Saturday, February 25, 2017

Dream Horses

The worst thing is to have an answer.  That means something died in you, when you have an answer.   Life doesn’t have an answer, just more questions. The worst thing is to find an answer that will make you right.  That is the worst mind trap.  It is better to not be “right.”  It is better to be quite mistaken.  That is where life is, it is never right.  Life is one big mistake. 

Writing can be a form of humility.  I always thought of it as prideful, attention-seeking, boastful, and it can be that way, but it can also be a way of paying attention to the world, of admitting one’s ignorance and of offering what little one has to something greater than oneself.

When I am riding I am in an older and less tame place and that is my happiness.

To the degree that one is domesticated and civilized, one is trapped within structures and parameters, as surely as any other domesticated beast.  To the degree that one is safe one is also trapped, to the degree one is willing to wager life and comfort, there are choices.

We are not the beings that we think we are.  We think through the body of the brittle star or the sparrow as much as through our own - through the body of the dirt on which we place our feet, the polyester or cotton or silk of the pillow on which we rest our head, the metal of our machines, the air we breathe.  There is no Nature in itself - no Ding an sich - because we are things ourselves.  There is no line that separates us from death.  Everything reverberates.  We exist through that which would destroy us as much as what brings us health.  The idea that our own personal selves matter very much is a silly fixation.  We are part of something much larger than our physical selves, even our social selves; that is the being that we are.

Last night I dreamt of my old grey horse.  He dreamt of his massive, gentle fleshliness, his kindness.  I was trying to strap a saddle to him but it was not fitting right and I kept having to redo it. In my dream he communicated with me, as horses do, with the bend of neck and brush of whisker, with a quality of presence that is as clear as words.  Perhaps clearer.  Love reverberated between us.  I woke up and realized he had died last year.  

Saturday, February 18, 2017


I love being a rancher because every day is different. Sometimes it means patching fence and fixing water-lines.  Sometimes it means working in the office all day.  Sometime, a lot of the time, it is peaceful and beautiful.  Sometimes it's a little like going to war.  Last Monday was the war-zone.  I got knocked unconscious by a seriously enraged cow while trying, stupidly, to keep her from damaging my ultra-sound equipment.  She hooked my leg with her head, and sent me flying to hit the back of my head on the concrete floor and gash my chin on something. There was blackness, and then golden stars, and the roar of the generator as I struggled up out of the dark knowing that I had to get up off the floor and behind the generator where she would not likely want to come to finish me off.  I couldn't see but I could hear and I knew where I needed to go and somehow I got there, climbing onto a bench where at least I would not be as easy for her to see me.  And that felt like all I could do.  I was barely conscious, dizzy, weak, nauseous, helpless. It was humiliating the way being beaten and broken, even if only temporarily, is always humiliating.
Luckily she left the area as I clung, terrified, to my perch - the rest of the crew got her away, vowing to make hamburger of her at the earliest opportunity.  I'm in complete agreement on that plan.
Since then I've been in pain almost continuously, except when asleep.  Raging post-concussion headaches have made it painful just to have a short conversation and impossible to read or write.  My world contracted to one desire - to find even a momentary respite from the pain.   Today I'm  feeling better, life will go on, get back to normal,  but I'm not so stubborn that I don't recognize it as a turning point.  I'll have to change my risk exposure permanently. Just a bit anyway.
Now some persons might say: well, I don't think you're a very sincere animist animal-lover what with wishing that cow to become hamburger at the earliest opportunity.  And I would say that I don't see the contradiction.  Me and that cow, we're about equal in vengeful spite.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Some thoughts on POTUS 45 and the Resistance

As much as I loathe the guy, I must say there are some unexpected upsides to all of this. In calling into question some of our most cherished values and institutions (e.g. checks and balances) and making us all articulate and fight for them, there is a gift. Sure, it’s a unfortunate that we have to expend energy defending values that we once could take for granted instead of working on implementing those values, but to be honest it’s probably just taking the time we would have spent watching Netflix anyway, so really not a loss. And we’re unified by a common enemy and that’s a surefire trick for focusing the mind.

On full display for all the world to see are the darkest secrets of the American, and even the Western, psyche: the rampant greed, the aggressive appropriation of “facts” to serve the purposes of power, the strategic racism, the utter disregard for the environment that is the support system for our very lives as well as all other life on earth. All the stuff that made America “Great.” There it is, he is us, or at least that part of us. Maybe it’s good for us to see it up there in all its raging immaturity. Maybe we’ll learn something about ourselves in the process. So let our resistance be tempered with gratitude, our anger with the acknowledgment that what we fight is also part of ourselves. 

Also, this resistance thing is like a vacation from having to come up with all the damn answers all the damn time.  And that's why Obama is smiling and you should too.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Here is

the name of the place on any deep-tinted pastel morning where the sea mist is telling its stories and the birds theirs, where the wild boys go home with their dead pigs and battered machines and dogs and tales of the night, when the off-shore wind picks up and the little birds wake up and the dung beetles fly.  When the calves go looking for their mothers before the day is bright, where the clouds float up out of the forest and the pillar of smoke that marks the volcano's open heart is lit by the sun rising out of the ocean.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Far-flung fellow travelers

So I went to Salt Lake City for a couple days for a meeting of WSARE - Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education - and it was exhausting but worth it because these were my Peeps - wonky serious conservation minded hard-core Aggies still with dirt under their fingernails a little bit though they tried to clean up for the meeting.  Some were kinda conservative, some were kinda radical left,  but all good hearted, generous-minded people working on some really important stuff and modestly, humbly, skeptically trying to make agriculture and therefore civilization more sustainable. Ranchers, farmers, NGOS, land grant university educators from every western state. Here's the quote from the  WSARE home page today:

The future of humanity in these uncertain times depends on the thoughtful, caring, and committed people who choose to live and work on family farms. - John Ikerd

Nice.  I've never heard of John Ikerd before, but he's got a website and he looks to be a wise elder of the Missouri branch of my new-found tribe.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Robin Wall Kimmerer

So in love with this woman, whose writing in this book makes me cry with happiness every time.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Holy Shit!

"Ebell insists studies showing climate change poses a serious risk to human civilization are bunk. Though he now accepts global temperatures are increasing, he claims that the warming will be beneficial for most Americans — providing milder winters and longer growing seasons.
“The fact is that in modern society we have the technology to deal with environmental challenges, and that’s why people live in Phoenix,” Ebell said. “Because warm is good, as long as we have air conditioning.” 

Myron Ebell is/was the head of Trump's transition team at the EPA and looks like a ghoul. Serious. I'm sorry, I know the liberal elite, because we lost, are supposed to shut up and take the alternative facts now, but I can't.  Warm is good. Because we have air-conditioning.  Holy shit.
This is a whole new ballgame, my good people. We must have strategies! We must find pressure points! Even my 81-year old mom who, by common agreement, is the most angelic person you will ever meet, is up in arms, and quoting Women's March signs. "Re-Sister," she said, "I liked that one. It says so much, doesn't it?"