The Story Tree

A Worthy Theory of Change:

There is an old pain at least as old as the trees. A pain so deep it is now felt by the whole of earth, the wounds of which ooze with the stench and sheen of pollution. No one remembers, any longer, exactly how it happened, but a panic gripped the people and laid bare a fear of utter worthlessness. To numb the fear, some people began to spin grand stories. Stories that they were worth more than everything and everyone else on the whole earth. 

To keep the story of supremacy alive they had to persuade others to tell it too. When that didn’t work, they used physical and psychological force. They rewarded people who believed the story, and believers lived quite comfortably. But the pain fed on itself and grew and grew. All kinds of short-term fixes were applied to stop the pain, but manufacturing bandaids led to pollution. The pollution spread all the way to the North and South Poles.

There, under the elements, the story began to show cracks. In the cracks, earth pushed through. First, a green sprout. A child saw the beauty of the sprout and gave it water. The plant became a tree, the child became a grown-up, and they grew into friends. They cared for one another. The human picked the tree’s fruit every year so the weight didn’t break its branches, and the fruit fed the human and many others. The human being grew to understand their worth to the tree and the tree’s worth to them. The tree gave the human paper and together they wrote a new story. Person by person, began to heal the pain, stop the pollution and re-story their worth to the earth.

Reading Fire

Sand-brown grass.

Twigs that snap.

Crunchy leaves.

Dry. Desiccated. Hot.

Smokey the Bear teaches 5 year olds to read the signs of flammable.

Read nature, only you can prevent forest fires.

Post-Totality Tuesday

“Winter is coming!” cries a young boy as the moon slowly eclipses the sun. A warm summer morning in central Oregon turns to downright chilly as dusk sweeps across the land. I watch as a line of fire ants scurry onward seemingly unperturbed. At 10:18 AM totality is marked by a small group of humans shouting: “Stars! I see Venus! I see Sirius!” Coyotes in the canyon below join in with howls. For a full minute,  the plasma of the sun radiates in an uneven diamond shape around the black disc of the moon. I choke up with tears, in utter awe of the beauty and power of our solar system’s star. A burst of light serves as both a promise of the sun’s return and a public service announcement to all humans to don their eclipse glasses post-totality. I feel jittery yet still, like I had drunk far too much caffeine beneath a lake, and am utterly grateful to live as a tiny ant human on this planet.

“A million moons” whispers an 8 year old boy crouched over the crescent shadows on fine desert dust. Barring mathematics, intuition and years of tracking the sun, moon and earth’s arcs to predict such an event, I am delighted to learn that to predict an eclipse one could read the crescent-shaped shadows on the ground at 90% totality. If I see crescent shaped shadows, I’ll know to get ready to shield a baby’s eyes and get comfortable should I ever find myself in an apoceclipse.

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.

– Albert Einstein, February 12, 1950



Preparing 4 Totality

Packing for the path of totality, half a minute of total solar eclipse, feels like prepping for a gourmet apocalypse:

Destination: Sisters, Oregon

Transport of choice: 1980 Rabbit Truck with full cans of biodiesel

Shelter: Tent, two cots, sleeping bags and pads, pillows

Water: 6 gallons of water for 2 x 3 days

Fire: Colman stove. No campfires allowed. If we really need a flame there are wildfires blazing all around our destination of Sisters, Oregon

Reading: “Armageddon in Retrospect” by Kurt Vonnegut

Food: Potato chips, corn chips, cheddar cheese crackers, gummy bears, hummus, broccoli, kale, peppers, avocados, bread, cheese, boiled eggs, peanut butter, milk, cereal, boxed mac’n cheese

Bartering goods: Red wine, cider, beer, bubbly water, coconut macaroons, gummy bears

Playlist: Tom Waits

Media: Eclipse glasses

Medium: Nature

See you on the other side! Post-totality Tuesday.