Friday, July 22, 2016

response to RNC and PokemonGo anger

The whole anger thing toward Pokemon Go players got me to thinking:  people are evidently looking for things to be angry about.  Donald Trump knows that and is encouraging that.

Look, I know you got laid off from your job and it went to Mexico.  I know your CEO stole your retirement.  I know there isn't another job with benefits and "decent" pay even out there, much less out there that you can do.  I know.

But while you complain about how "entitled" the millennials seem to feel, I'd suggest it is you who feel (unjustly) *entitled*.  No one owes you a middle class wage, or life.  And demonizing someone else who also doesn't have one ain't gonna get it for you.

What we need to do is to talk about peak oil and limited energy again, because in that context people can at least come close to understanding the need to live smaller, more simply, stay home, entertain themselves, grow some food, cook it, eat it together, play some music, laugh.

Because there is no alternative energy going to make our current level of usage sane (or even possible, long term).  Every source has its consequences.  USE LESS.  Period.

And that also means, making less money, spending less money, living smaller.  That the economy isn't what it once was is not something that is fixable, and any short term "fix" is only at the expense of some other person or environment -- and truthfully, no matter how selfish you are, I don't really believe you want to hurt other people.  You are just afraid of being hurt yourselves, losing the privilege that you've come to think belongs to you.

Well, if all you have going for you is your "middle class-ness", I guess you are hurting.  So get something else going for you!  Find the joy in the small things.  And do them.  Then there won't be enough time to get all paranoid about everything else.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

on the mundane

which is of course not really so mundane because, after all, who has fresh chevre balls in their fridge?  Who has fresh whole grain bread?  Who has hoes that are balanced and sharp and can go through the corn row in just a few minutes, and maneuver around the purslane?



Yes, we're special.  The thing about that is, you can be too.  And it doesn't take a roll of the dice or someone else's approval to be able to either.

Let me recommend these Rogue hoes tho.  They just came today so we haven't used them much yet.  Would have liked to have bought them locally but the closest place that carried them was 100 miles one way.  Would have liked to have talked our local metallurgist into making practical tools like this but he doesn't have the foresight either.  More's the pity.  Bless his heart.  But they are sharp, heavy metal but surprisingly light tool (with nice thick long handle too) that seem to really get the job done efficiently.  Love quality hand tools.  And you could buy the best of the best of every hand tool and still hardly spend any money to speak of.

While I'm thinking of it.  Remember years ago Madcap's post (I can't find it in a really quick look see but if you do, I'd love to link it) about what would everyone contribute to their community?  And it garnered a LOT of responses mostly of coordinating this, supervising that, lots of Chiefs not many Indians (is that ok to say? probably not, probably an expression I'll edit out of future editions of myself), nobody really producing the food or cleaning the toilet.  Well, the other day a local friend did a facebook status intended to promote local businesses and no one produced ANYTHING.  Well, except the husband, I put his link up there.  Most of the various things I do are services too, so I'm not one to talk.  But in the end, someone has to make the food, the house, and clean up after, and do the stuff, and the people who do should not be the lowest rung but should be highly valued.  And the antidote to privilege is not stopping at recognizing it but refusing, as much as possible, to participate in the culture of it.

Do real stuff.  With real tools. Yourself.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Privilege

this is something I wrote some time ago (in the winter obviously) and found in my file today and thought I'd post

I am privileged.  I have always been privileged.  And I knew, I was cognizant, from the time I was six years old and standing in the front yard under the pin oak tree wondering why I was well off, well coordinated, and white, that white was part of it.

And money is definitely part of it too.  I got to do things because of money.  Not talent, not deserving.  That I am even alive is because of money.

I have always found the "well coordinated" part of that a little funny, but then again, being in touch with your body, having proprioception, just flat being able to do things, really does make things easier.  Like everything else, a whole lot of that is just practice.

But we have chosen in our lives to forego most of the money part.  Although we own our land and house and so comparatively we are wealthy because of that.  But money flow wise, it would be difficult to be more poor.  Poverty is not an easy path, for sure, despite the memes.  But it isn't a path one is supposed to "choose" either.  One gets there by being "sorry" -- too sorry to work.  Sure I work, but I like what I do, and I only work for good people too, and there are things I won't do and don't do.

What I don't do is work for as much money as I could, or work in "my field", or work full-time, or work for or much with people I don't like, lots of other things. 

See, I took some paperwork by an office the other day, stood behind the sign that rather rudely stated to wait until you were called, got called by an invisible person sitting down behind a window, left her a sheet of paper, and left.  And thought, with only a few different choices, that could be me.  Actually, that could be me now because even with the age of my degree, I could get that job if it were open.  If I'd stayed in the field, I could have been like "director" or something.  And just exactly like the photos of the yayas with whom I graduated with their bleached hair and perfect make-up and scarves around their necks and matching paint by numbers pictures, I think, "Shoot me.  Just freaking shoot me if it comes to that."

But I do know that expectation wise I *should* go to work like that.  I mean, I don't have insurance and Tennessee won't expand Medicaid.  I don't always have "reliable" transportation (in this storm, should anyone really be going anywhere?  I think not).  Right now I'm even chilly, and my bedroom will stay in the 40s if I'm *lucky*.  Going out to Red Lobster would be a major savings commitment, and going to the Chinese buffet only happens a few times a year.  Some people would think that we should not even buy the occassional six pack of beer, or have pets, because, well, because we are not wealthy enough to deserve to buy that.  And it is funny because people will give you stuff, but often they expect to be lord and master because of that, in your perpetual debt.

Well, no.

And make no mistake, I am still privileged, I know that.  Privileged enough to NOT work that deadly dead end dead job.  Privileged enough to actually do something I'm passionate about without the need to compromise it in order to "make a living".  Although that could disappear in a heartbeat. 

Perhaps that's the thing with privilege -- that it could disappear.

And people get so damn defensive about that.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Iconoclasts

We once had the best neighbors, up the holler from here.  We saw each other several times a week, we were close in age, had similar enough interests and diverse enough skills, had families, had some fun and passion and joi de vivre.

But George was an alcoholic and eventually that took them both away, the way that will.  I don't think I ever saw him that he hadn't been drinking some.  He did things only people who drink all the time do, the funniest of which was to complain that the rest of us didn't "take naps", which meant we didn't pass out at odd times and wake up randomly.  The most dangerous of which was to practice his "fast draw" in the mirror with a loaded gun -- which went off leaving a hole in the mirror and the wall.

But that is not what this is about.  This is not even about George and his sawmill although that is my icon for this phenomenon.  You see, George was a mechanic and body shop guy by trade, and we had another neighbor who was a logger, and so it wasn't a big stretch for them to decide to buy a portable sawmill with which to gain some independence from the paycheck.  In fact, it seemed like a brilliant idea.  The sawmill was ordered.  The sawmill came in.  George got it set up in his basement, adjusted, cut a few things.  And then it sat there.  The logger came and talked to about bringing some logs and what the turn around into lumber would be, I mean, like trying to place an order, real business, get busy you don't even have to go look for it.  And nothing happened.  And nothing happened.  And nothing happened.

Now, I know something about procrastination because there are things I put off.  But I do get to them.  You know the saying, "Shit or get off the pot"?  Well, George passed that point right on by.  The rest of us talked to each other (probably while he was "napping"), speculating what was going on, and only concluding that it just was not going to happen.  Finally it got brought up directly to George, that he was pissing a very good opportunity away and it was already all but beyond his grasp to recover.

And George said, "Well, I'll tell ya something I've figured out.  It is a whole lot more fun to talk about cutting wood than it is to cut wood."

That reminds me, of course, of just about everything else in the world.  Just how many things in the world can you think of that that applies to?

When we moved out here, young and idealistic and full of plans and piss and vinegar, people would say, "I always wanted to do something like that," and I would say, "No you didn't because if you did want to you would have.  You just like the idea of it." 

How many people want to be "horsemen" but don't want to do the day in, day out work?  And I'm not talking about stalls, I'm talking about trying to do something and failing because you don't know how until you do know how.  How many people want to eat "healthy" but want to buy it instead of do it?  How many people want to BE healthy but simply won't move their bodies enough to be healthy?  How many people want to save the world so long as it doesn't affect the day to day way they live their luxurious lives?

So the real importance of this icon is to begin to see what it is we are giving lip service to.  What wood do we *talk* about sawing but never saw.  And probably it is ok to not saw it.  It is a good enough thing to find out you don't really want to do a thing.  It is a good thing to actually do something that you actually do want to do.

But make no mistake, faith without works is dead.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

when I curse you

You know the curse, "May you have an interesting life"?  My curse on people is, "You need a real problem."  Maybe even a real problem that you can't solve, that you just have to live through and make peace with.  I've had a few of those.

Here is a not a problem (I had a whole list of them at one time, but this was the most dire one, and the one that involved me, so it is left):  experiencing the love of your life's body dying.  It is sad.  It is a process.  But by gawd you had him.  And if you aren't trapped in the ego-state, if you evolve instead of involve, you always did/will/do "have" him.  "Have" there of course not being literal but being a shorthand for co-creating an experience in which you fully recognized the unseparatedness that simply is with the whole universe but is impossible to see in the human kingdom most of the time.  It is not a problem but another layer of gift.

Frankly most people who are suicidal need a real problem.  Why?  Because they need to get out of themselves.  I understand that that sounds un-compassionate but that is particularly because people don't understand what "compassion" is.  It is like "polite" is not the same as "kind" is not the same as "nice".  Polite is just customer service; a surface interaction.  "Polite" is asking, "How you doin' today?"  "Kind" is being interested when someone actually tells you.  A "nice" person gives you what you are looking for.  "Kind" is compassionate.  "Sympathy" is nice but singularly unhelpful.  Compassion does help.  Compassion feeds the hungry.  Compassion mows my MILs yard even tho I think mowing is the most wasteful and stupid act in the world and she is incapable of appreciating me doing it for her.  Compassion doesn't make me feel good in the end, or her feel good in the end; compassion just gets the job done.

I have long seen that humans evolved to deal with real problems; real, life threatening, problems.  And to accept that not every problem can be fixed.  Food.  Shelter.  Survival.  Death.  But modern life presents us with few, most usually no as in zero real problems, and the illusion that what we do view as a problem needs to be fixed.  So we pretend that things that aren't real problems are problems, react with the same vehemence, try to get other people to see them with the same intensity.

When I get very anxious, when I feel lost, betrayed, unappreciated, a failure, whatever, it is difficult to remember the lessons of real problems: that you walk, and you get through them, and you get to the other side.  And that what someone else thinks, what someone else does, even what ultimately happens, makes no difference at all.  "Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself continually?"

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives --
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left --
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one's foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one's foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird's pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what's coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn't ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean's edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.
From:
West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems
Copyright ©:
Mary Oliver

Sunday, May 08, 2016

revisit: ever.y.body

I thought of this for Mother's Day and then I thought, I think I wrote about that before.  It always surprises me just how long ago -- this was for the husband's birthday more than 11 years ago. Ever.y.body is somebody's baby.  Ever.y.body has a secret life, the life only they know, only they experience;  1st person all the way down.  Ever.y.body. Co-creators, creating all the time.  "Yes, I like that.  Nope, not putting up with that.  A little more blue."

Love your babies; love your mommas.  But don't make them more (or less) than they are. 

Everybody Is Somebody's Baby

Some religions call us all Children of God. Some greet each other with, “Thou art God/dess.” Some recognize the light of divinity within all. One of my favorite books, Gervaise, used the phrase, “Hither world, thither world, all worlds are One.” My friend Laura says that for her there came a revelation that everyone is warm.

Personally I don’t always have a way to see it so clearly. Sometimes it is easier for me to see my spiritual relationship with a carrot than with other people. But sometimes, when I drive around I am overwhelmed with the feeling that, all these people out here actually have a life. Not unlike I have a life. Wow.

But the thing that sometimes gets me more than anything else is thinking about how everybody was somebody’s baby.

A little baby. So cute. So helpless. Smelling so wonderful. Coming into this world through some union of man and woman. Gazed at in wonder, the same wonder with which we gazed at our newborns.

It doesn’t diminish, the wonder, as they get older. For me, I just don’t know how it happened, how that baby turned into that almost man. But I can still see the baby in him. And I can look at the youngest and see the eldest; the eldest and see the youngest.

So once upon a time, husband was somebody’s baby. Adored no doubt. Only son of an only son of an only son for I don’t know how many generations. His grandfather, I believe, could see the man in the boy. He was born in a snowstorm, his mom walked to the hospital just a couple blocks away.

And even that dirty-faced husband of mine was somebody’s baby. Fifty-two years ago today. He planted carrot seedlings out in the circle garden in celebration. And got a new muck tub too. Like the horse, he's a pretty easy keeper.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

what is wrong with the world

Money is itself a thing, is the measure, is God, is all that is important.  That is what is wrong with the world.

If someone has the money to do something, people say, "More power to them, it is their money."  And if someone doesn't have the money to do something, people say, "Sucks to be you.  Must have made bad decisions."

If someone has the money to do something, people say, "More power to them, it is their money," no matter how BAD an idea they have.  Move to the country, install four sodium vapor lights, for example.  No matter that their light doesn't stop at the border of their property but polutes my walk, my sky, my sight.  Tear the top of a mountain down.  For profit?  Then fine.  Attempt to buy a life.  Attempt to buy an election.  Hoard water, hoard food, hoard.  Have someone else clean the toilet.

If someone doesn't have the money to do something, people say, "Sucks to be you.  Must have made bad decisions," and it doesn't matter if they did everything "right" or not actually, you play the game, you takes your chances, sucks to have cancer, or get hit by a car, or break a leg.  Don't have enough to eat?  Well, don't dare ever have a chocolate bar, much less a beer.  Berate yourself for just not working hard enough even with the several jobs.  And your car needs brakes?  And why don't you have insurance for that?  You should have been more like me, obviously.  Work that crap job and we'll still berate you.  Now, shine my shoes and maybe I'll provide a crumb.  You'd better be shoe licking grateful.

And that is what is wrong with the world.

How to change that?  Don't envy "the rich", and for the Gods' sakes, don't try to be like them.  Live smaller. Stay home.  Help someone else.  Hang your laundry.  Spend less money.  MAKE less money. Live a life you don't need to vacate from.  Also, don't pay unjust bills.  Yes, don't give them that money.  Don't work unjust jobs -- don't give them that money either.  Cook your own food, grow your own garden, clean your own toilet.

And at some point, sooner rather than later, make their money useless to them.  Refuse to be bought.  Walk in your integrity.

And lick no shoes.




Tuesday, April 26, 2016

with ears to hear, eyes to see

locust blossoms
 It is time for locust blossom fritters.  Life is punctuated by food and seasons and what is blooming and here it is, punctuated by locust blossoms and time for fritters. 

And one's eye is trained by what is important to it.  If you heat with wood, you will start being aware of firewood.  If you heal with herbs, you will start being aware of the coltsfoot beside the road; aware that this is the first time the birthroots have appeared just right there.  I still remember the year we sold stuff at the farmer's market that I'd taken a few messes of polk weed to sell and a woman bought one, asking how to cook it.  It was explained and I don't really know whether or not she had it or liked it but she came back the next week to tell me that now that she knew what it was, she saw it all over the place.  She rather meant it, I think, as though I'd ripped her off selling her something that grows wild on its own all over the place, but I think she got quite the bargain to become aware of one of the foods surrounding her for a few dollars worth of greens with the instructions on how to cook it!

So I've been watching things blossom as always.  The small things, the wild things:  I am ever more aware of how unimpressed I am with the ostentatious showy plantings than with the wee small subtle wild things.  The year has been particularly brilliant it seems.  The dogwoods have lasted a very long time, being only more beautiful with each day.  I believe I spotted bitty tennessee irises blooming the other day.  Green is moving up the mountain.  I was aware that many of "my" locust trees, the ones that I harvest from, had been cut last year.  They are on public right of way and I don't really know why they were cut but they were.  There are plenty plenty of locust trees but most of them you couldn't harvest a blossom from unless you were a bumblebee or a butterfly -- too tall.  But rights of way are often good places to find them because they are places the locust trees are reclaiming, and they are small enough to give their blossoms willingly to the human who asks.

I am that human, and "my" place of easily harvestable locust blossoms had gone from a plethora of trees down to a handful.  I'd been watching.  I stopped today, parked, unfurled my Walmart bag to collect them in, swang out my pocketknife, and walked across the highway.  Nope, those are waaaaay out of my reach after all.  Ok.  Ah, but there on the other side is a great looking tree, just one within reach but two trees there.  I harvest a whole bunch there.  It was quiet, not much buzzing, not much traffic.  I found one more tree at the lake access to get some from and then moved on to the next pull-over place, quite near.  My first bag was quite full so I got another one ready, crossed the road, major highway, again.  Beautiful beautiful trees, six or ten, low blossoms, and with so many high blossoms I'm free to take all the low ones I want.

I reach to harvest my first blossom and there, six inches to the side is a butterfly, the same kind (I don't know what that is) that I'd taken a photograph of some years ago and labeled "self-portrait" because, although beautiful, it was rather, shall we say, worse for the wear.  Except this one was perfect, new, sipping from a hanging pod of locust blossoms.

"self portrait"
 
I bowed to the butterfly with an internal "namaste".  And with that I realized why the common usage of that word so irritates me -- it is really only appropriate when we truly DO see the other, with compassion, without all the baggage we ourselves carry.

I continued to harvest blossom pods and add them to my bag but before the butterfly flew away I could have sworn that I heard her say, "Now, here, take this one I have supped from and you supp from it too, and we are one."  As I harvested those blossoms and she settled on the next set and spread her perfect wings . . . to reveal to me that they were not so perfect after all, that she too was worn and torn, and it didn't matter.  It didn't matter at all, to her, or to me, or to the locust blossoms, or anyone or anything.  And I was brought to the verge of tears.  And I harvested those blossoms and continued with others and then the blackberry blossoms, still tight in their spheres, started tittering that soon it would be blackberry winter and wouldn't that be fun.  And there was a grapevine, and redbud beans beginning in their pods, and all within 15 feet of a major US highway, talking to me.

So yes I am not a human being having a spiritual experience but a spiritual being having a human experience and for the time of harvesting those blossoms, that precious sanctuary of sun heavily scented with the blossoms, being human fell lightly off.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

revisit: for Sam

from 11 years ago before we'd made contact again.  Sam died a week ago.  I am broken and I am full and I am thankful and I am struggling with the concept that we are not our bodies.

I Am A Rock

Posted by Hello

This is a real place, painted from memories more than 25 years old. The story goes that Chief Benge carved this saddle in a rock overlooking a pass and from there shot settlers. I think the official chroniclers of such say that isn’t actually so. I don’t know who carved it then, but it is there. I always imagined him sitting on his carved saddle, doing what he could do. He was just one man and he could only do what one man could do, but what one man could do, he did do. Maybe in the end it made no difference, and then again, maybe just the saddle being there made a difference in more lives than just mine and it doesn‘t even matter if he carved it or not.

An old boyfriend name of Sam took me there. He had sat there and carved his name in that rock. I’d like to go see if it is still there sometime. I wonder what he is like, 20 years after I last saw him. We used to go out there and stay until the middle of the night. He was an old soul Capricorn. He was a great mystery before I knew all men were either boys or great mysteries: Before I knew that I had no patience for the boys. I grew up on that mountain and I’ve always been that same girl even when I lost sight of her. Remembering Sam has helped me remember me.

Living on land with creeks and a long dirt road, you learn that things move. They are the same creeks, the same road, but in slightly different places. The ruts and the rapids and the pools and the puddles move around. And it reminds me of me, as a person. I think essentially I’ve always had this beingness that is me, yet I’ve struggled for the appropriate and constructive expression of that.

I think Benge and Sam knew who they really were. I can tell you, a cow knows who she is and that is an inspiring thing. So does a carrot, growing itself unfailingly, carrot to carrot to carrot. The sky may question itself, furrowing its brow. So might the forested hills changing colors in the fall. “Who am I really?” they might ask, but the changes and the cycles and the seasons or even the comings and the goings do not change their fundamental nature. All the navel-gazing in the world cannot reveal who we really are, only living and life and knowing does that. Beingness. It does not depend on an audience, it does not depend on anything. I am that I am God said, and indeed, we are.

Monday, March 28, 2016

on the cascade of interventions

The cascade of interventions is an idea I first came upon in midwifery.  Midwifery itself is shorthand for "how I learned to be pregnant and give birth in a way that promotes the health of the baby, the mother, and the family".  Although interventions in pregnancy and other areas can so often be sidestepped entirely by eating well.  And not being fat.  And not smoking.  And working physically hard.

Those are the four pillars, in no particular order.  Your genes are a crap shoot but there is always epigenetics and if that can go in a negative way (which is the direction in which it has been studied), then it can go in a positive, adaptive, functional, healthy direction too.

Smaller things likely get in there, like don't live in Flint sorts of things, but that's going to exist in high end places perhaps even worse with the lawn chemicals. So anyway. 

In midwifery the cascade of interventions generally starts during the process of birth if it hasn't begun before:  Go into labor, have them attach fetal monitors which requires some time on your back which leads to the perception of fetal distress so they "enhance" labor to speed it up which causes more pain which results in epidural which slows labor . . . and pretty soon you have yourself a c-section and being told by your doctor or perhaps other perhaps well-meaning people that you just could not have a baby vaginally.  Bullshit.  It does happen but it is rare.  You have millennia of successful birthing women standing right behind you. Also:  Birth; as safe as life gets.

None of that means that you are to "blame" if you have a c-section. But it may mean that you didn't know better.  And it may mean that you didn't believe better, like the plethora of people I've known who don't believe that diet can prevent pre-eclampsia now generally called PIH.  If you didn't follow the diet however, if you didn't get enough protein, if you didn't support blood volume expansion, then it doesn't matter if you "believe" it or not, you could have at least tried to prevent it and you didn't.  You didn't, as Maya Angelou said, "When you knew better, you did better."  It isn't blame, it is responsibility.  And responsibility moves.  With information.  There is very little cut and dried anywhere.

I have always felt rather strongly against diagnoses.  Here's a box, get in it, stay put.  Life just isn't like that.  Yeah, maybe once your pancreas stops working, then you are an insulin dependent diabetic, but even so much of that "after the diagnosis" depends on diet and that ubiquitous "lifestyle".  The folks who argue for a chemical basis for mental illness conveniently neglect the fact that while when you change the chemistry you sometimes change the thought, when you change the thought, you do change the chemistry.  The best (that is, most clinically effective) anti-depressant is exercise.  Better than exercise is work to exhaustion with an accomplishment at the end (not a treatmill but a garden, say -- and oh look, then you get to eat food that is chemically and spiritually more healthful, and also then the whole community is stronger and the things that need to not be supported aren't supported, etc.).  People who fart too much after eating beans generally just need to eat beans more often to support the correct gut flora to digest them -- and of course realize that farting is healthy.

I mean, it is not really all that different from cancer.  Cancer is terrible, I'm not saying it isn't, but when talking about a need for a "cure" for cancer, why when people absolutely completely ignore what we know about preventing cancer:  eat widely, work hard, don't be fat, don't smoke.  Sometimes our genes or just the luck of the draw gets us anyway, and almost certainly age itself will get us (the idea that if we don't die of something else, we will die of cancer, eventually), but that doesn't change what we know about prevention.

And then there's the "don't stress" roof over the pillars of health: physical, mental, spiritual.

And so far this whole thing has been about the cascade of health instead of the cascade of interventions but again, what got me thinking about that was the cascade of diagnoses.  The first and most obvious to me example was a good friend to the husband who randomly got screened and had prostate cancer.  In getting "healthcare" for that, he got "healthcare" for a whole lot of other things, I don't even remember now what all but I know it included cholesterol.  Within a couple years he was so very very sick.  Not of prostate cancer, which may have killed him eventually, if given enough time.  After he died his wife told us that he had said to her, "I'm on too much medicine.  It is killing me."  It did.

Years before that a man I knew was in the hospital dying and there was nothing medicine could do for him.  He said, take me off the medicine and let me be.  He got better.  For years.

Some 25 years ago another man we knew took some medicine for a mild condition, a one time medicine, and it shut down his gut and he was far enough gone that he got his affairs in order and stopped all medication except he still took the TPN.  He's 80 now and a fantastic old fart, my favorite old fart.

So those are persons I know/knew and life/death.  But there is also the woman we knew from a homesteading list way back in the day.  I always doubted her "homesteading" because she was exceedingly fat.  You just can't do that much work and be fat.  She has, through the nearly 20 years we've "known" her (virtually -- she blogs now), had every "diagnosis" in the world, including Munchausen's which was likely the only accurate one.  Every doctor who doesn't diagnose her is a quack.  Nothing is ever enough.

But I suppose at least hers are physical diagnoses.  Now I come to the mental ones:  the ones who believe they have ADHD, then autism, then bipolar, until maybe you finally get all the way up to the schizophrenia spectrum.

My point is that just exactly like there is a cascade of interventions possible in childbirth (and likely in medicalized birth), there is likely a cascade of diagnoses and going through that cascade is quixotically enticing and treacherous.

And a particularly ineffective way to be a special snowflake.  Why not admire health instead of unhealth? Strength instead of weakness?  Function instead of disfunction?  Wealth of skill instead of wealth of debt?  That whole sort of thing.   There are a whole lot fewer of those snowflakes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

it is started

"So did you get finished?"

That was the question, after "I saw your photos of your family doing whatever."  She used that word, whatever.

I'm afraid I just blinked.  And finally said something like, "That isn't something you finish."

Even though all my life I have heard people talk about getting the garden "put out", as though it were something done once, at once.  And "putting the garden up" as though you could finish it and put it away.

It is not like that.  I suppose it could be if all you put up was tomatoes.  But if you want salads and greens and peas and cabbage and beans and corn and cucumbers and summer squash and winter squash and potatoes and turnips and and and, well, then it is not.

As one friend of mine puts it: In farming, when you are born there is work to be done; when you die, there is work to be done.  Or as another once said:  Life is work; work is life.  Not employment, not career, not wage or salary, but work worth doing in and of itself; the work of life.  Sometimes that is work that is paid but far far more of it is not, and the less of that we can have, the less we can pay out for other things, the better.  The better off we are, others are, community is, the world is.  And if that is something that you need to "retire" from, well, that is certainly proof it isn't worth doing but rather a selling of your soul.

"You must have had a goal," she said.  Goals are very important to her.  Concrete goals.  Moving right along goals.

"We got started," I said.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Holy. With gravy.

I had burdock in my hair, in my braid, and it wouldn't come out until I unbraided.  Don't know quite how I did that.  I'm used to it on the horse's feathers and the metal mane comb quickly takes that out.  He had some in his tail but not deep, thankfully.  I had them on my pants, shirt.  Something sticks you and you know, oh, a burdock hid there.

Garden work started today, our sabbath, which is our family day and most often involves work together of some sort.  It is the day we have, all together.  We keep it a little holy.  With gravy.

"Everyone" included the big horse today.  He was bad.  Last time he was out, he was so good.  We hadn't prepped a lot or more could have been done but then again, this is the start of prep, and everyone has their things they are doing.  I do the horse.  Sometimes other stuff.  But the horse, this horse, does not wait well.  Unless he gets tired.  He did not get tired today.  He is in magnificent shape.  I am so tickled.  Although that rude stuff, well, maybe we'll use him enough this spring that he'll just learn better than that.

Today included fire, burning brush and corn stalks.  Earth and air and fire and water, return return return return.

We always mean to plow in the fall and grow a winter cover crop but we have not yet actually done that.  A cover crop grows anyway so I don't really see what the problem is.  I think there isn't one and we could just get rid of that thinking that we need to do that.  As we walked across that ground dragging limbs and trees and brush in mostly from the ditches and sides of our road (anything over arm sized will be used as sides for beds and the like, anything smaller helped to burn the corn stalks, add nutrients to the corn field), as we walked over that ground, I took note of the various things growing all over it but even more I noticed all the things scurrying all over it, bugs and spiders and who knows what.  But the ground, the earth was moving, actively.  Now that is an alive soil!

So yeah, we worked, we got started, we have plans, some of which might actually come to fruition, some of which have been plans for years.  Some gets done, some doesn't.  Walk and walk and walk and walk.  Get up today and see what gets done.  When one can choose to work in the garden, do.  When one can choose to ride, ride.  When one has opportunities that one thinks one might want, sure, dare.


And we are tired.