The Art of Saving Lives

Since no one visits this blog anymore, I can freely write here in a public space and not expect likes or comments.

Sadly, many of my online writing posts have disappeared through the ages as technology has progressed, leaving behind place like AOL Hometown which may or may not exist on archive.org.

Time to work on my next book to publish of which the first few chapters already exist on the Internet, if I can find them.

As always, I write to entertain my friends who appear as characters in my stories, some they’ll recognize and some they won’t.

Tonight I’m simply promising myself to start connecting plots and storylines together again, the old-fashioned art of novel writing, which, based on the behaviour of the people who will appear in my book, has been replaced by script writing and live action video feeds to entertain the masses.

Time for bed.  I’m a day shift working man again and need my sleep.

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Sub/urban poetry

Time to fold up this tent and move into my/our deepest meditation zone

for I/we see we have exited our middle-life years

of high-anxiety, rush-rush-rush, fear we’ll die without accomplishing anything.

No more worries about being forgotten

which drove us to write our own origin stories, books and blogs.

We enter our later-life years, not yet our late-life or end-of-life years,

where we begin to harvest the fruits of our labours and investments in retirement,

disconnected from the younger generations,

leaving them to their own social anxieties.

Our path is individualistic in thought

even when it follows well-trodden social change in recent decades that led before us,

tromping on,

bulldozing over,

crushing flat uneven territory little touched by previous thousands of our species’ evolving generations.

We return to the sanitized suburbs of our youth,

securely cocooned,

locked in place like a jigsaw puzzle piece.

We hope you forget about us,

looking to others for inspiration and

distraction from daily drudgery.

We will remember your kindness

in the many “like” presses you made on our blog entries through the years,

your occasional comments much appreciated.

Our journey was prescribed for us at birth.

We have oft resisted but rarely strayed far from our clearly-defined destination.

We are domesticated, if not sophisticated animals,

comfortable in our gilded cages.

Thank you for your time and attention.

G’day, mates!

Time to move

After living 30+ years in the same domicile, which requires walking up/down a short flight of stairs from the garage to the main level, we’ve decided we require a one-level home in which we can age in place as long as possible.

We’ve compared notes, our life companion and ourselves, and agreed that although we want a maintenance-free place in which to die (assisted living facility? hospice? hospital?), we wish to live in a place of our own for the next few years/decades.

This, of course, disrupts our plans for building a backyard writer’s cottage in the woods.

Honestly, though, it’s not a bad thing.

For some reason, we’ve always hesitated tearing apart a wooded backyard, seeing that the main house, with a study/workshop/laboratory, sunroom and garage should have sufficed for our writing and mad scientist tinkering.

Therefore, we’re going to take the leftover wood from our old backyard deck we disassembled in 2001…

DSCN0940.JPG

…using most of it to construct the pirate-themed treehouse…

treehouse-2018-Jan

…and build an art exhibit of some kind, we’re not sure what, where the rebar is mounted in the rock outcropping up in the woods, adding a few of the the cedar logs we harvested.  Hopefully, it will inspire the new owners to take it to the next level of artistic expression for themselves.  Regardless, they will be free to do as they please.

Meanwhile, we keep playing with the electronic development boards and getting rid of junk in the house in preparation for moving, all whilst working the midnight shift, saving lives every day with preparation and delivery of the vital fluids we call blood products, thanks to volunteer blood donors and laboratory blood processors.

Our new life, 2018 and onward, free of social media influences, free of social dancing pressures (including social drinking), is more free and fun than ever, quietly getting to know our spouse/wife/life partner/companion all over again.

Now that we know the recycled material we’ve collected will be used to build a sunny garden of our dreams, complete with orchid/tree fern greenhouse and pallet wood gardening shed, it’s time to ride our motorcycle again!

Hardware, hard life

Today’s historic photo stop:

J. C. Brown General Merchandise

Jesse Charles Brown was a native of Falls Mill, Tenn., near Huntland. In the late 1890s, he came to Huntsville after the deaths of his parents.

He was brought here because someone saw him perched on a fence post – the universal symbol at the time that someone was in need.

For a year or so, he worked for P.F. Dunnavant, the legendary owner of Dunnavant’s Department Store.

In 1898, he opened his general merchandise store in west Huntsville, where business was thriving with the development of the textile mills.

Located near a row of microbreweries…

With an interesting brick building across the street…

This corner has potential for something, but what? The neighbourhood has many Hispanic businesses. Perhaps a Latin music dance hall with a bar that serves Cuban food?

Architectural Originality

Using both available material (new, recycled and natural) and inspiration from others’ innovation to assemble a greenhouse kit, we want to add a bit of originality to the repertoire of backyard meditative spaces.

Years ago, we planned a backyard writer’s cottage comprised of four sections tied to four compass points:

  • Castle tower to the north
  • Tin roof shack to the south
  • Adobe pueblo to the west
  • Buddhist temple to the east
  • The center portion was a crossroads, the floor a meditation labyrinth, the walls covered with Irish Celtic symbols, the ceiling a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel

Its shape gave tribute to our subcultural upbringing:

Back then, our construction capabilities were limited if not nonexistent.

We couldn’t find or develop the confidence to build the original design.

We have changed, grown confident, and now build what we want, giving ourselves a limited budget to force ingenuity.

The new design generalizes the meditative qualities of organised religion, removing specific symbology, wrapped up into the prefab greenhouse kit.

As for the rest, you’ll see soon enough!

Under a blue sky

In a world where members of our species rush to release the latest product into the marketplace in hopes of making a change, whether a change to their personal wealth or a change to sub/cultural practices, we sit and watch the trees slowly open new leaves, wonder about the life of a mistletoe bush growing on a tree limb high in the forest canopy, smell the little turf fire burning beside us on this cool Sunday morning.

Insects have hatched and bounce through the air in the backyard again.

Our life partner nurses a head cold brought on by seasonal allergic reactions and watches fictional love stories on the tellie.

We meditate.

What is meditation?

Meditation is getting out of our thoughts, out of our inner world, and existing as simply as possible in this moment, taking the phrase “at one with the universe” into unintentional practice, without agenda or purpose, letting our senses (our interface with external stimuli) exist without cultural interpretation.

Smell a new odour or fragrance whilst sitting and do not guess its source, only notice its effect on our olfactory system.

See everything taking place between us and an object in the distance, including the surface of our eyeballs, the dust floating through the air, the spider webs on the window and the insects flying through sunshine.

And when we let go of the labels, removing our interpretation of rainbow-coloured reflective lines as spider webs, we find ourselves deep in meditative trances.

= = = = =

Yesterday, after we left the house on our solo motorbike journey and stopped at the petrol station a mile from our house, ready for mindless meditation upon riding the road, our life partner called to ask if we’d check to make sure she’d unplugged the curling iron after she’d left the house for an all-day workshop of handmade notecard crafting.  We topped off the petrol tank and rushed home to unplug all devices in our bathroom so we could get back on the road.  Life is full of moments like this, happily giving ourselves over to our social connections and responsibilities that define partnerships.

= = = = =

Despite riding a motorcycle a few times in our lives — a minibike at age 10, our first adult-sized motorbike at age 22, a larger motorbike at age 36, and now an even larger motorbike at age 55 — we have much to learn to increase our confidence whilst riding.

Yesterday, we followed our Google Maps GPS-based directions to lead us to a mountaintop waterfall.  The directions took us on some mountainside road we were most definitely uncomfortable riding on, scaring us in fact.

Mountainside road

Riding on the outside of this road in winter, seeing the sheer dropoff to the right, no guardrail, no cover of tree leaves to hide the view, meeting a motorcar veering out into our lane in the curve ahead…well, let’s say that we burst into a sweat, despite the morning chill, keeping our throttle steady and our eyes focused straight ahead.

At the top of the mountain, we missed the sign for the waterfall and turned down the wrong road, due in large part to our nervousness.  We pulled into a gravel driveway to reverse our direction and, for the first time on this motorbike, because of a momentary lapse of confidence, fell over in the loose gravel.

Slo-mo it was, like in a film, the motorbike and us keeling over as we felt the gravel give way, using our left leg to ease the motorbike down rather than fall over.

Quickly, two motorists stopped to render aid but we waved them off as we used our motorcycle safety course training to shut off the engine and lift the motorbike back into a standing position, straightening out the leftside mirror, brushing the gravel dust off our leg and getting back on the road, our pride a little scratched but none the worse for wear.

We encountered one of the motorists at the waterfall and exchanged knowing nods, no reason to say anything.

Waterfall ride - 3 Mar 2018

= = = = =

Although our lives are brief in relation to the age of this planet, we see the insects outside and know a few of them have only a day or so to spend in their adult stage, seeking reproductive mates before they die, contributing much to the cycle of life of this planet if they can reproduce before being eaten, their sets of states of energy recycled no matter what.

In our morning meditation, casually recalling yesterday’s long motorbike ride from 0830 to 1530, with stops for petrol, sightseeing and hiking, we gladly know that the insects which died as they splatted against our motorbike helmet windscreen contributed to our time on this planet and we thank them for their anonymous contribution.