She wants to go faster.

A lot faster.

Today was the first time I actually got to do anything with her, though I’d certainly seen her around for the past few months. I picked her up at the little place over on College Street where she’s been staying for the past three weeks. Honestly, I’ve ached to touch her for all of that time.

We spent much of the afternoon together, and I was cautious, perhaps even a little fearful. You never know how these things might turn out. And it took a while to understand both her paradoxical complexity and her elegant simplicity.

I was clumsy at first, but, after dinner, unexpectedly, we found ourselves together again. I’d thought I was too tired, but I was wrong. This time I was more… in control of myself.

I blush to admit that I spent more than an hour upon her, riding her with increasing confidence.

She’s marvelously responsive, and I believe that she’ll do almost anything I ask of her, once my own shyness has further passed. She is a sensous cornucopia.

I plan to spend a lot of time with her in coming weeks. Months. Years.

It’s as if we were made for each other.

I am in lust.

Home Earth

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At one point during the epic and storied Eat Our Brains Board Meeting, Maureen McHugh asked me how I was doing with our move from New York City to San Francisco, and touched me by noting that she thought of me as a total New Yorker. Because that’s exactly what I am: born there, raised there, fully alive to its flaws and dangers, I am never so alive as when I step onto my home earth.

I love cities–I can do the forest or the desert or the mountains for a short time, then I want to go urban again–and of all the cities I’ve seen, I love New York the best. (I will note that my brother, born and raised in New York right behind me, detests New York. It’s a highly personal thing.) I love the quality of light, and the feeling of the air on my skin, the compression and volatility and the pockets of magic and strangeness you can find all over town. I love the feeling of enclosure that comes from walking down streets built up to the sky. I love the people (serious pockets of magic and strangeness!) and the way New Yorkers are startled by their own kindness. I love the energy, I love the subway, for God’s sake. Face it: I’m hard core. Continue reading

Some Hidden Costs of Doing Good

Wilderness image by Matt Drashle, Creative Commons License, Noncommercial_Share-AlikeBrainiacs, I’m laid low by a head cold and my own real post will be a little delayed. But meanwhile, here are two thoughtful posts on a couple of related subjects. The first, by Rana of Frogs and Ravens, is about the challenges of individual versus collective action, with regard to living an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

I couldn’t find a bit to excerpt that captures the point adequately, but what I took away from it is that yes, we are caught up in a huge machine that is rapidly consuming the world’s resources, and yes, we are part of the problem–but the fact of the matter is, it takes a great deal of effort to buck that flow, and we must be gentle with ourselves and each other for all those things we do not or cannot do.

As individuals, we can only do so much to reduce consumption of non-renewables and eliminate our carbon emissions, and so on. The fact is, our entire world economy is set up to consume vast quantities of resources. Our actions as individuals are important, as Rana says, but without change at the governmental and corporate level, they are largely only symbolic, and I agree with her that it’s a bad idea to beat up on each other for only being willing to do so much. Bucking the flow takes a tremendous amount of energy, as Rana says, and it’s not as easy for some of us as for others. My own personal philosophy is to see it as a lifelong journey, and add a little bit of eco-friendliness into my lifestyle at a time. What I feel I can handle. If I can’t handle it, I don’t do it, and I don’t feel guilty about it.

I honor my colleagues who manage to do more, as I recognize that they have invested a great deal of effort to effect change in their lives. However, I also honor my colleagues who can’t. None of us can know what challenges others face in their personal lives.

The environmental crisis won’t be solved without a huge, tectonic shift in the way human society operates, and that will have to be rung in by our political, business, and religious leaders. The best way we can be effective, in my view, is to keep up the pressure on them.

Anyway, read the whole thing. It’s quite thought-provoking and important.

The second post is related. I came across Rana’s post via Chris Clarke of Creek Running North, a blogger who writes beautifully about a variety of issues, primarily but not solely environmental. His piece is about the undeclared price paid—and who pays it—for “dying well” (i.e., home-based care for the elderly) and for eco-friendly living. I.e., women are often the ones who end up shouldering much of the burden of change in the environmental and quality of life movements. There’s so much good here that again, it’s hard to excerpt, but here’s a chunk:

In a paper published a couple weeks ago, Dr. Sherilyn McGregor of Keele University in Staffordshire points out that when environmentally sound living requres [sic] extra work, that work is usually “women’s work.” Her paper is a useful and readable summation, and if it weren’t encrypted read-only I’d paste some of it here. Still, this is not news to environmentalist women. What decisions are environmentalist citizens asked to make? Choosing the green laundry detergent and toilet paper and buying organic groceries. Carrying cloth bags to the supermarket. Using non-toxic cleansers. Adding corporate citizenship to one’s list of brand loyalty factors and schlepping the Seafood Buying Guide around. Sorting trash into the proper containers for recyclables, compost, and landfilling. …

The fact is that for all the ills the increasing corporatization of society has brought us, it has assigned value to certain forms of labor that were once devalued. It certainly hasn’t always assigned enough monetary value to those tasks, but even a paltry amount is more than nothing at all. Opposing that corporatization doesn’t have to include rolling back that valuation, trying to build an Illichian paradise where people quietly fulfill their forced gender role differences.

I’m a huge supporter of the various movements for restoring the quality of our lives, but until they rid themselves of this blind spot they will go nowhere worth going. Sadly, that patriarchal romanticism is seductive. Look at this Wikipedia description of the “Slow” movement’s goals:

Even in the recent past in the West it was standard to have a day of relaxation because all shops were closed on Sundays. However, the current tendency in many parts of the world to operate at 24 hours a day has disrupted this tradition. Now, because people can do everything all the time, some feel they have to do things all the time. The Slow movement counteracts this by extolling the virtues of the enjoyment and savouring of living.

I don’t know what it was like for your family, but I seem to recall my grandmothers working just as hard on Sundays as they did on Mondays. Though maybe they were just enjoying the process of vacuuming before people came over to relax and savouring the sinks full of dishes the relaxing generated. Ah, the good old days.

Again, RTWT.