Vikings … On My Mind

Vikings, on my mind, recently.

Germanic Norse seafarers.  Raiders and traders.  Radical warriors who hung out across the northern and the central parts of Europe, and parts of Russia.  Vikings ventured into the Mediterranean, and North Africa; the Middle East; Central Asia.  All of this happening in the latter 8th  century, extending  into the late 11th century.

http://www.wallpapervortex.com/tag-vikings.htm

Vikings were romanticized, mythologized, as noble savages … this spotlight of intrigue began in the 18th century; gained serious momentum during the 19th-century.  “Vikings, from historical theories, were at times quite violent, piratical heathens,  or as intrepid adventurers owe much to conflicting varieties of the modern Viking myth that had taken shape by the early 20th century.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikings

So . . . 

Why the sudden interest  in the Vikings, emerging now … in the midst of a fairly peaceful transition from winter to spring?  Well, it’s like this.  When I went to high school, a few years ago, we had a mascot; and this is not uncommon.  Our mascot was, or were (to be more specific) the Vikings.  Someone drew an awesome picture of a Viking, before I came to be a high school student.  Although, there is much talk that Vikings did not really have helmets with horn.  But don’t despair, Viking fans: none of us really know, because … none of us were there.  But even though “we” were … and still are … the Vikings, why am I thinking of the Vikings right now?  Here is the answer.  I received a mysterious note from a guy I went to high school with, that there was some serious talk of a reunion coming up … as soon as October of this year.  This would be out of state for me.  In fact, I rarely get down there anymore, which is unquestionably a tragedy.  Now the matter has become less convoluted, yes?  It makes sense why Vikings are on my mind.  There is so much research done about different people groups from different eras, different regions.  I will always be skeptical when historians say Vikings were ” … at times quite violent, piratical heathens,  or as intrepid adventurers …”  I have no doubt that these guys lived in perilous times.  There were probably times when some mean people were coming this way, and it was a choice of either living or dying … and to live meant fighting.  Who knows what these guys were up against.  And maybe there was a wildman who figured out how to get a helmet, and attach some horns … and then he wore that wherever he went … especially at parties, and when he was riding in one of the longboats.  

In one source, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-viking-mystery-59648019/?no-ist, it was established that the Vikings were traders first … and when   economic times became bleak, they had give up trading … in the conventional sense.  

That is when they began going into different lands … And, yeah, things got a bit disruptive.  Well, I know this.  The folks I went to high school with were goodhearted people who were ready to fight for what was right, and they lived with zeal and vision.  The only complaint I have is that none of us ever received our helmets with the horns on the side.  Bummer.

http://www.bownet.org/vikingsexploration/FamousViking%20Explorers.htm

 

 

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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.

Vagabonds, Scoundrels and Highway Robbery

The Aussie, again. Power of story and history, here. Enjoy.

XPLORE

Targo

 Vagabonds, Scoundrels and Highway Robbery, along with the shout “Stand and Deliver” would send a shiver down the spine of many in days past as bushrangers were an integral part of the Australian landscape.

Recently, we had the occasion to travel into the beautiful Southern Highlands region of New South Wales. Our destination was Tarago, a small town located on the eastern side of Lake George which has a couple of historic buildings in its midst, including a quaint Anglican Church and at its epicentre, the “Loaded Dog Hotel”.

Nearby is the Woodlawn Mine, which produced gold, copper and zinc up until 1998, providing employment opportunities to the local community.  Today, the site hosts a “Bio-reactor”  which converts waste product, transported by rail from Sydney, to methane gas.  And given its proximity to the political capital of Australia and its resident population of politicians,  the hot air produced may very…

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Yosemite’s Guardian Ansel

Yosemite !! Excellent photographs, great content. Enjoy. T

Bespoke Traveler

My first camping trip to Yosemite National Park was inspired by the flawless black and white photographs of Ansel Adams. I was captivated and mesmerized by his perfectly tinted images of Yosemite’s brooding mountains, misted waterfalls, and valleys of green carpet. Each of his photographs held a world suspended in the magic of shadow and light. I wanted to see for myself the starkness of El Capitan, the dark and stormy evergreens in the valley, and the naked luster of Half Dome laid out so perfectly in monochrome by Adams.

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Ciaspolata (snowshoeing) on the Bachtel mountain

My son just won two races in a snowshoeing competition this week. When I saw this these images, from Switzerland, from Lorenzo Borghi on his blog, I knew that I wanted to pass this on through a reblog. Enjoy.

artborghi.com

With its 1,115 m, the Bachtel is the second highest peak of Canton Zürich. The impressive snowfalls of the last days made it a perfect location for snowshoeing. Enjoy the panorama!
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The track starts at 580 m.s.l. in Oberdürten

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More horses than men

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A steep stretch before the 800 m.s.l.

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Almost there to the Bachtel top…

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An ice-cold sunset on lake Zürich before the way back. Click each picture to enlarge. Pictures shots with D800 + 50 mm f/1.4G

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“Sleeping on the Summits”: 2 Wilder Men

Two guys: Jon Kedrowski and Christ Tomer discovered an unprecedented desire to climb to the summits of 58 fourteeners throughout Colorado.  Take that one step further: the goal was to”bivy” at the top: otherwise known as pitching a tent overnight.  “Bivy” is the abbreviated term for the word “bivouac”; a French term that gained exposure from French mountain climbers.  And this French word “bivouac”, according to the authors of Sleeping on the Summits: Colorado Fourteener High Bivys, refers to “a long night of suffering”.

http://ruinyourknees.com/reviews/sleeping-summits-colorado-bivys-book-review/

 

http://www.jonkeverest.org/

These mountaineers would start their climbs in the afternoon, and catch the sun setting in the west, then watch the same sun come up in the east.  The goal of Jon Kedrowski was to climb all 58 of the mountains that are fourteen thousand feet or higher.  Tomer was not able to make all of these ascents, but he came along whenever it worked out.  

 

Check out this 1:39 video featuring these two wilder men.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy5H2TvHCo0

 This is an amazing book, with incredible images of the mountains in Colorado.

Here is a link to find out more about the book: 

http://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Summits-Jon-Kedrowski/dp/1565796527

http://inclined.americanalpineclub.org/2012/01/climbing-high-setting-goals-and-getting-involved-with-the-aac/

Wilder Men: We Are Not Alone

Wilder Men, this just in, from the late-breaking news from the home office:

We … are … not … alone.

http://izquotes.com/quote/219634

Clarification.  This is not about the whole “ET, Call Home” thing. Arthur Clarke speaks of the controversy, ” … life out there in the universe …”  Ironic, his words apply to the human soul’s dilemma about relationships.

Things are not always as they appear, not always black and white, not always as clear as we would like them to be: my perspective, contrasted with Clarke’s “reality” of “either / or”; nothing in between. Men, women, children … can be, and are, alone at times; and, we are not alone.

These words below resonate with the “here-and-now”, life on the planet, life in the hearts and minds of men, life through our writings, through our readings, through our thinking / beliefs / ambivalence, through out passions. 

http://www.quoteswave.com/picture-quotes/408817

Ambivalence, still here.  Books are awesome.  But wait!  Some books, limited value, sometimes harmful.  “We read to know that we are not alone.”  Some of us read to isolate.   Simon and Garfunkle sing these words from “I Am A Rock”:

“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.”

The ramblings of a wilder man emerge with hopes of redemptive thought, redemptive ambivalence, redemptive humor.  Here is a piece, tapping at my beliefs, and I grapple with the implications.

“Friendships are overrated.  Friends are underrated.”

Over the years, I have had countless “friendships”, but few … real, long term … friends.  My old friend, Sadness, visits from time to time when I consider how many “friends” have come and gone, not too different than the wind.  Some of those friends never faded away.  It was me, because of my own pursuit of isolation as opposed to pursuit of relationship.  Wilder men have a desire to be known; wilder men have a fear of being known.  None of this changes the fact that we … are … not … alone.