rebels for Life


Hey, I am impressed. On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets in the United Kingdom. They closed down five bridges in London, thoroughly making the point that they’ve got something to say.

This was a movement of the people not content with the do-next-to-nothing approach to our planet problem. The Rebels for Life have sprung into action. The Extinction Rebellion is underway.

The rebels are employing civil disobedience to force the hand of government. They say that:

Our political establishment has failed to protect its people from pollution, prevent further mass extinction of species on earth and prevent the possibility of human extinction in the near future.

They demand their government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency and reverse inconsistent policies. They seek legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025. They also seek the establishment of a national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes.

There is a lot of energy around the Extinction Rebellion (XR for short). This is regular folks who are worried about the world, especially for their children and their children’s children. You can bring your kids up thoughtfully and carefully, feed them all the right foods, get the best education – but what good is all of it if the planet is uninhabitable?

Meanwhile, here in the United States, it’s as if there’s no tomorrow. The current administration has diligently been undoing what protections there were, promoting further plunder and destruction of the earth rather than reining it in. ‘Leadership’ across the board had steadfastly ignored the issue, even as California burns and hurricane devastation gets swept under the rug. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. There’s pockets to line, don’t you know.

Here’s hoping the Extinction Rebellion gets more traction, migrates, and results in real action to compassionately safeguard our planet to the extent that we humans can. This is everyone’s problem. We can all be rebels for Life.



There’s a lovely darkness surrounding me right now. It’s still moon and stars time as I sit comfortably and cozy, this Saturday morning needing to get ready to go nowhere in the cold and snowy world outside my windows.

I love this kind of time. It’s a time to appreciate the warmth of my home space, the other being in it, and the simple things that sustain us.

There’s something to that whole hibernation thing some of our fellow animals have going. We’re supposed to be the ones with all that brain power, but sometimes you have to wonder.

Just the other day, as I headed homeward about quarter to six, I marveled at the icy conditions and helter-skelter “rush hour” traffic. Cars were creeping and sliding along on the dangerous roadways in what was already fully night.

It occurred to me just how nuts it is. Rather than coordinate with and respect the very real difficulties of winter conditions, we just go full bore on our capitalist economy driven schedules – even to the point of imperiling life and limb. No one gives it a second thought.

Oh sure, the time will come when there is simply too much snow on the roads, and things will close down for maybe a day. For the most part, however, everyone just continues the daily grind for all the dark months of winter come hell or high water.

There is something to respect in that, I suppose: a sort of gritty determination that teaches people to have battery cables in their trunks, and decent wipers on their windshields. People adjust to simply coping with the conditions, bundling themselves up, shoveling, salting.

Almost all of those activities happen literally in darkness for so many working people, too. In order to get to work on time, they’ll get up early to do all the work of clearing their steps, sidewalks, driveways, cars. They leave extra time to make a slow drive in treacherous conditions.

The daylight hours then are spent at the toil of jobs that may or may not be meaningful for workers. As darkness falls, the exercise of combatting the elements resumes.

What if we approached the season a little differently, say, cutting back working hours during winter – acknowledging the realities of all the extra prep time for the commute and the very real dangers often experienced? What if winter working shifts were more like, I dunno, six hours, instead of eight? Imagine if corporations raised pay or offered premiums during winter to accommodate all the expense, difficulty, and danger of just showing up.

Just a thought, and I don’t really know where it goes. I know it’s crazy in our current context, but I maintain the context is not immutable.

I just can’t help wondering what a world that sought less to combat nature and more to be in sync with it would look like. I imagine that up here in the north, at any rate, during the winter that would involve slowing down, staying home more, and spending more time with family and home activities – a little hibernation, if you will.

a dark season


Opening day.

The excitement is in the air. Everyone has been planning for this for weeks. By yesterday, the atmosphere was thick with it. Many have arranged for time off from work. And today’s the day.

Deer season.

Yes, the guns have been cleaned. There’s plenty of ammo. And don’t forget the beer.

This is a time of year to which I have never grown accustomed. The sight of deer carcasses slung across cars, casually driving around town, really bothers me. Or how about the car dealership that has some kind of contest, where there will be a long line of carcasses hanging from a pole, easily visible from the street.

No, although many eagerly look forward to this time, it is not a season I have ever enjoyed. I do not understand the drive that makes a regular person want to get out to shoot and kill deer or any other animals. I have yet to meet a person who does it because they actually need to kill deer to survive. And venison is clearly an acquired taste.

The frenzy over the hunt pervades the entire community. I am clearly in the minority in my distaste for it. It’s more than distaste, though. It disturbs me how people get wound up and passionate about this activity of killing. I know I am the odd one in this feeling.

For me, I much prefer those magical moments of spotting a deer and simply savoring its beauty – of honoring our kinship as beings sharing this earth. I see deer as members of families, parents and children, struggling to survive on this changing earth. I am delighted even to simply come across deer tracks in the snow, wondering about the mystery of their lives.

Spare me the arguments about the need to control the deer population. I think there is a lot at work here in the social psyche that creates this strange holiday and the way people behave related to it. For all the gung ho, festive, all-American patina to it, this sacred ritual strikes me as a dark season.

I’d just like the shooting to stop.

seeking truth

veru11_14_18aThe physicist Werner Heisenberg noted that ‘the act of observing changes the thing observed.’ This is oh so true when it comes to government and corporate activities.

It’s extremely important to watch what our government and corporations are doing. The very act of watching them affects their behaviors, which always and necessarily have an effect on the people.

As we all know, even when we are watching them, governments and corporations do unpopular, dishonest, damaging, and illegal things. If we stop watching, the sky’s the limit – and that won’t work in favor of the people.

The press is essential in our efforts towards a free country.

Yes, media corporations bring bias from various angles to the process. That means we need more voices, not fewer. It also means that we, the people, have a responsibility to be educated, discerning readers and citizens who support good, truth-seeking reporting. Independent media is more important than ever in our efforts to seek truth.

The President and members of his administration have led a lengthy and ongoing campaign to besmirch and cripple the press. Interestingly, the constant cries of “fake news” come from folks absolutely depending on the coverage of the alternative facts, outright lies, even doctored videos, deliberately and consistently generated.

This comes after the previous administration which reached new heights in threatening, disparaging, and silencing truth tellers. We have already been long and thoroughly coached to hold truth tellers in contempt – even when it has obviously served us in important and positive ways.

We should all be concerned when government/corporate powers so obviously and openly seize, control, and distort the messaging, and brazenly silence those attempting to report the truth of their activities.

As citizens, neighbors, parents, we have a responsibility in this. We must support those attempting to seek and report on the truth. We must demand relevant information. We must educate ourselves, and think critically about what we learn. It does not do to depend one on source for information.

It’s a matter of paying attention to what matters, and holding people accountable. We all have a part to play in seeking and defending the truth for the purposes of creating a just and peaceful society and to safeguard our ever more imperiled world.



I head out into a very grey, cold morning. At the start, I’m feeling kind of alert and crisp and on. I make myself go a different way, just to mix things up.

Patches of dark on the pavement make me nervous. I mince along carefully, stopping and testing a few times to see if it’s ice or what. Because it’s all over the place. Never quite convinced, I spend the entire run mincing.

Everything’s quiet. Hardly any traffic. I watch another pair of runners leave me in the dust. That’s okay.

Up a long boulevard with bigger houses, silence. I see a man ahead, also in the road, walking in my direction. I skirt huge piles of icy leaves.

As I near the man, I begin to hear him. He looks at me angrily, daring me, and keeps on walking and talking loudly to the air.

I turn the corner.

Head down another silent street. Notice the smashed, frozen pumpkins. The bicycles sitting forlornly out in the cold. The rake left in the yard amongst the unraked leaves. Various yard decorations, straggling campaign signs, and lawn chairs sit forgotten and sad in this cold.

The flurries pick up, and gently sting my face.

Car comes along, and I swing up onto the sidewalk. A man approaches on a bicycle and makes no room and no comment. I move out of his way.

I notice I am slow this morning. I check my pace, and sure enough, even for me, I am slow.

That’s pretty slow.

I decide to be okay today with being slow. Part of it, I realize, is because of my very careful steps, wary of ice and the many obstructions along my path.

It’s also this world I am traversing, strange and frozen this morning. It feels lost and hostile.

In this moment, I am a reluctant traveler. Still, I am out there, making my way.

I pass a person walking, all bundled up, face hidden underneath a hat and scarf. I smile and raise my hand in a gesture of hello.

For just a moment, I see their eyes. They silently raise their hand in recognition.

I take a breath, noticing it, and head for home.

make it about peace

veru11_11_18a100 years ago today World War I ended with the signing of an armistice agreement ceasing hostilities.

Although the numbers are imprecise, over 16 million people died and about 23 million were wounded in the conflict.

Stop and think about that. It is unimaginable, isn’t it? But it really happened. And no one wanted it to ever happen again.

So, November 11 was remembered after that as Armistice Day.

The original objective in singling the day out was to reflect and to focus on peace.

In signing the 1919 proclamation, President Woodrow Wilson noted that “… the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.” 

Armistice Day became a legal holiday in the United States in 1938. The Congressional Act described it as a “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

And yet, as we all know, World War II happened, with over 60 million killed – staggering numbers and truly incomprehensible devastation.

veru11_11_18bIn 1954, in the United States, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day.  In that proclamation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower called upon citizens to remember the sacrifices of those who fought, and he urged, “let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

And yet, war has become pervasive.

After numerous conflicts, even now, the United States is at war in seven countries, continually creating more veterans. The nation maintains about 800 military bases in more than 70 countries, and secured a mind-boggling $717 billion defense budget for 2019. Worse, we must question the very purposes in the military actions taking place.

If we truly wish to honor veterans on Veterans Day, we should be talking about peace. By focusing on peace, we do the highest and best we can to honor those who have served and seen firsthand the horrors of war.

Veterans for Peace observes, however, that Veterans Day has evolved into something different, noting, “Honoring the warrior quickly morphed into honoring the military and glorifying war.”

The group seeks to Reclaim Armistice Day in order to keep the focus on the pursuit of peace. It’s a worthy goal.

We must seek peace among nations and within our nation. We need to stop accepting, normalizing, funding, and promoting ever-increasing militarism and militarization.

We must seek peace for our veterans, too.

We lose about 20 veterans a day to suicide. That’s 20 people a day who served in our military forces suffering and choosing to end their lives.

Then, there’s all the veterans who suffer with injuries, disabilities, PTSD, substance abuse, homelessness, and poverty.

If we are to really honor veterans, we should make it a goal to stop creating more of them, and we should look to better support them in their struggles in the aftermath of their service. 

Let’s make it about peace.

chilly run

veru11_10_18cI admit it. I really kind of had to fight with myself today to get outside and run. But, hey, it was so worth it!

At issue was the temperature. It was below freezing.

Even though I fully expect to run through at least most of the winter with lower temperatures than this, I looked at the temp this morning and was just. not. feeling. it.

I put my running gear on anyway. Laced up.

Then, I proceeded to mill around my place, finding a variety of tasks to facilitate my procrastination.

I eventually noticed it, bucked up, and headed out.

Even though we had quite a snow yesterday, the sidewalks and streets were clear. Yay! 

My gear was just right, and I didn’t even go through that awful frozen-at-the-start phase. I felt pretty good.

First thing I noticed was a snow fort. Haven’t seen one of those in years, and it was awesome to see that some kids were inspired by the snow to build one yesterday. Totally cool.

As I passed the snow fort and headed along, a man approached me rather deliberately. He wanted to know how to find the soup kitchen.

Made me thoughtful about other folks’ struggles, especially in this cold season.

Even though the sidewalks seemed clear, I studied the pavement as I trotted along, checking for ice or slippery patches where the leaves were still piled up. I broke my shoulder a couple of years ago, and really don’t want to repeat that experience!

For all my resistance, the weather actually felt good. It went from cloudy to flurries to sunshine and back to cloudy while I ran. The cold made me keep on at a decent clip. It was invigorating.

I was having so much fun that I spontaneously broke out into song. Funny part was that it was my count I was singing. One thousand one, one thousand two, etc. up and down and all around the scale. Go figure.

Four miles down and I headed for home, feeling awesome.

Chilly? Bah!

snow magic


I get up in the dark, head down the hall, get the coffee going – no lights. The beloved cat winds across my ankles, purring loudly. Everything is dark, quiet. We head back to sit in bed, sip coffee, think, dream.

I snuggle in the covers. The cat nestles against me.

Everything is warm. Quiet. Soft.

Something’s different. I feel it.

It’s the hush.

I can feel the cocoon about my space, the soft muffle surrounding me.

I sip my coffee, savoring this hush, wondering.

My eyes take in the darkness all around me. Nothing here has changed. But, this hush. 

I slowly grow more and more conscious. 

Then, suddenly knowing, I get up and walk to the window. Pull the blind aside and look out.


veru11_10_18bLots and lots of fluffy, still falling snow. The tree branches are laden with it. The glow of the porch light shows the air filled, filled with flakes.

It is a magical scene. Like a fairy tale. 

I turn around and gently pluck the cat off the bed because I know, just know, he wants to see this.

Heads together, we peer out the window, eyes wide with curiosity.

We are both quiet, just watching the falling snow, feeling safe and happy in the hush.



World Kindness Day is coming up on Tuesday, November 13. While this is a day bringing focus to various initiatives around the world, it can also be a day to give focus in one’s personal life.

Hopefully, we all try to bring kindness into the world each day. There are so many little and painless ways to do that. And generally, whatever small kindness we bring delivers back to us. I know that those times when I have found a way to be helpful to someone, whether a stranger or a loved one, it makes me happy.

During a rambling conversation with a new acquaintance on this topic, it was interesting to see how readily certain moments of kindness stood out in memory – some going back years.

I could see how meaningful it had been for my acquaintance to help a woman stranded in the cold with her three children a few years ago. They were locked out of their car, late at night, far from home, and with little money. He got them warmed up in his own vehicle while he gained access for them to their own car. He smiled but shivered when he remembered how long it took him to warm himself up after finally returning home. It was, however, a night that remained happily in his memory with all the details.

These kinds of memories also included those times we were on the receiving end of another’s goodness.

Like the time some years ago when I was stuck on a roadside in the middle of nowhere. I had pulled off the side of a lonely country road to get a picture. When I hopped back in my car, I discovered that one of my tires had conveniently found a niche in the turf that held my vehicle trapped. I pushed and pushed and worked the problem to no avail.

Just as I was getting ready to start walking, a pickup truck came along, and then another one. The two knew each other. They got out, and with many smiles and much friendly laughter, pushed and pulled my car out of its predicament.

What a beautiful memory that is for me. It was a wonderful kindness in the moment, but it is a gift that keeps on giving. It brings a smile to my face even now.

Of course, many kindnesses are much simpler: a thoughtful word or a smile, or a simple gesture. There are so many opportunities every day for these small but essential expressions of our care for each other. And the impact of such kindnesses may be bigger than we know.


It’s also fun to be intentional about it, figuring out ways to bring a moment of kindness very deliberately, perhaps randomly, into the world. 

I remember when I discovered my first painted rock on a trail in Florida (the lady bug in the photo). I had no idea why it was there, but it presented a happy little surprise that changed my day.

Maybe it’s knitting hats for those in need of warmth, or donating to a food pantry, or using some elbow grease on a local project. Who knows?

It’s something I am thinking about today: noticing the spontaneous opportunities for kindness that present themselves, and the ways I use my personal gifts in deliberate fashion to brighten someone else’s day. 

Be kind! You know it’s a beautiful thing. 🙂