Musings from a 77 year old!

Where did it all go? That is: Life! Or more accurately my life.

I was born in Acton, London before the end of WWII. I am in my 77th year. Life these days seems to be more or less a paradox.

There are so many challenges at the moment. Not just in the USA nor in the UK but globally. We love where we live here in rural Merlin but we are already in the third year of below normal rainfall.

A view of the sunrise from taken from our property.

The contradictions in terms of our life locally and the global scene are huge. This is all leading to me quoting extracts from a recent George Monbiot article. The article starts by saying: “On both sides of the Atlantic, powerful interests seem determined to trigger the collapse of life on Earth. Why?

Sexton Mountain last winter. Again photo taken from our property.

A little later on in Geo. Monbiot’s article, he writes: “When I began work as an environmental journalist in 1985, I knew I would struggle against people with a financial interest in destructive practices. But I never imagined that we would one day confront what appears to be an ideological commitment to destroying life on Earth. The UK government and the US supreme court look as if they are willing the destruction of our life support systems.

Because it does seem as though the political leaders are not taking the future of the planet seriously. As Patrice Ayme concluded recently in a remark to that post: “Biden ought to declare a climate emergency.” But it won’t happen!

(Well I may stand corrected. Yesterday it was widely reported, and I chose Renewable Energy: “The clean energy industry celebrated a moment on August 7 that would have seemed impossible just a few weeks earlier: The Senate passed a budget measure that includes the largest investments in clean energy and climate change in U.S. history.“)

Every morning when I go down to feed our two ex-rescue horses I also feed the wild deer. I have been doing it for many years. Long enough that a young buck has turned into an adult and comes within a few feet of me.

It never ceases to delight.

The contradiction between me going every morning down to the stable area and feeding the horses and the wild deer, and the outcome for the planet is beyond words. In a very real way it is incomprehensible.

Again, Geo. Monbiot writes: “All this might seem incomprehensible. Why would anyone want to trash the living world? Surely even billionaires want a habitable and beautiful planet? Don’t they like snorkelling on coral reefs, salmon fishing in pristine rivers, skiing on snowy mountains? We suffer from a deep incomprehension of why such people act as they do. We fail to distinguish preferences from interests, and interests from power. It is hard for those of us who have no desire for power over others to understand people who do. So we are baffled by the decisions they make, and attribute them to other, improbable causes. Because we do not understand them, we are the more easily manipulated.”

Under our apple tree!

It really is a paradox! And who knows the outcome. All I can say is that, despite me being the age I am, I would not want to be any younger and aware that soon one would be facing the global changes full on.

Stacked cumulus clouds to the North-East.

More words from Geo. Monbiot: “Since 1985, I’ve been told we don’t have time to change the system: we should concentrate only on single issues. But we’ve never had time not to change the system. In fact, because of the way in which social attitudes can suddenly tip, system change can happen much faster than incrementalism. Until we change our political systems, making it impossible for the rich to buy the decisions they want, we will lose not only individual cases. We will lose everything.”

I have no idea of the global changes that are afoot and how they will affect us in Merlin. Indeed, I have no idea how long I have to live.

Jean and I met in December, 2007. We met in Mexico but Jean was also born in London, just a few years after me. How’s that for chance!

Jean’s American husband had died in 2005. She was rescuing dogs off the streets, sorting them out, and finding homes for them, mainly in Arizona.

Jean and me in San Carlos, Mexico.

I went out to Mexico with Pharaoh in 2008. With a one-way ticket!

Pharaoh digging in the sand in Mexico.

However of one thing I am sure. Since that meeting in December, 2007 life has been as good as it comes. I have never been happier.

What a contradiction!

32 thoughts on “Musings from a 77 year old!

    1. Marina, it is not my birthday yet, that isn’t until November. But thank you so much for your loving response. As I said in the title to the post these were just my introspective thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think mysterious but complex. The brain is a very large organ but given sufficient understanding its workings are clear. Or as I like to put it: All the world is a little queer except thee and me, and I have my doubts about thee! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest Sue, as I just wrote in my reply to Marina, I am still four months away from my 78th. But I accept your love beautifully and return it to you with thanks. You have been a dear friend over the years.


  1. As you know Paul, I live across the other side of the world – as far as you can get- but I identify with every word you said.
    I too am an admirer of George Monbiot and like you, share his absolute frustration about the trashing of our planet by these super greedy corporations and individuals. Don’t they know what’s happening? I think many don’t want to know or read anything that will challenge their world view and preoccupation with making money. Others are just plain sociopaths/psychopaths.
    Like you with your deer, I feed our wallabies and bandicoots, especially over the summer months when there is less grass around. In the end I believe that kindness to our fellow humans and to other creatures is the main thing that matters in life.
    For everyone that is ignorant about the ongoing ecocide and collapse of the world‘s natural environment, there are others who are deeply concerned like you and I. Many ordinary people express their sense of alarm on Reddit/Collapse, which is updated daily.
    As do many professionals and scientists interviewed on Michael Dowd’s Post Doom Conversations.

    And on many other sites.
    Knowing that other people share similar values and also think about these things every day helps me not to feel so alone.
    Solace is also to be found of course in the simple everyday pleasures of life that are still on offer – such as the company and joy that our pets bring us, especially our beloved dogs.


    1. Margaret, your lovely, long reply brought a few tears to my eyes. I will follow up on those links later on in the morning but I suspect they are valuable ‘places’ to visit. You are right about others sharing our feelings, especially towards our dogs, and that is what makes Jean so special. Her love for all dogs is incredible! Thank you very much, Paul xx


  2. 84% of world primary energy production is from fossil fuels (The rest is mostly hydro and nuclear). That’s not negotiable. It is a fact, and a very hard one. Governments have to ask themselves how they will lower that number. It will not be with electric plugs and batteries. Nor fake carbon accounting a la California, counting as stored carbon, forests which have already burned…. Nor will primary energy become mostly carbon free thanks to a bit of sun, and a bit of wind. 

    The International Energy Agency says coal burning in 2022 will tie with its old record of 2013. Next year, in 2023, the record in coal burning, worst contributor to the CO2 crisis, will be surpassed. Please thank all the opportunistic, lying pseudo-ecologists, sun-struck and wind blown…

    We have to thank the politicians who walked away from nuclear and hydrogen (Obama on day one for the latter!)
    They walked away because they were paid… Not just by oil majors, and major oil exporting countries, and the financial sectors attached to them, and oligarchs, but even paid by the Kremlin…

    The planet is firmly united, in the matter of major corruption by self-declared leaders, imposed by the powers that be… who got where they are because, for them, the best way to forget about the precarity of human life is to visit hellfire and subjugation onto others. If imposing suffering is good, receiving it, not so bad, our dear leaders reason in their maleficent hearts. The metaphysics of pain and power dominate the fate of the biosphere. That’s the answer to Monbiot… 😉


    1. Oh dear, Patrice, you write such terrible things but I fear you are correct. That is why I said that I don’t want to be any younger. What is the answer? Do you have any thoughts as to where humanity is heading? I suspect you do. And I am certain your forecast is very dire. I have long trusted your words and will close by thanking you for your long reply. We are heading for a grim future; I hope I am wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Make no mistake, the absolute worst political leader when it came to action on climate change was Donald J. Trump. Oil, gas and coal companies advanced enormous checks to Trump’s 2016 and 2021 electoral campaigns and to his 2017 inauguration. Within the first 100 days of his Administration, Trump and the Republican controlled Congress moved to remove or ease many restrictions on those companies. He allowed gas and oil drilling in national forests and even reduced the size of a National Park so that mining could take place on its territory. He signed executive orders to approve two controversial oil pipelines and implemented plans allowing drilling in nearly all US waters, the largest expansion of offshore oil and gas leasing ever proposed. In 2019, his Administration completed plans for opening the entire coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. He also removed any reference to ‘climate change’ in all Departmental publications and websites and of course, he withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement.
      Generally, his pro corporate removal of hundreds of protective environment, workplace, safety and consumer regulations is a matter of public record ( on the US Federal Register). So much for “draining the swamp”!
      I do agree with you Patrice that, unless there are significant technological breakthroughs, renewables simply can’t replace the energy density of fossil fuels. And yet the extraction and use of fossil fuels is causing climate change as well as widespread destruction of natural environments. And neither is nuclear energy without huge problems. Hydrogen is of limited use given the problem of producing it at scale. Hence the dilemma humanity faces. Short of a rapid retreat to simpler, lower energy lifestyles, I believe that chaos lies ahead.
      As the philosopher Albert Schweitzer wisely said so many years ago –
      “Man has lost the ability to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the Earth”.


      1. Margaret, you are so well informed especially about the situation in this country. I guess Jean and I live in a sort of bubble out here and having 13 acres means that there is always something to do around the house so the larger political situation tends to pass us by. Plus we don’t watch American TV so that means another channel is not accessed. And when we listen to the radio 99.9% of the time it is to BBC Radio so all in all we are not as well informed as perhaps we should be!


  3. What amazing images, Paul. Yes, being just a few years younger than you, it’s concerning where this planet is heading. Not to mention all the changes in social decency, there are some strange times ahead for us all.


    1. Monika, thank you for liking my photographs. As I said it is a paradox when one looks at the beauty of our local surroundings and the larger state of things. I don’t know at all where we are heading but in Patrice’s reply he put his finger on the primary cause: greed and power. These are indeed very strange times!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul, maybe it’s best that you do stay away from TV news. The controversy is mind-boggling. I like to envision you doing your part in Oregon, maintaining your property and feeding wild deer. Your lifestyle, with dogs & Jean are life sustaining, even as you grow older. I’m in my 80s and try to do my part emotionally supporting my family; a Vietnam vet partner, two Border Aussies, two sons, five granddaughters and five great-grandchildren. Plus continue writing a sequel to the first published book The more I stay away from the bombarding news, the more I can concentrate on the good things in my life. Not that I have my head in the sand. I read everything about world news and know the challenges countries are going through. I just stay way from commentators booming voices. Paul, keep your life simple in growing older and concentrate on your surrounding beauty. 📚🎶 Christine


    1. Christine, that is a lovely, and very wise, reply. And, my, what a grand family you have. And what a fabulous age! You are so right in us staying away from all the news. Impossible, of course, but your advice about focussing on life-sustaining habits and practices makes more than perfect sense. How sensible you are and you are to be congratulated for just being the person you are! Best wishes, Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, John, and, of course, you are correct. We need political parties, of whatever colour, to come together and formulate strategies for dealing with global problems, most notably climate change. Will it happen? Of course not! Biden’s attempt to pass a climate bill is one thing but the use of carbon fuels, especially coal, is set to continue, as Patrice Ayme has put so cogently.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was surprised by the Biden bill as well. I’m a few years younger than you but know my time is probably shorter. I’m having a hard time watching what’s going on in the world as well and hoping that some nutcase nimrod doesn’t pull the final trigger on all of us. I have to trust that there is some universal plan afoot that I’m not aware of. Trying to stay positive in this climate takes more energy than they can dig out of the ground. I’m so happy to hear you are feeding the deer as well. We need them too. I don’t understand those that don’t want to protect what is so wonderful about our world. The synchronicity of your meeting Jean has to give one hope in this world. Stay well.


    1. Marlene, thank you! Yes, me meeting Jean was incredibly lucky especially after my own fear of rejection had been brought to the surface by a professional counselor in early 2007. But yesterday afternoon we watched the hour long video of an interview with Meg Wheatley that Margaret of Tasmania included in her reply. Do watch it if you haven’t already seen it. It really does explain what is going on in the world. In fact I am going to write about it next Tuesday so I won’t say any more just now.

      Liked by 1 person

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