Uncanny Pool in Klondike Brook

This is about my all-time favorite “creek walk,” way back in August 2009.

It was in tourist country, the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area that is not a wilderness anymore because it is severely overrun by tourists.  As beautiful as the High Peaks are, they are not worth sharing a few miles of trail with fifty people trashing it and even actually crapping on it.

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Spirituality for an Insane World

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin; and it is truly
wonderful how love-telling the small voices of these birds are,
and how far they reach through the woods into one another’s
hearts and into ours. The tones are so perfectly human and so
full of anxious affection, few mountaineers can fail to be
touched by them. — John Muir, Our National Parks (1917) Chapter 7.

I have been exploring an expansion of my personal blogosphere lately. Finding some interesting stuff. One that caught my attention, first because of his conversations in other blogs, then by poking around in his blogs, is a guy with the handle “rawgod.” I have no idea what it means. A fine name. I’m sure he will be relieved to hear that I think so.

We ran into each other in dialog about politics and culture in someone else’s blog. The first of his blogs that I perused is called A New Spirituality. His other one I discovered only today, Ideas From Outside the Boxes.  I just now reblogged his The Song That Never Was (Body Bag Parade) post in that blog. I went a little nuts scribbling a long comment on his post there, and added a Steppenwolf song.

In A New Spirituality rawgod recently posted the piece, Is there a place for spirituality in a world gone mad?

I looked at it and bit my tongue, my arm, my wrist, my hand, my ankle, and declined the temptation to respond. I was afraid that if I tried to post a comment responding to his inquiry, I would write some 867 pages in a dozen drafts obsessively 24 hours a day for a week and then delete it and be sick of myself for wasting all that time, wondering if I would ever learn to tame my scribblements.

Still, I caved in to the temptation. My guess why? I like the guy. I enjoy our dialog. I wanted to see if I could be useful. It’s nice to be useful once in a while. Now and then I give it a shot.

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Ideas From Outside the Boxes



Following is an excerpt from my unpublished novel, The Cold End of the Bathtub. I wrote this song for a local band I was working with at the time. The Vietnam War was still happening, and the band wanted a protest song. I presented the following song to them. Unfortunately they thought it was too controversial, and they chose not to use it. So instead, I wrote a novel about a band who would. Following is the scene I constructed around my anti-war song. The scene was set on the evening of Nov. 11th, 1967. The band is onstage at the Winnipeg Arena, ready to start to wrap up the concert at exactly 11:00 PM:


(Mike lifted the mike to his lips:)

“Twelve hours, and forty-nine years ago today, the War to End All Wars ended. But it…

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Nature Therapy for SCOTUS of the American Soul

I want to share a comment/essay that I originally scribbled on the blog of Nan Yielding, author of the 2012 book, Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you.  She wrote:

If you’re going to put all your faith into something, you need to thoroughly examine it to make sure your faith is justified.

… Of course, when I was a Christian the Bible was my source of truth. It was the “final word” and beyond it there was no discussion. In fact, anything that was not based on “Biblical truth” was most certainly from Satan!

However, once I got the courage to look beyond the “Holy Book,” I discovered there is a whole world of available information (historical facts) about the Christian faith. What I learned was so fascinating that I felt compelled to share.

Thank you, Nan.  As a former (more than 30 years ago) fundamentalist evangelical with the Christian & Missionary Alliance (I was not an adherent or member of the “Evangelical” political movement or voting block – I was politically inactive), I appreciate what you’ve done for our world.

My philosophy is now generic Naturalist, as a world view, not by affiliation with any organization, and not by adherence to any program or particular school of thought.  I sum up my personal brand of Naturalism as, “I don’t believe in anything supernatural.  Nature is super enough.”  In my comment on Nan’s blog, you’ll see this reflected in my prescription for a world gone mad.

You can learn about a formal treatment of Naturalism at Naturalism.org:

Naturalism as presented here is a comprehensive worldview based in a scientific, empirical understanding of reality. It offers a positive, rational, and fulfilling alternative to faith-based religions and non-empirical worldviews.

This website, Naturalism.Org, serves as a resource for those interested in worldview naturalism, its personal, social and existential implications, and its practical applications.

My comment was on Nan’s post, Can the Supreme Court Be Fixed?  As they always do, her post sparked a lively discussion by people with strong opinions, many of whom are insightful, well-informed, articulate, and fed up.

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Singing Balsameans

No, I will not sing for you.  You don’t have enough money for that.  (But if you do, contact me.  I’ll do a charity event.)

I would thus from time to time take advice of the birds.
—Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 12 May 1857

This post may seem as if I’m smoking pot, but I’m not, even though it is now legal in New York State (since March 2021).  I only smoke OP’s.  “Other people’s,” because I can’t afford it.  I limit my social existence, so I’m always short on OP’s.

Below is a 30-minute audio track of birds around the yard and nearby woods early the morning of Sunday, June 26, 2022 .  Make sure the volume slide (right) in this player is pushed all the way to the right.  Also turn up the volume all the way on your device.

Don’t be thrown by the silent minute starting about a minute into the recording, and again later, around eight minutes in.  They were natural events.

It plays louder for me directly from my phone or PC, but weak from this web page.  Ugh.  Let it be just a soft background music while you read.  I’m going to get smarter about how I record and make another track soon.

These singing Balsameans know that I love them.  Especially the crows.  Crows recognize human faces and remember if they are a positive or negative presence.  See The Crow and the Cave Man, a two minute video clip from the PBS documentary A Murder of Crows (30 minute video, terrific, must see).

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A Wet, Dark Saunter

Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it
so that the other half may reach you.
–Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam

Well before dawn today I sauntered barefoot around the outer edges of the yard, out of range of the motion-sensing lights on the house.  Mentally half adrift, luxuriating in sensory silliness for about thirty minutes, in the dark, in a warm, light rain, clothed in a summer robe treated with bug repellent, hat & bandana flowing out from under it (also treated), otherwise attired only in warmer-than-usual night air.  The rain slowed to a drizzle and breezes gradually picked up, turning the air to silk on my skin.  No lights but the ones in me and around me. They get brighter as I spend more time in the dark.

I walked out the north side of the driveway, 250 feet to the road.  There are no cars at that hour.  I walked down the yellow lines in the silent road for a minute, noticing the pavement was still warmer than the grass, even after a lot of rain.  I stood still and listened to a gust rattling drenched leaves to a roar of tree internal rain.  The wind foretold of a change to a clear day.

Returning on the south side of the driveway, I walked in the shallow ditch that drains the water from the yard.  It entertained my feet and my soul with cool puddles in squishy grass and white clover heads in my toes.

I poked around in short parts of the trails nearest the house.  Steinwald Path as far as the giant spruce, and back.  Whitetail Way to Rock Wall 2, through Delaney Place to the original Camp Balsamea, past the shed and Buddy’s Tree, then out Balsamea Way to Arbor Lane and Concordia.

I did not earn this forest home.  I remembered the grace, unmerited favor, while standing in Concordia, one of the sacred places in Balsamea where I am more apt to be mindful of the blessings, if I stop moving and be absorbed by what is there.

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Are her musical gifts enriched by color synesthesia?  Join me for an introduction to a new star born in our midst.
(Note: Willa Blog Post Review is a YouTube playlist of all 24 videos shown or linked in this blog post, in the order presented, including the music, news and interviews.  It is a one-stop source of all the video material presented here.)
I found Willa Amai while looking for covers of the 1993 song What’s Up by Linda Perry and 4 Non Blondes. It is a song that I would scream at the top of my lungs, as it says, if I could sing.  (Image above snipped from Willa’s music video of What’s Up.)


The song offers no solution.  Not a clue.  It just says how things feel, and how they don’t make sense, and how we ache because of it, trying to keep the faith, wanting to hope, despite the impenetrable insanity of the inhuman side of humanity.
The song cries out loud from the heart for revolution, the only solution.  As do I, at times in tears, wishing I knew how to start it, finding that all I have is a song short on hope.
It sings, “And I tried, oh my God did I try, I try all the time, in this institution.  And I pray, oh my God do I pray, I pray every single day for a revolution!”
The line demands a middle finger thrust to the sky in revolt.

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CDC Funding for Research on Gun Violence as Public Health Threat Denied for Decades

I have mentioned elsewhere that the CDC was forbidden to conduct research on gun violence as a public health crisis.  It is not quite that, but in the ’90s there was legislation (the 1996 Dickey Amendment) prohibiting CDC from promoting gun control, thus Congress defunded gun violence research by CDC, which the legislation did NOT require.  In other words, the gun lobby got Congress to abuse that legislation as an excuse for defunding research on gun violence as a public health matter.  This is changing lately, but in relatively meager amounts of funding (it has been called “a drop in the bucket” by public health people).  In 2012, Congressman Jay Woodson Dickey, Jr. said that he regretted the outcome of his amendment in blocking CDC funding of gun violence research.

How do you define gun control promotion?  Research showing that lack of gun control is a public health threat?  Does that count as promoting gun control?  To a member of the Autocracy Party?  Whatever Dickey’s conscience may have attained, to a member of today’s Autocracy Party, of course anything showing that guns are a public health threat is deemed gun control promotion.  No wonder a leading Autocracy Party senator was vociferously booed by his own people the other day when he promoted meager new (and useless) measures of gun control in the wake of the Uvalde school shootings.  If you try to do anything to improve gun safety, you are anti-gun-owner, in the minds of the power-addicted party faithful.  That’s not just political power they are addicted to.  It’s their adolescent sensation of phallic power in firing a gun, along with loud exhaust pipes and burning rubber.  “Look at me, I’m powerful.”  Bang bang dipshit.

Content of the NIH article The Dickey Amendment on Federal Funding for Research on Gun Violence: A Legal Dissection (2018 July), Allen Rostron, JD …

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On my relationships with trees and forests

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The next best time is now.
~ Chinese Proverb

The Balsamean; Scribblements from Balsamea contains 34 posts about relationships with trees or forests, out of 128 total posts in the ten years from September 2012 to May 2022.  This is the 128 posts remaining after many were withdrawn from publication.  (There were also many drafted and never published.)  Still, of the published ones NOT removed, 34 of 128 are about trees, forests, and human integration with trees, or immersion in them.  That’s 27% of the total posts.  It is not enough.

Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.
–John Muir

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