So easy to slip into a funk as the days shorten, darken, knowing 40,000 people are without homes in NYC and NJ courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, latest installment of climate change, less frequent but more horrible hurricanes due to hotter atmosphere. Not your usual storm, folks. Worse than any B Movie Thriller because it is real. Nearly everyone is scared to say the words.
Heard and spoke with Bill McKibben at Bioneers! Said we are losing the climate change battle, be ready to face off with the oil industry and go to jail. Now determined to do more than I have, though may try through media. Dark facts; the earth has heated up too much to reverse damage in any easy way. You can’t just keep fouling your nest without consequence.
In the midst of all this, much to be grateful for in Our Town. Glad Petaluma is among the California cities that celebrates the dark days with El Dia de los Muertoes, Day of the Dead, here an entire month! I cherished the Poetry of Remembrance evening at the Arts Center, heard Francisco Alarcon recite his kid’s book, Angels on Bikes, which I bought, telling him I’d pass it along to a kid eventually. Alarcon recites and writes like an angel (do angels recite?) and makes death not so dark, saying “My Grandma is with me now.” Those we love remain with us in the world of Day of the Dead – that feels true to me – and I welcome its celebration. Over 10,000 expected in San Francisco’s Mission District for this.
Our El Dia de los Muertos Procession to the Arts Center was great fun with family and friends, drinking Orchata with our nephews and granddaughters who live here, first carrying a lit candle, then Casey, 8, found a dahlia and we carried that. Met up with 1,000(?)celebrants and sang (surprise!) “I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright I need you baby…” with the mariachi band singer (first sung in Spanish). Sweet! A few little kids danced. Great Joy are two words associated with El dia de Los Muertos. Great photos ops, too! Cute that someone announced “Council members Tiffany Renee, Jason Davies (running, not YET serving) and Alicia Herries (same) were in the crowd.
Next day got last tickets to hear US Astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, sixth man on the moon and founder of Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS, study of human consciousness) hosted at Masonic chapter of Petaluma. Edgar Mitchell, first Petaluma guy to mention multi-verses from a mic, the theory that there are other universes running parallel to ours, linked to it. His view of earth from space drew him to the conclusion that we are all one – and should shift our behavior, allowing for peace, prosperity and to grow in our humanity. Civilization, a good idea, said Gandhi! Free IONS lectures at Aqus continue, believe they are 2nd Tues. each month – good food for your spirit and mind. Have only missed one. Bonus: found Christmas presents in the lobby of the Masonic Building during the presentation!
Another unexpected fine thing: the 1st Birthday of Occupy Petaluma at Penry Park. Friend singer/songwriter, Larry Potts, offered his locally-famous songs including Hometown Hardware Store about the burning and rebirth of Rex Hardware “If you build it, we will come” he sings. Sonielle put together another of her amazing Absolutely Free Markets where people drop off things to give away and pick up – whatever they want! I found a book I had planned to buy, checked a pair of Clarks shoes (a tad tight) and brought home a game for a grandson and a picture book of the work of local artist, Robert McChesney – and an artichoke plant!. Just plain lovely all the good stuff offered free – and the literature table and the cake and the PEOPLE…such good things. Spoke with Sebastopol activist/author/writer/teacher, Shepherd Bliss, decked out as Green Man with leaves all about him, how to face death and dying. He counsels Vietnam Vets, of which he is one, and teaches at Dominican and SSU. Conversation w. Shepherd is always a treat. Amy Hanks told us KPFA was playing Larry Potts’ music just then! No idea where all this Occupy good will goes in future, but this day? Great warmth, humor, intention and creation of community. Congrats, 1 year Anniversary of Occupy Petaluma (OP).
And now for a good and Big Question: Is the North Bay/Sonoma ready for a new kind of Co-op? A more engaged Credit Union, perhaps? Felt gratitude and optimism when John Crowley’s Aqus Community presented Georgia Kelly, good friend and founder/director, Praxis Peace, Sonoma. Wonderful melange of idea people she brings together with their important books and work presented over the years and yearly sojourns to Mondragon Co-op in Spain. While Spain close to 25% unemployment, Mondragon has 0% unemployment, no poverty, no rich people, everyone doing well. The co-op model, Georgia says, could very well work right here right now, engaging local businesses in a network that sustains itself, an idea suggested as well by Tom Hayden, who will speak at a Praxis celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Port Huron Statement (Thurs. Nov. 15th at Dominican U), a document that ran concurrent to the start up of Students for Democratic Society and changed my life when I founded an SDS chapter at Northern Illinois University with three guys. Points to a possible future, a participatory democracy honoring social and economic justice. I like that direction! Will be fascinated to see where this goes…