Arroyo

http://www.klosi.org/lyrics/search.html?a=1&c=Ozark+Mountain+Daredevils

From the heart and mind of the wilderman, the wilderman who frequents Rolling Creek Trail, a trail that allows a wilderness sojourner to hike beside Rolling Creek in Pike National Forest, somewhere southwest of Denver, CO … yes, from weathered heart and weathered mind of this wilderman, comes another daring effort to bring you into a little different place, from your place of today-and-tomorrow.  Ideally, this ongoing agenda has a positive outcome.

Today, I bring the Ozark Mountain Daredevils to the stage.  I do actually find a peaceful pleasure in hearing some of their music from time to time, having listened to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils for several decades.  Years ago I headed online and sent an EMAIL to the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, curious about the song “Arroyo”, and whether or not there was a story, there, connected to the song.  The musician who wrote Arroyo explained that the song was about his earlier years when he was doing foolish things and getting in trouble.    For me the song exudes a theme of life experience, specifically difficult experiences.  At the beginning of the song, one of the guys is speaking an odd combination of words; perhaps some of them are code, and some of them are expressions.  Then these guys wrap up the song in a similar fashion; words spoken that sound like a mixture of nonsense and someone’s ramble focused on being deep and profound.  Regardless, this is one of my favorite songs because it is so strange; something resonates.   So, from the band, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, the album “Men From Earth”, here are the lyrics to “Arroyo” / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgIMeMiJK1g.  I hope you will take time to listen to Arroyo by going to the link.

(words spoken at the beginning of the song)
…city street
hang out
thumbs in pocket
black jacket
black jack
dego-red
Manhattenized-Bohemia
of Southern California,
tough punk of
cool, futuristic Montana…

Ozark Mountain Daredevils band / http://www.ozarkdaredevilstabs.com/(sung)

(sung) well, have you ever been mixed up /
feel like you’re in a stick-up, a hold-up,
a robbery in progress? /
well, I have

well, have you ever been faked out /
feel like you’re in a stake-out,
a cook-out, barbecued chicken? /
well, I have

(chorus)

come on, mama, get on the yo-yo

we’re all givin up down in the arroyo

have you ever been stranded
feel like you never landed,
a bandit, a merchant of Venice?
well, I have
well, have you even been tumbled
feel like you’re in a jungle,
a jungle, a town in New Jersey?
well, I have

(chorus)

come on, mama, get on the yo-yo

we’re all givin up down in the arroyo

(SAX SOLO)

well have you ever been hungry
feel like you’re gettin’ ugly
ornery, and everybody’s greasy?
well, I have
well have you ever been zooey
feel like you’re David Bowie,
a truly unidentified person?
well, I have

come on, mama, get on the yo-yo

we’re all givin up down in the arroyo

http://www.randlechowning.com/?_escaped_fragment_=photos/c60z

(spoken)
…there is a possibility of …
something running parallel…
what something is, it might be called
something other than what could be the same thing,
but uh, what could be the right thing
in other words, it might be a contigent-pository,
if what you are doing at the same time
that you are doing something else…

… let’s take, for example, if you were born on LakeMichigan…

 

I will always appreciate the power of story, and respect the sacred substance of an individual’s story.  I am thankful to hear about journeys.  “Arroyo” strikes me as a story within a song, a sacred story, about some of the anguish that happened in one’s life … while at the same time these guys add some kind of humor to the piece.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Duke: Up Ahead On the Trail

“Talk low, talk slow and don’t say much.” 

John Wayne

https://i1.wp.com/www.talktherapybiz.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/john-wayne-true-grit.jpg
John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, “True Grit

An image emerges: John Wayne and a young buck ride on their horses into “an unknown”.  John Wayne, also known as “The Duke”, keeps his eyes on the trail looking for what is ahead, while speaking to the younger one, who … in The Duke’s thinking, he is responsible for.  John Wayne, the mentor, wants to prepare the mentee for what is ahead … both in the immediate scenario and the long term journey.

Now, another image comes to mind of a dad, or a mentor, or both, walking with a younger one … a son, a mentee, a student … both attentive to each other: one teaching / modeling, and the other paying attention to what the younger knows is important, what will be remembered for the trails ahead.

I am immeasurably thankful for good men (the kind that are rare, who will always be remembered) who passed on some wisdom … not because they had to, but because they believed that this what needed to happen, and because I clearly needed to receive what they had to offer, for my own benefit.  And, in the name of tension, I remember … as well … the times where I struggled along the way, encountering the unknown, seemingly alone with no one there at the time to teach me, to guide me.

“Tomorrow hopes we have learned

something from yesterday.”

John Wayne 

My “young buck” status no longer applies, and I continue to grapple with what I call “ambivalence”.  My own definition of ambivalence goes something like this:

“Ambivalence: the existence of two mutually exclusive emotions, thoughts, or concepts.”

I’ve made mistakes.  And “the right thing to do” means: learning from those mistakes; choosing to live not in the past, but in the present with one eye on the future; and releasing any self contempt or bitterness about what has happened behind me.  I want to take care of my horse.  I want to listen well.  I want to “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say much …”, in the words of The Duke.

Problem Solving, Men

“Bro: yes, there is a problem. 

Now, what?”

A friend from the distant past had a sign above his door: “Now, what?”

I connected with the question, my thoughts and my strategies a part of “Now, what?”

Hypothetical: a man asked, “Well?  Is this a problem?  Or is it an opportunity?”  I smiled at the older codger, filled up with himself.  I slowly moved my head left to right, and simultaneously said Yes“.   A confused look appeared on to his face.  “What the heck do you mean?  You are shaking your head, which means ‘No’ … and you are saying ‘Yes’, which means … “Yes’.  Which one is it?”

Fortunately, my mischievous tomfoolery was hidden, knowing that I had managed to bring some disruption to the man.  Yes, the old motivational quip most of us have seen for years and years does apply, to some degree. 

“A problem is an opportunity in disguise.”

But, if a fellow is in deep yogurt, his anxiety alarmingly high, chances are he is not thinking of a motivational poster with a cool picture and words about a problem being an opportunity.  The wilder man may just want a solution to his problem, have no interest in an opportunity. 

 

Wallpapers Chalkboard Tags Equation Theorem Math Image Resolution X   1920x1200

http://www.wallsave.com/wallpaper/1920×1200/chalkboard-tags-equation-theorem-math-image-resolution-x-2768651.html

Some of us men have found ourselves in a  crazed-pickle, with the only opportunity we saw was the opportunity to get our butts kicked, in some form or fashion.  For those who have the problem-solving “opportunities” wrapped up like a Christmas present, congratulations.  But some of us have not yet fully arrived at this state of transcendence.  Here are some out-of-the-box thoughts that I have come up with while walking down the Rolling Creek Trail:

  1. Two are better than one, especially when the yogurt is deep … depending on who the “other” one is, obviously;
  2. When problems, or “opportunities” come up, this is a serious place where negativity rises up like a bunch of hoodlums going after a wilder man;
  3. Admittedly, opportunity comes with problems, but we may be oblivious to such unless / until we change our thinking for the better;
  4. Denial and procrastination are both options, but not good ones, and fear often fuels both of these thugs.

Within this realm, of “opportunity-solving”, there are perspectives close by that can help, or hinder.  Here is one: “A problem is not a problem if there is no solution; it is a situation … and I have no choice but to deal with the situation.”  A dangerous move is to embrace the phrase “I have no choice”.  We always have a choice.  And if a problem is (also) a situation, that does not mean that we quit looking for a solution.  The solution may in fact show itself, but not immediately.

The journeys of good wilder men mean that we bring our tools with us: initiative, courage, confidence, teachability, good relationships, wisdom, realism, optimism, vision, creativity, a sense of urgency, and sharpened awareness skills.  Oh, and two more things: humor and hope.  Until next time. T

Haunts from Antarctic Wilder Man

CLOSURE.  I need some closure!

For years I have carried a distinct heaviness from a British Antarctic explorer by the name of Robert Falcon Scott.  He led an expedition to the South Pole.  They spent the winter of 1911 on Cape Evans, part of Ross Island, in a structure they built known as “Scott’s Hut”.  From here, Captain Scott selected four men to continue on for the South Pole.  Scott intended to get there before anyone else.  There was a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, taking an Antarctic expedition for the South Pole at the same time.  Thus, a race.  Robert Scott reached the South Pole (01/17/1912) and was unfathomably despaired to see a tent, left by Roald Amundsen.  Inside the tent a note addressed to Scott explained that Amundsen’s team had arrived on December 14th, five weeks before Scott’s five-man team reached the Pole.  Amundsen and his team made it back to Norway.  Scott and his five man team died on the Ice.

So, where do I come in?  I worked in an Antarctica field camp (there are quite a few of us Antarcticans) for five months, a breakfast cook.  One evening, I was told to grab my ECW gear (Extreme Cold Weather) and climb into a Hagglund (below, http://www.milmac.se/index.php?page=hagglunds-bv206-personell-carrier&hl=usa).

Hagglunds BV206 Personell CarrierWe were going to Scott’s Hut.  The place is remarkably preserved, due to cold temperatures / low humidity.  I stood by the long dining table, next to the chair where Scott sat at the head of the table.  I feel like I know this guy; impossible … as he died before I was born.  His story is haunting; his pictures are haunting.  Maybe its time for me to quit thinking about Scott and Amundsen.  Maybe not.  His mission was a tragedy, not very positive.  Here’s the rub: Scott’s story is a prolific example of courage / desire to take on dangerous adventures. Things get crazy, sometimes, in a harsh environment.  Scott’s diaries show that he went after this dream.

I think of Antarctica as a cold, merciless, jealous, mistress that refuses to let some men leave; such as the five men on Scott’s polar team, pictured below: (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/jan-18-1912-robert-falcon-scott-discovers-tent-of-explorer-who-beat-him-to-south-pole/?_r=0)

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/jan-18-1912-robert-falcon-scott-discovers-tent-of-explorer-who-beat-him-to-south-pole/?_r=0
Henry Bowers pulled the string for the camera. Robert F. Scott’s expedition team at the South Pole, Jan. 17, 1912. Left to right: Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, Scott, Edward Wilson, Edgar Evans.
scott-hut_dinner_spri
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/05/captain-robert-scotts-hut-in-antarctica.html

 Here is an image of his last diary entry.  The lines read:

“We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.

R. Scott

Last entry

For God’s sake look after our people.”

Snow is On the Go; So Are You

She is waiting, faithfully.A few bloggers have posted about snow happening, in their neck of the woods.  This morning, our’s came: the snow is definitely on the go.  I’m waiting until either the snow stops or until it is deep enough before I get my snowblower out: not something on my “favorite things to do” list.     “To Do” … what a provocative pair of words; profound, in fact, for writers.

I don't snow blow the trees.
I don’t snow blow the trees.

At times, our writing connects with what we “do”.  At other times, our writing comes from our stillness, being quiet, and listening.  I remember seeing a writer’s quote, many years ago.  150, maybe?  Exaggeration, maybe?  Unfortunately I cannot remember the name that corresponds with the quote.  Here’s the quote: “My wife asked me what I was doing while staring out the window.  I told her.  ‘I’m working’ …”  And, one of my most favorite quotes of all time:

www.quotehd.com

What Thoreau’s quote means to me is that our experiences, our stories, out journeys, and in some cases just “doing something”, fuels and shapes our writing.  Okay, now I’ll throw out on the blog-table the last piece of this post: writers, depression, anxiety.  Winter, snow, cold, connects the season with the mood.  Here are some excerpts from an article entitled: “Let’s talk about writing and the creative process”

 
(http://writerunboxed.com/2013/04/26/lets-talk-about-anxiety-the-creative-process/

“I work with writers, and find that anxiety is a very real and very constant part of their lives. Why? Just a few reasons:

  • … creating and publishing invites judgement, especially self-judgement.
  • Being a writer is often a new identity that one carves out for themselves … everyone else around them clings to other ways of labeling them: mother, spouse, colleague, sister. (Writers) don’t easily accept defining the writer as such.
  • … ‘return on investment’ of writing breaks traditional models. We do it for so many reasons, but the common reward of money is rarely the primary driver.
  • … so many decisions involved in being a writer. First, with the process of writing and editing, then the process of choosing how to publish, and then the process of finding and connecting with readers. Each is not one step, but 1,000 decisions. None of which are clear from the start. “

Yes, we stumble into the midst of any of these experiences: “Seasonal Affect Disorder (S.A.D.)” (you already know about), writer’s block (I flinch when Lucy calls Charlie Brown a “blockhead” … I’m a blockhead since I get writer’s block), boredom, anxiety / depression (beyond S.A.D.), situational stressors, family pressures … and SNOW.  But trust me, pending on the temperature / windchill / visibility, you can get out there in the snow with your winter gear or snowshoes.  And chances are it will be good for you.  And keep writing.  Because YOU … are on the go!

Men of 2014: Hold On To Your Hat!

I am hoping for a better year:

NO BRAINER!

Of course I am hoping for a better year; and, of course … you are hoping for a better year, right?  Tell me I’m right.  Tell me you are hoping for a better year.  That’s what we do, right?  We hope.  ‘Cannot stop hoping.  If we don’t hope, we die … mainly inside.  If we quit hoping, it may be obvious on the outside; but death is really happening on the inside, even though it is a gradual process.

And …

of course we are hoping for a better year.  If it is obvious, then WHY am I mentioning it?  I bring this up because I am a firm believer in reminding each other of what is true, what is important, what is dynamic.  I believe we need to talk to each other,  face-to-face, phone calls, EMAILs, and … blogging, of course.  There is that word again, “course”: a reminder to …

S t a y   O n   C o u r s e

Man Your Post

And, Hold On To Your Hat

indy1.jpg

http://www.examiner.com/article/hold-on-to-your-hat-indiana-jones-5-is-coming

Gentlemen, all of “this” is not just about us.  This is about the people we love, the people we care about, the people who we will impact.  The women in our lives; the sons, the daughters, our co-mentors, those we mentor, and those folks we will meet in 2014.