Trish and I fished a couple of honking speakers out of the garage and now we’re listening to records the way they should be listened to: loud. Equalization could be wanting in some cases, but beggars are not choosers; we chose the speakers, anyways. I don’t know, what’s natural anymore? Is a “nature-child” a real concept? If I could get myself outside of nature I would be. It doesn’t always work. Things don’t always work.

Things don’t always work, but sometimes things work better than you or I could ever imagine. A band gets together in a garage somewhere and then a few years later the chemistry works out and we, as a people, are uplifted by an anthem like “I Wanna Be Sedated,” or an undermining tribute to faithlessness like “Unsatisfied.”

My inclination is to say “Jesus” in reverence to a maybe man who was strung up for what he was saying—for what he believed in. It’s hard to be strung up for what you believe in, because it’s hard to figure out what you believe in. There seem to be a lot of very good things to believe in—and plenty of bad shit to invest ourselves in, too, but sorting the edges of the two out from one another is confusing.

The government is talking about bombing another nation. We’re talking about killing people because they killed people. I don’t know; that’s how it seems to me. Our government doesn’t like the way their government is killing people. Our government is out there killing people right and left, waging war for resources and ideology. That’s what we’re doing. Our government is sending troops and machinery and drones and bombs and bullets off to kill people we will never know in lands we will never visit, and yet somehow we maintain an authority to condemn other people because we don’t like the way they are killing people.

I don’t like it either.

I don’t like any of it. I am not satisfied with this way forward. I am not convinced there is a better way, but I am not remotely satisfied with this way. Unsatisfied. It’s the worst feeling in the world; it’s a total loss, a complete lack of faith. It’s not a fall from grace, it’s the sober realization that the concept of grace is a fallacy.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.