Thoughts for the first snow

As I looked out my window and saw the first snow of the season falling, my first thoughts were about how beautiful everything looked. Then I began wondering about what it all entails. Now I don’t mind shoveling, in fact I kind of like the exercise. It’s the other things I find annoying, like icy locks and coated windshields, when I want to go somewhere in a hurry. But I guess that’s what living in New York is all about.

A New Olive Trees is Finally Published

A new Olive Trees, issue 52 – Solitary Revolutions is being published his week and if you are on the mailing list should be in your mailbox shortly. If you are not please send your address to:


144 Genesee St., Suite 102-123

Auburn, NY 13021

It’s been a long time coming. The following is the editorial for this issue. I hope you enjoy it


                 The cartoon on page 2 reminded me about how I felt regarding the NYS Safe Act. When it was first passed I considered it a knee jerk reaction to a horrible tragedy for political purposes only. This doesn’t mean I think assault weapons are needed to hunt or regard an unlimited magazine of ammunition necessary for hunters to kill his or her prey.  I do not hunt nor do I eat meat except when served in the homes of others, but I do recognize the rights of others to kill animals for food. In fact, I feel individuals who eat meat should at least experience the whole process in order to obtain reverence for its source.                                                                                      

              I do not blame people for being angry about the possible loss of what they feel is a Constitutional Right. It seems the government’s role has changed from providing services to the regulation of our lives.  Our present model of government, the two party system, has actually become two heads of the same global corporate beast. They are the ones who install people into power that will produce for them the greatest profits, rather than serve the needs of we, the people.                          

             I am aware there are some groups who advocate revolution. There are others who feel they will need to be armed in case civil disobedience erupts in this country as it has in others when things became economically unbalanced. And you can never have enough fire power in the case of a zombie outbreak. I can’t help but feel these scenarios will not happen here. Anyone who poses a threat to the current status quo (even zombies) with possible violence will be eliminated by the single-minded robots currently being created by our present educational system. There are many who have sworn an oath to die for their nation and mean it. Funny thing is, they are not even promised virgins if they die in battle. Even if any of these adversaries prove stubborn, there are always drones at their disposal. Eventually heat sensors will locate the enemy and they will be toast. I am sure during a confrontation there may be some casualties to government forces, but sooner or later the movement will be quelled by whatever means necessary. Even the Occupation Movement, a non-violent approach to wealth equalization, was silenced by a massive propaganda machine.                                                                                                      

             When I was in school they promised us that we could work within the system to promote change. So far it hasn’t really happened. Oh things are somewhat better on the surface. Racism still exists, although not as blatant. One has to only look toward the ratio of people of color in our prison systems as a glaring example. There is still a glass ceiling regarding the advancement of women with a few token exceptions and females are still treated as commodities in some circles. Environmental laws have been passed, but ‘big energy’ still controls the agenda. In most elections we are given the choice between the lesser of two evils or no opponent at all with the majority of them beholding to the corporate pocketbook. The rich get rich, the poor get poorer and the middle class gets it stuck up there…  Is there something we can do to throw a monkey wrench into the machine before it grinds us into oblivion? I believe there is. I have been a Green (legitimate third party) for a number of years. I ask all of you that are eligible to vote, to register and vote third party candidates, when ever they are available. And if you can’t vote please tell your family and friends who can to register and do so. Let’s at least send a message that it’s time for a real change. After all, we, the people are the majority, not professional politicians.                                                                                                     ~ Ron



Spring Is Coming

(editor’s note – Bob’s Knob is a hill that sits southeast of my home and overlooks a good portion of the Owasco Valley. I named it that after my ex-Brother-in-law’s untimely death many years ago as a place where I often go to meditate on the meaning of life.)

Up the top of Bob’s Knob I watched the hawk circle across the sky, blue as the bluest ocean, cloudless as cloudless could be. I turned to the four directions to see what I could see. To the east was a little forest, a tree line stood to the south, a woodland obscuring the valley to my west and a lake extending to the north capped by drumlins. I felt the frozen ground beneath my feet, covered with the leftover stalks of last year’s corn, the power of the seed within that earth waiting to be born. Oh I could hear the spring coming in the crowing of the crow and I gave thanks for just being alive and all I’ve come to know.

A New Year’s Resolution

Originally I had resolved not to procrastinate, however, it is too late for that. Instead I have decided to live by the four agreements as put forth by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book of the same name. It really comes to a lot more than four so in the following song, I have listed what I would like to do for this year. It is inspired by the book, “the Four Agreements” and the divination cards of the same name and with liberties taken by me.

The Four Agreements ~ Ron van Nostrand  January 2014 based on the book, “The Four Agreements”  by Don Miguel Ruiz

I’m taking my life and enjoying it, by always doing my best, just because I want to,

Even though my best is changing all the time.

I’m honoring myself by loving and nurturing my body and expressing my divinity

By taking action on my ideas, without expecting rewards

All the while staying in the moment and letting go of the past while remembering

Not to over due….. Agreed….. Agreed

Yes, I’m saying goodbye to sadness and drama, by speaking open and honestly,

Communicating with clarity and being myself.

I’m learning to ask questions, which help me to discern the truth, assuming nothing,

Asking for what I want, while eliminating gossip and if I can master this practice, I know

My life will be transformed….Agreed….Agreed

I will enjoy heaven on earth and become the white magician who creates a beautiful dream

If I express my love by letting go of self judgment and speaking with integrity, impeccably

Without feeling that I must always be right.

In so doing I will manifest my truest intentions…Agreed…..Agreed

And in the knowing that everyone lives in their own dream, I will try to see them as they are,

And become immune to any opinions which contain emotional poison.

And in the realization that my truth is personal to me, I will learn to love and respect myself

Even as I relinquish self importance and in this way

I will transform my life….Agreed….Agreed

Agreed….Agreed        Agreed….Agreed    Agreed….Agreed         Agreed


Bringer of Light

I have been thinking about having a web-site since I purchased my first Gateway computer many years ago. I wanted to call it after the ‘zine’ I publish, but unfortunately that domain name was gone even then. When I first looked to see what it was, it was a live camera that was focused on the gates of Jerusalem where the owners of the domain expected the “Second Coming of Jesus” to occur. I hadn’t checked it recently, but upon examination discovered it to be a site for the purchasing of olive trees. I will have to wait for a little more climate change before I buy any myself. Apparently the original proprietors got tired of waiting for Him to show and gave up. Either that or they went into the tree business to bring a more substantial income.

In a conversation the other day with a friend, we were discussing today’s world and the way that some people treat others. This led to the subject of what Jesus would think about all of this if he was to return today. It reminded me of a song I wrote a while ago on this very subject. This may be a problem familiar to many prophets, usually until after their death and their message has been made less threatening to those in power.  I would like to share it with you now. It is entitled, “Bringer of Light.”

“He was cast up on a hillside and ministered to by angels who taught him of a better life,                  far from the clattering clutter of the people below.

And when his time was ready, he was sent back among the people, to speak the truth and teach the law and mark it with an O for the infinite eternity it is.

But when he placed his truth upon a lamp stand, to shine for all the world below,                                    arose a clamor among the people, “Turn off that cursed light, we’re trying to sleep.”

Of course we may never know if or when Jesus might return as the camera is now turned off, but I did encounter a bumper sticker the other day that proclaimed that “You’ve Got a Friend With Jesus in America.” So he may be living in your neighborhood, incognito, biding His time while getting his press kit together for a full-on media blitz. But that’s a different song.

And on a related note, “just in case of the rapture, can I have your car?” (Bourke’s bumper sticker)

Have a Happy and a Blessed New Year,


2 For The Fall = poems

2 for the fall of 2013 by Ron Van Nostrand


Let’s talk of Prisons

Let’s talk of prisons

Of how we all build our own

And before you know it, your there

You may not see the bars,

But you can still feel the chains around your ankles

That keep you from being free.

But if you were truly free, without boundaries

Where would you be?

Inside, outside, it’s all the same

Different perspective…but

We’re all doing time


Home On the Range of My Mind


Out there where the coyotes howl

Where in the tall grass the deer lie down

Where the song of the frog bellows into the night,

This is where I pause to dream.

Where the stars are fires in the midnight sky

And the moon’s face in the window hangs

Somewhere, round a fire, the cowboys sing

“Home on the Range” in my mind.



Last night the subject of gambling came up between me and a couple of guys. In New York we have just passed a referendum, which allows private entities the ability to operate upstate, non-indian casinos, where it was previously prohibited. That’s not what we were discussing.

No it was the demon of gambling itself (not sure of the sex, but it is pretty darn alluring.) Money for virtually nothing usually does entice me. It only took me to be scammed a couple of times before I became smarter and learned to look before I lept. It seems someone that someone knew won $8,000 on a scratch off and within two weeks were broke again. They took the money and went right to the casino.

Which led to a conversation about temptation itself, the addiction, the phenomena of “first timers” always getting lucky. Stories were told of how track novices won daily doubles their first time betting on “the nags.” Instances where a person’s initial purchase when scratched revealed a winner were raised.

The conclusion was you can never beat the “house” over the long run unless you take the money and run. Or cheat… If you do cheat aren’t you really playing right into the hands of the one who really runs the “house?”

The subject of casinos that night was only mentioned, but whether they are built here or not, gambling has been ingrained in our society since playground, when you bet your buddy you could accomplish a difficult task in exchange for the loser footing the soda bill.

Many of today’s foremost thinkers understand that you cannot legislate away people’s urges. You can only aid in their enlightenment. As I was leaving someone mentioned that they liked poker, as long as there was a limit. We all agreed that maybe we should have a poker game soon.

“You fool, they dangle the jewel,

The trouble’s the bauble, the devil’s own tool.”

“The Fool” ~ Ron Vannostrand 1984 “Dazed By Our Lives,” the musical

An explanation

New visitors may wonder what Olive Trees, the Olive Trees Picnic has to do with a web-site entitled When I started this site with the encouragement of others, I wasn’t quite sure where I was going with it. There was a decision made to call it because there are other areas which I am involved beside the zine, Olive Trees, the picnic that resulted from the desire to give back to the artists and the donors that are so responsible in making the zine a reality and Olive Trees Meditational Garden which is where I have grown and flourished for the last twenty 26 years this October.

But I could not do a web-site without including the Olive Trees entity, because like it or not, for doing one thing for so long, it has become a definite part of who I am. It can be argued that perhaps it should be on its own. In the future this well may happen, but for now let us start simply.

So if you are looking for Olive trees related items; back issues, new issues, new works, artist information click on olive trees (the words) on the subject line and you can find things in this regard.

Also I would like to post new submissions on the site, so there will be more content available for our readers that can fit into the magazine. So please when sending things, in express your permission if you wish it to have your items posted on the web-site.

The Olive Trees Picnic 2013

Water Balloon Toss

Water Balloon Toss at Olivetrees 2013 Picnic.

It has been over a month since the Olive Trees Picnic. With the hacking of my site and my general tendency towards procrastination, I have not been able to post the pictures until now.

There were 42 readers and contributors who participated in the day, bringing food, drinks and joy. In the whiffle ball game, the visiting team, led by team captain, Gavin Ellis beat the home team 15 to 12.

The water balloon toss was a tie between the Frederick’s of Caroga Lake and the team of Gavin and Schuyler of Auburn.

The three legged race was won by the Cleveland’s of Elbridge (again). There have been rumors that they tie their legs together and walk around like that at home just to practice.

The wheel barrow race was won by the Watrobskis. There has been a formal complaint lodged with the national wheel barrow race commissioner stating that Chris, the parent of Ethan, carried him over the finish line, therefore disqualifying the team because the “down” participant did not have a hand on the ground at the time of the finish. Stay tuned for results of this protest.

Click here to enjoy images from the picnic.


This web-site has only really been up for a very short time and already it has been hacked twice. Now I will be the first to admit that I’m not very computer literate. I do not know what it means to be hacked, but the biggest thing I don’t understand why anyone would waste their time in the first place.

What does it accomplish? Where does one find the time in their lives is another question that puzzles me? I wish I was so bored that the only thing I had to do was cause mischief. I guess it is truly a sign that I am getting older that I feel my time is so precious. I can’t help but to wonder if one is that lacking of things to do why they don’t do something positive like plant a tree, go read to a relative that is confined in a hospital or nursing home, help out in a soup kitchen, or somehow use that time to make the world a better place. Granted, when I was younger I had kind of mischievous streak and I’m sure I created some needless problems, but…

Now of course I may have to consider that this could be someone’s job. Maybe I’m being hacked by the NSA in an attempt to keep me from revealing the truth,  that any level of government above that on the local level, if studied, would be considered superfluous. Maybe they are worried that through my web-site, I might organize all the people in the world to carry out a coup and rid themselves of all the parasites living like royalty on their tax dollars. Perhaps they fear that this web-site  would start a movement to end the government subsidy of the very corporate structure which creates 90% of the problems, such as war, pollution, and poverty while accumulating 99% of the wealth.

Seriously though, I just don’t understand why anyone would waste their valuable time on me and what I say. Maybe I’m more important than I think.