Sunday, January 28, 2018


Pileated Woodpeckers are 14 to 16 inches long.  It is fairly unusual to see one on my porch.  On the rarest of occasions, there were three on my porch at one time.  That was years ago.  I do see them at times when I am walking in the woods.  There is something about seeing a Pileated Woodpecker that feels auspicious to me.  This might be the first time I have been able to photograph one.  They are skittish.

"Occupied by living"

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

No Time to Spare

The news of Ursula K. Le Guin's death at age 88 just came to me.   It was a few days ago that I had finished reading her book of essays, No Time to Spare, borrowed from the public library.  Each essay was taken from a blog she started a few years ago.  As always, since I was 21 years old and read A Wizard of Earthsea, she challenged me to think deeply and she brought me to tears and to joy.  What a lively free spirit, living on through her writing.

From a post I wrote in 2010 on the writing of Ursula K. Le Guin:

"We have to learn what we can but remain mindful that our knowledge does not close the circle, closing out the void, so that we forget that WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW remains boundless, without limit or bottom, and that what WE KNOW may have to share that quality of being known with what denies it.  What is seen with one eye has no depth ..."   

(Quote from Always Coming Home, by Ursula Le Guin, but the capitalization is my mother's.  She typed that out for me on a little piece of notepaper with a drawing of Rattlesnake Grass from California's North Coast and enclosed it in a letter she wrote to me during the 1980s.  I may have posted this quote before, but I feel like posting it again because I love it.  The photo was taken a few days ago from the trail just before the small bridge over Whatcom Creek at Derby Pond). 

And this:

"They walked softly here. So will the others, the 
ones I seek.

The only way I can think to find them, the only 
archaeology that might be practical, is as follows:
You take your child or grandchild in your arms, or
borrow a young baby, not a year old yet, and go 
down into the wild oats in the field below the barn.
Stand under the oak on the last slope of the hill,
facing the creek. Stand quietly. Perhaps the baby
will see something, or hear a voice, or speak to
somebody there, somebody from home."
                 Towards an Archaeology of the Future

Thank you, Ursula. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bellingham People's Movement Assembly 2017 and 2018

The second Bellingham People's Movement Assembly took place all day this past Sunday.  Although the transcript for the first assembly takes some time to read, it is well worth reading.  The people in the above photos are identified in that transcript.  Most all of those pictured in the transcript were present again. The first assembly was held on Inauguration Day 2017.

The second assembly followed similar guidelines and was held a year and a day after Inauguration Day 2017.  It is heartening to see that more members of the Whatcom and Skagit County communities attended this year than last year.  A delicious rice dish for lunch was donated and served by members of the Sikh community of Whatcom County.  Bellingham is in Whatcom County.  Skagit County is directly south of Whatcom County in the Northwest corner of Washington State.  Whatcom County borders British Columbia to the north.  Both counties have numerous Indian reservations of various sizes, as do many counties in Washington State.  Because a portion of both counties is comprised of farms, there are several generations of farm workers.  Most of the population is white.  My impression yesterday was that most of those who attended were white.  The ratio of attendance by ethnicity closely matched the demographics for Whatcom and Skagit Counties.

The local issues that were addressed in the first assembly were:

1.  Food Sovereignty.
2.  Sanctuary City / local citizenship and citizenship.
3.  White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism.
4.  Racial Profiling / Mass Incarceration.

This year an issue involving a 5th group of local people who have been impacted by the current presidency was included and the issues this year were identified (to my recollection) as:

1.  Food Sovereignty / Economic Solidarity.
2.  DACA.
3.  White Supremacy and Settler Colonialism.
4.  Racial Profiling.
5.  Homelessness.

Here is how counties in Washington State voted in the 2016 presidential election:

County Results

There is reason to believe in the power of community and dialogue in these challenging times.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Rosalinda Guillen / A Local Voice of Love in Action

"... We are not saying, like many other organizations and many other political leaders and farm worker leaders about moving farm workers out of farm work into career enhancement or success, which is only translated as out of agriculture.  What we want to do is ensure that farm workers are respected within agriculture for what we do, which is helping the industry to raise food.  We are core to the production of food.  Farm workers have keys to improvement of the food system in the United States, to protect the soil, protecting Mother Earth but also feeding people in a healthy manner.  I believe farm workers should stay in farm work, but they should be respected for it, valued for it, and paid for it.  We need better wages, better treatment, to be recognized in this country, just like farmers are recognized."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Friendship / Light

From Maria Popova at Brain Pickings:

... Shortly after the American painter was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown and instructed by doctors not to paint for a year, Kahlo sent her an epitome of what Virginia Woolf so aptly called "the humane art."



Was wonderful to hear your voice again. Every day since I called you and many times before months ago I wanted to write you a letter. I wrote you many, but every one seemed more stupid and empty and I torn them up. I can’t write in English all that I would like to tell, especially to you. I am sending this one because I promised it to you. I felt terrible when Sybil Brown told me that you were sick but I still don’t know what is the matter with you. Please Georgia dear if you can’t write, ask Stieglitz to do it for you and let me know how are you feeling will you? I’ll be in Detroit two more weeks. I would like to tell you every thing that happened to me since the last time we saw each other, but most of them are sad and you mustn’t know sad things now. After all I shouldn’t complain because I have been happy in many ways though. Diego is good to me, and you can’t imagine how happy he has been working on the frescoes here. I have been painting a little too and that helped. I thought of you a lot and never forget your wonderful hands and the color of your eyes. I will see you soon. I am sure that in New York I will be much happier. If you still in the hospital when I come back I will bring you flowers, but it is so difficult to find the ones I would like for you. I would be so happy if you could write me even two words. I like you very much Georgia.


(Interesting that Frida handwrites her name as "Frieda.")

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Children learning about songbirds and ducks / Teaching Children and Learning From Children / Goodness


“All the goodness and the heroisms will rise up again, then be cut down again and rise up. It isn’t that the evil thing wins — it never will — but that it doesn’t die.” (John Steinbeck)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Facebookistan? / Icy Foggy Morning / Red Cedar in Flight, Refusing to Die / Update on Facebook issues

"There are a lot of people who don't trust Facebook but use it anyway because everybody else is on Facebook, but I think they recognize that there could be a tipping point where suddenly, you know, everybody just leaves." (At 56:21 -- Rebecca MacKinnon, a Facebook user, author of Consent of the Networked, internet activist, and co-founder of Global Voices)

My Facebook page is only deactivated, not deleted, and this video gave me much to think about in our connected world today.  So much depends on being on Facebook, often including being able to get a job. I have not yet left Facebook completely, but if there ever were to be a fee to use Facebook, I would leave.  There are other options for being in touch with those I want to be in touch with.  I am grateful for the option of blogging.  May it always be free and allow us to be as anonymous as we wish to be.

Then, of course, there is the issue of loss of net neutrality and the real possibility of less freedom on the internet and beyond.  There is also the possibility of more freedom in the realm that has nothing to do with the internet.  I'm going to focus on that possibility.

We grieved when this extraordinary Red Cedar tree, which had survived against all odds, was cut down this past summer because someone from the local parks department with power and a chainsaw determined that it was "dead."  A few days later, we noticed the two young trees that had been growing from its side for some time.  Our Red Cedar tree is not dead.

Here, in Red Cedar language, is the story of the tree that is not dead. May the two young trees that are growing from it like new wings carry on the Red Cedar tradition of storytelling far into the future.

Update.  Mark Zuckerberg accepting responsibility for problems with Facebook:

"We won't prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we're successful this year, then we'll end 2018 on a much better trajectory."

May it be so.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Healing We Took Birth For

It has been almost two years since Stephen Levine died.  Sometime in the early 1980s, a friend told me about his book Who Dies?.  I read and re-read that book over and over again.  My copy is full of underlines and stars and my comments.  From then on, I read every book he wrote, up to Unattended Sorrow in 2005, a book that spoke to me in a deep healing way.  While meditating early yesterday morning, I remembered something Stephen Levine had said about the heart's role in meditation.  When I finished meditating, I began to search for that online and found the moving update from Ondrea Levine.  I have now ordered a copy of Stephen's last book, Becoming Kuan Yin:  The Evolution of Compassion.

Ondrea's story, The Healing I Took Birth For, which was told by Stephen Levine in a way that reflected Ondrea's dyslexia, is a book I can recommend.  It is my understanding that both Stephen and Andrea had serious health problems at the time they made the YouTube video. Ondrea's health improved.  Stephen's health didn't.

"Buddha left a road map, Jesus left a road map, Krishna left a road map, Rand McNally left a road map.  But you still have to travel the road yourself." (Stephen Levine)