Monthly Archives: December 2017

2 posts

Christmas?

I’m entering the fifth week of the healing of my hair-brain fracture. The cast has been on for two and a half weeks and makes the most basic actions, like typing, challenging. But still doable.

Rather like Christmas. Carl and I didn’t want to feed into the hypocrisy of Christmas this year by buyingbuyingbuying. Instead, we celebrated the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is more in line with our beliefs. The longest night of the year celebrated with friends. The quiet beauty of the moon radiating the feminine power within us, the ebb and flow of energy around the earth, our universe and beyond. A quiet peace and holy calm.

And why should we, would we celebrate Christmas as it is today? A grotesquely commercialized celebration of a major religious figure? A religious figure who represents a religion that has justified torture, murder, rape and usury in the name of its god, and been smug and entitled about it? America’s Manifest Destiny is the basis of much of the evil this country has effected within its borders and around the world. Why ever celebrate that?

. . . As opposed to the original intention of Christmas: to love and be generous with that love. To celebrate and honor the awesomeness of a miracle. To stand awed by powers greater than we are, by nature’s grandeur and beauty. To bow low and be grateful for one’s gifts and abilities. And to wonder how best to share them, and support others?

Best intentions aside, Carl and I fell into the hypocrisy of Christmas. We might announce high and low that we aren’t celebrating Christmas but we didn’t want to end up feeling that uncomfortable feeling of being given something and having nothing to give in return. And so we shopped, buying into the falseness, rather than the deeper meaning.

Am I alone in this hypocrisy? Bring the Christ back to Christmas? Fist fights for the most popular toys? (No, that is not how I fractured my wrist.) These petty arguments distract from the heart of the matter and expose the sickness that we, as a nation, suffer.

The beauty of the concept, if not the fact, of America has been based on its acceptance of others. Here all people might have an equal chance to create a new life for themselves and their families. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? There have, of course, been scapegoats—American Indians, Africans, Italians, Irish, women, Communists. Humans oppressing humans. And yes, we have dominated, rather than stewarded, the stunning array and gifts of nature. And no religion can escape the contradiction between its practice and theory because humans get involved. But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could remember the original concept of our grand nation: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness equally to all? And to go to the heart of every religion, love.  There it is. Spread that love generously. Wouldn’t it be grand to slow down and breathe and be with that overflowing, glowing connection of love. To Be in one’s body . . . rather than racing about, going too fast in one’s monkey brain, such that one slips in one’s slippery slippers, and falls down in one’s mother’s NYC apartment, breaking a wrist?

Another ten days to go in this cast. Carl is counting, too, as he’s been doing all the dishes and listening to me whinge on and squawk every time I move my arm wrong. But I slow down. As this hell year races to its close, I sit still more often. It feels right. Every morning, I wake and watch anew the breathtaking beauty of this place. I watch the sunrise. I contemplate the restrictions of this blue cast and consider it a reminder not to get taken up by the greed and hate and distraction of our Demo-n-capitalist society but to work to return to the essence of why, in my ever-evolving opinion, we are here: to consciously experience the grandeur and shivery beauty of the world. To give and share generously, not necessarily stuff but the thing that connects us to each other and holds us together: love.

Civics Lesson?

I will preface this post by saying that I don’t want this website and blog to be political. I get too serious and on my almighty horse when I go down that path. Isn’t it more likely people will actually read these words if they are light-hearted and happy and relate to the machinations of our chickens? This is an issue I will get back to at the end of today’s post.

Earlier this week, Carl and I attended a political event hosted by Open Democracy/NHRebellion, a nonpartisan group working to heal the divide between our two opposing parties and to save the happy little experiment called democracy by getting money out of politics. Professor Lawrence Lessig was the guest speaker and presented, with his usual razor-sharp precision, the facts of our current state: there is a greater divide than ever in history between the two tribes called Democrats and Republicans. And a greater unity. Over ninety percent of Americans don’t believe the government represents their interests. The trust is gone. And without trust, a democratic system of government cannot survive because without trust, apathy infiltrates. People don’t participate or pay attention. Why bother when it makes no difference? And so they don’t vote or get involved or run for public office and the situation worsens, like a ping pong match, back and forth, the ball lowering until one day it doesn’t make it over the net because The People didn’t bother to pick up a paddle and lob the ball.

From whence flows this lack of trust? Money. Due to the undue influence of money in politics, the people elected to represent The People instead represent big businesses and deep pockets. As a result, government does not do what our Constitution demands: represent all people equally. Professor Lessig argues that we must solve this corruption of our government. We must fight for the core promise of representation and thereby restore the self-respect and dignity that this precious form of government demands: the rights of all people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He presented this as a moral idea, an idea bigger than the individual. We must put our country first, not our party, and be willing to sacrifice our mortal time and fight because this is more than a constitutional crisis. This is the future of our planet.

Too serious? I’ll bring in the chickens. The girls aren’t laying. I can’t blame them. The days are short. It’s dark and cold. I certainly wouldn’t want to lay an egg. And I don’t mind so much that the old hens aren’t bearing but the pullets? We have gotten five eggs out of them in total, and not one in weeks. They are eight months old. They should be producing. Carl and I have searched high and low and found no hidden cache, as we did three years ago when we found seventy-six eggs under the poop board. Strange. The most spoiled dinosaurs ever, in their relatively warm and harbored-from-the-wind bus stop.

Even Roo Schtude is wondering what’s up. Every morning he marches proudly down the ramp of the quonset hut coop and into the bus stop run and brings on the morning with his crows. He stands upright and mighty, his blond bangs dangling over his eyes, occasionally losing his balance during the passionate presentation of his daily news report: IT’S MORNING! THE SKY IS LIGHTENING!! DARK BLUES AND GRAYS TO OH!! WAKE UP! HERE COMES THE SUN!! IT IS RISING! PINKS AND ORANGES! YELLOW!! IT IS MY COLOR. MAGNIFICENT! GIRLS!! WAKE UP!! YOU ARE MISSING THE BEST PART OF THE DAY!

In response, the hens cluck and purr and snuggle closer together; time for an early morning nap.

Do you see the resemblance? Our hens are like too many Americans. They don’t participate. They could create an indivisible group, have (egg-laying) huddles, determine who might go broody, leverage an egg for more yellow cheese and mealy worms. The only significant difference is that our hens won’t endure any consequences. I’m not going to wring their necks just because they’re on an extended holiday. Their feathery butts are safe. Americans, though, are in the process of losing everything that the U.S. constitution represents.

Back to the political event. Dan Weeks—currently chair of Open Democracy’s board—presented, too. He spoke of a bill that Open Democracy/NHRebellion will be supporting at the state legislature this January that would create a “Civic Dollars” campaign financing system, a citizen-funded election system that would start to get rid of the undue influence of corporations and the extremely rich. Pipe dream? Variations of this legislation have been working, successfully, in Maine, Arizona and a few other states.

My point? Both Lawrence Lessig and Dan Weeks spoke about our democracy as passionately as Roo Schtude does the morning sun. They know what is at stake: our democracy and our world. We need no longer consider the seventh generation to determine what to do but to the next generation. Thus, in their respective speeches, ever so briefly, both these men choked up. Because every day, every hour, Lawrence Lessig and Dan Weeks have their children in mind. They want their children to have a future.

Carl and I live off-grid in the relative hinterlands of Jaffrey, New Hampshire. I have been asked by friends and strangers if we are preppers, readying ourselves for the apocalypse. My response is no. I have read my history. I know that, at times—these times—there is no hiding. The outside world will come in. I might not want to bring politics into this blog but by its very nature, my website is political. How so when so bedecked by chicken feathers? Because how we, as a nation and as individuals, choose to eat and grow and buy our food is a political act. Opting to drive or take public transportation or walk is a political act. How we treat each other is a political act; racism and slavery and sexism still exist because we have not as a country endured the deep and radical questioning that real change requires. In short, our lives, today, are political and it is Attitude Change Time. A.C.T.

If we are to save the world, we must first save democracy. It will not be a pretty fight. It will not be a short one. It is a necessary act, a moral one. As Paul Gilding writes in his book The Great Disruption: “it is no longer a case of what you want to do, but what you have to do.” 

Carl and I plan to have an informational event here at Darwin’s View for Open Democracy/NH Rebellion, their staff and board to tell us more about their work and their upcoming legislation. Drop a line if you’d like to join us.

Factoid: Six years ago to the day—December 2, 2012—Carl and I moved from the Ocean State to the Granite State. Let’s rock the rock.