Archive for March 31, 2023

Celebrating Our Food-Source

Today is just a US-established commemorative holiday observed by only 7 states, but what it represents is important. It highlights Cesar Chavez not so much because it’s his birthday but for all the work he did to improve the lives of farmworkers. Why should we care about farmworkers? Think about who plants, tends, and harvests what we eat. They work hours a day, at low pay and are housed in slum-like conditions to provide our food, yet we tend to act like they don’t exist because they’re beneath us. We may think of them as “illegals” or people who don’t have the intelligence or drive to get “real” jobs. In reality we need farmworkers, and they deserve our respect. Please think about this on this day and all the days to come.

Edison’s Even Brighter Idea

The light bulb was not Edison’s only bright idea.  In today’s Thursday Thought, his one-liner sheds light on ethics:

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” –Thomas Edison, American inventor

The Unsure Environmentalist

My Back yard is a haven for a dozen varieties of birds, with at least 5 full nests all season, along with squirrels, bunnies escaping Easter captivity, lizards, toads, racoons, and, of course, insects. I love watching the mallards waddling through, the mourning doves teaching their young to fly off from our fence, the bunnies scurrying out from their bedroom under the deck to hop over to the neighbor’s garden for a meal, the hummingbirds making it clear to the feral cat that he is not welcome here, the bees and butterflies (far too few these days) sipping goodies from the flowers. It’s all wonderfully entertaining. It makes me feel at peace.

EXCEPT WHEN I WANT TO KILL THAT RACOON! I can put up with his paw prints circling the pool a dozen times, but I fear for my dog at night, not knowing which one would win in a confrontation. What makes me murderous, though, is what has been happening recently: little skeletons with tufts of fur attached and no flesh, strewn across the lawn. My heart broke when I saw the remains of one of my favorite animal tenants, a black squirrel who loved to run back and forth all day along the back fence.  I want to catch that critter and…and…and….

Now, wait a minute. Raccoons have to eat, too. They’re not fussy eaters and will eat plants or whatever small animals that are handy. So, what am I doing–providing habitat for a multitude of nature’s creatures or a supermarket for a raccoon?

Therein lies my dilemma. What makes the raccoon any less worthy in my mind? Aren’t the other animals and insects in my yard also eating each other? Should I put in AstroTurf and cement and plastic shrubs, forcing the carnage to go elsewhere, out of my sight?

I don’t know. I guess I’ll just have to learn to enjoy the beauty of nature without over-thinking what’s going on.  I guess I’m really just an Unsure Environmentalist.

Breaking the Phone Habit

Let’s start the week with a cartoon that pokes fun at a habit most of us have developed.

Guns, Knives, Machetes, People

ANOTHER incident in the news of someone attacking others with a machete. On top of kids knifing each other and shooting teachers at school and people driving their vehicles into crowds, speeding off after they’ve hit someone crossing the street, or using that tonnage of metal to crash into storefronts to steal whatever they can get their hands on.

This is not a gun problem, a machete problem, or a knife problem. Nor, as statistics show, is it a mental health problem. It boils down to being a SOCIETY problem.

It has become acceptable to disagree with others not through discussion and dialog but through violence, name-calling, fact-twisting half truths, downright lies. It’s righteous to pervert our religion to allow us to violate people’s rights and humanity. It’s somehow okay for people to turn a peaceful demonstration into a riot that destroys property of people who aren’t even related to the issue. The “us vs. them” attitude has isolated us into political, ethnic, religious, ideological, and emotional groups, each ready to commit any violence that gets back at “them” just for existing.

No, it’s not the weapons that are tearing our country apart, or even the people using those weapons. It’s US, OURSELVES condoning attitudes that allow the self-destructive violence.

It’s a Pup of a Day

This Thursday Thought quote seems appropriate for today, which is National Puppy Day.

Knee-Jerk Reactions

All of us have them, and probably all of us have some that we aren’t aware of. These are impulses that we’ve had for so long that we don’t even notice that they affect how we treat other people. Let’s do a little self-examination. Here’s how: Give yourself a little test. Cover the list  I’m about to give you.  Open yourself to your gut reactions. Uncover the list, one at a time, and write down your immediate, uncensored feelings. If you’re honest with yourself, you may be  surprised. Here’s the list: scruffy homeless man…Black teenage boy…pregnant teen…Muslim man…ex-convict…mentally challenged person…illegal immigrant…Jewish shopkeeper…day-worker…girl in black and body piercings…Asian driver…gay teacher.  Now, look at what you’ve written. Think about how you felt. If you find that you’re uncomfortable, fearful, or judgmental about a particular group, remember that. Next time you meet a member of that group, push your impulses aside and actually see the individual person rather than a group-member.  Starting from that perspective will lead you into a much more positive encounter and is a giant step toward building a world of understanding rather than mistrust.

A Symbolic Day

Today, on the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring Equinox, may you indulge yourself in the symbolism I see in this first day of Spring. On this day, the light is actually a few minutes longer than the dark. (Elsewhere, it’s more equal.) That’s encouraging as I view so much darkness around me. It makes me hopeful, reminding me that the light can truly overcome the dark and create peace and harmony in the world.

St. Pat & the Woman in the Shadows

Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, when Ireland (and Irish everywhere) celebrate Ireland’s patron saint. But last month (Feb. 1), that country’s second-favorite saint’s day went, as usual, hardly noticed outside of Ireland. That’s St. Brigid. A disciple of Patrick, she was known for her compassion, religious work, and artistry. She didn’t cast out snakes (nor did Patrick–there never were snakes in Ireland), but her day marks the 1st day of Spring in Ireland. Maybe her being in the shadows is due to the fact that (not only) back then, accomplishments of men were more often recognized than those of women.

Being Humble

Today’s Thursday Thought quote gives a thought-provoking definition of “humble.”