Taking the Nuclear Option

“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life.” – Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

If you have a friend, let’s say, who is greedy, intrusive, doesn’t respect boundaries, shares your private information for money, encourages divisiveness across broad groups of your peers, provides a platform for haters of all stripes, would you keep this friend, or would you finally decide they’re toxic, and decide to cut your losses, and leave the relationship?

I did it, finally.  Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and with some sadness, my Instagram, all gone. The hypocrisy of Facebook’s mission to ‘connect’ us, spilling over to anger when the NZ shooter live-streamed his murders.  The constant broadcasting of negativity in the Twitterverse, punctuated with anger and divisiveness.  The encroaching signs of ‘Facebook disease’ on my Insta feed, as their new masters poke and prod, looking for ways to further monetize the platform.  The Oliva Jade ‘brand ambassadors’ hucking power strips for Amazon as part of her ‘faux-cool’ life.   And, the ads!  Those spooky tracking ads that could only come from combining multiple parts of my personal data, some of it only ever exposed to their algorithms by a single text or email.  I went to OHSU Urology and posted a FB photo looking out over the new construction, only to see banner ads for urinary incontinence just minutes later on my IG (I’m fine, that’s not why I was there).  And that’s with web activity, location tracking and history OFF!

I’m not sad for the loss of ‘acquaintance tracking’ where that girlfriend from high school who I haven’t seen in a very long time is on my FB (oh look, she’s a grandma!), or friends of friends who seem like perfectly nice people, but I’ve never met IRL.  I’m not going to miss being ‘shadow-banned’ by IG because I posted 7 times in a day, or getting thrown into Twitmo for telling Don Jr that he’s an even bigger asshole than his Daddy.  Or screening fifty new followers for trolls and bots who would report my colorful tweets.

No, I will miss seeing the brilliance of my friends and their adventures when we’re not together, or the beautiful sunset that I missed last night.  I’ll miss their stories of struggle, hope, and perseverance.   There’s so much more that I’ve come to depend on the convenience of social media to find, but the cost is too high. Now, the cost is measured in lives lost.  Facebook in particular keeps finding new ways to herd us into nice groups of product, not for our differences (which make us strong) but for our ‘like-ness’.  We are the product, and Facebook sits in our head rent-free, while selling us to advertisers or the Cambridge Analytica’s of the world.

There is some sadness in my heart, but zero regrets.  Saturday, I called my friend on the telephone instead of IM’ing, and we talked.  No ads, no meaningless distractions.  Just a person talking to a person. I wasn’t pummeled with the usual ads filled with content  based on our conversation.  It was glorious.

Related content: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/15/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-quits-facebook-calls-social-media-public-health-risk/

Burn Area Trail Work Days

~These trails are closed, the PCTA is working under the invitation of the Forest Service.
There are stiff fines (and plenty of hazards) for ignoring these closures!~

I’ve been working in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Burn a lot these last few months. I am a volunteer Trail Crew Leader In-training, with the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

We’re filling holes left by root burns, removing burn debris, clearing landslides, logging out the burned, down trees off the trail (we don’t fell trees as a rule). In some of the severely burned areas, the trail disappears and we have to re-establish the tread.  Everywhere, there are rocks. Landslides of rocks, rocks on the trail, rocks upslope waiting to fall on you. Fire-tempered boulders often split and leave sharp edges.

So what is a typical day like? Our work days run 8AM-5:30PM. You have to be committed to being on-time, working all day (if anyone leaves, all of us have to, because they take one Crew Leader away and we need two for burn area work). We lay out our tools and each pick up a load, grab your hard hat, and head up the Herman Creek Trail as a group. Last logout I carried an axe, a hand saw, cross-cut long saw, and the handles for it. Plus 3 litres of water, lunch, spare clothes, and my ten essentials.

First time through an area I know so well was a shock. The green gone from the forest floor, trees burned and down, it literally made me cry to see it. Subsequent trips, it just now looks like a forest healing from a fire. There are new views, places you didn’t even know where there with all the thick undergrowth and moss everywhere. The Gorge is a giant rock pile, now really obvious even in the forest.

A Logout Party means our primary targets for the day are the downed logs.  We carry more saws than trail tools, fewer hoes and such. It also means we are working over longer sections, taking out logs crews working on the tread and clearing could not remove. It’s far more hazardous, and the PCTA offers three levels of certification for Sawyers – A, B, and C.   Swampers work to prep the logs and cut, clean up before and after, under the supervision of a Certified Sawyer.

(to be continued)


All smiles 🙂
Crosscut on a largish log across the Pacific Crest Trail.
It’s sooty, muddy, and hard work
Saw love ❤

Love is Infinite

‘If we see love as infinite, and we approach it from abundance instead of scarcity, we see that in truth love is self-perpetuating. Opening the heart chakra expands one’s horizon for sharing loving energy…the greater our understanding, the greater our capacity for love. The heart chakra perceives the world in its unity, not its separation.’ – Anodea Judith, ‘Wheels of Life’