Sagittarius in Saturn graces us with creativity and truthfulness and Jupiter in Libra reminds us it’s also all about balance and fairness along with all that expansive optimism.

I’ve had the occasion to notice some very strange concepts paraded around by inhabitants of this country as a model of how things should be, and some additionally stringent ideas of how life could be, if only we could all agree and get on with the business of being great again. The beauty of living in the intermountain west, way out in the middle of nowhere, restoring a 21 acre property without the daily visits of distraction is; you get to think thoughts like these on a regular basis.

So to celebrate the Solstice, which, for the northern hemisphere marks the shortest day of the year on December 21st, we practice our tradition of going outside into the cold to light a large fire and gaze up at the stars. This year’s winter solstice celebration was fantastic and let me tell you why;

The night sky was absolutely clear with the added bonus of the Ursid meteor shower just under way, so picture yourself, back to the fire, legs and posterior warm and the visual light behind you, while facing the ink black eastern horizon and looking up at all of the zillions of stars, star clusters, milky way, through the arm of the galaxy we reside in – and it’s all available for viewing. The sensory input was,  well, heavenly; warm feet and back, crisp winter air touching your face, absolutely silent with soft notes of occasional popping of flames, meet juniper, and every once and again a chorus of coyotes touching off around the valley. We stayed outside for two and a half hours, comfortably, in 24F weather, discussing the events of 2016, sometimes in quiet reflective voices, occasionally in animated tourettes, with breaks of laughter.

Now of course it hasn’t always been like this, neither the fantastic weather, nor the lifestyle we’ve elected, have been the norm, for either of us in our past lives. How we’ve arrived here has been a combination of careful planning, a penchant for strategy and pure dumb luck. This is a pretty consistent theme for most humans on the planet; a general mix of all of the above with the steady beat of the real estate meme in the background; location, location, location. It has taken quite a bit of effort to extricate ourselves from the obligatory support the GDP happy holidays drum beat that has very affectively stomped the Christian Religion (and any other religion) around this time of year, and replaced it with the Religion of Progress. No matter what religion or spiritual devotions a person may carry for this beautiful time of year, we’ve all witnessed a larger shadowing effect over what matters to us most, by a force and a set of ideas that promises us More and Better, without actually having to know how that occurs.

Here’s a little exercise (couldn’t we all use exercise this time of year):

Go flip on the light switch in the living room. Now tell me how electricity works. Next get in the car and turn the key. Now tell me how the combustion engine and all the electronics work. Here’s an easier one: tell me how to propagate potatoes, where they originate from and how many cultivars exist and who propagated them first. Ok, how about tell me what is happening when the coffee I’m drinking, while typing this, goes cold and why I can’t ‘just’ Will it to warm back up. We use energy every day in massive quantities and yet we are energy illiterates.

Now of course it hasn’t always been like this either.

While old fashioned generalist lives are hailed as, well, old fashioned (and therefore somehow inferior), they did in fact have a much better grasp on the limits to resources around them and knew more about how to interact with those resources immediately on hand. Indigenous cultures, who interacted on small intimate scales – magnitudes smaller than we have now, knew more about the relationships of energy than we do today, and because of this, their individual and collective Entropy was  – magnitudes less than ours is today, because  each and every individual knew the same critical information as to their resource potentials and limits. Specialized edumacated types smirk and use derogatory words to describe Indigenous persons as superstitious, silly and backwards, they didn’t ‘have’ what we ‘have’ today.

What is it we do have today?

An entire world population mesmerized by the black magic of Economics embedded in the Superstitious Religion of Progress which states; we can grow forever, use unlimited amounts of energy forever, debt forever, continue to increase our populations or technologies in order to grow the GDP, and never face the repercussions.


Staring into a big bonfire makes the brain relax and it’s a lot easier to reflect from a relaxed perspective about the events of 2016 when you’re in a meditative state. Wow, the 2016 US elections, what a show huh? Like something out of Caligula meets The Manchurian Candidate. For Caligula’s part; the unleashed vitriol fed by the banquet of unmitigated opinions, consumed and then spewed out in every direction in one undigested glory of a mess. Then there was a conspiracy theory aplenty; the Russians hacked our elections! The FBI hates Hilary and are going rogue politically! The racists and bigots will kill us all! The AlterNet News has undermined our election and electoral process and are being used as tools of the Kremlin! Putin’s a Dictator! Russian aggression is trying to rule the world and they’re using Donald Trump to get there!

If the trajectory of the American Dream wasn’t so scary as to the level of mental and emotional degeneration that it presently exhibits, it might be funny; from the perspective of other countries looking in, to watch as the United States engages in a deadly game of pistol whipping itself. I wrote might be, because in actuality it’s closer to pathetic and tragic, than funny, and degenerating it is, but not in the way each and every opinionated special interest group out there may realize. In fact it is in the degeneration of energy and the non-negotiable mandate by an economic structure; that Entropy must proceed forward at a break neck speed now and forever more; that becomes the glue that binds them all.

To Generate:

  • To create, make, produce. Well that’s not happening anymore, so how about:
  • To promote, provoke, trigger, spark off, stir up. Well that certainly seems closer to what’s happening.

Juniper, I found out, is a fantastic fuel to light the night sky, for the purposes of a Solstice bonfire. It is visually amazing to watch dancing flames, feathered, vivid, deeply lobed and emerald green, crested with sparks of gold, as they tunnel out and up two feet from the burning pile. Wow, this completely took me back, and reminded me of collecting pine cones with my grandfather, right around this time of year, for the purposes of placing them carefully on the logs in the fireplace just to watch them spark green and blue. I loved it. And I love it now.

What a beautiful place this world is, in all the simple things in life.

It occurs to me, while pondering the events of 2016 and those to come, there’s a well vetted law of physics, the second law of thermodynamics, that is so iron clad and non-negotiable, it lovingly enfolds every disparate group regardless of age, race, religion, nationality, gender, culture, or socioeconomic class, and with it comes the two part punch. One: no one can elect not to be a part of Entropy; it’s what all life on earth does – takes concentrated forms of energy, digests it, and releases it as lower level diffuse byproducts; as in heat loss, energy loss, pollution. Two: the good old standby, a very familiar concept of those who have found themselves in the rooms of 12 step programs; addiction and denial, which like Entropy crosses all boundaries of; age, race, religion, nationality, gender, culture, and socioeconomic class.

The fact of the matter is we are on a descent; an energy descent and all the hopeful babblings of savior technologies foisted off on the congregation of consumers attending the latest sermon in the religious halls of progress are just that, babblings. Like a man whistling in the dark, having used up his last favor in a lifelong pursuit of addictive actions, there will be no more lucky breaks – it’s time to face the facts and set to doing the work it will involve to recover.

So the events of 2016 are both the mirror we could chose to look in for a sober and thorough examination of our individual entropic sins and personal defects, or we could keep using a little longer by telling ourselves ‘we’re not that bad yet’, or the events of 2016 (like those since 9/11) could be the markers of full blown addiction & full blown entropy the United States, and everyone in it, is currently engaged in. The truth is always painful, but does have the benefit of setting us free, the first step might be admitting the truth; the United States has been the biggest addict on the planet for some time now –  all whistling in the dark aside about “mighty republic” “Greatest democracy” “best technology” and what not; in practice, action and result, ‘fraid not.

As the latest Grifter takes the white house stage, there may be a whole lot of people disappointed about the claim to drain the swamp,  and equally so, on the other side of the isle, the persons who covet their pet interests in social inequalities, or my favorite group those who love their Natural earth and are watching it slip away at an ever accelerating pace.

On this solstice night I contemplated all of these things, as the longest dark night rules the day December 21st, , in the northern hemisphere, and people gather this time of season, as they have done for millennia, to celebrate the turn of the seasons from darkness into light. Grounded optimism, a bit of creativity and some sober truthful acknowledgement about where we are and what we’ve gotten ourselves into could go a long way in heading off unimaginable suffering waiting around the corner.

We saw so many shooting stars courtesy of the Ursid meteor shower, and raised a toast for gratitude, for friendship and said our final goodbyes to Toby Hemenway, Author of Gaia’s Garden, who passed away the morning before solstice arrived, of pancreatic and liver cancer.





As a response to a request a bit ago, I’m digging through the archive of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of this place and will post them on New Year’s eve. I’ve also written a longer (much longer) and comprehensive piece in relationship to this one Grounded Optimism, call The Devil is in the Details which will be posted shortly before the year ends. It covers the events of 2016, with details filled in, the science of Entropy, and how diminishing resources are playing out in US politics, Global geopolitics, War, species extinction, economics, media, alternet media, and what a successful revolution might look like for a declining empire that decides to take on new leadership from within.