There and Back Again

With my blind side recreated in a new study, I returned to reflect upon the self I didn't know well enough to command. My effort to comprehend a culture I was unfamiliar with required me to reacquaint myself with a language or sense I did not understand by review of new perspectives on reactions I could not fully recall. Events so shocking to me as a child, that I blacked them out. But because they'd likely become new instances of the problem in the world, I instinctively took cover from the hazards that sometimes result when trying to apprehend a threat.

The first falls of our river served as a safe haven for the kinds of threats we live with. Investigators using my children were apparently trying to determine how a feat I confessed to health care professionals had been accomplished, as I proceeded to learn from those I befriended how to rival the strengths of those I did not know. Because we were hit as I drove to confront the challengers, the falls were the only place where I could find rest. Fortunately, I had the advantage of new tools at my disposal and was well prepared to publish at a moments notice. Already encountering problems that resulted from my green effort, a challenging day surgery returned me home.

Paranoid about the medical profession, I stayed awake for the surgery with my recording equipment on, but was wheeled into a geriatric ward with a bloated roommate after they were done. When they put an IV into my artery, I pulled the tubing out, grabbed my bag and left. A day of preparation, and I was ready for my return home. I stopped at my mother's along the way and was given a map by her boyfriend. Confused by the tortuous path I drove later that night, the unfamiliar territory, and a burst of bright white light that flashed eastwardly before me as I crossed one of the State lines, I stopped to eat and do my laundry early the next morning.

I also had breakfast and took a nap, but inadvertently continued on to the East on the road I drove in on, instead of heading North-North East where I needed to go. Still attached to visions from the East, I drove with my wound (I broke the window to get into my vehicle after locking myself out), my papers, and a trunk full of odds and ends. And a compass my friend gave me right before I left helped me to navigate the road I was told to drive along the way.

First FallsTurning back from my Eastwardly travel after realizing I was in yet another State, I regained my objective course by returning to my point of departure that morning. It couldn't have been more than late-afternoon before I encountered unspoken body parts, and unidentified remains in Native territory when back on my course traveling North, by Northeast.

It only took me an hour or so to see the highway sign indicating where I was, and another hour after turning around to get on my North North Easterly travel. It may have been perhaps another hour or two before I encountered the hate crime scene. But I had a camera, I captured what I could, and made a sincere effort to notify the authorities before I left. I was terrified at the time, but upon reflection wondered about the bright white flash near the State line. Was it the abrupt nature of my departure? Was I driving too quickly, or did I turn too fast? And how could it be possible to have such a horrible impact on a fancy from a distance?

By studying different forms of attachment, or making use of the different meanings of an ambiguous term, we can study these mechanisms of action without becoming offending. But when required to report the specific details of the violence we encounter as a result, my prayer returns to the One who will be rid of the behavior we agree is objectionable.


Navigating the Locks

Pollution DownstreamWhen I decided to teach swimming, I had pretty good credentials, I was taught by the same swim instructor who taught Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt, and in those days, there weren't any better! I was also working on the documentation of pollution in our city. It was my conviction at that age, and very important to me, perhaps because my fathers profession was implicated by the problem.

So when my camera and microscope went missing from my locker I thought it to be petty theft. I now know that there are even more insidious motivations for obstructions like these, such as the desire to cover-up, or disrupt what might be considered defamation, even for a region or jurisdiction.

Open water swimming is forbidden in our city anyway for good reason but there are no signs or warnings! Please see: Maps and video about the waterways below: Father Hennepin Bluffs.

As a young boy, I was required to isolate Paramecium for a science project, and couldn't find a pond in the city that had any. So I tried a suggestion to soak straw in water to find them, and I still couldn't find any.

Embarrassing problems like these led to work as a young man for movements like GreenPeace, which led to even more serious commitments, including direct action campaigns. One time, we blocked access to a local Land Fill by chaining a school bus full of children across the gate, in order to protect the ground water from the garbage they kept bringing in. I monitored climbers near by bannering an old Drive-in Theater movie screen by keeping watch with a two way radio. This event was covered briefly in a book called "Who Will Tell the People", probably because most of us don't fair very well and finding a way out becomes imperative.

The tap water of the residents in the area was dangerously polluted by the drainage of the Land Fill, but we ended up with 'challenged reputations' for doing our best to prevent it from continuing. The title of the book says it all! As a result of our efforts to prevent harm from continuing, we're not likely to live long enough to tell the story! We get hurt trying to uphold rules we're required to abide by, and when acting upon the courage of our convictions.

Once, a girlfriend of mine wouldn't leave my apartment, and I wasn't allowed to sublet. In order to get her out, I slapped her face and was charged with domestic assault. She finally left, but not until the courts captured every vehement statement I could make. Asking her to leave didn't work, and I wouldn't have been able to stay without getting her out.

Because I was already involved in protesting and demonstrating problems others didn't want to face, our jurisdiction needed to have the power to put me away (many times for many reasons). Fortunately, I was well prepared to deal with problems like these, but most of us aren't. As children, we found it hard to believe that grown-ups would do wrong, but sometimes they do! So, if its clear that what we're doing isn't working for you, then at the very least, be very clear about the hazards you're likely to encounter if you try to do similar things, like working for change.

Prior to the Digital Age, we all had the advantages of Publishers. People who had much more experience with anticipating how the public would respond to a given publication. Those of us who do both (most of us now who author and publish everyday) realize now that one corrects the other, and that skills in both areas are necessary to our survival.


A Facsimile of Confessions by a Minor Pol Pot

Today, I pulled out my ancient copy of BB Edit again to share a story I've been telling others for years now. Not that it'll matter much to them, but it might help you to understand why I had to leave home in the first place.

One day, when I was a young man, I brought my hunting knife with me while swimming underwater by the island on my lake. Our lake was filled with bullheads, and that day I was able to spear a bullhead on the end of the blade of my knife.

Bullheads are dangerous to handle. They have spikes on their fins that are razor sharp, so removing him from my blade was a delicate procedure. It involved wrapping my hand around his body, with the three spikes positioned between my fingers and thumb. I was surprised at landing the strike, and he was compromised - but still alive when I left.

Goosebury Falls
Minor Confessions
Harley at Goosebury Falls

I enjoyed a feeling of power using the weapons of men, and my next target was a gardener in the pond upstream from our lake. I was just trying out the gun. I didn't realize that I would hurt the snake, but it did. I pumped up the BB gun over the recommended limit and hit his side just below his head tearing a quarter-inch from his slender form.

He bled into the water and slipped away and I felt awful about it, but I returned confident of what the gun could do (after all, there were paramecium and amoeba in the pond to take care of the injury).

Then, perhaps a year or two later (the late 1970's), thousands of bullheads started swimming upstream from the lake, and by that time, our family had a potato patch less than 50 feet away. Skits on a local television network about the many uses of fish emulsion as prepared by blenders inspired me.

So I raked them into the potato patch to use for fertilizer. The next day - to my horror - I realized that they were still alive and flopping around in the dirt! And so did my neighbor! I could see her looking out the window at me with a deepening sense of morbid curiosity. The significance of this crisis - lost on me at the time - became clear upon reflection: Being incapable of the use of names (as the Gardner), and completely unaware of the circumstances abroad (Pol Pot's killing fields), I would need to find an alternative too!


The ever widening circle

"Beings are numberless; vowing to free them.

Dharma gates are boundless; vowing to enter them.

Delusions are inexhaustible; vowing to extinguish them."

Minnesota Zen Center

"Rather than catch someone in a lie, show them what was thought.

For every student who has made up their mind, there's another who has not.

What remains is to be accountable, and autonomy is all that's taught."


One Pure Note for Another

Not that one note is defined by a score -
or scored by a scribe that wants you no more!

We struggle to know one sound that rang true,
Without a memory, for music so blue.

We size up the horrors; what grievance reigns in,
In nightmares of hollowed, puppets of skin.

We follow the strains - a new note to play!
On parchment so browned by the patine of a Grey.

Resolved by the true love of harmonious spins,
A union of two notes brings peace to a hymn.


Caps Left Behind

Laid-back visitors, in bright-red yard-chairs,
Sit as we gather our food, midst their stares.

With caps left behind after the lights went out;
Yellow cornmeal now, stead of white alter'd flour.

This one's so simple, missing her part.
Shifting by a road that still has a heart.

She joined me for lunch, just a few days ago.
At a spot down the road - a safe place to go?

We'll find a way, to a place that really is,
On a path not of men, in a place - really His!


Making Way

Much of our time is thinking of death, and death is thinking of me.

Forsaking this world we condemn it, arriving, we make way where we see.

Because we're so violently parted, I guess I'd just rather we'd be,

On our way to the dearly departed, far away from the curse upon thee!


Petal's Filagrees

A flowering of the mind,
And mapping of the infinite kind,

Peers out through Petal's filagrees to find:

Stalk, branch, and stem,
Bridled as trunk and root,
To ground.