It seems the United States is in a state of being denied, wherein what people want is not what they are getting. In a sense it is like fasting. People hunger and thirst for righteousness, but never seem to be fed.

Fasting is supposedly spiritual, when it isn’t done out of vanity, merely to improve appearances, but rather is done to break our addiction to worldly cravings.

I must confess I was never big on fasting. When young I had a revved-up metabolism and couldn’t put on weight even when I tried, (and I did try, attempting to increase my bulk for football.) Having this sort of metabolism makes you into a sort of eating machine at times, which doesn’t look all that spiritual. Yet then I might go a surprising period of time on nothing but coffee and cigarettes (and sometimes whisky) utterly indifferent to food, because I was “a writer”. (I will confess I learned to add lots and lots of powdered milk to my coffee, so I suppose the milk kept hunger at bay.) However, after one of these spells of being “a writer”, I’d be hit by a ravenous appetite and completely disgrace myself, in spiritual terms, by wolfing an entire large pizza like it was a cracker.

Therefore, I am no one to seek out as an authority on self-denial, and how it benefits the spiritual aspirant. To be quite honest, a lot of my “writing” is me complaining about how I don’t get what I want. (I am rather good at such complaining, if I do say so myself.)

Oddly, even though I never really sought self-denial, I did manage to wind up in some situations where I was a “suffering poet”. Largely this was because I was offensive. I didn’t mean to be offensive (most of the time) but there is something offensive about taking the attitude that you are special and should get what you want, especially when what you want is for everyone else to go to work nine to five as you stay home smoking and drinking coffee (sometimes spiked with whisky) being “a writer”. In any case, let it suffice to say I did not get what I wanted, and people made me feel less than welcome, when they didn’t just throw me out on my ear. This placed me in a position of self-denial even though that was the last thing I wanted.

One crisis I got myself into involved leaving New England in a sort of self-imposed exile, at age 27. I had offended just about everyone, including myself, and just packed all that seemed valuable into a tiny 1974 Toyota with a 1200 cc engine and headed off into the cruel world. I slept in that tiny vehicle fairly often, which I suppose is self-denial. And, (as even exiled Romans such as Ovid and Cicero admitted), exile had its benefits. Self-denial can uplift the spiritual seeker.

In any case, while thinking about the current suffering occurring in the United States, I recalled a poem I wrote before I left New England on my exile. In Rome people often accepted exile as a way to escape a more severe punishment, and the old poem was about the punishment (self-inflicted) I was enduring before I left. Something about America’s current suffering reminded me of that past, and I went searching for the old work in my yellowed papers.

Found it! It is an unusual poem for me, in that I reworked it several times. The first draft was from November 1978, the second draft from July 1979, and the final draft was from October 1980. In other words, this poem expressed the passion of a young man in his mid-twenties.

Anger's a sabre thrust into my heart;
My heart is a scabbard of pain.
I would draw out the long, bloody blade
And see all my enemies slain,
But blood is a terrible stain.
My fingertips shake with the strain.

Foolish men fawn for a dollar a day
And artists are driven to hiding.
Generals are riding fat horses that bray,
And therapists yawn at confiding
While counting up dollars deciding
What beaches to ruin residing
Within aluminum siding,
Then they go back to their guiding.

Where is the handle? I must draw the sword
And see that the dragon is thoroughly gored,
Yet how can I haul out that head-hacking blade
When the charger you sold me so recently brayed?

Sorrow, sweet sorrow, is clotting my throat
With stabbing I never could swallow.
I want to bail out. We're in the same boat.
Excuses have always been hollow.

Where is the scalpel a surgeon would use
And where is the surgeon who knows how to choose?
The enemy has to be slain
But blood is a terrible stain. 
My fingertips shake with the strain.

Besides being a fairly good indication that I chose correctly, in deciding to depart a situation which was driving me bonkers over 40 years ago, the poem traces some depths of feeling one may experience, when the situation that is driving them bonkers is difficult to escape. And the current situation in the United States is driving people bonkers. It is also difficult to escape. People who are nowhere nearly as offensive as I was in my mid-twenties may be feeling like I felt, all those years ago.

This makes me wonder if there is any advice I can offer.

In one sense I have no advice. I have never figured out how to make the people driving me bonkers stop doing it. They are what they are. The only thing I can stop is to stop myself. I’m the only one I can change.

In 1980 the biggest change I made was to stop retreating to my mother’s basement, when I felt hurt, and instead to retreat in an outward direction. It seemed a very brave thing I was doing, but even little birds do it, when they leave the nest. My departure was actually retarded, when you consider I was in my mid-twenties, and few took it all that seriously, considering I had “left home” many times before. Few knew how serious I was, and that I was truly gone for good.

Leaving the nest is self-denial because one is denying themself the very real comforts offered by a mother. Such comforts are provided in a nigh instinctual way and can be addictive. For example, my dirty socks would vanish and then reappear cleaned in the top drawer of my bureau neatly balled. This may seem like a little thing, but it never happened again, and, after forty years, recalling such kindness makes me nostalgic. But at the time I took it for granted and it made me lazy, dependent, and disgusted with myself. Moving from my mother’s basement was like leaving a dank dungeon and soaring into the open sky. Where is the self-denial in that? (I suppose it is in the fact the open sky can get stormy, and then one wants to head home.)

In the above example it can be seen that self-denial is closely associated with freedom. It is part of a tension which forever exists between security and freedom, wonderfully portrayed by a couple of Saturday Evening Post covers by Norman Rockwell which appeared on consecutive weeks: (Notice the face is the same.)

In some ways this tension is as simple as the fact we get up in the morning and go back to bed in the evening. Life involves alternating desires. However, the factor I want to focus on is the self-denial.

In order to be a sort of yogi and to qualify as “spiritual” the self-denial must encompass both sides of an alternating duality; IE: when you want to get up you must stay in bed, and when you want to stay in bed you must get up. This sort of “fasting” is annoying as heck. It is a swift way to turn even bright spirits into sourpusses. It can only be done when the yogi involved is fiercely determined to reach some preconceived transcendental state, and, even then, is full of hazards.

I did try some of this self-denial when in my twenties and I learned something of the hazards. It is a bit like enduring the pain of jogging to get yourself in shape. One problem I ran into was that I tended to lose my desire and to see my resolution fade, and to in a sense “fall off the wagon”. (This was not like falling off a horse, wherein you get back on where you fell off, but more like the game of snakes-and-ladders; you go slithering down a slippery slope and have to start over from the very bottom.) Then a second problem was that the very few times I did bungle into the periphery of some sort of transcendental state it tended to scare my socks off; I wanted to run away and be normal again. Lastly was that, (most of the time), such self-denial wrung the joy from my life and left me a sourpuss, and a crank. This was so far from the nirvana I was seeking that it actually was what propelled me from my mother’s basement.

This brings me to the subject of what was propelling me. I felt as if I was to some degree out of control. This seemed irresponsible, but to some degree we cannot take control of everything. Some days the fish simply are not biting, and no amount of yelling at the water can change their minds. And the same is true of hitchhiking. Some days the traffic will not stop, and neither yelling nor smirking convinces anyone. It is at such times one finds themselves muttering to the sky, and to the possibility of a Power besides ourselves, who controls.

As a young intellectual I strove to be logical, and to doubt the existence of anything which could not be scientifically replicated, but my Atheism was troubled by a series of events which could not be replicated but could also not be denied, for they saved my life. Midst my “bad luck” were odd experiences of “good luck”. Eventually this led to a series of inner crises and I “got religion”, which made me in some ways even more offensive than before. I was even more likely to sit around writing as others went to work when I thought God would care for me. But eventually I became aware God didn’t automatically gratify my desires, and was as libel, and in fact more libel, to utilize self-denial. For example, the only time God washed my socks and put them in the top drawer was when God manifested as Mom. The rest of the time the socks stayed dirty.

It is upsetting to some when God doesn’t respond to prayers like He is some sort of vending machine, wherein you put in your prayer and the answered prayer plops out at the bottom. After such disappointment, one must take matters into their own hands. This is fine when the problem is dirty socks; one simply learns to wash their own socks. However, it is not so easy when things get out of control, and your best efforts come up empty.

In my case, (along the lines of fishing when the fish weren’t biting, and hitchhiking when nobody stops,) coming-up-empty often occurred when looking for a job. Many times, I was one of those fellows who waits outside an unemployment office hoping for spot labor. I didn’t feel in control of my destiny, especially on those days when there was no work, and, on those days, God heard a fair amount of grumbling.

I well know the temptation one then feels to be corrupted; God may say you’ll earn no money that day, but one is tempted to rob a bank.

To be honest I suppose I must reluctantly confess that I have succumbed to temptations to some degree.

As a teen I sowed some very wild oats, but once I “got religion” my moral failures never progressed much beyond smoking and drinking too much, a few failed romances, and some petty theft, (and I did repay the market I shoplifted cigarettes from). While I did feel the urges to be corrupt, they never won me over to the degree one sees among politicians in “The Swamp.” I tested the waters of corruption and was repelled.

I’m not sure why this was the case. It could be that I simply wasn’t deemed worthy of spending the time, by those who do the tempting. One good thing about being flat broke is that few see you as being worthy of seduction.

It also could be I was protected. After all, once I “got religion” I had given my life to the Lord (to some degree), which means I had admitted I couldn’t control life and needed help. And what happens next?

Once you have such a Superman watching over you, perhaps you get protected even when you don’t want to be protected, as was the case when certain gorgeous women walked by. When lonely I was not at all inclined towards self-denial, but had to endure it. The Good Shepherd was guiding his sheep, even if the sheep was a black sheep.

Eventually it sunk into me that a lot of the self-denial I was experiencing was actually good for me. In the 1970’s and early 1980’s I endured a fair amount of mockery from even my closest friends for being something of a prude. Then, starting around 1982, a lot of the fellow “writers” who had mocked me started dropping dead of AIDS (which was a reletively swift and unpleasant way to die back then, with no cure). Then self-denial didn’t seem like such a misfortune, and indeed more like a miracle.

Of course, I always wanted the miracles to be more pampering. One story I often tell involves a Christmas miracle. I was five dollars short on my rent and a green, rumpled piece of paper came blowing across a parking lot. As I stooped to pick it up, I could see it was money, and was fairly certain it was a five, which it was. Even though I felt a warm glow all over I felt comfortable enough with my Creator to joke, “Couldn’t You have managed a hundred?” But I’ve heard it said that when you are thirsty God gives water, not lemonade, and to me this has seemed true.

This brings me back to the subject of self-denial, and the fact I seemed to get more self-denial than gratification, which must mean that, if the Good Shepherd is in charge, there is more good in not getting what you want than in getting what you want.

Why should this be?

I think this is true because getting what you desire seldom satisfies. You usually just want more. We tend to be creatures of habit, and the way to freedom from addiction is not to get what you are addicted to. This is not to say some habits are not good habits: When a bad habit enslaves us we tend to call it “being stuck in a rut” however a better habit is described as being “in the groove”, but even good habits limit our freedom, and I think God wants us free.

It helps me to understand how habits enslave when I describe a “desire” as a “craving”. Craving sounds more beastly, and even undesirable (which is wonderfully ambiguous, as you are saying desire is not what you should desire.) People who can admit they “desire” are less likely to confess they “crave.” But, if you don’t think craving controls you, just hold your breath for sixty seconds. Soon breathing, which you ordinarily don’t even think about, becomes the only thing you can think about.

Craving can be seen as a distraction. It is like when you have a job to do, but just then a very attractive person walks by. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, nor what your sexual preference is, you are distracted. And from God’s perspective, humanity is a herd of distracted cats. He is the only One able to herd them.

One thing God seems to seek to do is to free us from our cravings. And it turns out that such freedom is far more likely to occur when we don’t get what we desire. For example, when even the most zealous suiter is disdained over and over, and is finally arrested as a stalker, the zeal must seek a different channel, even if it doesn’t completely fade like the final ember of a fire. Typically, the suiter settles for second best, and rather than a “lover” becomes a “friend”. If they can’t be number one in the beloved’s life, and can’t actually massage the beloved’s shoulders, they must settle for making this a better world for the beloved to live in, by uplifting other people they formerly wouldn’t bother with.

Having our desire frustrated is painful, but it frees us from needing to have a specific desire fulfilled in a specific way. One thing I have noticed in people who have been through great suffering is that they are less demanding and are more able to be happy with less. They are satisfied with water and don’t demand lemonade. Rather than restless they know more of peace. Rather than post-traumatic-stress they know post-traumatic-resignation.

I have had trouble being resigned because I am a battler and tend to be more inspired by pep talks, like Winston Churchhill’s famous “Never Surrender” speech when England was threatened by Hitler. I also liked the prophet Issaih’s defiance of the Assyrians when they besieged Jerusalem. I did not like the prophet Jeramiah’s advice when the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem a few decades later, for his advice was, “Surrender, for this time you are up against God’s Will. You must accept the punishment of captivity and exile.”

Surrender is a bad thing when it is a surrender to slavery, but God does not want us to be slaves. God is the only One worthy of surrendering to, for He knows best when our desires should be thwarted and when they should be gratified, and how best to move us to a point where our minds are unclouded by cravings, and our hearts are free to love.

One interesting thing about the relatively poor people who the “elite” call “deplorables” is that the poor seem more able to put their own desires aside. A factoid which never made sense to me is that the poor give more to charity than the rich, in terms of a percentage of their income. (In fact, some rich will not give to charity unless they themselves profit in some way, which is not charity at all.) How can this be true?

It has occurred to me that the poor, without the slightest wish to be yogis, have had to see their desires denied over and over again, until the habit of craving is worn down, and they no longer expect gratification. Then, because their minds are not clotted with cravings, they are more able to hear their hearts. The poor workingman’s heart defies his intellect’s banker’s-budget, when he impulsively hands half his sandwich to a hungry, onlooking child. In this and a thousand other small ways the so-called “deplorable” are not deplorable at all, and in fact are more loving than, and are spiritually superior to, the so-called “elite.”

Blessed are the poor. Because they do not require gratification to be happy, they are often happier than billionaires. They live in a world wherein quaint values the elite call “old fashioned”, but which are actually ancient and eternal, rule. So maybe not getting your desires gratified is a good thing.

The elite, who are constantly sating their desires for wealth and power and fame and sex and drugs, discover gratification does not lead to freedom, and instead become more and more addicted to their desires. In spiritual terms this insidiously matures into a colossal mistake, for even when they imagine they are enslaving others they in fact are enslaving themselves. Even when they think they are smarter they are in fact becoming increasingly ignorant. Even when they think they see clearly, they are blinded by desire. And even when they think they gain control they are losing self-control; in seeking power they become spiritually powerless.

Hopefully you see where my thought is leading. It is a complete contradiction of the values which rule the elite. It denies that which the American mainstream media attempts to say is the only sensible way to think.

The foxes push saints from pulpits to preach
To the chickens, but their sly idealism
Is cynicism. They actually teach
The opposite of what they say. To them
Hypocrisy's second nature. They don't know
How fresh and clean Truth is. They cannot see
How blind they are. They think it wise to sow
Thistles, and create their own tragedy.

See them now, puffed in pulpits, so sure that
They're collecting dainties, like gamblers sweep
Winnings from a table, chewing pure fat
That drips from chins. Meanwhile chickens keep
Their distance: In fact, the pews are now empty.
The outfoxed fox snarls, for he can't tempt me.
Tired of this anger I'm carrying
I turn to You, my Lord, and plead my case:
Mankind creates divorces out of marrying
And turns the sweetest blush into disgrace.
Your generosity is met with greed.
Your colossal kindness met with hate.
They snatch away the milk that babies need
And dream their tyranny will make them great.

Am I to sit and turn the other cheek?
Must goodness zip its lip as hellfires singe?
How is it You in silence will not speak
As bigmouths blare the bull that makes me cringe? 
I pray my suffering's like that of fasting.
I hurt today for joy that's everlasting.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Not the Heat but the Humility–

We are at the thankful end of a seven day heat wave in New Hampshire. It’s been exhausting and draining but fairly typical. Just as we usually get one blast of especially nasty cold each winter, usually in January, we usually get one blast of nasty heat each summer, usually in July. The suffering is downright normal, and tiresome in its way, but the media is going nuts. They are in a frenzy about the heat being indicative of Global Warming. But this too is normal. And this too is, in its way, getting tiresome. How many times can they cry wolf before people simply cease to pay attention?

I stopped paying attention back when I was a boy. Clouds out the window were more interesting than chalk on the blackboard. Teachers tried to grab my attention with threats, telling me that if I did not attend to the chalk I would not become one of the elite, and would, “grow up to be a garbageman”. The only problem was, where all the other overworked fathers vanished at daybreak from those suburbs, the garbageman was the one man who stuck around. Therefore, he became the local father figure.

He was a jolly fellow, raising vast numbers of pigs (and a happy family) with the nourishing stuff rich folk called garbage, and making further profits selling other rich-folk’s-trash at secondhand shops, and occasionally making a swift bundle with the sale of a rare antique. He had every reason to be jolly, for he got rich without the ulcers and divorces the elite gained.

Anyway, when teachers tried to scare me by saying I might grow up to be a garbageman, it didn’t sound as bad as they hoped. In fact, it attracted me. It was a path they said I should not take, which of course leads to the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken”, which ends with the stanza:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Rather than one of the elites, I wound up one of the so-called “deplorables”. I learned that being a garbageman involves a lot of hard work and the ability to endure situations that stink. It is no game for the weak hearted, though the profits are huge and of a sort which cannot be bought with money. But I did notice I never lost my desire to escape out a window from the chalk of a blackboard. I might have had to sweat in the heat of July, but I had an eye out for pictures of icebergs. This was what led me to sea-ice. Sea-ice was much like the clouds out the window of childhood classrooms, but where the only ice in such clouds was in the cirrus, flat-anvil tops of booming thunderheads, sea-ice was more down to earth, even in the heat of July.

My first post on sea-ice, nearly a decade ago in 2013, was only meant to say how nice it was to escape the heat of July by visiting all the sites that pictured sea-ice, back in those days. Oddly, such sites have ceased to be. The only way to gain the same cooling effect these days, in the heat of July, is to visit websites in Newfoundland, where it is quite normal to have massive icebergs cruise by.

You have to admit the above amazing vista has a cooling effect on an overheated psyche, or you would admit it if you ever tried to work outside when temperatures touch 90 (32 Celsius.) Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun, and the rest of us work in the cool of dawn, and take a siesta at noon, looking at sea-ice on our computers.

It was by sheer accident that I bungled into the hot topic of Global Warming. It has led to fame and shame, (if you value yourself by the measures of the elite). At first my simple observations led to a surge in viewers at this site, but then it led to shadow banning, and a collapse in viewers. I had nearly 63,000 “views” in 2016 but will be hard pressed to get 10,000 this year. This is not because I have become more stupid, for I have been blessed with learning a lot, the past six years. In the process I have confessed many mistakes (which is a part of learning). It is not due to error that my sea-ice posts have fallen from favor. Rather it seems to be due to the fact the elite, for all their talk about accepting “diversity”, can’t bear any views outside of their own.

My response has been to simply continue my study of Truth. I did not initially do it to gain “followers” when I gained them, nor did I intend to lose “followers” when I lost them. Nor was money ever involved. Despite the temptation, this website has never had a “tip jar.” I write what I write for free. It is often said “freedom is not free”, but it is, at this site.

The only thing I miss, in being viewed less, is the comments. If you ever have the spare time (and curious inclination) to look back at my old sea-ice posts from 2016, one thing which is striking is the interesting discussions that occurred in the comments. In my opinion the comments were often more interesting than the posts. I also have the opinion that such interesting discussions were seen (and are seen) as a threat by the elite, and as a reason for shadow banning. Why?

That is an interesting question, for it begins to look at the elite as a peculiar psychology, as a wiggling worm worthy of study. The elite don’t like that much. However, they are fascinating, in their weird way. (I grew up among such weird sorts in a very wealthy town, and I am well acquainted with how twisted a person’s thinking can get, when one is not grounded by the solid, anchoring truths of poverty.) (I have not merely seen it in others but have witnessed it in myself.)

For example, think of the term, “financial security”. Where is the security? Rich people are some of the most insecure people on earth. In fact, their dread of poverty may be what drove them to become “independently wealthy” in the first place. But they are not independent. They are dependent on wealth, even to the degree of sacrificing their self-respect.

Look at it this way: In my time I have awoken at dawn with no idea if I would eat that day. What do you then do? Basically, you get up and go out looking for your daily bread. And it was not just me living in this hand-to-mouth manner; it was (and is) a majority of humanity. Yet usually, I did get my daily bread. I have never gone truly hungry. True, at times the food was rather starchy and drab, but my paunch could be filled. I often put bulk before quality, but I’m off the point. The point is that many live lives far from “financial security” and being “independently wealthy” and yet are quite happy. The poor have bad days, but also good days, and life goes on, grounded in the anchoring roots of poverty. The prospect of becoming poor does not trouble at all when that is what you already are. But compare such sanity with the complete insanity displayed by the elite, when they are faced with the prospect of becoming poor. It is not the poor who leap from windows when the stock market crashes.

I rest my case.

Next case? It is that the elite like to feel they are “beyond reproach”. What an absurd concept! We all have human flaws, so how can any of us be “beyond reproach”? But this just emphasizes how terribly insecure the elite are, and how scared they are of waking someday poor, like everyone else.

I suppose it is because they want their position of being “elite” finalized, settled, finished, and cast in concrete. Having worked hard to achieve a sort of excellence, they want to never work so hard again. But a hot air balloon cannot stay afloat without more hot air. If the candle goes out the balloon must sink. Money will be spent, and bank accounts emptied; fame will fade if you cease behaving famously; crowds will not roar for encores if you stop making music; and power….?

Ah, power! That is the crux of the matter, isn’t it? In the eyes of the elite, power is the trump card. It controls the money, and also controls the fame. (And an extension of fame is whether you get embraced and kissed or not, so fame gets confused with love.) So power is the keystone of an arch of elite ignorance, a structure of stunning stupidity, a modern-day Tower of Babel which we are now witnessing teeter and crumble, but not quite fall.

Power. I could go off on a long tangent about how idiots mishandle power. But I have to steer back to sea-ice. So let me simply say this: We all are given power by God. How we use it will determine how we are judged.

So let me return to the topic of sea-ice, and the topic of a sea-ice “volume” graph which someone at the Danish Meteorological Institute had the “power” to “adjust”.

In April of 2021 the “volume” graph showed an increase which was suggesting sea-ice was reverting to normal levels. It reached normal levels in the summer, but this is the graph as it approached normalcy in late March:

I clipped the above graph from the archives of the “Ice Age Now” site. At that time we were very focused on the increasing volume. However now, when you go to the archives of the Danish Meteorological Institutes site, you get a quite different graph for roughly the same time.

You have to admit this is quite a startling adjustment. Over 2000 km3 of ice is statistically erased. Rather than levels approaching normal they are abruptly well below normal.

Back in 2016 this would have been discussed more freely, and quite often one person in the discussion would have the time and energy to reach out to whatever scientists were involved, and quite often got polite and illuminating responses. I know I myself did, back when I had the time and energy.

However, times have changed, and the elite do not like free discussion. Sad, but true. Also I do not have the time and energy to reach out to DMI, but if you do, please do so. The explanation must be fascinating,

Equally interesting is that the missing 2000 km2 were replaced by incremental increases, week by week and month by month, and the DMI “volume” graph once again shows volumes approaching normal levels.

I can think of two reasons for this rebound.

The first is that a sea-ice recovery is underway, and, if we add the missing 2000 km3 to the total, sea ice “volume” is actually above normal.

The second is a creation of my imaginative mind. I just imagine that the real scientists at DMI were ticked-off when some politician marched in and told them they had to subtract 2000 km3 from their data, and they have surreptitiously found ways to sneak the 2000 km3 back into their data.

In either case, the fact science is a study of truth is besmirched by a political power less than truthful. What is that political power?

It is the power the elite are infatuated with, but which is increasingly positioning them in disgrace. The more they utilize that power the more embarrassing it is to watch them. Fraudulent Biden is not the only buffoon. Chairman Xi of China is mocked by some Chinese as a sort of Winnie the Pooh.

It seems to me the elite in China are likely as insecure as the elite in the USA. For all their talk of globalism the only world-wide thing they have achieved is worldwide balderdash. Yet China may lead the USA in terms of cynicism. Chinese think Americans are foolish to believe anything the media says, while 12% of Americans still trust the mainstream media.

My only hope is that, if people increasingly distrust the balderdash, they must increasingly trust something else. There is much confusion about what that “something else” is, but (to the great dismay of some especially hardened Atheists), it seems that “something else” should be capitalized, for the “Something Else” is the simple Truth.

Which returns me to the subject of sea-ice. And the fact it persists. It hasn’t melted away by 2016, as promised. Can’t we just admit it hasn’t melted? Or does saying so make me a fascist and a racist and worthy of shadow banning?

No, simply saying the truth does not make me anything but a truth teller. But it does make those who seek to censor such truth become fools. It makes them people without self-respect, people who 88% of all Americans believe are liars. It makes them objects of scorn and derision, even as they attempt to censor and marginalize, and to shadow ban any who dares say they are worthy of spit. But they who live by marginalizing will die marginalized. They will be mocked from the margins, just as Chairman Xi is mocked as a sort of Winnie the Pooh.

Think briefly about how ironic it is that Chairman Xi, arguably the most powerful man currently alive, a man with the power to murder millions, let alone censor millions, is so insecure. He can rage and rave, trample any who are found with Pooh cartoons on their computers into a bloody pulp, but there will always be a secret underground mocking his power, and calling him Pooh.

One wonders about the vanity which walks hand in hand with such insecurity. For surely the elite, having crushed Freedom of Speech in order to silence dissent, want the remaining voices (which they do allow to speak) to tell them how wonderful and wise they are.

It is said that Chairman Mao was especially susceptible to such flattery, and enjoyed the staged propaganda scenarios wherein fat, adoring farmers cheered him for the wisdom of his last five-year-plan, even as, off camera and out of Mao’s view, millions starved. (If Mao knew of the starvation, he likely shrugged it off as a “necessary evil” and in fact “part of the plan”.)

Considering criticizing Mao might result in swift death, his aides were desperate to flatter, and some of the flattery became downright comical. At one point an attempt was made to state the grain grew so plushily you couldn’t walk through it and instead walked on top of it. To prove this was true grain was transplanted into impossibly dense thickness, and staging was hidden in the thick patch of grain, so that peasants could be photographed standing on top of the grain. This was photographic “proof” Mao’s policy was brilliant.

Mao beamed, but I have my doubts he was fooled. He likely was not beaming because of the falsified reports of huge grain harvests, but rather because he was pleased that he had his aides scrambling in terror to please him. Vanity rules the elite, and they like respect. They do not like being portrayed as Winnie the Pooh. Mark my words, heads will roll for that, and this post will not be popular in China.

The ordinary Chinese are amazing, longsuffering and beautiful people, though I do not claim to understand them. However, they themselves do not understand the far side of the planet. Policy that may work in China will backfire, if it is tried in the distant Land of the Free. The torch held high by the Statue of Liberty will only fall if it falls like a club on China’s head. Not that I wish this for China.

What has this to do with sea-ice? Well, the adjustment to the “volume” graph I point out above is in some ways propaganda like the picture of the Chinese peasants standing on top of the grain. It taxes credence. It is a bit too absurd. Just as the Chinese peasants knew the propaganda photo was malarky, because they were starving, people who study sea-ice know it isn’t going anywhere soon, and that the Arctic Sea will have plenty of sea-ice this summer, and that the attempts to manufacture an end-of-the-world drama is just a bit too absurd.

Considering the end-of-the-world narrative, and the drama surrounding it, seems all people care about; I almost feel I should apologize for talking about what is actually going on up there. It isn’t all that dramatic. Unless you have “eyes that see”. And what is seen by “eyes that see”? It is that Truth is beauty, and when you see how beautiful beauty actually is, you are flabbergasted.

In some ways the beauty of the arctic is like standing at the lip of the Grand Canyon. You cannot be unmoved, though it can be completely silent. It doesn’t need to speak a word in its own defense. All the Hollywood hoopla in the world is mere noise, is but cheap thrills in comparison. Such elitist excitement stands as tall as a speck of dust compared to the towering silence of peace that surpasses all understanding, and its halo of beauty.

So let us step beyond the acceptable and politically correct landscape of lies. Let us dare see what is actually occurring up at the Pole. Are temperatures far above normal up there? No. They did briefly nudge above normal, to the great relief of Alarmists, but then immediately sank below normal again.

From the above graph it can be seen that the green line (normal temperatures) ordinarily spends from roughly day-160 to day-230, above the blue line (the freezing point of water.) In other words, for 70 glorious days, at the Pole, the sun never sets and water (almost) never freezes. There is nothing alarming about such an ice-melting environment. In fact, huge amounts of sea-ice melt every year. (See above “volume” graphs.) However, this year….

Well, it can be seen that the green line never dipped below the blue line. So ice has melted. However, the melting started later, and has been less than usual. Any mention of this in the press? Didn’t think so.

Now, this melting is at the top of the sea-ice. Melting also occurs at the bottom of the sea-ice because warmer waters flow north, and also because sea-ice is itself flushed south into warmer waters. Have these two ways of melting sea-ice countered the coolness above the ice?

Apparently not. I’ve already shown above how, despite disappearing over 2000 km3 of ice, the “volume” is fighting towards normal. But how about the “extent”?

“Extent” is well below normal, which must be of some relief to Alarmists, however it is the highest level of the past six years, which is not good news if you wish to write screaming headlines about the melt being the “worst ever.”

But what about the sea-ice being flushed south through Fram Strait? A lot of that was happening back in March and April. Is it still occurring? No. One reason for the cooler temperatures at the Pole has been cloudiness, and clouds are due to anomalous low pressure at the Pole (“Ralph or “Ralphs”, in my old posts,) which may create a map like this:

It can be seen, judging from isobars, that the winds around such a low would not be conducive to pushing sea-ice towards Fram Strait.

But what about sunny high pressure, (an “Ivan”). such as the one that followed the above July 17 map with the following July 20 map?

Such a sunny “Ivan” is more pleasing to Alarmists, as it not only spikes temperatures in the above DMI temperature graph, but it does a better job of directing sea-ice towards Fram Strait. However, it is more of a nudge than a flush, when you actually look at the way the ice moves. (NRL animated map is good for this.) To truly move the sea-ice you need a huge North Atlantic gale moving east of Iceland to east of Svalbard. That is more of a winter phenomenon. In the summer winds get gentler, and sea-ice barely sloshes. There has been no great export of ice.

That brings us back to warm currents being the chief hope of significant melting. And indeed this is usually the case in recent years. Even after the meltwater pools begin refreezing at the surface both “extent” and “volume” graphs continue to decline, due to melting from beneath.

Therefore, you might think the study of such warm invasions would attract alarmists, and be welcomed, but you would be wrong. They only are interested in what furthers their narrative about fossil fuels causing Global Warming, and therefore they stipulate science must turn a blind eye to any chance the sea-ice may be melted by currents that are directed by other causes.

Perhaps the most clear-cut example of this involved the scientist Bill Gray’s deep desire to study the currents involved in the thermohaline circulation of our seas, and his persistent requests for government grant money to study the way the Atlantic Multidecadal Circulation shifted such currents and led to changes in sea-ice levels and storm tracks. His requests were persistently denied by the politician Al Gore, who was far more interested in the cause and effect of a political narrative than the causes and effects of nature. In essence the “progressive” movement blocked progress for over twenty years.

Such blocking of scientific curiosity perpetuates ignorance. And it then follows that the more “elite” you become, (the more important connections to big people in high places you have), the more your ignorance increases. Not that science ever stops its discovering, but at the better universities it is done surreptitiously in back rooms, and often the more amazing discoveries that shock and change the world are not made at fat and well-funded universities, but rather at obscure colleges on shoe-string budgets, or by pleasantly mad geniuses working in garages, or even by obscure people at obscure websites like this one.

What are obscure websites rich in, that elitists are impoverished by? You name it. Curiosity; new ideas; wild hypothesizes; ferocious rants; emotional nakedness; political incorrectness; and above all honesty. Elitists, on the other hand, are denied any new ideas, for the science was “settled” long ago. In the case of Global Warming, elitists haven’t had a new idea since James Hansen testified before the senate on June 23, 1988. That is their story, and they’re sticking to it. In like manner, the communist manifesto was written in 1848, and communists haven’t had a new idea since. They figure they got it right the first time, and no amount of ruin can convince them they’re wrong. It is not merely a denial of facts, figures and scientific reality; it is a denial of responsibility.

In my most humble opinion, Truth is not so inflexible. Long underwear makes sense in January, but no sense in July. There is no “settled science” concerning long underwear, nor any other topic on God’s green earth. Everyday dawns fresh and brand new and holds something never seen before.

Therefore, to truly appreciate Truth, one needs to comprehend the Creator is not handcuffed. Truth is independent. Truth is not bound by the past.

This idea of an independent God is extremely upsetting to elitists, who prefer reliable pensions and safe retirements, and even the tenure of jobs they cannot be fired from even when they fail. If God does not agree to their terms, they determine they will become atheists and sign dotted lines with other atheists, whom they trust more.

Then, guess what? They discover Truth is independent. Contracts are violated by fellow atheists. For example, the pension one worked an entire lifetime for can’t even buy a postage stamp, in the Weimar Republic. Or being a steadfast supporter of Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot makes you a threat, if you are a college professor, and, rather than a guaranteed job and fat pension, you are disgraced as a believer in throw-back ideas, humiliated, derided and, if you are lucky, sent to some far away farm to dig ditches and be reeducated. But, if you are unlucky, you are seen as expendable. Oh, well. So much for being elite.

I would rather be deplorable, and worthy of shadow banning. In a worst-case-scenario I suppose this will make me one of those worthy of being rounded up for slaughter like Jews by Hitler, like Ukrainian Kulak by Stalin, like Chinese teachers by Mao, and like anyone-with-a-writer’s-callus by Pol Pot. But I refuse to be a “useful idiot”, like the elite. I will not “go quietly into that dark night”, and I have a hunch many Americans will respond in a similar fashion. Not that I know how this will come to pass. I just know my fellow Americans. (China might get away with pulling the tails of some cats, but America is a good-natured dragon, full of good fortune, kind to a fault and friendly faced, but not a dragon you want to yank the tail of).

To return to the subject of sea-ice, and the warm currents that melt ice from below, it turns out many variables are involved. Many variables involve elements of chaos, which the elite shudder at, but which are actually a very beautiful side of creation.

The elite shudder because they desire to see their idea of power as a digitized either/or predictability, which revolves around a sort of stultifying control, but such stagnation traps them in a hell of sameness, where seasons change but never vary, and there is nothing new about daybreaks. Far better is a life where refreshment is every day, for you do not know what the furure holds. The elite dread such uncertainty, seeing it as the powerlessness of poverty, but such uncertainty is actually the reality. It is what occurs when so many variables are involved a single mortal mind cannot fathom the possibilities, and even the most gigantic computers cannot forecast the weather ten days from now with reliable accuracy.

Not that such chaos doesn’t possess its own order. A mess of contrary tropical breezes can abruptly swirl into a hurricane of surprising symmetry, when you consider its origins were chaos. How can such a vast circular shape with a perfect eye come from chaos? And, in like manner, how can the chaotic freedoms of American individuals create anything but chaos? But over and over freedom creates answers to problems that seem impossible to solve, while communism over and over creates misery for beautiful peoples.

I rest my case.

In the case of sea-ice, Al Gore and people of his ilk decreed there should be no funding of the thermohaline circulation research, and instead that he and his ilk should make a fortune promoting a debunked theory, belaboring a narrative that, in the name of “emergency”, would replace democracy with dictatorship. However, even without funding, chaos innocently continued, not only among the bergs at the Pole, but among the individuals watching the chaos and commenting on what they observed.

One post I wrote had the honor of also being posted on the “Watts Up With That” website, back in January of 2015. Called, “Author of its Own Demise”, it discusses the forbidden topic of how the AMO might be effecting sea-ice, but what I really like is not my own writing, which is primarily admitting how little I know and wondering where I might find answers, but the slew of fascinating comments that still exist, in the “Watts Up With That” Archives.

What I like about the comments is that they demonstrate a sort of order in chaos. Not that there isn’t some distain towards Al Gore and the idea of “settled science” expressed, but there is also a wide variety of ideas expressed without anyone calling each other names. How is this possible?

I would like to suggest it occurs because there is a unifying factor, which is a respect towards, (and perhaps even a love of), Truth. Even midst the chaos of a plethora of views, the witnesses view the same thing, albeit from different angles. IE: The same mountain looks different when viewed from the north than it does when viewed from the south, and when viewed from deep in a valley than when viewed from an airplane above, but none argue about the fact they are viewing the same mountain, and therefore the chaos of many views can come together as a greater understanding.

This is the difference between true science, and the pseudoscience which makes up a political narrative. Politics must negate opposing views, and does not want to understand differing views, with the possible exception being the politics of a republic such as the United States. That is why some despise the United States. Where communism states the opposition must be destroyed, the United States suggests such destructiveness is not only a bad thing, but that it also denies the understanding, compromise, and sharing of ideas that leads to true discovery and greatness. Therefore, the United States comprehends that the very call-to-arms communism is founded upon is an error. But this American attitude is deemed by communists as being as offensive as calling Premier Xi, “Pooh.”

All I can do in this weird war is to continue to point out the beauty of things outside the boring narrative. While the narrative never changes, year after year after tedious year, the Pole is in constant flux, constantly revealing new things for those “with eyes that see.”

To end, I’ll share a few observations, which are not so much spoken in authority but rather uttered as wonders to consider.

First, the “quiet” sun, though still quiet, is in a “noisier” part of its sunspot cycle. We are seeing more sunspots.

Now, sunspots are an indication of the sun becoming more energetic. Although we are blessed with a wonderfully stable star for our sun, there is no true “solar constant”, for our sun cycles through a slight variation in the energy it sends towards earth. This variation is measured with the TSI (which stands for “Total Solar Irradiance”) When the sun is really rocking and rolling it can be as high as 1362.4 W/km2, while at the bottom of the Mauder Minimum it was estimated to be as low as 1360.3.

Alarmists like to dismiss this solar variation as a miniscule variation. Less than 0.1%. Then they wave their arms and say CO2 has increased from 300 ppm to over 400 ppm, which is an increase much greater than 0.1%, but is it? “Ppm” stands for “parts per million”. This means that even at 400 ppm we are talking about 4/10,000th of the atmosphere. An increase from 300 ppm to 400 ppm is 100 ppm, which is 1/10,000th of the atmosphere. I think that means we are talking about 0.01% of the atmosphere. Since when does CO2’s 0.01% outrank the sun’s 0.1%?

Obviously, the difference between the solar 0.1% and CO2’s 0.01% could provoke some lively and fascinating debates, if it were allowed, but it isn’t. Imbecilic brutes like Al Gore control the purse strings. Wise scientists like Bill Gray got (and get) the shaft. So, people pretend the sun has an inconsequential effect while CO2 rules. But I have my doubts the sun is truly so ineffectual, especially midst a drought and a heat wave.

When, like a mad dog, I went out in the local, blazing noonday sun, I noticed the power of a small cloud. It was the smallest of cumulus, but the thirty seconds of shade it offered not only cooled wonderfully, but it stirred a breeze, which I was equally thankful for. Yet it also clued me into the fact wind is also an energy created by the sun, though not measured by thermometers.

Wind is important to the study of climate, for the fluctuations of the trade winds control the undulations of the equatorial Pacific from warm El Ninos to cold La Ninas, and these shifts influence the entire planet, including the Arctic sea-ice.

Now, if the sun had any effect, one might expect trade winds to weaken and El Ninos to gain strength as sunspots vanished, and then one might expect trade winds to increase and La Ninas to gain strength as sunspots reappeared. Which is exactly what has recently happened. The 2015 El Nino was far stronger than any expected, and then the 2020 La Nina refused to quit when they usually quit, nor to quit a second time when they usually quit, and is still going strong.

But it is not only west of Peru where waters are cooler than normal (as one expects in a La Nina), but also in the western Indian Ocean, and west of Africa, and up in Bering Strait, and east of Iceland, and between the Azores and Bermuda.

There is much of interest to discuss here, but how are we to discuss it? So much is not allowed. We are told to believe CO2 is a sort of magic bullet that kills the werewolf, but where is the werewolf?

All I can say is things aren’t getting warmer in the manner we were told they would.

Before I conclude I’ll mention one other thing that is suppressed, because it allows for warming and the melting of sea-ice without blaming CO2 and fossil fuels. It is volcanoes. Especially volcanoes on the floor of the Arctic Sea.

This would be such a fun thing to discuss, if we were allowed to speak freely. Just think of it: Thousand-degree lava creating an ascending plume of warm water right where waters ordinarily sink. All the careful measurements of existing currents made by men enduring rough lives on icebreakers, trudging across sea-ice when others spend summers at warm beaches, are negated by the burp of a single stupid volcano. But this is just one more variable. It is just life in chaos. We could have such fun rearranging the possibilities, if only they would allow it.

Although we are not funded to talk about such volcanic things, I am mischievous, and must mention a “circle” of thin ice which has appeared northeast of Franz Josef Land. While it is as not as striking as the actual hole that appeared in the NRL maps last summer, it is noteworthy because it also appears on the DMI maps as well, and the DMI and NRL models seldom agree about anything. Not that it necessarily has anything to do with a plume of warm water sent up by a volcano, but it is there, and we should be allowed to use our eyes.

Stay tuned.


Let me not spoil these lavishly lush days
With talk of how long days now grow shorter.
Too often I've missed the One worth the praise,
Seeking woes like the worst news reporter.
Hound-dogging I've howled, sniffing the cold trails
Of how every summer leads to winter,
As if time is proof Mother Nature fails 
For soft water hardens. Indeed, she hints her
Seasons must change, and so a man must toil
Gathering food and fuel, but that does not make
A single day less. Anointed by oil
We are blessed, though our muscles may ache.
Lift my eyes. Lift my heart. Lift my dour face
As my cup runneth over with midsummer grace.

GARDEN WAR –Friends and Foes–

As nations such as Shri Lanka run out of money and their people are told they can’t buy fuel or fertilizer, it seems events are teetering towards situations where the blunders of a few elites can bring about the misery of millions.

The government of Shri Lanka was hard hit by the covid fraud, for the cessation of tourism robbed the nation of much of its income, even as it still had to pay its expenses. As a small nation, its income besides tourism was largely “exports”, as its expenses were largely “imports”. The problem it faced is obvious when you see both their top export and top import was “Mineral fuels including oil”. They exported $695.2 million, which seems like a goodly amount, until you see they imported $2.1 billion, or three times as much.

The doings of a distant island caught my attention because I’m interested in organic fertilizers, and their government decided they could balance their budget a little by stopping the import of chemical fertilizers, and instead using locally-produced organic products. Didn’t work. Maybe they merely didn’t do the substitution corectly, but switching to organic fertilizers resulted in reduced crops, reducing the rice crop which feds the people, and also harming two major exports, namely cereal crops, ($241.4 million), and cotton ($232.8 million). In any case the nation wound up flat broke, and so deeply in debt no one would loan them any further funds.

This demonstrates two things.

First, it demonstrates that the well-meaning ideas of the elite can be badly researched and poorly thought-out, whether they be cancelling tourism or shifting to organic fertilizer. Hunger and the inability to buy gasoline, for millions of the unwashed masses, might not bother the elite, but when those millions stormed into the elite palace of the leader, and they swam in his private pool, the millions got the elite’s attention.

Eranga Jayawardena / AP

Second, rioting about a problem does not solve the problem. One prays to God to raise up new leaders who are more able to avoid simplistic solutions and who are more able to face the intricate details of complex issues. In the meantime, millions will continue to face the consequences of allowing simpletons to rule.

In the Netherlands the Dutch elite came up with an idealistic plan to reduce problems caused by the nitrogen in fertilizer by simply banning it. Didn’t work. In fact, it was a step too far, for the farmers (who would be bankrupted) immediately rioted, joined by a surprising number of non-farmers. The seriousness of the situation seems underscored by the fact the elite-ruled mainstream media seems determined to ignore the story, or else to fact-check it away.

Again, we see the consequences of allowing people, who feel they are elite and born to govern, invent rules which are bound to create suffering for millions. The millions rise up and say simpletons can’t be allowed to rule them.

Even the price of chocolate candy bars seems to hint at troubles for farmers in faraway Ghana. A candy bar that cost five cents in my boyhood is up to over two dollars, but the increase has not worked down to the farmers of the cocoa. (In this case the simpletons seem to be greedy middlemen).

As the United States is currently ruled by a simpleton, and as one consequence of his misguided energy policies may be famine, I decided maybe I should be more serious about making my garden productive this year. You’d be surprised at how intricate the details of gardening get, even on the small scale of my garden. I have seen I am just as capable of bad judgement as the leaders of Shri Lanka or the Netherlands.

For example, to fight high energy prices I burned a lot of wood last winter. This produced lots of wood ashes. I had heard wood ashes are good fertilizer, so I spread the ashes in my garden. Mistake. Ashes make the soil alkaline, and if the soil is too alkaline some plants are stunted, with leaves that are yellow rather than green. So, I am now conducting experiments involving turning alkaline soil acidic, (“souring” “sweetened” soil), right in the middle of a growing season. This is work which would be unnecessary if only I had gotten things right in the first place.

Considering I am past my prime, I am not fond of unnecessary work. I’m slow enough just doing the necessary. And what really irks me is when it becomes necessary to do work which I never saw coming.

For example, a drought. Last year was so rainy my potatoes rotted, but this year nearly every rain shower or thunderstorm misses us. (In other words, I never saw this coming because it didn’t come). The drought is particularly aggravating when I must water when I should be weeding, for I am watering the weeds.

Also, I had to divert my already-low levels of energy to building fences, for first my chickens and then my lone goat invaded my garden in unhelpful ways. I hate fences. But then, when I thought I had my own beasts corralled, I nearly turned my goat to goat-burger when I saw hoofprints down a row of beans and carrots, with all the plants neatly clipped to stubs. I swore softly and tried to figure out how the beast was getting past my new fence. But then I noticed that besides the goat-sized hoofprints there was a set of tiny hoofprints. Dawn broke on Marblehead. It wasn’t my goat. It was a doe and her fawn.

Oddy, the sight of those tiny prints quelled my anger. How can you get mad at Bambi? At the same time, I recognized the fact I wasn’t angry was likely because I wasn’t hungry. If I was hungry my tolerance would fade. In besieged cities famished citizens have eaten their children, if history can be believed, so maybe I could eat even a cute little Bambi. And maybe venison would supply more protein than beans and carrots. But I went to work putting up more fences, all the same. They were low and flimsy, but I figured a doe wouldn’t jump over them, if she had to leave her fawn behind.

(I hope you are noticing this situation is becoming more complex than one would imagine, when first planting some carrots and beans. Are you gardening vegetables, or venison?)

My garden also had successes, involving benefits brought by the cool weather, and also the fact watering is a job even an old man can do. I like standing about and spraying with a hose, and the deer and her fawn apparently were not fond of peas and lettuce. Those crops prospered. My crop of edible podded peas was especially bountiful, considering the fact not far away the parched lawn sounded crisp when you walked on the grass.

So, I had far more lettuce and peas than I could use, and I decided a good way to defy the government-created inflation was to lower my prices rather than raising them. I lowered prices to zero and had good fun being a philanthropist, giving away lettuce and crunchy, juicy, sweet edible podded peas for free. (Hopefully this rebellious behavior topples the government, or at least slightly decreases inflation.)

As I fought my little war with weeds and deer and potato bugs and drought and the government, I gained a small victory by allowing a certain small patch of weeds to thrive by my peas. (The weed was lamb’s quarters, which is easier to grow than spinach and tastes better, so it is hard to call it a weed,) however this particular patch was infested with aphids. Aphids are the favorite food of ladybugs. I caught every ladybug, (of at least eight different species), that I saw in my garden and brought them to my weeds. To my delight soon there were ladybug larvae on the lamb’s quarters

And soon afterwards not only were there far fewer aphids on those lamb quarters, but there were also fewer potato bug larvae eating my potatoes. Not that there were thousands of ladybugs swarming my garden, but they were around, and had their effect.

There were also other predators, including some small wasp which apparently likes potato bug larvae. I can’t claim to be intentionally breeding such wasps, but maybe I accidentally did so last year, when I allowed potato bugs to get out of hand. The wasp prospered last year, and that means this year they are all over the place, and a potato bug larva often may shrivel due to eggs the wasp laid in its back. In any case, as I walk down my lush row of well-watered potatoes, I’m surprised by how much less time I must spend picking potato bugs from the leaves. In fact I may even get a decent crop. I also have more time to spend weeding and watering other crops.

I bring this up to show that not all ideas involving being “organic” are stupid. I prefer to label myself a “conservationist” rather than an “environmentalist”. The difference being: I get my hands dirty while environmentalists live in ivory towers far from the dirt. I prefer to suffer and learn from my own mistakes, while their mistakes cause millions to suffer, and they only learn by being chased down the street by a howling mob.

The potato patch may well be a small victory, especially if the supply shrinks and the demand grows, and potatoes are in short supply by December. God wiling, I’ll have some big ones to give away for Christmas.

You can’t win them all, and my popcorn patch is a battle I may lose. Corn needs lots of water and is a heavy feeder, but does not like being fed wood ashes at all. The drought prevented the wood ashes from being diluted, and in places the soil was so caustic it burnt the corn at the base. So besides losing some seedlings to cutworms I killed some with my care. What a dope I can be! However, I won’t go down to complete defeat without a fight.

My counterattack was to replant, making sure to dilute the soil, and even including some dilute vinegar to counteract the wood ashes. This created new problems, for when you focus on watering you neglect weeding, and the weeds loved how I had soured the overly sweetened soil. Not that I neglected weeding right by the corn seedlings, but the rows of corn were like alleys between skyscrapers of weeds.

With the weeds becoming such a problem, I had to shift away from watering, yet as I weeded, I was amazed by the roots of the weeds. They formed a thick mesh just below the surface, rather than diving deep to find water in a drought. The weeds did this because their way to find water in a drought was to exploit my watering, and to grab the water at the surface before it could get down to the roots of my corn. These crafty weeds had to go!

With the help of a member of my childcare staff I not only weeded the corn, but raked up grass after mowing and used it to heavily mulch the row, to prevent new weeds. Take that, you suckers!

But solutions create new problems. As corn and grass are closely related, you might think a mulch of rotting grass would release nutrients that corn needs. Wrong. The exact opposite occurs, for the intermediate step, wherein the clippings rot, requires nitrogen the corn also requires. Therefore, you must fertilize not only the corn but also the clippings with a high nitrogen fertilizer.

At this point my eyes strayed to my chicken coop. Chicken manure is so high in nitrogen that you usually have to let it rot for a year and be rinsed of some of its potency, or it will kill plants with kindness. Also, it usually is a disgusting swill that splashes like brown paint when you clean the coop. This year, due to the drought, it was crumbly powder. For that reason alone, it seemed a good time to clean the coop. Also, it seemed that, if I sprinkled this powder well away from the corn, to avoid burning the corn, I could fertilize both the decomposition of grass and the corn. Lastly, I again watered the mulch-concoction with highly diluted vinegar to sour the sweetened soil.

Hmm. My garden sounds more and more like the test tubes of a mad scientist rather than anything remotely “organic”. Also, it would not surprise me much if my chemistry killed my corn. Yet maybe, just maybe, we will witness a late season rally, and the comeback of an underdog, and I will harvest some popcorn, which is easy to store for the winter, as you need only to convince your wife to make the dried ears a pretty ornament she hangs on her walls as fall decor.

I belabor you with all this to demonstrate how even an old-timer like myself is still learning, and how a garden is not a completed thing but rather a work in progress. I am constantly running up against new problems, and consulting other small gardeners for their ideas, seeking solutions. In like manner, if you want to formulate a sane government policy you need to gather many such minds, so you know of many solutions, and also of many problems that solutions reveal. It is through sifting through many ideas that a government can come up with a route, (or perhaps ten routes) to try, and these routes are only trials. If you want to formulate an insane government policy you walk into a situation certain you already know the answer, and you order wise people, who know better, about.

Oddly, this brings me back to the doe and fawn chowing down in my garden. This is seen as a bad thing by some globalists, for they (in Africa) apparently feel “bush game” allows “indigenous” populations to eat even when their gardens are taken away, when they should be forced to move from their homelands to allow for some monoculture which elitists feel is wise. For example: planting oil palms which are supposed to replace oil wells. Such policy is reminiscent of the clearances of Highlands in Scotland in the early 1800’s, because sheep seemed more profitable than people. In the short-term sheep indeed were more profitable than people, but such policy seemed less smart at the start of the Crimean War, when soldiers were needed. The Highlanders had been the best fighters, yet few were now available, and sheep were a lousy replacement.

It follows that one aspect of a monoculture of oil palms is that it wrecks both the natural and social environment. It not only drives away the “bush game”, it also drives away the “indigenous” people. Yet the elite investors growing square miles of oil palms insist they do so because they love the environment. They destroy an environment that once held five native villages, twenty species of native animals, and 200 native plants, because oil palms are better “for the environment” than fossil fuels. Such madness is why I refuse to call myself an “environmentalist”, and prefer “conservationist”. (It should be noted that some who invested in oil palms only did so to walk away with buckets of money from subsidies, and cared not one hoot about either society or ecology.)

In any case, I figure I’m an “indigenous” sort of fellow. My family has lived in these parts for four hundred years. So that makes the deer munching my carrots and beans my “bush game”. And together we represent riffraff the highly educated elite will wish removed so they can establish a National Park “for the foxes” (IE: because they want to go fox hunting.) (I have noticed the elite never say they do anything “for themselves.” If it isn’t “for the environment” it’s “for the children”. They see themselves as altruistic. That is why they are so puzzled when they’re chased down the street by a howling mob.)

Now, as an “indigenous” person one characteristic I should have is a nigh mystical closeness with nature. Not that I notice it all that much, but I do know the correct facial expressions. I used to hang out with the Navajo, and they showed me how to act when the tourists were about. And that is what elitists are: Tourists on their own planet. However, when no elitists are around, what should I do?

I decided I should have a talk with the deer, and an opportunity presented itself when I weeded late into the twilight, one evening, past the time the deer thought I should have gone home.

When I popped my head up in the corn patch and began talking, the doe did not seem surprised, and just listened to me rant.

I ranted on at great length about how, if the deer persisted on eating my garden, I would feel justified to eat them. After all, if I fed them all summer, they should feed me all winter. The doe did not seem the slightest bit offended, and stood listening. But then I noticed something, and said, “Hey! Where is your fawn?” Only then did the doe turn and walk away.

I then did what indigenous people do, which is to act as if family and community are real things. The elite, who seemingly know only divorce and abortion, are somewhat mystified by such earthy behavior, but all it boils down to is “comparing notes”. In the process of ordinary chitchat, the subject of deer was raised, and I swiftly learned of two events.

First, an animal lover had, to their own great dismay, struck and killed a fawn with their vehicle on a highway a third of a mile from my farm, two nights before. Second, that same night, and the following night, a lady who lived a half mile away had let her dog out to pee before going to bed, and the dog had walked out into a spotlight-lit lawn and been met by a doe who came out of the woods. The dog was young, skinny, had short, reddish-brown fur, and was roughly the same size as a fawn. As the woman watched amazed the doe and dog pranced and frolicked together for fifteen minutes, before they called it quits, and the dog came in for bed. That this happened one time seemed odd, but the second time it happened made it all the more bizarre. Was the doe in need of a foster child?

Now, if you are of the elite, I’m sure you will recognize the above tale as one of those quaint but fictitious creations regurgitated by primitive peoples. However, if you are afflicted by indigenousness, it is just one of those relationships you notice, like the ladybug’s relationship with healthy plants in the garden. Just as you don’t call the doings of ladybugs fictitious, you don’t call the doings of deer and dogs fictitious either.

Nor does the story stop there. Just as fawns can be struck by cars, leaving does aggrieved, does can be struck by cars, leaving fawns orphaned.

A child arrived at our childcare and described how she had seen two men hoisting “road kill” into the back of their pickup truck only a quarter mile from my garden. (Why waste the meat?) My initial (and unspoken) thought was that the poor doe who had lost her fawn had followed her fawn into death. But later that same day a fawn without a mother startled the children as they hiked, by bolting across their path, at my Childcare.

photo by Riley Bishop

This would suggest that, within the proximity of my garden, was a doe missing a fawn, and a fawn missing a doe. Apparently, this cruel modern world causes broken homes among deer as well as humans. The question then becomes, is there any social worker in nature who can unite the lonely-heart doe with the lonely-heart fawn?

Heck if I know. All I know is that, with all this drama going on, they stayed the heck out of my garden. Not that it will last. The children rushed up to me today with the news they had seen a doe with not one, but two, fawns, just across the pasture from my garden. I sense an imminent threat.

What is the threat? Is it that the doe will bring her two fawns into my garden to browse? Or is that the elite will step in to help?

Judging from prior behavior, the elite response to the situation will favor deer over farmers. They will ban automobiles, for killing a fawn and a doe. They will not ban deer, for wrecking my carrots and beans.

Me? Well, I may work a bit more on my fences, though I hate fences. Putting them up is hard work, and I’m too old for blisters on my palms, but will likely suffer a few more. But a few more blisters before I die seems worth it, if I avoid banning deer and banning automobiles, while getting the job of growing my carrots and beans done.

Elitists? Isn’t it odd how, when they erect their fences, they never get blisters on their palms? All they get is chased down streets by howling mobs.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Inconvenient Blip of Chill–

Typical. Right after I write several things describing how amazing the amount of solar radiation the Pole gets during the height of summer is, and how the Pole actually gets more heat than the equator, the pole makes me look bad by having a bit of a cold wave during the longest days of the year. Mean temperatures at the Pole nearly dipped to freezing! (The blue line in the graph below.) (The green line shows the average, using the years 1958 to 2002; the red line is this year.)

This graph begins around April 10, and it can be seen temperatures have been largely below normal. This doesn’t fit the Global Warming narrative, but I’m not going to waste much time with that. (That boat is so full of holes that the people bailing it out are under water.) Instead, I am just going to puzzle over what the heck is happening.

It is hard to blame the chill on the “Quiet Sun”, for the sunspot cycle is coming out of its slumber, and the sun is not so quiet and so we ought to be seeing a little more heat.

To be honest, I can’t explain the chill. I ought to spend more time studying. But, considering people are selfish and won’t advance me large amounts of money to enjoy myself, how am I to study?

I suspect the current dip in the temperature graph is simply due to cloudiness. Cloudy days are not as warm. And there has been a “Ralph” (anomalous area of low pressure) whirling as a gale up on the Eurasian side of the Pole.

So, I look to see if there is cold air associated with the low pressure.

It can be seen that a swirl of below freezing temperatures is involved. This is unusual, for in early July the Pole, under 24-hour sunshine, can at times show no below-freezing temperatures at all. In fact the map of Polar isotherms looked that way roughly a week ago. This leads me to wonder, where can the cold come from? Usually cold comes from the north, (in the northern hemisphere), but this is as far north as you can go. With the sun beating down 24 hours a day, where can the cold come from?

I suppose it comes from the melting of so much ice. Melting ice sucks up a lot of heat, for the phase-change from solid water to liquid water takes available heat surrounding ice and turns it into latent heat within liquid water. And, when you throw some salt into the melting, you suck up so much heat that you “create cold”, (which was how an old-fashioned ice-cream-maker worked.) So perhaps, as the clouds hide the sun, yet the melting proceeds, it causes the temperatures to dip.

Yet in fact, on some occasions in the past, a “Ralph” with gale force winds has caused speedy melting at the Pole by churning up warmer waters. So, I should check to see if the “extent” graph shows a downtick of melting.

How perplexing. While the graph shows extent plunging, as it always done in the summer, the plunge abruptly slows. Well, let’s check the “volume” graph.

Hmm. This is also perplexing. The “volume” is also failing to sink at the expected rate. Rather than the lowest ever, it is approaching passing 2018 (the red line), which would make it highest volume in recent years.

Hopefully it will not pass the gray line, which is the 2004-2014 average. When it did this last year, DMI had to make an “adjustment,” which involved a lot of sea-ice mysteriously vanishing (on paper) and 2021 abruptly becoming (in January) the lowest volume by far, in recent years. Over 2000 km3 of ice melted with a click of a computer. I imagine this embarrassed some honest scientists who work at DMI. I sure hope they don’t face such embarrassment a second time.

After all, just because you fudge the paperwork, and make over 2000 km disappear, doesn’t make the sea-ice actually disappear. And if you make the same adjustment a second time, it only means there is more sea-ice which actually exists which you are pretending doesn’t exist. And couldn’t this eventually present you with a problem?

Don’t ask me, because it is not my problem. I am not allowed to join the elite company of people facing such a self-created mess. They won’t even look at simple statements such as the statements I make in this post. They in fact do their best to censor and shadow-ban such simple statements.

Sigh. I guess there is no chance of my getting large amounts of money for doing what I enjoy. But still, I enjoy myself, and also the fact I am not facing the tremendous mess some others are facing.

Stay tuned.


I’m home from a two-week vacation, and I must say I don’t see why people want vacations so much. Life can be rich and beautiful without them. Or maybe life itself can be made a vacation, to some degree, so we needn’t go on one.

My wife and I have basically gone most of our married lives working 52 weeks a year. Our vacations have largely been long-weekends of three or four days, and even they have been few and far between. Our jaunt to California for my youngest son’s wedding, described on this blog two years ago, was the first exception to the rule, and that week-long-outing was made interesting as it was during the coronavirus panic and we were not exactly relaxing, even as we did ordinary stuff like go to a wedding. We were radicals to be ordinary, breaking coronavirus laws.

The past two weeks were similar. As a family we have trouble being ordinary, because being ordinary is in some odd way against the flow of political correctness. To be ordinary is to be extraordinary.

I have mixed feelings about being extraordinary. I dislike it because it enflames the ego. Being puffed-up divides one from others, from the so-called “normal”. Rather than brotherhood and oneness one feels they are Brahmin, of a higher caste. Whether it is purple hair or piercings or the absurdly long fingernails of the elite gentlemen of long-ago China, people want to set themselves apart from their fellow man. They want to stand in some safe place, removed from all the danger of closeness. Then they slowly freeze in their icy heights as those (who will live to replace them) prosper in the warmth of the valleys.

In the valley there is less emphasis in setting yourself apart, because it gets in the way of getting things done. Anyway, we are all different whether we like it or not. We are different whether our hair is natural or purple. Just compare fingerprints. We’re different. If that is what thrills your ego, be thrilled, but meanwhile we have a job to do so get cracking.

The odd thing about the valley is that, in getting the job done, people have to put their egos aside, and in getting their selfish self out of the way they are doing, (without yoga and often with a haphazard disregard for spirituality), what spiritual Masters have urged humanity to do for thousands of years, and what humanity has mocked. However, because these salt-of-the-earth bumpkins are actually being selfless, they get the extraordinary rewards promised by the Masters.

I think this reality pisses off the elite. The elite have worked long and hard to set themselves apart, to climb above the riffraff, and they are irked to see the riffraff rewarded as the elite are penalized. For the snobs truly are penalized. They deserve it. And deep down they know it. All the same, it irks the hell out of the elite to see the writing on the wall, like King Belshazzar of Babylonia .

How does this apply to the two-week vacation planned by my wife and I? Well, to some degree we wanted a brief rest. After 32 years we figured we could use a rest. But as we planned a blank two weeks on our calendar, the blankness started to fill up with scribbled appointments. Though we wanted to set ourselves apart for two weeks, stuff happened.

In my case the stuff involved my garden. I can’t just neglect it for two weeks. But this is no bother, for part of my definition of “vacation” is to be free to potter in my garden, without interruption. And in like manner, one part of my wife’s definition of “vacation” is to dote on grandchildren, without interruption.

But when such stuff intrudes too much, it hardly seems you are on vacation at all. I found myself wondering what it would be like to have such a fine staff of gardeners that I could get a complete break, and in some way my wife also contemplated a break from doting on grandchildren. But I would never want an end to gardening, nor my wife want an end to doting. Just a retreat, a time of rest.

Oh well, we are still learning, because we are inexperienced when it comes to vacations. In some ways we failed this time, because our calendar failed to stay blank. Stuff happened.

There was a court date smack dab in the middle of the vacation, due to the foolishness which I described in my last post. Then there was a wedding at the start, which took up time and energy, and then there was a potential divorce among family members to walk-on-eggs about, as well. These are not things which are conducive to a serene mind being at peace, on vacation.

The wedding was, for me, one of the most beautiful events of my life. It seemed so unlikely: That a man who knew nothing but hardship should ever meet a woman who also knew nothing but hardship, and together find happiness. It was like when, in mathematics, a negative multiplied by a negative equals a positive. I was glad for him and glad for her, and glad for the two complicated families involved.

It also seems impossible to me that I, a selfish, lonely artist sleeping in his car, flat broke, 33 years ago, am now a grandfather with five children, ten grandchildren, and three daughters-in-law, and two sons-in-law. Add in my mother-in-law, and that makes 23 in the oneness of the bride’s side of the wedding photos. The husband’s side was equally complex, and added twenty more, so the wedding in a sense increased my family to 43 people. Yikes! I will need a chart simply to keep things straight!

But this just seem to verify what Jesus said would happen to bums like myself who were nice to fellow bums on the street. If I was faithful with the small things, I would be given greater things.

Hmm. Do I really want greater things? Do I really want 43 people to worry about? Or do I just want a vacation, where I don’t have a worry in the world?

The trick seems to be avoiding worry. For example, my daughter wanted her wedding’s “bride’s entrance” to involve all her nieces and nephews, including some as young as eleven months old, and I worried this was a bad idea. They would screech and wail and spoil the ceremony. And it seemed I was right, as we formed a sort of pre-parade in a corridor of a building next to the outdoors auditorium. Every child was complaining. I no longer worried. I was certain: The parade coming down the aisle to the alter would be a complete train wreck. And I would be the caboose, linked arm in arm with the bride. But my worry, and even my certainty, was utterly wrong. Why? Because exiting the low-ceilinged corridor seemed to uplift every little child with fresh air and sky, and they were in a state of wide-eyed, smiling wonder as they came down the aisle. What’s more, they were so awe-struck they behaved themselves through the entire ceremony.

Of course, because I was last in line, arm in arm with the bride in the din of crying children in a cramped corridor, I knew nothing about how the children behaved in the fresh air, and only experienced the pre-parade deafening of squalling toddlers and infants, even as the same toddlers and infants were amazing the wedding audience with their good behavior outside. So, I worried the worst, an even was certain of the worst. Therefore, the tearfully euphoric expressions on the audience’s faces made no sense to me, as I brought my daughter down the aisle.

It was only at the reception afterwards that I came to understand how stupid my worry was. Person after person told me how amazed and touched they were by all the awed little children preceding the bride, and how not one child misbehaved.

I bring this up to show how foolish worry is. Not that I am not guilty of worry, but I also often doubt its validity, even as I experience it.

The fact of the matter is that, in my life, I have seen my worst worries come true, and have always seen that, even in a worst-case scenario, reality is not as awful as worry suggested beforehand. For example, at age 21 the idea of being homeless and sleeping in my car was a fate to be dreaded, but when it actually happened to me at age 31, it wasn’t as dreadful as I imagined, and now, at age 69, I actually look back on my destitute period (between age 28 and age 36) with a peculiar fondness, (though I hope I don’t have to do it again.) Why fondness? Because at that time I saw that, even when your worries come true, you can still be good. Worry loses its power when you’re hit by its best uppercut, and you don’t fall down.

(This likely can be applied to the current political situation in the United States, where the elite are hitting the non-elite with their best uppercuts, but the non-elite are not falling down.)

But me? I’m just an old bumpkin who wants a vacation. And in a sense I got one, for a true wedding celebration is a vacation from the drag of ordinary, banal, humdrum reality. Rather than the testing of faith involved in ordinary life, it is an affirmation of faith. And is that ever a relief!

In ordinary life I am always wishing God would manifest, and in a wedding He does. Differences are overcome by understanding. The power of love is revealed, announced, and displayed.

Of course, as we look at the wedding photos in the future, we might see a particular married couple who are only faking their smiles, for they are secretly nursing the powers of divorce. But this tends to be part of what is called “family”, which is a soap opera I told my wife should be called, in our case, not “As the World Turns,” (an actual soap opera) but rather “As the Worm Churns.”

But such drama is just ordinary life, wherein we wish God would manifest but, though He is as ever-present as always, He seems to fail to manifest, so our faith gets tested. Yet even in this dreary and ungodly existence, the process of getting-by can involve “stuff” which, midst selfishness, is selfless, and releases the joy Masters promised us.

For example, when I went to court for my arraignment, I met with the prosecutor beforehand determined to prove my innocence, for I felt I had a “good case” and felt I likely would “win”. But it would take time and money. Hiring the attorney to plead my case would cost me roughly $2,000.00, to start. And it would likely involve three separate appearances in court, and who has time for that when their garden needs weeding? In the same manner, the prosecutor didn’t much want to spend a long time persecuting an innocent man. So, we sat around and did what I suppose is called “plea-bargained”. My charges were reduced from a “misdemeanor” to a “violation” (like a parking ticket) and by pleading “no contest” I didn’t even admit guilt. In the end the “plea bargaining” took roughly two hours of my vacation, plus a fine of $248.00, which was later reduced to $124.00. Furthermore, I found the prosecutor interesting, and he seemingly found me interesting as well.

A defendant is never supposed to be too open with a prosecutor, and vice versa, but we slipped up to some degree, in that respect. Rather than “plea-bargain” we did what locals call “chewed the fat”, which is to exchange information in a trusting and open manner, quite unlike the manner usually seen between a prosecutor and defendant. And why did this happen? Well, apparently, I made it happen. How so?

Well, it turned out the prosecutor had received a call from the arresting officer, who told him what an usually polite, honest and engaging criminal I was. This was no trouble for me. It is not every day you get handcuffed and brought to the police station for fingerprinting, and I found it fascinating, and was full of questions and interest. (See last post). I wasn’t behaving in that manner to gain some future advantage or benefit. It is just that, in a life with its fair share of hardship, I’ve learned it doesn’t do any good to make hardship harder by snarling and hissing like a collared cat, but that it makes hardship a lot less hard to bear if you treat it as an interesting experience. And apparently I made the experience interesting for the arresting officer as well. And one thing led to another, until it led to my experience in court being rather pleasant.

Perhaps this is what the Masters have been trying to tell us, millennium after millennium. If we have interest in others we forget about our selves, and things turn out better than they do when it is all about us. Of course, the non-elite are more likely to see this than the elite are, because the non-elite are facing hardships the elite adroitly avoid, and therefore the non-elite are better at facing hardships, and better at not being a sourpuss about troubles. Not that the non-elite are necessarily as cheerful as Snow White cleaning up after seven piggy dwarfs, singing “Whistle While You Work.” (My wife informs me I was not all rainbows and roses, the evening after my arrest.) However the non-elite do tend to work, and work hard, while the elite feel being “independently wealthy” frees them from odious toil, and they then sadly become in some ways allergic to work. They are deprived of experiencing what the Masters have been trying to tell us: It is better to give than to receive, and, blessed are the poor, for they are strangely more able to give than the rich.

This ties neatly into the difference between marriage and divorce, but I don’t want to delve much more into that topic. After all, this post is supposed to be about a vacation, and a vacation is supposed to be a break from hard work. And there is no getting around the fact marriage involves hard work.

At the start of marriage people notice they differ, but opposites attract, and “Viva la différence!” However, differing evolves into disagreeing, at which point things can become disagreeable. It is then marriage involves front lines between the powers of selfishness and the powers of selflessness. As I stated earlier, it doesn’t do any good to make hardship harder by snarling and hissing like a collared cat, but it makes hardship a lot less hard to bear if you treat it as an interesting experience. For there are some differences you will never agree upon. After 32 years my wife and I still can’t agree on how to make a bed; (she refuses to fold down the sheet up by the pillow). What one must decide is: Are such disagreements grounds for escalating nastiness and eventual divorce, or are they petty things which can be overlooked? Love is a great overlooker.

“Love bears all things” states the part of 1 Corinthians 13, which even non-churchgoing people like read out at their weddings, but it is easier said than done. Having done it, there is no way I want to revert to doing it. I want a vacation. When the young move in the direction of a quarrel, and I can escape the role of a councilor, I flee as fast as I can for the fish.

Or I watch the young fish, at the end of a day at the end of a life.

But eventually the long, summer days end. Even at the North Pole, where the summer sun never sets, summer ends, and darkness falls. Darkness is part of life, a time for rest. In Eden the night knew no fear, like sleep in a mother’s arms. But on earth fear creeps in. Worry arises.

I tend to side with light over darkness, reconciliation over divorce, but there are many examples of a pebble of badness starting an avalanche of evil. Evil escalates. A single bad apple can rot the entire barrel. Therefore, when the mind gets tired and needs rest, darkness can loom.

Light remains superior, for there is no darkness light cannot penetrate, whereas darkness can never penetrate light. However, this also means that when your own mind grows weary and dark it cannot penetrate to the very light it longs for. All crumbles. Rust never sleeps. Decay triumphs even over the pyramids.

It was at this point that King David, a mighty warrior, became weak and fragile. In his psalms he aptly describes how bad his bad moods were, and how stressful was his post-traumatic stress. And then, over and over, his psalms show him turning to God as the One who does not crumble, as the “rock” who is everlasting. Then the mighty warrior becomes like a toddler clinging to a father’s pantleg in a crowd. And then, every time, his tested faith is restored, not due to any deed on the part of David, but because it is in the nature of the Father to love, to preserve and protect. And this happens to all of us, when we sleep. What do we do when we sleep? What do we achieve when we do nothing? How is it rest rewards us?

I don’t know. I just know that, like it or not, I fall asleep, and then wake to find decay reversed, winter giving way to spring, darkness giving way to light, and wounds healed.

As the end of our vacation neared, we decided to do something loony, a bit like herding cats, and that was to get all six of the younger grandchildren in a single picture. In a way this was a divorce, a divorce from common sense, for getting even a single toddler into a picture is challenging, especially when they are seated on a couch and are determined to wobble off and land on their heads. The following picture is proof anything is possible.

In case you are wondering what so fascinates the children that they all sit still, it was the antics of their parents. I took a video where I pan back and forth as this picture was set up, and to me my grandkids are less interesting than my now-mature kids, all hopping about and singing songs. The cooperation was amazing, especially when you realize it includes two who are contemplating divorce and who ordinarily can’t agree about anything, yet whom I have proof of, on video, that that they can cooperate, when they forget themselves and are focused on something other than themselves, (in this case a good picture.)

And then everyone began leaving, and suddenly there was silence: Just my wife and I, all alone by a lake. I had no garden to weed, and she had no grandchildren to dote over. There was no loony behavior to deal with, but off in the distance the beautiful cry of a loon inspired us to contemplate if there was anything slightly loony which we old folk might do together, and we decided to kayak off to a distant island and explore it.

The island was barren of topsoil and blasted by winds that at times must scream down from the nearby mountain and across the flat waters to flatten the island’s weaker trees. Yet as we walked about, I was struck by how lush the island managed to be despite all it had going against it. The trees were pathetic compared to trees on the west coast but had a might all their own. Simply to survive hinted at heroism, and there were many hemlocks with bases eighteen inches across that were barely twelve feet tall. Counting the whorls of branches suggested they were like banzai trees, over a hundred years old but still small. Many trees were warped and twisted in a loony way. Many others, which had dared grow taller, had been blown down or snapped off. But the rotting stumps of the snapped-off fatalities didn’t stop life.

Nor was life defeated when the fatalities involved the shallow subsoil giving too little dirt to keep trees from being uprooted. Seedlings grew atop the uprooted roots, and even when the roots rotted and the dirt washed away, the loony seedlings didn’t quit.

And some of these trees that refused to quit grew to a decent size, (though not by west coast standards.)

But of all the loony trees perhaps the oddest was the lone white pine I saw on the entire island. It was loony not only because it was the lone white pine, but also because it dwarfed all the other trees. What a tale it must be able to tell, to grow so tall where no other trees can tower. I can’t tell the tale, but I greatly admired the tree.

Perhaps I liked the tree because it seems a sort of proof great things can spring from soils that seem sterile. That likely seems loony to the elite, despite proof all round us. They insist they must be independently wealthy first, and even then produce little.

In any case, our vacation was coming to a close. We had to head back to clean up the rented house (or lose our security deposit.) So, we somewhat reluctantly left the island and started back. But, as if to emphasize what is loony, two loons appeared in our path.

There is a law which states boaters aren’t supposed to approach closer than 200 feet to loons, and my wife was able to paddle around them. However, the birds seemed determined to increase my criminal record, and swam and dove directly towards me. Ordinarily shy, these loons seemed determined to get me in trouble, and even added a third to the mix, and soon I was studying loons more closely than I have ever done before, in my 69 years.

I was able to study them, but my phone went dead, and I had to stop taking pictures, and just enjoy the given gift. One thing I wish I could show you is how, when one loon dove, the other two looked down, burying their faces in the water, and how their heads slowly turned as they watched the third pass beneath. The one thing they didn’t do, that I wished for, was to sing their lonely luting, but perhaps such a song at such lose quarters would have capsized my kayak. In the end I decided I had learned two things.

1.) What the elite call loony behavior is actually quite natural.

2.) Loony behavior does not avoid the non-elite.