Old Diary

More Valley-ing

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We’ve been seeing signs for ADA, OR, and wondered what we might find in ADA. The perfect day to find out.

Saturday was a good day to get out and do some valley-ing.  We picked up our gear from the two departing volunteers and made short work of that.

On our way to exploring we were struck once again by how close to Spring the Oregon Coast has this early in the year.  After a  lifetime of long winters it just seems wrong for us to be so close to Spring so early in the year.  But we are not complaining!  It’s just that it’s so different from everything to which we are  accustomed.

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I’m lovin’ the redbuds that are all in bloom. We also saw a nice front-of-house garden with daffodils already in bloom.

2014022118001653 So, let me tell you about Ada.  Driving US 101 just South of Florence is a small road heading East with a tiny road sign to ADA GRANGE.  We have noticed advertising in the Oregon Mile by Mile brochure for Ada as a potential tourist stop and very little by way of details.  So the ‘goal’ for the afternoon drive was to check out this tourist attraction.

The first thing we noted upon making our turn was that the road sign said it was 13 miles down the road.

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Lots of lovely valleys

Thirteen miles down the road in Oregon is not 13 miles down the road in Wisconsin!  We are learning the joys of Oregon and the trials and testings of Oregon;  one road at time – one valley at a time.

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It’s Spring and the water is high. And the roads are narrow.

Even though it’s only February, it’s clear that the birds are already on their way North — well, some of them.  We see more geese, snow geese and otherwise heading north.  They spend a few days and then they are gone again.  We are seeing different ducks than the overwintering ducks that never left.  And for a Wisconsinite it’s nice to see a Mallard or two among them.  We have so many of them in Wisconsin; I’ve missed them!

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now, THIS…. this isn’t so different from what we know.

In Southwestern Wisconsin we have something similar to what we see here

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In glaciated Wisconsin there are a lot of ridges where the glaciers stopped and dropped their load of crushed rock and soil.  Adjacent to the ridges…. ta da!…. are corresponding valleys — not all that different from the ones we have here in Oregon — except of course for their origin.  These valleys are the spaces between seismic activity and mountain building instead of the scraping of ice.

All of that notwithstanding — it’s pretty kewl to be able to drive down the road on most days with the temps about 50 or more in the middle of February and see GREEN in most places where you look.

On the other side… there ARE those roads… That 13 mile trip to ADA turned out to be two separate destinations.  There is an Ada Grange. For those of you who aren’t into “farm stuff”  A “grange” in the late 1800’s was a social group of farmers/ranchers that sponsored social events, provided community service/s and got active with political lobbying.  I’m sure a ‘real’ farmer could tell you more about them, but the Ada Grange was such an entity and a building remains there.Ada Action Grange When you get to the Ada Grange you find there is a further destination ahead of you: Ada Station — which it turns out is no station at all — but there is a railroad track.  I doubt there has been a ‘station’ there in 50 years — maybe longer — but there is a County Park (Lane County) and a fishing resort.

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The last three miles to Ada Resort take you on a road (not roads) — a single lane, narrow, sometimes seeming to intrude on private property

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You just don’t find scenery like this everywhere you go. There may be other “kinds” of scenery that are just as beautiful in their own right — but this is special by anyone’s standards.

Getting there, however, is something else.  Those last three miles are an experience.  I have been on narrower roads (in Provence, in the mountains) but even the Forest Service roads are wider than this!  The photo showing the single lane road was already at the end of the three miles and this stretch is actually logging road.  Literally — as wide as a log truck,  in the middle of a recently logged section of forest with scrub fires still burning.  And the tiny resort at the end of the road qualifies as a fishing resort, in that there is certainly fish to be angled for but there aren’t many other features to be promoted.  We were out of cell range, there were no sight lines to the south for people wanting satellite and a lot of folks would call it the end of the world if they were looking for amenities.
But, if what you want if peace and quiet; if what you want it to commune with your own soul; if what you want is idyllic and a step back in time, then by all means head off to Ada Resort and check ’em out.

And in the mean time …. we’ll find some more places to explore!

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!

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Old Diary

Valley Crawling

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Fog over Tahkenitch Lake

Friday was a good day to make it a short day and get out into the Real World.
I was supposed to visit the two terminated hosts and pick up their Forest Service gear.  But considering that they will both be here through the weekend I figured it didn’t need doing right then.  So, I did a little filing, made a few phone calls chatted with Boss’ boss’ boss about our volunteer meeting on Wednesday.  He seemed particularly pleased with the way the meeting went and it’s nice to  have a happy boss.

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Waves at the mouth of the Umpqua River!

Peg had stayed home to do the laundry, but as it turned out after a restless night for her she took a nap in the morning and the laundry will get done another day.  So we hoped in the car to get out and see some more of the countryside seeing as the sun had come out and the temps were in the low 50’s.

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The Umpqua mouth often seems to be turbulent.

We’ve been looking for a road that would take us to Siltcoos lake.  Recently I saw a road named County Line road, so we thought we’d try that one out. (without having looked it up on Google.

So, a few miles down the road we turned onto the so identified road and after about 50 feet came screeching (well, not literally) to a halt.  It turns out that County Line road after the first bend to the right there is no road:  just a metal gate and what looks like a horse patch.  Ok.  What’d plan B?

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A view of Elbow Lake

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Another from Elbow Lake. One of the intriguing aspects of this lake is that the water is almost always dead still and beautifully reflective!

We decided to take a ride up Oregon 38 — it runs along the Umpqua River.  We found ourselves in a little fog — you just never know where that will happen.  It can be sunny one minute with little or no clouds in the sky and all of a sudden the sky is gone and there’s fog.

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Cows feeding in the valley — and one watching ME!

They (ODOT) are working on a tunnel down the road so it’s closed for four nights each week — Given the sparsity of roads I really wonder how locals plan for some of the road closings around here.  Oregon does have ODOT information venues but I did not notice that closing on any of them.  We weren’t inconvenienced but a vacationing traveler might very well have been.

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Such a lovely, lush, green valley! (and it’s only February)

Route 38 runs along the Umpqua River — a much larger river than the Siuslaw which empties into the ocean at Florence.  The Umpqua passes through Reedsport — about 1/4 mile from   the Dunes Area Visitor’s Center.

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A pano of the Umpqua Valley

About 4 miles East of Reedsport is an Elk viewing area — we’ve been there before and didn’t stop today.  But we continued along the valley just enjoying the rich farmland and the fog.   I’ve said it a few times already but I just don’t get tired of the fog here.  In Milwaukee when we got fog it always seemed to be SO foggy that you could barely get anything done.  Here there is much more frequent fog but it has thus far rarely been as dense.  The result is more eeriness, and more peekaboo trees, and glimpses into the unknown.
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Again we found the sheep to be as numerous as cows, or mores.  Once again — there aren’t a lot of sheep raised in Wisconsin and the change is nice to see:  little white critters grazing in a field instead of big bovines.  I don’t know — it’s just ‘nice.’

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Umpqua Reflections

We’ll get out some more as spring takes hold.  There aren’t many roads here but they surely do hug along edge of the valley slope, rarely abrupt walls.  Following the terrain as they do they often twist  and turn their way up in elevation.  With flat bottoms most of these valleys  seem ripe for spring flooding. We saw enough evidence of that today, the valley bottoms were soggy to be sure and most of the cows (there were some dairy and some beef farms) were being kept indoors for their safety and well being.  I’m thinking that cows may not be smart enough to stay out of the mud.

I liked that last shot a lot.  I took it on the way INTO work this morning.  The river was incredibly still.  After the last week and a half of almost constant rain the water had nearly returned to it’s normal blue aspect — rather than the rain muddied brown of recent days.  Another surprising thing to me has been that for all of the high winds that we get — the lakes and rivers often seem to be so calm — almost mirror smooth.

Ok — that’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by, I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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Images, Old Diary

Second Day Off

Remember that porch that we used to have? That one we had to move so we could get Journey into our site?  Well, we found a home for it — YAY RECYCLING!

When one of the volunteers heard that we had disassembled it, and that the lumber was available to be used they jumped on the chance to build their own porch like white on rice.

Beyond letting them into the compound to haul it off in pieces it was another wonderfully quiet day.  The rain is gone for a day or two, and we did a lot of little chores.  Some vehicle cleaning — vacuuming, and upholstery.  Some sorting and reorganizing.

We are moving from Siltcoos to Eel Creek when we find our own replacements.   From the earliest discussions about the job Peg was a bit unhappy about that idea.  But we mentioned the messy appearance and Boss got two guys from the other crew to clean the place up post haste and forthwith.  This past week when we were down there looking for something Peg was really happy with the change.  We did some thinking about how we would reposition ourselves on site there and we have some figuring to do.

Whether here (temporarily) or in our new location (semi-permanently) we want to have better exterior light near our door.  We’ve talked about it for a while but we are out so seldom at night that it hasn’t been much of an issue.  But the move is bringing the subject to the fore.  That include the fact that our exterior lights on Journey haven’t been working for a few months — perhaps since we got the flooring done — I’m not sure we actually checked those controls when we picked her up from the remodelers — it’s possible they miss wired something when putting it back together — or that something failed since picking it up.

I’m not a good electrical trouble shooter.  So, I’m trying to figure out what to do about outdoor lighting.  I have wanted to put in a new TV antenna, and to replace the wastewater sensors with newer, updated sensors.  The question is should I order in all the parts and have all that work done at one time while we are still close to Florence so that the travel charges from the local mobile RV repair guy will be a bit lower.  Not sure if we’ll get that done before we move — or how soon that move will come.  I need to get on the phone in the next week or so and see how much the new sensors for our wastewater tanks will cost — if the price isn’t too high I might order them in, and have the lights, antenna and sensors replaced all on the same service call.  It’s on my list.

I got our rope lights out last night– they’re getting wonky.  Not all the lights illuminate.  We need to look at replacing that as well.

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Our setup in Siltcoos. You don’t really see the low deck alongside Journey, but  it’s there behind the picnic table and fence.

The picture of the now defunct porch raises the slightly irritating subject of porches.  Class A RV’s and 5th Wheel RV’s are both common, but it sure seems that we keep moving into sites where 5th wheels have preceded us. And the last Volunteer Coordinator built a porch on this site too.   Can we use it?  We aren’t sure, and we don’t want to tear this one out — it’s way nicer than the last one.  But it’s built at a height suitable for a 5th wheel, with the stairs for the entryway at the wrong end of the deck.

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The Eel Creek Work Center is layed out differently, with more SKY visible.  There is a deck that we are hoping we can utilize if we are able to position ourselves  alongside and still have access to our essential basement bays.

We may not move for a month or more  — depending on how quickly we find our Siltcoos replacements — but we hope  we can utilize the porch at Eel Creek.  I don’t want to consider disassembling it, lowering the deck, and reassembling.  I like problems;  but construction isn’t my forte.

We don’t have to act on it now.  So I can sit in my easy chair with my feet up in the air and ponder.  No need to DO anything at all right now.

We may make it as high was 48 degrees, but its’ a nice break from what we’ve been having  and all the hoses and pipes are pretty much frost free for now.  We’re 14 days into this 31 day month and we have only had about 15% of our annual monthly rainfall.  This is turning out to be a dry end to the year,  the third month in a row of significantly lower rainfall after a single month of slightly higher than average rainfall in an otherwise normal year.  So far I’m liking what we’re getting whether or not it’s normal.

It’s an easy day for us,  I hope for you too.  We’re getting into the holiday mood a little more seriously.  Thanks for stopping bye and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

 

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Old Diary

Rubber Fingers, Bronze Castings, and Elk

Rubber FingersWe’re learning some lessons slowly.  Among them is the idea that you can’t find everything in a small town.  We love Florence, but it is a town of only 8000 people. There aren’t many chain stores, and there are a lot of things that are just hard to find.

A while ago I wrote about Peggy’s withdrawal from rubber fingers.  It’s a silly thing, the way you get attached to things (or the way you wear them habitually).  Well, we spent Black Friday looking for rubber fingers  (not all day, mind you).  And at the end of the day we had found exactly none.

The transition from big city dwellers to forest dwellers with reasonably convenient access to a couple small towns is gradual, often heartening, sometimes maddening transition.  We have loved the people and the places.  We are usually successful in finding what we need; we are sometimes unsuccessful at finding what we’d ‘LIKE.’

nitrile glovesWe are also thinking more creatively.  At some time in the next few weeks I’m sure we’ll find Peg some rubber fingers, in the meantime if needed we may just cut a finger off of a nitrile glove — we have and use plenty of them.

In the meantime we have been checking out other things.  A couple miles north of Reedsport (where the office is) lies the small town of Gardiner.  It was founded after a shipwreck and for many years was quite an active little community.  After recent mill closings it has shrunken to something much less than it was, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring.  And today we checked out one of it’s notable features.

There’s an art gallery here!

Imagine a 100 year old building with 12′ ceilings and about 50 feet front to back of open space, displaying oil, watercolor, pastel, wooden carving, fabric, porcelain, and bronze pieces.  That is Tsunami Gallery.  The gallery owner (Mack Holman) is a really interesting guy, about our age, he operates a small foundry (Mackfoundry) and he has cast many of the works on display — created by other metal sculptors and himself.  We spent quite a while just browsing, wishing we had room to display some of the pieces.  None of them are cheap; it’s a pricey gallery.  But the works on display are all very interesting, all technically inventive, and well presented.  It was a stop I suspect we’ll make from time to time just to feed our soul.

More on Dunes

Thus far we haven’t actually seen a LOT of OHV’ers during the slow season.  I shared a couple images a few weeks ago of the area known as the South Jetty “Staging Area.”  They didn’t have much to render a sense of size so I wanted to share these two.  You can see a group of OHV’ers in each by way of comparison.

We had another chance to view the valley and train trestle as well.  2013112910183023

Elk Viewing Area

East of Reedsport is a BLM recreation area known as the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area .  We finally got over there and we did see elk.  However the viewing area is on the North side of the wetlands/meadow and arriving at nearly 11:00 a.m. it wasn’t a good time for images of Elk.  The elk were in shadow. We’ll make another trip either early in the morning or just before sunset — at some point.

I did take this North / South image to give you an idea of the area.  We did see at least a dozen males and some 40-50 females in the 2+ mile strip of meadow.

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Journey DL, Old Diary, RV Living

Carving, Disclosure, Modifications

Ok — consider this post sort of a catch-up day.  There are a few things I’ve been thinking about sharing and haven’t gotten around to them so I’ll lump them all together in this post.

Handicap sites are a pain!  I’m all for having them.  Everyone deserves an opportunity to use the forest.  But we noticed during our time at Corps of Engineers campgrounds that the handicap sites often went unfilled just because they WERE handicap sites and the campers wanting to camp weren’t handicapped.  It seemed a shame to have an empty site and a willing camper — and not being able to make a match.

The Forest Service has what I think is a simple solution.  —–>

What a great idea.  The site is reservable, and both Recreation.gov and ReserveAmerica.com have blackout windows within which you cannot make a reservation.  So, if the site is still unoccupied at 6 p.m. on any given day, the site goes to anyone who shows up.

Wood Carving

I have mentioned in the past that Reedsport throws an annual Championship Chainsaw Wood Carving contest.  The works of art created for that competition is displayed around town at various businesses and I wanted to share a few.

RV Modifications

You may remember that a year ago I did some work on our dinette.  Most of the Winnebago design is really smart but the way they hinge the single support leg for the dinette is a bit weak — design wise and physically.  At the time many of my tools had already been sold and I didn’t do as good a job retrofitting the table as I wanted.  With the tools in the Work Center I decided that I would not have a much better opportunity to re-fix my fix.

The problem is that any amount of weight on the corner of the table causes it to deflect toward the floor.  Before installing my first table support  there was a good inch of flex.  Afterwards I had cut the wobble in half but I still wasn’t happy with it.  I decided to make a brace that was twice as long and which fit more tightly against the table bottom.  It cannot be fastened TO the bottom because when we want to use the dinette as a fold-down bed that single leg has to fold flat against the bottom of the table. Given the hinge mechanism that Winnebago uses that means the brace has to pull away from the bottom of the table as if it was a block mounted on the opposite side of the door from the hinge.

So, I found some Plexiglas, angled the cuts so that there would be improved clearance for legs while getting in and out and went to town with the saw and drill and sander.  The result is aesthetically better than the first attempt, it’s a great improvement in function.  Now when I have the laptop in the table and I’m leaning on the table with my elbows the table is much more stable.

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So — Success!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!

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Old Diary, Travel

Cape Blanco State Park

Monday Route

We only had a hundred miles to travel on Monday.  It still took us 4 hours.  And that often seems to be the case for us.  I looked up our GPS machine’s average speed and it says we travel at an average speed of 42 mph.  We really aren’t that slow — but we stop a lot!

So, we made it to Oregon, home for the next 6+ months, or maybe forever, who knows. Kathryn is with us for another week (She leaves Monday next) and we’ll spent the entire time in Oregon.

South of Port Orford, looking towards the 'town.'

South of Port Orford, looking towards the ‘town.’

I have wanted to ‘live’ in this part of Oregon for at least a decade now so this is a dream come true for me.  Whether we stay for our minimum 6 months or end up permanent residents here I really don’t care.  I just want to be able to experience this place for a while.

This late in the season (even though many of the state parks are open year round) numerous of them do not take reservations.  We found our way to Cape Blanco State Park and got a site for the next two nights.

The welcome committee

The welcome committee

On the 5 mile entrance road we were greeted by many of the local residents who were happy to see us, and welcome us to the area.

Actually this herd of sheep are resident to the valley and I’m always amazed at how skittery they are.  Some of them changed course 6 times before we passed them.  Forward, back, forward, back, right, left.  The only thing harder than herding sheep might be herding fish!

Here’s our site in the park.  We are facing directly East — and the sun sets behind those trees.  Last night there weren’t any clouds to color the sky but it was pretty nice anyway.  The sound of the surf — something we aren’t accustomed to — is quiet in the background.

We had an early dinner at Grif’s on the Dock.  Spectacular scenery and a nice enough place to eat — though not cheap.  But hey — FRESH seafood THIS FRESH is still a novelty for us which I suspect will wear off in a few weeks as our pocketbook takes the hit. 🙂

And a few remaining pictures from the day:

The mad drive is over.  We have 200 miles to travel before we settle in for the winter and however long.  Wednesday we’ll drive about 150 miles to Newport and spend two nights there.  Friday we drive back to Florence — about 50 miles to our temporary home until the Government goes back to work.  We’re being put up at Driftwood II campground in Lane OR until we can get into our Federal site in Florence.

In retrospect, I would have taken much longer to make this trip if I had the choice.  It was a choice I made, no one made it for me. And considering that we really hadn’t done any traveling in Journey up until now — multiple consecutive days driving we really had no idea how we would react; though we did have an idea that we wanted to spend a few days between drives.  We know now that’s pretty much what we DO want to do.  My days of 700 miles or more a day several days in a row — just to get where I WANT to be are probably over.  I don’t need to do that; I don’t really WANT to do it any more.

I cannot think of a single spot I would not have wanted to spend a few days at — except maybe Big Springs (which was OK for an overnight but the flies at a cattle ranch in the warm late summer days are really annoying).  Even Kamp Klamath, which is sort of run down in some ways, was so unique and odd that I would gladly have stayed on a few more days and gotten to know Douglas and Lauren better.  They are such interesting characters and that’s what life is all about:  People.

For us this is life; for our daughter it’s her vacation, so we’ve been trying to mix elements of both travel styles for her, and I think we’ve been successful.  Time with her is precious now; and limited.  So anything we can do to make it all the more special is little enough.  Tuesday we’re going to cut back and cool our jets.  We’ve been going early to late each day since we picked her up in Reno and I now I’m tuckered; happy, but tuckered.  After today the next few days will be a whirl too.  There’s lots to see in Newport, we have 150 miles to get there so that will take almost all day — here along the coast where there are things to see.  And when we finally pull into Florence we have to find the Camp Host and get our temporary home and try getting settled in a new community (even though our temporary site is 10 miles South of where we think we’ll finally be) It’s all fun, and exciting, and exhausting, and …. new.  And we love it.

I have images to process that will take me months — at the pace I plan on working on them — leisurely, and for fun; not because I have a client’s deadline to contend with.  And I’ll be taking more as time goes on I’m sure.

We bought a quick guide to Western Coastal Birds — we are woefully ignorant about West Coast Bird Identification!  I finally found a waterproof jacket to wear for non-work — I’ve been looking for one at every national park / monument / wildlife refuge / forest we’ve visited for the last 18 months — and finally found one that fit me RIGHT at The Redwoods State and National Forests, the same place we saw all the elk.  That will be a useful jacket out here in the WET, and it will be a fond memory of the ELK.

Obviously, we’re getting into the “this is home” sort of mode.  I really can’t express how excited and happy I am to be out here and to have the chance to spend some serious time along the coast.  It’s been one of the things we’ve talked about between us — we have always lived ‘near’ the water.  Even if 10 or 15 miles from the water, but still NEAR.  We love the interior of the US, and the unique beauty of dry and desert areas — but how well we might cope with them long term has yet to be tested.  For now we don’t have to worry about it.  We’ll have plenty of water while here.  The first seasonal storm of the year hit last weekend before we arrived, here at Cape Blanco they had 3.6″ of rain over the weekend.  In Milwaukee if we get that much there’s flooding and water in basements.  Of course, I don’t think there are many BASEMENTS here at all, but the water just comes as part of life and folks seem to be used to it.  Can we get there?  Dunno…. We’ll soon find out.  And on the positive side, Katy’s been with us for a week and we haven’t really had a RAINY day yet.  A little MIST in Klamath.  Today we might get some showers — we’ll see about that.  And from here the forecast is (currently) good until she returns home.  She may not get to experience Oregon rain at all. 😦

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Cape Blanco State Park, Port Orford, OR
Hi 61º
No Rain
No Fog

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Old Diary

I want to publish 2 – B4Peace posts this month.

Like the first one, Where Childhood Thrives, I don’t want to talk so much from my own experience but to give you something to think about in story form.

So, let me share this story:

There is a story by Osho which tells us how humanity has been indoctrinated by the system.

The story is called:

The Animal School

The animals got together in the forest one day and decided to start a school. There was a rabbit, a bird, a squirrel, a fish, and an eel, and they formed a board of directors.

The rabbit insisted that running be in the curriculum. The bird insisted that flying be in the curriculum. The fish insisted that swimming had to be in the curriculum, and the squirrel said that perpendicular tree climbing was absolutely necessary to the curriculum. They put all these things together and wrote a curriculum guide. Then they insisted that all of the animals take all of the subjects.

Although the rabbit was getting an A in running, perpendicular tree climbing was a real problem for him. He kept falling over backward. Pretty soon he got to be sort of brain-damaged and could not run anymore. He found that instead of making an A in running he was making a C, and of course he always made an F in perpendicular climbing.

The bird was really beautiful at flying, but when it comes to burrowing in the ground, he could not do well. He kept breaking his beak and wings. pretty soon he was making a C in flying as well as an F in burrowing, and he had a hell of a time with perpendicular climbing.

Finally, the animal who ended up being valedictorian of the class was a mentally retarded eel who did everything halfway. But the educators were really happy because everybody was taking all the subjects, and it was called a “broad-based education”.

(Osho 2001, 151)

I’m sure there are many who would disagree with me, but I rather think this is about how the U.S. has come to feel about other nations.  We intervene in their affairs and when we are all done they aren’t themselves, and they aren’t us, and too often we have bombed their society into ruins.

Kashmiris-searching

Kashmiri’s seach the rubble of their bombed out home

Iraq Violence

Iraq Violence

b4peace

Animal School – B4Peace

Aside