Be sure to wear flowers in your hair: 

28 Jul

I’m both happy & sad 🎭 to announce that I will be leaving San Francisco (and America🇺🇸) this September 7th, to live and teach English at a high school in Versailles, France (Paris🇫🇷), for a year (or more: via French husband). 
A heartfelt thank you, and farewell, to all you kindhearted Franciscans whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my short 6 months here (1 more left!). I will miss your handsome faces, your impish smiles, your doe-eyes… Thank you for your warmest welcome! 

And farewell to my dearest Oregonian friends, in your alpine heights, who will soon be shrouded in weeping rain.🌲🌧
San Francisco is the hardest city to leave… There is feeling of liberation, of lightness, that is held so dearly by her pastel boulevards, resounding off of her rocky shores….
And though, in truth, we’re conquered by high rents and Überization… Broken elections and mass-extinctions. There is yet still good in this world! Little sparks of fleeting beauty, small acts of kindness, unity in the face of calamity. The faint voice of Hope calling out from within Pandoras Box, helping us summon the courage to release him.
Remember to keep fighting unyieldingly forward to make life a wonderful adventure for everyone! remember to tell people you love them early & often…And if there’s one thing I learned from the particularly gentle people here….be suuuuuurre to wearrrrrrr flowers in your hairrrrrr! 🌸🌺🌻🌺🌸🌼

The land at the Edge of the World

20 Jul

  Beyond the highest mountains,

Before the greatest sea,

Lay a land where the sun goes to slumber each night
The hills are ever awash with his red light.
Here, in the oldest forests, legs of giants rise to leafy boughs, laden heavy with golden fruit.
The garden of Hesperides, where the voices of nymphs are carried on the mists.
On craggy peaks, Atlas, the giant, holds up the swirling skies.
Clouds fall to Earth like waves on a shore, flooding the valleys with fog
This realm, caught between niether here nor there,
Alongside hither and thither,
A city at the edge of the world,

Enthroned by the clouds.
Her pastel houses are arrayed on the rolling hills, as if waiting to be played as pieces in some great game.
Stacked and thrown together, 

Brush strokes on a verdant canvas,
Towers clad in fine coats of rose, violet, turquoise.
Dwellings in bizarre shades of yellow, orange, beige, and green.
They gleam in their colors, or fade as the fickle skies roll across the world. 
In the centre, pyramids stab upwards, towers thrown up like spears.
Their illuminated halls make a mockery of the starry night.
They all creak under the weight of the falling sky. 
Groaning, they lose rocks and debris. 
They shift frantically, spinning and whirring, 

a clockwork survival. 

They avoid buckling under the pressing heavens, 

who would with ease send them tumbling down in their hubris. 
In these cloistered halls, and narrow stairs,

come visitors in their multitudes.
To sell their souls to naked Ambition, 

who lay waiting for them on the highest floor. 
On her satin pillow, 

her translucent silks blow across her ivory skin.

Her ruby lips and dark hair. 

Her eyes heavy with lust.
The suitors come, each willing to give their life for her false affections. 
Their whining advances join the chorus of her baying hounds. 
For men and dogs, each new treat is worth a lifetime of servitude. 
But under these palaces of idolatry, is a realm all of its own.
throngs of the common people, who clamor joyfully, faces beaming.
The world is theirs, they claim, 

and daily they awake, greeting the new day.
Aimless, free of care, Such is their elation 

as they join each other, arms outstretched.
They are transfixed, in reverie, suddenly, as under a column of light, an acrobat dances with gravity.
Her skin is dark, her muscles taught, and her panther eyes glow. 

She twists and swings,

She contorts and spins,

She bows, applause ripple over the hills. 
Music seizes the people, passion grabs them in their chest, 

their feet go flying across the ground. 
Wild flowers spring up at each footfall. 
Floral scents of red, purple, and yellow 

mingle with the heady passions of the dancers.
Soon they are falling upon each other.
their silks falling away and their warm, tired, bodies begin wrapping tightly together. 
The pastures are full of their movements and cries. 
Pleasure and delight roll amidst the flowers, as the golden sun descends.
The lanterns start to glow, flickering across the walls. 
The fireflies light up in a humming green.
The crickets call to welcome the balmy night, 

who comes chasing on the heels of fleeing day.
Time stands still. 

As if the world was taking a breath. 
Dusk, the land begins to fall upwards into the sky.
The towers crane their necks,

The trees fluff out their golden feathers,

The spirits of the land seep from the soil and begin their ascent.
Sky jellyfish, in splashes of phosphorus, streak upwards across the sky, their gentle forms billowing behind them. 
giant butterflies rise softly, their dust falling in sheets from their shimmering wings.
Metallic birds in silver, gold, and platinum flash across the sky, their songs ringing out in mercurial tones.
In the onset of a midsummer night, 

the hazy, dimming sun glows in its magnitude.

Colors are released: garish purple, bold orange, tingling red, and docile pink. 
A symphony of colors flickers across the painted skies,
The land drips upwards, raining an inverted downpour into the heavens.
The sea cascades off of the highest cliffs, 

an impossible waterfall, 

Tumbling and roaring,

Resounding down to chasm-depths, 

falling to nowhere. 
And in the dull arboreal warmth, 

the sun sets upon the edge of the world.

Depression. :(

2 Jun

Do you ever feel like there’s so little free time, and so much to do? and how can we even do it if we’re so exhausted and depressed in our precious hours we count until our job starts again. So much time stolen, so little time left, so much less energy, no joy. 
Only endless expectations that go unfulfilled, fleeting glances that go unmet, eyes cast downwards in shame and fear. Talk to them, or suffer in silence. but your voice is stolen, your a statue, stealing glances. How dare you take the time of people who have it all figured out, why would they stop to help you? Look at how great they are, dancing and playing, how quickly they go about creating dreams. How can they welcome you, why would they, they have their games and their arms are thrown around each other already. 
So retreat into silence, into music to escape, or notes to figure it out. Retreat into the cage of your own mind. All you do is lay around , and endlessly think, how inward focused and selfish, how small your world is, how diminished your spirit. Your potential is spent, your passions strewn on the floor, never to be shared.
How long before life grinds you down, before you lose what little things you have, your youthful spirit fades, your confidence is beaten from you, you lose your health? And what then, you will be a shell of a man in a world that is dying, who your meek voice can do nothing to save. Lost floating on a puddle of your own petty miseries, wasting away in your bed while others suffer much worse fates, burning or starving. Voiceless, selfish, and alone, in a world of wolves and iron cruelty. 

Home is in the heart, pack your liberation with you! 🌿🍃🏺

28 May

Wow, San Francisco is truly one of the hardest places to leave. the gentle people who fill this city, with flowers in their hair, even though we just met, I love you and miss you!
 I feel like my tentacles are getting ripped and severed, spitting out hissing, steaming pools of ichor. I feel like my roots are untwined and pulled up. But oh, you will always be *Home*, and rememeber that you are the most liberated city, the liberation you have is something that will forever be a treasure guarded close to heart. Basque in it friends! 
Goodbye wild, untamed… west coast, I go to teach English to brown eyed French lycéens in Pareeeeee, city of lumières💫🌟. I hope welcome and not lonliness await on that forlorn, mythic continent, with its ruins and château🏰…. 

Perhaps it will always feel premature to fly away, but adventure and challenge await… Farewell for now, enjoy the home you have, the roots you burrow deeper, and those who hold you close! 

The Year of Destruction: The Fall of Two Great Cities: 146 BCE:

28 Jan

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The Romans grew tired of their involvement in the affairs of the warring Greeks, they would provoke the Greeks as Roman victory against Carthage grew near. The Greeks would make the fatal error of declaring war on their Roman saviors. In one year, 146 BC, two of the most prosperous cities of antiquity would be wiped off the face of the Earth by the bloodthirsty Romans.

The Romans had fought their Mediterranean archenemy Carthage all the way to the walls of their city in North Africa, and the slaughter that followed in the spring of 146 BC would leave Carthage uninhabited for 100 years. 50,000 citizens of Carthage locked themselves in the citadel while the Romans entered the city. 900 Roman deserters locked themselves in the temple of Eshmun and set it ablaze, they would rather perish by fire than face the tortures of the Romans. Hasdrubal, the leader of Carthage, ran from the burning temple to surrender to Rome, while behind him the fires consumed hundreds of his people, including his wife and child. Not a single building would be left standing in Carthage, the old enemy of Rome would pass from history forever.

Vengeance for the Greeks followed swiftly in the months that followed. Marching from Macedon, the Romans swept south into the Peloponnesian Peninsula, defeating a Greek army on the way.  Flush from the heady slaughter of Carthage, the Romans crushed their Greek host at Corinth and stormed into the city. What followed was a bloodbath, every man was put to the sword, and the women and children were enslaved. Corinth was raped and looted, the ancient city was destroyed to a stone. For a hundred years hence the land would be desolate and empty, its field’s laying fallow, until in 44 BC Julius Caesar founded a small colony in the area. He would do the same for Carthage.

 

Rome & the Macedonian Wars: (precursor to 146 BC)

28 Jan

The Romans were a young republic, a new power player on the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea. They had contended with their rivals on the Italian Peninsula, and bitterly fought their rival Carthage, an empire descended from the purple-clothed, mercantile Phoenicians of the Levant. Rome was connected by sea to the greatest empires the world had seen. Egypt and Greece were far older, more mysterious realms that had survived centuries of turmoil, and cataclysm. They were bastions of culture that the Romans were in awe of. The Romans were not hungry for conquest, and would normally invade only when invited into the conflicts between lesser powers. Rome would soon be involved closely with the ancient Mediterranean empires, eventually calling the Mediterranean Sea by the name Mare Nostrum: “our sea”.

The Greek City States had long found themselves in-battled with each other. Petty warlords, generals, and seers all vying against each other like vipers in a pit. The Roman Republic had sought to avoid these conflicts, especially with kingdoms who predated them by centuries. Exceptionally, Rome once intervened in Greece in 227BC to defeat Teuta, the pirate Queen of Illyria.

Alexander the Great who had conquered the world in ten years beginning at the age 19, had brought the kingdom of Macedon a mighty legacy to uphold, but few kings since could fill his mighty shoes. The world was ruled by a Hellenistic, Greek speaking empire. His empire had sundered after his death in 323BC, shattering into seven bickering empires led by his former generals. They were the Seleucids in Persia, Attalids in Pergamum, Ptolemies in Egypt, and four other generals in the Greek heartlands. The world belonged to Greeks, but they fought amongst themselves.

There was a balance of power within Greece during the two centuries that followed, to ensure that no single empire could rise strong enough to conquer the others. Three kings of Macedon in secession: Philip, Perseus, and finally Andriscus attempted to restore the power of Macedon. Spurred on by the legendary past conquests of Alexander the Great, these kings of Macedon began aggressions in Greece that soon involved the powerful Roman Republic. In the four Macedonian wars (214 to 148 BC), Rome defeated the upstart Macedon on behalf of the smaller Greek kingdoms. Rome even protected a beleaguered Ptolemaic Egypt from the depredations of the Seleucids (Greek rulers of Levant/Persia). In the wars, the Macedonian phalanx was thrice defeated, once on the planes of Thessalonica. Macedon was henceforth claimed as a Roman province. The Romans declared the “liberation of Greece” at the Olympic Games, a pompous and ceremonial occasion that was proclaimed so often by victorious kings of the warring Greeks that it had come to mean nothing.IMG_6085.JPG

Florence, Italy:

27 Jan

Florence rose from classical obscurity to become “the birthplace of the Renaissance”, becoming central among the competing Italian city states. Rising from the sea of terra-cotta tiled roofs in Florence, the Duomo of Florence is the largest masonry dome in the world. It is suitable that the Italian word for cathedral is Duomo, literally translating to dome. The modern Italian language originates from the accents of Tuscany, through the prominence the region achieved by leadership of Florence during the Renaissance.

The Egg & The Architect:

Built by Filippo Brunelleschi in 1436, the dome was the finishing touch to a cathedral whose construction started 140 years earlier in 1296. The Duomo of Florence was the largest in the world at the time, and the dome would have to be larger than what was thought possible. The city of Florence put out a call all across Europe, which was answered by all the most esteemed architects, including a gold smith who had been studying the domes of Rome: Filippo Brunelleschi. Each architect was asked to present their plan on how to build the dome: one idea was to build a giant column to hold the dome up, another was to build it of a light ‘sponge stone’. Finally, Brunelleschi presented, verbally describing his plan, but the commission asked him for a physical representation. He feared the prying eyes of those who would steal his plan, so instead he pulled an egg from his cloak. Whoever can make this egg stand on end would prove to be the architect for the job. The commission allowed this incredulous test, to which none of the architects could succeed. Bruneleschi took the egg, and lightly smashed it into the table, and indeed it stood upright on its leaking, flat bottom. Impressed with this show and boasting, the commission awarded him the project. To this day the egg shaped dome of Florence stands towering over the city of Florence, a feat defying gravity and a product of ingenuity.