Hey kids (a few years back I’d periodically toss out the daily roughage to a couple goats: “Hay, kids”). No, really — when and if you attain senior citizen status, and read the obits to see who you’ve out-lasted, and eventually you realize that
So play it safe and and stay in a cool protected place!
But instead I go to a cool not-so-safe place once or twice a week:
My regular hockey team may not have a lot of goals, or wins, but we have a surfeit of sexagenarians. Two. That’s more than any other team, I’m sure. But on the positive side, we’re getting more co-ed. Our goalie and three others — I hope Brooke, who was a ‘guest’ last week, continues to show up. She is a much better player than I, whereas the other two are just a little bit better.
The other sexagenarian (he hates being called that!) reminisced about pond hockey in the good (?) ol’ daze. Kerry said that one of the highlights of way back when was losin’ (8) teeth from a tuna-fish-can puck! Sometimes a game ran out of pucks. I mentioned that when my gang was similarly puck-less, we’d have to take the roundest of our ever-present collection of squished flattened beer cans. Puckless and padless, of course. A friend got so tired of the accumulation of scars on his shins when he was forced to be goalie, he made leg-pads out of thin aluminum sheeting. I think he cut a stove-pipe in half, poked holes in it and wrapped and tied each half outside his pants with leather cords.
However, our Co-ed league still doesn’t civilize things! The ladies like to “get into it.”
Wildlife sightings, and no camera: Betty and I were bereft of what should be our constant travel companion, and have no current pix to show of the Unaweep Nine-mile Hill bighorn sheep herd — recently taken to grazing just off the road, not very skittish of vehicles passin’ by. Nor of the deer grazing in a pumpkin-filled pasture maybe a couple miles from our house! And the barely-mobile shiny black-widow spider uncovered when I re-arranged the fire-wood pile recently. The temp was chilly, and I brushed the thing onto a piece of wood and deposited it in some nearby bushes. I don’t think they dig a hole and hibernate for winter. Do they?
Other than that, I thought things were going to get worse. And they did. Of course! and i didn’t mind. Very much. Below, visiting our former house-mate (the tortoise). One of Bruce’s current zoo-mates flies over to check me out ~
We were and are going no-where, and ya’ know what? this could be good (and fun)! Everywhere we go is part of nowhere. Again, the null set (and I still remember a bit o’ the math I “had to know”, and perhaps still should) is a part, a sub-set, of all sets. Ergo, “nowhere” is part of any- and every-where.
Karmic glue in dreams
On a recent night I drifted in and out of adjoining realms, seemingly seamless for the most part as I’d be outside, inside, in one neighborhood, then another. Talkin’ with my daughter and her husband and they were in the process of writing and publishing a book — a somewhat clever title involving their departed beloved dog, Hercules … but I was almost concurrently (half-way into an adjacent dye-mention) talkin’ with Julia and Mike Widdop about their book, being published, with almost the same title. I felt a little deficient, as I had not and probably would never, write a REAL book. One of those things on many bucket lists: skydive, swim with the dolphins, write a book …
There was also housework to be done. As is requisite in my dreams, when the minor problems demanding my attention start to crop up, another more-major one occurs, (lather/rinse/repeat) and only upon waking (and there were varying degrees of that!) did I, and I suppose YOU, too, breathe the sigh of relief, as it was, only, a dream.
I thought I was the master of my locomotion, but I’ve come to realize that one is at the mercy of the astral and etheric currents during “dream time.” A thought would pop up and drag me from within one layer to another. The point from which phenomena are observed would sometimes be within, and sometimes I’d see myself from without.
The idea of a sort of esoteric stickiness occurred. As I wandered/transported amongst the ever-increasing chores to attend to, I realized that I had been subconsciously aware that there is a “fuzziness” to dream-stuff, but I hadn’t paid particular attention to that before. This haziness around objects and things could be karmic stickiness — you start messing with stuff — your hands will get gooey. Whatever the stickiness is, is something to be un-done as you work off the karma. Freeing oneself from bondage to matter. Un-ravelment from identification with one’s actions. So it is with the dreams — you touch the stuff, some of it sticks to you.
Depending on how sticky, there would be corresponding layers of future-life-time involvement to unravel it. Un-do the sticky. Clean hands? Not just the hands …
Does one ever look out from a dream? I think of the Aboriginal “Dreamtime”. I had better stop. This dreamy stuff can become spider-cob-webby …
The dream? of the Dwarf Choir
I don’t think I’ve told anyone about this before. It is a TRUE Memory. I experienced it. I felt it. I will remember it always.
It was many years ago. I was in my “first retirement” — seeing if I could get by as either an artist or a musician or a writer while pursuing my god-given vocation as a dish-washer. Quite frequently I would grab my sleeping bag and go up in elevation and just spend the night in the mountains above town. Choose a good spot and roll out the bag on the ground. This was invariably not only one kind of restful, it was invigorating. Meditative. Gazing at the Milky Way, sometimes howling back at the coyotes. But this night was in winter. I hiked up Gregory Canyon just to the south of Flagstaff Mountain. It was soon to be dark and I hadn’t seen any spots devoid of snow for several minutes. Ah: on a small ridge below a tree was a patch of last autumn’s dry grass, with plenty of brown pine-needles besides.
I rolled out my bag and promptly fell asleep. I would awake, poke my face out and peer up at the stars. The outline of pine-branches and needles framing the starry firmament. The soothing sound, quite like the ocean’s waves, of the breeze through the trees.
I slept past sunrise. Abruptly, slumber was shattered by singing. Yes, singing. My immediate (and enduring) impression was that a choir had assembled in a semi-circle around me and was melodiously serenading. How unlikely, how weird, how ultimately unbelievable! I fought my way out of the sleeping bag as fast as I could. Silence. Perhaps a light breeze through the tree-branches. I surveyed all directions for footprints. None, besides my own.
Perplexed, I re-immersed myself into the cocoon and went back to sleep.
It happened again. Melodious chanting, in seamless unison, a chorus of baritones. My mental picture was as before — to sound like that, the choir would be dressed in their black robes. And they had quietly hiked in and assembled in the rows and sections a choir dressed for the occasion would. I was as startled as before.
Now, what would you do? What should I have done? Yes, I should have continued to lie quietly within the bag and listened. Been in the moment, whatever this moment was, without fighting it. But no … like the first occurrence I was so baffled that, again, I struggled to get out of the bag as quickly as I could.
You guessed it. Same results (or lack of). No choir. Just me.
I thought about this experience a lot. It’s like I was given a gift, a glimpse into another dimension perhaps, and rejected it. Like “the 10,000 things”, I can only hope, and train myself to become, IF EVER THERE IS A NEXT TIME, the person who would remain quiet, appreciative, inside the bag.
the runs, the rides, the thrills, the chills
This is the time of year when runs and the rare rides have not only the possible thrill aspect, but also the high probability of chill. Adds to the challenge. I think of not only the satisfaction of having gone out AND DONE IT in the cold, but other facets — I enjoy “first tracks” in the snow. Provided the snow is not excessively hampering — ankle-deep is optimal, but heck, if the stuff is powdery you could go deeper.
It is also the time of year when the local running-club has its annual Turkey-Prediction race. This event is held the Saturday before T-day. It is a “prediction race”, which means that awards go not necessarily to those who run the fastest, but to those who run the closest to their pre-race predictions.
In this race it is a great honor to be called “the Big Turkey” — the runner who is first in the prediction category and wins the biggest turkey. I’ve been the Big Turkey THREE TIMES since I began running this race in the later 1970’s.
In 2008 I had a formula to guess my 6-mile time (note: this is NOT a 10k). I ran a 2-mile time-trial on a track the day before at a pace which was borderline-comfortable. I figured I could run 6 miles at 15-seconds/mile slower than the 2-mile pace. The following day I ran 2 seconds from my prediction and was The Big Turkey. I tried that formula last year (again running a 2-mile track time-trial and made the same adjustment) but was over 2 minutes off my calculated time. So … that approach would probably not generate success again. The proverbial light-bulb went off in my head — a simpler algorithm — since I ran my personal worst (you’ve heard of PR’s? think “PW”s) last year — I figured that since I was in slightly worse shape this year, I’d add 30 seconds to last year’s time for this year’s prediction.
It worked. After pre-race instructions (including warnings about the woe to befall those caught wearing timing devices), we were set loose. The course is mostly on paved lightly-traveled roads through a part-residential part-farming area. Betty was (again) the behind-the-scenes super-hero of the day, riding her bike ahead of the runners, stopping to assure traffic control at three potentially dangerous intersections. At the first intersection I asked if she was keeping track of the time. She, and everyone within hearing distance, laughed.
I alternatively suffered some, felt okay half the time. Everyone thought there was a headwind no matter what direction we were heading. I sped up some on the final stretch. In retrospect, I now know I should have casually jogged on in, as I was faster than predicted. I was FOUR SECONDS off. THAT sounds pretty close for predicting your time for a 6-mile run, right? There was a guy at 11 seconds off already in, so I figured I had the win.
Some day I might be a bit more mature and exhibit a modicum of self control, but I couldn’t help it. For one minute I postured, high-fived everyone around, strutted like the Big Turkey, until Tom Ela came in at 51 minutes one second — his prediction being 51:00. My arrogance was punctured. Never-the-less I swaggered, though a lot less so, until the next-to-last runner came in. Carl was TWO SECONDS off. It was cute when he asked “was I faster or slower?” — endearing in that it apparently mattered to him. Fortunately this race awarded more than two turkeys to the prediction winners this year.