Friday, February 26, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I am leaving the comfort of good friends and generous hospitality in Arizona and heading to California to connect with other good friends and complete my journey across America. Some of the folks I will see are newer friends and some have a fine season on them, all are honored and loved.
I remember when I was in high school a teacher said to the class that we would be lucky to have five good friends in our lifetime. I thought he was crazy and looked around at all the kids I called friends.
As one moves from teenage years to the twenties, into the thirties and decades beyond, the experience validates the high school teacher's statement.
People come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
Five good longtime friends are unique. I’m certain I have five and more and I am very lucky.
Friendship begins with humor, fun light-hearted one-liners and grows rapidly through mutual interests into a bond of trust, truth and honesty. In the trust, there is a deep mutual respect for the gifts of the other. In the truth, there is the acknowledgement that if one succeeds in anything, both do and in the honesty, there is a simple sharing of the pain and pleasure of life.
I hope you are as fortunate as I am.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Not far from the Ojo Caliente spa is an ancient Pueblo called Posi-ouinge. (Po-see-o-wing-gay).
Oral histories from the Tewa tell us Posi-ouinge was their home for centuries until an epidemic struck and the elders decided the people should depart.
I spent a couple of hours hiking to this special site and experienced an atavistic knowing, a feeling of life energy embedded in the land.
There is nothing left of the massive adobe homes the people built. Archaeologists speculate the adobes had two and three stories and probably had a thousand rooms to accommodate hundreds of people.
Today there is nothing left but small indentations in the land where Kiva ceremonial holes once existed. The ground is festooned with scattered shards of broken pottery, most no bigger than a potato chip.
I walked slowly to take in the moment. The Stag horn cacti were in yellow bloom and the blue sky streaked with aircraft contrails; a reality contrast to the vibration of the land and its ancient people.
I leave Friday and head to places in Arizona. I hope you join me.
Releasing places that we’ve been;
Relaxing body, mind and soul
So once again the spirit’s whole
Old mineral springs both hot and cool,
Bring steam and flow to gentle pools
Creating balance ‘tween all things
For water’s sound lets nature sing.
The Posi Pueblo is nearby
Though gone and crumbled to the eye,
Yet ancient spirits roam the land
To keep it sacred with the sand.
I know there are the ancients here,
The kind that humans do not fear.
I sense their wisdom in this place
That benefits the human race.
When I am gone from here and earth
I’ll roam this land in spirit’s birth.
If mortal life returns to me,
Return I will on bended knee.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I know there were trails for the early settlers to slowly move across the land, but what about the first wagon and the first scout? How did they do it? Rand McNally was not around at the time. The vastness of the prairie and the immensity of the rising mountains belittles the mind as to how the pioneers did it.
I must have driven a hundred miles before I saw more than three cars. North and South lanes slid side-by-side for mile and after mile, no median just a yellow line, speed limit 80-MPH.
Not to be pedantic about my linear observations, but I did pass or smell 24 dead skunks or what was left of them on the roadway. Either Texas has a plethora of Skunks or it’s the mating season and road 285 was their river Styx.
The temperature hovered around 45º most of the day as I headed into southern New Mexico on my way to Roswell. Yes, that one! Aliens, flying saucers, and alleged government cover-ups of captured space ships.
I’ve always wanted to come here. Maybe my Pleiadian ancestry wants gratification. Some folks think the human race was seeded from visitors from that star system. I do know one thing about the Pleiades. Everyone was named Smith.
I’m here for the overnight and then onto Ojo Caliente.
Thanks for tuning in. Next is either a time warp, an alien abduction or a Mexican restaurant.
PS It turned out to be Italian.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
New Orleans: Partying like that in the cold with costumes, make-up and consuming alcohol is truly for the young. Well, the costumes and make-up are. Some of the get-ups were outrageous. I wondered if their Mothers knew what they wore and what they did.
Getting out of New Orleans early Saturday was more than a drag. It was a dead stop when everyone tried to cross the Mississippi. Apparently there was some serious accident. Interstate 10 west was a dead stop for over an hour and there was no other way unless you headed 150 miles north to Natchez. I didn’t.
When the road finally opened I headed for Houston, Texas and a visit with long time friends. I like Houston. I’d never been there before. It was clean and modern. The buildings meshed like a Solari design.
Yesterday it was off to Austin via the back roads for lunch with another old friend and then onto Junction City. It is truly named for where it is. Nowhere. It’s a bunch of roads coming together at a point as they cross the Texas hill country. Junction’s population is 26-hundred.
I thought it was small until I remembered the population of where I live in rural New York is only eight hundred. Maybe the eastern trees hide people better and you think there are more of us. Out west, people live in the open and if you drive slow enough you can see what they leave on their front porches.
I had dinner…ah something to eat rather, at a BBQ eatery and gas station combined. It was quintessential Americana and so different from what I am used to. I ordered a BBQ brisket on a hamburger bun and found a picnic table in the front. A couple of Texas families sat eating nearby. Their cowboy hats stayed on while eating piles of food on Styrofoam plates.
I bought a candy bar for dessert and headed to the motel thinking about our cultural differences and our human similarities. The miracle of a shared citizenship is not our oneness. It's the many differences within a common belief of freedom and liberty to be whatever we choose.
Friday, February 12, 2010
My day was spent doing some busy work things and checking accommodations for the next several days. I do remember one story that I was going to mention when traveling through Mississippi.
There was a news story a while back about a guy in Mississippi who was arrested for public drunkeness for the 625th time. His name was Al Stewart. One way to tell what happened to Al is with a limerick.
There was a young man from old Miss.
Arrested for alcohol bliss.
He'd done it before
and the judge would roar,
Three days behind bars...you're dismissed.
On Wednesday, it happened again.
Al Stewart was drunk from the gin.
The tally does mount.
The clerk keeps the count,
It's binge 625, he grinned.
From the bench came ranting and rail
the judge gave him eight months in jail.
Al picked up a chair
flung it in the air,
toward the judge, it left a contrail.
Now Stewart is pacing the floor
and sees double locks on the door.
First he was tackled
then bound and shackled,
being sober won't help anymore.
From the bench, came the quid pro quo.
Al Steward must reap what he sowed.
It won't be a chair,
the judge did declare
for Al, it's the book, I do throw.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
With only a slight smile I listened to the forecast for the middle atlantic states and my neighboring states in the northeast. You've got near blizzard conditions and google amounts of snow and you have my sympathy.
I did enjoy waking to the sound of surf yesterday morning in Destin, Florida. I'd never seen the gulf coast before and like all the other coasts I've experience it was delightful.
I wonder why we are attracted to the sea. I read an article once that suggested it was because we evolved from the sea and it is an atavistic symmetry that calls us back to its sound, aroma and rhythmic tides. I don't know about that, but maybe it's because we are 80% water ourselves. Since likes attract, maybe that's it.
I also have a wonder question. I've been staying in various hotels on my travels. I'm wondering what happens to all the used soap that people leave behind a daily basis. The average hotel room rental per diem in America is nearly 290-thousand. That's a lot of soap. Where does it go?
On my way to New Orleans.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I spent the last few nights with good friends in Titusville, Florida. I had hoped to see the last Space Shuttle launch at night, but it was scrubbed because of cloud cover on the first night. It did go off the next night, but travel requirements and good sense prevented me from getting up at 3AM again to find a place to watch the launch as I did the first night.
Even though the Endeavor did not launch on early Sunday morning it was fascinating to watch and participate in the throngs of humanity. People came from all over the world to Titusville's route one to camp, park their RV's, drive to and stand and wait for mission control's Cap Com to call the go or no go minutes before the launch. Cape Canaveral is two or three miles across the bay from Titusville. You can see the launch tower clearly and the lights of the space port.
People, who had them, used their aircraft band radios to listen to the chatter at NASA HQ to pilots who reported the cloud ceiling and other conditions that might affect the launch. Other people listened to local radio stations that broadcast all the launches and then turned their car or RV radios to loud so all in the vicinity could hear.
It was magnificent. It was an American experience. There was no boisterous drinking and no being rowdy. There was respect and reverence for the event and even profound regret when the launch was cancelled because of a low cloud ceiling.
Once the scrub decision was announced it was pandemonium to get vehicles out of the ad hoc viewing sights all along the busy road. There were miles and miles of people, cars, and motorcycles trying to get somewhere. The old, the young, families with little children came to see the launch, but then everyone tried to leave at once. There was no police presence that I could see. A distance that normally would take ten minutes to drive took two hours to accomplish. It was wonderful.
It is unfortunate that launches into space these days have become commonplace and media coverage is blasé at best and limited or nothing at worst. I remember when the USSR launched "Sputnik" in the late 1950's. The world was stunned and America was embarrassed that we didn't do it first. We made up for it with the man on the moon project.
Every launch today is a testimony to America's greatness. It is a tribute to the intellect, ingenuity and talent of our people. I didn't see the launch, but then again, I did through the hopes, and awe of the thousands who come to every launch.
Monday, February 8, 2010
With pride the fans came to the bowl,
believing their team could control,
The ball on the ground,
in the air around,
But just for one the bell would toll.
Some think it’s the ultimate game,
With the players getting the fame
Bowl Forty and four,
Some wanted some more,
Next year will the teams be the same?
Today it's the loosers with woes
and healing the scrimmaging blows
With media hypes,
And one or two snipes
The losers, their bragging, now stowed.
Reporters were witty and bright,
covering each side with delight.
The Colts and the Saints
Their might be complaints
With loosers accepting their plight.
In this life of struggle and fears,
In this time of terror and tears
We needed this game,
to help us stay sane
Miami did send us the cheers.
The season is over and done,
the heart never caring who won,
The game is the thing,
by hoping to bring
a code of competitive fun.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Maybe rain on the way.
This is a delightful city. No wonder it is called Savannah. You cross a wide and marshy plain before you enter the proverbial gates of the city. There are no gates, but the city rises out of the flat plain and there is history galore. The city is nestled at the northeastern edge of Georgia. The Savannah River separates it from South Carolina.
Getting here was easy. The back roads once again carried me past the homes and marshlands of South Carolina into this thriving port city.
The South has a mystique about it and I'm not sure northerners can understand it. It smiles along with its inhabitants and there is a grace that soothes, you can feel it. I've often wondered if people make the place where they live or if the place conditions their demeanor? I suppose a little of both.
What I find here is a willingness to take life a little slower. People seem to have a joyful experience of just living. They also have a ambient courtesy that is evident in every exchange whether mercantile or just passing by. I like that.
More as my journey progresses.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Some differences between North and South.
Traveling to here has been an experience and an education. I drove the back roads instead of the interstate highways. It takes about an hour longer in travel time, but the scenery is authentic Americana, not interstate sanitized.
I remember years ago when Lady Bird Johnson, then the First Lady of the United States, created a campaign to beautify the interstate highway system by eliminating junkyards and billboards. Granted, it’s beautiful, but it’s the same mile after mile and you have no idea of cultural or social change from one state to the other.
The back roads, through villages and towns is truly America. It is both quaint and depressing and strip-mall speckled into the sameness of names. McDonalds, Arby’s, Applebee’s and Wal-Mart.
One of the big differences between North and South is pronunciation. We are one people separated by a common language. Misunderstanding occurs in the ear. In the south everything begins with, “Yuall” and continues with undistinguishable words. I tried to find something at a convenience store and I couldn't understand what the clerk was saying.
Charleston, SC is a wonderful city. I got to see Fort Sumter for the first time. It's the place where the civil war began. It's actually a little piece of the northern rock. In 1827 they imported 70 thousand tons of New England granite to build-up a sand bar in the middle of Charleston harbor. Then they built the fort.
All in all, I would recommend a visit to this historic city. Its charm is infectious and its architecture an hallucinogenic back to another time.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
From my rural lair in the Northeast I write and read about life in America. I do so from both observations and interest. This trip is to affirm my sense of oneness in humanity and acknowledge that it snuggles within diversity.
I left the New York-Washington corridor quickly for two reasons. I’ve lived and worked in that region most of my life and I know it fairly well. AND it was 5º above zero. You can guess which one was the motivator.
Today I am ensconced in Southport, North Carolina at Saint James Plantation. www.stjamesplantation.com It is a massive residential development on the inland costal waterway. You stay inexpensively for two nights in a three-bedroom well-appointed condo. The developers give you a spiel and tour in hopes the experience and place will entice you to build, buy, or rent on the plantation. So far I like the high temperature of 50 plus degrees and no snow.
I met a very personable young lady last night at dinner. She was the waitress. She is in her late twenties, a graduate from college with a degree in elementary education with an art minor.
She is not teaching because of student loans. She can make more money in the restaurant service business than she can teaching. America needs teachers desperately and the young need to pay off their bills. It is a social dilemma that must be addressed so we can stay intellectually competitive with the other developed countries of the world.
It seems to me that if someone gets the appropriate credentials and agrees to teach for five years there ought to be a forgiveness of student debt. Maybe Congress could find a way to spend money on that.
More tomorrow farther south.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Not only did I see it happen, I reported on tragedy for days and days.
I’ve visited Ground Zero a number of times over the years. I remember passing the wall of shrines at Trinity Church where flowers, letters, and photos were set in sacred reverence on a wrought iron fence.
Each tribute then a collective jolt and individual pain reminding us of what we lost.
People prayed with each attempt to rescue those we thought might be alive and trapped beneath the tombs of debris. We cried as each body was recovered and still we hoped.
As the time passed our prayers of hope gave way to the horror of the numbers dead and the knowing that no one could survive.
All we could do was salute and be silent as the flag draped bodies passed from the pit into the broken hearts of their families and we ached for those who would have no body to mourn or to bury.
Our leaders responded to terrorism as the civilized world said no to the inhumanity of terror and vowed to destroy the organizations that promote and encourage it.
The war on terror is far from over and it is doubly sad that so many more lives have been lost in the battle. Like so many I will visit Ground Zero again and again and remember.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Lower Manhattan, a great place.
I like many things about it. I like the sophistication of Wall Street, but not necessarily their selective ethics.
I like the history there; the steps where George Washington took his oath of office, the mishmash of streets long before someone thought better with avenues and streets in straight lines. In fact Wall Street was just that. A Street with a wall on it to keep the cows in and the Indians out back in the 16-hundreds.
I like the way the area empties out at night and its people move to uptown bars and restaurants. I like city hall and China town and the boats to Staten Island, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
What I didn’t like, because of the potential disruption, was the plan to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators a few blocks from where the World Trade Center twin towers stood.
Somehow it didn’t seem right.
Ground Zero is sacred ground now and its proximity to the court where Khalid Sheikh Mohamed would have been tried has a certain justice to it, but the disruption to life and business negates the irony.
At first I accepted the idea because it seemed justice to bring the accused back to the scene of the crime, but then listening to so many explain the hardships they would face because of security, I changed my mind.
Justice will be served no matter where the trial takes place.