May 10, 2022- My teeth are far more viable than they were when I resumed regular dental care, eleven years ago. Too much information, perhaps, but I mention today’s good report as a way of looking at viability-in its purest sense, the state of working with a natural system to strengthen it and provide mutual benefit to all stakeholders-both human and other life forms.

Viability is said to differ from sustainability, in that some view the latter as a process that comes with built-in limits. I see sustainability as a step on the road to viability. For example, an area of land is set aside as a nature preserve, with a small local herd of cattle “grandfathered in” as participants in the preserve’s activities. This is an act of sustainability. The gradual phasing out of grazing, and the preserve’s natural ecosystem adapting to it, represents an arrival at viability.

There are bound to be setbacks, along the road to this condition of stasis, which is why a mindset of sustainability is needed, at several points along the way. Simply put, as is often said, it is the journey that matters, as much if not more than, the destination.

Engage, Solidify, Engage


February 18, 2022- For years on end, even the most sincere members of the political class have ended up offering disadvantaged communities a cross between Band-aids and packages that benefit large corporations, more than the communities themselves. Thus, the emphasis on giving rural communities High Speed Internet (not a bad thing, but a middling priority for many families in the rural South and Midwest) and placing the emphasis on farming issues (again not a bad thing, when it comes to helping families and sustainable small farms).

There is a disconnect, though. People in rural areas, as well as in small cities-and in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods of larger cities, across the country simply do not feel heard. It’s been that way at least since the Seventies, and played right into the hands of demagogues who, once elected-either ignored said groups or privately disparaged them as useful idiots. I can remember writing to Barack Obama, during his presidency, urging him to visit people in so-called “red states”, with an open mind and listening in good faith. He made maybe six trips to the South, and three to the Mountain West, during his eight years in office- with three of the southern journeys, and one of the western forays, in response to tragedies of national import. Donald Trump, for all his hype about being a friend of the working man, did no better. He got his audiences riled up, but there is little to show for the four years he spent in the White House. I mention the two leaders by way of example, that town hall-style conversations seem to have evaporated- at all levels of government.

Engaging with residents and actually hearing what they have to say about their lives, making notes and carrying on a conversation generative of their ideas, ought to have never gone away. It would seem to be the only sensible foundation for forming public policy. As mentioned in the earlier post about the rank and file of General Electric Corporation’s industrial plants, the benefits of making several, regular visits to the communities of our nation-with a view towards actually generating practical and sustainable ideas for solutions to the problems facing our communities and then promulgating the best of these, would seem to far outweigh the risks of hearing out complaints.

The betterment of our nation, of our planet, is not a zero sum game. Engage with the people, solidify the ideas exchanged and re-engage.

Filling The Cup


January 21, 2022- Everyone who seeks prolonged sustenance from the hands of other people is likely viewing life through a most simplistic lens.

Anyone older than ten has encountered at least one person whose demeanour is one of want and request. Most such people offer tokens to to others, in repayment, yet that reciprocation is quickly followed by even more requests-often higher in quantity and frequency.

Nothing arises from a vacuum. People who are constantly begging for money have either been individually deprived, and not really taught the skills needed for sustainability and self-reliance-or have grown up in a country that has been systematically robbed of its wealth, by other countries or by an elite within its boundaries, which has not seen fit to share.

I have been approached, a fair number of times, over the years, by those who have been debilitated by both sets of circumstances. My response has evolved into the slower, but ultimately more fruitful path of steering the seeker after alms to sources that can help build their self-reliance.

This was the path on which I myself was set, after a mercifully brief spate of flailing about and blaming others for my, and my family’s plight-in the mid-2000s. Now, even in the current period of setback and loss, it is clear to me what path must be followed-and what skills are needed to see the period through and to recover.

There is no call for anyone to accept a permanent state of the empty cup.

And After The Ending…..


September 24, 2021- The tough little road warrior took to squealing its displeasure, as soon as I popped the trunk. The alarm, that we all figured was dead, went off and stayed squawking, almost until the trunk was empty. It took less than an hour to clear everything out of the Elantra and transport it back to Home Base. My farewell to Elantra was shortened by the presence of a visibly irritated yard manager, at the body shop to which I had taken it. My friend’s car was taking up much needed space in the yard, so with one last tap on the road warrior’s roof, we left it to its destiny with USAA.

Picking up the rental, which I will pretty much need until the next car is purchased, was quick and easy. Ditto for processing the Transfer of Title and another document. It was the practical end to a strange, dreamlike 36 hours. I looked online, at several used car sites, and knowing the severity of the computer chip shortage, am mentally set for a rather long haul.

The evening was sweeter. I went downtown and joined the local rally for Earth, dubbed Climate Strike. Several friends were present, with a young lady I love as if she were my daughter being one of the leading organizers. I am very proud of her efforts and those of the earnestly involved team. With few, if any, exclusionary statements, the speakers stressed the importance, to every resident of this planet , of making efforts at curbing pollution and taking whatever practical steps that can be taken to ameliorate the daily and intermediate-term effects of climate change-whether it be in the form of extreme heat or extreme cold; whether it means extended drought or an increase in the frequency and severity of storms. The key term here is sustainability.

As I spent time, after the rally, sipping iced tea and enjoying an evening of funky music, at Raven Cafe, Annie and two friends walked in, offered a cheerful greeting and went upstairs to the roof patio. Knowing we have one another’s back, my friends and I also let time flow, being together sometimes and doing our own things, the rest of the time.

My back is slowly but steadily recovering, less stiff today than yesterday and will get better soon.

Four Courses of Love


September 12, 2021- A longtime friend, a few years my senior, has taken to posting photos of a newborn child, whom he has nicknamed after himself, her mother and a mutual friend of theirs, in hybrid fashion. He is clearly proud of the infant girl. My hope is that he can be there for her, through her teenage years, when the voice of a good man is as valuable to a young girl as is that of her mother. Without a parent, or parent-figure, of the opposite sex, a teenager is likely to drift emotionally. This takes nothing away from the efforts of those of the same sex as the youth, but it is an essential adjunct to those efforts.

There are several girls and young women whom I love as if they were my own daughters. I had the honour of working with two of them this evening, as Prescott Farmers’ Market put on its annual Farm-to-Table Dinner. I was a server, helped by two food runners and a busser. One of the ladies to whom I referred is the Executive Director of the Farmers’ Market, and can pretty much ask anything of me, in terms of service to the Market. The other is a tireless worker in the field of sustainability, and likewise devotes her energies to the Market’s success.

The dinner was served in four courses: Soup, salad, entree and dessert. Initially, each course was served by the designated team for two tables, with a total of seven crews. Four Chefs and a sous chef carefully and lovingly plated each course, and two complimentary courses for sponsoring VIPs. We on the serving crews brought each course to the patrons, with about twenty minutes between courses.

By the time the desserts were ready to be served, the Dinner was some minutes behind schedule. It was then that the teams combined and served all tables, allowing a half-hour for dessert, coffee, aperitifs and post-meal chitchat. It is never a good idea to jump out of one’s seat in a rush, though a few patrons did (“The dog is alone”; “I need to take my meds”; “It’s past my bedtime”). The high schoolers also had to leave. Those of us who stayed until the end continued the swarming behaviour, giving the dishwashing crew and the breakdown crew a boost, mindful that those teams of two have been stuck, in past years, when the high school age workers have had to leave, due to curfew. That is how I am used to volunteering-being one of the last to leave. No less really seems fair.

So went the second day of a most fruitful weekend. I am taking tomorrow “off”, focusing on training materials for a Blood Drive on Wednesday, but otherwise staying in a state of relaxation.

Sewing and Banana Bread


February 20, 2020-  

There are many twos, in today’s figuring, so pairs are a natural topic of discussion.  Two of us work with a disabled child, in the afternoon.  Couples are frequently my dinner companions, at American Legion Post gatherings, such as the one earlier this evening.  Two main concerns take up discussion at Sustainability Club meetings, at Prescott College:  Establishing sustainability-oriented community events on campus and  clean-up of the surrounding area, especially the two nearby creekbeds.

A sewing night has been scheduled for March 1, giving me a chance to donate my spare sewing box, inherited from my mother-in-law, when she moved from Prescott, in 2011.  Sewing machines are actually familiar to Millennials and Generation Z-at least far more than many of a certain age seem to realize.  So, too, is baking-and as much among men as among women.  I’m not, inherently, much for banana bread, but a young man did it well, for tonight’s meeting.

Two meteors, as I mentioned in the last post, paid their respects to our area, over the last week.  I am wondering which pairs of people, things or events will  make us take notice, the rest of this month, and afterward.