Aug 15, 2007 - Oct 2007

October 3, 2006  We have had wind and most leaves have fallen.  I took a few photos just before this happened and am posting a sample collection here as click-able thumbnails. Enjoy!

View from canoe on pond

The real view is much wider and much higher and totally breath-taking.  When trying to capture such an experience with a camera one realizes the severe limitations imposed by a camera lens.

September 28, 2006  I broke down and picked the last tomatoes off the vines in my greenhouse.  There will be no more growth anymore this fall, and leaving them on without heat in the greenhouse is courting frost damage.  The hardier plants I will leave for a while longer.

We have been having a lot of rain over the past two weeks.  The pond is rising and more and more trees are being flooded.  The new path I had made around the pond is itself now in danger of being flooded in a few areas.  I still have the tipi up but will take it down as soon as things dry out in the forest.  Snow could come at any time as well.

Each year I tell myself that I will not organize a large Thanksgiving day gathering, and each year, my initial small list of invited guests grows to fill my table and more.  At last count it seems as if I will have about 14 for an afternoon dinner.  I focus my invitations to people that are likely to not be with family of their own on that day.  In this manner we create our own version of family and collectively give thanks for the gifts of Creator and for the gifts of friends.

I have taken a few photos of the fall forest and will post a few more soon.  The image on the Home page is part of one delightful forest stump community.  It is worth clicking on the image to see the larger version.

I have been making a few things in the shop and am now in the carving stage.  My hands will not permit me to do this for an extended period, so I do a little and then direct my time to other tasks and later come back to the carving.  The  hand strength and control needed for the precise carving takes a toll on my joints and they start to ache  and then refuse to bend as needed.

Clickable thumbnail images from walk in the forest on September 26. 2006:

September 11, 2006  Everyone is asking if people remember where they were when news of the plane attacks on the World Trade Centre happened.  I know, I was walking in the forest with a neighbour planning a meeting we were to have later that morning with the RM Council to try to have them block the actions of a local tyrant, SaskPower, whose leadership had determined to smash and destroy our forest.  Now  many say the Bush Administration successfully filled the media with distortions and lies to make their case to invade Afghanistan and later Iraq.  Well, SaskPower had also used media manipulation and a whole series of cleverly crafted lies to make its case, and in large part the lies were also swallowed without  critical examination.  Terrorists usually occupy corporate and government offices and office towers, not hillside caves. Often the ones in hillside caves are refugees from the war and destruction that are the work of the men and women in suits.

Recently I was having a discussion on the situation in the Middle East with someone who seems to have adopted the Bush / Harper line.  He spoke of the need to protect ourselves from terrorists.  I asked him what he meant by "Terrorists".  He had a problem with a definition, so I suggested one:  "Terrorists are people who are willing to kill and destroy innocent people, men , women and children and destroy the earth to further their political or economic goals."  He seemed willing to accept that definition without seeming to realize it accurately described what the U.S. government, the government of Great Britain, Israel and Canada are now doing in various world theatres.  On a smaller scale and on our local scene, that is what SaskPower has been; the process is the same.

On a happier note, fall colours are evident everywhere though we have  escaped a killing frost so far.  This morning I will be delivering a Eulogy at the funeral of a friend.  I was honoured by the family when they asked me to speak on their behalf at the Mass.

Tomorrow, after the funeral and other things,  two siblings of my friend will come out to spend some time in the healing presence of Friendly Forest.  We will have to do a bit of juggling of sleeping accomodations as I already have a guest who is occupying the spare bedroom.  About ten days ago I received a young man who needed a home away from home while he waited acceptance  in a program out of province.  We have been making the adjustment to sharing a common space quite well, and I will give a lot of credit to the trees and my dog friend King for helping my guest feel welcome and comfortable. 

August 26, 2006  In the Federal level, Elizabeth May was elected leader of the Green Party of Canada.  The media even noticed!

Tomorrow I am hosting a Regional Green Party of Saskatchewan pot-luck and meeting.  Consequently today had to be about doing laundry and cleaning house ... tasks I detest. 

The weather was just grand, so I took advantage and did some more trail clearing.  Over the past few days I had been cutting out dead fall trees and doing trimming of understory re-growth.  I may have overdone it  as my body really ached and was stiff in the mornings, but I was not as crippled as earlier in the season.  That is good news for me.

Last weekend I travelled to Edmonton to attend a wedding.  It was a good trip and it was nice to be part of that celebration.  It also allowed most of our far-flung family to connect and visit.  I had prepared myself for the Edmonton run with good maps so I knew where I was going and I did not run into any real delays  from highway construction etc.  Edmonton streets and avenues are mostly numbered in consecutive fashion ,and that makes orientation much easier than in a place like Winnipeg where everything is named and runs at strange angles to each other.  There you really do need a map and having a side seat coach would be good too. 

I am rethinking my level of involvement with the Green Party.  I am still not sure where I will go with that re-evaluation, but my instincts are to pull back considerably. 

I went plant hunting earlier in the week and have it mostly dried now.  the days are shorter and the nights cooler, but the air is generally drier than it was a month ago, and hanging bunches of plants  to dry is more effective now than earlier.  There is still one kind of plant I want to collect, but I think I may be too late to get it at its prime.  The summer has advanced plants quicker than normal.

Bear still is ripping the prayer flags from trees but beyond that does not seem to be doing as much damage.  A friend advised me to hang an old shoe in the tipi.  I substituted a really sweated-up t-shirt and , at least for one day, the bear did not try to enter the tipi.  I do not know what his fascination is with hanging flags and trail marker tape, but he rips them down and chews them up repeatedly.  For a while I suspected that he liked the tobacco that I had tied into a corner of the flags.  That explanation would not work for the plastic trail marker tape however, and why he rips down the West, East and sometimes South Gate flags but leaves the north flags alone I do not undersand.  He has smashed a few smudge bowls too.  Perhaps he will let me know wht is going on in some manner before the summer is over.

August 15, 2006    I just finished evening prayers and was able to go outside  under the stars to focus my connection with Wakan Tanka.  While the smoking sage leaves symbolically carried my prayers, a few thoughts came to mind;

As I stand under the stars and look outward from this earth toward the galaxies, I am reminded that I am just one of the children of planet earth which raises its spirit to the skies and speaks to Creator.  Beside me stands my dog King and  my sacred tree whose roots are in the earth and who all day reaches toward the sun, absorbing warmth and energy, and growing ever closer to  the source of its life and closer to its creator.

This tree is a good sign for me of my connection to Wakan Tanka.  I stand, small but yet significant, because within me dwells the life power of Creator, sustaining me,. and waiting to return me to Creator at the end of my time here.

The kind of prayer that  arises within us as we stand under the stars beside the other children of this earth mother, is quite different than the prayer that seems to come from within us when we stand, sit or kneel inside a human-constucted temple, church, mosque, synagogue or other building.  When we pray from within a structure that we have made we surround ourselves with the majesty of ourselves. Even if we share our prayer space, it is likely to be beside other people, and not beside trees or other creatures of this earth.   Then we pray with an inspiration that comes from within us, from the small perspectives  that exist within human souls and buildings and from our experiences with other humans.

That perspective leaves out a lot and makes it human-centred instead of God-centred, or earth or universe-centred. 

These reflections reminded me of something I have been finding while reading my Judeo-Christian bible.  I have found  contrasts between how God is portrayed and how prayers are expressed in the books that represent the pre-temple and temple eras of the life of the people of Israel.  I have found contrasts in how Jesus is shown and what Jesus speaks of in the synoptic gospels and in what is presented to us from roman-arch-vaulted cathedrals and from ornate episcopal mansions.  The pre-temple Israelites  spoke with God in dreams and worshipped on hillsides, under great trees and on mountains.  Each person stood directly before Creator and responded directly.  After the temple was built in the image of David and Solomon, the priests required  offerings to be brought to the temple and the priests represented the gift-giver before God.  No longer were people permitted to communicate and worship directly.  Temples had to be grand  buildings so the glory of the human builder could be seen by all.  Somehow, the glory of the Divine creation had to be shut out from view so that the human achievement could be noticed and admired.   Jesus walked the paths and roadsides of Palestine and taught  "from the mountains" and spoke of  things growing and God caring for the birds of the air.  He did not talk about church authority and when asked  to teach how to pray, he taught them to address Yahweh in the intimate language of a trusting child;  "Abba, Daddy."  He did not organize polyphonic choral groups and compose gregorian chant music to speak to the Father, nor did he organize grand displays of costume and high thrones  and even higher crowns to wear while speaking to Yahweh. 

The earlier images of God and the earlier prayers arose from a perspective  of being part of  a vast creation, made  by a powerful and wondrous God who connected intimately, even within the dreams of his creatures. The later images and prayers come from a perspective of a human-made and peopled universe where the rest of creation, if it appears at all, appears as pale painted images or in dying flowers arranged in vases to decorate pieces of furniture.

In temples, in churches or in our own buildings we focus on ourselves and what we see, while it would be better for us to focus on what Creator sees. 

Where do I pray the best, with the greatest  ease and the greatest simplicity?  it is when I stand under the stars or the noon-day sun rather than when I stand with roof over my head and the only other beings I see are ones like myself or no one else at all.  

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