Tuesday, May 30, 2017

44 North Coffee

44 North Coffee on the 44th parallel on Deer Isle, Maine opened on Monday for the summah season. It gets darn cold up there so they close for the winter. Here in the Bay Area, we know nothing about cold, only as Poet Antonio Machado says, "The cold is a good advisor, but it is cold." And there is nothing like a good cup of coffee or some fresh roasted beans to rĂªve up the day.

So glad that marine biologist Abby Barrows introduced our work to proprietresses and coffee roasters par excellence Megan Wood and Melissa Raferty. Although we have never met Abby, we are excited to learn about her work researching micro-plastics in oysters, clams, mussels, mackerel and lobster. Yep, she has found plastic everywhere, in everybody.

We were surprised to discover in a fewer than six degrees of separation, chain of friend to friend, Megan and Melissa went to school with Lila Roo, daughter of painter Tom Lieber. We are big fans of Lila Roo and her amazing work with plastic and have joined with her in support of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. We recently were featured with her on the PPC blogThe connection goes on...Lila and daughter Amelia were tots together right here in the San Geronimo Valley.

Lila Roo is now based in St. Vincent and the Grenadines were she has founded New Roots a youth program that uses creativity as a model for empowerment and respect for self. culture, and nature. 

This summer if you are Down East stop by 44 North Coffee for a wicked good cup of brew and join the conversation about plastic and what we all can do to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in the ocean.

44 North Coffee
PO Box 511
Deer Isle, ME 04627
Roastery Phone: 207.348.5208

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Anticipating a visit with students and scholars from the Graduate Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley we went on a rampage cleaning and clearing. There is nothing like company coming to quicken the pace and motivate to get things in order. As sister in-law Mona used to cajole, "Time to lick the house, the folks are coming!"

As we decided what to show that would be of particular interest to students from Yohana Junkers "Visual Arts, Spirit, and Place in the Americas" it was Richard's book Bright Moments on the dining table that focused attention on the Buddha's final instruction — Make of Yourself a Light.

These days with the dark news from Washington DC (with climate denial, FBI Putsch on our minds, etc. etc. etc. etc.) we are keen to embrace the light and join with others who want to illumine the truth. We often think of Anthropologist Mary Douglas and her idea of pollution defiling the temple. Isn't this gorgeous planet our temple?  

The expansive and lively conversation spun near and far. The meaning of place was a recurring theme — from what it means to move from one home to another to the importance of a touch stone or work of art that one can return to again and again. And how subtle variations are discernible — when, like a drawer of beetles or birds in a natural history museum, the individual character (oil splotches, Bryozoans, bleached by the sun) of each of these cheese spreaders (or the lightbulbs) can be compared to type.

Although the prospect of finding plastic on the beach is always unpredictable —it's a leap of faith to promise a "mess of plastic." After all of the blah, blah, blah about the problem of plastic pollution, it was disconcerting when, from the top of the dune, the beach looked clean. 

Undaunted by the thought that we had made the trek all the way to the beach and there was no plastic to be seen, everyone was enlivened by the brilliance of the day and took to the task. Although there were scant few big pieces of plastic, with keen eyes and deft hands, in just a few minutes handfuls of tiny pieces of plastic and nurdles were collected. How to ever clean up this mess? The smaller the pieces = the bigger the problem.   

Whether it's off-shore oil drilling, tanker loads of crude spilling and spoiling our shores, or war maneuvers at sea, this toy soldier is poignant reminder of the true cost of plastic. Isn't it time for a war on plastic? The United Nations says, YES!

What gets us out to the beach over and over again? Is it an heroic act? Not really, it's simply the thrill we get from "being on the case," to do the tiniest action that ignites some vague inner thrill—turning on the switch. After all is said and done, we take Buddha's instruction seriously — Make of Yourself a Light.