Hummingbirds, Bears and Holding the Center : LUSENET : The Garden : One Thread

On approximately 6/5/02 10:17 PM, Daniel C. Henklein at probably wrote:

> Yes, I see that picture of you.

OK - which one? The one attached or the one at the URL? I'm still struggling with the code.

> You are growing a garden in my mind, in my imagination. > Many of my favorites have begun to grow there.

I would love to hear about these.

> The concept is a sound one > (with a hollow sound and an echo. PEEP! %p),

Is this some sort of well, some spelunking depth? - %P? That could work. %P

> That passage.

%P I have a pretty big Cave Within. %P

>> But then that means that I can't whine about feeling lonely. > > No, you can... > Didn't I just?...... >

Well, thanks - but isn't the point of my avoidance (of mentioning the latent housewife/garden syndrome) the fact that you don't want to be tempted into projecting a (potentially misplaced, transient and too elusive) balm for your loneliness onto me?

Or are you into the bald honesty of it, and you'll just deal?

> I'm just waiting for things to settle down naturally a bit.

Quote from John Barlow: "'re so intense you have no idea what ordinary sleep-walking mortals are completely unhinged by"

You've been warned.

> I REALLY appreciated what I read of Heidegger in Dolores LaChapelle's work. > I tried reading him once (is it Being and Nothingness?) and it fucked up my > head. I couldn't comprehend it. > Maybe it was the translation.

Maybe, maybe not. I "felt" Heidegger, spatially rather than intellectually. I read Heidegger primarily as a teenager. I was living in a house with my high school teacher, a woman who rented out rooms to a few of we students who were on our own. She was a teacher at Community High School, (in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I went in the early 70's) while getting her PhD at the UofM in phenomenology.

Her books were all over the house. I was a voracious reader. I shared her place for two years. So I read Heidegger and Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Chomsky, R.D.Laing, the absurdist authors and playwrights - Sartre, Camus, Alfred Jarry - huge list, too much for here. Her thesis laid the ground work for my explorations, and I then went after those authors the way I'd gone at the Encyclopedia when I was a bairn. I got MacCluhan, and Bucky Fuller, Socrates on Friendship and everything else (the Versenyi translation)... oh, the lineage is endless. And pretty fragmented :-)

Go here - this is cool...

I wouldn't have known how to appreciate this as fully today if my high school teacher, Jeryll Dean Clark, hadn't been just about the coolest woman on the planet at the time.

> I still don't really understand all that, but that's OK.

Well, given your reference to stuff coming around on the Reich thread, this might be good to understand. I think it could be useful, and I don't mind describing any of it in detail. Sometimes, when a person you listen describes a very important bit of their political history in depth, %P, listeners can find instruction and utility in the metaphors they might want to attend to in their own lives.

Sometimes it's easier for the person who's already experienced it to talk about *that* than it is for others who can only (or barely) imagine such things to do so in the vacuum.

For example, I found myself, as a reasonable person who was seen as an ostensible "hippie business leader" in the neighborhood in the mid-90's, looked to by various people to solve a rub that was building between opposing edges in my community. When I didn't solve the rub, for complex reasons that could be cowardice, but felt equitable and principled at the time, (and still do in retrospect - I'd go for a later run at this if you ask). When I didn't advocate either side's simplistic solution for the rub, then I became the rub. It was not a good place to be.

In the early 90's, our police department was divided over how to conduct law enforcement with an increasingly limited budget. Consequently, laws were enforced with an inconsistent style in our neighborhood, for this was the Whiteaker, the place that all the hippies and the back-to-the-landers gravitated to after they'd come out of their 10-20 year 1970-1980 wanders-in-the-nearby-wilderness. This was an ongoing Burning Man of Oregon - well, more like smoldering coals, but we had The Fire.

"Their" laws just didn't make sense for "us".

And most of Them knew it. There was a kind of live-and-let-live attitude in this neighborhood (and this was primarily before I came - I inherited the legacy of it). Prior to the mid-90's the police were tolerant, and the community was tolerant of the tolerance.

In the mid-90's something changed. I have a theory that I won't go into unless you're interested - but if you are, and I think it's relevant to things you may be facing, then I will.

Suffice it to say another edge appeared, this time in the form of two surges in human experimentation. Black and brown tar heroin hit the street in front of my store (and, yes, because of my specialized experience, I can tell you exactly how many people it takes to create a dealing cell that successfully overwhelms a police department, and I can tell you how many cells it takes in a neighborhood to keep the competition for business between dealers at street level so fierce that whoever is running the mid-level game always has a street outlet for the goods) *and* the incubation chamber for a black-bloc anarchist cell emerged two buildings down.

It took the form of a business that began benignly enough but ended up - due to very weak leadership (20-something trust-fund kiddies running on the anger and shame of family-money-guilt - especially when they're still living on the dividend checks - just doesn't have a lot of marrow in the bone), and an obscenely distorted presentation of anarchy that was really just a few core persons' megalomania, shared like a highly contagious disease. The business/club was finally commandeered by a group of folk with an agenda that still smells of a non-local Disturbia hand coupled with ego-greed on the part of a few receptive individuals. Almost simultaneously these things emerged.

In order to handle the extremely dangerous heroin situation that eventually unfolded, I was forced to ask the police to intervene. I avoided doing that as long as I could, for I'd served on several advisory boards to various police functions, primarily as a representative of the Neighborhood Council, and I knew that the reason our community enjoyed such leniency was because we *were* relatively harmless, and our cultural style was not an in-your-face one; don't ask, don't tell worked for all of us. The heroin and the black-bloc anarchists changed all that.

I remember the day - not so much the month or year, exactly, but the sunshine, and the bright colors of the summer day, and the fullness of the tree in leaf - when I walked into my parking lot and two dealers were arguing with each other, standing out in the center of the asphalt.

They were different than I was used to - taller than the normally short, lean and hungry Mexican and Central American men who ran the deals on the sidewalks and from the pay phones, and bicycles, and cars. They were much better dressed - stylish jeans, cowboy boots, white shirt on one, black Don Johnson T-shirt and gold chain on the other - with nice hair, good watches and expensive sunglasses.

I walked up to them. "Hey," I said. They ignored me. "Hey," I said, louder. "Excuse me." They continued arguing in Spanish, talking over my head. Didn't even glance at me. "Hey!" I hollered, punching one of them in the arm.

They looked at me. I have not seen that look in too many eyes. Those, I think, were eyes that have watched their hands kill, at least once before. They were flat eyes that took in a very narrow band of information - size, fear level, armour, threat - like those you might see on someone who was used to calculating whether or not the insect in front of them was worth the effort to crush.

I, in my typical oblivious fashion, registered this in an instant but decided it couldn't possibly pertain to me, and proceeded to lecture them about conducting this sort of business in my parking lot and in my neighborhood. I'd graduated from asking, which is something I *had* done 2 years before, and it worked then. Now it no longer did. So I was a bit more insistent, and just told people to get out of here, and not to bring weapons in the store - that sort of thing...I actually had to have a "no weapons" policy, in a natural food store, for Cris'sake.

They looked extremely startled for a minute, surprised that the bug could talk. Then they walked away, still arguing.

In the days that followed, I watched them watching me and I knew they saw someone who saw them. This was not a good thing. I learned more about who they were, and what they represented. It was a very deep nest in our sleepy little town, and some people were surprised - but some people weren't. And so I became involved with getting the police into our neighborhood in earnest.

It was a complicated couple of years, with lots of meetings with police chiefs and city councilors and other officials. At the same time, I was having to intervene with really inappropriate police behavior that targeted non-dangerous regular - hippie, dread-locked, rastafarian, rainbowed, drunk, unleashed, unkempt, happy-go-lucky, too casual, sarcastic - folk in our neighborhood. There were cops getting their ya-yas out on the neighborhood, part of their own internal department argument over whether or not we should be nuked or talked to - i.e., enforcement vs. community policing - those were the style buzzwords. (I know too much about policing, too...)

The folk at the anarchist club-house - simplistic middle-class kids, mostly, with no idea about how to be really bad other than to make messes and staple up diatribe/rant flyers, paint things, and start fires - became easy targets for the frustrated police who were completely outwitted by the coordinated heroin dealerships.

I think that at some point these folks - the hippies, the anarchists, the neighborhood, the cops - expected me to rescue them; tell the kids to quiet down, lead a movement, do *something*. But especially the anarchists. They saw me as having power, and they hated that until they needed it - and then they expected me to use what I didn't have on their behalf. And for nothing in return other than desisting in their attacks on my business - for they are also the generation that *deserves* what they want, because they want it and because they're Them.

I explained they were running a protection racket, but they were too young to understand. I told them that they were psychological facists and there was no way I would do what they wanted me to do, primarily because of how they were trying to get me to do it. I explained that I was sovereign, and that meant I would do a certain amount willlingly, because it was already on my program to do, and that beyond that I would not do anything - and that if they kept it up, they would polarize me into even further opposition.

I remember one of my last meetings with them, when I told them that they didn't comprehend how much time and attention they required, and that I simply did not have the multiple hours every week they needed to process each micro-movement that anyone needed to take in order to receive their "all clear" sign and avert a boycott or a shoplifting raid. Yes. Sigh. I explained to them that I didn't find their issues nor logic compelling enough to take my business down over, and that I thought they hadn't done nearly enough creative negotiation with any of the civic officials they had difficulty with.

Months and months of this sort of thing went by. It exploded in the summer of 97, when the club lost its lease, thanks to the campaign of a number of neighbors. These neighbors had, a couple of years previous when the BS really started visibly rolling, coordinated into an ad hoc "evening patrol" - the men of the neighborhood - to deal more directly with the problem. Most of these guys had lived in other, tougher cities and knew their responsibility when things get this bad. The patrols would have worked - in another community.

But ours was also filled with LOTS of ivory-tower transplants, locked away in their houses and mindless about the problems on the street, meek people mostly (though some were truly good activists with their eyes on larger issues, but stepped, with their leader hats still on, temporarily into a fray that they thought they understood, because it was so small and local, and were thus short-sighted and harmful in their misapplied critiques) with narrow little visions who cried "foul", "men on patriarchy", "racism against hispanics", "property destruction isn't a crime", "vigilante", "gentrification", "police oppression", etc.

The patrols were stopped. Some folks continued, and then we had the even worse spectre of solitary and tragic gentle fellows, dressed in camoflauge, walking the streets in the middle of the night (having forgotten to take their medication) with guns, ready to defend the community because it had been abandoned by everyone else. (And all this time our hood was much, much better than so many places I've been in)

My business was, on top of everything else, in a huge downturn due to market forces that had almost nothing to do with the neighborhood - though the hood's turmoil, and my own personal challenges, exascerbated the downward spiral. The newspapers got into the act, for the city had learned that having a "bad area" whenever they needed to justify larger budgets for policing was useful, and thus would always offer juicy commentary for interviews whenever we had an "issue". Newspapers sold well. Policing budgets expanded. Policing grants were obtained.

I was not the bad guy, in the city's eyes. I was a victim that justified heightened aggression, and the more publicity I got as a victim, the easier it was to justify anything controversial they wanted to do. And everytime I asked for any help to rid the streets of the Mexican Mafia, the anarchist shop would be raided. The MM, meanwhile, stayed fully functional. Fully.

Every publicized "issue" resulted in declining sales, as predictable as sunrise. Anything I did publicly was reported on, commented on, and had a cost of thousands of dollars in lost sales. Any step I took was met with a response by the Black Bloc - anonymous actors that would also shop in my store (for it was the best place for the best food), shrug their shoulders, and play a very cruel game. My staff was adversely affected.

This is what I mean by being a pawn.

My sense of community and justice; my ability to articulate; my ostensible "leading style" (I know what I want, and go after it); my knowledge of the law in the real world; my reasonableness; my understanding that I live in, and because of, The System; my lack of knee-jerk antipathy toward any group (except for, now, mindless black bloc anarchists on testosterone and the weak middle-aged intellectuals who manipulate them - how's that for prejudice?); and my *chance* positioning in a social context as a successful business/neighborhood "leader"; were exploited - at least, exploitable - into becoming a focal point for others to fight over.

I was easy to engage, and didn't have the time nor patience to stay in the middle of stupid arguments. So they went on without me. And about me. As I said, it was never about me. But it was convenient for those who wanted to fight with each other to make it about me.

I'm only now recovering from the experience, and have chosen to be energetically present on other planes. (But they haven't stopped me, not in the least little bit...)

What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger(Koran)/weirder(Barlow)/real(Beal).


> I'm pretty sure I would seem like a big lumbering spastic ox next to you. > One of my kicknames (I have about 20, I think) is "Leviathan".

Hummingbirds and bears. We both like sweet things - concentrated nectars that fuel swift flight and deep sleep.

My partners for a number of years have all been much bigger than I. My husband was 6'3. My last boyfriend - some years long relationship, and described another time - was 6'4 and a body-builder. Not the jock kind, but the sportsman kind, who did the gym like a mountain climber does a sheer rock face.

I've given up on dancing with someone face-to-face. I'm just too tiny. But these differences are small when lying down, or meeting mind to mind, so they don't bother me too much any more. ************** Off into the day, friend. cynthia

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002


I'd go there if...

I'd go there with you, again.
I could know that forest world, again.
I could find my heart again.
You'd come home and not depart again.
I could trust my dreams again.
You'd found what you had left for,
long ago,
when you said you'd not yet finished
searching, learning, fighting;

And when you said you'd work to do,
and told me you had rather stay,
but couldn't,

(for what called to you
was stronger than the love
that you had grown between us,
stronger than the love
you had allowed between us,
stronger than the love
that we had planned to hold between us
on that somewhen day,
that somewhen life,
that someplace world
where we'd first met and vowed,
but didn't know how
much was soon to come between us)

and still, you told me you were sad,
yet still you left,
and still you're gone,
and still, I wait sometimes -
no, I wait all the time,

I wait all the time.

But I'd go there with you again,

x x x x x x x x x x x x > > ------------- >

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

Would you know of my FAVORITES?

There is more than one response warranted below for the above, but
now I will only speak of favorites...
My favorites are women in the woods gathering healing herbs
as children gather berries of every kind
where no one dares to touch the mushroom.
Snakes are there both friend and foe in shades of copper and bronze
in the dry leaves that never could decide
whether to crunch of float up again.
Textured boulders rise up in piling angular forms
rough stony hides adorned with curling scrubby colors
chartreuse and black and sometimes even orange.
The trees rise up straight muscular fluted grey smooth
like silver pillars in an elven hall
but this is a cathedral.
And branches go go go in all directions
in a frenzy of scattered chaotic but predictable "getting smaller".
Just as twigs are about to disappear into some other dimension
we are redeeemed by leaves.
No ordinary leaves here in my favorites, my favorite.
Thin transparent leaves admit the light and it is changed to green
and then we are in an emerald palace with silver pillars.
You could be there and
I could see you like a fairy there
hiding without intention
one with all that beauty organic
still delicate
you need no elven bow
but bowed lips could shoot arrows to my heart if I was unafraid.
In the darkness
in the shadows
in the folds of moss and fallen leaning stones
I might see a flash that could pierce even emerald light
of diamond from your eyes.
Then the wind would come and toss and turn and throw that forest
canopy and we would wonder
what life was like beyond the shelter of rock and moss and gnarly
rooted bole.
The women and the children fled with basket and sack to homey hearths
were souls and hearts and stomachs wait for satisfaction well assured
and flavors of the forest.
But we'd remain together recognizing forest spirits close at hand
with mingled breath and then
like animals in furs or rustic fabrics all adorned in bronze and gold
that caught the red-gold purple of a setting sun
we'd reach to ground and search
for what those other sturdy folk who loll with stomachs stretched
had missed
and touch the mushroom unafraid.

-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002

Leviathan is not a bear but crocodile.

The bear was my Father's totem and suited him. It does not suit me, despite the fact I do my Elvis impersonation around "Teddy Bear". "Ah doan-nuh wuh-nuh be yo ty-guh, 'cause ty-guhs a-play too a-rough-a, Ah doan-nuh wuh-nuh be yo lion, 'cause lion's not the kiiiind you'll LOVE ENOUGH...".

For me totems come in threes, or herds, or change in changing environments. I have three close to my heart, an aerial, a terrestrial, and a shallow aquatic (Alligator/Crocodile).

Then there are family totems, dream-spirit totems. But my three are those that SPEAK to me.

I have no deep aquatic totem: I would be a stranger there.

Before the age of 8 I had already seen hundreds of alligators, and maybe even a croc or two.

On those long hot Louisiana summer weekends our family whiled away the pleasent hours,particularly on Sundays after church, by driving te backroads. In those days there were reptile gardens everywhere with their silly signs; decidedly low-tech, old peeling plywood sheets, caricatures of snakes coiled and smiley gators nearly always done in shades of white and Empire green there to beckon with an irresistablity to children and an inevitability to parents.

I remember the gators and the reptile smells on humid Sunday afternoons.

Did you know what a GOOD MOTHER madam gator is? And how they sing both male and female in choruses of bellows in the spring for mating?

But I forgot all that, it was so long ago.

But now back south I long to slip a pirouge up the bayou quiet-like and listen for the song of the gator and the bellow of the leviathan.

But that's for shallow water. My partners in conversation in the air and on the land you will not know but you may guess soon enough, and not what you have know before but not to be revealed except in person and in love and woe to those who know but shouldn't.

Until we spread our wings and fly or run through open spaces there is plenty more to say and think and know of gators with their silly smiling faces.

-- Anonymous, June 08, 2002

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