Monday, January 16, 2006

Dirt Road Dogs...

Click on photo to enlarge

All bundled up in our warmest coats, Dallas and I walk toward the water at 8:14 this morning in one of the last best places on the south shore of Big Bear Lake. It's way below freezing and an icy wind blows strong out of the northeast. A very beautiful morning if you're dressed for it, and we are.

Dallas and I aren't big on roads, but if we have to travel one, this is the kind we like, two ruts in the dirt, minus the clunkers that it was made for.

I don't know why Dallas likes them so much, maybe because they're full of life, because they smell better than asphalt or concrete, or because he never has to be on a leash in a place like this.

I like them because they're quiet, slow, meandering, compelling, picturesque, interesting, pliant (as opposed to rigid), impermanent, and not the slightest bit oppressive, unless some drooling yay-hoo in a belching groaning 4X4 comes barrelling through, which hasn't happened to us here yet, knock on wood!

But most of all, for me I guess, it's nostalgia.

These are the kinds of roads I lived on when I was a kid, and I wish all kids could grow up someplace like this, running with their dogs, off the leash, dodging tumbleweeds & chasing dragonflies in the summer.

Tampa Avenue in Reseda, California was like this in 1952, except there was no lake. But the rutted little road did run right down through the Los Angeles River, just a cowpath through a meandering creek in those days.

Today, fifty-four years later, the kids on Tampa---now a six lane ribbon of hardened petroleum goop & gravel slathered through the midst of the 1,700,000 lost souls of The Greater San Fernando Valley---sit on their fat diabetes-prone asses in front of TVs, killing things in video games. Good practice for when they must go outside and dodge real bullets in the alleys behind their apartment slums, or in the prison yards they call schools, or in the future wars they're going to fight defending Halliburton & The Carlyle Group's freedom.

Progress? Sure, tell that to the family & friends of the suicidal 8th grader the cops shot to death as he wielded a pellet gun at his school in Longwood, Florida on Friday.

Right here, in our County of San Bernardino, kids are killing each other every week and the community solution is to hire more police, create a stronger Police State, and enforce the law!

"WE'LL TEACH THEM TO RESPECT THE LAW!", our newspaper headline screams.

Yeah, the law of private property, the law of growth, the law of profit, the law of Capitalism, the law of selfishness and greed, the law of the Military-Industrial State, the law of the rich & powerful, the law of the thief and gangster. The law of servitude & slavery, The law of No Trespassing, No Skateboarding, No Swimming, No Fishing, No Boating, No Loitering, the laws of self-annihilation.

In my 60 years I've seen enough of what we call progress, and its laws, thank you!

But, in my early childhood, I learned from the laws of Nature, the laws of beauty, magic and mystery that draw us into the world, not push us away and alienate us from it.

Generous inviting laws which point the way to our skills and nurture our interests, the laws of natural instinct that teach caution, self-preservation and wisdom.

We humans can make all the laws & rules we want, but as long as they're incompatible with the laws of Nature, as long as we think we're separate from, and above Nature, as long as we treat this planet like it's ours to do with as we please, we'll continue toward our own destruction, and the demise of what we claim to hold sacred.

I personally, am way fed up with the patriarchal tyranny of the
Corporate State, the leadership of the almighty dollar, and I've also heard e
nough about an even more patriarchal GOD that says we're too helpless to change ourselves, that only HE can save us from the eternal misery of sin, for Christ's sake!

The GOD of the same religion that has ordained the barbaric murder & torture of millions of indigenous people around the world as their land was stolen and colonized. The same religion that still defends Capitalism and Imperialism everywhere, as we today, continue robbing people of their land and livelihoods, to satisfy our bottomless gluttony, with GOD on our side.

This isn't the Dark Ages, it's the 21st Century, and we're educated enough to know how we got here, what we're doing, and exactly why we're doing it.

Just pick up the paper, it's all there in black & white, although you'll need to read some non-Western press to get the whole picture.

So let's get real friends, the future of life as we know it is very likely in the hands of those of us living today, and it's our decisions that will determine where we go from here.

Civilizations, their myths, superstitions and religions come & go, just as species do, and our civilization, and species, though young in historical & geological terms respectively, are teetering on the brink of extinction.

But we now have the information to understand our predicament, and maybe even the tools to do something about it!

We no longer have to sacrifice victims to the Volcano God, The Earthquake God, The Tsunami God, The Hurricane God, The Automobile God, or even the Almighty Dollar God! We know where & why things happen, where & how we should, and shouldn't be living, it's our choice now, not blind fate.

Los Angeles is forever doomed to destruction, as is San Francisco or New Orleans, and any other location where we choose to live out of context, or scale, with the Nature of the place.

We can't escape disasters, tragedy, or death in our lives, but we certainly don't need to be this incredibly stupid anymore, by now we should know better.

And, there's certainly no desirable future for humanity in the Orwellian nightmare that civilization is becoming before our very eyes.

For the sake of our kids, of their future, of our species, of all species, everything we do & say now is important.

But to pretend there's hope in this system isn't optimism, it's either ignorance, foolishness or fraudulence. It's time to speak not of progress and growth, but of change, personal change, spiritual change and societal change, of paradigm shift in the true sense of the phrase.

I believe most people instinctively know this, but nobody knows what to do.

How do we change, where do we go, what do we do?

Well it's obvious that we can't stay here, we can't go back, and we can't continue on the course we're on.

I, for one, am going to try and be more thoughtful each day on how to discuss what change is (not compromise), so...

More police isn't change, it's more of the same!

More military isn't change, it's more of the same!

More corporate imperialism isn't change.

More paving, more freeways, more housing developments, more unsustainable livelihoods, more materialism, more celebrity worship, more corporate sports, more brand recognition, more slums, more bling-bling, more gangs, more people, more wars, is just more of the same.

And voting for any so-called leader who has enough corporate contributions to get elected isn't voting for change, it's voting for more of the same.

Less greed, fewer possessions, less cars, smaller families, smaller homes, less people, less private property, more community, less racism, less imperialism, less laws, less pollution, less extinctions, more commons, more wildness, more diversity, More Nature! That would be a change...

A welcome change, in my book.

As it is now, we are rapaciously changing the living planet into dead objects of our own creation.

So, if we don't change, where are we going?

You tell me, and please don't say, "To Heaven", or to "To Hell", lest I vomit.

If we don't all change radically, and soon, where are we going as a civilization, as a species, as part of this beautiful living planet?

So you tell me.

Then, go tell your kids...

...but don't lie, or tell them fairytales, most of them aren't buying it anymore either, or haven't you noticed?

There, you've heard my Martin Luther King Day rant!

And there's no apology for it.

So maybe we could turn off the fuckin' TVs, get out of the cars, and start talking with each other?

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Blogger Madcap said...

We're paying far too high a price for all this "safety", you're right. Everything must be paved and smoothed, and no one must ever trip over a rough spot either physically or psychically. It's like swimming in a pool of vanilla pudding; bland and sweet and ultimately stifling.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Ontario Wanderer said...

I think my protest-in-the-streets days are over. We did some good in the 60's with the street marches. Things are a bit better, I think, for the coloured Americans. But there is so much injustice among people and between people and their environment that I don't really have too much hope for what we call humans. We, as a species, are marcing towards destruction. Reading history, I know that all this has been said before, but it seems more true today. Perhaps the best we can do is to do our best to live by example and keep searching out those grass filled roads. They do still exist, here and there. (Let the air out of a 4WD vehicle everyday if you can...)

2:24 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Jim, lately, I've experienced more internal anger and frustration because we appear to be in a hopeless/helpless situation. We're like individuals with wooden pitch forks fighting against corporate tanks with nuclear warheads.

I find it perversely amusing that Fatherland Security focuses on a small danger from ourside our borders and ignores the greatest danger that we face -- Americans obsession with self-destructive behaviors that destroy the environment and personal happiness, contentment and fulfillment.

What happens when oil is gone? How will bombers be powered? How will business continue as we now know it? An interesting question for me is "What's the fastest way we can deplete and eliminate the oil supply without polluting?" Without oil we'll be forced to change.

I don't have solutions but I'll be damned before I take the "don't fight it -- join them" attitude.

I appreciate your efforts to educate and be an example. The only hope we have is for enough people to follow your example.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as long as we treat this planet like it's ours to do with as we please, we'll continue toward our own destruction, and the demise of what we claim to hold sacred.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Loner said...

I missed this earlier in the week. I really enjoyed it. I have told my husband that when I read your site, I think - these are the people I want to be...

11:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jim

I wandered in from Madcap's blog. I enjoyed reading your comments. What a great site. This is very well said, and I, too, worry about many of the same things. I think if we resurrected the protests of the 60s it might do some good.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Granny said...

My protest in the streets days aren't completely over but except for some local issues, I seem to confine them to the blogosphere.

"granny" is a coffee-klatch type of blog but I also share with another great-granny.

I'm not sure how much we accomplish but at least we're making the attempt.

Ann (granny)

3:48 PM  

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