"Spin" in aviation training: a "stall" or loss of lift, a subsequent nose-down spin, the specific actions required for recovery, and the feeling, after recovery, that you could tackle absolutely anything!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Check In

It's been a strange year. It's been tough to navigate between wanting to holler in the streets, or do my best to find normalcy at home. Things aren't normal, though. I can't fool myself into believing that they are. The people who have managed to do this are sleepwalking. You can tell by the look in their eyes. Go ahead, they're so beyond sensation that I'm sure you could draw on their faces and they wouldn't notice. 

What does it mean to you to be human? Remind yourself that this planet that we are screwing does not need us. It is only other humans that need us. This, on paper, seems simple, but it's not. We've made things almost ridiculous for ourselves with bogus frameworks that don't serve us but we are too timid to let go. Figure out your connection to the earth and each other. Find your music and share it. 

Try harder to be loving. Keep trying until you get there. I'm not talking about just being nice; I'm talking about being authentic in your boots and loving your fellow human. Family, of course, is important, but not at the cost of being
anaesthetized to the rest of the world. When you find yourself standing next to someone who folds their arms, shrugs their shoulders and says, "Well, there's not much we can do," take that as your cue, because that complicity is how we got into this mess. 

The scenario that drives me nuts is the idea that "those people have chosen to have that experience." If that's the case, then YOU have chosen to have the experience wherein you are a witness. You have chosen to be put in the position of having to make a choice about how you react. 

Are you going to do nothing?  Seriously?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sound Track

It's raining. I can hear it. I am listening, drawn to its perfect noise, like the sound track to a film noir movie. This rain, it slaps agains the paving stones underneath the downspout like a hand clap. It moves against the trees and the side of the building like pin-filled waves. It falls and drips over the yard light like honey. There is no law, no amendment for it. This rain follows no party, has no allegiance. It does not care for you. 

But that's a lie. 

Really, that is a lie.

Sunday, 20 November 2016


The wind rides through like a gang of 
Sharp thieves, shaking down the trees.

"Turn yer pockets out."

It blisters across the lawns,
Through the summer furniture left out,
Chairs upturned as if guests left in a hurry,
Noses into the corners and slides through the Fence,

Thorough, like a shadow.

It reeks of brittle edge,
Unrolls blankets of harsh change toward winter.

"Ain't to be trifled with."

Spends the day, hollerin' 'n spittin', 
Stuffing treasured remnants of the warm fall in 
Saddle bags, under hats, in torn pockets.

Someone, it's the grocer's kid, 
Hauls off on a green-broke mare,
Undetected, out the back lane,
No saddle and a quick-made bosal,

Hell-bent to summon spring.

Friday, 18 November 2016

 This Pause

There is poetry in us. All of us. It waits, gently biding its time, woven deep throughout the lengthening tapestry of our days, fuelled by our subtle senses that guide us along our human struggle. Then, a connection is made; there is a realization, an understanding, and up it comes in a moment. The format; size and shape is boundless, big as human thought. Over the last few years, I've found this source in Charlotte Hale's Gallery in Mirvish Village in Toronto. The gallery closed November 1st, a casualty of the coming Mirvish Village Development. In this ending I pause, and consider the shape of what was.

Charlotte Hale's Gallery (Charlotte Hale & Associates), 588 Markham Street, opened in December of 2013. Charlotte welcomed both world renowned, and new, emerging artists to come and hang their work on her gallery walls. She was focused and stubborn in her belief that good art was important and that there had to be a way to get this message across. There had to be a way, even in these difficult times, to gently rouse the general public to the sensuality of art; its ability to access the human heart and soul if allowed; to rouse the public to art's emotional power; a catalyst for drawing out something remarkable inside the viewer as they take part in the process simply by looking. She wasn't selling widgets. Charlotte was, in a way, trying to match people up with a different paradigm through sculpture, photography, and painting. An Herculean task. It was difficult.

But magic did happened as people came, both visitors, and regulars from the neighbourhood, and found themselves forming solid bonds with each other. For me, it was the conversations around the art that opened me up. It was the delight in meeting a new face that turned into a good friend. It was the joy in seeing the joy in another as we ran into each other. It was having the chance to interview so many in the Village for Gerald Pisarzowski's, The Mirvish Village People, and through that, to realize just how special the entire neighbourhood was.

I don't think I took it for granted. Charlotte and I often spoke about how wonderful Mirvish Village was, powered as it was by the artists and business owners: some eccentric, many charming, all unique. I felt, for the time that I was involved with the gallery, that I belonged. I felt I had earned my place there on my own merits,

... and, baby, it had been a long time since I had felt that.

I am sad that Charlotte's gallery is closed. I am sad that Mirvish Village, a thriving, vibrant artistic neighbourhood is being dumped for another tedious condo. But if this is the way things must go, I am, at least, tremendously grateful to have been a part of it. I have Charlotte, and a cadre of the loveliest people as my dear friends. They have all added their poetry to my tapestry, and it is lovely. 

In this pause, I think I am lucky, indeed.

Friday, 11 November 2016


I went to the Uxbridge Cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremony today. I admit that I had not gone for several years for the simple reason that it makes me cry. I don't mean, shedding a simple tear, but rather, sobbing; shoulders going, the whole thing. And it was always embarrassing because nobody else ever seemed to fall apart like me. But today I went because damn it it's been a terrible week and it was time for me to show up. 

I'm standing on the outer apron of the crowd and the ceremony starts. There are bagpipes and the trumpet(I managed, somehow to hold it together), and speeches and the poem. All the while I notice that the traffic lights, two sets of which I can clearly see, are working as if everything is normal. The road lights change from yellow, to red, to green, and there is the added arrow for the advanced green. For pedestrians, the crosswalk sign blinks up the all-powerful pixilated hand to dissuade anyone from crossing the road, then signals the all-clear with an outline of a walking human, a kind of nod to the Lite-Brite days. For extra safety, this screen switches to display the time you have left if you are making the journey across the road, or considering it.

All of this is choreographed to move travellers through the intersection without incident, like an intricate dance. 

I stood there, watching the lights change, while listening to names being read out of soldiers who died in battle, meanwhile a bright sun, with warmth blazing through the cool November wind, warmed my face. I felt to be a human walking on the earth and the very idea, that there is


 seemed abstract and ridiculous... 

...because it's completely unnecessary.

 It is only because of arrogance that battles are fought. It is only a dictator flouting an ideology that suppresses or threatens others that sends the troops into battle. Some arrogant fuck-head widens the gap of inequality somewhere, because he's corrupt, insecure, or a posturing fuck-head with an overdeveloped reptilian brain and you have trouble. 

Initially, I was going to write,

Wouldn't it be nice to have traffic indictors guiding us in the rest of our lives,

but it dawned on me that that was not right. That was, in fact, the problem; the desire to wait for external indicators, for someone else to lead the charge. If, in our daily lives, we continue to stand around waiting for lagging signals from outside, we are lost, I feel. We have the ability to be tapped-in and guided by our own guts, our own hearts. When you see that your neighbour has no food or water and is living in a cardboard box,

                                                YOU KNOW.

You can sense that it's not right. You feel it inside. You don't need someone to tell you. You don't need a permit to help that person out. Or if that fuck head down the road decides to run for office and he hates everything and wants to pave the children,




Life is hard, and it can also be glorious. I believe that the truly glorious part comes when we connect with each other in an authentic, beautiful way, organically, without having to wait for lights.

Right now, there is an enormous fuck head in our midst. There is no other poetically perfect phrase for him. I believe that now is the time for all of us to show up, and piss him off by loving each other fiercely, no matter what. You know that's right. I know you can sense it. 

It's been a long, terrible, jarring week, and,

I love you.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Processing Standing Rock and Trump

My experience in the Standing Rock Solidarity March was profound. It solidified the concept of community and the need for agency. It helped me to see hope. It helped me to feel that we can make headway. And I am no longer hesitant or squeamish about saying that we must


That used to make me uncomfortable.

 Used to.

Three days after the march, Trump wins the U.S. Presidential election and hate is back in style. Many of the civil rights milestones that we thought, or assumed, were set deep into the American foundation are at risk of being dislodged and laid bare, again.

But I'm in Canada. Why should I care? 

Not only because there are many Americans down there that I love dearly, but because I can feel the shudder of vitriol, like a razor-sharp wave passing easily over the border: We are compadres, them and us; with the whole world, actually. The results of this election felt similar to narrowly evading an attacker: It was traumatic. And I was left feeling that things will never be the same. I felt the need to fight to get my balance back, my calmness, my  belief in my place in all of this. I felt sick.

Trump is NOT what this world needs right now. 

We do NOT need to go back to an ice-cold,  judgementally fear-based agenda hell-bent on insular, non-inclusive attitudes towards


What we need is to be able to fiercely and energetically continue, and ramp-up, the discussions that were already underway, together; to re-set and expand on the liberal democracy that allows for the potential of tremendous human potential.  To work towards a more inclusive, greener framework that allows space for everyone to contribute to defining and solving the difficulties of managing our changing, shifting societal landscape. Its intent is equality instead of stratification. It does not support any ideas of suppression or arrogant belittling of any sector of the population. Such behaviour is juvenile and non-productive. Such is the behaviour of a stump-dumb bully. Or bullies.

I'm not denying the fact that there were problems. Absolutely not. The treatment of blacks by the police, the gun lobby, jobs, and the handling of refugees are just part of the list. 



...but TRUMP? 

Why would anyone want to go backwards? Why would we want stop-and-frisk to become constitutional? Or Roe Vrs. Wade to be repealed? Or climate change to be denied? Or...the gun lobby?  Think about this. The only reasons I can come up with are fear and ignorance 2.O. 

But here we are.

Now what do we do?

Well, get your cleats on.
Be fierce. 
Learn the facts. 
Get elected. 
Make the speech. 
Confront the tyrant. 
Embrace your family, AND your neighbours. 

Never assume, ever again,

 and be mindfully loving...  


Oh and in case you need a little refresher? 
Article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

"All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights."

Article 2:

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."

That is all. Now, get to it.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Standing Rock: The End of Complicity? 

 Chief Stacey LaForme, Mississauga's of the New
Credit First Nation.  Photo: John Davidson, 2016

I attended Toronto's Standing Up with Standing Rock: Solidarity March on November 5th. I was not sure what to expect. I had been following the North Dakota Access Pipeline Protest (NDAPL) on social media (because mainstream media coverage has been shamefully timid) and felt moved to participate in this march. 

I mean really moved. Like I could not look at myself in the mirror if I didn't attend.

The march, along with others throughout North America, was organized to peacefully support the Sioux Nation in North Dakota, joined now by tribes from around the world, protesting Energy Transfer's pipeline as it threatens to bludgeon its way, uninvited, through native treaty lands including sacred burial sites and then under the Missouri River, the community's water source. The appalling behaviour of the militarized police force-on-steroids against the peaceful, prayerful efforts of the native community to simply protect its water and sacred sites, is mind boggling. 

The fact that the pipeline route was shifted from the mostly-white town of Bismarck, due to their concerns about potential pipeline leaks, to the Dakota Access land is brazenly insulting and racist.



So, yes, I wanted to show my support because I can't stand this anymore.

                                                     Photo: John Davidson, 2016

My photographer friend and I showed up an hour early for the event and were worried that attendance might be slim. By the time the event started, there was little room to maneuver. There was a significant gathering estimated at close to four-thousand people; a vibrant show of support.

                 Suzanne Smoke. Sinew Kwe, Golden Eagle Woman,
                                Medicine Clan from Alderville First Nation, Mississauga's
                                of Rice Lake.   
                                                                   Photo: John Davidson, 2016

Several speakers opened the event. They spoke of the fact that this march was not about hate, but only love. 

"This march is peaceful. It's going to exude so much love!" ~Elder Pauline Shirt, of the Plains Cree, Red-Tail Hawk Clan. 

There were descriptions of the ties and responsibility that we all have to the water and the earth. There was a speech about the power and importance of women and their likeness to mother earth. There was a poem about the sacred trust that is our treaty to care for the planet. And there was continuous praise for the Water Protectors, the natives facing the police and enduring at Standing Rock.

There was the smell of sage burning, and the heart-thumping sounds of the drummers on their own and with song.

                                    Elders, including Pauline Shirt of Plains Cree, Red-
                                    Tail Hawk Clan, supporter of Toronto Aboriginal 

                                                         Photo: John Davidson, 2016

The march began, led by a group of elders. I was helping my photographer friend shoot without bumping into people so I got to watch from the sidelines. I saw a strong native community woven among others of all colours and persuasions. There were children. There were grandparents. There were homemade, and printed signs. There were drums and rattles. There was sage. And hope...

                                                        Photo: John Davidson, 2016

To say that this Toronto march was a peaceful event is like saying that Louis Armstrong was entertaining; it falls anemically short. From the opening speaker to the final circle dance at Nathan Phillips Square, I felt a powerful, almost overwhelming positive energy...

                                                         Photo: John Davidson, 2016

                              Love, really.

I joined the circle dance at the square. This involved a line of people holding hands that was so long, it circled the square twice. We moved to the sounds of the drummers. I didn't know my hand-mates, but we talked as if we were friends. We talked about how powerful the drumming was. We smiled. We hooted and clapped as the circle drew tighter around the centre. I felt energized and more emotionally in-tune than I have in a long time. You get that many people together, opening their hearts and praying for change, and it's probably difficult to avoid such a feeling.

                                                             Photo: John Davidson, 2016

The oppression that the native community has had to endure is unforgivable, here in Canada as well as, well, the world-over, and yet...AND YET, its members are graciously confronting the intrusion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, 

the Black Snake, 

with non-violence. This show of bravery and dedication to the earth, contrasted with the line of police-thugs who are intimidating and harming on behalf of a private oil company, illustrates clearly how bad things have become. 

                                                           Photo: John Davidson, 2016

If we are smart, we will join in and take the native lead, making our water and the earth our priority over irresponsible extraction and greed. I see this as the only possibility we have of leaving a habitable, beautiful planet for our children.

Loretta McDonald, Charlotte Hale

Photo: John Davidson, 2016



I hope this is the beginning of change; the end of complicity. 

                                                 Gwendolyn Grey: Water Lady

                                                                       Photo: John Davidson, 2016

I hope this is the beginning of a wave of shifting ideology about what it means to be a human on this planet.

                                              Loretta McDonald
                      Photo: John Davidson, 2016



                                  I hope. 

I was honoured to be a part of the Standing Rock Solidarity March and I support NDAPL. I want change.

Friday, 30 September 2016


All at once, I peel my shoulders from the sky and let go. I feel that I have come far enough, been around long enough that I should have some idea, an inkling of what kind of vector I am on. I am only puzzled. I inflate my ribcage and allow myself the luxury of softness, as if I have stepped off the pitch; I'm out of the game for the moment. Swing arms, shoot hip, let head fall back.


Is this the thing? Aristotle's idea of living a happy, flourishing life. Do people do this? Now? It sounds to me like mirrored days of planting velvet-petaled violets in clay pots, crossing the road to get the letters from the mailbox, then humming some phrase while angels settle along the garden path, drowsy from all that glory.


How does this work? How do I sort out all of the causes, or, have none? How do I tell myself, "Oh, they have chosen to have that experience," and believe it? The children in the rubble. You, tossing your fast-food garbage into the ditch. Both lie there, the child, the garbage, until someone does something. Both are the result of a decision: Synapse and the tensing, flexing of muscle wound and nourished by free will.

Look away. There is nothing you can do. Clap your hands.


Existence precedes essence, Sartre says. I am born. I am. My parents hand me back and forth and hope that I don't notice, but I see everything. It 's all processed and stored and informs every single thing that I do now. Thanks a heap. 'Showin' up. If you say that I have chosen this experience, I will step back onto the pitch  and run at you, cleats blasting chunks of Earth behind me, and you and I will fall to the ground and sort this out. Angels cheering on the sidelines. Ump throws a card.


When does this happen? Is this a goal to work towards, so far off?  I am fiercely authentic now; passionate and vulnerable as hell. I have tried to pretend but I'm a shitty actor( I no longer give a royal fuck about that). It seems that all of my effort has come to a screeching halt, and in my exhaustion there are no arms to fall into. There is no grace. I feel that I move as a freak, jostled and pushed by legions feigning normalcy while the Earth herself wonders if we even notice that she spins.


What about agency? Is agency only for getting the most out of your portfolio? Is it? Does this kind of agency help us to flourish? I want to make a difference. If you tell me to just go out there and make someone smile, I will take another run at you. I will ground you into the soft Earth enough so that when you get up, you will have grit in your teeth. Her grit. Spit.

We are all in this together. Arrogant to judge worthy/unworthy, but you do, and then go about your day revelling in your triumphant seizing of a fantastic deal on Triscuits and paper towels.

Believe me, I don't want this. I would rather oblivion than this awareness. I want to pot violets all day and watch the angels.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Classical Notes of Love and Living

In all of this lunacy, global vitriol and push, in the wake of senseless tragedies and the signs of a world spinning, spinning, ready to tip, I am distracted. I feel lost, until I find myself sitting with my friend, Diane Tait, on the floor in her house, listening to a recording of her playing Brahms Violin Concerto for a recital. She played it, years ago, backed by members of the Rochester Philharmonic. She worked on it, practiced, sweated, swore, for two years before this performance to get it just right; the nuance, the power, the emotion. She talked me through parts of it, told me how nervous she was in places. 

I was completely blown away. 

I had seen Diane play before she retired as Assistant Concertmaster for the Canadian Opera Company, but this is different. These are her notes, her interpretation of Brahms work as the focal point of the performance. I am moved, find myself welling up several times, not the least is because the music itself is tremendous, powerful, but also because, there she is! The musician is sitting right there, on the floor beside me! She is the one who was making those beautiful sounds. We talk about what it was like, in her twenties, to be working so hard, practicing for hours and hours, every day, learning, studying. 

To be that dedicated…

To something so beautiful…

I love classical music. We had it playing in the house a bit when I was a kid. I don't think I loved it then. My fondness for it came on gradually, as I grew into adulthood and went through the emotional highs and challenges that come with life. Once I got to the point where I could let myself be completely vulnerable, I began to connect with it. Pieces became sacred for me; entwined with instances of utter joy, catalysts for deeper, more profound emotions, the spark of bliss, or the sublime, almost unbearable pain of heartbreak. Through all of this, I began to know myself. I found my soul, my true soul as if it was waiting for me. My life became an adventure; thrilling to realize the capacity to connect with people on a deeper level, to know another's soul. To stop apologizing and trying to fit in, because the soul is where truth lives. Any charades crumble and fall away.

Diane's notes brought me back to that. Reminded me of the wonderful power of classical music, an art that is absolutely necessary for the nurturing of our humanity. We need more of it right now. We need to reacquaint with our essence, our soul, and live vibrant, connected lives, full of passion and grace instead of fear. 

Otherwise, why bother?

Classical music is essential.


Thank you Diane! Thank you.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Give Yourself a Break

Let your edges fall away in this warm summer wind.
Sigh into the sublime secret that is you, and
Hear the world whisper its love.
Let your shoulders drop as your loneliness blooms into the deepest connection of all things;
Earth to Pleaides and all between.
No need for the clarion call, you are
The very treasure this wind seeks.
Sometimes, you just need to be reminded of this.

Saturday, 9 July 2016


There is a curious tree I found; a maple, rooted into the gently sloping lawn of the Uxbridge Quaker Meeting House. The tree must be at least 150 years old, judging from its circumference and height. Its leaves, and those of its neighbours, make an impressive canopy, volleying the hot sun's rays up top to maintain shaded cool underneath. Today, there is a light, sensual breeze from the west, rolling along the meeting house lawn, flinging perfume from the hay fields and the fence-line forest that it tripped through on its approach. I sit on the porch steps, thinking and trying to come to terms with myself, when I notice that the great trunk of the tree appears to be twisted. It is as if a great hand reached down and gave the tree a clockwise quarter turn giving its outer bark the unmistakably ropey look of a twisted towel or a whip of licorice.

I have never seen anything like this. I imagine the tree has weathered 150 years of storms, gust fronts, and all of the daily winds that have pushed against it, stressing it at the perfect angle to give it this unique texture. Remarkable tree. Its trunk is mighty and straight; twisted, but not bowed or bent. 


I wonder, when the tree was a freshly planted sapling, did it know what was coming? Did it set its roots in deep in wise preparation before shooting upward? Was it sifting out subtle waves of indifference, complicity, and arrogance in the air before its very first fall, and therefore nonplussed with each added ring?

I wonder. I'm having a hard enough time grokking existence, especially if it means repeating the unnecessary loops of insanity mankind seems keen for. 

Blah, blah, blah…oh give me strength...

Image result for eye rolling



Image result for coffee





There. That feels better.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

No Big Deal

I am shocked, I think. Stunned at least. I know I can overreact at times, so I'm trying to take what I just witnessed and consider that there may be a story that I am not aware of. Perhaps. Perhaps.

June 28th, just after 1pm, I drive my van, loaded with my bike and bunch of my gear, on my way to house sitting for friends. I drive through a lovely part of the world, north east of Toronto. It is full of lush green fields that appear to be draped over hills and ravines like carpets held in place by trees and farm fences. It's beautiful. At least, I think it is. I turn east off of Brock Road, onto the 9th Concession. I look in my rearview mirror and see a small, dark blue car, possibly 50 meters behind me. I notice the driver put her hand out the window and throw some white things out over the roof so they land on the shoulder of the road. I can't believe it. I pull over, roll down my window and make the universal, What the hell was that? motion with my hands. She sees me, slows and stops. I pull up beside her and we speak through her open passenger-side window. 

She is young, a line of two or three lip piercings on her lower left lip. She is dressed in scrubs. She is defensive and portrays as being justified in her actions. 

"Do you even know what it was?" she says.

She leaves. I go back to look.

Latex gloves. She threw latex gloves out of her car window. She threw them as if she was scattering petals of daisies. 

Friday, 10 June 2016


There is a copse of trees on the west side of this house between the deck and the rail fence that delineates the property line. There are several impressive spruce trees, white pines, and a couple significant maples, all in and around three stories high. It's a nice mini-forest and is home to the predictable cadre of southern Ontario fauna. The trees shade the house late in the afternoon and a small fish pond tucked deeper in beyond the deck. Normally, when the wind is light, you might not notice the trees, at least in particular, but yesterday, when the wind was fierce and relentless, the trees were, for me in my own little mind, quite entertaining.

Up front here, we have the spruce trees stage left, and the white pines more central and stage right. The maples, the only deciduous in the bunch, are in the back. The maples are fully leafed out. I can see their tops between the pyramidical shapes of the pines and the spruces. The pines are the least impressive of the bunch. Their needles are more sparsely arrayed, possibly due to these trees being shaded by a manitoba maple from next door. Fucker. But the spruces! These spruces are something. They stand like grand ladies gathering around the martini table while the rest of the world suffers under prohibition. It is as if their arms, shoulders, necks, are dripping with green, lush ermines and heavy lace. The wind made the party go, and the spruces waved and twisted with passion and elegance, and a touch of being totally  blasted. The pines were, well, perhaps the pines were handling catering. They hardly moved at all. Their sparse regalia, inept at catching the wind, left them the dullards of the fĂȘte. The maples in back? The maples were insane. Their leaves were catching all of the wind. They looked to be on acid, or red twizzlers at least. You know those party stories where so-and-so danced on the table with a soup terrine? Maples. Bending and twisting like crazy. 

The party went on for most of the day. The pines served, cleared tables, and sucked their teeth at the behavior of the guests. The spruces swayed and shimmied like kept women of the 1920's on a tear. And the maples never missed a beat, twisting back up when you thought for sure that they were down, or done.  The funny thing is that today, things in the copse are quiet; hangover quiet. Nobody is moving. Nobody is admitting to any questionable behavior, and nobody is looking at the white pines. Fucking white pines, standing there with a, Well of course you have a headache. What did you think was going to happen? You disgust me. All of you.

The maples are quiet and would like it very much if you could ask those birds to pipe down. The white pines have an unmistakable air of prickish righteousness about them. The spruces are as stately as ever. Their rich, lustrous branches hang with the vibrancy of jazz, and an unapologetic joie de vivre... But daaaling, if you wouldn't mind getting me a glass of seltzer, I would be much obliged.

Friday, 27 May 2016


The more I learn about what we are made of (humans), the more ridiculous being human seems to be. I shouldn't limit this to humans. The very essence of matter; this computer, airplanes, that shirt you are wearing, is all the same: Proton's with two up quarks and one down quark. Oh there's more, but for the sake of this argument, quarks will do. 

Quarks. Your shirt. 

I'm sure that it's a nice shirt. The curious detail is that the quarks in your shirt are the same as the quarks in the plastic jug that a woman uses to haul water in any drought-stricken region of Africa, and the same as the quarks in the diamond-encrusted second-hand of the fancy watch that any of the one-percent wears. Your shirt, and you, are composed of the same quarks as the staff of Doctors without Borders, and Beyonce, and as hard as this may be to believe, Donald Trump. 

So what?

Well, this is what: I don't think we are getting it. I think this kind of revelation is inconvenient for many because it means that their oppression is pointless. We all have the same quarks in our beating hearts. Yet, when I consider the daily news and the threads of history, I see the same insanity repeating itself: war, poverty, and struggle. Life shouldn't be this hard. How is it that in 2016 there are still so many without access to excellent education? How is it that anyone is without food? How is it that we have let the population get so out of control when all we have is this one planet? 

This is nuts. This is unsustainable and unnecessary. All of this suffering is unnecessary and that's the part that makes me angry. 


I would like to believe that we could change our paradigm to something more compassionate and sustainable. I would love to believe this, but change of this sort would mean a zeitgeist eagerness toward a completely new framework of what it means to be human on this planet. This would mean, taking our quarks and unsticking from these tiresome, convenient loops that no longer serve us. Frankly, I'm not sure if humans are up to the task though I would love to be proved wrong.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


I just finished reading Lisa Randall's, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs. It blew my mind. I've always had a thing for the sky. When I look up at the moon, it's as if I'm seeing a wink from some offstage director telling me it's okay. It resets me. Perhaps it's the moon's clear reminder that I'm living on a planet that helps, and the central thread through this, the need for a reset is that the shenanigans that we're navigating here on earth are all man made.

Randall, in her book, gives us a thorough illustration of the universe with the intent to figure out the origin of the meteoroid (meteor is the streak of light) that caused the dinosaur extinction.  The idea is to take the data of the impact that happened (Chicxulub, Mexico) 66 million years ago, plus the previous four major impacts, and try to develop some kind of periodicity. Can we predict when the next one is coming? All this was fine, but I must admit, while reading the book I kept shaking my head, marveling at how vast the universe is. 

Wait. That's not right. We're not talking about a mall parking lot. How fucking vast, is better.

Consider the Oort cloud. Instead of water droplets, the Oort cloud is full of small, soon-to-be planets (planetesimals), in a bazillion years or so, and relatively established minor planets. The inner border of this cloud is anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 AU from the sun, and the outer border is around 270,000 AU further. 

AU stands for astronomical unit which is basically the distance between the earth and the sun. The measurement is, 149, 597, 870.7 kilometers. Off you go and do the math! 

                            Image result for car in parking lot

You will never find where you parked your car.

Let's now consider power: Chunks of rock hurtling to earth at speeds around 13k/s, and exploding with the power of two megatons of TNT, or 100 kilotons. Or 200 kilotons. Some hit. Some explode above the surface. All of them cause some serious redecorating.  How about the solar wind? This is no refreshing breeze. This is magnetism streaming off of the sun at 400 k/s. This is too much. You can't even grok this because right now, you're picturing Wiley Coyote struggling to nail the Roadrunner with a couple sticks of dynamite and a push box. The scale is just too big. But it's real. So try.

Now, if your head has not already exploded, consider dark matter. If you can. Because we don't know what it is. Randall admits that there is a lot of it but we can't see it. We can't seem to peg it with our current, anthropic methods. There are theories, but that's all. So think outside the box: It could be God. It could be thought. It could be Nutella. I like the fact that right now, dark matter is nothing but possibility. It's humbling. When I think about it, most scientists are humble. The reason that they're scientists is because they are fascinated by it all. It's the rest of us that need to be reminded of the pure bigiosity of the universe. Perhaps if we were able to take it seriously, we would not be in this climate change predicament. We would get that we are a part of it, connected.
Perhaps we would not be living under this obsolete, ridiculous economic framework that depends on growth instead of sustainability:

Buying instead of being.

Because there is no point to this. We are hamstrung by ideologies and remarkable beliefs that keep us fearful, exhausted, and consuming as much as we can when in reality, all we have is each other. This is a fantastic planet to live on. We should stop sucking so badly at taking care of it. Make no mistake, we are sucking.