Thursday, September 10, 2020

To sleep -- perchance to dream

How green is the river? Not as green as it appears in the photograph. The river is the Snake in Idaho. What is the name of the waterfall? Hmmmm? You do not see the waterfall? Look again .... pretty much in the center, cascading down 200 or 300 or 400 feet from the top of the bluff into the canyon below. And, no, that is not the waterfall coming down from the heavens onto the bluff (or a geyser going up into the heavens) although it appears it could be either. It is what I would describe as sort of an optical illusion created by a contrail from a jet aircraft which passed over moments before the photograph was taken. Looks great and a bit mysterious, though -- almost dreamlike or surreal .... does it not? By the way, I never did learn the name of the waterfall, although it might be Perrine Coulee Waterfall.
We have joining us for a pair of musical selections none other than David Bowie performing what has to be my favorite piece in his repertoire: "Absolute Beginners." On stage with him to sing most of "Under Pressure" is Gail Ann Dorsey, who is a magnificent vocalist and musician in her own right. There is a pronounced difference in the way the musicians perform the two songs -- see if you notice it ....
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
Those lines are some from Edgar Allan Poe’s  1849 poem, “A Dream Within a Dream,” in which he explores the difference between the real and the imaginary.
A dream within a dream ....
A dream is an imaginary series of events we experience in our mind while we are asleep. If something recurs, it happens more than once. Voilà  -- there we have the definition of a recurring dream.
Ever have them? I do on occasion. Two stand out. The first might land somewhere between silly and psychotic, but sometime around the time I was 14 or 15 I began having a periodic dream about walking around a lake where I frequently hunted. A man would appear some distance away with a submachine gun, begin walking toward me and firing at me. I ran / I fell / I began rolling, seeing the rounds kicking up dirt closer and closer to me. I always awakened before the bullets reached me.
I no longer recall how many times I experienced this dream, but it was several times and I do know I have not had it since being in and out of the Marine Corps.
The other recurring dream seems to be more logical and involves buildings from where I went to college, the darkroom from one newspaper and people from two newspapers where I worked and the imaginary, Greek-like ruins of an old institution with a huge, indoor swimming pool .... but there are two or three variations to it, as well, which also repeat themselves and it does periodically increase in length into new areas. In other words, it extends from the existing end into a new segment.
Hmmmm .... I think I will save that one for another day .... enjoy the music ....

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Sort of a self-portrait ....

After staring at my brooding face for a number of years, I decided to take a new photograph of myself for my blog. As a card-carrying member of Shapeshifters Anonymous, I wanted something unique so as to be distinctive from the crowd .... and, what would be more memorable than a white squirrel? After trying a few shots, I decided to abandon the scheme and to stay with my "wolfen" image which, even if it is a bit bleak, seems more in character with my persona. Not to allow the photography effort to simply fade away wasted and unused, I decided to publish one of my portraits .... so, here I am as Fram the White Squirrel. Pretty good looking, am I not?
Today is my youngest daughter's birthday, so, best wishes, once-upon-a-time baby girl ....
There are a couple of songs here, too, meant for the birthday girl and for anyone else who cares to devote a bit more than 17 minutes to listen to them .... we think they are worth it ....
Thou hast nor youth nor age
But as it were an after dinner sleep
Dreaming of both.
Those lines form the opening epigraph of T.S. Eliot's poem, "Gerontion," which in turn are taken from among the words spoken by Duke Vincentio in Act 3, Scene 1 of "Measure for Measure," a play written by William "Willie Boy" Shakespeare.
Conversation with a cloud
Why am I the way I am? Mr. Cloud in the sky ....
No, I do not know why you are the way you are, either ....
I guess there are some things not meant to be known ....
This was part of a discussion I had this morning with a "lighter shade of pale" cloud I randomly chose from among those drifting along in a "baby blue" sky. The meaning and the purpose? I was and have been for some time trying to figure out who and what I am. Obviously, the answers continue to elude me.
For the record, the cloud did not speak to me. I took the liberty of imagining what it would say in reply to my questions and comments.
I think the answers to many questions we ask -- usually to ourselves -- are only confined and bound by the imagination we possess. Whether this is logical or not, I can only assume this is what is meant to be .... at least for today .... whatcha think, baby?

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Christmas comes whenever you wish

When I ran across this rather old Christmas card on the internet put out by Colt, my first thought was now I have something for a holiday post. My next thought crept in from the outer limits of reality: Who knows what tomorrow might bring and, even more to the point, who knows where I will be in a few months, much less if I even will be here .... why wait to post it?

Why, indeed? The card fits my lifestyle and reflects my belief that any and all of us should have the opportunity to be able to legally own firearms and be well-schooled in using them safely and proficiently. I have no idea how many individuals -- in particular young ladies -- share that belief, but I do know there are some and we all do have the right to possess and to express our own personal beliefs, do we not?

Add to that, none of us knows where we will be or even if we will be when tomorrow arrives ....

Now, a personal note: Happy Birthday (and, Merry Christmas) -- today -- to the young lady who once upon a time asked me out on a then and there date minutes after we had been introduced. I am glad I said yes. The songs are for you ....

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Birthday Boy Buddy ....

Born in or near Checotah, Oklahoma .... the exact date lost intentionally or through carelessness .... arrived in Minnesota in August 2016, with a veterinarian-estimated age of three years .... became Buddy W. Fram on August 18, 2016, hence his "unofficial" birthday is today.

Buddy W. Fram arrived here under the name of Gator. He apparently was not pleased with it because he showed absolutely no recognition when spoken to using it. Neither did he respond to any other name I suggested trying to find something to which he showed a spark of acknowledgement. 

But, he did seem to recognize the word, "buddy." I have no idea whether his response was because it had been his name in his "prior life" or because a previous "companion" had often referred to him as "my buddy." Whatever .... a week or two after his arrival, he formally became Buddy and began accumulating his own collection of books and firearms and sundry toys.

Buddy still thinks and acts like a "young man," although he is about seven years old in our scheme of time .... but, then again, I suppose proponents of the Gregorian or the Julian or the Roman or any number of other calendar systems might dispute any and all measurements of time in favor of their own choice.

Buddy was a "shelter / rescue dog" before moving to Minnesota and "rescuing" me. He is part Long-Haired Chihuahua and part Papillon, and has a double coat of fur, which translates into difficulty keeping cool even on cool days. This duramesh, elevated dog bed somewhat helps to alleviate the situation.

He is intelligent, displays great affection and, judging by his demeanor, he evidently had loving, caring early years. I have tried to get more information, but gave up after leaving answering machine messages and receiving no replies. Perhaps, that was giving up too easily, but I think somehow that is the way it is supposed to be.

Finally, for every mood there is a song -- actually, many songs. Included here today are three songs, and I am thinking one of them will fit your mood. If I am wrong, magnus paciscor .... I have been wrong before and the world has never ended .... now baby/baby/baby ....

Friday, July 31, 2020

Lair of Mishipishu -- the underwater panther

You are standing atop Sugarloaf Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, looking toward Little Presque Isle in the distance. When I lived there, I often had the island and a mile of sandy beach to myself. It is where I saw the two wolves "on patrol" that I have written about here. The "prize" eluded me, however. That would have been to catch sight of Mishipishu, the "underwater panther." The spelling of "his" name varies. Pictographs of Mishipishu can be found around the Great Lakes. One is at Agawa Bay in northern Ontario. The Midewiwin Society claimed in 1850 that this pictograph was painted by an Anishinabe shaman and was part of a story about a four-day crossing of Lake Superior by a war party in five canoes. It is possible I will write more about this "legend" another day, but for now you can do your own research. The island and adjoining land form a county park today, which is both good and bad: Good, in that many people will be able to enjoy it; bad, in that no one will ever have experiences like I had there -- being awakened alone by the sun on my face dug down into the warm sand of the glistening beach with billowy clouds floating in a pure blue sky and the sound of lapping waves caressing the shore.
A lake is a lake is a lake .... except
The "Old Greeks" combined the prefix para- ("beyond" or "outside of") with the verb dokein ("to think"), forming paradoxos, an adjective meaning "contrary to expectation." Latin speakers took the word and used it to create the noun paradoxum, which English speakers borrowed during the 1500s to create paradox.
I "liberated" many of those words from the Wikipedia. "Liberated," for the uninitiated, is a polite way of saying "stole" and frequently used in military circles.
Progress is a paradox. On one side of the coin, it extends the life and leisure of humankind; on the opposite side of the coin, it usually comes at the price of disrupting and destroying the natural world.
I once lived along the shores of Lac Supérieur or, in the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Gitche Gumee, the shining Big-Sea-Water.
California Kelly, who has been thinking about moving, noted in a recent comment: "Today I went out to Malibu and the ocean was the bluest I've seen in ages. It was magnificent! The clear blue skies and ocean and green, green mountains is one positive for this time ... Today I thought to myself, hmmm, it may be tough to leave California."
To which, I replied: "In terms of Nature, I am sure it will be next to impossible to leave California -- with its forests and mountains and waters and deserts. I felt that way when I left Michigan and Lake Superior, but I left expecting to be back eventually. Now, the years slip away and I am no closer to a return than I am to winning a multi-million lottery."
As if some invisible entity traveling the time loop continuum was reading over my shoulder when I wrote those words and passed them along, I received a marvelous photograph from a friend who was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and still calls the place home. Behold, Little Presque Isle as seen from atop Sugarloaf Mountain.
Agape means love in Greek today, but returning to the "Old Greeks," whose language was more precise than are the words of today, in ancient times it referred to a pure love without sexual connotations. Back then, passionate love of physical desire was called Eros. Aristotle used the word Philia to mean dispassionate, virtuous and unselfish love, while Philautia is known to be self love. There are other words/forms of love, of course, but enough for now.
If I ever have encountered a specific "Old Greek" word or word in any language meaning a love of and for Nature, I cannot recall it. As it is, I sort of define my religion as a blend of deism and pantheism, with Nature at the core of it. In a sentence, I love Nature ....
It takes only a flicker of imagination after a few moments of gazing at this photograph to see the waters shifting and moving and to feel myself once again in a canoe -- at times skirting the shoreline, at times paddling from point of land to point of land -- on the cold, crystal-clear waters of The Lake.
For now, I will recall the times I stood atop Sugarloaf seeing Little Presque Isle in the distance and staring out onto the waters of Lake Superior – on sunny days / on rainy days / on snowy days -- sometimes on indescribably beautiful days with "perfect" weather; sometimes in the midst of a raging gale or a blizzard. No matter what the weather, they were wondrous times experiencing the beauty and the power of Nature .... moments in which I understood what it truly means to be alive and thankful beyond words to be alive.

Something special ....