Arkansas is beautiful. Mostly agricultural, it isn’t a state high in the pecking order of gross income, but it is beautiful. The norm is miles and miles of open land, peppered here and there with ranches and small towns. An east/west highway cuts through the center of the state with Little Rock in the exact middle, with a new, incomplete north/south highway in the works. The rest of the state is a web of 2-lane roads connecting the small towns together and making for some gorgeous Sunday drive excursions.
Or, I should say, that’s the way it was. Since 2008, hundreds of natural gas wells and pipelines have ripped across the landscape along the Fayetteville Shale Play so painfully that it’s like a bad case of moles through a manicured lawn. Using a technique called hydrolic fracturing, or “fracking,” heavy water is forced into the ground to break apart shale so that it releases natural gas which requires an army of tanker trucks that haul the water in and the spent water out to drain ponds. Each well comes with it’s own “gathering” pipeline that connects to the main pipeline, with each natural gas company putting in their own main pipeline to move the gas to market out of the state.
There is a season
And a time to every purpose
To think in a linear manner as we do is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole since all of life is cyclical, circular in nature, from the round planet we inhabit to the planet’s orbit around it’s primary source of life, the sun. We spend our lives fighting the cycles of life, trying to force the square into the round until we die unfulfilled and spent.
What a horridly morbid thought! But, take a second to reflect on a baby’s toy with the various shaped holes to fit the corresponding blocks and you’ll see the first indication of our lifetime fight to deny our true nature. To what purpose? One possible explanation is that if you fight your true nature, look outside your self for answers to life’s complexities, then you will become a docile follower instead of the self-empowered contributor you were meant to be and therefore much easier to enslave.
Unless you are ready to confront one of your long-held beliefs in a symbol of our deeply rooted social constructs, do not watch the following video. It is a terrible, graphic and shocking truth that has been in front of our very eyes for more than 2,000 years. It will open the gates so that many more instances of square pegs shoved into round holes that you have experienced will come rushing into your consciousness. There’s no closing those gates once they are opened.
Today, Damon Adams, a former Brooklyn, NY child welfare worker and his supervisor were charged with criminally negligent homicide in the death of 4-year-old Marchella Pierce. The girl weighed just 18 pounds when she was found dead in her family’s apartment on Sept. 2, 2010. A known drug abuser, the girl’s mother, “Carlotta Brett-Pierce, tied Marchella to her bed, beat her with a belt and videocasette tape, deprived her of food and water, and force-fed her medication including Claritin and a generic form of Benadryl. Marchella died Sept. 2 of child abuse syndrome, along with acute drug poisoning, blunt impact injuries, malnutrition and dehydration.” The girl’s grandmother reportedly witnessed the severe abuse from March until her death and is also charged with manslaughter in the case.
Like every other “normal” person, hearing of an innocent child’s death sets my blood to boil and breaks my heart. It is senseless, unforgiveable and unfathomable that some people can and do act in such bizarrely inhuman ways toward dependent, helpless, innocent children.
Could Marchella’s death been prevented?
I think there should be a padded room with locked doors somewhere for critics. It seems the only thing left to do when one has no talent is criticize.
A good case in point is the recent viral video of Rebecca Black singing “Friday.” YouTube stats say that, as of this writing, the video has been viewed 35,027,848 times.
Whether the music is your cup of tea or not, that the video is far more than a back yard recording of little kids splashing each other in the swimming pool goes without saying, and I’d dare say it’s above and beyond the production of a typical 8th grader.
One coping mechanism I’ve always used is writing because the writing process molds all the disparate information into a bit more manageable state of chaos, at least enough to form semi-coherent thoughts and ideas. It’s taming the shrew of sorts, and an ongoing battle of an overactive brain such as mine.
So, when I find a shining beacon of rationality and cognizance “out there” in the wild world of The Cloud (it used to be called the Internet, then specifically the World Wide Web, but now it’s just The Cloud), I grab on and hold on with all my might. This beacon becomes a tether, an anchor, a buoy, a lighthouse… Well, you get the point.
That bright spot “out there” is Anetta Ribken, “Netta” of Word Webbing, where words are spun and threads are forged. Through and through, Netta is a writer in the truest sense and is a pure joy to read, even if it’s just snippets of thought in her Facebook status updates. I’ve read Word Webbing for years and her clarity is a breath of fresh air, if I may use the cliché, and recently started reading Not Nice and Other Understatements. Netta’s ability to smack me upside the head to startle me out of myself is amplified greatly in this collection of flash fiction short stories. Reading this book (I hope it lasts forever), is quite a verbal experience with even more cliches like “Oh my God!” and “Holy shit!” coming out of my mouth often.
A few years ago, a nearby school enacted a drunk driving accident, complete with first responders, police, coroner and med flight. The production was as graphic as anything seen on TV and followed the course of events in real time, from the rescue pictured above to the police notifying parents of their child killed and ending with a rally held in the school auditorium a few days later. The point of the display was to illustrate the true-to-life impact of the choice to drink then drive. It was powerfully emotional from beginning to end. I left hoping that it hit home and hit hard, saving lives in the process.
Yesterday, I heard about a woman that works in a country school district that said she would do anything to get out of the job. It seems, to her, that kids nowadays have no fear and thus no respect for the consequences of their actions. It didn’t matter if kids are sent to the principal’s office for fighting or throwing someone’s books out of the bus window, there is no fear. That nothing is a deterrent to bad behavior has killed this woman’s passion to work in the school.
It was a small feeling sitting at the end of the old, folding table with the stack of old, worn books piled within an arms reach. One book lay open to a page somewhere near the middle, its binding gracefully arcing, its pages overflowing with shreds of paper for bookmarks. One lone, naked bulb in the ceiling lit the huge old kitchen in the huge old house in the middle of a huge old wood. Planked floor, a pot-belly stove, ratty curtains instead of cupboard doors and bare windows never distracted from the magical, peaceful calm that was felt as soon as the car’s front wheels hit the long driveway from the highway. Not seen from the highway, the old, dilapidated house in the middle of an overgrown clearing in the woods was an oasis, a world of its own, far away from the rest of life.
I don’t get out much. I’m a homebody. That is my choice, my preferred way of being, and I have a list of reasons why I like to come home and stay home. I come home after work, kick off my shoes – and strip off a few other constricting pieces of clothing - settle in and enjoy. Ah, is there anything so pleasurable as elbows on the table, slouching in a chair, mussed hair, bare feet and burping out loud? At home, I let it all hang out.
Lately, though, it’s almost like home is shrinking, like it’s becoming a prison cell, because nowadays, I can’t afford to do anything but come home – to a stripped down version of home. The cupboards are barren, the refrigerator is about empty, the thermostat is down way low and there’s no cable TV to help me forget all the rest. My belt is as tight as it can get.
The answer is simple: unrealistic expectations. People buy a horse without thinking. They dream, but they don't think. They dream about riding the wind, riding into the sunset, winning at horse shows, flying over jumps, roping a cow, etc. The dreams are potent, lasting, intriguing draws to a romantic life of freedom and fun. Little to no thought is paid to what it really means to be around a horse, and a horse is 1,000 pounds of attitude.
It would be an ideal world if every horse glowed Hollywood-style. What a wonderful dream-come-true it would be if every horse knew, just as a saddle was strapped on and a bit put in its mouth, that he would carry you off into the wild blue yonder with nary a thought of balking, bucking, spooking, running off or running under the lowest tree branches around. Yes, the West was won from the back of a horse, but it all started way before the first saddle was ever thrown up on that horse's back.