A Recipe for Sanity?

30 Jul
Granada's Catedral de la Anunciación, in which are buried Fernando and Isabella, seen from the Alhambra

Granada’s Catedral de la Anunciación, in which are buried Fernando and Isabella, photographed from the Alhambra

Keep refreshing your perspectives and beliefs – and realize that they will continue (as long as humans continue…) to be changed and refreshed long after you’re gone.

True believers are often more of a threat to a religion than non-believers. Dogmatic belief puts an end to what ought to be an unending conversation.

- James Corse, in a great podcast conversation on religion with David Cayley of  “My Precious” – CBC Radio.

Get rid of or minimize the top-down “civitas” and realize that any value there is will be in  “communitas”: the ongoing community of those who, despite widely differing viewpoints, participate in never-ending seeking.

And a piece of amazing flamenco music to accompany the photo.

The Cockleshell and the Camino

25 Jul
Sewer cover in Arzúa sports the Cockleshell symbol of the Camino Santiago

Sewer cover in Arzúa sports the Cockleshell symbol of the Camino Santiago

Last year in Spain on our Camino Santiago my wife and I noticed that many sewer covers in towns along The Way contained motifs that showed the ancient symbol of the Camino: the cockleshell.

This shape of shell is found on the Atlantic coast beyond Santiago de Compostela. Early on in the 1000 year history of this pilgrimage, pilgrims returning home used the cockleshell as proof that they had completed The Way.

Among the blessings one, whether religious or non-theist, experiences are the reflective walk itself, the ancient architecture, the completely unspoiled countryside in some parts, researching the crazy, sacred HISTORY (omg!), the making of new, lasting friendships and, an unnecessary but wonderful bonus for us, spending tons of quality time preparing for the challenge, sharing the walk and sharing the memories – and talking about our next one!

Check out my posts in my Category, Camino Santiago. They vary from brief to very detailed with lots of photos and tips.

Conflict Near and Far

24 Jul
Cai Be floating market - Mekong Delta - 2008

From my heart to yours… Cai Bé floating market – 2008

I can’t let this lie.

Two tragedies (out of the myriad people on our planet suffer regularly) stand out in my mind and grieve my heart:

Gaza and Malaysia Flight MH17.

Many others exist, but these two are the worst for me because they involve unimaginable grief and they fuel the fires of long-standing hatreds. An earthquake or flood can bring people together. These two drive people apart.

Both involve bad political decisions made in the 20th century and both are being used in the 21st century to fan the flames across these two centuries.

I cannot bear to watch coverage of these events because I am acutely aware of the way all mainstream media, including my once-preciously-impartial-and-fairly accurate CBC, are being used and/or intimidated to further the goals of the new set of global conflicts in which Our Side are always the good guys and Their Side are invariably wearing the feathered headdresses or black cowboy hats.

So I write what I consider to be the brutal, unvarnished “truth.” After five decades of travel (In September 1965 at 20 I began a two-year volunteer teaching assignment in the West Indies),  observing world politics  and studying alternative and mainstream news sources I can fool myself into fervently believing that I “get it” – not all of it, but the “broad strokes” at least.

The process of writing my “truth” is cathartic for me. I’m a mess after simply glancing at the present media circus.

Then I reconsider what effect my blunt, certain-to-be-misunderstood-by-many “truth-telling” will have on my ability to continue to do the other things I love that make a real differences to a limited number of very important people.

And I take the post down and pick up the guitar.

Oneness Does Not Apply To Borders

16 Jul
Wall of Beynac Castle in the Dordogne, France

Wall of Beynac Castle in the Dordogne, France – a border of sorts…

Very few countries today can say that they are one nation.

So many parts of our world have been screwed up by colonists creating “imaginary” boundaries that make no ethnic, linguistic or historical sense. Africa’s horrors have much to do with that.

Canada’s First Nations have been shamefully hard done by – experiencing a long, drawn out “drip drip drip” of painstaking genocide masquerading as “civilizing” missionary work combined with fraudulent treaties and the outright takeover or pollution of unceded land. Countries that simply exterminated their First Nations or chased them into neighbouring lands  stand out, but I am not sure which process is more cruel.

A Honduran child fleeing horrid local violence who ends up facing foreign persecution enroute northward to “safety” would not consider Central or North American borders imaginary.

Occasionally when one is traveling between culturally close countries with the same language the impression is received that the border is imaginary because the people seem the same and the neighbourhoods are similar. A naive visitor might make this mistake.

I remember a taxi ride in Caracas during the unrest in late 1966. Our small group – a few Canadians headed for a nightclub – was stopped. A policeman shoved a machine gun through the window and suggested, “Passaportes, por favór.” Glad we had ‘em with us, like good foreigners.

In southern Ecuador in September, 1967 the group I was traveling with were forced to stay overnight in Huaquillas, a small border town, after entering from Peru. We strolled around the main square after eating supper and I took a photo of a statue dedicated to the Friendship of the People of Ecuador and Peru. Apparently there had been a “falling out” and a policeman took my camera, removing the film. Luckily I got the camera back.

These are minor things beside the very real problems people displaced (by those who disregard borders and land rights) and people-on-arbitrary-lists have, but they point out that borders (even arbitrary ones) exist and are something with which one should not trifle.

Or romanticize.

Geese Are Evolving Fast

12 Jul

20140712-085346.jpg

Signs that geese are becoming more human… This one obviously smoked while it shat. One for the Journal of Evolutionary Science. Audubon also needs to be updated.

A walk through Our Woods is rarely dull… and frequently treacherous.

Fire and Ice

11 Jul
Twillingate June 12, 2014

Twillingate June 12, 2014

Winning the Arms Race

7 Jul

It’s easy to become cynical these days.
Agree with the post (link below) that states the obvious: all H. sapiens will be losers in a nuclear war.
Made me wonder: Can there be a bright side for other forms of life?

My comment on the petition appeal below:

Can nuke war have a winner?…. Maybe some new life form that metabolizes Strontium 90. A chance to “start over?” I know. Not funny, but it keeps my blood, albeit temporarily, from vapourizing…

Then, for what it’s worth, I signed it.

The petition:

https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=331143776962795

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