Category Archives: Environmental

Regeneration and Rejuvenation in Three Parts

PART I

Our lap pond no longer leaks. It hardly even evaporates. And I am determined to swim every day because this is not a four season pool and the season is fast coming to a close. The last two days, the water was 68 degrees and the air a bracing 47. Nippy. Almost too but still beareable. Delicious and there is a part of me that needs to be in that pool with the frogs and water bugs. When swimming between two mountains in that very cold water, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and convergence. As if all that has happened in my lifetime actually makes sense. That being here at Darwin’s View is exactly where I am meant to be. After these last seven years of bewilderment, that’s refreshing.

How get into the water? Once decided to do it (no, yes, no, yes, no, yes), I ask leave of the resident leopard frog. He dives off into the darkness, to safety. I step onto the first step to follow him, and the next, and the next. I can’t spend time considering the chill of the water. I know that if I hesitate for too long, my toes will be numb before I am fully submerged, and the swim will be a euphemism for a mere wetting. Splash! I’m in and fully awake, swimming from a pinked-by-the-sunrise Mount Monandock toward Pac Monadnock. Clouds rest on its shoulder like a blanket of snow. As I come up for breath, I note the plants of the pool’s stone bed regeneration system. Below me, water bugs do the breast stroke. Snails on the side of the pool. A dragonfly birthed from its cocoon. Skin chilling, I feel the shape of my body, where it ends and the water begins. My awareness of my feet, legs, torso is vivid. The water livens me. It heals me. It is me. Being. I am in the moment, for once, because the moment, this one in the pool, is absolutely perfect.

Only three laps. Four. Five. I could swim forever, and want to, but the cold sinks into my blood. My toes cramp. Unlike the frogs, I am not cold-blooded. Yet, even as I step out of the pool, I regret that sensation of breathless cold against my skin. That feeling of aliveness. Of I exist. Of I am. And I know the ununtterable importance of that beingness. Has anyone else felt it? It is without boundaries. It is the sensation of oneness. That we are all bound up in a whorl of energy that has no beginning or end.

PART II

An example of a lack of boundaries: Our free-range, a.k.a. feral, chickens. They have no discretion as proven by the peeps, who are now adolescents. They have taken over the handicapped-accessible walkway to the porch. It is dotted with their poo. Mo, in particular, likes to hang out there as the enclosure gives echo to his crow.

Yes, once again, we have hims. Mo and Muff. Mo is the top dude and chasing the older hens who are, needless to say, pissed that their peace and quiet is once again being broken by some upstart trying to mount them in adolescent fashion: no foreplay whatsoever. Mo is more concerned with his own needs than the hens’ which, if you are paying attention at all, you will note is pervasive in the world today. Too few are willing to take the time to consider the other side.

PART III

Balance. Life requires balance. In our demo-n-capitalist society, balance has been gerrymandered away. Energy, in the form of money, has been used to upend democracy, creating an unnatural chaos, a seemingly bottomless vortex of anger and hate that masks a deep and unexplored fear. Unbearable sadness. The pain of rejected love and lost connection. We will have to face that pain, if we are to heal it. It is very ugly. Evil. As terrifying as it is terrified. But here we are at a confluence of tides: hate meeting compassion. Words meet action. Words are so much easier. After all, here I am on my little hill taking a dip in my piece of heaven, a regenerative lap pond. Easy for me to say march in peace, be. I am white. I’ve never known poverty. My present moment isn’t dangerous.

Granted, one never knows. There is a gun club near us here. People practicing their aim on human forms.

Would Jesus do that?

Mohammud?

Buddha?

We know that Ghandhi didn’t shoot guns, and I have wondered: in real life, as opposed to fiction, does good win over evil? Compassion and love over hate. There does seem to be a shift going on. We are in the midst of a nightmare but look how many people now are involved and active  against intolerance and hate who would not have been otherwise. The question being, will it be enough? Like so many totalitarian regimes, our current head of government doesn’t listen. Doesn’t care. He rolls forward unheeding, like an army tank over living beings. Individuals sacrifice for something bigger than any one person. Life snuffed. Is there still hope?

Rather like the eclipse. It was only a partial eclipse at Darwin’s View. Even so, it was unsettling to watch. Through the welder glasses that friends of ours brought, the sun was green. Had I been a youth, I would have announced, “It’s not the moon that is made of blue cheese but the sun!”

A bite in the sun, getting bigger and bigger, and mini eclipses scattered on the ground through the dappled light of trees.

We know the science of it, the physics, but what of its magic? The energy of so many people coming together to watch the power of Mother Nature. The moon calmly, steadily, inevitably covering the sun. Only for two hours. And then the sun came back . . . perhaps changed. I like to think so. I like to think that maybe the patriarchal norms that have ruled this society shifted, influenced by the moon’s energy and all the women who have been galvanized by the current situation. I like to think that maybe, just maybe, instead of destruction, we will begin to rebuild, using our humanity, not our greed and fear, as the foundation. I have to believe this because the alternative is as dark as if the sun had not come back.

Last week the eclipse.  Next week, a full moon. The tides rise. Especially in Texas.

The Stoner Dudes and Solar Eclipse

I’d like to introduce the Stone Dudes, Mo and Muff. Like their sisters—Squeaky, Sparrow, Black-Gold and Gold-Black—they were supposed to be girls. Enter reality.

The old hens—Ping, CooLots, Chickadee, Brownie and Apricot—look askance at the adolescents. Do these gawky, skitterish dudes really think . . . anything?

Before I get too far into the chicken kerfuffles up here at Darwin’s View, I’d like to say this: Welcome back! To me, too. I haven’t been here in a while. And recognize, too, that I have attempted to reset this blog a few times in the last three years. Today, though, is different. Today is special. On so many levels.

The Personal: As of yesterday, Carl and I are entirely moved out of Providence. The sale of the house there is pending . . . and all our stuff is here. Bulging at the seams. We have doubles of everything, and back ups of more. Our near future looks to be full of culling and letting go inside the house even as we weed and clear and plant outside. There will be no more looking back to Providence. We will focus on here, with intention!

We can hope, right?

The Societal: Interesting times, in a Chinese curse way, aren’t these? Having been an East European History major in college, I always thought it was odd that Russian touted itself as the communist thang under the pseudonym “The Soviet Union” when it made so much more sense for the United State of American, the true (sic) capitalist society to step up to the plate. After all, we had the real middle class, a working class that could be downtrodden and destroyed by the rich. And here we are! We’re a bit late to the game but we have our .01% of the rich having more wealth than the rest of the population combined, and pushing and clawing for more. Education has been removed in favor of fake news and social media that with a snap of a button can be shut down, thereby creating chaos which is what revolutions thrive on. Something is brewing out there.

The question being, will it be a revolution for, of and by the People, or a take-over by the oligarchy that currently runs things, known at this blog site as Demo-n-capitalist Bastards?

The World: To harken back to those naive days when I claimed to be at war against climate change, here we are! Admit it or not, climate change is happening. We humans destroyed the old world, decimating countless species, poisoning the skies and waters . . . but no need to go down that path. Let’s look on the bright side: we now live in the Anthropocene age, where nature is no longer part of the picture. These are human created times. Everything around us has been touched by us. Humans have infected—for lack of a better word—the world and to go forward in our existence on this planet, we now must figure out a way to survive as a species in this new world.

Does it matter if we don’t?

The Universe: Oh, sigh. Couldn’t it, we, be better? Couldn’t we, as a species, shift to a new way of being? One not based on destruction? Thinking of the billions of beavers killed for a hat, I wonder if there isn’t a way to co-exist with those little bastard groundhogs who eat our gardens, and wild horses who persist on eating the grasses reserved by us for our cattle. Is it necessary to kill off all the natural environment?

Of course! We have to feed ourselves. But it seems we aren’t doing a very good job of that. Millions of people are in the process of losing their homes as the oceans rise. Others as their soils turn to dust.

I know. It isn’t economic to save everyone. It might be an idea to educate them, though. A dirty little secret: If we educated women, in particular, they’d have fewer babies. In one generation, we could half the population. Which is currently burgeoning to unsustainable levels. And if we gave the poorer populations food and not bullets, there’s be less cause for war. If we cooperated and recognized that without each other, without nature’s web to sustain us . . .

It sounds touchy feely, doesn’t it? New agey to talk about cooperation and compassion and love, thereby ignoring the existence of hate and racism and greed.

But why not? We have to start somewhere. We are in the midst of a crisis that the opioid crisis manifests. We have a civil war fomenting in our selves and on all levels of self.  How heal? When?

Today there will be a solar eclipse. The moon will shade the sun, giving it a well deserved break. Being the sun–and oh so masculine–must be fraught. I will be watching our chickens for their reaction. And the cats, too. Where we live it will only be a partial eclipse but I’m still holding to the possibility that maybe  this brief, mid-day dusk will herald a dawning.

It will. For me, anyway. Have you noted? I haven’t given up yet. I am back, again, and again hitting the reset button in hopes of starting, for me if no one else, a new age of beingness, compassion and creation. I believe that, however vile humans might appear to be, yet we have an even greater capacity to love. So long as we try. Again and again. We cannot give up. If we do, it would cost us our humanity.

I’m gonna be like this Stoner Dude. Mo has been practicing his crow for a couple of weeks now. He’s getting better. Granted, he’ll never be Big Red. Just as the world will never be what it once was, with Dodo birds and Giant Sloths. But it might be something else. Something quite beautiful, if intangible: a world in which humans are their better selves, entirely conscious, aware of the great beauty around them, and caring for it, tending it, being.

My Goals for the End of April, in Preparation for May

GOALS:

On Saturday, today, attend the People’s Climate Mobilization March in Keene, thereby combining relative Climate Action with errands, thereby lowering carbon footprint by not driving to Concord or Boston, thereby alleviating sense of “Is this enough?” with reality of daily life.

Print out “No Ban. No Walls. No Raid.” signs to be put up at our house in Providence.

Spread POV (peas, oats, vetch) seed.

Stir and spread BD preps.

Host Apple tree grafting party with Ben Watson at Darwin’s View.

Jump start blog.

And clean up basement in anticipation of the extreme organizing because here is my May goal: Sell our house in Providence.

Yes, we are putting our Providence house on the market, hopefully by May 12th.

OMG. However do that?

Breathe.

Go step by step.

Rememember this: loss happens. Letting go. Change. Every minute of the day, there is change. Today. Now. It is a beautiful day here at Darwin’s View. The clouds this morning looked like glowing, puffy gray pillows. Mist on the hills. Tom Turkeys gobbling. Barn swallows swooping. Chickens cackling. The trees are as amazing in spring as in the fall with their variety of greens. Carl’s peach trees are covered with buds. (Not bugs!) The clouds are now a haze that allows the sun to warm the backs of the browsing turkeys.

May 1: Drive to Providence to put up “No Ban. No Walls. No Raid.” signs. Meet with real estate agents and staging consultant. Greet the 15 yard dumpster. Remind Carl to go to his 2PM dentist appointment. Prepare to pack.

May 1-4: Rip out our raised beds. Pluck the iris out of the ground. Roll sod. Mulch.

Pack. Preferably not everything. There is no room for everything at Darwin’s View.

Contemplate the consequences of my choices. Badabing! Done.

But first a march and rally to keep the bigger picture in mind: that we must each, individually, act now, in however big or small a way, to change our habits for the good of the environment. Each and every one of our choices matter. How we get from point A to B. What we eat. How we relate to one another: with compassion or hate.

The words “trump” and “nasty” have been forever ruined for me.

By May 12: Assist Carl in building Chicken Coop 10 for the chicks that are supposed to be pullets but one of the buff polish chicks has a head top that looks remarkably like a mohawk, not a muffin top. His sister (I hope) has more of a muffin top than a mohawk. Thus their names, tentatively, Muff and Moe. And all of these chicks, frankly, have “stand up and look at me” attitudes a la cockerels.

That would just be bad luck to pick six sexed chicks and have them all be boys.

Two trips to NYC.

. . . and move out of Providence.

Even if I move, it exists in my heart. And I imagine what it must be like for refugees. How awful to be forced to leave home, lives in danger. Hunger, thirst, fear. Great fear opposing their longing for home. The unfamiliarity of here. The necessity of enduring, living, loving.

Loving is so much better than hating, giving so much more fulfilling than clinging.

But this is just a rough list. No times to deepen or truly think. It’s time to rally, to march.

There is a Storm Coming. No. It’s Here.

Ever since moving up here to Darwin’s View four years ago, I have been in a holding pattern.

. . . Holding pattern might not be the right term. Holding pattern implies stillness, a lack a change, not the hyper-activity, both outside and in, that has occurred. The pattern I speak of could be considered, dare I say it? an evolution. Writing a book in which I am the main character, riding a familial roller coaster that takes me away, even as I seek to root. ADD and OCD. Hot sweats and cold sweats. WtF moments. From Bernie to HRC to Orange Julius in the White House, this day is as pivotal for me as that, five years ago, when I stood in a grocery store debating, for a crazy length of time, which might be the happiest eggs to buy. That interior dialogue determined me to buy six chicks because I would have the happiest of eggs. Thus, here I am at Darwin’s View.

Life is not so simple. That rendition of reality ignores a number of other factors but it gets me here, living off-grid, dipping into permaculture, and distracted by the activity of building an addition to our perfectly-sized house.

Carl commented yesterday that our house is like U.S. politics, in renovation mode. I pointed out, grumpily, that that is what I have been attempting to write for the last four years: how our lives here are a microcosm of our nation. And that, at this rate, the world will end before my book does because on top of everything else, now we must work to save our democracy.

Must. As Paul Gilding wrote in his book The Great Disruption, this in no longer a case of what you want to do, but of what you have to do. 

Through my evolutionary process I have learned not to get overwhelmed by doing this: Go step by step. Don’t look too far ahead. Hydrate. Especially when sprouting seedlings.

And so, what am I doing in these interesting times? All the things that everyone says to do. In cyclical moods, I think these things only to keep us busy. The petitions. The donations. The phone calls. Do they really make a difference? At least I will have tried.

To repeat, in part what I said in my last post: I am calling my senators and representatives, at the state and national level, a minimum of once a week, preferably every day. Each day, a new concern and new outrage. When it gets too overwhelming and there are too many outrages? I focus on environmental issues because I still, in the background, have my war against climate change to fight and win.

I have printed out my Indivisible Guide and read . . . most of it.

I am going to go to my town hall and learn more about how local politics work by finding out how to submit a petition to support our first amendment rights. And will get that petition signed.

I have not yet but intend to read conservative, preferably sane and civilized, articles on the environment and/or daily events so as to attempt to understand the “other” side. Because we have to find common cause. It’s there. When I went door to door for Bernie, I met a lot of people who were waffling between Bernie and the too soon to be Orange Julius. We Americans are far more alike than we are different.

I am participating in marches. They might be feel good events but the numbers that are turning out is heartening. We are doing what “they” fear: We are sitting up and paying attention.

In response? They ignore us. They ignore We, the People.

Hm. That brings to mind the William Congreve quote, Hell Hath no Fury like that of a woman scorned.

Imagine the fury of three million and counting. And their spouses. And their children.

This week, the wall between the old house and the addition will come down. Isn’t that fitting? Tearing down a wall between the past and future is symbolic of this time. We plan to serve tequila and avocados because if Orange Julius builds his wall, those won’t be available to us anymore.

I would prefer to sit in my office and tap at my keyboard, read, pet the cats, hang out with the chickens. But if I am complacent, who can I blame if Orange Julius wins?

Silver-Lining Anyone?


Every day, the world breaks my heart. The destruction of the environment. The horrors of factory farms. The rending of our social fabric by alienation, disrespect and deceit. Every day, I fail to live up to my hopes. My war against climate change, declared so quixotically back in March of 2013, has come to naught. Ditto my quest to save democracy. If anything, both are worse off than when I began.

Maybe I aimed too high. As more than one person has told me, one person can’t change the world.

. . . An arguable point. Think Hitler. Think Mahatma Gandhi. Going forward, think Vandana Shiva and Bill Mollison. Going backwards, think Orange Julius.

Orange Juliu is assaulting our rights, insulting our citizens, spewing hate and greed, casting aspersions on truth and holding the flag of deception high and proud, all the while ignoring the no longer hypothetical warming of the planet.  Orange Julius and his diabolic appointees exude that gross ethos that has evolved in certain strata of America. Not that around Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness but around money. Moneymoneymoneymoneymoney gives meaning and purpose to life. And if you don’t have enough of it—and there is never enough—you will be crushed. Thus, those with it grasp, in terror, for more, and We, The People are in a “crossfire chicken wing”—one of the top ten best wrestling holds used to bring the enemy to its knees.

The enemy, apparently, is us.

The good news? Our infantilization is over.  Orange Julius has wiped the vernix from our eyes. It is now perfectly clear what We, The People are up against: Demo-n-Capitalism. Like  Orange Julius, it doesn’t care about right or wrong. It has the power and will do anything, anything at all, to keep it.

More good news: Had HRC won—which she did but who’s counting? And had she been the one inaugurated today, We, The People would have continued as we were. We would have popped some GMO’ed popcorn and settled in for another four years of Republican rabidity, searching for something, anything, that would stick against the Clintons that the Republicans were not, themselves, guilty of. We would have continued to watch the lowering baseline of our environment, our economy, our politics and our humanity. In short, we would have maintained the entirely unsustainable status quo.

Instead? We have a choice: Door number one, change and sacrifice in the name of a greater good, or door number two, wait for someone to save us, with that someone not being anywhere in sight.

Four years ago, in a baby step way and not really aware of the extent of the consequences, I chose a prototype to door number one. I moved to Darwin’s View. Here, I am looking deep, trying to find my heart’s purpose and how I might fulfill what potential is me.

Each of us has that: potential, a heart’s purpose.

This Tory is a liberal, and proud to be. And I have never had my life, liberty and happiness threatened as deeply as it is today. I am not black nor brown. I am not poor. I speak English with an occasion dip into a rebel Rhode Island twang or a New Hampshire drawl. But, as are so many black, brown, poor, non-native speaking people living in this country, I am an American. I might not be proud of what my country has done in the name of progress and oil and money but I am proud of what this country might become—will become if We, The People look deep and find how we each might act out our life’s purpose, and help others to do the same.

The best news of all: Today, the inauguration of  Orange Julius, is a 9/11 moment. People all around the world are marching with us against misogyny, sexism, racism, zealotry, ignorance, and for the planet. We are not alone if we choose not to be. We are not alienated unless we opt not to see how connected we are to each other and to this beautiful planet. It has taken decades for us to get to this point of change. It’s a personal choice how we each will act. To march or not. To fight—literally or figuratively—or not. But this need not be a lonely work.

To save the world and its soils and water and sentient creatures, to save our democracy and the freedoms we hold dear, is actually very simple, if a challenge to implement. We have the tools to heal and the power to shift from greed, domination and consumerism to compassion, equality and sustainability. Think local. Think community. Think solar eclipse. The moon, feminine, covering, calming, nurturing the sun, masculine in the midst of a two year olds tantrum of mememememoney. The mother asking us to listen, not the father requiring us to submit.


My baby steps.

For the past week, I have been calling my senators and representatives, speaking of my outrage at  Orange Julius’s nominees. If nothing else, I now have a rapport with the folks who answer the phones. This will become a dialogue. I will learn from it.

This morning, I was disappointed in myself. I didn’t have the courage to go by myself to march anywhere. And then I spoke with a friend and tomorrow, she and her husband and Carl and I are going to Concord to march. And we will meet up with this friend’s friends and now, instead of judging my limitations, I am excited to be with people, meet people, maybe even volunteer to help.

And soon, I will plant seeds in soil, and Carl and I will begin to implement what we have been  preparing, in our ad hoc way, for four years. The way forward. I come back to Vandana Shiva and seeds, and to Bill Mollison and permaculture.

Is that my path?

I don’t know. But I do know this: Our democracy, our planet and we are in grave danger. Our government doesn’t care. Each day we each must choose and every one of those choices matter.

Pasty Butts, the Stone Age Redux Blog & Feng Shui

I have decided to take it personally. Wouldn’t you? I very specifically said PULLETS ONLY. FEMALES. Right? AUTO SEXED FEMALES. Not a complicated request. To the question, what if not enough AUTO SEXED FEMALES are hatched? I said, I would take SEX-LINKED FEMALES.

IMG_2956
Lower left chick is the definitive boy.

The chicks arrived. I opened the box, and gently removed them into the temporary brooder. I noted to Carl that three of the chicks looked alike, and one not. In fact, that one looked remarkably like Cordelia did two years ago when s/he hatched, whom later we dubbed Cornelius. . ..

Continue reading Pasty Butts, the Stone Age Redux Blog & Feng Shui

Biodynamics: My Introduction

Ping!
Ping! With a Redhead in the background

It’s humbling. I am at the bottom of yet another steep learning curve . . . not (as suggested in my last post) of Ayn Rand’s philosophy—I haven’t had time to stop by a book store to check out her works—but that of Biodynamic planting. BD.
IMG_2612This is the time of year I attempt to join that illustrious community called “real gardeners”. I have pulled out my seeding paraphernalia and contemplated my what-some-day-might-pass-as-a-garden with a tickle in the belly. A hope for warmth to follow winter’s cold. Anticipation of that peaceful and amazing process called growing one’s own seedlings: placing a seed into soil and having it grow big and strong, not straggly, eventually to produce a vegetable, fruit, leaf or root. Typically, on an arbitrarily chosen day and time, I don my gardening gloves and proceed to stick seeds into the soil. I begin calmly and in organized fashion. Time passes. I don’t have enough wood sticks to mark what has gone where. Confusion sets in. The gloves come off. I am only half way through the seed packets and Continue reading Biodynamics: My Introduction

Mud Season 101

MUD SEASON 101

IMG_2633_2Saturday was a spectacular day. It was spring like they write about.

Our rosemary plants and Figgy out sunning themselves.
Our rosemary plants and Figgy out sunning themselves.

I had planned to go to the Monadnock Writers Meeting to hear the New Hampshire Poet Laureate but at home, I dawdled. By the time I left, I had missed the meet and greet part of the meeting but was determined to follow through with my plan-for-the-day: Attend the talk and discussion, then go off to buy organic shrubberies, wherever I might find them. A happy balance of intellectual stimulation and interaction with people, and gardening prep.

IMG_2610_2. . . Determined might be too strong a word. Ambivalent. Continue reading Mud Season 101

NH Rebellion

IMG_2049No excuses. I haven’t posted in far too long. But today is a good day to begin. A week plus into the new year, I am in a place that I can settle (Providence) and have the time to focus (a la Felix) on an issue that is my new life’s mission and the subject of my next book, Darwin’s View One Breath After Midnight. As anyone who read my 2013 blog knows, that mission is to save the world. And to do that, democracy must be saved from what I have dubbed Demo-n-capitalism. Thus, Carl and I have joined the NH Rebellion.

Have you heard of it? Continue reading NH Rebellion

Pipelines, Book Tour and Twits. I mean Tweets.

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View of Darwin’s View from the top of Mt. Monadnock. Can you see us?

You will be happy to know that I deleted a two page rant on Spectra Energy. If you want to know what set me off, go to EcoRI.org and read “Little Notice and Low Turnout at Pipeline Meeting” by Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News staff.

The low down? If we don’t get more informed and outraged, in about two years, Spectra Energy will most likely get the okay to put a gas pipeline from Weymouth, MA., through Burrillville, RI all the way to New Jersey.  It will run through Tiverton and Little Compton. And under the Sakonnet River to Middletown. . ..

But don’t get me started. EcoRI.org. Excellent website. “Little Notice and Low Turnout at Pipeline Meeting” by Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News staff.

imagesSpeaking of trains–which I wasn’t but let’s go with trains of thought and then real trains, which have replaced my chicken obsession–my Cross-Country Whistle Stop Book Tour with Flash Readings is planned! And I finished the first (aka sh**ty) rough draft of my next book–Darwin’s View One Breath After Midnight. TOOT! TOOT!

Do you see how they tie together?

Continue reading Pipelines, Book Tour and Twits. I mean Tweets.