Saturday, December 17, 2016

On the road from Panama 11/19/2016 -12/10/16

Dear Friends,

Peace Rider the erratic blogger is back after a considerable absence.  I was in Cuba for a couple of weeks visiting friends and left a few days before Fidel Castro passed at age 90.  From Havana I flew to Panama City for a visit with long time friend George in Boquete, a mountain community in western Panama.  

Finca Bugita, as George calls it, is a coffee farm he bought some years ago when the prices were not out of sight for mere mortals.  I have always loved coming here, because it's quiet and peaceful and just the kind of retreat I needed to rest with the question of what comes next.  The many flowers in bloom were gorgeous.
Georges Rock garden w/blue grey tanagers feeding on bananas

I stayed in the "casita" a small one room guest house apart from the main house.  Every morning at sunrise or thereabouts I'd be up, do some yoga, or wait until after breakfast, then head up the steep drive to join George on his porch for coffee, conversation and bird watching.  Often when I showed up he'd be hanging bananas on bamboo poles stuck in his circular rock garden.  This was followed by hand scattering broken pieces of rice for some the ground feeders like tortolitos or small doves.  Then we'd just sit back and enjoy.  

Palm Tanager
Usually the same customers or "rabid beasts" as George calls them,  showed up for the feast, mostly colorful tanagers, the blue gray or azulejos being the most common.  They are a skittish lot for good reason.   Sometimes it was a gaijote or vulture flying too close, or gavilon (hawk) in the neighbor hood looking for a meal or just one of us making a too sudden move.   

As it happened I needed a lot more dental work than expected which meant multiple trips to the dentist in David, an hour away by bus.  More than I would have liked.  But the last week I was free and had more time to visit and be present in silence.  

What I came away with was an answer to the question friends have asked about what I will do with my Spirit House/yurt (progress to date on last post).  I will try and finish it in the coming year and in the process create the Fairbanks Interfaith Retreat Center,  this in part supporting, some of the work being undertaken by the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition but not limited to that.  This will require some fundraising.  I'll have more to say about the later when I'm settle back into Fairbanks and have a bit more time.

This evening I'm away from Denver headed to Los Angeles to catch a "red eye" to Anchorage then Fairbanks.

Catch you all down the road,

Peace Rider Don  

Friday, October 28, 2016

On the Road from Fairbanks 10/28/2016, progress on Spirit House and Charles, an ENT (Lord of the Rings Trilogy) I met this summer.

Dear Friends,

My apologies for being such an irregular poster to this blog.   Alaska summers tend to be all consuming, make hay while the sun shines seems to be the norm because winter is right around the corner.  Work really began for me last September with a decision to tear down an abandoned garage on a lot next to

 Progress to date with first snow in October

SH and try to begin cleaning up a massive amount of other stuff there besides.  After many sled and pickup loads the garage and all it's contents were gone.  Stuff that could be recycled or reused where taken to the appropriate places.  There's a lot more yet, 11 cars.  We got one out.

What made all the toil worthwhile in the end was finding a box of Barbie dolls in one far corner of a makeshift room inside the garage.  These went to children of a Cuban friend I met in 2014 and were much appreciated.

From April on to just a few weeks or so ago I worked on SH with few breaks.  One of them was an overnight kayak/canoe trip on the upper Nenana River where I found Charles, the ENT on an island where we camped.

What I got done this summer was the deck, a permanent EPDM, flexible rubber roof, finishing the interior ceiling and the skylight.  I blew in nearly two feet of fiberglass insulation over a base layer of R13 batt insulation between the ceiling and rubber roof.  All of that was preceded by finishing off the ceiling, first with a vapor barrier then a nylon fabric and cover strips over each of the 38 deep joists to hide the seams.  The last push of the season was finishing the skylight and setting it in place.  Three of the same friends that helped me get the 350 pounds of rubber roofing hoisted helped me get the skylight up and set in place over the center "hole."  It has a double walled UV resistant plastic for panes which is light weight but is not clear like glass.   This was an advantage making it easier to hoist but less than desirable aesthetically.  I may just replace four of the panes with clear glass in a future project.

Charles embodied in a White Spruce tree

One of the few breaks I took was an early June Paddlers Club canoe/kayak trip on the upper Nenana River. I never thought there might be "real" ENTS, of course,  until I met Charles on his island home. Curiously my dad's name was also Charles, dad?  So what did Charles have to say?  It's this, you humans are screwing up the planet and if you don't reign in CO2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels we will all be "crispy critters."  My brothers and sisters can only suck up so much C02 while you keep cutting us down as if we had no role to play in the maintenance of this planet.  Your ignorance of our importance will be the death of all of us unless you wake up and there is not a lot of time left.

On the home front I now have a part time job as a tour guide with the Northern Alaska tour coupany driving a van or coach as need be up the Dalton Highway.  In a few days taking a needed break to visit friends in Cuba and Panama.  I have two kids bicycles I'm taking to Cuba.  More down the road.

Peace Rider


Sunday, July 10, 2016

One the Road in Fairbanks, Progress on Spirit House

Dear Friends,

After a long absence a few words.  Since last posting most of my time has been devoted to working on my Spirit House, a modified super insulated round house incorporating many of the desirable features of a yurt.  It seems this is my summer to get this structure as far along as I am able.

What you see now in the following several photos is progress to date which includes a roofed over deck.  The wall insulation now has 6 layers of 1" foam staggered around the outside.  What remains is a final wall covering.  I am leaning towards using stucco which would definitely make the structure non-portable although it is approaching that now.  It could still be disassembled since it is all put together with screws but at this point is looking less likely.

I now have the first layer of 3" batt fiberglass insulation put between most of the ceiling joists as well as half of the vapor barrier covering same.  Before I can put on the final roof covering I will put  baffling between the ceiling joists to keep fiberglass insulation I will blow in place from sliding down hill.  Following that I can put the final roof covering on which will be either EPDM or TPO both commercial roofing fabrics of rubber or a combination of rubber and plastic respectively.

Next post, hopefully without a long delay will be an insight with photo illustration about the relationship between the native American medicine wheel, Mayan tree of life, Platonic solids and Christian cross.  Until then un abrazo grande!

Peace Rider

Monday, April 18, 2016

Catching Up On the Road in Fairbanks, 4/18/2016

Thank you all dear friends for caring and visiting this irregular blog when time and opportunity arise for me to write.

This came to me in the aftermath of the Paris Climate talks.

Global Climate Goal
Stop further increase in CO2 emissions by 12/31/2020 through ending reliance on fossil fuels.

In this writer’s opinion the climate movement without a target goal is like a ship without a rudder, unable to steer a course to its desired destination. The goal of 350 parts per million CO2 in emissions has been exceeded and continues to rise.  

The Paris agreement is not on a soon enough time line or bold enough to keep us out of harms way. 

Why a12/31/2020 date and not one sooner or  later.  It's a pragmatic choice.  It is soon enough to impart a sense of urgency yet remains a daunting challenge.  It is an end of the decade date and a recognition that we don't have decades more in which to act.  All of this should have happened years ago.  It hasn't.  

The number 20 is considered the base number of the Mayan calendar.    And quantum physicists have now proven that subatomic particles manifest in this reality for a nano second out of the here into the void or field of pure potential at 10 + 10.  There are also biblical references to the number 20.

Symbols are important. This date’s symbolic importance should not be dismissed out-of-hand.  It lends itself as no other to a climate movement rallying cry of having 20 20 vision.  It's 20 20 vision for a change in consciousness that will create a New Earth and an alternate future, one not dependent on fossils fuels and one marked by caring for one another and for nature. 

Pass it on!  Let's make it our collective rallying cry. 

From Cuba with love,

I went to Cuba again in February to visit with friends and ended up in a "drama" still playing itself out.  But it was all good in the end and even transforming, at least for me and some others I would guess.  I can say that I ended up in the hospital for some days due to exhaustion after doing a long "walk about" around Havana." 

Being there was an eye opener of what medicine can be when it's patient care centered and not  money driven.  The physical facilities would be consider run down by our standards but adequate.  It's a poor country after all.  But it was a reminder that simple things still work, like paper record keeping and a manually inflated blood pressure cuff.  I very much enjoyed being seen and checked by medical students on training rounds from Ghana and South Africa.

Free medical care and education besides is a huge benefit we have yet to achieve.  For our money  we get - yippee,  F-35 war machines that go fast, kill people and are so stealthy they're still looking for a mission.  And the cost, well let us just say if you wanted to throw billions down an enormous rat hole with nothing of lasting merit to show for it this is it!
Love works, the war way does not.  End It! 

What's Next?

I'm waiting to hear from Dario whether there will be space on his 52 foot family sailboat going to Hawaii from Mexico. (for more see Top to Top dot org.).  I met Dario in Cordova summer before last sailing from Seward to Valdez.  This would be another potential opportunity of consciousness raising with the banner and more.   If the "stars" align will head out of Fairbanks soon.  Let you know more when I do in next two weeks. 

A recent reading list The Untethered Soul, Michael  A. Singer (excellent timing for me), The Theft of the Spirit - A Journey to Spiritual Healing, Carl Hammerschlag, MD, Intuition for Beginners, Diane Brandon, The Intuition Guide Book, Cyndi Dale, A Story that Will Pierce You, Michael Kingsley, Liar, Liar, Crush by Gary Paulsen.

All for now Peace Rider/Writer


Monday, February 8, 2016

On the Road from Mongolia and Panama February 9, 2016

A story to tell about how the banner ended up in Mongolia.  But first just a few words about the banner itself.  It was created by me several years ago now but first appeared in Homer, AK as a way to foster an evolution of consciousness.

You´d think by now we´d have gotten a bit tired of killing one another over our differences and tried something a bit, dare I say it, ¨radical¨ Like loving your neighbor as yourself and Peace on Earth and with the Earth.

Love is transformative and unifying,  all other motivations based in fear and false ideologies have failed us.  It has always been The Way as Jesus and other spiritual masters have taught.  We have collectively chosen to ignore it.  And now because of it with climate change, the survival of all of life on Earth and our own is in jeoprady.

The do no more harm part, that´s from Buddhist teachings.  All of life is sacred when one understands deeply that everything is connected.

Without trees we´d all be toast.  They absorb CO2 and give us our atmosphere.  How about a massive program to stop all deforestation and adopt sustainable forest practices world wide and every school have their own Arbor Day event to put trees back in the ground.

The tree shown is a golden spruce that once grew on the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia in Canada.  Luckily, clones were taken from it at the right time and it may yet be saved as a rarity among Sitka spruce, similar to pine.

A humpback whale and polar bear, iconic species, the former recovering after relentless hunting of all whales - polar bears threatened as the planet warms and record melt back of the arctic ice pack continues at a record pace.

What might the crews of astronauts from the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle have to say to all of us after they passed to the other side from accidents in space?  And I imagined it could be Love is the Way.

To be continued.  I´m using a computer in the Boquete, Panama library this date and was just informed I have only ten minutes remaining.

Werner Van Steen and his partner Marion, dear friends from Belgium took the banner to Mongolia this past January when it was minus 58 degrees F.

Excuse the edits I may have missed.  I will be away from a computer for awhile.

 Peace Rider