Christmas, during Thanksgiving, on Granny Annie’s front porch


I know, I know. What a weird title, and weird picture to go with it!. Well, it’s a weird gloomy day, and follows two other weird days, Thanksgiving and yesterday, since I have been sick in bed most of the time with a low-grade fever and “the best made plans” . .  . etc. Which meant that Sean and Kiera and Drew and Colin got to hang out together without me (which was probably a good thing; have my sons ever been together without their mother for so long as adults? And of course, the kids adore their Uncle Colin).

Since Sean and the kids fly back to Boston early tomorrow morning, I did want to get a bit more time with them. But Colin feared coming down with whatever I’ve still got. So I suggested we all hang out on my front porch while the kids showed me what they got for their $20 each from Goodwill. That new store, by the way, is twice as big as the old one was, the size of a large supermarket, which is what used occupy that building, and already stuffed full of stuff.

I’ve noticed, while shopping at Goodwill, that there are a lot more people rummaging through the color-coded aisles now; I even ran into two professor friends of mine. I think we were all shocked to see each other there. Why? I’ve been shopping at Goodwill for everything except underwear, pajamas, shoes and outerwear for at least seven years. No need to pay $75 when I could pay $3. Ecopod furniture we usually find free, or at garage sales. Or on the street. Even got our famous mobile firepit that way. A friend of the ecopod unloaded it off his truck and brought it back to the patio.

Why doesn’t everyone do this? Get and exchange stuff this way? Make this the goal: to live mostly below the money culture. As permaculturist Peter Bane once said, “We could stop manufacturing stuff right now and have enough for 30 years.” Well, maybe not 30 years, but ten anyway. “Except for the Garden Tower!” Colin piped up when I said that. We all laughed. Yes, Colin’s Garden Tower Project is getting rolling on an international level now, and may it grow and prosper to fill the world with compost-tube container towers that rotate and can grow 50 plants (or even 100 plants) at a time! Meanwhile, the Garden Tower just won another international design award. Don’t know its name. One of their distributors filled out an application, and once again, the Tower won!

So here goes, Kiera and Drew’s Christmas during Thanksgiving on Granny Annie’s front porch.

First Drew. His big prize, a “50s Style Snow Cone Maker.” And it is! I remember those snow cones from high school basketball games: 1958-1960. Zowee!


Next up, the kind of shirt every other nerdy 12-year-old boy wouldIMG_2759 die for.

And he does love bacon.

Drew got a bunch more shirts with his $20, but none of them had writing. So let’s turn to Kiera’s haul.

Probably her best find: a jacket with her school colors!

Other stuff too, mostly tops, like this one. IMG_2766

Granny Annie: “Kiera, does everybody wear ripped jeans?”
Drew, with disdain: “It’s mostly the girls.”


Our Christmas during Thanksgiving on porch session ended with a bit of puppy Shadow adoration.IMG_2769

Oh, and as part of the deal, I told the kids I’d personally ship their new Goodwill stuff.

So thus it was we pulled out of a tailspin (at least from my point of view — not seeing the kids and Sean hardly at all during their short three days here) into a fun time.

Our Show and Tell ended with stiff hugs from all three of them (don’t want to get too close to the still feverish one!). Oh well!





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Thanksgiving Blues . . .

In case you’re wonderin’ . . . I haven’t been on this blog because I have been flat in bed, since the night prior to Thanksgiving. Can you believe it? My unconscious (my body) chooses this time to “go down.” Despite all night urine therapy, in the morning I still had a low fever and sore throat. But, of course, was determined to power through, since Sean and the kids, Kiera and Drew, flew in from Massachusetts for three days only, and we expected at least 15 people for dinner . . . That turned into 25 people, in two waves, including the usual outdoor fire circle on that mild November night.

Waiting around: Sean lost in space; Drew and podmate Brie communing with puppy Shadow; Kiera on her screen; Greta and Colin checking the bird.


Time to make gravy from the the bird, a 22-pounder, the first I have cooked in at least 20 years —


IMG_2749and yes, I did manage to somehow rise from my bed in the early morning, get the stuffing (which I had made the night before, just prior to noticing that scratchy sore throat) into the bird and in the oven before collapsing until 4 p.m, when guests were scheduled to arrive. Luckily Sean and the kids slept at Colin and Greta’s house, and came a bit early so that I could at least hang with the kids for a few minutes.

Since I’ve hardly gotten to see the kids or Sean during these three days, I’ll have to figure out some way to get to Boston for Christmas. Meanwhile . . .

Time to climb back in bed.



Yep, you can just see the outline of the top of puppy Shadow’s head at the bottom of the bed on top of the bunched up blanket. Such a dear little soul, and he has yet to get his daily walk! Hope it stops raining so the kids can come do this task before going to Goodwill. I told them I would give them each $20 for Christmas. They were thrilled; especially Kiera, to know that the Goodwill here has doubled in size and is stuffed full of recycled goodies.

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Today’s Full Moon in Gemini illumines the Saturn/Neptune square, exact tomorrow!

If you are inside a bubble and its membrane is dissolving, don’t be surprised. Likewise, if your clear, steady, long-standing beliefs about what is real are turning inside out. And if, like me, you have undergone a shock so profound that you cannot yet speak of it . . . That shock tore open a hole in the conceptual ceiling that I didn’t even know I had — and shot me, like a bullet, through that hole into the open sky. That hole transformed into an eye that opened, to reveal the soul, of the universe, talking to me, telling me to go deep, deeper, to let go of all that I thought had “cushioned” my existence on this dear planet, and surrender, breathing, in communion with Earth.

Here’s the chart for today’s Gemini Full Moon that triggers the Saturn/Neptune square, big time, on the day before that major aspect of hitting-the-wall-of-weirdness reaches exactness for the first time in this round — on Thanksgiving Day — in what will prove to be a nearly year-long test of our capacity to  be in the world and not of it. Both. At once. With no wavering, no in and out. Only as we act with awareness will we see our way through this foggy, surreal terrain that envelopes humanity, forcing us to learn how to discern real from unreal, truth from falsity, and genuine imagination from mere wishful thinking. None of us has a handle on the Truth. But all of us have unique points of view that can be laced, vibrated, together forming a mysterious web of enlightenment/endarkenment that shoots us high into the cosmos and plants us deep within the fertile soil of the living Earth.

Saturn grounds Neptune.

Neptune spiritualizes Saturn.

“Square”: 90°. The tension between them. The need for integration.

No more greedy materialism without the larger spiritual understanding! No more woo-woo spiritualism without being grounded in real world limits!

Ever since Saturn conjuncted Neptune (along with Uranus) in 1989-1991 and the Berlin Wall suddenly (Uranus) came down, we have been learning that this dissolution (Neptune) of old boundaries (Saturn) did not mean that the world would melt into oneness. Instead, the neocon American Empire seized that opportunity to deceive everybody with stars in their eyes in its decades long drive to divide and conquer the entire world, extracting resources, killing wantonly, and claiming dominion. Wrong!

Hopefully, as Saturn square Neptune from now through next September, Empire will be learning that lesson.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 11.08.48 AM

P.S. Given that this Saturn/Neptune square triggers my own natal Saturn/Mars/Uranus/Neptune/Pluto configuration, it’s no wonder that though I was shocked, it came as no surprise!



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Oliver Sacks, On Gratitude: For a Life Fully Lived, then Gathered in Contemplation

How seldom do we discover people who move through the aging process by allowing their entire lives to simmer into awareness — to the point where the entire panorama distills into a rich, delicious elixir? 

On Gratitude, the Measure of Living, and the Dignity of Dying

“I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”

November 24, 2015

by Maria Popova



Oliver Sacks on Gratitude, the Measure of Living, and the Dignity of Dying“Living has yet to be generally recognized as one of the arts,” proclaimed a 1924 guide to the art of living. That one of the greatest scientists of our time should be one of our greatest teacher in that art is nothing short of a blessing for which we can only be grateful — and that’s precisely what Oliver Sacks (July 9, 1933–August 30, 2015), a Copernicus of the mind and a Dante of medicine who turned the case study into a poetic form, became over the course of his long and fully lived life.

In his final months, Dr. Sacks reflected on his unusual existential adventure and his courageous dance with death in a series of lyrical New York Times essays, posthumously published in the slim yet enormously enchanting book Gratitude(public library), edited by his friend and assistant of thirty years, Kate Edgar, and his partner, the photographer Bill Hayes.

Oliver Sacks by Bill Hayes
Oliver Sacks by Bill Hayes

In the first essay, titled “Mercury,” he follows in the footsteps of Henry Miller, who considered the measure of a life well lived upon turning eighty three decades earlier. Dr. Sacks writes:

Last night I dreamed about mercury — huge, shining globules of quicksilver rising and falling. Mercury is element number 80, and my dream is a reminder that on Tuesday, I will be 80 myself.

Elements and birthdays have been intertwined for me since boyhood, when I learned about atomic numbers. At 11, I could say “I am sodium” (Element 11), and now at 79, I am gold.


Eighty! I can hardly believe it. I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over.

Having almost died at forty-one while being chased by a white bull in a Norwegian fjord, Dr. Sacks considers the peculiar grace of having lived to old age:

At nearly 80, with a scattering of medical and surgical problems, none disabling, I feel glad to be alive — “I’m glad I’m not dead!” sometimes bursts out of me when the weather is perfect… I am grateful that I have experienced many things — some wonderful, some horrible — and that I have been able to write a dozen books, to receive innumerable letters from friends, colleagues and readers, and to enjoy what Nathaniel Hawthorne called “an intercourse with the world.”

I am sorry I have wasted (and still waste) so much time; I am sorry to be as agonizingly shy at 80 as I was at 20; I am sorry that I speak no languages but my mother tongue and that I have not traveled or experienced other cultures as widely as I should have done.

Oliver Sacks by Bill Hayes
Oliver Sacks by Bill Hayes

But pushing up from beneath the wistful self-awareness is Dr. Sacks’s fundamental buoyancy of spirit. Echoing George Eliot on the life-cycle of happiness and Thoreau on the greatest gift of growing older, he writes:

My father, who lived to 94, often said that the 80s had been one of the most enjoyable decades of his life. He felt, as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty. At 80, one can take a long view and have a vivid, lived sense of history not possible at an earlier age. I can imagine, feel in my bones, what a century is like, which I could not do when I was 40 or 60. I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.

Oliver Sacks by Bill Hayes
Oliver Sacks by Bill Hayes

In another essay, titled “My Own Life” and penned shortly after learning of his terminal cancer diagnosis at the age of eighty-one, Dr. Sacks reckons with the potentiality of living that inhabits the space between him and his death:

It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can. In this I am encouraged by the words of one of my favorite philosophers, David Hume, who, upon learning that he was mortally ill at age 65, wrote a short autobiography in a single day in April of 1776. He titled it “My Own Life.”

“I now reckon upon a speedy dissolution,” he wrote. “I have suffered very little pain from my disorder; and what is more strange, have, notwithstanding the great decline of my person, never suffered a moment’s abatement of my spirits. I possess the same ardour as ever in study, and the same gaiety in company.”

Gliding his mind’s eye over one of Hume’s most poignant lines — “It is difficult to be more detached from life than I am at present.” — Dr. Sacks considers the paradoxical way in which detachment becomes an instrument of presence:

Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

Oliver Sacks by Wendy MacNaughton for Brain Pickings

Such intensity of aliveness, Dr. Sacks observes, requires a deliberate distancing from the existentially inessential things with which we fill our daily lives — petty arguments, politics, the news. With his characteristic mastery of nuance, he points to a crucial distinction:

This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people — even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.

Decades after his beloved aunt Lennie taught him about dying with dignity and courage, Dr. Sacks lets this lesson come abloom in his own life. True to the defining enchantment of his books, he turns his luminous prose inward, then outward, and in a passage that calls to mind William Faulkner’s sublime living obituary, he exits this world — the world of writing and the world of life, for the two were always one for Dr. Sacks — with a breathtaking epitaph for himself:

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.


Gratitude is a bittersweet and absolutely beautiful read in its entirety. Complement it with Dr. Sacks on the life-saving power of music, the strange psychology of writing, and his story of love, lunacy, and a life fully lived, then revisit my remembrance of Dr. Sacks’s singular spirit.

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Peace Pilgrim: Antidote to Putin’s despair

Last night, amidst rumors of World War III, ramped up by Turkey downing a Russian fighter, see Lada Ray —

Explosive Consequences of Turkey Downing Russian Su-24 Jet in Syria – Complete Analysis and Predictions

— and carrying fresh memory all day long of Vladimir Putin’s deeply emotional comment, that Turkey had stabbed Russia in the back, I was moved to look up Peace Pilgrim, her decades’ long walk for peace, carrying nothing, not even water, depending on the kindness of strangers, and getting it, wherever she went. Lying in bed shivering, wanting to close myself off to this weary, war-torn world, I watched this documentary, grateful for her spirit and dedication to what we all, in our souls, long for beyond measure.

“I shall remain a wanderer until mankind learns the way of peace.”




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John Oliver, on Refugees and Thanksgiving: “Let’s be honest here.”


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The first “Thanksgiving”: Our origin myth bites the dust

About the director, Ric Burns:

One of America’s preeminent documentary filmmakers, Ric Burns is perhaps best known for his eight-part series, New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered on PBS in 1999. He was a producer and co-writer with his brother Ken on the classic PBS series The Civil War. His 2006 and 2007 films, Eugene O’Neill and Andy Warhol were Emmy winners. In 2012, he released Death and the Civil War to great critical acclaim.

Burns’ newest documentary project, The Pilgrims, is a part of PBS’ renowned series American Experience, premiering on November 25. The project explores the reasons why, despite great personal risk, a group of English men and women chose to cross the Atlantic to settle in America in 1620. 

PBS busts the Thanksgiving myth with ‘Pilgrims’

November 23, 2015

by Gerri Miller


Roger Rees as William Bradford

Roger Rees as William Bradford, the leader of the Pilgrims. According to director Ric Burns, Rees’ performance prevented Bradford from being reduced to a ‘cardboard cartoon character.’ (Photo: Tim Cragg)

In modern times, Thanksgiving is a feel-good holiday celebrating family, peace and the American spirit of freedom, but the real story behind the holiday is much darker that that. It’s a story marked by turmoil, hardship and death. What we learned in grade school about intrepid colonists who came to the New World on the Mayflower and invited the natives to a friendly feast is a sanitized version of history that’s exposed in Ric Burns’ eye-opening film “The Pilgrims.”

Narrated by Oliver Platt and featuring the late Roger Rees (“Cheers,” “The West Wing”) reading from the writings of Plymouth colony Gov. William Bradford, the film reveals the truth behind the Pilgrims’ motives, the harrowing voyage and harsh conditions they endured and how they really treated the natives they encountered.

In advance of the Nov. 24 premiere (repeating Nov. 26), Burns explains how he brought this important history to the screen.

Why is this a compelling story?

The story of the Pilgrims has become the American story of origins — our origin myth, in fact. We need to understand who these people were, where they come from, what made the Old World intolerable to them, what happened to them along the way and maybe most important: how and why we have come to remember them as we do.

Most of us have only the haziest idea who the pilgrims were and where they came from and why they came. We know them technically to have been English but we tend to think of them as instant Americans, because we think of them as having embodied virtues we like to think of as American. That is, that they came for freedom; that they were deeply religious; that they went through great hardship and adversity; that they were gentle and peace-loving and that they were welcoming to and welcomed by indigenous peoples. All of it nourishes a notion very central to American identity: the idea of American exceptionalism — that we are somehow a special and different people — set apart by Providence or God, selected out for a special destiny. In other words, we have a strong urge to disconnect ourselves from history, and from our English roots and European Old World past, and in so doing, we lose sight of the real story of the English origins of America.

What did you want to convey?

We wanted viewers to understand the Pilgrims in their own terms, not in ours. The Pilgrims were Separatists, radical Protestant extremists convinced that the Protestant Reformation hadn’t gone anywhere near far enough in the England of Elizabeth I and James I. They were convinced that the Protestant Church of England presided over by the monarch contained too many holdovers from the Catholic Church of Rome, and that to get right with God and try to save themselves from eternal perdition, they would have to separate from the Anglican Church altogether and form their own “conventicles” without bishops, without rituals; in fact, without physical churches at all, especially those presided over by priests claiming to have unique access to the Word of God.

For Separatists, the real church lay in the unique relationship of each human soul to God, whose truth and word was equally accessible to all through Scripture. For the Pilgrims, the only real and holy church was wherever true believers gathered together in Christ’s name. Everything depended upon nothing less than the fate of their eternal souls. And in the end, that conviction drove them to separate from the Church of England (a crime against the crown), from England itself (to the Netherlands, initially, then the most liberal Protestant republic in Europe), and finally from the Old World altogether.

What are the biggest misconceptions and myths about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving that you wanted to clear up?

People tend to think that the Pilgrims believed in religious freedom. They didn’t. They were looking for a place where they could be free to worship as they wished, a freedom they had no impulse to extend to anyone else. They did not believe in diversity of practice. They believed in purity, in expelling contaminating influences. The freedom they helped give rise to was an inadvertent consequence of their radical Protestant beliefs.

What do you think will surprise the audience most?

It was so much darker than we imagine. The suffering and the violence were so much greater. The likelihood that they succeeded was so small. Death played a huge role in almost every aspect of the story: they came to a place of mass death, where Native Americans had been decimated by one of the worst plagues in history, and where the Pilgrims themselves would lose half of their number in the first three months. The Pilgrims’ relationship with Native Americans was at times more violent than we like to remember. We dwell on Thanksgiving, which didn’t really happen the way we think it did, but fail to register the decapitated head of the Massachusetts leader, Wituwamut, that was placed over the meeting house at Plymouth Plantation in 1623, to be a “Terror unto the countryside,” as William Bradford reported.

I think people will be surprised by almost everything: by the radical nature of the Pilgrims’ beliefs; by their almost complete lack of preparation for what lay ahead of them; by the fact that they were the least likely of task forces to attempt to found a permanent English presence in the New World; by the fact that, though we think of them as the “first comers” — a phrase they used for themselves — they weren’t even the first permanent English settlers in America, having been beaten to the punch in 1607 — 13 years before the Mayflower sailed — by the colonists at Jamestown.

What else?

They weren’t meant to have ended up on the site of present day New York, but decided to land off the shores of Massachusetts when they were caught in dangerous shoal water, well north of the legal patent they carried from the Virginia Company, thus making the Pilgrims, in that respect at least, the first illegal aliens. The place they settled on to build their plantation — what the Wampanoags called Patuxet and what the explorer John Smith called New Plymouth — was actually ground zero for the worst virgin soil epidemic in recorded history, a horrific plague, brought over in 1616 by European fishermen, that swept a twenty mile swath down the New England seaboard, killing anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of the native populations in its path and totally annihilating the approximately 2,000 Wamanoag residents of Patuxet.

The Pilgrims’ first winter wasn’t just hard: it was nearly annihilating, and devastating and traumatic in ways we can hardly imagine. More than half of the 102 passengers of the Mayflower died in the first three months, wiping out five whole families, and leaving no family intact and not grieving. With the exception of their alliance with the Wampanoags, the Pilgrims’ relation with other Native American groups was marked by conflict, suspicion, competition and violence, culminating in a horrific spasm of bloodshed in March 1623 in the killing by Miles Standish and seven other colonists of seven Massachusetts Sachems and the decapitation of the leader, Wittawamut.

For nearly a decade, the colonists couldn’t find a way to make ends meet — they went bankrupt in 1626, only to find an eleventh hour economic salvation in 1628 in the form of beaver fur harvested from the Kennebeck River valley in Maine. Material success, in the end, was the one challenge the Pilgrims could not overcome, as William Bradford’s beloved religious experiment found itself fragmented and abandoned in the aftermath of the founding of Boston.

Why did you decide to focus on William Bradford? What surprising things did you learn about him?

We would scarcely remember the Pilgrims at all, and certainly not as we do without William Bradford, an orphan boy from Yorkshire who became the most famous Pilgrim of them all, governor for more than thirty years and the chief guardian and caretaker of their memory, and without the extraordinary text he left behind: “Of Plymouth Plantation,” the first great work of American literature and history. There is literally no other account of early American settlement like it, and none that shows us what the inside of a radical Protestant conventicle was like, from the earliest days in the North Parts of England, through their escape to Holland in 1608, and then across the Atlantic in 1620 and on. The story of the book itself — why and how William Bradford wrote it, and how the text itself was almost lost forever to posterity — is a gripping, riveting tale, that sheds enormous light on how history and memory are shaped by a heart-stopping blend of accident, circumstance and the powerfully transforming lens of posterity.

The fact that we have the book at all is a more than minor miracle. It was looted from Boston in 1777 by the retreating British army, given up for lost for eighty years, and almost accidentally rediscovered just before the American Civil War, when a scholar in Boston was flabbergasted to read unmistakable quotations from the missing Bradford text in a new English history of the Anglican church in America, published in London in 1855. It took more than forty years to finally repatriate the manuscript itself, which is lovingly housed in the State House of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Boston. There is no more important text in American history. Seeing it, and turning its pages, and filming the actual manuscript Bradford wrote in his own hand was one of the most thrilling moments of my filmmaking career.

What were your challenges in making the film?

Getting past the myths and all too easily received ideas. Bringing Bradford himself alive, not as a cardboard cartoon character, but as a flesh in blood person. In this latter challenge, we were aided more than I can possibly express by the brilliance of the actor Roger Rees, who simply became William Bradford, speaking and inhabiting and bringing to life his words from the inside out in one of the most moving and beautiful performances I know. He died just this past July, too soon, too fast and so deeply loved and lamented.

Mayflower IIThe Mayflower II, a recreation of the original Mayflower, was used during filming. (Photo: Kristen Oney/Plimoth Plantation)

Was it easy to secure the cooperation of Plimoth Plantation and Mayflower II?

Yes. They’re American treasures, and as close as anyone is ever going to get to what the Pilgrim experience was like. We knew going in that without the ship we wouldn’t have a film. And without the extraordinarily faithful human and material culture recreated and brought to life at Plimoth Plantation — structures, implements, farm animals, household goods, down the small detail of bonnet and button — the film would have been a cartoon.

We shot at Plimoth Plantation itself or a total of eight days, in all kinds of weather. The highlight of our shooting was the day we spent filming the Mayflower itself: fully rigged out, with a crew of sailors and Pilgrims on board, one camera on the ship, another on a chase boat, and a third doing spectacular aerial filming from a helicopter. The wind was up, there were clouds in the sky that kept changing, and the ship itself was magnificent, as all square rigged sailing ships are. The Mayflower, which berths at Fairhaven near New Bedford Massachusetts when she’s not at Plymouth during the March to November season, is going into drydock for a complete overhaul, rebuilding and repair: $9 million dollars in all. She won’t be seen for a few years now, and we were so lucky to film her when we did. Literally the last time she sailed on her own steam, under the wind, far out in Cape Cod Bay, exactly as the Mayflower itself did 395 years ago this month.

Are you working on another documentary?

We’re working on a number of projects right now: a 2-hour film about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred Chinese immigrants from coming to America and becoming American citizens from that time until 1943, an incredible story. Also a film about Oliver Sacks, based on incredible footage of and interviews with him in the last months of his life; a new episode in our series on New York; and a film about the automobile travel guides many African Americans used from the 1930s through the 1960s, the longest lasting and most popular of which was called “The Green Book.”

What would you like viewers to take away?

The real nature of the early American colonial project; the deep and tangled religious, economic and political motives behind it; How harrowing, dark and deeply transforming the experience would turn out to be: for the pilgrims themselves, for the place they came to, and for the nation that rose up long after they were gone, consecrated to their memory.

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Joel Salatin: “Strategic disturbance is the key to environmental innovation.”

Huh? What the heck does that mean, aside from the usual bullshit called “sustainable development?” Well, watch the trailer, and better yet the film, Polyfaces. At this farm, symbiosis connects it all together, everything works with everything else, mimicking nature!  The cows disturb the soil (briefly, many times a year, each time allowing it to regenerate). Their poop fertilizes the soil. The chickens follow the cows to eat the bugs in the poop . .  . on and on.

Salatin: “If you are really passionate about this, then the first step is up to you, and the second step can only come after you’ve taken the first step.”



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Ben Kreilkamp: “Awake in the middle of the night I’m subject to frightful imaginings.”

My cousin Ben Kreilkamp, in Minneapolis, also wakes up in the middle of the night. He half- imagines his imaginings are real.

Well, yes, I respond, and so is everything else! And, as the Buddhists would say, “dependent co-arising“: all phenomena arise and fall together, as the great breathing undulation of a vast conscious being.

So let’s just NOT choose to zero in on the narrow, and yes, indeed yucky and potent, current of hatred now coursing — once again — through the fearful body politic. Let’s instead consciously witness our noticing of this hatred, as well as the fear it stems from, while we continue to center within our own open hearts, radiating waves of caring and compassion into the atmosphere.

Granted, it is not easy to open our frantic, panicky minds enough to entertain this double movement internally. For me, the key is to hold both the awareness of awfulness AND to generate a space within which it is held. Thus we neutralize hatred and fear. Thus we create beauty and harmony wherever we go! Morphogenetic fields are not just for fools.

From Ben, in the middle of last night, on fb:

10382629_10152511996963112_6956909415438520263_nAwake in the middle of the night I’m subject to frightening imaginings. This is in fact how nightmares form, from the random thoughts of a mind not conscious enough to dismiss them as “unrealistic.” Before sleeping I was reading Half a Yellow Sun, terrific novel by Adichie about the Nigerian civil war in the sixties. I was remembering hearing about it as a teen and how far away Africa seemed to me then, unconscious really, and how much closer the world seems now. In the novel (excellent) she recounts, in convincing, frightening detail, how hate and slaughter is unleashed in a population of normal people living their lives. I was thinking these thoughts as I woke in the dark, how Trump’s racist message was finding root in our national psyche, the fear and hate of our history still alive in the imaginings of the dispossessed and those eager to exploit them. I was imagining a nightmare where an actual race war was ignited by his incoherent ramblings (have you watched one of his speeches? He just goes on, and on and on! as I’ve heard of Hitler and Mussolini speeches, revving up their crowds) as he encourages hate and violence among his supporters, feeding their sense of lost privilege and betrayal, saying ugly false things of all sorts. My mind, still mostly unconscious, was merging Nigeria’s times of tribal slaughter with today’s US, constructing a belief that we were in it now, already in the right wing nightmare, the Nazis, der Fuhrer, il Duce, all that horrible state of unspeakable acts of wholesale massacre. Then I tune in to my internet and see the reports of shootings at the 4th Precinct, the peaceful encampment demanding justice for Jamar that I witnessed, the quiet determination to have justice for the police shooting of another unarmed black man. He was unarmed. They shot him in the head. And now the protesters are being shot at by white supremacists. I’m trying to wake up, shake off this nightmare. Locally we need to have a way to vet and fire cops, independent professional oversight of police to hold them accountable. Nationally we need to repudiate Trump and the R’s and their racist message. How do we do that?
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“Sustainable Development” = Technocracy Rising

I’ve long called the phrase “sustainable development” an oxymoron, but Derrick Jensen calls it an outright lie.

Sustainable Development Is A Lie

So, not surprisingly, given the onslaught of synchronicities rolling through during this climactic time, I got a message this afternoon from Mitch out in Washington about a corbettreport which, wouldn’t you know, dovetails with Jensen’s message —which I had been just about to post. Here’s the report. It’s a doozer. But yes, completely predictable, given what’s going down. Watch the Climate Change Conference November 30 – December 11. I’m now of the opinion that it needs to self-destruct, if we wish to create localized decentralized solutions everywhere rather what “they” intend:  top-down controls to absolutely everything.

BTW: I started to wonder about the supposed evil of carbon dioxide in the garden last summer, wondering, hmm, how could it be so bad when the richer the carbon dioxide environment, the faster plants grow? I posed this question to permaculture teacher and practitioner Keith Johnson, who responded, “Well yes, but to a point . . .” and somehow, we never returned to the subject — until now, with this report.

This is not to say that “climate change” isn’t real. Just to say that it’s being corralled and used for nefarious purposes. Surprised?

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