Scatter the Herd. . .Here Comes Christmas!

Oh my goodness!  This is exactly as I remember it!

Oh my goodness! This is exactly as I remember it!

I grew up thinking that all the happy and peaceful animals gathered around the manger in a beautiful, star-lit evening scene of joy and ahhh, soothed by harp-strumming angels hovering overhead.

Nice bedtime story.  Makes a sweet lullaby.

Then, we grow up.  Don’t we?

(well, at least all the animals and fairies scatter when we scramble in for Presents!)

Oddly, the Church rushes forward to Crucify the Little Swaddler and the animals are eaten (so is HE). . . to “Celebrate Life!”

Here’s something I posted last “holiday season” on Beyond God

Speaking of Annual Fairytales, once again we are blessed with the Great Annual Christian Lie called the “War on Christmas”–I recommend this excellent piece at Exactly My Thinking

Behold Who Was Born on December 25th



Lots of interesting people, famous and infamous, were born on December 25 (Clara Barton, Anwar Sadat, Rod Serling!)

Neil deGrasse Tyson stirred up the, um, flock this year with this tweet at Christmas:

On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world.  Happy Birthday Isaac Newton, born Dec 25, 1642

On a probably unrelated issue I’ve been considering this season. . .

What would Religion, and particularly the Christian Religion, have looked like IF God/the Divine/Heaven/the Sacred/the Spiritual was DOWN instead of UP?  Think about it.  What if God was DOWN, in or below the Earth, not UP in the sky beyond the clouds?  Would Religion then be the Ultimate Environmental Organization?  I wonder what Newton would say. . .or other famous thinkers born on December 25.

I’ve just been thinking a little about that.

NOW Who’s Anti-Christmas?

Bad, Bad, Children!

Bad, Bad, Children!

People who read and pay attention already know this, but. . .Bill-O, Listen Up!

Who were the original Anti-Christmas, War-on-Christmas, Scrooge People?

Christians!  Puritans actually (the “best kind” of Christian, some would say).  And who were the first seekers of “religious freedom” in America?

Yes, that’s right.  Puritans. . .and they HATED Christmas.

Read When Christmas Carols were Banned

History (and knowledge, and thinking) is such a party-squasher, isn’t it?

Fa la la. . .Ha, ha, ha. . .ho ho ho.

Yes, Children, there Really IS a War on Christmas!

This sickens. . .but needs to be seen, I guess

This sickens. . .but needs to be seen, I guess

I read that the Attorney General of New York is trying to get stores like KMart, Walmart and Amazon to stop selling fake guns that look real.  If you think this is overreacting, take a look at these two websites (you really should):  Toy Arsenal and More Toy Guns.  I particularly like the Swat team and Sniper rifles, but also the U.S. Army Carbine for only $28.95.  Gee, I’d like to see a whole army of children with those!  And what better time than Christmas!

I can still remember how thrilled I was when my dad gave me a bb gun for Christmas.  I was probably 8 or 9.  I’ll bet I went right out and gunned down a happy robin singing loud and joyful on Christmas Day.  It was only a year or two later that I shot a blackbird through the head and saw it hang upside down on a branch.  That was the last time I shot anything with that gun.

This is all these “toys” do.  They kill or wound things, living things, people.  Or, pretend to.  Think about that.  Pretending to kill someone.  Nice thing to teach children isn’t it?  Sure, target practice was fun.  But it’s just too hard for children not to sooner or later blast something or point the gun at someone. . .like a police officer.

Goodbye child.  Goodbye any real parenting.

I’m waiting for someone to claim it’s their Second Amendment Right for their child to own as many Toy Guns as they want.  Waaaaaahh.

One childlike question:  How many more kids will die “playing with guns” real or fake?

One grownup question:  Raising children to shoot things gives us what kind of adults?

Teaching violence has to be the Real War on Christmas since it’s the Real War on Our Children too.

New Seasons and New Reasons


My old cabin on the island

“Nature looks ahead, and makes ready for the new season in the midst of the old. . .  The present season is always the mother of the next.”

~John Burroughs, Ways of Nature

The wonderful refreshing rains have returned to our thirsty land.  The pasturelands are greening; the streams are flowing and lakes are filling.  Snow is falling in the mountains that await the February cabin trip by the icy rivers.


Snowshoe paradise

I am always grateful for the change of seasons, when the months of contrasts arrive in their annual visit colorfully clothed in dark and light, cold and warm, silence and song, death and life.

When the first sky-waterfalls begin, the sound holds my attention, even when it’s mostly the water pouring down the spouts at night.  There’s a calming and a reassuring sense that the birds, the coyotes, the insects and the land are breathing relief at the taste of liquid life.



My Christmas birthday has changed over the years.  More accurately, it changes every year.  Last year Carol and I surprised our friends Todd and Judy in the City, arriving at their annual morning brunch to a houseful of hugs and good cheer.

Christmas kisses

Christmas kisses

Leaving the festivities we got stuck in terrible touristy traffic.  I was missing my treeclimb, so we got out of the holiday headache and walked Golden Gate Park for a bit where I found a short olive to “climb.”


A few days later I was able to go just a few feet higher in an oak in a local state park.


This year we’ll be in the coastal hills for “the day,” among the redwoods and fir.  Between now and then I’ll find a “climber” to be my Christmas Tree.

I’m climbing around some new reasons to enjoy the season this year.  The family seems to be smiling more; good people are connecting; my classes are really very fun to teach; I’m re-reading some good books (Steinbeck, Thomas Paine, Burroughs) and many more birds and species are gathering in the fields and ponds.

Home for the holidays

Home for the holidays

I hope this season of natural beauty gives you many presents.  One gift is good enough.  Life itself.

*This little reflection was just published on Patheos:  Climbing (not cutting) a Christmas Tree