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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CHRONICLES: Another Day, Another Dollar

Malcolm came home from the Tucker house today, and it was like he was fed speed! After a long and productive day at work, this kid has just been go, go, go! We've been hom now for a couple of hours, and he's been wired this whole time. My hope is that, after a little while, when he crashes, he crashes hard. But, as Jayne Cobb says, "...if wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak." Fatherhood. Every day is an adventure.

Bart and I were very busy at work today, and for the forseeable future, it looks like. The summer tourist season has started early his year. In he span of a couple of weeks, the amount of work has doubled, and even hiring Bart, we're still barely breaking even on the workload. It's a good feeling to be worn out, though. It sure beats going to work and simply waiting for 5:00 to roll around.

We've put Star Wars on, and I'm sitting here pondering what may lie in our future. With any luck, this summer will bring lots of fishing, hiking, and whale watching.  Phew... it's been a year, and I still love Alaska.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PROPHESY: The Invasion

I was back home in Salida, enjoying my brother's company in my parents' front yard. Looking up, suddenly, the sky was full of these large, black, metallic spheres. They were falling towards the ground, hundreds or even thousands of them, twenty or thirty feet in diameter. My brother and I ran into the house, through the front room and the kitchen to the basement door. We bolted down the stairs to take cover, down into the room that was once my bedroom, once my dad's room, the room with the built-in desk and the cinder-block walls and concrete ceiling under the back porch. We saw my dad run by on his way to the furnace room....

....the next thing I can remember, I'm driving some sort of short, 2-door SUV, the kind with a lift kit and the top off. We're in Poncha Springs, and trying to get the gas pumps to work. This station had been abandoned for days. Maybe we could scrounge up some food from inside. I knew I could take the people to the city, to Denver, even though everyone else was fleeing. Despite whatever chaos was invading, I knew we could make it. In this small four-seat truck, there were 7 of us, including my the daughter and newborn granddaughter of my old neighbor back in Alaska.  Only one other group was joining us: some gruff lumberjack-types in an old Jeep Cherokee, but they didn't know the back roads like I did. We watched them as we loaded up our own truck. They forded a small stream nearby and went on their way. When we finally got on one of the county roads heading north, we could see, in the distance, two or three small, purple, metallic craft landing in the distance. They didn't land like an airplane would. Instead, like a bird, when they got close to the ground, they put their "feet" towards the ground in a very animal-like fashion.

I turned left onto a different county road. Fighting the traffic trying to get away from the city was a challenge. Trucks, RVs, cars, even horses were jamming the road against me. One of the horses had gotten loose and was rearing up, repeatedly kicking people with it's front hooves. Once we finally had made it a mile or so, we turned right into a lightly wooded parking lot. There was a small, lively, shocked crowd gathered on the north edge, gasping in some sort of surprise. I approached, and, through the trees, on the distant horizon over the foothills of Denver, I could see it...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CHRONICLES: The Long Flight Home

Having gleaned some wisdom from my flight to Denver with the little one, I learned some cool tricks. First off, I woke him up when I got up, and did everything I could to keep him alert, awake, entertained, and happy until we got on the plane. He wanted to go to sleep a couple of times, but I just kept rallying. Second, I waited until we got on the plane and ready to start taxiing before I plugged him into the bottle. He went out like a match. Probably sould knock on wood, but this was amazing. Hopefully, the second leg of the trip goes better.

On a side note, it's interesting the people you meet and get a sense for on trips like this. A very kind, young lady wound up next to me and Mal. She and her son/brother (she's what my father would call "of indescriminate age") are flying back to Kenai. She was very friendly, and, coincidentally, her birthday is tomorrow, too, same as Malcolm's and my Aunt Memo's. On the way down, from Seattle to Denver, a young ma sat across the empty seat from me, and, having two daughters 1- and 3- years old, knew a bunch of tricks to help keep Malcolm entertained. That was also pretty rad.

I'm continually finding new people to help me restore my faith in the inherant goodness of humanity. It seems like too often, we find ourselves falling victem to harsh, abrasive, sarcastic, demeaning, and bigotous people, people who lack self confidence and trust. It's always awesome to meet someone new, even if just for a second, a few minutes, or an hour, even if you never get their name and will never see them again, who you will remember for possibly years to come, just because they did one simple thing: possessed kindness.

Here's to faith.

THOUGHTS: The Balance of Light and Darkness

Lately, I've been going through some crazy life-motions, exploring some new concepts and feelings.

Last week, I went to Colorado with Malcolm. We visited my parents in Salida. It was an amazing trip. We went to the park every day, and Malcolm and I both got worn out.

When I came back, certain variables in my life had changed in a very dark way. Not in a bad way, but in a dark way.

I suppose the point of the blog tonight is to explore the difference between bad and dark. There are many cliches and quotes about how the night is always darkest before the dawn, about how you don't know how to see the light if there isn't darkness for it to illuminate. These are nice little quotes, sure, and, if you wanted to totally jump on the bandwagon, they can be inspiational or life-changing. But what does it all really mean? There's still an insinuation that the darkness is bad. I'm starting to believe that it's not bad. Darkness is the balance to light. Adversity is the balance to complacency. Yin and yang. Life and death.

There are many things that are commonly considered bad, things like death, sadness, and hurt. I don't know if I'm that convinced that they actually are. I believe more and more often that they're dark. They're the natural balance to the positive things we have in our lives.

Consider this:   Many have said that we must experience adversity to appreciate when times are good. Some have also said that fortunate experiences make us strong enough to weather the storm when life gets difficult. I present the idea that these two concepts are really one, and that they can be mixed and matched in different, copacetic ways. When we realize this, we can attain a certain amount of understanding and acceptance of things for simply being what they are, neither good nor bad.

An amazingly enlightening thought, if I say so myself.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

CHRONICLES: The Simple Joy of a Blue Sky

I'm in Colorado with Malcolm. The two of us are visiting my parents in the Upper Arkansas River Valley. Living in Ketchikan for over a year straight now has really made me appreciate the warm (38 degrees and dry) sun and the blue sky. That is all.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

THOUGHTS: On Fatherhood

Lately I've begun to realize that one of the traps I'm falling into as a relatively new father is that I feel compelled to put down so many plans for the sake of my son. I know a few people who have kids, some of them blindly putting their kids ahead of themselves, settling for a mundane life of a steady paycheck, benifits, regular vacations, and meetings with the home-owners association or the p.t.a.

For a small group of people, i'd imagine that this is the goal. This is the perfect life.  This is the ideal that they've worked so hard for. And that's okay. I respect one's right to follow their dreams.

However, for the majority, I wish they had the courage to do the things they love, not in spite of their children, but as an inspiration to them. The man who wants to be an actor and moves with his daughter to New York City into a small studio apartment. The woman who wants to travel the world and home-schools her son from a sailboat. The couple who build a commune and share their kids with the rest of the community. The farmer who buys a plot of land and gets his boys up at 4:30 in the morning to plow or feed the animals.  None of these fit the typical mold of what many of the masses would call "normal" or "healthy", yet it's very, very likely that all of these kids will grow up to fondly remember their childhood adventures, and the worldly experience and work ethic will benifit them far more than some of the more homogenized alternatives.

Just my take... from Alaska.