Yesterday walking up the moist front steps Tammy sniffed some mineral earthy air that her memory associated with the white quartz.
‘Let’s rent a car. Take the day off.’ Tammy offers Malik to agree with her fresh idea as she walks in the front door.
Malik stands up straight from his work desk, takes in a big breath and looks her dead in the eyes.
‘Tammy ..?’ His voice, simply saying her name, went through a 2 – part process of getting her attention with a strong ’T’ and dipping at the end trying to bring her back to earth. Her spontaneous whims always threw him for a loop. What’s wrong with planning? He says with his eyes.
‘Malik ..?’A It’s-all-part-of-the-package look was how she responded to his need for a plan.
After a two hour drive out of town the next morning they set off on a five km hike into the forest following the curving river lined with attentive cedar and spruce. On the riverbank the cedars’ gnarly roots suction themselves to the iron infused sedimentary rock that frames the river. On the forest side of the river bank tree roots delve quickly into the forest floor littered with spongy, green rock cap moss.
It’s a good 5 degrees cooler under all the verdant trees where the river quickly narrows and drops four feet through the effervescent rapids. Just past the brief rapids as the river widens again slightly is a massive white quartz. Although radiant and striking, it is so ensconced in the place it can be confusingly easy to miss. Tammy can’t remember how they found out about it. Malik remembers and relishes holding the mystery.
A mystery that the quartz holds is its size. The carpet of bright green moss acts like a receding hairline on the top and also grows on one side hiding where the quartz meets the riverbank rock. The outlines of the massive white boulder hinted that the beautiful crystal extended some metres beyond what was visible. In his enthusiasm to find out how far it reached Malik confused it with the pockets of snow clinging to winter under the tree skirts; playing hide and seek with the invigorating rays of the spring sun.
They came to dwell with the quartz, to remain in its presence, seeking to be transported deeper within and higher up. The quartz made you wonder. Wonder with confidence. Wonder up. The massive cool fresh quartz engages you as if you were on time and up to speed on your life trajectory. It draws your truth out of you.
They agreed to eat lunch in an hour and served themselves some steaming tea. They sat cross-legged on their yoga mats 10 metres apart on the river bank. Once settled in, breathing and clear of mind Malik found his faculties subtly intrigued. He was being pulled to grasp what was going on: it was the rapids. As the rapids bounced the water all over the place, they were challenging the river, asking the river how important the flow of water was to it. The river, regaining its composure a few metres downriver, always answered the same: I may bend but I will never break.
Tammy didn’t like a sudden burst of her bubble of connection when they were in nature. Malik knew that. But the words just popped out.
‘I don’t think nature…,’ Proposed Malik, impacted by the electrical wash of the huge quartz. ‘… knows the concept of: in the meantime.’ Hearing himself speak he realised he had broken the connection bubble but for him this was a pretty deep thought so he just kept going. ‘Nature is always in the here and now…never waiting… endlessly passionate.’ Malik liked how his poetic kites floated into the early afternoon cool air. Soaking up the moment with his sense of transcendence he sought, Malik breathed in deeply.
Tammy, chill, aware and reflective in the robust, rewarding afternoon was shaken by Malik’s declarations. Hearing him utter in the meantime jolted her out of her cozy emotional vacation and dropped her into an unsettling mental state. Tammy went from cupping the thermos cup of green tea to strangling it.
In six year old Tammy’s mind meantime was what she called the episodes of her parents arguing. She instinctively recoiled under her bed in her and Shelly (her half-sister’s) room. Her bookshelf was empty. Her story books were in piles under her bed. Tammy lay among the dust bunnies and socks turning pages until the yelling and screaming stopped. She found a corporeal focus that completely blocked out life in the meantime. Fifteen year old Shelly wasn’t around so much so Tammy ended up being the flag bearer of her own safety. It seemed her parents first had to be mean to each other before they could approach her smiling saying:‘Don’t worry sweetie, come out from under there. Everything is going to be ok. Mommy is happy.’ Nine months and two police visits later there was no more meantime.
Hey, What the hell are you doing?!!
What the hell is that loser doing?
Get off my property!
Hey – He’s got a knife. Said the guy as he jumped down the 4 concrete stairs to get Joe.
Joe, scared shitless, dropped the bulging scab of fragrant sap he was cutting off the trunk of a gnarly blue spruce tree on these guys front lawn. Joe bolted from underneath the comforting skirt of the blue tree. Sprinting he glanced at his car parked across the street. After 4 blocks Joe stopped running, bent over heaving for breath and sweating in the cool November dusk. The sticky of the sap on his hand stuck the knife to his hand. In the panic of being hunted down he hadn’t dropped his knife.
Laura closes the door to their apartment after her shift at the restaurant.
Hi babe, um I need you to get my car; pick up my car. I had to leave it on McIntosh Street.
Joe didn’t even give her time to take her coat off.
You know I don’t have a license.’ Laura rattles her head.
You know I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t important
You know you have a brother you can ask to do this.’ Laura reminds him
You know I can’t
You know I have no idea what is going on.’ Laura deflates.
Joe explained his suburban sap stealing catastrophe.
You know you totally could have just asked those guys to…, to harvest their sap for your fabulous incense collection. Just fuckin knock on their door. Right? Laura bristles.
You know I know that.
You know…’ Laura stopped herself as she could feel the rock hard tension in her shoulders and sense the futility of generating a modicum of conversation. Laura’s instinct kicked in and said to her – You know if you don’t leave this moron right now you are a bigger moron than he is.’
Laura redid up the same three buttons she had undone on her coat while Joe was ordering her to get his car.
Her last ‘you know’ still hanging in the air like a silent fart in an elevator.
With her coat now done up she texted her brother Sam right then and there, ‘I’m done with this clown.’
Three weeks ago Sam was dropping Laura off at her and Joe’s basement apartment downtown.
‘Listen Laura, it’s your life and I respect that they are, basically, your emotions. And, and I am not going to even attempt to control you or anything. But with that said.‘That guy is a fucking clown.’ He was so infuriated he included the ‘g’ on fucking which not many people do. ‘He’s an angry, angry clown.’
Laura loved the protection love of her older brother for his sister as compared to some random boyfriend love jacked up on lust and of anti-loneliness.
Sam is awesome. Laura wants a boyfriend like Sam. His wife Bernadette obviously is awesome because she married Sam. Joe got wasted at Sam and Bernadette’s wedding. It was a classic, long August day and dusk and night. The wedding was at a lakeside resort where Sam had done some renovations so he knew the owners. They had wooden cabins painted white with green trim in a three season resort.
With Laura now staying at his place Sam knocked on the door to Joe and Laura’s (former) apartment and realized there was no point so he walked right in.
‘Dude – it’s over. Laura’s not coming back. Sam emptied Laura’s drawers with Black Friday abandon. ‘I Will be back on the weekend for her furniture. We both know most of it belongs to Laura.
Sam left the now bare drawers of Laura’s dresser sagging open and took 2 large suitcases without even offering a ‘later loser’ or anything to Joe.
Joe, unable to process the moment using his smartass outlook, stood in the abyss of a lonely minute, turned around to face nobody, then he got high. Joe had a unibrow you could see from space but only an emerging moustache so soft you could have used it as a dust brush for your Lp records back in the day. He had jet black hair and grey eyes that everyone commented how they seemed to change in the light. That was what had won over Laura 11 months ago.
Gord was comfortable in his coffin. Snugly packed in with the intentions of his family.
Anyways, that is how he sees himself.
The steam from their mugs was curling and unfurling in the cloudy light of an early Saturday November afternoon. It’s because Gord kept his house on the cool side that steam was so obvious. And perhaps that is why he had so few visitors. Perhaps that was his plan.
Placing a mug of hot green tea on the kitchen table in front of Cedar, his grand-daughter, he slid into the chair opposite her.
‘Mmm, thanks GG’. GG is grandpa Gord.
You could smell the crisp green tea distinct, but not in opposition, to the history of the house. Gord had arrived here in this house as a newlywed, became a father, businessman and grandfather. And now he has become a widower in this house.
How can you call something that is three years old brand new? But that is how it felt every morning when Gord would wake up surprised to be alone. Gord hated the play on words but it was so apropos: Linda’s sickness was just like her – short and sweet.
To create space on the table he neatly stacked off to one side his library books that were making the place look a little disheveled. On top of the books he tossed his toque that a different granddaughter gave him last Christmas. He had been outside on the small front porch fiddling with the Christmas lights when Cedar arrived. Cedar didn’t arrive late but he just became too anxious and couldn’t wait for her inside. It wasn’t weird that GG had asked her to come over but it wasn’t a random invitation in the flow of things either.
Gord wanted to take a sip of his tea so as not to appear he was jumping straight into his story without being social with small talk. But by the feel of the mug in his palm he could tell it was still too hot to drink.
‘Cedar, how have you been, school and all?’ Gord manufactured conversation.
‘Pretty good. Ya, school is busy with exams around the corner.’
It was getting awkward pretty fast so Gord just launched in.
‘I realized that something was missing. I don’t know if I felt it was missing in me or in them to some degree, but for some reason I wasn’t able to provoke some sense of vision in life in my 3 children when I was …, in my role as their father.’
He didn’t want there to be unclarity. Or any sense of guilt for his children. For them to get their medium-sized inheritance. His children’s inheritance for Gord validated all the time he spent making money and not making connections with them. But he did have one condition that he hoped would be fulfilling for everyone involved. At this point he really couldn’t see them falling into a fight over his money. At the same time something told him they wouldn’t follow through with his wish if he wasn’t proactive. That is why Cedar was sitting in front of him now.
According to Gord, what he wanted wasn’t complicated or demanding.
This is a brief look at the phrase ‘rare earth’ from three different angles.
The first version is the well known economic sound bite we see on the internet. The second is a petition to your instinct to recognize the planet earth for what it is. And the third is a bit of a stretch.
Rare earth elements (REE) is a funny saying. These are the minerals; Neodymium (Nd), Cerium (Ce), Europium (Eu) and 14 more that are used in the manufacture and function of cell phones, big screens and military components among other technologies.
The term rare earth was coined when an unusual black rock was unearthed by a miner in Ytterby, Sweden, in 1788. The ore was called “rare” because it had never been seen before and “earth” because that was the 18th-century geological term for rocks that could be dissolved in acid. (www.sciencehistory.org)
The term ‘rare earth’ has taken on new meaning. Specifically in relation to the need we have prescribed them. We need these minerals to make our cell phones and we are cranking out a lot of cellphones. As of 2021 there are more than 12 billion cell phones out there. More than 1 per person. So we have created a need for a lot of minerals. And of course there are always shareholders to appease and answer to. So it seems the rare part of the term has morphed to be in reference to the ease of getting these elements to market. Which actually means they are discovered in places that are far away from the manufacturing sites and shopping centres. On top of that it is rare that they are found in concentrations that make extraction commercially viable.
Rare earth elements are an essential part of many high-tech devices. The U.S. Geological Survey news release “Going Critical” explains:
“Rare-earth elements (REE) are necessary components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products, such as cellular telephones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and flat-screen monitors and televisions. Significant defense applications include electronic displays, guidance systems, lasers, and radar and sonar systems. Although the amount of REE used in a product may not be a significant part of that product by weight, value, or volume, the REE can be necessary for the device to function. For example, magnets made of REE often represent only a small fraction of the total weight, but without them, the spindle motors and voice coils of desktops and laptops would not be possible. (https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/what-are-rare-earth-elements-and-why-are-they-important)
Peering down at these elements with our economic blinders we are gasping at the reality that the process to extract them from their home – in ore – is costly. So the elements indeed are rare to the human ‘make buck – I don’t give a f**k’ mindset. They are not rare to the planet. They are her elements after all.
Another way of looking at the phrase ‘rare earth’ is that indeed, the planet Earth is rare. There is only one.
We tear up, heat up, and dirty up the planet Earth to sift out what is of use to us so that we can post a photo on Instagram of what we are having for dinner. Modern technology is not bad; it is amazing the speed and precision and applications where it can be used. The price of producing the technology can be quite damaging to the life of the planet, rivers, animals, planets and people. That is not good business. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is stealing from tomorrow to be comfortable today. The extraction and processing of these minerals is labour intensive and has several toxic by-products.
This disposable mentality we have slid into is defining our relationship with the earth. This attitude of needy ignorance could be seen to parallel our outlook on the ‘rare earth’ of the human. Specifically the higher human faculties of mind and soul. Territories that are known to exist however found to be difficult to access and apply into daily life.
The third look at the term rare earth shines light on the territory of the higher human faculty. This is not a topic we cover in our education systems – though it’s a potential experience for each breathing person. These are the realms of human purpose. Human purpose being considered the merging of the mind according to soul categories to have the leverage to join the spiritual trajectory. It is rare that many people gather on this level. The spiritual pioneer Jidduh Krishnamurti, who died in 1986, was someone who wanted people to do this kind of work for themselves. To have this natural experience of self elevation so they can be drawn up into the trajectory of spirit. And so he shared what he had learned. And it has benefited the world in small yet indelible way,
Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organisation, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, nor through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationship, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection…
Krishnamurti was concerned with all humanity and stated repeatedly that he held no nationality or belief and belonged to no particular group or culture. In the latter part of his life, he travelled mainly between the schools he had founded in India, Britain and the United States, which educate for the total understanding of man and the art of living. He stressed that only this profound understanding can create a new generation that will live in peace.
Our collective human race behaviour imposes a pervasive impact on the well being of planet Earth.
If someone insults us or a loved one we become instantly indignant. Can we overlay that indignance onto our role in the quality of life of the planet? Can we use our emotion for how we want to be treated and share it with the planet? It might cause us to elevate our action of compassion.
If I said to you that someone is really ‘burning my coal’ what does that mean?
It means my past is being made more important than the present and the future.
Let’s back up a little bit. 60 Million years, more or less. Coal used to be a tree. The coal we burn is getting power from dead plants and animals. That tree died and during decomposition mixed with other ingredients as it was covered by successive layers of organic life.
|Plant Some Trees – Burn Less Coal |
Breathe More Air – Live Your Life
That tree is now participating in the transition of carbon into petroleum. To us that petroleum is used for gas to run our cars, tires so our cars can move/planes can fly, our plastic pill bottles, synthetic fibres in clothes and vaseline.
To the planet, what is petroleum? As we keep withdrawing petroleum from the viscera of the planet – her temperature has risen? What’s the correlation? Is it the burning of carbon that is the reason? Well, we can say yes.
Without diminishing the need to transition to renewable energy sources there is also another consideration. That the planet had its own carbon offset program – by design. More accurately the planet had control of its own thermostat by being able to cool itself.
Is it possible that the planet’s ability to remain cool has been impacted by the extraction of her coolant? Is it possible? We don’t even know?
Perhaps petroleum is to the planet what HFC 134 (this gas replaced freon) is to your fridge. Perhaps petroleum is to the planet what freon is to your air conditioner in your house. Imagine your car on a hot summer day with the windows up and you have a leak in the hose from the condenser to the vents in your car. It’s going to heat up pretty quickly.
Perhaps petroleum is to the planet what blood is to your heart. Imagine your heart with diminished blood flow? That’s called a heart attack. Is it possible that is what we are thrusting upon the planet? Cardiac arrest! We don’t even know?!
Let’s plant some trees so we can breathe fresh air. Let’s use our past as a foundation for perception about what tomorrow needs. Let’s align our satisfactions in our current Life Stage with our many communities (family, marriage, business, soul, body). This way we can translate perception accurately so our actions today are congruent with a human development journey. By definition a development journey is congruent with respecting the Great Mother, planet Earth.
Before the butterfly can fly it was first born as something very different: a leaf munching caterpillar. Although they are the same creature they show very different natures. The caterpillar is pedestrian and the butterfly graceful. The caterpillar cocooned itself with the genetic knowing it will be reborn into a colourful butterfly. The beautiful butterfly is reliant upon the survival of the slow caterpillar. All three stages (caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly) are equally and uniquely valid.
As we grow our lives are layered with the residue of our experiences. Each of the three names can accrue a greater potency as we learn which of those experiences direct us in the direction we want to go. As we grow we discover how best to work in the world, refine what we want and how to live accordingly.
When you seem to have an unclarity of what you want or how to get it, that is a good time to reflect on your resources. Or if there is a feeling of having lost direction or connection it is time to pause. It is very useful to review the role of each life within you that each of the three names represent. As you grow so does the pertinence of your history. As a child life decisions were made for you. Now as an adult you make them. This updating process highlights the value of your attitude and vision to extract meaning from your past and apply it to your development.
This process of updating helps to find purpose in the daily striving and the life long journey. It can take a load off of you in the moment to see the continuity of your life and harvest the life lessons and crystalize emotion of your experiences. There is healing available in case we need to reframe a difficult childhood. With a view to update your youth that now supports a development journey we can convert that difficult childhood from a wound into a strength. It can become the forging of a knowing that no matter the situation you find yourself in you bring unique value to the moment.
In the wake of peace from 15 minutes of meditation or walking in nature consider the following:
Foundation Name – The function of your family growing up, companionship in school and playing/sports/trips, learning new skills. – Breathe in the reality that those experiences support your growth now.
Synthesis Name – The importance of your unique way of upholding the human experience including: your style, sense of humour, attention to detail. Know that this is your fingerprint on the energy of life that you attract by the fact of your initiative and your human pedigree.
Mystery Name – Being creative with ways to stay curious about the pathways of energy: in the mind, of your high emotions, of the planet Earth and beyond. This elevates into clarity of what is happening in the moment as it is unto itself (as opposed to things are happening to you). This means you can load your elder life with your desire to be of service to your communities
In the updating process we will likely have many memories that make us happy, sad, angry and long for days gone by. We can take advantage of the awesome attribute of the mind called memory. It causes us to picture and feel our life history. We can generate appreciation for those times and make them into the strength of our foundation for what we as an adult and elder want to do and be. We can be grateful for the functioning of the body and its faculties for their accuracy of functioning in constant support of our life.
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Yesterday, I put you to the saw, sawed you limb from limb and cut your trunk to six inch slices. Today, I axed those slices, soft as cheese, splitting them along the clean fine grain. Alien, they call you but you grow fast and well with aphids for the wrens and pollen for the bees. […]Sycamore — Johnthebarman’s Blog
In the northern hemisphere we will soon be entering a quarter of harvests and waning light, starting with Lughnasadh/Lammas. In the south there will be the energy of rising light and growth. In the manner of the yin/yang symbol. a taste of that energy is present here too. As I approach Lughnasadh/Lammas this year, I […]TOWARDS THE SEASON OF HARVESTS: 2021 — contemplativeinquiry
“Each day brings a new surprise – another songbird’s voice, new buds emerge, and, finally, wildflowers. Marsh marigolds first, then violets. The … Season 3 Episode 30: Julie Riso on Awakening to Nature Rebecca Budd, some of you know her as “Clanmother”, was one of the first bloggers I met on WP. This is going […]Season 3 Episode 30: Julie Riso on Awakening to Nature — Wish I Were Here
Westland District, New ZealandWestland District, New Zealand — Agile Wanderlust
Aerial photos reveal groups of Japanese cedar trees swelling toward the sky, creating two forest circles. According to a 1973 document from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, researchers had embarked on a project designed to examine tree spacing and its effect on growth. According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, the height difference between the […]Experimental Forestry in Japan results to amazing Tree ‘Crop Circles’ half a century later — e MORFES
Ancient Stone Bridge, Zagori, GreeceAncient Stone Bridge, Zagori, Greece — Cole Wolf