Back again sez I, somewhat worse for wear but still upright and breathing. Nothing physical you see, but definitely mental; a slipping and sliding of sorts as the trails I had become accustomed to began to crumble, bounce and give way to a quicksand kind of walking.
Been dang near a year since I wrote anything other than my signature on documents that kept me a legal resident in this fine, historic New England state of my birth. Change and perspective; same old sights in new surroundings, the challenge of supplying my own “r” sounds that are almost extinct in local dialects, searching for old friends in the local newspapers’ obit sections and constantly reminding myself that at last count, about 40% of my school mates have already migrated out of this “mortal coil” of existence.
“Pinch yourself, Richard. If you’re looking for fame and glory you’d better hurry!”
One of my last posts made reference to procrastination, that curse/blessing of all who like to weigh alternatives…ad infinitum…and now I have to put my keyboard back to work and give one more addition to my wandering blog. The good thing is that by now I have accumulated a significant number of topics that will justify the energy output needed to go from brain to blog-worthy expression. All I can do is get it into print and let readers decide if its worth their time. (And, by the way, I have no interest what-so-ever in fame and/or glory. I just want to get as much satisfaction out of the outrageously expensive lap-top that I bought out of temporary lack of better judgement.)
First the headlines. Unfortunately, I don’t have it in me to vent the feelings I have with the l language I consider appropriate to the situation in Washington. I will limit my comments instead to the hope that my fellow citizens and elected leaders come to their senses and put an end to the vile, cancerous greed that is consuming our political process before the country and those former friends of ours around the world collapse along with us in some disastrous chain of events.
– Another school shooting….Will we ever learn?? How can we love our guns more than the wellbeing of our children. It boggles the mind. Don’t talk this problem to death.. DO something.
OK, now I can go back into my safe schizo-brain and into the warm, steadfast illusions that I know and love.
I’ll not try to recap my entire path-walking experience from last May until now. Since November of 2016 I had felt as though I had walked full speed, head first into a solid rock wall and survived but was stunned for days and weeks by what happened in our glorious Presidential election. A good knock on the head sometimes leads to clarity of mind. Zen Masters have been whopping unsuspecting meditating monks across the back for centuries in order to force them out of “conventional mindset thinking”.
In my case, the stupendous rock wall encounter was an enlightenment of sorts, but at the same time it was for me a great puzzlement – a Koan, that I have yet to solve. I found myself perched on the edge of a high and precipitous ledge, from which only peaks of disaster and moral collapse could be seen, while the peace of the struggling, mortally busy family was being engulfed in confusion, anger and distrust of the future.
There is no concussion protocol for survivors of political stupidity and it has taken some time to get my self up and running in this new reality. Can I call it that? It changes every day. So I will push on, blogging my own reality, sharing my perceptions of daily life.
Enough already from those who would suggest an Alt reality that is not at all to my liking.
So. Welcome to my new world. BTW, have you noticed that ‘so” is the new transition word in play among interviewees. Even when there is no need for a transition word at all. Everybody’s doin’ it so be prepared for ubiquitous and useless So words everywhere.
This being the end of February my thoughts are already moving toward Spring, questioning when will that finally appear. After 32 years in Florida I’m not as keenly tuned-in to the certain signs of change as I used to be. Even the purchase of a 2018 edition of the Old Farmer’s Almanac hasn’t helped much. Used to be that by early February we could anticipate the beginning of thaw weather with warm, above freezing days and cold, below freezing nights that would send folks hastening out to the nearest batch of Maple trees with a hammer or drill and lots of metal taps or spigots, usually steel or aluminum, with a notch to hold a bucket handle and a stack of buckets to hang like cold ornaments on living trees and collect the watery sap.
Back in my New Hampshire days I was introduced to the whole maple syrup process, from tapping to boiling the sap, as a volunteer sapper, I guess you could call it. I was neither farmer nor ranch hand. Just a tenderfoot college age student who happened to live a mile down the road from a tried and true New Hampshire native, Charlie [as in Chahly] Bacon, a good natured soul who let us non-New Hampshire novices go out with his equipment and tap as many trees as was necessary to split the product with him and our brother students.
Cold as it was at times we relished dragging ourselves around in sometimes knee-deep snow, or slippery mud, collecting sap and lugging it to the huge vat behind the sugar-house. It would be stored there and gravity fed into the split level boiling pans inside the shack where Chahly would seriously tend the wood fires and monitor the thickness of the sap with a hydrometer, tripping the gate at the lower end when a batch was ready to boil down thicker, then refilling the pan from the outside vat and set the next batch into its first stage boil.
There is nothing in the world that quite resembles the smell of a winter wood fire and evaporating maple sap as it migrates into just the right thickness to be declared Grade A syrup. Sort of like raising a family, as it requires constant tending to prevent over or under heating, patient stirring and measuring to not allow things to move on too soon or wait too long for maturity. All the while there are many contributing factors that have to be planned for to keep the process efficient, productive, and rewarding while the whole outcome is dependent on vagaries of weather conditions, willing human participants, and lots of love that coaxes the sweetness out of otherwise rather unsavory drips that leak out of apparently dense wood.
Having had the privilege of contributing to this very rewarding process for several winters, I have retained a love of pure maple syrup for pancakes and cannot understand how folks can tolerate maple flavored cane sugar imitations. And for heaven’s sake don’t pour cold syrup of any kind on hot pancakes. You probably have tasteless children too.
Charlie also advised us on the very simple process of homemade Apple Jack, which, of course, we were not at liberty to sample back at the old campus.
Another adventure in patience with an end product like no other, when it done right.
He also told us about an unfortunate neighbor, who in the heat of competition with New Hampshire masters of the Sugerin’ art, sent a sample of his own syrup to the NH Dept. of Agriculture to be evaluated for grade A sweetness as he wanted his produce to carry the best label possible.
The poor fellow grew more and more anxious as he awaited the reply from the State. Finally, weeks later than it should have arrived, the news came in the mail.
Dear ***** We apologize for the delay but we wanted to be absolutely sure.
It is truly unfortunate, but your horse does, in fact, have diabetes.
+++ See ya latah,
BE Peace. BE Compassion.