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Monday, October 31, 2011

EXERPT: "Armor" by John Steakley

     We're not a part of Fleet any longer. In no way. They're mad about it. Fuck 'em.
     We traced the rumor about "Lewis's" rich-kid past to- surprise- Lewis himself.
     We have a growing colony. A government. Holly and I are on what the call the Council of Elders. But they don't cal us much.
     Lya is pregnant with her second. Her first is a girl with her looks and Holly's brain.
     Karen is not pregnant and won't be. Yes, we're still together. But we are not, repeat: not, happy. But I guess we'll keep at it anyhow.
     I never saw Eyes again.
     The Antwar continues.
     What about me? Besides the fact that I'm getting fat and thoughtful? Not much else. Both traits are, understanably, fulfilling.
     What I eat is everything. What I think about...
     The past, of course. My life and what it's meant and what it will mean from now on. And Felix. I think about Felix a lot.
     And about the Masao and what he said, about there being no protection from what you are and all. And I think I may have something to add:
     There is no protection from what you want.
     Hell, they keep searching, which is dumb enough. But when I think about the certain look in that Rep's eye, in all their eyes when they drop by to question again and again. And when I think about all of it- from Golden, to Banshee, to Sanction...
     When I think about it, I wonder.
     Dammit, I cannot help but wonder:
     Are you there, Felix?
     Are you there?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

CHRONICLES: Akin to a Colorado Fall Day

This morning, I got up and ran a quick errand to the store for coffee and some other things. Malcolm and I went. (Side note, I taught him to say "good to go"... "do do doe"). It was just beautiful out this moning. It's the closest to a Colorado autumn day that we've had since I've been here. The sun was poking through some clouds, and there was a gentle breeze blowing up the channel. It's around 45 degrees out (always).

I got back home, put the coffee on, and concentrated on putting Malcolm down for a nap. When he went down, I got dressed to go out and have a smoke. I took a stroll down to the dock, where I checked out his ancient wood boat for sale. It's gotta be around 35 feet long, made of wood. It's got several inside compartments, I'm guessing maybe room for 6 to sleep in. I may have to all the owner (it's for sale) and see if I can get in there and crawl around a little bit. I'm assuming it has a full galley and no woring engineering, but she's a gorgeous piece of construction. And the bonus is: she's still floating.

The smell of coffee, the chill of the morning air, the sun warming only what it looks upon, talk of football, the sound of bacon frying and jazz... I love fall Sunday mornings.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Today I went to the high school to attempt to help Lyss with set-building and coordination. She's Assistant Director for the First City Players production of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes". In reality, all I wound up doing was chasing Malcolm around the high school auditorium and keeping him out of everybody's way.

It reminded me of doing Jeff Daniels' "Escanaba in da Moonlight" last summer. Being my first production, I had no idea what the whole process really entailed. Memorizing lines, yea, sure, and then reciting them in costumes, right? Maybe with a little flair? Oh, man, I was sorely mistaken. There was that stuff, then the days of building sets, blocking, trying on costumes, learning how to put on make-up for the stage, learning to save people who blew their lines, learning how to save myself when I blew my lines, learning how not to flinch when I had water dumped on my face, how not to laugh when my head was shoved between some other dude's ass cheeks... taking the set down... moving the stuff back to storage, the labor, the laughter, the drinking, the smoking...

But, opening night, my mom was there. She had come up for a visit with my brother. During the ass scene, through this guys legs, I could hear my mom laughing in the audience, above everyone else's laughter, I could hear my mother. All the sweat, banged up knees, soaking wet clothes, all of that justified in on person's laughter.

Since then I've had a new appreciation for the craft that Lyss has been practicing for years and years. Seeing all of the goings on today took me back to that happy time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

THOUGHTS: Birthdays and the Opposite Thereof

Tomorrow is my brother's nineteenth birthday. He's a freshman at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. That's where attempted to go to school once. He's having better luck with it than I am, which isn't saying much I suppose. He plays football and is held accountable by it, whereas I just had to go, and I didn't go to class as often as I should. But I'm digressing...

I remember the day in fourth grade when my dad picked my sister and me up from school and told us we had a brother. I was stoked because, as I remember it, my sister wanted a girl so badly, and I wanted a brother. I won! I had all of these flashes in my head about how cool it was going to be to have a little brother. Now, almost two decades later, I'm just as enthusiastic about him in my life, even if my ideas of what we do together have changed drastically.

Almost six years ago, my son was born. Similarly, I had flashes of what we would be doing together, of all the things I would teach him, how we would grow together, me as a man, he into a man.

I had no idea that almost five months later, he'd be gone. Just like that. Gone.

My aunt, who recently lost her own son, had posted online today that "time heals all wounds", that whoever said that was full of shit.  I'm inclined to agree. Wounds may heal, but we carry the scars for life. They give us character, remind us of the duality of life.

I think of my brother, my first son, and my second son, the boy sleeping on the couch right now. I think of how much happiness and sorrow these people have brought into my life, how much of a rollercoaster this hs all been for me, albiet a rollercoaster that's taken years to run its course. Then I realize that it's not a rollercoaster at all. It's simply life. It's a series of events, some to be celebrated, some to be mourned, but all to be remembered an revered.

Time does not heal all wounds. However, we have it in us to look at those scars that define us, to acknowledge them as part of us, just like the good people in our lives are part of us.

Life is only beautiful when you see it for what it truly is: scarred, precious, happy... forgiven. Have the courage to see yours for what it really is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

THOUGHTS: The Great and Mysterious

For years, I have been captivated by the idea of a secret society. When I was a kid, I used to see my grandpa Gibb's Shriner regalia all over the house. I believe I was all related to the El-Jebel Shrine. Later, driving south of Colorado Springs, I passed the Al-Kali Shrine and it had renewed my interest in the secret offshoot of the Masons. I wanted to know more.

All the while, I had grown up watching movies like Star Wars, being absolutely taken by the Jedi and their ideals, their stance as being protectors of the free universe, yet secretive and exclusive in their admission of younglings and padawans.

My journey to satisfy this hunger has taken me in some very interesting directions, and not just in a secret-handshake club sense. It helped me find a faith, the type that isn't boxed in to a requirement of a belief. It pushed me to develop a moral code, the type that grows an learns from experience, both self-inflicted and uncontrollable.

Even now, I'm still looking for answers, hammering away at this tiny keyboard, knowing that by putting myself out into the universe through words, that the answers may come back from places I never expected. The secrets of the universe reveal themselves to those who have the courage to stand into the wind and open their eyes.

The Great and Mysterious is out there, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

CHRONICLES: Another Typical Day

It's chilly outside, and The Stinky (Malcolm) is finally sleeping on the couch. The house is warm, and the flickering christmas-type lights Lyss has hung in the kitchen make the room flicker as if it was candle-lit. It's a very cozy place. The one thing it lacks at this particular moment is a good friend and a bottle of good whiskey. That shall soon be remedied, methinks. If there's any one thing a winter in Ketchikan makes, it's cozy nights with friends... and whiskey.

Lyss is off at rehearsal. Her job for this upcoming First City Players production of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" is assistant directing. It sounds like it's plenty of work. She stays as busy with this as I do at work, from what it sounds like. As much fun as I had working on "Escanaba in da Moonlight", I don't think I can bring myself to do another show in the future. I think I'm put off by the possibility of not having as much fun, not making the audience laugh as much as I did last summer. It was a beautiful moment when I could hear my mother laugh through Seth's legs while my head was wedged up his ass. Sigh... the things I do...

The bosses are out of town camping out and being men, which leaves a skeleton crew at he shop during the day. Still, we've been very productive, especially since the wind storm last night broke so many windows. It's been great to get going on things. Today, I helped Craig install a glass shower door, and tomorrow, I'll likely help him finish the job.

As for right now, I'm enjoying my quiet time, sipping my coffee, and thanking the Gods for not being in some place cold and uninviting as winter settles in over southeast Alaska.


It has been raining hard all day. I remember, living in Colorado, I always looked forward to a good hard rain, especially when it acompanied huge claps of thunder and the occasional very close strike of a lightening bolt. I even remember one evening stroll when I lived on Capitol Hill, about this time of year if I can remember correctly, when it was snowng hard. It was that snow that keeps the sky pink and lit up for hours after the sun has gone down. Walking through this snow, this evening, I saw the clouds above me light up with lightning. When the thunder came seconds later, the muffled sound it made was different than anything I'd ever heard.

Anyway, I digress. Here, it rains. And the wind blows. Hard. It's shaking our double-paned picture window. I can hear more rain hitting our wall than I can our ceiling. It's pretty amazing! I love the wind!

Tomorrow, I have a glass install to do with Mr. Craig. The weather shouldn't be too tough to negotiate. It's an interior piece of glass, a fixture for a shower. I'm looking forward to changing my pace from graphics and printing. I'm much better organized when I feel mental clarity. The last blog I wrote really helped that, though.

I'm looking forward to dozing off to the sound of this incredible rain storm, and I'm looking forward to seeing what a southeast Alaskan winter really looks like.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

THOUGHTS: Experiencing Forgiveness

I have done some shitty things in my life.

Seriously, I know it's odd to start a blog like this, but let's be honest with each other. I've surfed the internet while on the clock at work. I've petended to be sleeping to avoided talking to someone. When I was in eighth grade, I watched two of my friends break into a house and didn't say anything about it. I once tried to fake a dislocated shoulder for sympathy. I killed a duck once with a rock.

I've lied. I've stolen. I've blown off really good friends, and forced myself into the lives of others. I've taken advantage of people.

Every once in a while, after a big come-to-Jesus with myself or somebody else, after the following days/weeks/months/years/decades even of awkward silence or weirdness, something will come out of the woodwork and remind me of what a selfish bastard I've been... and how far I've come. I've used the word "forgiveness" liberally in the past, usually to describe how someone's forgiven me, and how that's a huge and inspiring thing... for a while. I rarely feel the need to forgive others as I eventually and self-depracatingly figure that karma owes me a kick in the butt, that they were probably decent before we got involved in whatever capacity.

The part nature of the word "forgiveness", the real essence of it, is something that continued to elude me for the longest time, until recently, when I was reading an article called "A Pattern So Vast" by Kate Tucker, the Associate Minister of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Minneapolis. In this article, she talks about forgivness, and the healing power of being able to forgive one's SELF. I think for some, it's too easy and not as deeply considered as it has to be. For the dark places some people go, a simple self-forgiving usually translates into justification, and the pattern continues.

However, I was thinking about the concept. I mean, REALLY trying to wrap my head around the idea that the only person who needs your forgiveness is yourself, and, conversely, you're the only person you need it from. I looked up after reading this article and saw this Buddhist quotation I had put up on the board for my wife and I to read every once in a while. "You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."... and forgiveness.

I've gotten on my soap box about how God (or whatever you choose to call the light behind all things) practices infinite forgiveness with all of us, God's children. Whether we stole a candy bar once when we were six or murdered millions of Jewish people when we were competent adults, God would see whatever good there is in us all, celebrate that, and wrap us in that warm and secure love for eternity. That's forgiveness.

But that's forgiveness from God. That's easy to talk about, and almost as easy to believe when you're here in a very real earth, in a time where there are many challenges. And even with an unwavering belief in this, it's still hard to find the courage or justification or even, simply, the reasons to forgive yourself.

Then, as if a warm sip of coffee warmed my stomach after hours in the cold, something hit me. I remembered three words I had written in a phrase below the quotation on the dry-erase board in our kitchen. Three words that the main character in Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" says so often in the book:

"Thou art God."

I felt as if somebody was in the room saying it to me, and for the first time, I believed it.  Not in the sense that I'm God as I believe it. I believed it in the sense that I finally realized that, having an essense of God within me, as we all do, I had the power to forgive myself.

I felt more content than I have in a long time. It was a beautiful moment.

I hope, if you're reading this, that you know you're loved. Loved by yourself. Truly loved. This person that loves you, when they forgive you, it's the key to unlocking the happiness you never thought attainable before.

Thou art God.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

THOUGHTS: One Big Non-Sequitor

You may be thinking, because of the title, that I'm going to whine about things in my life that I haven't accomplished. Well, I was thinking more along the lines of simply talking about how I keep forgetting my dreams, that usually they're vivid and I can at least remember a big chunk of them and how I felt about them. Lately, though, I only remember bits and peices, scenes, and don't even have a feel for the context. Maybe it's just because my sleep patterns have been slightly altered. I don't really know.

It's cool in Ketchikan this morning. Forty-five degrees and rainy. Fall is settling in, and bringing along its honesty, a toolkit of autumn weather, and with those tools, will engineer a way to keep people inside with their families and good food, or, tragically, cold and wet and hungry before the gluttonous holiday season.

I know that was a non-sequitor, but that's my mood this morning.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

THOUGHTS: Moving Beyond The Past

When I was in high school, I had several odd jobs. I washed dishes at a Chinese restaurant. I pulled weeds at an outdoor lab school. I sold popcorn and ran ancient projectors at an ancient movie theater. Everyone in my generation knew that theater, too.

The Unique was, well, unique. Built as the Salida Opera House in 1890, the theatre had dressing rooms, room for an orchestra, and, with the balcony, seated over six hundred people. As the place changed hands and went through various incarnations over the years, it found itself in the hands of the Groy family. When I worked there, John Groy owned it. He also owned a small theater in nearby Buena Vista called "The Pearl", and the only drive-in for almost 100 miles around, "The Commanche".

The Unique was a magnificent place. The ceiling was huge, and a sound system which featured "surround sound" didn't really do it justice. There was no heating system, other than the huge propane "jet engines" that John would put in the very front, just in front of the old stage. The running joke was that you always had to go in the winter with sleeping bags and blankets.

At some point, after I left Salida, the Unique was shut down by the people who eforced fire codes. I don't know details of what happened next, except that it was sold by John to a gentleman who couldn't pay the city for it (how the city of Salida came about it is a mystery to me, although an old friend and co-worker said it was practically robbery). Well, as opposed to trying to procure funds to save the building, the practical solution, unfortunately, was to tear the auditorium down.

A few days ago, my dad sent me a picture of the pile of rubble. As saddening as it is, I've found myself involved here in Ketchikan with a theatre company diligently raising money to build a performing arts complex. It's a circle, and it shows me that the past is past for a reason, that it was a tremendous experience, full of fond memories and happiness associated with my teenage years. Kind of an obvious metaphor, I suppose, but at least I'm writing about it instead of just thinking to myself, "wow, how weird is that?"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

CHRONICLE: A Quick Walk Across the Street

I live off a road locally referred to as "Tongass". It's actually Alaska State Highway 7, which is ridiculous because it doesn't go anywhere. It's also officially called Tongass Highway in honor of the surrounding rainforest and marine channels.

At any rate, I crossed Tongass and walked up the hill in Refuge Court, where they're developing land for houses. At the very top was a lot for over $67,000, almost 20,000 square feet. The view was petty neat.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

THOUGHTS: The Other Side

Malcolm has a strange gift, it seems. Maybe it's not a gift as much as it's an awareness that all children have, that we lose as we get older through sociological growth and regression.

In our front hall, we have a large, framed picture of Malcolm's brother Tiberius. Tibbs would have been five years old next month, yet he didn't see his first birthday. The other day, Lyss was getting ready to leave the house and Malcolm saw the picture. He looked at it, and his perception was very plain. "Bye," he said. "Bye," like he knew that he wasn't going to see Tibbs again.

A day or two later, we went to a gathering at a friends house. On her wall were vintage pictures from a collection her grandparents had. Malcolm looked at one of these pictures, one with three men and a toy airplane. His response was the same. "Bye."

What is it about children that we don't understand as adults? Obviously, we must have understood it at some point when we were children ourselves. Somehow we get programmd to believe that these things aren't possible.

I've heard and read stories where children have been able to see ghosts, to pedict their own deaths, to predict the deaths of others. In a way, I'm envious, but I choose to be more blissfully ignorant of such things, maybe it's because life is simpler without such paranormal and taboo things in it. Still, I remain in awe of the concept, and I will continue looking on with a reverene and fascination.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CHRONICLES: A Dark and Rainy Evening

Ketchikan is a very unique place. The other day, through my job, I had to do a walk-through of the local Trident Seafoods cannery. The place is a powerhouse. They have the capabilities of canning one and a half million cans of salmon every week. I can't remember all of the statistics the guy giving me the tour was rattling off, but it was pretty amazing. It putsinto perspective how much of the local economy is based on fishing.

The days have been getting shorter. In Colorado, they seemed to lose a minute or two every day. Here, because of our latitude, it seems as though we lose five or ten minutes a day. It's almost as if you ca actually feel the tilt of the Earth swinging away from the sun. (Yes, I know that the angle stays relative to itself and the position of Earth changes as I circumnavigates the sun...) Still, it's a little unsettling that it feels like a month ago, it was light an hour or two later than it is now, and it's been dark for an hour or two already. We haven't even fallen back into standard time yet.

Last month, Ketchikan received almost thirty inches of rain. When I spoke with my dad on the phone, he made the point that we had three or four years worth of the rain they receive in his part of Colorado. It would be interesting to see what would happen if our precipitation switched places for a year. They would have floods and mudslides and overgrowth of grass and no fires. We would have dirty clothes, empty salmon spawning streams, lots of fires, and lots of shipping water up here.

Still, it's very calming being so near the ocean. Every day I spend here helps me understand the attraction the ocean has to so many people. As we're on the Inside Passage, we don't really hear the constant breaking of waves and the like. Still, it's quaint to see the gentle rise and fall of tides as your day slowly moves on, as the Alaskan worker keeps on task diligently.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

THOUGHTS: The Line Between Peaceful Resignation and Defiance

My whole life, for the most part, has lent my confrontational abilities to be quiet, contemplative, and secure. I've convinced myself that doing so makes me the better person, stronger for having the maturity to not instigate or fight back. This has done volumes in serving me well to a degree. Situations tha could have become fights, brawls, friendship-ending knock-down, drag-out battles rooted in misunderstandings and miscommunications have been calmly placed on a back-burner, while the real issues have been addressed with resolve.

The caveat to this train of thought is that in doing so, one could constue the actions here as avoidance, cowardice, and pensievity. The truth is, in certain situations, this assessment is true. There are times when the truth must be sought through the heat of battle, when it cannot be obtained by taking the road around such infernos of emotions. These are times when that fine line between deciphering which road is the higher one is almost impossible to see.

Erring on the side of caution is a wonderful idea, but I have to question it. If one is to always err on the side of caution, are they not liable to err too much, to err themselves into a complacency where the risk involved with standing up to an issue has the potential to reward you even more?

Next time you're in a situation where you feel like youe more noble for sitting it out, for thinking about it and returning with a response when the seas have calmed a bit, consider this: you may be adding fuel to a fire by refusing to jump into that fire and plug the leak. Sometimes we have to immerse ourself in our conflicts to really address and correct them, and there is nothing less noble by taking this path.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Went outside in a hard rain, and then suddenly the rain stopped. Literaly like someone flipped a switch. Bizarre!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

THOUGHTS: Music and Reflection

It's amazing how powerful melody and rhythm can be when put together. I was journalling and writing a friend a letter tonight, and I had some post-rock from a band called "The Darning Needle" playing in the background. One of the two guys in the band used to be my production manager when I worked in Denver, and he had told me about one song he had written for his grandmother who had passed away just before then. It came on, and it took me back to a place in my life where I was just starting this BattleWagon Chronicles.

Music, to me, is a memory trigger stronger than a smell or a photograph or visiting a place. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's a very dark place. I was taken back earlier to a happy place in high school by having an "Usher" song pop into my head. It reminded me of cruising around in my friend Stephen's Mazda 626, drivin up and down F Street in Salida, going to 7-11 to get nacho's and Mountain Dew.

I found that when I want to immerse myself in a contemplative emotion, I have to do little else than put some headphones on and listen to the type of music that I feel will put me in a better place. Nothing beats finding an Alaskan beach, quiet, the moist fall air in my lungs, and some of "The Helium Arch" or "Maserati" or "Radiohead" gently pouring its way into my soul through my ears.

I dig music.

CHRONICLE: Tatoosh Island

Saturday morning, my friend Steve took me fishing north of here toward an island called Tatoosh. We loaded up the Golden Rule and left Knudson Cove, tired and mellow for different reasons. We hopped north of the Revillagigedo coast and started trolling maybe a mile off-shore. The poles got dropped in the water, and we enjoyed the creature comforts of this fine boat. The Rule, a thirty foot metal-hulled Almar, is complete with a dinette, kitchen, bunk, and head, and features a nice deck out back for fishing and the like.

Twice in our outing we spotted pods of humpback whales bubble-feeding. This is fascinating. The whales swim in slow circles, releasing air bubbles forming a large column around a school of herring. They gently make the circle smaller until the school is densly packed, afraid to swim through the bubbles. When this is accomplished, the whales then open their giant mouths and swim upwards, into the fish, and breach the surface of the ocean. What we see from the boat is a huge mass of seagulls diving for fish in the moments before giant gaping whale mouths jut out of the water. It's pretty spectacular.

After catching one (and only one) silver salmon, we trolled to Tatoosh, where we navigated inside a narrow channel. Steve wanted to show me some virgin cliffs, ripe for the climbing. It doesn't look like a very difficult peice of property, and the whole experience has done a lot to motivate my climbing sensibilities. I miss being outside, truly being lost in it. It may be time to get out soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

THOUGHTS: Some Weird Astronomical Timing/Respecting the Natural Flow

Weird how some events seem to converge at certain times. People who don't know each other, somehow feel very similar things at very congruent times. Even if the things they feel aren't related, somehow the scope of their emotions and the type of their emotions seem to ramp up at similar times. Some would accredit this to fate or astrological timing. I don't care much to figure out why, as it takes my focus away from immersing myself in the simple fact that it purely IS.

I sit here pounding away on a tiny keyboard with my sore thumbs after having put in an arduous day at work digging holes and pouring concrete.  My house's emotions were somewhat spun into a negative place through my own ignorance, which has happened before. That was addressed. Then I had a conversation and a text-ersation with two very close friends on separate issues, issues which I was helpless to change except by lending an ear (or eyes) and some very gentle words of encouragement.

Life experience has taught me not to dwell on my own shortcomings, to quietly and affirmatively listen to those who need to be listened to, much like a barkeeper in a small hole-in-the-wall does to the wayward patron. Listen. Keep their glass full, and they'll keep the cup full of thoughts and emotions, a cup more fruitful when shared than when imbibed alone.

We all fall victem to ourselves and our surroundings too often. More often than not, it's to ourselves in our reactions to our surroundings or our actions. What we frequently fail to realize is how much our own head chooses our path for us instead of just letting us go with the natural course of things.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Dark Side

If you're at all a follower of the Star Wars saga, you've likely heard Master Yoda say things like: "fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to the Dark Side." Yes, he's said many other things, but because of my mood this evening, this one has jumped to my mind. However, like a mathmatician, I've rearranged the wording to answer my own mood. If fear leads to anger, than one could assume that the root of anger is fear. And since I'm in a grumpy mood, I could assume that it's really because I'm scared.

Then again, Yoda may just be full of crap.  Who knows?

At any rate, I find myself in a conflicting and admittedly selfish mood this evening. The ebb and flow of life has presented upon me several congruent issues, things which some would consider great joys, others which some would refrain from even discussing, and still more that are simple, clear-cut, black and white as day and night, yet, for some reason, has left a small and menacing trace of itself in my head.

I suppose I should do as I've preached on this blog before and just let things be as they are, take them at face value, acknowledge their part in me and my part in them, and move on, instead of letting my mind sever and reconnect and break and repair, over and over again, my understanding of what is. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? And if life was ever truly broken, then none of us would be around to figure out why anyway.


...I think I may be on to something.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

More of the Political Game

A few days go, I got caught up in the local nonsense. It's interesting to live in a state that only has one representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. It's also weird that when I've contacted one of my U.S Senator's offices, I've gotten a call back from that Senator, albiet after a month or so. In Colorado, the closest I ever got was seeing a representative in a "town hall meeting", which was unfortuntely little more than a speech given in too small a venue to make it seem more intimate.

Alaska feels disconnected from the rest of the country. In a way, it's because the people here are proudly defiant, and in another way, they're shamefully dejected. Either way, people feel like they're on their own up here. For having such a vast quantity of so many natural resources, there is also a lot of federal interference in the procurement of those resources. The timber industry has been annhiliated here. There was a huge pulp mill not one mile from where I live now that employed hundreds of people just over a decade ago. Many of those who lost their jobs blame Washington for the more strictly watched and counter-productive rules and regultions in timber.

Alaska trips me out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

PROPHECY: The Dark Bridge

I was running. It wasn't for fear or hurriedness, but for the sake of doing so. I was jogging. Jogging through dark, moist, warm tunnels past friendly people. I was home. I ran through some long corridors until I happened into a large, cavernous room. A hole in the roof let the morning sun shine in. I ran across a large bridge, and I thought to myself how wonderful this bridge was, that if Ketchikan had bridges like this, I would have take up jogging eons ago just for the sake of crossing this bridge again and again.

At the opposite end of the bridge was a very old direlect bridge. I stopped and looked at it's rusty look, the copper and bronze construction giving it a very steam-punk feel. The darkness of the cavern seemed to make an exception for this antique. The boards accross the main span had rotted or fallen out years ago, but I could climb on top of the metal truss and cross it. The rock island on the other side seemed to be a mossy oasis. Children were playing there under a happy mother's supervision.

I climbed up and crossed, finding myself not on an island, but on a rock slap, similar in size and shape to a large cargo pallet, suspended from the cave roof by two ropes. The children and mother had vanished. Suddenly aware of my precarious situation, I watched as one woman simply jumped off, across to the adjacent cliff less than a yard away. Easy, I thought.

As I prepared for my own small jump, I then found myself laying on the slab. I felt weird. Something wasn't right. I was still upright. One of the ropes had come undone. A single rope held the slab aloft, and I was laying on it, vertically, hanging by that single rope. I reached up, wrapped my arm through the rope hoping that if it did break, only the rock would fall into the dark gorge below me...