Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Well, Hell.

Yes, another birthday is on the way. I know I am getting old because my hair is mostly silver (not gray, goddamn it!) I have to walk with a cane in an effort to relieve some of the pain in my knees. I am too stubborn to take the medication that is recommended by the doctor. I tried but there are so many side effects - headache, itching all over, my liver burns. The worst long-term side effects of this type of medication is sudden hemorrhaging to death and heart attack. Well, hell. Guess I'll just hobble along on these ruined old knees until I decide to burden my family and friends with helping me when I get reconstructive surgery. It sounds like a horrible ordeal in every way. A normal person would never have willingly suffered for so long. What is wrong with me? Aside from getting old, that is?

Though years of experience have smoothed many of my rough spots and I have learned patience - 87% of the time - I still feel as if I do not know what the hell I am doing. Does everyone just bumble along, blindly hoping for the best outcome in situations that actually require an experienced attorney, an economist with a PhD, a detective, a scientist, a master mechanic, or a psychic?! I thought people my age were supposed to be wise.

I am a bit wiser now than I was at age 21. I drive the speed limit. I yield the right of way. I pay the utility bills on time. Whenever possible, I avoid people who aggravate me. I try my best to not aggravate others though I can tell I am often unsuccessful. I avoid drugs and alcohol and people who abuse either. I try to mind my own business. I try to appear as if I know what the hell I am doing but I rarely fool anyone. It is a good thing that I have very low self-esteem because I make a fool of myself routinely. I no longer wake in the middle of the night groaning when I recall some embarrassing situation or something I should never have said. I am at last inured to that particular suffering simply because I have experienced it so many times. I know it is not going to kill me. I just think to myself: "Well, hell. It's not the first time and surely not the last."

Of course, there will be a last time. There is a last time for everything under the sun. That is not a sobering or somber thought to me any longer. We are the leaves of an infinite tree, and one by one the people we love drop away, never to be seen again. All the while a mighty pulse rushes through the tree, changing and renewing everything. At some point I will drop away, too.

Driving on a city street the other day I came across a drifting leaf. The stem, like a tail on a kite, stabilized its descent. The oak leaf itself, long dried and curled inwardly, slowly spun as it made a gentle arcing descent across all that moving traffic. I alone was in the right place, at the right time to witness its fall. As I rushed past at 40 miles an hour, the leaf surely fell beneath the tires of all oncoming traffic. In a very short time all the elements that made it an oak leaf will have returned to molecules and atoms. It will return to dust. No one knows what happens to its memory of being an oak leaf. No one can say for sure if it ever realized it was a seasonal leaf of an oak tree. It is a mystery - a mystery I am one year nearer to discovering for myself.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Two Moons

We know that other planets have extravagant and exotic moons. (The current count for Jupiter's moons is at 67.)  The four Jovian moons first seen by Galileo are easily seen with a small hobby telescope. I have seen them myself. It is difficult to imagine a sky full of moons.

I wonder if sentient beings on other worlds created myths about their multiple moons to comfort them in their long evolutionary awakening as we have here on earth for our one moon? Now we know there are no goddesses dwelling on the moon - no mythical creatures at all. Now we know the intrigue of moonlight is not even the light of the moon itself but a reflection of the sun. Though the old mysteries have died with the space age, our moon remains mysterious and alluring in our consciousness.

Should I reincarnate to earth in a future lifetime, when humans will have mined and polluted the moon as surely as we have the earth, I wonder if she will be held in any reverence whatsoever then.

The Lakota Moon of the Shedding Horns, the last full moon of 2016 setting over the west bend of the creek at dawn
And in the east, the Supreme Beings attentive to something only they can hear.
The same morning as I was leaving for work.
The last full moon of 2016 slipping behind the prairie hills for the last time.
The rising of the 2016 November super moon

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Well, It's Cold Outside

It is ten below zero officially in Paxico. Winds at 3 mph. To whatever Power or Force that rules such things, I give my sublime thanks for no wind with this bitter cold because I will soon have to venture out into it. The Supreme Beings will be impatiently awaiting their slow slug of a servant to provide their breakfast and to break up the ice on the water tank. (The slug groans when thinking about how thick that ice is by now...)

Yesterday I made the trek to the Portal of Hell to turn on the electric heater. That will protect the pipe coming from the well from freezing. I simply dread going into the basement in the old garage. The heater may not be needed by tomorrow because the weather is expected to return to more tolerable conditions. That is wonderful news but with it looms another journey into the pit! The ONLY good thing about that is when I close the door behind me and know it might be another year or two before I have to go in again!

There were so many birds at the feeders all day yesterday that I will have to refill everything this morning. I can see activity out there already in the dim light. I did not see a single squirrel yesterday, not even the one I think of as Donald Trump. He is the one that climbs into the middle of the main tray, leisurely stuffing his face until he is entirely full. All the other squirrels are satisfied with eating the food provided specifically for them in their own tray and on the ground near the safety of the big hackberry trees. Even then, they only spend a few moments eating at a time. Not the Donald. He imperiously grubs the best of the peanuts and sunflower seeds for as long as he wishes and not even the woodpeckers bother him. He ignores me when I open the door and yell at him. He refuses to move off the tray until I am within a few feet of him. I have chased him a few times even though it is futile. His arrogance is infuriating. He knows he is in no danger and stays a few feet ahead of me. Only when I close in will he reluctantly scamper up the big tree - but only a few feet up the tree. All the other squirrels scatter at first sight of me. I sit at my desk watching through the windows, glowering at that fat, self-serving pig of a squirrel. He is helping himself to the best of the best and frankly does not care what I think of him. There's one in every crowd.

* * *

The morning chores are completed. The horses were shivering and I felt so sorry for them. They must have suffered throughout the long night in the bitter cold. They have a good shelter but it is not like the shelter of a barn. The birds were reluctant to leave the feeders and flocked back immediately after I came in the house. Poor things. Jake was in the worst shape of everyone. He spent yesterday afternoon and all night sleeping on his big pillow in the garage. His hind legs were so stiff and it was so cold that he could not even keep up with me. The poor guy is not well suited to his job as a farm dog. Duke would have LOVED this snow and the cold never bothered him. I miss the old dog who never failed to escort me to the barn and back, to the Portal of Hell and back, to the mail box and back. I hope by now he has reincarnated as a snow leopard or a Siberian wolf, far from the noise and smell of man, where his noble spirit roams the wild places.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What Happened?

Our country has changed, deep down in its soul, and I am not sure who she is any more. We are angry at one another. We have insulted and harmed each other through abusive national discourse and now sit glaring at one another, truly angry and unable to tolerate much in the way of reconciliation.

We have elected a loose cannon as President – a man whose business practices and personal mores are despicable – a man whose entire adult life represents the worst of America and her capitalistic excesses – a man who made himself rich trampling everything designed to protect people and things which require protection from unbridled capitalism and greed. He is the President we deserve, I guess, as we seem to be a nation of hateful, selfish people. We have lost the middle ground – all of us. For instance, no longer can we safely and sanely discuss a humane and just way to keep immigrant families together. It has devolved into a national brawl of the extremes. No one wants freeloaders clogging up the system, not even hard working illegal immigrants whose sweat and tears are just as real and as hard-earned as our own, we who are descendants of illegal immigrants to the last man. We need to sanely discuss immigration then make humane and fair changes.

The hateful discourse has hardened our hearts. I literally cannot stand any more of the Fox News rhetoric and that ilk. It is like Antabuse to an alcoholic. It makes me instantly sick. I feel bad that people I love seem to be blissfully unaware they have been emotionally manipulated and – yes – how racist, homophobic, and all the other unfortunate “ist” and “ic” terms for undesirable human behavior that Fox rhetoric genuinely is.

Alternatively, people who consume Fox rhetoric cannot stand the stinging barbs of satire and irony the “liberals” and the Left use in their rebuttals in the national discourse. They have had their fill of being abused in this way because they do not consider themselves racist or homophobic. In their daily lives and actions most of them quite likely are neither racist nor homophobic. It is a question of degree, I think.

Now we are truly angry at one another. Every issue blooms into a huge firestorm of hateful spite. I understood the genesis of the Black Lives Matter movement instantly. American citizens are killed with impunity by police all over the country and nothing is done to stop it. Even women and children are gunned down. It is an established fact that black people are harmed by institutionalized racism, even to the point of death but instead of Black Lives Matter engendering a dialogue between decent, rational, concerned human beings, it touched off a reactionary firestorm of All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. Folks! These are not mutually exclusive schools of thought! The irony of All Lives Matter seems to blissfully escape the most strident defenders of that particular group. If indeed all lives matter then Black Lives Matter would never have sprung from the mean streets of our American cities. We would have come together to tackle this horrific problem of innocent people being gunned down before our very eyes long before the need for a Black Lives Matter movement ever came about.

I could go on.  Environmental issues demand our immediate and undivided attention.  We MUST do something quickly or our children and grandchildren will pay an unbelievably painful price for our selfish inaction.  Instead of combining our might and considerable creative resources to resolve these issues, we are divided and angry and nothing meaningful gets done except for the few who profit mightily at our expense.

My spirit quails at the thought of this madness as being deliberately engineered by the rich and powerful. People become rich and powerful by manipulating everything around them and through radical opportunism. Of course there are powerful groups – think tanks and various organizations everywhere - that clinically promote particular agendas. A little excursion into the history of our railroads is a nasty, despicable lesson on everything from genocide to wholesale government corruption, bribery, thievery and murder. Not much has changed since then. Our national consciousness has been bamboozled by the minions of the greediest and most corrupt to the point where we are literally at each other’s throat while they make off with all the money and destroy the planet while they are at it. We fight like cats and dogs and try to pin the blame on whatever whipping boy our national media chooses for the week. It does not serve you or me. We deserve better.

Not everyone wants or needs to be a billionaire. No matter what color we are, what our first language may be or what our religion, gender or political persuasion may be, we all want the same things. We want to work and pay our own way. We want affordable and equitable education for our children. We want and DESERVE affordable health care. We want competent and principled police forces. We want authentic and just representation in our government. We want equitable taxation for EVERYONE, including corporations and the rich. We need clean air, clean soil, clean water or we will not survive. We want to live in peace with the people we love for all the days of our lives. Americans can have that. We are already rich enough. We simply need to sit down with our neighbors and find common ground. We must work together to change our government, to rid it of corruption. Politicians must be held accountable to “we, the people”. We must stop listening to the voices that say this one or that one is to blame. WE are to blame. WE are the responsible party.

I do not know when or if civil discourse will return. This election we became painfully aware of our differences of opinion - among good friends, within families. The solution is to become aware of our commonality, to find the middle ground and value that far above our differences. Maybe that is the point of beginning.