The season of spooks and goblins, pumpkins and puritans is approaching.
Our local Home Depot has dedicated aisles and displays to Halloween and looking for utility wire and masonry nails to secure a few plants to a block wall, so they will grow up straight and be out of the path to the back of my house, I am greeted by grisly figures and demons from the spirit world..
There are ghosts peering down at shoppers from higher shelves, opening their arms and long thin fingers to grab us as we walk underneath. There are green skeletons and little girl apparitions in white dresses that I wouldn’t want knocking at my door any time of day or night night. All of the props in this holiday section are properly scary but not scary enough to make little kids cry. Most parents, these days, take their kids to school or church functions where it is safer than walking them house to house in neighborhoods where they don’t even know their neighbors.. It is hard to figure how a Christian country, like ours used to be, could perpetuate Halloween on any scale.
Even more grisly than these blown up spectacles is what comes on the 24/7 news scream.
The development of new and more destructive weapons, nuclear, biological, chemical, is still on going. Wars and revolutions play out around the world as men and women elected and non-elected politicians make and enforce their rules that everyone else has to slavishly obey. Television promotes drugs, lawyers, doctors, the need for insurance, the need to buy services you didn’t know you needed, the obsession to look and feel perfect. Homeless legions beg on the streets.Wall street rolls in money created by a government and financial system that rewards them for their efforts and keeps working men and women competing with shadowy workers from other countries who are here, with or without paperwork, keeping business profits high and shareholders happy.
There is much to be scared of in this Devil’s playground.
Somehow, I don’t see much reason to celebrate Old Scratch.
Elevating him and his minions to holiday status to sell merchandise seems a bit short sighted, but altogether human.
Jesus has his work cut out for him on this planet.
I’m lucky today. Home Depot has my utility wire and masonry nails.
When stores stop having what we depend on, then you are really going to see evil spirits come out to play.
My garage is the most recent resting place for artifacts from 803, the house us kids grew up in.
Smaller things have been boxed up to be gone over when brother’s are able to come to Albuquerque to go through photos, letters, correspondence, old coins, mementos from our parent’s trips, political pins, old books and magazines, items of clothing that don’t fit any of us.
These larger artifacts are all that keeps me from using my garage and photos have been emailed to the guys to take any of these larger items before they are donated to charitable organizations that handle stuff people don’t want or have a place to put.
Seeing these items out of their original places in 803 is disconcerting.
What is more difficult than disposing of stuff is dealing with memories
How we hold thousands and thousands of memories between our ears and still function is a miracle.
Memories remain more important than stuff.
We can share our memories but we can’t give them away, trade them for a newer model, or sell them at the flea market.
If it wasn’t for forgetting, our heads would explode.
As soon as we say we haven’t seen deer, we spot a small group in one of the small canyons that break away from this larger canyon we are trekking through.
This family unit is looking at us as they nip leaves off branches, ears cocked, knowing we were here long before we spotted them. They are large animals with delicate faces, soft lips, long tongues, long thin legs that don’t seem they could support their big bodies, large eyes and ears.
I pause and get photos,and ,in this natural setting, the animals are majestic ,even from this distance.
It is bow hunting season in Albuquerque and shameful that some of these animals will go down just because they have a set of horns.
When American prairies were covered by huge buffalo herds, the Plains Indians would say prayers before riding into the sea of buffalo and bringing a few down for their basic needs. I say a little prayer for these deer this morning as the sun comes over the Sandia’s and the humming of I-40 freeway traffic grows louder through Tijeras Canyon
I wish these guys and girls good luck and pray hunters forgo hunting season for NFL football and golf with the boys.
We, the ultimate predators in this world, number far too many.
Nature, I have no doubts, will find a way to deal with our numbers when the time is ripe for thinning the human herds.
The Earth is in a delicate balance and shuffling one block affects all the blocks next to it, and all the blocks next too those.
Hiking through nature this morning, I am happy to see these deer, and think the world would be much less without them.
At an annual celebration of the famed World War 2 correspondent, Ernie Pyle, at his home in Albuquerque, N.M., a docent discusses the permanent closing of Pyle’s childhood home in his original birthplace in Indiana. As the docent continues his presentation, he reminds an aging audience of the steady inexorable disappearance of our history, the importance of keeping history alive, the necessity of knowing our past from whence we came.
Ernie Pyle was a celebrated World War 2 correspondent, but, today, there are many Americans who don’t know much about World War 2 except what they see in the movies. They don’t know Ernie Pyle, or Julius Caesar, or Frederick Douglas. They believe the American Civil War was only about the abolishment of slavery and the United States Constitution is outdated and irrelevant, written by stuffy white men who owned slaves and wore white wigs..
Where does history go when it is behind us?
Does God put His memos, research papers,videos and photos of our world in his personal library? Does he go back and review his plans and progress for the Universe and make changes in the roll out of his vision ? Does knowing history mean we can stop or modify what is happening to us while we are in the middle of its happening?
On this pleasant afternoon, we are taken on a guided tour of Ernie Pyle’s life and times, in a place he fixed bacon and eggs for breakfast and read his newspaper thrown on the front porch by a neighborhood boy on a bicycle.
Ernie Pyle wrote about a world war,a big one, and it’s consequences for the everyday common men and women who always fight wars.
His house feels like a home and I walk away suspecting that Ernie would offer me a cold drink of lemonade on a hot summer day and have some good jokes to soften the wounds of our war as we both set at a little table on the front porch with empty mesas as far as we could see.
He came from humble roots but was placed in the middle of one of the worst wars in human history.
His writings and his home survive him, and remembering is something we can do for him still.
Ernie volunteered for the war but some would say reporting on it from the front lines was his destiny.
The beauty of his writing is that it seems like it was written for everybody but him.
Ernie Pyle was a simple Indiana kid who liked to write and travel and found both as a World War 2 correspondent for Scripps-Howard newspapers.
He purchased a house in Albuquerque in the 1940’s and lived in it with his wife and dog Cheetah, till he was killed in the war he reported on. In his memory, his house has been turned into a National Landmark, and, once a year, there is a celebration of his life and achievements.
The house is a simple wood framed, pitched roof bungalow with shade trees around it. When Ernie moved into it, Albuquerque was a sleepy little town and he would have been on the edge of town with an unobstructed view of spectacular NM sunsets. Now the neighborhood is aging and close to the University of New Mexico where he would have taught journalism if he had survived the war that wouldn’t let him escape.
The celebration of his life is low key like he was, and, on a table in the library, where he used to read books by the fireplace, are personal letters to him from Presidents of the United States, military medals, and commendations for his war reporting. His prose is a simple yet strong as the home he built for himself.
This Pulitzer prize winning journalist was killed by a sniper’s bullet in the Pacific and he died as many of the soldiers he lovingly and respectfully wrote about that showed folks back home what their loved ones were enduring.
It is good to have a day to remember, if only once a year, those who have given so much.
Forgetting is all too easy but the wars just keep on coming.
The reflection of the clouds,on the lake’s calm surface,quiver. The reflection of the forest’s trees, on the lake’s surface, reaches across the lake almost to the bank we are fishing from and look as if they were growing out of the lake right in front of me.
If I had a long enough arm, I could reach down and scoop up these clouds in the palm of my right hand and they would wiggle like the fishing earthworms we just dug up in a close by field.
I know the clouds and forest on the lake’s surface are reflections. The real clouds are in the sky and the real forest and pine trees cover the rugged mountain sides directly to the south of us, across Hermit’s Lake.
If my mind can be even temporarily fooled by nature’s slight of hand, how much more of what I see is not what I see, and how much don’t I see that is right in front of me?
When scientists come up with better measuring sticks, we might start seeing more of the world as it really is, not fooled by its reflections, optical illusions, mirages, black holes, mirrors and miracles..
There will, on that day, as Jerry Lee Lewis sings in his rollicking rock and roll classic,be ” a whole lot of shaking going on.”
An old man with a cane shuffles past us in the grocery, squinting to read the fine print on a box label.Two little children pull on their mom’s dress at the bank as she makes a deposit and reaches them a sucker out of a little bowl on the teller’s countertop. A homeless vet passes our vehicle to take a dollar from a hand reaching out of the window back of us. We don’t talk to the politician rushing past us to hold up a baby and smile for news cameras.
On the road to Westcliff, I pass a black wagon pulled by a black horse, driven by a young man wearing a black hat, black pants and black vest, a white shirt, with a reddish beard. He pulls his horse and wagon towards the shoulder as I go past, and I wave. I watch him in my rear view mirror as he goes another block, then pulls his horse and wagon into a little drive leading to a country house on the other side of a closed gate.
Amish, from Pennsylvania, have come to this part of Colorado and the San Luis Valley for farming, solitude, the ability to worship as they choose, to raise their families in an old way, and drive to town in a wagon pulled by their favorite horse.
This, my first Amish sighting of the season, makes me wonder how they can maintain their traditions in the onslaught of 21st century propaganda, polemics, politics and problems?
The march of 21st century technology, information, control and surveillance, secularism, is crushing.
Seeing a horse and wagon on the road is like seeing an old John Wayne movie on television.
It pictures a way of life, long gone, that some folks still never want to leave.
The mountain range, to the west, rises ten thousand feet plus into the clouds. These clouds, turning dark and ominous,prompt festival help to lower the flaps of our music tent to protect the performers and us, in the audience, from soon to come wind and driving rain.
The mountains are ten to fifteen miles away and there is a time lapse between something forming out there and something reaching here. There is space and distance around us and between us and the peaks, space punctuated by scattered homesteads stuck in the land like fallen arrows from ancient bow and arrows. Neighbors are not within a handshake and going to Westcliff is an activity you do when you need groceries you don’t grow, hardware you can’t make yourself, stuff you want but can probably do without, or the kids just need to get out of the house.
Change happens here, just like everywhere else, but it takes a while longer to get to you.
In the country, you know you are small, tiny, insignificant, a small sentence fluttering in a big book in the wind.
In the country, folks get together on the front porch to watch weather and talk about the harvest.
In the city, folks lock their front doors,don’t get too close to their neighbors, watch news about what is happening world’s away but feel powerless to affect change on their own block.
in the country, the world is what is in front of you that you can touch. You have time to get ready for events to reach you that start way way way out there, in the distance, in the mountains.
Out here, being lost in space, is literally, and figuratively, true.
This little brook gently runs through the Alvarado Campground, following a path of least resistance on it’s way to join a larger river, and then, with that river, rambling all the way to the closest ocean.
Nature’s music refreshes, doesn’t ask for applause, or notoriety, recording contracts, or interviews.
Nature’s songbook is this little brook, wind moving through pine needles in tall trees on a cool clear night, a woodpecker carving his home inside a tree trunk, the rustling of brush as a brown bear scurries off the highway and back into the woods, waves coming into shore as the tide rises, hail hitting the roof of your car in a freak summer storm,deer antlers striking one another as bucks fight for dominance.
In a couple of days, I’ll hear fish songs at Hermit Lakes, breaking the lake’s surface as they greedily gobble dragonflies.
Back in Albuquerque, city melodies will be even more unique,staccato, complex. There will be horns, sirens,bacon sizzling in a frying pan, heavy equipment taking down condemned buildings, nail guns installing shingles, gunshots, light classic jazz in Starbucks, the sound of a well struck golf ball on it’s way towards the pin.
This brook is the music I’m listening to this morning.
Mother Nature, as hear it, is a very good composer.