For the birds there is not a time that they tell, but the point vierge between darkness and light, between nonbeing and being. You can tell yourself the time by their waking, if you are experienced. But that is your folly, not theirs.
Last month, I decided to take a vow of silence and withdraw from communications with the world. This meaning, to begin, that I shut off my phones, disconnected my answering machine, and stopped going online to check for e-mail messages. This state of affairs wasn't meant to be permanent, nor was it absolute. Retreating from the world is something I do from time to time.
My primary and mundane reason was simple: I had reached the limits of my endurance and needed to stop any and all stress which was in my power to control. Since I suffer from PTSD, as well as a heart condition, for me, stress can be a killer. This past winter, I was so ill, at times I felt as though I were dying. And since due to poverty, I have no access to medical care, and because my health is 'fragile' even in the best of times, I must protect myself as best I can.
Although I have tried, for years, to explain to family and friends that I am seriously disabled and cannot handle any form of stress, most have simply disregarded my wishes regarding my need for peace and quiet and/or refused to acknowledge the truth about my disability.
Ironically, the fact that I am "not eligible" for disability benefits from the very government whose abuses created the disability seems to cause some people to believe that no disability exists.
As a result of this attitude among those closest to me, quite some time ago I gave up trying to explain. I don't owe anyone an explanation either; I did try, as a courtesy to them, but I cannot be held accountable for the state of denial in which some people seem to live. They don't get it and some never will. So be it.
When it comes to stress, noise pollution is at the top of my list. One of the worst forms of stress, at least for me, is ringing phones. Especially people who call repeatedly, persistently, leaving multiple long-winded messages --or worse, demanding my time and attention-- cause extreme stress. I've never been able to understand why they can't just call ONCE, leave a brief message and wait for me to call them back. Where's the fire?
I lead a quiet, reclusive life. My home is my sanctuary, a place where God's love rules. I have never been a participant in the 'rat race' society of this world. Nor have I been willing to be a slave to phones, nor rushing for a prompt response to e-mail. I don't rush around from place to place; refuse to keep to any time schedules imposed from without, and I avoid noise and crowds. I need peace and quiet. And that's my prerogative.
By the same token, I avoid loud, aggressive people like the plague. When people try to pressure me, push me, rush me, to foist their own subjective beliefs, opinions and philosophies on me, refuse to respect my privacy or personal boundaries, or to impose their will on me, I walk away. After all, it's my life.
Not respecting the personal boundaries of another is a form of petty tyranny, and I have neither the time nor inclination to argue with those who engage in it. It's not worth my time, it drains my precious energy and I've learned from experience that this type of person is unlikely to change their behavior, even when confronted with a reasonable statement of my position.
The popular culture which spawns these disturbingly prevalent attitudes, rejects the value of silence, of introversion, of solitude, of the spirit, of seeking the wisdom of the heart by looking within. It discounts the rights and boundaries of the individual; trivializes relationships between individuals and attempts to force conformity, consensus and collectivism in all things.
At its core, this way of thinking and being is communistic/fascistic (two sides of the same coin) and reeks of New World Order dictates and stratagems designed to control the populace and to ostracize and penalize independent thinkers and anyone who refuses to comply with the social structures and rules which are imposed from without --the laws of man, rather than God's law.
The older I get, the more 'anti-social' (not in a pathological, but rather in a philosophical sense) I become. With few exceptions, I prefer the company of animals to that of human society. My 'social life' consists mostly of walks on the beach where I enjoy meeting dogs out for a run, or hanging out with the seagulls.
I have always loved animals and birds. They have their own languages and those of us who spend enough time among them may benefit from hearing their messages. I have mourning doves nesting in the pine trees on my property and it never fails to bring peace to hear their voices calling, especially against the backdrop of the ocean at high tide.
I've always been direct and straightforward about my lifestyle, explaining to people that I cannot be expected to accomodate them by being instantly or continuously available by phone or e-mail. But sadly, most people just don't seem to get it. Some seem to interpret silence as a personal affront. Others have expressed undue worry, imagining the worst, when they are unable to reach me by phone or e-mail.
I don't expect others to be like me, or to live the way I have chosen to live. I only wish they would stop trying to foist their frenetic pace of life in the fast lane on me.
Now, about those cell phones. I have never owned a cell phone and never will. I don't have phone conversations in public places, nor do I appreciate it when people I am with (in a home, a public place or travelling in a vehicle) stop everything to take call after call, making me a captive audience to their personal and/or professional business, which does not concern me.
(Cell phones are also responsible for creating a miasma of electromagnetic pollution from cell towers. Microwaves are deadly and I want no part of them. I have never owned a microwave oven, nor will I allow one to be used for anything I eat or drink.)
And, I find it extremely stressful being cut off repeatedly when the caller using a cell phone passes through a 'dead zone'.
The speaker phone is yet another abomination I despise. In the popular culture of 'multi-tasking' (an idiotic phrase if ever there was one) the caller can more or less ignore the person on the other end of the line, while pursuing other (presumably more important) activities. The recipient is usually left with little but echoes and ambient noise, sometimes including other conversations in the background. Or worse, a blaring TV set.
What ever happened to a one-on-one dialogue, a real conversation in which each person is actually paying full attention and listening to the other? What ever happened to privacy and confidentiality?
Then, there are the '3-way' or conference calls. Some people have a penchant for them and have tried to push me into participating. I hate those too and usually refuse unless there is some form of emergency.
And lastly, 'call waiting'. Having to be cut off and left hanging while the other party takes "an important call." No thanks. My time is valuable. Call me back when you've decided your call to me is "important" enough to stay on the line.
To me, such a lifestyle is insanity. I don't criticize those who are a part of it (most people I know) as it's not my place to judge the way they live; but I don't want to be dragged into it either. I know myself well enough to know that in another century, I'd be living in a cloister, or something along those lines. That doesn't seem an option for me (though maybe someday); but that doesn't mean I don't still long for a cloistered life, in as many aspects as possible.
But there were other considerations when it came to the most recent vow of silence.
This past winter (2006-7) was by far the most brutal I have yet experienced since moving to Maine four years ago. Each year, I have been snowed in for much of the winter, unable to drive out for supplies, sometimes for weeks, and literally "iced in", unable even to open my doors from the inside, as they were frozen shut. Being forced to run the water 24/7 in the (mostly vain) hope of stopping the pipes from freezing, most often an exercise in futility. Not even being able to call the plumber for emergencies, due to financial destitution.
Being disabled, I am unable to do my own snow shovelling or other heavy labor, and I can't afford to hire help. I have no friends or family nearby, so neither can I call for help.
Each year, I have tried to make preparations for the winter well in advance. Things like getting enough firewood and stocking other necessities in advance. Having necessary repairs made which would stop the house from losing heat and protect against freezing water pipes. My home is a "winterized" (and I use that term loosely) beach house with no central heating. Where I live, some form of heat is usually needed from late summer to mid spring.
Each year, I have failed to accomplish my goal, because the financial assistance I needed was not available.
Since moving to Maine from New York state, I have had to try to "live" off less than $5,000 a year. That is way below the 'poverty line'. I have no health insurance, but have for years, been in desperate need of medical care, which I have no access to.
I am not telling this as a 'sob story' nor am I looking for sympathy. These are the facts of my life and I have made them public (in a number of affidavits and reports) simply as a part of documenting my case as a longtime target of political persecution by the U.S. government. These government criminals are entirely responsible for the financial destitution in which I live, and I don't give a damn what anyone says or thinks to the contrary.
As if being impoverished weren't bad enough, I don't have anyone whom I can rely on for concrete assistance, even in an emergency. I cannot make a phone call to anyone, knowing that help will be on the way.
The latest emergency, the proverbial 'last straw', was a brutal storm (nor'easter) that hit in April, said to be the worst to hit the Maine coast in a decade. A 'state of emergency' was declared in Maine and voluntary evacuation was requested in the entire town, the beachfront community where I live.
For three days and nights, the wind was so violent (at times, 65 miles per hour) it felt like the house was about to come down. The walls shook, things came crashing down, shingles flew from the roof.
The power was out for two days, during which time the temperature plummeted into the 20s and 30s. I had run out of firewood in February, before the winter ended, and had not been able to afford another delivery, so I used some sticks of driftwood I had gathered from the beach, but it didn't make much of a fire.
My house is located between the ocean (less than 2 short blocks away) and a salt marsh across the main road. A beautiful location, but not somewhere you want to be when there's flooding in the streets. The flooding came from the marsh, not the ocean, so despite the fact that the flood waters were so high that some people were out in the street in small boats and kayaks, I decided not to evacuate, as there wasn't anywhere to go.
If I'd had the money, I'd have gone to a local hotel with its own generator, as some did. But my only other choice would have been a public shelter for evacuees. No way in hell would I go there. As long as the ocean wasn't flooding the inside of my house, I'd rather suffer in the dark and the cold than be in a public place with no privacy and surrounded by God only knows who all.
But the worst part, as always, was being alone, having nobody I could call for help. As far as I know, from talking to my neighbors after the storm, I was the only person on my block who did not evacuate.
And even though I knew the storm was coming, I could not prepare for it, any more than I have been able to prepare for the winters. That takes money, and as usual, I had none.
I used candles for light (I always have plenty of those) as aside from two police flashlights (which fortunately had good batteries) I had no other option. But then, just about the time the power finally came back on, a fire started on the second floor of my house, due to a candle left burning on a dresser. When I walked up the stairs I was hit with a wall of smoke so thick I couldn't see.
I called 911 and was told to leave the house immediately. But I didn't. I had to find my cat and get her out. Felines have extremely sensitive respiratory systems and there was no way I was going to leave her in there. I searched the entire house (three stories) but couldn't find her.
When the firemen came, they again insisted that I go outside, promising they would "look for" my cat. I said that "looking" was not good enough, they must FIND her and get her out! She is all that matters, she is immediate family, she is the only one who is always there for me. As I tell her every day, I love you more than the expanding universe. (Animal lovers know this feeling, others think we're all nuts. I've heard people say things like, It's just a cat.)
So, that morning as I stood outside waiting in the pouring rain, still dressed in my nightgown and an old raincoat, I wept in relief as I finally saw Kyra rescued, carried out in the arms of a fireman.
There wasn't much material damage, as luckily the fire was caught in time. But between the long brutal winter, the April storm and the fire, and the complete lack of support during all of this stress and trauma, I'd had all I could take.
I didn't want to talk about any of it, there was really nothing to say. All I wanted was peace and quiet so I could try to recover from all the damages.
Staying off the Internet is also good medicine for me. Over the past few years, the threats, harassment and cyber-stalking by criminal psychopaths has taken its toll. This gang of utterly loathsome lowlifes include career criminals, drug abusers/traffickers, porno freaks, child porno collectors, child rapists (I refuse to call them "pedophiles", as some actually try to justify their crimes of RAPE by saying sex with children is"okay") --all minions and stooges of the corrupt government, all of whom have targeted Barbara Hartwell for persecution (as well as massive slander and libel campaigns) because I have exposed their lies, their hoaxes and scams and their crimes against God and humanity.
The stalkers don't have my private e-mail addresses. But the absolute worst of these psycho-stalkers continued with regular (almost daily) harassing e-mails to a Yahoo address I have kept over the years, only for the purpose of occasional posts on message boards requiring a Yahoo e-mail address. Though I never opened/read these harassing messages, the subject lines were always comprised of obscene assaults, threats, fabrications and the usual idiotic, deranged comments.
The harassing e-mail from this psycho-stalker continued to flood in like a tide of raw sewage, no matter how many times I blocked the addresses and reported them as SPAM. This despicable character just kept getting new e-mail addresses no matter how many addresses I blocked.
Finally, after exposing this madman in numerous reports, I just stopped checking my Yahoo e-mail at all. I refuse to be subjected to any more ravings of a porno-mongering, demon-posessed psychopath, obsessed with destroying my life. Let him peddle his evil wares elsewhere, and let those of like mind read the lies and gutter trash he promotes.
[Note added Feb. 2010: the psycho stalker is Todd Brendan Fahey, who continues, in the sixth year of criminal harassment of Barbara Hartwell.]
As for this website, in answer to some questions I've received, I haven't posted anything for awhile because I haven't been on the Internet and because I had more important and pressing concerns to attend to --like trying to stay alive.
This was never meant to be a "news" site; I am not a "reporter" and I've mostly completed the archives of material, which was the purpose I had in mind.
For those interested, there are roughly 250 articles and reports in the archives. I don't have the time available and it's not a priority for me to do much more work connected to this website. I'm not making any money from it, not getting the donations I once did, and writing reports is not something I particularly enjoy, but a chore I can easily live without.
For the most part, my writing has been for the purpose of bearing witness --to expose crime and corruption and as one form of activism (among others) to defend Liberty.
I've put up links for some of the people and organizations whose work and activism I want to support, but that's the best I can do. When possible, I will post additional items I find to be of importance, including updates on various legal cases.
After finally checking my private e-mail this weekend, building up for well over a month, I apologize to my friends for not responding. Now you know why.
In answer to those who have expressed concern (I appreciate it) and asked if I am okay, or if I made it through the winter okay, the answer would have been no, but talking about it wouldn't have helped.
Until/unless I find a way to recover from some of the illness and stress-related damages, get necessary medical care, repair safety hazards in my home, etc. etc. silence may well be my best medicine.
May 21, 2007