Monday, November 15, 2010


This collection of days, and this scratched up mind of mine, often seem incompatible with the present moment.
In this flat light it is hard to tell where I stand.
I walk past a building, or a space that holds some ghost of an emotion, and it seems like I am still there, hanging in the past.
A face conjures up some draft of an idea that I am unable to reconcile with the current circumstances.
I was so broken… so utterly irredeemable, and yet here I am; all shiny and new. I wear matching clothes and I pretend not to know how transparent my mask has become.
Everything is on the surface, so that it blends in with the passing of the seasons. I wear the loss of alternatives just like a bad tattoo.
But everyone seems to have tattoos these days. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I got out of the rental car at about ten in the morning on the bank of the Gallatin. I had to put the smart phone down as I couldn’t stop looking at my work emails. When I got my waders on, and the rod put together, I was hoping that I could find a place to cross the river and just get off the beaten path. I definitely got what I was looking for.
About half a mile upstream from where I parked, the river was broken into at least ten different channels by a large beaver dam that created a spider web of small meandering streams that spread across a marshy, isolated wonderland of blue sky, green reeds, crystal clear water, and vibrant, lively spotted trout.
After about two hours of winding my way through the reeds and staring into the water, I realized I was lost. I had no idea which direction my car was, or how long it would take me to get there. I just knew I had to follow the current back downstream. Right about the time I started walking, I noticed that the bottom of the stream I was standing next to seemed to be moving. My breathing actually stopped for at least thirty seconds when I realized I was staring down at about forty trout lining the bottom of the creek that each measured at least twenty inches in length.
It was at that moment, that every single remnant of stress I had ever had in my life was completely removed from me. I was a child in God’s universe. I was precisely where I was supposed to be at that moment, and I knew nothing but absolute joy.
I only caught one of those fish, and I let him go, but I never plan to let go of that amazing moment, in this perfect day. I even made my flight.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


  I went outside to have a cigar this evening and learned something about life. After standing in the doorway of my hotel for a few minutes, I decided to walk around the block and do a little people watching. I get a great deal of pleasure from the anonymity of the city.
  Most of the time, I guess I have a look on my face that discourages a lot of people from approaching me. I suppose this is the same mechanism that leads a lot of people to think I am aloof. Really, it is just a preemptive measure to limit the times I make a decision to give something of myself or say no to someone. I am uncomfortable with small talk, and I am even more uncomfortable saying no to anyone. This can make being in downtown San Francisco kind of uncomfortable, if I leave myself exposed, because on every street there seems to be someone trying to sell me something, or trying to get a hand out.
  Anyway, tonight I must have left my mean mug up in my hotel room, because I was catching smiles and eye contact from other people out wandering in the city evening. Eventually, I was approached by a guy looking for some money. I told him I didn’t have any cash or cigarettes, and he asked if he could just talk to me for a few minutes. Usually I could have just given him a hand wave and a shake of my head while somehow pretending to be polite, but tonight I just didn’t have it in me. I leaned up against the wall and said sure. I stuck my hand out and asked him his name. He told me his name was Chester, and that you can't judge a book by its cover. I agreed, and told him I had some life experience that has proven that statement to be true.
  The details of the conversation aren’t too important, but we proceeded to tell each other our stories and reminisce about Caprini Green when Chester told me he is a transplant from Chicago. He told me he would be sleeping on the street tonight after he hustled up enough money for a couple of beers. I wished him luck. I told him that life has ups. He told me life has downs. I told him that I have been in shoes pretty similar to his, and I think he believed me. He didn’t ask me for money again, after about forty five minutes, he asked if he could hug me, and I said yes.
  When I saw this man, I wanted to hide. I wanted a shield to protect myself from the discomfort of telling him no. I was sure I would leave the encounter with something taken from me, if only my pleasant mood. I was wrong. It was me who gained from the exchange, and I hope I will never forget it.
  Good luck Chester. I hope you get everything you need. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

This is Mowgli:

Mowgli is interested in romantic evenings cuddled on the couch, long strolls on a beach or next to the river, and playing fetch. Mowgli is settled down and happy, but from time to time he would like a little variety in his life. Please respond with a photo.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Old Friends

I ran into an old friend yesterday.

She is as beautiful as ever. The last time I remember seeing her, my life was in pieces and hers was smooth. Those roles are a little different today, but I still feel so small and ignorant when she smiles. She shared an anecdote about a boy who stopped breathing a decade ago on her living room floor. I felt some vague recollection of hearing the story before.  It could have been a dream.

It is funny how the things and situations we find so permanent and definite sometimes seem to get really small when you are reminded of the past. My life seems to be full of such extremes. In my youth I so arrogantly thumbed my nose at death and the inevitable consequences I was told so much about. When I see someone who knew me then, I can get proud, embarrassed, grateful and nostalgic all at the same time.  The combination of awkward regret and ego are my first reaction. Eventually, though, I take a look at them. I absorb the story in the wrinkles starting to form around their eyes. I hear the triumph in their voice for making it to today alive. It is at that point that I am reminded we are not very different. We all have ups and downs. We have all done foolish things. We have all hurt others, and we have all been victims. My story is not that unique. When I remember that, I remember to love. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Autumn is here, and I still haven't taken much of an honest moment to observe the summertime. I waste so much time complaining about how I don't have any time. That being said, I think I can safely say that this has been the best summer of my life. I said that last summer too, and it was true. I am happy this is the case.
The mornings are crisp, and I can smell the history of bus rides and kicking leaves as I walk around in them. Instead of feeling exposed, I feel protected by this little city I live in. I feel home. Autumn is here, with pale mornings and blushing afternoons. I am in love with everything. I am still testing things out, but I trust my footing.
This is the middle of my life. I don't know how I got here. I don't know exactly where I am in the scheme of things. It is impossible for me to pay attention to much of anything while I am in all this awe of just being here. I am the stuttering fool who crushes the things he loves. This is my life, and I don't deserve it. I am the kid with the brand new skateboard that is afraid to use it.
This Autumn I am reminded just how fast the seasons end. Soon my body will wither, and my mind will slip. There are advantages to that too of course, but it is time to take advantage of what is in front of me this very moment. Plunge!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

This is not my real smile.
I don’t have anything to say. I don’t know why I have a blog. Nobody is going to gain or learn anything from what I write here. I guess there are worse ways to waste time, but I hope you know I won’t be offended if you don’t read this.
I don’t have anything figured out. I am just putting one foot in front of the other most of the time. I don’t deserve anything I have. I didn’t earn it. I just have fortune and grace. There are a few tips I have learned that help me navigate this world I find myself in, but how am I to know if they will work for anyone else? Why would I bother wasting my time or yours spewing them out here on the internet? Why am I writing this? Why this drive to put a message in a bottle and expose myself to the world?
The older I get, and the more I experience, the less I feel like I have figured out. I don’t have a clue how the world operates or how other people think. I don’t even know what I think most of the time. I can’t seem to come down on one side of most controversies. I really miss that adolescent feeling of being so sure of what I believe in. Today, I really have no clue. I feel adrift a good deal of the time. I feel less and less willing to commit to anything. I don’t want to be painted into a corner. This leads me to be alone a lot of the time, and I think it drives people away sometimes. Better to be alone, though, than to be forced into insincerity just to be around someone.
Most people make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t like small talk. I don’t always like to break the ice. The ice keeps a buffer between me and the friend I can’t say no to. I mean, it is easier to stay at arm’s length, than to attend another friend’s funeral, or to have to push someone out of my life. I am better at avoiding the whole thing than trying to enforce boundaries.
This is a rambling mess. This is what I do instead of drinking. This is how I waste my time. I sit in front of a computer and think myself around in circles until it is time to go to sleep. There is nothing really wrong with that. Where it becomes wrong is when I broadcast it out there for you to look at.
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Friday, July 23, 2010


I left work today just a little bit angry about a comment someone had made. Actually, it was a comment someone had made that drew a reaction from someone else toward me. That is to say, it was a comment that I didn't even hear myself.
Anyway, the point is that when I left work, it was just one part of a day that wasn't really any more stressful than any other. In fact, it was a pretty decent day. It was a Friday, and I had accomplished some things. I left work with less loose ends than average. I had to stay about an hour after the work day ended, but there was really nothing upsetting or strange about that. I was even going fishing after work, so life was good.
The thing about resentments, is that they tend to grow. They are like those crystalline cancer cells I remember from high school. Resentments have a way of killing me from the inside out. At first, like today, they are just small annoyances. At some point, however, they turn into obsessions that eat away at my life. They rapaciously take more and more until I can think of little else. That is the point, if I can't find a way to let go of it, that I begin to self destruct. I have been down that road before.
By the time I was out there in the middle of the river, I found myself grinding my teeth thinking about it. I was doing the old stupid imaginary conversations where I say just the right thing. I was out there in the middle of a beautiful stream with calm all around me, and I was gritting my teeth. I guess I felt like I couldn't let it go.... but then I realized I hadn't tried.
I don't really know why some people can just go through life and react to things in a sane and reasonable fashion. I don't know why my world is a little bit crumpled from time to time. I don't know why my lenses get blurry. I am a little bit off. I have learned that it isn't the worst thing in the world, I just have to remember. I have to remind myself that the way I react to things is often strange and dysfunctional. If I remember that I am a little bit insane, and adjust my behavior, things usually turn out okay. Somewhere along the line I had to learn how to let go of the illusion of control. I have learned that there is very little difference between other people and myself. I have learned that we are all just trying to do the best we can. I have learned that it is far better to just love and accept people the way they are, and that life goes a lot easier for me when I cease fighting anyone or anything.
The thing is... I forget, and my natural state is to be in conflict, insane, and twisted up. That is what I am used to, and once in awhile, I find myself back there for no good reason. I am just glad I can wait to act out on my insanity until it passes. I didn't learn that. I didn't gain that through strength or will power. That is just grace.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

I sit here and try to capture the magic that is a hot day in the city with words. It is a futile exercise. I can get so lost down here that I almost disappear. All that is left blends in with the surroundings that I love so much. For moments that seem to stretch out past time, I feel a part of the whole scene; the kids splashing each other in the fountain, the soft asphalt that releases the memories of past summer nights with each slight draft, the young couples who walk down the sidewalk seeing nothing but each other.
It is times like this that I wish I could write. I wish I could just take a piece of the way I see this scene and share it with the people I love. And these are just two eyes; this is one heart that can’t even begin to take it all in. As I sit here in the sunshine, I know I could stay here forever. And maybe I will. I know I can’t keep any of this, and I know the faces and the forms will change. It is just that the way the world holds me right here, the way I am cradled by everything I can observe… I feel like I am a part of something so much bigger than my little problems and ideas.
This heat brings everything out into the open. The city is exposed in a way that might seem shocking or outrageous in October. Today anything goes. This is summer in Boise Idaho, and we are all out here in the open. The bricks, the trees, the lights, and the heat. We are all here together sharing this moment in whatever way we choose.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

a breath of summer

I haven’t had time to breathe.
Yesterday I was driving down State Street with the sun in my face and the dry taste of traffic filling my head. The heat and the lazy carelessness that comes with it just slammed into my consciousness all at once. It is summer time again. Summer, with all the crazy beauty that comes with it; all the endless nights and insane half memories that linger on into the twisted mythology of our youth; it is here again.
For just a moment, I was crazy again. I longed for the rush of self destruction. I longed for the trembling empty feeling of doing something that I absolutely know will have awful consequences. I don’t know where this comes from. I had an urge to smash my success, to mindlessly destroy something I cherish, for no payoff but the thrill of doing it.
I don’t know what stopped me either. It is not my intellect, or my judgment. I had those things before, and they never stopped me. It wasn’t the fear of losing what I have worked so hard to gain, because in that brief moment, that thought was absolutely absent. I don’t know what stayed my hand. I just know that it is beyond me. It is above and greater than I am. I do know I am absolutely grateful for whatever force that allows me to hold on to the amazing things I have in my life. I know that I owe all my effort, and all my attention to whatever that thing is that allows me to go on living this amazing life that I live.
Sometimes I wish I could dissect these things. I wish I could understand and diagnose what makes my life work out the way it does. But at times like this, I realize that if I could understand it, it wouldn’t work. This grace is beyond my comprehension, and the fact that it is indefinable and transient is a fundamental part of what makes it work so well for a guy like me.
And another breath in, and another breath out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Today is an anniversary of my freedom. Today I remember just how fortunate I am for the choices and opportunities in my life. I hope never again to lose sight of how lucky I am for this life, for the people I get to surround myself with, and the grace that has been given to me. Today I remember that I once relinquished my liberty.
I will never again take for granted all the things that make life so amazing. I will never again give my life over to the control of any other human being, substance, or doctrine. There is some magic in this world beyond my understanding, some love that has carried me through the painful consequences to my own insane thinking and action. That power is the only power I will ever give myself over to again.
Today is the anniversary of my freedom. I get to make choices, and I get to feel all the experiences that come into my life. I get to relish joy, and learn from pain. Today I celebrate my emancipation from the little ideas, plans, and designs of myself and others. Today I celebrate my deliverance.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I was on an airplane the other day. When we were about to take off, I obediently switched my portable device to the off position. After doing so, and properly stowing all carry on items, I started eavesdropping on a conversation taking place in the seats behind me. I never saw the boys, but I guess their ages to be about six and eight. They were at first arguing about why they needed to put their backpacks under the seat, but when the plane started to take off, it was very clear that this was their first plane ride.
At first, the younger one was a bit scared, and the older brother started talking about their destination in an attempt, I think, to distract him. When the plane accelerated to take off, they were both silent. I could almost feel their anxiety from where I was sitting. As soon as we were airborne, however, any trace of fear was wiped away, and I listened to a hundred shared observations from outside the window to their right. I didn’t even need to look, as they narrated everything visible outside their window in between sporadic “whoa’s” and “awesome’s.”
I am not sure if they realized that everyone else on the plane could hear every word they said before the pilot reinstated our right to turn on our computers, and headphones again, but I am sure they didn’t care. They were totally amazed both at the world outside the window and the magic that allowed them to see it from such an amazing perspective. I sat with my eyes closed and listened to them for a few more minutes.
Had I been in a more distracted state of mind, or too caught up in some imaginary drama, I may have been annoyed rather than enthralled with their dialog. Instead, I listened with gratitude, because even though I may be a bit quieter about it now, I still feel the exact same way.

Monday, March 1, 2010


People change. Sometimes people don’t change.
Buildings get torn down. Empty spaces get filled. Sometimes they don’t.
As I see the layers of my past amid the buildings and friends who still hang around my life, I like to think I can make predictions. Somehow the idea that I can comforts me. But it is not real. I can be sure only that new things will come, old things will change, and some things will remain just the same. By the time my predictions come true, it doesn’t matter anymore that I made them.
One thing I always forget to predict is how small the places from my memory seem when I see them again. My nostalgia stretches things out so that they can wrap the whole world up in one event, one view, and one night. I go back to a courtyard entrance of a building made up of cheap studio apartments, and I seem like a giant. How did such big things happen in such a tiny, dingy place? How did the smell stick with me for all these years? How did my life get so shaken in a building that still stands?
I went back to my old Junior High school the other day. I walked up the same steps I walked up to sneak back into class almost twenty years ago. It seem so monumental, until I realize that kids who ended up dying in World War Two walked up those same steps before me. I wonder how small that playground seems to them now.
Time is amazing. A lifetime seemed so huge a few years ago. And now, like the apartment building, it seems a little smaller than I remember. But that is only when I look forward without remembering how much I have been able to do in the portion I have already explored.
Today I am nostalgic and excited. I have so much love in my heart for all the people in my life. I am so proud of my friends and my family. I am so happy that I still have so many people to meet, and things to see. As the buildings around me change, and take on new stories, I see it as a reflection of the changes in my own life. And while it is fun sometimes to remember what used to occupy the spaces, it never seems to give me any better ability to predict what will come next.
Thank God.

my spot

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

I don’t know how or when this happened.

Today I was at the neighborhood health food store purchasing toaster waffles and overpriced milk when I realized I belonged there. I never felt that way anywhere before. That isn’t to say it is the first time I have ever felt that way, I guess it was just the first time I realized it as it was happening.

Now the neighborhood health food store isn’t particularly a place I really want to belong, and it isn’t that I felt I belonged there anymore than anyone else. I guess all I am saying is that I didn’t feel like an outsider. I didn’t feel as though I were a fraud, or a ghost in a place where real live people live their life. I discovered that it is comfortable to belong. I felt the gift that this life really is.

I think as an adolescent I found myself constantly trying to fit some mold that I imagined would make me acceptable and lovable to the people I wanted to love me so much. Somewhere along the line I got rather hung up on the idea that I needed everyone to like me, even the people I tried so hard to pretend I hated. I got stuck in that state for a long time. As a result, I spent so much of my time trying to pretend my life was something other than what it really was; I missed out on a lot.

A friend of mine told me this summer that when he stopped trying to be cool, he became cool. So naturally I tried to be just like him for a few days. It didn’t work.

I used to think adulthood was the death of the heart. I saw these grown-ups so involved with the business of living, that I thought they had lost the capability of feeling. Of course this was because I imagined feeling was another word for experiencing pain or longing. I had all these ideas. I knew so much. I was so confident that everything I guessed at was a fact. I was wrong.

Adulthood has been the best part of my life so far. I am pretty new at it. I have learned a few things in the past decade or so however. I have learned the value of humility. I have learned that the most important things in life are the relationships with my family, and the true friends I have found in this life. I have learned that I am often wrong, and the quicker I am to accept that fact, the more I learn, and the more helpful I can be to the people I love. I have learned the value of using my mind more than my mouth, and the value of using my heart more than my brain.

My grandpa once taught me that one of the most valuable expressions he ever learned to say was “you may be right.” I believe now that is how he became probably the wisest man I have ever known. The more he learned about life, the more he was open to let other people have their beliefs and to learn what he could from them while being helpful all the time.

Today while in the neighborhood health food store, I realized that this is my life. I am not the center of the universe, nor am I absent. I get to live this life today not because of the choices I have made, but because of grace. My responsibility is to live this life to the fullest, to be present, and to experience every moment, and every situation as a part of this amazing thing we all share. I don’t know that I deserve all that I have, or all I have been given, but I am certainly going to make good use of it. I love my life, and all the people in it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

january song

What will the captain think?
Out on this road with the weeds
Blowin from one direction on home,
Wonder what will the captain think?

And where did that girl go now?
Running from nowhere
With a fist full of guilt
Tell me where did that girl go now.

Sometimes it gets hard to know.
Its hard to find normal leaning into the wind.
I don’t want to ask why I feel so alone,
I don’t want to remind you.

No I don’t want to remind you.

Who do they talk about now?
I pretended to resent
when they talked about me,
But I wonder, who do they talk about now?

How far is it to my home?
And where will I meet
The one who is waiting for me,
Tell me how far is it to my home?

Sometimes it gets hard to know.
Its hard to find normal leaning into the wind.
I don’t want to ask why I feel so alone,
I don’t want to remind you.

No I don’t want to remind you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I lie here tonight halfway between loneliness and gratitude. This dissonance is much less amplified than the dissonance I lived in the past. Still….
I keep writing drafts, and I keep throwing them away. I guess that is because I don’t know the story yet. I don’t know where I want the protagonist to go. I am not quite sure who he is going to be yet.
I just don’t know what I want. Maybe that is because I have everything I need.

Friday, January 8, 2010

warm in here

It is still cold outside. For a moment I look out of a window and think about who is out there. Struggles are harder when the shivering won’t stop. It is so easy to be grateful as I sit in this warm room given to me out of sheer grace. I wonder how easy it would be to have that gratitude if my path had been harder. I don’t think I have that in me. I wonder how I would feel if my life weren’t wonderful. Would I be bitter? Would I want to blot it all out?
I don’t feel guilty; at least not usually. I definitely didn’t get what I have now out of hard work and honesty throughout my life, but I didn’t get it by taking it from anyone else too. Rather, by some fortune, I find I have everything I need, and almost everything I want. There is no answer to this. There is no solution, as it isn’t a problem. It just is.
Still, I sit here and look out into that gray cold, and I remember living there too. I remember putting myself there, and hating everyone else for it. I remember being invisible as I walked through store isles just trying to stay warm, or even to have a conversation with a real person, that is, someone not like me.
I want to give what I have today. I want to share this feeling of actual enjoyment of life. I am not sure I know how. And somehow in all this, I hurt a little. I sit here with the whole beautiful world, with everything I need, and all the best of friends… I am extremely happy, but I hurt a little for what I can’t give away.
I know that there will be pain. I know that every life has some static. There will be losses and tragedies in my future. I am not blind to the realities of life. I know that someday all of this will end, that this story has some kind of conclusion. I want to be there to perceive fully how it plays out. But for right now, I am just so happy to be alive. I am happy for it all. I just want everyone else to be too.