Monday, August 22, 2016

FIRST PUPPY OUT OF THE BOX--CELEBRATING DARLENE


WHAT'S IT LIKE HAVING A WHIRLWIND FOR A SISTER?---IT'S EXCITING AND INSPIRATIONAL.
Years often go by before I actually lay eyes on her.  That's why I treasure this picture from my archives because in 2013 we accidently crossed paths in a small town in Louisiana and she had a few minutes to spend with me in my rig.  Here is the great lady herself at my humble table eating something I whipped up.


Also from my archives when she was in town to address some group or other.  Her official title is DOCTOR DARLENE because she has a PHD.

I've asked her office to send me some official picts of her.  If they do I will post them.

Today is her birthday---an approriate time to introduce her to my readers.  I will try to give you some sense of her with this poem.

                DARLENE:
FIRST PUPPY OUT OF THE BOX


From a litter of puppies you must have seen
that special one, given by nature
an extra measure of spirit; and so
is first to climb out of its box;
daring to go when others stay.


Like that puppy, Darlene was first out of the box.
The whole community saw that it was so!


And there was more: Nature granted her
an extra measure of imagination;
visions of new possibilities.
I have always stood in awe
at the boldness of her actions.


At age 13 she rented a local school building;
produced and starred in
a packed house variety show
that entertained our whole town.
We gladly paid the twenty five cents admission.


For a lifetime she has amused and inspired us
with her enterprises.
Her adventures are legendary
too numerous to recount---
and have spanned the globe!


For a lifetime she has led her friends and family
out of the box: to Jerusalem, Ireland, Australia, Iran;
84 countries in total.
She seduced thousands into her adventures.

Dance was and is her enduring passion,
made most visible in a ballroom setting;
gliding with graceful swirls and energetic snaps;
sexy to this very day.



Obstacles and mishaps have not dampened her spirit.
Moving through them, she stands bold and lively at eighty.


She has been a pioneer for a new ethic of joy;
casting aside drudgery, damnation and dullness.

Were she born to royalty
she could have ruled a great nation.


Personalities that combine Vision with Boldness
likely led humanity down from the trees and out of our caves,
and are our best hope for a happy tomorrow.


I love and admire you my sister
and celebrate your special gifts and contribution
on this special day--Aug 22nd


Poppy



Wednesday, August 03, 2016

KENDRA---LITTLE GIRL WITH A BIG IDEA


Half of our people selected this new Campsite overlooking Buena Vista--the other half chose a spot along the river below.
One day two riders clomped by on their way up a mountain.

Hours later on their way down, they stopped to chat.
Meet Kendra and Beth--from Missouri and their friendly mounts Jack and Sleepy.
Kendra has not seen the mountains before.

They chatted a long while--answering all our questions about horses and horsemanship.
The big news for me came when they pointed out the unusual bridle both horses were wearing.
If you look closely you can see the big news---NEITHER BRIDLE HAS A BIT IN THE HORSES MOUTH.
You understand don't you that a bit is a  metal crosspiece normally fitted in the back of the horse's 
mouth at the tender junction of its lips so that when the reins are pulled,  a firm (if not painful) signal is sent to indicate a right, left or stop message. 
Beth is the owner of many horses and  she puts no bits in any of them.  She is teaching Kendra a kinder, gentler way to get obedience.  This spirited little rider told us that a slight pull on either rein could be easily felt by the horse and if the rider has a good relationship with her mount, no pain need be inflicted by a bit.
She demonstrated getting Jack to back up--asking him verbally while pulling back easily on both reins.  Jack walked backward!!

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  OH SWEET PEOPLE--do you get the message----and the metaphor?
FORCE IS NOT NECESSARY TO GET COOPERATION FROM A HORSE.  Maybe affection is enough in most cases.  What a marvelous message to give the world.
I was so impressed--I sat down and celebrated Kendra with a poem:

KENDRA 

Come to the mountains and ride Kendra ride,
with grandma Beth by your side Kendra side.
Put some goodies in your pack;
Saddle up sleepy and saddle up Jack;
Swishing their tail as you ride up the trail;
No telling when you two will be back.

How high up will Kendra go?
She might go up as high as the snow;
Clear to the top and look right down
On pretty Buena Vista town,
And a valley so green it's fit for a queen
And the Arkansas river so fun to float down.

Come back Kendra, you're welcome again,
And welcome the pinto with lovely mane.
Ride with courage the pony of time,
Not knowing the future, it's rhythm or rhyme.
 With grace and grit ride your horse without bit
Up all mountains you choose to climb. 
.

Friday, July 29, 2016

BREAD ON THE WATERS --AN AMAZING RETURN STORY

Eccleastes 11:1-6  Cast you bread upon the waters and after many days it will return to you.  So says the Bible.
Two days ago a car drove into our camp and this tall gentleman got out and approached my rig---said are you Randy Vining?  I said yes.  He said: 40 years ago you did me a big favor.

Meet Mark Shepherd---a real life philosopher from Denver.  I did not remember him or the favor till he gave me the details.
Turns out he was visiting New Orleans 40 years ago in his RV and needed a place to park while seeing the area.  He made his appeal at the local Unitarian Church and I granted his request.  He stayed 2 weeks or so and became intrigued with our Commune.  So much so that he started his own community back in Denver--which is still functioning.
He has read my blog for some time and decided to look me up.

BUT THE BIG STORY HERE IS THE GOLD HE GAVE ME.
(I remind you that gold for me is good information, ideas, inspiration, or hope)


1. He lifted my spirits with his personal life-adventure story--establishing a community--getting a masters in philosophy--confirming my belief that the self is fulfilled in community.

2. He reacquainted me with the philosophy of Haidt author of THE RIGHTEOUS MIND--why good people are so divided over politics and religion  http://righteousmind.com/    Haidt has cleared up the mystery of why people hold such different opinions politically. Click here for a brief summary of his eye opening ideas. Or here   for a great TED talk on youtube.

3. He summarized for me the philosophy of  John Rawles Author of A THEORY OF JUSTICE.

4. He told me about a fascinating community nearby where people live in foam houses--a long time fascination of mine. Curious? click here.

5 He listened intelligently to my ideas about THE BAND OF BOONDOCKERS and the effort to pattern a new mobile culture.

6. He offered me a place to camp in the Denver area.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  YOU VERY LIKELY DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH OF YOUR EVERYDAY DOINGS ARE GUIDED BY PHILOSOPHERS.  I have read that primitive tribes in the Amazon often have individuals of speculative mind and subtle thoughts that are for practical purposes philosophers.

A great visit and I consider myself well repaid for the bread I cast on the waters so long ago.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

NO ORDINARY CONVERSATION--SHAPING A CULTURE

GROUPS ARE A BLESSING AND A CURSE.  HOW TO GET THE BLESSING AND AVOID THE CURSE IS THE CHALLENGE BEFORE US--OUR BAND OF BOONDOCKERS.
Pictured below is one tiny (but important) aspect of the challenge: Group conversation.

Here we are, with some guest,  in the cool mountain air of Leadville, Co, (elevation 10,000 ft)
This is no ordinary conversation, however, this is more like a salon conversation. (read more if you're curious)  Basically salons are focused, intelligent conversations  for pleasure and information exchange,where one person talks at a time and addresses the whole group.

Our group has "organically" evolved into a mobile salon. I remember this session in particular as fun and hilarious:  We discussed periods in our life when we were a Jerk---and how we escaped jerkdom.
Here is another organically evolved tradition of our group:  A SOAPBOX.  Whenever one of us feels very strongly about a point--we provide this stool for them to express themselves as forcefully as they choose.  Here, Kathy is making an impassioned defense of Mexican culture,

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  HOW WONDERFUL IS ENLIGHTENED CONVERSATION.  How different from idle chatter and contentious bickering.  I am delighted with the quality of our people and our interactions. I picture our conversations as a tumble of ideas----and like rocks in a tumbler polishing each other. 
I have no grandiose notions---but I remind my readers that one focused discussion group--organized by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia (he called it his Junto) generated ideas and actions that gave America it's first fire department, street lights, lending library and the University of Pennsylvania.

EVOLVING A CULTURE:  A culture is a shared pattern of behavious and interactions.  Our intention is to "organically" evolve our culture--Just feel our way along--discussing issues as they arise. We sharply distinguish "traditions" from rules--the latter imposed--the former invented by consenus. Here are a few current traditions and some I hope are on the horizon:

We define ourselves as a mobile band of boondockers--No designated leaders--. 

Have separate rigs and money and usually travel separately---assembling at an agreed upon place.

Use electronic connectedness--phones--text--facebook--emails.

Membership by invitation

Respect privacy--rarely knock--prefer texting.

Encourage members to leave and reconnect at will.

Purpose: to enjoy and enrich our lives.

On the horizon--not yet fleshed out--is a proceedure for dealing with any tensions that might arise and an exit proceedure.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

TWO FARMERS----WHICH WAY TO THE FUTURE OF FOOD?


Meet "Little Charles" --A really smart and modern farmer in Northern Louisiana.

He farms 5000 acres of corn and soy beans.

With the aid of this super duper, electronically responsive, self driving equipment

and his strapling, equally bright son on the left. (the lady is my sister--the guy in red won the lottery 20 years ago and just amuses himself)


Now meet Tom Dixon--a retired contractor, who got "seized with the miracle of things growing."

and bought this 3 acre farm south of Santa Fe, New Mexico and started a COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE project. Dozens of his neighbors pay $25 for a share of the vegetables grown here.  Each receives a heaping basket  every two weeks. The surplus is taken to a farmers market and sold.
One interesting feature is that people are given the option to work for their share of food or be paid to work.  He hires teenagers at a fair wage.


That's my longtime friend Bushrod leading me to the tomato greenhouse.  I was complaining that I'd not tasted a delicious tomato since Mexico.  Just at that moment a hand reached me a tomato from inside the doorway.  I ate!  It was delicious.  Tom then introduced himself and explained that these were a very special hybrid species from Monsanto and each seed cost about 30 cents.

We walked the 3 acres, marveling at the variety being grown.  There were 2 ladies pulling carrots.
Notice the drip irrigation system. Water is precious here and treated with respect.

I turned to the south and was "smitten" by this magnificent tree.  Something akin to love and wonder swelled up in me.  I hope you've had a similar experience.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Bushrod is so enamored of this tiny farm, the taste and quality of the organic vegetables it produces, the intelligent use of water, the non use of pesticides or fertilizers, (uses composts)  using garden debris for chicken fodder, eggs as a by-product, Farmers market sales of the surplus etc---that he gave me a $100 to tell you about it.  He suggested that I contrast the high productivity of this tiny farm with that of my Nephew's 5000 acres--providing little or no direct food for people---except indirectly as meat.  He believes that America and the world needs to reassess how much meat we eat and what it costs the environment to produce it.

Tom Dixon and his three acre farm are an inspiration and could turn out to be a model for the future if  the environment begins to rebel against our excesses.  We all may be compelled to resurrect our "victory gardens".  I come away convinced that a small garden can feed a family.

And I caught a glimpse of the wonder of growing things that inspired this artist-of-the-earth.

I do not mean to disparage my nephew's farm.  Until the Tom Dixons' of the world persuade us to catch the grow-your-own spirit---my nephew and his kind are feeding the world--and we would starve without them.

One final thing--Tom did not seem to fear genetically modified food.  And if he doesn't--neither will I.








Monday, June 27, 2016

SOMETHING GRAND AND DEAR IS HAPPENING HERE

THE SPEARPOINT OF A LIFESTYLE REVOLUTION--Rubber Tramp Rendezvous Summer 2016
About a hundred of us

In a wide variety of vehicles

Came from far and near (one flew in from Equador)


To assemble here in the forest near Flagstaff, Arizona--At the invitation of this man--Bob Wells--writer and philosopher of http://www.cheaprvliving.com/blog/


to attend a RUBBER TRAMP RENDEZVOUS.

Our group the 1st BAND OF BOONDOCKERS was well represented.  Kathy makes friends with a bird.
AND THE BIG GUNS--CAME ALSO--meet Rachel Bujalski--a professional photographer--researching alternative lifestyles--see some of her work here in the National Geographic.

She was everywhere---shooting--learning.


Meet Ellis--professional Magician--the best I've ever seen.  He makes a very good living as a Busker.

I trust you will remember Laurie--co-founder with me of the Quest for Community Caravan  and featured in the movie: WITHOUT BOUNDS,  See it here.
Also my colleague CB--co founder of the 1st Band of Boondockers---here entertaining us with a hilarious joke.

One day a group of us went exploring in the nearby Lava River cave.


RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Yes I think these people are the beginners of a quiet revolution:  mostly against RENT, MORTGAGE, HOME OWNERSHIP, FIXIDITY, EXCESSIVE CONSUMERISM, DRUDGERY AND FOR FREEDOM, FRUGALITY, MOBILITY, SIMPLICITY, SELF EXPRESSION AND CONNECTION.
An estimated million of us are currently on the road.  I believe that most of us live this lifestyle to win for ourselves the opportunity to know ourselves and give our gift. (All anyone ever wanted to do was contribute)








Saturday, June 11, 2016

VISIT TO A CITY OF THE FUTURE

COME WITH ME TO THE WORKSHOP OF A GENIUS. This man's Ideas will influence the development of world culture, ecology, architecture, philosophy and YOU.

                                                            Meet Paolo Solari




He envisioned and inspired this:  The world's first ARCOLOGY
located halfway between Phownix and Flagstaff, Arizona.
We decide to go see the place.  Kathy dresses brightly in one of her many flashy gowns.

CB takes a load of us from the 1st BAND OF BOONDOCKERS.

We have dinner in their cafeteria.
Look at their exhibits--watch a film--then make an amazing discovery.


Here's one of our own: Eva.  Years ago she modeled for Paolo and there she is in a book of his drawings.  She has a titilating  story to tell about that session.  Will add it at the end of this post.
Kathy, Barb and Jo (to remember the moment)

RANDY SUMMARIZES PAOLO'S PHILOSOPHY.
1. Civilization began when humanity began to live close together behind defensive city walls.
    Density increases contact, communication, exchange of ideas, skills, products and invention.
2. A great evil of our age is URBAN SPRAWL. It is wasteful of resources--separates us--ruins the natural environment, creates an insulating CAR CULTURE.
3. We can save our environment by living densly again in beautiful, connection-stimulating ARCOLOGIES (architecture/ecology). Think Beehive cities of about 5000 people.
Here's a fair article from the NY Times about the current state of the experiment.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I support Paolo's philosophy that connection can be enriching.  It is a central point in our BAND OF BOONDOCKERS, a mobile community even less damaging to the environment and more stimulative of connection than Arcosanti. I don't think he gave enough thought to the PATTERN OF THAT ASSOCIATION---a crucial detail we hope to remedy. I am preparing a post comparing the patterns of association in various Indian Tribes and the dramatic differences they make.

EVA'S TITILATING STORY:  While visiting Arcosanti some years ago--Solari was in residence and doing charcoal drawings of (beautiful) women.  A posted notice asked for models.  Eva volunteered and sat for him. (nude)  In mid session he asked her in his charming Italian accent:  May I "keese your neeple?  She said no!