Friday, February 24, 2006

Another Friday Afternoon In This Universe.

Perhaps it isn't real after all. There are times and occasions when all the bubbles that extend themselves from me are small. On yet other occasions they are large, big, actually. This concept makes perfect sense to me. I am aware that when initially expressed the way it has been, it can easily be understood as senseless.
Conceptually, this has been a part of my psyche for the past 10 years or so. There are many analogies for such a similar sensation. Some so complex that I realize I would probably not even understand what I am reading. That was a noted area for me to work on when I was in Standard 6, which is 8th Grade. A test result came back that told me I wasn't understanding enough of what I was reading. Actually, it told them that the things that they asked me (something they believed that I interpreted from a reading sample), I was unable to correctly verify as true, false, unclear, invalid, made-up, confusing, round-about, or missing. That was odd, I remember examining, because when I read, I read. It is not in my head to take particular note of an idea or issue presented. Somewhat like the weather. The clouds that float above our heads are strongly influenced by wind. Or a lack of wind, several miles, or hundreds of miles away. High and Low pressure systems. I guess weather is a poor analogy. But by now, only four sentences later, you have probably let the thoughts of what I was just writing about escape into a different place. Now they come back. Or could if you really wanted them to.
The bubbles. Yes, Big Bubbles and Little Bubbles. I recall a cardboard cut-out figure of Tiger, from Winnie the Pooh. Big Bubbles may be the easiest to explain, and the most difficult to get out. There are days, hours, minutes, parts of minutes, etc., when it is remarkably difficult to express, exhume, or react in the way that my head would like to. Sure there are reasons. There are always reasons. It’s enjoyable to be able to express oneself in the way that we feel is our way. But all too often our way never manifests itself as we fully intend. So, those Big Bubble days or moments are when it's just stuck. Having a very difficult time getting to where it's trying to go or be. Bubbles can be and certainly are malleable. They can inflate, too. Every other word is awkward and in, yet out of character.
Those large, ungangly bubbles are sometimes non-existent. Little Bubbles. Easy is the flow and glee. Non-influenced by anyone but your glands. And, just as your pituitary can instantaneously let your entire physical being 'feel' afraid - goose pimples (goose bumps) - so too can some combination of internally produced chemicals change your outward expression. Odd. Our perception of time is odd. Why would it be different for a continental sublimation zone and the blink of a fire-fly’s blinker? This is where another Universe could come in. Another Universe could store all the time and distribute it like a coin-dispenser on a gas station attendant's belt. That's questionable though.
Little Bubbles. I like Little Bubbles. Although, to be tritely honest, Big Bubbles are a vice.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

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Just When I Thought

Just when I thought that I had nothing to write about, I found myself writing. What, I thought, am I going to scribe about on such an occasion. You see, I am writing such material because I just want to write. It is not always easy for me to write stories, or even sense for that matter. I don't even know who my audience is. I was given a marvelous idea by Judd the other day. If I perceive my problem to be a lack of stories to write about, how about picking a theme that can be returned to whenever I feel that lacking feeling? A nice idea.
Today I was feeling a little less glum. The high desert was cloudy and in the young 30's. The wind was blowing to the northeast where there were high cirrus clouds. This told the weather tale of it getting nicer - low pressure system to the NE sucking air from where I stood and filling the void several hundred miles away. As the day moved from a.m to p.m the skies cleared and the temperature rose. But, as we all know, that doesn't matter if there is a wind. There was a wind.
I was stuck in my head as I walked from camp to camp talking to kids. A little ironic as I must have just said to at least six kids that they need to focus more on their 'hard skills' - which are the 'doing' skills, apposed to reading and writing, the 'soft skills' - to get out of their heads and into their bodies! I need to focus on the hard skills in life a little more. I wasn't feeling particularly challenged in my job, I dwelled. It's nice and all, but the classroom experience is something I have always enjoyed. Not to worry, I assured myself, this too shall pass and the next thing that destiny has lined up will be in-front of me before I know it. I can't be rushing things just yet. I need to experience this environment in a few more seasons. The fact that it's the middle of winter and I spend 6 to 7 hours a day wondering around a sage desert has somewhat of an affect on my glumness.
This is a good lesson to me. It has taught me to listen to me more and ignore the people that are telling me what to do.

To Come: More.

Friday, February 17, 2006

La Pine

Today I was a Special Education teacher. They had me sit in a room with several other Special Education teachers and Educational Assistants and help high school students who needed help. Although I have a fine job, I don't work on Fridays for that outfit so I have signed-up to substitute teach for this school district. Doing whatever it is that needs to be done.
This past tuesday I received a phone call from a female computer asking me if I was interested in working the abovementioned job. Seeing as I'd like to eventually be in the school system where I would have the option of getting the summers to me and my family, I figured I should expose myself as much as possible. Then those who I have exposed myself to can decide for themselves if I'm worth it or not. Be careful how you express things. That was an early lesson I learned.
So there I am, waiting for the chime - I guess nowadays they chime and don't ring, must be some high-falooting psychological/political espionage reasoning they have - chatting with adults and students, drinking coffee and having a fine time. The day begins with a trot as a handful of students slanter in and prepare to look like they are working. This is the case for perhaps a third of the kids. The other half are extremely disinterested in anything worthwhile. It became apparent through observation and being told this, but if they have nothing to do, they can read a newspaper or a magazine. Whatever happened to military school and corporal punishment? Sometimes I get the feeling that we are teaching kids how to do less and less and expect little of themselves because we don't really understand what our own issues and boundries and capabilities are as teachers/parents/substitute teachers/grown-ups/post-20's folk.
As the day and hours of the day proceeded I met some very interesting individuals and had some wonderful conversations about spirits, leaders, colors, bones, feet, and most things purple.
One of the day's hours I had a class of 10 for Remedial Math. Remedial, nice word. On other days they work out of a text book. Today they had a blue worksheet to complete. This was not done before, the worksheet thing. Three of the kids where very self-disruptive and disruptable. They really didn't really know. They understood what I said when I told them what I hate about my job. They also mistook their rights as students for those of another century and civilization. Whatever that means, but that's what it seemed like - remember, those civilizations and centuries don't have to be in the past. Some learned how to add three digit numbers, others how to determine the number of seconds in a 1/4 hour. It's all good I guess. I'm still undecided I guess. It's all about guessing right and knowing where the luck will fall.
As the time went into the bigger numbers and back to the little numbers I got more into the swing of where I was. No different to from where I have come. The main difference being that you can't do nothin' if they're stoned. The Office Manager liked me, I liked her and the locale. Looks like they will give me a call when another teacher wants a long weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nothing Happened Today

The funniest thing happened today. I became aware that I am really someone else. It’s really baffling how this could have gone on for so long unchecked, but somehow it just slipped right on by. The first clue was people getting frustrated with me because they were apparently talking to me, addressing me, and I was not responding. They would bring it to my attention, and I would just scoff in response, as I felt they were daft. I am not the kind of person who would do something like that! It then occurred to me that the people giving me feedback on my behavior were very unfamiliar to me. That’s odd, I went on, why would an apparent stranger talk to me as if they’ve known me for years? I see. There is no me. No you. No one in-between. There is only a middle with a small protrusion where the handle used to be. Fine, as long as we are all coming from the same direction, there are no problems, no conclusions, and nothing to argue about. We all seem to understand what we need (to understand, that is). It is very important that instead of striving for agreement we rather collectively aim to just understand one another’s warped perspectives. I believe that is the crux of a successful media conglomerate’s success.
Now, I have been sure for years that there is one place that we all go to when we are not here. I am not referring to something like a “heaven” or “hell” or any of those more commonly thought of end-of-life destinations. The place and time that I am thinking of is something attached to the field we currently experience. The field that makes us what we are. Not the matrix or energy field or universal connectivity. But perhaps something more like a plateau. A plateau that extends its surface to where there is no longer a need to be anything. A place where all the pieces are found out to be distinctly separate, contain no value, assume no dimension, and don’t have a beginning nor an end. It’s a little puzzling at first, but if there were such a place, would you too not think it likely that we are living that in our daily lives? Along with that burning log, the flashing light, the stoic fragment of volcanic rock, the ringing in our ears…along with all the other things that you might be able to think of.
What comes to mind when I think of the above last sentence is all the things that I might think of. Here’s a short list:

  • Portable devices left in the seat pocket of DC-10 aircraft in the mid-to-late ‘80’s.
  • Comfortable ways to cross your legs.
  • Thoughts a rock might have.
  • Discarded tealeaves, which, if read, contain the winning PowerBall numbers.
  • Seldom remembered pieces of notebook paper.
  • Imprints on the back of fifteen envelopes.
  • Things that are of importance to other people that you never realized were even things.
  • Such a list.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Skiing Under The Moon

On this lovely crisp evening seven grown ups, two little ones, and five dogs at Tumalo Falls, about 20 minutes from town, went to slide on very packed, icy snow. What is it about us human folk that make us want to experience variety? Is it that we feel some sort of a need not to repeat the same activity over and over? A deer, for example, wonders endlessly in search of one thing. In fact, so do many other living things. Not us. We get to enjoy all sorts of things over and over. One another, ‘nature’, food, television, travel, education, jobs, telephones, hats, and books are just some examples we take for granted as part of our experience.
We set out on pretty bumpy, icy snow as we headed up into the hills along Tumalo road, which ended at a parking lot and the lower of many many waterfalls that cascade through the mountains. Joanna had Nicholai on her back in a backpack carrier. John was pulling their new ‘chariot’ with Ella in it. The rest of us were free to ski as we could. I, not being too stable when it comes to balance, had to concentrate heavily on not falling over. Softer snow offers me a little more support, as it can be more forgiving on the skis and head.
A little way into our ski we could see the approaching hill-mountain was glowing nicely. It didn’t take long to realize the rising Moon, which was not yet in our sight, was making it glow so mystically. Within minutes the hills in front of us started to glow some more, and we realized that the presence of the Moon was imminent. Looking behind us we saw another hill, and in spectacular silence, the rays of the full glowing Moon. Watching with a combination of cliché and surprise, I could see conifers on the top of the hill silhouetted by the bright Moon. The Man in the Moon quickly showed us his left eye, then nose, and looked down on us as our path suddenly change from black to shiny white.
I envisioned myself planet-surfing. The rock on which I was standing whipped down with amazing speed as the stationary Moon let me see more of what it was really made out of. It never ceases to inspire and strike me how much we don’t know. How much we are in the grips of the planet on which we stand. How little we realize that. How often we look at something a quarter the size of our planet, 250,000 miles away, and not feel humbled by the enormity of it all. Once again I realized the value of seeing a full Moon rising. I don’t remember when I last sat and watched a full Sun rise. It has happened, but not intentionally. That’s something I should plan for. Although, the Sun being 93,000,000 miles away rings differently in my eyes. That’s a lot of miles. The Moon’s distance is almost manageable. Steve Coy’s Ford Ranger has gone that far. My head spun with the excitement of seeing a full Moon rise and anxiety over falling to the ground in misbalance. Funny contrast, but real in my brain, and it was difficult to let go of the anxiety.
We skied until Joanna’s shoulders could bare the weight and strain no longer, and we returned back to the car. The others kept on going. I can only assume they had a glorious time basking in the reflection of the Sun off the Moon. Nicholai fell asleep in the car, then in bed. The Winter Olympians skied and skated in Italy. And we ate and rested in the United States.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Winter Fest in Bend

This is a nice time of year to be the person who I am. Just yesterday I had my first moment in a long time (as far as I remember) where I was truly in a good mood. It wasn't because anything extra-ordinary had occurred, I just was. I enjoyed the moment, and shared it with my wife. We decided to enjoy the moment. And we did.
The City of Bend is having its WinterFest 2006 this weekend. There are vendors, wine sharers, beer sharers, ice sculptures, magicians, kids story-tellers, drummers, ski-ramp with ski-people ramping, fireworks, Live Art, aero planes, people, music of a wide variety of kinds, and art in the formal and informal sense. A nice thing to have this time of year. People are out of their houses, showing themselves and others that they too have the yearning to be somewhere other than at home.
The ski-ramp hosted single and double ski skiers. Some were young, and others younger. Fireworks popped in the sky as Nicholai looked on, not in amazement, but rather with a ‘what’s this all about?’ kind of look, and ‘why would they want to do that?’ expression. It was chilly but not uncomfortable that first night. My son and I had walked into town from the house, which is a decent 10-minute walk for most of us. He’s a rock star! We also checked out the Leer Jet fuselage and small two-person helicopter. He was all about that.
The second of the three days I went to the festival on my own in the middle of the day. It was a little strange to be there on my own, but after a little bite to eat I went wondering to see what they had to offer a person like me. There were six or eight ice sculptors doing their thing. Some very traditional looking, others in shapes of things that couldn’t quite be made out. A magician took a white ball and put it on a red kerchief, he then showed us that the white ball had become one with the kerchief by holding the silky fabric in the air for us to see. Half a ball on either side. Not a very impressive trick using magnets. There was a tent set-up for kids to play Go Fish, and Pie Throwing. Sponsored by the Free Church. Are they nihilists too, I wondered? Just around and next to them was a sort of petting zoo. I say sort of because I don’t really know what a petting zoo looks like. There were two horses. Actually one was horsepony and the other half horsepony and half pony. There was also a great-looking flopsy eared rabbit. Just a little further on was a large exhibit tent. In it were food and wine vendors from all over. A tasting set-up. The roof of the tent was clear plastic, and the heat in there was just great green-house warmth.
I was in no mood to drink wine, but I walked to all the food sampling tables I cared to visit and had some great boysenberry pie (boysenberries are very readily available in these parts I hear), fig bread, butternut squash spread, ‘nutrition bar’, olive crisp bread, and red liquorish. Several artists were displaying there work in the middle of the large oval. A potter whose work I found to be appealing will be making us a couple plates to add to our small dinner plate collection (we first need to tell him that). We bought a mug from him today. It’s waiting in the kitchen for me to make coffee and drink out of. After I biked home I found that the house was quiet. Sleeping people. I stepped back out into the early evening air and thought about the next day.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Stuck in the Mud

Today was an interesting day. All went smoothly up until the end. I heard from a co-worker that they too thought there would be some kind of a mishap. Indeed there was.
We leave the site sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 pm. I had some time to kill so I was on a short hike up the bluff. The snow is pretty hard-packed right now, so the uphill walk is pretty sure-footed and easy to stick the tip of your boot into and take a step. The climb is pretty steep and it doesn't take long to get out of breath. I climbed for about 10 minutes, straight up, and on turning around realized that it doesn't take long at all to gain elevation.
While catching my breath I heard a somewhat discomforting sound. The rumble of a Sub not going anywhere. A Sub is neither a sandwhich nor a below water-level floatation device (in this case). It is a Chevrolet Suburban (today it was New Old White, a 1984 model, white with blue pinstripes, and jacked-up a little so that the basebooards are about mid-thigh - I'm 5'10"). The rumble of the engine travels pretty well in the desert, especially when other noises are Eagles, Coyotes and Jack Rabbits.
Even to the untrained ear there is a distinctive rumble-whir-sloosh that goes with a large rubber wheel rapidly rotating in a slice of sticky desert mud. Looking toward where the noise was coming from I saw our vehicle moving stationary up the road. I had a wonderful view of it. If I held a ruler up at arms-length it wouldn't have measured no more than 8mm. I recall thinking to myself (and anyone else that was listening) - 'that's an odd place to park...oh well...perhaps Midnight Ember is just running over to Slanty Camp to drop something off, and parking there in the meantime'. I then saw the door open and she stepped out. I kept going up the bluff. The noise previously described incubated and gradually caught up with the image and thoughts I had just had. Not a moment later my mobile rang. It was Midnight Ember, the Sub was stuck. Would I be able to assist? Well of-course. After all this was my (and 6 others) ride back to town, about 90 miles away. The sun was steadily setting (as per usual) and I soon found out that the Spirit Chaser (the Head Field Instructor) was not in the field with the other Sub. Hmmm, I began, this could take a while.
A fifteen or so minute walk later and I was looking at the problem. The left rear wheel was floating in water, surrounded by goowey mud. A couple folks where already there doing some proactive problem-solving. It started by cutting small sage bushes and shoving them in the hole in hopes of gaining some traction. No go. As soon as we got that left rear somewhat grabbing, the front right would start to dig and sink. Another ten or so minutes later we had 8 orange-wearing teenagers tugging on a rope tied to the front tow hook. No go. Another ten or so minutes later we each had grabbed an arm-full of split wood and tried to rail-road-tie the tires. Less of a go. With each attempt we were just digging the Sub deeper and deeper, until the under-carrage of the vehicle was just inches away from the mud. Lion requested all the staff together for a huddle. The decision was to stop now before we just dig ourselves deeper. The Spirit Chaser was about an hour and a half to two hours out. We'd wait.
I went for another walk. The Sun had gone behind the bluff and it was getting a little chilly quite quickly. Medicine Heart and I walked out further into the desert to where the Sun did still shine. An hour or so later we landed ourselves back at the Sub. She stayed while I went to a near-by camp to see what they were up to. I had time to spend. After chatting with kids and Staff at the camp I felt it was time to return. There was a fimiliar rumble of a Sub in the distance, struggling up and down and through mud pools. It was the Spirit Chaser.
I'm always amaized by how long it takes to travel horizontal distances, especially in the sage desert. You can see for a long way, but takes a way long time to travel from there to here. I walked back to our Sub, and arrived while the "rescue" Sub (Old Blue, a Suburban made in about 1979) was a couple minutes away. He approached.
Instead of stopping and saying Hi, How are Ya? He whipped on past us, stopped, and, speedily, hasily, and somewhat wrecklessly backed up to within 10 feet of New Old White, promptly digging his left rear tire almost as deep into the mud as ours was originally. The four of us that were standing outside our vehicle couldn't believe our eyes...and with a glance at another told the Spirit Chaser to get back in his Sub and step on it. He did as the four of us now adrenalin-pumped-desirees pushed like tomorrow was not an option. We pushed the Sub for a good 40 feet. The tire track left in the mud from that left rear tire was knee deep at best.
After a short discussion he repositioned the Old Blue in a more appropriate place, and hooked a yellow tow strap between the vehicles. I climbed in the New Old White and everyone else climbed in the Old Old Blue to weight it down as much as possible. Old Blue reversed a little then he gunned the bejeepers out of it. As it fish-tailed down the muddy road I stomped on the gas (in first gear, and 4 Low) as the nose of my Sub figuratively lifted up and hopped out of its grooves and on to the muddy road it should have been on in the first place. There was much rejoicing.
After that we were left to our own devices. With barely enough twilight to get us to the tarmac we hustled off along a pretty trecherous mud and water-soaked single-track road toward Hampton - a town which consists of the Hampton store. Nothing else. No houses. Nothing. Nice quirky people who make decent road-diner food. Spirits were high and bellies being filled, as per usual, on the Sub-ride home.

We've all gotta begin somewhere

Here I go with my first installment of actually writing to whoever is intersted in reading my writing. There is a clumsey start.
I don't have any material to write about, so I will just keep on with this endless ramble until I decide that I've had enough and want to step outside for a toast. Okay, perhaps that's it for today, and I'll wait and see what happens to what I just wrote.
2/8/06 Posted by Picasa