Saturday, August 30, 2014

LOVE IS A TONE (A HEART TO HEART)


WHO AM I?
     When I was a college student, I was a wannabe guitar player when I met a tone. I met her one night as I was passing a party and heard a guy run a riff - just a quick riff- that ended with this tone - a very special, life changing tone. I looked over. She hung in the air, like a beautiful atmospheric, full of longing and passion and well, lushness. She was so intimate, and entered my heart, I was touched. I thought to myself, "Man, who IS THAT TONE!?"  What I meant was that I had to have her.
     A tone, like a woman, is independent, easily desired but totally free which means they man not to be with you - choice is involved, her choice.  The longing to actually attempt to meet her, went on for days. I practiced. I searched for her on the guitar. But how do you meet a tone so smooth, polished and beautiful; so refined when you're a crude player, a beginner. Nothing tough in your fingers. All childishly, soft and sloppy? A tone, like woman, knows a lover with sensitivity.  Still, the desire lingered in my mind.
     A month later, at a party, I heard a girl laugh and in her laugh and the lilt of her voice, was THE tone. It caused me to snap my head around but when the girl saw the searching look in my eyes, her eyes grew questioning, then playful and I didn't know what to say. But I did say to the girl I was with, "Who IS that girl?" Which meant that I had to have her.

WHY AM I HERE?
     I was pursuing the tone and now and was confused about the girl. In my dreams I saw the girl's face but felt in my heart the emotions I first felt when I experienced the tone. I was practicing my guitar and searching for her. But I was not sure she wanted me to come near or even touch her at all. What chance did I have? I was not as experienced a player as the guy who was with her when we met - a better man than I. All lovers want to be worthy of their beloved.  I wanted to transform myself to be worthy of the tone. But what if I was not able to play up to that level of expertise? That I fell short and lived my life with the sound in my head and the feelings in my soul which I was not able to bring into existence? What if I got distracted by other music?
     What about love? Was love beyond the single tone? Was my search for this tone a fantasy that lived in my head - not even a conscious desire? And for which I was hoping to someday create myself as a player? Should I give up this tone stuff?

WHAT DO I WANT?
     Are tones embodied in people?  Could the same feelings which I found in that note or music be incarnated in a  person? Could the tone which touched my heart and released an effervescence like crystal clear water running over iridescent pebbles and brightly colored autumn leaves - a rippling under-tone that bubbled up into my soul and filled me with joy - that put me on weeks of searching, longing and sleepless nights - could that tone be alive in a person that I could invite to go get a cup of coffee with me?
     Amazingly, yes. There was an excitement in just being with her. Just hearing her talk. Just having that tone wash over my soul was, ecstasy. My, I could listen to her for hours!
     Still can.
     It was as if we ran away from the world into the deepest woods and were the only two people for miles and miles. Life stayed crisp and young as when we first went for coffee. All experiences were new and everything was possible.
     Still is.
     We are there in that instant for one another.
     The tone of a voice moving a heart. Then two hearts vibrating together. It's a resonance. A conversation. A heart-to-heart.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved 


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Friday, August 22, 2014

FLEEING THE 2013 COLORADO FRONT RANGE FLOOD -
MOUNTAIN FOLK STRONG


     My wife and I are long-term property owners and summer residents in Estes Park, Colorado. In many ways, Estes is a second home to us. My parents built a summer cottage in 1957 which is still in our family. We come each summer to relax do maintenance on the house and hike extensively.  My wife and I met while undergraduates at Colorado State University where I graduated in 1970 and we were married at the Chapel On The Rock / St. Malo just outside Estes Park in 1972.  Now we live in Vermont - home of the "Green Mountains" - so we must be "mountain folk".   Ironically, we were in Estes Park in 2011 when Hurricane Irene devastated Vermont's rivers, mountains and roads in a fashion similar to the 2013 Colorado Front Range flood. Here is our story of how we battled the "powers that be" to escape Estes Park.

Monday, September 9, 2013
     Three days before we plan to drive back to Vermont, we do last minute shopping in Boulder.

Tuesday, September 10
     Cabin clean up and prep to leave on Thursday.  It rains all day and rain has been a nearly constant presence.  Pre-departure days are typically spent washing bedding, cleaning floors, calling neighbors to see if they will take the food from our refrigerator when we load and depart. It is worrisome to everyone that it is raining so hard and would not let up.  We prefer to dry our laundry on the clothesline but, this time, no chance.
     We are "old hands" with mountain rain and flooding at our cabin but this was successfully stopped a few years ago.  Rain has been such an adversary over the years that I can't help myself and check the drainage - all was fine. I look up at the rolling clouds,  smile to myself and say, "Is that all you got? Bring it on!"

Wednesday, September 11
     Today's agenda: closing down the cabin and loading the trailer. We re-pack the things we're taking home in our trailer - sewing machine, computer, printer, books, work material, clothes and so forth.  These are all boxed and ready to be loaded in the trailer with the suitcases.
     The outdoor furniture gets stacked and tarped for winter to withstand the snow and high winds.  We also clean the kitchen and bathrooms which takes quite a bit of time.
     Loading the trailer and putting it onto the hitch is one of those points of commitment - a loaded trailer weighs more than my wife and I can lift together. The only way to get the trailer off the hitch now would be to unpack it.  I'm starting to get happy to leave and grudgingly grumble about loading the trailer in the rain as I know when we get down onto the Great Plains in Nebraska, the 100+ degree heat will make the inner trailer space a steamy oven and melt cardboard boxes.
     The thunder is now almost announcing itself as if to get our attention.` There's a lot of water on the road at the bottom of our driveway. We go down into our neighborhood to take a look at the roads which are hard-packed sand. Immediately at the bottom of our drive, we see the water coming down the roadway has overflowed the roadside ditch and chewed a trench almost one foot wide and 3 - 4 feet deep straight down into the middle of the road in front of our driveway.
     Then, our attention is drawn to an even greater road collapse that had already happened at the only crossroads in our neighborhood.  The old culvert has become blocked by debris and the water rushes along side the culvert, rapidly eating into the sandy earth around it.  This eats a trench 4 to 5 feet wide about 8 - 10 feet deep and the entire roadway through the intersection is gone.
     My wife and I discuss how this might very quickly become a real threat to whether or not we will get out with our trailer. We decided to move the trailer from our cabin down our rather steep drive and park on our neighbor's drive at the bottom of the hill in case the road threatened to become impassable.
     Now we are really beginning to feel anxious about how things are going - it feels almost as if this storm is a "being" like Hurricane Irene was a being, but this storm is slow moving, cunning and powerful. The indigo clouds are hunkering down on Estes valley like a Pit Bull in a dog fight who squats on and crushes its opponent. Thunder is growling deeply, but we are still hopeful we can leave first thing in the morning.

Thursday, September 12
     This is the day we are supposed to  start the three-day journey back to the Green Mountains. Our son called early from Vermont and asks us if we had heard about the flood. "What flood?" we reply.  He tells us that BOTH Hwy 34 and 36 have collapsed and he asks us how we are going to get home? We don't know.
     We are one of only a few of our neighbors whose internet is still functioning so we begin searching for local news.
     We confirmed that Highway 34 and 36 are both impassable and that the roads in our neighborhood are also deteoriating as well. So far, no one is providing any information about how tourists or others such as ourselves should escape the flood. We speak with a neighbor walking his dog who says that we could "always go over Trail Ridge Road" if we need to." That seems rather drastic to us at the moment.
     We decide to go out and see downtown and check damage levels.  We live on Riverside Drive and find access to downtown blocked. We go up by the Medical Center to get to the golf course toward downtown.  We discover Elkhorn has turned into a flowing river and that the golf course is underwater.  We retreat and go all the way back Riverside to Mary's Lake Road to go out Spur 66. We note the tragedy of motels and houses that are now underwater.  We go out to Dunraven's hoping for a final meal before we departed but find they were closed. We return to find Sundeck Restaurant open and they still have food. They also have television which gives us some news about the catastrophe.
     The owner says he was up until 3 a.m. sandbagging. We say we are hoping to leave as soon as possible and if he has staff who are stranded and can't get out, that our cabin could be used. He takes our phone number and we go home.
      We wonder which route all the other tourists will take out?
     When we get home, we call a friend whose wife was supposed to have cancer surgery and we offer our cabin to them. He has as set of keys and can let himself in.
     The low, dark clouds and continued rain is very threatening and we realize that the being of the storm may have captured us in Estes.

Friday, September 13
     We spend this day making plans about what to do. We hear from neighbors that tourists who have been removed from their hotels have been put into evacuation centers in various parts in town. There is talk about National Guard coming into air lift people out. The family immediately behind us makes their way to Safeway to purchase $500 worth of food and water for themselves and their three children. Our closest market has only a few bottles of drinking water - many shelves are empty.
     My anxiety begins howling.
     I get on the Internet and make dozens upon dozens of searches in order to try to determine a route by which we can safely leave. Tweets from news and governmental agencies began to paint a very desperate picture along the front range. All the towns and political units who can are Tweeting. Everybody has "facts" and horror stories.  This pretty much shocks us and confuses us about exactly what to do - "information overload" or "analysis paralysis" as it is called.
     I speak with my eldest son who was once a building trades man in the Four Corners region and described the road collapse in our neighborhood. He says that in the "sand states",  where many roads are constructed primarily of packed sand, after this amount of soil saturation it is not uncommon for roads to begin collapsing. This is not a comforting piece of information.
     We decide, primarily based on the great Colorado State Highway Department websites which show roads that are open and close, that it should be possible for us to leave in the morning and travel the Peak to Peak Highway down to Denver in order to than catch Interstate 70 going north towards Nebraska.
     My wife calls our neighbor who confirmed this as a good route. He says that they would take our remaining refrigerator items, and if we were going to leave early, DO NOT knock on the door to say goodbye.

Saturday, September 14
     I am up before dawn checking to see if our planned exit route is still viable. Good news -- according to the CoTrip site (used by truckers), our plan still holds. We eat a breakfast of cold cereal and fruit and at dawn begin carrying our overnight suitcases and food coolers down the hill to our car.  We make more trips in the rain down to the car and back up the hill again than we want.
     We drive up Mary's Lake Road to Highway 7 and then travel until we are stopped by the National Guard which has blocked the road with a chamo Jeep with a big whip antenna.  We are in line behind 10 cars who speak with the Guardsman and turn around one-by-one. When it's our turn, I roll down the window and the 20-something National Guard soldier with the velcro cloth badge which reads, "Wolfe", smiles with big teeth and asks us where did we wish to go?  We say we hope to take the Peak to Peak Highway down to Denver.
     He smiles politely but tells us that they have just gotten word that portions of the Peak to Peak Highway have just collapsed.  The information that my eldest son had given us about road collapses now seemed very fateful. My wife and I look at each other and are suddenly grateful that we had not come earlier because perhaps we might have been in the roadway collapse! 
     I ask the Guardsman if we could go  up through Rocky Mountain National Park and across Trail Ridge Road? He says, "Oh no," he says with a smirk, "YOU can't go that route! It's CLOSED, too!"
     With  crisp traffic control gestures, the two Guardsmen turn the whole line of 15 to 20 vehicles around one at a time and send us all back toward Estes.  As we were driving, my wife and I decide that, "Just for the heck of it, because we don't have anything to lose, let's drive over to Rocky Mountain National Park and see what they say at the entrance."
     As we approach the entrance of the National Park there are a few other cars and even some vehicles towing large campers in front of us. We pulled to the entrance kiosk and asked the Ranger whether or not it was possible for us to go west over Trail Ridge Road? He said, "Yes. Of course." We tell him that we have just been turned away by the National Guard down on Highway 7 and a Guardsman told us that Trail Ridge Road through the National Park was closed. He said, "There's a lot of bad information out there."
     My naive presumption was that the National Guard would be in communication with the National Park Service during such  a catastrophe about whether or not the road west through the National Park was open. Apparently these two "big dog" players DO NOT talk to one another. And, the Colorado National Guard have their own priorities which are command, control and evacuation. If you want to escape, you're on your own.
     With tremendous relief and gratitude, we travel safely west over the Continental Divide. There is not a great deal of traffic traveling with us – no line of evacuees. There is no sign of flood or rain damage, either! We stop for lunch and talked with a woman at the Visitors' Information Center and tell her that we are thinking about going south to Denver to hit Highway 70 then go back up towards Nebraska. She warns us that with the Front Range flooding, Denver was chaotic,  that  in fact there may be parts of Highway 70 which may be closed. She recommends instead we go north into Wyoming and hit Interstate 80 and go east.
     Taking her advice, we travel north, almost able to savor the beauty of Northwest Colorado as we make our way up Co. 125 from Grandby to Walden and on to the Wyoming state line. Once in Wyoming, interestingly, it rained all the way to Nebraska and beyond, like the being of that storm was still crouching on the Front Range behind us. We did not stop except for gasoline until we arrived in Omaha about midnight to spend the night with relatives.

Sunday, September 15
     Rocky Mountain National Park is closed by the federal government budget shut down. No stranded tourists in Estes Park, Colorado escape via the western route through Trail Ridge Road as we had just done. 
     Colorado National Guard continue their assignment and control the Front Range situation, evacuated citizens and animals as required, and provided excellent and necessary services.
     A storm of Tweets, blog posts and web information pour into the cyber-world like a storm information.

Summary
     As we stated previously, we were in Estes in 2011, when Hurricane Irene devastated Vermont in a fashion similar to this 2013 Front Range flood. We were heartened to learn that immediately after this Colorado storm, Vermont's governor and several key state officals came to Colorado to share their storm recovery experiences, both technical and social. I was in hope they were en-route west as we had made our way east.  In 2011, Vermont originated a "Vermont Strong" campaign which helped Vermonters as individuals and communities support one another. This was the inspiration for the "Colorado Strong" and "Front Range Strong" programs.
     Mountain Folk Strong - It's great what "mountain folk" can - and must do - to support one another deal with extremely large, and frequently destructive "powers that be" - natural, supernatural, cyber and political. 

(c) Copyright 2014 Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved
First published 8/22/2014, "Three Simple Questions" blog, http://www.threesimplequestions.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CALENDAR OF VIRTUES
July 21-Aug 20:
COMPASSION LEADS TO FREEDOM


ABOUT THE CALENDAR OF VIRTUES
    The Calendar of Virtues represents a year-round opportunity to practice Virtue Transitions while outer nature is going through analogous changes. Your inner practice will be reflected in the outer world which can strengthen your experience. 
  
COMPASSION LEADS TO FREEDOM
OPPOSITE: Heartlessness

By Jean W. Yeager
IN NATURE:
     In high mountain lakes in the Rocky Mountains, the population of native trout are usually one species - Greenback Cutthroat trout. The population in the lake comes to balance the food use out of a natural, in-built compassion. They are not competitive with each other. There are no aggressors.
Let just one of a competitive, more aggressive species – such as Rainbow Trout - be introduced into that lake and the total population of native trout will drop.
That native population of trout is “free” to compete with one another for food but does not complete with its brothers and sisters – or with the aggressive trout should one be introduced. Competitiveness is not "natural" to every animal species.

IN HUMAN NATURE:
     In his lecture, "Brotherhood/Sisterhood And The Fight For Existence,"(1) Rudolf Steiner renames "brotherhood/ sisterhood" as "mutual help". Mutual help is a way of living and working that is based in compassion not competition. In the lecture Steiner traces the historical development of “mutual help” communities and trade guilds through the middle ages.
     Steiner contrasted "mutual help" with the “modern” attitude that we as individuals, and our communities, can only benefit by personally growing smarter, having greater physical prowess, and by having incredible personal expertise that puts us ahead of other individuals or communities.
     He suggested that in reality, we should do both.
     "It is right to make ourselves as strong as possible, but the question is, can we really become strong without love?"
In an example, the cells in our body must work cooperatively with other cells and each of them must be as healthy as possible so that the entire body is healthy.
Steiner goes on to say that everybody has a soul and then he says that communities have a "soul" and Love adds a dimension to our lives as well and the community “soul” is called "brotherhood/ sisterhood" or "mutual help".
Steiner says that it is NOT one or the other: the "Fight For Existence" personal desire to excel is to be expected; along with it he says we must also develop the capacity to help others excel – “mutual help.”
In this way the individual has options in their lives and the community has greater capacities and choices. By adding the capacity for compassion, one also adds freedom.

NOTES:

(1) Brotherhood and the Fight for Survival, GA 54

Berlin, 23 November, 1905
Translated by Manfred Maier and Nicholas Stanton
Privately Printed For Study Purposes

THE OPPOSITE – HEARTLESSNESS
     There is a spectrum of egocentric hard heartedness in humans based upon upbringing, education and culture. The human being is not hard-wired instinctively to be self-centered as are certain species. But even in animals, this instinct is variable. Some fish species will actually feed their young.

-   Jean Yeager
© Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved

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PLEASE WRITE YOUR INSIGHTS - Then, please post your insights (150 - 200 words max.) in the COMMENTS area starting August 20, 2014.
 

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STARTING AUGUST 21 WE WILL BEGIN OBSERVING A NEW PAIR OF VIRTUES
August 21 – September 20: Courtesy becomes Tactfulness of Heart
OPPOSITE: Inconsiderateness
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

FACING TANKS


WHO AM I?
     June 4, 1989 - CHINA - In the quintessential photo of the Tiananmen Square stand off, one man stands in front of four heavily armored tanks and he is holding two shopping bags. The tanks are real and symbolic of technologies and power systems used by Communist Party elites in China for control of their World - the earth, the economics, cultural and the rights life.
     Tiananmen Square, which incidentally means "Gate of Heavenly Peace", was the site of June 1989 demonstrations with an estimated million participants. Following the death of Mao Desung reforms were started. But, severe economic pressures were biting. As reported in Wikipedia: "The protesters called for government accountability, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the restoration of workers' control over industry." The results of the June 1989 demonstration was repression.
     June 4, 1989 - U.S.A - If there was a quintessential photo of the American "Tiananmen Square" stand off, it would be one woman standing in front of a series heavily armored Agro-industrial Corporate tanks holding two shopping bags.
     U.S. Tank #1 - Technology, an Agro-industrial "gene gun - a "Biolostics" (ballistic bombardment) "gun" which literally shoots metalic particles coated with genetic material into soybeans (or whatever plant). In this instance, biolostics was used to create a strain of soybeans which became immunized against a type of herbicide.
     U.S. Tank #2 - Seizing public resources. In order to own their GMO modified soybean, the Agro-industrial corporation had to patent the basic genomic stock and their modified GMO version. While they were at it, and before anyone realized what they were doing, corporate Agro-industry agressively patented indiginious plant genomes so that they own most species which formerly were saved and freely shared for worldwide farming and gardening since the dawn of time.
     The U.S. economic, political and spiritual/cultural way of life is in many ways like a wierd, reverse mirror-image of China. China was beginning to ease central control while our U.S. "free enterprise" corporate elite seized economic control. China wanted their farmers to be creatived. Our corporations wanted the poorest farmers in the Third World to pay for seeds and in doing so took away farmers' rights for self-determination. Our government and courts support their action. This worldwide Agro-industrial giant now can sue farmers in any country for using their own seeds which they saved.
     Like the demonstrators at Tinanaman Square, Americans have in their own way longed for freedom of speech, freedom of the press and demand freedom of choice when made possible. To U.S. Agro-corporate interests, freedom of speech does not apply to them - they don't have to reveal "trade secrets".
WHY AM I HERE?
      The timing of GMO research and product development was nearly perfect as economic pressures in the 1980s devastated thousands of U.S. family farms. There were suicides, murders and bankrupcies by the score as banks and Agro-idustries gave no relief. U.S. farmers sought economic refuge where ever they could find it including Agro-industrial "systems" - like GMOs / herbicide combo - which reduced costs and offered technological "guarantees".
     At the same time, consumers were not informed that these manipulated genetic plants were now replacing "natural" plants in nearly all cattle feed and food production. When offered a choice, consumers rejected GMO products like rBST milk and said no to "Franken-foods" like the "Flavr-Savr" tomato with incredibly unnatural shelf-life. Consumers wanted food security and freedom to choose "true food", organic / biodynamic. Since the 80s there has been a continuing worldwide battle over organic standards and corporate control.
     A revolutionary "game changer" was introduced in the 80s by growers in the Northeast of the United States who brought a new, non-technological social form of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) from Europe. CSA shifts the farmer's relationship from Agro-industrial dependency and mass-marketing to "buying local" quality food.
WHAT DO I WANT?
     We in the U.S. can be grateful that we have achieved buy-local, CSAs, organic and biodynamic certification as these increase our ability to have some small control over at least a small portion of our food and food safety. But this is still hotly contended by Agro-industry with its very deep pockets.
     In the 25 years since Tinanaman Square, China has evolved into a worldwide economic superpower. In addition, their long sought-after social reforms have begun to move toward greater freedom of speech and the press. Interestingly, China and other countries in the far east are demanding higher quality food products imported from U.S. suppliers. GMOs and other products have been refused.
     Perhaps in some wierd reverse way, China and the U.S. consumers may both be longing for greater accountability from our power systems - Socialistic and Capitalistic. In addition, we may both be demanding freedom of speech - such as labeling GMO products - freedom of the press (in our case a press not controlled by Agro-industrial related corporations.)
     Free speech, more personal freedom and reduced domination by repressive power systems - these are what the Chinese protested for and died for at Tinanaman Square 25 years ago.
     Will we need to do the same?

     Jean Yeager was the Managing Editor of the journal Biodynamics in the early 1990s.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved


ON SALE NOW
Jan – June 2014 threesimplequestions Blog Posts
Are Available In Book Form 
"Th3 Simple Questions: Slice Open Everyday Life" 
Available at
http:/www.th3simplequestions.com
Available at Internet Retailers 
By WestBow Press
6x9 Perfect Bound Softcover @ $11.95
ISBN: 978-1-4908-7124-0
6x9 Dust Jacket Hardcover @ $28.95
ISBN: 978-1-4908-7125-7
E-Book @ $3.99
ISBN: 978-1-4908-7123-3