Pages 60 to 70 are some of the best consecutive pages I have read in a long time as they situate the circumstances of what is unknown and what is being grasped to become known and familiar.
The personal transformation that arrives through day after day of dedication and not being dissuaded by a dearth of the right materials nor by the lack of skills or absence of familiarity. But the affirmation and realizations that come with continuing to be, do, and become.
The escalation of the story builds my anticipation and the end of a chapter has me feeling giddy, as I recall the euphoria of childhood and boyhood and being able to rise to some new level that has been unreachable in prior days.
The sentences are beautiful how they carry the feelings, the tastes, the smells and the sounds coming from inside his body, the impacts of his body with the ice and the air and the sun and the routines at dusk and nighttime culminating in abilities that come from continuously being imperfect yet persistent.
How there is joy inside in spite of the most horrendous set up.
These are some of what I experience and ride in pages 60-70 of Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese.
I’ve been noticing more of what I’m habitually doing. Then today, I saw how it looked in someone dear to me.
Today’s lesson can be one of:
- Holding gratitude or holding grudges?
- Whining or writing?
- Writhing or witnessing?
- Scrambling or steady?
- Floundering or focusing?
- Tripping up or triumphing?
I had many years of getting distracted and turning away from. From taking some multitasking bait rather than simplifying, moderating and slowing down.
I was looking for an interview of/with Dorion Sagan revolving around Notes from the Holocene, which I’d borrowed from the library a few weeks ago. I have yet to read a page, though sometimes these internet-parallel searches offer just enough carrot to lead me to open a book tomorrow. So, for Dorion, there is tomorrow.
I cannot recall how I came to learn about Dorion Sagan though it was following the reading about his mother, Lynn Margulis.
Not finding any interview, I did encounter a summary and review of the Powell’s bookstore website that included these 12 questions lifted from the book:
- Why does life exist?
- Why do we drink water?
- Can we save the Earth from global warming?
- Are human beings central and special?
- Is it possible that we’ve arisen by pure chance?
- Is the Earth an organism?
- Are we part of it’s exo-brain?
- if it is alive, can it reproduce?
- Can the universe?
- What does the future hold in store for us?
- Does God exist?
- What is the nature of ultimate reality?
Earlier tonight, I spent 10 minutes flipping through pages of the online encyclopedia better known as Wikipedia where I read about: the Holocene, the Pleistocene, the Meghalayan stage and the caves of Meghalaya, the Younger Dryas, regolith, and the Mid Pleistocene Transition or Mid Pleistocene Revolution.
All of this after the weekend’s atmospheric events surrounding the Hunga Tonga Volcano that was somehow heard in Alaska (5,000 miles across the Pacific) and initiated some 70,000 lightning bolts in some short span of time (maybe 60 minutes) where there were 15 lightnings per second and seemingly 1/50th the severity of the 1991 explosion of Mount Pinatubo.
I read decades ago that something along the lines of, “the universe is so big, human brains are so small” was attributed to Osho.
How are the children?
Listening to the stories of genocide, savagery, the incomprehensible behavior of whites that litter through history.
Last week, the children listened to the news detailing the research in Kamloops/Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc that revealed that 215 children were buried in a mass grave.
That wasn’t a school. It was a prison.
That wasn’t a residential school. It was an assimilation hall.
A few days prior to the stories out of British Columbia, I had picked up:
- I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, 2016)
- Little Bird #1, by Darcy van Poelgeest (Image Comics, 2019)
The week prior, we were exposed to the language of lies wrapped inside a tone of cunning deception that qualified the officials who kidnapped and stole indigenous children as “nice” and the act of forcibly relocating children as “tricked” with stories of nourishing meals.
Lies perpetuated through decades and centuries, repeated in news accounts, embellished in children’s books upholding the sanctity of white colonizers, refraining from mentioning the horrors of abusers and authorities.
Turns out that M4BL has decreed that June is Reparations month. Yesterday, I was cringing at the prospects for something substantive, something that was more than performative bullshit. And I wrote about that. Today, I feel like reparations month is taking root in my soul.
It must be Reparations Month as I’ve read two stories in two days on the Politico website, that bastion of two-sided storytelling trying to paint both political parties as decent and honorable endeavors.
Tonight, I learned that, according to the United Nations, all reparations have five components: 1) Cessation, assurances and guarantees of non-repetition. 2) Restitution and Repatriation. 3) Compensation. 4) Satisfaction. 5) Rehabilitation.
Learn more from the M4BL Reparations Toolkit.
messages lie in words …. But it’s metamessages that have clout, because they stir emotions, and emotions are the currency of relationships.
So said Deborah Tannen on page 10 of I only say this because I love you (2001).
Tannen wrote “those closest to us have front-row seats to view our faults” yet they also have the proximity to our attributes, gifts but we perpetuate a culture that does not appreciate as much as it deprecates.
A decade ago, I remember how bringing an assets based approach was a welcome salve in the nonprofit/civic sector rather than the continued fixation with being motivated by what was missing or lacking in a place and wanting to be the problem solvers by confronting those things that were missing. But a few workshops in a year full of meetings results in a low concentration. And that short lived attempt to embrace what a place had was challenging to sustain when being critical is easy and familiar and a way that we have been told to treat one another in school, at work, in public spaces, and at home.
Now, I have made it a fixture of naming appreciations for the people i am with on a daily basis, at the end of most of the webinars that I design. And still it is difficult for people to begin with what they like.
Tannen elaborated no messages and metamessages by saying:
- message: the meaning of the words and sentences spoken, what anyone with a dictionary and a grammar book could figure out.
- metamessage: “the meaning that is not said, what we glean from every aspect of context: the way something is said, who is saying it, or that fact that it is said at all.
Or using another metaphor that “message is the word meaning while metamessage is the heart meaning.” Tanner elaborated by saying how metamessages are implicit and difficult to pinpoint as they are about relationships. Her early suggestion is to distinguish metamessage from message and one way of doing so is metacommunicating or talking about communication, which I suppose is using words to describe the implicit heart emotions.
My answer in the form of a question: what is the ocean?
The ocean was the setting for the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The ocean was the bridge to colonize the Americas.
The ocean is the medium for global capitalism.
These were the epiphanies in a conversation with a handful of other people of color earlier this week as I had not thought of the ocean’s role and distinction in these forces with global spread.
Today as I drove along the highway, I did see a whale repeatedly breaching and splashing about off of the coastline. Looking out at the blue expanse, I wondered what humans would need to recognize the enormity of the ocean and settle into the dominating presence that the ocean has over the continents. The ocean hegemony is not how it is perceived by humankind as we are self-focused though there are so many facets beyond comprehension, never mind the depths that are beyond cognition.
The ocean hegemony as the water gave life to all life, the lands arose from the ice and water and the life depends on the cycle f precipitation that depends on the evaporation of all that water out there.
The ocean hegemony is so all-powerful that humans do not register the supreme spot that the ocean holds as infinitum. We are partial to life on land as it is what we know, what we know better, and essentially all that we know even with the limited knowing of ocean matters.
Even in COVID times, the act of checking out a library book is delightful. We could not go inside the local branch. Instead I wrote a few authors and titles on the back of scrap paper that I handed to the librarian as one child walked through the grass and another rode a bicycle back and forth. We waited on the personalized attention as the librarian walked through the stacks pulling the books that we listed. And I saw one more sitting on top of the shelves nearest the door and asked if we could have that cat going cross country (skiing?), too.
Library books and lending are endless gifts of infinite curiosity. For a few years, I have searched for “publisher: Enchanted Lion” and a few series like Mercy Watson [“the porcine wonder”] by Kate DiCamillo, Dodswortb and Duck by Tim Egan, King and Kayla by Dori Hillestad Butler and the Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem. I’ve read multiple books (approximately 24 different titles) by these four authors more than 200 in the last three years.
Yesterday’s haul included a few Mercy Watson stories along with books on whales, other marine life and volcanos. It was most special because they were the first library books that we checked out in three months — the longest stretch of not borrowing books in five years.
Now we are back at it in a new library system with no limit on the number of books that we can borrow. But a system that does have late fees, so hopefully I will be more diligent about returning borrowed materials back on time. Better than I was 15 and 20 years ago, when I’d incur late fees but it was paying $.10 a day per book to the libraries and though I never saw the budgets of the library, I never had remorse about paying fees that paid for such a renowned institution.
In recent days, I have been unraveling more of my beliefs about anger. Two days ago: got-headed was a euphemism for violent. Yesterday: my father could not express rage in his home or in public spaces because it was not safe. Today: it is preferable to process anger and resolve anger alone away from others.
As I child, I did not allow myself to feel or express anger or at least that is not what I perceived and understood my feelings as. I opted for sadness rather than anger. I did not trust anger to not be violent or vengeful or lash out at others. Any of those reactions seemed worse than a feeling alone so I didn’t want to experience a feeling that was oriented towards others. Sadness oriented me inside and quieted me so i did not divulge with others.
Isolating anger is curious for me as I wonder if I don’t trust anger as a constructive way of being with others.
Now I experience anger and oftentimes find myself saying words that are lashing out, seeking someone to land on. It still feels untrustworthy and inaccurate. And I don’t know how genuinely what I say demonstrates what I’m feeling. The words that come out in my angry outbursts seem like distractions rather than insightful.
Sadness takes me away from my words and keeps me inside some feelings and many thoughts. I may run through sentences in my heart and head but I’m not trying to persuade or explain to others what feels messy or conflicted or shitty when I’m sad.
It isn’t exact or precise or best. It’s simply where I’m at with my aging relationships with both anger and sadness.