On a financial site on-line there was a pundit that proposed that we have a line item in our monthly budget for some “decent human behavior”. My thinking is a video class in decent human behavior for 15 minutes a day in schools and required in bars and lounges and coffee shops before a drink is poured or expensive latte is consumed. But, beginning to address the issues of abundance versus scarcity and the belief the “there is enough for everyone” to shift a collective mindset from needing more and more and more to be considered worthy, probably needs more than 15 minutes.
Of course, a rational definition would be required first and all the black and white and grey areas addressed. But, funny enough, my belief is that most human beings already know what is decent…even if it is difficult to always do the right thing.
If you notice the picture at the top of this post you will see what a few friends are doing in the course of trying to be decent. Today, Saturday, we set a hundred pieces of winter gear out in Denver’s Civic Center Park that is a gathering place for those who live on the street most of the time. Scarves and hats and ear warmers and new socks were left with notes for the people most in need. We had interaction, even though it was very early, with several people who needed the gear very much as the weather had shifted overnight. We did not harm trees, basically using metal benches and concrete balustrades as places to tie our metaphors of warmth.
Among our family and friends and neighbors and thrift stores on half price day, we found enough to share with people who actually needed a warm scarf or pair of socks as opposed to the ones of us who have many to choose from to match our various coats. My personal goal has become to have one of something and hopefully one to share or loan or give away. How many winter hats will you wear on the gurney in the crematorium?
Another personal goal for the winter is to start a conversation with groups I know to help define what decent human behavior is in our particular culture, age, gender, ancestry, neighborhood and economic group to see if the actual human behavior of being civil and decent should be more important than any of those tribe expectations.
How could we manifest that behavior in our lives in addition to starting the seed of a scarf tree ? How can we speak of it in conversations to help people shift?
Today was an experiment that was exciting and next year our flash mob of elders and friends will be larger and louder.
Share hot chocolate with a neighbor,
My psyche craves seeing wide open spaces and horizons that are closer to a 360 degree view than 90 degrees. This may come from growing up in the western part of the US or the DNA from the pioneers and wanderers of my ancestry.
Instead of chocolate for physical nourishment, two weeks ago a trip across the mountain to Durango was in order as a treat for the eyes and heart and soul. There is history between myself and this part of the state and several of my oldest friends and my brother and his wife live there. My psyche is very aware of the mixed feeling of returning to one’s past to see the scenery, but knowing that the introspection can be brutal. But, extraordinary elders in training also understand that you can’t always choose what experience will be the “best” to help you on your journey through this life.
A trip in autumn through the Rocky Mountains allows for a dose of beautiful colors and Mother Earth’s wonders that are difficult to see in a city. Travel across the state from north to south abounds in various ecosystems along the way and subtle changes in the landscape every two dozen miles. I have driven this route more than 50 years in all seasons and seldom tire of it or approach it with certainty. A dust storm across the fields in the San Louis Valley, the slick road and blizzard getting across Kenosha into South Park, deer and antelope crossing a road at dusk, and a family classic, my needing to take a nap break when I was the driver with children, and stopping atop Red Hill for my brain to shut down for a few minutes. Every trip leaves me with the same abiding sense that while, being allowed to pass this way again, it is never guaranteed in this vast space of nature and time.
As a driving trip full of memories and full of the joy of a bright blue sky, the shades of brown and yellow and green and red showing all around the season enveloped me. Looking more closely you can see that the leaf of a cattail is brown a the top, moves to a dark yellow as you proceed to the green at the base of the leaf. All the seasons of life for the year shown for all to see.
This year, when passing by the Collegiate Range, the clouds in the sky required a longer look. Recently having become a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, an obligation to cloud watch was presented me and I could not resist fulfilling my duty. There had been fog in Turkey Creek Canyon and ventricular clouds after that and now a huge Cumulonimbus with its lower half starting to slosh with liquid to water the mountains.
The rest of the trip was filled with migrating flocks of birds and at my brother’s a large family of Colorado blue birds helping him irrigate with his water allotment, by hopping on the sprinkler heads set in the field. The land he and his wife and animals live on is outside of Durango to the south. On the other side of the road from the ranch some of the farms refer to their spot in the landscape as the edge, or rim of the mesa. But the true mesa is behind the Hudson land and standing at any spot gives me the nourishment of the long line of horizon and enough open space to breathe. That, at the end of the trip, is a beautiful thing.