Blackberried Fingers

I disconnected today,  on my way home from the gym,  after all was said and done at work, papers put aside, computer powered down, a final check out with the higher power.

I was tired, for some reason – I blamed the full moon, because it is as good an excuse as blaming society. My friend said there was no logic to blaming the moon, the only difference from one month to the lunar next being light. The mass of the moon remains constant,  as does its gravitational pull. Still,  I argued,  why did the residents at my gran’s care home,  including her,  always act up around a full moon? Her hallucinations were more active and engaging, as she’d developed me creativity with dementia than she did without.   Anyhow,  I think that’s why I was tired all day…the full moon I mean,   not dementia.

I had walked to work today,  and had to walk back home,  because none of my regular gym partners had showed up,  and I’d hoped to get a lift back home from one of them. Still,  it was a nice day for a walk. Sunny,  warm,  a bit a breeze. I didn’t bother plugging in my iPod…thought it best to take in the world at its own face value rather than cushioning myself with jamming beats and winded words.

Good thing too, as an older gentleman,  wizened,  and wearing a jaunty cap,  a tam in fact,  with a bright pompom, long wiry white hair bouncing in the air at each step. He was wondering what was the best way to get home. I gave him some options,  and he thanked me and told me to stay beautiful.

When I neared Macdonald Creek, by Memorial Park, I heard what I at first thought was an eagle,  and as I wended my way towards the pedestrian bridge,  I saw that it was a woodpecker that was crying thus from the bushes. Now I know the difference between an eagle cry and a woodpecker cry,  and I’ll be honest,  the eagle sounds whiny.

On my way up Esquimalt, before it climbs Sentinel Hill,  I came across a stand of wild blackberry bushes, whose fruit I would give a gentle squeeze periodically over the past week or two,  to see if any fruit was yet ripe. Today was that day,  and my tired body revived at the impromptu feast of juicy blackberries, each one delicately picked so that no thorns would catch my hand.

As I made my way up the hill, and slowly today, each blackberry shrub on the way up received an inspection of the most serious and considered variety,  and one shrub compared to those previous. The best berries had been on that very first bush. By the time I reached the top of the hill, the tips of my fingers were slightly stained by berry juice,  and my lips likely too, as I could taste the sunny sweetness on them still.

I haven’t picked blackberries since I was a child, and eating them again,  so spontaneously,  reminded me of that carefree moment in time when my only burden was a bucket of blackberries, the remnant of those that I hadn’t first eaten.

I think I need to pick blackberries more often.


Turkey in the Straw

Turkey, Kurds, Kurdistan, PKKIt concerns me greatly that Turkey is firing on Kurdish positions. Rather than focusing the fight on ISIS, and exterminating that problem out of Middle East, Turkey seems to be using the excuse of Suruc to fire on ISIS and the PKK (the Kurdish militant group based in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, who had, for over three decades, attacked various Turkish institutions to try to force Turkey’s hand into creating an independent Kurdish state). Fair enough, the PKK have taken pot shots in Turkey in recent months, but using Suruc as a cover for trying to eradicate the PKK seems weak at best, and risky regardless.

Given that Turkey has provided all but the barest nods of support to Western allies, who are fighting ISIS, it initially seemed that the Suruc incident (if one can call the death of thirty-two Kurdish youth an ‘incident’) was designed to draw Turkey into the fray and to fight ISIS. I hazarded a guess that perhaps even the Kurds had sacrificed their own in an attempt to get Turkey on board with fighting ISIS. After all, ISIS has yet to claim responsibility for the Suruc bombing, which is rather out of character for the organization.

However, the spate of Turkish attacks on the Kurds has now led me to suspect that Turkish ISIS sympathizers have colluded with ISIS to orchestrate the attack, in an attempt to create a smokescreen reason to use military power against the PKK. Turkey could care less about ISIS, as long as ISIS keeps supplying them with oil, but it is the Kurds whom Turkey hates, especially in light of the international support that the Kurds now have as it is the Kurds who are the main boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq in the fight against ISIS. And offering up an air base to the US to use for air strikes is like offering a lukewarm cup of day-old coffee to your friend down the street because you can’t be bothered to make a fresh pot.

ISIS is happy as its main front line enemy is getting the proverbial kicked out of it by Turkish air strikes. A win-win for ISIS, who are more than willing to take the utilitarian route and sacrifice a few soldiers to the cause (after all, dying for the ISIS cause makes one a martyr).

What a shoddy smokescreen from Turkey! Bomb a Kurdish town, during a Kurdish rally. Proffer up a false sense of outrage over the atrocity and point fingers at ISIS. Token bomb ISIS positions. Bomb the crap out of the Kurds. Makes perfect sense.

Something smells foul (pun intended!), and I think it’s in the straw.

The question now is, however: how far will the Western allies support the Kurds over the Turks.

Trying to Coax a Turkey out of a Tree

I was reading about the Suruc bombing in Turkey this past Monday, which made me question whether the Islamic State actually did commit that act, as they haven’t leapt forward to claim responsibility, as is their usual trend. I half wonder if this wasn’t instigated by the Kurds in some twisted utilitarian rationale to try to drag Turkey into the fray and to obtain Turkey’s support for the fight against the Islamic State as Turkey has been very hesitant of showing any support for the West and Western allies.

Suruc bombingA twisted utilitarian strategy of sacrificing one’s own children for the so-called ‘greater’ cause?

Interesting How Trains of Thought Develop: From Rocks to the Origins of Property

RocksI was walking to work the other day when I passed by a lot that was being developed. An old, slightly dilapidated yellow cottage used to sit there, waves of weeds marching across the lawn, waging war on the neighbour’s manicured beds. It hadn’t come as a surprise that the house was sold, razed to the ground, and the ground sown with grass seed in the fall last year, as the new owner waited out the winter for the building permits to be approved. They finally got their permits sometime in the early summer, and machinery moved in, excavating a large hole for the foundation.

I can’t see the hole, as there is a chain link fence that has been put up, for safety and to obscure the groans of the ground as it is ravaged by a dusty and tired-looking excavator. At least the bucket of the excavator looks dusty and tired; I can’t see the rest of the beast.

At the north-west corner of the lot, sits a pile of large rocks, small boulders really, as there is no way that a person could lift any of these rocks. As I passed the rocks, my mind started to wonder and wander.

My parents have a rock retaining wall, with similarly sized boulders, along the western edge of their property. I’ve planted lavender along the top, to help retain the soil, as the previous owner hadn’t built up the wall high enough, and the earth tended to spill over during heavy rains or when we were attempting to hand water newly planted shrubs. I’ve still had to build up the top of the wall with old pieces of sawn timber, and shoe-sized rocks, in attempt to help keep the soil from running down the wall. In between the lavender shrubs, which the bees just love, and the bits of wood and stone, I’ve planted alpine strawberries, which spread like weeds and are very hardy, to help with the soil erosion issue, and to give passers-by something to eat on their way past the property – there is a public path along that edge.

Rock Wall, Breacon Beacon, WalesI wondered how early farmers in the British Isles built their rock walls, those ones that seem to crisscross the island, turning it into a giant patchwork when seen from the sky. But then, those rocks aren’t small boulders. They are different rocks, flatter, less rounded. And I suppose the people who built all those walls had centuries of tilling that soil to keep uncovering large rocks, moving them aside.

Ashton Court, Bristol, UKPerhaps that is how rock walls were first formed, as piles of rock put aside during the clearing of the land. Perhaps the earliest walls were not fortifications but the byproducts of early agricultural practices, for very practical albeit mundane reasons (it’s like calculus, as my high school math teacher used to say: the solution is not the most complicated but the simplest; people tend to overcomplicated calculus unnecessarily, because it seems intimidating, but it really isn’t).

What was the origin of property though? At what point did the early agrarian decide that a particular area was theirs as opposed to that of the communal good? Modern ethnography shows that many primitive (here defined as characteristic of an early state of human development; primitive societies are still incredibly complex) societies do not have a concept of individual ownership of land. Land is shared. People work together: men hunt, women farm, all for the good of the community. I’m simplifying this communal work, but it is there in practice. 

So at what point did we go from working towards the communal good, to working for the individual good. At what point did we learn to be selfish? Is it that selfishness, in and of itself, is that innate instinct for self-preservation, twisted through social evolution, into ownership?

My friend suggested that I read Locke, which I’ll have to look into at some point, as Locke deals with this fundamental issue of property. In the meantime, I am walking past the pile of rocks, small boulders, really, watching a house get built.