1.12.2015,7:56 PM
Fort Craig, New Mexico
Last weekend was cultural history time for me.

Visited Fort Craig for a day. A more thorough post will be uploaded later in the week. For now....

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posted by Macrobe
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1.11.2015,10:43 AM
What's love got to do with it.........
Perhaps after five decades, 'love' and all the related entanglements become something one can pick up and wear for a day, like a piece of clothing, or it becomes an old friend and companion, always at your side but without all the frivolous ornaments that adorn younger phases. And then for some of us it's a dog-eared well-worn book read only by ourselves, constantly rewritten.

Regardless, truth is always in the eyes. Which is why so many people are very uncomfortable with eye-to-eye contact. It doesn't have to be 'love'. Too many 'lovers' and 'friends' avert prolonged eye contact. Some of them don't want to know the truth, or they try to hide it. The eyes have a language all their own.

The eyes say it all.
posted by Macrobe
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1.04.2015,11:24 AM
Retirement Career

My life has taken on a new meaning since volunteering at the national wildlife refuges. A new mission that is more productive, rewarding and self-satisfying. I'm broke, homeless, and I love it.

For the past six years, our current global trends have depressed me. The rapid loss of natural diversity and the spiraling decline in connections between humans and their environment, the lack of compassion between people themselves and with other creatures, a prevailing disconnect and abuse of power by public officials and policies. The growing corporatization of higher education and science while sacrificing quality teaching and research was the final clincher.

I fled from the Empire. I left academia to fight at the grassroots level.To lend a voice to those creatures whose plights are disregarded by humans. And to help people become aware and more appreciative of the intrinsic and moral values in their environments. My mission is to help people better understand their environment and to establish meaningful connections with nature.

My life is very now different from the last several decades. In some sense, it is reminiscent of my years in Maine when connections with the land and wildlife were the strongest. Shedding most of the personal burdens that anchored me like a chain the past ten years has simplified and lightened my life. The sacrifice of personal possessions and commitments for a nomadic and simpler lifestyle suits me well. Indeed, I haven't been this happy in almost 10 years.

Now I travel around the country to live and work at the national and state refuges. I share my interests and knowledge of natural and cultural history with visitors. I also help the ecologists and biologists with my varied skills in the life sciences. My reward is spending time with the wildlife and visiting natural areas, and sharing many wonders of natural science with visitors.

Traveling offers opportunities to experience not only a large diversity of wildlife, but also meet a wide diverse sampling of our own species. What amazes me is the people that come to the refuges from all over the world.  I've met people from Canada, Argentina, Switzerland, Netherlands, Israel, England, Scotland, South Africa, Italy, Australia, and France.

Additionally, people from my past have resurfaced in many places, such as a woman from my hometown 44 years ago and a former colleague from 17 years ago. I have also had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and spend time with family members.

The most precious experiences are those gained from immersing myself in the surrounding wild nature of life. I had an eye-to-eye encounter with a juvenile bald eagle twelve feet from me, chats with ravens, songbirds sit on my shoulder, frequent sightings of a local cougar, delight at the play of an otter family, and watching behavior of many birds as they live out their lives. What they share with me, I try to share with others.

Opportunities to spend time in fantastic wild areas frequently fills my free time. Camping for days on Steens Mountain in eastern Oregon, hiking miles in the painted deserts of Oregon and Arizona, spending two nights at the base of towering cliff and alkaline lake with no humans within miles, and smelling the musky scent at my feet of bighorn sheep was I stood on a rim gazing thousands of feet below. I gladly trade the conveniences of cafes and supermarkets for these experiences.

 The world is fantastic, marvelous and beautiful out there. I am glad to break out of the small, trivial and many times petty world that was chocking and suffocating me.

This is my new life as a nomad. And this is my new retirement 'career': to help foster and nurture connections between people and wildlife, to rejuvenate compassion. My optimism is encouraged by the dedication and commitment of those people working in wildlife services, especially with dwindling budgets. I am glad to see the growing number of academic and field ecologists and biologists finally speak out in kind. I hope this is a growing strength. We need more on the side of nature.

And for me, e non ho amato mai tanto la vita.

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posted by Macrobe
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1.01.2015,9:19 AM
Relative Theory of New Year's Day
The modern 'New Year's Day' is Jan. 1. The old Roman calendar's New Year was March 1. Chinese New Year is Feb 1. My New Year is June 1.

After two+ years of personal crap, and leaving Texas, last June 1 I was finally free and alive. To me, that's cause for my own private celebration.

Y'all have a good celebration. I'll celebrate next June 1.


posted by Macrobe
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12.26.2014,6:56 PM
Life on the Road

Most people think living on the road is lonely. To the contrary, it is not. Granted, the same friends and people do not surround me everyday. But that does not mean I have no friends. The truth is that I meet people from all around the country, even from around the globe, almost daily. And I always encounter a variety of wildlife, who are also my friends. They all enrich my life, more than when I lived in one place for too long a time.

Some people become anxious when they are away from their familiar surroundings. Intellectually I understand that, but don't share the emotion. Perhaps I share with birds and other animals that innate drive of migration. Like the wandering wolf, or the perpetually moving antelope.

I've always been a nomad. It's seems to be in my blood. Staying in one place too long is like a caged animal.

I must be free. And I am.

posted by Macrobe
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12.08.2014,9:47 PM
A Song to Another Aging Child Gone

"Through the windless wells of wonder
By the throbbing light machine
In a tea leaf trance or under
Orders from the king and queen

Songs to aging children come
Aging children, I am one

People hurry by so quickly
Don't they hear the melodies
In the chiming and the clicking
And the laughing harmonies

Songs to aging children come
Aging children, I am one

Some come dark and strange like dying
Crows and ravens whistling
Lines of weeping, strings of crying
So much said in listening

Songs to aging children come
Aging children, I am one

Does the moon play only silver
When it strums the galaxy
Dying roses will they will their
Perfumed rhapsodies to me

Songs to aging children came
This is one.*"

This was one.

May you rest in Peace, my friend. From my inside child to yours, we all find peace in our own ways. I will miss you. Gracias a la vida

"So they broke your soul, 
and they took  your place." 
   - 'Tears on a Page"  KidneyThieves

* "Songs to Aging Children" Song and lyrics by Joni Mitchell
posted by Macrobe
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12.01.2014,11:29 AM
Tenth Month, Twelfth Month. What's in a Name?
Today is December 1st. Waiting for some warmth to chase away the chill in my feet (hot coffee is working on the rest of me), I was curious about the etymology of the word, 'December'. I was surprised to see the trail of alterations from the original root, decem, which is Latin for 'ten'.

'Ten' what? I discovered that December was the tenth month in the early Roman calendars, which started with March. Ah! So, New Year's Day was actually March 1!

T.G. Tucker, author of Etymological Dictionary of Latin, posits that the first five months of the Roman calendar were named for their occurrence in the agricultural cycle, and "after the gathering in of the crops, the months were merely numbered."  The Latin suffix -ber was added onto the five numbered calendar months.

The first calendar was thought to be invented by the Roman king Romulus (or he took all the credit) around 760 BC. It had only ten months of 30-31 days and only lasted 304 days. Thus, 61 days were unaccounted for in the winter. I wonder if life was relatively unimportant during that time. Reminds me of the long winters in the HBO series, Game of Thrones. Perhaps the Romans went around exclaiming 'Winter is coming!' and all life stood still. More likely, all human life centered around agricultural activities and winter was ignored. At least, in calendars.

Names of the first five months in the Roman calendar were derived from names of gods and goddesses, except for February. During that time of the year was a dies februatus, Latin for the "day of purification". The Roman festival of purification was celebrated on February fifteenth, but has been long lost in history.

Now, when the enlightened French displaced the global Roman influence, december became decembre. Most of the Latin calendar names were later retained or altered in the Old English version. This early form of modern English language was developed by the Anglo-Saxons in present-day England and parts of Scotland, and persisted from the mid-5th to the mid-12th centuries.

Old English, and I could argue modern English as well, is a 'mutt' language, where most of the words were borrowed from, combined with, or were bastardized (now, that word has an interesting etymology!) forms of many tongues. The Anglo-Saxons founded Old English mostly on the West Germanic languages, vastly different from the modern English. 

Indeed, if anyone had to suffer studying the epic poem Beowulf (circa 700-1000 B.C.) in its original Old English form (yes, I had to do that in high school), they might recall it was like reading a foreign language. In all essence, it was, and is. Can you imagine trying to memorize and recite it? If one considers that literacy was very uncommon in those early centuries, the poem was known more in its oral form rather than written.

Like any language, English evolved over thousands of years. Words were changed or dropped, shortened or lengthened. It's an ongoing process; grammar is simplified, and meanings change like the phases of the moon. Even pronunciation of words vary between continents and even between regions of countries. "Tomato, tomahto"; "barn and bahn"; we don't have to call the whole thing off! Like any association with self-identity, precise language usage is a relative trait of human nature. There are purists with binary black-and-white minds who insist on traditional and precise use. But there exists a huge dynamic gray world in between. Me? I consider myself a pragmatist. ;)

Regarding the month of December, the modern English name made it full circle using the original Latin name. Let's celebrate that!

Note: Bastardize is a verb derived from the well-known noun. The Old French word bastard was used for an "acknowledged child of a nobleman by a woman other than his wife, probably from fils de bast 'packsaddle son,' meaning a child conceived on an improvised bed (saddles often doubled as beds while traveling)". The term was not always demeaning; offspring from relationships non-sanctioned by the Church were common and not always discriminated against.

The word 'bastard' later assumed more derogatory meanings. The figurative sense of of the word as "something not pure or genuine" appeared in use during the late 14th century. It's popularization as a vulgar term of abuse for a man is traced back to the 1830's and sticks today.

However, the verb 'to bastardize' has been in use since the early 1500's, and figuratively means "to make degenerate, debase". We English-born people tend to do a lot of that. Even my birth-given name is a bastardization of a German name. I get some odd looks when I explain that to people. ;)

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posted by Macrobe
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