Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thousands of Bananas Wash Up on Shore



Florence, Oregon

A woman searching for sea glass gingerly picks her way through the wanton fruit; it’s still green, taken before its time. Her feet bare she curls her toes in the clammy sand at water’s edge and discounts the waves tugging at her ankles. The bananas remind her of beached whales, one leading and others following to certain death; only now it’s fruit, a mass suicide of fruit. She spots a fleshy sea star among the green tubers and picks it up for closer examination; it’s different, there’s something shiny on one of its arms, it’s a ring, a wedding ring. Retching violently she falls to her knees. The ocean, aided by the pull of the moon, envelops her and drags the found hand back to the sea.

Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean

A call comes through the satellite - heavy storm ahead; 35-foot waves and 45-knot winds. The call’s too late, the ship is already scudding before the wind; plunging into a perilous tango with the sea in a rhythmic heave ho, water greedily licking starboard then port side then starboard again. Cloistered in the bridge the captain and first mate struggle to face the bow into the swells. A deck officer scrambles over cargo containers securing lashings, sliding topside as if skating on ice. Lashings fail on the stern and a fulminating boom reverberates across the vessel. It's silenced by the wind. Two cargo containers slip unceremoniously into the tempestuous water. The officer races lee side seeking shelter but trips in a scuttle and slams onto the deck, sliding to and fro at heaven’s mercy. He catches a cable and wraps it around his arm as a third wayward container looms over him; it hesitates, as if deciding to spare a life, then slams onto the deck and releases 12,000 banana bunches into the ocean.

Uraba, Colombia

A full moon, floating along the horizon, spawns a billowy wake leading to the harbor. Torches illuminate a path from wooden warehouse to steel ship. Paramilitary guards wield semi-automatic weapons while they monitor civilian activity. An American supervisor stands nearby scanning for bushels of rotten fruit, tossing it overboard. Dissapointed puffer fish sample the fruity fare. The cartel busily alters two of the ship’s containers, replacing insulation with cocaine. A scuffle behind the palm grove arouses little suspicion. A guard drags a lifeless body onto the beach and slices it to pieces with a machete; a warning to union supporters. The body is discarded with the rotten fruit, each piece tossed like a football into the ocean. Plum-striped triggerfish flash in the moonlight as they swarm and devour the meaty flesh; beauty and obscenity tangled in time. One hand, the left, with a gold band on the ring-finger is thrown long and far. It lands in a container of bananas. Nobody notices. The bananas continue their journey.

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I've been without my lap top for over a week now. The verdict is not yet in although it may just be the keyboard -- hopefully I'll have more information today. In the interim I've been reading a lot. I finished Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs and Simple Prosperity; Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle by David Wann. The second book really resonated with me; we, as a society, need to find happiness in a simple sustainable lifestyle. What is the real cost of materialism? Money to be sure but there are also environmental and social impacts to consider.

'Tis the season of excess; I certainly don't need a new car or diamond ring or plasma television this year. Perhaps a pair of locally made earrings. Maybe some macaroni ramekins. I'd be wonderfully content knowing we were environmentally responsible and not in the poorhouse this holiday season. And yes the economy is bad. But spending is not the answer; "Go out and shop" merely fuels corporate greed. Maybe, just maybe, we need an economic revolution and a new way of thinking about our world.

"When money is plenty this is a man's world. When money is scarce it is a woman's world. When all else seems to have failed, the woman's instinct comes in."

--Ladie Home Journal, 1932

There are so many wonderful, inventive, pioneering and forward-thinking woman on the blogosphere it boggles my mind. These are the people at the leading edge of a new future; one that "...moves you in the direction of less stress, more health, lower consumption, more spirituality, more respect for the earth and the diversity with and among the species..." (quote from Paul Ray of Cultural Creatives). I continue to be humbled and amazed by this spectacular group of women who are at the forefront of the simplicity movement. These are the people who inspire me to keep up with the non-Jones as it were.

And in the spirit of keeping up ... I've continued knitting and sewing like crazy; four-felted bags, three pairs of slippers, two grocery bags and cotton ba-aaa-bbby sweater (sorry - the partridge left the pear tree). Even so I'm not yet ready for Christmas which is a mere two weeks away. So I'm back to my projects and back to drumming my fingers on the table waiting to hear about my computer. I don't need a plasma television, I don't need a fancy car but I do want my computer back. Hey - nobody's perfect!

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Addendum: I heard from the computer store.  The good news ... the computer is repairable.  The bad news ... to the tune of $450.00.  Ouch.  I am having it repaired (that was one expensive bottle of wine!).  But I'm also going to scour my house to see what unneeded items I can purge on Ebay.  Hmmm - anyone want to buy an ancient television?  ;o)

3 comments:

Jamie said...

What an interesting story! Being part of this amazing blogosphere community has really helped me not feel alone in "getting back to basics." I'm so impressed by all the talents and goodwill I see here. Thanks for sharing and I've got my fingeres crossed for a good outcome on your laptop.

Bridge said...

love your words, we continue to scale back, fewer gifts with better quality. choosing names from a hat amongst extended family members. Making gifts.
we also stopped using wrapping paper and use newspaper or cereal boxes with recycled ribbon & pine cones for decorations.

happy frugal friday.

Sheryl said...

I'm so glad it was good news for your computer (relatively speaking). I missed hearing from you.

I am inspired by your efforts. It is often hard to live according to our values. Especially if your kid is telling you how deprived he is and all your friends have the latest everything. It's nice to know there are others out there who know that more stuff won't doesn't make it better and that there is more out there -- you just can't buy it.