Barricades

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September 3, 2021– Firefighters holding the line against the Caldor and Dixie Fires, burning large swaths of northern California, are making progress, as of two hours ago. There is an enormous amount of physical energy being directed at the enemy that is wildfire. There is also a tremendous amount of spiritual energy being directed at the blazes, as well as at their opposite numbers, the hurricanes and remnant tropical depressions that ravage the southern and northeastern sections of the country-and at all manner of similar catastrophic events around the world.

Barricades, especially against harm, can be put up and maintained by both forms of energy. There are also barricades against progress, or against the betterment of life. We see many of both types, being put up simultaneous to one another, in the course of public affairs. The former revolve around inclusion of diverse people and the advancement of human dignity. The latter are more concerned with restriction, exclusion and the enrichment of the few.

Both types of energy may be used, in either case. There are constructive actions that people across the political spectrum can take, in which the sole difference is an emphasis on individual effort versus collective action. With destructive actions, the reverse is true. Conservatives favour individual initiative in making life better, but indulge in group think when plotting acts of limitation or destruction. Progressives favour collectivity in the betterment of life, but they are prone to be lone wolves or small cell teams, when rising in opposition to what they see as oppression.

The course of public events being what has been lately, I would not be surprised to see both sides change up their tactics, and reverse matters further. In the best of all worlds, there would not be any need seen for such antipathy between the two sides, as all would realize that they are, in large measure, being played by a select few. Having friends on both ends of the spectrum, and at all points in between, I see only the universal recognition of human dignity, with room for both kinds of positive action, as the solution to all manner of ills facing mankind, and our planet.

Lytton

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July 2, 2021- The couple felt certain that they would be safer jumping in a hole they had dug, for another purpose, than trying to outpace the wildfire that was engulfing their small village, in British Columbia’s Fraser Canyon. They did not figure on a collapsing live electric power pole. The pole fell directly into the hole and the pair were electrocuted.

There will be other horror stories, no doubt, as the fire which destroyed most of the village of Lytton continues its march through the canyon. British Columbia and Alberta have suffered as many wildfires as any given U.S. state, over the past twenty five years. The increase of heat and lack of moisture, throughout all four seasons, is indeed subjecting just about any temperate forest on the planet, along with many desert landscapes, to risk of wildfire. Add to these, the desperate slash and burn attacks on tropical forests by people encouraged to settle the regions, by their own governments-in a short-sighted effort to relieve urban overcrowding. and we are looking at destruction that will far outstrip any conflagration yet seen.

There are those who point out that ancient peoples, on all continents, used fire as a tool to clear scrub and naturally occurring debris. Those fires were carefully monitored, however, much like today’s controlled burns-which are set and extinguished, by forestry professionals, who are following the evidence of careful forest management practiced by the Algonquians of eastern North America, for example. Willy-nilly techniques were never part of the toolkit of the ancients, nor are they advocated by their descendants.

The extent to which the burning of fossil fuels is exacerbating the present rise in temperatures and destruction of habitat is open to debate. That does indicate, however, that the beginning of the process of building a technology, that is not dependent on fossil fuels, is in order. I get that people need time to wrap their heads around the changes that will come. There will need to be training and demonstrable proof that these new methods will bring about a mitigation of weather extremes. Some of that proof is already here: The country of Greenland, facing the loss of its icecaps, by 2050, is successfully using wind energy- even through the northern winter. There are far more people now, than there were when we transitioned from animal-led transportation to its motorized successor-and there was much resistance then. The five-fold increase in population, however, has been matched by an increase in the overall level of education, across the globe.

We can move on through the present crisis. We can reduce the number of Lyttons, Fort McMurrays, Paradise (CA)s, Yarnell Hills. If the human mind can conceive a technology, human ingenuity can construct it.

The Long and the Short of It: Part II

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May 11, 2021- I was able to locate the Windows service for deleting temporary Internet files, so let’s see if that helps with the configuration issues that have been irksome, over the past few days.

The Elantra is ready for its first cross country jaunt, since 2019. It was found that the small brake light bulb, that kept burning out , is simply not well-made, with small filaments that don’t handle the bumps and lumps of our rougher roads-and those are the ones that are paved. It’s a nuisance, but also a First World problem.

The lack of regard for the safety of children is not just an American issue: Eleven people, many of them children, were shot to death yesterday, in Kazan, Russia. I can’t say it enough- It is not the God-given right of mentally ill people to bear arms. This does not mean those who have been successfully treated for mental illness can’t own firearms, but those still certifiably afflicted are a public safety menace, when given access to guns and ammunition.

It’s time to end the “audits” and voter restriction bills that seek to undo the results of LAST year’s election and/or prevent American citizens from voting, based on any number of anticipated, but unlikely, “potential frauds”. If anything, voter protection needs to be expanded. If that means there are laws passed that I may not like, then let the courts determine whether these are/are not constitutional. It is not up to state legislatures to circumvent the right of the people to vote as they please.

It’s starting to get warm here again, and I see that just as I am preparing to head out of town, the fires are kicking in. This time, I am taking care of family matters first, and pray for the safety of those in the back country, who might be affected by the present wildfire. My journey does not mean I don’t care about our County.

Onward and outward, it is.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 8: Remaining Worthy

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September 16, 2020-

As the natural afflictions that are challenging us ramp up in both number and severity, my ties to the Red Cross are growing both in frequency of appeals and in complexity. A side effect of this is that I am likely to be out of town more often, after next Monday.

Only a dental appointment is keeping me here, as it is, but that’s one of those things that will keep me around, on this earthly plane, a bit longer. So, as Thomas Sowell says, “It’s a trade-off.” Check-ups head off trouble at the pass.

Coming and going from town, regardless of the reason, does rankle a few people. I see some of the places I frequent, during extended time at Home Base, becoming more frosty in their ambiance. It’s my opinion that “Green is green”, anyone’s cash will keep people afloat. I do understand the notion of being missed, yet for anyone to be hurt, because a community member has gone to help people elsewhere, seems a bit farfetched. I have to remind folks that, when we needed assistance from places far afield-during the Indian Fire (2002), the Doce and Yarnell Hill Fires (2013) and the Goodwin Fire (2017), people came from as far away as Alaska and Michigan.

We will, slowly, arrive at an understanding that love means both letting people follow their hearts, and realize their dreams-but also letting those we love extend that love to others, in other places.

Even if I go, next week or the week after, I will come back to what I expect to be a stable and welcoming community.

Staying Golden

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March 13, 2020-

As it happened, Friday the Thirteenth saw the climate of upheaval hit a pause button,at least as far as society as a whole was concerned.  Of  course, COVID19 has yet to run its course, and many are out of work, however temporarily.  Remedies,though, are in the offing, both medically and economically.  Perhaps, by next Tuesday, toilet tissue will be on the shelves, for more than an hour, again and there will be a sense of recommitment to work and study, as colleges and universities at least adjust to online curricula and some level of financial support comes from a Congress that is intending to work through the worst of the crisis.

This is the first open-ended challenge that humanity, as a whole, has had in a good many years.  The other such calamities had human faces:  The Axis Powers; Mao’s Cultural Revolution; September, 2001’s terrorist attacks.  There were natural catastrophes that were more specific, in terms of dates and locations:  Each of the last three viral epidemics; the hurricanes of 2005-until present;  the great wildfires and ensuing floods; the many tornadoes, most recently those that hit central Tennessee.

It is being,and will be, handled better than at the onset.  Governments are learning that the commitment to public welfare needs to be specific, all hands on deck and long-term.  The people are learning that there are times, when being physically distant is an act of love.  Both institutions and individuals are learning to trust science.

We are learning what the Gold Standard, in institutional and social life, actually means.