National Intergenerational Month: Talking about Trees

I do ground-truthing from a very folksy and small-townish perspective. I have found myself “stuck” here on the Central Oregon Coast, really, where my own destiny seems etched in the crumbling sandstone holding up the tourist-laden Highway 101.

I’ve exhausted the labor market here, since the school district has banned me as a substitute teacher for, well, subbing and answering high school students’ questions about my work with homeless, with just released incarcerated, and those with substance abuse issues. Of Mice and Men, as well as Animal Farm, I was filling in for the teacher.

I was frog-marched out of the classroom halfway through third period. Banned for life, and, of course, this county has a major deficit in both full-time teachers and subs.

This is just one peek into a broken national system of idiocy. We’ll have the Pride Parade for the first time in Newport down here, September 16-18, but we have complete soiled minds in the school system. They aren’t teaching them to think, but then, we have this uncanny ability to truly ruin future generations with the fear porn of Pfizer and Fauci, all those mandates, the six-foot lines taped all over the schools, outside, masks for track and fiel events.

Children’s brains in adult heads. The school system is a reflection of the chronically ill teaching and administrative establishment. The virtue signaling rules, and no amount of smart critical thinking works with these youth anymore . . . .  Except for those who drop out.

It is a hook and release and recapture and never let go again for each next cohort, next generation.

Other aspects of this county include so much cowardice and dysfunction. I can only imagine what is and is not off limits in the classroom now.

Here, in all its glory: Take Down this Blog, or Else!

Alas, don’t just blame Texas, as this mentality is the stuff of Americans:

Woman speaking hand on chest (l) "Banned Books Week" display in school library caption "Thank you for standing up for what is right! Can we see the display??" (c) woman speaking hand on chest (r)

‘I am not upset. I’m enraged’: Administration asked school librarian to take down banned books display after one parent complained. ‘I serve over 700 students, not one student alone.’ (Source)

I am stuck (proverbially) in this most gorgeous of places. Stuck in that sort of Walden Pond perspective, albeit, more along the Dollar General Store sensibility.

I do have lofty philosophical ambitions:

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, August 9, 1954

What I am finding is that I have dislocated myself from my earlier roots of working with my sleeves rolled up as a teacher. So much has passed under the bridge since 1983. Forty years is a drop in the geological bucket, I know, but from a 25-year-old’s perspective, up until now, with all that has broken down the collective human spirit largely on the back of capitalism, the writing was on the wall even then when I had so much hope for some enlightenment and change within the ranks of teaching in El Paso.

Being around youth, around first generation high school graduates, around young people who came from humble beginnings, I found at least some pride in working with them.

The disease of the Aministration Class, or the Provost Clan, all the waste that is a university — football field resurfacing and brand new library buildings and a top-down loading up of worthless institutional advancement creeps — it wasn’t enough then to infect me to throw in the towel.

Forty years later, well, so much in this country is broken, and so much about higher education is plain wrong. It’s all on this trajectory of truly a reset of values, or at least, in the USA, very few values for the majority of the people, now have been stripped. This concept of digitization of everything is easily digested by youth.

Where do they get these all-comers? That’s 87,000 more IRS armed agents. This is the Democrats, man:

An IRS job form seeking ‘Criminal Investigation Special Agents’ was briefly taken offline and edited on Wednesday after its language stoked outrage on social media, according to Fox News and other outlets. Though a previous version of the page (archived August 10) noted that “major duties” of the job would include carrying a firearm and being “willing to use deadly force, if necessary,” the listing visible on Thursday evening no longer contains that requirement.

Journalist Ford Fischer was among the first to note the mention of ‘deadly force’ in a series of tweets on Wednesday. Less than 24 hours later the agency had taken down the notice, removed the offending bullet-point and reuploaded it. (Source)

Militarized IRS? Recruitment Videos Show Potential Trained Agents Armed & Making Arrests : r/Republican

The US society is so geared to complete rip-off of the 80 percent, those of us not in the point zero-zero percent, One Percent or captured inside the 19 percenters who are the true enemies of the people. The Eichmann’s. The hatchet men and women. The Dream Hoarders.

Icon image

This at the Aspen Institute, that “institute”: The Aspen Institute is largely funded by foundations such as the Carnegie Corporation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and the Ford Foundation, by seminar fees, and by individual donations.

The Facts You Need to Know About Arborists - Boutte Tree

Trees and a High School Drop Out Making His Way in LaLa Land

September’s here, the month that brings in Fall. Looking at the national holiday list for September (celebratory themes), I notice over 30 “themes” celebrated or commemorated. Here are just a few:

  • National Hispanic Heritage
  • Childhood Obesity
  • Childhood Cancer
  • Self-Improvement
  • Honey
  • Potato
  • Pain Awareness
  • Intergenerational
  • Prostate

Diving into that intergenerational theme, I realize I’ve been intently interfacing with people decades younger than I am. In Waldport, Portland, Spokane, Seattle, and Alaska, I have talked with people thirty and forty years my junior.

I have deep conversations with some of the houseless rough sleepers in Waldport: guys that are in their thirties who have taken to life outside the “norms” of job, home, roots. Much of what I have discovered is trauma piled onto each individual since childhood.  I hearken to Dr. Gabor Mate:

“From early infancy, it appears that our ability to regulate emotional states depends upon the experience of feeling that a significant person in our life is simultaneously experiencing a similar state of mind.” (documentary, “The Wisdom of Trauma”).

I’ve met one young guy at a Newport pharmacy who had dreams of being a marine biologist but whose poor health limited that aspiration.

I’ve got a book out, “Coastal People inside a Deep Dive,” featuring amazing Lincoln County folk from my column at Oregon Coast Today. Many of those I featured were both old and young, and every age in between.

Every day I meet amazing young people in various stages of their wonderful evolutions. Many are living with complex PTSD. Others are working through financial strain. Each conversation with someone younger than I takes me to their spiritual home.

Listening is important in today’s age. Many old timers say in the old days we listened more, engaged more with people outside our socio-economic and cultural-ethnic backgrounds.

I’ve had deep conversations with Chuck Ellard who runs Newport’s Pacific Digital printing (“Finding a path“). I’ve written about him, and he is featured in the Coastal People book. He’s in his late thirties, just had a son, and moved from Logsden to Seal Rock. He sees himself as a vital member of the community, assisting individuals with their framing needs or getting huge printing jobs from the Lincoln County School District.

A young woman who is working in a five and dime tells me of her dreams of being a writer, and wants to major in literature at U of O. A single parent’s health issues forced her to help pay the bills, so she is in a holding pattern working 50 hours a week. She has a real grace in this derailed point in her life.

I’ve been spending a few hours with a “tree man,” an arborist. Tyler Muth is from Waldport, went to school here, and now this 29-year-old has his own tree service business. He is tall and lanky. Think of a bearded young Brad Pitt.

Muth likes climbing trees. He respects the tree and encourages people to keep healthy trees.

He uses ropes to climb and small chain saws and handsaws. He knows the species of trees, and he is studying for certification through the International Society of Arboriculture.

We talk about Tyler’s years trying to make it as a pro surfer. He likes hitting waves, and he’s surfed up and down the Pacific Coast. He first competed when he was 12.

His business, Dr. Hingewood, allows for some free surf time. He’s worked in construction, and he even did a stint for a mobile slaughter house killing and dressing cows.  He tired of that job, as he says it got to him: “I don’t like killing animals. I don’t own a gun. I even had a hard time last week killing a fish.”

He’s done some gnarly jobs, up in big timber, and those cuts are dangerous. He knows his back cuts (the third and final cut made on the opposite side of the notch).  His business’ name, Dr. Hingewood, ties into how the portion of a tree left uncut – the hinge — can control the direction of the fall.

We talk about family, and he isn’t married and says doesn’t want children. “My freedom and lifestyle would make it difficult to raise a child. I like my freedom to just pick up and go surfing.”

He’s a businessman with a contractor’s license, and he says he has challenges keeping guys on payroll since many just pick up and take off for other gigs, like building wind turbines or commercial fishing.

He is a self-described tree nerd. I’ve written many stories about arborists, urban forestry programs and the value of trees in places like Spokane and Seattle. Out here, Tyler works with mostly private customers, usually with nuisance trees.

We both look up at the aging cypress on the neighbor’s property overhanging my wife and my backyard. He sees the canopy, the architecture of the tree, the hidden deadwood and fossilized wood in the middle of the trunk.

That sky —  those crows, the giant unruly evergreen, blue herons squawking – gets Tyler and I talking. He’s an easy-going man with keen sense of follow- through. I listen; he listens. He tells me about the time a 14-foot great white shark “sort of just appeared” under him while he was surfing off the Oregon coast.

This is the kind of intergenerational discourse we all need. We talk about how men struggle to communicate and to know themselves.

Tyler goes about life with an even keel, he says, and while he isn’t blind to the world, he tells me that he is not so engaged in huge political debates.

“I keep busy. I love trees.” He relishes climbing, figuring out what to cut, and how to get that cut wood down without breaking a patio or his own neck.

We both interject our “almost broke my neck” stories. This is intergenerational communication at its best, looking up at a 100-year-old busted up cypress.

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.