Thank you, reader, for reading, liking, sharing, and commenting. Peace.
One believer’s view.
National Teddy Bear Day takes place in the US on September 9th. Initially a US specific holiday this is increasingly being celebrated by bear lovers across the world. There appears to be no record of the origin of this holiday or why this particular date was chosen – perhaps the bears themselves know?
Teddy bears are, of course, named after US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The name came about after a 1902 hunting expedition. The hunt had found no game, so at the end of the day someone brought out a baby bear and suggested that Roosevelt might like to shoot it instead. Roosevelt understandably felt that this was not exactly sporting and refused. The incident was illustrated in a newspaper cartoon entitled “Drawing the Line” – which also referred to the political situation at the time. An enterprising New York toymaker saw an opportunity and brought out a cute stuffed bear named “Teddy’s Bear”. The rest, as the say, is history.
And speaking of Teddy Roosevelt…
All wars are madness. That people would chose war is insane. Don’t respond by listing “reasons” for war, because there is no shortage of such justifications. It is not reasonable to prepare for or engage in war.
All around the globe, people are killing each other and destroying each other’s homes. I see one thing in common in all of these conflicts. Each side believes they worship a loving and just god. I’m sick of it. To hell with god.
If your god cannot end war, he is impotent, evil, or a delusion. If your religious leaders preach anything but peace, they are charlatans who will mutter pieties at your funeral. If your government cannot end war, it is incompetent or serves only the profiteers. If your people cannot end war, they do not deserve you. To hell with tribes.
Make peace. If you cannot make peace where you live, then leave that terrible, hopeless place. Does it make more sense to leave one’s home for a job than for peace? How is a place worth your life? Be one less victim, one more to escape the madness of war in the name of god and tribe. Perhaps when the only ones left in that terrible place are madmen and profiteers, they will simply kill each other and there will be no innocent victims in the way. To hell with warmongers.
I live in a dry land that once was under water, a seabed now 5000 feet above sea level. Sunrise is held at bay by a granite ridge 5000 feet higher, which at sunset glows as pink as coral. Looking west, the eye is drawn to the sliver of green flanking the Rio Grande, life’s blood trickling through a parched land that rises to five volcanoes close at hand, which in turn are dwarfed by a volcano 80 miles away. All under a sky of limitless blue.
This vista fills me with joy.
Driving into town from any direction, you can take in the largest city in the state with a glance. Stand under the cottonwoods along the river and you forget where you are. Here the land has not been subdued by man. We are surrounded by reminders that we are all recent arrivals and none will outlast the land itself.
The land appears still until you view it at 10,000 years per second, when it shakes and buckles, rises and falls, like a coffee cup on the hood of a truck at rough idle. The land appears flat until you cross it to find the surface cracked and broken by ravines scoured by wind and rain. The land seems silent until the wind howls like an injured animal lashing out in pain.
The land seems dry until a year’s worth of rain falls in a few days. We live for these days and relive them in conversations. We smell the rain before we hear it, we feel the temperature change, listen for the first drops. We sit on our porches, big grins on our faces with the look of wonder like children at a fair.
The Navajo speak of male and female rains, the brief, violent storms versus the slow nurturing drizzle over hours. The Navajo also advise each other to walk in beauty, to appreciate our surroundings and be part of that beauty.
This month, I complete my 30th year in New Mexico, a bit more than half my life. That line, this land, my life leave me speechless.
Twenty-three years ago today, Merri Rudd and I wed in our backyard. In six months, we’ll be halfway to 47 years of marriage. These are scans of the photos — yup, we’re older than digital photography — most of which were taken by Steve O’Neill (thanks, Droogie). See the wedding album.
Though I was born in Hawai’I, I had a Smokey Bear stuffed animal at an early age. Years later, I live in New Mexico, birthplace of Smokey. Like Smokey, my brother turns 70 this year. Returning from a visit to see my brother, we flew over the first wildfire of the season in the Gila, the nation’s first designated Wilderness. It all seems connected.