Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A trip home, and the question of keeping 'pilgrim consciousness' active while waiting to resume walking (gods willing) in the spring.

Views from the train.

Back to the Bay...

That was a great train ride, if rather long!

Although I had been feeling 'beaten' in some ways, there are certainly many ‘up-sides’ to being at home for the present; things I am appreciating right now include:  hanging out with family and friends (both the two and four-legged ones); messing about in a kitchen, and of course - California produce!

...San Francisco’s open-minded culture; parks; close proximity of art and music.  Some of my favorite panoramas.

J.M.W. Turner exhibit at the deYoung Museum

I was invited back to my weekly job(s) at the Farmers' Market, which is a great gift.  Working with so many local and area farmers, it is easy to forget that, for most of the US, the production and sale of food is just business...

Soon after resuming walking in the spring, I will cross into Nebraska.  Traveling in the agri-business belt of the US (as I have been for a number of days already, and which will be the theme for miles ahead), leads me to frame my questions about it in some obvious ways. To wit, is this (mono-culture) the best/only model for feeding and otherwise providing for our planet’s population in the 2000’s?  Why are certain corporate practices even legal?  (Monsanto comes to mind.) Why is the merging of business and government any less objectionable than the ‘church and state’ alliances that our forebears were fleeing a couple of centuries ago?  And, ps - why is population no longer mentioned (along with disproportionate exploitation of resources by wealthy nations) when we’re talking about the carrying capacity of a finite planet?  (A sticky one, that question, and maybe not so politically correct these day.) It has been interesting to see how much diversity there is in people’s views on environment and politics, more than I would have guessed, and much more than is reflected through media sources.  Maybe Fox News has not yet achieved total control of public opinion.  I am curious about the political ‘comfort zone’ of the Midwest, generally speaking, as seen/heard face to face.

Now then, what will I be doing to take care of ‘pilgrim mind’ over these next 6 or 7 months?   Walking, for sure, even if it means walking in circles around the city of SF, and over the bridge to the north.  Looking at ways of making offerings of various types.  Continuing to explore gratitude from the perspectives of 'not taking for granted', and interconnectedness.   Recently I was given a book called 'Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy' (Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, 2012).  Once again I feel vindicated in my long-held view that despair and depression, anger and frustration (in measured amounts) are natural and appropriate responses  to the enormity of global environmental degradation and waste.  Most usually, political/social activism does not allow a place for exploring these emotions, let alone offering ways of coping with them and transforming them into something life-affirming and creative.  So, as I cannot seem to find anything of the sort going on, I am wondering about initiating a 'grief support' series of gatherings specifically about environment, and based upon the ideas and exercises described in the aforementioned book.   We shall see what comes of it.

In the meantime, let me (as best I can) take  care of my relationships and my sense of humor!  Updates as they occur...