Philosophical Roadkill

Photo by Mariana Montrazi on

I believe that creativity begets creativity. I like the word “beget” because it reminds me of my days as a young teenager when we would encounter the word during bible study and it gave us something to snicker about. All the while waiting for the next appropriate passage of time to ask, “Can we go outside yet?” I require fresh air. Not just the exchange of fresh air coming through a ventilation exchange system, but the whole experience of fresh air: to see the day/night cycle, bugs, birds and to hear the sounds of life around me. I’ve worked in big factories during all hours with no windows, just huge noisy machinery in a cavernous warehouse space. It always made me feel disconnected. Like a flower cut from the stem and forced to live in a windowless vase. A biological entity consumed to keep the heartbeat of a great mechanical beast going. For what? A paycheck.

Those types of jobs can cost you a body part or more if you don’t pay attention. I’ve always had a good mechanical aptitude. I can often see how individual components make up a larger system be it mechanical, biological, or social. When I got my first car there was a whole lot of pavement underneath the hood. I often joked it was powered by a hamster and a couple of rubber bands. It was a 1978 Ford Mustang II with T-tops. After taking it to auto mechanics for this problem or that I discovered that they were taking advantage of me. They advised me to replace parts they had replaced only two months earlier. They’d wrongly assumed I wasn’t paying attention. How many alternators does a girl need? Only one and it shouldn’t need to be replaced so often. Then I discovered a clean knife cut 1/3 through my radiator hose shortly after getting my car back. Fortunately, the radiator hose had been long enough I just finished the cut and clamped the hose back on. Problem solved for free, by my hands.

I whirled into automotive garage like a tempest, a 16 year old girl, and threatened to rip all their balls off and wear them as a necklace. The guys panicked. It was comical to see a bunch of big guys with beards and tattoos forced to scurry about like mice caught in the pantry. Just short of turning into a full force hurricane the Manager offered to take me for a ride while the guys fixed my car, free of charge this time. I took his keys and drove his car around for about an hour while he sat in the passenger seat and apologized profusely. After about an hour I got my own car back and never returned there again.

Shortly after that a boyfriend convinced me to leave my car parked in a shady part of town for the night. Against my better judgement I did. When we drove back the next morning my car was there but the passenger window was broken and the ignition switch had been sawed off. It appears the thieves didn’t know how to drive a stick shift. So sad for them! They ended up taking my car battery. “You owe me a new battery.” I said tersely. He agreed. I was grateful the thieves hadn’t damaged any of my library books in the back seat. Then I’d have felt obligated to hunt them down and beat them up for disrespecting books and libraries.

There weren’t any cellphones back then. So while my boyfriend paid for the battery I borrowed the auto supply store’s phonebook and found a listing for a junkyard. I went alone to see if I could replace the window and ignition switch by myself. The key worked, but you could take it out while the car was running if you wanted too.

The junkyard was fantastic! I should have tried to get a job there! Sweetest junkyard dogs you could possibly meet and the guys were really nice too. They’d drive me out to the section of the yard where we’d find the right vehicle to strip for parts and take them back to the front office for checkout. I’d fix my car right there. They would lend me their tools and tell me how to do it. The guys would hang around like old friends and tell me stories while I worked when they weren’t busy. Unfortunately, with the T-tops, they didn’t have a model exactly like mine and the best window we could find for replacement left a little gap where the window top and T-top met. I drove around with a complimentary towel for any poor passenger stuck riding with me when it rained.

So why is this post called “Philosophical roadkill?” Well, it was beget or inspired by another blogger’s post who likes to do a “Word of the Day” and the word for that particular day was Sumpsimus.

sumpsimus [ suhmp-suh-muhs ]

noun, plural sump·si·mus·es for 2.

1. adherence to or persistence in using a strictly correct term, holding to a precise practice, etc., as a rejection of an erroneous but more common form (opposed to mumpsimus). 2. a person who is obstinate or zealous about such strict correctness (opposed to mumpsimus).

When I first started entering the waters of social media I had a desire for being sumpsimus about grammar and writing etiquette. It didn’t earn me many friends. I learned to adapt and embrace that this is a living language; with each generation and social revolution language changes and so does the acceptability of the norms. This doesn’t mean that I’ve swung to the opposite side, mumpsimus; but that I accept in ways my opinion doesn’t matter and it’s not a battle worth fighting for as far as I’m concerned.

However, I do not let my husband off the hook so easily! First, he knows better. Secondly, he’ll do it intentionally to mess with me. Whenever we see roadkill, usually a dead squirrel, he’ll call it an “ex-squirrel” because he knows I hate it. I always argue that the squirrel may have become divorced from its body, but it probably has a little squirrel spirit floating about the æther somewhere. I propose that the squirrel of matter is now the squirrel of anti-matter. Some essence of squirrel carries on in that spark of energy that once gave it life in the form of matter. Some Scientists argue that the æther doesn’t exist at all. I would argue that its just not well understood and no one should take mythology built around the natural order too literally anyways. We continue to unlock so many mysteries about the human mind and the universe itself. I see us as cogs in many wheels: within society, within nature, within the universe. I believe this is the dimensionality of our existence. You matter not because someone else says so, but because you belong to a larger order. Squirrels who forget about a cache of nuts and grow new trees. Insects who avoid predation and insecticides to breed another generation as food, as composters, as a ripple effect in the larger sea of climate change. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it transitions.

Maybe I passed through this physical world as a squirrel once before. Why could such a thought be so impossible to believe? I have yet to discuss Disaster Preparedness on this blog, but when I see the squirrels hiding caches for winter it reminds me to check my own cache of disaster supplies. I live along the Pacific rim where we’re expecting a really big earthquake within the next 100 years. Even if I should become divorced from my body before or during the big event, if my supplies help others survive then I feel I’ve fulfilled part of this niche for this cycle.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on

What do you think? Do you have a sense of purpose you’d be willing to share? Other thoughts?

For reference:

Try Working This One Into a Sentence | Schingle’s Blog ( April 26th blog post re: sumpsimus.

My mustang wasn’t as fancy as this restored and upgraded one, but it still has the original body. Blue 1978 Ford Mustang Cobra II Hatchback – Photo Detail

Namaste, India

Sending you light and love during this dark time.

May the aid sent from the U.S. and other countries reach you swiftly.

How does ‘Namaste’ translate to English? “The sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you.”

Happy Earth Day, 2021! May Hope persist like Dandelions

An artistic attempt with dandelions

Eleven years ago, I did one of the least earth-friendly things in the world. I had a baby. We debated it for a few years. Should we have a baby? Why would we bring a child into this kind of world? I’d already been studying climate change for nearly 15 years and an aficionado of disaster movies. So why then?

We thought about how much we love to learn. How much we love to explore and solve problems and how there were so many cool things we would never get to discover again for “the first time.” A first snow, the first Christmas, the first family pet, the first day of school and so on. A child gets these “firsts” but we could experience them again vicariously through them. We could be first-time parents too. I wasn’t even sure I could have children. It’s putting it mildly to say that me and my body have been through a lot over the years. I’m a survivor of many things and there are some things I wouldn’t want any child or person to experience and yet, I persist.

I see horror in the world, but I see beauty in it too. After a year, it seemed like parenthood was not going to be in our future. We remember it differently, but this is how I remember it: We went on a trip to Yellowstone. It was a great trip. I’ll never drive 14 hours straight anywhere again though! That part was not so great. I was so tired I was ready to curl up on the side of the road and go to sleep. Maybe keep some rattlesnakes warm for the night with my body heat. Somehow, between the two of us and our dog, we did make it to our rented cabin.

I started to get nausea a lot near the end of the trip. It must have been the sulfur from the mud pots and sulfur springs, I thought, but the nausea continued even after we got home and then I took a pregnancy test and sure enough, it had a “+ sign” and that’s the first thing my husband saw when he woke up one morning.

It was a high-risk pregnancy, there were lots of little scares. Having to suddenly leave work to go to the Doctor’s office to get this or that checked out. My Supervisor was amazingly supportive and is now a lifelong friend. I was induced late on April 20th. I went the first 14 hours without any pain medication until eventually it was, “Give me every drug you got!” In total 27 hours of labor. They need to get the baby to move. Nurses kept coming in each bigger than the last one making human origami out of me. I felt like they could have made one heck of a hockey team! Then our heartrates started dropping, we were both so exhausted. I have a rare condition where anesthesia takes a while kick in and then burns off quickly. It’s as terrible as its sounds. I’ve had anesthesia wear off in the middle of surgery before! When our last resort was an emergency C-section I grabbed the anesthesiologist by the lapels and made myself very clear that he was to give me the highest level dose possible. He did and joked that he’d given me enough to drop a full-size horse. One of the nurses chuckled that I’d be out for a very long time then, but after the doctor put the last stitch in me and showed me my baby, she nearly dropped the tray she was holding when she turned around and I was clear-eyed and asked, “What next?”

Our child is our hope for the future. Every generation needs its leaders, and we hope that he and his peers will continue the work that we have started. Having a child is a leap of faith that things can be better. We hope that humanity will get it’s shit together and figure out how to survive thrive in the coming years. We want future generations to resolve issue previous generations have both created and failed to solve by learning to work with nature and not by trying to dominate it. We tried that already, to some great successes that have actually become our own undoing as a species.

Picking Dandelions

Yesterday, I had the brilliant idea to try making dandelion wine. I went out and bought a few supplies. My son helped me pull a lot of dandelion heads. We had fun! I thought maybe we were actually getting too many. I started dreaming big, then.  I’m going to make wine, and tea and dandelion dye and it’ll be awesome! Maybe I can make a cottage industry out of this!

Four hours later, I’m exhausted from pulling the calyx (green parts/leaves) because its only now that I’ve realized the wine recipe wants just the leaves. In all that time, I was able to muster a quart worth of just the little leaves and the recipe calls for two quarts. Yeah, well at this point I’m just going to half the recipe. What will this yield me? One bottle of wine! I also won’t know if I’ve done everything right until it has fermented for two years!

I watched a couple of videos, checked a few other recipes but they all say/show, just the flower petals. So yeah, if you were thinking about making dandelion wine, consider setting yourself up where you can watch a couple of movies or something while you work! Maybe you’ll be faster than me, but you should still be forewarned that it’s still going to be a lot of work and patience if you want to try it.

Dandelion Leaves

Like most people, I wish dandelions weren’t quite so prolific at taking over my driveway, but they do. I’m still not going to come at it with poison though. I might not have been able to make them as valuable as I had hoped for myself, but they still provide value to the rest of the landscape and I can live with that. That’s part of what it means to me to be “nature-led”; recognizing that something has value even if it doesn’t have a lot of value to you specifically.

You see a lot of negative news everyday about climate change, politics, the pandemic, mass shootings, etcetera. I know, I get it too. Which is why I want you to know that every time I make a post, I make a conscious effort to offer a shard of light in the darkness. Hope takes shape in many forms and comes to us in unexpected ways. Hope like nature, belongs to us all. The worst we can do is give up. I’d argue that we owe it to future generations to keep trying to do better. Some things can’t be solved in one generation. Do what you can in a way that works for you. I know it’s rather blunt, but someone in high school told me, “Don’t bother complaining if you’re not going to offer any solutions.” I took that to heart. It’s true that whining isn’t going to help. I do what I can to try and offer solutions and maybe I don’t have the right solution myself, but maybe it inspires someone else to get it right. Shouldn’t we all be on team Planet Earth?