Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why do we do it?


Why do we do it?
Why are we so willing to give up everything that is most precious to us? I have been fighting an urge to give my most prized possession away, my sovereignty. The liberty to decide my thoughts and actions. 
I have always liked gadgets, especially electronic gadgets. I started out as a kid when I built an AM radio from a kit I got at Radio Shack, It didn’t even need a battery. I started taking old radios apart and got to where I could actually fix some of them. I did the same with the old TV’s. I remember when calculators came out. They were simple in comparison to what we have today. I started out with a simple calculator, it helped me to do computations much faster when I was in school. Then I noticed someone had a newer model, one that could do logarithms and complex equations, I wanted one too. 
When 4 track tapes came out, I bought one for my car. My brother brought one back from the Philippines when he came home. It had all the newest features. I thought I had it all.
I could probably fill a room with all the electronics that I have bought over the years. Most of them are now obsolete dinosaurs.
My latest urge has been wether or not to get a cell phone. That may seem a basic need to most people. I want one of those smart phones, the ones that do everything. You can’t help from seeing all the ads for the latest model.
My mind keeps fighting with my heart over what to do. My mind wants to have the ease of having information and connectedness available whenever I choose. My heart keeps reminding me that I already have those features built in.
There was a time in the 90’s when I sold my home in Provo, Utah and set out in a truck and trailer to find myself. I went from place to place looking for that special area where I would feel, “At Home.” I traveled through Utah, Arizona, and Colorado looking for the perfect place. It was a grand adventure. I was out of contact for weeks at a time. I even missed the L.A. Riots. 
I was in a campground near Mt. Nebo in Utah, when I kept getting a feeling to call a friend. When I followed the prompting, I found that they had been looking for me because they were worried. I discovered that I had an ability to feel and sense when someone was looking for me. I didn’t always follow through with those promptings, but when I did, I found it always worked for me.
That is the struggle that I am having with myself right now. I have within me the ability to connect with anyone and anything. I can get any kind of information that I might want to know within my own being. I can connect with a matrix of unlimited knowledge. We all have this ability. Sometimes I am lazy and don’t want to put in the effort to get it for myself.
I have watched my family and friends with their phones. They have their whole life stored in that memory chip. When someone looses a phone, it turns life upside down. 
I want to keep my ability to connect from within. If I give up my inner ability to communicate, get information, or directions, that I am cheating myself. My best adventures have been when I have listened to my own inner promptings. My inner guidance system is far superior to any that is on the market. 
Advances are being made to implant chips in our bodies that will connect us with super computers. This will allow us to have instant information available whenever we choose. This is no longer science fiction but science fact. 
Research on BCIs began in the 1970s at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) under a grant from the National Science Foundation, followed by a contract from DARPA. The papers published after this research also mark the first appearance of the expression brain–computer interface in scientific literature. Questions arise in a brain-computer interface (BCI.) Mind reading, privacy, mind-control, and interrogation are possible risks.
My heart keeps on reminding me that I have the most advanced system available for connecting with the world and the universe. All I have to do is to stop giving my liberty away by choosing electronic gadgets over my own built in network. My own inner ability will always be better than any electronic advancement.

Wheel of Fortune


Wheel of Fortune
I turned on the TV the other day and there it was, Wheel of Fortune. The program that so captured my attention those many years ago in that little Kansas Jail. There was Pat and Vanna doing their thing, a little bit older now. It is amazing how Television seems to keep them so young looking. They were much younger when they made such an impression on me. I guess I was younger too. I was looking for myself, full of spice and vinegar, I thought I had it all figured out. 
My son was living with his mother in Washington. The state of Utah had declared that I was supposed to pay child support, That is where this story all began. I had decided that it was an unfair judgement, but what could I do? They were the government and I was only an unhappy father. 
I met a man, there in Kansas, who was part of the Patriot Movement and another man who had gotten out of the system. They told me how I could do the same. I didn’t feel to do what they had done, but I decided to take control of my life and assert myself. 
When the letters started to arrive from the state of Utah, I ignored them. They were persistent and threatening so I decided I would let them know how I felt. I called up the office and told them who I was and told them they didn’t have any jurisdiction over me because I now lived in Kansas. The letters stopped. I told them!  Several weeks passed, one day when I got the mail, there was a letter from the state of Kansas. It was an invitation to a party. Actually, it was a summons to appear before a local judge. I decided to ignore it. After all I had planned a trip to Utah and it would be inconvenient, I would be gone on that date, what could they do to me? I was out of town, I would just claim that I hadn’t received their letter.
I took that trip, had a wonderful time. I had only been home a couple of days when he arrived. The Sheriff from Donovan County. Not the Andy Griffith I had watched on TV, He meant business and asked me to come with him. He told me to get a toothbrush and some personal items as I would be spending some time away from home.
That was how I was introduced to Pat and Vanna. Each day around dinner time the little Black and White TV was turned on. There it was, Wheel of Fortune. I had to look through the bars of my cell to watch. This is inconvenient, I thought to my self. Why can’t I have my own TV? 
The Sheriff told me I wouldn’t be able to see the judge until Monday. It was only Thursday, and They wanted me to be sure to attend this party, I was the guest of honor. I learned about TV dinners in that little jail, and TV breakfasts and TV lunches. The smoke was so strong I asked to be placed in another cell. They only had two cells. There were 3 other men here, they didn’t seem so bad, but the smoke was strong. I got my wish, I was placed in solitary, alone. I had a steel toilet, steel sink and steel cot with a blanket, oh yeah and my toothbrush. There I sat, wasn’t much else to do. Couldn’t see the TV, but I could hear it.
When I told the jailer I was fasting, he wasn’t happy. They like to have their guests happy and fed each day. I explained, I was looking for answers to my life and that this would help me. Each morning, noon, and evening, the TV dinners would be placed on the shelf, and the sheriff would check on me to see if I had eaten anything. He was concerned, I reassured him I was still alive and healthy. I lost a few pounds, during my long weekend getaway. 
That little Kansas jail gave me a chance to find out some things about myself. What did I want out of life? How would I choose to interact with others? What is it that will bring happiness? I found myself in that jail, and along with Pat and Vanna, I entered life again. A new man with a new perspective on life and the rules that we live by. It had only been a few weeks earlier that I had stood out in that field and shouted at God. I had demanded answers. Well, I got my answers, along with the lessons of life that helped to bring me to where I am now. I am able to see the richness of life around me and appreciate the differences that we all have. I can look at a sunrise and only imagine all the wonderful things that life has to offer me. Life has been a wonderful teacher to me. I try to see the bigger picture now when new lessons come up before me. I want to be a good student because some of these lessons are hard and If I fail, they will keep coming back until I get it right.  Blessings and Love to all as your “wheels of fortune” ....  Bring you closer towards your sunsets.

Walking Sticks
It is almost noon and time to check the mail and see who else is there.They are getting the latest bit of news for the day. As I walked the 2 blocks to the post office today, I saw another distant relative. I can’t remember the connection for sure, he told me but I can’t remember. There he was with his walking stick. When I first met him he had that walking stick, walking proudly and showing off his carving skills. It is a magnificent piece of art work. A little dirty from the everyday use it gets. But, nonetheless a piece of artwork in the making. Sometimes he sits in front of the post office visiting with those that stop, sometimes I see him down at the local grocery store sitting on the bench, greeting people as they come and go. Sometimes I sit with him and we share stories. He has good stories. A bachelor all his life, living alone now and doing things his own way. He told me about a time when he was friends with another man who used to live here. That man is now gone, but he told me how they used to travel the local hills and mountains looking for Indian artifacts. They found them too. He told me about one time they were looking into some rocks up around rattlesnake hill. He said, “It got real spooky, I could feel the spirits of the ones who were buried here. I knew that they were unhappy with us, disturbing their burial places and all, I knew I had to leave and never return.” He told me that he would take me out and show me some of the places that he had found over the years.
That was months ago, maybe longer, I’m not sure now. He tells me the same stories over and over, I just smile and let him share. It must be lonely to live alone as he has done. I asked him when he was going to finish his walking stick? “Don’t know,” he said. How long have you been working on it? “Can’t remember for sure.”
I thought about my own walking stick. A client friend from Albuquerque gave it to me. She was starting a new life with a new husband and no longer needed or wanted the walking stick. I was thrilled to get it, not quite my style, but I knew I could turn it into something that would match my personalty. Years have passed and that walking stick now accompanies me on my difficult walks, the ones where I have to do some climbing. It really helps to have that extra bit of help when you are climbing over obstacles and rocks. I have carved and shaped that walking stick over the years. It kind of resembles me, or who I am. I think it is done. I may need to change it to match my changes. Our journey may take us places that I am unable to see right now. It is a comfort to have with me, gives me a little bit of confidence when I am feeling a little bit less sure.
Merlin, as I call my walking stick, he and I are somewhat the same. Both creations in the making. Walking into unknown places, trusting that we will be led to those places where we can do the most good. Allowing others to see us and even though I may get a bit of dirt on me at times, I am under construction from the Master Carver. I know that I am in good hands, I may need to have a little bit whittled here and there, a little bit of stain, maybe a little bit of crystal placed in just the right place. Whatever it may be, I know and trust the Masters hand. 

Vibrator Apps and upgrades for a dollar
My cheeks are still red from that conversation. Google confirmed it for me. Wow, I am a country boy living in the past. I used to make fun of my Utah relatives. 10 years behind California’s latest trends. That was 40 years ago, and now I am the one who is left in the dust. I don’t mind, it is a fair trade off. I have what I need to live and enjoy my life. I have resisted the trend to get a cell phone. I have my reasons. Sometimes it is inconvenient, especially when you need to make a call away from home. You used to be able to find a phone booth and spend a dime and make a call. Then it was a quarter. Then a quarter for 5 minutes. One day I needed a phone booth and I couldn’t find one. Oh, the odd one shows up in somebodies yard as decoration. A tourist stopped me on the street last summer and asked me where she could make a phone call. I couldn’t give her an answer. The local phone company is close by so I walked over and asked them about it. 
We don’t have them any more.
Why not?
Vandals, upkeep, and not enough revenue.
Remember Motel 6? The old original one where you could actually get a room for 6 dollars. Yah, hard for me to remember too. Remember the vibrator and the bed? You put a quarter in the box and the bed vibrated. It was a cheap thrill. 
Pay phones, a novel idea that lost its appeal and  profit. A thing of the past. Memories from the dinosaur era. I’ll bet if you attached one of those new Apps to the pay phone it would revive the phone industry. There would be people standing in line again, waiting to reach out and touch someone. Oh, and the upgrades for a dollar? 
You are going to have to come to the next monthly dinner to find the answer to that one. 
Good friends
Good memories
Good food. 

Twelve and Five


Twelve and Five
I was driving back from the city last Thursday and I was reminded of Twelve and Five, that is the position I assume when I live in this small community of Escalante. 
There are around 800 to 1000 people living here. The head count depends on whether there is a family reunion going on or a funeral taking place. Escalante swells a bit more in the summer when the weather is warm and the tourists are passing through. 
When I drive my truck, it is automatic, Twelve and Five. Sometimes I drive up to Wide Hollow to see if anyone is fishing on the dam. The water is lower now at the end of the season, the ducks and geese are enjoying the open water. I pass others out driving to see the changes with the weather. I am always ready with my finger.
Have you been to Hawaii? Everyone is so friendly in Hawaii. The tourist books give you the basics of being friendly to the locals. The locals use hand signals with each other and you just pick it up. You have to learn it because after the first 2 or 3 people give it to you, it is just plain polite to give it back. Hawaiians call it the Shaka. If you are walking it is easy to do, but when you are driving it is best to keep your hands in the ready position, that way you will be ready to give it when someone gives it to you. If you want to give it first, that is acceptable, then you can watch the other person hurriedly give it back.
The country wave is what I call it here in Escalante, the one finger wave. You will recognize it by the Twelve and Five position on the steering wheel. You have to be quick too, a moments hesitation, and it is too late. It is always proper to use your first finger, the index finger. You have to keep that finger ready, you never know when it might be given to you and you will need to return it.
There is another wave that I see in the cities, It is a one finger wave too. However this finger is usually the middle finger and the person on the other end is making a mad face. I don’t care for the city wave, it doesn’t come with a smile and the person giving it doesn’t expect to get one back. City people may either be driving with both hands clenched around the steering wheel or they are texting to someone while trying to stay on the road. Waves of any kind are usually returned with a frown or a “Who are you?” look.
It is always important to know where you are. Knowing where you are will help you to be able to give the proper wave. It is might be embarrassing if you give the wrong wave in the wrong place. If you give the right wave in the right place, everyone understands. All this waving may confuse some drivers, so they don’t ever wave. That sends a message too.  
You can learn a lot about a person by the wave they use. Most of us understand the message intended by the sender. Waves always come with feelings. It may lift our spirits or might do the opposite. I always enjoy a good wave from a friendly person. It makes me feel better about myself and about the person who gave it to me.  Sometimes I give the country wave in the city. There are some who understand the message and give it back. I have tried to use the Shaka here, but it doesn’t always work. You can always tell someone who has been to Hawaii, they smile and give it right back. We may both drift a bit in our thoughts remembering the friendly people, the fond memories, and the beautiful smiles, all from a simple wave ...

Simplicity and the open road


Traveling down the highway today and watching the road with all the curves reminded me of how I view life. I can see what is ahead on the road for a short distance and I can look behind me in my mirror and see where I have been. I control the truck, choose where I go, how fast I travel and whether I stop to see the sights along the way. I am in control of my destination. 
I used to dream my dream, now I am living my dream. It is a life of freedom and unlimited choices. The busy freeway of competition and “more things?” I think not! Simplicity and the open road for me. 
I have gone through a transition this last year and I have had my heart opened wide and even though it was life changing and sometimes painful, I learned to trust my own heart. The outer world continues to argue over who is better, smarter, more righteous, richer, or beautiful. I say let them have it all. 
My life is one of simplicity, gentle words and honest smiles. To see another’s eyes sparkle with joy from a kind word or a kind deed, that is what inspires me. I express my love of life, my love of God, and love to my inner being for guiding me down life’s highway... Blessings to all, Gary

Gift of new life


Today on the Spring Equinox I have come to realize the tremendous gift that Pearlene has given me in her death. Her sacrifice in leaving this body and moving into the light has allowed me to enter into my heart again. 
Life had moved me towards my head and I had allowed myself to loose sight of my original journey. Living from my heart these past months has allowed me to experience heart energy again, my emotional body has been reactivated. The boundaries between worlds has softened and I am seeing colors long forgotten through different eyes. Families are manifesting before me and assisting my transition. Increased love is flowing from all realms. The illusion of separation and my pains of loss are transforming into connection and joy and the richness of life here in physical form. I am being given the treasures of the Earth from the Heavens. These eternal gifts will remain forever imbedded in my soul. 
I asked for my chakras to be opened and activated, I asked for my 12 strand DNA to be reconnected, I asked to know my true families once again, I asked to walk my true path........ I didn’t realize that I would have to give up my selfish self, my ego driven self, my mask of protection. What a ride! I once said to Pearlene, “Fasten your seat belt, we are in for the ride of our life.” What I didn’t realize is that it would be the ultimate ride, the experience that would carry us into that space we agreed to go. I have had to redefine my perception of life and death...... I now see Pearlene in the wind, in the grains of sand and in all the heart rocks that call my attention to them. I still weep, but the memories and the sweetness of my new life have given me new purpose, new eyes, and hope that my journey will continue to connect me with all of life once again. There is no separation, but a renewed awareness of the interconnectedness that is all around. Thank you my friends, thank you my family, thank you my guardians and angels, thank you all my unseen teachers. Thank you for walking this path with me, and most of all, thank you Pearlene for your gift of life. Your sparkle, your joy of life, the innocence of your smile, thank you for allowing me to see your enjoyment of nature and the simple pleasures of life. You have given me a new star to follow...... 
Your Beloved, always and forever.......

September Dawn


I was laying in bed sleeping soundly when I heard that  strange noise in the attic. It woke me from a sound sleep. It took me a minute to place the sound. 
Did you hear that? My wife was wide awake too. 
Yes, I did. 
What do you think  it was? 
It sounded like a button rolling across the floor.
As I strained to listen in the silence, there was nothing more. Just that single button rolling on an old wooden floor. The next day, the sun was shining and the birds were making their usual morning fuss out on the bush. They seemed to love that one bush and darted in and out by the dozens. The old cat watched that bush very closely. I don’t think she ever caught anything, but she loved to watch anyway. 
In the boldness of the sunlight I announced that I was going to go up into the attic and see if I could see anything. Our old farmhouse had been remodeled several times and updated over the years. It was a comfortable little home but when the wind blew, you could feel the breeze. I walked up the tiny stairs and stood in our little guest room. If you stood in the center of the room, you could stand upright. If you walked to the side you had to bend because the ceiling was shorter there. I walked into the next little room and stood there for a minute. It was like walking back in time. This room had only been updated a little bit. This is where we stored our extra items and boxes. I stood there looking and didn’t see anything out of order so I walked into the next little room. That is the one directly over our bedroom. This room had never been remodeled. It was over 150 years ago that our farmhouse had been built, and this room reflected the past. It was now empty but over the years I could only imagine how many others had lived here.
There it was. That single button. The one that we had heard the night before. It was just laying there on the wooden floor. 
We discussed that button and wondered why we had heard it. My wife decided that she was going to listen closely during the day to see if any more strange things happened. Nothing that day or the next. But over the next months that we lived there we began to notice other noises. She had a dream one night that upset her and as we talked about the dream, we decided that we would approach that ghost and talk to it. She went up into that last room in the attic and sat on a chair and began to talk. At first she was talking to an empty room, but she felt a presence enter, just a feeling, but she was there. A little girl. My wife said she talked to that little girl. The girl never spoke, and never showed her self. She explained that it was ok for her to stay in the house if she wanted, but told her that there was a beautiful place filled with love and family that were waiting for her. We never heard any more noises like the button in that old house. When the wind blew, the house creaked and groaned but it was always peaceful in that country house in Kansas. 
There was another house, our first house in Manti, Utah. It was built about a hundred years ago. It was small and the ceiling was low but we loved that old house. It was such a peaceful feeling to be in that home.
It was not always that way. About a year before an old couple had lived there. He was a gardener and brought home all the spoiled produce from the grocery store to put in his garden soil. That was the best garden soil I have had. She cooked the meals and took care of him. As they had gotten older they tolerated one another. When she died, no one noticed. Not even her husband. He thought she had fallen asleep in the chair. Several days later, she was still there in the chair. When they took her out of the home, they said she had been dead for awhile. He died too, not much later. My friend bought the house and cleaned it out and painted it. She put it up for rent. When the new renters moved in they could feel it. It was an angry feeling. After days of unrest they called the owner and told her what they felt. My friend called a physic. The physic came to the house and talked to that old woman. She was still so angry when she died, no one noticed. She was mad at her husband. The physic talk to her and explained that she needed to move on, forgive her husband and move into the light. She must have listened, because all we felt was a peaceful feeling.
A couple of years ago I decided to visit the Mountain Meadows massacre site near Cedar City, Utah. The location of a terrible and still troubling event in the early history of the Mormon settlement. It happened on 9-11 in 1857. 120 men women and children were murdered by members of the Mormon community. It was thought that these innocent settlers had been the murders of some early mormons in Missouri and local citizens had been stirred up by the leaders of the church in a recent visit. The  Mormons tried to pay the Indians to do the deed, but the settlers were too strong and fought them back. Local Mormons went door to door and raised up a band of men to finish the job. The settlers were innocent. It was a terrible tragedy. There are still family’s in that area that carry the guilt of that day. Books have been written, and a movie was made a few years ago. It was called September Dawn. It was made in 2007.  Didn’t last long in Utah and very few saw the movie. Brigham Young, has now been found to be the culprit behind the massacre. No one likes to admit it. The Church in Salt Lake put up a monument to the event. When I visited the site, I felt a sick and angry feeling. The monument consists of a bunch of rocks stacked in a pile. The plaque doesn’t tell the story of the event or take responsibility for the act. The leaders of the Church have side stepped the issue. When construction began on the monument, the back hoe dug hastily into old grave sites and uncovered bones buried in shallow graves from a hundred and fifty years ago. It is still a tragedy.
There is an unsettled feeling on that lonely hill near Cedar City, Utah. I could feel it and my wife could feel it. We tried talking to those angry men, women, and children. The ones who had been murdered there. They were not willing to move into the light. We told them of a better place where they would see family and friends. They didn’t want to hear it. Their spirits will not rest until the ones responsible are held accountable. Until a full and true accounting and apology is made to the spirits on that hill. If you should visit that pile of rocks on that lonely hill, you will see what I mean. You will feel the feelings still so strong and angry. Say a prayer and let them know ... that you know. They are not forgotten. The victims of 9-11-1857

Pressure cookers 
I Had lunch with my mother today. It is cold and the snow is starting to fall. I walked over to the fireplace and turned it on. Gas is fast. Right away I was able to stand close and warm my back side. We had potatoes and gravy. The potatoes were from my own garden. My mother told me she cooked the meat in her pressure cooker, she told me she likes that old pressure cooker. She reflected on others that she has used over the years. She has a new one that has never been opened. That old one will probably out last even me. Maybe I can sell the new one to the Smithsonian. 
That old pressure cooker got me thinking, it doesn’t take much to start me thinking about life now days. A forgotten talent? Maybe. My English teachers weren’t able to pry it out of me, I am stubborn that way. Has to come from within. 
I thought about the times when I felt like I was in that pressure cooker. Heat coming at me from all directions. The burner red hot.  I decided to find out some more information about pressure cookers. Google, here I come. Huh?... Did you know that there is a web site called, pressurecooker.net? They have some really good reggae music. Nope, thats not what I was looking for. Back to google search. Oh, here is one about “Sexual claims common in a pressure cooker world.” No, not that one either. Back to google search. Oh, here it is. Pressure Cooker history. The pressure cooker was invented by Denis Papin in 1679.  “The first version of a pressure cooker was created by Denis Papin, French physicist and mathematician (1647-1712). In 1679 he made a large cast iron vessel with a tightly fitted lid that locked. His invention raised the boiling point of water and at this higher temperature, bones softened and meat cooked in quick time. He promoted it as, "A New Digester or Engine, for softening bones, the description of its makes and use in cookery, voyages at see, confectionary, making of drinks, chemistry, and dying, etc."
Softening bones ... quick time. Thats the thought that came to me while I was eating lunch today. I have been in that pressure cooker more often than I will ever admit to you. It has been good for me to get softened up a bit. I have been hard and tough in my early life. unwilling to bend in the wind. The heat has been on high for a long time, the pressure has done its work. The heat has been turned down to simmer now. My life is much more comfortable. I am tender and my bones are softened. I can smell the roses, and prune when the season calls for it. 
Oh, the olive fingers? They will never go out of style. Give an olive to a kid and instinctively they will put them on their fingers. Give enough and there will be 10 olives on 10 fingers.
That old pressure cooker? I think I will hang it on the wall. A relic from the past to remind me of the changes I have gone through. A memento of my days of walking into the wind, when all I had to do was turn around and let the gentle breeze push me along my road of life.
I love Google, I should have named one of my kids that. Wouldn’t that be a name? I don’t think google was a word back then. My English teacher would have given me a red circle for sure on that one. Doesn’t matter now. Didn’t back then ... 

When Pearlene died of breast cancer, my world turned upside down. I wondered at the reasons that this happened. Pearlene was one who always looked after her health. Coming from a family with a cancer history she was well aware of the risks. We looked into all the different preventive measures to lower those risks. She denied herself the normal pleasures of eating sweets and ate foods to alkalize her system. We talked about the medical route and together decided that we would never go through the chemo and radiation that was available. Her cancer started in Hawaii and less than a year later she was gone. I asked her several times during that process if she wanted to go the medical route. Her answer was always, No.
I wondered why someone who has always taken care of herself and her heath had to die this way. I don’t know the answers.
I do believe that her passion and desire to treat herself with home remedies and diet helped to make her quality of life better.
We both believed in the positive power of prayer and positive thought. We were able to live life fully and do more in 17 years than most do in a lifetime. 
I know that we are led to treatments that will not only help us physically but also spiritually and emotionally. I appreciate your comments and sharing. I believe that it is through the combined knowledge and strength of each other that we can find the answers that we each need.
Yesterday as I was walking I had the profound realization that part of the reason that Pearlene died was for me. She knew that I would grow in ways that would have been impossible, if she were to have remained. The tears fell as I realized the depth of her gift. Thankfully, only the cows and horses witnessed my display of emotion. 
I had no idea what life had to offer me when I was in High School. I have not been disappointed with my graduate courses in life. Everything is a little bit sweeter, the colors more vivid, the music now reaches the depths of my soul. 
I couldn’t see that a year ago or even a month ago. It was only yesterday that I had that knowing. I can only hope and dream of what tomorrow will bring. My appreciation of our gift of life and the heartfelt sharing of friends like you has been greatly increased this day. Thank you, from my heart to yours ...

Night Marchers of Wipio Valley



I was watching the local Hawaiian news one night. Waiting for the weather forecast. I wanted to go to the beach and go snorkeling at Capt. Cook. The waves could be overwhelming if the wind was blowing or a storm was coming in. The local weather girl was starting her report. Waters were 78 degrees. Light wind with 1 to 3 foot waves. That’s good, I thought. The water will be calm near the shore and we will be able to see all the colorful fish in the coral, maybe even see some turtles. Great! Tomorrow is a snorkeling day. Then I heard it! What? Back up, replay. Did you hear that? I called out. We both heard it, just couldn’t believe our ears. The weather girl had just said that the forecast for Wipio Valley included Night Marchers.
Night Marchers. I had read about them from the books that I bought on Amazon. Chicken Skin stories from the Islands of Hawaii. Stories told by locals who had these strange occurrences happen to them or their families. Some of them were really spooky. Night Marchers are wandering spirits of the dead Hawaiians who have been killed in battle or died in an unnatural way. They are seen usually at night, but sometimes they have been seen in the day light. Many have felt their presence, locals and tourist alike.
Wipio Valley is a remote place on the Big Island. Most tourists only stop for a few minutes and take pictures from the top of the cliff. It is a sacred place to many where ancient Kings have been raised. Mostly farms and locals live there now. You can take a tour there if you want. It is a steep road even to walk. I tried it and I was out of breath. The road was a 25% grade. Try it, it is not a walk in the park. This is the place that had a frequent visitation of these night marchers.
I was sitting in my kayak, there at the city of refuge. It was a favorite place to snorkel and kayak. We were just kind of drifting and watching the waves. We had been out snorkeling and were relaxing and resting in the warm sun. A small fishing boat had come in from the ocean, he had caught some Ahi tuna and was waiting to use the small loading ramp. There were swimmers there and he was waiting for them to leave. He ask us about ourselves and where we lived. Nice man, younger than me. A local Hawaiian with rich brown skin and a handsome face. He offered to take me out fishing one day. He was real friendly and while he was waiting for the ramp to be free, he told us a story. Said he had come to the beach early that day. Before sunrise, to launch his boat. He was driving down the road when he saw him. It looked like a local who might be heading down to the beach to swim. Except for the ancient Hawaiian wrap. This young man was running down the road very fast. As my fisherman friend turned the corner in the road to enter the boat ramp the young man disappeared. He said that he was surprised that the young man couldn’t be seen. He should have been right there. There was no place where he could have gone. He told us that the skin on his arms began to tingle, chicken skin, the locals call it. He realized that the young man was a night marcher. A melding of two different times coming together long enough to see into another lifetime. The ancient Hawaiian young man was running for his life. The city of Refuge was a designated place of safety. Set up to help those who broke Kapu. The sentence for most law breakers was death. If a person could get here to the city of refuge before the warriors killed them, they would be safe. After weeks here in this sacred place, they would be cleansed and able to return to society.
We floated for a long time there on the warm waters near the city of Refuge. It was a peaceful place to us. Gentle lapping of the water against the kayak. My eyes closed and I drifted into a light sleep. It seemed that I could hear shouting somewhere in the distance, screams. Then it faded and I opened my eyes. It was beautiful. The clear blue waters were so warm and inviting. Thousands of colorful fish. The living coral. People playing in the water. Families sharing food. It was a good day to be alive. 

Mustache Wars
The mustache wars began sometime before common sense and wisdom. There were these men in black who decided that everyone should look the same. Like them. Black suits with shiny shoes. This was back 20 or so years ago. I remember it well. I watched as men from all over the globe got the word from the suits. Almost overnight, mustaches and beards were gone. It was sometimes hard to recognize people I had known for years. There they were, all dressed in suits and shiny shoes. All traces of facial hair, gone.
I have had a beard for over 20 years. I used to be a Blackbeard, now I am a graybeard. I see a lot of graybeard’s like me. They seem to be everywhere. Maybe because I am one. Look around, you’ll see what I mean. I have never liked to shave. It was a no brainer for me to grow a beard. Once a week I trim around the edges and presto, all done.
I watched a movie called the Point. It was a kids movie written by Harry Nilsson. Every one in the movie had a point on the top of his head, except for one person. He was banned from the town and wandered the country side trying to figure out why he was so different.  Finally he came across others like him. No one had a point in this town. And that is the point of the movie. 
When the word came from the suits to cut all facial hair, I chuckled. Here they go again. Old men dictating to younger men what they should wear and how they should comb their hair. The hair wars ... that is another story. 
I have watched over the years as trends and fashions change. It is a never ending drama of the old and the new.
Throughout history there have been men like me. Men who hate to shave. Famous men too. Jesus, he didn’t like to shave. Moses? He didn’t like to shave either. The old history books are full of men like me who didn’t like to shave. 
I discovered an interesting fact about these men in black. They are the ones who benefit most from the wars that they create. They own the factories that build the bombs. They own the factories that make the the suits. They own the shiny shoes factory. They own the funeral homes that charge the big dollars to secure a safe place in the ground. They are also responsible for all the deaths in these wars.
I had a revelation a few years ago. It was a giant curtain with a sign pinned on the front. It said, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” I have seen many curtains over the years, and there are always people lined up to pay the man.
Remember the Wizard of Oz? Yeah, me too. Good movie, great message. I got it the first time I saw it. The movie used to play every year, it was an annual event in my family. We gathered around the TV and watched together with popcorn and soda’s.
I guess there are people still trying to understand that movie. Figure out the plot. It is a simple one. All the kids see that man behind the curtain.
The mustache wars? The mustache’s are returning. The graybeards like myself have found the wisdom of not paying any attention to those men in black with their shiny shoes. The black suits still pull the ropes and rattle their chains but I don’t pay them any attention. I know sooner or later everyone will get the message of another movie and see there is no point.

Mad Face
There it was today, just as awesome as it was 3 years ago. Same expression, same defensive stand. I could feel it as strongly as if the sun were were shining on my face. I met it with the same boldness that I did 3 years ago.
I was living on the Big Island of Hawaii 3 years ago. It was a beautiful sunny day and the quest for a new adventure had been in the back of my mind. This is the day, it felt right, so off we went. 
It was on that black sand beach that I first saw it. Mad face. I had read about it from the guide books but I had forgotten about it. Everyone was so friendly when tourists came to visit. The charm of the islands and the warmth of their spirits, you could feel it. It drew you in like a magnet. I have missed that Island charm since coming back to the main land. 
Mad Face, you can’t mistake it. It is a warriors pose. It is meant to warn enemy’s that they are not welcome. 
Punaluu Black Sand Beach is where I met him. I pulled up to the small parking lot on the north side of the beach. There was a restroom with the name of the beach announcing the place. I got out and looked over the beach. There on the other side were the tour busses. People from other countries excited to see new places. Camera’s were everywhere busily recording the experience. I breathed in the fresh ocean breeze and let it out again. It felt so good and the sun was so warm. I took my shoes off and walked down on the sand towards the water. This is where the protected Honu laid their eggs. Several times a year the new hatchlings would make their way to the ocean and swim away into the depths to grow and then when they matured they would return to this place and lay their eggs.
It was at this moment that I saw him. He was on the edge of the beach, right where the trees met the sand. He was standing by a lava rock wall. He was an imposing figure of a man. Not much larger than me in stature, but he was there with his mad face. I watched him for a few minutes. He was watching intently as the tourist were walking along his beach. He watched as they reached down and took a bit of sand. He watched as they pick up a piece of lava or coral and put it into their pocket. He didn’t speak with his mouth, but his face ...
Then I felt it, I knew what this was all about. It was a familiar feeling and I knew what to do. I walked directly up to him and looked straight into his eyes. I said to him, “You are the guardian of this beach.”
I am, he said.
Are you the guardian of the turtles?
I am. 
I thought so, I said to him. I have been watching you and I could feel your spirit from where I stood down at the water.
His face changed, the tension and the facial expression softened and he said, you saw right through my mad face. This is my family’s land. We are the caretakers of this place. We used to live here close to the beach, but now all that is left is this rock wall and hut. I come here almost every day and watch over the land. I watch as tourists come and disrespect the land and take our precious sand and rocks. I watch as they walk over the  sacred places and take whatever they want.
It was at that moment that I had announced that I had picked up a rock from the beach. That rock had stood out from all the others and I felt that it was a gift to me. I asked permission from the rock to take it with me. It had said yes. I told him this. He said that is different. When you ask permission and receive it. You are being invited to take that rock on a journey. A companion to share your own journey. I told him I had a gift for him. I walked back to the truck and got my bag of rocks. I had carried those rocks from the mainland. When I packed my bags, I had felt that I would be giving these ancient shaman stones to someone on the Island. I found them in a sacred place near my home in Escalante. There are millions of them if you know where to look. These were special, I had them for a long time and I knew that someone special would be receiving them. 
I found a special warrior that day on the black sand beach. That mad face became my friend. I can’t remember his name, but if you visit the black sand beach on the Big Island you may see him standing guard there on the beach. Watching and protecting his sacred family ground.
I walked up to that mad face sunday. He had the same warrior stance. I may have surprised him when I boldly shook his hand. I hope so. I want him to know that I know. He is only protecting his land, his family. I respect him and his calling. I would like to call him my friend one day...

From my Heart ...

Many events have brought me to this place of the heart. I have traveled many roads in my time here and all of them have been important to my journey and experience. Along the way I have seen many sights. Sometimes I stop to get a better look, sometimes I just slow down and keep on going. I have traveled with a shield of armor around my heart for most of my journey. It is safer that way you see. The road of life has many pitfalls and traveling along life’s highways can be ever so dangerous. I guess a part of my life has been from the safety of being behind a glass window. It is safer that way. I have watched life from within the security of my armor, mostly from behind my window. I have still been able to learn many things, but I have also missed out on many of the joys of life because of having to carry my armor and watch from my window. 
Every so often along the road, I risked and decided to interact with other travelers. Sometimes I would stop my car, roll down the window, and even to get out of my car and step onto the grass and talk with these travelers. 
It was on one of these days that my heart experienced its first awakening. It was many years ago and many miles ago that I first felt the stirrings of my heart. It was young love, yes, but it was real. It was during that time that I first met many of you, my friends. I was in school when I saw her, my first love. I knew something special was happening, I barely had my license to drive when my heart first felt those feelings. It was a connecting feeling, a feeling that was somehow familiar. I felt excited to share life with this special one. I thought I knew her from somewhere long ago, maybe some where in time, maybe in Heaven, but I knew her. I ask her out on a date, to take a ride with me in my red car. That funny little red car. Oh how we did enjoy that time together and along our short journey we fell in love. That was so long ago and so many miles ago. 
I wanted to spend my life with you. We met each others families, shared meals and looked into each others eyes. That was so many miles ago. Our hearts connected, and our life seemed so good. Our dreams were different back then, I didn’t know it at the time, but now I see.  I chose to set off on a grand adventure, far away from you. 2 years in a place far away.  You ... well, you decided that you would rather let me experience this without you. I received word from family that you had let go of my hand and taken another road. I cried when I heard the news. I remember the pain in my heart. You stepped out of my life and into another. It was in that moment, that I placed that first bit of armor around my heart.  I felt safer that way because my heart was tender. I was wounded in that young heart. I thought that our love was forever. Time went by and I returned home, but you were gone, into another’s arms.
I found myself alone for a time, in my little red car. Armor around my heart. I reached out to you, in my timid way to find comfort, healing, resolve. We were so young, you and I, but the heart I had opened to you was wounded, and I felt somehow that I had failed. 
Time passed, and I continued along my journey with armor around my heart. There were many hearts that I touched, and many that touched me in those years. Good years. Adventure, discovery, awakening. I traded my little red car, for a motorcycle. This is for me, I decided. I will show the world that I am not afraid.  Oh, the joy I felt for a time, the freedom. I could feel the energy of life back then ... so many miles ago. 
It was then that I saw her. Her dark hair, the flash of her smile. It was also then that I felt the feelings, somehow familiar, but also unfamiliar to me. I had felt them before, but fainter. My GPS guidance, I guess. The feelings were so strong and yet my heart, it knew. My heart also knew that there was rough road ahead. It was destiny that I met her. The one with the dark hair, and that smile. She had already traveled along life’s road, with that dark hair and that smile, and she had stopped along the way to sample the dangers of life. I should have known...  I ask her to walk with me, knowing that it would be a difficult journey. Others could see ... I traveled many miles with that dark hair and smile. I watched the smile fade. My joy of life, the freedom, the energy ... the passion for life, that faded too. 
I continued to travel along life’s path. My road  seemed so sad, so predictable, so lifeless. I had long ago traded in my motorcycle for a car, then a truck, then another truck. All the time, the armor around my heart grew thick and hard. My heart was still beating, but it didn’t feel joy. My hopes, my dreams, they had somehow along the way been buried beneath my disappointments. 
It was some during those dark years that my GPS began again, first faint, then louder until I could no longer ignore the signal. I knew that I needed to reboot, to get a clear view of what I wanted. I wanted to regain my vision again, my window on life was dirty and I was unable to see clearly. I took a sleeping bag and my truck to the mountains. It was so long ago and so many miles ago... 
 I was there for almost 3 days, praying for help, asking for direction, hoping for something. Anything. I drove slowly off the mountain that day. My heart so sad. I knew that the choice I had made would bring many tears, and hurt so much. It was many weeks before I could see the road. So many tears, and my heart ... my heart hurt so much. I walked away from that dark hair, the smile gone... My armor now heavy and hard to carry.
I carried a heavy load when I met her. The redhead. She was sitting a few chairs away when I first felt it again. My GPS. My guidance. It was faint, but it was working again. I knew somehow, deep down, that my prayers had been answered. I had given my truck away and now walked along my road. My armor was heavy. I had carried it a long while. I needed my protection. Life had been dangerous and I needed my armor. She had a smile, and a sparkle, that redhead. It melted through my armor and awakened my feelings again. She was patient, very patient. She healed my wounds, taught me how to forgive, and helped me find my joy of life. She helped me let go of my armor. The armor that I had carried so long and so many miles ... She helped me open and share my heart. The joy I felt. Oh, the joy ... How can I ever thank you, my little redhead?  17 years.  17 wonderful years of joy and life in its grandest fashion ... 
Then, it happened. When you first felt it, we talked about what we would do. Your faith, your love of life, your determination. What an inspiration you were to me, to everyone.  But, your life was cut short, you were needed... 
  When it was all over, my heart hurt, my tears had filled many nights and many days, and I was alone again. Something was different this time with my heart. My heart was still open, wide open. It hurt from your loss, but my heart now comforted me. My heart began to teach me and nurture me... 
When I watch the wind now, I am reminded of your smile and joy. I imagine how many lives you have touched along your journey, with your smile, that sparkle, and that red hair ...  My armor is long gone now. It was much to heavy. You helped me see that. My heart is now open and I can see the joy in life. I look for the good in others, and I find it. I am beginning to remember who I am, and I like that. I see others beginning to come into my life, now that I no longer carry my armor. I know what I want, and I know how to get it. 
I am far from where I started ...  So many miles, so many roads ...  I can just see just over the horizon. There is a light, faint, but it is there... I now walk toward that light, and I am getting stronger. I think and I feel from the heart. Oh, what joy it brings me ...  I am no longer afraid of what’s ahead in my journey. I AM here to discover, to learn, and to walk, knowing that I carry with me everything I need, everything I want ... in my heart. Now as I look at who I am and what I have become, I can thank my heart for allowing me to experience life. Much of what life has taught me has come from my heart. My Loves ...  My dreams ... They have all been made richer, more vivid. I look with fondness at all who have made this possible. All you who I have known in this life and have helped to make me who I am today. Thank you. From my heart... Who will I be tomorrow? 
Only my heart knows ...