Wet, sloppy, muddy love

Spring in Montana is a wet, sloppy, muddy love affair between water and soil, air and sun, life from winter’s death.  I sent Brent out this morning with peanut butter and rosehip jelly sandwiches.  He’s going fishing for “hogs” with his buddies – lake trout too full of mercury to eat, but he and his friends enjoy the sport and being on the big lake.

The chicks are in at Murdoch’s.  And so is the Round-Up – Monsanto’s answer to a few healthy weeds.  They can hardly keep it on the shelves it sells so fast this time of year.  Oh yes, and don’t forget your genetically modified seeds of destruction.

My own winter darkness seems to have passed and I take big gulps of sober air, drink too much coffee and smoke too many cigarettes, try to play catch up with all that hasn’t been done, attended to, given honor.  Alcoholism and mental illness leave large chunks of life only half-lived, but occasionally there is a hole in the muck with enough light to see through to the other side.  I work diligently to carve out more of the light while the grace is available.

I’ve prepared an Easter basket for my friend in Georgia who suffers from MS and I hope she can still enjoy the miniature candy-coated chocolate eggs.  Her teeth are bad and I wonder about my gift, but will send it anyway – not sure what else to do.

It snows at night and melts during the day – adding to the mud and slop where new life will be conjured and sprung despite all that is wrong and all that is right in the world.

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Endgame, The Premises: Derrick Jensen

Finishing up here with Derrick Jensen’s premises for his two-volume tome, Endgame.

Premise Fourteen:  From birth on – and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case – we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves.  If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes.  If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes and our bodies to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen:  Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen:  The material world is primary.  This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is.  It means that spirit mixes with flesh.  It means also that real world actions have real world consequences.  It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess.  It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows.  It means we have to face this mess ourselves.  It means that for the time we are here on Earth – whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here – the Earth is the point.  It is primary.  It is our home.  It is everything.  It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary.  It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen:  It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from them will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen:  Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen:  The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.’

Premise Twenty:  Within this culture, economics – not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself – drives social decisions.

Endgame, The Premises: Derrick Jensen

Premise Seven:   The longer we wait for civilization to crash – or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down – the messier the crash will be, and the worse things will be for those humans and non-humans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight:  The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.

Premise Nine:  Although there will clearly someday be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population may occur.  Some will be characterized by extreme violence and privation. . . . Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps long-term shift.

Premise Ten:  The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane.  The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven:  From the beginning, this culture – civilization – has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve:  There are no rich people in the world,  and there are no poor people.  There are just people.  The rich my have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something – or their presumed riches may be even more abstract:  numbers on hard drives at banks – and the poor may not.  These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim.  A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper.  Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with.  These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen:  Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Endgame, the Premises: Derrick Jensen

I’ve decided to begin writing again on Eve’s Daughter.  I’m going to finish up the premises of  Derrick Jensen’s work,  Endgame, and then move on to blogging my experience in becoming as self-sustaining as possible.  I’m getting chickens this year – maybe a goat, and I’m going to plant a garden.  I’m a complete novice with all of it, but what I’m lacking in experience I more than make up for with passion.  Still, it could get hilarious pretty quickly.

Premise Three:  Our way of living – industrial civilization – is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and wide-spread violence.

Premise Four:  Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unatrticulated hierarchy.  Violence done by those higher in the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed.  When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized.  Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the festishization of the victims.

Premise Five:  The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below.  It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control – in everyday language, to make money – by destroying or taking the lives of those below.  This is called production.  If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below.  This is called justice.

Premise  Six:  Civilization is not redeemable.  This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living.  If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses.  The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and non-humans for a very long time.

Endgame, The Premises: Derrick Jensen

Premise Two

Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed.  They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources – gold, oil, and so on – can be extracted.  It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Endgame, the Premises: Derrick Jensen

Premise One:  Civilization is not and can never be sustainable.  This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Do you feel the rumblings?  Does your heart ache for something more simple, more free, more human, than what we have created?

I do.  Mine does.

Are you beginning to sense that something is not quite right?  Have you pinpointed the moment that your creativity, your wildness, your heart and soul and humanity, was co-opted?

I am.  I have.

Have you ever really thought about how this country became “ours”?  Does it make you uneasy and do you tell yourself that was a long time ago and we had nothing to do with it?  And then do you wonder about these wars we continue to fight?  Do you wonder about the people in Afghanistan and Iraq?  Do you comfort yourself by believing they are all terrorists, out to take our freedoms and our lifestyle, our manifested destiny?

Are you afraid to look, afraid to follow the crumbs back to their original source?  Is everything still working for you or is your home foreclosed, your job gone, your child hungry?  What will it take for you to see?

Is it beginning to occur to you that you, too, might get in the way of progress?  What if that is what you decided to do – get in the way of progress, before progress decides it for you?

Do you feel the rumblings?

 

Independence Day Down

We’ve celebrated another 4th of July, another Independence Day, here in the good ole U.S. of A.  I’m reminded that it was just about a year ago that I began to fully awaken to a bigger picture and what that might mean for all of us.  A bigger picture of peak oil,  continued environmental destruction, irreversible climate change, the collapse of industrial civilization.  Patriarchial structures, forms and systems are disintegrating.   We’re being de-illusioned and some are more prepared than others.

The anxiety I feel at times is unbearable, the dread and despair palpable, the fear a living thing.  I never reached the assurance of the spiritually delusional although I must admit to trying.  My higher power is a fierce goddess who allows no shrinking from painful realities; she is the dark mother and she knows that to be transformed one must first go through the fire. 

Yesterday was hard for me because I no longer overly identify with being American.  I don’t feel like celebrating an empire that committed genocide to take the land, that has deforested and dammed and laid waste and continues to act stupidly in the face of global warming and ecocide.  An empire that fights false wars under false pretenses, an empire in which the few are filthy rich and the many are struggling to stay afloat.  An empire that will stop at nothing to exploit every last resource down to the last drop of clean water, the last ancient tree, the last salmon, the last wage slave. 

It’s difficult, to say the least, to navigate in a culture committed to maintaining the status quo, a culture that admits no wrong and still wants to grow, grow, grow when it’s become obvious to a lot of us that growth is about done on this planet.  People look at me funny when I say our way of life is over, that right now is as good as it’s going to get, when I ask them to store food or start a garden.  They don’t want to hear it. 

People want to debate with me about GMO’s and I’m not interested in debating.  There are enough people with enough opinions and I struggle to write here because I don’t want to be just another person spouting their opinion, but I guess that’s what I am.   They tell me GMO’s will feed the starving people, they will lessen herbicide use, they will save the world.  Bullshit.

They tell me to lighten up, go to church, read something uplifting.  On good days the anxiety feels more like excitement and I feel I was born for these times.  I think there’s a job for me, but I’m not clear what it is.  So I keep reading and learning; I don’t flinch; I don’t look away.  I form visions of how we will get through this and I hold them.

But right now?  It ain’t looking too good.

Encroachment

Encroachment.  It’s what civilization does.  I found out yesterday there’s a “convenience” store with a Subway “restaurant” going up at the corner  that turns off the main road to my parent’s house.  The main road is still a two-laner that runs parallel, north to south, along the railroad tracks.  There’s a little church on the other side of the road.  It’s a fine little corner that’s about to be encroached upon and made ugly, concreted over and lit to high heaven.  Because somebody needs to make money – of course they do, and because we all need better access to Jared’s preferred weight-loss food. 

I also found out earlier this week the dam proposal for the Flint River is on the table again.  Because Atlantan’s are running out of water, dontcha know.  Never mind it’s one of a only a handful of rivers that still run free for a few hundred miles.  Never mind the halloween darter or the shoal bass who thrive in the Flint.  Just never you mind now.

Encroachment.  It’s what the multiple sclerosis does to my friend’s body.  She weebles and wobbles and can barely stand but she won’t use that walker; oh no.  She’s losing her teeth and her brain a little at a time and all I can do is take her elbow and make sure she doesn’t fall, get her out of the house that’s become her prison for an hour or two, tell her I love her.

Encroachment.  It’s what addiction does to all of us – those of us who know we’re addicted and those of us who don’t; it does the same thing.  It’s what cancer does, depression, alzheimer’s and modernity. Encroachment: It’s slow, steady, unremitting.  Today a Subway tomorrow not a tree left for miles.  Today a dam tomorrow not a salmon left.  Today a tremor in your hand tomorrow you can’t stand up.  Today a beer tomorrow one hundred won’t do it.

Some encroachments can’t be stopped.  But some of them can if enough of us wake up from our slumber and decide enough is enough.  Some people have already decided, they’re wide awake and ready to act.  They’re gathering now.

Derrick Jensen

Derrick Jensen is a writer and environmentalist, a survivor of abuse, a man with a brilliant mind and a great, great love.  But most of all, in my mind, Derrick is a realist.  He’s unafraid to ask the questions that most of us would never consider asking and he’s unapologetic toward those who  make judgements uninformed.  Which is most of us by the way.  He’s been called, unfairly I think, the “violence guy” because he is not afraid to say that violence returned may be the only thing that will work to reclaim our world from the powers that have overtaken it.

Following are the first two paragraphs from Derrick’s book, “A Language Older Than Words”:

“There is a language older by far and deeper than words.  It is the language of bodies, of body on body, wind on snow, rain on trees, wave on stone.  It is the language of dream, gesture, symbol, memory.  We have forgotten this language.  We do not even remember that it exists.’

In order for us to maintain our way of living, we must, in a broad sense, tell lies to each other, and especially to ourselves.  It is not necessary that the lies be particularly believable.  The lies act as barriers to truth.  These barriers to truth are necessary because without them many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.  Truth must at all costs be avoided.  When we do allow self-evident truths to percolate past our defenses and into our consciousness, they are treated like so many hand-grenades rolling across the dance floor of an improbably macabre party.  We try to stay out of harm’s way, afraid they will go off, shatter our delusions, and leave us exposed to what we have done to the world and to ourselves, exposed as the hollow people we have become.  And so we avoid these truths, these self-evident truths, and continue the dance of world destruction.”

Derrick’s writing, his fearlessness in questioning the assumptions by which we have all come to live, and his ability to pry truth out of the delusions that frame our world are at once courageous and terrifying, wound and balm.

Read him if you dare.

Asphalt, Concrete, Lawns and Golf Courses

These are the things that surround me now, the unlandscapes I gaze upon when waking, walking, brooding, and finally, retiring to dreams of Clooney and Depp and a nectar that doesn’t destroy.  There is hardly what could be called a “landbase” left in this country of my girlhood, but the subtropical clime is always attemtping to reclaim itself from the alsphalt, concrete, lawns and golf courses.  Weeds pop up through the sidewalks, tendrils of wild ivy claw at closed windows, air conditioning whirring a cold froth in the rooms of the civilized.  The dogwood, magnolia and gardenia offer their stark white blossoms as if in pennance for our sins.  They still grow wild here but we prune them and cut them and mold them and spray them to “protect” them from the rest of nature so that they fit our groomed gardens, our ideas of order and control.

I turned a turtle around headed straightlong for the busy road this morning.  Turned him around to the creek that runs nearby, the one coursing with all the chemicals from the surrounding asphalt, concrete, lawns and golf courses.  I had only the lesser of two evils to offer him, maybe not even that.  I’m pretty sure he laughed at me as he meandered back towards the only water available.

I saw a writhing bright black and white kingsnake on the same road yesterday and have requested he be my temporary totem.  He laughs at me a lot but he’s willing to dialogue between chuckles.  He doesn’t hate me, he just feels sorry for me.