A book is a lot like a sidewalk: a book is built with a finite number of words, as a sidewalk has a certain number of segments – some smooth and pristine, some etched with chalk or blood, others cracked and crumbling. Both the book and the sidewalk are a passageway that we can travel through, it can take us somewhere at whatever speed we choose to travel, sometimes without a clearly defined destination, and once we get there we can retrace our steps if we choose to, but what we find in the surrounding fabric of our perception next time will be totally different. Both the book and the sidewalk are forever marked by the eyes or the feet that travelled them, and though we may not remember every flowing sentence or ant hill in the cracks, it will forever live inside of us as someplace we have been.
It may just be me, but something very strange is happening here…
Clash of cultures is one thing, and that in itself can be entertaining and enlightening, when applied in the proper location and correct circumstances. But this is just plain weird to me. Here I am in a quiet little town in northeastern Minnesota, known to locals as the Iron Range, surrounded by glacial lakes, towering pines, peeling birch trees, and some of the oldest exposed bedrock in the world. At night you can still hear the wolves howling from the only location in the contiguous U.S. where they’ve never gone extinct. You may imagine me nestled in some cozy little cabin listening to a loon echo across a lake, or on a small fishing boat jigging for walleye, or gripping the handle bars of my ATV while roaring down some backcountry road. You may imagine that, and just a few years ago that would have been correct – but if you imagine it now you are wrong. I am sitting in a fanciful coffee shop listening to contemporary indie pop rock whose male singers sound more feminine than most women I’ve ever known. I’m sipping a mocha latte, chewing on a cappuccino bar, and watching the wildlife shuffling around inside this strange and alien place. The wildlife aren’t of the same species as I remember, in fact even mentioning a moose sighting these days will get you branded as a liar. The moose have been replaced by a new breed of super humans: now there are children no more than ten years of age watching movies on their phones, phones small enough to fit into the front pocket of their snug jeans that came pre-equipped with tears in the knees and flowers on the rears; teenage girls who no longer fill the air with gossip but instead are typing furiously on their laptops through some intangible conduit to friends they have never met; adult women who have never been in a city with a population larger than 50,000 yet are dressed in French caps and Greek skirts and carrying Italian purses, they’ve never been south of the 40th latitudinal meridian yet they have tans like a tropical senorita; and men who spend their days peeling logs or plowing snow or butchering deer yet here they are with creased slacks, black-framed European eyeglasses, and speaking critically of the fruit notes found in their iced coffee. Where am I? Last time I voyaged through this landscape any man who paid more than a buck for a coffee at a gas station would be mocked and ridiculed until he was embarrassed to leave the house. Now it is okay. Not only is it okay but it is the norm. The norm has changed into something far less normal. I am a hypocrite. The temptations are too strong. The technology omnipotent. The simple life is now some place that can only be visited in a DeLorean at speeds above 88 mph. I need to get away. I think I still know of a place where the internet speed coffee culture hasn’t released its influence into the air and smothered the instincts of natural sensations…
Some things are just too beautiful to be described with the word beautiful.
Been staying busy around the home brew facility. The most exciting prospect of making your own beer is the experimentation. The rewards of crafting your own recipe include: sharing them with your friends when you brew a successful batch, drinking them all to yourself because no one else will, or even dumping a rotten sour stinky mess down the drain and going back to the drawing board.
Bottled: Miso Hoppy Double IPA, Red Headed Lager, Smoke Monster Stout
Fermenting: German Alt Bier, Bitter Sweet Pilsner, Honey Rye PA
Have you hugged your fermenter today?
The good times never last,,, but that’s what makes them good I guess…
THE PRIEST AND THE BELIEVER
“I understand your dilemma, my friend, but you must realize that the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. He is you and you are him.”
Garret sat across the table listening to the priest who was dressed in casual clothes, and tried to convince himself that it was all true. He wanted nothing more than to believe the words of this wise and secure older man. He had some practice at this, many hours were spent in front of a mirror telling himself that all this life and living, death and suffering, was for a reason, that there was a higher purpose, and that if he believed in it he would be saved. He would have peace.
The old priest rubbed chap stick across his pale dry lips. His eyes had the focus of someone who believes everything they say. He had spent many years convincing himself that these truths he believed were definite. There was no grey area. A student of any philosophy, with enough study and practice, is guilty of this same absolute certainty. They become righteous enough to convince others of their beliefs without doubt or question.
Garret placed his hands gently on the table and nodded his head up and down in an agreeable fashion. “I know what you mean, I often feel this power inside of me, and I hear that voice telling me what I should do. It is in these moments that I know the Holy Spirit intimately. I often feel that I am inseparable from his presence.”
“You are certainly on the right path my friend,” replied the old priest, as he folded his hands together and placed them between his knees. He leaned forward in his seat and began a prayer.
Garret closed his eyes and tilted his head forward. He could feel the magic of the prayer flowing through him, filling his body with confidence and hope. The words were like a tabernacle, a force field protecting him from the deeper truths he wished to ignore. He knew that the problems in his life would be resolved. All he had to do was believe. “Praise the Lord, amen,” he said opening his eyes as the priest finished the prayer. “Thank you for your time today father. I look forward to meeting with you again next week.”
“God is strong in your heart my son. Keep him with you and we are one.”
The two men stood up from the table and graciously nodded towards each other. They shook each other’s soft passive hand, and smiled with confidence and delirium in their eyes. As they were putting on their coats Garret looked out the window at the sun filled horizon, while the priest was looking at his own reflection on the same window. The glass doors parted as they exited the coffee shop and entered a world where everything made sense and was filled with purpose, so long as they never strayed from the chosen path.
…that if you’re ever satisfied with something you wrote then you didn’t write it very well and your expectations were too low.
I just read a fellow wordpress users blog about winter fly fishing for trout. Got me thinking about all the time I spent on trout streams while living in Wyoming. Funny thing is, it’s not necessarily the memories of the greatest catch that are the most memorable. Sometimes it’s the days I got skunked. Other times it is just about finding a new piece of river where I could be alone. Occassionally it is returning to a favorite section of river and finding it still the same. But then again, sometimes it is the fish.
Here’s a pic from one of my favorite catches. While this football of a fish was on my line I never wanted anything so badly as to land it. For the complete story go to the WRITING link at the top of the page – Fishy Tales - I Can Die Happy.
Nothing wrong with a little home brew on a Friday afternoon. This one be a Nut Brown Porter. Mmmm-tasty! Any thoughts on your favorite brew or the best time to drink it?
Back when my wife was just some sophisticated creative successful pretty girl I was sleeping with we watched the movie “Out of Africa” together and knew instantly that this would be our movie. In fact it has shaped much of our lives together, including our wedding. As noted on our wedding certificate, we were married “on the shores of Lake Bemidji”. What the certificate doesn’t tell you is that it was a small wedding of ten people, and after the ceremony we all took a wilderness camping trip together where we spent the night around a campfire indulging in many celebratory beers — random draw style.
Alright, so our honeymoon was officially a couple months ago,,, but since I just started this blog figured it deserved a mention
We took a rental car from northern MN all the way to FL, spent a lot of time on the coast, and also nestled down in a cozy cabin built in the shape of an ark. Finally met my father in law, (is it wrong that I never met the man until after marrying his daughter?). Also got a little salt water fishing in, and enjoyed many hours kicked back in a Tiki hut… Our favorite word of the trip was,,, RUM. Our favorite two words,,, RUM RUNNER. Our favorite three words,,, that’s classified information.
…a good game of hockey! We played in a tournament over in Hibbing last weekend. We pretty much got our asses kicked, but it was still a blast. Competition has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in men. Some guys take out losing on their opponents or even teammates, some search for the causation from within. I like to think Mr. Hemmingway said it best, “Everything’s your own damn fault if you’re any good”.
Brought the snowshoes up to our property,,, not much snow — been a dry winter. Still managed to hike around and drink a few beers. There’s no place quite as silent as a cold snowy forest…
Sat at the fly tying desk last night,,, thinking about all those fish waiting for me once these icy waters thaw…
This red lager has been in cold conditioning for three weeks now, a couple more then we bottle… Ain’t winter grand!
Yep, this is my breakout into the world of blogging and social networking,,, I’ve resisted long enough, eventually we all ride the wave or drown…