Occupy moves on

occupy berlin

From its infancy the occupy movement has run the gambit of highs and lows of the human experience. The movement started in New York as a protest against the unbalance of wealth in our society and it has grown and morphed and spread all over the country and the world.

A movement born out of frustrations brought on by hard economic times mixed with vanishing natural resources, dwindling opportunity and the remains of a system once created for the common good that is now corrupted by the few and the powerful who put profits over everything else.

The American dream is slipping through the fingers of many Americans.  Our golden age is tarnishing. We the people have lost our way.

Occupy Portland March - 60
Image by merrick_monroe via Flickr

I believe this movement is only a beginning and it is a sign of more to come.  The events of late have truly surprised me and have caused me to re-evaluate my feelings on the Occupy movement more than once.

I  have always supported the ideals of the movement, in that there has never been any doubt in my mind. However, I have not always supported the means. This occupying has from day one struck me as unsustainable.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and all the good reasons and high ideals cannot trump cold hard reality. These camps created by Occupy degraded into a health and safety hazard that cost our cities dearly at a time when city and state budgets are strained to the max. This occupying also cost the movement valuable credibility.

They showed why it is illegal for a group of people to take possession of a public park and just squat there indefinitely. No matter how worthy the cause, those ends do not justify that sort of means.

Night march through Portland
Image by K. Kendall via Flickr

In most places the cops have moved in and used a varying degree of force to retake the parks once occupied.  Every city is different and in my city, to my surprise, it was relatively peaceful thanks to all involved. The local police showed uncommon restraint and the protestors themselves seemed to police themselves in many instances.

The crowd, estimated to be 2-3 thousand, gasped as a fiery projectile thrown into a row of mounted police injuring one of them and causing him to be taken away during the eviction last Saturday.

The perpetrator was quickly pointed out by the crowd and the man was promptly taken down and arrested. Then in a move that surprised me, the police backed off and allowed the protestors to form a drum circle in the middle of the street, dancers in the hundreds surrounded the circle, cheered on by the overwhelming number of spectators.  A party atmosphere prevailed into the wee hours. There was a sense of unity shown that gave me a sense of long forgotten city pride.

I felt I had been a bit hasty in my predictions of doom and gloom but then I looked around and found the reaction in my city to be unusual.

Occupy Portland
Image by drburtoni via Flickr

The next day 50 people were arrested and the Occupy encampment was retaken by police.  A handful of protestors remained and helped clean up the disgusting mucky mess left behind in the two city parks held hostage in this all too human drama.  Many citizens came out to see the damage and confronted leftover protestors milling about  It seemed not everyone was happy with all the mess and the cost of the occupy.

Heated debates sprung out on street corners.   People that would have never spoken to each other before were voicing their varied but strong opinions,  exchanging ideas and solutions. Citizens were taking to each other instead of just ignoring.

occupy portland
Image by snap turtle via Flickr

By Monday, a press conference was held by what serves as our local occupy leadership fronted by youngish woman in a bright red cap.  She spoke eloquently as she demanded an apology from the mayor and the chief of police for the use of force during the eviction.  Tears welled in the eyes of a nearby protestor as the woman in the red cap spoke of a member of their group, a sign language translator who had apparently been hurt in the scuffle and was now in a wheelchair.

Evidence is sketchy on this and I have this natural inclination to believe the protestors  though I cannot say as I was not there. I have only seen what is claimed to be altered footage of the event.

When asked if they were planning on occupying any more parks, the spokesperson beamed a smile and said “no comment”.  I had hoped for a sign of leadership or a clear focus from the group.  They seem intent on continuing the movement and will not let anyone but themselves know exactly what they have planned.

On Tuesday, the protestors marched and invaded an upscale shopping mall.  On Wednesday,  they marched in solidarity with local university students protesting high tuition and an unfair treatment of school loans.  Today is dubbed “N 17” and a protest on the banks is planned. Events turn on a dime. Only time will tell how this all plays out and how history will view this phenomena.

A smart person once told me that revolutions can be messy and that all that mess makes people stand up and take notice. I have to agree.

It is  prompting us, forcing us  really to look at ourselves as a community of connected individuals who can all have a say in our collective future . This movement has opened a dialogue with ourselves, all 100% of us. It is a discussion that is long overdue and if we want any real and lasting change for the betterment of us all, we need to have it.  If this movement has achieved anything it is this and it is the most essential.

fire
Image by matthewvenn via Flickr

The Occupy movement has provided the spark. To succeed the spark must grow and for it to grow and become something formidable, it must kindle the fires by adding new converts with clearer heads who can focus the attention on key issues.  For this movement to move it needs the help of everyone.  It cannot afford to alienate.  There are many problems and the protestors have every right to be angry, but their anger and a lack of clear focus hurts the very cause most they and I support so very much.

Strawberryindigo.

Occupy Standoff

It was only a matter of time  and  the local media is all abuzz. The too-white smiles and scared eyes of the local newscasters reporting live in front of a hostile crowd  tell the tale.  Tempers are high and people are nervous.  Down at the center of it all, our downtown and “Occupy Grand Central”.  A reluctant mayor, feeling the pressure given by  downtown businesses  concerned about the upcoming holiday season and the bottom line.  Drew his line in the sand and called out a warning to the local occupiers.  It was an ultimatum, really;  Get out by midnight Saturday or else. 

The protestors occupying two parks across the street from city hall have vowed to stay. They have sent out for reinforcements and witnesses from other occupy encampments in other cities.  They are making homemade weapons and shields.  They seem to be digging in and readying themselves for a fight. 

 

The stage has been set.  On one side; the occupiers. On the other; the establishment. Stuck in the middle;  The people.  The real  99%.  Victims of circumstance. People from all walks of life. Very human signs of these hard times. 

We decided to pay another visit  before time ran out on our local occupy. So MM and I went down there on this very overcast Saturday morning. 

We have been there before, earlier in the occupation.   I expected much of the same.  I could have not been more wrong.  The tarps and the tents looked the same but that was about it.  With the deadline looming; the people who could or would leave have left and what remain are the chronic homeless and mentally ill.   And with them remain an unhealthy cesspool of waste and filth. And mud, a foul-smelling gunk all over.  The stench is almost overpowering.  Wet garbage and clothing strewn about.  Food containers and human waste lie on the ground mixed with brilliant yellow autumn leaves.  I almost gag.  I want to leave. We go further in.

Gone is the D.J. and the music.  Gone is the library and medical tent.  The art tent is empty and the local radio station has withdrawn its booth.  The food service has dwindled.  The air of hopefulness is gone.  The unity is gone.  All that is left are the ugly remains. 

The tattered would be heroes.  Dirty, hungry and lost, smoking hand rolled cigarettes, huddled together, worn and wary.  A spirited few cheer on the others.  Pontificating and proclaiming to fight. 

 “This is my home.”  Says a young man in a red cap. 

 His friend, the one with droopy tired eyes, calls for “warriors.”

 

A good Samaritan has brought in coffee and a brown-haired girl with big innocent eyes passes out brownies, she looks about 8 or 9.  She is a sweet little thing and stands as a stark contrast to the mess around her.  As does the  teenage girl shivering in white shorts and flip-flops eating a  glazed twist and savoring every bite. Her dirty face looks sad and alone, I wonder where she’ll go? 

A despondent old man in a wheelchair sits forgotten and ignored, a scene erupts around him, involving a woman who is obviously distressed and upset.  She is almost in tears as she begs and pleads with some occupiers to use their energy for good and leave peacefully. A small crowd has formed aligned against her.  Her young daughter hides her face in her Mother’s warm and fashionable coat. 

Cops stand on the corners. Many of them have donned medical type masks. I suppose to keep from getting sick. I feel sorry for them.  They don’t want this.  I wonder what will happen tonight.  There is a certain queasy unease in the air that goes beyond the lack of sanitation.  I can see it their faces and in the faces of the ones with nowhere to go. Those are the ones I feel for the most.

Others have come to witness this. People here and there, like MM and I.  Some are taking pictures. Others have gathered at the parameters in twos and threes, whispering in an almost revered awe and shaking their heads in disgust.   I see surprise in some eyes.  I know the feeling. Whatever the dream, the dream is lying in a ditch by the side of the road.  It’s tired and hungry and it gets the feeling that no one is listening.

Many hand-lettered signs have been left behind and many of these have valid messages.  I think these people and many others in this country and really in the whole world feel they have no voice and that no one is listening.  The world is going to hell and we know it and there is nothing we can do. 

It seems hopeless.  Our problems are so huge and all the occupying in the world won’t change that.  It’s easy to sit here in my nice warm house tapping away on my nice white laptop and judge these people.  It’s also just as easy to  turn and look the other way.  But it is history we are witnessing here, right or wrong, good or bad.  

These people, those people….We the people. We are The People and we are all connected.  Whatever happens to the least of us happens to us all.  All 100%.

 These problems are not going away. Whatever happens on the streets of my city tonight, will not change anything.  It will only put an ugly face on a valid and much needed social movement. 

….And as the rain begins and  the darkness of night sets in across the city, I can’t help but wonder the outcome.  The deadline has been set and we are all watching and waiting……

Peace.

Strawberryindigo.

 

 

Occupy What Next?

Occupy Portland in Pioneer Square
Image by S.MiRK via Flickr

Recently I paid a visit to my local “Occupy” encampment.  I first wrote about the Occupy Movement in a previous post and   I wondered about the outcome of all this “occupying”. Now after some time has passed and the movement has gone on into full swing, I decided to go see what all the fuss was about.  Well, I should say that MM talked me into it.  He asked what kind of writer I was. To miss out on such an event?  He shamed and goaded me, then offered me a trip to Starbucks. THAT did it…. and before I knew it, we’re on our way.

Much has happened since this whole thing started here and all over the country, even the world.  

Occupy My Town

 Our local occupation consists of two city park blocks across the street from the courthouse.  There are an estimated 500+ people there.  There are two bathrooms.

By the time we got down to the occupation it was high noon, the sun beamed brightly giving the scene a sense of hopefulness.  It was like I was entering a moment in time that would forever be etched in my memory. I felt a great excitement to witness this exercise in freedom; This power of the people.  I felt alive and electric. 

Occupy Portland Image 32 jcj

 A row of shiny police motorcycles caught my attention and then it was the tents, so many of them in a big multi-color conglomerate.  Hand lettered signs everywhere, running the gambit of the highs and lows of cardboard communication. From telling me to vote “nobody” for president and take my money out of the “evil” bank,  to “We are the 99%” and Death to tyrants”.  Someone had even put up a picture of Teddy Kennedy next to one of Che Guevara

Occupy
Image by K. Kendall via Flickr

A man in a rainbow shirt welcomes us to the occupation. We smile hello and are greeted by a woman sitting on the ground, her wares spread out on a blanket beside her, selling beaded bracelets and bran muffins. Her sign proclaims her to be a student and not homeless.  I’m glad that she can clear this up. Later I see the relevance in the sign as we go deeper in.

It all reminds me of a bad Mad Max remake, but with a  dreadlocked D.J. providing  a glitter rock soundtrack. We skirt around the art tent and the first aid booth, with its free condom jar smiling proudly.  There is a lending library and a green  Medical marijuana tent next to a small one labeled “chill”.  A sign proclaims fortune-tellling and a local radio station has a booth, broadcasting live.  

Near the community “garden” there stands, most impressively, a food line, serving what one man exclaimed to be “good shit” around a statue of pioneers, now riddled with police tape and spices.  Someone has put up a sign  asking for dish-washing volunteers and they seem to have a handle on recycling and waste management.

In a way, I am impressed, there is some organization here.  It is good work to serve and feed the needy. But isn’t this supposed to be a protest?   Nobody really seems to be protesting anything, or advocating anything either, just occupying. 

Tent City
Image by kuow949 via Flickr

We reach the other side of the occupation in the adjacent park.This one is a bit more crowded and a lot raunchier.  A blue haired woman kisses a blond rat on her shoulder, while the “cute” tweaker couple in front of us fight over a cigarette.  A heavy-set  woman in a red dress puts a scarf over her head and screams “Starbucks!”  I smile and drift away, thinking of chai lattes.  M.M brings me back to reality when he points out the group of about 20 bikers laughing and partying in the midst of it all.

We obviously don’t belong here and it shows.  We look like total tourists. Most of the occupiers don’t seem to notice us and go about the business of “occupying” which apparently consists of sitting around smoking cigarettes, drinking and yelling out  random drunken nothings.  

 It finally dawns on me that the park is mostly filled with people who have no where else to go.  I saw the local media coverage of this phenomena, most of the people featured in the coverage of the marches and protests seemed to be from all walks of life. I guess those people went home because 99% of these people left here squatting in a public park in the middle of our downtown are obviously street people and the mentally ill. Some look  downright scary.  

I had heard of problems here.  A major uptake in crimes. Theft, damage, assaults, and rape.  Even with the police presence across the street, a certain lawlessness prevails. Seeing all this makes an impression on me.   

In a city that prides itself in weirdness, this wins hands down as one of the weirdest moments of all. But to what end?  Who will occupy what next?

Dare 2 Dream too homeless camp

I think about protests in the past and how this one is different.  It has become bigger than itself and  it’s taking us to a place of no return.  

 Occupy Reality

 The sentiment behind it all, the one that started it, is valid but it has grown into  a monster that lives on the backs of  well-meaning activists and YOU; the citizen and taxpayer.  This monster serves not equality and change, but chaos. These occupiers are setting a precedent that does not bode well for actual social and economic progress in the future.  I believe in the cause but I believe it does not justify the means.

To the occupiers I ask: To what end?

I hope more people don’t get hurt. 

      Stay Safe.             Strawberryindigo.

Sick

None - This image is in the public domain and ...
Image via Wikipedia

S I C K... A RANT By Strawberryindigo…

This is usually the magical time of the year when one or both of my kids bring home from school something they did not take there; this comes as the form of a virus that if not carefully contained infects the entire household.

It all starts with a cough, just one, then another and another. The coughs get deeper and deeper.  I know, MM knows, we look at each other..”Oh no, not again.”  We know the drill, It happens every year, flu shot or not.

We are lucky enough to work at home so it is no problem keeping our kids in when they are sick.    This year it was my daughter who first fell victim.  I kept her home for 4 days.  She rested, took in lots of fluids and basically sat around waiting to get better.

On the morning of her last sick day I received a phone call from the school. To my surprise it was the school psychologist. She inquired about my daughter’s state of health.  I told her that my she had been ill but that she was “getting better and that she would be returning the next school day”.  The psychologist then, in a breezy offhand manner told me that “something was going around”… and then she became way too serious when she said that my daughter had stayed out longer than anyone else.

I was a bit surprised.  4 days?  This warrants a call from the school psychologist?

I said what she wanted to hear and  somehow I felt that I had barely passed some test of hers.  We said our goodbyes and the next day I sent my still coughing daughter to school.

The words of the psychologist echoed in my mind and the more I thought about it the angrier I became.  I thought back to the beginning of the year to a speech given by the Principal during Back to School Night.  She was bragging up the school’s achievements from last year and justifiably so. My daughter’s school is fantastic, it is one of the best  in the city and we are lucky to be able to have our daughter attend it.

It was something she said specifically about the school’s attendance record…”which was and still is…award-winning”?

Did I hear correctly?  The schools compete with attendance records, the ones with the fewest absences “win”.  What do they win?  The winning school and apparently the winning principal get bragging rights, which I say are well deserved… but in hindsight I can’t help but wonder if the school is a bit over-zealous in their commitment to achieve perfect attendance.

I thought of my daughter and all the make up work she must do just to catch up.  I think of all the valuable school days missed.  School is important and the quality of her education suffers when she must miss school because of illness.  However, I think my daughter’s health and the health of all the people in the school are more important than an attendance record.  It seems that this prevalent attitude among the schools fosters a climate that encourages families to send their sick children to school where they infect others…and the cycle continues.

It is amazing how one small seemingly insignificant action or non-action can affect so many.  One properly sick child can infect a roomful of people and through that action can affect so many more.  We are all connected, even in sickness.

I realise that many people have to work and have no choice but to send their sick kids to school as well as coming to work with obvious illness themselves.   Maybe an attitude adjustment would be appropriate for bosses and the bosses of bosses as well. Maybe an attitude adjustment for everyone, public school systems too.

We all know firsthand that sick people are not at their best and do not perform well, at school or on the job.  Sick people make more sick people.  This seems to have a snowball effect; making more people perform at sub par. It also turns people off.  When the teller at the bank sneezes on my money or the grocery clerk coughs all over my celery, I’m turned off.

What I’m trying to say, in a long-winded round-about way, trying not to offend anyone but I need to say, really plead….You. (you know who you are) If you are sick and you are able to, please stay home. If your child is sick, try to keep him or her at home, If you can’t do that please wash your hands and do what you can not to infect everyone.

And in a personal note to one school psychologist; keeping my daughter home when she is ill is a consideration to you as well as everyone else.

And so to everyone: Have a great and healthy day!  Strawberryindigo.

Sign of the Times

Great Depression: man dressed in worn coat lyi...
Image via Wikipedia

Here I am sitting at this cheap plastic ash ridden table in front of my local chain supermarket.  I am writing in one of my famous spiral notebooks and drinking a grande black coffee while people watching.  This is, believe it or not, the perfect place for such an endeavor.

This is not my usual hangout, nor is it likely I will return. I’m growing fond of going to such strange but typical places to write.  At these places I can soak up the atmosphere and get a taste of a new perspective I wouldn’t have had otherwise. 

All sorts of people have been passing through the double doors to my right; a cross-section of humankind.  We are all different but we have much in common, like our need for food, and food shopping and how this damn economy is screwing us.

..and as a certain Mr. Dylan said…”..the times they are a-changin’…” 

 They see it, I see it.  It’s all around.  It’s the sign of the times and the signs are showing…more trash in the streets and buildings and streets in disrepair, the forlorn empty businesses, the foreclosed homes…..the homeless.  The face of homelessness is changing in our country. 

Before this economic doom and gloom, the homeless were usually people with severe emotional problems such as mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse.  Now there are families under the proverbial bridge, children, elderly.  People like you and I.  It seems wave after wave of hardships hit the beach.  All you can do is hang on and hope for the best.

I see the signs of high unemployment in the streets, in the parks, the railway station.  Everywhere.  Groups of young men in their twenties roaming around with backpacks and bedrolls.  They are short on opportunity and short on money, everything but time.

I see people with suitcases, your average American, huddled in corners with looks of bewilderment.  Some fall asleep sitting up at bus stops, all their belongings held tight against them, sheltering them from the chill night air.

This is the new face of homelessness. 

I see them, all these poor people trying to blend in, trying to not look homeless.   And what about the people two steps away from it?  

I could easily be one of them and it scares the hell out of me.

I intended this post to be a rant type post because when I started writing it, I was mad as hell.  Angry with our government, with corporate greed and just plain old-fashioned human stupidity.  I still am just as angry, but now upon reflection, I find that I am more afraid than anything else.

Afraid of what the future may bring, afraid of the dark unknown.  I think many people are afraid of the same things and this economy and the state of this crazy world have people white-knuckled terrified.

We were all brought up on tales of “The Great Depression.”  Pictures of Dust-bowl Oakies with dirty faces and vacant stares haunt the pages of old schoolbooks in my memory. We were taught to fear depressions, recessions and bank collapses…..

….It’s the sign of the times and here we are again and how it can ever get back to “normal” is beyond me. 

..so for now I’ll sit awhile and enjoy my coffee. Then appreciate the hell out of everything I can and hold on for dear life.

Wishing you blue skies

Strawberryindigo.

Love Thy Neighbor?

Love
Image by aftab. via Flickr

I saw a scene today.   It was a small moment, a common everyday boring kind of moment but it changed me and the way I will view people and life in general from now on.

The woman down the street, my neighbor and “Nemesis”, Mrs. Wheatgrass. A person I have written of before. A neurotic, stressed out person who reminds me of sun-baked straw.   If you have not yet heard of Mrs. Wheatgrass, you will.  She is a story and a half unto herself.

Today though I saw Mrs. Wheatgrass in a different light…

A pest control truck in the neighborhood is a dreaded sight indeed and when I saw the sight earlier today, I felt a small panic.  YIKES! Pests!  The bright green truck, with the environmental message on the side looked nice, and responsibly green and expensive. It was parked in front of the Wheatgrass house.

I laughed a little laugh as I imagined high-strung and snooty Mrs. Wheatgrass on a chair screaming down at a mouse. Or worse.

..And speak of the Devil…there she was.  She was walking the pest guy to his pest truck.  She did not look happy. She looked majorly stressed out.  Her straw-colored hair was practically standing on end as she listened to the pest guy talk.  He kept pointing to her roof and every time he did she looked sicker and sicker.

By the time he got to the shoulder shrugging portion at the end, she appeared frantically frazzled.  For a moment I felt glee.  A little part of me felt happy at her misfortune.  I hate to admit it but that is what happened. 

It didn’t feel right and as I said it lasted but a moment but that was enough. I started to think back…where had we gone wrong?  I remember when we first spied each other, the day she moved in 6 years ago.  It was like a scene out of a spaghetti western, I could swear I heard the music genius of Ennio Morricone in the background.   She walked past and we just stared at each other, not a word was uttered. We just stared. 

I guess I should have welcomed her to the neighborhood. I really have no excuse. I could say that I suffer from social phobia or that it’s not wise to talk to strangers; both are true but honestly, I think it was because of the way she looked at me.  She made me feel uncomfortable standing on my own front porch.  Her thin lips curled up in a sneer.  I couldn’t help but feel that I had wronged her in some way.

We eventually spoke and over the years and have had some strange conversations.  She likes to approach me with her odd and neurotic household problems and I think she expects me to have all the answers.

When I don’t have the insight she wants she turns on me and a whole new round of snubs and snide remarks begin.  I know this sounds paranoid, but once in a while I get these strange looks from her family.  I think she talks about me to them, I just get these vibes.

All this makes me feel bad.  I don’t want to be her friend.   I am Strawberryindgo, she is Mrs. Wheatgrass.  We have nothing in common…..I do however hate the mean looks she gives me.  I have feelings.

It’s easy to be nice to someone who likes you….on the other hand…it’s not difficult at all to hate someone back who hates you first.  It’s natural, its human nature.  I tried to justify how I felt.

Why should I care if she has something nesting in her roof? So what?  If her roof is falling apart and I know she needs a new one and can’t afford it. She has never been nice to me and makes snide remarks to me whenever she can.

I know if she saw me in the same situation as she is now, she would have no sympathy for me. I know she would use the occasion to come over and grill me, she is that type. It seems more and more people these days are that type.  It’s like they are waiting for an excuse to “take it out on someone else.”  They take pleasure in others misfortune and feed on negativity.  I don’t want to be like them. I refuse to be like them!

It was at that moment I realised that I must be stronger than any negativity that Mrs. Wheatgrass or anyone else could throw at me. Maybe if I look deep inside myself I can find some sympathy for one such as she although she has none for me.

Niceness begets niceness and hatred begets hatred.  It is difficult to turn the tide, but now I see the importance in trying. If I can’t get along with my bitchy neighbor, who can get along in this world?  

Although she doesn’t know it, Mrs. Wheatgrass taught me a lesson today.  I don’t think I could actually ever “love” her nor do I think I could even like her, she is after all, Mrs. Wheatgrass.  But I will try my damnest…..

….and so this brings me to a quote by “Tricky Dick” and how fitting….

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”

Richard M. Nixon (1974)

Have a great day!   Strawberryindigo.

  

We the People

Occupy Wallstreet 10-5-2011
Image by cisc1970 via Flickr

I have been watching with more than just a casual interest, the events unfolding in the streets of many cities across the United States.

It has been building for some time but this public vein has only just opened up recently, about three weeks or so ago, in New York City.

The Occupy Wall Street movement started there but it has spread like wildfire, now to my city as well as many others.  I’ve never  witnessed such a formation of people happen in such this way before.

I have heard many opinions on the phenomena, from television pundits, to neighbors and friends to the crackpots on the street corner.  Everyone has a take on it and everyone has it right on the money.  Again this is new to me, all this agreement.

We have much in common; We the people, We angry 99%.  The American dream, that long gone ideal that’s been shoved down our throats now seems like an impossibility. Our whole way of life is threatened and it’s like nothing will ever be the same.  We are on the losing end of a golden age and we can all feel it.

People are angry and confused.  They feel helpless.  All this marching, this “occupying” is at least something.  We elected a new president who promised us change.  We thought this new president would end the wars, we thought this new president would make us great again.  This new president is too much like the old president.

We elected him. As we have elected all the rest of them.  It is hard to swallow, but in that aspect we deserve them.  It is our system that elects those with the best sound bites and the most money.  It is the system we must change.

Marching will only get us so far, we all know.. but what else can we do?  We the People are at a crossroads and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

I see it in the faces, the desperate faces from all walks of life, marching in solidarity. this is a powerful thing, this unity.  Knowing you are not the only one effected by all this decline, this decay. In this way I think that all the marching has been good for the collective national soul.

This movement is in its infancy and without leadership it may die a premature death.    Never before have I witnessed such potential power in a group of people.

It is a shame that this power has no leadership.  We are in search for a leader once again, We are searching for someone to represent us, to speak for us; We The People, and not just the 99% but all 100%.

I don’t know how this all will play out.  Only time will tell…..

…and that reminds me of this quote:

“Waste no time with revolutions that do not remove the causes of your complaints but simply change the faces of those in charge.”

Francesco Guicciardini (1530)

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

For more revolutionary quotes; go to my FRESH QUOTES page

Viva la revolution!   StrawberryIndigo.

Indigo Rant: Critics

Great barracuda with prey.
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You’re so vain …..

I bet you think this post is about you..Perhaps it is..If you see yourself in the forthcoming words, don’t be alarmed, just listen…

Ronald Reagan once said “I don’t pay much attention to critics.

The world is divided into two kinds of people:

Those who can and those who criticize.”

No truer words were ever spoken by anyone.  The fact that it comes from someone I disagreed with politically and morally do not take away from the wisdom of those words.

It seems that where there is art and where there are artists and creative types there are a few critics hanging around.  I guess that makes sense, for how could a critic be a critic without something or someone to criticize. Usually critics have trouble with the creation process themselves, they tend to resent those for whom creativity comes naturally.

These people are usually bright and scholarly. Some have impressive degrees and credentials but one can’t just acquire creativity so easily and so shallowly.  Creativity cannot be taught by convention and laws and whatever someone said before.  Creativity is from the heart.  From the soul itself and everything that is the essence of a person; all the beauty and the ugliness. 

It could be some cannot bare to give a long hard look at themselves.  Maybe it’s ego? It would be easy to think these critical types would have enormous egos but it may be quite the opposite.  I think that criticism….I’m talking about unconstructive criticism, not anyone trying to be helpful but someone who is trying to be hurtful.  A petty spiteful kind of criticism, I think that kind of criticism shows in a profound manner, the character of the one who’s criticizing.

I feel I must say something to these people, these critics, why leave it all to Ronnie Baby.  So here it goes…

I have a little advice for Mr. and/or Ms. Critical.  Free your Mind.  Acknowledge the fact that you do not know everything about everything. I don’t know if you are bored or angry or lonely or whatever, I do know that your kind destroys what it does not understand in its quest for its posession. 

For my friend,  You do not possess creativity or the appreciation of it.  It possesses you. Learn it, know it, feel it.  Perhaps you may join the world of those who contribute, we would love to have you

Wishing you well…

Strawberryindigo.

When it Rains it Pours

The clouds were amazing this afternoon during ...
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My life in color has sure proven “more colorful” indeed.  To say that last week was a bad week would be an extreme understatement.  Last week was horrid, it was the week from hell and I’m glad it’s finally over…

In a wisp of a second, just like THAT. Life can turn on a dime. 

There I am sitting high on top of a mountain, my head in the clouds. I am looking to the sky and shouting; “Life is great!”  I am invincible.  I am full of magic and I can do anything!  The day is long and warm and full of sun.  Its seems it never will end and then…. it does.

The harsh wind of reality blows in, it’s freezing cold.  It raps at my door and knocks it down. BAM!  Once, twice, three times. It cuts, each as deep as the next and I’m left wondering “What the hell was That?”

It seems to be raining on my parade at the moment and when it rains it pours.  One piece of bad news after another, Like tsunamis hitting my beaches.  I am torn and battered.  My coastline has taken quite a beating.  I will survive but I cannot help but wonder “What’s next?”

I pride myself in my ability to stay calm and rational in a crisis. I like to think of myself as the voice of reason in a sea of emotional wrecks.  I still am calm, even seemingly emotionless about my sudden change of fortune but on the inside I suffer. I am human after all.

Over this “Week from Hell” I have acquired another funny little quirk to add to my list of funny little quirks.  I literally have a pain in my neck and its all in my head.  Oh yes.  apparently I am one of “those people” now. I do have to say in my defense, without going into any detail, that the stuff I am dealing with now would scare the bejesus out of the toughest of us. 

I know that nothing lasts forever, and that it’s always darkest before the dawn and all that. I will persevere because I believe I will. That is not the question nor was it when this odyssey began.  The question in my mind isn’t “Why?’  I know there is no answer to that question.  My question is “What.”

What have I learned from all this?   What could someone possibly learn from these unfortunate twists and turns of fate?  I grappled with this for days.  I paced. I drank lots of coffee and I thought.  My ego would like to tell you the brilliance of my mind came up with the answer, but the honesty of my heart cannot tell a lie. For it was not me.

There is someone I know, we are partners in woe but his woe is worse than mine. He has picked this time to undergo the greatest challenge anyone can undergo;  The challenge to conquer himself.  I am very much impressed and inspired by this act and more importantly by this person.

I think this quote really fits;

“Times of Trouble best discover the true worth of a man.”

                                  **Thomas à Kempis**

and

“When we are strong, we are always much greater than the things that happen to us.”        **Thomas Merton**

I now know the true meaning of these true ideas because of this inspiring person. I couldn’t be more proud of anyone for anything.

You are my hero, M.M. and this I shout to the world!


KEEP THE FAITH

Strawberryindigo.

 

Crazy Neighbor Stomp Down

Idealized mixed nuts, USDA
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Oh what a crazy day in my little neck of the woods..Yikes!  My crazy drunken neighbor was in rare form, he had his car radio turned up and it was blasting the top 40 by 7 a.m.

That man is spirited I must tell you; he started yelling around noon.  The usual “Yeah!” and “Whooah!”.. the music got louder and louder.  As strange as this sounds; I like the guy’s taste in music, so I am enjoying myself out in the front, doing some light weeding and some casual seed harvesting, when the  dried out wheat straw  neurotic from next door shows up.

She asks me about the crazy drunken neighbor, as if I am responsible for the man’s behavior.   “I don’t know why he’s like that, I guess he is crazy.”  She asks me if I have called the cops on him and then asks  “What is my take on this?”   She has this notion that somehow I can resolve this for her because “I have lived here longer.” ( me,11 years her, 6 years)

I informed her of a time I called the cops, only to have them show up at my house, talk to me in right in front and all the while pointing directly at the guy before they talk to him for 2 minutes, then leave.  I tell her that I have an uneasy truce with the guy and I don’t want to ruin it. 

She looks at me like I am crazy.  I suggest that she, Mrs wheat straw call the cops.  She doesn’t like it, she mentions my dying tree in a snide manner, I tell her I’m trying to save the poor thing.  Just then like if on cue; We hear a “Yeah!”  She sighs and scampers off and I am left to my seed heads.

I was busy for most of the day; doing Mom stuff and gardening.  I could hear the party getting louder and louder.  Crazy drunken guy drumming on something and then he starting yelling out words but I couldn’t make out what they were, through all the slur.  I crept up closer and listened..It was “America!”  “God bless America!”  How touching and how patriotic.  This got a laugh out of me and the day progressed and eventually everything became quiet.

He must be napping, I mused and went to make dinner.

I am almost ready to put everything on the table when Act Two begins; It starts with a flurry of loud explosions (Fireworks) and ends a few minutes later with “You dirty F***ing Whore!”  over and over..Then bottles break and the roar of an engine, someone has driven off, I don’t want to look.

We turn up the music (Beatles, Abbey Road) and eat our dinner (chicken and rice, Yum)  I notice that it’s getting dark as the sounds of a click clicking of someone running in high heels tells me the party isn’t quite over yet.

 The night plays out without further incidents, or so I thought….I stayed up late writing about my “Unblinking eye of truth” post and chatting online.  It was about 1:30a.m. when I heard a noise, I didn’t know what it was and opened my front door and looked out.  There was the crazy neighbor’s adult son, I’ll call him Pudgy, kicking over my trash can!  He looks right at me and says with glee; “Call the cops.”

My stupid temper makes me run out and tell him to “Pick that up right now!”  He keeps going.  M.M. drags me inside…I am totally worked up by now and I stay up and drink coffee till I pass out……and then…Good Morning: it’s time to start the day and I’m off on a new adventure!  Have a great day!    Strawberryindigo.

The unblinking eye of the truth

The Unblinking Eye of the Truth

The truth; the whole truth and nothing but the truth…those are familiar words, but do most people truly adhere to every letter of that misused and misunderstood word?  The Truth.  As a word it seems so formidable, so tall and strong.  The truth never blinks an eye and never lets up for a second.

The truth is extremely important to me, maybe too much so. One of my quirky Asperian traits involves the truth and my devotion to it. I am compelled to speak the truth as I see it, I can do no less.

If someone asks for my honest opinion, I must give it. I try to be as diplomatic as possible, but sometimes the truth hurts, no matter how you sugar coat it.  I feel I owe it to people to be honest with them.

I feel that one of the worst lies a person can tell is to themselves. This lie is the most dangerous because it blinds us to reality.  I have tried to be honest with myself, no matter how painful the truth can sometimes be.  This is essential to my personal well-being and long-term success.

I don’t mind being incorrect and I don’t mind being wrong. In fact, I welcome this. I have an open mind; To me, mistakes are opportunities for growth. I try to learn as much as I can from my mistakes and from others mistakes as well…We live in interesting times and I can truthfully say that I have learned a lot.

I have learned that “The Truth” varies with one’s perspective of it.  My friend Einstein let me in on that little nugget and it certainly rings true.  Many conflicts occur because both sides of the argument are convinced that their truth is more true than the others truth,  “You must be wrong because I am right” and all that nonsense.

There are, however, universal truths that we all share.  We all want to live in peace and happiness, to be able to fulfill our hopes and dreams.  We all need love and understanding.  We have so much in common, we share the same planet and we all need each other.

We can deny these truths, we can look away, but in the deepest parts of our hearts we know what is right….. They say “The truth shall set you free” and I truly believe that….and I cannot look away any longer……

Happy Sept.12th.       Strawberryindigo.

“This is the character of truth; it is of all time, it is for all men, it has only to show itself to be recognized, and one cannot argue against it”                    **Voltaire**

The grass is always greener…A letter to my neighbor

The lawn of a garden taken from a low level.
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I don’t have an alias for you so I will call you: The man who messes with his lawn too much.  I used to call you the poisoner but I thought that was a little harsh, maybe you are just ignorant.  Keeping that in mind I decided to write this open letter to you. 

I see you often since we are neighbors.  I see you water at all times and rather frequently, almost everyday in the summer.  You’d think that because of this your lawn would be lush and green.   It’s not.  You know what it looks like….It looks sick and patchy.  It’s hard to take.  Even my shriveled up tree looks better.

You are constantly at work on your lawn; mowing very short so that it resembles a brown golf course.  You re-seed it at least twice a year and you are spraying pesticides around like there is no tomorrow.  It’s a bit ridiculous to tell the truth.  There you are, wearing goggles with a giant container of poison on your back.  You spray and spray.  Everywhere.  I’m tempted to run out and scold you.  I want to scream “Stop the insanity, you are poisoning our planet with your damned pesticides!”

I need peace in the neighborhood so I grin and bear it.  It still bothers me. It’s all so unnecessary. 

I must say that I might be partially to blame for your obsession with your lawn, that and retirement.  Where I come in is that my lawn is the one that is lush and green.  Everyday my greenness stares you in the face.  It never used to be that way and neither did my lawn.  Once we were like you,  I didn’t use poison but I made more work for myself by how I treated my lawn.  I have learned a few things since then.  Maybe my neighbor, you can too…

 
watering in the morning

I have read many books and have at least a decade of first hand knowledge on the subject of lawn care.   Especially organic lawn care which I highly recommend.  Mother Nature really knows best.  I work with nature instead of trying to conquer it. You are fighting a losing battle there.

And so Mr. neighbor, the guy who messes with his lawn too much:

This one’s for you… Here are some tips I’d like to share to help you in your quest for a green lawn.

Watering  Do it infrequently and do it deeply.  This forces the roots of the grass to grow longer in order to get a drink.  This makes the grass stronger and better able to withstand longer periods without water.  Also do it in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Watering in the heat of the day causes the water to evaporate before it can sink into the soil. 

Mowing  Mowing height is an important element to consider.  Giving your lawn a super short cut may look nice to you but your lawn hates it. Keeping the mower blade 3 to 4 inches off the ground  is the best  during the summer months.  The shade the taller blades of grass provide enable the grass to hold on to moisture longer.  Thus you water less. In addition, the more you mow the grass the harder it works to re grow itself.  In my opinion, it feels softer and is more lush when it’s allowed to be longer.

 Poisoning  There is a better way.  You don’t need that.  Look around, it’s a dead zone over there. No birds, no butterflies or cute little insects, no weeds, nothing but dying grass. It’s depressing. It gets into our ground water.  It’s even found in breast milk.  Please stop it! 

Your lawn would healthier without all that.  Nature provides.  In the coming months, I will be writing more on the subject of organic gardening.  Perhaps we can whip that lawn of yours into shape so that by next summer, you will have a lush green lawn and more free time to spent with your wife, who I happen to know, is a nice person.

Happy Gardening,

Signed your neighbor,  Strawberryindigo.