Welcome to my Keeping Each Other Well Blog!

January 10, 2012
Advertisements

The Sentinel Pine’s Gift

November 24, 2017

After “the storm”, a sentinel pine stretched itself across the Tri-Town trail at Smart’s Brook. The pine died many years ago but remained standing long after its heartwood had disintegrated, opening up homes for many forest beings in the nooks and crannies of its huge interior space.

Peering inside, I was drawn to what looked like a classic shoulder muscle, the deltoid, beautifully sculpted. Branches were missing but a tennis ball sized opening adjacent to it in the trunk framed small ferns below and I was blown away by the thought that tree branches also have shoulders.

Shoulders help us to swing our arms for balance, to raise a hand in greeting, to hug loved ones,  to carry our grocery bags, push and lift snow shovels, reach down to secure shoes, boots, that keep us grounded.

I admit to not having considered that trees have similar needs for branches that help them stand upright, balancing snow, ice, wind and leaves. Branches resilient enough to accommodate squirrel, possum, bear, bobcats and the whole woodland community.

I wondered how many birds had flown in through the hole left by the branch, nested there to hatch their young, found bugs to tide them over, prelude to a successful fledge.

Lying across the trail, the tree invites exploration, a generous offering even in death, separated from its roots which lie in wait for a new seedling to support.

Tree seems to leave a message that life goes on; life is tenuous but sustainable. To be healthy, our task is to be present, enjoy all beings on the planet (plant, animal or otherwise). In this extraordinary world that seems on the brink of becoming a caring world, people the world over are called to share with others, help with survival, keep each other well and give thanks.

 

Yes Time!

October 25, 2017

We’ve had a spectacular fall despite worrying over whether September’s draught would drop the leaves before they put out their brilliant display. Thousands have flocked to New Hampshire from New England and the rest of the world for this breathtaking experience.

Time to not only savor but protect our forest.

Yes, we can choose to save the forest. Thanks to John Weeks and the Weeks Act, the 100,000 acres that lumber baron, James E. Henry began to clear cut in 1892 are now part of the White Mountain National Forest. It has taken 125 years for the forest to reclaim itself after the WMNF gradually bought up and secured the land.

NH is a place that draws tree huggers, hikers, bikers, fishers, canoeists, kayakers, artists, writers, botanists, geologists, philosophers, educators and others in need of rest and renewal.

Our attractions are staffed by people from all walks of life who love the land and want to raise their families amidst all this beauty, people who want their families and those who follow to be able to enjoy the White Mountains forever.

James Henry’s destruction of the forest is credited with waking people up to the need to protect the forest by passing the Weeks Act so that such destruction never happens again.

Henry’s counterpart is today’s Northern Pass Project, which again threatens our forest. The initial plan is to put in a line that cuts a wide slash not only through the White Mountain National forest but right down the roads tourists enjoy, destroying vegetation and replacing it with towers or gutting neighborhood trees and landscaping to underground wires.

The Northern Pass is simply the first of the “many projects” Eversource-Hydro Quebec plans to gradually crisscross the state, gutting New Hampshire’s natural beauty.

It only took Henry about 25 years to make his millions. We are now eight years into the NP attempt at a project so devastating, they are have already spent millions to secure their long range plan to destroy NH as ruthlessly as they have destroyed Quebec.

Let us not wait until New Hampshire’s beauty is replaced by huge dams and towers. It won’t be a matter of waiting 125 years to reforest. Trees won’t be growing amidst all those towers, concrete, and power stations. Time to say YES! To saving our precious trees, streams, lakes, and wildlife NOW!

Each Other Includes All Colors

September 27, 2017

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said “the opposite of good is not evil; it is indifference. Some of us were horrified at the Claremont white teenage boys’ attempted hanging of an 8 year old biracial boy. Others took it in stride as, “boys will be boys”.  Significantly, the boys’ parents attempted to minimize the assault, key to understanding that those boys, in fact, needed a village to raise them; they weren’t going to learn to respect all colors at home. A small crowd of concerned citizens in Claremont did respond, and stood up to the plate to support 8 year old Quincy.

Given any issue, there will always be those who see no problem and others who are aware. Part of membership in a village includes educating ourselves to the behaviors we don’t even notice in ourselves that contribute to injustices in the village.

Heschel noted that “words create worlds. The Holocaust didn’t begin with tanks and guns; it began with words. Live life as if it is a work of art, ‘Your own existence’.”

Hopefully, the courts will include both the teenage boys and their parents in whatever consequences are meted out to teach them what they need to know in order to contribute to community safety and respect for their neighbors.

John Howard Griffin’s book, Black Like Me (1961), a classic available in local libraries is one book that helps whites take a closer look at our own behavior. Griffin wrote about racial inequality. He was a white Texan who had his skin darkened and shaved his head so that he could travel in the south, experience what it was like to be black, and write a book documenting his experiences. Fifty-eight years later, we still have a long way to go to clean up our behavior as a village.

Racism is clearly not just a southern problem. Here is a frightening example of how it erupts in the north in a quiet New England town. And it starts with nonsense words. And they are not  just “boys will be boys” words that exist only in Claremont, NH.

If we want to keep each other well, we need to continually monitor ourselves and each other, and live as though our lives are works of art to be treasured by all viewers.

It’s All About Values

September 19, 2017

Events in Texas, Florida and the Islands make clear that we need to prepare for unexpected natural disasters. National responses to those disasters also demonstrate our basic need to ensure that we keep each other well. People are digging deep to help others recover.

At the same time, we need to step up to the plate and put our safeguards to health in place to ensure that our basic nutritional food, potable water, and energy needs will be met.

We continue to support local farmers so that we do have a choice to buy fresh produce, including much organically grown on well nourished soil. We are currently enjoying tomatoes, corn, greens, a variety of squashes and root vegetables. The better the soil, enriched by natural compost, the more energizing and flavorful the produce.

Regular testing of water assures us that our supply is safe to drink. Water lines, especially those that pass under roads to homes, need to be safeguarded against any construction interfering with the line, such as power lines, road excavation, changes in road use, paving, and more, whatever is needed to maintain safe transport of our water.

However, we have only begun to support new forms of locally generated energy such as solar, wind and other, yet to be discovered forms. We continue to be threatened by an electric power company that seeks to centralize electrical energy in our state from one source in Canada. Should Canada’s Hydro Power be cutoff, the whole state of NH would have no energy. Today’s promises do not equal tomorrow’s challenges.

New forms of independent, local energy need to be encouraged so that when disaster strikes, we are in a position to bail each other out, not stuck with a centralized energy system that leaves communities, even those not affected by the disaster, without power for weeks.

Do we value the freedom so espoused by our state: To Live Free? If we do, we need to accept the responsibility to empower diverse forms of local energy that will enable our children and grandchildren to also live free.

 

Decentralizing Our Energy Supply Promotes Health

September 19, 2017

Each day we are confronted with news of tragic events in the world. People lose their water, energy and food supplies that threaten survival. Too many are people are overdosing on drugs.  On the brighter side are stories like Paul Allard’s piece in the Concord Monitor 8/21/17, ‘My Turn, the Northern Pass and the Land That Gave Me Sobriety’.  Allard credits his recovery from drug addiction to the White Mountains where he hiked his way out of hopelessness, and turned his life around.

Tourists continue to exclaim how wonderful it is to breathe our moist fresh air, provided so generously by our abundance of trees and forests. NH protects one of the last vital forests remaining in the US where people can come for respite. Yet the NP project wants to plow up 500 miles of trees to access their lines. NP wants to destroy even more trees to put lines down through neighborhoods along state roads. HydroQuebec has been ruthless in their destruction of Quebec’s tourism, indigenous culture and livelihood. I cannot understand why, in light of that destruction, any NH Site Evaluation Committee would even consider the NP proposal, why NP hasn’t been given the choice to either underground down I93, whose median exists for just such a project, or forget this project.

Today, centralized power lines are considered archaic. If attacked by war, terrorists, or natural disaster, too much is instantly lost for too many people and survival becomes an overwhelming problem.

Clearly, the refusal of Eversource/HQ to even consider undergrounding their line down the corridor already in place has to do with their plan to totally centralize power in NH.  Northern Pass plans to put the backbone of their centralized power company right down through the existing Eversource line. At the Public Hearing in the Plymouth State University Ice Arena, Eversource NH CE, William Quinlan stated, “The Northern Pass is the first of many planned projects for New Hampshire”. Indeed, property has already been purchased in the North Country. Future plans simply extend ribs east and west down the NP backbone until they smother NH in a cobweb of lines, foist an archaic system on NH, and put every other energy company out of business, leaving NH at the mercy of HQ’s central control of energy in northeast US.

Decentralized energy generates local control through a variety of energy options, including those as yet to be developed, along with the headway currently made by solar. Local control puts communities in position to support surrounding areas that need power, should disaster strike.

This NP project has already pitted families against each other, destroyed property values, and threatened NH citizens with more destruction. HydroQuebec does not plan to spend a penny for construction of the project. I do not understand why the NH Site Evaluation Committee would want to allow any company to bully the length and breadth of our state with such destruction so HQ/Eversource could make a pile of money providing MA and CT with power.

Where would we be today if instead of funding seven years of protest hearings, those funds had been spent supporting research into new forms of clean energy, energy that is not obtained at the cost of a culture, livelihood, property, and health of the people it is intended to serve?

Your support is needed to stand up for this land, not just for ourselves, but for all the people who count on being able to come here to relax, energize, and breathe.

Let Gov. Chris Sununu know your concerns at State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301.

Also the SEC, c/o Pamela Monroe, Administrator, 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 10, Concord, NH 03301 or email: Pamela Monroe@sec.nh.gov.

 

Forest Bathing for Health

August 9, 2017

Thanks to the Society for the Protection of NH Forests and the White Mountain National Forest, the AMC, local hiking groups, and Conservation Trusts, we in NH are amply blessed with opportunities to walk in calm, sweet smelling, breathing woodlands, wherever we live. For wheelchair accessible trails, check out  www.traillink.com/stateactivity/nh-wheelchair-accessible-trails/.

Depending on whether we need to unwind by a thundering waterfall, scramble over rocks and granite slabs, be up high enough so the world spreads easily around us with lots of room for everyone, or whether we need to slide our back into a sage old maple and just breathe with the tree, there are such havens in or near every town.

Naturalists have been writing about forests for centuries, but other professions join them today. In the US, there is an Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guide Training program. In Japan, doctors may legally prescribe forest bathing as a treatment for illness. Tree medicine melds nature with mindfulness.

Studies document the calming value of a walk among the trees.  On walk days, hostility and aggression decrease.  The book, “Your Brain on Nature”, by Eva Selhob and Alan Logan proposes Vitamin G (for green) as an essential for our health and well being. Our expression, “Go take a walk”, is a standard sure cure when someone is upset or confused.

The British medical journal, Lancet (5/17), found that access to green space was a greater predictor of health than income, eating well, or doctoring more often.

It is just about impossible to stay mired in problems when ravens are calling to us or when we see a patch of blueberries loaded with berries so late in the season, or when a boulder seat presents itself just when we need a little break or a tree branch reaches out a willing assist over a stretch on the rocks, or from an open window in early morning, sensing a breeze bringing in cool fresh air.

One day, a pair of yellow warblers watched me intently from their perch as we met eye to eye.  I gasped silently at their utter beauty and paused to soak in that spot long after they flew off.  Every bird, tree, and four-legged is part of this dance we call life.

Anthropologist, Mary Catherine Bateson, (Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson’s daughter), encourages us to learn to use the word “we” to include all life on Earth, to shape everything we do, and to protect this Earth we share. Our health depends on our action.

Yes! To Local Control and Local Decision Making!

July 13, 2017

Our grass roots opposition to the Northern Pass finally has a chance to weigh in on the consequences of the current Northern Pass plan. On NHPR’s EXCHANGE (7/10/17), Gov. Sununu said, “Let’s maintain local control and local decision making.”  He was referring to another town’s decisions, but here’s to equal rights for all towns in NH.

Perhaps the July 1 storm, which gutted roads the Northern Pass wants to bury the line under, could give Governor Sununu pause to realize that local citizens have valid reasons for burying the NP line down I93, where an intentionally designed median exists to house the underground line.

We all got a taste of the inconvenience of having commuter and school bus transportation roads torn up, detours and slow moving one-way traffic. Now, two weeks later, road crews continue with repairs just to make the roads passable. More time will be needed to finish the job.

Comment letters continue to arrive at the Site Evaluation Committee and appear on the SEC website: www.nhsec.nh.gov/projects/2015-06-comments.htm. Local people continue to implore the Site Evaluation Committee to recognize the threat to the health and safety of Grafton County residents the current NP proposal promises.

Every season is unique here in NH and draws visitors from all over the world. They always comment on the sheer beauty of a drive through our state, through our little towns. Summer visitors love our attractions, the chance to fish, swim, hike, bike, kayak. They enjoy our waterfalls, and especially our trees and the fact that it is so much easier to breathe up here.

To appreciate what we have here, all it takes is a drive south or west of New England to be met with a network of power lines in place of trees, lots of intersecting superhighways, and congested roadways.

We need to stand up for this land, not just for ourselves and our livelihood, but for all the people who count on being able to come here to relax, re-energize and breathe.

Let Gov. Chris Sununu know your concerns at State House, 107 N. Main St., Concord, NH 03301.

Also the SEC, c/o Pamela Monroe, Administrator, 21 S. Fruit St., Suite 10, Concord, NH 03301 or email: Pamela Monroe@sec.nh.gov.

“Vaccines Revealed” now available FREE

July 13, 2017

In January, “Vaccines Revealed”, a series of nine videos, unraveled the damage done by promoting, and even demanding as a requirement to attend school, that our children succumb to potentially life challenging or lethal vaccines. Here is an opportunity to view the whole series, led by peer reviewed researchers, for FREE, at www.vaccinesrevealed.com/free/.

Pharmaceutical companies and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) deny or suppress research studies regarding the cautionary use of vaccines. The CDC owns over 50 patents to vaccines – a major conflict of interest when establishing protocols. Top officials in the CDC continually move to executive positions in pharmaceutical companies and back again to work at the CDC. Of even greater concern is that in 1989, Big Pharma obviously greased the wheels for Congress to pass a law that people cannot sue Big Pharma for injury resulting from pharmaceuticals they produce.

General consensus in the series was that vaccines are potentially healthy but they need to be given one at a time, they must not contain aluminum or mercury, and they must not be given too early. Researchers and physicians cited newborns receiving their first vaccine before they left the hospital. It appears that the practice of giving too many at a time and at too young an age, is what has fed Autism rates. However, today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols include 46 doses of vaccine by the age of 5, 26 doses in the first 18 months, 69 doses from birth to age 18. This protocol is mandatory for entrance to schools and some forms of employment.

At issue today is the fact that the vaccines carry substances such as thymerisol (mercury), aluminum,formaldehyde, and other substances to stimulate an immune response. Many of these substances cross the blood brain barrier and result in neurogenitive diseases like Autism, Lyme disease, Bowel disease, ADHD, Shaken Baby Syndrome , vision and hearing problems, and more. Safer, more expensive vaccine mediums are available but one must know enough to ask for them.

In the 1950s, one in 1000 children came down with autism in the U.S. By 2000, the ratio was 1:250. By 2014, the ratio was 1: 68. By 2032, if the rise continues, 1:2 children born will be autistic, including every male childborn.

Also noted was the possible link between Chickenpox vaccine and the rising incidence of Shingles in adults. Formerly, when children contracted chickenpox naturally (a benign disease), they also provided adults around them with a natural booster of chickenpox and protection against shingles. Without the natural exposure, adults become vulnerable to Shingles, a more serious disease.

Frequently cited was the fact that in the years before vaccines were introduced, people woke up to the effects that general hygiene, water sanitation, and sanitized food handling, etc., reduced disease before vaccines were even produced. So, there is a question as to how much vaccines have eliminated and how much illness and death they have caused.

Because controlled, peer reviewed studies have been suppressed; only recently have they begun to be revealed. More studies of Amish children and Home Schooled children who have not received a battery of vaccines need to be encouraged and openly available to the public.

One such study is Jackson State University’s, “Pilot Comparative Study on the Health of Vaccinated and Unvaccinated Children”, led by epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Mawsom. The study of 666 Home Schooled children (39% were unvaccinated), found that fully vaccinated children may be trading the prevention of certain acute illnesses (chickenpox, whooping cough) for more chronic illnesses and neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD and Autism).

Sweden has banned mandatory vaccinations, citing serious health concerns and the fact that they violate a citizen’s constitutional right to choose their own health care.

What can we do to inform ourselves? We can take the time to review above studies and share what we learn with our neighbors and friends. We can choose health care providers who inform themselves beyond the CDC and Pharmacy labels.

There will be more video presentations as more physicians come forward with the results they are seeing in their practice and more research is finding ways to be published. Unfortunately, physicians risk losing their license to practice, researchers have difficulty getting their findings published, and both groups may lose teaching positions/livelihood.

However, the tide is turning, the public is becoming more informed and actively demanding to have competent research on the safety and efficacy of every vaccine, and parental rights to decide what goes into and stays out of our bodies. We can support physicians and research that honor scientific inquiry.

Sobering news. For many of us, the clear wake up call continues.

 

Let’s Care For the Land that Gives Us Our Health

July 13, 2017

A June hike to the high peaks of New Hampshire guarantees a generous welcome of wildflowers. They have a brief blooming period before the plants begin forming berries. Our wet spring inspired an awesome array of blossoms.

This is a big year for Jack-in-the-Pulpits. Right now, Jack stands in his purple robe on the raised pulpit under a canopy like those found in old churches. Later in summer, Jack transforms to green berries and by fall the berries ripen to reddish/orange, holding next year’s seeds.

This is also a great year for Bunchberries, the plant with Dogwood family’s four little white petals, each pinched on the outer rim. By fall, bunches of red berries will appear bearing next year’s seeds.

Probably one of the reasons many of us find a woods walk or mountain trek so satisfying has to do with our just being another forest roamer checking out what happens in the forest, not just thinking about whatever we’ve done poorly, not about aches and pains, just about the wonder of all the beings in the forest, all the different trees with varied shapes and needles and leaves, and they all get along in their shared space, and remind us that we are part of the forest family.

It feels good to recognize and greet the trees, plants, mosses, ferns, the birds with their magical songs. Sometimes the birds even join us, out of curiosity, I suppose. A little Red-eyed Vireo hopped along the trail beside me one morning for several paces, enjoying the day together. The Vireo pecked around for vittles. I picked up stray branches we humans could stumble on and fling them away, a simple act of trail maintenance inspired by AMC leaders many years ago. It’s a way of saying, “Thanks!” to the forest and all the trail crews who do the big stuff.

Further up, near running water, Sphagnum moss mop-heads present themselves- all soggy and ready to go- keeping air moist, fresh, and breathable. Rocky trails, bounded by younger trees in all the right places offer a reliable assist over slippery rocks.

Finally the trail opens above treeline. Even with wind, it is a balm to be there, excited about the reliable assembly of rocks, and krumholz,  and finally,  mounds of Diapensia, Bearberry, Labrador tea, and any other regulars who have dropped in.

Ah…, New Hampshire…, how good to be here! Now to honor our forest by assuring whatever protection it needs so that we all share the possibility of good health in every day ahead.

 

Let’s Care For The Land That Gives Us Our Health

June 23, 2017

A June hike to the high peaks of New Hampshire guarantees a generous welcome of wildflowers. They have a brief blooming period before the plants begin forming berries. Our wet spring inspired an awesome array of blossoms.

This is a big year for Jack-in-the-Pulpits. Right now, Jack stands in his purple robe on the raised pulpit under a canopy like those found in old churches. Later in summer, Jack transforms to green berries and by fall the berries ripen to reddish/orange, holding next year’s seeds.

This is also a great year for Bunchberries, the plant with Dogwood family’s four little white petals, each pinched on the outer rim. By fall, bunches of red berries will appear bearing next year’s seeds.

Probably one of the reasons many of us find a woods walk or mountain trek so satisfying has to do with our just being another forest roamer checking out what happens in the forest, not just thinking about whatever we’ve done poorly, not about aches and pains, just about the wonder of all the beings in the forest, all the different trees with varied shapes and needles and leaves, and they all get along in their shared space, and remind us that we are part of the forest family.

It feels good to recognize and greet the trees, plants, mosses, ferns, the birds with their magical songs. Sometimes the birds even join us, out of curiosity, I suppose. A little Red-eyed Vireo hopped along the trail beside me one morning for several paces, enjoying the day together. The Vireo pecked around for vittles. I picked up stray branches we humans could stumble on and fling them away, a simple act of trail maintenance inspired by AMC leaders many years ago. It’s a way of saying, “Thanks!” to the forest and all the trail crews who do the big stuff.

Further up, near running water, Sphagnum moss mop-heads present themselves- all soggy and ready to go- keeping air moist, fresh, and breathable. Rocky trails, bounded by younger trees in all the right places offer a reliable assist over slippery rocks.

Finally the trail opens above treeline. Even with wind, it is a balm to be there, excited about the reliable assembly of rocks, and krumholz,  and finally,  mounds of Diapensia, Bearberry, Labrador tea, and any other regulars who have dropped in.

Ah…, New Hampshire…, how good to be here! Now to honor our forest by assuring whatever protection it needs so that we all share the possibility of good health in every day ahead.