Thursday, November 24, 2016

“I dream of a world where the truth is what shapes people’s politics, rather than politics shaping what people think is true.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

We banter words like sustainability and renewable and conservation around without any true understanding of how the world really works when we consume like there is no tomorrow. Few who make the decisions about the future of life on Earth have ever seen, much less lived, the results of their actions and policies. "The meek shall inherit the Earth"... or just be left with the shit left behind?

Photo: Endangered Greater Adjutant Storks, along with the poorest people and cattle, in Guwahati dump, India 
©Gerry Ellis/Minden Pictures

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Wanted Little Red Shoes

I never told anyone before now about the shoes, the little red ones. I suppose over the past forty-years the necessity of revealing it swung widely, from unnecessary to 'that's a little strange Ger." Here I am, at the birth of my life's second half, feeling a need to confess — perhaps it's reveal — out of pride, not embarrassment, my longing for those little red shoes. No they weren't my mother's, nor did I spy them in a department store window, nor lust after them in Vogue magazine. No, I saw them on television. It was a Sunday evening, the moment captured in my mind's eye. The little red shoes appeared suddenly like Dorothy's ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz, but they were even more magically transportive. They had the power to take the wearer not home, but the exact opposite, on journeys far beyond imagination, to places that seemed out of my reach. They were brilliant red high-topped Converse tennis shoes. There on that tiny TV screen they were repelling a hundred feet down out of a leafy tropical rainforest canopy, descending from a visit to a world of unimaginable aliens, on the feet of the most curious creature on our planet — David Attenborough. I so wanted those shoes!

I never forget those shoes. Every time I step off a plane in some foreign land, leap from a canoe into a steaming tropical swamp forest, or wander through a marketplace wafting with words and smells unknown, those shoes are with me.

Yesterday I read a Guardian interview of David Attenborough by David Monbiot:

"While other people’s worlds tend to shrink with age, his seems to expand. His curiosity ranges as widely as ever. His ability to understand and assimilate new information seems unabated. “Oh, I forget things,” he claims. When I press him for examples, he tells me, “Well, where I put my glasses – I had them about three minutes ago and they have simply evaporated, they’ve dematerialised. Oh yeah, and I forget engagements...But these, surely, are afflictions suffered by anyone immersed in the world of ideas. He has no difficulty remembering the things that fascinate him.

I realized a few years ago what I wanted all along was that life in those shoes. I have been chasing that life my whole life. Knowing Sir Attenborough celebrates 90 years soon, and continues with such zeal, I'm certain can be attributed to those shoes. I think I get it now — it takes courage to wear your youth a whole life, for all the world to see.

Friday, January 16, 2015


you are born,
you laugh,
you love
you cry,
you die.

The only journey... kindness.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dear Ms Collins

To my dear high school English teacher Ms Collins: I know I was by far your worst pupil - thank you for everything, especially your unbelievable patience. Please know the curse you placed on me some 40 years ago is alive and well. I read, and write, and re-read, re-write, and read more... I'm twice the writer you thought I would be and only half the writer I wish to be.

I crossed a new threshold - figured out I'm at 150 pages read/researched for every page of writing - that ratio will surely climb soon. I don't even want to consider how many of those pages have been re-read (at least once!)  The book stack "to read" now sits idling at 9 not accounting for pdf docs and journal reports... and then there is the wretched little reading list save eyeglasses on my mac laptop, it tallies 103!

So many words, so few great apes - ergh!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Sometimes War Is Silent

"We sacrifice our boys and girls
in silence. We pay our taxes
in silence. We make the bullets,
the bombs and the planes in silence.

We watch war films and play war games
in silence. When we get our chance
to say something in the poll-box,
our habit is too rock-solid."

except from Susanne Donoghue's 'Sometimes Silence is Silver'

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. ~Issac Asimov

“We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.”
- Rudyard Kipling

Every war is the war: the war that will end all wars; the war that will finally crush the aggressors; the war that will disarm our opponents and in so teach them a lesson that they will not be tempted to repeat; war, because (our) god has told us it is just; war, because the infidels have invaded our land; war, because they have disrespected our culture and religion; war, because of our obligation to protect the oppressed; war, because vital resources are at stake; war, because he is a bully to his people; war, because “[he] tried to kill my dad.”

and war, to prevent terrorism.

“We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.”
~General Omar N. Bradley

Why do we have colleges of war, yet not one of peace?

Why is there no standing army of peace?

Where is the park monument erected to the pacifist, the antiwar leader, the draft evader?

Where is the world leader who can proudly say “no one died in violence during my term.”

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

~Issac Asimov

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Walkabout With One's Self

From a mountain top I dream beyond the horizon,
there, where a world not unlike me exists,
there, where minds drift in concert, but not in forfeit of self.
Such a place seems real,
such a place dreams in others,
such a place lives in me.
Why from this mountain top does it seem so far?
So beyond grasp, beyond more than a dream?
Beyond a lifetime’s journey.

I am about to wander down from this mountain top and journey a road in search of that beyond-horizon-place of shared hopes and imaginings.
That road, traveled in stretches and segments all my life, now feels unknown,
a path of great mystery, filled with fear and emptiness.
I have months yet to think of wandering, of perambulating, of walking in reality’s shadow.
So for now that beyond-horizon-place is just that—a mental mirage.
It hasn’t filled a void or crushed a dream or sung a song of hope.

There remains a child in me searching for magic unseen,
a child wanting to touch a special dream.
A dream like that of no other, a dream that lives over the horizon and knows a possibility that we all claim to cherish, but fail to set free.
A child remains a child as long as he sits upon the mountain top,
a safe place to dream.
With trepidation I takes his first steps, knowing that day will lead to day and he will never return.
Only if across that new horizon there should be a new mountain top to climb will there be a chance to dream again,

and a child be once more.