The birds, the trees and the whole damn planet

And now for something completely different

I am thinking about how lucky I am.  I am sitting in my backyard which has some trees around it, two pines and a few other trees in my neighbors' back yards around me. The squirrels are driving my Jack Russell nuts.  They sit on one of the lower limbs of the pine or the poplar tree, or atop the fence separating my yard from my neighbors and throw things at him.  I imagine them laughing with one another about how dumb that dog is. He chases bees too and had the misfortune of catching one.  I looked over at him and I thought he was dead.  But he'd caught the bee and it stung the roof of his mouth; he was in shock.

He was on his back, dead as a doornail.  I could see he was breathing and picked him up. I took him over to what was once a lawn and set him down on his fours.  He just collapsed.  I ended up having to take him to the vet and and she gave him a shot of adrenalin.  But he's still chasing them.

But I can hear this bird singing, it's so beautiful.  What is that bird singing about? The weather? It is, after all a beautiful day today.  It must feel as good as I do.  The birdsong makes me appreciate why people become bird enthusiasts;  want to know what sort of bird it is.  I know you can buy tapes of bird songs and I already have a good bird book that shows the various species and I think I will try to learn more about this.

I grew up in this sort of macho English working class culture and would have "taken the piss", or as the English say it, "taken the mickey" out of some guy, especially a guy, being interested in birdwatching.  Now I know, they were a lot more advanced than I was in some ways. But they were backward in others, that's the dialectic I suppose.

I stepped toward the back of the yard to see if I could see the source of this wondrous sound.  It's no good, I can't.  But as I look skyward in to the pine, I am transfixed by the majesty of this tree.  "Man, I love trees"  I know this sounds a bit silly, but I felt such a connection to that tree, I have feelings for it. I don't want the natural world, this beautiful Earth, to be covered in creosote and nuclear waste.

I took a picture of it for you and have included it.

I am lucky that I am still alive to appreciate the world in which we live.  I don't believe in gods.  I had a heart attack some time ago and it made me think more deeply about death but I never was concerned about heaven or hell or Jesus or anything other than I didn't want to leave this place yet. I want to hear those birds and watch squirrels and meet all the people I can.

There's one other reason I'm lucky.  I had a good public sector unionized job. I have had decent health care for 30 years which is very important in the US where there is no national health system and caring for people's health is a business.  I am not boasting about this, I am happy with it. I want to expand on it and include all workers.  Everyone should be able to retire after years of work and live a comfortable life. 

Society can afford to provide everyone with a decent life in their senior years, just like it has the resources to provide health care for all,  education, housing and other necessities. The problem is it is not a profitable enterprise, it is "money out".  For the rich, it's money out, for us it is simply returning to society in the form of services, the wealth created by our collective labor. The owners of capital will only provide something if it is profitable.

We cannot have democracy, we cannot have freedom, and won't have the guarantee of a liveable planet until we collectively own and allocate the wealth we create; it's ours after all. 

And we won't be able to hear the birds. That thought sort of keeps me going.

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Carlos J October 20, 2012 at 04:19 PM
You're awesome Freddy Dingleberry!!! ok this is boring....
Fred Eiger October 20, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Now Carlos is dreaming of dingleberries? You must live in Broadmoor.
Dalamar October 20, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Mr. Mellor, Nice article. Few people take the time to appreciate the "earth" of their environment. Most people are distracted with the day to day activities which comes from 'making a living'. Going to work to financially support the activities required to be able to go work. Then performing the daily activities on their own time which support the ability to continue going to work. Some people live this merry go round and don't realize how much they are missing. Even those who are fortunate enough to travel during their weekends or vacations, I would gather few take the time to see what's right here in the bay area at their doorstep. We are in such a unique location where if we go 200 miles in any direction and can experience numerous different environments. The reality is there is a small percentage of the population who would read this article in its entirety. I would estimate this portion of the population is approximately the same percentage who would actually notice and appreciate the different sights and smells of the "earth" around them. Sadly, I would also venture to say the same percentage of the population are also concerned with what kind of planet we leave behind for future generations to enjoy.
Richard Mellor October 21, 2012 at 03:25 AM
I agree with you Mr. Dalamar (so formal) but I am an optimist. Socialists are optimists because we see an alternative to this madness. But I think its not a matter of people finding the time, or that they don't realize they're missing things. it's that we simply don't have time. Humans are curious collective creatures I believe. But especially here, we are consumed with basic survival (I am leaving out the former colonial countries here. We work something like two months longer a year than workers in other advanced capitalist economies (prior to the market failure). We get less returned to us in services compared to these countries. we have the worst health care system in the industrialized world. We are stressed out as we live a precarious existence. As a worker or small business person a severe illness can wipe out everything you've worked hard for all your life. I always say that the first victims of US capitalism is the domestic population. We are in the belly of the beast here. The media is the most controlled and censored, the TV is (what can I say). But Americans like any people want more. I think the biggest obstacle is that people don't see a way out of this. The Labor officialdom could provide an alternative but they're wedded to the system and, at the highest level, live like the coupon clippers. But our history, American workers' history, is a rich and heroic one. Mark my words, well see some of the Greek disease here in the years ahead.
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