Archive for July, 2009

Alprazolam aka XANAX

July 25, 2009

reflections in window at Waikiki
Originally uploaded by jayfherron
 
 
 

 

I was introduced to Alprazolam aka XANAX at my own request. My trip to Hawaii earlier in the Spring was going to be wonderful-but with my anxieties about crowded places and public restrooms….I needed something to help on the trip!

I was NOT told much about the drug-only real thing was “before you get on the flight-take one,and you will sleep the entire way”! I was not told the drug is addictive…and should not be used to treat folks who have had previous drug addictions or signs of alcohol abuse. I am guilty of both-a cocaine habit in the 1980’s and a methadrine (crystal-meth) in the early 1990’s qualifies me for one. Alcohol has seemed to be a long going battle…so,still guilty!

I also was not told it is only meant for short term use-suggested treatment is limited to TWO WEEKS!!! My first supply was meant to be a 30 day supply-I cut them in two,so it was 60 days for me! I had become addicted with out realizing.

The med’s lasted me through my trip and through the art exhibit I became involved in-many people,and the need to enter many buildings,it all became easy. It was even remarked by one of the art committee members….”you seem so different this year” ! I liked the way they made me feel and requested more-this time around I received a double 30 day supply (a prescription for 30 plus a refill)…that equates into 120 days! That by splitting them.

What I was NOT told….the drug has a residual effect! In other words-it is in your system as a time release type drug-so each day little specks of it work to keep you lethargic….LONG AFTER YOU QUIT TAKING IT!

I was NOT told the drug has a hypnotic effect. I was NOT told that if I quit I would experience withdrawls!

I did quit! I felt the need about two weeks ago. I dumped the entire bottle-and sent message to the doctor at the VA….do NOT refill this medicine.

The WITHDRAWLS??

The pills got dumped on a Thursday-the following Saturday I woke from such a nightmare …as a matter of fact-the nightmare was horrible!

I tried to ‘produce’ that morning-but my body got sicker as minutes went by. I found myself laid out on the floor for  most of the day,only getting up to go to the toilet-it effected my gut too.

That has been nearly two weeks ago! I am STILL suffering! Part of what made me quit the drug was sleep! That was the answer it gave me…sleep,sleep more-sleep a lot! I would rather be dead than useless,and useless I became.

Another thing the drug did to me-and the major reason I decided enough was enough…the euphoric feeling of-well,it enhanced my drinking! I wanted to drink everyday-because the drinking brought on thoughts of DAMAGE CONTROL…and DAMAGE CONTROL is seriously dangerous in my life-because I use it to put myself in harms way. To be hurt! To be beat up! To be DEAD!

Hmmm,funny thing-they DID NOT tell me the ‘medicine’ urges desire to kill ones self! Medicine? A help-a health treatment? Suicide? Yes…it was making me feel like doing things I did back some years ago-it made me want to get hurt!

I’m still trying to see through the muck of it! I dumped them two weeks ago and still cannot get it out of my system.

I finally decided to read up on this stuff! First-I only knew it as Alprazolam-I did not know it was XANAX!

I was stunned by what I read-and wondered why these effects were not explained to me more clearly. Why was I not asked if I had prior drug use? Or…did I ever want to kill myself? Or-do I drink? I actually remember being told-a quick beer would hasten the sleepy feeling-try one before I get on the plane! And…there was never a mention that this drug remains-and continues to work in your system long after you quit it.

 By the way-if you are curious,there is also information that states the medicine is only intended for short term use! I am not sure what length short term use is…but total my prescriptions and take the fact I split the pills….that would give me 240 days of use,that could give me 120 days to make up for,one-third of one year!

I am ashamed I did this to myself! Indeed-the intent was reasonable…I am afraid of public places,I have phobic reactions in restrooms-and I did not relish the thought of being on an airplane for nearly six hours! Yes…I asked for it. But never again.

My shame is that I wanted to use a drug to mask my fears. It is contrary to what I stood for several years ago….the answer of drugging ones self to hide the past. I thought that because it was a medicine it would be different. I had a one year long affair with COCAINE….and it was EASIER to kick!

And one last note-try the following link to discover how-and that,this drug is used in veterinarian use as well…seems we are treated like dogs after all !!

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2581&S=1&SourceID=52

how big can a lie be-how long will a lie live?

July 18, 2009


me at schaaf studio

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

In 1969 someone decided to tell a lie. I will never know the full context of the lie-even though the lie was about me.

The lie was meant to serve a purpose-I suppose,but it was not to advance me, nor was it ever over.

My entire life since that lie was spoken has been effected.

I suppose the way the lie was meant to be rid of me. My brother was the one who used the lie to do that-I will never know how it all came to be. I have paid for the length of the lie to this day.

I had once promised that I would quit writing this journal of my life. I keep thinking I’ve told as much as I can-there is no more. I keep finding out that I am wrong.

My mother telephoned me the other day. Her life too has been effected by the lie-and who knows what part of the story she has right? I don’t think any of it…I know for certain-she knows none of the truth.

She was crying when she phoned. That broke me,hearing an 85 year old woman cry like that-begging me for forgiveness….but for all the wrong things. The part where the lie came from was not mentioned. I was to forgive nothings…nothings being things I had no knowledge of-nor made a difference because they had nothing to do with what happened in the Navy and what it was my brother did to make that happen. The lie.

I’ve tried to explain as much as I could-writing this! I was a kid 17 years old growing up in the 50’s and 60’s-the Ozzie and Harriet years of gentle and comfortable homes. 

The Viet Nam war was going on-I chose to enlist in the Navy. They placed me in a reserve program because of my age, but after my 18th birthday I took off for boot camp.

All life was not like the one Ozzie and Harriet played on television. Theirs was perfection made by telling story’s-on the screen that was pretend. Over the years I’ve learned to hate pretend…let us pretend this never happened.

I listened to my mother cry-she kept going on and on about a photo album-photo’s of the brother who made up the lie that changed the course of my life. I don’t even know anything about the album-it was the first I knew I was believed to have taken from our family home. No mention of what had happened to me?

To anybody else I suppose all of this sounds trivial-and what does this have to do with anything about a lie? It just adds to part of the hurt.

The other day I wrote and told about a ‘dung beetle’ and how it makes its whole life about grabbing feces and rolling a huge ball of it to a burrow it eventually makes. We watched one while at the beach a few weeks ago-as it rolled its prize the piece kept collecting grains of sand and got larger and larger. That is what the lie has done in my life-it has grown larger and larger.

It was just a photo album-and I never knew it was another of the items I have been suspect of removing from the home. I’ve never taken anything-but somehow it turns to me when something is missing. Hearing about it being found and then learning I was guilty again.

Anyone is free to make a judgement on me. They can call me a looser. Consider me shit. It does not matter. The lie in 1969 has grown so much around me that I do not care anymore. It is like a callous.

I know none of this makes sense to anyone else but me! I woke up this morning after a typical violent dream. I have always had frequent dreams-nightmares about being incarcerated. As usual-as always my waking up took me back to that night in barracks D. Step by step in my memory I can go through the entire day. Inch by inch-and every mile since then. The morning dawn the day of the rapes the officer that saw me told me to “get used to it”! And this morning when I woke from being harassed in my sleep by the memory-I woke to it anyway.

I have never gotten used to it.

I wish I could explain what this has done to alter my mental health over the years. This New Years Eve at 0200 it will be 40 years…22 hours before the partys all scream “happy new year”-I will have already begun the long process of living the silent way the damage had taken over.

I hate it that our lives are coming to an end this way. My father died a few years ago-he died never knowing the truth,he never knew what really happened and who I really was. My mother will never know the truth.

I saw a bumper sticker once when I was a trucker-the only bumper sticker I ever took time to memorize. It read:  “When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep like Grandpa did…not kicking and screaming like the passengers in his car”.

I wish when we die it would be that easy-to be able to take those who we love with us so God can show them what really was…and what was not!

Oh well…it was just a bumper sticker!

Military Sexual Trauma-Veterans Administration in-patient treatment facilities

July 6, 2009

MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA / SEXUAL TRAUMA RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT RESOURCES   INFO UPDATED MAY 2009

This list consists of programs identifying themselves as providing MST or sexual trauma-specific treatment in a residential or inpatient setting. Only programs open and actively accepting referrals are included, such that programs under development are not listed. Programs range from those solely dedicated to the treatment of sexual trauma; to those with a special track emphasizing the treatment of sexual trauma; to those with two or more staff members with expertise in sexual trauma who, in the context of a larger program not focused on sexual trauma, provide treatment targeting this issue. More detailed information about each program is provided on the pages following this summary list.

VISN 1 VA Boston HCS/Jamaica Plain Campus, Boston, MA: Women Veterans’ Therapeutic Transitional Residence Program VA Boston HCS/Brockton Campus, Brockton, MA: Women’s Integrated Treatment & Recovery Program

VISN 2 VA Western New York HCS/Batavia Campus, Batavia, NY: Women Veterans’ Residential Program

VISN 3 VA New Jersey HCS, Lyons, NY: Women’s Military Sexual Trauma Residential Program

VISN 5 VA Maryland HCS/Baltimore Division, Baltimore, MD: Dual Diagnosis PTSD/Substance Abuse PRRTP

VISN 7 Augusta VAMC, Augusta, GA: MST Clinic & Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program

VISN 8 Bay Pines VAHCS, Bay Pines, FL: Center for Sexual Trauma Services

VISN 10 Cincinnati VAMC, Cincinnati, OH: Residential PTSD Program VISN 12 Clement J. Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI: Rehabilitation and Transition Unit – Trauma Track North Chicago VAMC, North Chicago, IL: Stress Disorder Treatment Unit

VISN 15 VA Eastern Kansas HCS/Topeka Division, Topeka, KS: Stress Disorder Treatment Program

VISN 17 Central Texas Veterans HCS, Temple, TX: Women’s Trauma Recovery Center

VISN 21 VA Palo Alto HCS/Menlo Park Division, Menlo Park, CA: Women’s Trauma Recovery Program

VISN 22 VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA: “Renew” & “Bridges”

 Please see the pages that follow for more detailed information about each program.

 VISN 1 Facility: VA Boston HCS/Jamaica Plain Campus (Boston, MA) Type of program: PTSD Transitional Residence Program name: Women Veterans’ Therapeutic Transitional Residence Program (TRUST House) Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, ranges from stabilization and skill-development to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Veterans receive therapy through the Boston Women’s Stress Disorder Treatment Team, a clinic with an explicit emphasis on treating sexual trauma. TR staff also have expertise in this area. Notable admission criteria: Prefer 90 days sobriety; able to function independently; ability to work 20 hours/week; prefer 60 days without suicidal behavior. Some criteria are flexible depending on the individual case. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Ask for commitment of at least 3 months though prefer veterans to stay for a year; maximum stay is 18 months. Contact information: Erica Sharkansky, PhD – (857) 364 – 4925; erica.sharkansky@va.gov Facility: VA Boston Healthcare System, Brockton Campus (Brockton, MA) Type of program: Women’s Residential Program Program name: Women’s Integrated Treatment & Recovery Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on integrated treatment of substance abuse and trauma; group therapy focuses on skills building for maintaining abstinence and managing PTSD symptoms. MST-specific treatment available: Individual therapy focused on processing sexually traumatic experiences using a CPT model with and without exposure. Staff members have expertise in the area of sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: Commitment to abstinence; medically stable; linked to outpatient care and have a discharge plan; no acute psychotic symptoms, suicidal or homicidal ideation. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions with 8-week length of stay which may be extended to 90 days under certain circumstances, if for example, a veteran awaiting admission to a subsequent program needs to meet criteria for a length of sobriety greater than 56 days or is awaiting housing. Contact information: Sharon L. Baker, Ph.D. – (774) 826-1312; sharon.baker3@va.gov

VISN 2: Facility: VA Western New York HCS/Batavia Campus (Batavia, NY) Type of program: Women’s Residential Program Program name: Women Veterans’ Residential Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing as well as intensive self-regulatory and interpersonal skill development. MST-specific treatment available: Individual and group therapy focused on processing sexually traumatic experiences. Staff members have expertise in the area of sexual trauma. Currently have mixed-trauma cohorts, though at times cohorts end up being entirely composed of veterans with sexual trauma histories. Notable admission criteria: 30 days sobriety; medically stable; linked to outpatient care and have a discharge plan; no acute suicidal or homicidal ideation. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Utilize a cohort system with a 10 week length of stay. If the cohort has openings, short-term stays of one to two weeks are possible for veterans wishing to focus on skill-building and supportive therapy. Contact information: Terri Julian, Ph.D. – (585) 297-1205; terri.julian@va.gov VISN 3: Facility: VA New Jersey HCS, Lyons, NJ Type of program: MST Residential Treatment Program Program name: Women’s Treatment Unit Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on skill building and trauma processing. Group treatment is central with individual psychotherapy for processing of traumatic material. PE and CPT available. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to MST treatment. Childhood trauma, combat-related PTSD, and SUD also addressed as needed. Admission criteria: No psychotic symptoms; Not in need of detox from drugs or alcohol; ability to work intensively in group format; no recent violent behavior; cannot present as danger to self or others; must be able to manage own medications; must be medically stable. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Average length of stay 6-8 weeks Contact information: Suzanne Loftus, Psy.D. – (908) 647-0180 ext 5896

VISN 5 Facility: VA Maryland HCS/Baltimore Division (Baltimore, MD) Type of program: Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program with Focus on Comorbid PTSD & Substance Use Disorders Program name: Dual Diagnosis PTSD/Substance Abuse PRRTP Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, ranges from psychoeducation and skill-development to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Multiple staff members with expertise in treating sexual trauma using empirically supported treatments. Individual and group therapy. Notable admission criteria: PTSD and substance abuse/dependence; prefer 30 days sobriety and that have had at least one significant period of sobriety within the past year; ability to function independently in daily life; psychiatrically and medically stable. Treat both men and women? Yes. Have both mixed and single-sex groups. Women stay in individual rooms with private, non-attached bathrooms. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. 45 – 56 day stay. Contact information: Lorie Morris, Psy.D. — (410) 605-7418; lorie.morris@va.gov

VISN 7 Facility: Augusta VAMC (Augusta, GA) Type of program: MST Clinic in conjunction with Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program Program name: MST Clinic & Domiciliary Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Veterans receive therapy through the outpatient MST clinic where staff have expertise in the treatment of sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: No pending legal issues; no physical assaults in past six months; current sobriety; not taking any controlled medications more than two times/day. Treat both men and women? Yes. Women stay in lockable two- to four-person rooms. Some women-only groups, but others are mixed-sex. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay for up to 120 days. Contact information: Lorraine Braswell, Ph.D. — (706) 733-0188 x7735; lorraine.braswell@va.gov

VISN 8 Facility: Bay Pines VAHCS (Bay Pines, FL) Type of program: MST Residential Program Program name: Center for Sexual Trauma Services, Residential Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma work. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to MST treatment. Patients are assigned a primary therapist who works with them to plan treatment based on individual needs and strengths. Treatment interventions may include Prolonged Exposure, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Skills Training, CBT Group, Therapeutic Recreation, Patient Education and other interventions. Notable admission criteria: History of MST (though can focus on any sexual trauma while in the program); cannot present a danger to self or others and must be able to manage the residential environment. Treat both men and women? Yes. Roommates are same-sex, but men and women are housed in the same area of the Dom and share the common living areas. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions; variable length of stay based on the individual’s treatment plan. Contact information: Judith Connelly, PsyD. (727) 398-6661, x 7297; Judith.Connelly2@va.gov or Carol O’Brien, Ph.D. – (727) 398-6661 x7381; carol.obrien1@va.gov

 VISN 10 Facility: Cincinnati VAMC (Cincinnati, OH) Type of program: PTSD Day Hospital with lodging Program name: Residential PTSD Program Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Most staff have expertise in sexual trauma. Individual and group treatment; veterans working on sexual trauma get one extra individual therapy session a week as needed. Notable admission criteria: PTSD; 30 days sobriety (will, however, take veterans on benzodiazepines and/or methadone); no active mania or psychosis; no medical or legal issues; no registered sex offenders; able to tolerate group treatment and share trauma accounts in individual therapy. Treat both men and women? Yes. Men and women with separate living areas but eat in the cafeteria together. No mixed-sex therapy groups. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Cohort admissions. Length of stay of 7 weeks. Contact information: For referrals, Jennifer Lewis – (513) 861-3100 x3310; jennifer.lewis2@va.gov

VISN 12 Facility: Clement J. Zablocki VAMC (Milwaukee, WI) Type of program: PTSD DOM Program name: Rehabilitation and Transition Unit – Trauma Track Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, depends upon veterans’ previous trauma work. MST-specific treatment available: Staff with expertise in sexual trauma by virtue of the high prevalence of it in the program. Veterans attend general programming but individual and group treatment would be focused on the sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: 30 days sobriety; need to be capable of independent living and able to manage living with others. Treat both men and women? Yes. Mixed-sex groups and living arrangements. One all-female support group where all participants have a history of sexual trauma. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay of 6-9 months. Contact information: For referrals, Katie DeYoung at the Central Intake Unit – (414) 384-2000 x 41986. For more information, Vickie Wiese, Ph.D. — x 42367; vickie.wiese@va.gov Facility: North Chicago VAMC (North Chicago, IL) Type of program: PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program Program name: Stress Disorder Treatment Unit Phase of treatment targeted: Flexible, from skills building to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Individual therapy; clinicians have developed expertise in working with MST, given the number of sexual trauma cases they tend to see. Notable admission criteria: Combat-related PTSD (combat broadly defined); SC for PTSD; minimum 30 days sobriety; medically stable; no active suicidal ideation in the past 60 days; admission can’t be court-related; must be in outpatient treatment; prefer no benzodiazepines or anti-psychotic medications. Current PTSD symptoms must be too severe to be treated on an outpatient basis. Treat both men and women? Yes. Women with private room, but men and women participate in groups together. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay varies but average is around 35 days. Contact information: Karen Paddock – (847) 688-1900 x 83312; karen.paddock@va.gov

 VISN 15 Facility: VA Eastern Kansas HCS/Topeka Division (Topeka, KS) Type of program: Specialized Inpatient PTSD Unit Program name: Stress Disorder Treatment Program Phase of treatment targeted: Ranges from skill building to trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Though have ongoing admissions, try to cluster individuals with sexual trauma-related issues into “mini-cohorts.” Staff with training in treatment of sexual trauma. Notable admission criteria: 30 days sobriety; military trauma of some type; treatment can’t be court-ordered; no acute suicidal or homicidal ideation; no acute psychosis. Treat both men and women? Yes, but see relatively few women. Women and men are potentially, but not necessarily, in the same cohort. They participate in psychoeducational groups together but decisions about participation in trauma processing groups together are made on a case by case basis, depending on the size of the female mini-cohort. Women room together as appropriate but typically have private rooms with their own bathroom. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. Length of stay of 7 weeks. Contact information: For referrals, Terry Falck, M.A. – (785) 350-3111 x 52139; for more information, Jonathan Farrell-Higgins, Ph.D. – x 52118; jonathan.farrell-higgins@va.gov

VISN 17 Facility: Central Texas Veterans HCS (Temple, TX) Type of program: MST Residential Treatment Program Program name: Women’s Trauma Recovery Center Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to MST treatment. Notable admission criteria: History of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault while in military (for recently deployed women, sexual harassment only with a history of other military trauma is acceptable); no substance abuse for past 30 days; no suicidal or para-suicidal behavior for past 30 days; no acute inpatient psychiatric admission for past 30 days; no uncontrolled mania or psychosis; not significant organic impairment; no ongoing criminal or violent behavior. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Cohort admissions. Length of stay of 7 weeks. Contact information: Delicia Mclean, Ph.D. – (254) 743-1720; delicia.mclean@va.gov

VISN 21 Facility: VA Palo Alto HCS/Menlo Park Division (Menlo Park, CA) Type of program: PTSD Residential Program Program name: Women’s Trauma Recovery Program (WTRP) Phase of treatment targeted: Two tracks: 1) trauma processing; and 2) intensive skills building. MST-specific treatment available: Staff with expertise in the treatment of sexual trauma, particularly given the high prevalence of sexual trauma among veterans in the program. Notable admission criteria: Alcohol and illegal substance free for 5 days and off of benzodiazepines; problems are primarily due to PTSD; no active psychosis; no unresolved legal issues; no major medical problems that will interfere with participation in program. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Rolling admissions. 60 day to 90 day length of stay. Contact information: Kristen Marchak, LSW, Admissions Coordinator – (650) 493-5000 x 24692, kristen.marchak2@va.gov , Tasha Souter, MD – (650) 493-5000 x23158; tasha.souter@va.gov; Dorene Loew, PhD – (650) 493-5000 x23237; dorene.loew@va.gov

VISN 22 Facility: VA Long Beach Healthcare System (Long Beach, CA) Type of program: Sexual Trauma Residential Program Program name: “Renew”; (for information on “Bridges”, see box on ‘rolling vs cohort admissions’) Phase of treatment targeted: Emphasis on skill development and trauma processing. MST-specific treatment available: Program as a whole is devoted to treatment of sexual trauma. Individual and group treatment. Holistic focus. Notable admission criteria: 6 months sobriety; 6 months without psychiatric hospitalization; 6 months without suicide attempt or self-injury; ability to remain for the duration of the program. Treat both men and women? Women only. Rolling vs cohort admissions & length of program: Cohort admissions. Length of stay of 12 weeks. Also, potential for participation in “Bridges”: 12 week, rolling admissions residential and/or outpatient aftercare program consisting of 12 hours/week of community activity and support groups. Contact information: Lori Katz, PhD (program director) — (562) 826-8000 x4380; lori.katz@va.gov; or Sandy Dee Hoague (program coordinator) — x4820.

the dung beetle…

July 2, 2009

the dung beetle-hiding its doo
Originally uploaded by jayfherron
 

 

I am not a specialist in entomology so I do not know the proper scientific name for this beetle-but,it is easy to just call them dung beetles!

To give you the best layman’s education about this creature is that they locate a mound of poop somewhere and take on the job to dice it up into smaller pieces-although at times three times larger than the beetle itself. They roll this chunk of poop-sometimes several yards away from the original pile and they ‘sink’ it into a burrow they build on site.

I don’t know what regions these beetles thrive in-I know here in Florida they do offer a short term moment of entertainment-the whole idea of hoarding  chunks of poop is comical-just as watching these determined little bugs work the things along.

Let me tell you how I came across this guy.

This past weekend I was invited to guest at a beach house-a very high class celebrity class home. The home was built right on the Atlantic shore near St.Augustine Florida. This type of real estate is not cheap-the entire street my hosts had built on was wall to wall million dollar homes. Right across the street were individual beach access boardwalks. Looking down north or south at the horizon one can see hundreds of these boardwalks to protect the sea oats-all individually costing the homeowners thousands of dollars to construct.

The dung beetle was found at the entrance of one of these boardwalks…an interest note is of all the people that bring their dogs to the beach,and sure enough-the dog poop is obvious…all the while beach goers run and play bare footed risking a plop into a poodle bomb. The dog poop is why the dung beetle is there.

My friend and I stood in awe watching this little guy rolling his take along. Miniature sand dunes prevented him a speedy job of ease-he worked his little legs off shoving this lump up and over the challenging ramp-and as he neared the top the lump would be out of its control and would roll in no direct way to the bottom-just inches away,but mountains to this bug,and sometimes in the direction he just worked so hard to keep behind him.

Just to give you a sense of what I am talking about-the dung beetles footprints begin at the lower left corner of the photograph and and you can see the beetle in the center of the photo-the dark dot,and laying barely visible next to him is the lump of poop-slightly hidden and rather sandy- he worked so hard to move there.

A couple walked up…”what are you looking at”?  was the question. “A poop beetle rolling a turd” was our response. They began to watch too-laughing as the beetle the lump at the top of its dune and the lump rolled away from its owner….ooohs and ahhhs and giggles were made. Another couple walks up-understand,we are standing at the entrance of the boardwalk that leads to the beach,so traffic was picking up!

“What is it…what are you looking at”? the new couple asked.  ” A beetle rolling along a big piece of poop” was our groups reply. There we were-six grown adult people-standing there watching the feats of this determined bug.

I started to take in the surroundings-I’ve seen hundreds of these guys in action. That’s why there’s no worry about stepping in dog poop in at my place-nature takes care of everything in simple ways. Here we were-my pal and I guests in our beach front home,but these couples had spent quite a sum to rent one of these homes for the week-one couple said they were from Maryland and never saw such a beetle.

I couldn’t help pointing out the folly in the whole scene. I said something about how funny it was that folks desire to come to the ocean because it is a beautiful place and unique to many who have no access to the shore…and I said it is so funny that here we were surrounded by millions of dollars in homes-pointing out the expense it is to come to the beach-and here we were,standing just yards away from the ocean watching a beetle roll this piece of poop.

Well…the folks didn’t wish to be a part of the humor-so they hurried along up the ramp along the boardwalk to the beach. If only their neighbors back home were to hear of the beetle.

My pal and I stood watching for a while longer-laughing about the truth of what I just said. Interesting-we as humans desire the luxury of wealth and to be able to have a house with porches facing the ocean view…and here is this beetle just as close to the shore as we were. All it cared about was getting that lump of poop to a safe spot-I suppose for a source of food,what else could a dung beetle want? It did not give one blink of an eyes concern for the wealth that surrounded it. It was not even concerned with us watching it.

That thing stuck in my head for most of the day. It reminded me of the monk I once met back in the 70’s at a rock festival of sorts. We were all around a camp fire drinking and talking and I mentioned I owned five acres just walking distance from where we were sitting. The monk said I owned nothing-I argued that I did,but he insisted that I owned nothing. Later that night I stepped off into the woods to pee-and I was standing there looking up at the stars and out of the darkness came this voice…he said that I owned all of those stars. It was the monk I argued with before-he told me there was no way to physically own anything. He said everything was spiritually mine-no matter where I was or what I was seeing…all of that belonged to me. He assured me I did not own five acres-I only owned what I see.

There is a proverb in the bible (Proverbs 30:24-28) that says there are four things which are little upon the earth,but the are exceeding wise-they  are the ant,the locust and a spider,along with a small critter like a badger.

Thinking about that beetle and all those riches that surrounded us consumed me. I remember those beaches from back in the 1970’s when we could drive along the coastal highway and just choose a spot to go through the sea oaks (another part of foilage-no longer there) and have a great private spot to enjoy the surf. You could drive all the distance from St.Augustine down to Daytona Beach-and barely miss seeing the ocean from your car. Not any more.

Who is the richest? Who can build the biggest and better-and forget the sea oaks?

The dung beetle! His life is the richest!