In the dark of the night

In the dark of the winter night

I lay awake, thinking of you and me.

I remember sunny treks in the Rockies,

You far ahead,

Me watching thunderclouds.

I remember when the rocks around the fire

Blew apart.

Fortunately we were higher up

Picking dandelion greens and miners lace

For our salad.

I remember hiking back to our 4WD,

Only to find a dead battery, miles from a road.

But we also found a hand throttle, a hand choke, and a hand crank!

The 67 Nissan Patrol was well prepared for just such an emergency.

We drive that way, starting with a crank, until we reached Gunnison where they fixed it (though the generator would plague us for the time we still owned it).

What an adventure

That I relived

Awake

In the middle

Of the dark night

Thinking of you

And me.

Thanks for all the memories.

– Small town boy

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Why can’t Christmas Gorilla go to the Beach?

The little gorilla loved Christmas at the beach, but he wasn’t allowed to go down to the sandy beach.

The little gorilla had on his red and white Santa hat, and

The little gorilla had on his bright red boxer shorts, but

There was a winter storm out there.

Rain and 13 mph winds out of the SSW.

The Christmas Gorilla didn’t want to get his special Christmas costume wet and sandy.

So, he sits on my desk with that look in his eye that Tawny (my golden retreiver) gets when she wants to go outside, eyebrows and all.


See what I mean? How can I ignore that silent plea?


This is Tawny waiting for me to take her down to the beach.

And that’s where the problem lies, with Tawny’s obsession.

Rocks. Rocks the size that would fit into your hand.

Tawny has a game she plays with these stones.

She finds a good one on the gravel road in front of the beach hoouse and carries it happily in her mouth the 50 yds or so to the sandy beach.

Whereupon she runs out on the playa, stops, and tosses the stone into the air.

And then digs, spraying sand out behind her like snow from a snow blower.

My grandchildren love this and encourage her.

She needs little encouragement.

She makes a crater, and then another one a little further down the beach, until a trail of craters is left behind us, marking our path home.

Finally, she carries her stone back to the beach house and hides it in the beach grass withher other stones and an occasional tennis ball.

She also does this in our backyard in Corvallis, until

We put in garden boxes.

So, how is that the little gorilla’s problem? Well let me tell you:

1 – Tawny gets sand all over the Christmas Gorilla

2 – The Christmas Gorilla wants to dig too

3 – Water (rain and ocean) are not good for a, pardon if I say it, a little stuffed Christmas Gorilla

4 – There are birds on the beach,  crows and gulls, that would like to snatch the little guy

5 – I’m afraid tawny, in her frenzy, will bury the little gorilla.

See, my arguments are well reasoned.

Oh, well. Let’s go.

– Small town boy

PS – to my Australian friend, since I graduate from both OSU and UofO (masters @ Beavers and doctorate @ ducks) my daughter says I’m a duckbill platypus!

Christmas Gorilla 

Once upon a time there was a small gorilla who believed in Santa Claus.

And so every Christmas he would put on his Santa hat and his bright red boxer shorts.


Each evening during Advent, he would sit down with his iPad and write a letter to Santa:

Dear Santa, (He would begin)

I am writing you a letter on behalf of someone I know who really needs a Christmas present.  She has everything she needs of course, but I”m sure you can come up with an appropriate gift.  Look into her heart and see what she has always wanted, please.

Sincerely, 

The Christmas Bear

Santa was confused, of course.  He was used to Christmas letters requesting toys, video games, bicycles, dolls and such, but this was a new one. The Christmas Bear? (He looks like a little gorrila in the picture above) And who was this little girl who was to receive this precious present? where does she live? How do I find out what she dearly wants?

So he wrote him back asking these questions.

Dear Christmas Bear,

I received your letter filled with warmth and love, but who is this little girl? Is she someone close to you? Someone you obviously care for and have empathy and compassion for. I must know more about her to be able to identify what she has always wanted.

Yours,

Santa Claus

The little gorilla pondered this letter from Santa and worried about how to tell him about this wonderful woman (50 years old) who had suddenly made such a difference in his life.  She was 9,000 miles away. She was a single mom of 4 children and took time to help the world on YouTube!

She knew about fitness, sleep meditation, yoga, healthy diet and much more that she shared in her YouTube vlogs, her blogs, her books and herself on several social internet sites.

She was like, OUT THERE!

So he wrote back,

Dear Santa,

It’s me, the Christmas Bear again. In answer to your questions,

Yes, I am intimately acquainted with her through something called ASMR, a whispered meditation, and she always talks directly to me; never too busy to ask how I am doing: how I’m sleeping; how I’m getting along in my relationships, how I’m decluttering and setting up happy rituals at bedtime.

She has come back from a traumatic divorce, takes care of her kids like a guardian angel, and still takes time to talk to me.

I live in Oregon. she lives in Australia.

Sincerely,

The Christmas Bear

Now Santa was intrigued. He was having some fitness and diet issues as well as some trouble sleeping. Again he wrote back to the Christmas Bear,

Dear Christmas Bear,

Boy Howdy, does your friend sound like someone special.  Yes, I can deliver to Australia. If you tell me her name I will watch some of her YouTube videos so I can get to know her too. 

Could you tell me her name?

Yours,

Santa Claus

The little gorilla felt like he was manifesting a Christmas surprise!

Dear Mr. Claus,

Her name is Lauren Ostrowski Fenton, wait let me check the spelling. No, it’s correct (I often get it wrong).

We are close personal friends, I just know it.

Thank you for all your help. It’s in your hands now.

Love,

The Christmas Bear. 

PS I just hope she will come to America sometime.

– Small town boy

Self Reliance

One of the principals of Burning Man is

Radical Self Reliance.

I want to rely on myself more.

For approval, for direction, for completing tasks.

No more, Is this OK? Or Does this look good? Or You decide.

I can validate myself, if I only focus and intend 

To be myself.

To find out who myself is I meditate and sit quietly and pause.

Beneath my mental rantings, my insecurities, my ‘please others’ stressor,

Lies myself, waiting to be.

He is a shy fellow, not used to be consulted in these matters, but

With use and exerise he will strengthen in his resolve to be.

To be felt, acknowledged, relied upon.

WWLD?

Intuition is the key, along with lack of expectation.

Arrive at the moment and listen.

What happens next is miraculous,

Small surprises, great moments of happiness, joy d’verve.

Looking back I see what myself can do

Cooperating and enjoying the universe moment by moment.

Simplifying life, one sense at a time.

I think I will eat a strawberry now.

Tht color, the texture,, the smell, the taste,

It is all too much.

Sensory overload.

I think I will enjoy my strawberry one sense at a time.

See how beautiful it is? Look at the seeds, the leaves, the variation in colors, the texture.

Wow, even one sense at a time overwhelms the soul.

Myself grows.

– Small town boy

In the Dark of the Morning

In the dark of the morning,

In the cool of the night,

My life begins anew each day.

My heart searches you out

To be reassured that you will

Be with me today.

You are not a morning person, I know,,

And I believe in early to bed and early to rise

Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

So your day ends after mine,

And my day begins without you.

Be that as it may, I enjoy the dark morning,

Hoping the sky is clear and the moon is out

And Orion is walking the skies.

I am alone now, but soon

You will wake and ask for coffee

And a NutriSystems little bag of granola,

And my day will begin again,

With you in it.

A touch, a smile, a joke, a text,

Or an update on world events,

And we are synched again,

My heart beats with you,

And I feel you with me

As I go to Fitness Over Fifty

For my morning exercise,

Leaving you to see the grandchildren off to school.

I’m not with you tonight,

But this dark morning, in the cool of the night,

My heart finds you,

Sleeping,

And dreaming of when

We’re together again.

– Small town boy

Live in the moment

I subscribe to Lauren Ostrowski Fenton

Who does deep meditation and

Life counseling on YouTube.

She, and others, tell me to live in the moment, not the past, not the future.

As part of the work I’ve been doing with myself and meditation over the past few years, this makes sense to me.

But,

I noticed this morning, as I drove back from the grocery,

My moment is moving,

Through time and space!

When I try to focus on a moment, to enjoy with all the senses the delight therein,

It is gone, and replaced by another.

So I start again, quieting my mind,

Relaxing (not too much as I am driving),

I smell the smells of the moment,

I hear all the sounds of the moment,

I taste, I feel, I see !

And then poof,

It’s gone

And I find myself in a new moment.

This one’s a little different from the one that just went past.

I’m beginning to get a little giddy.

I find delight in greeting each new moment.

I await without expectation what the new moment will offer.

Just this moment I’m filled with love for you.

Just this moment I’m filled with love for me too!

Oh God! What a moment I’m having!

-Small town boy

The gun virus

It wasn’t a virus really, but

It acted like one.

People blamed Israel because of uzis.

They blamed Russia because of AK-47’s.

But the truth is no one knows where it came from.

But they know what it does.

It causes the firing pin not to fire.

Even replacing it with a new pin doesn’t work.

Guns don’t fire.

People who have spent a lot of money on guns are mad.

Police are frantic, military too.

Now robbers still use them and shout “BANG!”

The news is full of robbery, murder, and war that no longer rely on guns.

Knives have replaced guns for the most part, but that’s another story .

Archery has picked up.

People still kill people, but not with guns.

What’s next?

Hmmm, my car won’t start?

– Small town boy

The Tribe, My Tribe

Yesterday I made a new friend, we have experiences in common.

He’s an educator like me.

He taught 5th and 6th in southern Oregon for 30 years,

I taught high school science in Portland for 32 years.

He is 72; I am 76

And yet, we shared something.

We are both members of the Tribe, my Tribe,

The Tribe of educators.

We regaled each other with stories of our teaching days,

Stories of students past, former and older,

Stories of how we tricked or cajoled them to learn,

Magic and nonsense necessary for them to succeed.

We spent hours laughing and being sober over these stories of our past lives as teachers.

Stories at the core of our lives.

We are members of

The Tribe Who are educators.

There is a brotherhood/sisterhood of those who have stood before the faces of children and taught them to live.

This Tribe has expressed his or her own uniqueness given to us by the Creator by teaching children to live,

And we were expressing it yet today by teaching each other to live and value our contribution to the lives of children.

We’ve both been retired for years (nearly 30 yrs),

My wife and I are members in good standing of the Tribe of educators.

My kids too.

My mother and my wife’s mother are elders in the Tribe, and richly venerated.

There are many members who are retired now,

And many more still in the traces.

I ask the Creator to be with each one of us as we do what we were made for.

I ask the creator to be with me and my new friend too.

We have chosen this path, to the benefit of children.

-Small town boy

The Foolish

The fool archetype:

The Fool/Jester archetype urges us to enjoy the process of our lives. Although the Fool/Jester can be prone to laziness and dissipation, the positive Fool/Jester invites us all out to play–showing us how to turn our work, our interactions with others, and even the most mundane tasks into FUN.

http://www.uiltexas.org/files/capitalconference/Twelve_Character_Archetypes.pdf

If I am foolish,

I jump out of the box,

I push the envelope.

I am creative.

Humor is my life’s blood.

Shame has no place in my foolish world.

To be quiet is not foolish.

You’re not foolish when you are in a rut.

The foolish are shocking, startling, and unexpected.

Share your foolishness with others, with the world.

I cannot love foolishly, for with each effort I lapse into sincerity, obligation, and deceit.

Who loves a fool ? Everyone.

Who wants to appear foolish? No one.

Let go! Let go! Let go!

Do one foolish thing right now.

I am writing a foolish poem right now.

I’m smiling and feeling happiness.

I love the fool in me, and all the things he does, right or wrong.

Do you think me a fool for telling you this?

– Small town boy

The Gift from Shirley

After meeting Monica and Vic,

The next spirit guide I met was

Shirley.

She was vivacious, sexy and had blond curly hair.

My grandson says you can learn anything on YouTube,

So…

I found several “Meet your personal spirit guide” videos.

Each is 15 minutes to 2 hours long,

Of deep, self-hypnotic, meditation in which

You meet your spirit guide, your personal spirit guide.

I had already met two, a woman and a man,

But today it was Shirley..

I saw her clearly enough to describe her, and to sketch her.

I liked Shirley.

She had been alive in Salem, Mass. She wasn’t a witch.

She was a protestant, somewhat protected from life”s excitement.

Anyway,

When she was leaving she turned and presented me with a gift.

Monica had done something similar, it was a crystal like the one in  my living room window that showers rainbows when my mother visits from the other side.

This gift from Shirley was a gold ring with a crystal in it.


No, it wasn’t this ring, but it was like this ring.

I had gone to Fred Meyers jewlers and asked if they had one. No, but Many Hands Trading (an import store) might.

SonI went to Many Hands Trading and asked if they had one. No

So I went to Amazon.

They had this ring for $3.47, plus $7.47 shipping, and they could get it to me in three days.

so… Tht’s it.  This is my gift from Shirley, one of my spirit guides, who lived in 1892.

Nice, huh?

I don’t know why Vic and Marc didn’t offer me a present. It doesn’t matter.

I find them, the spirit guides to be great, loving and helpful people,

And generous.

– Small Twon Boy