Rich People

I went to Jon and Suzanne Wiese’s house a few times over the last couple of months.  They are rich.  They don’t have any servants.

Well, they don’t have any servants if you don’t count all of the friends and family who offer, line up, and drop in to make food, pick up branches in the front yard, bring in the paper, clean, and tip toe around so as not to disturbe anyone.

They don’t have a lot of things, I mean, sure there is a four car garage (kids) and a sprawling house meant to hold tons of people and students and it has and does.  But there not a ton of things, for things sake.  The whole place is tasteful and meant to be homey.  Kids, students, all sorts of people are equally at home on the floor in front to the TV

Summer, Mono Culture and Being the Worst Person in the World

Jill’s brother, Steve has been living here in the Guest House. He moved in after Thanksgiving and after his son, Thomas Hatt came to meet him and us in February, he was to finish his commission for the Shah of Oman. In March. And return to the Pacific Northwest.
The commission is looking more finished, now that we are in the middle of May, and I watch him do research and then solve problems daily, and that is amazing. I have learned something: the seconds that we use to “take in” a painting, are NOTHING in comparison to the months it took to complete it. (This truth is equally applicable to marriages, families, careers, books, movies, and the odd hobby.) I am thinking I should appreciate many things much, much more.
Steve is like my friend, Don Reeves who hails from Washington. With either, it is like living with the Chamber of Commerce from Oregon or Washington when they are around — for more than six minutes. Everything is greener, cooler, less (or no) snakes, tics, wind, you name it.
Steve, would love to have been gone before the snakes came out for summer, but as luck would have it, he has seen us kill the first two.
I am smiling as I write. He also has opined that the worst people in the world are those who subject nature to mono-culture, excising all weeds (even worse the flowering ones) from yards and flower beds.
Only when he said it, did I realize I was the worst person in the world.
I would have thought I would need to at least have an affair or ten, kill people needlessly, or harm animals indiscriminately. All I had to do was want a nice lawn, but Steve may be right.
Mono-culture may be killing us.
My friend, Mark Rockley used to say this regularly about wheat, corn, and other crops with their nitrogen stealing draw down on soils.


We bought a five acre place.  Seeing it the first time, I swear Redd Foxx ambled out to us: Sanford and Son.  Hoarders had hidden cameras.

We bought 5.5 acres.  One acre is a pond, so 4.5 acres.  The folks living there 30 years kept everything.

I thought $20K to get rid of junk, but I was wrong!  In America people collect everything.  Everything.  In a hundred countries I might bury it all in a ravine or public dump — my grand children’s future ski hill.

But in the U. S. entrepreneurs and collectors, hold auctions!  On a rainy Saturday cars, trucks and trailers wedged in everywhere.  The food truck’s fusion tacos were delicious.

People bought a long-dead work-over rig, two trucks, a Mercedes complete with seven-foot snake, and Lincoln Continental with four field mice nests.  Think field mouse bigger than a squirrel.  Oh, and a motor home with a dead body.  Not really, but it smelled like it.

Miracle!  Buyers paid money, and then carted everything off on trailers!

They bought six boats: sail boat, pontoon boat and smaller ones.  Buyers brought tires, put tires on old trailers and drove away with boats.

One bought and winched out of trees a 25 foot trailer piled 12 feet high with styrofoam: a boat dock in an alternate universe future.  Women paid for the privilege of first, second and third pass through 2,000 glass jars.  I recycled 9 boxes.  She bought all five pumps with handles.  He didn’t buy four sewing machines, but bought the eight fall tall, all-wood cabinet with 56 drawers full of door knobs, electrical insulators: pure treasure.  Loaded it and drove off.

Someone bought the storage shed, and “dog house”: a metal building you park on a drilling floor of a large rig: and its materials (spark plugs, air and oil filters, carburetor kits).  Winched them onto a flatbed and drove off.

Then a “steel guy” brought chain saws and a massive tractor to pull 14 farm implements, including two manure spreaders — one of which he sold the owner 20 years ago.  He cut trees growing up through tractors and implements, and winched them out from vine snarls.

That left five pickup loads of cardboard, two of glass, three of recyclable plastics, and one huge roll-off of uncyclables.  That left shrubs, poison ivy, briers, trash trees, and monster vines shielding skids of shingles, tons of termite infused hardwood flooring, 1,500 bricks and concrete blocks, four trailers of oilfield pipe, bird houses, chains, saw blades, wood making tools, collars, PVC, black poly, 20 rotted tarps (and counting), Formica, car parts, tools, yard implements, trash, swings, and clothes.  Want a Cowboys jersey with “54” on it?  Randy White.  Chuck Howley.

We hoard.  We cram attics, basements, and storage locker(s).  Does we require it all to live well?  Will we really sell it for thousands?  How will we get to so many projects?  Maybe we think keeping future projects keeps Death overlooking us until we finish them all.  Not even our own kids care for most of our treasure.

I learned.  Again.  Recycle now.  Put it back in the economy.  Live with less.  Buy back space. Give to people in need.  Donate to help others with work.  Move out the 500 dollars of crap in the garage and pull in the $20,000+ car from the hail.

You’ll never sail that boat on your one acre lake from a dock you never built, let it go.

We’ve re-purposed over one point five acres.  Horses will graze there.  You?

Waste or Largess and yet.

I few minutes ago I had a brilliant insight into life and the universe.  It may or may not interest you, so I won’t bore you.

It struck me deeply.  I sensed two possibilities for my insight.  It resonated through me.  The insight gave me joy.   The resulting feeling suspended me “up” in a long, draining week for seconds.

Again, I see two possibilities for my insight, for a depth of feeling and realization words fail to convey.

Possibility one.  All we are today results from a profoundly long series of random outcomes, against the Second Law of Thermodynamics, gathering star-dust from millions of extinguished stars to donate elements farther down rows of our Periodic Table to fire-form a planet within a hair’s breadth of distance from a correct sun needed for incredibly sophisticated RNA and DNA to take on a job of blindly evolving past millions of blind alleys to get to us.  “Us” who can write, laugh, love, hear and even sometimes understand each other; and die.  All of my memories, depths, and sharing now a meal for worms blindly eating either my corpse or plants enriched by my ashes.  In a generation, at most, any who interacted or shared with me; join me in oblivion, as will we all.  A remorseless universe neither taking note, caring or laughing.

Possibility two.  A God described as having infinite capacity created the thought of me before assembling the iron and nickel for a core for Earth.  He brought my mother from her birth family to an adopted family so she could marry and unite again with my father after two miscarriages to birth me.  And so, minutes ago, this God shared my brilliant insight into life more intimately than even my wife could hope for.  And if all that’s written of Him is good, when I die I am resurrected out of time into eternity to get this — share that insight with Him and possibly at the same depth with those purchased by His grace — around a dinner beyond compare before we get back to work.

How it all works is above my pay grade.

Possibility one says as a terrorist dies, it holds equal lack of value with the deaths of Jesus, Gandhi — the named and the forgotten.  From nothing formed, and to nothing returned.

Possibility two gives me Hope to hold to values. I choose P two.  Probably as it demands more of me in faith, giving to, making a difference, loving and weeping — living.  If Hope is a crutch, then inscribe mine with the name for me in Heaven I don’t even know, yet.

See?  I can now say, “yet”!