Saturday, July 18, 2015


(I think the following article is very inspiring. I believe the planet wants to live. I believe the life force of this planet is very strong. Unbelievably strong. I believe that this planet will survive even if it has to survive without us and it will survive without us. I believe that if we align ourselves with this life force we will survive, too. There's a chance that this can happen. - RB)


Life must be understood backwards. But it must be lived forwards. -soren kierkegaard

Once great wrongs are done, it's rarely possible to undo them. Earth, the most exuberant planet known to exist in any galaxy, carries great wounds upon its lovely face: denuded hills, fertile farmlands washed into the sea or turned to dust, treasure houses of biodiversity annihilated, air, land and water poisoned. It seems that nobody knows how to reverse it.

And yet, in the cracks between the pavement of expanding cities, seedlings of long-gone forests giants continue to emerge. Earth keeps trying to renew itself, after radioactive leak, after nuclear explosion, after earthquake and eruption, flood and tsunami. The planet's powers of recuperation and restoration are almost unbelievable. Give an inch and it will give you a mile.

Field flowers no longer grow amid the crops in England's fields, but once the backhoes are withdrawn from road works, poppies spring from the disturbed ground. The seed they have grown from blew off the fields maybe a generation ago, and had lain in the soil ever since, waiting for someone or something to break the sod. Year on year the poppies keep turning up, every time bringing their promise of resurrection.

The dead hedgehog on the road cannot be brought back to life, but creating habitat for hedgehogs will give other hedgehogs a better chance of breeding successfully so that numbers can build up again.
In suburban gardens across the country people are making tunnels under their fences so that hedgehogs can travel without having so often to cross roads. It doesn't take much and costs nothing, but it puts the householder on the side of the Earth, which is the hedgehog's home as much as it is ours.

The swallows that have nested at my place in Essex ever since I have didn't turn up one year. Or the next. Ten springs passed, and I thought they couldn't possibly remember the barn where they had built their mud nests so many years before. I stopped scanning the sky for them. I was working in the green house when I heard their call and ran out to see. They were flying in and out of the little entrance I had cut out of the barn door for them, for all the world as if they had never been away. And they have come back every year since. They too tell me that everything is not lost.

The lower order, as we unjustly call them, have enormous potential for replenishment, because they reproduce in huge numbers. A butterfly that this year seems extinct may turn up in clouds next year, given a different weather pattern. This is a massive reversal of fortunes, but the butterfly is born to it.
Insects are the virtuosos of reversal, because  metamorphosis is their specialty. They begin as earthbound larvae that do nothing but eat and are as likely to end up as winged creatures that never eat. Even the humble cockroach can have several nymph stages; rainforest cockroach nymphs can be spectacular. Even our exhausted honeybees might be capable of coming back from the brink, if we improved their genetic diversity (and feed them right!)

The further down we go the more transformational the powers of the creatures we meet, until we arrive at the viruses that can change themselves faster than we can find ways of dealing with them. We imagine ourselves to be at war with such creatures, when they are our cousins and we need them on our side. If we colonize Mars, we will need to take them with us.

In the last hundred years a patch of subtropical rainforest in southeast Queensland, Australia, has been logged, burned, cleared, plowed, grazed and sprayed with agent orange. Yet I knew when I saw it in 2001, while searching for a piece of my devastated birthplace that I could fix, that it could rebuild itself. All I had to do was remove the obstacles that prevented it coming back into its own, the cattle, the invasive weeds, most of them garden escapes and deliberately introduced pasture grasses.
There was enough seed in the canopy to re-vegetate much more than 150 acres; most of it carried larval infestation, which meant the pollinators the tree required would be generated along with them. No sooner did the numbers of fruiting trees build up than the bats turned up, a dozen species of them. The bird species multiplied, including some thought to be on the verge of extinction. And the invertebrate population exploded.

The reversal of the forest's devastation may seem slow; it's taken 13 years so far, but at least five of those I and my wonderful work force were learning what to do (and what not to do). It has now gathered speed, and soon there will be nothing but maintenance left to do. The whole process has taken less than an instant of evolutionary time.

by Germaine Greer from the May 2014 issue of The Smithsonian magazine

This morning

Great egrets, jack rabbits, black tail deer, bobcat, green heron, garter snake: I roam this ranch early in the morning as I feed the domestic livestock and I note the wild animals that I see. If I was back in the city I'd make tunnels under my fence to create lanes of travel for all the wild animals that live there so their world would be safer. Wouldn't it be cool if, when people are building their cities and subdivisions, they also take into consideration the habits of their wild brethren and accommodate them? I envision: tunnels for the cars to drive through. Above the tunnel at ground level the deer waltz back and forth to their grazing grounds and water source just as they have always done for thousands of years.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Just Getting Started

 I don't know where my sister got this blurb but she recently sent it to me and said "This is YOU!"

I don't do small talk very well. I want to talk about atoms, death, aliens, sex, magic, intellect, the meaning of life, faraway galaxies, the lies you've told, your flaws, your favorite scents, your childhood, what keeps you up at night, your insecurity and fears, what you want out of life, what makes you happy. I like people of substance, who speak with emotion from the depth of their minds.
I want to know more than "what's up."

First I thanked her and said Yes, This is Me and then I said And This is You, too! There's something about getting long in the tooth that has made my sister and I come to grips with the fact that we see eye to eye on a number of things. Least of which is we both survived abusive relationships. Her's was physically violent and mine was emotionally abusive but the result was the same. We now share a survival story and we're here to testify!

So when I'm in a conversation that consists mostly of small talk there'll be a point when you'll notice that I steer the conversation in a different direction. (If any of you, my friends, are reading this now you know what I'm up to.  The cat is out of the bag. There.  I said it.)  I'll take a comment made and expound on it in some way that isn't of the mundane. Maybe I'll ask a question. Honestly, everything you can think of has a metaphysical aspect to it, don't you think?

Even peanut butter sandwiches. Well, maybe not peanut butter sandwiches.

Just this morning as I was driving to see if I could make it to the Sunday meeting of the Paskenta Flournoy Bible Church* (I was too late. They don't have a phone and there was no starting time published anywhere. This is the sticks, folks. So I just went and crossed my fingers. Half hour too late). I noticed that the hills looked just like solidified ocean waves. That got me started on what is the nature of matter and why does there seem to be so much repetition of form in this world? I thought "I really need to study Particle Physics or Quantum Theory or something." This world fascinates me.

The physical world, language and human nature. The big three for me.

I really hope there is reincarnation. I'm just getting started on all the things that I'd like to know more about.

* Don't make the mistake of thinking "Eegads! Renee's going fundamental."  Leave me explain: I enjoy the fellowship of people and I find that a lot of Christians are really very, very nice. It's as simple as that. Plus I like thinking about the mythology of Christianity and figuring out what's positive about it and how it can help me remember who I am. One area of study among many.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bring It To Them

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said, “one can’t believe impossible things.”“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”- Lewis Carroll "Through the Looking Glass"

This is a hot summer evening view. I didn't bring my camera the other morning so this will have to do.

I was walking back to the house the other morning after feeding all the animals. On the gravel lane I looked up and saw the moon near the horizon. The moon was kind of fading but it was big. It was near the horizon and that's what being near the horizon does. It makes things big.

 It was full-on morning. I'm not talking day break. The sun was shining and getting up to its Bessemer furnace intensity like it's been doing as of late. When I looked at the moon I was reminded of movies I've seen where there are two or three moons hanging in space looking all exotic and strange. Only this was our moon. Our moon out there in cold, crazy, black, outer space.

I started thinking about how we all go about our business close to the ground. Our own little 5 or 6 feet of existence with only a few miles of atmosphere above our heads to separate us from oblivion. It didn't weird me out. It was just a casual thought about how we get so wrapped up in our lives and the things we do. I guess that is how it should be. How could we get anything done if it were not so?

But it also occurred to me that it is important to stop and look around from time to time and notice where we are and what other things might be going on. Like that moon up there showing us our place in the Universe. The Earth is really quite small and we're even smaller but when we're walking around in our 5 or 6 feet of space we get to thinking that we're quite big. It's all pretty amazing how things are. Us included.

Then I got back to the house and went on with my day. The chickens need ice water and watermelon to help them endure the heat and I have to bring it to them.