Sunday, August 24, 2014


Low clouds are moving light tonight, in a swift north-westerly direction, and Seven Sisters hang in the sky over the roof of my house, a sight I do not often see this time of year.  It is late, but the stagnant, heavy air that has hovered over us the past few days has given chase, and I am restless.  Sleep has not come easily to me, these two nights past--or perhaps it is that I have not sought it. So, a bedtime story...

This morning, while making my way toward something I hoped might propel me on a new trajectory, a few words on the radio caught my attention.  An Arctic owl was found dead earlier this week, along the I35 corridor in northern Minnesota.

This reminded me that I had awoken earlier that morning to a dream in which there appeared a very large grey and white owl, bigger than any I've seen.  I was out in a canoe, on open water, and first spotted it some way across the lake, hovering as if to dive and catch a fish, as an osprey or an eagle would.  Moments later it plunged, feet first, down into the water, fully submerging for a few seconds before rising up to hover and descend, once again, this time only a few yards away.  I wondered at its great size, its beauty, its uncharacteristic behavior, and waited to see what it might have caught. Its proximity elicited in me a sense of profound awe, mingled with that certain sort of excitement one feels in the presence of wild and magnificent things. Within my next breaths I became aware of my mother's presence in the canoe with me, and the owl, which was now nearly overhead, plunged into the water right beside us, little more than an arm's length away.

Apparently someone was "tweeting" on behalf of the snowy owl that died, some nonsense about its spirit and intentions and all angels having white wings.  It makes me wonder... I can't help but wonder, how many humans still are visited by animal spirits, in flesh or in dreams, and how many of those yet comprehend the language of such calls. Would it were more, and would I were one of them.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I love the way my Volvo handles.  I really do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


by way of context.

in our hearts

a friend shared with me this song tonight,

and despite all that I know, the changing climate, this dying planet, and all to come,  it touched me
and perhaps I can hold a bit tighter when I see my young niece and nephew in the days ahead,
and hold hope for

Friday, August 15, 2014


I really shouldn't feel like a failure tonight, but not succeeding can sometimes make you feel that way.

Maybe let down would be a better way of putting it. I just couldn't get it. I suppose I will, eventually, but once in a while it would be nice if I could not have to be reminded of how not smart I am.

Ah well, it's all good... though I miss the stars tonight, like the sky is black.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Like I'm ready to roll

A good friend of mine said to me recently: you need to be in water.

And boy, was she right about that.

Today I went to my first real on-water kayaking class, to learn how to roll...and at the end of the evening, under the nearly-full and brightening moon, I left the lake wet, happy, singing, and wanting more.

This friend of mine also once told me, after I'd spent a good hour bobbing and swimming in the warm blue oceans of Maui, that I looked like an otter out there...which is one of the finest compliments I can think of.

I'm happiest on the water, in the water, near the water, and that's where I ought to be. (and in the winter, water = snow.)

It turned out there were only three of us tonight--myself, another guy, and our young instructor, so we got a lot of hands-on attention and the class ended up going on for an hour longer than scheduled.  It was a perfect prelude to tomorrow, when I will be spending the whole day on the water, learning any number of things that I already know, need to know, do not yet know, and must learn how to do.

I didn't make nearly as much progress as my classmate did today, but I'm confident I'll get it down, under and over, with a little more focus and a lot more practice.  I've got a new stash of pretty much excellent gear, all acquired at the right time for the right price, and you better believe I intend to use it.  I'm ready to roll.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If you don't have anything nice to say, try listening

There are some things it's good to hear, sometimes, such as:

Are you really forty??? as uttered by your 29-year-old dental hygienist and new mom who "just happened to glance" at your chart while cleaning your teeth

We still can, as asserted by your best all-weather friend, in response to your lame sad excuses and attempt to bail on hanging out one fine summer evening, which we did anyway and which was good regardless and for which I am grateful

What's above our house? followed up by What's below our house? as pondered by your three-year-old niece, to her mother, during one of her routine bedtime philosophizing sessions

If [me, myself and I] can do it, then I can, as put forth by a dear old college friend who was divorced in the last year and recently decided to try meeting someone online and has now been on several dates since we last saw each other in June, after perhaps a decade (in a sweet surprise reunion arranged by my brother-in-law, for my sister, at my niece's birthday party)

Ah, it smells like Mother Nature's Pantry in here, as proclaimed by my sweet and thoughtful sister upon entering my kitchen, with memory of the thickly scented stairway up to the old apartment over the co-op in our college town, where I and others I am fond of once lived.  We sat out on the patio and plucked basil leaves over beers, and then enjoyed a fine dinner of rice pasta with chicken and red and yellow pear tomatoes with parmesan, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, topped off with incredibly delectably possibly perfect pesto on fresh bread or (argh...ok! fine) in my case, just mozzarella and fingers. 

Someone still will, as stated in all seriousness by my mechanic, looking me straight in the eye and without missing a beat, in response to my saying that I'd rather hoped someone would be willing to take on my Volvo as a Labor of Love, before I learned that I have a burnt valve on cylinder two.  Both he and his son had assured and subsequently explained in detail to me that, regardless of my oil issues, this was neither my fault nor my doing.  He went on to say that there are lots of men who work on cars these days--and lots of women, too--and actually suggested without any hint of nonsense that I could fix it myself, just get the parts from that one well-known retailer in WI, go online and learn how it's done and then take it very, very slow, and he even went so far as to tell me on my way out the door to give him a call if I decided to do so and needed any advice. This man is not quite old enough to be my father but I appreciated his slightly paternal and mostly unwarranted yet clearly well-informed and honestly inspiring sense of confidence that I could tackle that repair and succeed. As it stands, after telling me the bad news and letting me know that it would cost a grand to fix the cylinder, they just disabled the fuel injector for a mere $100, a workaround that most shop-owners would not divulge to their clients, much less offer outright as the most viable option. These guys are honest, serious, kind, and not full of shit, and do I appreciate that. And the truth is, though I am ready at this point to retire her if I must--and I must, and I do have a replacement in my sights or at very least my imagination--I would fix every broken part of my little red brick-wagon, myself, if only I had the tools, even if it took years.  For now, I guess we'll just keep on truckin'...even if it is for just a little while, and we don't get anywhere fast.

Good night, happy dreams, which was the beginning of what my mom used to say to us as kids every night, with the end always being I love you, see you in the morning

Peace and gratitude.

P.S. Just for the record, I do realize that I have changed person/voice freely in these paragraphs but this blog is not a grammar lesson, it's just a half-assed online journal so we think it's OK to write as we want.

It's just another do do do do

It's strange, as a human, to be phased out, like a pair of pants you used to wear all the time but now you only put on when you can't find anything else.  I think I'd rather be stuffed in a bag and sent off to Good Will, where at least someone might cut me into pieces and make a quilt of me, or use me for painting.

It's also strange to dream of big red white and blue ship launchings, and the random severed arm here and there, but I'll have to wait to think about that until I get on the train because I'm already running late and as usual I can't find any pants to wear.

Big day today, could be do-or-die for the Volvo. Hoping she's still got a few months to go...