Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is religion the bad guy?

Sometimes a topic comes along that I'd really rather not write about but eventually feel I can't ignore. Such is the case with this one. It starts with reading about an event in Saudi Arabia that I still am having a hard time wrapping my mind around but grew with another event in Sudan. Both involve women and a government run by religion-- in this case Islam.

First one was a woman who was gang raped by seven men Saudi rape victim gets 200 lashes. Does that seem believable? Well it is and yet unbelievable as who would do such a thing?

Then came this one-- Teddy bear teacher from UK charged in Sudan. She might only get 40 lashes for allowing one of her students to name a teddy bear Mohammed but if they decide she had tried to overthrow the religion or the government, she could be charged with sedition and then it'd be 10 years in prison.

For anyone who thinks religious fundamentalism isn't a big deal, or even that it's good, they need to stop and think what happens when it has absolute power. Islam right now is in the news and deservedly so for the awful things done using it as an excuse, but it has happened with Christianity too. Not just the Inquisition but also in the days where people were driven from countries for their religious differences, where they were killed, their property confiscated, if someone in power decided they were heretics.

Fundamentalism, of any religion, becomes a threat to anybody who does not exactly toe the proscribed line. Right now we see it vividly illustrated with the Muslim religion and not just terrorists. These are actions done by a government.

The thing I say in here over and over is we need to be aware and alert. Don't be the frog in hot water that doesn't realize it's being cooked until it's too late. The need for awareness is more true today than when I was a girl, but history has seen it repeated over and over. If you think it does not matter who runs your country, think again.

Every time I hear a political candidate espouse how god is with them; or see someone running for office who claims to follow his religion to the crossed t, I am concerned. Most especially concerned by anyone doing that who claims to be a Christian-- because they are not. Jesus said let your deeds show who you are. Don't seek the place of greatest honor but let others call you to it. Pray in a closet. Loudly espoused religious piety generally is not piety; and if it is, well you can see how well it works in those theocratic Arab nations-- especially for women.

Religion does not have to be the bad guy. Misused religion does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Please Read

Please read Time Goes By again today, November 28, 2007. It is more on the House bill that has now come to the Senate and is assumed to make an easy passage heading us to the world of McCarthy, who the people behind this regard as a hero, and the road Nazi Germany was on before WWII.

There is no time to waste if you value your country as you knew it. Read about this bill, read Ronni Bennett's column and then contact your senators. It might not do any good but it's our only chance. This is very scary and for anyone who thinks it can't happen here, get some history books, see Zeitgeist, understand it has happened before, and the only thing that would keep it from happening here are enough informed citizens who don't want that kind of world.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Zeitgeist-- the movie

Right now, in my country, I feel like one of the characters in Happy Feet, the animated film using penguins to tell a story about old ways versus new. At the end of the film, there is a great scene where one group of penguins is dancing to a new rhythm and on the rim above them are the others singing to hold onto the old one. The singers are fearful of what might happen if the dancers win over too many of their number. Neither one hears the other with the deadlock only being broken by an outside force.

As best I know it, there is going to be no saving outside force in our country. Whatever we do has to be done by us. Nobody will save us except us and enough of us being educated to what has been going on. Enough of us who don't put our financial gain ahead of what is right. Enough of us who see our brothers as being part of us, not separate. Enough of us who stop seeing this as about one political party or the other winning or losing; but rather an ideology that has done more damage than we can imagine.

Our founding fathers understood the risks of what we now see happening. They wrote a Constitution with guarantees to protect against it. They had seen tyranny. It took awhile to have a population who had forgotten those lessons, but little by little we have let those original codes be written over or ignored. People have been convinced their own profit, their personal safety all matter more than freedom, more than democracy, more than doing what is right.

What I see and have believed for quite awhile is that an ideology has been pushed upon us and a lot of the world that is selfish, brutal, damaging, and wrong. For the moment my own country has to kick the Republicans out of power because they have abused their power, they have sold us down the river, but they aren't the only ones who have done this and it didn't begin with George W. Bush.

When I write this, I know some will never hear me, but a growing number of us are dancing to this new way. Will we do what is required to actually change things? Is it already too late? I hope not for my grandchildren's sake because of what the film says about who the 'them' is who have been running things.

The film is called Zeitgeist. I read about it at Astrological Musings. Federal Reserve Part I is a good place to start at YouTube with five parts. It explains what our Federal Reserve is, and is numbing to consider. If you like the part you hear on YouTube, or rather believe what you hear, consider doing what I did this morning and ordering the DVD from the Zeitgeist site. It's $5 per DVD including shipping and owning it allows us to loan it to others who have computers too slow to watch it online. It covers three general topics. Religion, which I have not yet seen, 9/11, and the Federal Reserve.

I know conspiracy theories are often put down as being ridiculous and maybe some of what this film claims is not provable, but a lot of it is-- if you care enough to look. You won't know for yourself unless you put some time into watching it with an open mind.

So many events that seem accidental or meaningless at the time often end up being anything but. Yes, the same event can often be interpreted several ways; but if this film, so many books, and so many voices are right, then we have a lot bigger problem than most of us have wanted to believe.

Who really runs things?

[As a reminder to what is currently going on, not what has happened, not meanings people might question, but what is happening, please read Time Goes By regarding THOUGHT CRIME BILL. Tell yourself that Zeitgeist is fiction. Comfort yourself that your politicians would never go along with such a taking of rights, and then think about this bill for today. Ask yourself why is no newspaper mentioning it? She said Daily Kos is bringing it up and perhaps the papers will finally follow suit-- maybe.]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Spider Moon

Life is about cycles and spirals. We repeat patterns again and again and much of the time oblivious to what is happening. Television schedules most people know but what's outside-- less aware. Moon cycles are a good example. Sometimes people look up and think ah pretty moon or full again already? but using those cycles for practical living is more rare in a so-called civilized culture.

This full moon led to a discussion over Thanksgiving about full moons. I mentioned they are named but the names don't seem right for them given our modern world-- for instance the November full moon is called the Beaver Moon which might have made sense for trappers or those who needed to be aware of pelts for some reason but sure doesn't mean anything to how I live. Beaver live here year round and nobody harvests them for anything except an occasional lucky predator.

So my daughter said this is the Spider Moon and that rang true. In the Northern Hemisphere, November is the month when the bugs move indoors, where on the wall will suddenly be a big brown spider that has newly occupied its space and I have to decide if it looks safe to let it remain or it has to come to an abrupt end of its lifespan.

I also see a few ladybugs inside right now where I guess they lay their eggs in some secret place to reappear in the spring. There used to be thousands of them that would come from all around to use our attic when we had a cedar shake roof, before it needed reroofing and we decided, due to forest fire risks, it had to be redone in something more fire safe but less desirable for bugs that loved those open spaces between the shakes.

Bug moon though wouldn't cut it for a name-- besides when you look at the full moon and see those radiating rays out from the crater at the bottom, (Tycho Crater, doesn't it look a bit like a spider web?

I think, where most people live in a world that seems to be remote from nature, it's up to us to establish or re-establish our connection to it. The earth is basic to life, and our thinking concrete is the same thing won't make it so. Connecting to basic cycles, being aware what is around us, all of it might someday be a skill we should have taught our children and make sure we are aware of ourselves.

When the tsunami hit a few years ago in Indonesia and Thailand, even many of those people, who did live near to the earth, had forgotten the stories of what a receding sea meant. The fact that something has not happened for awhile does not mean it won't. Being aware, sensitive to our surroundings, training ourselves to listen to our inner voice might be necessary skills again. Even now, they add to the enjoyment of life.

So Spider Moon is now my name for the November full moon. It might be a different name where you live. Naming each full moon with words that have meaning for nature nearby is good and if someone hasn't been paying attention to nature, it's a good place to start.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dragon Synchronicity

My friend, Parapluie, has been painting dragons off and on for quite awhile but more frequently in recent months. You can see some of them on her artist blog, Umbrella Watercolors. I thought this was pretty neat, how she would see them in the sky, the ocean, her imagination; then paint them, and knew it was somewhat influenced by her family's history with China. I didn't think more about it than that.

I have two dragons. The one you see above is a soft sculpture, Ephemeris, which I bought some years ago from a friend. Her site is I Love Whimsy-- Dragon Art. My dragon, European myth in its appearance with wings, has always had a special place in my home, but I never really thought why I wanted one bey0nd its being beautiful.

The other dragon, bas-relief sculpture was a gift to my husband from a Taiwanese friend and it also has had a place of honor in our home. You might not be able to tell from the photo as it wasn't easy to photograph, but it has no wings which is more typical of the Oriental perception of the dragon.

Personally, I have accepted the Chinese interpretation that dragons were good luck and benevolent, not the malevolent version in European myths, but it has all been on kind of a superficial level.

The synchronicity for the dragons came as I was finishing reading Shirley MacLaine's newest book-- Sage-ing While Age-ing and something especially caught my attention in the last pages. It was her story of a discovery by two of her friends while in Mexico. High on the slopes of Mount Iztlaccihuatl were carved some Hebrew letters. They had them translated at the Hebrew University-- "On the nine the dragon will be born."

MacLaine, as she does throughout her book on many such subjects, worked to determine what that prophecy could mean (to find all her reasoning, look for her book). The main question was are those words meant for us today? Does it relate to the Mayan Prophecies that so many believe will come to fruition in 2012?

MacLaine writes, "... The power of the dragon is often equated to an unadulterated, enlightened connection to creation, much like a newborn child who is not yet tainted with knowledge and ego. The dragon is also usually associated with the birth of consciousness, which can be conflicted and chaotic."

From her research MacLaine concludes her book with what she believes the Hebrew prophecy will mean-- "On December 21, 2012, our new consciousness will be born."

So is my friend painting dragons because as an artist, she is always tapping into her creativity, is she reaching into her genetic past, going through a personal time of rising consciousness, or could it be because she feels a worldwide consciousness rising time coming?

The name of my dragon, Ephemeris, was given to it by its creator. The word means a table of coordinates of a celestial body at certain times-- answers from the heavens.

Answers? Well right now I don't have any except synchronicity plays out over a period of time. It is about awareness, looking for connections, and sometimes patience.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Death comes to the pasture

Part of ranch life is death-- a word many of us don't like to use or even read. It's part of all life but a working ranch sees it more regularly and, of necessity, chooses it as part of its operation. There is no alternative; as within any herd, one way or another, some have to go to make room for new life. Much as I can know that, I still never like it.

Sometimes I think about getting rid of the rams and bull or all the cows and ewes and not breeding anymore-- just let what we have live out their lives. But then it would deny those animals the full cycle of meaningful life. To me, an organic, growing herd is a place of warmth, training and beauty. When they have those babies, they are so happy and proud. By the time we have to turn those offspring into food for someone else, the mothers are either pregnant or already have had another baby-- with the cows, two more.

Which doesn't mean they don't mind the oldest one being killed. Herds and flocks connect with each other. There are twins. There are those who grew up together. They care and when the time comes we must thin the herds or the grass will disappear, it doesn't make it easier on anybody. The price of caring is facing loss.

Some would say the solution is become a vegan world starting with giving up the traditional turkey for the American Thanksgiving dinner. Except recently, I read they have done tests showing even plants react, with a fear like energy, when they are threatened. Is there anything people can eat that is not alive or wasn't alive? Life begets life and all life comes to an end whether it withers of old age or is taken in its prime. It is the one certainty in this existence that the physical does not last-- which is why many people seek to connect to the spiritual which might. Even with the cows, I wonder, do they come back to repeat this cycle?

Last month we had two calves born. Monday two steers met their end when the mobile slaughter unit arrived. It was not hard on them. One well-placed gunshot to each head and it was done. It was hard on me. It was hard on the herd. Even the sheep flock was upset by it and maybe more than the cows as it happened on their inner ground. An act of violence came to their protected space and even several hours later I could see them in their defensive circle looking toward where it had happened. Today they have forgotten-- or so it would seem.

My consolation comes from knowing the animals have a good life until they don't. Peace with the process comes from knowing we are providing a good food product for many families that is healthier than much of what they can buy-- grass fed beef, killed before it experiences fear or pain, no hormones added, no drugs for this or that, natural and healthy with the same Omega-3s as salmon without things like mercury that ocean fed fish often have or PCBs like farmed fish (which, of course, also have to be killed for us to eat them). Intellectually, I know it's a good thing, but it's a lot easier emotionally on the days when I can watch the herd graze peacefully, playing together, enjoying the many tons of hay at their feeders, than on the days where death comes calling.

So I think about it as I sit by a fire, feeding it logs that were once living trees and keeping my feet warm with Uggs, which I love as they are like moccasins with soft wool on the inside-- because they were made from a sheep's hide. Yesterday, as I put one of the logs on the fire, I saw a small bug crawl free. For a moment I wondered could I save it, but it jumped into the flames before I could reach for the fireplace tool. Nothing is without cost...

(Photo of the herd from last month before the leaves fell. Photo of me-- Monday.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Copying Beethoven

Copying Beethoven is a film I hadn't heard of, although I maybe should have. In skimming along the boxes in the video store, I came across the DVD and thought hey maybe. When I began watching it, I still wasn't sure about how I felt about it until I was caught up in the richness of the period, the way it brought to life Ludwig van Beethoven's world. I loved it even with its flaws-- and it has flaws.

The story is not historically accurate but to me that's not a flaw (although it would probably be for Beethoven purists). The things Beethoven (Ed Harris) said, his personality, the music that he created and why he did what he did, that seemed fairly accurate as best it's known it nearly two hundred years later. Because of Beethoven's deafness, he created extensive journals. When he had a conversation, he often asked the other person to write their side of it; so there are those journals to give insights into his creative genius.

There was no Anna Holz (Diane Kruger) as in one person but many of the things she did in helping Beethoven were true but combined from many people. Anna is a young woman who wants to create music but is the wrong sex for the era in which she was born. She receives a job to copy the music Beethoven wrote, leading to a personal relationship with the maestro but not a sexual one.

Some of the criticism of this film is about it not exactly following what happened with a beloved figure. People need to get over that. Movies tell a story, illustrate a point, bring to life a concept. This movie is about creativity. The story is a vehicle. In this case, the story was flawed some by its editing, which could have been fixed but for some reason was not. It didn't ruin it for me.

And I can't ignore Ed Harris's performance. Was he ever so beautiful? So manly? So intensely interesting? I guess he was because I always like him in anything, but he became this composer, this flawed man who saw music as a conversation with God. Putting a prosthetic nose on Harris to more capture Beethoven's nose, turned him leading man handsome. I kept trying to decide why it was him and yet wasn't and only found out later about the nose.

The story is about music but more than that about the soul, about the creative spirit. The things it says about creativity are true of any sort of creative work for the flow, the need for passion as a part of the whole. Paul Cezanne said it well-- "A work of art that did not begin in emotion is not art." Beethoven had no shortage of passion and neither does Copying Beethoven.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the other side

Where I live, with winter comes long nights, days where it's often too cold outside for more than what is necessary. Winter is the time for fires in the fireplace, lots of candles, but also for reading, thinking, planning-- okay holidays too but because of the nature of those holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Christmas, New Years, Epiphany, Imbolc, Kwanzaa), it is a prime time to contemplate spiritual truths.

If we look toward religions for our answer to the other side, to what life is all about, most of them will tell us. They teach what we must do to assure rewards or safety. They give rules intended to protect us from consequences. Different religions, however, do not agree on what any of this is.

My personal belief is that we can only know spiritual truth through our own experience. If we depend on others, it will be their truth and second-hand. Whether someone had a near death experience, whether they received a vision, whether they studied their entire life, they are in the flesh and telling only what they know. Why trust them for this when we can experience the supernatural for ourselves?

This is one of the tasks that I believe can beneficially be part of the winter season of our lives. Those of us fortunate enough to live to our last third or fourth of a full lifespan (depending on genetic inheritance) have the time and are more open to doing it than at any time before. Children are raised, often we are retired, some of the physical activities that may have encompassed earlier years are not so easy to do.

Spiritual exploration is one of the pluses to old age. We can do this many ways, but I don't believe substituting someone else's experiences for our own will make us strong, will empower us, will make us confident when it comes our time to face death. That comes from building up our own set of personal experiences with using the power and strength that comes through spiritual connection.

From the time I was a child, I have felt the other side and believed that to be god. This was not due to church as I was not raised in any religion. I just felt the presence-- not as in voices or messages but just felt it with me-- always with me.

When I was a small child, my parents were concerned because I had an imaginary playmate who I had named. Since I grew up in the country, on a hill at the end of a road, I had a lot of time by myself, sitting up in trees, exploring the nearby woods. It was a fairly solitary life without physical friends living nearby. Today, I don't remember that invisible playmate; so can't say what it was; but I don't doubt I saw something or someone and that eventually I learned I should not and quit seeing them.

We are a culture of pew sitting, listening to sermons, working in soup kitchens, going to potlucks as our interpretation of what spirituality means. The kind of power that came to an Apache youth who would run through the desert barefoot, with a mouthful of water that he was not to swallow, the kind of power that comes from sweat lodges, from fasting, from spirit quests, it isn't nearly as common in our culture. It could have been. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert to come into his power. Where did we lose the idea that we have to do anything ourselves to connect to the other side-- which by the way may well be inside us, but the inside us where we don't listen or trust.

Trying to understand what is, to incorporate what it was I felt with what it was I should do, I have done a lot of exploring religions. I have studied most of the major ones except Islam, some in more depth than others, and lived many years as a practicing Catholic and then Evangelical.

Fortunately for the woman I am now, I didn't have the view that something had to be true or not and have been open all my life to what might be. I am willing to discard a system of belief when I come to believe it does not fit. Frankly I consider that to be one of my best qualities-- being open and able to take on new beliefs when I see something doesn't work (okay--with a few exceptions).

When I was still in that evangelical church, which was becoming more and more fundamentalist, I began to question what was spiritual power and can we connect to the other side more directly-- perhaps as I did as a child and then lost. A free-wheeling quest did not fit with that particular church and was a factor in leaving it. For many churches, the pastor is the sole authority; and if we do not stay under him (in that church, no woman could be a pastor), we should go.

When I began my own questioning years, it was by first opening myself to fully feeling, something I had protectively closed down for years. That led to dreaming intense, very symbolic dreams where later the meaning of the images and events would become clear. When you dream a dream, and it takes on your own life meaning, it is a gift because it's not something you can make happen-- other than by being open and giving yourself time in the mornings to see if you received anything new.

I also did meditative regressions (retrieving past life memories) to see if I had past lives and to figure out what my soul history was, to understand something I was going through. Whether those stories were historic events or allegorical, my regressions were reinforced by later actual experiences.

What came along, with all of that, were times of synchronicity or serendipity-- people, events, books, music, or experiences coming when I most needed them. Just as we build trust in human relationship, through time with someone, through experiences, so too does the spiritual world work. Then, when we get doubts, which are human nature, we have those repeated experiences to hold onto, to remember. They build on each other. They are what push the doubts aside-- eventually to disappear.

All of that has let me know for myself that there is something on the other side with which we can connect. I have things I cannot possibly explain any other way. I do not try label what that is, nor do I believe there is only one way to find it, but I have confidence it is there for me to help, guide, direct, encourage, and sometimes turn me around.

As you read this, you cannot know any of what I just said is true. For that, you need to have your own experiences. If you already have, and they match mine, you and I will believe we are both on the right path, if maybe at different places along it. If you have not, you might think I am nuts-- at one time might have suggested, as a heretic, that burning at the stake was the right course of action. Fortunately we are past that time... for now anyway.

After mentioning Tarot in an earlier blog, I decided to select a card as an example of how synchronicity can work in Tarot. I shuffled, cut and told myself to have faith I would get one card to illustrate what I have been hoping to share in this essay. Except as I began to shuffle, I had one card select itself. By select, I mean it slid out of place. From experience with such things, I set it aside and chose another in the method I had planned.

When I turned them both over, I saw that the self-selected card was the Ace of Wands which means gift from the Universe. It means a divine gift bestowed through human hands and indicates a facet of the universe sympathetic to the human condition. It represents the beginning of everything, the spark of life, the gift of inspiration, of action, passion, courage. This illumination from the heavens is the start of all our ideas and projects. This card represents connection to the higher planes. Can you imagine a card more apropos?

And the card I drew, the one I planned-- I have gotten it several times recently; so it's for me, all right. The Queen of Wands holds her wand calmly in a protective fashion in front of the pillar. She is not only ready for action, but actively scanning the horizon.

It means the person's passion is contained but ready to burst out at any minute and seeking an outlet for their energy. Oh yeah, and watch out for ego getting the best of you and thinking you can do it all.

Since I have an ironic sense of humor, I see that as humorous-- like don't plan these things too much as somebody else is at work on what will happen. In my life, I set my plans in motion but am always open to the card that might be slipped into the mix. In this case, it illustrated my point.

I believe Tarot works because our soul is not our brain. Our higher soul is helping us as are spirit guides, and perhaps even those loved ones who have gone across already. Exercises, like Tarot, prayer, meditation, etc., help us see this isn't all there is. This is not a biological world alone.

We, even without a guru, psychic or clergyman, can connect with the other side-- when we put in the time and are not afraid of what we might find. There is nothing wrong with having earthly teachers and mentors. They can help in warning us of pitfalls, in explaining what they have experienced; but in terms of building confidence on what is over there, they are no substitute for our own experiences.

I don't know what happens to us after death. It is not because I haven't put in the time to try and figure it out, but I simply haven't been able to know it. I have some theories. What I do know is it's not just us in this.

Perhaps we get information when we need it. Recently, with the planets (Mars in particular) combining to put out so much antagonistic stress, it's the daily help I have needed most anyway, boy do I!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Community-- on this side and that

The beliefs of what comes after death run the gamut from nothing, to being reborn, to a heavenly throne or fiery hell, to lavish rewards of virgins or crowns, to being a god on your own planet, and on and on. Some fear dying. Some can hardly wait to get to the other side. Some know exactly what will happen. Some, even as they reach old age, don't want to think about it.

There are those who say it does not matter what we believe-- what is is. And that could well be true. On the other hand, what we expect might impact what we find there.

There is a good film starring Robin Williams on this subject. If you have not seen it and like exploring questions of what life after death might be like, it's called What Dreams May Come. It takes a rather New Age perspective that, as we often do here, we create our heaven or hell-- except the potential is much greater there as it's all energy without the flesh as a limitation. It also showed who helped William's character accept his own sudden death-- someone from the other side.

This is not a review of that film nor about what I personally believe is on the other side, but rather about that transitioning. I want to share a few stories from my family. Most families have them.

First one involves my grandmother's stepbrother. In the flu pandemic of 1918, as a strong young man (who you'd think would be the least likely to die, but statistically in that flu was in the group most likely), he died. Through his illness, Grandma was at his bedside, caring for him, as well as her three little daughters who also had that flu.

As he lay dying, he told her all of the ones he could see from their family. Fanny, can't you see them? He was seeing a community who had come for him and he named who was there.

When my mother died, she was at the other end of life-- 85 and living in a mobile home on this farm. She just had the flu or so we thought. That morning she wasn't up and about. My husband broke open her door and found she had died in her sleep. When I went in, I didn't look at Mom's face. I knew her personality, didn't feel she would like me to see her that way, plus didn't want it to be my last memory of her; but I looked at her body which was in the bed, covered with the blankets except her hand. Her hand was stretched upward. I have always wondered but will never know. Was she reaching out for my father, for her sister who had already died, perhaps her own mother and father? Had they come for her?

Finally there is a dream that my husband had a couple of years ago. He dreamed he was coming, in the spirit, to help our daughter cross over. She was an old woman lying in a bed in a house he said he had never seen before. He said I had already come to be there and told him when he arrived-- don't say anything. She knows we are here. He said he looked at the side of her bed and at first thought it was her daughter sitting there, then realized it was her granddaughter and the older woman with her was her daughter.

That dream was a beautiful example of the community that we benefit from having, on both sides, to make our own transition from this life to whatever awaits. Not everyone has children but everyone can have life-long friends, who are committed to being there for each other. If we keep ourselves open to the spiritual side, to the guides or angels who are helping us in this life, if we have developed caring relationships, someone will be on the other side also to help us cross over-- as I believe we do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Denying old age its natural role

When I began this blog, I expected to write more about aging than I have-- 8 posts on it as compared to 82 on politics. I think that's happened partly because even though I am aging myself (turned 64 in early October), I have often not been quite sure what I wanted to say about the whole experience.

I see that old age, as a stage of life, has a purpose. Denying we are old doesn't make being old go away. It behooves us to think what the purpose for this time of life might be. When we try to deny being old, think on it as a failure of the body, a thing to hide, a thing to not recognize in ourselves or others, we miss out on a crucial piece of living a whole life.

What living a wholly experienced lifetime means won't be the same for each of us which is one of the wonderful things about life-- that we are individuals and our needs don't fit into cookie cutter shapes. Yes, by my time in life, the years ahead will are far less than those behind and some opportunities are in my past, but I also recognize there are some now that weren't possible earlier.

Like a lot of people in their 60s or even younger, I sometimes wrestle with the changes. Although I now take statins, physically I haven't yet noticed big differences in strength or health that I can correlate simply to age; but probably that is because I am not required to labor hard all day.

The changes I do see are reminders of what is happening and not denying them is part of what I think is needed for old age. I have heard elders saying that they feel like 30. Maybe they do, but they are not. What is it about these elder, senior, crone, geezer years that is unique, that can make them worthwhile? Why do people want to deny them?

I wonder if the huge emphasis in our current culture on trying to look younger is partly attempting to deny the process we are going through because it leads to death. When we look into a mirror and see lines, sags or gray hair, does it remind us our time on earth has a limit? Reminds us the body has a life span and that makes us afraid? Do we want to erase those signs or not see them in others because they are ugly or is it because they are the symbols that life does not last forever? They are the body's way of saying-- make the most of this time as it has a span.

Nature is full of change as the seasons illustrate. Most of those cycles keep going round and round without anything permanent changing. A full moon is a full moon and was the same when I was a toddler as now when I am 64. That full moon shines down on a woman, however, who is not. And I struggle with that sometimes. Sometimes I glory in it.

We can use all those magic creams, take the right vitamins, exercise up the wahzoo, but our organs, skin and joints are still our biological age-- minus how hard we worked them leaving the risk of joint replacements if we have overdone it.

What I work on is finding the balance between aging gracefully and giving up. Some do give up. They say okay I ate right all of my life or exercised. I smiled when I didn't want to smile, went to a beauty salon when I wanted to stay home, went out jogging when my knees hurt, worked at a job I detested, and now it's time to forget all that and let it all hang out-- which it is all too willing to do.

Old age has had some surprises for me. When I was younger, I would have assumed that come 64, my own years of caring about being a sexy woman would have been long behind me (and it might be for some women but it's not for me). I figured it would be time to sit with grandkids on my lap and enjoy the fruits of those earlier years. It was the example I had seen in the elder women in my family, and they didn't seem unhappy about it. Back then it was okay to be old.

Today, our culture fights that and seems to have made it a challenge to deny all visual signs of aging as though they have let down everyone around them. There are the ads for hair dye, products to keep the skin young forever, vitamins to roll back the clock, other products to lose that weight, and even sexual performance products (which lately seem to me to show older men with younger women). Potions and lotions promise to stop all wrinkling and sagging-- and if they don't work, surgery comes next. Take this vitamin. No, take that one. You can be young forever-- and if you don't, we don't want to look at you. They praise you if you look younger or for running a marathon or skydiving at 84 as though it reassures them about something. What could that be? I think it's the fear of their own vulnerability. We all age. Whether we are now 40 or just starting out as a baby, the road is ahead and maybe a lot are afraid to see it.

As it stands, there is no fountain of youth; and for the world, it's a darned good thing. None of those things from surgery to cosmetics can stop aging. Face lifts don't fool the body or other people. Worse in terms of looking younger, something about face lifts simply doesn't work. Perhaps it is removing all of the visual signs of a lifetime.

Denying aging, or trying to, denies us the opportunity to use these last years wisely. By the time we are old, we should (if we ever will) truly know ourselves. We finally should be to the place where, if we have not done it earlier, we stop denying who we are just to get along. The ideal as an elder is to live openly, honestly, and hopefully with wisdom gained through years of experiences. More important than whether we try to fool others is that we not fool ourselves with who we are as a person.

I believe one of the important tasks of old age is to fully develop our spiritual life-- if we haven't done it before. These are the years of preparing to move from the physical to the spiritual realm. For me that doesn't mean a religion but if it does, well do what works.

In my experience, spiritual depth comes through solitary time with Spirit. Community is good but not if it is filled with activities that deny going within ourselves, that denies us a personal connection with the other side-- which I believe can happen. That kind of work takes time. Old age helps us slow down to give us that time-- if we take it.

Old age is not sitting and waiting for death to take us. It's living fully but living where we are, not denying our own reality. It can be doing what we have yet not finished, exploring the things we didn't do earlier but wished we had; but the main task of old age-- in my opinion, is to find peace spiritually with what happens to us when our body wears out as it is going to do sooner than later for elders. Then when we meet death, we won't be afraid of what is coming.

These photos are recent and all me, even though with the lighting changes, some seem like they should be my grandmother. I look like them all. I have noticed this also in my older friends.When we get to a certain age, we can look so different depending on so many things.

Most were taken this last week-end but a few are from last month. They are a mix of how I see and feel about the physical me right now (and how you would see me if we met) from soft, protected lighting to harsh sunlight or flash. Some are the kind I'd normally discard but they seemed apropos for this topic because put together they are what 64 looks like. It's not ancient but it's not young either.

For now, sometimes I can still mostly pull it together for fun or when I need to do so. When I do, I think of that song by the Eagles-- Take it to the Limit One More Time. I can suck it in, put on the heels (chosen for comfort but then I stopped wearing uncomfortable shoes many years ago), and with the right lighting my hair doesn't look silver in front and I look much as I had for a lot of years. I can do it one more time, but not forever nor can I do it all the time. I find myself wanting to do it less and less.

The photo on the top was taken along the creek here in August. It's the one I call a goddess picture because of how the water formed that perfect circle around the figure with the staff. It was an effect I had not realized was happening at the time. It's a good reminder to me, to all of us women of a certain age-- goddesses are not girls!

(All photos can be enlarged but you do so at your own risk! )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest we forget

many were boys
when they went off to war
some to never return
now it seems strange to come here
to this place of memorial
and realize
it will be old women
who might sit
remembering someone
perhaps still shedding a tear
old women with gray hair
like me
(These photos are from the 11th, the actual Veterans Day, a date to remember Veterans, chosen because it was Armistice Day for World War I. Sunday I was at Newport and like to come to this place, to remember for a moment the war that my generation fought, a war that many didn't like, some blamed the soldiers who mostly didn't want to go either but did their duty.

We should honor the soldiers and always remember freedom didn't come without cost nor can it be held lightly because there is always someone willing to take it away. I do not believe no war is necessary. I do believe we should never fight one that isn't because the cost is steep for those who are asked to give it all-- both for those who die and those who will forever mourn their loss.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Prophet of Climate Change


In a comment on the last piece regarding corporate agriculture, Robin Andrea from Dharma Bums mentioned an article online from Rolling Stone magazine for which I then went looking. Reading this article, The Prophet of Climate Change, is well worth anyone's time. It explains who James Lovelock is and why we should take seriously what he is saying.

We grew up, at least those of us living in the United States today, in pretty much of a golden era. So many wonderful things came along in terms of vaccinations, antibiotics, improved food production. Plague no longer presented the danger it once had. Famines happened elsewhere but not to us. Do you realize how rare it has been in the history of mankind to not have to worry about so many of the basic necessities we today take for granted. It may have been so good that we became lazy and complacent. Many of us forgot basic skills, our intuition, our ability to be responsible for ourselves.

The Rush Limbaughs say earth will always be here. Too true but what about us? Our concern is human. Are we, as individuals, prepared for what might be coming? Let's quit the blame game and start thinking what can we ourselves do to sustain civilization-- at least as much of it as possible.

Climate changes are happening. In November, amazingly, this rose is still blooming in my garden. What the heck is that all about? I have only lived here 30 years, which isn't much time for making scientific observations for what is normal, but never have I seen my roses blooming this late in these hills. Freezes should have long ago turned them black. The springs on the hill produce less water than ever before, the creek is lower. Some tree types are dying. Bears are coming lower than ever for food.

Are these things we can see happening going to be permanent? What has caused them? People can argue over all of that, but all you have to do is look at geologic and physical history, to know change has happened regularly on this planet some call Gaia. Why has mankind assumed it has stopped? In the future, some heavily populated areas might become inhabitable. Others would then be overrun with refugees. Do we know for sure which would be which?

I believe in what Lovelock is saying. As best we can tell, governments aren't doing anything to prepare. Our leaders around the world might know where they will go, but have they done anything for the rest of us? You know the answer. It costs too much money-- just as solid cockpit doors did before 9/11...

The article is both science and commonsense. I don't think it's panic talk but a solid look at what might well be coming and why. Here is a smidgen:

"...a few years ago, alarmed by rapidly melting ice in the Arctic and other climate-related changes, Lovelock became convinced that Gaia's autopilot system -- the giant, inexpressibly subtle network of positive and negative feedbacks that keeps the Earth's climate in balance -- is seriously out of whack, derailed by pollution and deforestation. Lovelock believes the planet itself will eventually recover its equilibrium, even if it takes millions of years. What's at stake, he says, is civilization.
"'You could quite seriously look at climate change as a response of the system intended to get rid of an irritating species: us humans,' Lovelock tells me in the small office he has created in his cottage. 'Or at least cut them back to size.'"

1984 is coming sooner than we think

and don't forget this--

Friday, November 09, 2007

Corporate Agriculture


People who think the government should regulate nothing will probably see corporate agriculture as no concern of theirs at all. Corporations do things cheaper and better. They always take the high road. Why should the consumer be concerned about monopolies in the production of food? Bottom-line is always what is cheapest... See, I do know the arguments.

So why should anyone care about having laws that limit corporate farming? Do most of us care from where our food comes? I guess if you trust corporations, you will see the following statistics as encouraging
.
Four corporations control 82% of the nation's beef cattle market
Five major packers control 55% of the hog industry
Small farms comprising 94% of all U.S. farms receive only 41% of all farm income
There are 300,000 fewer farmers than there were 20 years ago

Is this a problem? We see the same increasing concentration of money in a few hands throughout this country and some see that as good. Agriculturally are we returning to a time of sharecroppers and landowners? Should it matter? Can we change it if it does?

In the United States Midwest, farmers saw this as being a problem and did something about it. They created anti-corporate farming laws. The following site, from Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, gives the general rules in each of those states--Anti Corporate Farming Laws in Heartland.

I can just see some of my reader's ears perk up... environmental was in that... Must be communist. Maybe American Civil Liberties bunch. Gonna ignore everything they say. Well, I learned some states had such laws from a big rancher, who thought they were a good idea. The law was seen as a way to keep families running those ranches. The goal was to keep owners living on their own land. It also helps to keep agricultural land prices more oriented toward the actual productive ability of the land.

High land prices might sound fine to those who think every rancher or farmer secretly wants to retire to Hawaii and sip coconut juice, but in reality many of them want to stay working the land. They want their children to someday take on the mantle of hard work and long hours but also the feeling in pride as they dismount from their tractor or horse to step onto their own ground, to be people who know they produce a product that feeds not only this nation but is one of its biggest exports to the rest of the world.

We better think long and hard if it's really okay to find all of our food production in the hands of a few corporate bosses. No doubt, some things big companies can do better and more economically, but it also puts power into the hands of a very few people and leaves everyone else having to trust that the prices will remain affordable, the product healthy, and available. Where it comes to food, that all should be of more concern than when it's DVDs.

At one time, people grew a lot of their own food. They knew the family who raised pigs and when they would be butchering. Today most people are dependent on supermarkets for food, and they have no idea from where it comes. Do the hormones that are used in our meat matter to our health? Grain-fed tastes better and is tenderer, does it matter that grass-fed has the same Omega-3s as salmon? Who needs that anyway? And on the hormones, they withdraw them some time ahead of butchering; so maybe it's okay... Who exactly is it who is checking to be sure?

The questions go on with often no answers we can trust because we have removed ourselves from the food chain other than to turn over dollars to a store. It's as though food has become something we don't have to think about, not who produces it, not its safety, nor even whether it'll always be there.

The trend among Republicans is to see all government regulation as bad. Bush has appointed heads of regulatory agencies who often were (and will be again) part of the very corporations who would be impacted by any safety regulations. Is it any surprise that there are less and less people working in those agencies? That they fight against anything but very limited oversight of the products they are supposed to oversee?

So when corporations raise your food and decide how or if it's inspected, what is your guarantee anything is safe?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The leader of the pack

It would be nice to be writing a post here about what a terrific candidate for president ___ ____ is. Wow, I really like them and think they have the solutions to the problems of the country. Yep, gonna turn things around and it's why I am so excited that they will be our next president. Hasn't happened and rarely has in all my many years of voting for president. It always comes down to lesser of evils and this looks like a year that won't be an exception unless something comes along to surprise me.

I ask myself the same question every four years-- Why is there rarely even one that I can feel good about? I choose none of the above-- let's start over. They never give us that option.

And even worse, the likelihood is, come November 2008, there will be two to choose from who I disliked the most from either pack. Leader of the pack does not mean the best person where it comes to politics. It's not the strongest or the most beautiful or the best orator. There is some weird chemistry that takes place when people start choosing presidential candidates. Odd things happen.

When Steven Colbert was running a satiric campaign for president in South Carolina, who most wanted him out of the race? It was Obama supporters. Why? Because of the voter who will write in Bambi and those are the ones most likely to vote for Obama? That was not a good piece of publicity for the Obama camp.

There are two main questions to answer, as I see it, when choosing a president. The first involves issues-- the second character.

If the best person in the world believes in political options that are generally the opposite of my beliefs, I will not support them. Being good in that case would have some reassurance to me, if they won, but I'll still be unhappy as good means they will be better at going the opposite direction of where I'd like to go.

To start, I look at the issues that matter most to me. This year that would be foreign policy. That's not my usual main concern, but the world right now has so many hot spots, not to mention the issue of does the United States want to be the self-appointed policeman of the world? Can it even? Suddenly that's an issue where it never would have been before politicians started milking the 9/11 cow. Where it comes to war, I do not have grandchildren yet old enough to be sent off to fight, but I can easily imagine how I'd feel if I did. Wars should only be fought in extreme necessity and Republicans don't seem to get that.

Second big issue is domestic but it's another that who would have guessed a few years back. Who will best assure our Constitutional rights as citizens? Who wants an imperial, secretive presidency? Who is trying to undo democracy because citizens don't vote right? There are several running, in both parties, who would not mind keeping that kind of power.

Giuliani is the worst of the bunch on the Republican side (and that's saying a lot) because he is totally opposite my view on those two issues-- and even on social ones, he might say he believes in gay rights or a woman's right to choose, but he would appoint more judges like Scalia and Thomas, who will make sure there are no laws giving those rights.

Giuliani is a Bush wantabe on every level; but if anything more scary when we get to the second potential deal breaker-- character. It's not because he likes to dress up as a woman or has had several wives and affairs. Those issues aren't big deals to me, but his general character, his choice of who he thinks has it, his belief that Bush has done a heck of a job, his power grab attempts in the past, no way would I vote for Giuliani, no matter who ran opposite him.

For me, character does come after issues but it is important. I would like to have someone in the presidency who can be wrong but doesn't lie. I would like them to be the kind of person who thinks through their position and has consistency. As I said before on an earlier post on this topic I want them to be hard working, competent, honest, and capable. Character counts in picking friends, a mate or a leader.

Our nation will have accountability in terms of karma if we only care about the candidate who will most profit us. The Nazis didn't come into power promising to kill all imperfect human beings. It was on promising economic power. I have learned to watch out for those who promise too much and look for what is going on behind the scenes. When we pick a candidate who is dishonest and cheats those around him, who lies and feels it's justified by his higher calling, we get what we deserve-- especially if we did it for our own perceived gain.

Worse we have a bunch now who play the religion card and want you to not look beyond their religious words. Huckabee comes to mind as an example of this with his good old boy manner, his piety, but from what I have read, his record in Arkansas leaves a lot of questions about his personal ethics or his judgment in who he trusts. People need to check, as the media, who tend to overlook what people do when someone seems nice, never will anymore than they did with Bush.

So on a basis of character and issues, who would be my candidate? I guess it has to be Obama of the ones most likely to win (assuming he is tough enough to do the job which is debatable still). Am I thrilled with him? No way but what are my choices?

Right now in the Democratic party, Hillary is ahead of the pack only because there are so many from which to choose for the anybody-but-Hillary voters. If the candidates with no chance would drop out, leaving one or at the most two opponents, she'd be facing a tougher race. They aren't dropping out because, as Richardson proved at the last debate, they know they are place holding and hope to be rewarded by a political position in her administration. They are pandering (which these days could be a synonym for politicking). I see Wesley Clark do it on any panel he's on and have read he's hoping for Vice President. Ugh!

So right now, it appears it'll be Hillary and Rudy next year and I am not happy. Neither will promise to get us out of Iraq, but at least Hillary doesn't tell the president that she prays every day that he will bomb Iran (as it is said Giuliani did). One does not claim they deserve the presidency because they will brutally cut a swathe across the Middle East-- not sure with what troops but then the daddy party doesn't care what troops. They just like the big talk.

And Hillary, well supposedly she's being picked on by the boys. She publicly says it's not her gender but lets her surrogates go out and claim just that-- or as Bill did, try to claim it's swift boating when someone reminds people she doesn't have firm positions on a lot of issues. Hillary wants it both ways, to run as the first woman but as soon as she is called to account for her positions, it's because they are picking on her as a woman. The gender card is being played if not by her, then her surrogates.

Let's be honest, as a second time senator, with no real record in leadership, Hillary is in the running because she is a woman and winning for now because of to whom she has hooked her star-- a star she is still riding. Her numbers went up as soon as the big dog got more involved. The problem is, for those who are supporting her as a way to get him back, who knows what she'll do if she holds the office of president. She could dump him. The character issue is a big concern for me where it comes to Hillary. She's doing what she has to do to win. What will she do once in there?

If nothing else, we should have learned with Bush that the power of the presidency isn't easily taken back. Something is moving in our country to get more and more of an imperial presidency. We need to be very cautious in our choices-- maybe more than ever before in our history-- except what are our choices? Double ugh

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

freedom of speech referral

Please read Ronni Bennett's blog for today as she writes about a subject we all need to consider carefully regarding freedom of speech... or not-- Thought Crime Bill Passes House. She is writing about this-- HR 1955.

We are in a time where we need to think carefully about where we are going in the supposed name of safety. Read it and think. To me, it's a further example of how our Congress is in lockstep with the group who want to silence any dissent. This bill goes to the Senate next.

Where we are heading and is it where we want to see this country go all in the supposed name of taking away some other guy's right to speak his mind? Are the majority of Americans really this afraid? Bin Laden has achieved far more than he could have ever hoped through fear, not his 20 suicide terrorists. We have been doing it to ourselves or someone in our country has used it as a tool to do it to us. What is at the end of this road?

Yes, it sounds like the bill is all about violence, which is why it passed so overwhelmingly, but when it says ideological violence what does that actually mean? If this sounds alarmist, make sure you have thought through who will be in charge of determining what is meant by ideological violence.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Fountain

Whether my introspective phase recently has been because of the coming winter season-- the illusion of dying with rebirth to follow in the spring-- or whether it's just something I go through now and again, I can't say. Recently I have done a lot of thinking of what life is all about, whether I have lived before and will live again, what that would mean if it's so, what is real, what should be my priorities, death, birth, and I could go on but you get the idea. Mostly I do this for awhile and then decide that I will go crazy if I continue and turn my thoughts back to what to fix for dinner and should I buy some bulbs for the garden.

From my past experience with 'meaning of life' questions, I usually come around to feeling we have to do the best we can with what we have been given (which doesn't really say much, does it). I sometimes wonder if enough people even think about life purposes. Are most people, including me sometimes, so distracted by the mundane, by entertainment, by our own problems, that we don't think about whether we are fulfilling our own life purpose. Do we lose the big questions in the petty ones?

So when I'm in a questioning mood and have no answers, I look for spiritual films to watch-- things that will add to my confusion... Well, not that but definitely films that will expand my thinking. After all, if I wasn't already questioning life's mysteries, why would I invite that? I tend to collect movies for such times. The Fountain got added to that shelf this week-end.

I didn't go into the video store intending to buy The Fountain, which was directed and written by Darren Aronofsky. I was looking through a section of previous viewed DVDs on sale. Actually I had some reservations about it given most of the reviews I had read were negative claiming it was confusing or pointless. However, where it comes to spiritual films, I don't let reviews make up my mind given what seems to make sense in a spiritual way often is the opposite of what the world sees as making sense.

The Fountain has the advantage of two very interesting stars, Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. The story is about reincarnation, the meaning of death, and relationships between people that extend through one lifetime to another with perhaps the same lessons to learn in each. It was also confusing. You have to work to keep up with what is going on which is one of the problems with movies that pass through several different stories and try to keep the viewer connecting the dots. One story was current; one in the 16th century and one supposedly in the 26th century. You could take the stories, except the one in this lifetime, as being dreams, allegories or real events.

The movie is not filled with action and it does take concentrating. It is not a love story even though the main characters are involved in a tragic love. Personally, I didn't follow that supposed future life one at all and it would have made more sense to me if it had been the man in the spirit world, his soul, his in-between-lifetimes being, and not some supposed future life. On that level, it all would have made total sense (to me). I didn't see the value of it being future life, but if it was soul, the man's higher self, then it connected those dots.

So taking it as I preferred to interpret it (which since it was a bit confusing was easy to do), the man was a doctor trying to find a cure for cancer in time to save his wife who was dying from a brain tumor. The cure supposedly lay in material from a Central American tree. His wife was writing a book that told their story in the Spain of the 16th Century where the Inquisition was threatening Queen Isabella (her) as she sent off the conquistador, who loved her (him) to find the tree of life from the Bible where God hid it in Central America, in the land of the Mayans.

For someone who follows a lot of spiritual traditions, none of what I just wrote seems is as far fetched as it might sound. Humans always try to make sense of death. There is a seemingly universal desire to find meaning to life... and hence I am back to where I started this blog-- with, as I said, no answers. Other than I believe it's good to think on such things-- sometimes.

I can't say I'd recommend The Fountain or not recommend it. It's not a film for everyone. If you are the sort who likes to ponder the mysteries of life, enjoys beautiful imagery, and is content to watch films where not all solutions are neatly tied up by the ending credits, then I think with a fire in the fireplace and a bowl of popcorn, you might enjoy it as I did.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Camp Sherman

From the time I was a young adult, until now as an old woman, always the Metolius River has been a constant in my life. Not a place I physically visit all the time but one that is in my heart.

It might be a vortex, not that anyone local would probably think to call it that. If vortex means place where good energy joins, it is definitely one. I have gone there with sorrow, with joy, with needing some life solutions, and always it has enhanced my life and helped me.

The first time I walked along its banks, you could walk right down to its headwaters, kneel on the rocks and scoop up some of the water to drink. The headwaters, about a mile from where these photos were taken, are a spring that bubbles up out of the ground already a river.

Scientists have debated from where all that water comes. This is a volcanic region. When you look at the skyline of the Cascades, you see many snow covered peaks, they and many lesser ones are volcanoes with the potential for erupting again in the case of four of them (Mount Hood, Crater Lake, Newberry, and South Sister). Everywhere you see reminders of earlier eruptions of even the lesser volcanoes, like Black Butte, which is near the Metolius. This is an arid land but a place of a few big rivers and many lakes-- all impacted by its history.

Some say the water that forms the Metolius percolates through lava from Black Butte. Others have suggested Crater Lake. I favor my own theory that it comes from Middle Earth because it is a place of magic.

I have ridden horses along its banks (before the nearby stable closed down), camped in tents and trailers, stayed in cabins, hiked, waded (for about a minute as that is really cold water), taken photographs, watched the salmon come up to lay their eggs, sketched, and enjoyed its beauty from snow to wildflower seasons. It has seen my own life change from the season of carrying my babies here, watching my children splash in the water, seeing them turn into adults, and now knowing my grandchildren likewise can enjoy its special gifts.

Once in awhile I wish I could own one of the cabins that are in a few places along its length, under the tall pines, peaceful with the constant sound of a river out your window. Most are on forest service land; so they aren't easy to come by. Families generally pass them down through their families or friends as who would want to give one up?

Here are some fall photos from there on October 22nd with a water ouzel as the only resident visible that morning. Summer finds a lot of people on the Metolius, camping, fishing, hiking, but winter is quiet.

This time, I particular loved seeing the tamaracks with their golden color. We don't have them in western Oregon and they are so pretty not to mention unique as the only conifer that drops its needles in the fall.

(Regarding land use, one of the concerns has been development of a large resort [or two] on what has been timberland a few miles from here. It would not be on the banks of the Metolius, but one would have to be foolish to not realize thousands of homes and a huge golf course would not impact its usage. Some would say that would be good. I think it's very special as it is and where not everyone can live nearby or on its banks, all can visit-- if they choose to do so, and enjoy its magic for a time-- which is the best way to enjoy magic anyway. Sometimes in trying to possess something, we destroy it.)

If you are feeling harried and hassled by the pressures of life, take a moment with these photos. Click on them, as I believe even through a photo, you can get a sense of the peace the Metolius gifts to those who spend time along its banks.