Seasons of the Heart

As we find ourselves in the peak of summer, I revel in the transient greenery that now engulfs this land we call the Driftless. I have lived here in the magic of the seasons for seventeen years.

They say, “Home is where the heart is,” and I must tell you it has been quite easy to find my heart and my home here.  Notions of caring for the land, or stewarding the land, have given way to the understanding that the land is also caring for me. It is a symbiotic relationship and one that I am grateful to have.

We have been taught we hold dominion over the Earth, and this fool’s notion has driven us to cause great harm to everything living, including ourselves. We parade the words, “In God We Trust” as we glibly destroy the Creation. I know no other way out of this horrible nightmare but to celebrate the Beauty and the finite nature of this home we call Earth. And this is nothing less than an act of Love.

I often recall this passage on Love from Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”: “When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep”, and he reminds us, “…even as Love is for your growth it is also for your pruning.”  Gibran paints a harsh journey and seals it with this: “But if you seek only … Love’s pleasure, it is better that you pass from Love’s door…into the season less world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter and cry, but not all of your tears.” End of quote.

Home is where the heart is and it is where the seasons dance. It’s our choice to dance, too. The rhythm of Love is beckoning.

 

“Home is where the heart is,” is a quote from Pliny the Elder a naturalist and author, born 23 AD in Como Italy. His full name was Gaius Plinius Secundus.

photo is Margaret’s off grid home at Echo Valley Farm, Wisconsin.

You can listen to this on Soundcloud.

Thanks to WDRT for continuing to air “Consider This” every Thursday at 5:28 pm CST.

And for more on the Driftless, visit Driftless Now.

Honoring Heroes

It’s the fourth of July and some people will mark this day with beer, burgers and brats. Others will shy away from fireworks and large crowds, still hampered by PTSD and the ravages of war. Still others will be hard at work on farms beleaguered by heavy rains and an unpredictable growing season.

And some will be trying to turn the tide of the environmental and human disasters looming on the horizon.

Acts of love for this land and its people are made everyday. From water protectors living in treetops to rural elders demanding regulations on sand mining, people everywhere are discovering that love of place is critical to our survival.

On July fourth, we are called upon to show our love and respect for our country. We honor our warriors and we praise their devotion to freedom. And that is as it should be. But make no mistake: those who stand for clean water and those protecting our air are among our greatest patriots. As are the people on the border and around the country who demand that asylum seekers be treated with dignity and respect.

And you can add to the list of heroes the local people fighting to preserve our pristine hills from unnecessary transmission lines and cell towers.  These heroes are utilizing their love and effort to preserve this land we call home. So when you bow to the heroes who have fought in endless wars, remember too, the individuals who are fighting a different kind of war. They are fighting battles against ignorance and greed. They are fighting to give our children freedom from disease by preserving the right to clean air and water. And they are protecting human dignity as they refuse to accept our government’s inhumanity. Let us celebrate these heroes. And let’s find a way to help them.

 

 Comment online to the PSC regarding the Cardinal Hickory Creek transmission lines has been extended to July 7.

photo: Wikipedia Commons 

Say “NO” to 5G

There is something new on the horizon. AT&T has joined forces with Bug Tussle to bring the world-touted 5G to our doors in the Driftless of southwestern Wisconsin. Here is what I have learned:

The towers need to be placed every five to ten miles and most certainly will be 300 feet tall. They emit microwaves. That is the kind of radiation you try to avoid as you pass through airline checkpoints, but now will be living around and under full time.

It won’t mean a lick of difference to most people as far as usage is concerned, but it will be great for machines. Machines, however, won’t suffer from radiation poisoning, as humans, animals and plants will.

I know it is hard to read all the scientific jargon and everyone I talked to in the industry assured me that while they have not read the negative press, they are also sure we cannot stop the inevitable.

People who are offered a monthly sum for placing towers on their properties are exchanging green hills for green bills. And they are uncertain to what they will help usher in. What will become of our local phone companies who bring underground broadband to our doors? I am not talking of Century Link. I am talking about companies like Hillsboro Phone Company. How many people will keep their landlines when Bug Tussle waltzes in? Who will cry for those lost jobs? And who will pay the medical bills of increased cancers and other abnormalities in our area?

The time to decide is now. Will we continue to self-destruct in the name of progress, or will we demand better ways to treat the earth and one another?

I am holding out that we are not as greedy or as foolish as the snake oil salesman would like to believe.

 

Brussels has it right. They said No to 5G due to health risks.

photo is courtesy of Wikipedia Commons licensing.

“Protect Us”

“Protect us”. This was the consensus of Monroe County citizens as they faced their County Board in a zoning hearing on June 17. Over thirty people exercised that right. They came to request that a moratorium on nonmetallic mining be on the agenda. They spoke with impassioned and carefully articulated facts. They spoke about the unchecked increase in the size and scope of mining around their communities. They spoke about real and observed health risks, particularly to children. They told of love of land and of community and refused to accept the new norm.

They shredded the “we bring jobs and money” arguments of the corporate representatives. Their response was unwavering. Jobs can be found elsewhere and the pittance of money will not bring back health or return the natural beauty of this region.

When he finally spoke the Board chair expressed that yes, it was true, there were no laws in place, no ordinances, no considerations of health and well being when mining was allowed in their county. And while he acknowledged something must be done, he stopped short of allowing the requested moratorium. The moratorium would have excluded current operations, and allow citizens the time to become informed before having a referendum.

Instead he politely bowed to the mining representatives. His deference to them and his inability to be swayed by the citizens were obvious.

It appears it will take more than common sense, more than historical and scientific facts to undue the ignorance of the few, who made closed door deals, and allowed unchecked nonmetallic mining in the area.

It will take the unwavering voice of “we the People”. And from what I can tell the citizens of Monroe County are stepping up to the task.

 

Read more on Community Rights nationwide. Or at CELDF – Community Rights Movement

 

 

Transgender Violence

I remember when the Berlin wall came down and someone posed the question, “Whom will they hate next?” I remember squirming a bit as I realized targets of hate are people who are different.

It has been fifty years since the Stonewall Riots, which launched the modern Gay Rights movement. At that time the term “gay” covered it all. Many lesbians, gays and bi-sexuals now enjoy status quo lifestyles. Many attend churches and synagogues that are accepting of “gay” life. Some hold public office and climb the corporate ladder. And then there are those who do not fit so neatly into straight packages.

June is Pride Month and it began in New York’s Stonewall Inn with trans people leading the charge to end police brutality and harassment. And while much has changed since 1969, many are left behind in the push for equal and human rights.

People, who define themselves as transgender, questioning or two spirit, are too often marginalized by race, gender and socio-economic disparity.  It is a systemic issue based in prejudice and ignorance, leaving some at the mercy of human trafficking and survival sex work.

Young, indigenous and black transgender face some of the highest suicide and murder rates in the world. Violence and harassment are epidemic.

Many transgender migrants, who seek asylum, have been punished with solitary confinement and denied health care by our government.

In a dominant culture that fears the “other,” transgender people are persecuted for being different. Indigenous people are often the very first to defend their humanity.

It is time for people of faith to set aside their fear of “sin” and their judgment of right and wrong in order to conquer the greater evil, which is hate. And the LGB community needs to step up the fight for human rights for all of us.

This lack of humanity must end.

 

 

This transgender flag* from Wikimedia Commons: The Transgender Pride flag was designed by Monica Helms, and was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in 2000.

The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes, two light blue, two pink, with a white stripe in the center.

Monica describes the meaning of the flag as follows:

“The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning, those who feel they have a neutral gender or no gender, and those who are intersexed. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it will always be correct. This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives”.

*Unlike the wider LGBT communities worldwide which have adopted the Rainbow flag, the various transgender individuals, organizations and communities around the world have not coalesced around one single flag design.

 

Rethinking Genocide

Dominant cultures share common threads. They forcibly and systematically destroy cultures and peoples who are different. They do this by killing and torturing, separating children from families, forcing indoctrination on the young, and by the rape and murder of women and girls. They do it with swift first strikes and then gradually through police tactics, court injustice, social crimes and environmental destruction. The governments of these dominant cultures carry on the atrocities for generations. Education and religion are used to maintain the status quo and to create an illusion that “all is as it should be.”

Since WWII we have termed this cultural and human destruction as genocide. In 1948, the Untied Nations created the legal definition of what was then coined the “crime of crimes”.

Ideas take time to take hold. This week dominant culture took a blow with the release of Canada’s National Inquiry into the epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.  Exhaustive studies and final conclusions prepared by professional Indigenous women were presented to the Canadian government.

Within the findings is the declaration that the Canadian government by omission and commission engaged in the genocide of Indigenous people.

As one survivor put it, “You can’t un-hear the truth.”

Here are a few words from the final damning report: “These violations amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA [two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual] people.”

Humankind must find a way to end the perpetuation of violence on Indigenous peoples.  Dominant cultures everywhere must grapple with the racist and sexist attitudes that are upheld throughout their systems and policies. The United States has developed an institutionalized apathy that needs to be challenged.

Kudos to all who are fighting this inhuman disease however you are called to do so.

 

For more on the report and its findings and to give credit for the photo used visit Eagle Feather News.

On Soundcloud. Thanks to WDRT for airing “Consider This.”

No Time Like the Present

As I race to cut hay between rainfalls to ward off the scarcity in the mules’ paddock, I remember the words, “No time like the present”.* And as I debate which tasks are more important and which should never be omitted, regardless of how tired I feel or how late the hour, the words ring again to assure me of my choices. There is no time like the present.

As the refrain dances in my head and in my heart, I realize it is my Mother’s voice. These were often the words she used to get my lazier self up and at it – whatever “it” might be.

Choosing a life on the land really drives the point home. Choosing a life of community magnifies it. Once in team training I was reminded that every voice matters and that if you are not being heard you must find a way to be heard. There is no blame in this. There is only effort.

We are living through a unique time. There has been a predominant voice. It has been a controlling voice. It has often been without kindness. This dominant voice is now being challenged as voices, too often silenced, are finding their way to be heard. There is no need to blame.  But there is a need to listen.

There is no time like the present. Modern physics challenges this notion and while their notions of time may hold truth, my reality is singular. This is our time. And for each of us there is no time like it. Every moment, every choice, every smile, every tear, every cup of appreciation filled is unique.

Acts of kindness seem to lengthen time. Giving myself to this moment surely makes it sweeter.  There must be more than hope in the phrase, “No time like the present.” There must be action.

 

* This adage was first recorded in 1562. It was amplified by John Trusler to “No time like the present, a thousand unforeseen circumstances may interrupt you at a future time”.

Thanks to WDRT for airing “Consider This” each Thursday at 5:30 pm CST.

You can listen to it on Soundcloud.