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    I rant…I rave…

    2013 - 06.30

    deep in the mountain

    Sometimes I rant…Sometimes I rave… and sometimes…I…take…a…breath….

    Every day, we the American people, sit in our homes, our trailers, our motor homes, our cars, or our tents; perhaps we sit in cardboard boxes under the freeway. We eat, we drink, we go shopping in malls, post on our Facebook pages, go to the library, go dancing, watch videos while we eat popcorn, go to a bar, go to church, text on our i-phones, buy cars and houses we can’t afford, and play video games. We eat food that is killing us, loaded down with pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, preservatives, additives, antibiotics, food coloring, genetically modified, and irradiated non-food ingredients.

    Food that does not nourish, but encourages obesity, the growth of cancer cells, mental illness, our kidneys to fail, our livers to atrophy, our hearts to stop, is not the only unpalatable crap we swallow every day. And just like the food that is killing us without our awareness, but with our consent, we allow ourselves to be duped into complacency, complicity and apathy. We allow the powerful to bully us, without calling it bullying, without calling it what it is, “being ruled”; but by calling it by the fantasy name that we have put upon our acquiescence of abdication of our own… personal… ethical… action; “governing”.

    We are lulled and duped into believing that all is well, that all will be well, that killing and torturing in the name of weapons of mass destruction and fear, because it is done in the name of democracy, releases us from what we all are at this moment in time; war criminals. We allow it to happen, we turn our youngsters into killing machines, on the streets of Iraq and Arabia, Chicago and New Jersey. We sell weapons and trade favors to the highest bidder, and then we wonder why we are hated as a nation.

    We turn our faces when we see children dying by violence that we have perpetuated as a nation, in Afghanistan, and then we allow the children we have sent to do the killing to come home, mentally tortured, homeless, and broken. We are appalled that a woman living in the Middle East can be stoned to death for having sex or for showing her face in public, that people living in China throw unvalued infant girls into rivers or dumpsters, and that African park rangers slaughter Elephants and Rhino’s simply for their tusks. Yet there are those in these United States that would make birth control for women illegal, that condone the massive slaughter of dogs and cats every day in animal “shelters” around our country, that allow chickens to be stored in cages so small their feet grow into the wire, and while they are still living, cruelly, cut their beaks off to stop the “pecking order”. We hate in the name of the Bible, and kill in the name morality.

    We discriminate, and subjugate, and allow cruelty and deprivation, and then we go to church, to synagogues, to temples, to the woods and praise Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh and the Goddess. We are a country of contradictions…of dichotomies…of horrific cruelty and sometimes, unbearable kindness.

    I am guilty. I know that, because I do nothing. My life is not on the line to right the wrongs, the governmental and corporate abuses; the inhumanity. I know that the government of the United States that we see on the news is not the real government. It is not the behind the scenes political maneuvering, purchased by big business and industry, the wheeling and dealing of armchair warriors, moving the game pieces across the board, pumped up with the need for power, glory, and conquest. Born of greed and arrogance our elected officials are part of a club that most of us never are invited to, never want to be invited to, and if we are, if we choose to join the bureaucracy, with star spangled eyes, we start out full of ideals and end up horribly compromised.

    Our elected government daily passes laws and bills with last minute amendments that kill us; kill our families, our planet, our spirits, steal the inheritance of our children and suck the innocence from them to be left dry as bones turning to dust. We practice “an eye for an eye”, we torture and maim in the name of freedom, justice and Jesus. We allow the IRS to steal our money illegally, tax the poor till they are homeless and watch as the wealthiest among us purchase jet planes and nights in the South of France wearing shoes that cost as much as a teachers yearly salary, and ball gowns that cost as much as a years-worth of college tuition, with money saved from tax-shelters and deductions the rest of us can only dream of.

    In this land of $24,000 Gucci purses and $30,000 Brooks Brothers suits, I have held the hand of a senior adult sleeping in a card board box; dying from malnutrition. I do not deny that hard work should be rewarded, but also submit that equitable distribution should prevail.

    We walk with our collars turned up, our faces turned down, never making eye contact in case we are forced to be aware of the need and pain and utter desolation that travels across the faces of some of those who are on the journey with us…Of course there are those of us who risk a glance up, once in a while, and see beyond the protective bubble we surround ourselves with. We know there is despair, but we also know there is hope. We know there is injustice, but we also know there is healing. We know, but we feel impotent; not up to the task. So we bend our faces back down to watch our feet trudging onwards without connection.

    Do we continue to go blindly, not the few who are called extremist, left wing do-gooders, but the “us” the seething mass of humanity just trying to muddle through buying groceries, paying rent, catching up on our credit cards, paying our power bills, our tax liability, do we ignore the destruction of our planet? Do we allow the frackers and polluters, big industry and oil, inventors of death weapons and death drugs, both legal and illegal; including genetically modified food, the power junkies, the privileged few, who move us around like a game of pick-up-sticks, out of short sighted greed, take from us our basic human rights?  The right to breath clean air, to drink clean water, to eat safe nutritionally dense food, to live in shelter, to find safety in sleep, to raise our children to adult hood, to cradle our grandchildren in our arms, to live without fear of violence and rape; the rape of our planet, the rape of our souls, the taking by force, that which is not theirs to take, those thieves of humanity.

    Do we continue to allow those who cannot afford health care or health insurance to die because they lack financial resources? Are we out of touch, out of caring, out to lunch? While our moms and dads, our children, our siblings, our neighbors, gasp their last breath, lives that could be saved, if only they could afford the cost of the treatment, the cost of the bill, the cost of the forced insurance to providers who are not healers, but money changers. When does the cost become too great? When do we err on the side of humanity? When do we stand up with our knees knocking, breathing in as much courage as it takes to rise up and say in united voices; ENOUGH!

    When will we hold our elected criminals accountable for dragging us through power struggles we have not agreed to support? Why is it we simply comply with the dictates of our governmental ruler’s whims? When will the lives of all of those sharing this planet earth; the humans, the animals, the plants, the water, the rocks, become more important than our own human need for validation of our superiority? When do arrogance, cruelty, and ego take a back seat to compassion and love? When will humility, kindness, and gentleness be the measure of life’s successes, instead of wealth, material gain, and power?

    I do not have these answers. I only have the questions. But I do know that every day that we allow anger and hatred, bitterness and resentment, envy and greed, to rule our hearts, to define our actions, to create excuses for our global behaviors, than the world becomes a harsher place, we will continue to be broken, and hope is as futile as pissing in the ocean.

    One voice…that is all each of us have, one lonely voice singing an isolated melody. But when we unite our voices together we create a choir that has interwoven strands of harmony and color, strength, intensity, and grace. We create a song of life.

    There are glimpses of hope. Black Women, wearing white, sitting in protest, blocking violent and cruel African War Lords with the only weapon of Peace they have; their words and their fragile human bodies…Children on a playground encouraging a youngster with cerebral palsy to finish a long run; running along with him chanting, “Go Mattie Go” cheering him on and hugging him as he crosses the finish line… A young homeless man wrapping his only blanket around an elderly homeless man, “he needs it more than me”… A brave young girl standing up to dangerous terrorists in Iraq, speaking out to champion the cause of education for girls in the Middle East, a bullet shot into her brain, and yet today, still inspires us with her bravery… The woman risking her life to rescue a dog in the middle of a hurricane, sheer will power pushing her against the wind… and the thousands of people who join together one day each year all over the world; Japan, Serbia, Holland, Germany, India, Pakistan, Israel, the United States…to give total strangers a free hug for peace…70 of our neighbors and volunteer fire fighters who risked their own health to stop a racing forest fire, 250 feet before it could reach our home…Glimpses of hope that remind us why we chose this assignment, why we put on suits of bone and skin, breath and vision; hearts that pound with radical compassion, with unerring grace. Hero’s simply because we are, just by being. Blessing the universe…

    Today, I join my voice with those who seek to light the world with goodness, to not be bogged down with uncertainty. Today, I exercise my ability and gift to choose. I choose to be involved. Today, I will give away a part of me, the heart of me, that which is connected to the best of humanity. Today, I remind myself to breathe…in…breathe…out…Today; because I make this choice the vibration of this planet has been raised. Today, if we join our voices, our choices, if we honor one another, all life that lives on this living breathing organism we call our Mother Earth, if we find common ground, if we respectfully engage, not only do we create a world where evolution brings fierce joy, but through this creation we nullify those energies that destroy, that break down, that corrupt.

    When Love walks into the room, fear must leave. When Light walks into the room, darkness is banished. When Spirit arrives, ego must flee. When we are brave enough or fed up enough to finally peer out from underneath our collars we will finally understand that by looking through eyes of love that which we see in the child, the woman, the man who is walking beside us…. is simply the face of God… looking back…

    Behold The Man

    2012 - 12.10

    This post was written by Beverly’s husband, Ken.

    I recently traveled from New Mexico to Seattle for business and this time I drove versus flying. As always I have some favorite play lists compiled on my iPhone to keep myself entertained. My listening tastes span a wide range of genres from Symphonic Metal (Within Temptation) to County (Trace Atkins, Gretchen Wilson, Terri Clark) to 80’s pop (Prince) to alternative (Beverly Graham). Depending on my mood I’ll start with any one of these, switching play lists as the mood shifts.

    On this particular trip I had difficulty settling on any particular list. I’d start one, quickly tire of it and switch to another. Then I realized why; I needed to listen to Beverly’s full catalog. A couple of taps on the iPhone later and I had what I needed. As I have lived through most of these songs as either a listener or actual participant in the content, each has some special meaning to me.

    Although I do not consider myself a religious person, I have participated in sufficient religious ceremony to understand what is for me, enough. I do however have a significant spiritual connection to most things in my life, even though I keep much of it to myself. If you have ever pondered what it may have been like to in some way experience the crucifixion of Christ, the songs linked at the end of this post will probably be the closest you will ever get.

    “Behold The Man” is a deeply emotional account of this event through the eyes of the song’s author. Normally I can (and do) only listen to this song once or twice a year. That is about all my emotional foundation can take. The entire album is filled with great material but this is the one song I must skip frequently. Find some time, you’ll need about six minutes, where you can listen to these two songs uninterrupted. Dim the lights and use some headphones or quality speakers. “Behold The Man” will take you on a journey that taxes your emotions and seemingly leaves you in a mess and wondering what to do next. But then, “Rise Again” will follow and gently bring you back to a normal, heathy state of mind and all will be well again. But you will have a new, or possibly renewed sense of understanding of what you have just experienced. Enjoy!!

    Click the link below to listen;

    Behold The Man – Rise Again

    New Years Resolution

    2011 - 12.31

    A week ago on Christmas Eve, Ken and I were walking with Ava, our 3 year old granddaughter through the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM. The Plaza is in the old part of town and there are hundreds of specialty shops all through the streets and buildings. It is not shopping for the faint at heart because the prices are quite lofty. Mostly we were window shopping and looking for a toy store. I stopped in one store to ask the price of a belt with a silver buckle; $575…and right outside the door, standing on the street in 25 degree weather, playing an old wooden flute was an old man with long silver hair. He was Native American, and he stood without a jacket playing his flute for the quarters and dollars people tossed into his case. All that affluence surrounding him, shoppers dropping thousands of dollars on jewelry and wall hangings, pottery, clothes, furs, and toys, and then walked past the old man and either ignored him all together, or tossed pennies into his case. No one spoke to him. No one looked at him. He was invisible. I watched him for a long time… and he has lived in my heart since.

    That night people filled the cathedral and sang “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All”, celebrating the birth of a small child born to people who were homeless wanderers. People who would not have been able to afford a $575 belt buckle.  I wonder if we would pass them by, or stop and throw a couple of quarters without speaking to them. I wonder if they too, would be invisible.

    The most celebrated individual in the whole entire historical world was not a king, was not wealthy, had no power, no belongings, and no money. Yet the life of this child, born to paupers; Jeshua Ben Josef, who was Jesus, who is the Christ, has impacted an entire planet. Sometimes we remember from the inside what all this is supposed to mean, but mostly we pay attention to the outside, to the hustle and bustle, to Face Book, Twitter, our I Pads, cell phones, texting, email, to reality TV, Sports, Game Shows, Judge Judy, America’s got Talent; too busy, too important, too arrogant, too involved with our own selves and uninvolved with the feelings of those who sit on this green planet with us. Maybe it is because there are so many of us. Maybe it is because even if we are aware and we want to help, we feel impotent.

    What can we do? There is so much pain, how can we change any if it? It is easier to walk past, eyes straight ahead, than to confront it and see ourselves reflected in the eyes of those who stand in need. Not because we are callous and cold and unfeeling, but because we are fearful and we don’t want to show it.

    What if, just for a moment, we stop and look into the eyes of that old man standing in the cold with no coat, playing an old wooden flute, hoping that someone will notice that he is alive and breathing and in need? What if, instead of passing him by, we stop and embrace him? What if, when we sing, “Peace on Earth, Good Will to All” we really mean it? And we take off our coats and wrap it around that old man. What if, by our actions, he learns that he has value and that he is loved? What if this is the true meaning of peace?

    This is my New Years Resolution…To never pass by another being, human or animal, who is reaching out for help… never again… But how will I know that they need something?  I will just ask…

    2012 here you are.

    What if…

    2011 - 05.22

    It seems the world did not end yesterday, May 21st, as it seems it was going to…

    When we are born we shoot naked and squealing through the womb. We cry when we are hungry, and someone feeds us. We cry when we are cold and someone wraps us in a blanket. We cry when are wet and someone changes us. We cry when we are lonely, and someone picks us up. Even though we cannot speak, we communicate our needs and someone understands us.

    As we grow we observe and learn communication techniques. We aren’t aware of this, but it is happening with every word we hear, every look we see, every gesture we witness; our little brains are firing and picking up how we will relate to the world.

    When we become adults somehow we believe that everyone we meet and interact with, should and will know just how to communicate with us. They should know how we expect and want to be treated, shouldn’t they?

    But do we know how to treat others? Do we know how to listen? Do we see what others need from us when we speak to them?

    None of us know when we go to work, go to a party, go to church or the grocery store, how those we meet along the way have learned their communication skills. We don’t know if they were cuddled and loved, listened to, read to, consistently praised, gently reprimanded, or if they were tormented by an older sibling, saw a neighbor kick a dog, cursed by a mother, listened to constant bickering of their parents, watched a father hit a mother, ridiculed by a teacher, tormented by their playmates. We don’t know what joys and pains arrive with others as they enter into adulthood.

    But what if we tried? What if, when someone is rude, or angry, or spiteful, we listen with something other than our ears, our pride, our arrogance and our need to be right? What if, instead of reacting with indignant resentment, we could see the small child, scared and confused; a child that needs comforting and reassurance? What if we had the opportunity to reach backward and heal that child of their pain? What if, instead of lashing out in anger, we reach out with care?

    What if we could spare someone embarrassment or shame by backing down, backing off? What if one of the lessons we are all taught, instead of competition and winning, is how to gracefully turn the other cheek; to change the energy, diffuse the anger…

    What if we were all taught the art of forgiveness; for others and ourselves? What if, when we say we forgive, we truly do? What if we take the broken pieces of humanity, and piece by piece, we knit them back together like a broken bone that becomes whole again?

    What if we could see the world as it was meant to be; without greed and hatred, cruelty and toxic emotions and waste. And when we finally understand, what if we then, throw down the words we wield as weapons, and allow love to be our armor and truth to be the shield?

    Maybe, this is what is meant by “the end of the world is coming”… The end of the world as we know it might not be a bad or scary thing. What if it is the beginning of grace?


    2011 - 05.20

    Dickie Bird

    Twenty five years ago I bought a young cockatiel. I wanted a parrot or a cockatoo but thought I had better start small to see if I could keep a bird alive. I named him Dickie Bird after my father Richard Graham. When Dad was young his nickname was “Dickiebird”.  My dad was a bit of a hellion and so this name fitted this rascally cockatiel as he was also a bit self willed; not at all like the sweet little cockatiels you have seen riding around on shoulders in pet shops. Dickie’s propensity to biting fingers, taking out whole chunks, contributed to his infamy.

    Every morning Dickie’s cheerful songs welcomed in the new day and his repertoire after 25 years was extensive. He was inquisitive and funny and full of life. He welcomed all of our guests and was frequently the center of attention.

    Dickie survived four major moves and myriad comings and goings of other animal friends. He sang at the top of his lungs through every band rehearsal, and competed with me when I met with clients to help them choose music for an event. He loved his big cage, his toys, and his organic food.

    A few weeks ago Dickie began feeling his age. He became a little crabby and slept a little longer. He only wanted certain foods and snoozed through his morning songs. When someone is with you for 25 years, they are a part of your life, your breath, your love.

    Dickiebird died in my arms this morning as we sat in the New Mexico sunshine together. I let him bite me without complaint because I knew it would be the last time. After taking two healthy chunks from my finger because I wasn’t holding him exactly the way he wanted to be held, his little brave heart just gave out. A bit of light has left my life today.

    Thank you for all the years of joy you gave me, Dickiebird. Fly free, my little friend.


    2011 - 01.13

    There was an old guy around 82ish that we called the “Rev”. He had a long beard, gnarled hands, walked with a bit of a hunch, and always carried a bible. Sometimes he preached fire and brimstone. Everyone in the line was very tolerant of his outbursts. For several years, every day, he walked up the hill and a couple of blocks from the Morrison and stood in line for a lunch. He always asked for 7 lunches and told us he was taking them to the “old guys” down at the shelter because they couldn’t make it up the hill. So every day I gave him seven lunches…

    One day of the guys in line said to me, “Queen B (by this time my nickname had changed) do you know what that old man does with those lunches?” I told him I did know. That he took the lunches to the “older than 80 men” that could not make it to the meal site. He started hooting and laughing and everyone that could hear were shaking their heads and grinning at me…I stood there waiting for his laughter to subside so he could fill me in on the joke. When he finally contained himself he said, “That old man doesn’t give the lunches to them… he sells the lunches to them; for $3 each!!!

    Hmmm…  7 x 3…$21 dollars a day. The “Rev” was an entrepreneur!


    2010 - 11.21

    Our beloved friend Missy passed to the other side this evening. She is 14 years old and could chase a green tennis ball endlessly. At the end she was surrounded by those she loved the most and wrapped in a warm blanket and even warmer love. She insisted that she would breathe her last breath by herself and that she would die as she lived. Full on… She did not want the decision of life and death taken from her, and so we gave her this gift. It was not easy. When you share your life with an animal friend it is usually inevitable that they will leave the building before you do.

    My daughter, full of grief, wondered if she had done enough, loved enough, paid enough attention. We give what we can, we learn from our misgivings, and we move forward with the knowledge that we too are organic beings. Just like the tomato plant we spring from a seed, we stretch ourselves to the light, we blossom and grow, we are fruitful, we ripen, and if left on the vine long enough, we begin to wither, and finally to go back into the earth to begin the cycle once again.

    Death is the final journey in this life. Sometimes it is quick and startling, sometimes it is long and drawn out, sometimes it happens when we are young and sometimes it happens when we are old bones; but happen it does… to each of us. This is why each breath that we breathe should be fiercely joyful, even if it is a struggle. We have earned the right to breathe, simply by our triumphant entrance through the perils of the birthing tunnel. We traverse the unknown; sometimes in joy, sometimes in fear, sometimes in wonder…We use the tools we are given or the ones we have unearthed by our own ingenuity and we live…we breathe… we chase the green tennis ball until our tongues hang so far out of our mouths that they drag on the ground…and still we do not give up…we are running towards our own humanity…our own evolution…And if we are lucky, in the end, as we enter the next birthing chamber, we will be surrounded by a warm blanket, and warmer love…Journey well, Missy. We love you.


    2010 - 11.20

    It is hard to believe that yet another year is winding down. We are bundling up, putting on our rain boots, and carrying our bumbershoots. We draw inwards, we are more still, we gather the warmth around us and we wait for the rebirth of the sun. It is not coincidence that this is the time we, as a nation, communally reflect on all we can and should be thankful for. It is also a time to remember those who need our assistance to find comfort.

    Maybe it is the cold, or the shorter days and darker nights. Maybe it is the end of harvest and brightness of summer. Whatever causes this moment of collective awareness of gratitude and the unanswered needs of others, it has the potential of releasing grief, uplifting spirits, and shared grace; if only for a moment.

    We don’t need to change a life forever… sometimes offering a moment of ease and understanding will provide peace and comfort; a delicious warm meal, a mug of hot cider, camaraderie that lets us know that we are not on this planet alone and not expected to do it all ourselves. We, after all, each of us, only have this moment to make a difference. Each of our moments adds up to a lifetime. Some of our lifetimes are long and some are rather short, but the potential of greatness in humanitarian behaviors do not rely on the amount of time each of us is given on this earth plane. It relies on the depth of our love and compassion. Life insists that we break our hearts wide open, so that we, each of us, can be givers of grace. It is why we are here, yet so often, what we forget. Not because we are non compos mentis, but because we are so utterly human. Sometimes the little messages simply pass us by.

    Let us pay attention in this season of repose, to the potential of our own greatness of generosity, ability to forgive, and capacity for being love in action. Let us recognize our sameness’s and honor our differences without judgment, prejudice, or lofty apathy. As the song goes, “let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”.

    the word

    2010 - 09.26

    In the beginning there was the word, before the word, we did not exist. Words have power… I don’t mean just the speaking or writing of them strung out in sentences, paragraphs, or novels; but the vibration of them as they enter into the energy of the universe. When we give voice to our thoughts, our ideas, our dreams, we can change the world…Ruin it…Save it…

    We are keepers of the flame. Sometimes it is a smoldering ember, sometimes it is a fire blazing, chasing away the darkness, the boogeyman of our minds, until we are surrounded with the grace of possibility; the taste of vowels and consonants, dangling participles, verbs, adverbs, nouns, and pronouns. Why is my voice important? Because inside the words that I hear I am reminded that we are all on this journey together, walking steadily towards our own evolution, and becoming fully anthropos. My voice is important because it is your voice, speaking through me, with the cadence and rhythm of life.

    People in Stone houses, shouldn’t throw glass…

    2010 - 08.28

    People in Stone houses, shouldn’t throw glass…

    You know what I mean… glass is fragile and shatters, stone is rigid and unbending…

    When I was in my 20’s I purchased a brand new house that turned out to be formaldehyde toxic. After five years of chronic illness, a test on the house showed the toxicity. I was told to “get out”…  With my two young children in tow, I did get out, but the damage had already occurred to my immune system… Although in the early 80’s they did not understand, nor have the ability to tell me what had happened, in 2000, they did. An environmental specialist, medical doctor, discovered that my auto immune response from that five year exposure activated a killer T cell over production. Over time I had several other chemical exposures that re-enforced this army of killer T cells, who, when unable to find a true enemy, decides that one of my body parts is good practice in eradication and goes after a gland, an organ, a bone, an eye,…They do not discriminate and they are mindless killer’s.

    One time my neighbor across the street on two acres, just for fun, got out his mondo sprayer, hooked it into his pond, and began spraying his property with a powerful herbicide, on a very windy day. He showed me in my organic garden! The over spray hit me while I was working outside. My first clue was not the odor of the herbicide, but the blood dripping out of my mouth from the tiny blisters that had formed there. By the time I got back into the house, stripped of my clothes and jumped into the shower, I had silver dollar size welts all over my body and couldn’t breathe. That time I ended up in the emergency room. My neighbor told my husband that I did not have the right to live where “normal” people lived. His ducks went into the pond and died from the poison…That neighbor did the best he could with the tools he had in his tool chest.

    So we began looking for not so normal people, and we ended up on Whidbey Island, in Washington, where many chemically injured people end up and where mostly there is an ecological consciousness. This went well for 14 years on our five acre, green built Sanctuary until the property at the beginning of our private road was purchased by individuals that stripped the forest of its trees and put in a manicured and well sprayed environment. There is the use of something like round-up, (an herbicide which causes chemical castration) daily,  just in case a dandelion has the nerve to think about seeding there. At times the smell of pesticide is so severe that it is not possible to drive past their property with the windows rolled down. But, these neighbors do the best they can with the tools they have in their tool chest.

    Our dream was to find a place that was safe from “normal” people and at the same time continue to be a part of the positive stuff in the universe. So after another four years of dodging this neighbors chemical bullets, we left our safe home of 17 years and made our exodus to New Mexico to 100 acres of pristine land and a house that we had been assured never had a pesticide or herbicide used anywhere in or around it….Oh, until, wait a minute, the day before we arrived with all of our life packed in the utility trailer, when the owner, who was storing their belongings in the garage, decided to place moth balls around the stuff to keep the mice away… Just moth balls right? They are not a pesticide, right?

    This is straight from a USDA website…

    Mothballs are made of white crystals of two very dangerous chemicals, para-dichlorobenzene (1,4-dichlorobenzene) and naphthalene. Both chemicals are solid at room temperature but produce very strong vapors. Mothballs are sold as flakes or pressed into cakes.

    Both of these chemicals are fumigants and must be present in high concentration to be effective. Concentrations high enough to be effective for pest control is dangerous for anyone exposed to them.

    Yes, dangerous for “anyone” but deadly to someone with an over production of Killer T cells. This unexpected exposure, without warning, without conversation, without thought, was like driving over a land mine booby trap. KA-PLOOEY, just like that…my life changed…again…Because keeping out a pest was more important than not damaging a life…So…from the moment of our arrival in New Mexico,  I have been ill. The dream, twisted…Weird illnesses that only the killer T’s can produce…All my lymph nodes swelling to the size of peach pits from my neck to my groin, causing excruciating pain…blood in my mouth… high speed tremors…painful, bleeding, rashes…liver malfunction…kidney malfunction..lung malfunction…acute vertigo…high blood pressure… My normal blood pressure is 90/60. Outside the house it is 90/60 inside the house it is 150/102…Rapid heartbeats, food that won’t digest because these Killer T’s now see the digestive tract as perhaps a “sneaky enemy”…and the list goes on… I kept trying to figure out if I was receiving other exposures, after all, if they didn’t consider moth balls a pesticide, what else might there be that I don’t know about? So besides the physical stuff, my paranoids have resurfaced as well. Is everything the enemy? What do I trust? I trusted the landlord, their word…

    At any rate….part of me wanted to lash out and say “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?” They told us that they had asked the handy man if he thought the mothballs would be “harmful” to me, before they placed them down,  and he said “no” so on his expert opinion, they applied the pesticide. They did the best with the tools that they had in there tool box.

    Another part of me did not want to see the landlord embarrassed, hurt, or humiliated because of a failing in my body…my inability to be “normal”. How messed up is that?  That part actually ruled and I took the hit, without complaint. Why did I stay…I don’t know why…I didn’t want to whine…I didn’t want to fail…I didn’t want to go backwards I guess…I didn’t want to be defeated…But eight months later, several trips back to Washington to be treated medically, rent paid to NOT live there, and I just no longer want to be ill…or be dismissed for not being “normal”. I have learned this lesson…

    I don’t know why I am not “normal”…I do not know why I am the canary, flying enthusiastically down the poisoned mine shaft…I don’t know why I have had so many chemical exposures that have caused so much damage and caused my body to over respond…

    I also am not sure how I have lived for the past 30 years without using one pesticide, other than diatomaceous earth or peppermint, or one herbicide, other than chili peppers or corn gluten as a pre-emergent, or one chemical, literally not one. Bi-O-Kleen soy spray instead of WD 40…Ecover Hydrogen peroxide bleach instead of deadly chlorine… Enzymes to clean with instead of chemicals…Green products are so readily available for any chore…

    So why do we continue to poison the planet? Ignorance is not an excuse when the information is there for anyone who takes a moment to do the research… Are your kidneys failing, do you have throat cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer? What type of environment do you live in? Do your carpets out gas formaldehyde and benzene? There are 120 neuro-toxic chemicals in a typical sample of carpet. Toxic chemicals can be found in the fiber bonding material, dyes, backing glues, fire retardants, latex binder, fungicides, and anti static and stain resistant treatments. A list of these include: formaldehyde, toluene, xylene, the potent carcinogen benzene. Have your rugs and furniture been dowsed with flame retardant and gassed with pesticides on the boat before they are shipped here? Do your babies crawl on these rugs and sleep in these beds? Does your child have asthma? Or leukemia? Have you created for yourself a toxic environment that you believe to be safe, because why would they use these things and sell this stuff if it wasn’t safe? Did you know that flame retardants are banned for use in the State of California?  Are our European neighbors more intelligent than us? Because they banned the use of many toxic chemicals 20 years ago, while we, still are poisoning ourselves and our own loved ones…Does that make sense? Even Canada, just a hop, skip, and jump away has banned the use of garden chemicals…The products we use are safe…”Right? Why would they be on the market if they weren’t safe…Like Teflon Pans…or hornet spray…round-up, or moth balls…

    We are a country, maybe a world, that walks slowly towards the suicide we commit each day that we poison ourselves and our planet with products we haven’t researched and things we deem “safe” because someone making a buck assured us it would make us happier, more beautiful, with less work, less effort…

    We hold our noses and jump into the vat that has been prepared for us by the almighty corporate dollar. Only sometimes, we are making that choice for another human being, who doesn’t want to jump, who doesn’t want to die…just yet, because of something, somebody else chose to do that caused irreparable harm…Choices made for our  grandchildren and their puppies.

    I don’t know what the lesson is I am supposed to be learning from all this…yet……But I do know this, if I am responsible for damage to another, even unintentional damage, I make amends…I do not excuse myself… and I ask forgiveness. If I am not forgiven I work towards reparation…If I did not do these things then I would not be walking towards becoming fully human… It is not about you…your stuff… your lessons… I can’t control those…but I can control my response…

    There is a song by Emerson. Lake and Powell, (after Palmer left the band) called Lay Down Your Guns…Ken and I danced to it as our first dance song at our wedding, 24 years ago. Maybe this will tell you how not normal we really are…

    The lyrics are…

    Lay down your guns I come in peace
    No need to run my friend into the trees
    We’ve been through this so much before

    But still we get it wrong

    Lay down your guns and stand up strong…

    And though the cut is deep
    We can heal it, trust me and keep
    Your spirits high
    It should be easy now that we’ve talked it over
    And God knows we have to try

    Maybe stone can bend, not be quite so rigid, maybe glass can become a bit more resilient, a little less fragile…or maybe we can be more careful not to shatter it, and maybe we could try to understand how hard surfaces became that way…

    Maybe not standing up for myself and just moving farther out of the world was the thing that just allowed my son’s landlord to walk onto the property they are renting and spray a potent herbicide on the scotch broom in the pasture where my precious four year old grandson plays…where they thought he was “safe”…no cars, no strangers, no danger… Fuck That…

    I laid down my guns a long time ago…Now I am picking up my pen…