6 May 2017

Book Tour In Chatham

Book Tour In Chatham

The skies cleared and it was a beautiful sunny day today, Maria and Red and I drove to Chatham, N.Y., to speak at the Library to a nice crowd of about 30 people. The library is a beautiful old building with a beautiful stain glass mural. I talked about my belief what we need a wiser and more mystical understanding of animals, and also about the lessons I have learned about communicating with animals.

There were lots of good and thoughtful questions, and we had a conversation about the emotionalizing of animals, and about the emotions of having dogs and living with animals. It was almost too beautiful a day to be inside, we  came home and mowed the lawn.  I realized today that I am tired, it has been an intense period between the blog and the Mansion and the refugees and my new book.

Tomorrow I hope to finish mowing, sit out in the sun, meditate and read. It's nice to be talking about the book with readers and animal lovers. If you care to get the book, you can order it through my local independent bookstore, Battenkill Books, and I will personalize it and sign it. You will also receive a classy tote bag free of charge. Battenkill takes Paypal and credit cards. You can order the book here.

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Thanks, AOG, From Maung And Heiku, They Had Their Birthday Party Today

Maung And Heiku: Photo by Ahmad Abdalla Abdullah

Maung And Heiku and their teacher Ali (Ahmad) sent me this photo from the birth party for Maung and Heiku which was made possible today by donations from you and me. They asked me to thank you.

It cost about $150, and I only mentioned it once on the blog, I don't want to be asking for too much money from the Army Of Good (AOG), this is a long haul.

I found out recently that Ali has been paying for birthday parties for his students and for the RISSE (the refugee and immigrant support center in Albany, N.Y.) soccer team out of his own pocket, I think it's time to help him out with that. These parties are critically important to these kids, Ali gets cakes and food, hot dogs and hamburgers,  for the entire team – about 16 people, and he also buys birthday presents.

For some of these refugee kids, this is the only birthday celebration they will get, or have ever gotten, and it also gives the other refugee children a chance to get together on weekend, when they sometimes struggle for activities.

These parties are very important to Ali and these kids, and I have volunteered to try to raise the funds for the next birthday parties, there are three or four coming up during the soccer season. I am impressed by these young people, they are warm, loving, eager to learn and work. Many have suffered greatly.

They are no threat to America. Many would not be alive if they were not here.

I have enough cash on hand for the next party, if I need help for the rest, I'll post that. We have already purchased and sent art supplies, a van, a printer and an air conditioner for the Mansion to RISSE. I haven't gotten to the adults yet.

We have given the recent arrivals thousands of dollars in blankets and pots and pans and strollers and other supplies, and the Army Of Good has  given the RISSE after school program 90 creativity kits, an upcoming trip to the Great Escape Adventure Park,  soccer shirt pennies, boxes of books and today's birthday party. There is much need, but every great Army needs to rest once in awhile and regroup.

I don't want people to tax themselves too much. I would like to see this  soccer season and birthday party series through and one of the very worthy refugee children needs to raise some money to pay for day care at RISSE, his parents can't help any longer. More later on that, I'm having a meeting about it in the coming week.

If you wish to help sponsor these parties, you can send a check to me at 2502 State Route 22, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816, or send donations via Paypal Friends and Family, [email protected] in any amount. Please mark any and all contributions "Soccer Birthday Parties," so they can be accounted for and recorded. Thank you.

And take it easy on yourself. It's okay to send nothing or small donations, there are a lot of people giving small donations, so they add up without hurting anyone deeply.

Thanks for helping  Ali to organize this birthday party. It is a profoundly thoughtful thing for him to do, and it goes far above and beyond what is required of him. I hope to attend the next one.

This means a great deal. Here, we don't argue about what is good, we do good. Ari told the kids that some angels had appeared from the heavens to help them.

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The Meditation Bench

The Meditation Bench

I appreciate the meditation bench out in our woods, especially amidst the tumult of the book tour. Today, we drive to the Chatham, N.Y., library for a 3:30 p.m. talk and Q&A, Maria and Red are coming. A quiet day tomorrow, I think I will spend much of it on this bench, I hope to spend some time in the next few days working on my next book, "Lessons From Bedlam Farm."

I am still getting messages from people who are troubled, offended and outraged at my having dared to poke some fun at Esther The Wonder Pig, the other day, when I bumped her off the no. 1 spot on an Amazon animal book category. The vast majority of people liked the column, and laughed at it, as I did.

But like so many things on the Internet, the piece has also become something of a minor controversy, one of those one day things that bubble up. The Internet is the home base of the outraged addicts, forever looking for sleights and identifying with victims. I should tell you frankly that you will be disappointed here, because i will not change the way I wrote or think, or apologize for it.

I got a kick out of myself when I said I had this fantasy that she would pop up on the Round House Care brunch table, and even though I said I was kidding, a number of Esther lovers were upset, one suggested I wrote the author to make sure he thought it was funny, another said I was selfish and arrogant for competing with this very beloved pig (she used to be a macro piglet, but is now quite large, I gather, and has changed and saved lives –  you know the story, I have written it myself).

I do fear sometimes we have already become a humorless nation, filled with warring and eternally outraged sensitivities. I will always remember to poke fun, at others and at me, without laughter life is not worth living for me. Some people think I enjoy provoking outrage or controversy, but I don't ever really seek to do that.

I believe it is my job to get people to think, care, and yes, laugh. In our world, and in our new technologically-enabled universe, everything one says is going to upset or offend someone, this is like background noise to me, like jets flying near an airport. People often say they want to read people who make them think, but the truth is many people hate people who actually make them think.

We cling to our labels and feelings and are no longer use to being challenged or even disagreed with. The challenge for me isn't to stop writing what I feel and thinking, but retaining the ability to laugh in the age of Facebook and Twitter, where the humorless run wild.

Anyway, more later, off to Chatham. It is a beautiful day and I am glad to be alive.

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The Wildflowers, Out In Our Woods

Out In Our Woods

Maria and I went out into our woods – I hadn't been out there since it warmed up, and it is a different world out there, green and lush. A wind-blown bouquet of yellow wildflowers sat right by our waterfall and we both sat there together, soaking up the quiet and simple beauty on the meditation chair that Ed Gulley made for us. I have come to love wildflowers in my time in the country, there is something so natural and graceful about them.

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Standoff: Liam and Red

Standoff

It seems that males all over the earth are cursed with testosterone, I am lacking it, I think, I do not care to fight and cannot comprehend war. At the Mansion,  the residents often ask me how Red could possibly herd sheep when he appears so gentle and loving.

When they come to visit us at our Open House on June 10-11, they will be surprised to see the other side of Red. Once he enters the pasture gate, he is transformed into good sized wolf, determined and convincing and unrelenting. I told him today to keep Liam, a wether, out of the outer pasture while we opened the gate, and Liam decided to challenge  him.

It did not end well for  him, Red backed him right up the hill without laying a tooth on him and right into the pole barn.

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