Out In Nature

The forest is doing well.

Felton has certainly changed since my grandparents arrived in the early 1940s. So many more homes have been built around their formerly isolated home on Ashley Street. A supermarket and two big drug stores are within walking distance of Downtown. There are more people and traffic here in Felton now than there were in Sunnyvale when they left.

Wow, Sunnyvale has certainly changed as well.

Yet, nature is still natural. The second growth redwoods are getting to be eighty years older than they were back then. So are some of the old oaks and firs. Otherwise, the forest and all the flora and fauna in it function now like they did back then.

Dogs enjoy nature too.

It has been slightly more than a year since I wrote ‘Fake Environmentalism‘, about the misconception that homelessness is more detrimental to the environment than domestic lifestyles are. That article was more about how domestic lifestyles affect the environment in ways that few of us give much thought to, rather than the relatively minimal impact of homelessness.

We all have seen pictures of the most horrendous of homeless encampments, which are typically inhabited by those afflicted by functionality compromising mental disorder. Encampments such as these exemplify homelessness no more accurately than the White House exemplifies all domestic situations. They are rare, and still less polluting than average domestic lifestyles.

Most homeless encampments are not much to get pictures of. Many homeless people leave nothing where they sleep for the night, but instead take everything with them when they leave in the morning, even if they return at the end of the day.

I could see no evidence of encampments while walking with Rhody through an area where a few homeless people live. I might have found minor evidence if I had looked for it, but that was not my intention. If I had wanted to see evidence of human habitation, we would have walked on one of the several suburban streets in town.

Misconceptions – Graffiti

Cave paintings might be considered to be some of the oldest examples of what we now know as graffiti. Alternatively, such ancient forms of self expression might have evolved into the sorts of artworks produced by Lester Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Mary Cassatt and Henri Matisse. Perhaps it all developed from the same primitive origins of more than sixty-four thousand years ago.

That is inconsequential now. Works of renowned artists are exhibited in museums. Graffiti defaces infrastructure until it gets painted over, or merely defaced and obscured by more graffiti. Except for several galleries of very compelling local art, and occasional touring exhibits, there are no formal art museums in Felton. However, there is more graffiti than only a few years ago.

Haters often blame the homeless for graffiti, merely because some of the homeless camp in some of the same places where graffiti is prominently displayed. In other words, the homeless did it because they were there. According to that logic, the haters must be responsible too, since they were also there. Otherwise, they would not have seen enough graffiti to blame others for it.

What makes anyone think that homeless people have any interest in the sort of elaborate graffiti that has been appearing around town for the past few years anyway? Homeless people have many more important issues to be concerned with. Drawing attention to their camp sites is not exactly a priority. Nor is spending limited funds on something as unnecessary as spray paint.

Besides, while graffiti has become more common than it has ever been, homelessness has become significantly less common. There are presently only a few homeless people in Felton. Most are not sufficiently agile to get into the situations where most of the graffiti has been displayed.

For some, blame is easier than logic.

Trona

Trona is the sort of place than not many of us have ever heard of, even though it is only about 275 miles away in the Mojave Desert, right here in California. It does not look like much from satellite. It must look like so much more to the nearly 2,000 people who live there. It is their home, just like Felton is ours.

Trona is suddenly in the news, after the moderate but significant earthquake that occurred there on the Fourth of July, and the even more significant earthquake that occurred there yesterday morning. The second of these two earthquakes was stronger than the Loma Prieta Earthquake that destroyed so many home here in 1989. Aftershocks will continue for a long time, and there is a potential for even more significant earthquakes.

There is not as much damage in the Trona region as there was here after the Loma Prieta Earthquake, but only because there is less to damage. We all know that limited collective damage does not make our own individual losses any easier. Some will be without their homes, at least for a while. Many will be without electricity for a while. A lack of air conditioning can be dangerous in the severe heat of the Mojave Desert in summertime.

People will help each other out. They always do. It may not be easy. It may be downright difficult for many. Nonetheless, the best of humanity comes out at the worst of times.

After the Loma Prieta Earthquake, many people throughout the region were homeless, even if only temporarily until their homes were made safe. Many camped out in their yards, parks or parking lots. What was not discussed much afterward was how some who found it necessary to do so were helped through their difficulties by those more experienced with camping out; namely, the local homeless people.

Moving Day II

Trail leading down from the vacated camp site

One would think that moving camp would be easier than relocating from one home to another. In some ways, it is. Obviously, there is less to move. Almost everything in a well outfitted camp can fit into a few large boxes or trash bags. This particular site involved a bit more than that, since it stored extra bedding and clothing for others. Nonetheless, we moved it all with only two partial loads of a tiny station wagon. It was reasonably efficient.

The difficulty is removing the baggage discretely from a location that is not easily accessible, and then relocating it even more discretely to another site that is even less accessible because the trails are not yet cleared. Moving out is of course easier than moving in, not only because the trail is somewhat cleared, but also because discretion is not quite as important. By the time someone complains, and deputies respond, we will be gone.

Yes, there are those who complain while we are moving out. Deputies don’t mind. They are accustomed to it. If they have time, and they know we must park on the side of a busy road, they might even come out to park behind the station wagon with their red and blue lights on for safety. In the past, they have helped carry the baggage to get us off the side of the road more efficiently! Seriously! We have some AWESOME deputies here!

It is more important to be discreet while moving into the new site. We typically wait a few hours before doing so, just because stalking haters like to pursue the station wagon after leaving the abandoned site, in order to identify the location of the new site. Even if the new site is on private property with the permission of the property owner, haters want to know about it, and often trespass onto such properties just for the sake of stalking.

Anyway, we are sort of done for now. We just need to sort through the baggage so that some of it can be put into storage, and only what is necessary can be taken to the new site.