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.

Image result for Images Antarctica
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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The Branch

I remember the branch. It looked like a creek, a skinny creek with steep banks, or sides.  Maybe it was a creek.  But is wasn’t as a creek.  It was a branch.

“First recorded in 1835, ‘the branch’ (at that time and in that context) is a word for a creek, brook, stream of clean drinkable water.”
(From Wikipedia)

The branch possessed a fair share of curves, maneuvering through a forest of tall pine trees faithfully guarding the branch on both sides.   Massive quantities of pine straw lay at the base of the banks, next to the cool water. Jeff and I were committed  to the adventures of the branch.  This included running starts, catapulting our immortal pre-adolescence over the branch… landing on the deep, spongy, masses of pine straw, perilously close to the water.  There was extraordinary power flying through the atmosphere, upwards of 100 mph.  Jeff’s dog went by the name of “Smoky”, who appeared to be a Labrador mix; a charcoal-gray scoundrel, a real scrapper.  My dog went by the name of “Spotty”: a collie, much more of a refined dog.   Jeff and I would follow a trail that led through the woods, alongside the branch.  When we reached the turn-around point, the dogs were behind us at first, but quickly faded into the forest.  When we reached the place where the trail started, both dogs were there, waiting on us.  We never understood how that worked.  Since the euphoric days of the branch, I am still committed to adventure, amidst those pieces of life I fail to understand.  That is part of the adventure.  There are days when we do what Indiana Jones would do,  “… I’m planning this as I go along.”

Image result for Images Indiana Jones planning this as I go along

 

Seasoned

Re-write

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April, I walked into the trees, climbed up on a rock, belted out a song and a high spirited howl of joy.  Spring was (cautiously) emerging!  Winter was waiting in the wings until our guard was down.

By May, winter left town.  Summer came too soon, pushing spring out.  An injustice, Spring had flown the coop, way too early.  Seasons can be harsh, unfair, fickle.  Indeed, spring had slipped out the back, Jack.Image result for images Winter in Colorado In the “here-and-now”, leaves are turning their colors, gradually gliding downward.  A one-time dusting of snow came, September.  Other than that, we are holding on to fall as long as we can. img_0848  I am in another season: I am pushing through a few barriers of resistance.  Any of us, at any given time, may find ourselves in such a place; our awareness tells us that change is important; but the change is delayed.

The delay comes out of our reluctance to change; the reluctance comes because there is a “pay-off”.  We are getting something we want from that which needs to change.  To break through the barriers of a difficult season: I need a blend of specific, trustworthy, wise, supportive, and sensitive  individuals to walk with; and I need some time to “sit in” a desert place of pain, to think through the process, the motives for wanting to leave what is familiar, and the implications of stepping into (again) the unknown.  What will change look like?  Peace be with you, sojourning bloggers.  Keep writing.

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.  

 

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.”