Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Trail That Never Was

I met a man today.  Actually I knew this man…or at least I met him one day some many years ago.  Today I came to know him.

It was around 14 years or so ago that our paths crossed.  We met on a trail, on a hike, both strangers yet so much the same.  He had a desire that day to hike this trail to the end.  It was said that the trail led to a secluded cove and a hidden beach.  Nobody ever went there and it was always welcoming and unpopulated.  I too was on this trail and seeking the same destination, following the same spoken rumor.  I was intrigued at this legendary beach and it’s alleged splendor. 

I never made it to this hidden spot.  This man had the desire but lacked the determination to make the full length of the journey.  For him, it was more of a challenge to hike this distance than he was willfully ready to commit to.  His reasoning not to continue was fair I suppose.  Or at least I felt enough empathy that I decided to alter my own course and accompany him, that day, back down the trail, back to the beginning never to reach the end.

For almost 14 years I have wondered from time to time where that trail actually led.  I have pondered what lied at the end.  I have visualized in my mind many times what that secluded beach in that hidden cove may have looked like, and how I would have felt that day on that beach, to myself with nobody around.  And I have looked back to that encounter with that man on that trail.  He was strong, in his prime, confident so it seemed yet he lacked something.  That 'something', prevented him from ever reaching his destination that day.  I have wondered through the years what he would have felt had he made it to the end, and more so what he has felt, if anything, that he gave up.

Today, I found myself, nearly 14 years later, on that trail again.  Today I did what it was that I set out 14 years ago to do but never quite accomplished due to circumstances that prevailed that day.  I followed this trail to that legendary beach in that hidden cove and discovered what I missed before.  Actually I discovered a couple of things there.  I discovered that if that man 14 years ago on that trail would have walked another 100 yards or less, he would have been at that beach in that hidden cove!  What he didn’t realize that day was that although he couldn’t hear the surf in the distance, it lied only a mere walk ahead, the sound of the surf blocked by the ridge of sand between the water and the trail.  I also discovered that this man was standing there, at the end of the trail today!  Apparently he as well had wondered for many years what that walk on that trail would have led to.  The fact that he never continued forward that day was apparently enough through the years to vex him into wanting to face the trail once more. 

Now, years later, older, a little slower, much more wise and seasoned with life experiences, he came back to this trail to seek out the 14 year answer to a question he never satisfied.  As we stood there today, we were both perplexed!  The trail it seems has gained some popularity through the years because the beach was far from being empty and secluded as people lay about the sand, surfed, and enjoyed the sun.  We never waded across the lagoon that separated us from the end of the trail and the beach and surf.  Not that we couldn’t have waded through the calm water where the creek met the ocean waves, not necessarily that we didn’t want to!  Instead we chose to just stand there, ponder and silently tout the days accomplishment!

He shared something with me on that walk today.  Simply,  had he known then what he knew now….he wouldn’t have changed a thing!  I suppose that logic may dictate that, had the circumstances in his life been different he may have made that journey 14 years ago, to where it was that he stood today.  But had circumstance been different then, he may have not stood where he stood today, and may have never shared nor realized his wisdom of “today”. 

Today I completed the walk I started to take 14 years ago.  I was bummed really at what I found yet very excited at the affirmation of my own personal experiences in life.  I affirmed that I don’t regret what I didn’t do, because had I done it, it may have changed the fiber that culminated the series of events that made me who I am and put me where I am today!  Life is a series of decisions and choices, some good, some bad, but all part of a culmination of who I am today.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

At the time I felt empathy for this man and altered my course that day to accompany him back.  As I walked down that trail today to that hidden beach, I wondered how it was he couldn’t make it that day, how it was that he wouldn’t want to.  After meeting him at the trails end today, at that dead end in the lagoon that separated us from Shangri-La, my wonder had faded.  I understood that there was a reason, and that reason helped to make him the man who he is today.  Standing there, he shook his head in disbelief….”had I just walked another 100 yards that day” he said.  “Had I only realized…”!  “ But had I the will that day, we would have never met here today….”  “How different life may have been?”  I personally parted company from him and that beach today, happy as hell with who I am and how far I have gone.  That I chose not to go the extra few yards that day....I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What if the Hokey Pokey was ‘what it’s all about’?

A very good question, and sometimes I wonder!  How stupid are we all feeling about now if it is!  This was the quest that Maryann was on tonight at the local street market at our undisclosed location for Love Fest 2010.  One of the street vendors was an old hippie selling old hippie attire and goods., and what else, but…. bumper stickers!  Some years back, M saw a bumper sticker on a bumper in La Honda that read, “What if the Hokey Pokey was what it is all about?”  From that day forth she fell in love with this and has been passively searching for it ever since.  Tonight she scoured through boxes of bumper stickers searching, only to find out that this is apparently a hot commodity and dude was sold out.  However, all she had to do was say “Hokey Pokey” to him and he knew immediately what….it was all about!  She found one that I particularly thought was a concept….
Big Truck, Little Willey”.
Brings to mind the whole theory behind ‘Napoleon Syndrome’!

Another stop at the market was to the incense dealer….  Got a huge deal on 250 rams of Nag Champa, which for anyone who knows a lick about incense knows that a pure grade India import like Nag Champa is very pricey….we got  a deal!!  He even handed it to me in a plain brown paper bag!  I felt so underground!  Along with the purchases of locally grown fresh vegetables, home grown tea, and a taste of some local fare, it made for a good evening roaming the streets of…..  You thought!

Meanwhile back home, news is that the temps are dipping pretty low in the nights now.    Fall is definitely in full swing.  We got all of the firewood stacked and covered before we left, so we are feeling ok.  That is the single most important thing for us, as heat is vital.  But we are a far cry away from home and that is the furthest thing from our minds at present.

Meantime we have been hitting the beach quite a bit.  Today Maryann was befuddled at a spectacle.  A duck hanging out in the tide pools with a bunch of seagulls.  Yeah…  Only Maryann would be so perceptive as to observe and bear witness to such an oddity of nature.  Later in the day, we both found the answer to the lack of aviary segregation in this instance as we witnessed a seagull, swimming in the pond with the ducks!  Seriously though, when was the last time you would have ever even paid attention to something like this?!  It does raise some serious questions in regards to civility and eliminating the racial divide.  If ducks and seagulls can get along, why cant we?!

Aside from nearly being taken out by a stray golf ball on a walk to the beach this morning from some novice with a bad aim, or a pro who tied one over the night before, whatever the case may be….the past two days have been enjoyable and we are soaking in the sun, the sea breeze….and the love!  The outdoor garden showers are still the sizzle for us both.  Our accommodations have also come with a hot tub, an in house full on artists studio at Maryann’s complete disposal, two guppies who are amazingly more intelligent than some humans I know, and a dog.  Yes, a dog!  And no, for those who think they have us pegged, we aren’t in Hawaii!  Far from it!  That’s it for now, and for the fortune of local coffee houses and juice bars with free WiFi, with a slight delay between the actual writing and posting on the blog, we will stay updated.  For now….life is good today!  Oh, here is something to try at home….wok your eggs!  Why scramble them, why fry when you can wok your eggs!  It should be a delight…..

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Love Fest 2010: The forbidden fruit.

In following the tradition of the Bohemian lifestyle, I just enjoyed an experience I can honestly say I have never enjoyed, much less did.  If it's not enough that we are in a wonderful place  this year to celebrate Love Fest 15, and too much to say that we literally upped and bailed on the society, impending issues and surroundings that we revolve around daily, complete with all of it's demands.

 I found myself off the back deck of our ocean bungalow tucked against the towering sand dunes of what we deem to be paradise, showering in the open air amongst the native fauna, an open bamboo arbor ,  the sea breeze tauting my pert nipples, and fern fronds litely brushing my naked ass, I, in sheer delight!  All though this thought may frighten some, offend others, and still excite a few, it is my opinion that if you ever get the chance to try it....do it!

We have found ourselves in merry celebration of Love Fest 2010, or what would be the 15 year celebration of....LOVE!  For those out of touch with this whole Love Fest gig, it is simply our yearly annual anniversary of the beginning of our marriage that has been come to be known as 'Love Fest'.

Back in the day, 15 years ago, we were married in a small and private ceremony of just our most immediate families, on the beautiful Carmel coast, literally at the oceans edge in some of the most spectacular scenery that the California coast has to show.  It was an exciting time for two young lovers starting 'forever' together.  Throughout the years we have spent each and every anniversary going places that we love to be, for the time allotment of our choosing.  It is always a time to not only celebrate 'love' but to let our hair down and just be the free spirited souls that we are.  No obligations, no responsibilities, no care, no nothing....just reflection, fun, spontaneity, excitement and, yes, love!

This year finds us doing much of the same, but in a secret location known to nobody....but a chosen few...and they aren't talking.  The kids are living at the house while we are gone, taking care of life at the compound and of course taking care of the other kids, the dogs.  Now your probably asking, "why, Greg, is this a secret location this year".  I cannot answer that at this time, nor will I attempt to explain why I cannot.  It will more than likely be in the book.  But, I can tell you this much.  Since this is our 15th wedding anniversary, we decided to hold no bars and to just break away, in solitude, to enjoy the time God has given us together.  No commitments, no plans, just free to roam and touch base with each other after a wild and very busy summer.

 Fact is that although some traditionalist's settle for huge celebrations on the 25th and 50th anniversaries, we decided to do so on the 15th.  In today's world, it just seems fitting to be grateful that we have been able to traverse the hard times, bond together through life's challenges, scope out a path of success in chasing our dreams, and fulfilling each of our needs and desires.  Crying yet?!  It just seems that there are alot of unhappy people out there, many who just 'settle' for what they have.  we are blessed to have been able to find that we were pre-wired for, and that is compatibility in every sense of the word, thus we have found that everyday of our lives we are blessed to have one another to share and walk this path of life together.

This trip however did not go without it's events.  Our flight out of Anchorage was at 1:00AM, the bloody red eye, and we had reservations to fly out of Kenai on the last flight out at 9:30PM the night before, up to Anchorage.  Due to the nature of the past week and the work related drama's and angst, we decided that flying into ANC would be easier and less stressful.  * Just a quick footnote, Maryann is on her way out right now to try out the outdoor shower experience for herself....will be interesting to see if she comes back in and states that we need an outdoor shower at the compound....  Anyways, the entire week has been fogged in on the peninsula.  After a summer of nothing but rain, we finally got some much awaited sunshine for a few days and everyone thought, 'wow, a late summer before Fall'.  This was not to be.  Mother nature, the sometimes cruel manipulator that she can be, made the decision that we would instead be socked in with fog.  All week.  This was canceling flights at the little airstrip in Kenai all week long.  We figured that getting out at mid-day, since that was the window of a couple hours that the fog was least, might be the trick to avoid the last minute flight cancellation and the contingent drive up to Anchorage late in the evening.  Our calculations worked.  We made it out and up to Anchorage easily and with no problems.  Only thing is now, we have 8  1/2 hours before we board our flight outside.   *Another footnote....I just got the return feedback from M.  To quote, "That was fabulous!  Holy cow!".  Hmmm, what a testimonial....  So the impromptu solution to a long and drug out wait in the airport, and for those who have never been to the Ted Stephens International Airport in Anchorage before.....it aint much... was to rent a car and go out on the town.  So we did!  We did dinner out, Maryann went clothes shopping.  We just had a nice night out.

The flight out of ANC was great.  For the first time ever, we had a flight with no babies on board, no offense to baby bearing parents, we realize that there is a high stress level on infants when they fly....and so too is there with the adults around them trying to sleep in cramped miserable seats!  So there was actually some sleep that went on, not much, but a little.  Our connection is where it all went awry.  Due to the secrecy of our trip, I cannot state where our connection was.  I can say this, the airport needs some serious 21 century upgrading.  We were in a dank, climatically debunked closet off the main terminal to catch our connecting flight for an hour and a half.  It was almost like part of the airport where they would cast out lepers or something.  Restless and just wanting to get past this, we waited, restlessly, tired, muggy and nasally deprived of moisture .  Minutes before our flight was to board, a delay came up on the board.  Angst!  Another hour and a half before we could depart, stuck in airport purgatory.  So we waited.  Again, only to find out at the precise moment that we were to once again begin to board, that we had another 45 minute delay.  Major sucksville!

At some point with less than a thread of patience left to our fiber, we finally did get out and on our way.  But in the theme of 'the wait', we were once again to run into a fiasco.  A line unlike that I've ever seen at an airport rental car agency, and us, having to stand there with our thumbs conveniently tucked away in a dark place we don't speak of, for 2 hours!  I'm telling you, when we were next up in line to go to the rental window, it was like a cross of disbelief, excitement, denial, and exuberance all in one!  It was like that moment in 'Wille Wonka And The Chocolate Factory" when Charlie Bucket begins to slowly peel back his cherished Wonka Bar wrapper, in complete suspense and anticipation, hopeful for a glimpse of the 'golden ticket'.  But aghast!  They threw up the "Closed" sign right before we stepped up to the window!  Well, no, not really, but that would make for a hell of a story, huh?!  Eventually though after literally waiting in line for two hours we did get our rental and off we ran!

I can't share anymore though because that would reveal our secret location.
One thing I can say is that I am blogging onto Word Pad due to the lack of Internet connection, and will have to post this later when I find some kind of 'hot spot' to connect to.  That said, I am off and running, reporting to you with a slight variation of real time, live at Love Fest 2010!  Stay tuned, there may be more to follow!  Take care!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A whole lotta oops.

Oops!  That is the only reason I could think of....oops!  I guess it has been like months since I posted?!  Actually, from personal observance of the tests and trials of another, Blogger shuts you down after 3 months of no activity!  Anyways, for anyone still out there...sorry.

Let me tell you about my stint in hell.  I went on a secret mission....to 'metaphoric' hell...several weeks back.  Actually, it was to my folks' house....no, wait, that came out wrong.... my folks' house is not the hell to which I refer, rather the location where they live, which is just about that hot in mid August.  And I know this.  It is common fact that that area of California is classic 105 degrees in August.  However, it slipped my mind when I had set the dates to go there.  Senility, maybe!  OOPS!  However it was nice to see my folks.  In between the hours of....'secret work'....we had some nice visit time.  They don't realize it but I do miss them, being so far away.  But our life, our little family unit here has become so much more seasoned and we are so much better off  and all very happy being here.  Still, after so many years after the move of our lives, we have absolutely "no regrets" of what we did, and have no plans anytime soon of ever leaving this awesome place.  But this visit was not a vacation.  No.  It was a working trip.  A 'secret' working trip......

 Let me tell you about sweat.  I think, not positive but suspect, that I had to have lost about 35% - 45 % of my body weight from sweating in the miserable heat.  The skeptics will tell you that it was only in the high 80's most of the week, a fact to which I will concur.  But when you haven't lived in anything over 65 degrees for the past 4 years, the high 80's or especially those days that it got up to 93, 94 degrees, can be wretchedly intense.  I am pretty sure my internal thermostat broke that week.  Because, when I returned home, I was still sweating.  It was raining and 55 degrees when I landed in Anchorage the night I returned, and as I was standing outside the terminal waiting for my puddle jumper back to Kenai, I was pouring of sweat.  In fact a week later I was still sweating out in 45 degree weather!  I have noticed in the past few days that my sweat glands are either finally closing, or have depleted themselves of any drop of sweat I have left in me.  Oye!

Summer here has been both busy and a bit depressing.  This was by far the busiest summer for my business since we arrived.  There was very little time to relax, and nary time to fish.  I did manage to squeeze in time back in July to fish during the heavy sockeye salmon run.  I also went out a couple of weeks ago on a 12 hour multi-species trip out of Seward, catching 2 nice sized halibut, a really nice sized ling cod, and 3 sea bass.  Yummy, yummy!  Our full deep freezer bears testimony these successful fishing gigs.  But for the most part work has been very abundant and demanding of much of my time.  Not many projects got done this summer here at home.  Partly to the fact that free time to do so was little.  And, partly in fact to the simple fact that since our friends Ted and Patty left here the end of May, it has done nothing but rain.  And rain.  And rain.  And rain.   Oh, there has been a few days of partial sunlight and less than that of nice sunny, spectacular days.  But Rain has been the theme of the weather this year.

Firewood.  Yes, firewood.  The life blood of comfort and cold survival in the winter.  Oh, did I mention that we hauled, bucked up and split an estimated 11 cords?  We did, Maryann and I.  But it hasn't had much chance to dry.  That requires sunshine and heat....we aint had that luxury here!  We have been doing the 'tarps on, tarps off' drill most of the summer.  Sun comes out for an hour, we are out uncovering wood to let the sun shine on it.  Check Doppler or see clouds coming in we are back out covering it all again!  Yup, this has been the program all summer long.  Now, evened though most of the wood has been slowly drying and seasoning, we still have a concern over how effectively it will burn.  The only thing we can do at this point in the game is keep a large quantity stacked in the house as fires are going in the wood stove, allowing it to dry as we go.  A pain in the ass, but worth the effort....well worth it!  With the days getting so much shorted and the weather not getting any warmer, it will be the only shot we have this winter.

John.  Well, there is a long story to John, and there is a short story.  The latter is the easier to tell.  The boy is in early retirement.  Yes, just seems like a few months ago he was going in with the Alaska Division Of Forestry after quitting his day job, and already, he is retiring.  Hmmm.....  Yeah, well, let me say that a wet summer makes for a lousy fire season.  Good for most, not so good for an aspiring young firefighter.  I have to be honest though, I think once again he was kind of expecting the to grab this one by the ba!!s as well, but as it always does, it grabbed him by his.  We have spent what seems like an eternity preaching and teaching the boy, you have to go out and get what you want, if in deed you are passionate about getting it.  This and only this is how we got to where we are, where we have been, and where we will go in life.  But, he is young.  And the fact that we just fell off the turnip truck doesn't help!  He did do commercial fishing again this year.  He did well, making some good coin in the few weeks they fished.  Other than that he has worked a bit with me and spent alot of time waiting for work to come to him.  Hmmm....  He did start school a couple of weeks back.  This is a good step in the right direction.  He is taking EMT training.  So all is not lost.  He is wanting to join the ranks of the nocturnal plowing crazies this winter.  I can see his desire for this kind of odd and twisted love, being amongst the ranks of  such myself.  But this too takes a certain amount of money, something that someone, retired like he is, is finding hard to come by.  Hmmm.....  Have you noticed I seem to be a little suspicious with all of the "Hmmm's"??  Hmmm....

Maryann.  Beautiful and a ray of sunshine that she is, she is hanging in there.  It has been a rough sector of the year for her.  With some family issues, alot of stress with the lodge, and a woop load of no sunshine for her greenhouse this year, she is stymied!  She has been plagued by some kind of bogus scam artist company trying to rake the payola out of the lodge this summer.  She has taken it lightly, and laughs at it as they are a bunch of buffoons, but nonetheless it is aggravating.  Business although much slower this year has been somewhat active and oddly full of drama and events.  As of this week she is officially working out of home again, and will be only going out to the office at the lodge once a week until they get hopping again in the spring.  Woo-hoo, she says!  At last, all of those phone calls at 4:00AM from people on the east coast wanting to inquire about the lodge and trips....done.  All those excited happy idiots calling at 2:00AM to announce that they finally arrived at the lodge after being stuck in midnight construction delays on Alaska's highways....done.  All the phone calls from guides at 5:00 and 6:00AM, waiting on their boats for the lodges guests who are late, the guides wanting sleeping Maryann to give them adequate answers....done.  Getting my angst!?  Even the dogs are happy now because they have company during the day!

Seska, being the newest and youngest attended 'Day Camp' all summer.  Her itinerary consisted of waking in the morning, pooping, eating breakfast, pooping again, and then getting to go "bye bye" in M's truck, bound for Day Camp at the lodge.  There she would be tethered to the office porch where she would greet guests, provide a teddy bear like atmosphere for those dog owner guests who were missing their own dogs, needing a warm and fuzzy muzzle to nuzzle.  Afternoon would bring what we would call, her snack of juice and crackers (usually a moose burger, or some kind of leftovers from the lodge kitchen) and of course, a day full of whoring love from anyone who would give it to her, which were many!  Arriving home at the end of an exciting day at camp would entail her jumping out of the truck, excitedly running towards the lawn as her brother and sister excitedly ran out the door to greet her....her totally blowing off the other two dogs as she ran past them and into the house to look for her dinner....!  You can tell she is a happy dog and loving life here at the compound!

So, this brings up to speed the events of the summer.  We are excited about the coming of Fall, which is close here as I write.  I suspect there will be more thoughts and writing to follow.  At least try not to take 8 months between posts.  Oh, dickster, the little trickster....seems he doesn't really like Vaseline much!  He has been a little low keyed as of late, not knowing who is, or when, the 'Petroleum Jelly Bandit' may strike again......  "Hmmm....."

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