This Giant ‘Water Battery’ Under the Swiss Alps Could Be a Game-Changer for Renewable Energy in Europe — Ready Nutrition Official Website For Natural Living, Sustainable Lifestyle Tips, Health Food Recipes, Family Preparedness and More
There is a gigantic water battery located in the canton of Valais, under the Swiss Alps, called Nant de Drance. It’s a hydropower plant that provides the same energy storage capacity as… 584 more wordsThis Giant ‘Water Battery’ Under the Swiss Alps Could Be a Game-Changer for Renewable Energy in Europe — Ready Nutrition Official Website For Natural Living, Sustainable Lifestyle Tips, Health Food Recipes, Family Preparedness and More
Eco-Friendly Picks for the Outdoors — Adventures in Green Marketing
Eco-Friendly Picks for the OutdoorsEco-Friendly Picks for the Outdoors — Adventures in Green Marketing
Photo by Fayette Reynolds M.S.
As your body generates new cells …
code the new issue of cells with what you want to be your beliefs.
Code the cells with your life purpose.
Code them with your Growth SIStem of: Persist, Resist and Insist.
Persist in growing by being curious and humble
Resist the low levels of energy that use pettiness and apathy by being firm in what you believe and flexible in how you achieve it.
Insist in dignity and authenticity.
Integrate your beliefs into daily life:
Using short prayers composed of a few words to align your intentions; or
Long prayers of putting those intentions into action.
New cells are like a newborn baby – fresh from the source – innocent and clean passing from the marrow through your bones Into your bloodstream. There is a heritage of knowledge passed on from ‘old’ cells to the fresh ones. The brand newest of cells are reasserting your well being and ready to receive the human ancestral wisdom. They have a purpose. They have an intelligence. They have a mechanical infrastructure. They have their engraving agility (as opposed to emotional agility). This is an agility to transcribe and translate the DNA via RNA into actionable instructions. This is cellular level synthesis of energy into magnetic information that can be repeated. The residue of this cellular synthesis is hosted by the blood.
What do you want to host in your blood as your cellular orientation. Can they grasp what you want now, as an adult? Or is your childhood programming stronger than what you want?
Turn Your Genes Inside Out
New cells are like a newborn baby – fresh from the source; innocent and clean. They have a purpose. (Since most days of our life there are new cells generating this offers a thread we can follow to connect us to our purpose.)
These cells have an intelligence with which they are eager to permeate our being. Issuing from within your marrow your cells have a mechanical infrastructure to get the job done with grace. Grace is a trinity of strength, beauty and meaning. Cells appear inside you that foster your awareness of meaning. Your meaning seems to us to be written in hieroglyphics because it is written into our DNA. These unique string stories refer to your universal nature that you reveal in your fealty to your instinct in daily life.
Adjacent to your emotional agility is your cells engraving agility. This is an agility to transcribe and translate the DNA via RNA into actionable instructions. This is cellular level synthesis of electrical energy into magnetic information. The residue of this cellular synthesis is hosted by the blood.
What do you want to host in your blood as your cellular orientation?
You are the conscious leader of unconscious cellular syntheses, which can function as your troops. Are you on the same page? Can they grasp what you want now, as an adult? Or is your childhood programming stronger than what you want?
These are micro dynamics that are true to their function and produce accurate results at the level of Elevated energy. The macro dynamic is everyday life. You are the macro manager of the purpose of your cellular micro life.
Our job is to find a way elevated information can be integrated into daily life.
It’s easy when it flows and it is difficult when our intentions are out of sync with our cells’ purpose.
How to Create Your Personal Runes
Photo by Dagmara Dombrovska
The following is a good place to start when thinking about runes:
As well as being a literal alphabet used during the Viking ages, runes were (and still are by some) believed to hold power, symbolise inherent qualities and values and be associated with magic, as well as having meanings in more modern divination and oracle reading practices too. https://happypiranha.com
How to create runes to insert in your life for the purpose of conducting your energy through your strengths.
Decide on one of the areas in your life that you will focus on. For example: professional, marriage, personal religion.
State what you want for that aspect in your life.
“I want …… in my ……..”
“I want mutual support in my marriage.”
Work it into a declaration sentence.
“In order to instil mutual support in my marriage I will seek the good in my wife and offer honest expressions of my goodness.”
What symbol can you create that holds the essences of your sentence? It is your declaration sentence for what you want so you choose what works for you.
In that sentence is a power word(s) you will select. This power word has leverage to get you from the level of daily energy to elevated energy. The power word is what accesses your Emotional Agility in the moment. Your Emotional Agility is what allows the flow of life energy to be expressed in the daily and elevated aspects of your life.
This can work well with meditation to further engrave the reality of becoming what you want by activating your strengths.
The Rune Meditation:
Pair the word and the symbol: draw the symbol and below it write the power word.
Close your eyes and picture that symbol – say the power word out loud.
As you breathe in, imagine your breath being permeated with the power word.
Have it print on your blood for the minute that it takes to circulate through your body culminating with an exhale.
Open your eyes: you radiate your power word.
As you grow forward draw your symbol and say your power word out loud as you wish.
Short Story: The Pythia
It wasn’t supposed to be a beauty contest. If it was, Nicola would not have won. Her bigger bones had sharper angles; her beauty didn’t quite fit into her body. Being an odd, perceptive woman she attracted people’s attention but not the love of a man. Which was one of the reasons the priests chose her. Her father’s connections were another. And the position was open as a third. And by coincidence, Apollo was unlucky in love.
Being one of The Pythia engaged Nicola’s thoughts and replaced her need for a man’s love even if most of the priests that surrounded her had no interest in her. Within six months of Niolca starting her training Anna, the most experienced Priestess, contracted pneumonia, could no longer attend the temple and was buried soon after. The other priestess got knocked up by one of the visiting supplicants who she met bathing in the Castalian spring. With her two ushers unavailable Nicola had become the Oracle of Delphi.
Though Nicola knew she lacked sufficient training and practice she felt her belief in herself could make up the difference until she had more experience. Her belief however was not important to the priests of the Temple of Apollo. They felt she hadn’t observed and absorbed the wiles of Anna. Anna was an excellent actress; she could feign possession by the spirits and struggle to find the human lexicon when translating the message from Apollo She tailored her private performances to each supplicant so they would go away with a prophecy that was promising yet mysterious. If the prophecy didn’t lead to their desired result then the supplicant could be accused of lacking faith in the Pythia and follow through on the prophecy.
Now Nicola would be in charge of an apprentice. She didn’t want her assistant to know more than her so she asked her father to tell the priests to interview her brother-in-law’s sister as the next Pythia in training. Dimitra was a young woman of status but not of any specific intelligence that could be developed for the role of the Pythia. Plus Nicola felt, in those warm afternoon breezes, she looked better than Dimitra in the colourful, flowing robes of steel blue and ruby red.
Before being tarnished by greed, being chosen as the Pythia was an honour. It was one of the few official positions where a woman’s instinct in the society was valued. Now the priests would appear beside the supplicants and provide context to the cryptic message from the Oracle. Nicola grasped that she was to play the role of a possessed priestess or she would be replaced.
She coached Dimitra on how to respond to the requests of the supplicants. Both women faked possession by the attendance of the essence of Apollo. Most of the time the priests had no idea what their message was; they simply knew what the supplicants were looking for and would convert the gibberish into witty riddles and enigmatic poems that could be taken either way.
The more tenuous the connections between the woman, her instinct and the planet, the more accessories were used during the ceremony. The clouds of incense that filled the temple gave Dimitra a headache so she couldn’t think straight. She would become dizzy causing her to wobble on her stool which only helped to further the myth of her possession by Apollo.
Nicola and Dimitra preferred to knock their clients off their game so their methods couldn’t be questioned. Relaxing them with an excess of food and libation and possibly female distraction they were less demanding for details about naval victory or political alliances as they were now feeling more satisfied in the moment. For those who came with questions of lesser importance, like family disputes they would simply embroil them in greater family drama using guilt and blame. In such cases there was no connection with Apollo, nor consultation of any respectable god energy.
The elders had called a Symvoulio, a local Council meeting, to express their increasing concern about the direction of the gymnasium for the children, Apollo’s sanctuary and the descent of the Pythia towards drachma and away from caduceus. Jonas, one of the local elders, showed up with a handful of arrows and a scowl. The myths, rumours and convenient lies that manipulated the role of The Pythia for social and economic means was atrocious. The priests were scared.
The elders told the priests to choose, as the next Pythia, a woman who didn’t abandon the female instinct. A woman who knew her decisions would impact generations of Pelasgians and many rotations of the planet. A woman who loved the beautiful story of the gods as a way to make the higher realms of life energy tangible yet still sacred.
Lydia had travelled with her dad’s cousin Jonas on one of his business trips; was engaged to Tobias who was working his family’s olive orchard. She saw that not only did Dimitra and Nicola not have the desire to deepen in the understanding of higher connection but lacked the capacity to engage the discipline of the role of an oracle. Lydia knew not to attempt to clarify for these flousies that Apollo was not the source of the vision of the future – that it was a local planetary energy that permeated the rock of Delphi, resonating in the minerals and the water reaching hundreds of metres down.
Sprouting at the shore of the Gulf of Corinth there was a gnarly vine of human survival ascending from fishing off the coast to olive groves on the mountain side levelling out to ranching sheep as Mount Parnassus plateaus to where the spring hosted the Oracle.
Provoked by a sense of purpose Lydia’s gait lightened as she climbed the mountain path to the temple. Lydia sensed that she had become a nexus of powers that expressed themselves through a human life. Challenging; confusing and possibly crazy making while being inspiring and intriguing. It was on her walk up the mountain to the temple with her head covered by a white sheer headscarf and a turquoise skirt she could feel the force settle on her head like a sparrow on an olive branch. It was weird the first time it happened. When Lydia asked, Dimitra had no idea about any sensation of attendance of higher forces.
The day before she is to provide prophecy Lydia feels the power of the office of Oracle settle in her body. She eats a small bowl of vegetable broth and drinks water with lemon the rest of the day. As dusk would succumb to evening she would sit in her small room looking out her window above the neighbour’s roof and into the sky. When she lay down to sleep she felt received by a benevolent force that rejuvenated her. She was learning this was the attendance of what was called the power of Apollo.
In the temple, Lydia had placed a piece of amethyst crystal in a tiny accidental niche in the wall in the rear porch where the air stayed cool. It was a gift from cousin Jonas and not something Lydia could afford to replace. In the morning Lydia trained herself to inhale and exhale along the lines of her connection to the amethyst in the temple. She would breathe in the immense sky then, in her mind; walk to the temple picking up the wafts of myrrh before arriving, feeling her fingertips running over the dimpled limestone columns.
On these vision walks in her mind, she was discovering that the Pythia’s role was more of a healer than a diviner. It was the healing guidance she offered that made people think she knew the future. She knew that if you had issues with uric acid then juniper berries would help flush it out. She knew that the incense could be used for much more than just bathing the supplicants in dramatic clouds of smoke; it had the capacity to elevate the atmosphere into a higher realm of awareness.
Lydia was not popular because she didn’t require the service of the priests to translate her prophecies because she did not spout trance induced Gibberish. Using her powers of observation plus her instinct Lydia promoted clarity and well being by applying two of the three Delphic maxims: Know thyself paired with nothing in excess. Her straightforward manner angered the priests because it lacked mystique; it had a way of clearing mental fog with belief in oneself. The priests banked on that fog and people relinquishing their belief to the translation abilities of the priests.
Whereas the Priestess Pythia was portrayed as a beacon of serenity behind the scenes there was a lot of infighting. Lydia argued with the other two because they insisted they had to wait 7 days after the new moon before they could offer prophecy. Lydia explained that the point was to be clean, both the Pythia and the supplicant. That is why she had designed a 3-day retreat for the supplicants as opposed to the bacchanalia of Dimitra and Nicola. The retreat was only to include fresh fish from the gulf and water from the spring. Likewise it was the woman who would, once cleansed by the moon, be ready to receive, grasp and deliver the message of the gods.
The priests knew that Lydia was very well prepared for the role of Pythia. Much more so than the current two that were neither experienced or perceptive. Lydia’s sincerity jeopardised their business model. The Castalian spring was well known and had many visitors even before the reputation of the Pythia grew. There were important visitors from afar bringing gifts and wealth. The priests didn’t want their status or their economy to be diverted. With international fame the energy of the place was more about the buzz of commerce than the connection with Gaia.
Lydia wanted the opposite to happen – she wanted a thriving community based around listening to the Oracle – even if it wasn’t her because she knew there could be somebody much better than her at connecting with the air of Apollo. Someone who is fresh as the vapour from the spring yet as wise as emanation of the rocks.
Tobias agreed to help her decorate the temple in a manner that would be pleasing to the attendance of Oracle energies. He was happy to support Lydia but also wanted to get on with their life as a family. They had a sincere love that their parents remarked on but the family growth was stalled. First it was because Tobias went to war but that was 4 years ago now. When he returned home he discovered Lydia had left on a trip with her dad’s cousin Jonas to Italy. This was quite unusual for a woman at the time but not unexpected of Lydia.
It was the sound of how he inhaled that said it was over. Which was no surprise. But it wasn’t fair. Lydia knew that she could be The Pythia and a wife and a mother. She knows it. It was heartbreaking. Like this moment now with Tobias. She loved him and she knew he loved her but she couldn’t let go of the Pythia. It was more her than she was herself if that made any sense. Lydia said it was her duty to her lineage, her land, to be The Pythia.
Lydia’s father could not understand why Lydia didn’t marry Tobias when he was ready to make a life with her. Lydia’s mother who knows how to deal with her dad and chose her moments when his point of view needed adjusting. This was one of those times. She stood up and he sat down. No words were spoken. He was glad because he had no idea what to do next.
Within a year Tobias would be a happy husband and a satisfied father. He would make his father so proud by marching off to fight for the Spartan Alliance in the battle of Marathon. He would make his wife distraught by not coming back.
In the wake of the recent shootings read this – Angry Young Men: 10 Good Reasons to be Angry
10 good reasons for young men to be angry young men:
1. Nobody can tell them about their Soul
2. They can’t get traction on responding to the stages in life.
3. He has been cut off from Nature.
4. They don’t understand women.
5. The proverbial ‘man cave’ does an injustice to their abilities and needs.
6. They have no real rite of passage into manhood.
7. Satisfaction and Fulfillment have been usurped by blame and guilt.
8. They can’t find an elder.
9. Their youth and future have been tarnished by lack of vision by weak elders who know fear and lack of resistance.
10. The female instinct is not respected.
Alan: Short Story
The rain was neither here nor there. The thing was, which was becoming irritating, Gerry. How is he going to react?
“D’you check how long the rain is supposed to last?” asked Oddie
“All fuckin morning,” said Gerry.
“Gerry, we’ll be in there,” said Oddie over his shoulder as he ran to the trailer. “Let us know if you go on a coffee run,” said Oddie from the top step.
“I’m gonna leave the door open cuz otherwise it gets too steamy,” said Oddie.
“Bro, that guy sucks the energy right outta the room,” said Manuel.
“Jou know what I mean, moron.”
“How do you say moron in Spanish?”
“Imbecil,” said Manuel motioning to Octavo to take a seat in the trailer, “Sientate guey.”
“Imbecil. I was expecting something with more, you know, meat, less English. More insulting.”
“That’s more like it,” said Oddie smiling.
They took off their wet hard hats and shook off their jackets putting them over the back of the plastic chair.
“Si nos pagan por estas horas verdad?” asked Octavo.
“He’s asking if they pay us to sit on our asses?”
“For an hour. Any longer than that and Gerry will panic and send us home.”
“Que tiene en contra del Herry?” asked Octavo.
“He’s asking what you have against Gerry.”
“Nothing really. It’s just ya know. Nothing wrong with therapy but the construction site isn’t the place. He panics, usually for no reason and we always deliver results regardless of what he fears or thinks.”
They broke out their lunches even though it was only 9:30 am and ate to the sound of crinkling aluminum foil and slurping coffee.
Oddie’s phone pinged on the dirty, white folding table so he picked it up and disappeared into the screen.
To Manuel rain meant mud which smelled of the minerals of home which transported him fast and far. He leaned forward in his chair as he picked at the dry skin around his fingernails.
Octavo leaned back in his plastic chair, joined his hands on his belly and closed his eyes, soaking up the peace he got from being on a good team and the satisfaction of working with his hands.
Octavo was sliding into snooze mode and Manuel was staring out the open door when he heard Oddie talking to himself.
“Yashmal kula shay,” said Oddie.
“What’s that bro,” said Manuel.
“I’m no exper but was that English?”
“Are you doin an hechizo on me?
“Hechizo, you know, like magic n all that.”
“No, no no. I’m learning Arabic.
“Cool. Are you going to Arahbia?”
“Is Arahbia coming here?”
“No, Arabia! Is not coming here. Stop being stupid.”
“But is so easy for me.”
“I’m… Listen,” said Oddie and he paused as he breathed in deeply.
“My uncle got me into studying the Quran.”
“What’s that like?”
“Cool. But …. I am lost. It’s so .. big and ..”
“What jou say? A minute ago in Arabic”
“Oh. Yashmal kula shay. It means ‘encompasses all things’.”
“What does encompass means?”
“Does that bring jou closer to God?
“Less call him,” said Manuel, spreading his hands apart above his shoulders like it was a banner, “‘The big guy, in the sky.”
“Well I want something more than this shit,” Oddie kicked some mud off his boots.
“I’m with you bro.”
Octavo yawned and stood up, stretched as he put on his jacket and went out to the port a potty. The rain had let up a bit.
“So, tell me abou the Quran.”
“I don’t know. Its ancient, is huge it’s mystical and its confusing.”
“Sounds like Gerry,” said Manuel laughing.
“Ya! Minus the mystical,” said Oddie smiling.
“I listen to a couple of these guys talk about their experience and they reference the Quran. It helps to guide them in some kind of higher purpose they say. I don’t know if those are my kind of words. But, anyway, I can feel something.”
“Impulse. Ya, I guess. It’s an urge but it’s not mine.”
“Who is it?”
“I don’t know – who else could it be?”
“Is annoying no bro?”
“It’s annoying but, annoying like when you’re in high school there is a cute girl but she is really stuck up, but you still are attracted to her, you want her. Why do that?”
“What is stuck up?”
“Your God is arrogant?”
“No bro, not at all. It’s the feeling I have that annoys me. Like I need to do something that takes me beyond. But what?”
“Beyond, that sounds far out.”
“Ya . Beyond the daily grind.”
“Was daily grime?”
“Trabajo bro,” said Oddie. “That’s why Gerry is so annoying. Not him. But the feel of the cloud that is always over his head. That there is nothing more to life than a shitty job bro.”
“Bro you need a anger management session at the pub.”
“That’s the thing. It’s not anger at anyone. It’s, it’s frustration that I, there isn’t a person I can talk to, you know, someone to…”
“The church has priests.”
“The church also has lawsuits because those priests can’t keep their hands off little boys.”
Octavo stomped back into the trailer, shook the rain off his jacket and took his seat. His entrance broke the flow of the conversation so they just sat there in the musty yet gritty trailer air. After scrolling for a bit Manuel spoke,
“I read the bible.”
“You read the bible now or you used to,” Oddie sought clarification.
“When I was jung.”
“What did you get out of it?”
“Well it was the bes way to talk with girls because the mamas approved of bible class.”
“Honestly, is like I remember nothing. But I have this residuo of believe.”
“Residue of belief. I like that. And how does that impact you? My point is do you have, do you feel an impulse, impulso?”
“For answering the call. It’s like I can hear my cell phone ringing,” said Oddie, putting his hands in and out of all of his pants and jacket pockets. “But I don’t know which pocket it’s in,” said Oddie, hunching his shoulders.
Octavo understood very little but the conversation caught him. He listened to them with his eyes closed as if it was the World Cup finals on the radio. Manuel pulled on the various hairs in what passed as a beard and sat up straight. He hadn’t thought about this stuff in a long time so it was really clearing away cobwebs in his mind.
“Bro, is like the daily grime is analog and belief is dihital,” said Manuel.
Oddie sat there a while with his elbow on the table and his chin on his fist digesting Manuel’s pronunciation and then the concept.
“No. Is like Defi.” continued Manuel with his next analogy.
“You mean like crypto?”
“What does Defi mean again?”
“Decentralize finance. And that iss what I think you are talkin about. Taking control of your shit, your destiny. That way bro, jou discover what has value for jou, here,” said Manuel as he sent his right hand into the air imitating lift off. “ And for jour beyon.”
Autumn rain fell on the trailer roof as the soundtrack to this episode of connection. Their phones forgotten, they could hear their own breath as they picked at dirt on their boots for a while, sipped coffee.
Oddie walked to the trailer door and looked at the lumber skeleton of the house they were framing. He associated with the wood and the precision and instinct it called him to use. He hadn’t realized that before. That was why he liked his job. Not so much his job but the work: the feeling of building something – and working on a team – and needing vision to complete a project.
Octavo looked at Manuel. From behind Manuel looking at Oddie framed in the doorway. Manuel could tell Oddie was engaged by something.
The rain had let up. The air was clean as Andre the project manager pulled his SUV up to the curb. Gerry jumped out of his pick up where he had been this whole time and said,
“Quit playin with yourselves and get to work,” as he walked to greet Andre. Nobody in the trailer moved. Gerry shook hands with Andre.
“Now,” Gerry yelled at the trailer.
“Alan,” said Oddie standing in the doorway as his mind landed back in his reality.
“Who is Alan?” asked Manuel.
“Alan? I dunno.”
“But jou just said his name.”
“Oh, Alan. Wow. I said that outloud? Alan means now in Arabic.”
Alan – From the Short Story Series: Tool by Kevin McNamara
Burn after seeding and other Black Spruce stuff — bridgesburning
I spent a couple of delicious hours yesterday at my library, soaking up the ambiance as well as a cranberry scone and black coffee, perusing the newspaper and a copy of Canadian Geographic, and came across this article:From Canadian Geographic I did not succeed in taking a ‘readable photo, but the article says that the […]Burn after seeding and other Black Spruce stuff — bridgesburning
Short Story – Rootball
The boss explained to Roger it was the pandemic. His manager told him it was Artificial Intelligence.
‘Buddy,’ Rick, his colleague, relished saying, ‘ You just don’t fit in with the company vision.’
‘Vision for what?’ Wanted to know Roger even though it really didn’t matter as he was on his way out the door.
‘A vision, you imbecile, of making money off of paying clients.’ Rick the dick chuckled as he rubbed Roger’s face in it.
‘That was.’ Roger shook his head as his shoulders sagged, ‘Harsh.’
‘Yeah. Who cares?’ Rick stared into Roger with his legs astride as if he was on the podium having won the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
‘So, you spineless piece of shit, how do you fit into their money making vision?’ Roger needed to know.
‘Me? I just count the stuff as it comes in. I transferred to accounting. I don’t want to be in the field anymore. I don’t want to be made obsolete.’
‘Like me. Right’
‘You said it, not me.’
Leann, Roger’s wife, made her younger brother Ryan give Roger a job. She has been working from home for almost a year and for 4 months of that Roger had been out of work and driving her crazy.
‘It’s like I didn’t even know my own husband until I spent time with him.’ Confides Leann.
‘That doesn’t bode well.’
‘It turns out the more time you spend with him the more Roger he becomes.’ Lets slip Leann.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Her mom needs to know.
Realizing she said that out loud Leann now has to reconcile it with reality.
It’s not really a bad thing.’ She tells her mom by Zoom.
‘Darling, meaning what exactly? That he gets all creepy and …?’ investigates her mom.
‘No, no no. Nothing like that. It’s just that, after a while, he lands on the annoying side of bizarre.’
‘How long is a while?’ Mom gets right to the point.
Leann sighs. Looks into the Zoom version of her mother’s eyes, drops her eyes to her computer keyboard and returns to meet her mom’s eyes again.
‘Half an hour.’
When Leann and Roger married they had an understanding there weren’t going to be any children. Leann would have been open to adopting if he was but Roger who didn’t want to spin the roulette wheel on someone else’s DNA. Over time Leann saw what he meant first hand. Twenty-nine going on thirty years old was not yet the prime age for a mid-life crisis. Leann would need to find another excuse to assimilate Roger’s lack of traction with daily life.
Straight outta calculus Ryan jokes when asked about when he started his company. In his final year of high school, 3 months before final exams, he slammed his textbooks closed, ignored his mother’s pleadings and walked out the door. With his rusting pickup truck, his best friend Mark and the family electric lawn mower he started a landscaping company.
In his first summer landscaping, he and Mark, with a bout of the munchies, were waiting in McDonald’s drive-thru aching to scarf down a few Big Macs. Back in the day you could drive high.
‘The company needs a name bro!’ Says Mark in the wait between placing their order and the pick up window.
‘To meet girls.’
‘What do you have in mind?’ An interested Ryan asks.
‘Except visions of Big Macs dancing in my head.’ Mark says grinning like an idiot.
Ryan turned down the radio and leaned forward looking at the big McDonald’s logo: those famous Golden Arches; ‘Golden Branches …?’
Golden Branches Landscaping bro! Whaddaya think?
I know right …?
Golden Branches Landscaping baby!
Ten years later, sitting in the driver seat of his warm white 4 x 4 pickup with the engine running, Ryan pulled at his scruffy beard as he mentally digested his odd brother-in-law.
My Roger doesn’t need dope – he can go interplanetary under his own steam – thought Ryan
On a podcast Ryan had heard that if you want to work things out try talking to yourself.
‘My Roger …’ Ryan started, which self-startled him causing him to stall.
‘Why the fuck is he My Roger?’ Ryan shook his head at himself.
He gazed into his blue and white Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player bobblehead glued to the dashboard that subtly wiggled and jiggled to the purr of the diesel engine.
Having slid into a pensive moment Mark startled Ryan by jumping into the passenger seat of the cab.
‘Dude we have to talk. We are falling way behind on this fucking project. Did you see the forecast? We are getting more frost 3 days in a row. We need to…’
‘I know genius!! I know what we need.’
‘Whoa! Bro oo… What the …? Let’s go for coffee. I’m buying.’
‘Ya know that small alien creature that crawled up your ass and took a shit must have been some ugly?’
‘Let’s go. Let’s show these guys this isn’t a babysitting service.’ Ryan jumps out of the truck.
No one on the team knew Roger was the boss’s brother-in-law. They just thought he was one of those flakes who finds work with them each season. The flotsam of society. Men that know what they don’t want. Guys who are connected to reality by gravity, government checks and little else. They want to be paid cash daily, they call everyone by a nickname after meeting them 5 minutes ago and you hardly ever see them eat. One day they never show up again and their work boots will stay behind the back seat of the work truck until the end of the season and then get donated.
Roger’s previous job as an insurance assessor was less than a year ago but felt like a lifetime away. The money was steady and the questions were few, the rules were clear and the creativity was zero. There should have been little chance for him to alienate himself yet they still found a way to push him out the door. Roger wasn’t sad or surprised because he easily could have told you he wasn’t living and working in the here and now.
In the bowels of spring are frigid February nights with minutes colder than hours. Roger needed to tell someone how, in the fathoms of darkness, cut loose by the leylines of sleep, he lay awake as sewer rats and hoary bats were gnawing at the sinews of his soul. And then he would quickly submit a disclaimer to whoever would listen that while all this was achingly paralyzing there was, available, an undercurrent of light that was freeing.
Sleepless and alone in the basement pull-out bed with his blue eyes wide open he had a 3 am epiphany about what gave him satisfaction: Delivering results while doing work that congealed in him a real here and now feeling. Unaware that he was picking at the earth under his fingernails he loved what he just learned he wanted.
Along a client’s side and front lawn they were planting a row of cedar trees. As he plants and rakes, weeds and waters Roger is fascinated by the potential of that root ball that the trees come with from the nursery. On his knees with his bare hands in the moist and fervent soil, Roger inhaled the poignant autumn air. It was like he was being paid to do downward facing dog.
Like roots drawing minerals into the plant – Roger spoke under his breath as he helped to guide Jose driving the Bobcat as it dropped one of the cedars gently inside the hole where it would be planted – parents draw minerals into their child’s life.
Roger’s insight continued – the challenge in the progression of a man is to mineralize his own life – with what he wants.
That is exactly what is happening to Roger. Whether he knows it or not.
To them Roger seemed to talk more with the trees then he did with them so the guys nicknamed him Rootball Roger. They needed to pigeonhole him in order to accept him as one of their own. They want to accept him as part of the tribal urge to work together. Then there is what goes unmentioned, and poorly understood; the importance of accepting a guy so he doesn’t feel the loneliness of no tribe.
‘Rootball. Mrs Crowsworth always asks us to knock on her door just so she knows we are working around her place.’ Robbie, the lead hand, told Roger. ‘Plus she likes meeting the rookies.’
The truth Robbie knew was Mrs Crowsworth hates when anyone knocks on her door. She patented peering out from behind her living room curtain at the people working on her yard. The guys pretended to be busy oiling the clipper and gassing up the leaf blowers in anticipation of the show. Mrs. Crowsworth did not disappoint.
‘Did your office not tell you to not bother me?!
‘I’ Stammered Roger taking a step back having rung the doorbell.
‘Are you new or dumb or both?! I‘ve never seen you before.’
‘If no one can knock on your door how do you see them?’ Roger got suckered in.
‘How dare you? I keep tabs on you people you know! I am going to call Ryan and cancel your crazy company.’
‘Crazy…?’ It slipped out. ‘What the hell?! No, no please don’t call Ryan!’ Pleaded Roger. ‘It won’t happen again, I promise.’
‘That’s what the last guy said.’ Scowled Mrs Crowsworth while sizing up Roger having sensed his sincerity.
Back at the work truck Robbie and Jose were almost pissing themselves with laughter. They couldn’t have had a better victim to offer Mrs Crowsworth.
‘Hook, line and fuckin’ sinker baby!’ Howled Jose watching from the truck and high fiving Robbie.
When Roger left at 6:30 am each morning Leann sent him off with a hot coffee and what was once a lukewarm kiss was now an air kiss. Once he was gone Leann breathed easier and could send off a few emails so her colleagues and clients would see she was working really early. The plan was to work a few focused hours then live her life while Roger was at work. Leann had found a great online yoga teacher that went at her speed. Her friend Rita recommended a great online cooking show with a spontaneous cook who made dishes based on a Mediterranean diet. She alternated days between yoga and cooking or watching travel videos.
Then around 4:30 pm he would open the back door, drop his backpack and say ‘Hey babe, how was your day?’ as he reached into the fridge for his first beer. Leann would make sure she was back at her work desk with her headset on to ask,
‘How’d it go today hun?’
‘Good, just working late with the west coast office.’ Leann would lie so they wouldn’t have to sit down to dinner across the table from each other. Which made a lot of sense as they were no longer sleeping in the same bed. Or the same room. Nothing wrong with separate beds but these two were on different tectonic plates going in opposite directions.
‘It just feels like I am losing money. Even though I know he paid the down payment.’ Leann confides in Rita.
‘Leann, honey. We all know that was $30 thousand from his parents.’ Rita reminded them. ‘And you have been basically bringing home the bacon for the last year while Roger does his pre mid-life crisis soul searching.’
Ya, I know.’
‘How’s that going?’
‘Well if his soul is in the basement then he may be on to something.’ Leann offered.
‘What – he moved down to the basement. I knew you weren’t sleeping in the same bed but this is new.’
‘Ya. He kind of lives down there.’
‘What the hell?! How long has this been going on?’
‘It’s been a few months.’
‘Leann? Rita was lost for words which she didn’t like. Have you talked to your mom?’
‘She knows but she doesn’t know the details.’
‘Do you know the details? Wake the fuck you stupid woman!! This is your life. And for what it’s worth, it’s Roger’s life too. He doesn’t have the capacity to give you what you want. And you have the capacity for love, young lady.’
Except for when Ryan called asking him to help clean up a whole bunch of broken branches after that violent windstorm in the middle of December Roger hadn’t worked since the beginning of November. Landscaping season leads to snow shovelling for guys with nothing better. Roger’s weakening back can’t handle shovelling snow for a living. It was now almost February and Roger could only think of having to contribute to the mortgage payments.
‘If I didn’t have the mortgage pressure hanging over me then I would be hating thinking about being 30 and living in my own basement.’ Roger admits to Dean. Dean and Roger were neighbours growing up. They bumped into each other at Canadian Tire so Roger invited him out for a beer.
‘So, how would you say Laura is dealing with your whole situation?’ Asked Dean, gradually embracing that he was being pulled into some guy’s uncomfortable marriage drama.
‘Work or relationship?’ Deflected Roger not correcting Dean when he got his wife’s name right.
‘The whole enchilada.’ Frowned Dean as a way to distance himself from participation in Roger’s reality.
‘Well out of some sense of weird self respect I can’t make my wife have to put up with me while I am like this.’
Roger lifts his hands to then point his fingers back at himself. ‘This. This is being lost. But.’ He raises his index finger as he lowers his gaze. ‘The good news is I know I am lost.’
‘How does that make you feel?’ Dean asks having gone full-on therapist.
‘I don’t like it.’
‘And I doubt your wife likes it either.’
‘She doesn’t.’ Admits Roger.
‘She doesn’t?! Then leave.’ You moron Dean says with his eyebrows.’
‘Leave. Pack your bags. Move out.’
‘Hey man, what the hell. I am looking for a little man to man compassion here.’
‘What you seek is compassion and what you need is a kick in the ass.’ Proclaimed Dean before taking a long sip of his crisp second pint.
‘Shit and fuck! Man you know I am just at the end of my no good Goddamn rope here!’
‘Dude, wake the fuck up!!’ Dean was sensing the best thing he could do for Roger was to rattle his cage. ‘From what I am hearing you don’t have a relationship. You’ve got a rental agreement.’
‘No relationship is perfect.’ Justifies Roger.
‘Exactly. That’s my point, numb nuts!! Yours has crossed the line from, what I imagine was a living connection with your wife to a business deal where your client is actually disinterested in your services.’
‘Did you fucking rehearse this shit before you came here?’
‘Dude. You invited me for a beer. You know man talking with you, it is frustrating. Infuriating. You’re such a …’ Dean doesn’t complete his thought.
‘Say it’ Begs Roger.
‘Such …. I mean from 20 minutes of swilling beers with you all I can say is you feel like a lost cause of a man.’ Dean gives what Roger asked for.
‘A lost cause’ repeated Roger. Both guys drank long from their pints.
‘How ya feeling now?’
‘Like I’m drowning.’
‘If you’re drowning then you swim straight to the surface, like a mad man. You become the fucking solution.’
‘Fucking solution.’ Repeated Roger unconsciously.
‘You.’ Dean aims the word as he tips his pint at Roger.
Roger downed the rest of his beer staring Dean in the eyes.
In a matter of days Roger pivoted. He cashed in his RRSP, gave Leann 6 months of his part of the mortgage payment during which he said she could sell the house or buy him out. He bought a 4×4 pickup like Ryan’s and got on Instagram promoting Trent Urban Farming. Or as Roger liked to think of it by its initials: TUF
Pivot was one of those buzz words like unprecedented and quarantine that hogged the vocabulary of the Global Covid Republic 2020 +.
Roger had pivoted out of insurance, paused in landscaping and set his sights on urban farming. About which he knew nothing (except 3 months with Golden Branches Landscaping) but he really thought having a lawn with grass in front of your house was stupid. Including his own suburban piece of paradise.
EZ Conversation Podcast with Furkhan about the book Satisfaction
In The Meantime
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.
Short Story Excerpt – Blue Spruce
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.
Rare Earth: What is it?
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.