I live near Mulino, OR, on land with a year-round creek, meadows and huge cedar trees. Lots of wildlife, too, including deer who raid my garden and fruit orchards. They own this place; I just live here.
I grew up in the 1960’s, and in the third-grade, I had a daily paper route. I would read about the Vietnam War and protests while stuffing and folding issues of the Seattle Times. Summers for me and my four siblings included backpacking and fly-fishing in areas of the Cascades that later became designated as Wilderness. We bought our boots and packframes at REI, when it was just a local cooperative. We always drank icy water straight from springs and streams. Years later, after REI expanded into marketing recreational attire (making it so much more fashionable to recreate in the wilds), that same water became poisoned with giardia.
My Dad worked at Boeing, as an aeronautical engineer. He was laid off when the SST project was de-funded, and he then found work as a senior engineer with Air Asia. We lived in Taiwan for one year, then in Annandale, VA. Eventually, Air Asia was closed down, and my family settled in McMinnville, OR. Three years later, while my best friends headed off to Oregon State University, I went to Tulane. New Orleans was a great experience, but my favorite part was seeing the rural South, on orienteering trips to places like Mississippi and Arkansas. The flat swamps and sticky air of Louisiana made me appreciate the forests and hills of the Pacific Northwest all the more. I left Tulane early, took some time off from college, then came back to Oregon and finished a Geology degree at OSU.
After college, I worked for one year processing building permits at the City of Portland. I met many exasperated citizens, and I had a supremely lazy supervisor who said ‘hey, it’s not a problem unless you make it one.’ This was not the kind of civil service I wanted to do, so I quit. I hired on with the FAA later that year, and proudly began a career as an air traffic controller. Three years into this career, and just a month after I had married, I spoke up about an incident in which my coworker was watching a TV in the tower cab and nearly caused a midair collision. My doing so threatened FAA management, and I thus became a target for retaliation. The full history of that retaliation is a much larger story.
My marriage lasted fourteen years. My FAA career lasted 22-years. At this point in my life, a principal focus is to ensure that my three children will outlive me in a world that is healthy and good. I will do my best…
On the theory that we are a compilation of our formative experiences, I offer the following series:
- one of my earliest memories was seeing a drunken man curled up and crying in the curb gutter at the north end of Seattle’s Pike Place Market. I was only four or five, and my instinct was that we should help him. My Mom, who is a deeply caring person, surprised me when we did nothing and headed away.
- I learned about DDT and thalidomide, Wonder Bread and plastics, all at about the same time.
- One of my first Presidents said: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” I still believe this.
- We landed on the moon. We were first. We had beaten an unknown ‘enemy’ in a distant place, said to be evil. I never met this enemy.
- People actually kill people. I did not understand the assassination of JFK, and frankly was too young to comprehend the shock of it. When his brother and Martin Luther King were killed, I started to understand that I was born into a sick world.
- How sick?I learned of slavery, apartheid, sweatshops, union abuse of power, wars, religious zealotry, and greed. Of the capacity for humanity to make the same dumb mistakes over and over again, and with even greater damages.I saw pictures showing kids running from napalm, and other pictures showing piles of Cambodian skulls.
- I learned to appreciate Nature, increasingly as a respite for the insanity of the human world. There is something calm, healthy and inspiring about the order and diversity of Nature.
- Watergate; Love Canal; Three Mile Island; Reaganomics and the Laffer Curve; Bhopal and Chernobyl; Enron; 9/11 and the War on Terror; Climate Change, and the idiots who deny it; political polarity as a form of domestic terrorism; our growing obsession with ‘jobs’ and ‘money’ as the only true and valued measures of our economic ‘health’. All of these are like mile-markers flashing by, while we careen brakeless and downward and into a hard grave. What are we leaving for our children?
 ‘Air Asia’ was the official name at the headquarters in Taiwan, for the CIA-funded ‘airline’ operation in Southeast Asia, as roughly depicted in the 1990 movie ‘Air America’.