“Stereoscopic vision, depth perception, certain emotions and other perceptions, and the ability to stretch our thumbs farther than most other species, the ability to build and destroy things, and many other traits individually or in combination separate us from other species, not necessarily all species though. Other animals with opposable thumbs include gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and other variants of apes; certain frogs, koalas, pandas, possums and opossums, and many birds have an opposable digit of some sort. Many dinosaurs had opposable digits as well. Granted, most of these are primates, as are we. I wonder if rationalization is something unique to humans. The ability to ponder may be as well.” Continue reading “Our opposable thumb”
It rained for the first time in three months the other day, a deliverance of a sort. The hurricane Hector had come farther and farther north, closer and closer the whole week as it made its way west from the Baja, then skirted the south part of the island as it roared by, dragging a little rain in its wake. A near miss. No real wind and a little rain. A godsend. The fires had been loose around the island for some time so the crews finally had some needed help. The pastures have begun to green again in quick response.
Deliverance and hope.
But then the news that my brother Bryan had worsened. He had been undergoing treatment for a blood cancer, had endured the lengthy ups and downs of chemo and isolation, a second bone marrow transplant, and surgeries, until the doctors said at this point he was not coming back. His wife and daughter were beyond exhaustion. Bryan awoke long enough to say the sun is good, and he wanted to go to the sun.
There are no coincidences, and today NASA launched the first ever spacecraft toward the sun, designed to spiral in ever closer over many years…
The owl came at dusk and circled once to tell us it was time.
Tonight the Perseids meteor showers blossomed, glowing tears across the sky, sorrow and celebration all at once…
Safe passage Bryan on your journey to the sun… Sail on
Central Montana, it turns out, is having the best year for farms in recent memory, with round bales of hay in dense profusion on the landscape, luxuriant fields of barley undulating in the wind, thick stands of golden wheat ripening under the sun, and happy, fat cattle. Our first stop on our farm tour was a young farmer – Curt Myllymaki – on a large cattle and field crop farm (over 1000 acres) who is experimenting at scale with innovative crop rotations, dual cropping, and cover crops to restore soil fertility. We visited a field that was dual cropped with flax and chickpeas, as well as some stray sunflowers that “was left over in the seed hopper.” Continue reading “On a Montana Farm Tour: Small Innovations that Could Mean a Lot”
We don’t need more renewable energy to power how we live, but to change how we live so we don’t need that power. – Patrick Noble, https://convivialeconomy.com
There are some writers on the internet that get thousands of clicks and hundreds of comments every week. Generally these writers work hard to build their online community of readers. Their art is that of building a common language.
There are others who don’t have the knack or interest in building their readership. I suspect they are the kind of artist that is fascinated by something on the horizon, something that is not readily visible, and even less readily conveyable. Their art is that of illumination and discovery. Continue reading “Against Complacency: the fierce voice of Patrick Noble”
Some days are better than others. Some days it’s hard to breathe. Those days start out red. Continue reading “Red Dawn: Living under the Eruption”
a heavy heart as the lava flows toward Kapoho,
of all the special places on Hawai’i a jewel.
the tidepools, shallow ponds separated by
a lacy network of low coral and lava walkways,
where the people can go out a half mile into the ocean
and see the little fishes, a calm protected reef,
the seas held just outside, a place where the little
ones come right up and nibble on your fingers
while the lava flow is not quite there yet
it continues on its course
I’m not sure why but today’s reflection posted by Richard Rohr seemed like something worth sharing.
“We are told that Jesus hung out with publicans, tax collectors, and sinners. Perhaps during these sessions of music, laughter, and food fellowship, there were also . . . moments when the love of God and mutual care and concern became the focus of their time together. Contemplation is not confined to designated and institutional sacred spaces. God breaks into nightclubs and Billie Holiday’s sultry torch songs; God tap dances with Bill Robinson and Savion Glover. And when Coltrane blew his horn, the angels paused to consider.
Some sacred spaces bear none of the expected characteristics. The fact that we prefer stained glass windows, pomp and circumstance . . . has nothing to do with the sacred. It may seem as if the mysteries of divine-human reunion erupt in our lives when, in fact, the otherness of spiritual abiding is integral to human interiority. On occasion, we turn our attention to this abiding presence and are startled. But it was always there.”
Perhaps it was the use of the word erupt that took my mind to the people of Hawaii, but I started to think about how even amidst the disasters of life…God breaks in…another way of saying that the sacred is always there. My heart goes out to all those Hawaiians faced with recent volcanic eruptions and perhaps more to come. I’m not trying to make light of the situation. Living in the middle of the North American plate, I seldom feel the earth shake. The only roar I hear is the thunderstorm and maybe once in a lifetime, a tornado. The power of the earth experienced as an earth quake, volcano, or tsunami is almost beyond my imagining. I’m beginning to understand why people of the Hawaiian Islands made sacrifices to appease the God’s when the volcanoes erupted.
The photo of the plants covered with lava in Michelle’s last post seemed poignant to me somehow. It reminded me that nature is tenacious. No matter what events surround us; we pick up the pieces and move on. Perhaps it’s harder to see the other side, when dark smoke fills our view. But eventually the lava turns to soil and plants will thrive in its mineral richness. Perhaps this is why prayers and sacrifices are given, to remind us that the sacred is still there. To hope that we can find the courage and strength to face loss and adversity.
My prayers to everyone in Hawaii for their safety and speedy recovery.
There are disasters happening all over the world, but to lose your home to lava is incredibly final. There is no going back. For anyone who might want to help those families that have lost their homes to lava flows and/or been evacuated from the rift zone this is a good site:
Photo credit: Trevor Hughes, USA Today
“Sharing the same motivations and rules of the self interest game created a common orientation and thus a common operating system for economic actors to participate in.” Brian Davey, Credo, 9.
For a few days I’ve been sleeping in airplanes and hotel rooms. There is nothing in a hotel room that tells you about life. There is a bed, a TV, and some electrical outlets. The closest thing to life is the water piped in, and the view if there is one. Everything non-human has been disappeared except as it appears on the breakfast, lunch or dinner plate. “There is no there there,” as Gertrude Stein once said so famously of Oakland, (By which she meant the place that she had known had been disappeared). What does it mean to live in a place which is no place, an abstraction made concrete (and of concrete), a place where appetite is untethered from its context and therefore unlimited in scope and blind ferocity?
These are the places we made in the name of a certain kind of pantheon of economic Gods – in the name of Efficiency and Innovation and Growth and Jobs. These are the names of the orthodoxy now. It is difficult to argue with the gods. It always has been. These are the places that we make under the influence of our gods – hotel rooms, office buildings, airports. They represent the ideals of our civilization. They are clean to the point of sterility, air-conditioned, anonymous, secure, profitable. These, it seems, is the realm we make when the rules of the game are determined by the lowest common denominator of humanity: unmitigated self-interest. We make places that are stripped of all life and love of life. We make places that are cold, efficient, and impersonal. We make places that reproduce our lowest common denominator – our blind self-interest, our infinite appetite.
As I am traveling in this world of placeless hotel rooms, the DJ Avicii, a mere boy in his 20’s but a superstar of the Electronic Dance Music scene, is dying of a drug overdose in another hotel room in Muscat, Oman. It is a lethal world, this world, even for those who are its “winners,” and infinitely more so for the “losers.”
Why am I traveling in the karmic realm (avicii) of hotel rooms and airports? To protect its opposite paradoxically enough. Brian Davey’s speaks of such places:
“People living in human communities situated in specific biological communities (eco-systems) may come, over time, to recognise that the eco-system in which they live has a “balance level” of health. This is is not the same as what economists understand by equilibrium but a dynamic negotiation between the different elements beyond which “tipping points” occur and the system slips into a different state altogether. The sense of responsibility for the maintenance of a place and the way of life embodies and embeds a recognition of the need to stay back from these ecological tipping points. This is based on a keen appreciation of the needs of the whole human community, as well as the need to maintain balance in the community of species of which it is a part (the eco-system).” Davey, 32.
What if we thought about economics in terms of looking at the whole picture of life on Earth? What if we let economics be about our better selves – the selves that love and nurture our children without pay, that serve as volunteers in our communities, that feel and act on our connection to the environment? What if we advocated for a kind of economics that saw the whole picture of what it means to be alive instead of the current definition that has us fighting over scarce resources, selling ourselves to the highest bidder, bull-dozing “empty” land to make into hotel-rooms, and sacrificing our health and happiness in the name of success?
This is all to say that I am reading Brian Davey’s book Credo (available for free online) where he advocates for just such another kind of economics, and that it’s worth checking out, as well as the website for FEASTA of which Davey is a frequent contributor.
Also here’s a picture of some lovely snowdrops – which I had never seen before – at Jody’s house. Amazingly beautiful little things!