Oct. 6, 2012

Beautiful Arabian horse in the Meiners Oaks, Ca. Riverbottom. Oct. 2012

I will be leaving Ojai a week from today and going to Los Angeles. I have two “couches” there, and I need another one (for Oct. 12). I’m sure I’ll find it. I sent out some more requests today. Barbara Rose has offered me her couch for that night (as well as for Oct. 13, 14, 15), if I need it. Some people are so generous and kind.

I don’t have the $40 for the ticket, but I’m going to sit outside the Bowl and listen to Cedric Watson play Creole music here in Ojai tonight. I will then make my way up the hill in the dark, to Thacher and into Horn Canyon for the night. That’s the plan; I may chicken out. I like to be settled in before dark, but I really want to hear this music.

(I chickened out. I left Ojai before 6 pm, and, by trolley and hitching, got to my camp well before dark.)

This is my third reliable camp in Ojai. 1 + 2 are Horn Canyon and Pratt Trail. This is my Oct. 4 camp in Meiners Oaks’ Riverbottom (Land Conservancy). A desert-like landscape, very beautiful.

My darling girl, Anya, with me at Thacher School about 1968 or ’69. Taken by Hank (Anya’s dad and my then-hubby).

I am really ready to leave; I’ve been in Ojai too long. On Oct. 16, I fly to Miami. It’s an overnight flight, arriving early on the morning of the 17th. I’ll surf around Miami for a few days, then go over to Naples. Hope to see my relatives there. Then, back to Miami. And I fly to Haiti Nov. 3.

The camping adventure here has been wonderful. I’ve gotten deeper into camping, learned to camp with less gear (no sleeping pad, no tent), and I’ve found some nice places to camp here. Before, I was always up Horn Canyon. Ojai is good for camping from July through Sept. Before that, spring, while beautiful, is chilly and can be foggy; after that, October gets cold.

I camped in Meiner Oaks’ “Riverbottom” the other night. It’s now called the Ojai Land Conservancy and is a protected area. Very beautiful. Big owls flew low over me three times (that I saw) during the night. The waning moon lit up the sky very brightly, then was covered by clouds. The evening started out dry and warm, and then it grew uncomfortably chilly and damp.

Tomorrow I will pick up my laptop. My own computer! I am thrilled about this.

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Oct. 6: Yea! Got my little Gateway “Atom” laptop and named her “Queenie, the Queen of Clubs.”

Was my adoptive Dad a “tough guy” in his native Berlin, Germany? He was a very bitter, angry man devoted to Germany. He was very prejudiced (Blacks, Jews, rich people…) and never said anything against his native country, even after WW II. I think he may have developed a thuggish persona, although it was well-hidden behind a public persona: gentle, sweet, shy, harmless, nice man. I believe his reals self came out when he was with his German friends at the Norwood German Club; I know he had friends there who were neo-Nazis. Ugh!

Maybe Dad was very ashamed of Germany; maybe he couldn’t face the Holocaust. I know that up at the New Hampshire “Erbhof” where we went at least once every summer (and at least once in winter) for several weeks at a time, “Schnookie” and other New Yorker Germans were probably Jews. And Mom’s childhood and adult pal, Marie Beremberg Gray (from Roxbury and later, in Needham) may have been Jewish. So some people were OK to Dad perhaps and others hated. I don’t know; it was all very confusing to me.

Dad entered the U.S. as an apprentice photo-engraver at the age of 21 in 1922. When he was raising me, until the end of his career, he worked, ironically, for Jews named Schafner at Wright Brothers printing company in Cambridge, Mass. He used to come home and sit at the kitchen table and bitch to Mom about “those Jews” while drinking schnapps. Mom made him stop drinking that and, knowing her, made him stop referring to his bosses as “those Jews.” He still drank beer occasionally, especially at the Schulverein, his German club. We went there many times, to dances, Christmas parties, etc. Always the oom-pah accordion band (which I loved) and a happy atmosphere. Of course, I was just a little kid, and I missed all the over- and undertones I know were present, as of course they are in any group of social outcasts like Germans were then (1946 on).

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In The Tribe of Tiger, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas writes that the concept of wealth was invented in the Neolithic period. The concept of social importance (status) also came then.

Social importance is such a bunch of bullshit. The greediest, most selfish, aggressive, abusive people among us humans are often the most “socially important” because they grab and hoard everything they can.

We humans also complain a lot, often about each other. I know this is true because I do it all the time! It’s foolish, I guess.

Elizabeth Thomas also writes about bobcats and how little we know about them (and many other fellow-creatures) except for those things that benefit us. She says,

“The studies we choose to finance on the subject of bobcats relate mainly to their role as furbearers so that vain and selfish women can parade around wearing scraps of hide from these capable animals. Other than facts that help us trap them we know so relatively little about the daily lives of cats in the wild that we have few mechanisms even for approaching the  more complex questions that could be asked.”

Thomas writes about how we can’t just kick animals (or hunter-gatherers) off a piece of land they inhabit (their territory) and expect them to just move easily (or even at all) to another territory with the same benefits (eg., water and food). An animal’s territory has been very carefully chosen, and, without it, that animal or that group of animals may die. They may not ever be able to find another unoccupied territory that meets their needs. So when we build on or overgraze or cut down animals’ land, we are really rearranging their lives, and perhaps ending them. Thomas writes,

“Most human beings, especially those in Western and Asian cultures, are so isolated from the natural world that they lack all feeling for these truths.”

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My best friends are either Third Culture Kids, people, like Premila, from other cultures, people who are second-generation Americans (children of immigrants) or those who are in some way cultural aliens or outsiders. Like me.  I am walking on the edge of our society, by choice and by fortune.

Third culture kid (TCK, 3CK) is a term coined in the early 1950s by American sociologist and anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem “to refer to the children who accompany their parents into another society”.[1] Other terms, such as trans-culture kid or Global Nomad are also used by some. More recently, American sociologist David C. Pollock developed the following description for third culture kids[2]:

A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.

from Wikipedia

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CAMPING

I am up at Pratt again, and I wonder if the woodrats have been scared off by my presence or if there really are just very few woodrats up there. I think they don’t just use piles of branches (like those that have been stacked while clearing the area by humans) and make their nest in there; I think woodrats (and other rats who have less interesting homes perhaps) construct their homes carefully from the branches, etc. that are available in their territory.

The coyotes haven’t returned to the Pratt area, none in the hills around there. Just a few weeks ago, many coyotes roamed and howled up there every night. Then, some asshole went up and killed them or some of them… I am sure that’s what happened. Coyotes really are amazing though; they’ll be back and they’ll be fine.

Every night I camp out I invariably hear some animal sounds I can’t identify.

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I like the Dine Medicine Woman “Walking Thunder” of Two Grey Hills, New Mexico.

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I am here to learn about life. And, in this lifetime, I am learning about life through being human. In order to do so, I can’t just condemn willy-nilly everything about humans. I have become sort of curmudgeonly lately, growling to myself about humans and our foibles. Cursing under my breath at various unsavory (ion my opinion) examples of the species.

“Global Nomad” is an invention. I heard the term awhile ago, and I picked up on it. It’s a construct, it’s nothing real and tangible. It probably has many definitions.

Overall, I have to admit that I love my life. I am an American citizen and although I complain a lot (freedom of speech is a great thing) about the U.S., I do have an amazing life. I use the same things I complain about (money, for example). I have so many privileges, and I don’t know how to handle that when I travel among people who don’t have the same advantages.

Of course, many of our advantages are ultimately disadvantages; and indigenous/native people’s “disadvantages” are ultimately advantages. The question we recognize but can’t answer is: What have we left behind (eg., from hunter-gatherer days) that we will need in the future? We, as a society, have lost contact with nature. I personally don’t want to lose this contact; that’s why I camp out a lot. Camping has gotten very old: 5+1/2 months of it (with c. 3 weeks of days and nights in houses interspersed). That’s enough!

I eat out every day, and it gets very expensive.

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