Life

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If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Iin 1991 I met Ronald de Kaper in Pamplona, and I’ve been blessed with his friendship ever since.

Ronald invited me to go back to Holland with him to do this thing he called the “beach walk.” I went, and, sure
enough, it was indeed a beach walk. Six days of walking on the sand and through the seaside towns of the Netherlands from Hoek van Holland to Den Helder, camping along the way. Ronald walked with a group of friends, all Dutch – everyone on the walk was Dutch as far as I knew, except me – and over the course of the six days Ronald’s friends became my friends, too: Stefan, Rico, Egon, Janneke, Joris, Johan…

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Ii was asked why I thought the United Kingdom should have stayed with the European Union. My first thought was I wondered if Britain remembers how nationalism, hubris, and fear led them to the guns of August. And while I’m certainly no subject matter expert on the EU or the world economy, these were my second thoughts:

I think the people were lied to about what a Leave vote would do for them.

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Tthe Orlando massacre has rattled me.

I’ve wanted to write something for the last week, but I’ve not been able to. I don’t know why, but the massacre in Orlando has shaken me in ways that its many, many predecessors (e.g., Kalamazoo (6 dead), San Bernardino (14 dead), Umpqua Community College (9 dead), Charleston (9 dead), the Navy Yard (12 dead), Newtown (28 dead), the Sikh temple in Oak Creek (7 dead), Aurora (12 dead), Fort Hood (13 dead), Binghamton (14 dead), Virginia Tech (33 dead)…) did not. But I’ve wanted to get something out of my heart and onto the page. I don’t have confidence I’ll write this well, because I’m still working through how I feel, but here goes.

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You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Wwe had a crazy amount of rain when I sat down to write this post. You know how sometimes the rain falls so thick and so heavy that it looks like a grey curtain? Well, it rained like that. But just for a short time. The clouds rolled in, the bomb bay doors opened, the cloud burst thunder in my ears, the rain fell, and then it all packed itself up and went on its away.

Whenever it rains that hard I’m reminded of my friend Bob. Bob was a sailor in the Navy in WWII. He gave me a copy of the journal that he kept during the war. In it he wrote about how his ship, the USS Panamint, was attacked by kamikaze planes during the Battle of Okinawa. There’s some pretty insane stuff in that journal.

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The first time I found the little jar of gourmet honey on the floor in the pantry I figured it had just been knocked over by accident. When I found it on the floor the next morning I thought it was odd, but whatever. A couple of days passed and the honey remained steadfast on its shelf. And then I woke one night and heard scratching sounds downstairs. It didn’t sound like the ice maker in the fridge, which can raise an ungodly racket when it gets going, so I investigated. The scratching sound continued as I crept down the stairs, then stopped when I flicked on the kitchen light. The sound had seemed like it was coming from the pantry, so I opened the pantry door. I looked in and sighed. The little jar of gourmet honey was on the floor again. But that’s not all that was on the floor. There was something else: mouse turds. An entire Normandy beach of them. It was 2:30 in the morning so I went back to bed. La Raymunda was half awake and asked me what was going on. “We have mice,” I said. “Oh, that’s just great,” she replied and …

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Ii‘ve recently started meditating in the mornings. I find that it calms my ADHD-powered rocket-brain and helps me get an even-keeled start on the day. It’s just simple mindfulness meditation—nothing too exotic or sexy – although I will admit to burning incense and turning on the red and black lights in the Rock and Roll Room to create a space different from The Everyday World. I’ve found that sometimes while I’m meditating—usually about twenty minutes in, if it happens at all—I get some rather odd, but peaceful, sensations floating around inside my head.

So this morning I was doing my thing, perched cross-legged on two stacked pillows, wrists resting on my knees, a black light dazzling the Jimi Hendrix poster hung on the wall behind me (no, I’m not joking), when I sort of felt my brain start to hum. Just thrumming away in its little bone-lined Continue Reading →