper and, in addition, the Mesopotamian Sun God. An interesting conflation.

    The Temple menorah burned oil and was to be kept lit always. The Seleucid’s occupying the Temple had let the Temple menorah go out. The only oil that could be used in the menorah was oil that had been blessed. There was only enough for one day. Yet it burned for eight days so the story goes. Enough time for the priests to return and bless more oil.

    Jews celebrate this holiday to honor the Maccabees and their small force that returned the Temple to the Jewish community. Thus, it’s a holiday signifying the power of even a small group of dedicated people. Yes, the miracle of the oil. But for most, not the main point. A minor holiday in most ways except for its confluence with the Christmas season and its emphasis on lights.

     

    Another interesting confluence. My beeswax candles for the menorah and the climate conference in Dubai. 200 nations agreed to transition away from fossil fuels. Cynical me: Finally. Probably not in time. Glad me: Finally. The right direction.

    We must emphasize adaptation, too. Adaptation to the results of climate change will have to proceed apace with the efforts to rein in carbon emissions. My own energy and money will focus there. I used to have a front line seat and intention to stop coal, get legislation passed, keep the oil in the ground. No more. There are plenty of young activists doing that. May they succeed.

    Me? I want the axolotl population to increase. Perennial food grains to go into the soil all over the world. Institutions like the Land Institute to get more and better attention, funding. I want those farmers willing to wrestle the land back to its non-fertilized, non-Roundupped state to start buying land back from corporate farms and feed lots. I want the DNA of all food crops to diversify again, away from the monocultures sold and owned by seed companies and pharmaceutical giants. I will support all of these efforts in my own way, both financially and politically.

    Why? Because a world changed by a climate heated beyond our experience will need all of them. My grandchildren will need all of them. All the grandchildren will need them.

     


  • International Mountain Day

    Samain and the last day of the Choice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Ruth. Gabe. Leo. Luke. Friday’s Snow pock marked now by Snow falling from gently curved Lodgepole Branches. Shadow Mountain. International Mountain Day. Black Mountain. Bergen Mountain. Conifer Mountain. Mount Blue Sky. Pike’s Peak. Mount Rosalie. Long’s Peak. The Continental Divide. The Caucasus. The Atlas range. The Wasatch. Sierra Nevada. Cascades. Rockies. Mt. Snowdon. Kilimanjaro. Sea Mounts. Haleakala. Mauna Loa. Kilauea. The Mountain behind my son’s apartment building in Songtan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mountains

    One brief shining: Each morning I open my eyes on Shadow Mountain, 8,800 feet above sea level, watch Great Sol gradually lighten the bulk of Black Mountain, and whenever I go for groceries or to see a friend or to the synagogue, I drive Mountain roads curving through Mountain Valleys alongside Mountain Streams in a manner similar to the other 15% of the World’s population who live on and in Earth’s Mountain Ranges.

     

    Happy International Mountain Day!* This year’s theme? Restoring Mountain Ecosystems. “This theme was selected to fully include mountains in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, co-led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the UN Environment Programme.””

    Living on and in the Mountains this one feels personal. Kate said everyday she lived up here she felt like she was on vacation. I’m so glad she felt that way. The grandkids love coming up here. Gabe wants to live in the Mountains. And, he probably will. Folks at CBE often refer to each other as Mountain Jews. 15% of the World’s population live in and on Mountains. Some were born there, but many come by choice like Kate and me.

    I’ve seen a comparison between those who love the Ocean and those who love the Mountains. Beaches-extroverts. Mountains-introverts. Like any broad brush often wrong but in my experience Mountain folks keep to themselves. We spend a lot of time hiking, hunting, fishing. On our decks. Driving to somewhere else in the Mountains. We don’t like to go down the hill more than we have to.

    Our ecosystems matter. A lot. The Snowpack in Colorado gets national and international exposure because its water reserves predict the amount of water available in the coming year for those who draw on the Colorado River. Seven states. Millions of people. On a smaller scale even Maxwell Creek and Cub Creek and Bear Creek flow into the Waters of the mighty Mississippi traveling through the South Platte to the Platte from there to the Missouri and from the Missouri into the Mississippi. It’s all downstream from me.

    I find myself drawn to restoring axolotls, creating perennial crops, heirloom seeds, regenerative farming, restoring Mountain Ecosystems. That’s where my money goes. And to caring for wild animals that need sanctuary. Not to say that other needs aren’t critical. Sure they are. But my heart expands when I imagine a World with organic and regenerative farms and farmers, with Axolotl’s swimming free among the chinampas and the chinamperos make that sustainable, with heirloom Vegetables on everyone’s table, with grain crops that can be planted once and then tended rather than plowed, with Mountain Ecosystems the world over restored to their original purpose. That’s my Other World. May it come soon.

     

     

     

     

    *”The United Nations General Assembly designated 11 December “International Mountain Day”. As of 2003, it has been observed every year to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.” International Mountain Day, U.N.

     


  • Entheos

    Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Curiosity. The Ancient Brothers. Mark and Dennis. Coming May 23rd. Yet more Rain. Even more swollen Streams. Ancientrails as a life project. Tom and his time with Charlie H. Bill and his time with Bella. Mark and his time at the gym. Anytime Fitness. My treadmill. Marilyn. Ginnie. Josh. Jane. Kat. A banker. Vulcan Centaur.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rocket Scientists

    One brief shining: A beautiful woman with a long braid dangling over her t-shirt down to her space themed spandex had, on the back of the blue t-shirt an outline of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, on the front ULA and I asked, I’m too ignorant to know but is that a real rocket ship?

     

    Yes. She answered. And I was working on it until I quit my job a year and a half ago. What was your area of expertise? Vibration and acoustics. Oh. I see. Not sure why I keep running into engineers. But I do.

    CBE is amazing. All these smart people. This was at the Dismantling Racism class yesterday afternoon. Looked up the Vulcan Centaur and it’s been under development since 2014. Supposed to fly for the first time in July. Had a setback a month ago though with a second stage explosion during preparation for a launch.

    The class has gotten better. Taking a mussar approach to the work. I like it for the inner work though I chose an opponent for my practice this week. Four areas of possible practice each week: with HaShem (God), with Self, with a fellow, especially a victim of anti-black racism, or with an opponent.

    My practice involved an e-mail to a person with whom I’ve had long standing differences. Sent it last night and got a reply this morning. A sweet one. Maybe there’s something to this approach. The middah this week is kavod, or honor. Honoring self and other. The theological idea is the all made in God’s image trope. Said another way, we’re all human, all riding this blue spaceship our only home together with all the other critters and plants. Honor it all.

     

    During the Ancient Brothers session on curiosity I identified curiosity as my defining characteristic. And naming what I call the valedictory lifestyle. As a valedictorian myself I’ve occasionally become curious (see!) about what happens to others who graduate first in their class academically. Turns out usually nothing spectacular. Sure a lot go into academics. Some have successful careers in business or the sciences.

    But usually no stars. No one off achievements. No amazing inventions. Why? Because we’re generalists. We easily get sidetracked by something new and shiny. If purity of heart is to will one thing, we’re not at all pure.

    I call them enthusiasms. My enthusiasms can last a long time. Religion has turned out to be the longest lasting, but inside that broad category I’ve been all over the place. From existentialist atheist to Christian to Unitarian-Universalist to Pagan and wanderer with the tribe. There’s a piece of each of these, often substantial pieces that remain intact within me. All somehow glued together with Taoism.

    There’ve been many others. Art, my twelve years at the MIA. Politics, lasting almost as long as religion, but again all over the place in terms of action. Islam which I studied after 9/11. Horticulture. Cooking. Heating with wood. Beekeeping. Dogs. World travel. F1. Science. Tarot and Astrology. Cinema. Acting. Writing. Getting degrees. Tea. Korean and now Spanish. Oh, and one that actually has been lifelong, reading. Not sure when I learned but I’ve never ever stopped. Buying books, too. To feed the habit. I’ve dabbled in painting and sum-e.

    Enthusiasms in my life are more than dabbling but less than enough to gain full mastery. But I must admit it’s been, is being, a hell of lot of fun.

     

     

     

     


  • It was a lynching

    Winter and the Valentine Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Hot Water. My shower. Marilyn and Irv. Ageism. Aspen Perk. Aspen Park Dental. Darlene, the hygienist. Seeing the Magpies against the Snow as I sat in the dental chair. Clean teeth. Good gum health. No work needed. Yes. Grocery pickup. Home. Brined center cut porkchops. Cooked in the Air fryer. Mixed vegetables. Tangerine. Mary’s photos of her last days in Kobe. Eau Claire. Air travel. Sarah and Annie. The Jeep.

    Sparks of joy and awe: Friends and family

     

    A note I sent to my county commissioner, Lesley Dahlkemper, about a proposed Mountain bike park on Shadow Mountain Drive:

    Hi, Lesley!

    Met you at Marilyn Saltzman’s 70th birthday party. Before you became a commissioner. Congratulations!

    I live on Black Mtn Drive. Up the hill about 2 miles from the proposed mtn bike park. Aside from the obvious degradation of a mountain side and a beautiful, clear running stream and aside from the obvious traffic nightmare on already difficult to navigate blind curves and narrow no shoulders Shadow Mountain Drive, I’d like to tell you about a 7 AM drive I took that passed by the bike park area.

    There in that meadow were thirty cow Elks and one magnificent bull, a fourteen pointer. A mist was rising from Shadow Brook. Now that may not be a logical argument against the bike park, but it’s damn sure a good one to me.

     

    Tyre Nichols. Still think the role of police in our culture doesn’t need drastic and dramatic change? Tainted by the power given to them by a frightened white majority the police live out the violent fantasies of those at home watching TV. Their color does not matter. What matters is their intent, their willingness to step well beyond the bounds of decency. Remember Derek Chauvin’s knee? One of the officers who stood by was Hmong. The others who stood and watched? Rodney King?

    Tom Crane found an interesting interview with Rev. Dante Stewart. His words on lynching are worth sharing:

    “That was more than police brutality. That was a lynching. They wanted to kill him because, in some sense, lynching is about the spectacle. It’s about what someone with power does to another human being to ride and rid them of every ounce of their dignity and put it in the public to show this is what we think about this person.

    “When those in the past put Black people up on noose, it was a message to them: This is our estimation of your life, and much more, this is our hatred of your life. And when Tyre Nichols was beaten and the just immense disregard to him, it showed us in public once again the estimation of Black life, white racism and white supremacy.”  WBUR

    This sort of action by the police reimagines the whip of the plantation slave master. Sanctioned violence to keep the enslaved in place. We still fear the emboldened and empowered other. What might they do to us? What to do? Do it to them first.

     

    On a better note, also from Tom. On Kernza Grain. “I just came across this perennial grain developed by the Land Institute. I also ordered some from a site which sells it as a cereal much like oatmeal. I’ll let you know how it is.”

    The Land Institute is a solution finder. Glad Tom found this product, the first commercial fruits of the Institute’s work. I’ll let you know what he thinks.

    Inbox

  • Dutiful

    Winter and the Wolf Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Breakfast with Jen, Ruth, Gabe, Barb. Driving back up the hill. F1. The MIA. The Walker. The docent program. My many years there with good friends and art. Acting class. Creativity class. Origins of North America. Finding the volume of a Mountain. Korean. Pruning moving forward. Interior painting, early February. Probate. Still moving. slow. ly. The Good Life. Scott and Helen Nearing. Eudaimonia. Kristen Gonzalez. Psoriasis. Mark and the USPS. Mary in Kobe. Ancient Brothers.

    Sparks of joy and awe: Eudaimonia

     

    Human flourishing. Eudaimonia. Satisfaction. More important than happiness. Duty is just another word for cultural norms received and accepted. Obligations. On the other hand. Imposed. Why do we do what we do?

    Assessing the life that is neither heroic nor mediocre. Since that’s where most of us end up. No need to measure ourselves against the ends of the bell curve. No need to measure ourselves. But can we be at peace with a life without comparisons?

    As for me, I choose eudaimonia. Flourishing. Satisfaction. And, yes. Duty plays a role. Family. Sacrifice. Friends too. Being there. Wherever love is, there is duty. To be honest. Sincere. Kind. Helpful. To support the best for the other. Right down to the end. And by implication to support the best for yourself. Also, duty. The unexamined life is not worth living. Yes. A duty to yourself to know thyself. And to thy own known Self be true.

     

    What’s interesting for me right now is how much a sense of duty has played in my life. Oh, no! The original oppositional defiant guy admitting to a sense of duty. I who even rebel against my superego. You can’t make me!!! Yes, duty.

    A minor yet significant example. As a convinced feminist of the Betty Friedan/Simone de Beauvoir second wave. At the age of 26. In seminary. Went to the Rice Street Clinic late on a Winter afternoon. A scalpel I felt on the first cut slashed my vas deferens on both sides. Shutting down sperm from my testicles. Being responsible for my own contraception.

    Another. One I’ve mentioned before. Fits here. No. I don’t want a Johns-Manville full scholarship to college. Managing people in a large corporation is not me. Will never be me. High school.

    Once convinced of Vietnam’s sturdiness as a nation, one that had held back China for over 3,000 years. No. I will not fight, nor support that war.

    After reading a convincing study about the future job prospects for Ph.D.’s. No to graduate school.

    Family. Staying in the fire with Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Kate in later life. Mark. Yet also. Cut your hair or leave! Leaving.

    These may not at first reading seem like duty. But they are. A duty to myself, to my own understanding of how to be present in the world.

    When I realized Ruth and Gabe needed us in Colorado. Broaching the idea of a move. Kate on board. Following through.

    Those two and a half acres in Andover. Leaving them better than when we bought them. How? Working it out with Kate over the years. Together. Staying the course with the full cycle of responsibilities throughout the year. Each year.

    And, dogs. Living into their lives. With them from puppyhood to death. Oh. Sweet duty. Painful duty. Life realized in full.