There and Back Again

With my blind side recreated in a new study, I returned to reflect upon a part of myself I couldn’t coordinate competently. My effort to understand the consequences of an experience I couldn’t fully recall required me to reacquaint myself with what I was missing by using a new medium to capture the reaction from a culture that was better adapted to our particular kind of problem. Events so shocking to me as a child that I blocked them out became new instances of the problem in the world.

The health care system chose not to be accountable for my objections to a questionable practice, and responding to our injuries to apprehend the threat in our hobbled state left us too compromised to take care of ourselves, so we returned with a more competent objection blaring with disgust for the previous failure to act.

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 could not apprehend. Because we were hit as I drove to confront the challengers, the falls were the only place where I could rest. Fortunately, I had the advantage of new tools at my disposal and was well prepared to publish at a moment's notice. Already familiar with the kinds of problems that resulted from my previous effort to publish my concerns about pollution on paper, strange circumstances surrounding a day surgery out west returned me home.

Paranoid about the medical profession after continuing to carry on with my objections about a questionable practice, I refused anesthesia that blocked out my consciousness during the surgery and left my recording equipment on, but when they were through taking the glass out of my ankle. So when I was wheeled into a geriatric ward with a bloated roommate and a nurse came in and put an IV into my artery, I pulled out the tubing, wiped up the blood that squirted out onto the floor, and left.

A day of preparation later I was ready for my return home. I stopped at my mother's along the way and was given a map by her boyfriend. And, confused by the tortuous path I drove that night, and the unfamiliar territory, I recalled a burst of bright white light that flashed eastwardly before me as I crossed one of the State lines, and stopped to take a break, eat breakfast, and do my laundry early the next morning.

I also took a nap, but inadvertently continued on to the East on the road I drove in on after I woke up, instead of heading North-North East which is the route I was told to drive. Still attached to visions from the East, I drove with the surgical wound that remained after the surgeon removed the glass that got stuck in my ankle when I broke a window to get back into my vehicle after locking myself out at a laundrymat, with my papers and a trunk full of odds and ends.

First Falls

The compass my friend Dave gave me before I left helped me to navigate the road I was told to drive by my mother’s trucker boyfriend, but it was not enough to set me back on course after a short nap.

Realizing I was in yet another State, I regained my objective course by returning to my point of departure where I drove out on the road I came in on. It was not however the course I was told to drive along the foothills of the mountains South East of Canyon De Chelly and it was after noon before I encountered body parts and unidentified remains left along side of the road.

It only took me an hour or so to see the highway sign indicating that I was in a State too far to the east, but I had a camera and I captured what I could by the time I was back on course. I made a sincere effort to notify the authorities before I left. I was terrified, and wondered did the bright white flash near the prior State line, or the abrupt nature of my departure and tortuous path somehow affect my attachments or was this an intentional deterrent? And if so, how could it be possible to have such a horrible impact on my fantasies 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 details about the violence we encounter as a result, my prayer returns to the One who we draw near to as He discloses Himself to us, to 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! And, I was 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 know now that there are even more insidious motivations for obstructions like these, such as the desire to cover-up, or disrupt what might be considered the slander or defamation of a region or jurisdiction.

Open water swimming is forbidden in our city anyway for good reason but there aren't always signs or warnings to stay out! Please see: Maps and video about the waterways below: Father Hennepin Bluffs.

And when I was required to isolate Paramecium for a science project, and couldn't find any in our city ponds or lakes, I tried a suggestion to soak straw in groundwater and I still couldn't find any!

Embarrassing problems like these led me to work for organizations like GreenPeace, which led to even more serious commitments, like direct action campaigns. And one time, we blocked access to a local Landfill by chaining a school bus full of children across the gate in order to protect the groundwater from the garbage they kept bringing in. I monitored climbers nearby 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 fare very well after involvement with activities like these, and finding a way out becomes necessary.

The tap water of the residents in the area was dangerously polluted by the drainage from the Landfill, 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 effort to prevent harm from continuing, we’re not likely to live to have the opportunity to tell our own story! We get hurt upholding the rules we're required to abide by, and acting upon the courage of our own convictions.

For example, a girlfriend who wouldn't leave my apartment charged me with domestic assault for slapping her face out of frustration with my need to stay in keeping with my landlord's requirements. She finally left, but our plan to get married, and the need for a man to live with a woman was largely disregarded by the Courts. It was only the agreements that were written down that mattered to the Court. What we believed and was agreed to verbally by the two of us was largely ignored.

But because I was also involved in protesting and demonstrating problems others didn't want to do anything about, our jurisdiction needed to have the power to put me away (many times for many reasons). Because I was prepared to use this medium, 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 it's clear that what we're doing isn't working for you, then at the very least, we’ll be very clear about the hazards you're likely to encounter should you try to do similar things, like working for change.

Prior to the Digital Age, many of us had the opportunity to use Publishers. People who had better knowledge and experience with anticipating how the public would respond to any given work. Those of us who do both, and most of us who author and publish everyday realize now that it's a form of checks and balances - that each 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 with 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 him in the water.

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 wasn’t very familiar with guns, and didn't realize that I would hurt the snake, but it did. I pumped up the BB gun over the recommended limit and hit the side just below its head and tore off a quarter-inch chunk

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

And, perhaps a year or two later (the late 1970's), hundreds of bullheads started swimming upstream from the lake. Our family had a potato patch less than 50 feet away, and skits on a local television network about the many uses of fish emulsion as prepared by blenders inspired me to put a healthy number of them into the potato patch.

So, I used 5 gallon buckets to put the bullheads I raked out of the pond into the potato patch for fertilizer. Unfortunately, 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. 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 coordinating all parts of myself, such as my character as a Gardner, and completely unaware of 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 Filigrees

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

Peers out through Petal's filigrees to find:

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


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