All posts by earthwalking13

Stearley still hasn’t figured out what he wants to be when he grows up, but he plans on not growing up too much. He’s weathered two careers; first as a critical care nurse and then as an attorney. Always a wordsmith, he freelances, consults, and teaches when he is not out seeking counsel in the wilderness. He finds hiking to be moving meditation and seeks meaning in natural language and signs, not in the doctrine embodied with societal domestication.

Horizons

Photo: A beautiful image from my wanderings in the Southwest.  It might seem odd that I chose this pic for Emerson’s quote.  After all, this horizon seems confined once your eyes meet the mountains.  But actually, the horizon goes on.  You know there is more behind the mountains, and the clouds add that depth as they gracefully stretch into the infinite.

There are many illusions and distortions in our lives.  Those mountains in the foreground look close, but they are really quite distant.  You discover this as you hike towards them as they seem to forever retreat from your advance.  And once you reach this apparent obstruction, this natural barricade, you can see that the desert plane boundlessly unfolds in every direction.  You can get lost out here.  Lost physically and mentally as the vastness unbinds you and swallows up your soul.

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Elsewhere

I dislike beginning another blog with a chant about being absent for a while, but there it is.  I’ve not been here.  I’ve been elsewhere.

But where is “elsewhere?”

I kind of like that word.  In fact, if I ever incorporated a township, that’s what I’d name it – Elsewhere.  And everyone would be invited to go there and take a mental vacation.  And better yet, while you were there you could conjure up any type of reality you desired.  The only limits would be the boundaries of your imagination.

Actually, I think we are all in Elsewhere every day.

Continue reading Elsewhere

Brain Games

Well the old brain is clicking along today. Somewhat dazed, but the ramblings in my head don’t go away – except maybe when I meditate.

It’s funny we go through life trying to find meaning, to discover an identity for ourselves, and yet try as we might, we, as beings, are kind of hard to define.  And if we can’t even define ourselves, then how can we elucidate a purpose for this existence.

As I was listening to a song this morning the lyrics kind of hit home when I heard, “I don’t even need a name anymore, when no one calls it out, it kind of vanishes away.”

Continue reading Brain Games

Liebster Award # 3

I must extend my many thanks to Carly for nominating me for another Liebster Award.  You should really check out her blog, Message in Stanza, for some great musings, poetry, and photography.

I must also apologize for being slow because she nominated me a month ago, but here goes:

The Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger that gave you the nomination and display the award.
  2. Answer 11 questions that blogger gives you.
  3. Give 11 random thoughts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination.
  5. Give these blogs 11 questions to answer.

Humm, first off, I have to say I’ve never been one who likes to stay faithful to all the rules, so I guess I’ll play with these a little bit.  Next, I assume (I know, assuming is not the best thing to do) that items 2 and 3 are separate items.  Thus, the answers to the questions are different from the 11 random thoughts, and I just gave you one random thought, I don’t like to follow the rules all the time. 🙂

The Rest of My Random Thoughts:

I am thinking quite randomly today because I’m having a neurotoxic reaction to environmental pollutants and scattered thoughts is about all I can muster up about now.

Some days, no matter how organized you think you are going to be, everything will just deteriorate, or may actually improve, as seemingly chance occurrences unfold and take you in completely different directions than you had planned.  Fun stuff.

I plan to do some standing meditation today.

I will be meeting with a friend later, something I had not planned.

I began the day working on a book, but now I’m bouncing about randomly digitizing words.

We have had a real Midwest winter this year.  Last Tuesday it was a negative 7 degrees, Sunday it was 70 degrees and today we have freezing rain.

I’m still having trouble with this new keyboard not wanting to type the letters on the left-hand side.  So, I’m having to do a lot more editing and adding back in all those missing Ws, Rs, Es and Ts.

I’ve finally got the house warmed back up having rebuilt the fire in the woodstove. I love the woodstove 🙂

I’m thinking about the new gear I need to pick up for a planned trip this summer.

I’m looking forward to Spring when all the flowers will be back in bloom.

The Questions:

  • What are you most passionate about?

See number 3

  • What is one thing you would like people to know about you that is not so obvious?

Nothing, if it’s not obvious, then I probably don’t want people to know.

  • What are three of your favorite pastimes?

Traveling, Hiking, Writing, Photography – there, I gave you 4, although I usually combine them all into one activity Travwhikgraphy 🙂  I like making up words.

  • Who is your favorite author?

Always a toss-up.  I just love good writing.  But two of my favorite satirical writers are Kurt Vonnegut and Christopher Moore.

  • What is your favorite reading genre?

As I said before, I just love good writing.  Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, you name it.

  • Why is it your favorite?

Hummm – good – writing.  Well composed, sucks you in, can’t get enough type of writing.

  • What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Write.  Just start putting something on paper.  It doesn’t matter what.  Once you have something down, you have something to edit. That’s where the real fun is, I think.  Great writers don’t always write great stuff.  They write a lot, and a tiny bit of their stuff is great.  So write.

  • What two items on your bucket list might you do next year?

Going to Yosemite and taking a train trip through the Canadian Rockies.

  • What is something you have always wanted to say to a loved one who has passed?

To my Dad – “You’re the wisest guy I know, thanks for being my Dad.”

  • Who do you admire that is historically famous and why?

This could be any number of people, but today, randomly, I pick Thoreau.  Not only was he a writer, but he lived out in Nature, at least for a while.  And these are two of my favorite pastimes.

  • When was the first time you really got scolded by your parents?

Probably when I was around 5.  Once my Dad scolded us, we didn’t need any further discipline.  We knew to be good, and if we needed reminding, he gave us the “look.”  Yes, that look that bore right through you and said straighten up or else.

My Nominations:

Again, not being one who likes to follow the rules, I’ll not list out blogs here.  Instead, I nominate every blogger that I’ve had a discussion with here on WordPress.  You all know who you are, so if you want to participate and pick up this challenge (and you don’t have to) here are my questions.

My Questions:

These are the same ones I picked for my first Liebster Award, but they are good ones 😊

  • What is the title of the book you are going to write?
  • What is your favorite pet?
  • What is your favorite dessert?
  • If you’re doing the cooking, what’s for dinner?
  • What is your favorite poem?
  • Who is your favorite author?
  • If you could have a “do-over” in your life, what would you change?
  • What is your favorite travel destination and why?
  • Who is your favorite movie character?
  • If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?
  • If you could commit a crime, and knew you would get away with it, what would it be?

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

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Worlds and Eternities

Photo: Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park.  The Shoshones called this mountain range “Teewinot” – the many pinnacles.”

Every angle, every nuance of light and shadow, every frame in the mind’s eye – different worlds.  From the grains of sand on the shoreline, the wooded tails, the mountain peaks – all Universes within themselves.

As you look in the distance, the scene is not only majestic, it is infinite.  There are no borders, there is no time.

In fact, these are very young mountains in terms of geological time 🙂

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A Worthy Trade

We all misplace things from time-to-time.  Car keys, your cell phone, a pair of glasses, a pen.  Perhaps a favorite shirt.  Of course, there is also the void.   A vortex.  That place where a single sock or the lids to our plastic containers seem to just vanish.  To be swallowed up.  Leaving behind the sad, unmatched partner, only to be discarded at a future date.

Their usefulness now lost . . .

And sometimes I think the spirits are messing with me.  Because I search and search, retrace my steps, look in the same place multiple times, and there it is, my quarry, sitting in one of the same spots I’ve searched three times over.  Only now it’s so obvious I can’t miss it if I tried.

I wonder ???

Over the years, I’ve tried to keep a copy of everything I’ve had published.  It’s nice to have an electronic copy, but even better to have a hard copy.  Something tangible.  Something I can hold in my hands.  Feel the texture of the paper.  Smell the ink.  Visualize the word placement.  Hear the words as I read through them.

There’s something about the whole sensory experience that makes it more magical.

Continue reading A Worthy Trade

Day Dreaming

I woke up to a chilly negative seven degrees this morning.  That cold, biting air dug into my consciousness and said, “Hey, snap out of it.”  But what was “it?”

“It” has been the brain fog I’ve been in now for over a week.

“It” has thoroughly slapped me around, kicked in my rib cage, pummeled my face, knocked me down, and thrown me off balance.

“It” has challenged my days and made it difficult to write.

Yeah, I know, excuses, excuses.  But fighting pollution has taken on a whole new meaning for me this past couple of years.  Those unseen flyspecks, minute assassins, bouncing around my home.  Laying in wait.  Invading my brain.  Committing molecular murder.

With malice aforethought, “it” extinguishes my memory.

Evil.

Industrial chemicals.  A toxic world.

How to fight back?  Drift into a day dream . . .

A deep, clear, midnight blue lake, stretching out on the horizon, lapping against the shores of lodge pole pines, mountains shadow down in the distance.  Mirror reflections.  A shimmering pool.  A sailboat to slide across this glass surface.  Sanguine, tranquil, serene.

A distant memory.  Unleashing endorphins.  Light dancing in my camera’s lens. Euphoric.

I crank up the music – Freddy Jones Band – In a Day Dream

Tuesday morning,
Never looked so good.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

The sun is shining,
To wake me up.
No one around,
Just me and the sky.

I’m already in,
In a daydream.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

The sky is calling,
Calling out my name.
Telling me just to stay,
Stay and don’t go away.

I’m already in,
In a daydream.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

In a daydream…
In a daydream…
In a daydream…
Already in a daydream…

And so I begin anew, rising from the flames, oscillating between past travels, and future adventures.  The words come . . .

***

Photo: Day dreaming of the Grand Tetons.

Our Greatest Opponent

goose island - glacier national + opponent

Photo: Most people who have visited Glacier National Park in Montana have probably captured this very photo as you are coming in from the east entrance to the park along the Going To The Sun Road. The tiny island is Wild Goose Island sitting in the middle of St. Mary Lake.

The mountain peaks on the south side of the lake (left in photo) include Red Eagle Mountain, Mahtotopa Mountain, Little Chief Mountain, Dusty Star Mountain and Citadel Mountain.  Gunsight Mountain and Fusillade Mountain are at the far end of the lake.  And on the north side, (to the right) not really captured in the photo are Goat Mountain and Going-to-The-Sun Mountain.

Not much further down this road was where I had my first encounter with Grizzly Bears.  A pair strolling along up on one of the mountain slopes.  It was an amazing sight to behold.  A gift.

I chose this pick for the quote, because it’s when we overcome our doubts and fears that we will experience the greatest adventures, encounter the greatest beauty, replace our ignorance with knowledge, and have our ego put in its place, having seen what a tiny speck we are in such an infinite Universe.

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Deconstructing

Wow!  So, I took an entire week off blogging.  I think that’s the longest time I’ve gone without making a post of some type.   It was sort of a culmination of things.

For one, my last story breathed life back into many memories from the past and that was a bit emotional for me.  I also had a few discussions with friends this past week that I found to be emotionally draining, and I received a very insulting letter from one of my former employers.

It was time to recharge a little, hibernate, and deconstruct.

Yes, deconstruct.

Instead of posting or actively participating in social media, I removed old posts, cleaned things up a bit, and did so in sync with doing some literal house cleaning.

Destroying can be as invigorating as creating – if it’s channeled correctly.  Even anger, which I believe is the most destructive emotion, can be channeled into something positive.

The week wasn’t all deconstruction, I also constructed an igloo since we had so much snow here.  And that was great fun.

But now it’s time to figure out the direction I’m going to go when I leave this temporary hibernation.  Leave the snow cave behind.

Only time will tell . . .

***

My Granddad’s Watch – Finis

My grandfather, who I was named after, was born in Indiana in 1896.  After fighting in the “Great War,” he returned to Indiana where he ran several businesses and raised his family.  Rumors were that he had two families.

The clan had its share of characters back in the day.

At some point along his journey he acquired a watch.  An Elgin pocket watch.  A railroad watch.  No one seems to know the exact story surrounding of how he came by this watch.  He could have bought it or he could have taken it in trade for some of the many cigars he sold in his “City Club.”

Although it was gold-filled, it wasn’t one of those fancy watches used to mark social status.  The ornate ones with jewels that weren’t part of the mechanism.  No special engraving.  No hand-painted or enamel designs.  No animated scenes or characters turning in coordination with the hands.

No, this watch was used to tell time.

When my dad graduated high school, granddad sat my father down and explained that dad had reached a point in his life where he earned some recognition.   He was now old enough and responsible enough to receive a precious gift.  A timepiece to mark a rite of passage.

And so the watch was passed on to its first successor guardian.

Continue reading My Granddad’s Watch – Finis

My Granddad’s Watch

It was a colder winter than usual in northern Arizona back in ‘78.  When my brother and I pulled into Flagstaff there was no way to make a left-hand turn.  Some three feet of snow had been plowed into the middle of the roads to be trucked away later.  A crystalline white bulwark separating the oncoming traffic.

We had a few more miles to go to find a campsite among the Ponderosa Pines.  Once there, I eased the ‘70 Plymouth Satellite off the park road where the snow was the lightest and drove deeper into the forest.  The snow being an incredible insulator, as soon as I shut the engine off it was dead quiet.

The beauty surrounding us was as breathtaking as the air was frigid.

In the distance, the towering San Francisco Peaks were covered in clouds.  It looked like they were tethered to the mountains with the surrounding sky perfectly clear and blue.  When those clouds cleared there would be an additional layer of snow on those holy Peaks.

Respect Mother Earth and the native traditions and you’ll live longer in this wilderness.

Continue reading My Granddad’s Watch

Clearing the Cobwebs

Well, I’m coming up to my one-year anniversary here on WordPress, and the blog has certainly helped me do what I set out to do with it.  It’s given me a creative outlet and provided incentive for me to write on a more regular basis.

That, in turn, has had many beneficial effects.  I do love to write, but I have to say, it is so easy to let time slip away with a million other things that it’s good to have something to help with my focus.  More importantly, I find writing to be very therapeutic for me.

The more I write, the better I feel.  And I have a lot of stories I want to get down on paper.  Some are a little hard to believe, but they’re true, and that makes them more fun.

I passed the 200-post mark a little while back and I realize as time goes on that my earliest posts probably aren’t being viewed by people anymore and I’ve decided to start taking them down.  They may get recycled at a later date in some form, but it’s time to clear the cobwebs off the blog, and out of my mind too.

New Year, fresh start.

I will keep up some of my personal favs, and some of those posts that everyone really liked.  And it may be time to start compiling some materials for a book.

Guess we’ll see what happens 🙂

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Photo: An Orb-Weaver Spider, sometimes called a Yellow Garden Spider or a Golden Orb.  Orb spiders weave distinctive spiral webs.  I like to think that we, as writers, weave the stories we tell.  They go in all sort of directions, take many shapes, and have interconnections that will hopefully “capture our prey” – the attention and imagination of our readers.

spidy + spfx2

Coming Up: A little later today I’ll put up part one of my story that lost the writing contest I had entered it in.  (See my prior post “Loser.”)  I think it’s a good story from back in my road-living days of my early twenties.  It’s true too.  Hope you like it.

A Story – Chapter 8 – Freedom?

Dawn.

The sun was rising.  Casting a beautiful glow of orange across the sky, as twilight, the crack between the worlds, faded.

I had everything I owned packed into my 1970 Plymouth Satellite.  Ready to hit the road.  A friend had promised a job would be waiting in Houston.

Mike and I shook hands and nodded.  No words were necessary for this goodbye.  But suddenly he did speak.  A single question.

“Stearley, there’s been one thing I wanted to ask you all along.  I don’t remember you putting that lock box in the car that night, where did it really come from?”

“Well Mike, I imagine you were just too busy loading up that monster of a stereo to see what I was doing . . .”

***

Continue reading A Story – Chapter 8 – Freedom?