April 24th, 2008

alan's marigolds

Good Morning!

My brother sends me photos of my beautiful niece.  She is now thirteen.

I am sitting with how she is grown and how I miss her and she is a very busy and enchanting girl.

This life is so rich.   There are so many places one might be, and I suppose it is to be content with exactly where we are, while also envisioning all the other parts.

I couldn't sleep in the night, so was up a good deal, sharing time with the moon.  I opened an email from Steve who is in Rome.  He comes home tomorrow and needs to return, so we will spend our anniversary in Rome, and other parts of Italy.  We go toward the end of June.

A friend requested I add a little more to Breast Stroke, about what I learned.  It is painful to re-visit, so I put it off until this morning and then I went in.  I learned to soften, to open, appreciate, receive.   I said more than that, and that is enough for here right now.

Jane and I are both entranced with the planet Earth's hum.  We both wrote about it this morning, not knowing where the other had decided to head.   I am also with fullness, appreciation, that includes the tears.  Perhaps there is an age, a time,  where that must be true.   There is no way to pull out the tears of love, gratitude, and appreciation. 

I am so grateful for this day!!





Tears rest behind my eyes

like the underside of a table,

sheltered and softened by walls of falling cloth.


Like an altar, they wait,

wafer for wine, amen for prayer,

moments that bend, and prism what’s shared.




Jon Carroll - the heavy price of oil -

Jon Carroll

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Here's a hypothetical. Suppose you are a guy who murdered some people. It's not exactly clear how many, but let's say a lot. In fact, you already paid reparations to the relatives of some of the people you killed. That's not exactly an admission of guilt, but it's close.

People who have investigated the charges against you are convinced that you did it. Indeed, you have hardly bothered to deny it. You haven't done any jail time, either, because you have very good lawyers. You have, however, cleaned up your act and promised never, ever to kill people again. You've invited prominent people to your very nice house, and there you have shown them how deeply sorry you are.

What happens next? Well, these prominent people - who, it turns out, include the secretary of defense and the secretary of state - write a letter to legislators saying that you really shouldn't have to pay the rest of the reparations. All those uncompensated relatives - can money ever really repair the pain? Besides, you're really very sorry. Darned sorry. Oh, so sorry.

Also, you are sitting on an ocean of oil. Oil is a very powerful disinfectant. Makes all those nasty murder germs go away.

You are Libya. You probably figured that out. Back when you were the fourth spoke of the Axis of Evil, you bombed a disco in Berlin (three people killed), attacked an airline ticket counter in Rome (13 people killed), hijacked a plane out of Karachi (20 people killed) and, oh yes, exploded a bomb aboard a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland (270 people killed).

Libya paid a niggardly $8 million in reparations in the Lockerbie case, and it is haggling about the $2 million it still owes.

Of course, there are other lawsuits pending. If all the suits went against Libya, its total exposure would be in the neighborhood of $3 billion to $6 billion. That's not a neighborhood it likes so much. So it has asked its friends at the oil companies, with whom it very much wants to do business if only those annoying lawsuits would go away, to help out.

According to the extremely useful reportage of Eric Lipton in the New York Times, Libya has paid a lobbyist $2.4 million (more than enough to settle the remaining Lockerbie claims) to press its case before Congress. And it's persuaded four Cabinet officers of the oil-cozy Bush administration to write a letter to Congress.

What Libya wants is an exemption to a recently passed law that all terrorism judgments must be paid in full or the U.S. government has the right to seize the assets of the offending country. If Congress does grant the exemption, then Libya promises, really promises, to settle all outstanding claims for, well, not quite as much money as is being requested.

Otherwise, Libya might just have to take its oil business somewhere else. And it really doesn't want to do that, probably.

So this is our commitment to fighting terror. It would appear that al Qaeda's biggest problem is its stateless nature - if only it owned some land, it could pinky-swear not to attack Americans and love capitalism as much as everyone else loves capitalism, and all would be forgiven. But al Qaeda has no oil, and thus no means of obtaining forgiveness.

Two of the people killed in the Berlin bombing were U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany because that's where their country sent them. To say that it's OK to kill these soldiers as long as you (a) are sorry and (b) have oil could be considered, at the very least, insulting to the other military personnel who have put their lives on hold to go to a foreign land and fight someone in order to protect something, details to come.

I am aware that hypocrisy is as necessary to politics as money and power. I am aware that yesterday's enemies are often today's friends - just look at Iran and the United States, partners in fighting the evil Sunni militias. And I am certainly aware that the current administration bends over backward - or forward, depending on who's asking - to help oil companies maximize their profits and minimize their taxes.

But I am surprised that our politicians (including the Democrats, God knows) are so willing to sell out the troops whenever large corporations ask them to. The only real "stop loss" policy is the one that seeks to stop multinationals from losing money. At least our men and women in uniform know whom they're fighting for: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Dow Chemical, ConocoPhillips, Hess, Occidental and Marathon Oil. Maybe at least they could all get vouchers for a free fill-up.

Oh, the dead people? Yes, that was unfortunate. We all agree about that. Perhaps the relatives would like this attractive clock-radio.




Book Cover

my totem bear

The bear is my totem.  My friend Karen brought me back some handmade soap from Finland.  I open it today for a special treat and see there is a whole statement on the bear.

"Many folk call Bear by other names, for Bear is too sacred to be said aloud.  Honeypaw is one of them.  Tuvans in Southern Siberia say Mother Bear has seven sons which she sent around the Earth to gather food, shelter, clothing, and water. Each time they set out and each time they fought all over Earth for they could never agree on who was to get what, how much or one didn't bring enough and the other brought too much.  Mother Bear saw this earth was suffering from their fighting and finally put an end to their tearing up Earth (how we got our valleys, seas, mountains etc.) by setting them in the Heavens: far enough from one another so as not to fight. That is how the Great Bear - Big Dipper was born.  She, herself, became the Northern Star.  As many stories go, Bear is our ancestor. Black Beast eats lots of berries, honey, mushrooms, forages in the grain fields, eats fish, the occasional raw steak and digs up an ant nest or two during summer months all for getting ready for the cold winter sleeping months.  From the King of the Forest comes this soap."

Now, that's the way to bathe, cleansed in stories and myth.