KALI'S DAY excerpt
"Candice hears the sounds of birds. The last traces of light stain the cave’s entrance far from where she sits in full lotus covered only in the ashes of the dead. She drifts in and out, sometimes jolted from a vast emptiness by the grumbling of her stomach. So far she can silence hunger by simply focusing and re-focusing on her breath. But the stomach is a dumb animal and its indifference to “mind over matter” is becoming more apparent in the increasing volume of its complaint. It clenches itself like a fist and it’s all she can do to keep her eye closed, though she hears something scratching along the ground somewhere to her left. She’s conquered fear, never feared the dark until right before she conquered it. In another lifetime, there was a longing that she barely remembers. So it’s not fear or need that distracts her now. It’s the knowledge that, other than herself, something animate, something alive is within reach. Most likely it’s one of those large succulent beetles, thickly armored against what she is now in most danger of becoming—a predator, since she hasn’t really conquered appetite, has only concealed it, and despite having risen above the desire for even the simplest bowl of rice, is about to succumb to defeat for the taste of something that until now has been far from tempting or even remotely relevant to the satisfaction of any desire, let alone hunger—especially hunger.
She doesn’t open her eye. But she imagines it crawling heavily over the various obstacles in its way: pebbles and clumps of damp earth, a random search for whatever nourishment, dirt, dead insects, bits of excrement, it might stumble upon."
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Sunday, June 6, 2010
DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA
This is the thing i keep hearing/reading over and over from you:
"...we are putting in place aggressive new operating standards for offshore drilling. And I have appointed a bipartisan commission to look into the causes of this spill. If laws are inadequate, they will be changed. If oversight was lacking, it will be strengthened. And if laws were broken, those responsible will be brought to justice."
The fact is, accidents happen because they're "accidents." They are unexpected occurrences. Thus one always weighs risks against advantages when proceeding with questionable decisions. In the case of off shore drilling the potential, as so tragically clear from this catastrophe, is that we will poison the food and water supply to a degree that will end our very existence. What will it take to understand this? No amount of human regulation can prevent human error (at best) and human stupidity and greed (at its worst.) We, the citizens of the world must change our way of thinking about energy. Not only must we find new sources, but we absolutely must change our use and end taking resources for granted. We must see our own culpability when we drive SUVs, leave the water running, create synthetic products for consumption in all areas of our lives, and have the hubris and arrogance to think all our problems are caused by powers beyond our control like big oil companies and ineffective government (though these are definitely players.)
Please reconsider allowing off-shore drilling in any form. Neither in deep nor shallow waters. This earth belongs to all of us. Maybe most people don't understand their own participation in its abuse and destruction. Maybe if the reality of oil's expense hits home, not only in dollars, but in the quality of life everyone is always so vocal in trying to protect, maybe if it's not so primary in keeping our lives in "order," people will have to come up with other means of doing so. It's a painful thing to consider. Perhaps we have to set priorities as to where oil will be utilized in order to sustain our lives. Nuclear medicine has been put to great use. Does that mean that every citizen should have it in their bathroom medicine cabinet?
I live in a place that's heated by electric heaters which are expensive to run. I have taken to keeping the heat on only when necessary. Wearing a sweater if i have to keeps me comfortably warm. If electricity were cheaper in the city where i live, perhaps I'd keep the heat on more. But maybe not. In New York City I worked in a building that was so highly airconditioned in the summer that people ran electric heaters in their offices to keep warm. That was one office in one skyscraper in a city full of them. No matter how much we complained, the management was slow, if ever, to respond. Air conditioning is little used in most apartments in Paris. The buildings are built of thick stone and keep the apartments relatively cool in summer and warm in winter. Upgrading windows for better insulation is given a 30% stipend by the government. Still imperfect, it's a step in the right direction.
I think the United States has set the bar high for "quality of life." It seems as "developing countries" find an increased "quality of life" they find themselves following the U.S. model of waste, pollution and selfish consumption. We may have more regulations than they do at this point in time and can point our collective finger at them for being where we were maybe decades, or even a century, ago in terms of government oversight. However, this latest catastrophe underscores how ineffective so-called regulation and government oversight are in the face of global industry and corporate goals, even in our own "advanced" society.
I was under the assumption that you understood these things when I listened to you speak in those inspiring days before the election; when I voted for you; when I stood with pride in Union Square Park that evening in November 2008, celebrating what people can accomplish when they come together. Please stand up and take the risks necessary to curtail these powerful interests. Take the risk of displeasing large amounts of U.S. citizens who will grump and gripe about losing their privileged lifestyle that cannot be sustained without destroying us all. Please do the job we sent you to Washington to do.
With all respect and hope for true change, Bonny Finberg