What Do We Know?

It’s been a good-tough week.  From a weathered paperback, essays on spirituality and encouragement, I read in the back, a page I had forgotten about: a few thoughts, a few dates.  “October 3rd 1993.  Arrived in Antarctica” … 

Image result for images C-130 with skis
A cargo plane with “big skis”, like the ones our cargo jet used … https://aviation.stackexchange.com/q/26960
Image result for Images Antarctica map
https://www.amazon.com/Teacher-Created-Resources-Antarctica-Chart/dp/B00207H856

 

Image result for Images map New Zealand South Island
Map of New Zealand, South Island. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:South_island_map.png

We came on an Air Force cargo jet … equipped with massive skis. (The picture shows a cargo plane with “big skis”, like the ones our cargo jet used).   October 3rd of ’93 was the beginning of a five-month season of work for the National Science Foundation.  My residence at Willy Field on Ross Ice Shelf, the ice runway for incoming / outgoing planes, was where I cooked breakfast for scientists, US Navy personnel, and support staff (about 8,000 eggs by the time I left).   “February 22nd of 1994, last day on the ice.”   On that day, I had jumped on a Navy C-130, with those uncomfortable nylon mesh-strap seats, and left Antarctica.   Nine hours later, we touched down at a New Zealand Air Force base, Christchurch, New Zealand.  For the first time in five months I experienced rain, and nights, and seeing children, older people, dogs, green grass, restaurants, natural fragrances in the air, colors.  “March 8th 1994, left New Zealand for Denver” … reluctantly.  “March 22nd 1994, left Denver for the South, to see my parents for a bit.”  So, it just worked out that way, one month, after my last day on “the Ice” (February 22nd), I flew out of Denver March 22nd, to a small place in the South to spend a week with my parents.  October of 1994, I met my wife to be.”

A year after I got off “the Ice”, February 1995, I proposed to my future bride.  “June of 1995, Married a princess.”  After all this reflection, I am aware of my presence in the “here-and-now” … the present … today, in fact.  And I found my self thinking of two pieces in life we deal with:  1) reflection on our stories / journeys; and 2) where we are at, right now.  In my time of working with people, many of whom struggle with these two pieces, I have asked the question, “What do we know to be true?”.  I’m throwing that out to any who are visiting the Other Side of the Trees, perusing this post.  I believe the answers to “What do we know to be true?” are quite different.  Here is what I have come up with.

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Adele (pronounced uh-deli) penguins. https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/Antarctica

My story is not yet finished.

My story is still being written.

My story (specific elements) needs to be told (to the right people, at the right time, in the right context).

I need to hear the stories of others.

I have the capacity to love; the choice to love well; and I face the reality that I do not always love well.

I have journeys ahead; or, shall I say … the journey continues.

I need good, encouraging, safe, relationships in my life.

I have hope … but, similar to love, I do not always hope “well”.

I have something to offer; and I have a great amount to learn.

I need vision; I need goals; I need enthusiasm; I need wisdom – – – not just intelligence.

And, lastly for today, I am here.

Image result for images I am here

Well, enough said, for now.  I always write more that I should, more than I intended.  I hope this finds you all experiencing peace, joy, and good health.

 

 

 

 

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Oreos, Dreams, Realities

Image result for Images Oreos‘Couple of Oreos in the night after a disruptive dream. I could not quite remember the details. The Oreos were amazing.  A son, undisputedly handsome with a good, a noble, heart, intelligent, awareness of his world sharper than a sword, gifted in a way that he did not ask for, bringing him intermittent sorrow, coexisting with joy, a sense of humor, robust imagination, warrior spirit.  I had my share of wounds, lost at times in a world that moves much faster than I can grasp, my own creativity I cannot get to, I look for trails but they are unfairly elusive.  I found myself grieving for a man who was and is a legend, who loved well, lived well, laughed well, my friend and my dad.  But none of the dream was a dream.  Reality has a great deal of mystery, at times.

I was walking with a woman, swirled in beauty with blonde hair and with unfathomable wisdom, a saint of a mother with the spunk to tell me when I was wrong, who married me in spite of me and my wounds and groaner jokes.  Two younger ones looked up to me with love and respect, and I was confused by that: a daughter with eyes that can see into the depths of the journey, the hearts and souls of others; my son who creates so many things, his laughs radiate outward and inward toward others.  I stood in Scotland at the castle Dunnotar, and at the Loch Ness hoping for a glimpse of Nessie, the Loch Ness “monster”.  I walked along the ice road between McMurdo Station and Willy Field (camp) in Antarctica.  I sat in the Christchurch Cathedral, putting together some pieces, there at the Christchurch Square.  But the dream was not a dream.  They are sparkling realities and memories I keep close.

Keep the Pieces Coming

I’m fortunate in so many ways  …  Countless ways.  Even the wounds are a gift.  For I I learn from all of this.  Every week or every other, I meet with a wise woman, walking with me for a short season.  I bring a few pieces for the puzzle; I reach down, I reach out, to find pieces that might fit.  Sometimes a piece will fit.   I might want a piece to fit, but it doesn’t.  I just keep the pieces coming.  I call this process “Puzzle-ing”.

 

Land of Story and Journey

In a short interchange with a friend, many years ago, I spoke a sentence out of my spontaneity, which is not uncommon:

“Here we are, my friend, in the midst of reality.”

“(Pause) I was there, once, but I was just passing through.”

We do pass through the Land of Story and Journey.  Both, story and journey, are to be respected … in the telling, and in the hearing.  We do not stay, long, in the Land of Story and Journey.  A paradox is found in that our stories are not finished, and always ongoing.  Our journeys started long ago.  Journey’s end is down the road; we definitely are not there, yet, though we may be close.  There is a gift, when we hear about the journeys of others; when we hear the stories of others; depending on what the story is, depending on what the journey is about.  Great things happen in the Land of Story and Journey.  And tragedies happen there, as well.  Courage comes with the telling of our stories; courage comes with us on our journeys.  I am a thankful man, to be able to pass through the Land of Story and Journey with other story tellers and other sojourners.