When I was a kid I used to earn spending money by shoveling snow off other people’s driveways, in winter, and mowing their lawns and planting their trees in summer. This was the ’60s. Winter snow was great fun to go sled riding in, on the biggest hills I could find, some pasture and some very wooded. I’d sweat inside my sweater and coat doing the work, and the play, and it would then freeze hard on the way home (it used to be cold back then). When a job or play finished after sunset the walk home through the hush-white quiet was quite wonderful, especially if moonlit. In December there would be Christmas lights on houses casting their colored lights out from star-like pinpoints. I’d think of music, like Rachmaninoff, on such walks: magical. The summer lawn jobs were an altogether different experience. First off, it was always hot and muggy; you’d get sweaty and grimy doing the job, and also hay fever. But the one compensation was the panorama when you got paid. The suburban housewives were always in stretch-tops and shorts not doing housework inside, and come to the door, often a step up, with Cinerama at eye level. Once one came to the door and stood there with a cocktail in her hand and a Gloria Grahame smile on her face. That was my tip. Others would be out back in their bikinis sunning themselves by their pools. I’d have to go back there when there would be no answer at the door. I had repeat customers for a few years because I was cheaper than the professional services, with snow-blowers, gardening trucks and power tools. But my favorite customer was an old wheelchair-bound disabled man who had a painting studio. He showed me how to paint clouds, with oils, correctly. A great tip. Honest work always deserves just and decent pay, but sometimes the tip is the best part of the job. 
Response to Peter Byrne, my 92-year-old mentor
Eureka! I’ve finally understood what separates me from Manuel. While he worked the lawns with teen zeal in the Pacific breeze, I, earlier, mowed the grass in Chicago’s Holy Olive Cemetery. I learned about capitalism from the grave up and became a lifelong pessimist. He, no grave dodger, gathered all the bad news and nevertheless managed a sliver of optimism. More power to him.
The breeze was Atlantic, wafting across Long Island for East and West Egg to Fire Island, but all else is true. I wanted to “save the world” by unlocking nuclear fusion, and championing solar energy systems any do-it-yourselfer could assemble. I also wanted a Ferrari, so youthful (and very unrealistic) optimism for sure. But even “knowing the score”, from an 11-year-old during the Bay of Pigs (cutting me off from my desired “homeland”) on through the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 (when both the Havana and NYC branches of the family were targeted for the fryer), and all through my junior high and high school years following the daily news of Vietnam and Laos, trying to steel my mind to somehow cope with the draft I was invited to join at the peak of the war, 1968-1969, I knew the score and that optimism was whittled down to a sliver. Life thereafter only whittled it down to a hair, but I had sweet kids who needed positive dreams to grow into their own happy lives, so I hung onto that hair and tried to shine its luster into the wider world, for them. But, they’re all grown and gone now, as of this year, and I am now purposeless, and have fallen quiet because that is the best “positivity” I can offer the wider world — the Eloi — whom I am left to watch drift thoughtlessly into their unnecessary but self-selected certain fates. My creativity is exhausted, as is my “knowledge”, I have nothing left to “teach”, so silence is good for me since I have nothing of value to offer, and it won’t matter anyway, just as it never mattered for the Eloi I offered my arts and works to since the beginning. What I have for compensation now are my physical senses with which to observe the flow of Nature about me — today the rain onto my forested canyon, and the tweeting of the hummingbirds ever vigilant to make sure I keep their sugar-water feeders fresh, other days with sun and hawks wheeling overhead — and I have books to read so my mind can wander in other worlds, both real and fictional, that writers with sound hearts and clear minds wrote to speak their truths to the ages. And I have music. My art now is entirely in seeking to know, just for myself. And also to remember, just for the pure pleasure. Sometimes, there is even another wise soul to talk to. So it goes. 
Quantum mechanics is the condensation of existence out of nothingness, which statistics coalesce into continuity and causality, to roil as an ocean of heat that expands into entropy dissipating all memory into a fathomless frigidity of unbeing. God is in the hopes and hubris of man, Goddess is in the anxieties and emergent life by woman, the Afterlife is the Afterdeath of Consciousness dissolved and reabsorbed. Humanity will flourish to the extent it is generous, and it will perish to the extent that it is selfish, enlightenment is to know, salvation is to do, every Heaven is ringed by its necessary Hell of exclusion. Your only glory can be to light a brief candle in the eternal dark, whose afterglow carried in your heart would be your peace on sinking back into the emptiness. Reincarnation is the eruption of knowing from unknowning, the birth of future and past embraced, to diverge on each side of present until they merge once again into the embrace of nonexistence. Wisdom is the glare of sunlight streaming through a rain-bejewelled forest onto the eyes of dreamers lost in their shimmering illusions, moonlight shattered into sparkling ripples on the dark sea of night breathing silence, the entwined songs of life eddying and cascading, rivers to the sea, rains to the mountains, I am all that can be: a moment of the fountain.
Response by Peter Byrne:
“And don’t be discouraged if your fingers get burnt lighting that candle.” 
Freedom versus Slave Mind
White Supremacy will end with human extinction. The angry rage of conservatives and fundamentalists, in the face of godless skepticism, is really an anguished cry of: “don’t make us question our bigotry!” For working class people who can’t think better, White Supremacy is a psychological compensation for an inferiority complex. That complex is learned from infected parents, and indoctrinated into one by a capitalist class society intent to exploit and enslave people by controlling their minds with a programming for obedience to higher authority, a sense of inadequacy and neediness, and with race- and ethnicity-based prejudice, to cause disunity among the great mass of the working class. Working class white supremacists are simply abused children passing on their abuse to younger generations and lower seniority workers and employees: ignorant slaves seeking to compensate for their hidden lack of self-respect by trying to depreciate and enslave others “below them”. The capitalist upper class propagates this mass psychology illness of low self-esteem, neediness and bigotry, because it is the method by which the union of the rich few control the disunion of the poor many. “Divide and conquer” was how the Roman Empire was ruled, and so with America today. Ending White Supremacy before human extinction occurs would require a Marxist Revolution to full Communism. A first step to that political goal is Labor Union organizing so the Labor Union Movement expands to the point of controlling the national economy. Then a Social Revolution can occur, which ends all interpersonal prejudices. Such a political-social progression is the only way militarism-imperialism can be overcome, and Climate Change finally seriously confronted. Such a Paradigm Shift is deemed “impossible” by capitalist indoctrination in the Slave Mind. And it may be unlikely in your lifetime, but that does not prevent you from working toward that Paradigm Shift — The Revolution — beginning with your own transformation out of Slave Mind, and then with the activism and organizing you may choose to do. The Revolution is not merely a desired socio-political event at some time in the future during the course of human history, it is a living process carried within the individual lives of people who have freed themselves from Slave Mind, and by their living examples push back against the oppressors’s imposition of Slave Mind and its White Supremacy illness, even onto the last day of human existence if that is to be our collective fate. Be joyful in your freedom. 
 Shoveling Snow, Mowing Lawns
12 December 2021
14 December 2021
 Freedom versus Slave Mind
16 December 2021