Tag Archives: Society

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.

***

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

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.

***

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

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?

A Story – Chapter 7 – Legalities

“Not funny Mike,” I growled as we were being led across the street.

Our interrogations were over and we were reunited for the walk to the county jail for processing.

The city jail was on the third floor of the police station.  The county jail was across the street, and it occupied the north wing of the courthouse building.

The two facilities shared space for stripping you down, performing the body search, outfitting you in jail garb, taking your mug shots, fingerprinting, and completing the associated paperwork.  County sheriffs were performing these tasks, and I was hoping that when they were done they’d take us back to the city jail.  I’d heard some pretty viscous tales about county lockup.

As we were being escorted, Mike had slipped his right hand out of his handcuffs, laughing and boasting about how clever he was.

The jailer wasn’t impressed either.

As he rearranged his cuffs, switching his hands from being held behind him to being in front of him, he very softly said, “Next time, I’ll just shoot you.  Say you were trying to escape.  And your friend here won’t contradict me, will you now?”

His steely eyes bore into me as he repositioned me in front of Mike, produced a third set of handcuffs and linked Mike’s and my cuffs together.  Me now marching in front, Mike attached behind and the jailer in step next to Mike.

Satisfied with this new arrangement, he sort of smiled.  “Just take one bullet now to take you both out.”

After processing, they threw us in the same holding cell while they figured out where we’d be going next.

I was staring at Mike, thinking about what I wanted to say . . .

***

Continue reading A Story – Chapter 7 – Legalities

A Story – Chapter 6 – It’s Fucking Over

My mind was racing back in time.

I first flashed back on a time when Mike and I were in high school.  We were at a friend’s house.  Jim was showing us his father’s rifle collection.  His father must have had fifteen or so rifles of all different varieties.  All lined up symmetrically on a homemade rifle rack in his basement.

Mike picked up a .30-06, Springfield, bolt action rifle and leveled it directly on my face.  His finger was on the trigger as he laughingly said, “Right between the eyes.  Stearley, I could blow your head clean off.”

I angrily slapped the barrel away and said, “Don’t you ever fucking do that again!”

“Ah, Stearley, calm the fuck down, it’s not loaded.”

Jim chimed in, “Yeah, my dad never keeps his weapons loaded.”

My gaze was bearing down on Mike and he felt the weight of it.

“Here, I’ll show you.”  Mike pulled back the bolt and a cartridge flew out of the chamber.  “Holy shit!  I’m sorry man!”

***

My mind jumped ahead a few years to a time when I was visiting my parents over spring break from college.  My brother Ray was still living with my parents and he had his girlfriend Carly over.  Ray and Carly had gotten into some argument.  I have no idea what it was about, but the yelling from the living room had woken me from a nap.  I came out of the upstairs bedroom and hollered down at them to knock it off.  I was trying to get a little peace.

Carly suddenly stormed up the stairs, ran into my brother’s room opposite of the bedroom I was in, and grabbed Ray’s .44 Mag deer rifle.  She was chambering a round as she brought the gun up and pointed it squarely at the center of my chest.   She was only a half dozen feet away and she was yelling at me, calling me a “perverted asshole.”

Ray hit the top of the stairs in a bound and aggressively disarmed her.

I was simply stunned as this reaction came out of nowhere.  Later Ray would tell me she was insane, had been locked up in the mental ward before, and that he only saw her because he liked the sex.

Jesus.

***

Back in the present.

This was the third time a loaded weapon in someone else’s hands was pointing at me.  This time at my back.  And I didn’t much like it . . .

***

Continue reading A Story – Chapter 6 – It’s Fucking Over

Turn About is Fair Play

As we begin a new circle around the sun, I think it’s a common thing for us to reflect back.  We not only give ourselves a list of goals for the new year, but we give ourselves a scorecard for the past year.  Where did we succeed and where did we fail?  What dreams were realized and which ones were dashed upon the rocks of despair.

Sorry, that’s a bit overly dramatic 🙂

Continue reading Turn About is Fair Play

May You Soar High In the New Year

Sandhill Cranes Plus Text

So yesterday I stumbled on this quote and I thought Wow!  What a great thought.  Not that I wish to take anything away from the celebration of New Year’s Eve, but I like the lofty idea of changing the world.

And then I thought, not the world in the “global” sense, although that too is a great aspiration.  I thought, our own “worlds.”  Yes, let’s celebrate all of those amazing and positive changes we bring into our own lives.

I wish you all many blessing for the New Year !

***

Photo:  Some Sandhill Cranes take flight! I had the fortune to follow these guys on their migratory path in 2017.  I first saw them in Michigan and then later in southern Arizona.  It wasn’t my intention to follow them, but there they were, and I was totally blessed with being able to experience them.

To Soar: The definition of soaring implies more than just flying.  It is to reach new heights!  To feel the wind below your wings!  Joy ! Exhilaration ! Beauty !