Tarzan is not Real


I saw him, running in the jungle.  I heard him: he belted out a prolific call, flying all over the jungle.  The animals, apparently, took note.  “When Tarzan calls, the Wild Kingdom listens.”  When Tarzan would step off a limb of a high tree, his hands gripped on to a rope-vine, and then swing through the trees … it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  When I was a kid, I climbed trees quite a bit.  But I never, not once, came across a rope-vine!  To this day, I am so disappointed that I didn’t get to swing in the trees.  At some point, I became aware of other responsibilities / cool things beyond climbing trees.  Girls, I realized, were good looking, and they did catch my eye.  I appreciated Tarzan because he had a good-looking babe with him most of the time.  Jane.  That was her first name.  I guess her last name would have been “Tarzan”, yeah?   (Image from http://old.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/review/5308)

With Jane and Tarzan living in the jungle, limited income, Jane didn’t have any money to spend on clothes, and that explained the clothes that did not do a thorough job of keeping her warm.   I never went out with any girls that were dressed like Jane.  If I did, my parents would have found out about it and I would have been in some serious trouble. At some point, I found out that Tarzan is not real.  Tarzan was an alias for a gentleman by the name of Johnny Weissmuller.  Here’s a thought:  Does this look like Tarzan?  Sharp looking guy (below), I must admit. But, with all due respect, Mr. Weissmuller, you are definitelynot … Tarzan. Life can be a jungle.  And in this jungle, there is no Tarzan.  There are no rope-vines to swing on, from tree to tree.  I’ve seen some beautiful women, and I am married to one of them.  But there is  no Jane.  And finally, I’m okay with it.


Vacation Disorientation Happens

“I came, I saw, it … VACATION … conquered (me).”  Drastic?  Exaggeration?  Maybe.  Maybe, not.

Vacation Disorientation !!!!

“24-Hour Decompression Theory”:  it takes a minimum of 24 hours to “decompress” from the hectic life-schedule, when on a vacation / a time of rest.   Here is a hypothetical scenario, camping for two nights up in the wilderness.

Off work by 4pm.  Pack up, leave, stop off at the store, and get to where I want to go. I set up camp.  I cook over the fire.  I enjoy my exceptional culinary entrée and side dishes (pork and beans, BBQ potato chips).  I clean up the aftermath of the Chef’s fiasco.  And now, for the piece de resistance (py-es’ duh rey-zee-stahns).  I sit on a stump, roast a few marshmallows, sip either hot drink or cold drink.  This … is what the joy of camping is all about.  I star-gaze, stare into the campfire, ponder the meanings of life.  I am immensely thankful for the priceless balm of the wilderness quiet.   After a couple of hours it is time to retire into the tent, and burrow into the GSB (Great Sleeping Bag).  Now throughout everything that has happened, I am a little rattled, a somewhat tense, getting to the site in time (rushed) and getting the tent up, the fire started, food cooked … So, the peace has not, yet, kicked in.  But the process is happening.  By dinner time the next day (about 24 hours after the camping expedition had begun), a serious decompression kicks in.

Currently, winding down my vacation with family in Michigan; flying back on Monday morning.  The main focus has been on our kiddos, as it should be.  After I flew in a week ago, into Saginaw, life took off like a bat out of jello.  And it really hasn’t stopped.  At some point in the night hours, we parents slip into the slumber zone.  Mornings, the wakeup reality-jolt happens way too early.  And that is the other experience: “Vacation Disorientation”.  We camped near Lake Michigan, Interlocken National Park;  and on the second night we had thunder that rocked the world.  Lightening bolts terrorized everyone in the state of Michigan, and points beyond.  And we woke up the next morning, everything in our tent soaked.   The decompression has taken a bit longer than 24 hours.  I feel like it kicked in about two days ago.  One of the coolest places in Michigan is Mackinac Island, where there are no motorized vehicles on this island.  Except for winter when the ice builds up for snow mobiles, there is only one way to get to the island: a ferry.  There are plenty of horse-drawn carriages, and plenty of bicycles.  I didn’t have a decent picture of the horse drawn carriages, so I found one on Aaron Peterson’s website.  My goal is, by the time I get home on Monday, to be 100% decompressed, just in time for me to go back to work.






Water’s Rising

“Ground water” came to our basement, over the last couple of weeks from the rain. Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office called with recording, warning about flood waters.  They had two locations, for sandbags.  Blessings come with challenges, often … eh?   Example, our wet-vac.  Used it every day, sometimes three times within a day.   Clear Creek’s normal flow is 200 cubic feet per second. On Saturday, the ninth, it was up to 700 cubic feet per second.

photo (1)
Just down the road. The picnic table getting flooded!

Driving up the mountain, heading for the house, I felt compelled to pull over and get a picture of Clear Creek getting out of hand.  That picnic table is usually up on some dry ground.

Many stories, out there, would top mine about Nature’s power … clobbering us humans.  A couple of nights after our discovery that ground water was coming up through the basement floor, we were all doing our thing.  My wife and I were watching a movie and … CLICK … the power went out.  No lights, no electrical juice, no power to run the wet-vac.  So,  launching up one of those quick-prayers seemed like the only logical thing to do, for the power to be back in the morning.  

And, wow … the power was back on.  Then I turned on the old wet-vac, and continued my battle against the rising waters.  Couple of days after that the Honda Pilot we just bought was starting up and turning off and starting up and turning off without any assistance.  We never figured it out.  

About the same time, I received a voice mail that I am sure was a scam: …a recording saying that ” … if you don’t take care of this matter … then it will be reported to the authorities.”  Now, what “the matter” was, that needed to be resolved, was never communicated. Pretty wild.  

When the waters come, a choice is made about what we are going to do: sand bags? wet-vac?  sump pump? dig a trench?.  If the waters rise, then I will rise.  … I will rise to the challenge.   When melancholy comes,  I have the opportunity to push back. Sometimes I accept the melancholy as an old friend.  And, the melancholy does not define me.

So, there you have it.


Healer in the Wilderness

“Healer”, not literally.  In the realm of relationships, “healer” connects with change.  “We are hurt in relationships, we find healing in relationships.”  (Anonymous).   This post is a metaphorical narrative.

The healer …

comes to the thick of the wilderness, starts her fire, stokes the fire, pulls a few sitting-stumps close, and sits by the fire. The healer’s eyes are  kind, with a spark; seeing deeper into the wilderness of men and women.  Seasoned, calm countenance, the healer brings to the wilderness hope … hope never given lightly, never received lightly. This healer is a redemptive disruptor. 

Sojourners come to this place in the wilderness to see the healer, to sit by the fire; a fire that brings light in the night.  Some sojourners want to be known, want to be seen; others cautious of being known, being seen.  The fire is a healing process: at times unpleasant, illuminating incorrect thinking, problematic emotions.  Sojourners face the healing of the flame, with different styles of avoidance. In the wilderness, some  things need to change, some things need to go.

Sojourner sits across from the healer, the other side of the fire; cautiously and respectfully, for a short period. The healer listens, thinks about the spoken, thinks about the unsaid.  The healer speaks, while listening, her words are healing words; questions intentional; silence accentuated.  I am reminded of a dialog in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia (my paraphrase):

Peter:  “Is he (Aslan the lion) safe?”

Mr. Beaver: “Is he safe?  No!  He is not safe.  But he is good.”

The healer’s eyes, not always safe.  But they are good.  Change agents are that way.  The healer’s mind is good, but not readable.  The healer’s work is important, but not predictable.  The sojourner’s stay is for a short time, meeting with the healer; leaves with peace; a sacred, arcane, peace.

Fire / http://www.rasalilafest.com/empowerment-drum-circle-by-campfire




Piano Guys Hanging Out With Some Seniors


The visual …

that goes along with the medley, performed by the Piano Guys is unexplainably moving, unexplainably important, a reminder of honoring those who have gone before us.


The theme of community: I am compelled to write about community; and the theme of community, swirls here, in this video.  Let us not forget each other.  

Piano Guys, hanging out with some Seniors. us105fm.com


Santa Tracker’s Unexpected Phone Call



The story is all over the net.  I simply wanted to express my a) appreciation for this story, and b) desire to see this story passed on through the generations.  One man made a choice to think beyond himself, beyond his world, and to respond with a prolific, uncommon, creative, action.  Here is an oversimplified glimpse of the Santa Tracker, with hopes that you will check out one of the two links below.

NORAD http://galleryhip.com/norad-santa-tracker-logo.html

NORAD is the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD, inside Cheyenne Mountain, in Colorado Springs, CO.  One night, in 1955, a call came in on a red phone at NORAD, a number known only by two people: a four-star general in the Pentagon, and the U.S. Air Force colonel who had that red phone on his desk.  The caller was a child, who asked “Is this Santa Claus?”   

How the U.S. Air Force colonel responded is … quite profound.  So, here are two links to choose from:

  1. Written version … http://www.npr.org/2014/12/19/371647099/norads-santa-tracker-began-with-a-typo-and-a-good-sport
  2. Audio version … http://storycorps.org/listen/terri-van-keuren-rick-shoup-and-pamela-farrell/

Imagination, pending on the substance, can be a wonderful, and redemptive, element of the human soul. 



Piano Guys For You: 7 Cellos

Good Morning.  Piano Guys, again.  7 cellos.

7 guys, 7 different cellos, working in conjunction, producing something so beautiful.  Is this a metaphor, a reminder, of what community could look like? 

People taking time to connect, and hear each other, and speak words of life into the hearts and lives of each other, and to support each other, on some level.

Again, good morning.

Spiral Notebooks ! !

From the draft on August, ’14

Spirals (notebooks), collected over years, holding so much of my days, specific hours, moments where writing was the right thing to do. Better writers than I have organized their Spirals (color coding?).  

Notebooks & Red Cup
Notebooks & Red Cup

Alas, I am not one of these cool spiral scholars.  In the small room at the top of the stairs to the right, a place that I reluctantly call an “office”, I noticed stacks of notebooks in different places.  I believe that a small hurricane flew to my office, left its tracks, the notebooks landing in a chaotic posture.  These pictures may give you a glimpse of what I am talking about:

Spirals under desk
Spirals under desk


Spirals somewhere
Spirals somewhere









Not too long ago, I experienced a different kind of encounter with spirals, on an outing with my son, a passionate young  wild man.

My son has a black compass-with-(fold up) binoculars, attached to a sharp looking black lanyard.  This week the boy dropped his compass, and one of the binocular lenses popped out, a serious problem to be resolved, immediately.  The idea of my son on an expedition through the Yukon, or backpacking into the wilderness of Alaska, or accepting a dangerous mission in the Himalayas … without his black compass-with fold up binoculars is truly a sobering thought.

We jumped into the jeep, found where his black compass-with fold up binoculars could be replaced.  After the exchange of old for new, we both looked around.  In the Home / Office section, there were …

spirals – – – .25 a piece!

Robust joy, flowing through my being!  Opening up a new notebook, never written in, releasing the words that flow down on to that beautiful, white, first, page is an outrageously cool thing.  I often think of famous authors, using notebooks, like Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook / http://quovadisblog.com/2010/01/25/guest-post-leonardos-notebook/


“It doesn’t look like much … no bigger than a pack of playing cards, yet it is one of the most precious objects on display in the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries in the Victoria & Albert Museum London. The notebook of Leonardo da Vinci which dates from 1490-3 is one of five owned by the museum and it was bequeathed by English collector, John Forster in 1876.”  The comments are from Lito Apostolakou, freelance author, historian, and feature writer at Suite101; she also has a fascinating blog on the history of writing instruments, where she writes about seeing one of Leonardo’s notebooks.  

And, I’ll close with this image: one of Mark Twain’s notebooks.  This picture came from a good blog post, http://http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/09/13/the-pocket-notebooks-of-20-famous-men/

Twain’s notebook as a cub pilot




Heads-Up, Fellow Bloggers

Hey, just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who reads my blog … ever, at any time.  I am re-writing some of my posts, and re-posting them.  The reason for this is that I am compiling a group of posts to pass on to my friends and family who don’t read my blog (ouch!).  I am also preparing some selected posts for (I hope) a self-published book.

If and when you see a re-write of a post you have already read, then you can save yourself some time and not read those posts … since you have already read them.  DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?  IS THIS AS CLEAR AS MUD?

http://www.awm.gov.au / Bringing supplies up through the mud


Lastly, I’d like to acknowledge you who I follow on a regular basis, who I look up to, who I have learned immensely from … not only from your writings, but also about life, about the reality and the redemptive  aspects of the human soul, matters of the heart.  I am so indebted to you for your contributions to my journey of wanting to become a better writer. Having said that, if you feel any leading … whatsoever … to speak into my writing, my being, in any way please do so.  My promise to you is that I will not be offended, no matter what you write.  It will not affect how much of a fan I am of your blog.  If we are true writers, then we must be in a posture to receive feedback from others, no matter how blunt, how painful, how blatant, that feedback might be.

Tantrum / http://www.essentialbaby.com.au/toddler/caring-for-toddler


True, I may have a tantrum, where I throw myself down on the floor, yelling / kicking / screaming.  But you won’t see that, and I won’t tell you about it.  Thanks!  T

Another Tantrum / parentinguru.com/parenting-tips/dealing-with-babies-tantrums/

Oh, one more thing.  I do not know when you will start seeing these re-writes.  They are the same posts, just re-written.  Nothing really different.  

Going Back? Dialog Series #3

“Holiday, coming.  Are you heading southward, to see your folks?  You have some older brothers, there as well, eh?  And your parents?”

“Parents and my two brothers (a nod), down there, east of Dallas.”

Wood Stove
Wood Stove

Both men sat in the logged house, a small place, in chairs made of gnarled pine posts, smoothed from years of use and exposure to the wood stove heat.  Words were suspended in the air, transformed into vapor and memory.

“I am not going back . . . “

“It is a drive, isn’t it …. What, about 1200 miles?  Twenty-two hours?”

“If I drive straight through, its only about eighteen hours.  And, around 120o.”

“Boy, that is a bear of a trip.  So you’re not going to make it this year.”

“Naw.  I’m not going back.  Its one thing to pack up, load up, head out on a 1200 mile trip…  (pause) But, the trip … or the thought of the trip … is a metaphor for the struggle I’ve had for years: ‘going back’ to the lies I bought into, the l mistakes I’ve made in my life.  In that sense, I’m not going back, or backwards. ”

“So, why is it that we want to … ‘go back’?”

“For me, I think I go back to my past because it is easy, a path of processing that has very little resistance.  I know those apparitions.  I know my past.  I think that I can change it by  going there.  As for what is ahead, I don’t know it because I’ve never been there.  But I plan on going there, soon.”

“Yeah.   Me, too.  There is good stuff happening there.”