The Weekly Watch
CStMS will be moving her essays to Wednesday to relieve el of creating two open threads every week. So as usual please feel free to chime in with whatever is on your mind. I'm calling today's edition:
Burnt Out, Washed Up, and Blown Away
In homage to powers of nature... wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and the erosion of social cohesion. Perhaps we can find some good in the tragedies as any rational person must admit to climate chaos, a failed political system, a collapsing economy, and a polarized society. Awareness is a first step toward change. We can't force societal change, but we can as individuals select a better path to survival. I'm fine, but the young people deserve our best effort.
The equinox is this Tuesday. It arrives early in the morning on September 22 (9:31 a.m. EDT, 8:31 a.m. CDT, 7:31 a.m. MDT and 6:31 a.m. PDT). To me, this is a time to find balance. A time to be a part of the whole and flow with (rather than against) the universe. A time to prepare for the coming changes.
Back in February someone at c99 recommended Chris Martenson's COVID coverage, and I've been a fan ever since. He is shifting his emphasis now to resilience and regenerative agriculture. No wonder I like him. (The first clip is 12 min and the second one is 9 min)
We must change our ways in order to survive. The evidence the planet is warming is all around us...multiple named hurricanes, record heat and resulting wildfires, cascading polar ice loss, the disappearance of insects and birds (a true canary in the mine). It may be too late to stabilize the system, and the political system is too captured by the fuel industry to even begin to act...they are mostly in denial. So where does this leave us? As individuals to act? Should we build communities? I'm of the opinion it is time to sidestep the government and act...be the change we want to see.
I'm not religious...perhaps a bit pagan or even pantheist...but no organized religion for me. I am however tolerant of others call to worship. I bring this up because the next clip features a religious community, but it is the community design not the religious aspects I want to feature. (the entire clip is 42 min, but just watch 10 min or so to get the idea of the community structure).
It would not be comfortable to me to have a forced dress code and expected behavior. However, the cooperative nature of sharing a business, growing food, schooling, and all the daily chores looks pretty sensible to me. Certainly much better than this strict Mennonite community in Belize https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFFS2jtv4pM (6 min)
There are non-religious communities too...
"A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity" is a free-to-view, feature-length (1.3 hour)documentary that follows a community in Australia who have come together to explore and demonstrate a simpler way to live in response to global crises. Throughout the year the group build tiny houses, plant veggie gardens, practice simple living and permaculture principles, and discover the challenges of living in community.
Here's another example of a rural commune here in the US
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpvClTxHBe8&t=35s (25 min)
This Virginia commune and seed production coop is also very interesting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLzFd4YP9dI (28 min)
I use their seed company https://www.southernexposure.com/ and like supporting them.
Many people have created better communities. Will most follow suit? I think not. We're too stuck in the system to escape. I guess my point here is that if I felt stuck in a place I thought was unhealthy and far away from nature I would consider looking for a like minded community in an area to which I was attracted. https://www.ic.org/directory/
I think the election is going to be contested no matter who wins...and it may take weeks to count (and challenge) absentee ballots. This is set up to be a very volatile time. Add the RBG death and supreme court appointment into the mix and it doesn't look good to me. Change is never easy, Will we use the moment to cast off the corporate chains that bind us? I doubt it, but it is possible, so I'll hope for that outcome.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)
By Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
Krystal talked about election instability this week
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0gN_oRVya0 (10 min)
I heard someone suggest the country has not been this divided since the civil war. That's one reason I'm suggesting looking at your situation and community. However there is no where to hide from ecosystem collapse and climate chaos. It will effect us all no matter where we live. Hang on it's going to be a wild ride. Many of you are still breathing smoke. There's still flooding in south Alabama, and another hurricane brewing in the gulf. Triple digit temperatures in Siberia, melting permafrost and liberating methane, and causing wild fires. https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/siberia-on-fire/
Whenever I'm feeling down about it, I think of someone like Julian, a journalist being tortured for revealing our war crimes. You think you've got it bad? There is a total absence of law...it has evaporated. The system has become a charade...an illusion...much like our elections.
Of History and Hope
By Miller Williams
We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
The great and all the anonymous dead are there.
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought.
The rich taste of it is on our tongues.
But where are we going to be, and why, and who?
The disenfranchised dead want to know.
We mean to be the people we meant to be,
to keep on going where we meant to go.
But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how
except in the minds of those who will call it Now?
The children. The children. And how does our garden grow?
With waving hands—oh, rarely in a row—
and flowering faces. And brambles, that we can no longer allow.
Who were many people coming together
cannot become one people falling apart.
Who dreamed for every child an even chance
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not.
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart.
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot.
We know what we have done and what we have said,
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree,
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become—
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free.
All this in the hands of children, eyes already set
on a land we never can visit—it isn’t there yet—
but looking through their eyes, we can see
what our long gift to them may come to be.
If we can truly remember, they will not forget.
HOWARD ZINN: ...You know, should we tell kids that Columbus, whom they have been told was a great hero, that Columbus mutilated Indians and kidnapped them and killed them in pursuit of gold? Should we tell people that Theodore Roosevelt, who is held up as one of our great presidents, was really a warmonger who loved military exploits and who congratulated an American general who committed a massacre in the Philippines? Should we tell young people that?
And I think the answer is: We should be honest with young people; we should not deceive them. We should be honest about the history of our country. And we should be not only taking down the traditional heroes like Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt, but we should be giving young people an alternate set of heroes.
Instead of Theodore Roosevelt, tell them about Mark Twain. Mark Twain — well, Mark Twain, everybody learns about as the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, but when we go to school, we don’t learn about Mark Twain as the vice president of the Anti-Imperialist League. We aren’t told that Mark Twain denounced Theodore Roosevelt for approving this massacre in the Philippines. No.
We want to give young people ideal figures like Helen Keller. And I remember learning about Helen Keller. Everybody learns about Helen Keller, you know, a disabled person who overcame her handicaps and became famous. But people don’t learn in school and young people don’t learn in school what we want them to learn when we do books like A Young People’s History of the United States, that Helen Keller was a socialist. She was a labor organizer. She refused to cross a picket line that was picketing a theater showing a play about her.
And so, there are these alternate heroes in American history. There’s Fannie Lou Hamer and Bob Moses. There are the heroes of the civil rights movement. There are a lot of people who are obscure, who are not known. We have it in this Young People’s History. We have a young hero who was sitting on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to leave the front of the bus. And that was before Rosa Parks. I mean, Rosa Parks is justifiably famous for refusing to leave her seat, and she got arrested, and that was the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and really the beginning of a great movement in the South. But this 15-year-old girl did it first. And so, we have a lot of — we are trying to bring a lot of these obscure people back into the forefront of our attention and inspire young people to say, “This is the way to live.”
A Map to the Next World
By Joy Harjo
for Desiray Kierra Chee
In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map for
those who would climb through the hole in the sky.
My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged
from the killing fields, from the bedrooms and the kitchens.
For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.
The map must be of sand and can’t be read by ordinary light. It
must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.
In the legend are instructions on the language of the land, how it
was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.
Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the
altars of money. They best describe the detour from grace.
Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; the fog steals our
children while we sleep.
Flowers of rage spring up in the depression. Monsters are born
there of nuclear anger.
Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to
We no longer know the names of the birds here, how to speak to
them by their personal names.
Once we knew everything in this lush promise.
What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the
map. Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us, leav-
ing a trail of paper diapers, needles, and wasted blood.
An imperfect map will have to do, little one.
The place of entry is the sea of your mother’s blood, your father’s
small death as he longs to know himself in another.
There is no exit.
The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine—a
spiral on the road of knowledge.
You will travel through the membrane of death, smell cooking
from the encampment where our relatives make a feast of fresh
deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.
They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.
And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world
there will be no X, no guidebook with words you can carry.
You will have to navigate by your mother’s voice, renew the song
she is singing.
Fresh courage glimmers from planets.
And lights the map printed with the blood of history, a map you
will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.
When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers where they
entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.
You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.
A white deer will greet you when the last human climbs from the
Remember the hole of shame marking the act of abandoning our
We were never perfect.
Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth who was
once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.
We might make them again, she said.
Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.
One morning I woke up and I knew
You were really gone
A new day, a new way, I knew
I should see it along
Go your way, I'll go mine
And carry on
The sky is clearing and the night
Has gone out
The sun, he come, the world
Is all full of love
Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice
But to carry on
The fortunes of fables are able
To sing the song
Now witness the quickness with which
We get along
To sing the blues you've got to live the dues
And carry on
Love is coming
Love is coming to us all
Where are you going now, my love?
Where will you be tomorrow?
Will you bring me happiness?
Will you bring me sorrow?
Oh, the questions of a thousand dreams
What you do with what you see
Lover, can you talk to me?
Girl, when I was on my own
Chasing you down
What was it made you run?
Trying your best just to get around
The questions of a thousand dreams
What you do and what you see
Lover, can you talk to me?
I wish you all the best as we wander into the future. The thread is open...