This morning I beat the heat out of the house so my little dog Sweetpea could go with me.
We drove to Coburg Oregon (a quaint little town, known for its antiques), but I wasn’t there for its antiques, I was there for plants. Johnson’s Nursery, one of the largest in the vicinity, exists right outside the town. A couple of weeks ago I had, with my grandson, seen a half dozen evergreen Clematis vines, and thought that one would look good on the arbor that with a little luck will, sometime in the future, exist in our front yard.
Only one of the large evergreen Chemantis that I wanted, was left. I debated. It cost the price of a half dozen plants, so I moved on down the line and stopped at male Kiwi plant. It was lovely. They vine, it would go over the arbor--but male, “For pollinating use only,” it said. So I looked for a female Kiwi companion
And found one.
I put her aside and then questioned if she was the best one and pulled out another.
I felt a deep sadness coming from the first.
I felt so bad I had rejected the one who chose me, that I set back the second plant, and bought the first--along with her pollinating companion, of course.
I’ve been doing a lot of communing with plants this summer, planting, talking to them, watching the garden grow, sitting under the tree in the backyard. I'm sure your have noticed how every single leaf arranges itself to make maximum use of the sunlight. Yes, but isn't it magnificent? One day I watched the leaves of the tree sway with the breeze. All swayed but one single leaf. That leaf that was doing a Sufi dance—spinning like a child’s windmill —dancing to the tune of the wind.
Last night I listened to Joseph Campbell—the real Hero with a Thousand Faces guy interviewed by Bill Moyers on Netflix.
Campbell described what scientists would describe as phototropism where a plant turns its head to follow the sun.
He described that as having consciousness.
In college, they had a long lengthy explanation that describes that phenomenon of the plant turning toward the sun. Chemicals called auxims, cause cells to elongate on the side farthest from the light—they create proton pumps which decrease the PH in the cells on the dark side of the plant, then there are enzymes that break down the cell wall structure so the plant can turn. Or some say there are motor cells that shrink or enlarge as they absorb water.
Someone, somewhere, could describe almost every aspect of our lives, too, as a chemical reaction, enzymes, hormones, stimulus-response, built in DNA coding, those sorts of physical, chemical processes.
However, we aren’t limited by the descriptions placed on us.
We have a consciousness, and according to Campbell, so do plants.
No one has yet to determine the “Spark of Life.”
Let’s all jump on buses, party hardy all the way to Mexico, thousands of buses, school buses, greyhounds, private vehicles—might have to throw some trains in the mix, that’s how I envision it.
When we get there, there will be no stopping us. We’re jazzed. We’re ready to take no prisoners. We’re citizens and we aren’t going to allow this action anymore. No child will be separated from their parents on our watch.
Yes and save your tickets, and your gas stubs, and send them to the White House. They won’t pay them, of course, but it will create a mess for them to clean up the way we need to clean up theirs.
Hey, we’re trying to run our lives here, clean up our act, become successful, happy individuals, and you keep throwing a monkey wrench into the mix. Shame on you.
On the day after Trump’s inauguration, almost three million people marched in protest of his election. It was triple the size of his inauguration crowd.
A lot of good it did.
Protests do work. But boy, they takes guts and tenacity by many people.
Since the 60”s, I’ve had the privilege to see this:
I get teary-eyed remembering this event:
May 25, 1986
Our family jumped on a bus with a load of other lively souls, and were driven out to the desert of Southern California where we joined hands with millions of other Americans to form a chain across America.
“We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving.”
Hells Angels and nuns, Elvis Impersonators, Abraham Impersonators all stood together as one. And I read that to fill some of the gaps; farmers had their cattle stand hoof-to-hoof.
WE ARE A GOOD GROUP OF PEOPLE!
Hands Across America, 1986
“I never thought I would live this long,” June says.
Two days ago June celebrated her 95th birthday.
I say “It’s because you appreciate life.”
But does she listen to me?
“I did all the things wrong,” she says. “I drank too much, smoked too much.”
But that was then. Not now.
June ’s mother died at age 26 leaving June and her brother with a father who couldn’t manage two children, and so he shuffled them off to relatives.
June suspects that her mother died of an insulin shock as June developed diabetes at around that same age and has managed it without insulin ever since. He mother had gone to the movies, came home, lie down and died.
When June ended up with a fanatical Christian Aunt who thought that a girl who “saw things” was demented, June petitioned the court, “Your honor,” she said, “ I can choose where I live can’t I?”
With a nod from the judge, June ended up in a girl’s school.
Once grown, June joined the WACS— The WWII Women's Army Corps—where she met Howie, the pilot of her dreams.
When he proposed she said, “But I can’t marry you, I won’t live long.” (Thinking she would follow her in her mother’s footsteps.)
“So?” he says.
“We have insanity in the family.”
“Yeah, so does mine.”
“We have alcoholics.”
That was it, a life partner. They went to college together; she practiced her art—for she had always wanted to be an artist, and now she was happily married to a man who said, “Your job is to paint, not to clean the house.”
Eight years later his plane went down on a routine maneuver. Another pilot from an accompanying plane testified that he saw Howie slumped over and that he didn’t respond to radio signals. The plane crashed.
When two men in official uniform appeared at June’s door she knew why they were there, and they had to run her down to tell her.
Thus began June’s downward spiral of drinking.
But she got over it.
She studied art on hillsides with famous painters, she traveled, she had many loves, but none stuck until last year after she entered a retirement facility—a place she said she would never go. By a stroke of serendipity she fell in love with a widower named Christian. She and Christian were blissfully happy. He even said that after the first of the year they were getting “hitched,”
Except, he peacefully passed away the end of December.
Did June have a life without struggles?
But you would be hard-pressed to find a more upbeat person then June.
When I set off for her birthday party, my daughter said, “Have fun with June.”
“I said, “One always has fun with June.”
When I hear Abraham talk about one’s true self, I think of June. She knows who she is. Abraham says that when we feel that disconnect when we have been angry, or out of sorts, when we have been critical, and we feel less-than-honorable, less than a loving individual; we are disconnected from Source.
We came here to be on the leading edge, to create, to dream, to find the juice of life. Shit does happen, but you rally, as did June. She genuinely likes people, and tells herself, “I am friendly,” and people respond in kind.
Think about a baby smiling that pure joy in being alive. That was you once.
When I talk about Food for the Soul (aka Brunch), I mean feeding the spirit within. Find that moment of joy. Be grateful. Look out there at our beautiful world.
You have probably heard the story of two Native American braves that saw two dogs fighting.
“Which dog will win?” asks one.
“The one we feed,” says the other.
Painting by June Walton
Bad photo by me.