Black Snakes And Other Monsters

standing_rockMy mind does not always make clear lines in what moves me in my life. Is “this” action political? Is “that” one spiritual?  I have often talked about how much I hate specialists and how much I value generalists.  Hoity toity historians, for instance, dislike Will Durant and his “History of Civilization” for being “too general.”  I LOVE his books, for his humanity, for his linkages of political whys to religious or societal or cultural whys!

So when I write here of the ongoing fight at Standing Rock in North Dakota to stop the North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), it is one of those instances of fusion in my mind.  Yes, it is, of necessity, a political battle.  But it is also a spiritual battle.  The Amerindians leading this ecologically vital charge to protect drinking water for their people AND for a lot of seemingly oblivious white people downstream, call the pipeline “the Black Snake” and are correct to say it needs to be killed.

The Gaslighter-in-Chief, the man who makes Comment A behind a closed door with Individual A, and Comment B about the same topic in public before a crowd of mouth-breathers; has signed an Executive Order, most likely drafted by Racist-in-Place Steve Bannon to allow the pipeline to go forward.  Likely this isn’t even legal, just like his immigration ban has illegal elements — barring people already holding visas or green cards, for instance.  Believing and living ANY part of the lies being told so often and loudly that it begins to cloud people’s minds is to becoming ethically and morally compromised.  This IS what makes it a spiritual battle — whether you are traditionally monotheist, pagan, polytheist, or agnostic, or atheist.  EVERY person needs a set of core values to guide their actions.  What do your core values tell you about the practice of breaking treaties (governmental promises/vows) and setting the stage to poison water needed for drinking, irrigation, and other vital life-giving functions?  All for money made off the fossil fuels that are creating global climate change that could render life unbearable on this earth?

I’m not made of money.  We are on a limited income with ever increasing expenses.  When I make a promise I believe in keeping it.  I am no oath breaker!  So the money I usually give to Remote Area Medical Foundation every month, will be halved now.  So I can send $50 a month by check to Standing Rock.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
#1 N. Standing Rock Avenue
Fort Yates, ND 58538.

 For Water, for Life on Earth.


Are You A Warrior?

standing_rockWhat will you fight for? Are you a warrior? Protesting Trump in the streets is futile. So why do you protest him? What does he threaten that you love?

People of color?
Your gay and lesbian friends?
Women’s rights?

Treaty obligations domestic and abroad?
Our planet’s health and ability to sustain us ALL?

So many options, see. Take the defense to that which he threatens — fight to preserve that which you love!

Falling Into Fall

:::Looks back over last weeks posts:::: Well, that was less celebratory and more pissed-off diatribe, huh? Such is life.  It isn’t all roses and chocolates from age 63, believe me.  Sometimes you have to put on pointy boots and kick a little ass to remind people that you aren’t a push-over.


This week, as I come out of a fibromyalgia flare (or whatever-the-hell-was wrong with me), I worked too hard on Monday and Tuesday.    Tuesday night was sleepless pain.  So yesterday, a beautiful clear sunny autumn day, was spent in “reduced” mode: I did laundry, changed the bed, the catbox, and made sourdough bread.  In between those things, I sat in my sunlit living room in front of windows I had washed on Tuesday, and read a novel.

We have bad weather incoming, it has been raining steadily since last night.  So I prepared, yesterday.  As, I said, I baked bread while I still had an oven to do so.  Our oven is propane, but fired ONLY by electric igniters.  I did all the laundry.  Today, the Minotaur is making yogurt.  We filled every spare bit of space in the family freezers with containers of water — frozen, these will not only keep the freezers cold, but can be put in the refrigerator space to save food there in event of power outage.  We have firewood and a fireplace; normally out propane fireplace keeps us warm even in power outages, but this year it is awaiting maintenance and refusing to ignite.The full rain barrels will provide for toilet flushing, we have a huge tank of water with filters to provide drinking, cooking, and clean-up water.

Part of aging successfully?  Is knowing when to prepare and when to stop worrying about whatever you cannot control. I admit, I fear this “leftover typhoon” coming in upon the Washington and Oregon coast, will not be the last.  Our climate has been changing over the almost 30 years of living here — I fear I may live to see the day when a Pacific typhoon (hurricane) roars ashore full force!  I look at my trees and think to them, one living creature to another, “Please stay in your upright positions!”

To be human is to be vulnerable.  To be an aged human is to know and acknowledge that vulnerability.


Is knowing why you do something important? Or does it lead to endless mental tail chasing?

wedding cakeThis has been a repeated question in the marital counseling sessions the Minotaur and I are engaging in for the last six months.  I always need to know the “why” – it informs me and keeps my focus on the game, whatever that is at the moment.  But when the Minotaur goes searching for a “So, how come, anyhow?” it seems to put him on an endless path of regression – going back and back and back into nigh paralysis.  Our counselor has taken the “Nike” approach with my husband: “Just DO it!”

So perhaps it depends on who you are first, and why second?  I’m a bit existential about it, though; I can’t quite be sure who I am if I don’t know what choice – and therefore why I made it – is in fact, defining me.  My husband is different, he lives more in his head and can get lost there.  So, simpler self-commands like “Do it, now!” jump start him far more effectively than answering the whys and wherefores.

So being told to solve a riddle posed by me and act accordingly was more fruitful to change than figuring out why he needed to do so.  I wanted a re-commitment ritual between us, and I wanted the wedding cake I never had.   Yes, yes, I am all about the cake, not really the dress.  The Minotaur couldn’t imagine anything so simple as my desire.  He was making it so hard for himself – thinking all sorts of complicated things might be hidden in my demand.  I finally snapped “and with a FORK!” as a clue to the riddle’s answer.

We both learned something.  He learned his wife’s desires and motivations are not all earth-shatteringly complex.  I learned that my husband way overthinks who I am.  I will doubtless go on telling myself I know why I do the things I do.  I may or may not really know, of course.  I may think I spend twice the price on ten pounds of organic sugar each month for the sake of the earth’s ecology — less poisons and such into the ground.  But maybe I am actually just an elitist snob?

Eric the RedThe hummingbirds who consume that sugar in syrup monthly?  They don’t really care, just so long as the three feeders never run dry!

In the end, while the “why” is informative, it is the doing that counts to change your life or your world.



Poetry Month – Twenty Six (edit)

Was my morning cup stolen from Alice?

For I must be so small,

Sound woke me – overhead clatter,

Across the patio – hummingbirds magnified!

Peacocks strutting the roofline, majestic,

Majestic thieves!

Seed tray ravagers, hunger driven,

Hera’s pets this “king” and his three brides?


(Edit:  Later in the morning, the peafowl were doing mating dances on the Labyrinth.  They were shy, I caught the backside of the huge displaying male from inside the “hide” of my son’s vehicle.  Mooned by a peacock on a Tuesday morning.)


Prose: “There arose on the roof such a terrible clatter” No, I know, I said prose. And I know it isn’t the night before Christmas.  But I was sure I was dreaming when tremendous noise woke me this morning.  It died off, I thought I dreamt and dozed a bit longer.  Then, out the window, atop the Haven I saw them.  As if some wand had blown large the blue-green hummingbirds I feed.

We have always known pet peacocks gone wild lived on the hill behind us; years ago they came to eat cheap cat or dog food off our roof.  They stopped when some redneck took a shot at them from the road.  But this morning they are back and very hungry – the seed trays just sprouting beans and other things to transplant into the garden were devoured.

I wonder what has changed on the hill where they were once self-reliant?  I know my seed feeder for small birds is empty with great speed and I have hummingbird species I’ve never seen before coming and emptying syrup bottles.

We threw handfuls of dog food to them.  When last we looked they were walking in circles on the stones of the Labyrinth.

Poetry Month – Ten – Nature

beached blue

Long under Man’s bridle She danced like a filly,

Now She turns and rears like a Fury,

Her tread marked with blood and worry,

Ne’er “broken” with love, She breaks from love,

To be again Red – in tooth and claw ungloved!


And the prose –

I watch the beginnings of the devastation by weather – I can’t help but to make metaphors and personifications.  I know it is irrational, but it somehow firms the concept for me.

The last time we went to our favorite beaches on the Olympic coast, we found piles of dead seabirds.  And the tiny blue- violet “velella” were ashore in their dead thousands.  Even though this death-littered sand is a rather common event, it filled me with foreboding.

That same year, a huge flock of pine siskins migrated into my gardens, emptying a large seed feeder daily.  They were all bedraggled and thin, and some of them were dying.  Finding body after tiny bird body made me wonder what they had been through to reach the haven of my fir trees.  Their songs ignited every dawn and sang down the sun.  I’d never seen a flock of birds so battered and desperately in need of food and rest.

I watch the weather these days with a sense of dread once reserved for news coverage of the wars.  I hate to sound Biblical — but it does feel as if the time has come to reap what whirlwinds we have sown!  Not that I mean that in a literal Bible sense at all; but the turn of phrase is irresistible.

I watch my gardens fill with birds this spring and feel I am seeing the end of an era of calm, peace, and plenty.  I water flowers and tell myself to hold to grace under the pressures that must come.

Poetry Month – Nine

(Another haiku-free day)

We stand before the Fall,
Not of night, that blessing –
But the fall from Nature’s love,
When still a ray of morning light
Upon a tan leather chair is sweet,
Without portents of doom.

When new soft green needles
Are a-light but unburnt by heat,
When we can still eat almonds,
Though the price becomes dear,
When the sun was our lover,
And the earth danced in it’s light.

When the morning fogs spoke of water,
In whispers soft and white,
When the sunrise didn’t burn the eyes,
Before Nature spurned our touch,
And turned away like a runaway child,
Abused too long, disused too long,

The Prose, Part Two

So yes, it was “set the alarm early” day. The morning chill made us shiver as we walked down our own road to a nature preserve very close at hand. We met five others there and shook hands all ’round. The job was to connect a mislaid trail by cutting a new one and blocking off an old path.

We hacked out sword ferns and black-cap vines, wild roses. A fallen tree blocked our way, and one woman had quite valiantly attacked it with a hand pruning saw — but it was eight inches in diameter and fresh fallen enough that the heartwood was like iron.

FullSizeRender 2Being close, the Minotaur husband walked back home to bring more choppy-sharp things and the pick-up truck and the wheelbarrow to make us all more effective. I used a hatchet on the recalcitrant log, and we made repeated assaults with a reciprocating saw when the batteries were charged. I hacked the final bit of tree away and then gave the freed log a jerk — pulling it clear and falling on my butt as I shouted “Victory!” Finally, the path was clear end to end!

It felt good. It felt primal.

My fingers found the black fresh-water pearls corded roughly at my throat – it felt “rooted” and “grounded” and all those magical things. I’ve been playing with the idea of wearing jewelry “coded” to chakras and days of the week, you see? Today, Saturday, is for Saturn and for the root chakra — so red or black jewelry is my key of the day.  While I am not Eastern religion linked enough to be serious about chakras, it has been a novel way to make me change my jewelry!  Otherwise, lazy me would just put on my labrys pendant and be done!

But the entire morning, hacking and chopping, and asking the strangers sharing this task to think of what we wanted to chop down and out of our world so as to focus our anger, our energy to make the task an accomplished thing?  It almost felt like that base/root chakra woke up to flow enthusiasm up my spine and down my arms!

Let’s hope I UP-rooted more today than unwanted plant matter, eh?