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From a long time ago,

Yes, I have had and still have a varied life.  Today I went to the Kinetic Sculpture Race here in the Arcata Plaza.  This is a people powered vehicle race.  They build a great variety of pedal powered vehicles, three and four wheeled cycle driven contraptions that must traverse a multi-terrain, 42-mile bicycle race over land, sand, mud and water.  While the race has been run for the last twenty years, this may be the last race. I have posted some pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frocical/.  This began as a green project by an artist from Fortuna.   It is known as the “Triathlon of the Art World.”

Other than the festivities I have been building more raised planting beds and turning the soil to plant potatoes, watermelon, squash, beets, broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes.  I moved into town after living on a shared farm area in Blue Lake, California.  I would still live on a farm with a comfortable wood stove but . . . you know it is hard work maintaining a wood supply, getting up in the morning when it is freezing cold and I have to start a fire (sigh!).  There are other reasons I am not in the woods working the hard life.  I like my modest little apartment here in Arcata.  Perhaps I am getting soft as I approach sixty years of age.  Good heavens! I drive a “Volvo”.

One of the things I would love to do is take a trip to England, travel south through France, Spain and Portugal.  Then piss on Gibraltar, cross the strait to Tangier and tour West Africa.  I would also like to fly but my wings are well clipped.  I still “ROCK”, but my dancing is less athletic.  In my young days my spasms on the dance floor were eventful.  There are troubles that flow from touring with the grateful dead and doing non-pharmaceutical drugs.  All this wild world, though right now my iTunes on this computer is playing Billie Holiday, “Lover Man.”

Here in Arcata, I have really devoted my life to the Earth Church.  We put in raised planting beds for people to replace their lawns.  There are also beds built for handicapped people with a bench at the side of the bed to work the garden planting, weeding and reaping the vegetables.  We are leasing land from property owners to put in community gardens where everyone/anyone can work the soil and put in their own garden and raise vegetables.  We have grain fed chickens and healthy egg laying ducks.  All the food we harvest goes to people in food boxes.  My part in all this is as Treasurer for the Earth Church and chief cook and bottle washer.  I design and maintain the website, http://www.earth-church.org, though i am behind in updating the site.  Occasionally, there are presentations I am asked to give concerning the church and our position as an ecotheological entity.  The church is nondenominational and we direct our energies toward sustainability of environment and culture.  Oh! And blah blah blah.  I can go on forever.

In my spare time I like to read.  Now I am reading, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”  In the gardens we put in and on the land we lease, I build small windmills and other solar or water powered devices that drive fountains in small pools.  We also put in sun dials.  This evening I am going to a local cafe where bad poets will read their works and I will try not to sigh at the wrong time.  Life is good.

Men are Dispicable

Confusing circumstances occur regularly in the world. I was adopted at birth by my aunt, my fathers sister. She was married to a man who was nineteen years older than she was. After having brought four daughters into the world my adopted father still wanted a son. My real father left my mother to pursue a career as a carnival con man and alcoholic. My real mother with four other children could not afford to keep me so when I was born my adopted fathers name was put on my record.

When I was twelve years old I was a large young man. Twelve years old and I was six feet tall and towered above my father. His age and years of smoking and alcoholism deteriorated his health. He suffered a heart attack, due to years of these addictions.  For two years I assisted him in getting about. At the last I carried him about like a child. We slept in the same bed and I cared for him all day. Still his health deteriorated more.

When I was thirteen he died in the hospital. It took a year for his death to strike me; for a few months I was unable to communicate with friends or family. My school grades took a dive. My mother was not supportive and except for her continued presence I was emotionally alone. Her situation was such that, I learned later, she had hated my father all her married life. The reasons I will reveal to you in the plainest way I can.

My mother came from a country family, born and raised just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was a fundamentalist gospel minister.  But the person he was in church was far from the father he was at home.  His wife, my mother and her four younger brothers were regularly beaten and abused.  My grandfather was a devout man who never spared the rod.  He would beat my grandmother and the children for little or no reason as such is the fashion of family violence.

The family moved to Detroit, Michigan where work could be found at the beginning of World War II. My grandfather was also escaping some questions into his dishonorable activities with church funds. My grandmother died soon after moving to Detroit and my mother had to fill in as housekeeper and parent of three growing boys. My grandfather began his gospel mission in Detroit which is how my adopted father was introduced to my mother. Seeking escape my mother married, at the age of thirteen.

She was impregnated through a non consensual sexual encounter (i.e., she was raped) at the age of sixteen. The physical and sexual violence continued through the conception of four daughters. At some point my mother surprised her husband. After coming home drunk he passed out on the bed. My mother secured his wrists and ankles to the bed posts and beat him with a broom. At the last my mother took a knife and placing it against his throat, she possibly even stabbed him of which I am uncertain, she warned him that if he should beat or rape her again she would kill him. I knew none of this until I was nineteen years old.

Some would say I was naive. To me it seems as though I was young, loving and trusting. You see I was well aware of violence as my home was one of authoritative discipline. I was greatly despondent concerning my mothers seeming lack of empathy toward me. I turned away and sought comforting refuge outside the home. Usually in the company of disreputable people. The arms of outcasts are cloyingly inviting. My popularity grew as a bellicose and daring individual. I was the one who took risks, frequently in fights. Inside I was anxious and uncertain. My mother remarried and I moved out of their house. I stayed in school and was granted my father’s social security payments.

I was a very high self monitoring person around women. Having grown up surrounded by sisters, nieces and aunts I was comfortable in their company. There was an aspect of my personality, my psychology that determined my relationships with women. At a deep level I was greatly resentful of my mother and her seeming lack of emotion for my father’s death. As I grew my motivations became manipulative and abusive. While I was in frequent fights with Men, I was not physically violent toward women close to me. I was emotionally violent.

Psychological and verbal abuse are the most difficult to deal with or describe to another person. The victim of psychological abuse sounds to many like a constant complainer. Their friends, while being supportive, are unable to fully understand the depth of emotional damage accomplished by a long term violent relationship. My wife would be driven to the point that she would strike me. This I took with such a benevolent attitude that the memory makes me cringe now. During my marriage and throughout my life I was sexually active with more than one woman. Lies were my way of communicating with my wife and all the relationships I had. My final outrage was to seduce my wife’s sister then express outrage when my wife insisted on getting a divorce.

Not all men are such cads, but so many are, even the seemingly best men, that I can quantify my statement that men are despicable. There was so much shame and guilt resulting from my marriage and early life that I sought guidance.

Returning to college after my divorce and majoring in psychology to understand, improve myself and get an education late in life seemed like a possible means of dumping all the bad luggage from my past. There I studied the cause and effects of domestic violence on families. Finding that is a cyclical social disorder.

Parents pass this violence on to their children as an identity which becomes the manner in which they deal with family members and relationships. I volunteered with a family violence organization for seven years doing counseling of women, men and children, both privately and in groups. While the work was personally rewarding it was mentally and emotionally exhausting with few real triumphs.

While the effects of domestic violence and violence against women and children has been substantiated for sixty years and more there is still little done and few laws passed or enforced properly to change circumstances. While I have changed I am still haunted by the tragic emotions and  events I caused to loved ones throughout my life.

On gun violence

Gun regulations will not solve all the problems. We need to refinance the mental health system in this country. We are facing the problems caused by the conservative members of this nation who closed the mental health system in California and then did the same throughout the country. We need to face the fact that more wars will not end the violence in the world. We should stop financing wars and rebuild care systems for the mentally ill. We can treat the problems of those with violent natures at a fraction of the cost of waging war against terrorist atrocities.

Just for consideration or . . .

There is a touchy subject for many to discuss in public. Politicians do not discuss the problem and only lately with four states ready to put the matter before the voters does the media, left or right, discuss the matter. What I am referring to is the legalization of marijuana.

The object that I am concerned with is not so much the legalization of marijuana as it is the legalization of hemp.

The fact that marijuana will be legal is a benefit. There is a huge prison industry in the United States. A penal system, through racism in our judicial system, is filled by black men and minorities to the greatest extent. The prohibition on of marijuana contributes to the lack of human rights we are guaranteed in the constitution. Legalization would eliminate the need to pay millions each year to enforce the prohibition that exists.

My other great concern is the legalization of hemp. Hemp could be a major part of correcting our economy and making the United States a production economy once again. This weed can positively affect a dozen industries from plastic to paper. The boards and plywood made from hemp could help our lumber mills put people back to work. The boost to our economy and the stock market and benefit all of us.

Legalize marijuana and hemp for ourselves, for our country and for our children who we do not want to saddle with our debt.

I’m Not Surprised

I was filling in a form last week and one of the questions was, “What do you miss about being a child.” This is a simple question to estimate a persons frame of mind. What I find I miss most is there are no longer any day to day surprises. There are no longer surprises or events that startle or bring about awe in me. This does not mean being at a shooting or some calamity or a catastrophe. Without these surprises or new experiences my life is less filled. Few things happen to mark the day and my journal lacks any delivery.

When we are young, everyday is filled with moments of astonishment. Most were simple like watching a moth or butterfly come out of a cocoon, or they could be intense, like watching a dog deliver puppies. The days, weeks and months were filled with limitless amazement. Waking up on a camping trip in the woods to see a golden morning scene of deer quietly feeding on wild strawberries.  Time was a slow moving entity.  Summers on vacation from school seemed endless, until the end.  The world is much faster and seemingly more careless.

My last great surprise happened three years ago.  A very close friend who had been caring for an all but abandoned child decided to adopt the boy.  Now adoptions are not surprising to me, but that my friend, a woman of sixty-eight years of age was adopting a baby overwhelmed me.  I did not talk to my friend about her age and the child’s age and advancing needs, she is too wise and has raised too many children to take advice from a “Lone Wolf,” though I have become less wolfish.  The boy is great and has overcome some physical difficulties like a club foot (talipes equinovarus), to such a degree he has been fitted with his last leg brace.  He is riding a bicycle and has adopted me as a close friend.

Now saying that I am not surprised does not mean I do not go through life without an occasional shock.  One shock that occurred earlier this year was reading in the paper about a four year old girl, a small child who was within the concern of the New York child protective services, a baby that died of starvation.  The little girl’s wrist had been tied to the couch by her aunt within the company of her grandmother.  She was tied to the couch because if allowed to run lose she would get in the refrigerator and cause a mess.  I was shocked and disheartened to a terrible degree, but not surprised.

My days now speed by like a breath.  Many days coalescing, swirling, and flitting away, taking weeks and months as they fly.  I am trying to mark time and slow the relentless progress in my garden.  The plants seem to shoot up out of the ground,  we have harvested a tub full of radishes and green onions and replanted more seeds to watch them pop up again.  Zucchinis will be ready for picking in a few days.  Spring is over and the days are growing shorter as summer passes.  Too little time to pause and reflect.

Having become able to predict the habits of everyday life.  I am restrained by the clock and the tedium of timetables and schedules, to classrooms and calendars so much that I know what will unfold tomorrow.  Even vacations are planned so that I might extract every ounce of relaxation from “mytime” to satisfy (hah) working and slaving for living.  I talk to the teacher in the next office about what a wild student said, wrote or did, semester after semester.  I anticipate nothing invigorating that will yield out of the dreary day to day.

This year one advantage is I will be throwing everything to the wind.  No more teaching, coddling students, counseling or research to perform.  I will learn to fish again, take up sailing and searching for refreshment.  I can ride around on a bike with my friend.  Perhaps my real problem is I have stopped seeking out caterpillars and cocoons, and no longer chase butterflies.