Monthly Archives: January 2014

Carry it with you

I have hung onto that old pack since I got it in Bozeman, MT. It is hand-made by a local and so durable it has not a single popped stitch to show for its 18 years.  It has one broken zipper, to be fair and not drift into hyperbole. It is 5300 cubic centimeters, forest green,  with an extra-thick patch of military grade Cordura on the bottom and now- covered in laundry lint from the dryer vent.

I suppose it is the way of things that this once rebellious and profane venue turn into the maudlin vita of a man currently sheltering from a chill rain on a day off, when any number of noble challenges blurt raspberries through their hands taunting me to come outside.  I may yet get off this couch and run one of them squealing down the block, cuffing its ears and kicking it in the pants.  Could be a bike ride.  Could not be a bike ride.  One must wait and see.

So this backpack– it carried me to pastures to watch comets, deep beneath the sedimentary bed and limestone tunnels of the continental divide, in and out of dozens of rental homes and relationships.  I crossed many borders, some barely. This pack strapped snug to my hips and chest, my hands free and available to brush aside a hand reaching for my pocket, or to hold  as in prayer, pleading for empathy.

I can only speak for myself, but I think this is likely true of anyone. You have in your closets, garages, and beneath the bed items so stewed in your sweat that they are now more of you, than not.

I filled it this morning as though I was going on a trip.  Tent, tarp, pad, stove, gas, thermals, coffee, butter.

It is going to someone I doubt I will meet.  My journey is far from over, but I hung those guns up years ago.  I hope this pack helps this person who is getting it. I hope that they strap it on and feel the subtle knowledge in its fabric.  I wish they knew that it carried one traveler (with the courage to walk out a door in the first place) into unknown world and all the way back to a warm, safe place, where I am not alone, and I have extra sticks of butter.

Hold and maintain.


Clydesdale Hall of Fame- Pete Seeger

This keyboard is my banjo and it plays a mournful tune.

Pete Seeger died today, and there was nothing I could do.

Not to stop old Pete from leaving, he was determined to move on-

but the rest of us are stuck here and the day is getting long.

I read today he died a slightly disappointed man,

he meant to see more happen for the people and the land.

When chopping wood you don’t look at the log you are to split,

look at the one beneath it and you swing your axe to it.

Born in 1919 when the White Sox threw the series,

black soldiers coming home from war were feared for wanting liberty.

Pete saw the dust bowl come and go, fought poverty and misery.

he was singing for equality 15 years before Montgomery.

He sang for migrant worker’s rights in New York  last September.

Chopping wood 10 days before his death, and that,

I will remember.






My Dancer

Let’s just blog it out here for a minute and skip the moody prose, although you can expect a lot more of that in 2014.  Here’s what’s going on: that last crash rattled me.  I’ve been waddling into hot yoga 3 or 4 times a week, working to get back to that good feeling, that supple twisting spine and split second visits to the empty mind.   The heater whirs in the back corner, right above where I stand with two walls to lean on.  The class reaches back left hand to left foot, the open palm, the bend at the hip, like the toy drinking bird my grandfather had on the coffee table- bobbing and rising, bobbing and rising.  The class tips over their teapots to pour out their spouts.  Meanwhile, the beast in the corner grimaces.  Grasping his hairy, sweaty shin, he inches towards the ankle, then over the toes, then finally somewhere near the soft in-step by the scar he got swimming in the Adriatic sea 18 years ago.    The class moves on to the next pose, Warrior One, Virabhadrasana.  Never mind that.  This warrior still fights to get a hold on that slippery foot, then to arch the back and pull the foot towards the sky.  The spot in my ribs, up under my armpit, feels like it has a toy fire engine wedged into it.  Not pain exactly, but obstructed.  Something out of place?  Scar tissue? Swelling?  Who knows.  The subcutaneous and the cutaneous fat compress, although there is nowhere for it to redistribute. Just pressure and squeezing and then finally my teapot tips over, if only for a moment.  The other side is just a bit easier, but damn, still so humiliating.

This is nothing new though.  Practice self-observation without judgement, the highest calling of all.  I do it.  I observe without judgement, after I get the judgement thoroughly recorded and stored for safe keeping.   Sending power to my standing foot I tremble with the Elvis leg and take one full breath.  Sparkly tracers fill my vision when I release the foot.  Yoga makes me swoon and sway right on the edge between quitting and growing.  There’s really nothing to regret.  Just do what you can and save the bitching for later.

I’m a bit afraid of my bike, like when Old Yeller turned rabid. How could it do that to me?  A new bike might solve this, because a new bike solves just about everything.  New bikes are the cure for cancer, broken hearts, and the national deficit.

The big lumbering yogi lets the chitta vritti of bicycles clank around in his mind, holding onto his slippery squirming foot, he’s been worse off than this he thinks.  Then his mind goes blank.


A continued kind of day

It doesn’t really matter where it happened.  You certainly did not dream at the time that you wished to grow up and bowed, ground into cheap gristle hamburger meat rather than the marbled and fatty patties that low around you puckering their bewildered nostrils in and out with their fear.

Maximize pleasure and minimize pain.  Say it with me, Maximize pleasure, minimize pain.  As if.  I mean, really. As if that is any kind of mission statement to be proud of, like you can just blame everything on George H.W. Bush, the cause of your malaise.  You have no idea yet that the real gravy train of blame is still trundling along the tracks, biding his time until he gets a shot at the title and a world class opportunity to ram it in sideways for you and your ilk.  Nothing will ever be your fault again, other than poor decisions on restaurant menus.

In spite of this, and oblivious of the pending absolution, you feel responsible for your destiny so you jingle the change in your pocket and mull how best to use it.  You choose drink over food because ideas are what sustain you at this time in your life, and food comes along eventually.  The chance to raise a bottle to the sky and talk so smooth it feels like action, that is what will move this agenda along and get us to the next chapter- scheduled to begin tomorrow.