Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Humans are natural, too!

Have you heard about the beach closings and new use regulations put in place by the National Park Service at Cape Hatteras National Seashore?  I don't know all the details, but you can start reading about it here: 

2012 Protest March Against Beach Closures on Cape Hatteras

Here's a quote from the above article:
"The one issue that probably stands on the highest ground is the fact that the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was granted by Congress as a “Recreational Area”. Simply put, every American has a right to access this land and enjoy it recreationally. Under the current rules and regulations put in place by the Audubon Society, National Park Service, Department of Interior and Defenders of Wildlife, Americans are shut out of these areas and will be arrested and fined if found trespassing on an area that was put aside for recreational use."

This bugs me.  It bugs me a lot.

This sign bugs me.  Look it.  Look at the big red circle cross-outs over off-road vehicles, dogs and humans.  This sign makes me fee like the environmental activists would like to wipe humans and all remnants of our existence, including our domesticated buddies, off the face of the planet.  We are part of this natural world, too.  Have we made mistakes and elbowed our fellow creatures out of our way?  Even wiped entire species out? Yes.  Mea culpa.  However, this extreme reaction of wanting to keep human beings OUT of natural places is wrong, too.  Banning human beings from interacting with nature is not the answer.  Finding ways for us all to co-exist is the answer.  And there is no quick fix.  This is going to take time and talk and education.  Plain and simple, no back-door political negotiations are going to "save the birds" or the whales or some such nonsense.  If anything, this kind of thing is just going to make people mad.  And when people get mad, they stop listening and learning.

No matter how much any one of us believes in our "cause", we don't have the right to dictate to others how to live, where to live and where to walk.  Besides, we're not going to win friends and influence people with our self-righteous attitudes, either.  I respect other points of views; I respect each persons' right to see and experience the world in his way, including my own.  I respect the birds and all of nature, but lets get one thing absolutely straight:  the birds don't give a fig about my or your rights.  A bird doesn't think about the impact of where it builds a nest on other creatures.  It doesn't care about us or whether or not we survive. It's only focus is on it's own survival  And, yet, there are those who would have us believe that the whole world would spin on in Utopian, perfectly balanced bliss if just the pesky, selfish humans would go away.

I beg to differ.  Do any animals or insects care if another species has enough food? Or a healthy habitat? Mice will multiply to the point of resource exhaustion, then die out in droves because they've polluted their own environment and ate all the food, including their own offspring.  Insects, like termites, will destroy their own living space and food source and kill themselves off.  Think about this:  We are the only species on the planet that actually thinks about other species and the impact we have on them.  We are the only creatures who care if the whales die off or if the planet heats up.  We care. We are the only species that cares whether another of our species (not just our offspring and pack members) lives or dies. And that's important.

We have such wonderful potential!  We are capable of figuring this out. Let's not shut each other out and close down the beaches.  Let's talk about it.  Let's consider the ramifications and find a way to co-exist.

Monday, March 19, 2012

We are like the Trees

We start out so small, so easily removed. But give us just a few days, weeks, months and we dig down deep into the hearts and lives of our family. How devastated we are to lose a child, even before she is born. We grow every day and early on in noticeably amazing, physical ways. Given the open space and abundant resources, we spread wide and reach up, the sky literally the limit.

Look at the biggest oak tree growing in an open field. See how it's reached out in all directions and lifted high and dug deep, deep down, clinging to the earth. As Ayn Rand described in Atlas Shrugged, the tree has dug so deep that if a giant tried to tear it from the earth he wouldn't be able to and instead would end up swinging the earth like a ball on a string. Yet, we know its fragile. This immense tree, like our delicate human lives, could be destroyed in a moment. Lightening. Chainsaw.

But what about the trees in the tightly packed forest? Who struggle for room to grow, for a way to the light? Even those trees grow. They are forced to grow around boulders, over each other. As their roots dig down, searching for space to grow, they become entangled with other trees' roots. And doesn't the competition then become their strength? When the wind blows and the rain pours, doesn't the integrated root system keep then all from toppling over? Each tree draws from the soil water and nourishment, from the sky sunlight and air, and, hopefully, there is enough for all.

They all grow to the limits of their resources, whether alone in a field or together in the woods. And then they die; giving back their bodies to the ground, and to the collective. Are the ones in the forest stronger for their connectedness, for they are a forest together, a tree alone? Is one more important than the other? There would be no forest without the trees. Do trees need each other to grow? Do trees become stronger from the competition?

Can one tree grow to amazing depths and breadth without the forest to contend with? Do trees in a forest grow taller and root stronger? And which is better? To have the whole field to oneself? Or to be challenged in the forest? There is more than one way to grow, more than one way to be.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Nobody Right, Nobody Wrong

by Micheal Franti & Spearhead

They say you got to chose your side and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.
It ended in a great big fight and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.

Conflict each and every day, at home and in the streets, and in my soul every way.
Its hard to keep the faith, when I feels so far away.
Times i feel connected, times I'm runnin' away.
But Whoa Whoa, Cant you see, all the sickness, hunger, and poverty.
War on the land and war on the seas.

Whoa, War is a painful thing.
One argument that none of us can hide, is the one thats ragin down deep inside.
Tryin' to make a point, or have the last word.
But most the time people just tryin to be heard.

They say you got to chose your side and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.
It ended in a great big fight and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.

But how many people never eva broke a rule.
And how many people tryin to get their kids to school
And how many people prayin they only find a job.
And how many poeple are afraid of gettin robbed.

Whoa Whoa, nobody knows.
And whoa whoa, only god knows.
Numbers escalate, wall street, crime rate.
From the Bahgdad streets, to my city by the bay.

Hey they say you got to chose your side and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.
It ended in a great big fight and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.

And I say, can you say what you mean?
And can you mean what you mean what you say?
And can you say what you mean?
And can you mean what you mean what you say?
And can you say what you mean?
Every single day? Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Reach out a hand to somebody who needs a hand.
And reach out a heart to somebody torn apart.
Its hard, this livin, this life we've been given.
Locked in your soul, or locked up in prison.
Remember you have to reach high to be risen.
The day you let go is the day you are forgiven.

So they say you got to chose your side and, when its done.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.
Nobody right now.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.
And I say, one man got a jet fighter, and the other got a song.
Nobody right, nobody wrong.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I have a theory: only we can heal our broken hearts. Only I can heal my heart ache. Only you can heal yours. But doing it alone is pretty damn scary. We do need help to heal our emotional wounds. Remember mom washing that scraped knee and putting on a bandage, and maybe a little kiss, too? In a perfect scenario, we would be taught the same kind of things for heart and soul.

Imagine how we learned to take care of our teeth: brushing, flossing, and choosing healthy options to maintain our teeth. We need to learn how to floss emotionally, mentally and spiritually, too. And what do we do when our kids fall out of the tree fort and bash out their front tooth? We evaluate the injury and get medical attention as needed. We also need to have similar triage conventions when it comes to emotional trauma.

Ultimately, I believe healing happens completely within ourselves, as our perception of reality is the crux of it all. That doesn’t mean I think we can knit a broken bone together in minutes just with our thoughts; we do need some help to figure out the extent of the injury and whether or not any intervention is needed. Luckily, we do have some time to get it straightened out. When my daughter fractured her wrist in a cartoonish accident involving her bike, the shed and some patio pavers, the ER doc said we had about a week before it would start to permanently heal. (This was to ease my anxious mind about the appointment with the orthopedist being later in the week.)

The x-rays were taken and a simple brace put on her wrist in the meantime. And what did the orthopedist say? Keep the brace on for 4 weeks and take it easy. Almost not worth the money on its own, but the peace of mind was priceless. There was time to evaluate the situation and to choose appropriate care. In this instance, no surgery was needed. Nobody had to do anything to make her body repair the damage, but we knew what the damage was and what she needed to do to help her body heal well.

Of course we need help to heal.

Knowledge and skill to do the right things at the right time is important. In most instances, time and rest is really the only thing we can apply. Yes, there are emergency situations that require immediate action to save lives. But, the time and rest approach was also true of my son’s kidney injury, a much more serious injury that could have required surgery. Ultimately, he was watched closely (in the Pediatric ICU for 2 days and acute care for 2 more days) while his body healed itself. It’s the same with our hearts and souls.

Grief and trauma break our hearts the same way blunt impact breaks our bones and lacerates our kidneys. And like our bones and organs, our hearts will most often heal whether we do anything or not. Whether we heal straight and true or end up emotionally crippled is another matter. We need to have our wounds evaluated – sometimes by a professional – and determine the severity of the injury and choose a course of treatment. Talk to someone – a loved-one you trust, a doctor, a psychiatrist. Don’t take a broken heart lightly and assume all will be well with just a little time. Pay attention, get advice, and then accept that its going take time, and little by little, day by day, things will begin to feel better.