Sabbath Morn, November 20, 2010
Cows bawl from the pasture below my house in search of calves that are no longer where they lost them. The air is cool and damp outside. We finished harvesting improved varieties of pecans and are now gathering natives from the river bottoms. As harvest season draws to a close, I breathe a muted sigh of relief. We have plenty of hay stored for the winter. On one place, oats are up and growing, nearing the stage when they will provide grazing for cattle, good Lord willing. Our pantry is well stocked, as are our grain bins, freezers and what passes for a root cellar in my house. I’ve a bit of money put aside. But all is not well.
I read that congress failed to pass another round of extensions to unemployed American workers. I am told 2 million will lose benefits by December 1, and the number will grow to 4 million by February.
Last week, ABC broadcast their evening news from China and I managed to catch two episodes. I saw houses with gardens in their yards instead of lawns: serious gardens, from which families are fed. I saw the apartment of a young woman that works in a tent factory, earning $14/day, a paltry sum by American standards, yet she is able to live off of this and even save one quarter of what she earns. As I pick up pecans, I consider the fact that one out of four of these nuts will be consumed by someone in China and I am glad they are able to enjoy them. I have nothing against Chinese workers. They work hard for their money, just like I do. We benefit from the products of their labor; they should also benefit from ours. But I can’t help but wonder how we arrived at a place that so many people in my own country can’t afford to eat the pecans I gather.
I think back to the New York Gubernatorial race. One candidate stood and told the truth and got laughed at: Jimmy McMillan from the rent is too damn high party. His words echo those of Michael Hudson a relatively sane renegade economist (I know, economist and sanity tend to be mutually exclusive words when used in the same sentence). Rent is too damn high and debts are unsustainable. But, our government, on both sides of the aisle, continues to work damned hard to ensure that those with a stranglehold on the American public maintain their grip and places of advantage.
I could waste your time and mine with ideas on how some of this could be fixed, but why bother? My plan would fail, even if it was tried, and the plans of others making public policy will fail as well.
Collapse is not the problem; it’s the inevitable solution to twenty-plus years of fraud, graft, lies and deceptions, and while not something to be desired, it’s coming, whether you like it or not. We’d best spend our time preparing for that reality, rather than ruminating over what could have been or walking around saying I told you so.
Two hours later:
Cows broke into the compound near my house, trying to find lost calves, calves that woke up in a new world of chutes and gates and the noise and confusion of a livestock auction some 12 miles from here. So I stopped writing, chased them back into the pasture where they belong and fixed a gate they'd busted.
Yesterday two newly born calves of first calf heifers were too weak to make the journey to the working pens. We carried them to the pens in the back of my pickup. After working the cows, we laid them out under shade trees to see if they’d reunite with their mothers. One of the calves got up and is gone, hopefully with his mother; the other died overnight. I did what I could to save the calves and felt sorry for them as I looked into their eyes and carried their tiny bodies. Oddly enough, they seemed resigned to their fate and unafraid.
This morning I carved the body of the calf that died into pieces without remorse and fed it to our dogs; the soul and spirit of the animal were gone; what remained provided good food for another. I noticed his stomach was full of clabbered milk but he died, nonetheless.
I wonder how long it will be until our nation suffers a similar fate?