Tuesday, July 16, 2019


Yesterday was divided between weed-whipping what grass would stand back up after being flattened by hail, pulling up weeds by their roots, untangling and piling the branches the wind tore down -- until my shoulders ached and I was out of breath -- and then at the computer trying to do something metaphorically similar with the concepts that plague us. Like the invention of capital, predatory capitalism, venture capitalism, and monetary systems plus industrialism plus xenophobic nations plus climate change.  I went to YouTube so there would be diagrams to follow.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-epr8lPIZYE  I kept hearing about Picketty so https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i78cyClvaeg.  And so on.  I don't quite get it, but it's a start.  I appreciate Khan Academy.

Going to bed early, I had the covers to myself because all the cats were outside where the moon is still nearly full, clambering through the big cottonwood tree.  Waking at two in overcast blackness, I was full of impending doom.  The house has broken windows and the cap on the furnace vent has blown off.  Shingles are missing.  The back door is too misaligned to be locked conventionally, so it is secured with a bolt across the whole door, an improvisation. My pickup has enough gas for the moment, but the firing has occasional misses and hail punched holes in the bed topper.  I'm sorting and weeding books, so there are stacks of them and boxes of them everywhere.  Two o'clock can be terror time.

I'd heard Trump's sexist attack -- nothing new there.  Computer on.  Twitter was exploding with reaction.  At last.  CHUNK had another of his amazing animated cartoons of the toddling tinyman who is NEVER sexist, always stable, higher IQ than geniuses, richer than anyone can believe, and the most humble person on the face of the planet.  Did I mention faithful intimate relationships with mature nurturing women? 

Rick Wilson wrote a satire that had me laughing.  Trump's two fav children are deposed by the incarceration of their father and Ivanka has taken refuge in the Midwest, working at a diner until someone she fears finds her.  

A sample:

"The tension drains out of her. "So you're not here to..."

Jerry [formerly known as Jared] grins, "What? Kill you in a weird ritual with a lot of candles and chanting with a priest in a goat mask, then ritually butcher you then dance naked in your skin? Jesus, Ivanka, I'm not Stephen Miller."

Nor is this bit of fan-fiction out of "Eyes Wide Shut."   Maybe.  Laughter woke the cats, who wanted food, and I'm hungry as well.  Friskies.  Toaster waffles. Raspberry yogurt.  It feels possible to go back to sleep.  Nothing dramatic really happened.  There were no national raids of cities, people loaded into boxcars  -- Trump lied again. The four Squad leaders are calm but determined.  Lindsey Graham is not.

Ever alert, the marketers are offering doorbells that tell you who's out there, since unless there is a court order, judge-signed, warrant, you don't have to open up.  Not even open a car.  ICE cannot issue valid warrants.  Lock the doors and refuse politely.  Quietly, the old campaigners from the escape-from-the-draft-movement are remembering how to evade authorities who are not backed by the culture, who think they ARE the law only because they wear the uniform.

It's 8AM.  The kittens who stayed up the rest of the night to play, rattling around tipping over book stacks, are now exhausted and sleeping.  It has rained softly.  The town is silent except for dependable people driving by on their way to work.  There are half as many as there used to be.  Half the houses are for sale.  Half the windows are boarded, waiting for new glass.

Is it bad that I use my computer as a window?  A tall figure with a white forehead is there.  He doesn't work for the FBI.  Wendell Berry.  https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/going-home-with-wendell-berry  I had been thinking about him because of the little circle of far-north Canadian farmers that are living his kind of life.  Fine educations, religious literacy, private capital and all, they post from their "office" while driving tractors and on the backs of horses, moving cattle.  No one says, "Go back where you came from."  They are busy making a better place where they are.

Berry went back where he was from, Port Royal, Kentucky, and blended his academic career with running a farm.  "The integration of the various animals and crops into a relatively small acreage becomes a formal problem that is just as interesting and just as demanding as the arrangement of the parts of a novel."   He knew about the "village virus," accusations of ignorance and narrowness, but he was somehow immune.  He never told anyone to get out.

It's not that I agree with Berry all the time.  It's just that I like his attitude, his calmness, his willingness to work things through -- literally "work" by putting energy and thought into everything.  In the Sixties when he started out, there were a lot of people thinking along the same lines -- Wes Jackson, Schumacher, Rodale.  Some of them were in Canada.  

There is on my Twitter feed another group of people, the indigenous families that were "always" there and who are beginning to work through corporative resource capture and industrial-triggered climate change.  They are funny, experimental, and willing to risk death.  They are changing a nation.

So now it's almost nine o'clock.  The federal trials are beginning on the East Coast.  The doors everywhere are being pried open.  My mother used to say,  "The mills of the Gods grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine."  Babies are dying in cages at the border.  People have been deported to places they don't know since they weren't born there.  Injustice, poverty, injury, mental trauma, are added to fear of crimes people barely escaped.  The base of much of it is drugs sold to prosperous Americans as a pleasure and escape.  There's blood on the diamond dust.

If I survive, which I won't for very long since I'm old, I'll be very interested to see what happens next.  In the meantime, I'll push the kittens aside and nap a little bit.  And, Wendell, you need to know that I never did agree with you making your wife type all your eighty books, though she did it willingly.  Could be I'm just jealous. But I'm five years younger than you.

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