Monday, September 24, 2007

This, Then That

I needed Satan. Oops, I kneaded seitan. OK, actually I kneaded gluten because it’s not seitan until it’s cooked. Or, as for some mysterious reason they refer to it here in Minnesota, mock duck. Not a big deal really, but it’s the first time I’ve made my own. Whatever the small cost of the flour, soy sauce, and onion and garlic was, it didn’t come close to the $4 charged for the premade box and I made about five times as much. True, it doesn’t really taste as good so I’ll have to look for some more recipes.

A hot and hazy morning for late September, with leaves turning and falling. Took some time to enjoy some spiderwebs in the sunlight on a railing overlooking Lake Superior, with a couple kayakers passing and a ship anchored. Last night I saw Gordon Lightfoot sing his famous song about one of those ships which couldn’t handle what the Lake had to offer.

I’m rereading Into the Wild (about Chris McCandless’s vagabond life which ended in starvation in Alaska) in preparation of seeing the movie of the same name. This was an important book to me when I first read it ten years ago and remains a very powerful subject for me because I share many of his values but didn’t make his choices, and reading it again is causing lots of reflection about my own life. We’ll see if I feel like making a soul-baring entry, or just social commentary, after seeing the film.

Good news...it appears the government can’t just yell “Ecoterrorist!” and be guaranteed a conviction. Last week, Rod Coronado’s latest trial resulted in a hung jury in favor of acquittal. We might learn later this week if they intend to try again. Here’s a link (probably temporary) to a new LA Times article http://tinyurl.com/3d3nc8 which gives the basics of the case via an article focused on three vegans who went to jail rather than testify. It doesn’t mention the government witness whose inflammatory testimony of what Coronado said was disproved by a tape of the speech which the prosecution hadn’t known existed. Whether you think Coronado’s past acts are heroic (my inclination) or terroristic (the opinion of whalers, hunters, animal researchers, the government, etc.), it’s nice to know that sometimes the facts still matter in a courtroom even in these Green Scare days.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Opening Day

It’s opening day of the three-month-long citywide bow-hunting season here in Duluth, though they start it later in the areas more heavily used for other purposes. Whenever I think of this going on, I truly loathe the fact that I live in this city. They’ll tell you how safe “harvesting” (not killing) is, of course, but still it’s not that great for public relations in a tourist-driven economy for the average hiker or birdwatcher to have bleeding deer run by, or to stumble into a pile of entrails. As the hunting group’s rules state, “the goal is to keep the public unaware the hunt is taking place.” Keeping the public unaware is the goal of many politicians and CEOs as well, and most of the public is happy to cooperate.

I planned to write two entries on the subject, had a couple nifty titles planned, one for eloquent arguments about deer and human populations, the causes of those populations, family tradition, keeping in touch with one’s inner caveman, all the usual hunting debates, and one for the raw disgust and rage and sadness I feel over the matter and the people who take part in it. But I’ve written many columns and letters on those subjects since moving here, and the idea of writing it all over again didn’t hold much pleasure for me. If I wanted writing to be a chore, I suppose I would have made a living at it. I think creativity needs to have a spontaneous and joyful birth, not an outline.

Still, within a few miles of me as I write this, there’s a deer being shot, leaving orphans and friends behind. I have little doubt that phrase strikes most people as ludicrous, sentimental, anthropomorphizing, blah, blah, and blah. And that’s the problem. As long as humans set themselves apart as unique and superior, they’ll always have contempt instead of respect for other life.

Winter is coming. It was about thirty degrees when I headed out this morning, but I put on too many layers. The sun is still packing heat. I’m longing for the first snow, and hoping for another big one this winter which will shut down the human world for at least a few hours, muffle the noise and stop the cars. I’ve been busy making plans for a trip which will include a vegetarian festival, a farm sanctuary, a whale watch, a primate protest, veggie restaurants, a great arboretum, concerts, real bookstores, a visit with my long dead mentor Henry, and waves every day instead of only when the wind blows a certain way. There’s joy. As long as I don’t think about that deer. Just need to keep myself unaware.