“The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that the power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over dumb creation. On the other hand, it is to him a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence– the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood is ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence–not a leaf, as it ever, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool–his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life.
“If you ask him: “What is silence?” he will answer: “It is the Great Mystery!” “The holy silence is His voice!” If you ask: “What are the fruits of silence?” he will say: “They are self-control, true courage or endurance, patience, dignity, and reverence. Silence is the cornerstone of character.”
Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman). The Soul of the Indian. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1911.
The National Resources Defense Council ranks Seattle their #1 large city overall on a variety of green living criteria including air quality, energy production & conservation, environmental standards & participation, green building, green space, recycling, transportation, standard of living, and water quality & conservation. Does this mean we do a better job of mitigating the environmental problems we cause? Does it mean we cause fewer environmental problems? I like to think it shows there’s a place in America where people are still committed to applying collective muscle to solving collective problems.
Last days in Grenada. Spent the morning Saturday with Far-I Delves at Roots Rock Record Shop in downtown St. George’s, picking up six great original compilation CDs in the process. Sick as a dog and sweating through my shirt the whole time, I sucked on a series of oranges at Delves’ insistence until my terrible headache finally burned through, then Frankie & I rolled back up to Grand Anse around noon. I spent the next ten hours in and out of bed, in and out of intense pain.
Yesterday was picture perfect. I spent the morning packing the big bag, getting a sense of just how much/little I really have to carry, then headed to the beach to hang with John, Claire, & Caleb by the sound system at the Lazy Days. Spent an hour bobbing in the swells, then roasted my salty self like a pumpkin seed on the beach until after sunset. Clouds well to the west prevented a sighting of the elusive green flash. Dinner with the people & Desmond at the Lexus Inn began with a litany of all the items they didn’t have available for purchase and concluded with a greasy, delicious pepperoni pizza. The place has a million-dollar view. The walk home was as short as we always imagined. I was out like a light in no time.
Lots of bus riding. Lots of brother-greeting. Lots of sun, work, and peace. Before the week is out I’ll be back in cool old Seattle, wondering if this year was all a dream.
At the Lion King bar by Morne Rouge Beach, this piece of plywood adorned with the image of the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah is now being used to keep a load of crushed gravel from washing down the drainage slough when it rains. Signs of Rasta & pan-African consciousness are everywhere if you just look.
The kids up on the heights keep noisy homemade kites up in the winds all night. It’s at times lyrical, at others eerie. A friends says they’re noisy by design, and that there are several different accepted methods for making kites as noisy as possible. The one above us now sounds like someone’s running a lathe up the hill.
A rainy week in the dry season. So far I haven’t seen a day that hasn’t been potentially highly productive in terms either of photovoltaic or wind-generated power or water catchment. The prevalence (and apparently sufficiency) of solar hot water systems in residential and industrial applications indicates a preexisting national acceptance and acknowledgment of the sun as a source of energy yes, but more importantly as an obvious source of savings. The wisdom of eliminating an unnecessary expense (heating your hot water with an electric water heater) of diesel-generated power (or cooking gas in the case of a gas-only water heater) is either unquestionable, or at least unquestioned in Grenada. Aside from conversation-killing reasons like lack of funds and lack of clear governmental consensus on renewables, why not solar electricity as well? A dispersed energy production system, buttressed by strategically-sited industrial-scale wind power installations and always backed-up by the island’s expensive-but-reliable diesel electric production plant, could, with the adoption of a sane dispersed producer compensation scheme (the grid purchasing power from independent producers instead of relying on carbon-heavy foreign sources of energy), represent another way for ordinary Grenadians to both realize a savings on their own energy consumption and in some cases find themselves cash beneficiaries of their frugality and the energy-hungry habits of the island’s tourist trade.
You can’t go outside anywhere in this country, even on a cloudy day, without reckoning with the power of the sun. For those in windy quarters like St. Patrick’s the straight-line strength of a breeze which has seen no obstruction since the African coast is every bit the constant companion that the sun is. That Grenada is abundantly blessed with the resources which current technology favors for ‘alternative’ energy production isn’t in question. No solution repatriates and democratizes the value of this country’s hunger for energy better than a dispersed renewable energy production system. No solution offers Grenadians equity in potentially immensely-profitable carbon credit-producing ventures better than renewable energy. No solution contributes more to the security, health and international reputation of this island Eden than renewable energy. Grenlec would continue to realize a tidy profit on their transactional economy as owner/maintainer of the island’s electric grid. What other than capitalization remains?