Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elementals, Part?B

My life is like a can of tuna (solid white in water), emptied into a colander. I have left my can. As Ms. Mckenna says, 'I am dripping wet with things to understand'. Well, I'm not exactly like tuna. The tuna was built for silent speed, and I am more the noisy, patient type. But I guess you can see the metaphor.

In any event, understanding is what I'm here to discuss. I'm not talking about 'understanding' when someone wrongs you, or just does something you don't like; no, I'm talking about understanding yourself. For a change, I'm not gonna linger in the jesus or the yoga thing. I want to make it a little more personal.

When I get introspective, I find myself in a giant swirling void. Oh, there's stuff in there allright, but most of it inhibits my ability to see the forest for the trees, or blindsides me into anger or sadness. I admit that sometimes when we look inside, we have to ask where the light switch is. It can get pretty dark in there if we choose to ignore the light. But there is light in there, lots and lots of light.

There's a reason that we have a head and a heart and a stomach. I don't know if it's divine or sublime. I just know that the reason is unimportant. The fact is, we are conscious, on some level, of all three; in fact, conscious enough to randomly decide which ones to ignore. But our greatest gift is that we can choose to think, feel and digest every moment we are alive.

It's called intuition, and it is the single most underutilized ability we have. It gives us the ability to drop the brain, the heart and the stomach into our giant universal blender, to pulse and puree and pulverize them into spiritual margaritas, drink and get drunk, and stumble home in perfect purposeful direction. When the three are blended, there is no chance of doing the wrong thing. That we have chosen to ignore this blending, to only think our way through life, or only feel our way through life, or only chew and swallow our way through life, is the single greatest sin against the divine plan. Intuition, this blending, is the greatest gift we will ever receive.

And what will it get you? Mayonnaise, onions and celery, that's what! A unity, and singularity--a perfect tuna sandwich. OK, maybe it's love, freedom and grace. I get confused. It's late. Somebody, grab the bread, the lettuce and tomato. I need nourishment.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Elementals, Part ?

Over the past two weeks, filled with curiosity regarding the royal family's spending habits, and my banishment from Christmas morning festivities, and an eight day interlude with my favorite girl, I have found myself consumed with the questions and answers of my personal belief system, and distraught over its seeming incongruity within my normal haunts and habits. I have found myself reading Osho and Deida and channelled instructions from the mystic, and watching way too much Star Trek. It should be clear to any of my readers by now that the lotus is no more my favorite flower than the fleur-de-lis. But it should also be clear that I can dance the dance of the seven veils as easily as I can hip-hop to Mary J. Blige. In any event, I find myself the strangest of strangers in a strange land, and I find that I wish to share my newly discovered 'religion' with you, my six or seven readers. I will try to confine myself to single subjects in this, and each subsequent post.

As you all know, the main guidepost in the Great Triad is entangled enlightenment, or the aspiration to attain nothing. It was never clear to me when writing this blog, how many people are trying to find a path to this very thing. This is true, in part, because I am, in essence, an undisciplined moron, and, in part, because the attainment of something is clearly unsatisfying to me and everyone else. To continue.........

While I have been engrossed recently in everything from tantra to the natural course of the Mississippi, my epiphany really began when I realized that everything in the recognizable universe can be followed back to a singular unity. You may choose to call it God, or the One, or the Mother, or the Big Bang--it doesn't matter. The underlying truth here is that we are all seeking the path to that original horizon. The problem is that we have chosen to seek it through our personal choice of dogma, instead of just being who we are, or rather, who we were born to be.

And therein lies a greater problem. We are not, nor have we ever been, intelligent or evolved enough to ponder the nature of the universe, but wrapped in the guise of ego or dogma, we have deluded ourselves to believe we can. My whole purpose here is to give myself an alternative, and, if you so choose, you may walk along beside me on the simpler path.

In my many conversations with the squirrels and the crows, they have provided me many answers. The most important of these answers is that our quest resides on this little, blue planet, and that the quest for our individual, original horizons, is and should be confined to this 'here and now'. We all need to find our own good red road.. The earth existed long before humanity, and all that exists in the cosmic maelstrom, exists here on earth, and can be discovered here on earth. We need to shed our haughtiness that the earth was put here for us. We were put here for her. That all her sadness and scarring, the result of our meddling, is at critical levels, should be proof enough. The good earth will heal if we can learn to receive, instead of take.

The path to nothing is the same as the path to original uncondition. I do not pretend to know it, but I am certain that there are many ways to find it, none more right than the other. It is a journey only made difficult but what we have allowed. Original uncondition, that place where we can be in the absence of rules and direction, exists at the core of each of us, awaiting re-discovery, awaiting the stripping of condition and fear from our lives. And it is there that love resides; not the kind we have molded and protected, but rather the kind we were born with. It is there side by side with creativity and imagination. It is there holding the light we are supposed to shine. Whether we are good or evil, man or woman, greedy or generous, sick or healthy, it is there in each of us.

The swirls and currents of possibility that exist in the ethereal chaos also exist within each of us. But they can only be discovered when unconditional love is rediscovered. They cannot exist in the darkness of our self constructed containers. The evolutionary journey can only begin in the light.

Understand that the journey only exists within you and me. You are the teacher and the guru. You are your own god. Find your light. Wear your love like heaven. Be who you are.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Squirrel Talk, or the way to everything

Having freely admitted to the pirate recently, that talking to squirrels has become a permanent part of my life, I sashayed out to the porch this morning to find White Ears. Having recently immersed in a new community, with wisdom and rules galore, I found that I had reached a place requiring answers, and I knew that she could offer me clues.

"Where is the edge?" I queried.

"The edge of what?", she wondered, while cracking an acorn and stuffing it into her cheek. Then, she blindsided her sister Lucy, and they danced in the trees for a while.

"Why my edge of course" I answered when she returned to me.

"Well, my 'dangerous thing' friend, I most genuinely pray that you do not have one".

I was dumbstruck by her wisdom. I mean, I'm not silly enough to think that we don't have boundaries, but I think for the most part, they are self-imposed. We most definitively feel safer within the confines of our self-constructed containers, but isn't it odd that all of us eventually discover, that we forgot to put something in, that we neglected to leave the door open.

"There is joy in the dance, but it does not exist for the sake of the joy......It does not exist for us, but we for it"--CS Lewis

It is not enough to push our edges, to open our doors. It is necessary to explode them.

We enter this world with nothing, and it should be our lifelong goal to stay that way. If only we could remember the joy of our first good shit. That is what life is all about. Shitting out all the waste, shitting out your edges, shitting out everything until there is nothing.

There are no instructions for this life, no manual. We emerge into this world like an unpainted canvas. We have the options, even now, to let life paint it for us, or paint it ourselves, paint it with colors waiting to emerge, never seen, never realized. Even the canvas is unrealized. Let the canvas be your boundless life, saturated in nothing, awaiting the color of everything. It was noted, when Orbiting the Giant Hairball, that by the time sixth grade rolls around, there are virtually no children willing to identify themselves as artists. We only limit our creations when we choose to let them evolve confined. My pirate says that her art emerges through her, not from her. This is unconfined creation. Is it any wonder that such a huge percentage of our greatest writers were drunks? They chose to puke themselves empty. I like the shit thing better.

Squirrels dance everyday. That is why they are here.

".....You got to dance like nobody's watching...."

I used to think those were very wise words. Now, I don't know. It seems to me that we should dance without watching ourselves, lose the self-examination, lose the image, lose the fear, lose the expectation. If you smash the bottle, they will all disappear, evaporate like gasoline on the tarmac, like the old colors of the rainbow, like squirrel piss on a sunny day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Wrong Side of Murdo

I don't know much about Murdo, but I am sure I'm on the wrong side. It's a small place, .6 square miles, and I know it's one time on one side, another time on the other. It is amazing how such small places can carry such significance in our lives; how they form lines more divisive that all the great rivers. I mean, it isn't all that far from Murdo that you cross the Missouri, and not much farther when you cross the Mississippi, but those great rivers can't stop me. No, for me, Murdo has set itself up like the river Styx, the dividing line between light and dark, and I can't tell when I'm supposed to cross over.

A very wise man once said, "I don't know........whether we have a destiny, or whether we all just float around accidental like.......Maybe, it's both...". I clearly don't have the answer. In reality, I don't even know the question. Yet even while bathing in the absence of knowledge, I am struggling to find an answer.

Right now, my life feels a lot like trying to hear a single note in an accordion choir bellowing to nirvana. The overall chorus is delightful, awash in Myron Floren giggles, but the note I seek is lost in the maelstrom of simultaneous arpeggios and glissandos; upward and downward spirals of disguise. I am found, but I am lost, and the forward momentum of my journey feels stifled. I thought perhaps that my answer might be found in the accordion, but the instrument's secret lies shrouded in its confusing array of keys , buttons and folds. No, the accordion's sole purpose is to reveal delight in dark, unsuspecting moments. Then I thought the answer might be revealed through Myron Floren himself, the long recognized guru of polka and garbled accents. And I have found, that through him, there may indeed be clues.

For instance, he grew up in Roslyn, which is also on the wrong side of Murdo, and is also the last known hiding place of the jesus seed, but, more importantly, it is home to the International Vinegar Museum (sugar cubes provided), only 11 miles from the world's largest hairball, and driving distance from that most famous attraction of all, the Corn Palace. (Aside: Initially I was also drawn to the Smiley Face Water Tower, until I discovered that there are hundreds scattered throughout the USA). While it became clear to me that all these places hold space on my path to enlightenment and the joy of bellybuttons, it was also clear that they could not bloom my lotus.

To be sure, the space-time continuum of my journey is hickery-dickery-docking on the right side of Murdo, but it is also blub-blub-blubbing in the papier mache submarine of Captain Nemo. It does not run through the path of Adi Da, or his brothers Ladida and Budabing. My purpose (God, I hated using that word) is divided, and can only rationally be reconciled. My heart is being torn apart, caught between non-nuclear propellers, and the spasmodic, masticating, twisting, crocodilian teeth of Vern, the wisest of the cold-blooded.

I long ago cat-and-dogged in the sweat lodge, long ago painted the purple microdot, and long ago learned to trust the gut-dwelling guides of my vision quest. The choices in the yellow wood are really what life is all about, understanding that they never stop presenting themselves, understanding that we are always left with a zig or a zag, understanding that neither choice is easy.

Today has been cathartic, and has led me where my spirit resides. Every first step requires courage, and there are no second steps, only new first steps, infinitely presenting yellow possibilities and fractal dreams. I cannot be afraid of the chaos life offers. I must bathe in it and let it cleanse me. I can let the endless variations of life steer my heart, or I can let my heart navigate my possibilities through the infinite array of momentary choices, and land where I belong in the yellow hills beyond Murdo, giggling on the road to heaven, following my moon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

Play for the moments yet to come
Bagger Vance

The Danger of Doorknobs

I admit that I have been preoccupied with George Carlin of late, he being the smartest man who ever lived and all, but, today I am more preoccupied with religion. After all, religion serves dual purposes in society, those being to confuse and to control. And I had previously believed that western religions had the monopoly (at least, if you just ignore the hindu), until I started looking at Islam a little more closely. I was reading Mohammed's last sermon and discovered this quote, "Hurt no one, so that no one may hurt you". It is this sort of religious gibberish that really angers me. I mean, how are you supposed to make sense of that. At least the jewish bible is a little clearer, "Go to Canaan, and kill every man, woman and child in your path". Well, at least if you study such things, it affirms the contention that god is merciful.

But all this balderdash pales in comparison to the story of Fatimah, daughter of Mohammed. Aside from the fact that she was chaste, had no menstrual cycle, had no birthing pains, was born from the fruits of paradise, and was midwifed by the four, most beautiful women who ever lived, I found myself more fascinated by the story of her death. I will paraphrase, in order to make the story easier to grasp.

Umar was trying to break into her house. She had no time to find her scarf, so she hid behind the door. The intruders flung open the door, and her unborn child was killed instantly, by the doorknob. Fatimah died a few months later from the resultant complications.

After I pondered the lessons to be learned from this story (Don't worry, dear reader, I will exhibit no condescension towards you by explaining them), I found myself wondering why so many of god's gifts are not available to all. Take, for instance, the ouija board, and let's say that one of the participants suffers from tourettes syndrome. It would be nearly impossible for him to lay his fingertips gently on the planchette; too many tics and spasms for that. And it would be impossible for the poor soul to make out what was being spelled out, given the random shrieks of f-u-c-k, s-h-i-t, p-i-s-s, c-u-n-t, m-o-t-h-e-r-f-u-c-k-e-r, p-r-i-c-k and a-s-s-h-o-l-e randomly conjugating on the board. All connection to the spirit world would be inaccessible, unless of course he went to see my sister-in-law, who is regularly visited by her deceased father. And, god forbid, both seekers suffered the disease. That planchette would be flying around like a ping pong ball on an air hockey table. Yes, god works in mysterious ways.

It has been pointed out to me, by a couple of my readers, one old and one new, that I suffer from a couple of insurmountable faults. The first claims that I am rigid and absolute in my beliefs. The second claims that I have lost my irreverence and have grown soft. I feel no need to address either of these ludicrous accusations. Not now, not never.

I have been touched by the hand of a great, ethereal power, and it is pointless to resist. But I think that whatever I am becoming is for the best. I will strive in future posts to regain my irreverence, and I will attempt to be more receptive to whatever ridiculous things you may believe. In the meantime, I know that George Carlin would git it, but, just to be sure, I pulled out my ouija board. Till we meet again, I would only ask that you not hide behind any doors.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Welcome Home

A young, lacy maple grows along the fence, just off the back porch. She grows too near an old pine, yet she is the first to draw morning light, bathing in it like an exhibitionist awaiting my attention. She is a young tree, yet strong enough to thrive in the shadow of her brother. She stands there, anchored in the embrace of her brother's roots, yet her limbs are still spindly new, not yet wiry even. Yet somehow, that pine knows she will someday kick him in the shins and topple him over like a drunk off a barstool. Before the cooler breezes blew, she was green but sparse, tatted like curtain lace, clothed in teddy bear lingerie. She wore her leaves differently, not like the square dance skirt of a blue spruce, not like the tinsel, stripper's wig of a weeping willow, not like the ploofy-shouldered gown of an oak, but rather like the delicate tickle of a lover's touch, like a naked woman standing half-hidden in the doorway, like dawn's first whisper. Autumn arrived, and she colored before all the others, the yellow of like, overcome with the impatience of youth, strutting in the sunlight like a runway model, maybe a tad anorexic, but blazing with wanton desirability. Now, alas, she is bare and defiant, her branches exposed like the veins of dying leaves, yet she cries out "I will endure the snow and the ice. I will grow more slowly in the freezing winter, but I will not break, I will not stop. I will stretch for the dimmer sun and the brighter moon, drink from the hardened earth, feel the warm, buttery syrup coursing through me".

Her spring will inevitably arrive, and she will reach for the sun with new greenness but, perhaps less lace. And she will wear a new dress, and be beautiful once again. Birds will nest and squirrels will scurry. Her green will change and evolve with time, and the cycle will repeat.

Yes, the cycles are as constant as doubt, and changes will come. She will wear many dresses and shed them all. Her trunk and branches will thicken with time, knotted and whorlly, protecting the magic rings of time within. She will seed and she will sow, until a time long past my final breath. And she will become someone else's favorite tree, masking her secrets and sharing her strength. And they will see a different beauty in her, different than the one I see, but that's alright, because my vision of her has and will sustain me, until I am gone.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pinocchio Wins the Nobel Prize

Not since Walt Disney passed on due to excessive opium accumulation in his lungs, has a more meaningful event occurred in the annals of newsdom. The Nobel prize for physics was awarded this past week to three Japanese gentlemen, one American, for their discovery of 'spontaneous broken symmetry'. I don't even know what it is, but I do know that it is the single most incorrect assertion ever foisted on the global public. As I'm sure you are aware, in all but the purest mathematical definitions, there is no such thing as symmetry, even though is the most sought after treasure for humanity. In any event, as I pretend to understand it, when examining anything that appears symmetrical, especially the big issues, upon closer and more detailed examination, fractalized details appear that disrupt the whole notion of reflection. It is not until we get to the really, really small issues do we find that all variant detail disappears. While it is important to note that the whole fucking universe wouldn't exist without the spontaneous break in symmetry, it is more vital to accept the irrefutable realization that we are incapable of getting that small; that we are forced to accept the tiny variances in our lives that swirl symmetry right down the emotional garbage disposal. We cannot possibly hope to find the symmetry we seek.

All this science brought me, with a little help, to Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. It was clear to me, even in 1940, that constructing a wooden marionette could never alleviate an old man's loneliness, but that, due to the ravages of time, it was the only wooden thing that could give Gepetto any hope of passing on the puppet, genetic line. The fact is that Pinocchio was much more the little boy prior to his flesh and bone transformation, that only after Gepetto's dream came true, were the donkey ear seeds truly watered and nurtured. We all are the creations of our parents, designed to perpetuate the illusion of normal. Sure, Pinocchio was a liar, but he sang and danced his way down a path that felt good to him, felt natural. There are those that would tell you that he lied because he hadn't benefited from any parental guidance. I would tell you that he lied because his innate puppet instincts told him to protect himself. Now I don't believe that lying is the best way to protect yourself, but I do believe that instinctively, we all do what is necessary to survive. Therein lies the problem. Our lives are programmed from the beginning to survive, and we all know how to do it even before the strings disappear. What we never learn to do is to live, to thrive.

We all have a Jiminy Cricket, and he is wiser than you think. I'm not talking about the devilish imp that lives in all of us. The imp is there to maintain the status quo. No, I'm talking about the cricket, rubbing his legs together to get our attention, telling us how to be better; telling us that what seems OK probably isn't; showing us how to live outside the box we are all trapped in. The imp tells how to get around the right thing. The cricket gives us a new map, with a new space to explore with only instinctual instructions to guide us.

We need, at some point in the very near future, to accept the fact that we are nothing more than talking animals. Our mother ravens have already shown us how to leave the nest and find food, but they neglected to teach us how to fly upside down. The fact is that we instinctively know how to fly upside down. We just choose not to, primarily because we feel safer flying the conventional way. But as a species, we have failed to evolve; failed to examine the evolutionary path which has confined us. As a result, we continue to navigate through greed and self interest, swallowing hook, line and sinker the notion that was has always been is working.The path of accumulation is an abysmal failure; it has failed to provide symmetry. We, as a species, are unable the see the real reflection in the mirror. We are unable to accept that we are indeed miserable.

All of our social institutions exist in order to perpetuate a clearly broken path. Gods give us fear, business gives us scarcity, governments give us specious rules, marriage gives us sediment, and all of them together give us spiritual atrophy. We have given up our instincts, quit on the dream of discovering what we might become, instead choosing a state of dormancy bordering on coma.

I don't know whether or not the aquatic ape theorists are correct (although it does explain why I have such a large penis). I don't know why the Mayan calendar ends in 2012. I don't know why there was an imbalance in matter/antimatter at the big bang. I don't know why there wasn't a PinocchioII:The Later Years. But I do know that it is time to get out the sandpaper and scissors.
And I know it is time to look in the mirror, and find the microscopic reflection of what we should become, what we have never been.

It is time for a when-you-wish-upon-a-star tap dance into a black hole, and discover what light shines on the other side. It is time to want to be boys and girls again and chart a new course. It is time for donkeyearechtomies. It is time to evolve, have lots of fun, and let Jiminy Cricket run off and fuck the shit out of the Blue Fairy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Forest for the Trees

When the sky becomes inky, as twilight quickens toward black, when the world is only illuminated by distant streetlamps and crescent moon, faces appear in the forest, born of the trees, the natural clocks of infinity. The faces, formed of leaf and shadow, are ancient and private, only visible to the ardent viewer. The regulars appear, the jolly green giant with Sprout nearby, but Pan is also present, panpiping his final autumn symphony, heralding the onset of winter and hibernation. Arcadia listens intently, searching for hints of a distant spring, a remote rebirth, when the eromenoi step out from under the loving touch of their mentors and become the most courageous men. Even the moon is seduced toward fullness, overcome with the panic of d-flat and possibility.

I have worn many faces in my life, few of them my own, most of them born in my own shadows of fear and doubt. Yet I find myself tonight believing that my circle is completing, that I am ready to wear the face I was meant to wear, that I am synchronized with my life clock. I have always let my heart rule my life, choosing that option long ago, eschewing the influence of my brain. I have chosen to distrust my intellect, believing that it would lead me into a life of stunted imagination and empty goals. I have never felt comfortable with direction, feeling more at ease in the ebbs and flows of randomness. Perhaps it was easier avoiding the pitfalls of possible successes. I don't think I've ever been afraid to try, but I have been afraid to finish. But the melding of thought and feeling has appeared to me finally, like the leafy faces in the trees.

I have always let my life be ruled by happenstance, not a victim of it, but rather a willing participant, and I believe I have always stood in the resultant consequences, with courage, perhaps, but laced with a certain impotence. As a result, my life has moved forward with an enormous lack of self control, mixed with immediacy and expedience. But I am coming to realize that I have been gifted with certain abilities and talents that perhaps deserve direction and guidance, and that I have to create my creation, that lasting gift for those who follow. There is no haughtiness in this belief, only a certainty that it must evolve in the forest time that I have been given. There really is no sense in pondering the worth of my creation, only realizing its necessity.

There are many faces visible in the shadows of the trees, and soon they will fade to sleep. The gods, or at least the powers of the life force, reside there. The demons as well. I thought I saw the face of Satan, but it turned out to be the hair lipped face of Eric Roberts. But it is not the faces of the patriarchy that I seek. It is rather the faces of the feminine, the birthing faces hiding in the canopy, only illuminated by the light of the Pleiades, more difficult for me to pull into my new reality. But I will find them, and listen to them, and their light will spark my creation.

Yes, I have seen the faces. I have even seen my own, but it is a new face, one that I have never worn. It resides in the oak, strong and rooted. I will no longer be the willow, bowing to drink but never tasting, safely grasping the dry shore. I will no longer be the elm, diseased and disappearing. The pine, the cottonwood, the linden, the ash, the chestnut, the maple. They all have their place in the woods, in my woods. It is time for my forest to thrive. It is time for eagles to sway the treetops. It is time for the crows to stand sentinel. It is time for the jays to thieve, the cardinals to be leery, the squirrels to dervish, and the chipmunks to hoard. It is time for life in my forest, time for all the natural cycles to reside in sacred grace. After all, my time is still my eternal time and, as the man said, I have 'miles to go before I sleep'.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sometimes in life, things appear so convoluted and confusing, so completely alien, that no matter how hard you try, you cannot make sense of it, cannot rotate the rubik cube of it, cannot unmaze the topiary of it. Non sequiturs are one thing, but that thing of which I speak is way beyond the boundaries of normal, random intrusion. When it happens, you are forced to pause in disbelief, pinch yourself awake from a nightmare that you didn't even know you were dreaming, and wonder if perhaps you have stroked out and lost all ability to reason, or comprehend. You become momentarily paralyzed, but eternally impaired. It is only through the reluctant realization that it has actually occurred that you are able to inhale; have an in-with-the-good-air, out-with-the-bad-air resurrection.

These moments can appear in many different forms and have many different causes, but they share certain universal qualities. They definitely take your breath away, like an out-of-nowhere slap in the face, or a who-am-I, what-the-fuck-am-I-doing plummet of the pedestal of self reliance, or a why-is-this-woman-causing-me-to-behave-like-a-complete-moron epiphany.
These moments will also cause you to question the lucidity of of your conscious mindset, the theoretical rationality once held in your core belief system. They question your conviction that you can believe what you see, and that what you see is not altered by your observance. They make you wonder if your optic nerve is just mocking you, but these moments are fleeting, never allowing you a firm grip on your bearings.

But most importantly, these moments always have a purpose, a gift even, but it is shrouded in a secret wound up tighter than the core of a baseball. Somehow, I know that these moments don't exist to reveal their purpose, but to cause us to seek revelation. The ultimate enigma--a shrouded secret, bearing a gift, but resisting discovery, yet setting us on a path toward discovery.

I had such a moment last evening. I was stunned, paralyzed, empty minded. I don't know where it will guide me, and I don't know what I will find, perhaps nothing. But I do know that it has taken up residence in my subconscious, set on a foundation sturdier than Atlas' shoulders. I will share it with you, although I know you can offer no guidance. It was, and is, my moment alone. I am almost certain it occurred, almost positive I saw it, a subtitle, golden yellow, emblazoned across a screen of an unknown Africa, at least unknown to me; a question which, at least for now, offers no hint of an answer, really offers no possibility of solution. But it was asked, clear and bold across the TV screen,

"Mother, will you rub some ochre on the calabash?"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Tiny Red Leaf in a Wet Green Forest

Most often, it's the little things that bring us joy. While sitting on the back porch, I spied a tiny red leaf, all alone in an otherwise verdant landscape. It stood out, not so much because of its brilliance, but, more so, because of its willingness to race ahead of its brethren on its path towards resurrection. I studied it, dead on and from various perspectives, until I was satisfied that it wasn't an errant nest fragment, a piece of cardboard,or a strand of yarn, discarded by a frantic robin with a speed pass to Florida. I needed to know that it was a leaf, just a little red leaf, that had so captured my imagination. And I was grateful to the cigarette, and the cup of tea, that had carried me into my outside world. Without them, I may never have noticed it. I might never have paused to ponder its significance to me. It made me stop, and breathe, gather and collect, and wonder. It also reminded me of the movie The Red Balloon.

I don't really remember the whole movie, but I know it centered around a boy chasing a red balloon all around Paris. It's a real shame that as we grow older, we lose the desire to chase things just for the sake of chasing. I'll admit, it does seem a bit like folly, to chase something without knowing where it will lead you. But in this leaderless world in which we live, it seems like a worthwhile pastime. And let's face facts. If you really take the time to examine your life, you will find that your red balloon has led you to many unexpected places, both good and bad. You would think, that given the lifespan of Joe American, that we could figure out that planning is a futile endeavor. I mean, I can virtually guarantee you that minions of people dropped stone dead of heart attacks while reading of robber barons and bailouts over the past few weeks, and they all planned their lives, didn't they? (There is a distinct possibility of rampant stupidity having a prominent role here as well). I can also guarantee you that most of the robber barons have a couple, or three, extra millions in their soiled pockets.

I'm left to wonder why we leave so little time for being happy. My little red leaf told me the answer today. We have become a species obsessed of two things--wealth and rightness. For most of you, these are the same thing, but they are not; they are connected but not the same. I don't know why, but we have become a species intent on acquiring more than we need. We collectively amass more stuff than we will ever use. I don't begrudge some people having more than others, but I do resent all of you that take more than you need. And when did we collectively decide that "My way, or the highway" is the eleventh commandment? I was happy enough with ten, although that covet thing seems a little over the top.

No, good readers, in a world where no one is accountable, you can rest easy knowing that this is not your fault either. No, the blame rests solely on the shoulders of the biggest phony of em all--GOD.

If I was God, I never would have revealed myself. It's petty. If you're omnipotent enough to create the universe, you should be confident enough to quietly sit back and enjoy your accomplishments. Clearly, there is a little too much Donald Trump in God. A little too much self-evangelizing. And I surely would have told you what to call me. Instead, he left us stuck with yahweh, buddha, mohammed, jesus (the pretender), rama, mbutu, whatever. God clearly suffers from schizophrenia of the highest order. From here on out, I will only refer to god by his actual name, Lou Smith. So somewhere along the way, we bought into the god thing faster than we realized that Clay Aiken was gay, and then we took that giant leap of faith--that if you know god, the true god, the real god, then you are righter than all the rest. We, as a species, were so afraid of what we didn't know that we latched on to the first creator that told the Jews to head to Canaan, and kill every man, woman and child along the way (In his defence, he did give us his only son, and let us crucify him) (Like god only has one son! If I was god I'd be fucking every babe in paradise). Then, of course, he put the all-seeing eye and 'In god we trust' on the dollar bill, and the rest is history--crusades, banana republics and WMDs.

So I'm looking at the little red leaf today, all the while pondering my purpose in life, and I realized that the only purpose any of us have is to be happy. We are all here to chase red balloons, across Paris, or Boston, or Timbuktu, or Bagdhad. If we only take what we need, then most times, there will be enough for everyone. And plenty of time for the pursuit of happiness. According to legend, god plopped us down in the garden of eden, stark naked, and left us to find our own way. If only we were really brave enough to handle that free will thing. Hurry, somebody, get me some helium. I don't care how much it costs!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preparing a Meal

When preparing a meal it is essential that all preparation be mindless. I do not mean to imply that the chef shouldn't think about it; only that the preparation should not require constant intervention. The meal should be preparing itself. Less stress!

So, to begin. Unless you are preparing fish, marinating is the way to go. The choices for marinades are endless, but might I suggest that whenever possible, only the freshest herbs and spices should be used. Oils always have there place. Dry rubs are OK when your really pressed for time, but then you're just cooking, not preparing a meal. Generously coat the main course with oil, preferably extra virgin olive, but infused oils are also acceptable. Use your hands and rub the oil all over. This accomplishes two things. First, it softens and allows the absorption of whatever herbs and spices you have chosen. Second, it lets you get good and greasy, and, let's face it, it's always better when you're greasy. Lets you slide and glide all the way to the end.

Before allowing the meal to marinate, it's time to season. Your choice of herbs and spices depends on what you're cooking, but fresh is the way to go. It is critical that fresh herbs and spices be handled gently, retaining their own natural oils and flavors. Garlic, for instance, should never be smashed and minced. No, take each clove between your thumb and forefingers and roll it gently until the peel is removed.

A brief aside is required here in regard to the main course. Butterflying and/or deboning are strictly forbidden. Remember, the meal is gifting itself to you. The flesh should never be cut or pierced. When inserting garlic, say into a rump roast, you should gently explore the roast until you find a seam that will accept the clove in its entirety. This process can be time consuming, but is well worth the effort.

Some people, at this stage will choose to tie the meal, be it meat or poultry, but I assure you, this is strictly a matter of personal preference. Prepare the meal properly and I assure you, be it bound or unbound, it will give itself to you, juicy and yummy.

At this stage, the main course should be allowed to marinate for as long as it wants to. It is perfectly acceptable to reapply and/or massage the spices several additional times. When the time comes, preheat the oven. Some find that initial cooking at higher temperatures, will help retain the natural juices. Again, a matter of choice. Nevertheless, the remainder of the cooking process should be long and slow, a natural approach when trying to maximize texture and flavor.

While the main course is slow roasting, preparation of side dishes should ensue. Mash or au gratin your potatoes. Trim your string beans. But only start cooking them when the main course is nearly ready to come out of the oven, and allow the main course to stand a bit as well.

The last preparation is the gravy. Gravy should be prepared over an intense flame, constantly stirred and whipped until it thickens and realizes its full potential.

Preparing a meal, like all truly enjoyable things, is not a science. This advice is offered only as a guide. You need to adapt it, nurture it, experiment with it and make it your own. The results will be delightful and savory. Bon Appetit! I'll leave dessert up to you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Put your hands on her hips, and let your Backbone slip, or An Open letter to All Men

Early this afternoon, I was subjected to the loudest cacophony of crow caws ever vocalized in a single location. Many of you are aware that I talk to squirrels, but perhaps you are unaware of my kinship with crows. I like them, and I think they deliver the really important mail.

When I became fully aware of the fever pitch the crow symphony had reached, I ran out to the back porch, for fear that they were under attack. I was unable however, to ascertain the root cause of their distress. I did however notice one crow lying on the ground, while his friend watched over him. I don't know if he was injured, but I do know that his friend stood guard until he was awake enough to fly again. Off they went into the trees, but the music didn't stop. It went on for over an hour. Maybe the crows were just feeling noisy.

My whole life, I have been certain that there were only three related birds in the crow family; the crow, the raven, and the mystery bird that I had forgotten. So I googled crows, and found to my astonishment that the corvid family is huge--crows, ravens, rooks, jays, magpies, choughs and jackdaws--but while I was surprised, this is not the pertinent tidbit gained from today's research. No, today I learned that male ravens will fly upside down when trying to secure a lifelong mate. (I also learned that crows only start hiding their storehouses, after they've learned to be thieving pirates themselves, but that's another story, although not unrelated)

This whole episode led me to ponder the trials and tribulations of men, especially, but not exclusively, young men. Men don't get instructions. They start out their 'adult' lives without any idea how to get to where they are going, without even knowing where they are going, although there is an underlying certainty that they are supposed to be going somewhere. This, of course, is why men say and do incredibly stupid things. It is really not that they are stupid. It is more that they are floundering, making up their own rules and guidelines as they go along. And this is why men have no idea what women think or feel. They are too busy figuring out what to do with themselves; no time to unravel the feminine puzzle. If men could fly upside down, they would; but they can't, so instead they get drunk, fight and eat light bulbs in an effort to attract a woman. Once they realize the futility of these endeavors, they are only left with two options--find a career and pretend they're good at it, or think with the penis. That's all there is. Money or cock. And women, poor souls, are left with choosing the lesser of two evils. There is, of course, some ovelap here, which is why you can always find rich, stupid men, and poor hapless men who are good in the sack.

So then, I see this story on current tv, about an egyptian man who decided to become a professional belly dancer in Cairo. He said that he dances like a man; that if danced like a woman, he couldn't do it, although he does admit that he uses some, but not all, of the women's movements. He is very proud of what he does; considers himself an artist, and performs on the world stage, when he isn't dodging bullets from fundamentalists that believe he is Satan. So then, I start wondering why there aren't any male hula dancers, I mean, beside the fact of how ridiculous they would look in grass skirts. Men choose to play the ukuleles, to play the congas, and to twirl their fire batons, because that is what they do well.

And then, it struck me. The fundamental difference between men and women. I don't mean to offend the unshaven feminists, or the pablum-spewing, touchy-feely literati, but the answer is very simple. Men are good with their hands, and women are good with their hips.

Y'all should've realized by now that I still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I'm not rich, but I'm not stupid. But there are some things I've managed to decipher. I know who I am, and I know who I am not, and I know that I am still open to all my possibilities. I know I'm not scared anymore. And even though I can't fly, right side up or upside down, I'm still taxiing down my runway, making another approach, and ready for takeoff. I wish you all a safe and happy flight.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Thirty Second Tale of Life and Death

The fact that I am delirious with fever should in no way detract from the value of this short, little tale.

I was sitting on the porch today, trying to cool down. My love tells me that I have incredible peripheral vision. I suppose I do. In any event, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that a small wasp/hornet had landed on my favorite, pinhead-sized, yellow spider's web. I watched as it twitched, spun its belly on an e-string thorax, and I assumed that it was done for. My tiny, yellow spider thought so too, and sprung into wrapping and desiccating action. As you know, all spiders have teeth, and my little yellow friend had hers plunged into the wasp's head. The wasp appeared to go limp, lifeless I thought, when it jabbed my little spider, and the battle renewed, but only briefly. With the new found strength of impending victory, the wasp did her in, freed himself, and carried her off to dine.

As delirious people do, I found myself absorbed, and reminded, of a newly acquired quote, "If you're in a hole, stop digging". I also found myself understanding the song title 'It takes a lot to laugh. It takes a train to cry', but that's for another day.

No today I am absorbed with struggles, and I'm trying to figure out if we (jews included) really do have crosses to bear. I think the answer is not so simple, but I am starting to believe that the super glue we crave is made from sugar and sympathy. We have such an obsession with self labeling; we want to self label to join similarly self labeled humans in sugar and sympathy labeled groups. I will not single out any group in particular, but know that it does include all religions, political dogmas, income levels, survivors and victims alike. It has something to do with shared experiences, but this alone makes it appear silly to me. I mean, don't we all share the same experience. There is certainly variance in experiences, but the variations do not separate people from the overall experience. No, belonging to churches, or political parties, or support groups only offers the chance to live in a hole with other people, and to dig until the water's over your heads.

There are, of course, other kinds of holes. Somewhere, I'm not sure where, but it's either in a land where they mutilate vaginas and sew them shut or, in a land where young boys are the primary saleable commodity, people insert larger and larger metal rings in their earlobes until their earlobes hang at roughly the same latitude as their navels. At some point today, I was amused by the possibility that these enlarged earlobes enabled people to hear what the dormant parts of their brains were trying to tell them, but instead, I was led to ponder the brass ring, longneck ladies of southeast asia. I discovered that this was done originally so that tigers would have greater difficulty snapping their necks, but I was left with the conclusion that it has more to do with sexual allure. In any event, it is a more concrete example of how we support our heads at the top of deeper holes we create. This, in turn, led me to ponder another old expression, "one man's penis is another man's doorknob".

In any event, we dig holes for lots of different reasons. Sometimes to find stuff that we perceive as valuable, sometimes to hide; sometimes we dig holes for other people, even nations; sometimes we dig them to steal; sometimes to bond. Go ahead and make up your own reasons, but I am left with only one conclusion.

Holes are empty places, not so much on their own, but more the result of our actions. They are no so much the creation of nothing as much as they are the absence of something. We dig holes, most often, because we believe something has been taken from us, or lost. But all holes are like black holes. They may suck in what we seek, but they leave it just out of reach, just beyond the event horizon.

There is hope however. Eventually, we will have dug so many holes, that they will join together, coagulate into a single giant hole, and we will be left to evolve out of it. But we are going to have to survive slightly longer than my little spider friend.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Don't Believe What You Think or, An Open Post to my Six or Seven Readers

There have been many events this past week that have led me to ponder the synchronicities of the life force. We all make choices, and despite the teachings of my sister-in-law, they have nothing to do with Lesser or Glasser (or whoever he is); nothing to do with love, power, fun and freedom. (My apologies to Gail, as I know I'm treading on thin ice, and I'm not wanting to single her out).

But it has become clear to me that choices are part of a much bigger picture; they are not strictly about each of us as individuals. Choice is a collective-an interconnectivity of humanity that eludes conscious thought, or even unconscious thought.

Choice, real choice, requires truth, and truth is universal. Our inability to comprehend the universal holds us back from seeing the truth. We view everything in a very individual, narrow bandwidth. We require of ourselves the creation of a palpable frame of reference. And that space is altered by that which we carry, and that which we allow in. Just think about this often uttered phrase: "I've made it part of my truth".

Fact is, truth is not something that we can own. Truth is the single most untenable reality. Truth exists in the chaos, in pure form, but is only observable through our altering frames of reference.
My truth is not your truth, so it is by definition, not truth at all. It is the single hardest thing for us to accept-that the 'what I know' reality is internal to each of us. Truth is external, and can only be shared by the collective without our consent. We share our 'truths' with each other, but we innately carry the realization that for everyone else, our 'truths' are false.

I am not going to get on my soapbox, and pretend that I know what truth is. I don't. So, I am left, by choice, to offer up my little blurbs without rules. They are only food for thought. There is no pain in this choice. The space of this choice is filled with fun. I only offer the choice for you to love yourself through my eyes. And as for power, I only offer you the choice to seek your own powerful falsehoods, and the power to let it flow toward the universal truth. And I offer the freedom to accept or deny.

I do not mean to imply that our choices do not carry truth, but it is undetectable and unalterable, beyond our comprehension. Our first choice is to emerge, followed closely by the choice to breathe in the weakened aftermath of emergence. Our final choice is to exit, and that may come at any time. In between, I don't know. We each play the game by our own rules.

I do know one thing. That the truth that is carried in our individual choices binds us in a single unity. Each choice we make binds us together as a single entity, and resistance is futile. We choose, through our make-believe little truths, to accept the conjugation of a single human spirit. What we choose affects everyone else, and no matter how dimly we see that, we all know it.

Several people have told me that my words are powerful, and that I should use them carefully. Pshaw! It is not the words that are powerful, it is the choice to utter them, and they will affect those that read them, and those that do not, through my choice, not through their definition. We do matter in the grand scheme of things, because the choices we each make individually, bind us together in a human singularity, held together by the truth we do not comprehend, yet always seek.

My own 'truth' is no bigger or better than yours, but there are parts of it that I need to share today. Some of you may choose to depart after you read them. I don't know. But thanks for visiting.

I, like you, have constructed my own frame of reference. It's foundation is constructed of fun, and holds no space for the burden of pain. It's walls are made of paper, thin and delicate, and easily torn. It's windows however, are built with my eyes, and the light that enters and exits through them, is filled with clarity and doubt, joy and despair, love and hate, acceptance and rejection, even honesty and falsehood. Many of you accept what you see without reservation; accept others' statements at face value. I have far more filters. I look at light from many different angles, fragment my light through many different prisms, and much of what has transpired here lately shines false.

I cannot fully believe in the jenna saga. The compassionate prism is allowing her light in because her story evokes in me a shared sadness. The sympathetic prism is allowing others to buy into it, to support her and console her. But there is a certain polish and wisdom in her light that cannot pass through my other prisms. I do not believe that she is only sixteen. I entertain the possibility that this is just a game she is playing in the internet ether. I have also mulled the possibility that she is just out of her fucking mind And I have considered deeply, that she is sharing her 'truth', and allowed her light to pass through my sadness prism. But this 'big, old fart' needs a lot more of the 'skinny'.

The truth shall indeed set you free, but it will not let go easily. Until we accept, and revel in, the space given by the collective human spirit, the connectivity of all, it will be very hard to grab a hold of it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cottage Cheese and Cheetos

Today's post could just as easily been titled 'Random Thoughts of a Very Full Week', but I just liked the one I chose more. And that is, after all, what choices are all about. Our individual journeys are all about the choices we adopt. Most times, we make a choice; other times, choices are made for us, or at least offered to us. In either situation, we each, individually, agree to the choice we make and make it our own, stand in it. And sometimes, our choices involve things that just don't seem to fit together. So here goes, fasten your seatbelts.

Life is full of choices. Mine are found in a myriad of places. An empty pyrat rum bottle full of scrolls. A future fish bowl filled with shared desires. An empty water jug filled with sand, pebbles and seashells. A bulletin board full of dreams, past, present and future. A house that no longer holds space for me. A computer filled with unwritten pages. My list is endless, has no inside or outside, and is filled with urgency and patience. Our choices are all we are given. They come without directions, and their consequences are unforeseeable, like spiders and geometry. Our webs may realize as boxes or orbs, circles or pyramids; even in moebius strips and torus, but where those webs will extend to is unknown. They are full of gifts and punishments, beginnings and ends, and possibility-filled journeys. They are held together with only spit and time; tenuous, and vulnerable to the winds of change. Oh sure, there are signposts along the way, rites of passage, but they only serve to show us where we are at the moment; never how to get to the next one. We try to make sense of the unpredictability of life, but that is an impossible task, harder than pissing in the wind on a moving freight train. And, I believe, that the frustration resultant from our inability to go with the flow, is our single greatest source of despair.

Over the last few weeks, choices were made everywhere, and in completely illogical, non-linear ways, affected my life irrevocably. A young man, who I didn't know, chose to end his own life. I don't know why, never will. But I do know it was his choice. A meteorologist chose to name a tropical storm Gustav, and set it careening toward the gulf coast. The most beautiful woman in the world chose to paint sticks. My brother and sister-in-law chose to say their final goodbye to their dog. And I. I chose the name, Morveren, for a landlocked mermaid. There is great sadness, and great joy in all of these choices, and their consequences will unfold for years to come. Initially, there was grief and rage and confusion, solace and quietude and clarity. I do not possess enough wisdom to tell you where it will all lead. I can only chronicle the things I have chosen to hold onto.

The woman saw her son become a man right before her eyes. Painted sticks became a bouquet of cherished memories. Tears were kissed away lovingly. The young man was dead, but gifts, great gifts that he chose, for all I know, were given everywhere. Cats and mermaids can now call each other by name, and sleep together in the sun. And I think the Mississippi veered slightly to the west.

My love and I chose a play day of cottage cheese and cheetos. We played with witches and pirates, walked in the oceans waters, and honored a friend by eating fried clams and scallops at Kelly's in Revere. All the other good things are hers and mine. No one else's. But there is a lesson here. Be sure to eat your cottage cheese early, and hold on tight to that bag of cheetos, or the seagulls might pirate the whole bag.

Who am I kidding? Lesson, schmesson. Do whatever you want. It's your choice. But, thanks in advance for all the good things that might come my way. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

In the Name of the Fathers

We all have questions that we do not want answered. There are a myriad of answers as to why, but most revolve around fear of one sort or another. In the absence of truth, we construct fables to masquerade as answers, and we even allow ourselves to buy into the folly. This is true for all of us, and for each of us. The biggest question, of course, is 'Why are we here'?

I do not pretend to know the answer. I do have my own, but I believe that our answers can all be different, yet coexist in a comity of individuals (M.W. word of the day; does not really apply here, but I like its meaning). I believe that we exist to play. For me, it is the only thing that makes sense. All the wonder of the universe exists in play, yet it is the one human attribute that we consistently deny to ourselves. I mean, think about it. If we were really meant to understand the nature of god, or births or finalities, beginnings and ends, the finite and the infinite, don't you think we would have figured it out by now. Men and women much smarter than I have tried, yet are always left with an oysterless pearl, pretty but without nourishment or substance. No, it is not meant to be. And play is the one thing we inherently do understand. We know how to play, and to bathe in the joy of it, as soon as we are born.

I often wonder, even at this stage of my life, why my father would fetch us from the playground wearing only his boxer shorts. My father was not an immodest man. He was a good man, who greeted all who came into his space, with humor and laughter. He was a good man who treated everyone with respect and dignity. I still see him as the strongest man I ever met, carrying sleeper sofas to the third deck alone. He saved a man from drowning once, returning the favor of surviving the sinking of the destroyer escort on which he served during the second World War. All kids were his to adopt, welcoming the stragglers and untended into his life. I don't mean to imply that he didn't have his faults. He was stubborn. He could be extremely impatient. He could even be cruel and self indulgent. But always, at every moment, a smile stood at the ready beside a battalion of goofy jokes. He left me his stubborn, he left my brother his goofy, and he left a lasting joy in all who knew him.

My father gave me laughter, but it was my grandfather who gave me magic. His magic was wrapped in dark shuls and Torah. The religious magic died in me when he died, but the good magic, the kind magic stayed with me. He taught me about the mystery of life, how it should be revered, and how it should be folded into gentle hands. My grandfather taught me to search for answers, and that happiness came from the seeking, not the finding. He taught me to wrap myself in loving; in a tallis or a blanket, it made no difference. He gave me the start of a journey.

Surely, if god did indeed create the world, there was a fair amount of mirth invoked. He created a playground for us, a huge combination of water park and toboggan run. He left us to sink or swim, to stand or slide, laugh or cry, live and die. If god didn't want us to paint, he would have left off the colors of the rainbow; if he didn't want us to sculpt he never would have given us clay; if he didn't want us to supply our own beauty and mirth, he would have withheld the gift of imagination. No, if god didn't want us to play, he never would have given us a perfect world in which to do it. And if god wanted us to have the answers, he never would have thrown us the apple. If god created us in his likeness, he surely gave us the gifts of love and laughter. If we are god's children, then children we should be.

We might dig a hole when we play, but it will leave no scar. We may light a fire, but it will warm, not burn. We may fight or disagree when we play, but laughter will follow quickly on the heels of tears. We might build roller coasters, but we can reuse the k'nex later. We may throw, or bounce, or jump, or wrestle, but we will not break. Children are resilient, and always want to play the day after.

We forgot how to play when we forgot that finding answers is not the important thing. Looking for them is what counts. When we stopped playing, the world skewed on its axis, about half a bumble off plumb. It's not too late to fix it. Let's make a tilt-a-whirl, or better yet, let's throw on some boxer shorts and go get the kids.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The very first time I drew a magic card, it was the weasel; and, no, the weasel is a very good and powerful card; we have given them the bad attributes that they do not deserve. So, it was fitting that one crossed my path on my drive home from Connecticut. Now, I'm using the word 'weasel' in the family/genus sense, because weasels themselves are little. So I had to google all animals in the family, and have decided that it was a fisher. Upon further investigation, I discovered that a group of weasels is called a boogle, which tickled my funny bone, or, sometimes, a confusion--a confusion of weasels. I have always liked a 'murder' of crows, and an 'ostentation' of peacocks, but this confusion thing fell right into my gut.

There are of course several monikers we could apply to groups of humans--an 'ignorance' of humans, or my current choice, and 'arrogance' of humans. However, it is inherently clear to me, that despite our arrogant claim to be atop the food chain, we do not fully buy into our own haughtiness. Otherwise, we long ago would have come up with less boring choices than the specious 'community' or 'group'. Imagine if we were really good enough to refer to ourselves as an 'uncondition' of humans, or perhaps a 'benevolence' of humans.

The question was recently posed to me, "What if animals were smarter than people?". The answer is not easy. Despite our anthropomorphic tendencies to attach 'human' qualities to animals, deep down we know that they are smarter than us. During a recent conversation with a squirrel, I learned that most animals refer to us as 'a cluster of dangerous things'.
So, I am led to posit the question, "What's it all about, Alfie"?

Today, the answer carries some clarity for me, and it all starts with the boogeyman. The boogeyman is a global phenomenon, brought on to assure that our children carry the same fears that we adults do; fear of life, fear of the unknown, fear of difference. There is clearly a monster hiding under all our beds, in all our closets, and as we grow older, we forget that he is powerless beyond the realm of our imaginations. Oh sure, in some cultures, the boogeyman eats children who are bad, but I have never read an article in the NY Times about a confirmed boogeyman attack.

Which leads me to the real point of this story-one of the differences between paths and journeys. The only surefire way to defuse the boogeyman is to follow a path. Paths always have an end, a destination. It might lead to the accumulation of wealth, spiritual enlightenment, or Ben and Jerry's. It doesn't really matter. The end of the path is the 'getting there', the place where we fearlessly headed, our nirvana and our Cherry Garcia. But the satisfaction and happiness associated with ends of paths is fleeting, a flicker in the cosmic light bulb, and it goes out faster than a birthday candle.

So, we put our children on their tricycles and send them on a path toward Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah, or Benjamin, and offer them the false promise of paradise. Go out, and do not be afraid, because (fill in the blank) is with you, protecting you, carrying you to heaven.. Well, fuck that.
Fuck that whole original sin bullshit. Children know good from bad, they are born with that knowledge. They know that good and bad are found in play and wonder, innocent and sinless. You know it, I know it--there is no hell in playing.

Journeys are all about play, and they have no final destination. Each moment is filled with its own discoveries, and you never know what the next moment will bring. Journeys are all about possibilities. We need not be afraid of unknown possibilities, because the journey will continue. Something great one moment, something bad the next, but there will always be another moment on a journey. On a journey, you always find the joy in what you never knew. You can be forever amazed. You can never really find anything unless you embark on a journey. You can't like, or love, or be afraid.

My next moment may bring the end of my life. It may not. But it will bring something I can play with, something to amaze me. My journey will eventually end, but not in this joyous moment, not right this second.

So dear reader, there are choices to be made. Two options really. Journey on, dude, or join the 'confusion' of humanity.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Place vs Space

On a recent trip with my brother to the bowels of Maine, I was able to take some time to ponder the differences between place and space. I had always believed that place was the penultimate necessity for us as human beings, but while I still believe that place has important ramifications, it is now clear to me that space is what we seek.

Place, insofar as this discussion is involved, is a physical location. While it is true that places are seen through individual eyes, most things attributable to place are pre-existing. For example, the place that my nephew lives is in Maine. It is not the panoramic, fractal coast of Maine, replete with myriads of islands and coves, quaint and artsy, but rather the toothless beer belly of Maine, reserved for timber, ATVs and ignorance. People live there all right, but 'live' might not be the right word. It is a place where existence is difficult, work is scarce, and hunting is necessary. It has its own natural beauty, with forests of tall pine, does with fawns, and acre upon acre overgrown with goldenrod, but its beauty is almost invisible because of the difficulty of life. You can find silence there, but it's wallow-in-sadness silence, not ponder-the-wonder silence. It is an enigma shrouded in the natural beauty of the planet, yet plodding, like the slow steady paces toward death.

I grew up in a nice place, but this Maine was like an alien landscape; like the playground of my youth overgrown with weeds. 'Ramshackle' springs to mind. It is not a place where kids play baseball while parents smile. It is not a place where parents help their kids with their homework. It is a place of two-tone cars, mostly bondo and blue. I would never think about jumping off a bridge in this part of Maine; the rivers are too deep and fast, and the bridges are too flimsy. Just not a good jumping off place.

While places are sometimes about perception, spaces are all about emptiness; or rather fill-ability. Spaces are rife with possibilities, creativity and magic. They come in all shapes and sizes, and can be solitary or shared. They are not constrained by physical limitation, and, most often, they are not of the physical world. Spaces reside in your gut. They are best when they are open and clean, and clutter is mostly pushed aside like unwanted conversation. A space can be a place, but a place is only sometimes a space. We are a little bit into semantics here. It is a little bit like the age old argument about creeks and streams; y'know, which is bigger, or deeper, or wider. There is no clear definition, although I'm fairly certain no one can identify a rill. But, I digress.

A person can fill, or even create, his own space. You can do it alone, or you can share it. You absolutely need a space for love, but I don't think you need a place. I have found and filled spaces under a little league coach's cap, and, wrapped in a South Dakota blanket. I have even found a space of sorts in blogland.

Spaces allow you something that places do not. Oftentimes, in spaces, you learn to love yourself through someone else's eyes (I cannot take credit for this observation. It's a South Dakota blanket thing). Places are like codependency without the addiction; spaces are like the rush, the high without the alteration. Places can be the source of conflict; spaces are all about horizons, a clear vision, and resolution.

I am in the the midst of a conflict at the moment, and it's all about place. I don't know if my place should be 'take me out to the ballgame', or 'give me a home where the buffalo roam'. If I allow myself to stand in my spaces, though, an answer appears possible; a little hazy perhaps, but there is blue sky behind it, just waiting for my light to burn off the fog. Places are most often distinct and unconnectable, but spaces will often unite and grow, given time and willingness. Places often require stopping, but spaces only require patience. And, after all, good things come to those that wait.

May all your horizons, dear reader, be as bright and wonder-full.

(Coming soon to a blog near you: Paths vs Journeys)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Let me start out by saying that I still bear as much sadness regarding the events of September 11th as every other American. I just think that perhaps my perspective is a little bit different, partly because no one in my life circle was involved. However, due to certain revelations, the events of that day are beginning to represent for me a symptom of all that is wrong in the world. Let me preface the main body of this post with a statement of my perspective, which may not sit well with all concerned.

I offer my sincere, and heartfelt condolences to everyone who suffered a loss on 9/11; to the children, spouses, lovers, parents, brothers and sisters of all who died that day; and I would include the mothers, fathers, spouses, lovers, children, brothers and sisters of the perpetrators of the crime. Surely, for those who loved them, a great loss occurred, even if (and I don't know) they choose to shroud it in some stupid and misguided view of paradise. Surely, their loss doesn't hurt any less.

All this found its way into my world when I read about the USS New York, a warship created from the scrap metal retrieved form ground zero, with the express purpose of hunting down terrorists and killing them. Last time I looked, god told us that revenge belongs to him. But just like every other imperialist nation on earth, we have absorbed revenge into our dogma, and god damn it, we're gonna follow through. Has it occurred to anyone, that they flew those planes into those buildings because we force our lofty dogma down their throats? Is the world really gonna be a better place after we impose 'democracy' on nations divided by dogma as lofty as our own?

No, we are seeking revenge because someone finally mustered up the audacity to invade our shores; someone finally said "You're not the boss of me", and "Stick your self-absorbed, self righteous, self perception up your puritanical, greedy, lofty, manifest destiny ass".

Sorry, folks, god is no longer on our side, and he's holding back all his blessings. In fact, I recently heard him utter, "Just who the fuck do you think you are"? Not only have we flown the coop in god's eyes, but we have lost the respect and admiration of the rest of the world. To them, we are evil, pure evil.

The creation of a warship from the detritus of the WTC is not only a sin against god (whichever one you accept), it is a sin against the spirit of all those who died there. It is a sin against ourselves, and all the good we once stood for.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Trouble with Us or, The Trip to Similarity

"Our people knew there was yellow metal in little chunks up there; but they did not bother with it, because it was not good for anything"--------Black Elk

The problem with America, and the rest of the world for that matter, is religion. And that is really an odd thing, since they all teach basically the same thing. I include the Jews, the Catholics, the Protestants, the Sunnis, the Sikhs, the Hindu, the Buddhists, the Muslims and the Great Triad, and any I may have forgotten. I also include that vast sect that only worships gold. And I think the problem lies in the ten percent of the brain that we actually use. The brain, in its current evolutionary state, is unable to counteract the self-righteous neuron cluster. In fact, the findings from a recent neurological conference at Harvard has determined that due to sociological and biological pressures, we cannot alter the belief that we are right in whatever we do.

The actual view bears this out. Our worship of gold has led us to current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Muslim view of paradise led to flying planes into the twin towers. The Aztecs, the Incas, the Toltecs are all gone in the name of god and gold. We have beaten Native Americans into an alcoholic and drug laden blob of a nation, in the name of manifest destiny. I cannot speak of Africa, or Australia or Bosnia, but it is the same there; I just don't know the details. We, as a race, are guilty of a self-righteousness bordering on pathological, and we bear it most often in the name of god or gold.

I am all for diversity, but not at the expense of commonality. A boy or girl can longer honor the grandfather or the grandmother; the spirits of the earth are all dead; and soon enough, Santa will have no workshop--the North Pole will be gone. We plow ahead with a deadly single mindedness. And in our wake, we leave a barren landscape.

We have reached a point where we are only happy if we take way more than we need. The accumulation of wealth, or spirituality, has led us as a world to become a collection of aggressive packs. The pope evangelizes, the mullah incites to violence, the rabbi preaches cultural protection, the press proselytizes, the CEO profitizes, and the good ole US of A, well, the just jam democracy down the throats of anyone who won't listen.

Thankfully, I have a pirate in my life, and pirates can unlock writers block by thinking of one word for you. Today's word is DOGMA.

And the question of the day is "Why does dogma make us so comfortable'? I have my opinions, and I will share them, but I don't wish to sound too dogmatic.

Dogma makes us comfortable because it eliminates the need for any original thought. When we accept dogma, we no longer have to admit that we only use 10% of our brains. If Jesus, or Allah, or Yahweh says we are the chosen people, the ones who will find paradise, then we can say we adhere to dogma and our sins will all be forgiven. We can rape and pillage and steal and cheat without consequence. And please, don't throw the law in my face--that's just dogma for sale.

Dogma also makes us comfortable because it binds the pack and eliminates the need for meaningful conversation. Just say a prayer, or buy some stock, and the genocides in Germany and Bosnia and Darfur become little more than troublesome inconveniences.

And lastly, dogma eliminates the need to live your own life; you can just live the life you're supposed to live according to whichever Grand Poobah you choose. Just follow the party line.

I've made my choice. I'll accept the Golden Rule, and I'll make up the rest as I go. I honestly don't give a flying fuck if you buy anything I say. I will not belong to any pack, I will find my own red road, and I will try to help whoever stumbles across my path. To bastardize a fairly new expression, "You are right, and so is everyone else".

It is high time for us to stop caring if someone else thinks, or believes, as we do. And it is certainly time to accept that you will never change their mind. So go ahead. You take the high road, and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in paradise before you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Random Thoughts from the Porch at Dawn

It has never failed to amaze me how a male cardinal will stand guard while his mate feeds. It has never failed to amaze me how a mockingbird can sound like a squeaky clothesline either. And, it amazes me today how easy it is for a reader to completely alter what a writer intends.

Our perceptions of the world are clearly governed by our own thoughts and circumstances. Our realities are clearly fleeting and chaotic; not that they do not exist, but rather that they are altered in each moment by what we perceive. It is no small wonder that we seek a place, a permanence, in a world that is constantly changing in our own minds.

But surely there must be constants in our realities. I just don't know in this paragraph what they are. Or perhaps our constants are merely what we refuse to let go of, refuse to cast out of existence. Perhaps that is why gods exist for us, or at least for some of us; to smooth out our continuous transitions. Perhaps faith is the only constant, although it seems to me that we each adhere to our own faith. Holy shit, what a curse it is being human. At least some of the time; at those times when we are trying to comprehend.

I watched two squirrels chasing each other around the trunk of a large oak tree. I really don't know if it was mirth, or folly, or anger, or whether or not I am allowed to assign any perception to it. It was whatever it was. But I enjoyed it.

No, I think that there are no constants. Certainly not time. We can alter time in the blink of an eye (what a stupid expression--who blinks just one eye). Certainly not love. Love needs to be changing, growing for it to last. Love is constantly wavering like a mirage, but that doesn't mean the water isn't there. It only means that it is there for as many moments as we choose to perceive it and honor it. And if gods were a constant, then there wouldn't be so many different kinds. And surely life is not a constant; it is chaotic and transitory, and most definitely temporary. And not death either. There is no certainty that it is even permanent.

I thought for a moment that perhaps dogs are a constant, but sometimes dogs run away to be dogs. No, I think I am happy being a weasel, full of stealth and evolving knowledge, scampering about, popping up from time to time to share what moments and shiny things I have come to cherish. The magic cards have been dealt.

I thought for a moment that music may be a constant; a constant droning d-flat that is always there for us to hear, but not all of us have perfect pitch, and we often seek the arpeggio. Or perhaps noise, but we all seek silence from time to time (See, if time were constant, you couldn't go from time to time), and while silence is golden, it is not constant either.

Perhaps, in the context of the Great Triad, nothing is constant. But 'nothing' is incomprehensible, yet still worth striving for. After all, our moments are most holy when they are inconceivable, difficult to attain, wrapped in nothing.

But, back to words. If I might be allowed to illustrate by recounting a recent conversation with Gail.

FA: What did you do today?

G: I cleaned my house. It's clean as a whistle.

FA: Whistles are full of spit. Is spit clean? Did you spit all over your house?

G: No, I am a lady. I don't spit. You, know, you can be really cold; cold as a witch's tit.

FA: What makes you think a witch's tit is gold?

G: COLD, I said cold. What are you deaf?

FA: Deaf as a haddock.

G: I didn't even know that haddock have ears.

FA: If they had ears, they wouldn't be deaf, would they?

G: Whatever! God, I'm tired of these dog days.

FA: What is it about hot, humid, sticky and still that makes you think about dogs?

G: Jesus fuckin Christ, you are frustrating. You can be dumb as a stump.

FA: Some cultures believe that trees, and stumps ARE trees, possess all the wisdom in the world.

G: Well, you certainly don't!

FA: That's not true. I'm smart as a whip.

G: My point exactly

FA: I gotta go.

G: Me too. Talk to you soon. Goodbye

FA: Goodbye? What's good about bye?

Well, as you can see, words can be confusing, but they're fun to play with. Maybe play is a constant, or should be. Well, I'm off like a herd of turtles.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Jeremiah was a bullfrog, and while I didn't know him, I'm fairly certain he wouldn't see me as dangerous. Yet, here I stand before you, recently accused of being dangerous.

Doc Holliday was dangerous. Ingesting copious amounts of whiskey and laudanum, while wearing several concealed handguns does not promote a safe environment. Mixing poker and money into the equation, bad idea. In any event, I am certainly not Doc Holliday dangerous.

I might scare people sometimes. I think Gail was genuinely afraid when she was thinking that I might be stupid enough to jump off that Ohio bridge.

Hanging around with Jesus was dangerous, but as far as I know, I am not wanted for fomenting rebellion against all things roman. There is no bounty on my head. I'm not significant enough.

I have been many things in my life. I've spent time playing several evil roles. There have been times when I was so paralyzed with insecurity that I fabricated things about myself. I am a repeat drunk driving offender, although MADD and the police remain unaware. I have had a battalion of unprotected lovers. I have ingested illegal drugs, so much so that even the flying monkeys quivered. At various points in my life, I have wrapped myself in lies, cheats and thievery. I've jumped on speeding trains, slid down mountains, jumped out of airplanes and stared down guard dogs. But all these things only heaped danger upon myself, not others, and most were born of youth or stupidity. But thankfully, I survived all my episodes, and emerged a little bit brighter. You know the old expression "I think, therefore I'm not as dumb as I used to be".

So, I have been left alone to ponder my dangerous-ness, and frankly, I am plum mystified. Perhaps I am not defining danger in the proper light. Is it possible that being kind and gentle is dangerous? What about founding a new 'religion'?, being sarcastic and irreverent?, looking for love in all the right places? Help me dear reader. I don't want to be dangerous. I mean I drive like an old lady, hold doors for people, and only flip people off when it's really called for. I don't even have a license to carry. I don't even tear that tag off my mattress.

I suppose, upon further reflection, that perhaps some of the things I believe are dangerous. For instance, I believe that the burning Bush is a fucking moron. I believe that we should have evolved already beyond any need to fight wars. I believe that most people are OK, until they show me how much they suck. And, I do believe that Lucky Charms are good for you.


I am a little afraid to reveal where my real danger lies, but it stems from such a long held belief, such a personal core value, that perhaps I am blinded to its inherent danger. I may as well just blurt it out. There's no sense hiding it anymore. Perhaps just by writing it I will undergo some sort of catharsis. So here goes:


Run for your lives. Don't hang around me. I can sense the danger already. It has been foreseen.

A posse of billions of chinks is hot on my trail, gunning for me with dried rice balls and thousand year old eggs, pedalling their bicycles as fast as they can. There's nowhere to hide. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Missing Years

It seems, unbeknownst to me, that there is a great deal of debate regarding the whereabouts of Jesus from 18 to 30 AD. (Aside: It never really occurred to me until now that Jesus is the time we accept, at least in years, and I'm thinking that 2007 is pretty fucking old and outdated) Well, I figure he did pretty much the same things any young man does between 18 and 30--trying to figure out what he wanted to be when he grew up, carousing a lot and chasing pussy. Sure, it's possible he took a little road trip to India, ate a lot of macaroni and cheese, smoked a little weed, did a little yoga, and sought the 'essence' of the path he was choosing, being the son of god and all. I am certain however, that this was the high time of his life, filled with the invincibility of youth and the angst of growing. Somehow, I'm sure that Jesus assumed that he'd never live past 30. It was, after all, the original Age of Aquarius. Then, of course, he got a job, became the messiah, and spent his little remaining time wondering why it paid so little, and was so temporal.

It's funny really, that we have all chosen similar paths, especially since most of us have no legitimate messianic leanings. Why is it, dear reader, that we choose to close up our aquarian shops when we hit 30, or thereabouts? Why is it that the summer of love eventually became the winter of stocks and bonds? Why is it that 30 to dead becomes a time of maintenance, of sustaining, of atrophy? Have we really gotten where we want to be?

The answers to these questions are complicated, but are all tinted by a dynamic that doesn't really enter our lives until then, namely fear. I don't know where fear hides until we grow up, but it clearly doesn't exist until then. It sneaks up on us, like a scorpion crawling up your leg in the outhouse, and initially, we swat it away and step on it, but eventually we are all bitten. I don't know about you, but for me the words 'afraid', 'boring' and 'stale' don't appear in my inner definition of 'really living'. I'm not claiming that I have been immune to these ravaging diseases, in fact, I've been crippled by them several times, but I am telling you that I am now eliminating them, evacuating them like a morning bowel movement, and releasing my 'inner adolescent' from my self-constructed prison.

As has been indicated earlier, there are two main goals in the liturgy of the Great Triad: the attainment of nothing, and entangled enlightenment. I have recently taken an enormous leap of faith, and it feels right as rain. I am as clean, as blank as I have ever been. My journey has only begun, but it is free of fear and doubt and expectation. I am like a newly plowed field, irrigated and 'dripping wet with things to understand', my bounty is freely given and possible. I do not know where I am going or how to get there, but I am going there and I will find it.

I'm not sure I know who I was before my journey began. I have always been a bit sponge, a bit thief, a bit liar. I have absorbed many experiences, not always my own, and integrated them into my life. I have stolen many moments, and made up countless more. I have loved with abandon, but I'm not certain my foundation was always real or imagined. I do know that my life has consisted of many pieces glued together by friendship, imagination, falsehood and joy, and I am proud of it.

I am sure that I have no idea who I am now. All the tiles of my mosaic have come unglued, and they are flying in spirals flowing upward and downward. The future medium of my masterpiece is undetermined, but I don't see tile as apropos any longer. Perhaps, colored sands, or maybe rocks, or even limestone. Then again, maybe oils, maybe words, maybe willow. It is still very unclear. But my slate, my canvas, my slab of granite is unblemished by my interventions. It is clean, clean, clean and waiting patiently. And my vision of my life is smoky, like fog and dry ice, and unformed and unperceived. I don't know what it will look like, only that it will come, or rather that it is coming.

In the experiments I have previously described regarding suspending light in nothing, I have mentioned that the light itself is not there, only the 'certainty' of the light. I have clearly reached my entanglement, my entwinement but my light is still the free radical, the muon, the prophecy of the oracle, and is yet certain but unrealized, there but unobservable, earthly yet ethereal. My entangled enlightenment is there, just beyond the event horizon.

While all of it floats just beyond my sight, there is one thing of which I am sure. My planet revolves around a star in South Dakota. She has helped me find my way to nowhere. She has helped create my vacuum. She has made my light certain and suspended it in the void. She has unlocked the door to my unborn universe. Our lights, and our colors, are travelling in the same beam. Our atoms are coalescing, the heat is rising and the Big Bang is imminent.

What wonders await I do not know; what nebulae and blobs will appear; what forces, facets, planes and spheres; what green and infrared giants, what brown periods, what conservation of energy, what mystic particles.

Jesus may love you, but a pirate in South Dakota works better for me. I like her, I love her, I adore her. I know it all begins there, wrapped in her blanket in the Black Hills.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

For Gail

I have discovered today, disturbingly, that my sister-in-law equates slapping someone with loving someone. That she is possessed of such violent tendencies is disturbing enough, but to realize that she is made of such contradictory parts is more disturbing still. I have always seen her as a very simple person, revelling in the basic simple pleasures of life and love. Now, I have always been a person who is willing to allow others to live their lives as they wish, but I am also a golden rule type of guy, and no one I have ever met wants to be slapped.

During our conversation, she also revealed to me that even the purely evil person has a place and a purpose in the grand scheme of things, and is graced with some redeeming quality. This of course is pure hooey. There are people who just plain don't deserve to live.

Now, I am not a person who believes that it is my place to straighten other people out. So, I didn't really feel any need to force my belief system upon her. Although I did tell her that if she ever slapped me, I would knock her out.

While I firmly believe that no one likes to be slapped, I also innately know that no one willingly gets nailed to a cross. This knowledge was reinforced by a myriad of entertaining Jesus radio shows airing across America. My favorite came out of Denver. Davey Detective (I can't recall his actual name, but he was clearly an incarnation of Davey, of that brilliant claymation show, Davey and Goliath). Davey is transported to the crucifixion by something akin to the wayback machine. He drizzles and drazzles into the lives of Mary, and Barabas and Herod, sasses Pontius Pilate without ramification, until he discovers why it was such a good thing that Jesus chose to die such a painful death. I'm no biblical scholar, and I was unaware that Jesus reappeared to several of his disciples and to Davey, as well as to someone named Norman, post resurrection, but I was amazed at all the nice things he told them before ascension. As much as this story filled me with laughter and ecstatic reverence, the pursuant revelation of the truth brought me more heightened reverie.

To illustrate, I will provide quotes from the Gospel according to Norman, recently discovered amongst the ancient texts of the Great Triad.

(To Peter)

"You fucking fish-fucking asshole. You were supposed to be my friend. Do thoust have any idea how much that hurt, driving nails into my hands and legs? And those fuckin thorns, they hurt like hell too. And then, instead of you sticking around to watch my back, you let them hang me out there on that sun drenched hill, for all the world to laugh at my small penis, barely peeking out from my loincloth.
And then Jesus slapped Peter and said 'I love you too'."

(To Mary)

"You fucking, sperm burping little bitch. My grail grows within your womb, if it's even my kid, you fuckin slut. You knewest that I was addicted to opium, knew that I was incapable of a rational decision, yet you let me carry on with that lunacy.

And Jesus slapped Mary and said 'I love you too, you fuckin tramp'."

(To his father)

"Fuck you, Daddy. FUCK YOU!!!!! Why have you forsaken me? Forsaken, my ass. You let them drive nails into me; you let them humiliate me. And for what? A little world domination? You're just like all the rest--a power hungry greedy little god, you impotent fuck.

And Jesus slapped God and said 'I love you too, motherfucker'."

We have all been told that Jesus is Love, and it is clear from this recently discovered Gospel, that Jesus slapped as an expression of love. I guess my sister-in-law might be on to something.

I learned during my recent vision quest, that wrestling is an effective means of getting closer to the godhead. According to the Kabballists, god exploded his all encompassing self, and fragmented himself, to allow room in the universe for his perfect creation. This was accompanied by a loud slap in the face of god himself. Who am I to argue with god? Who am I to not humble myself to the current state of grace I now find myself in? Who am I?

Go ahead, show me the love. Slap me silly, sister.

Friday, July 25, 2008


For those of you who now believe that I have flipped my gourd, fuck you. I still have my edge and I will slice you to ribbons if you protest. I will scare the dickens out of you.

Happy hunting,

Afraid of his Horse (I don't know the Sioux, and I probably couldn't pronounce it if I did)

Snipes and Suicide

I hadn't planned on jumping from that railroad bridge in Maumee, Ohio. In, fact, I hadn't planned anything, but she drew me in like a Disney animator. As bridges go, she was pretty non-descript; not old, but not new; no ancient voice calling to me. She bore her rust and faded paint like bat guano on a cave wall, or perhaps like the papier mache concrete of a Gaudi building. But still, despite the layers of deterioration she wore, she was all steel; steeled against the wind and the water, and unyielding; steeled against uselessness and obscurity. She appeared as a respite from the erector set structures of the Midwest; the mushroom power towers with their sagging electric valances, the field sprinklers, and the pumpkin-topped silos of unknown farms. "Come and jump", she said, as I sped down the interstate, and I swallowed her invitation like the light trickle of blood from a long awaited kiss. I descended and scampered until at last, I found myself standing upon her, in her really. I could feel her strength, long obsolete, scurry up my leg like a scorpion, but she creaked and groaned and swayed with the ghosts of dreams long faded, and still unborn. A bridge, no matter how strong, has to have a little give, a little flexibility, to bend to the burden of hard work and eternity, and I could feel her dance to the music of the river below.

The Maumee flowed beneath her, caressed her hips like first love. Her water was rusty, too. She and the bridge shared the same color, the rusty orange of wisdom, not deterioration. Her waters seemed warm and inviting, like motor oil, and she pleaded with me to bathe and to lubricate. She flowed slow and easy from wherever to wherever, washing and smoothing and helping like a grandmother. Oh, she beckoned me allright. She danced and swirled and licked my thighs like a pole dancer, and I watched and listened. I closed my eyes, stood in my own skin, and fell.

The river and the bridge are separate, but are one thing. They stand in each other, are clean, and are as right as rain.

Time is what we get, be it short or long. Life is what we make.

Which brings me to the snipe, a magic and elusive bird. It is perfect black, the black of invisibility. It only emerges on the moonless nights. Darkness and speed make it nearly impossible to detect, but that has not stopped myriads of children from hunting it. It dwells in ditches and washes. One leg is shorter than the other, enabling the snipe to run like light along the edges of gullies. It has yellow eyes, the color of caution, and yes, dear reader, caution is warranted. This fanged bird is indeed dangerous like a dinosaur. Hunting the snipe requires great courage, armed only with a stick, a flashlight and a burlap sack. The hunt is fearful, yet filled with the possibility of capturing the most mythic bird of all; fear mixed with wonder, standing in each others space. Many have sought the snipe. Few have even seen it. Fewer still are those that have captured it; a cloaked and secret few, unrevealed to the masses. But all who have sought the snipe share the same imprint; the fear of wet underwear joined with the exhilaration of dangerous seeking.

I have just started a new journey, a spirit quest filled with fear and exhilaration, ease and mirth and wet underwear. The crows have flown 2000 miles to join me. The snake has also taken my journey; even the weasel. I have sought wisdom in the magic cards and cherished their revelations. I have discovered that lavender oil is the ultimate vaginal healer. I have worshipped the goddess and plundered with pirates. I have found the love of children, both the small and large varieties. I have begun to discover my earth and fire and water and wind. The herons lead me on my path and I have played with the dolphin. I am balancing my chi. I have learned more things than I will ever realize. I am the bridge and the river, and I stand in who I am. I will continue to hunt the snipe