Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sasquatch Summer

Darkness looms large at age twelve. Bone chilling cold, a still, thick darkness at arms reach, and closing in. A cold hungering something living out there. It’s the reason children close their closets at night, and double lock the front doors.

It should have been a simple hike. We were at that age; talk often turned to the important things in life, girls, God, sex, Sasquatch. In the early nineteen seventies, talk of Bigfoot was everywhere.
There was no water piped to the mobile home we were camping in. The three of us set out before dusk to fill water jugs from the local spring. Three teenage boys on family vacation from junior high school. As boys do, we took our time getting to our destination. Slowed by conversation about girls and dreams, observations of bugs and slugs, we made our way to the wooden tank which housed the water. Filling jugs with water is hard work, the jugs grow heavy, and the heat and humidity grow proportionally. Boys at rest in the presence of water slow proportionally.

The sun continued to set. As often happens, the minute the sun hit the horizon, night was upon us. We set out to return to the mobile home. We couldn’t find the trail. Though we’d done this hike morning and evening for a week, still every rabbit and deer trail looked the same. We circled the wooden tank completely. No trail looked familiar; no light shone in the distance, no direction seemed the right direction to go.

As we walked around in search of the trail leading home, we grew in panic and fear. Normally, camping out on a warm summer night is every kids dream. Not when you are lost, away from parents, food and comfort, and in the presence of panic, fear, and whatever lay just beyond that small tree in the distance.

As we listened for voices from home, we heard a different sound very close at hand. A trampling through brush, then, a loud cracking of a stick. To make that much sound, a large stick must be broken. To break a large stick must take an animal of significant weight. Bigfoot was upon us.

We continued to circle, increasing in doubt and panic. Fear came upon us wave after wave, as we imagined (or didn’t?) what was stocking us. In the nick of time, we heard noise coming up toward us. The girls had come, lanterns in hand, to find us.

To this day, when I hear tales of Bigfoot, for the most part, I scoff. Yet something made those noises in the woods. An animal big enough to break large sticks. What if?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Puff the Magic Dragon

"Travers handled her declining health with bravery and generosity, showing her love to friends and family "with great dignity and without restraint." "It was, as Mary always was, honest and completely authentic," he said. "That's the way she sang, too; honestly and with complete authenticity."

Enduring, endearing. There aren't many groups that I can think of that I'd be telling my daughter Hailey, "She's with Peter, Paul and Mary. You know, they sing 'Puff, the Magic Dragon." I can't even tell you where I first heard them, or how I came to enjoy their music. It may be that I went to see them with a friend in college and got hooked. However it came about, I can still put on my 'Best Of' tape and sing along with great joy, tears in my eyes because 'Jackie Paper came no more." Timeless.

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary dead at 72.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bad Company

“Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.”

Bang, bang, bang went my screen door. I opened my door to a face taut with agony, a woman I did not know. “They are rampaging my house. Call 911. I’m at 58540,” with that, she ran off.

I called 911. Truly an efficient network. They quickly routed me to the local desert police.

The wind howled; and stopped howling precisely when the screaming began. Soon thereafter, I saw a shadow through the trees, and heard my neighbor yell, “I’m here, I’m here.”

Leah’s baby was four weeks old. Leah left her home in Arizona, and had my friends pick her up in Blythe. She was finally ending it, finally leaving her husband. She’d had enough of the abuse. She was afraid for the baby.

The media, and our experience, tell us that it’s always the good woman beat up by the bad man. Dr. Laura points out that its actually more of a ballet, and less one person in the lead. She abuses and strives for control too, just differently.

Leah returned home to Arizona after three days. Left again, and went to her dad’s. Same story. Two days later, she stole his money from a drawer, caught the bus and headed home again.

We try all kinds of dances for control and power. Different steps to assuage the brokenness of our hearts. Ultimately, we’re not satisfied until we let God lead, no matter the tune the band is playing.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bodies In Motion-An Overview of Last Weekend

The Friday morning bike ride:

“I can’t go on,” Darryl said, his face bright red, his body sagging against a tree for support. I handed him the last of my water.

“I won’t have you dying on my watch,” I said. “Can you muster the strength to go on for the remaining three miles?” I coaxed him back onto his bike, after we’d walked our bikes the last half-mile. We finished with a slow and wobbly ride, cresting the final hill and descending down.

The Friday night phone call to my sister goes worse than the morning bike ride:

Trying to communicate and move forward on my mom’s estate becomes increasingly difficult.
Me: “The last conversation we had I felt you were very derogatory.”
Her: “Here are the reasons I was derogatory.”
Overall, the whole phone conversation modeled Newtons Third Law of Motion:

“Whenever a first body exerts a force F on a second body, the second body exerts a force −F on the first body. F and −F are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.”
Or, as the Beatles penned it, “I say high, you say low, You say why, and I say I don't know Oh, no…You say goodbye and I say hello.”

Saturday night date:

Dinner and a movie (Julie and Julia), and then chilled at Fridays’. The evening flew by and before we knew it, it was one o’clock in the morning. I drove home, barely making it alive---the two Cokes didn’t help stave off my fading while at the wheel.

Sunday at work:

A unique individual from another store filled in at my store on Sunday. When I met her, she told me, “You sounded taller on the phone.” Hmmm. She brought her own rubber gloves, and her own cleaning kit. To work in a coffee kiosk?

Clashing, aligning, realigning…bonking, eating, laughing; and cleaning. Bodies at rest, bodies in motion, bodies colliding, bodies reacting.