Wilder Man Dad: Thankfulness?

RECENTLY …

I listened to Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s In The Cradle”.  Man-O-Man!  What a song!  I remember my dad and I in the car; me – – – just out of high school, and “Cat’s In The Cradle” came on the radio.  Dad’s face pensive as we listened to the words.  After the song, his eyes straight ahead, peering through the windshield as if it was a dark fog, he commented about the father not making time for his son while time passed by, opportunities lost.  My guess is that my dad was thinking about his father: the small amount of time he had with his father.

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say ‘I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you’ …”

I wanted to throw out this “thing” to my fellow wilder men, and the women curious about wilder men, who love wilder men … this “thing” about being a dad, having a son, living with the tension – – –  spending time with and giving our hearts to our sons, our daughters, in a robust way, knowing that this is the time where we pour into the lives of those wonderful kiddos who we are parenting, thanks to the gifting from the God who provides, the God who loves, the God who leads.  And courage calls.  I am a wilder man who  n e e d s   courage to be a good dad, who cannot afford to flounder, and say some nonsense like “Woe is me!  I need courage to be a good dad!  How can I get courage?”

“Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
‘Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?’
He shook his head and said with a smile
‘What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?’ ….”

If I whine about ‘needing courage’, I am missing the boat, I am missing my son, I am missing my daughter.  It is not about “needing courage”.  It is about taking courage, embracing courage, using courage not unlike one handles a sword.  I know we can learn from others; we can learn from what others have to say.

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me / He’d grown up just like me / My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon      Little boy blue and the man in the moon

‘When you comin’ home son?’ / ‘I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad / 
We’re gonna have a good time then’ … ” 

And we can make a promise that we are not going to blow it … knowing that there is a possibility we can miss our children, knowing that we can sacrifice the fatherhood love for things that are not worth the sacrifice

Instead, we can know that we made a good, noble, courageous, other-centered choice, to love our sons and our daughters.  And we can know that we were intentional about spending priceless time with them, during their journey.

 

 

 

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Wilder Man in the Fangorn: Off My (Winter) Game

Off My Game …

Writers don’t always have the words.

Sojourners metaphorically entering the Forest of Fangorn, unsure of what is ahead; unsure of what to do with what is ahead; unsure of what words to use; what weapons to wield in the battles to come, the battles to fight.

Winter.  I’m off my game.  Firewood has always been cut, chopped, stored, by now … albeit in different quantities / levels of sufficiency.  ‘Snow blower has been “on-line”, ready to start, and go, and blow.  Wool socks?  Off course.  My ski-bib overalls? Definitely.  Boot-traction pads?  Yes, they come in handy.  This winter, no.  All pieces scattered, not in place.

So, what happened?

Questions.  Sometimes, the questions are (far) more important than the answers. I believe these dropped-balls are indicators of a deeper pain.  I sit, and walk, in the tension between … immeasurable thankfulness, and undeniable longings for the fullness that I know could be there, or rather … here.  I am reading excerpts of a book entitled Finding Our Fathers by Samuel Osherson.  So much I could quote, but instead I will acknowledge a thematic, a global substance.  Some of us, men, did not find … or receive … what we longed / long for, and we continue to live out our longings for our fathers, still hoping for what we needed / need (or wanted / want?).  With that being said, I am in a place, my family provided for (not in abundance).  I am also in a place … more weathered than ever before.  As a dad for my kids, I cringe because of not being emotionally present, a provider of all that I want to provide (greed, or honorable longing?); as a husband, sad that I do not live as a swashbuckling Wilder Man bringing adventure to my awesome wife?

I am in the Fangorn Forest, a place where many men refuse to go. I feel compelled to share these parts of my story with other Wilder Men, hoping to encourage them as I need to be encouraged.

  • Do not give in to the night;
  • Do not forsake your vision;
  • Keep your sword, your sharpened sword, close and ready;
  • Live for those who you love, those who love you, in an other-centered movement;
  • And, love well …Not only fight well, but love well.

In the Fangorn Forest, I hope to walk with you, pushing through.

“Fangorn Forest was known for being the last habitation of the Ents. It was named after the oldest Ent, Fangorn (Treebeard). “

Entering Fangorn Forest; imgarcade.com

 

Aragorn: “The tracks lead away from the battle! Into… Fangorn Forest.”

[The three look up into a very dense forest.]

Gimli: “Fangorn! What madness drove them in there?”

On my end, I’ll get back on my game.

 

 

Fiction Fragment Series: Wilder Man & Cold

This post is part of the Fiction Fragment Series; this edition, “Wilder Man & Cold”

Colorado Backcountry Berthoud Pass / weknowsnow.com
Wood Stove
My wood burning stove

Around 5am he stumbled out of the sleep … somewhat like a man emerging from a heavily wooded forest … looked out the hut-window, saw night and snow.  His relative-friend, Melancholy, spoke to him from inside, triggered by darkness and cold outside.  He closed the old faded heavy wool curtain, shutting out the out, guarding the in.  The man was cold.  And the coldness he felt in his soul was … weighty.  His coldness was piercingly emphasized by the winter darkness, by the snow-cold.  The cast iron wood burning stove, immovable, was also cold, showing indifference with the man in this hut.    If a fire was laid, and started, then the stove would heat up, and give heat … to the man in this hut.  If there was no fire, then the stove would stay cold.  The man acknowledged the stove, in its indifference, and grabbed kindling, sticks, small log, and placed it all, intentionally, inside the stove.    Match, lit, its flame brought to a six-inch stick, and the man in the hut edged the burning stick was into the stove, to light the kindling, to bring about some fire.  His anxietous sense of urgency began to diminish.  He stoked the fire.  The warmth permeated his isolated, Siberian-like being.  A new urgency materialized, a passionate need for coffee.  With a similar focus, a sacred and fine tuned focus, the eccentric man in the hut began the detailed requirements for bringing an excellent cup of Mud to the appointed cup.  The cup was eventually filled with the nectar from coffee beans.  The man returned to the wood burning stove and tended to the fire; and then tended to his heart and soul.  The cold had lost some of its power.  But the battles would continue, until the other side of heaven.  And, he knew that.  He knew that all too well.

 

Garage of a Wilder Man: LOST

Unconfirmed Rumor

(I just started the rumor about 15 minutes ago)

 

Scientists have researched Black Holes, in outer space, for many years – – – obviously.  Now, there is reason to believe that there are Black Holes on our planet; not only on our planet but right here in the Rocky Mountains.  That explains my (outer) garage.  I had wondered many times about my (outer) garage, whether or not it was an actual Black Hole.  It might be, but there are some characteristics about my (outer) garage-Black-Hole that don’t really fit the conventional Black Holes in space.

  1. One difference:  I actually conquered the daunting chaos in my (outer) garage about three months ago.
  2. Another difference: with Black Holes in space, once you go in, you never come out (I think that is right).

Regardless of my victory over the (outer) garage, I have a sobering update.  My garage is now lost, swallowed up by the Black Hole.  Why?  I am appreciative that you asked, my friends.  My garage is lost, submerged in chaos, because we have projects (approximately 550), and whenever we are finished with a project we take our tools, materials, boxes, and place them … where? … in our (outer) garage.  I was quite pleased with my progress when I conquered my (outer) garage.  I made shelves of different sizes, storage areas for hardware, a place to store our tarps (hanging from the ceiling).   I almost called Better Home and Gardens to have them come and do a story on my (outer) garage.  But I came to my senses, and considered that irrational thought is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I gazed into my garage with a mixture of shock, grief, and confusion, and asked myself:

“Where

did all the space go,

from my outer garage?”

And then I realized, after looking at two words I chose in my question: 1) “outer”, and 2) “space”.  Outer Space.  That is where my garage space went.  Outer Space.  Chances are, it is in some Black Hole.

Artist’s portrait of what a black hole might look lie.

Artist’s impression of the surroundings of the supermassive black hole in NGC 3783[21]

 

 

You GOT TO MOVE, Man!

Rolling Creek Trail, late afternoon.  The trail curved a bit to my right, which was south-west.  I started to hear the water.  After about 10 to 15 yards, the trail headed downward, and I could see Rolling Creek flowing from the west, moving at a good rate of speed.  I stopped when I reached the creek, took a knee, dipped my left hand down into the icy cold water, and splashed my face a few times.  I know that some fellas have their system conditioned in such a way that they can actually drink the water from the fast-moving creeks.  I don’t understand that; and I do not foresee that happening with me anytime in the near future.  But dousing my face with water from the Rolling Creek has never been a problem.

I remember a professor who said this, my paraphrase:

“I would much rather my students drink from a rushing creek, than from a pool of stagnant water.”

What he was talking about, when I first heard those words, was his integrity as a teacher.  “Prepare for the teaching you will be doing for your students.  They deserve nothing less.  If you do not come prepared, they will know it, even if you don’t know … that you are ill prepared.”

The moving creek, versus the stagnant pool.

We have to keep moving.  No way around it.

Bear Conflict … Resolution???

I was not looking for any trouble.  ‘Serious.  But, I did try to sneak one in … through the wildlife neighborhood.  Tuesday nights I get the trash ready for the pickup on Wednesday morning.  Throughout the winter I brought out the heavy-lidded containers Tuesday night, with a great appreciation for this “hibernation” thing that bears do.

Summer has crept in, as I crept out with my trash containers each Tuesday night.  As of last week, “so far, so good”.  But tonight, my daughter came to me with some sparkle in her eyes, a mischievous smile, “Dad … I think there is a bear out there.  Stash (dog) is going nuts out there on the big deck.  I think I heard something down by the road, beating up on your garbage cans.”

I drove down in the jeep.  As soon as I saw the can laying on its side, its contents spilling out, I saw a black shape move behind, looking at me with his glowing eyes and his bear-smirk, and then he tore off through the trees. The plan was to get out, get the trash container back together again.  The bungee chords didn’t seem to be effective.  As I sat in the driver’s seat, looking around through the trees, my courage had an apparent deficit.
*I did not get a picture of the bear, but I went on line to find one that I thought might be similar … So, the picture below is NOT the bear that came to bother me last night; only a picture of a bear.

I had a tall metal red stick with me.  I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the stick was worthless, for this situation.  Finally, I stepped out, gazed into the trees.   I thought I would see Bear, peering at me through the trees.  Its  probably best that I didn’t see him.  Bear would be laughing, or posturing.  I knew this was ridiculous to drag my feet getting the can upright.  Once the garbage can was all set, I got back in the jeep, drove up the road looking for Bear.

A remote-control camera captured this image of a black bear at Tonto National Monument in 2009.

A remote-control camera captured this image of a black bear at Tonto National Monument in 2009.

http://cronkitenews.asu.edu/assets/images/11/08/24-bears-tonto-full.jpg

 The home up the road, two houses down, had the evidence of Bear’s visit: two garbage cans, with much more of a mess than what was the case with my two garbage cans.  I turned around, drove back … homeward.  When I came over the hill, heading down, I saw the same trash can down, Bear walking away, not running … No, not running … just walking away toward the woods on the other side of the road, looking right at me.

This time, I jumped out of the jeep with my tall red stick, sprinted toward the bear, jumped on him, grabbed the hair of his head, and bit his ear.

HA!  Can you imagine?  No, I didn’t do that.  But I wanted to.  I was really ticked that the jerk came right back, less than 10 minutes later.  No, that’s not right.  This time my wife came up with a good idea that I had forgotten about: ammonia.  Yessss!  I went up to the house, procured the ammonia, came back, served a good helping, and I won’t know if it worked until tomorrow morning.  I’m not going out there again tonight.  As for “conflict resolution”?  No, I’m not interested.  But, I may have to re-think the whole garbage-can situation.

 

 

 

“No, I Won’t Back Down”

 

Tom Petty,I Won't Back Down,UK,Deleted,7“Well, I won’t back down
No I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

No I’ll stand my ground
Won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground  And I won’t back down.”

Training.  What if an individual is trained to give up?  I mean … trained over many years, perhaps since childhood … to avoid dreams, longings, hopes, goals.   File:Cruz.Rudy.jpg

 Those ominous toxic messages:

“Fighting for what you believe in is futile”;
“You are what you are, a loser,  always short of what it takes, weak”;
“If it’s meant to be, then it will come to you … you don’t have to waste your energy”;
“What is the use of trying?  You’re not strong enough, and you’re not good enough”.

http://boxrec.com/media/index.php/File:Cruz.Rudy.jpg

So, if get my head right, I can respond to those lies:

“No, I don’t buy what you are saying.”

“No, I won’t back down.”

“No, that’s you … that you are talking about, not me.”

“No, you are lying.  I do truth, not lies.”

“Liar, liar, your pants are on fire.”

Rudy Cruz from the 1950’s.  Bottom line?  ‘Wouldn’t give up.  Born in 1925, and breathed his last breath in 1988.  Not an incredible record, but not that bad, either: 49 winsl 11 KO’s (knockouts); 10 lost; 3 draws; 530 rounds boxed; with a KO % of 17.46.  He wasn’t Rocky Marciano; he wasn’t Joe Lewis; he wasn’t Jack Dempsey.  No, he was Rudy Cruz.  And he didn’t back down.  He fought.  He made a choice to go for it.  And me, I’m T.  And, I have some regrets.  I have backed down a few times.  I chose not to go for it, at different times of my life.  But I really want to make the duration count.  I want to fight the right battles.  I want to go for it when it is the right thing to do, and the right time.  I don’t want to back down.  By the way, this picture below is not me.  But if it was, I would be the guy on the right.

File 34298

 

 “Never stop. Never settle.”

http://www.builtinchicago.org/blog/against-all-odds