Standing Rock & Roll

Today, like always, I put on some classical music when I got up. It’s usually Bach, but sometimes a Mozart string piece. I’m less imaginative about  music choices before I’ve had caffeine than after. Lately I’ve discovered Irish Harp, and I’d like to hear more of that but youtube doesn’t have many Irish Harp selections.

I realized this morning I hadn’t written in my journal for about a week. I’m in less shock than most people, I think, about the national turn of events. Yes, someone let the crazies out of Napa State, but what else is new? I was jolted awake by George W. Bush using Scalia’s Supreme Court to prevail over whats-his-name, who I’m told is still “getting over it.”

I’m told poor Hillary said she will take a long time to get over the same thing. What is it with these politicians? Do they think the American people are therapists? Why are they talking as if we’re interested in their personal response to a failed bid for public office? These people are ineloquent reminders of the communications lapse between politicians and the populace. We need the ship of state to be competently staffed.

Politicians appear to think they’re on a personal quest to be the winner of a power pageant, and somehow we need to be reassured of their emotional investment in winning. The populace’s position is that we want them to earn the money they make instead of stealing it from us. The truly annoying thing is that neither Hillary nor Gore has the slightest notion of what it means to be alive outside of their annoying circles of influence. Their insular lives blaring out at us via the mainstream media is truly toxic because the ship of state is sinking and we need competent, knowledgeable, trained staff in key positions and at the helm of our ship of state.

But no! The ship MUST sink, and I ask why?

Is it because the ship is unseaworthy? I have to consider this, because right now Standing Rock is the only place in America where true national unity is possible. Our Native American sisters and brothers, including Winona LaDuke, are giving us the opportunity of a lifetime to stand up and do the right thing, to join them in OUR fight to force DAPL to stand down.

The fall election of 2016 is a blow to our emotions. We are supposed to be immobilized with fear and disbelief. Yet, if we act like Hillary and Gore, we will just keep talking about how disbelieving and fearful we’ve become instead of recognizing our incredible opportunity to heal, and standing with our Native American brothers and sisters at Standing Rock.

Hillary and Gore do not represent anybody except those in their insular lives. That is clear. The Native Americans are representing our Earth Mother, and all her children. With whom do most people have more in common, tiny insular populations of wasteful, inarticulate losers, or those who gratefully breath the air and drink the water Mother Earth makes, and stand up for their right to continue doing so?

Tiny populations of power-hungry politicians and their hangers-on are immune to the kindly, forgiving influence of Mother Earth, why are they allowed to continue to harm our planet?

They know very well how much power the people can access when we focus on shared goals. The key is trust, and the bridge is love. Fear and disbelief lock the mind from perceiving and utilizing these fundamental, commonplace treasures.

Trust that there’s singular opportunity in this moment and step onto the bridge of love. Don’t look back. If Dylan can win the Nobel Prize, Trump can be President — I guess! The men who sold the world aren’t alive now, but their legacy is. We the people, have what money can’t buy: a purpose supported by the powers that be.

The Hollies once sang it best, “Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breath and to love you.” I say this now to Mother Earth:





21st Century Box

I come in a 20th century box. This blog for example. I’m my only follower, I think. I was starting this wordpress blog and following prompt after prompt, uploading photos here and there, and accidentally became my one and only subscriber. Cool!

This must be what you call self-respect. I wish more politicians had it. It means you believe what you say and do what you believe is right. And it isn’t easy because there aren’t many examples of self-respect. Certainly a person with 100% self-respect is rare. If you have 100% self-respect, the wisdom goes, you’re missing significant humility.

But this world respects the middle-dweller; the person who accepts his or her own flaws, forgives him or herself, and asks forgiveness of others, and asks to continue on his or her path, with thanks.

What to do or say when one has found respite? Tonight is such a night. I delivered a nice salad to Rose, and she was tucked into bed watching Netflix, comfy. Why should I be satisfied when my kid is watching the boob-tube? Because it means she can relax. If The Best Years of Our Lives was on Netflix I’d be curled up in bed watching it tonight, but since it isn’t a book will suffice.

I have a home, fortunately. Some people, a lot of people, don’t. Yesterday I stood on the grass in front of the Humboldt County Courthouse and held up a little sign that said, “Today is Homeless Eviction Day.” It referred to the policy the City of Eureka came up with to get rid of the encampment that formed after they evicted the encampment in the Palco Marsh. Now these houseless folks have nowhere safe to go, and they face arrest for existing. I learned yesterday, while demonstrating, that Attorney Peter Martin has taken the City of Eureka to Federal Court over this, and expects to win, because the City of Eureka is in the habit of robbing its citizens of their constitutional rights, and has done so in the case of the Palco Marsh eviction.

I went to the Eureka City Council meeting the evening of the Palco Marsh eviction, on May 2. May was Mental Health Awareness Month. If we didn’t know it beforehand, one of the council members reminded us, smartly placing an apple-green thermos next to her name plate, declaring that her thermos conformed to the color of Mental Health Awareness Month, which was lime green. When a government employee tells me apple green is lime green I know other misperceptions are likely. Indeed, this same council member, a moment later, assured us there was no stigma attached to mental illness.

Now I know this isn’t true. Any mental patient will tell you that. In fact, the minute you admit to being mentally ill (that includes being mentally injured), you know you’re going to be treated differently, as if you are weaker, stupider, less deserving of respectful treatment, less deserving of housing. Mental illness and homelessness go together like poverty and criminality, and they all wind up ostracized, scapegoated, branded.

The ones who don’t admit to being mentally ill are running for president, staffing the Board of Supervisors, Congress, the Armed Forces, the Eureka City Council, most non-profits, most corporations, hospitals, universities, newspapers, and so on.

The message: Don’t admit you have mental health problems or you will wind up like the miserable people on the street tonight, sleeping in a cardboard box.

Apples and Ginko

This morning I harvested the two ginko nuts on the tree nearest to the paved path leading toward my apartment from the sidewalk. I’ve been watching them for a few weeks, wondering if the tree would drop them. Once, not long after I moved here five years ago, a large, male human being accosted the tree, whose branches strayed across the paved path. This large individual, apparently enraged, tore the branch from the tree, and other small branches.

I don’t know why I decided he was the culprit, because I didn’t see him do it, but he was still on the premises when I saw the damage, and the largest in his crowd, so I walked up to him, looked up, and asked him if he beat up the tree. He was at least 250 pounds and 6’4”, but not very old, perhaps still a teenager. He looked surprised, then nodded.

“That’s a ginko!” I told him. “They survived Nagasaki. That’s nuclear!” I said. I forcefully explained that I needed him to stop assaulting the tree, because it was sacred. Then I left him and his friends lingering a few feet outside my door. I’d often seen these kids, and others, congregating around the entrance to the apartment complex. They bought drugs regularly from the family — mother, father, and son — in the apartment nearest to the street. The son’s teen-age friends could be observed regularly in the area, smoking cigarettes or pot, strewing wrappers, swearing, and generally degrading the place.

The large kid was still hanging around when I got back from the store about 30 minutes later. I thanked him for leaving the tree alone.

The drug-selling family eventually left the apartment. The father died and the kid was evicted after he became an adult. The mother moved to another apartment.

The demographics have changed in this complex with the economics in the community. Now there are more low-income families, as the single, elderly disabled residents are passing into the spirit world, and violent and/or drug peddling tenants are being evicted.  The neighborhood in general is cleaning itself up as the housing market is becoming pricier. There have been a number of defaulted mortgages in the streets surrounding my home, and dilapidated houses are being upgraded and renovated for the new homeowners.

The crab apple tree just outside my apartment declared itself this year. I can’t remember any year it put out blossoms, except in 2016, because I didn’t have time to notice it or was on Cape Cod for the spring. I know this is the first year it put out apples though, a bumper crop.

The Methodist parsonage on Main Street in Wellfleet had a crab apple tree. I tasted them and they were inedible. These crab apples in Arcata, however, are good. Some of them are crisp and sweet. The tree was loaded this year, which I took as a good sign.

Last spring, when I thought I was dying, I awoke from a vivid dream, exclaiming, “Apples!” Since the fall of 2007, when I journeyed west to work Southern Humboldt for a few weeks, I’ve had apples on the brain. I had had a dream that Dave and I settled back in Arcata, and there were apples everywhere. When I kissed him goodbye and left him with the kids, I inscribed a card, with apples on the face of it, to him, which I intended to mail from the airport, but never sent.

I’m grateful for the apples outside my door, and for the ones in the yards of neighbors. I pick them from the ground, not the tree. These apples made the best applesauce I’ve ever had. I doubt anyone else has the time to glean the apples and cook with them, but it’s part of my recovery from PTSD.

Sometimes I collect an armful and take them to the small cow in the pasture near the organic farm at the end of my street. She has a calf. And horns. The sheep want the apples but they don’t compete with her for them. She always hails me when she sees me coming. I notice that someone has clipped her hooves, which last year looked like elf shoes, and I’m glad I said something to one of the farm hands about it.

Rose has been pestering me to get a waffle iron and make waffles for breakfast. Once I had the best waffle iron, inherited from my brother Patrick. He made waffles for himself and his friends in the National Hotel on Market Street in the early 1980s. You could take out the irons and clean them. It was small and round, classic size.

I got another one from a Eureka thrift store yesterday, a Cuisinart, but you can’t remove the irons. I need to get a better one some day, but you probably couldn’t get a better one for two dollars, and it did make terrific waffles this morning. Rose was skeptical that I would have them ready in time because she had an early class, but she got her waffles, with maple syrup (donated), strawberries and whipped cream.

The maple syrup came from a friend in San Francisco with whom I stayed this past weekend. It was an important trip. I had to see about retaining a lawyer to defend the eviction Humboldt Housing thinks needs to happen. They think I need to be homeless, apparently, because since March 25, 2016 they have been insisting I need to leave. They are falsely claiming a lease violation. Homelessness is all the rage in America today.

Management at Humboldt Housing made a mistake targeting me for homelessness, but like many people who make mistakes, they’d rather die than admit it. This describes a condition prevalent in earth culture.

I borrowed a book from my San Francisco friend about Irish history. It describes the horrific behavior of the English. I once thought Nazi Germany invented depravity, but I was wrong. They adopted it from a long genocidal tradition among humans, including the English, whose genocidal philosophy sailed westward across the Atlantic ocean and wiped out the indigenous people of Turtle Island.

There’s an excellent piece in the North Coast Journal this week about the genocide of the California Indians. And this book I borrowed, The Story of the Irish Race, by Seumas MacManus, published almost 100 years ago, is excellent. I like the way he writes because, while he loads sentences with facts, he also writes creatively. For example, on page 500:

“Other people had felt long before this that the so-called ‘Independence’ which Ireland had won from England in 1782, was not the genuine article, and that the ‘Independent’ Irish Parliament was a libel on the name of free institutions. But until [Theobald Wolfe] Tone presented a true diagnosis, these others, like unskilled physicians, went on applying remedies to the symptoms, and neglecting the root cause of the malady which laid waste the Irish Nation in sight of all men’s eyes. And that root cause was the connection with England.”

Another book I noticed at my San Francisco friend’s house was Mutant Message Downunder, written in the early 1990s by an American physician who spent a lot of time in the Australian outback with native peoples, by their invitation. She, like all “civilized” individuals, was considered a “mutant” by these Australian aboriginal people, while they considered themselves “Real People”. Real People believe they are real because their connection with the planet is thoroughly un-severed. They communicate telepathically with each other, the animals, the plants, the mineral kingdom and the rest of their universe.

I wanted to borrow this book as well, but it didn’t belong to my friend; it was his friend’s book. I’d read a lot of it during my stay and thought I got the gist of it anyway. Yesterday lingered at the thrift store in Eureka, after loading up on the best books, and a hot plate, and the waffle iron, and a few serving trays, and my eye fell on a book inside a milk crate near the cash register. It was Mutant Message Downunder, by Marlo Morgan. Just now I am searching the topic online. Apparently Marlo Morgan is like Lynn Andrews — a fake — and the indigenous people of Australia were furious about the book and demanded an apology from her, which she gave, explaining she didn’t mean any harm.

Dave always said “Intention is everything.” In magical circumstances, of course, intention is everything. But on earth, we have to contend with thick materialism, where magic burrows the minutest channels into human consciousness, and there stalls much more often than not. Such intention needs to consider conflicting intention, which on earth is not only possible, but highly probable. I think people can’t stand admitting when they are wrong because they think it puts them at a disadvantage. In a world of conflict, I suppose you could say that’s worse than death.