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.


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