Wind Shadow

There are ripples in the sand in the wind shadow made by the stump and the wind and the sand.

The wind shadow grew nearly twenty feet past the stump in a pennant-like plume of ripples and dark sand where it was protected from the wind by the stump.

Th railroad tie, sitting askew of the wind showed me its wind shadow first, and then my old friend the stump showed me a larger version.

As I walked south, away from the stump, I saw what found itself in the lee side of the stump, benefiting from the calmer area of a very windy beach.

Crab shells were in the wind shadow, and jelly fish carcasses too, peering out of the sand, desiccated as they were.

Pieces of bark, stones, and dried kelp, like bleached rope resided there in the wind shadow behind the stump on the beach on the morning after a windy day at the beach.

Sand shrimp and crabs left behind uneaten shells and legs and pincers, because no one wanted to eat them, all meat already consumed by the gulls.

Dark oily sand was there too.

So the question came to mind, “What is sheltered in my wind shadow?”

My past.

My family.

My career.

Places where I lived in Nebraska, Colorado, and Oregon.

Places I’ve traveled in Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and the USA.

I guess at my age it is interesting to see what memories have survived in my own wind shadow of decreasing memories.

Look behind you. What is in your wind shadow?

-Small town boy

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Love is an ocean

Love is an ocean whose waves glide onto the sand shore,

Where Sandpipers dance.

In my heart there are waves of love,

Beating against the driftwood of my ego.

Your heart feels the tide, awaits the moon, and

Digs in the sand, deep holes, three of them,

To bury your losses.

Now that you have detached, you can join me

In welcoming the tide, high or low, that feeds our soul.

Your soul and mine,

Whose joint love has created others, children, grandchildren, and great graandchildren

Who are islands in the sea of our love,

Protected by the shoals of coral we have grown around them.

Free to make their own dugout eventually and escape

To the sea

Where they build their own lives 

On their islands,

Because of us.

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!

I would be lying

I would be lying if I said I didn’t care.

If I said it didn’t hurt.

I would be lying if I pretended not to notice you there.

Lying to myself, because it is readily apparent to you

That I love you.

I don’t know how you know and how it’s hidden from me some days.

Each day begins with you; you’re on my mind and in my heart, so

I guess I know too that you love me.

Why would I be lying if I spoke roughly to you?

How would I be lying if I said some unkind word?

When would I be lying if I didn’t tell you each day how much you mean to me.

Let me not wait till you’ve gone to state my truth to you each waking hour.

Let me not lie to myself that I am without you.

Let me say how much you do each day for our family, our marriage, our home.

Let me not lie.

There is no time for it.

– Small town boy

Security or Balance?

I noticed, when going downstairs while using the handrail,

That I don’t cling to it for safety/security,

But I lean on the handrail,

For balance.

And, as always, I seek the metaphor for life, my life.

I think security/safety is important for a stable life, but

It is balance I seek for a meaningful life.

Balance is often thought of as a teeter totter between two members of a dichotomy:

Good/evil, fit/unfit, religious/atheist, etc.

But there are no dichotomies; there are three or more forces involved in each problem.

As a physics teacher, I believe in force vectors, in which the sum of each force AND their directions determines your movement.

Unattended, forces are exerted, causing movement.

And so what reaction to these forces do you perceive?

A. Nothing, I am blown by forces not of my making.

B. Resist the impinging forces by my own personal strength.

C. Seek balance, seek to balance forces with other forces that act in opposition or in replacement of forces arrayed to place stress in my life.

For me this balance comes in the form of meditation, jigsaw puzzles and bike rides.

Walks in the beach, turning off cable news, spiritual practices, walking with the dog etc. offer balance to my stressors.

Hugs, cuddling, touch, kisses, are powerful forces in this regard.

And so, instead moving according to forces I don’t control,

I sit quietly as the whirlwinds if life,

Not fighting,

Just leaning 

In a direction that

Gives me balance.

It is this balance that sustains me in the face of trauma,

Like death of a loved one, illness, surgery, motor accident, addiction, and so on and so on.

Balance, and God,

And my wife of forty five years.

Love is a great balancing agent.

I see others, people who don’t have balance,

And I can’t give them balance,

I can only be sure that I am balanced.

Can you see?

That I am balanced?

And not teetering?

Sometimes, sometimes, I teeter,

When I teeter I know what to do,

Seek balance, find equilibrium,

And go on to the next event.

– Small town boy

A little at a time

I do things a little at a time now.

I’m teaching my self piano, a little at a time, one half hour in the morning and one half hour in the afternoon.

I’m clearing grass from between the flagstones on the  patio, fifteen minutes each day.

I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle, a little at a time, fifteen minutes several times a day.

I’m meditating in  small amounts, morning and evening, praying too.

I can interact with my grandchildren at breakfast and after school in moments.

I call my wife at the beach once a day; or  I call from the beach.

I’m losing weight, a little at a time, fourteen pounds now, in a month and a half, by eating smaller portions.

I’m reading several books, a little at  a time with each, each awaiting more  time to finish them.

I’m writing these  blogs in  small doses, for both me and my readers. If they get too big, I edit them down or break  them  up.

But, I love you a lot, all the time, for ever. A little at a time doesn’t work for me. You are constantly  on my mind and in my heart. 

– Small town boy

“For precept must be on precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isaiah 28:10

The Ocean

God is like the ocean.

Powerful, beautiful, and dangerous.

S/He ebbs and flows with lunar cycles.

One can stand at the edge and watch or enter the surf and feel the power, straining against it.

In warmer climes, one can swim in the salty waters, until one is  out of their depth, but stll able to stay afloat, because of belief in the ability to float and swim.

There are boats on the water, large and small, some fishing the depths, some transporting cargo to unknown places.

There are animals near the shore, birds, crabs, sea lions, and sand shrimp, all occupying there own niche, all a part of the oceans ecology.

Am I part of God’s ecology?

In the depths, where I can not see, live giant whales, sharks, fish, octopi and squid, and so much more: diverse in nature but adapted to life in the sea, each having its own part to play, each a part of the food cycle.

Am I part of the spiritual food cycle? Whom do I prey (pray) upon, and who preys (prays) on me?

The sea has been here before me and will be here long after I’m gone.

As I stand here naked before it, arms upraised, willing myself to resonate with its roar, I await the day.

Resistance is futile, harmful, and not in keeping with why I was made, not in keeping with my basic, fundamental nature.

Being open and working with the forces present allow me to ride the crest of the wave, to receive the power offered, and to live with a force stronger than my own and feed as my soul requires.

Thank God for the ocean and it’s abundance.

The ocean is great and reaches far away past the horizon to where others stand by it and marvel at its grace, beauty and power, my brothers and sisters on this globe,

A planet, when seen from afar, is notable because it is blue,

Blue because of the ocean.

Let me sail forth today, find the spirit of God, and fish for the sustenance offered me.

Let me be with other sailors riding the wind and the waves, going together on life’s journey today.

Amen

– Small town boy

Listen

I may have mentioned that I have been advised to listen.

It is against my nature.

I don’t like to listen.

Being alone at the beach in stormy weather has allowed me to work on it.

Prayer as listening? I have even practiced what I used to teach, active listening.

But I hear nothing.

So I tried listening the same way I meditate.

Not bad, good meditation, but still no messages.

As you may also have noticed I am working on jigsaw puzzles.

And I found something.

If you get your mind to quiet, Other skills come to the fore.

Pattern recognition kicks in and instead of actively looking, I’m passively looking, and it works well. All of a sudden I recognize that piece for that place.

One of my heroes is Walt Longmire (by Craig Johnson).

When he goes on alert he soft focuses his eyes so as to make them motion sensors.

It’s like that.

There are other factors at work if I just be quiet and let them work.

I still haven’t heard anything, but I’m learning.

Shh, listen. Hear that?

– Small town boy 

Puzzeling

Do you do jigsaw puzzles?

My mother and her husband John always had one going in the screened-in porch at the rear of their house in Longmont. When they had time they would stop and put in a piece or two.

I’ve recently had the time and interest to pursue this hobby.

Actually, I would get them started and rely on one of my two daughters-in-law to finish them. Either Debra Due or Karis, depending who was at the beach house after I got tired if working on the puzzle.

How many pieces can you do? 500 or 1000, or more?

I try to limit my puzzling to 500 piece puzzles, else they never get done or put away.

I get free puzzles at Fitness Over Fifty, the gym where I work out, or at Goodwill, or last Christmas I won one at a white elephant  game at the dinner for Dial-a-Bus drivers.

Before Christmas I brought home a free 500 piece puzzle of a basket of fruit from FOF. My great grandchildren, Angel and Dashawn, helped me with that one. Their eyes are better than mine.

My wife gave me a 500 piece puzzle which I worked on at the beach on a card table so as not to take up eating space while working on the puzzle. It was of an old rusted out panel truck/flower garden that I did myself.

The anomole in this puzzle was an extra, duplicate, puzzle piece .

I know that crossword puzzles are supposed to help memory loss (or do they just makes you better at crosswords?) But as part of my senile dementia is lack of focus, or distraction, these jigsaw puzzles help me stay focused. (The irony here is that I raised two sons who were ADD and ADHD. Now I understand them better.)

I find that if I get up and walk away from the puzzle,  I can find that piece I’ve been looking for for the last five minutes is right under my nose.

So here I am a alone with some beach time after New Year’s day, and I choose a free 1000 piece puzzle with no daughter in law in sight. (Karis was in Denver working on her own 1000 piece puzzle of Doors!)

I struggled with my thousand piece puzzle.

Do you do edge pieces first?

The only way I could find them was to sort through small piles, moving them from box bottom to box top while putting only edge pieces on the card table. Then I could focus only on edge pieces and not try to turn them over at the start.

Focus.

I continued this procedure throughout puzzle assembly. Never having too many pieces out of the box.

The good thing about this big puzzle was that the picture on the front was quite helpful in locating the puzzle piece’s final location in the puzzle.

I say “final location” because sometimes I had to take pieces out that were in the wrong place, as shown by the inability to place a correct piece in a neighboring spot.

There were thirteen pieces missing from this puzzle, an additional small setback in the face of the 987 other pieces.

My friend Joanne tells me to make my own  pieces, but then she’s a quilter.

On to the next puzzle.

– Small Town Boy

Half Moon

5 a.m. Dark. The half moon is out next to Orion’s girdle.

At the beach, away from city lights, it all becomes.

I get my half-moon tan and do my half-moon dance in the half-moon light.

My daughter’s favorite place, a place of romance is Half-Moon Bay.

I do not regret the unfullness, but marvel that it can still do what it did when it was full.

Can I say the same?

At 75 am I half full, but still able?

Or am I overfilled, and reflecting His brilliance?

I see the half moon and realize it is still whole, but half obscured.

Am I half ibscured?

I love the moon and she loves me, even by half.

I see my half-moon shadow, still leaping and hopping,

Still worth the dance.

How I miss dancing; holding you in my arms; while the music croons.

So I will dance the night away in the arms of my half-moon,

Half-caste of universal love,

Half a life till it next recovers its fullness,

Again.

– Small town boy