Archive For: Family

Brown Dog teaches …

“Not yet Brown Dog! It’s too early! Go back to bed!”

This is my equivalent to hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. Every morning Brown Dog enthusiastically and urgently prances about, essentially saying “Gottagogottagogotaago!!,” while her mean and unfeeling companion hasn’t the energy to crawl out of bed yet. This has become part of the routine. On some levels, there is resentment in these actions: I went on this grand adventure, and all I have to show for it is a dog I did not ask for. Yeah me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love Brown Dog. Precisely because of that, she is often the target of my frustrations with life in general … and with myself. She has an exuberant energy that drives me crazy … mostly because I envy it. The irony being that my NOT having it is essentially my own fault. And any resentment is really just my inherent allergy to responsibility. Truth be told … once I actually get the walkies project started … it usually turns into a moment of peace (if often slightly agitated peace thanks to B. D.), reflection, and … believe it or not … learning. I take these moments to appreciate: appreciate what is around me; appreciate what I DO have and what I don’t; appreciate the simple fact of living. These moments are also good for letting the mind wander in nomadic bliss. My thoughts are often random, but I will explore that randomness to its very edges.

SQUIRREL!!!!

SQUIRREL!!!!

This morning, as I admired the early morning light on the autumn colors, the chill, brisk air instilled some nifty thoughts in my head. One that I may actually pursue (let my inner inventor run for a change) is the concept of a treadmill for dogs. As seems to be the norm for this time of year, Brown Dog’s focus was torn between the desperate need to GO NOW!!, the finicky need to GO HERE!!, and the distracting need to  CHASE SQUIRREL!! Basically a typical morning’s walk. Nearing the end of the walk, our slightly frayed, “ghetto” rope of a leash once again burned my fingers as B. D. once again decided THAT squirrel was Public Enemy Number One. So I said to her: “They are everywhere, girl. If you chase them all, we’ll never get anywhere.”

With an eye awakening smack, the cold air put its fingers to my cheek and I suddenly GOT IT!

I was talking about squirrels to a dog, but there was a profound lesson in what I had just said for myself (and maybe others). This simple statement so well applies to many other things … but most applicably in MY life to dreams and … causes. Dreams are everywhere. So are battles to be fought. One of the temptations an Idealistic Thinker faces is the need to follow ALL the dreams; the need to fight ALL the battles.

THAT way lays eternal frustration.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so adrift these days is because I have CAST myself adrift. If I keep chasing everything that catches my attention, my own personal squirrels, I will never get anywhere. To reinforce this message, B. D. suddenly got another scent, and started towing me at the cost of her own breathing … again. This time I said, “Stop choking yourself chasing after something you will never catch!!”

The cold air slapped me in the face again as soon as I said this.

Yep. Brown Dog is one fine teacher!

 

Walking on

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. -Lao Tzu
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Once again it has been a long while since I have dared put my ongoing journey into the weak vessel that is written language. Photography is a better method of sharing for me, but sometimes it too does not relay what needs to be relayed. Anyhoo, as happens when time passes, much change has come into my life. Paths past have been left and/or revisited, while paths future still live in the nebulous land called Possibility. Companions have moved on with their own journeys, which for many now means a separation of ways … though our paths may cross again. Such is the wonder of the land that I once again am heading towards.

Though I did not complete the Appalachian Trail as a Through-Hiker, there is no doubt that it has changed not only my view of life, but how I live it. The experiences I had there and around it; the people who I met on it … the journey so far has helped shape who I am becoming and where my next steps will take me. The irony of this adventure is that much of the journey has me staying put in one place for indeterminate lengths of time. Right now I am back at what I guess I can call my home base, the “attic” of my mom’s house. While here I need to start repairing some of the inadvertent damage my exploration of parts unknown caused, nurturing the seeds that have been planted along the way, and regrouping for the next part of The Grand Adventure.

One of the potential seeds planted would have me joining a fellow explorer, known on the A.T. as EZ Rock, as he does a documentary in Colorado. This is a photographer’s dream, and I seem to more and more be calling myself a photographer. But there are a few stumbling blocks (as usual) that I need to … well … stumble through.

The biggest challenges are a lack of functional equipment, and the transport of my newest hiking partner, none other than the famous(?) Brown Dog. To that end, a new gofundme campaign has been started:

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More importantly, since four-legged companions seem to be discriminated against in the travel world, I need a method of getting myself and Brown Dog from eastern Massachusetts to somewhere in Colorado. Volunteers, suggestions, and/or donations would be most welcome!! Spread the word and maybe I’ll have a chance. And since I know that four-legged companions get way more attention than scruffy middle-aged men, here is a cute pic of Brown Dog:

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MA 02324 41.964741, -70.966568 My Training Camp

This time I took a left

It has now been over a year since I began this … you know, I am not quite sure what to call it anymore.

Hmmmm

It started off as an adventure. Gradually it morphed in walk-about. Then it shifted into a whole new realm … maybe the world of dreams. But as a I ramble about this, I am clarifying for myself. What I am doing is simply LIVING LIFE.

Finally.

That said, part of the lack of posting about life recently is being too busy living it, part of it is living said life in the woods far from any communications capabilities other than smoke signals. Fortunately, I am momentarily pretending to be civilized, so time for a bit of an update. Team Idiot finally escaped the dangerous jungles of suburban Cleveland, managing to make it all the way to the safety of the Spiritual Way Station known as Damascus, VA. Unfortunately, the spiritual world is both of light AND shadow. It seems this past winter shadow seeped in deep, and instead of the bright greeting we were hoping to find, we were instead met with the worst of the human spirit. Apparently free and happy spirits are not welcome to the spiteful spirits that actually try to dominate this otherwise beautiful haven.

But I digress. Back in part of the heart of Appalachia, the team intends to hang here until the Bacchanalian Fest known as Trail Days is over, then decide where to wander to next. Gonna find a place to sit down, do artsy stuff, sell said artsy stuff, hopefully rendering financial issues less of a P.I.T.A.  I will personally try to actually finish one or three of the ever growing number of projects I keep creating.

That was an awful lot of words to get to my ultimate point, that I have gone and started yet ANOTHER blog, kind of spin-off from this blog. Our newest member of Team Idiot is Brown Dog, who has left the city for the first time to explore the wonders of nature. It’s a work in project, but check out …

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF BROWN DOG.

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What comes after the summit?

Hey guys! It has been far too long since I last updated the masses (all 6 of you) on the status of my journey. By now 4 or 5 of you have had a brief moment (no more than a passing thought) wondering if I have ended up in a ditch somewhere, then immediately went on with the more important things in life such as finishing cleaning the toilet. But I will type away, keeping my delusions that SOMEONE might be a bit curious.

Before I set foot on the Appalachian Trail, it was pretty clear that there would be a lot of climbing involved … clear to anyone who has ever seen a mountain. It was less clear to the middle-aged couch potato who still thought of himself as 18 how STRENUOUS and painful some of that climbing would be. But without fail, reaching the summit always carried a sense of achievement; frequently a sense of awe; and all too often a sense of severe pain and hunger. Yet we continued on, sometimes because we really had no choice if we wanted continued survival, but usually simply because that is what we do. But as I have no doubt mentioned many times before, my life is governed by irony. Little did I know that the pains and rewards of that first part of my current journey … a mere hiking a few hundred miles through varying terrain with a house on my back … PALED in comparison to what came next.

logo-546e4da8_site_iconWithout getting into TOO much detail (after all that is what my best-selling yet to be book is about), suffice to say that the emotional and spiritual part of this journey that has defined the last couple of months is to the hike like The Incredible Hulk is to the kid that always got stuffed into the locker. If you want a less S.A.T.-ish metaphor, or better yet clear speech, it was downright HARD! I reached the depths of despair … not even being able to envision continuing another moment … yet still continued. I found moments of pure nirvanic bliss, so content that if my life stopped at THAT moment, I would know the Question to the Ultimate Answer … yet still continued. I did manly battle with inner demons galore, with many a scar … yet still continued.

And here I am, at the proverbial peak … wondering what is next.

Now I can finally start this blog post. Since I spent so much time in prepping you, I’ll shorten things up a bit. What is next is to continue climbing. No more path to WALK on? Guess I am going to have to fly now. So my new life plan in one long-winded set of words: yet another website (which is also a business) up and running; one old website in the process of being revamped and also turned into a business; two more websites to be upgraded to join the team; all to fall under one shell that also will require a website; three books to finish writing; going to massage school to round off the plan; all this with no steady place to live and no active income yet.

I think I got it all.

Stay tuned folks, it is really starting to get interesting now!!

A morality tale

Once upon a time there was this man who was feeling mighty lost. Unsure how to deal with the hollow feeling that was plaguing him, he locked himself in a nowhere room for a couple of nights … but found the company very lacking. Since hiding from … whatever it was he was hiding from … seemed ineffective, he decided to start walking. He put his bag on his back, left the nowhere room, and walked to the end of the street. Here, something told him to go right. He walked to the end of THAT street, and something told him to go left. He didn’t really know where he was going, just that forward motion was needed.

He walked. And walked. And walked. Then walked some more. As he walked, worlds were created and destroyed. Thoughts paraded in an endless stream, and then were no more. Sadness opened the floodgates, anger beat holes in the walls, and curiosity did its show and tell. And the man continued to walk.

Sometimes the little voice inside the man, the voice of wisdom … the voice of censure … the voice of creativity … the still small voice that should be heard but is so often ignored … spoke to him. It said that maybe he should ask for directions. The man answered his voice, “How can I ask directions when I don’t know where I am going?” The voice then said that there were people wondering where he was … maybe even concerned about him. Again the man flippantly answered, “I’d tell them where I was if I actually knew.”

In the midst of ugliness ... beauty. Or is it the other way around?

In the midst of ugliness … beauty. Or is it the other way around?

The man walked on.

The still small voice, not to be deterred, got wily. It appealed to the one thing the man rarely ignored … his hunger. With this backup, the man decided that he would stop walking … at least for the moment. He found the nearest place to sit and eat (at this point no longer so near), and stopped his feet for a bit. The still small voice took advantage of the pause, and finally got the lost man’s attention.

After eating, the man considered what the voice had been telling him. He also considered maybe actually picking a destination. As these thoughts bounced around the emptiness inside, a couple with a cute young girl came in to order some food. Shortly thereafter, a woman came in with an equally cute and young boy. As far as the man could tell, these people did not know each other.

This did not deter the young girl. She was so excited to see the young boy, that they were immediately friends. For several minutes they interacted on a level of pure joy, giggling and laughing. It was a pure, innocent moment. It made everyone there, including the lost man, smile with the simple love and happiness of the moment. The man thought to himself, “Yes, that’s it.” The still small voice agreed.

Suddenly the persistent shadows; the enemies of innocence, came rushing into the room. It dawned on the man that his enjoyment of the moment would so easily mark him as something not to be trusted in this world gone mad. He was a nameless wanderer; a stranger. If ANYTHING happened to these children in the immediate future he would be the automatic scapegoat, the demon in the room.

The moment was made. The moment was lost.

Shortly after this stark and ugly thought, the little boy left, and the little girl slipped into a screaming tantrum. The man, always alert for lessons to be learned, wondered what the moral of THIS story was.

Even the still small voice has not answered him yet.