Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Sunday, February 02, 2014


Whether Imbolc was February 1 or 2 (calendars differ on it), it is now and an encouragement to us all that spring is here. The roses were purchased yesterday to do a still life for the short story that will be in an anthology come March. They are though symbolic of the joy of spring. Today we'll have a fire in the fireplace as some consider fire to be part of Imbolc (candles work too).

The Celts who chose this day were agrarian people. All Celtic celebrations are cyclical and seasonally oriented. This one means ewe's milk for obvious reasons. The first ewes have lambed but we always have a few that lamb early with the majority to come a week or even two later. We are due for another real cold snap later this week with temps down to 17°. But we should have sunshine with it. We need more rain though-- although nothing like California.

Driving north through that state, taking Highway 99 this time, which had us closer to the cities and homes, I was struck by the unhealthy lifestyle we have as a people. It's no wonder the bees are dying when you go past the hives in boxes waiting for almond trees to bloom. They are imprisoned to make them serve and it's unnatural to be gathering only one kind or live where so many pesticides and herbicides are in the air that it's not clear and frankly often stinks. Then there are all the feedlots and dairies where again we, as a people, treat other living beings as though they were machines. If we aren't a healthy people, can we not see the why of it? 

All of that agriculture is at risk anyway with the terrible drought where evidently some towns will not even have drinking water soon. Our culture is for the most part unconnected to nature and the earth. We have thought we could control it all and again it looks likely that we will put a pipeline right through our heartland with one purpose-- to make money for the shale oil producers in Canada and our refineries in Texas. I read also they want to increase the amount of oil we can export and fracking does that. Are we crazy or so out of touch with reality that all we can see is us as the ultimate powers of the earth.

Oh I know some see it being a religion that has the power to manipulate a god into protecting them-- and yes it is manipulation to use rituals or prayer and that is the real truth behind most religions. Do they though have power over the drought? Oh wait, they do because again through manipulation of political goals, some say the drought is punishment for displeasing God-- their concept of a god anyway.

In my opinion, the power is not money. It's not some religion. It's nature and we don't mostly have a fricking idea what balance might be overreached and consequence then set in motion. Driving through California was a real reminder of all that.

The other frustration I felt was with this business of the wealthy who have taken so much out of this system (85 individuals with as much wealth as one half the world's population-- and that's not all the wealthy, just the 85 richest). What does that leave for the rest-- even in a rich country like ours?   Well, along the freeways are a lot of shacks (and there is no better word for those buildings) where families live, often with more little sheds to raise a few animals for food. In the RV parks were some who live that way all the time. Not a bad life in a way but it's mostly those who can't afford other choices and have to go from job to job.

I woke up this morning thinking especially of how competitive our country has become. It's not even competitive to make a fortune but just to make a living. It's kind of a dog eat dog world with people struggling at all levels to live a decent life. It was not something I remember from being a child even though my father was out of work one year, never was a high income earner with a stay at home mom. It just feels different now for how I see families that would have been like mine. They are struggling to keep food on the table with a certain part of the country having riches beyond their needs. Is it enough money? It never is.

In the United States, the wealthy do not have the power to have done this. They have one vote. Yes, they manipulate bills and they get bigger cuts of the pie by their buying of Congress, but Americans can vote to change it. Why don't they? I think based on ignorance of what is going on and a ridiculously violent and often vile form of entertainment. People using people and tragic ends to the stories and that's what many want. Or to what they have become addicted. I don't know.

When I wrote When Fates Conspire based on a powerful dream about the meaning to life. it was an encouraging dream despite tragedies in it. I'd like to believe there is some form to what seems chaos as the dream told me. I don't know though. It was a depressing drive home-- and that didn't count the traffic into the picture...

So we will have a fire in the fireplace and hope that we, as a people wake up. It's nice to think there is some kind of plan in place. In case there isn't, let's make one ourselves. We can change it. It's not yet too late. Start with putting pressure to block that pipeline. Let those oil moguls figure out another route to ship off oil that is only to line their  own pockets. Americans won't even be using the oil. They will just be used!


Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Traveling through California's bread basket valley is an eye opener. As bad as agriculture, the dangerous petroleum drilling and and the disfunctional pipeline disribution of oil is, we need not despair. It is important to believe in ourselves and our ability to further change in a wise direction. Without this confidence, we cannot succeed. Yet, the propaganda spin that we should be the greatest nation is not realistic. Possibly will backfire! Very bad is the simplistic idea we are competing to be the greatest world power. Plus the notion of the propagandists that we are so naieve that we need some grandiose goal to motivate the population..is an insult to my intelligence.

Rubye Jack said...

I remember driving up southern California's 99 from Bakersfield. It's so dark and sooty and stinky that it's like some sort of post war tragedy. Yelp, dog eat dog. It's sad.
Meanwhile, those roses are absolutely gorgeous.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Today is a truly BEAUTIFUL day here in L.A.The SKY is actually blue and there are a few lovely clouds here and there.....BUT....most of the time I look out my windows across the city at the hills way on the other side, and I see tan/brown/black something, hanging in the air.....This is what we are breathing most of the time....IT IS SCARY!! And having little to no rain is scary, too. And soon, they are saying, possibly no drinking water. Luckily, I can afford to buy my drinking water----I haven't had a glass of water fro the tap here for at least 12 to 15 years.....It tastes bad and it smells bad, too.
What have we done to our world? What are we continuing to do to our country?
Those 85 people you spoke of could solve a lot of our problems---especially for the people who are living in shanty's. The GREED Factor is beyond understanding. It is NEVER enough for these 85 + people. Never. And that scares the hell out of me.

Ingineer66 said...

Diane, were you walking during this journey or were you in a vehicle with an internal combustion engine running on burning hydrocarbons?

Rubye,much of that smog in the Central Valley is blowing in from the San Francisco Bay Area. That is why San Franciscans for years didn't think there was a smog problem in California. Because it blew away from them.

Old lady, we need about 10 million people to move out of California, but so far the only volunteers have been a few hundred thousand of the richest and brightest entrepreneurs.

Rain Trueax said...

most of the bad air I smelled, ingineer, came out of agricultural smells like pesticides. Have you been down to that region around Bakersfield and north? When we drove down the air was filled with smog and when we came back nothing had changed. We got clear air when we went beyond Tehachapi or the Siskiyous. To not be sensitive to those chemicals either means you are in them all the time and they are familiar-- or your sniffer isn't so good ;)

Ingineer66 said...

The chemical smell is different than the smog. I agree the place is nasty smelling and looking most of the time.