Sept. 24, 2012

I am looking for a title for my individual blogs: I want them all to have the same name. I am trying “Tree Spirits” as a way of calling up Guardian Spirits (or Guardian Angels). I think it’s a little weak for a title, but then perhaps having a new title for every posting is better anyway.

I am sleeping under trees every night. I believe they are protecting and helping me in many ways, including the physical: the space at the base of a tree is warmer.

from Wikipedia:

A guardian angel is an angel assigned to protect and guide a particular person or group. Belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity. The concept of tutelary angels and their hierarchy was extensively developed in Christianity in the 5th century by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.

The theology of angels and tutelary spirits has undergone many refinements since the 400s. Belief in both the East and the West is that guardian angels serve to protect whichever person God assigns them to,[1] and present prayer to God on that person’s behalf.

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We all know that men in Western societies experience a 50% decrease in testosterone between age 30 and 50 when they go through andropause. John Gray (author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus) was speaking recently in Ventura, California. He said that men in indigenous societies do not go through this loss of testosterone. Why? Gray didn’t answer this question directly. Indirectly, he seemed to say that it’s stress-related: men in the US are over-stressed. (from The Bubble, Vol. 6, Winter/Spring 2012: L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties)

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Camping Sept. 23

I am camping up in Horn Canyon again. Last night the dusky-footed woodrats were jumping around in the leaves all night long. I couldn’t sleep. Around 2 am, a skunk or an opossum came through my camp. It was about 5 feet from where I was lying! I was afraid it was a skunk so I didn’t shine my light on it to see what it was.

In the pre-dawn hours, wild noises — like squawks — came from the hillside above me to the left. I have no idea what bird (or animal) this came from. It was very loud, but not really scary, just odd.

Three things cannot be hidden for long: the sun, the moon, the truth. ~~Buddha

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May we live like the lotus, at home in muddy water. ~~Buddha

I am eating one meal a day now. This is for two reasons: it’s the end of the month, and I’m broke (although my Bank of America account has about $50 more dollars in it than it should…); and I absolutely have to lower my cholesterol. My one meal consists of: raw veggies (1 carrot and some red cabbage, for example), fruit (any), some protein (like a can of sardines). I am not getting enough food (especially protein), but I feel good (although I have much less energy) and the first is in about a week and then I’ll start eating more. I like the discipline of this kind of small, limited diet.

I need sensation. No one touches me… maybe a brief hug or air-kiss now and then. Ugh! This is what makes me want one-night-stands. I want to be touched! Whether or not I want sex is questionable. Well, no, it’s not. I always welcome good sex. Nothing like it in the world! But how does one get it without personals ads or Craigslist ads. My ads are always removed from CL within a day now* anyway: too many men object to sexually active 66-year-old women getting laid (when they can’t find a dame to save their souls). (*”now” is relative: I haven’t even tried to post a personals ad on CL for about three years)

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Someone is killing coyotes up in the hills. For the last week or so, no coyotes have been howling. During the past few weeks, they were howling like crazy every night. I heard a strange, coyote-like sound in the hills after the coyotes stopped howling: I bet it was a coyote imitation thing that I read about. But the coyotes have left the building for the time being.

I am trying two weeks without sugar (starting today). I did this once before, and I completely lost my taste for sugar. I want to do this again.

My fears while camping are lessening to such a huge degree that my attention is free for being aware of my surroundings. I have mentioned this here recently. It’s a very big change, and I’m loving it.

As an Aspie, I never used to take my kids to parks. Our “animal-like” autistic brains can’t tolerate the open-space of most parks: we feel too exposed and vulnerable in such places. This is just one of many differences between me (and other Aspie parents) and NT parents. When Megan was about 13, her best friend, Katrina, was so loud and so chaotic, I asked Meg to not bring her into the house when I was there. I couldn’t tolerate the noise and the unbalanced energy. Megan was very resentful of this and didn’t understand it; in fact, I didn’t understand it either at that point because I didn’t yet know I was autistic. It was a terrible thing to have these intense, unusual, and confusing sensations and not be able to justify them. I just seemed and felt like a weirdo. This is what used to frustrate Aspies so much: they knew they weren’t weird people, but there was no explanation until Asperger Syndrome was discovered in the mid-1990s. Awful. Depression and, in my family, suicide often resulted from this intolerable situation. That is why depression is considered one of the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome; I don’t think it’s a physical, neuro-physiological part of the disorder. It is, rather, a response to the social situation around Aspergers.

People in the Silicon Valley (IT center in California) are producing 2 to 3 times more kids with Asperger Syndrome. It’s genetic!

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Portugal has decided to not change the amounts of money workers contribute to social security. They were going to have workers contribute more (18% of their salaries) and employers contribute less (also 18% of their earnings); they decided not to. (from 9/24/2012 Wall Street Journal) I wrote about this in a recent edition of these notes, and I thought I’d just edit it to stay up-to-date with information.

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How to fight: make fun of the thing you don’t like.

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On U.S. veterans and PTSD: for every soldier killed in battle now, 25 veterans commit suicide.

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Camping Sept. 24

Got to camp at 5:15 yesterday afternoon. Still hot. Lots of flies buzzing around. 6:30 flies stop and it cools down a bit. The California quail start making some noise around 7 pm, prior to their finding roosts for the night (they are no longer coming to the trees around my camp).

I was lied to about sleeping outdoors. Granted my adoptive parents were city people, especially Dad (from Berlin, Germany). Neither of them knew anything about the countryside, camping, nature, etc. ad nauseam. But even post-childhood, I never heard anyone talk about just sleeping out in the woods, alone, with or without a tent. Why not? It’s so much fun. And now that I’m starting to relax out there (it only took me 35 years), it’s even more awesome.

Last night, I heard a rather large (for a mouse or rat) critter in the branches right above my head. I am daring now to shine my light about at night if there seems to be a creature to be seen in my general vicinity. I looked around the thicket and spotted him (her?): a white and light brown rat 6 or 7 inches long plus a shorter tail. Yikes! She/he was looking right at me (from about 7 feet away) in a very sweet, friendly way. I don’t think this is a woodrat. I will look this up in a minute and report back. I thought woodrats were about 4 inches long and grayish-black. I’ve seen such a creature, and the little animals that usually jump and scratch around in the leaves all night seem to be like this.

I smelled a skunk during the night, and it might have been my visitor from the other night. The weirdest thing last night at camp though was a humming sound coming from under my pillow. It hummed for about 2 seconds (going up a little in pitch), then repeated this sound after about 6 seconds. This went on and on until I got so excited I couldn’t stand it. I accidentally made a lot of noise, moving my pillow (actually my folded-in-half backpack with a small bag of clothes on top of it for softness). I was trying to hear it better, but of course I just scared it away. Now, what in the HELL could that have been? This really miffs me. It’s VERY exciting, isn’t it? Something humming not far under the ground (which is covered with dry California Black Oak leaves)!

OK, I just did some googling: 1.)     The Desert Kangaroo Rat, whose territory probably overlaps into this area (not sure), fits the bill. It’s big — can get 14″ long and it’s lighter-colored than the Dusky Footed Woodrat. 2.)     Cicadas (which can stay underground in their larval state for 13 years) and other such insects may be humming under the ground and near enough to the surface that I heard one of them last night. Absolutely fascinating!

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I am reading Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ The Hidden Life of Deer (2009).  It’s a magnificent book, as good as Reid’s Coyote, which I just finished. Thomas lives in New Hampshire; she also wrote The Hidden Life of Dogs and studied elephants with Katy Payne in Africa. What’s really interesting about Thomas is her early-life adventures. Here’s a bit on that:

When I was in my late teens and early twenties I lived in the unexplored interior of the Kalahari Desert in Africa with people who were hunter-gatherers. My father was more than a farmer. He was also a civil engineer and a businessman, and later in life, an explorer. My mother was an anthropologist. That’s why we went. The experience stayed with me, and ever since then, I’ve seen the world through the lens of the Kalahari. The people among whom we lived had been there for 35,000 years at least and as such, were living the life we all once lived when we were part of the African savannah fauna. They lived in the Old Way, and their culture had enormous stability, meaning that they kept the Old Rules that were laid down by necessity — the kind of rules that all who live in the natural world must keep.

…Few things are predictable in the natural world. This is an Old Rule, and the deer know it.

At one point Thomas says of the deer that some have higher status than others, and status means territory which is all-important. I thought about now, how I camp on other people’s land (or National Forest Land), and why people get so upset when other people — like me (a “homeless” person) — take over their land a little bit. Are we thus trespassing on their social status? Am I, a humble social “inferior,” taking more than our society says one should?

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James Bond became “a Totem of Western Culture” (read in a magazine: AARP, I think). What is totemism (when used in this way)?

from Bing’s online Dictionary:

~~(refering to) social organization: the organizing of societies into groups whose members share a common totem

from Wikipedia:

The founder of a French school of sociology, Émile Durkheim, examined totemism from a sociological and theological point of view[citation needed]. Durkheim hoped to discover a pure religion in very ancient forms and generally claimed to see the origin of religion in totemism. For Durkheim, the sphere of the sacred is a reflection of the emotions that underlie social activities, and the totem was, in this view, a reflection of the group (or clan) consciousness, based on the conception of an impersonal power. The totemistic principle was then the clan itself, and it was permeated with sanctity. Durkheim held that such a religion reflects the collective consciousness that is manifested through the identification of the individuals of the group with an animal or plant species; it is expressed outwardly in taboos, symbols, and rituals that are based on this identification.

In further contributions, Goldenweiser in 1915–16 and 1918 criticized Lang, Frazer, and Durkheim and insisted that totemism had nothing to do with religion; he held instead that man in no way viewed his totem as superior to himself or as a deified being but viewed it as his friend and equal[citation needed]. Goldenweiser also rejected Frazer’s thesis of conceptionalism as an explanation of totemism. On the other hand, Goldenweiser was of the opinion that all totemistic manifestations do have at least something of a kind of religion, but he was not inclined to include the guardian spirit conception within totemism.

In 1916 an American ethnologist, Franz Boas, suggested that totemism exhibited no single psychological or historical origin; since totemistic features can be connected with individuals and all possible social organizations, and they appear in different cultural contexts, it would be impossible to fit totemistic phenomena into a single category[citation needed]. Boas was against systematizing and thought it senseless to ask questions about the origins of totemism.

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What made me a radical and a crusader?

1.)     Dad , who was bitter over his life-experiences (childhood poverty, childhood abuse, immigrant status, hatred of Germans in post-WW II USA)

2.)     Responses to my being an adoptee.

3.)     Responses to my family being German (post-WW II).

4.)     Responses to my sudden post-divorce “poverty.”

5.)     Being on-the-street in 1975 and afterward.

6.)     Responses to my incarceration in a mental hospital.

7.)     Responses to my being an unmarried mother, and a mother on welfare.

to be continued…

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