View from Nowhere

The news makes you feel terrible and guilty and ashamed. But you jones for more, popping outrage or fear or morbid curiosity like a junkie on the good shit. These dealers don’t disappoint—they even give it to you free. Brought to you by advertising. Advertising makes you feel terrible and guilty and ashamed. What a loser I am, I’ll never have this thing or travel to this place or wear this style.

Consumerism appears to be a misery-based system, a distortion of reality as unnatural as big fake boobs, yet we desperately need the what’s left of the jobs that make it happen. This polarization of principles is so ingrained we think it’s normal. Exactly how much is the politically correct amount to enjoy life? Is the key to happiness acceptance or aspiration? Gratitude or greed? Or is it just being true to our own delusions?

In an endless cycle of madness, the news stories that sicken us when exposing sweat shops, diamond mines, factory farming  and all forms of human and ecological exploitation are bankrolled by the same companies that produce and advertise these products from hell. Many of us in our hearts feel manipulated. Some of us become freegans by necessity, some really try to break free, and many are just owned by the system—the cult of the follower. In some futuristic world it will be politically correct to effect a global campaign against overpopulation but until then, the planet convulses in desperate imbalance.

I took maybe a thousand pictures this year, making up blog post titles as I went, but in the end none seem worthy of more than a caption. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, I have too much. And with the holiday season coming up, I may well augur my head firmly into the hard red Arizona sand, as I don’t wish to get caught off guard hyperventilating through some evil diamond ad or cringing at Black Friday anarchy videos. Consumerism is like a chain of mob bosses, each rung generating new predators in the midst of hard-sell hysteria.

So what is real? For me it’s a brief moment of relief from routine gloomwatch. A blink of anti-bleak. A lizard-brained lapse in my neuro-guerilla-theater-of-the-damned. Here are a few of those moments.

Alligator lizard in my driveway—looks like a snake with legs.

One of my customers throws apples out into his yard at night and they're always gone in the morning. He got a birdcam and we are thrilled to discover who's eating them!

One of my customers throws apples out into his yard at night and they’re always gone in the morning. He got a birdcam and we are thrilled to discover who’s eating them!

What's better than an elegant little gray fox? Two of them.

What’s better than an elegant little gray fox? Two of them.

This has got to be the offspring of an adult regal horned lizard I've seen in my yard in previous years. I am so honored. I keep my water stations clean and they love it.

This has got to be the offspring of an adult regal horned lizard I’ve seen in my yard in previous years. I am so honored. It means I’m doing something right.

Saw this old cowboy traveling down Hereford Rd. with his packhorses.

Saw this old cowboy traveling down Hereford Rd. with his packhorses.

He was a seriously cool guy. Just rides around the country. He gave me a paper about a Christian organization whose purpose is feeding people. I gave him $10 and some directions.

He was a very cool guy. Just rides around the country. He gave me a paper about a Christian organization that feeds people. I gave him $10 and some directions.

Best monsoon ever this year. So many frogs and toads and critters of all kinds. Our driveway is a popular spot because the porch light attracts lots of yummy insects.

Best monsoon ever this year. So many frogs and toads and critters of all kinds. Our driveway is a popular spot because the porch light attracts lots of yummy insects.

A curious leaf bug

A curious leaf bug

The swallows came as they always do and had two broods on the porch light. The juveniles like to snuggle as long as they can, until they're almost full grown.

The swallows came as they always do and had two broods on the porch lamp. The juveniles like to snuggle as long as they can, until they’re almost full grown.

Right before the swallows leave for the winter they are very active and busy. They must be planning. The parents and their two broods of three (one died) gathered on the street cable beginning of October, and then they were gone.

In the days right before the swallows leave for the winter they are more active and vocal and close-knit than usual. Then the parents and their two broods of three (one died) gathered on the street cable beginning of October, and then they were gone.

I borrowed my customer's birdcam and got the best pictures of the Mexican longnosed bats since I've been here.

I borrowed my customer’s birdcam and got the best pictures of the Mexican longnosed bats since I’ve been here.

I wasn't able to record their acrobatics as well with my camera as well as the birdcam does.

I haven’t been able to record their acrobatics with my camera as well as the birdcam does. Look at the barren mulberry trees—we had a Tussock’s caterpillar plague that stripped every mulberry in town. That’s another story.

The birdcam picked up these javelinas too. Nobody really wants them in their yards though because they can be aggressive.

The birdcam picked up these javelinas too. Nobody really wants them in their yards though because they can be aggressive.

I've been going over the border more for a couple of reasons. There are so many strays, it's so depressing. I could not walk by this emaciated, sick little guy I saw on the street. I picked him up and took him home. I thought they might give me some trouble at the border crossing but they didn't.

I’ve been going over the border more often for a couple reasons. There are so many strays, it’s so depressing. I could not walk by this emaciated, sick little guy I saw on the street. I picked him up and took him home. I thought they’d give me trouble at the border crossing but they didn’t.

Here he is a week later, healing physically and mentally. I can't keep him so when he is fully healthy he will make a loving person and wonderful pet. Border Animal Rescue (praise them) are helping me with his vet bills. He weighs four lbs. and how he ever survived on the street is a mystery.

Here he is a week later, healing physically and mentally. I named him Dante. I can’t keep him so when he is fully healthy he will be adopted into a loving home. Border Animal Rescue (praise them) is helping me with his vet bills. He weighs four lbs. He probably wouldn’t have survived much longer because it’s so cold at night now.

Jada, Blitz, Rabbit, Mops. I don't know why people are always saying cats and dogs don't get along, or that you have to be a dog person or cat person. It's a stupid myth that needs to be let go.

Some members of my family, Jada, Blitz, Rabbit, Mops. I don’t know why people are always saying cats and dogs don’t get along, or that you have to be a dog person or cat person. It’s a stupid myth that needs to go.

I was walking out in the scrub with Jada and met an earthy woman who showed me her home. It's an honest to god mud hut complete with outhouse. I had no idea it was there.

I was walking out in the scrub with Jada and met a woman who showed me her home. It’s an honest-to-god mud hut complete with outhouse. I had no idea it was there.

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20 responses to “View from Nowhere

  1. Great pics! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cool pics. Well worth the effort. Good luck with the pup. And yes, cats and dogs can get along just fine. My “dog-in-law” would be lost without his brother the cat.

    • Thanks. Dogs and cats can be trained in mutual avoidance but what works best is a good thwack on the snout by a dog-savvy cat. It puts a quick stop to cat chasing and promotes interspecies harmony in no time.

  3. So refreshing to read something real. Something that’s not media spin, not manipulation, not politically correct b.s. You have no idea how badly I needed this right now. Thank you.

    • Well, thank you—we had a conversation a while back about media/advertising/clickbait and now I can’t stop seeing it everywhere, permeating every source of ‘information,’ being taken to new logic-defying levels every day. Add the algorithmic filtering of what we see online…it’s like our beliefs are ‘under the influence.’ And that’s a disturbing direction.

      • Yes, very disturbing. I worry about what all this media is doing to society, and how people’s beliefs are being mutated by the media delivering false information to rile people up and achieve higher ratings. People continue to believe what the media tells them without doing their own research, without questioning any of it, and it’s sad and a bit terrifying. When did we start allowing ourselves to be so manipulated?

        I have to say, though, things like these pics are a breath of fresh air. That cowboy is straight-up cool, and the javelinas? I had no idea an animal like that lived in the U.S. Looks South American to me! We have leaf bugs here and every time I see one I think it’s a creature straight out of fantasy.

        • Agree and agree…then people parrot or link what they saw in the news on social media and thousands of people ‘like’ it without ever offering a challenge or a question or even an additional thought. It’s all just too easy to not think.

          The traveling cowboy was fascinating, to see someone who is living his life exactly how he wants to. I kept him for 45 minutes with questions (damn, I forgot to ask him what kind of tree he would be hahaha!) because of course I want to know what troubles he faces on his journey too. The poor javelinas knock over trash barrels, etc., and sometimes get themselves shot. I think they’re pretty exotic too though, and love to spot them.

  4. Oh, gosh. I’m just back from a digital detox — a week on the Rio Frio on the fringes of West Texas. No internet, no media, no phone. Living without being able to at least make a phone call is always instructive — and when I say “without being able to,” I mean it. There’s a huge chunk of Texas that has no cell coverage whatsoever. I came home and cancelled my Verizon USB modem that I’ve been using for my laptop. Why pay for something that’s useless? (So soon old, so late smart, as Grandma used to say.)

    It was an interesting experience — so interesting that, since coming back, I’ve been nearly unable to tolerate what’s passing for “news and information” on the radio or internet. The point so clearly is to make us either angry or fearful. That seems to be the only choice. Anything that doesn’t fit the narrative of the day simply isn’t reported. Ah, well.

    I’m thrilled to see a post from you, and love every single photograph. I tried to pick a favorite, and can’t. I will say I’m quite taken by the fellow on his journey. It’s almost an affirmation that my recent decision to create and live in an alternate universe — one where such cultural practices as argument-for-the-sake-of-argument aren’t allowed — may be possible. I enjoy people, love the world, and prefer freedom to constriction. If “they” try to take away my freedom to enjoy and love, well — they’re the ones who are going to be booted out. So there.

    Great to have a post from you. I always enjoy the way you stimulate my thinking, and give me something beautiful to ponder.

    • Angry or fearful or lustful. Sounds like you had a great rehab, and something I would love. And wow, you didn’t die from not having an internet connection! Who knew? Every single magazine I read for work pushes a lifestyle where you are at NO time disconnected. Even hiking magazines promote all these high-tech GPS and batteries and an astounding array of products you can’t survive without. Huh, I thought hiking meant something else.

      Yup I’m with you on trying to avoid the media, though you really can’t no matter how much you want to. It’s always in your face, but you sure don’t have to go looking for it.

      I like the alternate universe plan. Think we’ve had one foot in it for a long time already…

  5. I could not agree with you more about consumerism. It certainly seems to be plague-like, does it not? These photos, particularly the gray fox, toads, javelinas, and leaf bug are first rate! No caption required at all. They all tell a perfect story without any words. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Bill, yes it’s out of control and very unpleasant. In the next few weeks I’ll get asked about a hundred times, are you all set for Christmas are you all set for Christmas are you all set for Christmas? Yup, all set, I say. I take these psychological/consumer surveys online for a little extra cash (very little) and I just did one that asked where did I shop on black Friday, what did I buy, etc.—it’s assumed! I love unleashing my honest feelings on these.

      The heavy rains this year brought an amazing variety of creatures. Millions of grasshoppers too. I don’t mind them but the caterpillars were awful. Good to hear from you.

  6. It is not a view from nowhere. It is a view that I could live and die for.
    D, you are an amazing person, and I am honored to have known you. If words could reveal the feelings I have as I look at this world of yours (and at you), they would be one of gratitude, of grace and of pride.
    That in this chaos (both inner and outer) that I find myself in, you, from that distant land, can make me smile and feel a moment’s peace – I count that as a true blessing.
    I couldn’t have asked for a better way to feel more human. You are an anomaly in this era of self-help trash, click-bait journalism and pseudointellectualism.
    Somehow, in our efforts in living this life, we have forgotten to value what is truly respectable. We revere what should be condemned and condemn what should be revered – the land, the living forms, the people who make a difference.
    You are always there in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Red, thank you for your beautiful comment. I think I have lost my way, along with my grace and gratitude, so thank you for bringing me back down to earth. I know this has been a difficult year for you and yet you remain so grounded, it’s an inspiration.

      Self-help trash, lol. I know a man here who speaks self-help and nothing else. It doesn’t seem to be helping but what do I know—it may well be healthier than this affliction of awareness. That’s the irony of innocence, or ignorance.

      Sometimes we have to block our ears and eyes at the deafening intensity of humanity’s most obscene traits. There are so many good people quietly doing the right thing, the ones who make a difference in something other than corporate profits.

  7. Hoping you have a great New Year and some wonderful adventures amongst the wilds of our world!

  8. Yay! One of my favourite bloggers is blogging again. Apologies for the belated reply, but I have been somewhat avoiding the internet in an effort to recapture my favourite pastimes. Like you, I have too much to say also, but have been trying to find a more productive place to say it, I suppose.
    I trust you have been well. You have most certainly been missed. 🙂

    • Hi Antony, yes we’ve both been scarce. There are a number of reason for this (time issues mostly for me) but honestly I find having too much to say kind of paralyzes me. There is little I don’t have an opinion on, leading to those constant racing thoughts—I’m writing paragraphs in my head all day, but if I said what I really wanted to say I’d have to deal with the world of PC which I can’t stand so I end up silent.

      I’m glad you’re indulging in some favorite pastimes—and let me know if you find a more productive place to have your say!

  9. D, are you receiving my emails?

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