Finding One’s Place

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The title is the name of the first section of what I once imagined–and still sometimes am certain–will be a book whose title will be “One Place Understood.” The first chapter is Finding Floyd.

When I wrote this in early 2016, I was making good progress and had a clear vision of the end for this project. Then the presidential campaigning began, culminating in the election that abolished many a dream–of writers and lovers, of nature and science advocates and of the truth-oriented community from all walks of life–who like me,  abandoned their heart’s work in disbelief and recoiled in horror at the spectacle that is America crumbling before them.

But I am trying to recover from all that, even as it proceeds to deeper and deeper levels of decay. I vow to regain my footing, to re-envision the full and complete and final saying of what it is I want to say in this third book of the trilogy from Goose Creek. But then, I have vowed such things before.

So, at least this morning, my thought is that I will put some of the completed rough drafts on the blog–which will make me un-roughen them in another pass; it will make me somewhat accountable, at least to the handful of blog readers who hang on. And even in the absence of readers, the blog is a life story that will outlive me, even if the book never sees the light of day. It is a tepid legacy, but more than many find the time or the words for. Why stop now after only 16 years of blogging?

Blog readers tend more and more to read less and less in any given place. So if you want to read this first 1000 words, you can find it at Medium.com where, if I can sustain the motivation and find sufficient interest, I will compile some portion of the book for pre-publication consumption. Should Iive so long…

FINDING FLOYD: Chapter One/Part One ~ Finding One’s Place
…from a possible book with the possible title:One Place Understood: Field Notes from a Small Planet

And for the sake of keeping up with the Big Picture of this bit of story-telling, and mostly for my own sake, I’ll append a link to the mind-map of my current thinking about the book’s structure. Just click the image:

One Place Understood mind-map brainstorming of possible structure and content.

The Wraiths of Riches Who Rule the Earth

…Brazil has elected a new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who favors abolishing protected indigenous lands. He has promised to scale back enforcement of environmental laws, calling them an impediment to economic growth, and has made his intentions for the Amazon clear.

“Where there is indigenous land,” he said last year, “there is wealth underneath it.”

The elected Gods of Mammon will dig under cities, under schools, under parks and islands and mountains and rainforests–will turn Earth into profit; into temporary freedom from the certainty of death. They will do this as long and as often as we let them.

They will convert any living spaces or living creatures into money and power until there is nothing left to consume. If we let them.

…From 2006 through 2017, Brazil’s part of the Amazon lost roughly 91,890 square miles of forest cover — an area larger than New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Connecticut combined, according to an analysis of satellite images by Global Forest Watch.

No Man–or Other Animal–Is An Island

Puffins: Harbingers of Climate Change 

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee. ~ John Donne

Puffins: Harbingers of Climate Change

Puffins: I’ve never seen one, but I feel their pain–a pain that they suffer, but not in the way that we suffer, knowing; dreading; blaming; lamenting the ends that we have created for ourselves by the ways we have treated the “least of these…”

This is a long and complex, insightful and sad bit of research (American Prospect) highlights the tangled webs that bring down clusters of species–or entire Orders over not much more time–of creatures in their webs of inter-relationship.

This kind of linkage is what John Donne expressed in his poem, though not likely in his mind extending beyond the Home Team species he belonged to.

I continue to advocate for a shift from the individual “pursuit of happiness” to the collective “ecology of well-being” as an end of our civilization’s measure of success. It would take the emphasis away from solely our perceived satisfaction of having (usually in this country MORE than) enough to a focus on the impact of all our actions on the health of all species in all biomes across present and future times.

Tl, dr. I’d hope maybe in time somebody will find this post and actually read–and then actually internalize the message in this article about Puffins.

Any puffin’s death diminishes me. And you?

There is NO Free Shipping

International shipping counts for more than 2 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, roughly the same as aircraft.

Because I my interest in the topic had been ramped way up by a SustainFloyd Movie Night last year, I stopped my morning browse-fest to read an article from Ensia (highly recommended environmental journalism and news source!)

The piece is “The Race Is On To Decarbonize The 50,000-Plus Ships That Carry Our Stuff Around The World.”

Scroll down in that article to the animated depiction (header image above, from millions of geo-data points) of container ship movements, plus the cargos they are carrying on any given day. Scroll around the globe, zoom in, and ponder. For sure, you received an Amazon delivery that was carried on one of those moving dots.

Be sure and click the PLAY button to hear an informative narrative about the present and future of getting our STUFF from China and other non-local sources.

Some of you Floyd folk viewed the movie called Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping. For many of us, it was shocking and sobering. I know it made me realize in a more informed way when I passed a tractor-trailer hauling a MAERSK container somewhere on I-81—where it had come from and what it represented. The globalization of commerce rides on pallets stacked in containers and containers stacked ten-high and thirty long by industrial robots in a shipping yard in Norfolk or Shanghai.

I wrote about palletized containerized business-as-usual at some length, and posted that at medium in May of last year:The Story of (Moving) Stuff

You can see the entire documentary Freightened (if you don’t mind the distracting page-wrap) on YouTube at the link.

The fact that the International Maritime Organization is actually making progress on the industry’s energy-and-resource footprint is encouraging. Imagine some day our children may see giant sails moving their widgets silently into port.

Leaf-Peepers Are Readers

Every autumn, I tend to get a little bump in book sales.

This autumn, I’m pleased to let visiting leaf-peepers know that my books can be found in an additional location: the new Maggie Gallery at the corner of Route 8 (Locust Street) and Oxford Street, across from the bank parking lot.

Ron’s artwork and crafts are familiar to and appreciated by many in Floyd County. And now he and wife Lenny are hosting the work and crafts of others in a fine old home right in the middle of Floyd.

The folks whose work is displayed in the gallery have their own little web nook. Here is mine: Fred First at Maggie Gallery.

If you’re visiting Floyd, the gallery is a short walk from The Light, and well worth your time. Here’s a little more about the history behind the building, the builders and the idea of the gallery.

Maggie Gallery Open House | NRVNews

Another reason to visit Maggie Gallery soon: You get a bonus when you buy one of my books: a copy of the pen and ink drawing of our barn by Ron Campbell (while supplies last)–an image that he graciously allowed me to use for the front pages of my second book, What We Hold in Our Hands. This is really a very generous compliment to me from the owners, and a high-value bonus to you, the patrons of the gallery!