The Secret to Happy Living

 

Lately, things have been pretty good for me on the mental front. I haven’t been very depressed. Hardly at all, really.

And it dawned on me today why that most likely is: I haven’t done any major screwup recently.

See, that’s what usually sends me in a downward spiral of emotions, when I mess up big time. That’s when I go through the whole you’re hopeless, you’re worthless, you should just do everyone a favor and die routine. I’ve practiced it a lot over the years.

And sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be a big screwup. Sometimes, just a little mistake can start the avalanche that eventually buries me in self-hatred.

Yeah, we’re all human, everybody makes mistakes, cut yourself some slack, blah, blah, blah.

I’m telling you, none of that helps when depression works its magic in your mind and says, Nobody f***s up more than you, idiot. Nobody.

So, I guess I just need to not ever screw up really bad again, and I’ll stay happy.

 

Well, given my history and my common sense deficiency, I’m pretty sure that ain’t happenin’.

So, I guess I’ll just enjoy this lucky streak I’m on for as long as it lasts.

I know it will happen soon enough.

In Climate News…

 

From the Associated Press:

“Ethiopians planted more than 200 million trees on Monday, which officials stated will be a world record.”

More than 200 million trees. On Monday! Actually, more than 224 million, according to the stateaffiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

I don’t know about you, but reading that made my jaw drop. I can barely imagine planting one million trees, let alone, over two hundred twenty-four times that many.

On one day.

The trees were planted in an effort to “help restore the countrys landscape which experts say is fast being eroded by deforestation and climate change.”(AP)

And that’s not the end of it. Between May and October, their objective is to plant 4 billion trees.

Yeah. Four…billion. And here I am debating on whether to plant one in my yard.

Anyway, good on Ethiopia for fighting back against the effects of climate change. Though that isn’t the only reason for this African country’s deforestation, it can’t be ignored, either, like it is somewhere like…oh, say, the United States.

The planters are made up of “ordinary Ethiopians, various international organizations and the business community.”(AP) Imagine, businesses and regular folks working in cooperation to deal with the climate change problem.

All initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. A government leader!

Ethiopia, I’m jealous.

UPDATE: 353,633,660 MILLION TREES PLANTED IN 12 HOURS ON MONDAY IN ETHIOPIA. WOW!!!!

 

The New Normal?

 

Out running some errands today, I passed by a school.

In front of the school was their sign, with the name of the school, and a place for cute sayings, important reminders of school events, whatever.

On the sign today was a saying that caught my attention, because it struck me as more than just a simple saying. It was more like an earnest plea to the human race.

It just said, “Make kindness normal.”

 

And immediately, I considered the implications of that simple statement. Does this even need to be said? Is kindness so abnormal, we actually need this reminder to bring it back to a level where it’s just what is expected?

And I knew full well the answer to both those questions: Yes.

I’ve noticed for years a steady erosion of kindness, manners, courtesy, civility, unselfishness; the things that separate the humans from the animals. Everybody’s all about ME; the hell with you.

And, just as the pace of global warming is accelerating, so has the erosion of these basic traits of humanity. From my vantage point, anyway. Whether on the freeway, in the store checkout line, at your kid’s soccer game or, most notably, in politics, there is simply no place for such displays of decency.

Make kindness normal.

Doesn’t seem like much to ask, does it?

Yet, in our current society, it sounds darn near impossible.

Nevertheless, I pledge to make it more normal in my life. Will you pledge to make it more normal in yours?

You never know; it may do us all some good to speak and act more kindly to each other.

I think we ought to try it.

 

Our Visit with Mother

 

My wife and I recently went on an Alaskan cruise. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, especially because we joined her brother and his wife on the cruise. It was great to share the experience with people we know and love.

What I saw, and heard, and smelled, and felt, I will try to share through words and pictures, but I’m telling you now, they will be inadequate. So much breathtaking beauty, unspoiled by humans and their delusions of “progress,” is a feast to be savored. And that’s what I did my best to do.

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(Expand this photo and you’ll just make out a bear by the stream.)

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At a birds of prey sanctuary in Ketchikan, we met Lucy, the bald eagle. She was beautiful. Sorry for the shaky camera work.

 

We embraced, and were embraced by, Mother Nature in all her undisturbed glory. Whales, dolphins, bears, bald eagles, moose, beavers, dall sheep, all in their element. Majestic mountains, glaciers, forests, waterfalls, rivers, and brilliant blue skies.

And, of course, the mighty, mysterious ocean.

All in all, an absolutely amazing trip. And fun, too!

 

Oh, yeah: I spotted a moose.

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Is it True?

This is a terrific post about how people deal with climate change (or don’t).

Stargazing Futures

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We have just over 10 years to avoid a climate disaster that will destroy humanity! That’s what they say? Who exactly is ‘they?’ Are they correct? And do we care? Well, I care. But does that even matter, except to me?

The topic of a warming world has been on our collective radar for decades. I won’t bore you with the details because you know them for yourself. The ‘They, ‘ the scientific climate researchers, have released their measured analysis of the state of our world and why it looks bad for life. The media is full of opinions, detailed statistical reports, proven theories and estimated trajectories of our survival or annihilation if we do or don’t do something. Indeed, I am currently listening to yet another hysterical report on the radio as these words tumble out. I read scary stuff every day. And most of us have been told by…

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Toxic

This is a very apt analogy of our President, our Congress, and us. Thank you, Teri.

Teri Carter's Library

At the park, I am putting my dog in the car after a long walk when I hear him — “Stop it,” he yells. “Sit down, I said sit! Sit, sit, sit. Knock it the hell off goddammit!” — and I turn to see the elderly man I passed half a mile ago on the trail, yanking his dog’s leash with one hand while beating him with the other.

The dog yelps and cries, cowering with each anticipated blow. I start toward them and that’s when I spot her, the man’s wife, continuing on down the trail as though nothing is happening.

“Mister, stop!” I say, waving my arms, trying to pull his attention my way. “My god, what are you doing, stop, you’re hurting your dog, please stop.” But he turns his back to me and keeps at it, his dog now upside down on the ground, and I…

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