All by itself


12669517_1038961182827539_8571622799628939776_nIt is a beautiful day all by itself. You don’t have to hide from who you are to enjoy it. You don’t have to accept someone else’s idea of how you should live. You don’t have to fear your own death. You don’t have to feel inferior or guilty for anything. You don’t have to fall to your knees, wring your hands, or swear allegiance to enjoy this wonderful life. It is a marvelous, rewarding, and heart-warming experience, all by itself. I really wish everyone could enjoy it. peace

Grand Teton Nat’l Park
Mount Moran

The Stage

UIS-AuditoriumstageI was a kid in the 60’s, and grew up watching television shows like Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand, and Steve Allen, to name a few. I watched countless variety-shows with scores of comedians, magicians, singers, dancers, jugglers, bands, and orchestras. Television was where I first learned that people did great things on stages. And when people did great things on stage, the people watching them would applaud. I remember thinking how cool it must be to do something great enough to be applauded.
Some days after school, as the other kids were walking home, I was sneaking into the big empty school auditorium. I rarely went straight home after school.
I remember the school janitor and I were able to tolerate each other pretty well, although we never spoke. He’d be there in the auditorium sometimes, cleaning, or whatever janitors did. As long as I didn’t cause him any fuss, he was cool. He recognized me, we exchanged silent nods, then he went back to rattling his buckets, and I headed for the stage.

Shorter than the stage, I climbed the wing steps, and walked with bearing, out to center-front. The west side windows were a glow from the late-afternoon sun, shining through those aging, yellowing, roll-up canvas window shades. This flooded the empty stage with an eerie orange color—perfect for watching dust floating through light.
Standing there, where the spotlight would’ve hit the stage, I closed my eyes and imagined a packed-house, bright with lights, and uproarious with shouts and cheers. My hair blew back from the wind of applause; for what, I have no idea. This imaginary performance included my latest grade-school heartthrob—as if she knew I existed—sitting right in the front row. It was awesome!
True, I was a little kid that couldn’t play an instrument, sing, or dance, but that didn’t matter. I was enjoying spending kid-time on the stage. I liked looking at it, standing on it, sitting on it; I twirled and danced to silent music on it.
Of course, my new love of the stage wasn’t about my wanting to be an actor, or even a plate-spinning juggler; it was about escaping my home-life. Already a comfortable-loner, the stage was my one large, and powerful, yet silent friend. And yes, it was obviously a substitute for something I was lacking as a child, I’m just not sure what.
But the stage never yelled at me, or scared me. It felt solid when I put my hands on it; there was a calming weight, to it, a sense of permanence. To me the stage was more than wood and lights, it was a place built for greatness. Or that’s what I told myself. After living, what was at times, an abusive childhood, I’ve endeavored to find my own humble bit of greatness.

I could be anything I wanted to be on stage, that’s what they said, I just had to put on a show. Seemed like a bargain to me, and in a way, it sounded like freedom.
‘Just like the moon, the stage awaits; a sweet intimidation.’


Left Handed

When I was two, we lived in a small second-story apartment. The year was 1958, a time when air-conditioning for the common-man’s household, was still science fiction. To cope with the Texas heat, Mom put two big box-fans in windows at opposite ends of the apartment. She turned them to face the same direction, to create a breezeway effect. They ran twenty-four-hours a day.
The fan-window in the living room was low enough for me to see down to the street. One day, when no one was watching, I waddled over and squeezed between my Dad’s chair and the window. The heavy chair was there to block my access to the fan, but I love a challenge.
There I stood, gazing through a blur of spinning metal blades, with the back of my head pressed into the cotton-padded fabric of the easy chair. Rectangular globs of my pudgy, grinning cheeks, bulged through the fan’s wire grille. It was so cool!
I looked through the fan to the street below, and saw the little girl from downstairs playing on the sidewalk. ‘Ah, something interesting!’ I thought. I strung together a few syllables, and called to her through the fan. She heard me, smiled up at me, and waved hello. Being a gentleman even then, of course, I waved back, by sticking my fingers through the grille and into the blades. I almost lost three of them.
Girls have been getting me into trouble ever since.

photo credit: Mike Krautter

Endless Folly

Pope Benedict, XVI





Life is a haberdasher selling hats
Hiding blades with fashionable sheaths
The mirror mocks not this one or the other
But the dull-edged mind beneath

Clergy and Kings like birds on the wing
Brave the wind that lifts them high
While back on the ground the church bell rings
As their followers wither and die

This wasn’t my choice, I had no say
This road had already been made
But I’m told to move on with no room to veer
And my life is the toll I pay

Only under repeated pressure of step
Can a path through the meadow be seen
But be of solitude or with legion of peer
You fall alone to your mortal dream

So on my last stumble into the dark
You might pray the light snags my sleeve
But carry on my friends this endless folly
I’m content to take my leave


(AP Photo/ Matthew Barrick)


There is a close too far from where I am right now,
and where I might have turned out to be
Much closer to shadow than to cool moonlight,
the more I age the more I want to see
Never let them know just how you’re insane,
crazy things don’t only happen at night
Be the thing, be the fool, be all you can be,
your reward is to continue to fight

The making of a hero

Imagine the first person in history to come upon another human, see they were starving to death, and say, “Hey, I’ll give you something to eat if you give me money!” How could he have known, he would be the inspiration for a long-standing tradition that still shines like a beacon to this day.


What if we are imagining we are something we’re not? What if we are simply creations of the Earth itself? What if we are betraying our creator by foolishly putting human-crafted religions before her? What if any belief system created by man is an affront to nature itself? What if any religion we create is against our true path to Earth, similar to the Antichrist; corrupting, misleading and taking us far from the simple truth? What if, we are being fooled into believing? What if ‘belief’ is “The abomination that causes desolation”? What if the simple, gifting, testing, cleansing and nurturing Earth is our real mother and we’ve been too busy praying to the sky?



I’ve had conversations with believers who say without their god they would feel alone. They seem to have an extreme dislike of being by themselves. What’s that all about?

My two year old grandson used to cry when not being held by his mother. This is fairly common and something every child must get over. It’s crucial to the healthy development of the individual that they become self reliant.
Being alone is not something anyone should fear. Spending time alone should be a condition we all can accept and become comfortable with. Alone is the first natural state of existence, it should feel as natural to us as breathing.
Every healthy human alive should be able to exist alone, at least for a while, without feeling emotionally distraught. What could anyone possibly be so afraid of that would keep them from enjoying being alone with nothing but their own thoughts? Becoming comfortable with yourself wouldn’t change any relationships you have, it would merely add a very useful and loyal friend to your life.
I can’t think of anything that would make a person more psychotic than being afraid of being alone with their self, afraid of their own thoughts, their own identity. If you can’t step out of your mind and body to escape what frightens you so, then I guess the next best thing would be to tell yourself you’re not alone. Simply make up a companion that will always be in your thoughts with you so you’ll never have to feel alone.
If you can’t tolerate just existing inside your own mind; if you can’t survive without telling yourself you’re not alone, then you’re like a child clinging to an imaginary stuffed animal and you haven’t fully matured into a self-reliant adult. You certainly can’t continue to call yourself an individual. That only makes sense, doesn’t it?


You can take your hat off

As a child, it was as if I’d been shoved into a huge cathedral packed wall-to-wall with billions of people, and everybody was wearing a hat. Up on my tip-toes, straining to look out over the heads of the crowd, I saw a massive turbulent sea of hats of all shapes and colors.

Although the hats themselves were quite vivid, everyone’s face was blurred. Everyone in the crowd was proclaiming their hat to be the best hat to wear. They were all shouting, chanting and preaching at the same time, billions of loud voices, it was deafening. I slowly elbowed and pushed my way through the tightly-packed mob. As I passed each of them, they would turn and speak to me with their gospel, offering me a hat like their own to wear. Some tried to force their hats on me, reaching to place them on my head or shove them in my face. But to their frustration and anger I refused them all.

Not wearing a hat of any sort, by default places me in an opposing position to almost everyone else on the planet. Although I’m acting from my heart and good sense, my refusal to wear a hat means I am labeled a worthless and vile heathen, an agitator, troublemaker, heretic, pagan or infidel. There are those that would put me to death just for not wearing the right hat.
But I wasn’t born wearing a hat. I don’t have a need or desire to wear a hat.
This is such a loving thing to do to every newborn, bare-headed baby.

Photo credit: Thomson Reuters


Aw Man!

So I had this thought…
I’m going to wake up tomorrow and all of this will have been a dream. This whole existence that seemed so real; my life, my family, my friends, the cars, the space flights, computers, Bugs Bunny, Nietzsche, all of it a drunken-dream.
Then I’ll sit up and rub my eyes awake to the reality of my real life as a 68-year-old pig farmer somewhere in the hills of Alabama; living alone in a rusty, dilapidated, one-room shack and the year is 1912.
I’ll shove the flea-bitten-hound off the cot, slowly stand up, spit on the dirt floor, and vow to never, ever drink so much of my own moonshine again before I go to bed.