Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Secret Square

We are headed to Memphis via a layover in Minneapolis. I doubt I will ever understand airline flight planning … go north to head south.  The pilot announces that we are entering the final approach and I glance out the window. From above, I find Minnesota to be quite orderly. It has arranged itself most pleasantly into symmetrical squares without the distraction of elevation or uniqueness.  Vanna White shatters the tranquil vision and reveals the secret square … filled with steaming smokestacks like rusty nails in an old board and reach pleadingly for forgiveness that is not mine to give.

I turn away until it is my turn to spin.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wandering in the Wilderness

Mar 18 Tue

I call this post Wandering in the Wilderness, but that is somewhat of a misnomer.  It just came to me to write this. Out of the wilderness, so to speak.

Exo 16:35) And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

For those of you who are not used to interpreting Bible scripture, I will help.  Basically, the Israelites got to the border of the Promised Land. This was way before border cameras or fences built by the Republicans to keep them out. Even though they were assured it was the right place by the big guy (TBG), they sent some spies in to check it out. It took forty days … so you got to wonder. The spies brought back a lot of fruit, which was good because the Israelites and been looking for this place for forty years and all they had had to eat was manna (from TBG). The manna was not a bad loaf, but after forty years enough is enough. But, it would be misleading to say this story is about too much bread or malingering spies.

(Num 14:33-34 ) Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert. For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land-you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.

Woowee did TBG get pissed and he made Judge Judy look like a pushover. First, the sentence was forty years  … until every one of the Israelites were DEAD. Second, all this time, they have to be shepherds. Let me tell you, when sheep aren't being fluffy and white, they spend their time being stinky and sticking lots of poop on their legs and baaing until you want to cut your wrists. Thirdly, everyone involved had to listen to a long lecture which basically said when TBG says to do something, do it. 

The number forty kept popping into my mind … over and over. The fact that it didn't make sense led me to realize that it made sense to write about it … forty that is.   For the next forty days, it is my intention to write whatever comes to mind … and see what comes out.  I will leave it to you to make sense of it.

Mar 19 - Wed

Just to be on the safe side, I thought I would explore the idea that I am having some kind of a vision, that I am being driven to do this due a divine intervention. I know how those things work.  Not to worry. Checked my hands … no stigmata.  Definitely, have not laid eye on a burning bush. The final proof … I absolutely have not been bathed in any blinding shafts of light … visions are more a desert thing  and this is Vermont.

I decided to start with a historical approach. I decided to look at my last forty days (Feb 7 - Mar 18) for clues. I wanted to see if I had been wandering in the wilderness for forty days.  I wanted to know if I was a spy in a foreign land. I checked all of my secret hiding places and found no spy equipment. The last forty days were pretty typical … taichi, taxes, a bonfire, guests from SC, Windsor Gallery, Anne's birthday, Rumi, Mass MOCA, and gallery secunity.  Look again at this paragraph. This is all I can think of to write about from the last forty days.

I could be in trouble with this idea. I hope I have a vision tonight, or a bush catches on fire.

Mar 20 - Thu

They say "Life begins  at forty". 

That makes me about twenty-five. I am in terrible shape to be such  a young adult. I am blind as a bat without my glasses and I refuse to wear my hearing aids like I should. I am seriously out of shape if by out of shape one means round. Worse yet, I look like I might be 65. Instead of getting outside for some exercise, I am hanging out inside just because the temperature is below freezing. When I do get out, I drive like an old man … forty is a familiar speed for me. Anne complains that that is how fast I drive on the interstate when I get to looking around (not at the road) or running my mouth.I am, however, planning some interesting trips. We leave on Saturday for Memphis and I am also working on ideas for VA, Greensboro, and Scotland.

Not so sure that "life begins at 40". If the implication is that the quality of life comes with the maturity, understanding, and appreciation that middle age brings, I would have to say I disagree again. Age doesn't seem to have a lot to do with those traits … especially with men. More likely, the saying has more to do with feelings of lost youth and mid-life crisis than maturity. Either way, I have been lucky in that I have never spent much time yearning for the good ole days or my spent youth. That don't mean that I don't enjoy the embellished retelling of those years with anyone who will listen. Fact is, I would hate to go through all of that stuff again. Think I would change that saying a bit. "Life begins when you decide to live it." I can live with that!

Mar 21 - Fri

(Gen 7:12 ) And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

Help me understand this. Somebody around here has a real mean streak.  Otherwise, things don't add up. Here's a guy that points and the sun is there … swirls his little finger and the moon lights up the nights. Abracadabra and there is man, woman, horse, cow, fish, bird, possum. Gets pissed and decides  to flood the earth.  Explain this … how come it takes forty days and forty nights? I would hate for this guy to interrogate me. I wouldn't have a fingernail left and would be water-boarded for sure.  I wonder how deep the water needs to be to drown the world.  My guess is forty feet deep. At what point was drowning created and was it created just for this  purpose, or for general use. Why not fire? I guess pills weren't around at that time. Everybody to their own way … but if I were omnipotent, I just don't think I would need to teach so many people a lesson … maybe a plague or two or raining frogs, but not all this drowning and turning into pillars of salt and volcanoes burying people alive.  What ever happened to turn the other omnipotent cheek?

Mar 22 - Sat

Gen 8:6 ) And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:

Make sure you understand this passage. It doesn't say that it rained for 40 days and nights and there was a whopping flood and when it stopped raining, Noah opened the window.  What is being said is that it stopped raining and Noah waited 40 more days and 40 more nights before he opened the window. Talk about paranoia! I am thinking that two of every animal on earth is on board crapping and peeing for forty day/nights … time for a breath of fresh air! In the Bible, the Lost Chapters, it probably says that "after eighty days, a foul wind embraced the earth and he and his lineage that wasth  good swimmers were no longer".

On another note, we are headed to Memphis today for a brief vacation. Call me paranoid too … but not so paranoid that I wouldn't cut on the bathroom fan for the duration of the trip (if needed).  But, it does seem odd  that we planned this trip … I decided to write this blog … and … Elvis died in his forties (42 to be exact) and had hits in the Casey Kassem  Top Forty Countdown and Elvis liked dogs and Scooby Doo was a dog and Casey Kassem did the Scooby Doo voice. Paranoid … I think not.? Coincidence … I don't think so!                  

Mar 23 - Sun

So few days and I have already fallen behind. My excuses … I was in Memphis, no computer available, too tired at night from sightseeing, ankle killing me from the walking. Shall I continue … I am sure I could come up with at least forty. Punish me. I have earned it. What is my sentence?

40 lashes is one of the punishments meted out by the Sanhedrin, though in actual practice only 39 lashes were administered

Am I to be put to the whip? If you spin me on a wheel, the pattern will be a wonderful cross-hatch. Might I super size with the cat-o-nine?  I am intrigued by the rationale to administer only 39 lashes and am truly at a loss as to a logical reason.  A debt to society unpaid. I hate it when I have worked hard … work hard to earn my reward. I hate to get short-changed.

Mar 24 - Mon

Goliath came for forty days before being killed by David.

(1 Sam 17:16 ) For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army.

Sounds a bit like a prescription … 40mg morning and evening for 40 day and call your physician if any side effects occur. What would Homeland Security have to say about this approach? We realize that you may be threatened and are declaring an Orange Alert. However, we do not wish to overact. Give it 40 days. If this Goliath character continues to strut for the duration of that said period of time and shall not be recalled or compelled to resist by order of the appropriate Philistine authorities, we ail have no other recourse than to release David, armed with sling and rock, to resolve the incident utilizing extreme prejudice. We reserve the right, should this step prove necessary, to further remove Goliith's head for the purpose of doing a bit of strutting ourselves.

Mar 25 - Tue

Forty is the only integer whose English name has its letters in alphabetical order. I wish it also spelled itself forward and backward … alas, it does not.

Mar 26 - Wed

Jonah warned the City of Nineveh they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city. I want to say this is a whale of a tail, but really I have another point to make.  Read the passage below first. 

(Jonah 3:4 and 10 ) And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

I am not sure of my timeline here. Jonah, out day tripping, wanders in to Ninevah. Out of the blue, he blurts out that the city will be overthrown in 40 days. Why would anyone believe him? The only reason  that makes sense to me is that time wise this is regurgitated Jonah. Maybe if he was dripping in whale bile and vomit, it might make an impression … otherwise, who is this guy?  The passage goes on to imply that everybody believes Jonah and starts shaping up and as TBG says they stop with the evil … so he agrees not to do the evil he had in mind. Somebody left out another verse. It is the one that says "what isth goodish for the goose, is NOT goodith for TBG". Being a deity is kinda like being rich … the rules don't apply.

Mar 27 -  Thu

(Gen 50:3) And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.

Embalming required 40 days. Wonder what they called the days while the embalming was being done. Was it a " the stinky days" while they drained and field dressed the corpse. I like to think of it like slow-cooking a once brisket … 'til  the meat just falls off the bones … or like hickory-smoking a ham.

I wonder at the language of the passage. Why the change from "40" days fulfilled to "threescore and ten" to mourn? Somebody must have been thinking about the Gettysburg Address when they wrote that  line.

Mar 28 - Fri

Jesus was seen in the earth 40 days after His crucifixion.

(Acts 1:3) After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

I won't mess with these lines other than to make note of the 40 days. With a passage like this, you are either in or out … not for me to influence one way or the other.

Mar 29 - Sat

mikvah consists of 40 se'ah (approximately 200 gallons) of water.  That makes a se'ah about 5 gallons of water or the equivalent of about 1 1/2 flushes of an old toilet. A mikvah is a Hebrew ceremonial bath used for purification by complete emersion. That means to fill a mikvah for a purification ritual would require about 55 1/2 flushes. In order to assure that the immersed individual is truly purified it is required that  a red heifer be included.  The heifer must be completely red, every single hair, and has never worked a single day.  Bad luck for the heifer (so much for the luck of not having to work), the heifer has to be slaughtered and then burned. The ashes, not red anymore, are mixed in with flush water. To be honest, I am more of a soap and water guy for getting clean and the sprinkling seems more in line with green policy today … not to mention, where can you get a real red heifer these days.

Mar 30 - Sun

Whenever we travel outside the US, it is a constant irritant to me to try to figure out what the temperature is.  I would like some reasonable explanation why the Fahrenheit  scale was adopted in the US. I realize that my ignorance is most appropriately laid on my own door step … at my own laziness. Like everyone else, I was told how to make the conversion from Celcius to Fahrenheit in high school science class and forgot it immediately following the test. My only reprieve is this:

- 40 degrees is the only temperature where Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are the same.

There are, nonetheless, drawbacks to the enjoyment of this reprieve short of very, very heavy winter coats. My scientist did not explain to me how it was possible for the two scales to converge and for my part I take the fact on faith. This will not be the last time that my laziness will make itself known to me and others.

Mar 31- Mon

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness.

(Mat 4:1-2) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.

Listen. All things in moderation. Again. All things in moderation. Nothing is more destructive than these pop diets. It is mazing what people will buy in to in order to have a slim figure … when eating healthy and in moderation in most cases would have produced the same results. Take the Israelites for instance, forty years in the wilderness and eating only manna. Bread, bread, bread … 3 meals a day for forty years. Don't think for a minute that they didn't slaver on the butter while they were at it. Man, what a big-butt tribe that had to be. 

In all the pictures that I have seen of Jesus, he looked pretty slim and I never imagined him being on one of those kooky diets. I mean, I don't see walking on water as something for a heavyweight to be involved in doing. Yet, when I think about it … it kinda makes sense … his putting on weight and all. Think about it! All that wine … to the point of turning the water into it. Lot of calories there.  And what about those fish fry's with the masses. Fried fish and bread again! And there was that big meal he threw for his twelve buddies. Anyway, next thing you know he is fasting for forty days … now how healthy is that?  And then, guess what … he is hungered! What next … like more bread for forty years … then purging for forty days. Time for a 13th Commandment: Thou shalt not diet!

Apr 1 - Tue

As of today, I am about 40% of the way this forty day blog. I continue to find more forty references on a daily basis. Most of the forty references seem to have a negative connotation … 40 days fasting, 40 years wandering, 40 days embalming, 40 days to loo out of a window, 40 days of nothing but bread to eat, etc.

My conclusion is that 40 is the aces and eights of numbers … the numerology Dead Man's Hand.

I can't help but wonder what kind of gun Wild Bill was killed with … perhaps a Colt 45?

Apr 2 - Wed

Oh grandma, what big hands you have!

Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days (TWICE)

(Exo 24:18) And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
(Exo 34:28-29) And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
(Deu 10:10) Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.

I have a problem with these passages for numerous reasons. To start, this whole meeting sounds somewhat theatrical. What is with the disappearing into a mist and next thing we know Moses in on the top of a mountain.  Next, Moses hangs out there for 40 days and 40 nights. Luckily it doesn't seem to be raining because I have heard some stories about wicked storms in the past.  Get this … talk about a bad host … Moses hang sour there with nothing to eat nor any water to drink for the entire time … not even light appetizers or a salad. There's more. While Moses is there, he spends al his time writing on his tablet (or IPAD) and the host din't even listen to a word he had to say. There's more. Moses goes back to do it all over again, another forty days and this time TBG listens and then announces that he is NOT going to destroy the world. Somebody … I mean both somebody's need to work on his/her social skills.

Apr 3 -  Thu

Elijah strengthened by one angelic meal went forty days to Mount Horeb where the Lord passed by and he heard the voice of God.

(1 Ki 19:8) And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

I have to admit that this exercise in writing for 40 days if oohing else, has led me to one major conclusion. The King James Version of the Bible is ripe for interpretations and that the spaces between the lines are every bit as important as the lines themselves. In this case, the basic assertion is that Elijah ate a meal that satisfied him for forty day on top of a mountain.

Supersize me

Whoa, what a meal!. It was referred to has an angelic meal. I think "angelic" must have been the ancient term for "super-sized".  The passage also gives credit to the nutritional value of the meal to the fact that is was meat … sorry vegetarians … but fail to tell us which meats we might consider to sustain us for 40 day and nights. Again, the passages indicate it was God's mountain and that he walked by and Elijah heard his voice. Myself, I would need to see the actual deed to the land before I believed that one person owns a whole mountain.

The passage says God walked by an that Elijah heard his voice … are we talking about eavesdropping  … a little listening at the keyhole? I don't recall reading about a conversation whatsoever. I had better stop … this passage has got me going and I realize that I might be nitpicking but … God walked by - who says God has legs?

Apr 4 - Fri

Prophet Ibrahim spent 40 days in a fire and lived because Allah made the fire like flowers.

Made the fire like flowers? Why not just make Ibrahim spend 40 days in a flower bed with smoking hot flowers instead … considerably easier. This is getting dangerously close to a burning bush for my liking!

Apr 5 - Sat

I heard Mohammad hadith his cake and ate it too.
There is a hadith from Mohammad that the prayers of a person who gossips would not be accepted for forty days and nights. (Al-Kafi, Vol. 6, p. 400). At least, that is what I heard. Question is does that mean the prayers are answered … granted … or what?Or are they just entered into the prayer request book?

Apr 6

I am so full …

It is said that a person’s intellect attains maturity in forty years, everyone according to his own capacity. I feel cheated.

Apr 7 - Mon

Some Russians believe that ghosts of the dead linger at the site of their death for forty days. This brings up an important point about afterlife. Do ghosts have free will? Do they chose to linger, or is there a designated lingering period allowed for them? If so, what would be the purpose for such a time … maybe repentance or perhaps time to get in a few parting shots at someone left behind. I could envision them hanging around and saying, "This is getting boring, I'm heading out … see you guys at the Pearly Gates" or "Got to go, my appointment for reassignment is on Wednesday".  Maybe I should look this up in Webster's or Wikipedia:  Purgatory - hanging out at the death site for 40 days.

Apr 8 - Tue

Muhammad had 40 followers to spread the religion of Islam. How many times have we read about wonderful businesses … growing by leaps and bounds, flourishing … only to mismanage growth and expand too rapidly. The business fails. What is best … slow and stead with twelve or whirlwind growth with forty? It is not easy to be a leader.

Apr 9 - Wed

Telegram for Muhammad! Telegram for Muhammed!
Muhammad was forty years old when he first received the revelation delivered by the archangel Gabriel.

The more I look into this forty phenomenon, the more I wonder why the Jesus thing isn't linked to forty as well.

What strikes me mores in this statement is the status of Gabriel. Gabriel seems to be the delivery boy both for the Bible and the Koran. In the Bible, he was sent with messages to Daniel and the Virgin Mary as well as to pass on the word of the birth of John the Baptist. From the Koran, we hear that he was sent to Muhammad.

I am thinking that before it was all over Gabriel was pretty old to be running around delivering telegrams.

Wonder if he wore a uniform  … rode a bike … had one of those helmets with wings on the side.

Gabriel … I can't help but think he must have looked like this!

Apr 10 - Thu

The Nebra Sky Disk--discovered in Germany--has rather conclusively been dated to the time of the Bronze Age. This artifact, in particular, indicates that the ancients would have been familar with calendar count of 40 days:

Apr 11 - Fri

It is believed that one who assists a blind man for forty steps becomes worthy of entering heaven.

Apr 12 - Sat

"The Forty Immortals" is the nickname for the members of the Académie Française, which oversees the French language. The original group was appointed by Cardinal Richelieu in 1634 to maintain standards of literary taste and to establish the literary language. In modern times it has endeavoured (somewhat absurdly) to purify French of foreign loanwords. Oddly enough,  Richelieu came to the conclusion that the language of a nation could be best protected by committee … composed of 40 individuals. In the U.S.,  we use the Global Language Monitor which is not 40 people, but an algorithm instead. Given that it is estimated that there are about 14.7 new English words created every day, it makes me wonder why the French would continue to insist on a group of 40 people to monitor a language already consisting of more than a million words ( 1,022,000 - that is the estimated count for English as of January 1). That is that kind of reasoning that is consistent for people who have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.

Apr 13 - Sun

Mourning period officially last for 40 days. Says who? I have a sneaky feeling that the black clothing manufacturers were behind this.

Apr 14 - Mon

According to certain precepts recorded in Chapter 12 of the book of Leviticus, a woman who had given birth to a male child was to endure a period of 40 days in her purfication. However, a woman who had given birth to a female child was to endure a period of 80 days in her purification. I would be interested in exactly what  a woman's purification" entailed.  I also why the birth of a females child would require a double 40 day purification period. It appears to me that most religions of the world consider women to be 2nd rate citizens at best in their sacred literature.  Religion has never seemed to be much of a real friend to women to me.

Apr 15 - Tue

Imam Baghir has said: “The prayers of someone who drinks wine are not accepted for forty days.
I wonder if this as anything to do with letting a wine breathe after opening. Doe the forty days improve the quality (taste) of the prayer. Those this delay also apply to priests?

Apr 16 -Wed

To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days. ~Arabic proverb

Or as Atticus Finch would say, "… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Apr 17 - Thu

For years, I have heard the expression "40 acres and a mule".  I have heard the statement in relation to both the setting on wilderness areas by pioneers and to a greater degree as a right for freed slaves. Either way the association of the free spirited man's ability to make it own his own is symbolically associated with owning his own land (why forty acres ) and the means to work it (a mule).  In reality, the 40 acres , 16 ha, that freed slaves assumed that they had the right to, turned into 16 ha ha for the vast majority of freed slaves for they never got the land or it was taken back during reconstruction.

I thought it somewhat ironic that under FDR's New Deal in 1933, the regulation was that farmers had to plow under 40% of their cotton crop due to deflated prices. Does this imply that the cause of the Great Depression might very well lie in the fact that 40 acres was not the amount of land needed to make one's own way? Had we allotted only 24 acres ( 40% less acres), might we have avoided the Great Depression all together?

Apr 18 - Fri

Continuing on the agricultural theme (or should I say the musical theme), I found this song by Carson Robinson - 'Leven Cent Cotton, Forty Cent Meat. It seems there are other versions of the song … Seven Cent Cotton Forty Sent Meat … Twenty Cent Cotton Ninety Cent Meat. This makes me wonder why all songs aren't chronologically situational. Instead of "One", which begins "One is the loneliest number …", it could just as easily be "Forty", which begins "Forty is the loneliest number …". However, the one and only Carson does look pretty lonely in this picture.

Apr 19 - Sat

The highest number ever counted to on Sesame Street is 40.

I wonder if this number would be even higher were it not for Mitt Romney's attempts to cut funding.

Apr 20 -Sun

In baseball, each team in Major League Baseball is allowed to have 40 players under major-league contracts. It is well document these days that it is a myth that  Abner Doubleday invented baseball.  In fact, Abner, himself,  never claimed to have invented baseball at all. It was the 40 player rule that clued me in to what was really going on. Baseball was invented, or should I say, created, by the ancients. It is based on the solar calendar, which measures the year almost precisely in segments of 40 days. That is 2.5 percent of the year. Do the math. The solar calendar is based on roughly 360 days. The ancients tended to group events based on 40 days. Each grouping represents 9.131055 days of the year (2.5 %). Is a coincidence that each baseball teams fields on 9 players at a time? Is it a coincidence the a man who knew nothing about he game of baseball, whose name is DoubleDAY, is credited with its invention? Think about it!

Apr 21 - Mon

The number of spaces in a standard Monopoly game board is 40.

Apr 22 - Tue

When one needs a brief nap, it is said that she takes "40 winks".

Apr 23 - Wed

Forty is the customary number of hours in a regular workweek. At least, that is how I remember it.

Unless of course, your employer wants to deny you benefits. Then, he hires several people at say 19 hours a week and he doesn't have to offer them medical. Or, he feigns lack of business and cuts your hours until you are no longer eligible for benefits and drops your health coverage knowing you will have to leave. This treatment is also reserved for an employee that is incompetent, but the supervisor is too lazy to evaluate performance. Or, the employee is excellent but speaks out when the boss is wrong or unfair … so the health insurance chair is pulled out from under him.

Personally, I recommend not working.

Apr 24 - Thu

Forty is the number of thieves in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Apr 25 - Fri

The number 40 is used in JewishChristianIslamic, and other Middle Eastern traditions to represent a large, approximate number, similar to "umpteen".

And so, my forty day blog is at end … an unforeseen end to be sure. What have I learned from this process? What have I learned about the significance of the number 40, especially in the literature of the world religions? I learned this … that the flood was "about" 40 days and 40 nights, that Noah opening the window of the arc in approximately 40 days, that a nap is about 40 winks, that a workweek is approximately 40 hours, that  a freed man needs about 40 acres and a mule to make it. All this time, effort and research to find out that all things forty are merely "umpteen".

Would I say the last 40 days have been a waste of time? No, way. I have all the time in the world to spare. Like they say:

Life Begins at Umpteen

Monday, March 17, 2014

National Lip Appreciation Day

March 16, 2014 . I thought my lips would be red and swollen … sucked dry … by days end.  It is National Lip Appreciation Day and they have earned it. For 364 days, they have willingly stepped aside for produce heading south or venom spewed forth in the opposite direction. By end of day, I thought they would be worn out …  smashed, nibbled, sucked and savored. My lips were never better. They are not swollen. They are not sucked dry. Like Viet Nam vets arriving home, they are not celebrated. Where are fever blisters when you need them?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dream: Riparian Rights

When I started to write this dream up, it occurred to me that I should group all of my dream blogs into a book and call it my MLK: I Had a Dream Series.  I also wondered if the time of a dream has any impact of the content of the dream. I woke up about 6:30 AM and had this dream after I fell back asleep. Neither of these thought has any significant impact on the dream itself, but I just hate to waste a good thought without babbling on about it. Back to the task.

In the background of the dream, I was constantly thinking about Riparian Rights. I never said the words during the dream nor acted based on the words, but I was aware of them. In fact, when I recalled the dream on awakening, I realized that I did not know what Riparian Rights were. I had heard the words before and even knew how to spell it (which is unusual in itself). Before I started this blog, I had to look it up. Riparian Rights, in case you don't know either, are the water rights one has when water flows through his property. These are "real" water rights, not just notions you get when you need to go to the bathroom.

In the dream, I was fishing at the ocean. The ocean, however, was a pond-ocean with lots of trees around it. I parked near the shoreline and had gone through a path in the woods to a special spot. Along the way, my hooks kept tangling in the brush. I was using cut bait and recall having a knife with me for that purpose. Whenever I cast my line out, it landed beside a group of people having a picnic … a few inches away from their picnic tablecloth … checkerboard, of course. The picnic was being held on top of the water, but no one seemed to be sinking.

I did not get any bites and was returning to my car. Several other cars were arriving at the shoreline. When the door to one of the cars opened, a large, growling dog jumped out and started running towards me.  I recall having my knife.

The next image in the dream was my beard. If you know me, you know that my beard is not a beard. I have virtually no facial hair and have dry shaved all my life (except of course when I was a baby and was not allowed a razor nor to run with scissors). In my dream, the few chin whiskers that I do have glowed white under black lights.

When I awoke, I looked out of our window and there was a flock of no less than twenty blue jays and two small woodpeckers flying all around the trees and back and forth to the feeders. The feeder  on the deck was empty. Naturally.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dream - And Some Seed Fell Upon the Hard Ground

Let's get it straight from the start … this is no sermon. If anything, it has more of a serpent quality. Bear with me on the recall of my youthful indoctrination, but I believe it goes something like this. Number One Son, during his hippie, wandering phase, was talking it up with his twelve groupies and a hoard of wannabes … a conversation later to be known as the Parable of the Sowing of the Seeds. The parable, as you may recall, was a style of story-telling back early A.D.'s that was in favor for a brief period. Unlike fables, specifically Aesop's, parables lacked the foresight to employ utilization of small, cute animals in the stories in order to catch peoples' attention. Henceforth, parables were never widely accepted. In addition, parables were also somewhat lacking in action as you will soon see.

The Parable of the Sowing of the Seeds is an agricultural parable and goes something like this. A farmer was walking around thinking about planting his crops for the season. He was poor and owned neither a tractor, nor a good team of mules and was somewhat limited in his understanding of proper soil preparation for maximum crop yield. If the whole story were told, he was also quite lazy and prone to invest limited effort to begin with. Needless to say, the farmer wandered about throwing seeds willy-nilly. Many years later, Number One Son told this same story to a crowd near Damascus as the Parable of the Let the Chips Fall Where They May.

The seed parable, however, goes on to say that some of the seeds landed on well-composed, pH balanced land with plenty of water and virtually no weeds to speak of and grew like crazy … but not Jack and the Beanstalk crazy  … crazy enough though for a harvest sufficient for multitude feeding when combined with a few fish.  Other seeds fell upon the hard ground (maybe a driveway or granite ledge or something). The speculation was that the seed did not grow. Honestly, I would not rule out the possibility that the birds ate the seed … thus making seed growth impossible. This parable has some real flaws when examined scientifically and I am, to this day, not fully convinced that seed falling upon the hard ground might not grow a wonderful crop. But, I digress and that is not the story that  I am telling. So much for the parable. I think you can see why parables never caught on.

All this to say that my dream involved an aspect of the seed parable in that seeds were clearly being sowed in the aforementioned random pattern in my dream. The ground, however, appeared to be composed of a vast expanse of car doors in varying shades of brilliant oranges and yellows. The doors were laying flat upon the ground in a checkerboard pattern, some with windows open and others not.

Suddenly, the dream focus shifted to a field trip we were taking a large group of kids on. It was not clear in the dream exactly who the "we" was, but I was stationed at the landing zone. Were you attending a mystery murder night dinner, that last sentence would be what we storytellers call a "clue".  On our field trip, we were escorting the group to an airport for individual glider rides. There were no instructors and each child flew the glider alone. Instead of having wings, the gliders were shaped like bobsleds with a single-stick rudder for control. It seemed flying the gilder was not a big deal, but landing was questionable. As each child concluded the ride, they would plummet to the ground somewhat like a rocket, the impact varying based upon the angle at which they chose to approach the landing zone and if they bothered to slow down. It is of particular note, that there was no indication in the dream that the kids had received any instruction on how to land a bobsled glider, nor were there any controls in the glider to land with anyway. I clearly remember one particular landing in which the glider came almost straight down at full speed and skidded to a halt just in front of me. When it stopped, all I could see that was left was the top of the kid's head (he had on a helmet). The entire bottom of  the glider had been worn away by the friction and the kid had been buried up to his neck in what looked like snow. He just stood up and walked away.

Meanwhile, there were numerous people watching the glider rides, or at least the landings. I assumed them to be parents. They were driving up and down the landing zone in large groups, perched upon Caterpillar bulldozers. Everyone was wearing huge orange hats made out of foam rubber. The hats were folded and fitted to their heads like enormous wads of

cookie dough. They were yelling and screaming and ranting and raving, but not necessarily about the welfare of the kids.

I woke up and it was snowing outside.