Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

Drawing Breath—Speaking up for Lungs of the Planet

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ ENCLAVE—
IWSGers Speak up for the Planet

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Thanks 2Alex for getting on our case—writing-wise

Happy New Year to all Insecure Writers! And to the world at large.
Mostly, thanks to our prolific host and Ninja Cap’n, Alex, for allowing us crazies free rein on his excellent forum. It opens writerly doors, and allows us to vent, when things go wrong. May we all survive—nay, plunge into—this year and follow our dreams.

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local  'Resource company' under umbrella of social conscience offer to 'open woodland to public'

Sore Patch hidden by powerful local ‘Resource company’ under umbrella of social conscience offer to ‘open woodland to public’

2015 saw many changes in awareness of common responsibility for our country’s finite resources, both nation-wide and internationally, bringing accord which would have been impossible a decade ago. Politicians are—with careful research—actually clearing desks, allocating reserve funds to deal with the atmosphere-environment.

It is no longer an ‘issue’. Climate has become real time—Western nations’ new goal—to do good by the planet, our only home.

But don’t hold your breath.

Rattle in Seattle as Farewell to Old Ways
West Coast shakes over New Year ranged from Mag.4.7 in Seattle through M.6.2 Nevada/Utah border, to M.4.1 off Ferndale, CA. Judging by whale movement—on late migration south delayed by warm northern waters—quakes and movement are happening on the coastal plate, where the Gorda fault fissures to join its subterranean sisters under (human habitat) the land. Several landslides along the coastal Scenic Drive route north of the Eel and Mad Rivers—in Humboldt County—have made travel ‘difficult’—official sources.

Once again we realize our Earth Mama is shaking her feathers—a little ruffled by now with all the oil extraction and fossil burning we’ve been up to.

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Seattle, Nevada, Baja Mexico echo New Year Mediterranean quakes

Lieber kleiner blauer Stern [Pale Blue Dot auf Deutsch]
Menschen habt ihn endlich gern
Tut ihm nun nichts mehr zu Leide
Nicht den Bergen, nicht der Heide
Nicht den Wiesen, Mooren, Flüssen
Nicht den Wäldern, Vögeln, Fischen
Liebt den kleinen blauen Stern
Pflegt und schütz ihn
Habt ihn gern
courtesy M.Asgardh

Snakes, ants, beetles, redwoods and humans—we all travel the Milky Way together and share the planet’s blessings
John Muir, founder of Sierra Club

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah

Volcanoes, dormant since the dinosaurs, generating lightning storms in Nevada-Utah


Latest round of seismic unrest included quakes in Oklahoma, causing power outages, and widespread flooding damage in Mississippi basin.

In Pacific NW, several dormant volcanoes shook over New Year, alongside multiple larger (Richter Mag.4.2 or more) earthquakes rippling along faults extending N-S along West coast United States. Authorities remain vigilant, with such heavy movement currently underway.
If Mama is shaking us, what is it we’ve done to get her so annoyed?

Well, let’s take breathable air, for a start—yes, we decimated Earth’s fossil trees—so, what are we doing about it?

Headwaters Forest—Tragedy of 1990s

Trying to measure up to 1000-year Old Growth Redwoods is harder work than forestry companies imagined

“Standing among these ancient trees, a thousand years old perhaps, I am humbled by how long it takes to restore these forests. As I take one last look up into the stratosphere of canopy before heading back into the glaring light of second-growth, I wonder at the rôle of restoration in recreating the beauty I see before me. I think it will be a very long time before our forest will be what it once was”
David LaFever, Bureau Land Management Ecologist, after 2001 restoration attempt

Headwaters Forest was purchased in 1999 by State and Federal government agencies, and put under permanent protection. Clear-felling practice was legally reduced to a 20-40-acre maximum.

The logging industry finally sat up and paid attention. Its own resource was decimated; salmon runs and ecosystems had suffered in a mindless race for economic gain, with only table scraps left, in the view of Humboldt State University forest scientist Steve Sillett. ‘The challenge now is to improve management on the 95% of redwood landscape (felled) that is just starting into regrowth.’

Old Growth Sequoia Groves
Old-growth redwood forests are structurally diverse, with a range of tree sizes, reiterated tree trunks—high tree and stand biomass—and with complex canopies. Headwaters old-growth is characterized by a mixture of redwood (Sequoia sempervirens, 50-70% of overstory) and Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga Menziesii, 30-47%) with a density of 70-80 trees per acre. Conversely, unthinned second-growth stands are dominated by Douglas Fir (60-80%), with density of over a thousand trees per acre.

Sequoia sempervirens, redwoods as big as a Boeing 707

Growing trees like a crop of grain is no longer the enlightened view. Scientists from HSU have discovered that the older the redwood, the harder and more disease-resistant is the wood, and the tougher its ability to withstand weathering, damage. That there is more life-support value in one 1000-year old Sequoia, than in a thousand 10-year olds.

Forestry attitudes are changing too. Heavy Caterpillar earthmoving tractors, that caused such erosion—skid trails—with consequent pollution to streams and spawning pools, are being replaced by smaller, lighter shovel loaders on tracks that leave the forest floor intact. State law now enforces a mandatory buffer zone of trees now, along streams and rivers.

Finally the salmon and other native fish are returning.

Forestry business mantra is that they are ‘on target to create new forests’ (in one hundred years), like the ones protected in the Redwoods National and State Parks, begun by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1875-92. He and John Muir should by now roaring with delighted laughter in their (redwood) coffins.

At the time Headwaters was established in 1999, 60% of the area had been logged. In some areas, forests were only beginning to regrow from clear-cut harvests of the 1980s and 1990s. Inheriting unnatural second-growth forests dominated by Douglas Fir, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began restoration thinning in 2004. Goal of restoration was to accelerate forest development towards old-growth conditions, and restore a more natural species mix to each area—by cutting Douglas Fir and leaving Redwood and other less common species. From 2004 to 2013, BLM thinned 1,600 acres—approximately 21% of Headwaters Forest Reserve.

Thinning Understory in Attempt to Mimic Old Growth
In 2014, BLM began a second round of thinning with an idea of introducing more ‘spatial complexity’, to mimic conditions found in old-growth forests within Headwaters. BLM workers created a mosaic of tree density across second-growth stands, by building off recent restoration work completed in Redwood National and State Parks. They also completed their research project in partnership with Humboldt State University. Their report, published 2013: “Modeling Young Stand Development towards the Old-growth Reference Condition in Evergreen Mixed-Conifer Stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California”.

‘This study helped us understand the conditions in old-growth stands and allowed us to model trajectories towards old-growth under various restoration scenarios’
BLM ecologist D.laFever

Life without trees—lack of breathable air—would be a scenario more appropriate to Star Trek, CassaStar, or in our sci-fi leader*, Alex’s new ‘geek stuff’. But we breathe on, thanks to the lungs of the planet—threatened, decimated—broken but unbowed.
*If Alex can branch out into short stories—’geek stuff’—I can face the bureaucracy with a little non-fiction of my own—lol. Thanks, Alex and fellow IWSGers for listening.
Happy Epiphany!
©2016 Marian Youngblood

January 6, 2016 Posted by | authors, birds, blogging, consciousness, culture, earth changes, energy, environment, fiction, nature, rain, seasonal, seismic, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Below the Parapet*—Writers’ Safety Zone When All Around Are Losing Theirs

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SAFETY ZONE orInsecure_Cover
What I Should’ve Done B4 All This Holiday Madness—IWSG CatchUp Corner

*parapet, ‘protecting the breast’—from Latin
pectus-i (m) breast, chest
paries-etis (m) wall, rampart, bulwark

All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch, we are going back from whence we came.
~John F. Kennedy, Newport speech before America’s Cup Races, September 1962

Trouble of the World

Fracking in Oklahoma or spontaneous cracking on Tex-Mex border—it's all the same to Mother Earth

Fracking in Oklahoma or spontaneous cracking on Tex-Mex border—it’s all the same to Mother Earth

‘There is so much going on–so much that could make a person just want to run away.
‘Our lives on this Earth are relatively short, so we shouldn’t get too overwhelmed by all the troubles we face while here’
Arlee Bird

Thank you, wise ole Bird, Arlee, for putting some of our anxiety into perspective. We writers tend to be head-down anyway—well below parapet level—and it takes some “venting” by a fellow scribe—wot knowzzz—to keep a calm ‘sough’. That was good old Rabbie Burns‘s word for the windchill factor
“November chill blaws loud wi’ angry sough

We might also try looking at the way our world appears to be fighting back, after all the trouble and toil we’ve levied at her.

Some of my generation believe we still have a chance to right the ‘wrongs’ we initiated. Our attitude to confronting our errors—from nuclear power to trashing earth’s resources—has made us cautious, nay, appreciative of finding the best in what’s left. This (antiquated?) belief may not go down well with the Millennials—a generation who inherited our mistakes, but who prefer to smile and slide on through—but, as even they know, this is the only home we’ve got. So why not pull together on a few issues?

Robert F Kennedy jr. confronts climate control last weekend in New York city

Robert F Kennedy jr. confronts climate control last weekend in New York city

Weather—the great Leveler
While December traditionally finds a way of leveling—wind, rain, hail and snow being not particularly creature-friendly—it can be a gift of time for us scribblers. Above or below the parapet, we can wield a computer (or ice-pick) to hack out a story. No pun intended. Sometimes that’s just what we have to do.

So to all my fellow moaning Minnies in our tight little IWSG corner, keeping head down can be a VERY GOOD THING.

We may have to leave the concept of climate control for another season—when life begins anew and buds start to bud again…and we catch a whiff of w-a-r-m
But meantime, why not allow our ever-fertile Muse to raise her head above the bulwarks. We might be surprised by her dexterity.

p.s. Ninja Cap’n: my preference is for Dragons

“When a dragon offers you a helmet and a parachute, put them on. “

Unknown

©2015 Marian Youngblood

December 2, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, consciousness, fiction, publishing, seasonal, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Autumnal Angst—Getting Even the IWSG Way

INSECURE WRITERS’ MOANING MINNIE CORNER

Arctic Cathedral of light, Tromsø, Norway, triggers communications blackout , courtesy SpaceWeather

Arctic Cathedral of light, Tromsø, Norway, triggers communications blackout , courtesy SpaceWeather

While my heart goes out to all those East Coasters who have been suffering in their recent bout of inclement weather, –hurricane Joaquin notwithstanding: I believe “he” did a 360º turnaround and headed not for Britain after New England, but back to Bermuda!—I have to claim extenuating I.T.-related circumstances, as this monthly missive has had to be hand-written, agonized over, and finally in frustration thrown into the mix unedited, unpolished, and under-quota for IWSGers’ standard of writing… ;(

I am clearly in the minority here, at least six hours behind schedule—plus the extra three hours all good (true) Californians steel themselves to be in the office by six a.m., because that’s 0900 hours New York City time— well, I’m well over that.

So, my abject apologies to our ever-indulgent, forgiving and forgetting—but also hugely talented when it comes to such sci-fi antics in the fantasy world—Ninja Captain Alex, who is ALWAYS on time.

When it happens in the “real” world, however, I’m not sure anyone on the East Coast feels suitably badly-done-by to send condolences. But I need something.

I am told it is a total communications blackout—Pacific Northwest-wide—emanating from a small C.M.E. alongside a man-made under-the-R.A.D.A.R. [i.e. undisclosed] microwave blast centered on our ozone layer over Nevada-Arizona, to induce RAIN. But it caused other disruptions. RAIN did not fall, guys of NOAA persuasion. We are still arid here.

Don’t get me started on weather manipulation and climate control…

More alarming—solar unrest is just revving up. There are more solar disruptions to come. Don’t blame me. Blame SpaceWeather, see sidebar right.

Oldies But Goodies Going in Style

Veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin toast each other in Brooklyn Park movie set

Veteran actors Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin toast each other in Brooklyn Park movie set

Instead, let those of us of elder persuasion—no, not all you young IWSGer-chicks—take heart from three—nay four—veteran actors, and plod on regardless. It’s called “being a trooper”. Michael Caine would know the phrase. He has over fifty movies to his credit and, at 82, isn’t thinking of holding back now.

According to studio release from the set of director Zach Braff’s remake of 1979 George Burns movie, Going in Style, the comedy presents Morgan Freeman, 78, Alan Arkin, 81, and Michael Caine as desperadoes. Braff, huge on laughs, has ‘Scrubs’ to his television credit. He’s cleverly persuaded Ann-Margret, 76, to perform as well.

Yeah-h-h for us oldies-but-goodies. UR not old, Alex ;)

Getting the cops steamed up: Michael Caine takes Morgan Freeman to hell in a basket

Getting the cops steamed up: Michael Caine takes Morgan Freeman to hell in a basket


“Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.”

Braff says Going In Style is about three seniors who lose their pension, because the company they worked for their entire lives sold overseas, and all of a sudden they have no money at all to live off, and they’re barely scraping by as it is.

‘And even though they’re older guys, they decide they’re going to try. They’re going to attempt to rob the very bank that’s withheld their pension money.’

Sometimes I wish life were as easy as robbing a bank—to get even.
But it isn’t easy to get even with a hurricane, floods in the basement, or a blanket communications blackout. SpaceWeather usually covers it: solar flares—CMEs—incoming.

May I send my fellow IWSGers a token solar flare—just so you know I’m late, but—like Baba Ram Dass—I’m still here.

Post-scriptum: Thanks to Alex for such a l-o-n-g list of links to us IWSG not-so-moaning-minnies on his new all singing dancing website, and for allowing me this time for ‘getting even’.*
*I so love your critique on Matt Damon’s The Martian. Evokes memories of Bruce Dern’s ‘Silent Running’, my fave sci-fi-realism fantasy.

When all around are losing theirs, give up.
And laugh.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

October 8, 2015 Posted by | authors, blogging, fantasy, fiction, rain, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

August Musical Express: Insecure Jazz-Jamboree to Nirvana

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ MIRACLE MANIFESTATION CORNER or
Sounding One’s Own Trumpet

Glorious summer skies: our parent Milky Way galaxy, colliding slowly with Andromeda, fires off Perseid meteor showers every August

Glorious summer skies: our parent Milky Way galaxy, colliding slowly with Andromeda, fires off Perseid meteor showers every August

Hailstones the size of walnuts in Boston, floodwaters inundating the Rio Grande on TexMex border, volcanic unrest in a new Atlantic seamount off the Falklands, Pacific Northwest arteries ripped by forest fires; no glaciers left in Glacier National Park.
What in the world is happening? you may ask.

Is it a bird, a plane, a super cloud?
No, Batman. It’s called ignoring/misleading public/human condition, in the final horse race to the political gate.

Bread and Circuses—Fodder for U.S. ‘uninformed’ Masses

U.S. adds three new Parks to conservation list, as last glacial ice melts in Glacier National Park

U.S. adds four new Parks to conservation list, as last glacial ice melts in Glacier National Park


Political press liken both parties’ cavalier attitude to the American Constitution to Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Do American politicians still remotely believe the public is listening to their rhetoric?

We in Ninja Cap’n.Alex‘s IWSGers stalwart group of writers know when it’s time to throw in the towel—allow Nature to take over the reins.. After all, we are INSECURE. And it’s summer—festival season. This is no time for intellectual—or intellect-less mind games. Carpe diem—seize the (day) moment. Time to look to the skies and aim heavenward—or hole up and w-r-i-t-e—or even go into permanent meditational mode: achieve mental freedom of Nirvana—or something even more (insecurely) celestial.

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy

What did you do in the War, Daddy? Jeb Bush worldview

What did you do in the War, Daddy? Jeb Bush worldview


Every Gun made
Every Warship launched
Every Rocket fired
signifies a Theft from the Hungry not fed, the Cold not clothed, and the Homeless left unhoused
Dwight D.Eisenhower, U.S. President 1953-61

Analogies with the Roman Colisseum are not totally inappropriate, in 2015-2016 election fever. The so-called uninformed public is now—courtesy of the Internet and the Cloud—hugely well-informed. Where gladiators and gore, pythons and phalluses were customary fodder for ignorant pre-Christian masses, two thousand years down the line, we’d hope we might have learned a little sophistry in leading humanity along a more enlightened path.

Music—Food of Love—Live Transmission
Music heals and regenerates human cells. With recent research confirming what Galileo discovered about acoustics, when he devised the first western scale.

Summer music festivals, it seems, are not just mindless, letting off steam—they are, since the times of Lughnasadh, Bacchanalia, Lupercalia and Saturnalia, an essential release mechanism for the human psyche from the shackles of (cold, winter, drudgery) ‘responsibility’.

Trumpet High-notes Only a Dog Could Hear

Three nights live music under Douglas Fir canopy

Three nights live music under Douglas Fir canopy

If the ‘Father of Jazz’ were alive, he would be 114 years old today. Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, born August 4th, 1901 in New Orleans, died July 6, 1971 in New York.

As a bandleader, his virtuoso arrangements and seminal trumpet playing earned him the moniker Satchelmouth. Among other predominately black musicians like Duke Ellington and fellow horn player Cat Anderson, we have him to thank for freedom expressed through music, preserved for posterity in this digital age. Louis and Cat were reputed to reach high notes only a dog could hear.

Tribute bands to those former icons—including Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, the Beatles—provide substitute Nirvana for live festival attendees. And August is jamboree month in the Pacific Northwest.

If Burning Man in Nevada isn’t your style, maybe you should go for down-home 31st Annual Reggae-on-the-River in Mendocino; or Oregon’s Jamboree.

Whatever your summer addiction—in this group, it HAS to be writing-related—even the hardest taskmaster will allow you a little time off. Thanks, Taskmaster Alex.
#IamWriting.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

August 5, 2015 Posted by | ancient rites, art, Ascension, astrology, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, festivals, music, nature, publishing, ritual, seasonal, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Survival: Celebrating Spring the Insecure Writers’ Way

MONTHLY IWSG GET-TOGETHER

Darth Vader snow sculptures help relieve ongoing weather stress

Darth Vader snow sculptures help relieve ongoing weather stress


Spring has sprung
Da grass has riz
I wonder where da boidies iz—

Da boid iz on da wing—

Dat’s a funny t’ing
I t’ought da wing wuz on da boid—
Ain’t it absoid?
attributed c.1940 to Two Black Crows

Writerly Guilt
While weather is usually a poor writing subject, we may be forgiven this month for waxing eloquent on continuing and (apparently) continuous freak weather circling the globe. If my writing suffers, blame the Cosmos, IWSGers. Or alternatively pleeeeze lay blame where it is due: at door of our long-suffering Cap’nAlex.

Spectacular aurora borealis mirror accelerated CME solar activity

Spectacular aurora borealis mirror accelerated CME solar activity

Were we of less hardy FANTASY Sci-Fi stock—blame that on our fearless Ninja leader, too. Space Captain Alex has a wizard A—Z challenge on Cult Classics—oooo ;) this month—
—And I am not forgetting all my [non-sci-fi but hugely scary] fellow insecure buddies here on the First Wednesday—we might hide our heads in metaphorical sand and write on.

There are, however, unforeseen dangers in the cosmic waters ahead.

SOLAR WIND INCOMING—Man All (Earthship) Decks
Last week’s coronal mass ejection was deflected by a freak shift in our father, Sol. This week’s CME is coming straight at us.
Duck.

Last week's CME missed us. This one won't:. Electromagnetic image courtesy SOHO

Last week’s CME missed us—deflected at last moment by Earth’s radiation shield. This one won’t miss. Solar Wind Incoming. Electromagnetic image courtesy SOHO

Coronal holes are places in the sun’s atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In the extreme UV image, right, curved lines trace the sun’s magnetic field. Arrows indicate the flow of gaseous material (solar wind) out of the deep-purple coronal hole.

Because this coronal hole crosses the sun’s equator, the solar wind it spews is likely to hit Earth squarely this time—no misses. ETA: April 2nd or 3rd.

Italics and Earth Warning message are entirely those of SpaceWeather, but we might be prudent to prepare for a little more than pretty aurora ovals… just sayin’…

Nightly dose of cosmic fireballs add sparkles

Nightly dose of cosmic fireballs add sparkles

Within the inner solar system, left, all fireball orbits intersect at a single point–Earth. Orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue)

And, in case we were wondering if life can throw any more at us, enJOY the magnificent total lunar eclipse, Saturday morning, April 4th, sky watchers in the USA can see a brief but beautiful occultation of the Moon. Totality will be visible from Mexico, western Canada, across the entire Pacific Ocean, Australia, Indonesia.

Earthship or Jefferson Airplane? Home is Best
When all around are losing theirs———I don’t have to repeat favorite poésie to my erudite IWSGers to capture the mood.

When in doubt, do what Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin said a long space-time ago—with Big Brother and Holding Company and many of us singing along— in a famous long-ago song:
Keep Your Head.

Thanks, as ever, Alex, for letting me “rabbit’ on. :)
Happy skywatching. Easter-Passover has never had it so good.
©April 2015 Marian Youngblood

April 1, 2015 Posted by | astrology, astronomy, authors, birds, blogging, earth changes, fantasy, fiction, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

March in Like a Lion: SpaceWeather for IWSGers

MONTHLY INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER

Full Virgo Moon + pre-equinoctial Pisces Sun + stellium of conjunct planets herald series of 2015 eclipses

Full Virgo Moon + pre-equinoctial Pisces Sun + stellium of conjunct planets herald series of 2015 eclipses

Space Commander Lexicon Edition
Because continental U.S.A. is suffering right now—and I’ve never been one to crow during others’ misfortune—PacNW experiencing tropical weather window—I choose to commiserate for this month’s IWSG get-together, rather than stress how fortunate I am to live where I do. Breathes deeply.

Let me try to put our current earth-shivers in a more space-time perspective—as does our revered leader, Space Ninja Captain Alex, who can conjure a blockbuster sci-fi series whenever real life gets tough. Bless him for continuing to inspire—me, at least.

The space/sci-fi scenario which follows is not quite Alex’s professional air-tight Science FICTION— sadly rather it borders on Science fact. But, you know what they say:
It’s All in the Stars.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

Apocalypse HQ, NWPacCoast
Earth, Sol.3
Milky Way—Andromeda Arm, 5.6
Millennium2—Einstein—Kardashev Era-Timeline Civilization.Zero

Until we cease fossil fuel drilling, we remain zero-rated on Galactic scale

Until we cease fossil fuel drilling, we remain zero-rated on Galactic scale


All Vessels Please Respond|Relay-to-Galactic HQ
Earth and its Resources Depleting at irreplaceable rate. Counterbalance by Earth-Support Groups having little effect.
Apocalypse scenario in 50% floodplains, Emergency agencies battling counterproductive volcanic/seismic activity associated with fossil extraction, ongoing.
In spite of damage, Earth still reclaimable—with interGalactic assistance. Please help.
Despite Earth’s schism:lower echelon civilization K-type-0 in 48.2% population, there remains powerful 51.8% K-type-2-cerebral-zen-SETI-based group working to regenerate earth meadows and mountains.
All civilization please respond. Earth can be resurrected

Small explanation, in best sci-fi index/Matrix style:
In 1964, Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev categorized civilizations by total energy available to them. He isolated three levels of civilizations, based on their capacity to harness and use power. These have since been expanded to include a further four—in light of increasing speculation spawned in cross-discipline math/theoretical-physics.
Earth is a zero level civilization.

The Kardashev Scale now with seven levels of civilizations, bases its categories on (putative) galactic civilizations and their power consumption—but more implicitly on their technological advancement and enlightenment.

A type III Kardashev civilization would be able to harness energy resources of an entire galaxy

A type III Kardashev civilization would be able to harness energy resources of an entire galaxy

Type I civilization would be able to marshal energy resources for communications on a planet-wide scale, equivalent to the entire present power consumption of the human race, or about 1016watts.

Type II civilization can surpass this by a factor of approximately ten billion, making available 1026 watts, and exploiting the total energy output of its central star.

Type III civilization is evolved enough to tap the energy resources of an entire galaxy, enabling access to power sources, approx. 1036 watts.

KARDASHEV CIVILIZATIONS and SETI
Carl Sagan pointed out that the energy gaps between Kardashev’s three types were so enormous that a finer gradation was needed to make his theory work, e.g. Type 1.1 civilization could expend maximum 1017 watts on communications, while Type 2.3 could utilize 1029 watts.

Kardashev estimated—on a discriminating scale—that the human race at present qualifies as approx. Type 0.7. But neither scientist figured in the extra oomph which comes, when Mother Earth decides to add a little pizzazz to the equation.
Volcanic eruptions 7.2 Kamchatka Feb. 23; earth tremors California ongoing; volcanic explosions Villarica, Chile March 2nd, ongoing.

MARCH COMING IN LIKE a LION
Weather, on the other hand, will always get a rise out of someone. We do not have to submit to wall-to-wall volcanic earth movement, or anomalous El Niño weather to get our pad out, intellectual pencils sharpened, and brandish our critique.

In 2010, I wrote how March came in like a lamb, but went Out Like a LION.
This time, the LION is biting at March’s open door. And we seem to have no reprise. Grand Cross lingers, on top of celestial fireworks: aligning in the heavens—perhaps to give us hope.

Celestial Alignment—Cosmic Crossroads
Great combination for stargazers, but poor Earth suffers under huge stresses in her—subterranean—tresses. Her petticoats are leaking out at the edge of her dresses. Pollution finally raises its oh-horrendously-ugly head.

Eclipses for equinox, with more karmic cleaning for us to do, as the celestial Grand Cross continues.
Buckle up. This year, it might be quite a ride.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

March 4, 2015 Posted by | astrology, authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, nature, seismic, sun, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

December: Season of Gratitude and Merlot-Fruitcake Thoughts

Monthly IWSG Writers’ Block

Egyptian quinquireme,, restored on an Aegean shore, evokes 2ndC BC Salamis, Thermopylae sea battles

Egyptian quinquireme,, restored on an Aegean shore, evokes 2ndC BC Salamis, Thermopylae sea battles


Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine
John Masefield [1876-1967]

When it comes to love and war, give me an Egyptian Quinquereme manned by five rows of oarsmen, capable of outracing Greeks, Macedonians, Persians and Carthaginians—with a mermaid locker at the bottom of the deep blue sea.

My way of saying I retreat, like a lot of us writerly introverts, I suspect, into inner — #IamWriting— worlds, when real world conflict raises its warrior head.

Aux_Egy_Archers_Five

The waters of the world begin in the dribble-drain down by the road and the tall ships, the galleons, the quinquiremes nudge on the hawthorn twig that goes swirling, seawards, there

Alighting on her prow

Alighting on her prow


Before she lost her arms, which have never been recovered, Nike’s right forearm is thought to have been raised, cupped around her mouth to revel in her shout of Victory. Her headless but otherwise ravishing beauty is considered to be the epitome of Hellenist art. She is flawless; inspired billions! Art historians are transfixed by her.

Her pose is symbolic of a place/moment where violent motion and sudden stillness collide. Her graceful balance and her figure’s draped garments ripple compellingly, as if in a strong sea breeze.

For me, she is true warrior goddess.

Wargames Ancient and Future
Ships ancient and modern have evoked images, ideals, dreams in the mind of Man since time immemorial. We are still better at dreaming victory in far-away lands by “imagining them distant” than in coming to terms with the reality of the killing fields.

Glorious Nike, ice-gray marble goddess of victory alighting on prow of victorious quinquereme 200BC stolen by Napoleon, pride of Louvre

Glorious Nike, ice-gray marble goddess of victory alighting on prow of victorious quinquereme 200BC stolen by Napoleon, pride of Louvre

It is not for me to bring politics into the festive season; nor, more importantly, into our small supportive group of Insecure Writers, led by our fearless space commodore, Alex J. Cavanaugh, whose initiative IWSG has ticked along nicely for three years: quite some time, now :)

It has not escaped our notice, however, that little by little our heart-centered family-and-community-oriented season of celebration may be marred by a reality check or two:
1. conflict in Ferguson, MO
2. conflict in Cradle of Civilization.

Neither conflict —in Ferguson, MO or Arabian Gulf—should have an immediate connection one with the other or each with us as individuals, I pray. But they are somebody’s sons and daughters out there, being told by a robot military machine to kill first, take prisoners second.

Not my idea of mellow fruitfulness.

My moan, therefore, Alex—forgive me—is less of a writerly struggle—more a prayer of gratitude: Thanks to you and our little community for holding each others’ hands thru close on forty months. We love you.

And——
May we all survive the commerciality of Christmas, the nuances of New Year’s, Jewish 5775, Nassim Haramein’s Non-Time, and arrive safely in 2015.
©2014 Marian Youngblood

December 4, 2014 Posted by | calendar customs, culture, fiction, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SciFi for Beginners

Monthly IWSG Corner

European Crop Art: Rheigaustrasse Zurich, Switzerland July 4th 2013

European Crop Art: Rheigaustrasse Zurich, Switzerland July 4th 2013

The old folks always used to talk about the weather—for something new to say each day. It happened more in country settings where rain/sunshine affected crops, staple of life; but even city-dwellers seem to have become more weather-conscious of late—space-weather, that is—while our earthly home currently goes through some interesting changes:

Tornadoes in Minnesota, hail and rainstorms running through Missouri and down the Mississippi; annual forest fire battles ongoing in northern California—

Great Britain has had its first month of sunshine (July 2013) since 2010—bringing out a few crop circles—but the country is close to power grid overload from excess use of domestic heaters, because the solar panels don’t work!

By contrast, the Aleutians, Alaskan peninsula, Greenland, Iceland, Shetland, Nordkap and the northern Steppes of Russia had a month of blistering cloudless days, with temperatures over 100ºF.

Japan, it seems, had a month of solid rain, but there the weather is affected by the continuing Fukushima ‘clean-up’. Typhoons have followed on the volcanic ‘murmurs‘ [Richter 3 & up] ongoing in New Zealand.

According to solar buffs, it’s happening because earth, now within the sun’s year of solar maximum—an eleven-year cycle at its peak now—is getting more space weather than usual.

And if we didn’t have enough to occupy us on earth, there are next week’s spectacular Perseid meteors, that always make a show on the glorious twelfth. And glistening planets Mercury, Mars and Jupiter in the dawn sky.

It’s enough to make us writers throw caution to the ethers and turn to sci-fi. I know we IWSGers are reader-fans of sci-fi or we wouldn’t be the minions we are to our revered leader Alex. But I mean WRITE Sci-fi.

Earth envoys—the Voyager twins—enter a whole new dimension: heliopause, between solar system and hyperspace, August 2012

Earth envoys—the Voyager twins—enter a whole new dimension: heliopause, between solar system and hyperspace, August 2012

Add Comet Ison to the mix—a recurrent comet starting to appear on the outer edge of the solar system—and don’t we hear those Voyager vibes in the background? Doesn’t the sci-fi inner child in us all want to come out?

Beloved Voyager—that last vestige of ’fifties technology—hit the edge of the heliosphere, the heliopause, entered ‘outer’ space a year ago last August. Comet Ison appears shortly in our skies, bright by November. I wouldn’t be surprised if it arrives next month, September, just to add glitz and glitter to the launch of Cassastorm.

Come to think of it, Ninja Captain, are you responsible for earthly tornadoes, rain and windstorms, too?
:)
©2013 Marian Youngblood

August 7, 2013 Posted by | astrology, astronomy, authors, blogging, culture, earth changes, fiction, novel, sun, weather | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Solar Radiation Storms and Crossroads in Time

Erupting solar flares send spaceweather to Earth, but electromagnetic field changes also affect human temperament

On November 28th, 2011 a massive radiation storm hit Earth’s electromagnetic field — a direct hit from the sun’s Earth-facing side, exaggerated by the Northern hemisphere’s attitude to our solar parent. Freak storms have been experienced in the last week in all northern latitudes — from Southern (!) California to Oregon to the Midwest to New England to the mid-Atlantic ridge (including Iceland), following on previous eruptions in the Canary Islands (El Hierro, November 10th), and Nyamulagira, Congo. The current European and Asian storms stretch north through Great Britain, Orkney and Scandinavia to the Russian steppes. There have been spectacular aurorae borealis.

Most remarkable of all is that Northern Scotland (57ºN latitude) was almost the last to be hit. Throughout November, temperatures remained a balmy 50ºF. Even (spring-flowering) gorse burst into bloom. It recalled an equally abnormal episode in April this year, where temperatures in the same corner of Scotland hit all-time highs.

Then Nature descended in spades. 160mph winds hit the Hebrides, mainland Glasgow, Clyde and central Belt, the Highlands; hurricane-force gales funneled east to hit everything not tied down — trees included. Nobody was spared.

This example of ‘freak’ weather coursing through the northern hemisphere may not be considered memorable, when the current solar cycle is through with us, but it is unusual, to say the least.

And, as we know, other consequences of seismic disturbance — earthquakes — such as the ongoing and terrible nuclear waste toxicity spreading through the Pacific ocean in the aftermath of Fukushima — are still fresh in our minds.

If Katla caldera erupts, the icemelt from its glacier would spill billions of gallons of water through Iceland's east coast into the Atlantic

The current concern is that the massive six-mile-wide crater of Katla caldera near Reykyavik will explode, melt its overhanging glacier and spew billions of icemelt over the eastern seaboard of Iceland and into the Atlantic ocean.

Eyjafjallajokul ejected enough ash to halt air traffic over Europe/N.America in 2010

By comparison, the ash cloud precipitated last year by Eyjafjallajokull which halted all air traffic over Europe and North America, would seem like a minor incident.

Traditionally it was thought there was no connection between solar storms and terrestrial seismic activity — earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and their tendency to precipitate hurricanes, tornadoes, and wind storms round the globe. But this received wisdom is changing. Looking at the past year alone, much seems to have occurred following the Sun’s elevated status to ‘active’ (NOAA sidebar two below, right) in line for solar maximum, 2012. Solar activity in the last two months shows increasing frequency of M- and X-class flares at an alarming rate.


“I hear hurricanes ablowin’
I know the end is comin’ soon
I hear rivers overflowin’
I hear the voice of rage and ruin”
— Credence Clearwater Revival, 1969

CROSSROADS IN TIME
One of the most insightful prophecies/predictions of the Maya elders for this time is the message of change.

4 Ahau: Food scarcities. Half the katun good, half bad. The return of Kukulkan

In the 20-year period (katun) which began in 1991 and will complete in 2012, they anticipated this katun would bring ‘scarcity and the arrival of great leaders’. It is also the katun of ‘remembering knowledge and writing it down’.

In their words, we are fully immersed in a time of ‘change and conflict’. Change comes externally from weather, elecromagnetic fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field, natural phenomena, celestial disturbance (solar flares) and trauma inflicted by others unable to stop themselves ‘exploding’ their own inner drama. Conflict stirs in the form of personal challenge, grief, bewilderment, depression, anxiety, and fear. Many are going through these experiences at this time.

The Maya (through indigenous ancestral transmission and present-day descendants) believe that it is not a time to fear. We are at a crossroads. “Now it is time to choose a new path, decide on a new Self and community direction, to venture into the unknown, to find our true identity of being”. While devotees are already flocking to this ethos in droves, others will choose to stay on the same path, console themselves with the familiar, and invest a great deal of effort in maintaining the status quo.

Photons, zero-mass light particles, (Gamma Rays), detected in space by the Fermi Space Telescope in earth orbit

The Electric Universe theory (Thunderbolts publications, lectures, symposia) explores the direct connection between the Sun’s storms — M-class solar flares, CMEs — and their effects on Earth systems: electrical, radio, television, power supplies. Certainly in 1859, the Carrington Event that produced world telegraph blackout and spontaneous fires, has provoked discussion ever since, particularly as a similar event now would create culture-wide chaos; but it is only in recent years that the solar electrical connection has extended outwards into the Universe to encompass plasma filaments, stellar explosions and the plasma tails of comets; and to explain that, contrary to former belief, the void is not empty, but teeming with electrical charge.

Richard Feynman explains most graphically:the Nature of Nature

We on planet Earth are also electrically-charged beings. The conduit which transmits charged particles from the Sun to humans is the same conduit which steers weather through the Earth’s electromagnetic field, and into the human electromagnetic field.

Solar activity is known to influence human consciousness (from the simplest seasonal affective disorder –SAD– to extreme summer joy and productivity) and, this logically extends to the effect photons have on our human DNA.

Radiation affects the central nervous system, brain function and balance, along with human behavior, and all psycho-physical response in between. So flaring from the same star can cause us to feel nervous, anxious, jittery, dizzy, irritable, lethargic, exhausted, and suffer short-term memory lapses. We can sometimes even feel nauseous, distracted, and suffer headaches.

The Thunderbolts project encourages inter-disciplinary knowledge and collaboration of astronomers, physicists, archaeologists, mythologists and biologists bringing together understanding of previously unrelated subjects. They plan to address some of their ideas during their multi-faceted Symposium next month, January 6-8, 2012 in Las Vegas: The Electric Universe: the Human Story.

According to the Electric Universe theory as proposed by Thunderbolts scientists, solar flares and photon waves are changing the fabric of our very reality and have a powerful effect on our cells, causing our cellular memories to awaken and clear.

Veil nebula, constellation Cygnus the Swan, traditionally described as a 'cloud of ionized dust'; in Electric Universe theory seen as electromagnetic plasma filaments

They are also convinced, like Maya experts, that “cultural archetypes of world mythology can now be understood through the sciences.”
‘Thunderbolts of the Gods’ David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill (2005)

“Photon energy is capable of resonating at much higher frequency than normal human emotion. It can calibrate the human system to this higher frequency, bringing consciousness into line, so that we begin to remember our soul’s purpose.”

Many believe that this speeding-up of consciousness — instant manifestation of the desired object or circumstances — is what has triggered such great interest worldwide in systems like the Law of Attraction, the Abraham-Hicks movement and the revival of New Age consciousness-raising techniques.

Photon energy connects instantly — at the speed of light — affecting all human electrical systems, most especially thought processes, so that with this new influence it is important to exercise discipline; that in expressing what we want, we practice care in not expressing what we don’t want. Or that will manifest instead. If one is in process of change and transformation, this energy works well. On the other hand, for those stuck in the past through victimization or anger, more of that will continue to manifest.

Philosopher, psychonaut and astral traveler, Terence McKenna, before he died in 2000, believed that we would become consistently and more purposefully attracted by the Eschaton — his anomalous state of ‘unknowing’, a ‘transcendental object at the End of Time’, which draws us into awareness of the ‘New’ — and that time would speed up to such an extent that in those End-days, we might be unable to experience the passage of time in the same way we did even one decade ago; indeed, compared with the concept of time of a generation, a century ago, we are already surpassing such reckoning monthly, weekly, daily. He believed this ‘Attractor’ will speed us up even more. Hence those of us aware that the phenomenon is happening are better equipped to handle the transition from ‘old human’ to New Human.

It has been suggested that, particularly during the winter months when we feel light deprivation and shortening daylight hours, we make the most of every opportunity to ‘breathe in’ available sunlight, in snatches throughout the day, in order to refuel the body’s resources. It is only twenty days until the turning of the year. Then, after solstice, the days will lengthen once more.

Before we know it 2012 will be here and with it the fulfilment of Maya prophecies: it is an exciting time to be alive — with more revelations in store.
©2011 Marian Youngblood

December 3, 2011 Posted by | consciousness, earth changes, nature, seismic, sun, volcanic, weather | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gab o’ May to Gemini June

Ne’er cast a cloot till May be oot
Old Scots rhyme

May blossom: Kanzan ornamental cherry, cedar and pale green maple leaves

The old Scots of our little rhyme applies not just to the month of May, but also to the hawthorn bush, the Maytree. Thereby hangs a tale.

Gemini offers a kindly doorway to summer: and we are now thankfully a few days into this communicative astrological sign. Gone the stress and hardship of winter, cold spring, slow growth. Enter the Cosmic Twins: dualism, communication, seeing both sides of the same situation. In other words, enter the mercurial element. And warm.

Fingers crossed.

Gemini is usually a forgiving zodiac month. It fills one third of the calendar month of May. Its communication is tangible. Emblazoning shocking pink blooms dance on pale green leafy branches next to russet peeling-bark maples. Purple blossoms shout color from bending lilac boughs. Who wouldn’t want to communicate, yea, rejoice, in May? at least in the latter part of it.

“The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.”
– Edwin Way Teale

Not only has the zodiac sign of Gemini the backing of communicative Mercury to support it, but this year Mercury has only recently turned from retrograde to direct. Time for winter silence to end, stilted conversation, lack of fluidity gone; communication can start up again. The earth, too, a little miffed at having to wait so long to see the sun, is throwing caution to the winds, and everything is blooming at once.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a Godsend. It has been a long hard winter. We can all do with some relaxation. A little light relief, duality, multi-vision. Spring, however late, is welcome.

Trees this year are coming into leaf together all at the same time. We are reminded by birdsong of the fullness of life – fresh greenness of trees and shrubs – blossoms open. Life coughs and restarts.

If the oak comes out before the ash – we’re in for a splash;
If the ash comes out before the oak – we’re in for a soak
‘ more Scots wisdom

All trees came into leaf at the same time

In ‘normal’ years, the ash and oak are the last to open leaf and flower buds and rivalry between them to prognosticate rainy or dry weather of this old wives’ saying is noticeable. All beech, birch, lime and cherry buds are in full leaf before bare branches of the oak and ash decide to join them. Not this year. It was like a race had been initiated to see which species might rival the traditional early budders. They all won the contest.

What potent blood hath modest May.
– Ralph W. Emerson

Other aspects of the season begin to rub off on our chill northern disposition. We loosen up a little, feeling perhaps not so obsessed to compete or complete projects under the pressure of frost. Northern character is driven by cold: it precipitates one into working harder; showing that one is capable of braving hardship along with challenging temperatures. Mañana doesn’t work here. No cultural bias here, but who ever heard of a multi-million-dollar operation run by a Jamaican?

Is it any wonder that the Scot is Scotland’s greatest export? And, as a corollary, that the Scots hard-working northern ethos is one which takes well to leadership? Historically, successful world empires have been run by expatriot (and patriot) Scots: think Andrew Carnegie 1835-1918 (coal, steel and museums), Thomas Blake Glover 1838-1911 (Mitsubishi), John Paul Jones 1747-1792 (founder of the US Navy). Or politics, art and philosophy: think Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832 (lawyer, poet, novelist), Adam Smith 1723-1790 (author, Wealth of Nations, first modern economist), John Sinclair 1754-1835 (politician, writer, first to coin the word ‘statistics’). Or naturalist John Muir 1834-1914, founding father of the environmental movement.

That said, the Scots, like the Germans, are addicted to exotic places — but only as a place to ‘chill’, to ‘get away from’ their ‘real world’. Nowadays Scots populate world cruises and Germans overrun southern Italy. But then they come back home.

Mary Queen of Scots, at one time claimed the thrones of Scotland, England, France and Ireland

A friend on a recent visit from the Pacific Northwest made an interesting observation: more of a cosmic comment:

what if Mary Queen of Scots had not been executed in 1587 by her cousin Elizabeth I?

Would we Scots still be the same feisty underdogs, over-achievers striving to pit our wits against the Universe? If she the Roman Catholic queen, rather than her protestant son James VI & I, had reigned in Great Britain, would we be more stay-at-home? more continental (‘auld alliance’ Scotland/France)? more laid-back? less prickly? less worldly or world-travelled?

Would we have been motivated to invent anything? (James Watt 1736-1819, steam engine; John Logie Baird 1839-1913, television).

Would we tolerate living in a climate which supports, in the words of Lord Byron – whose mother came from Aberdeenshire:
“Winter – ending in July
To recommence in August” ?

Is it any wonder we are obsessed with May?

The Gab o’ May is a harsh word for the beginning of such a gentle month, but historically its behavior has been erratic. The ‘Gab’ or ‘maw’ of a new month which perpetuates the weather of its predecessor is given short shrift. Lest the unwary shepherd forget, ancient tales tell of sheep dying in the fields in May.

Aye keep in some corn and hay
To meet the caul Kalends o’ May

The old earthman’s repeated rhyme about the Kalends of May sounds antiquated and without relevance to the modern ear, but in the North of Scotland this year his words had meaning.

Icy April

Weather in this Icelandic neighbourhood reached Arctic climax proportions between December and March. April’s showers were icy rather than gentle and the psyche of the ‘stoic’ Scot hardened and bristled. It’s the traditional way in a northerly, long-suffering people to cope with the harsh realities of living at the 57th degree of latitude and farther north.

The Pentland Firth, chosen to host the World Surfing Championships, presented contestants with ice floes. Not a single tree opened its spring foliage in April.

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
– Rhyme from England

Not a bee in sight. Not even an over-wintering midge. And May was imminent. Back to the Kalends, though.

Fearless spring inhabitant: peacock butterfly in early May

The Kalends was a Roman term which looks a little anachronistic now on the page of the poem. But it is good to remember that until Pope Gregory initiated a calendar change from Julian to Gregorian in 1582, only a brief time into Scotland’s own revolutionary change — the Reformation, which itself did not fully take hold until 1660 — the Church commanded people’s lives; dictated what was read to them (most of them didn’t read themselves) and what the Church read was Latin. So the first of the month was, in the minds of the rural farmer and countryman at least, still referred to by its Roman calendrical name, the Kalends.

It was the Roman name for the beginning of the month which gave us the word for Calendar in the first place. In Roman Scots it’s the same as the Gab o’ May – Maw of the month – the cold raw maw of May.

So what does it mean?

In times before there were trains, buses, mechanized transportation, when every countrydweller lived close to the land, the only modes of travel other than foot were a horse or a bicycle. And one of the surest ways of surviving was to keep a cow, or a sheep or a goat close to home. It’s what many rural communities still do in countries other than the First World. In Scotland before the 18th century, little “but ‘n’ ben” shacks were built of turf and earth. When stone building became more common at the end of that century, the same structure was converted to stone, but of similar design: a ‘but’, (abutting the ‘byre’ or stable with access to outdoors) where the animals lived and kept the building warm with their cozy breathing; they provided easy access for milking before being put out to pasture in the fields at the end of May. The ‘ben’ was the other part of the house, ‘through’ the house where guest humans went, away from the warm kitchen hearth and adjoining beasts. Until well into the 20th century, ‘company’ were invited into the ‘ben’ part of the house. Only the family spent time in the ‘but’, within soundwave proximity of the beasts. Even after the advent of a more leisured farming class – those in stone farmhouses with separate quarters for farm animals, barns and other sheds – no good practitioner of husbandry would send his animals out into the fields before the end of bad weather.

You kept your feathered friends indoors until all risk of frost was past

When the weather became kindly – as garden centres so often remind us “plant out after all risk of frost has passed”: So with hen, cow, pig, sheep or goat. You kept your life-giving feathered and four-footed companions warm and fed indoors, not venturing to put them out to pasture until all risk of frost was over.

That’s where the calendar and the month of May come in.

The original Roman calendar calculated according to a 13-lunar-month regimen. Julius Caesar, after an extended visit with Cleopatra in Egypt, upgraded the Roman ‘Julian’ calendar in 46BC to run along lines similar to the Egyptian solar one which he admired. The Julian year was on average 365.25 days long. It worked well until extra ‘leap’ days started to mount up over a period of 1500 years. When the Gregorian calendar took over from the Julian calendar, the western hemisphere ‘lost’ 11 days. In country districts in the northern hemisphere – Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles – country people saw this as being robbed of life’s most precious commodity – time.

Because the original Roman calendar had run on cycles of the moon, even the revised version began to clash with solar time and calculation which made sense in the first centuries AD by the 18th century had lost relevance. An adjustment had to be made. September 2, 1752 was chosen as the date on which the old calendar would ‘switch’ to the new. On that day, the British Isles and all English colonies, including America, lost 11 days–September 3rd through 13th. People went to bed on September 2nd and when they awoke next morning, the date had become September 14th.

Country ways: living in harmony with your neighbours

There were riots in rural villages when people thought the government was trying to cheat them out of 11 days of their lives. Though these days disappeared in English lands in 1752, a number had already vanished in other places–France in 1582, Austria in 1584, and Norway in 1700. Tsarist Russian, on the other hand, did not convert to Gregorian until 1918. And the Berber people of North Africa still operate on Julian time.

Naturally they were upset when Christmas fell 11 days earlier that year, Epiphany 11 days earlier the next January and then it played havoc with spring. May started 11 days before the accustomed season and so our title quote, another favored Scots expression, became meaningless:

‘ne’er cast a cloot
till May be oot’

It has often been said that the ‘May’ of the quotation refers to the blossom of the May or Hawthorn and this would tie in well with spring timing. In calendar terms, however, in now (Gregorian) time, the Scots are seen to suggest caution when divesting winter woolies, extra layers of ‘vests’ (underwear) until the month of June has begun!

The original aphorism may have applied to the hawthorn, which did indeed bloom during the latter weeks of May; but when 11 days were subtracted from the old calendar, May became 11 days chillier and so in northern Scotland at least, the hawthorn no longer blooms until the last week of the month or the first week of June.

‘Ne’er cast a cloot till May be oot’
becomes the month as well as the tree. i.e. don’t take off anything until June.

… and now is not the time for me to tell the tale of the Victorian Scots bothy loon (farm worker) who was sewn into his underwear in November by the ‘kitchie deem’ (kitchen lass, maid) only to have the stitches removed the following summer solstice.

I’ll leave that delight for another story-telling session…

May 25, 2010 Posted by | astrology, calendar customs, culture, festivals, organic husbandry, seasonal, weather | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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