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.

 

 

SkunkORama !!! Dog’s Curious, Not Smart

Nocturnal Bark

… has been rare this summer, not only amongst my two dogs, but from other dogs in our woods.  The bigger, more profound, exception (with the nocturnal bark) would be when the bear comes near.  Our dogs have a distinct “bear howl-and-bark” when a bear gets close.  And the other dogs would be in league with ours, a passionate vigilant howling flying out of their bark-boxes through the rocks and trees.

Last night, I heard the Nocturnal Bark, somewhere between 5 and 5:30am. Stash was the only one barking.  I was holding out for the possibility that the barking would stop.  I was not meant to be so fortunate, it appears.  I went outside to the deck, over the garage.  It took a couple of seconds … only a couple of seconds … to recognize one of the most disgusting scents I’ve ever encountered: the spray from a skunk.  You can imagine my first thought.

 

 Mephitidae

Scientific name for the Skunk, which also means
“Stench”

 

I stood on the deck, calling our dog, Stash (Stosh – – – with a short “o”).  I could hear her, but could not see her, in the darkened woods.  I was dreading the possibility that Stash’s focus was on a skunk, and she had no intent of leaving her post to come in.  Shortly after my calling began,  I heard Stash emit what sounded like a playful growl … All I could do is roll my eyes.  I thought to myself:  “She is either getting ready to get sprayed, or … she has already been sprayed, and she thinks that this skunk is playing with her.”  I kept calling, and she kept refusing to come in.  So, I came back in a half-hour, and resumed my calling.  Finally, I heard her rustling / thrashing through the trees, making her way toward me.  She climbed up the steps, through the gate, with the appearance that she had enjoyed playing with someone new in the forest.  I didn’t want to smell the air around her, to determine if she had been successfully targeted by SkunkORama.  I got the gate closed so that she couldn’t go back out to the woods.  This morning, I walked out, cautiously took a whiff, and, to my disappointment, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my dog had been skunked.  I know that one of the next things that needs to happen is that I have got get Stash into counseling, so she can push through these issues of acting like an idiot.  Anyone have a referral for a dog counselor?

By the way, here is a picture of our dog, resting.

Dog Stash
Stash Dog, resting, when not upsetting skunks.

 

Bear and the Bucket

My paraphrase, from the Sky News article, is that this bear in Pennsylvania was freed from the bucket on its head, by a group of brave volunteers.  You can see a small video at the website above … If not there, then google Bear Bucket Images.

To the rescue: A group of volunteers conducted an impromptu rescue mission in the woods of Pennsylvania to free the Bucket BearThe Patriot News identified the hero-types as Dean Hornberger and girlfriend Samantha Eigenbrod who planned, and carried out, the rescue with other fearless volunteers.  Samantha (Eigenbrod) handled the video piece while the others tackled the bear down, pulled the bucket off, and used a saw to cut through the bucket.  Mission completed, the bear made a run for it, undoubtedly in a much better “head-space”.  At this time, there has been no contact with, or comments from, the bear.  Some believe that the bear has gone into hiding.  I cannot fully grasp the frustration he had to bear (pun).  Since I have ran out of space, and time, I will have to delay my thoughts about the legends of “Bear-Man”.  Some say that Bear Man is actually “Bigfoot”.  However, Bigfoot has a smaller head, and also stays away from buckets.,  But, again: that is a different story.  

 

Indiana Wilder Man, The Septic Of Doom !!!

A map and a mysterious letter arrived in the mail from Egypt, a professor asking me to consult with him on a dig.  He warned me that a band of zealots were attempting to stop him from continuing with the dig.  The professor described them as notorious and obnoxious; known as “Asmemeken Aguibeha”: English translation, “Bring it”. 

*Note: it is important to keep in mind my “WMS”.  “WMS” stands for “Walter Mitty Syndrome”, also known as “IOE”, “Issues of Exaggeration”.   

I could not find my fedora, my bull whip, my khakis, my leather jacket, and that strange-looking bag with a shoulder strap that I put archaeological finds in.  Without my profoundly important gear, I almost scrapped the adventure …

 But

. . . that was not an option.  Guys who heroically go in (usually at night, not really), an extraction team, TAP (Tube And Pump) with a state-of-the-art tank on the back of the truck, were to arrive on Thursday @ 3pm.  No fedora?  No bull whip? No khakis?  No leather jacket?  No strange-looking bag with a shoulder strap that I put archaeological finds in?  No map?  “Too bad,” I told myself.     I had shovel, pick-axe, water …

And, I had one clue: two (2) black ropes sticking out of the ground, approximately 18″.  Legend has it that King Tut had placed those ropes deep in the ground to guard the precious secrets of the underground. 

When I first heard about this sobering story, I said to myself:

“Seriously?  What a bunch of NONSENSE!  What … I was born yesterday?”

So, the dirt was stacked against me; or, maybe they were cards … I did not know.  But, I am Indiana Wild Man, and this is what I do, when I am not eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking black coffee … very, very, black coffee.  And, I also look like Indiana Jones.  Then again, maybe not.

https://i0.wp.com/bucketreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/2008_indiana_jones_4_004.jpg

I had to dig down two feet of dirt to uncover the concrete caps of the septic tank.  I knew a man in Kabul, who would provide me with more information about this archaelogical dig, and get me the supplies I needed: ropes, sherpas, food, water balloons, chocolate-chip cookies, and … most importantly … black coffee; very, black coffee.  Unfortunately, he was a Kabul-in-a-china-closet, and he had just experienced an episode.  The secret police were watching my friend.  So, I never made it to Kabul.  I’m not sure why I even mentioned it.

Once the tomb of insufferable stink was uncovered, I knew … as Indiana Wilder Man… that the septic of doom must stay sealed until the guys from the service showed up, otherwise the earth might rip off of it’s axis and hurl into the sun.  Fire-breathing humming birds could possibly storm the Rocky Mountain Mountain Region.  And I would have to live with such an agonizing guilt.

This was truly a hair-raising adventure, which was good, because my hair is quite thin, up on top.  And, this dig … at the Septic of Doom … required super-human strength.  But, I am Indiana Wilder Man, and  a chartered member of a group called “Asmemeken Aguibeha”. 

“Bring 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.

 

 

 

Wilderman Dogs

The dogs know more about what’s going

… than I originally thought.

 

There are two of them, up here.  Sometimes I can see them huddling up, and I know … Oh, yes, I know … that they are up to something.  But most of the time they split up.  Sure, they do a good job of barking when some squirrel gets too close to the house.  But sometimes they just bark, to pretend that they are on top of things. At night, it is not uncommon for me to be sitting at my desk, or in one of the big chairs, reading, writing … and at some point I feel like there is someone staring at me.  Yes.  You must have dogs that do that too.  I look up to see one of the dogs staring at me.  And, in a split second, the dog looks away, and stares in a different direction.  Sneaky.  That’s  what they are.  Sneaky.  This is the older dog, a mix between a German Shepherd and a Gold Retriever.  She will sometimes wear my daughter’s lime green ski helmet, trying to disguise herself.  Again: sneaky.

But when I go for a quick hike, or a walk through the woods, oh … one of the dogs jumps in.  The enthusiasm that flows through her eyes, tail wagging, and she even has a prance as she is trotting along with me.  She loves the wilderness.  She loves me.  She is a Wilderman Dog.  Officially she is a Bernese Mountain Dog.  But she is, unmistakably, a Wilderman Dog.