The Revolution of Humanity

Almost 300 years ago now the original founders of the United States chose to rebel against an oppressive regime in order to secure the right of self-rule. No matter the men’s motivation — liberty, lower taxes, business, etc. — the goal is still a valid one: self-rule. When we talk about the right to vote, democracy, and liberty we are really talking about this goal. In other words, that human desire to be in charge of our own destinies in as much as we are able. The events in Iran over the past week demonstrate how that desire is not attached to a particular region or group of people. The desire for personal recognizance is deeply rooted within all of us.

When that desire is faced with some sort of inane, out-dated, illogical obstacle the level of anger and frustration mounts to a boiling point and no force on earth can quell the rage. There are only two options at that point for us: slavery or revolution. Iranians are choosing the latter.

It is with this frame of mind I watch events unfold from the obscure safety of my apartment on the sea, the vinyl train benches on my way to Boston, and my ergonomically-designed office chair. Out there in the world right now there are people dying — not to gain liberty for others — in order to gain what they believed they already had: the right to control their own earthly fates.  Let’s face it, that control is really all we have.

In spite of the theological debates, philosophical arguments, and “evidence” to the contrary, the only sure things in life are birth and death. The rest of it is up to us to do with as we see fit. In Iran, a theocracy made the mistake of pretending to be a democracy, made the mistake of offering up a pretend activity in self-rule. The Iranian people will not choose to be slaves any longer, it seems.

In our own history, a group of English citizens were also robbed of what they understood to be their rights under their king. Rather than settle for a fake existence, one of pretend autonomy, they opted for revolution as well. France. Africa. South America. Our own civil rights movement. Every location on the planet where an illusion of autonomy is placed over the eyes of people a revolution has begun. Human nature is autonomy.

As we watch the events in Iran unfold, as we read on-the-ground reports of daily fighting and dying, try to remember what it means to fight for something that is tantamount to the existence of humanity. This is bigger than a political theory, set of economic rules, a religious belief. This is as big as humanity itself. Iranians are launching a revolution just as we did some 300 years ago, as France did 200 years ago, and as people continue to do every day. Oil? Religion? This is far more important.

Our new kitten, Tucker

This is Tucker, our new cat. We just picked him up tonight. He’s about ten weeks old and just about as playful as he is cute. I don’t really have anything else to say about him, other than the announcement that he’s here. Oh. And that he’s god-awfully cute.

Danielle will get a chance to spend some quality time with him this weekend, as Gabe and I are headed to Vermont for some garden work.

Garden Diagram

This year we’ve decided to replant the family garden. The plot my mother, father, and I used to use is about 3,000 square feet and should be plenty for my father, sister, and the three of us here in MA. There’s something phenomenally exciting to me about this plan. Not only does it involve more trips to Vermont — which are never bad — it also is a start towards what I think the future will be like: a further reliance on the land for survival. Because for everything this garden is — educational, an excuse for weekend VT trips, a supply of food — it is also about survival: ours and that of the food itself.

There will be a point at which the cost of fresh food will be so hampered by the cost of delivery and logistics that unless people grow their own or purchase extremely locally, it will be unaffordable for most families. People will be forced into buying the less-nutritious, more genetically-altered veggies in the local frozen or canned goods aisle. While I don’t necessarily believe that frozen or canned food is poisonous or will be in the future, there is something to be said about eating food that hasn’t been engineered. Engineering food changes its relationship with the ecosystem, introduces unknowns into our diet, and otherwise messes with Mother Nature. Engineered food may or may not cross-pollenate with un-engineered varieties and could limit our chances of preserving seeds for the future. And even if that’s not likely, why would we take the chance?

Anybody with a small bit of grass, window space, a porch can start a garden for themselves. Even if you live in the middle of a city, there is probably a chance to start a neighborhood plot somewhere. Anytime humans can do something for ourselves that keeps us in touch with the way the earth works, we gain a little something out of life. It’s not tangible nor measureable, but I do feel it’s noticeable.

I designed the garden with not only work in mind, but also with the idea that it could be relaxing place to laze away a few hours. There’s a central circle with some benches and plenty of paths. The patches are all raised beds, and the paths are covered in straw or compost to keep the weeds down. Around the garden is a fence to keep the dogs from romping around willy-nilly. We plan on putting some pleasant chimes on the posts to hopefully kepe the deer away, too. There are animals, however, that we do want in the garden.

The grey circles are piles of stones for snakes, and the tan/sienna circles represent toad homes: clay pots on their sides. Both toads and snakes will help keep the nasty bugs to a minimum. Milkweed, Queen Anne’s Lace, and other wildflowers around the outside will attract butterflies, ladybugs, and bees.

All-in-all, I think we have the potential for a pretty good space, and I’m looking forward to getting a start on it. First planting should start on the 15th of May, with the second one being the week after.

Cognito!

Cognito is our 2005 Ford Escape. We call him that so that when we go somewhere, we can go there “In Cognito”. He’s an AWD V6 XLT with just over 75,000 miles on him. We got him a few weeks ago as a replacement for our 1994 Saab 900s named “Garrincha”: a great car, but we’re feeling more outdoorsy than before.

Speaking of which, we have big plans for Cognito: brush bar, some under-car armor, roof rack, and some better tires. Then, of course, we’ll need rally lights, some stronger suspension, and some welded support for the struts, sway bars, and whatnot. That kind of thing will happen much later, if at all.  Heck, I’m even thinking of installing a snorkel and CB radio!

The end goal? To tote around hiking and fishing gear, explore unknown places, and just generally tool around places we weren’t able to reach with the Saab.

Specifically, I’m looking forward to driving up to and around Vermont in a couple of weeks. There are some gravel pits in my hometown I’m dying to tool around in, and it seems that an old friend of mine is up for the adventure.

I feel like I’m getting old …

See, a week ago I was out in the park with my son and his friends. They’re all 10 and all kinds of energetic and everything. The snow had just melted and I was playing Aerobie with the three of them. A particularly accurate and — if I may say so — brilliant throw from my son sent me running after the neon green flying ring with as much speed as I could muster. It’s not much. However, since my weekend shoes are losing their tread and since the ground was mostly soggy from melting snow, my mustered speed was too much.

I slipped and fell. Flat on my ass. Tailbone. Thud and ouch. It’s hurt ever since.

Why am I writing this to my blog? Because I feel old. My hair is thinning. Falling on my ass hurts for a week. I’m only 34-years old, so I’m not griping. But it does feel like I’m kind of old.

Just sayin’.