A nice overnight backpack…

…for me in national forest. I was near water on some stretches of the trail.

It was nice to sleep in the deep woods again.

I awoke to temperatures in the high 30s F on this August morning at about 4500 ft., then warmed myself with a hot brew.

But the ongoing political unrest. I guess it’s just one part of the perfect storm underscoring the inevitability of universal basic income (UBI). The storm being the lack of jobs increased by the pandemic, swift rise in unemployment, and political unrest in which years of insufficient income and unaffordable housing and health care factor in. Many of the jobs existing pre-pandemic won’t return. Judging from my town, many people have recently joined the ranks of the homeless. Cars are now parked at homeless encampments, and I think some may have been parked in their lots and driveways not long ago. Blocks where there were sporadic tents near businesses now have shuttered storefronts with side walks lined with tents, in some parts of town. It’s not as hidden as it was, either because the pandemic is causing municipalities to stop scattering and pushing around the homeless, or shelters more easily reach capacity due to social distancing requirements. Many homeless are not what I call needy. I can’t call anyone needy who simply has the same needs as I have: access to food, water, shelter and a toilet and shower. To me a needy person is someone who’s after the unnecessary; like a bullying or controlling individual addicted to the control, an addict needing unnecessary chemicals, other excesses, etc.

But back to the political unrest, on the electoral level. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision the worst case November scenario. We’ve got a president with a real estate development and entertainment background who wants a show, be it his reelection inauguration or a dramatic rejection of defeat. If he can’t have an inauguration, he’ll have a bigger show. Worst case, I’m imagining. If he holes up in the white house after his defeat, I can see white supremacist and other right wing militia trying to guard the white house. But retired military brass oppose his reelection. Powell has said the president’s “drifted from the constitution” (and Powell said he’s voting for the Democrat instead). Mattis is not voting Republican in November and has said the president is actively dividing the country, which smells slightly of succession. These are politically heavy endorsements of the Democrat. Retired military brass are likely in touch with current military brass. If the defeated president holes up in the white house guarded by right wing militia after the Democratic win, the USA military may very well shew away the militias and evict the squatting president to vacate the building for the president elect.

The president could lose in November. Prominent Republicans including the agriculture-tied Lincoln Project, and the retired military brass, have abandoned him and endorsed the Democrat. Libertarian-Republican Weld is now endorsing the Democrat. Evangelicals haven’t abandoned the president, yet. If the president loses the evangelicals, all he’ll have left is the white supremacists, which are too small a voting block for success. I’m sure I’m leaving out some voters.

The current chaos threatens domestic and world markets. The market will be protected, maintained, propped back up. UBI may play a role in the USA.

I admittedly think about in-town life when I’m in the deep woods.

Hikes and Rides

Being homebound during the week got me out for the weekend. Yesterday was for a big loop ride. Rode all day, and even stopped for a break for a short hike to catch-up with a friend south of home. But just after Redmond, I had to stop for a shot of these senior members of the Cascades SW of the town:

Then today a hike in an area closer to the hometown. For some reason the rivulet patterns in the ditch caught my eye. Mini dams made of pine needle, twig, and silt. Can’t discern them well in the picture, but I consider them the sculptures of winter rain runoff:

Sounds in the woods again captivated me. The wind, creaking, and birdsong:

And this bird beautifully flew over me when I was experimenting with the zoom on my camera. (You really need to select the high definition setting at playback):

Being stuck at home all week is really making me and allowing me to explore on the weekends. It’s mainly solo, but still very nice. Seems to occur at the right pace when solo.

There’s a connection between…

…the woods and urban areas: the homeless are generally not allowed. I’ll expand on this further down.

On an errand in town I wonder if the emptiness of the bus strictly reflects unemployment, or also people switching to safer modes of transport.

I still shoot out to the woods of the coastal range partly because it’s only 40 minutes away. With friends this time, enjoying the presence of eagles (or are they hawks?):

Back in town I see homeless encampments being allowed to stay, finally some rest. I find explanation on neither regular news nor homeless press/news. It results in encampments larger than I’ve seen before, and cookfires, which I’ve not seen before. I’m happy for them not being harassed for simply staying in a small spot on public property — for simply being. And I think I’ll bring them some fuelwood for their cookfires; it also would free me of thicker pieces of yard debris that won’t fit in my shredder.

Anyway, the tolerance by city government must be covid-related. Perhaps based on the thought that the routine of squeezing them into smaller, out of sight areas would result in city government being viewed as a failure at slowing the spread of the virus. Or perhaps it reflects social distancing reducing shelter capacity. Anyway, the homeless are usually not allowed to live somewhere; they’re generally pushed from spot to spot by police, chamber of commerce, and other players who have an audience that can push.

But I think that if homeless people learned how to forage, shelter and otherwise sustain in the woods instead of in the city among guns, nightsticks, and other elements of government and crime, they would not be allowed there either, technically. There are restrictions there just as there are in town. But the experiment may already be underway for all I know. In town, dumpsters, soup kitchens and shelters are more immediate food sources unless one knows how to forage. But of course there are also street entrepreneurs selling addictive chemical highs to addicts who’d find no such businessmen in the woods. And in a sense, most in civilized communities cannot part, and wouldn’t want to part, with luxuries and services we’ve developed dependency on — which also includes addictive highs like from wine, whisky, craft beers, foodie cafe carbs and coffees. Really, where can one draw the line between culture and addictions? Extremes on a spectrum are easy to spot. But distinctions or lines are nebulous, often fictions based on convenience, and have less utility than dysfunction. Wait, maybe Pirsig’s philosophy of quality helps with some of this confusion; I’ll have to relearn what it is.

I wouldn’t want to live in the woods like my ancestors did. Unless I was stuck in homeless, urban street culture that I see from the train. And on the train. If homelessness were my starting point, then which would have more potential: staying in town, or moving to the woods? The next question is Potential for what? For doing what? For experiencing or accomplishing what? I think creative types and cell phone junkies both need culture that the woods couldn’t provide. If you create with an electric guitar, there is tactile and resonant interaction that just isn’t available as a tool — and can’t be experienced — on acoustic instruments.

The woods are still just a place I like to visit. Kind of like some cities.

In the greenery

I did get out recently for time among the trees and critters. This time of resurgence of people heading to the accessible and established trails has me finding little used areas near them. Walking in them offers something peaceful contrasting with goings on in the city. My neighborhood is about the same, but downtown isn’t. I walked into this green area:

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It seems the sounds are more telling than snapshots:

The birds:

And more of their songs:

When leaving the maintained road or trail and going deeper into the woods, I think about how I could be prey to a bear or big cat. And how organisms just eat each other. And how our procurement of meat and poultry differs from their predating. And how our level of consciousness enables us to be above unnecessarily killing and eating compared to other animals’. We don’t even need meat because we’ve developed cultivation. People, including me, are appalled by the current culling occurring due to the meat and poultry industry losing market share and labor force during this pandemic. But they’re not talking about how animals are killed under normal circumstances for our eating. As much as I enjoy meat and poultry, I don’t think I’ll return to buying and eating it. The idea of breeding and “raising” animals to just be killed, sold, and eaten is something I can’t keep hypocritically opposing. I feel bad for the involved labor force too, but they obviously don’t have it as bad as the animals. Of course I’ve no sympathy for the farmers and agribusiness. They’re lamenting their loss of market, labor force, livelihood, and tradition. But their livelihood depends on death. Sympathizing would be absurd. They’re lamenting culling over butchering. It’s hard to believe I’ve supported this. And that I still miss eating these animals. I don’t even physically feel different vegetarian than I do omnivorous. And regarding tradition, as a teacher of mine said, traditions are made to be broken.