today

today began like many others, but i have vowed to make it different. i am going to tweak this day by sunset or die trying.

my favorite poem is if by rudyard kipling and while i dont have it quite committed to memory yet, perhaps transcribing it here while burn another line into my struggling memory.

my mum gave me a hard copy of this poem a long time ago, and sometimes it brings me to tears.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs, and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting, too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good nor talk too wise;

If you can dream and not make dreams your master,

If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with triumph and disaster,

And treat these two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools

Or watch the things you have your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools,

If you can make one heap of all your winnings,

And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my Son!

regrets

one of my lifes regrets is not intervening in a situation in an airport parking lot once. a couple was arguing and it was getting ugly. she had shut herself into the cab of a truck and the dude was getting violent – banging on the windows and such. i was already in my truck, and maybe thirty or forty yards away, and it was so easy to justify just driving off. which i did. but i immediately regretted it and do to this day. id like to train my ‘fear factor’ so i could act more reasonably in those kinds of situations.

when i play this scenario over in my mind, there are many things i could have done to try and deescalate the situation. i hope if something similar ever happens to me, i can act differently.

two minutes

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i observed two minutes of silence today for armistice day. it didnt seem like much time at all. i shouldve counted my breaths, perhaps. millions of people have taken their last breath in the middle of conflicts. collateral damage, for sure. is sustainable peace possible? some people seem skeptical. ive heard that conflict is going to be present whenever governments exist, and people will always form governments. i think we live in a unique time. an age of information. i think peace is not only possible, but i think its quite literally the only outcome that makes any sense. every last one of us spent some time as a child when the entire world revolved around us – ‘mine’ we would cry, as we snatched our favorite toy out of the hands of our ‘competition’. we were fearful and sometimes even malicious. i know that i used to kill frogs and chipmunks for ‘sport’ for several years. but then. i. grew. up.
one day when i was older than ten but younger than thirteen, i was across the road from my folks place with my trusty .22 ruger long rifle. i was out after some frogs. probably shot a dozen or so – didnt think anything of it. as i turned to go back home, i saw a chickadee perched on a branch within arms reach. amazingly enough, it seemed that it was exactly in line with my gun barrel. i wondered if i could just shoot from the hip and hit it. and so i tried. i pulled the trigger and that little bird vanished. all that remained were its tiny legs grasping on the branch and they actually did several revolutions before coasting to a stop like a macabre pendulum. the body of the bird was absent. its spirit – obliterated. i cried. why did i do that? i guess i had to. that one act made me reflect about the nature of existence and i vowed to never again kill another creature for sport. i enjoy hunting today. the camaraderie with my pop and brother. the way my pops bird dog works the woods. i am thankful for every kill, and i eat them all, but i sometimes think back to that day the chickadee died and it still can bring a tear to my eye.
my hope is that all people will see their conflicts as childish. at some point, we all learned that sharing was more productive – that peace was its own reward. even if we were the biggest and strongest kid in the sandbox, it was no fun to play alone.

 

what is it good for?

absolutely nothing. violence is destructive. violence is a means, not an end. in a world of conflict, how can we move toward peace? one breath at a time, i reckon. think globally, act locally. for this, my first entry into the ‘blogosphere’ – i think i should prepare you for what youre in for. i ramble. i digress. i circumnavigate. often times in conversations with my mum, the tangents will almost seem to lead us astray, but like the prodigal son, ive got a knack for finding my way home. there is focus in chaos.

my grammatical style can be difficult to read. please bear with me. ive been refusing to capitalize and punctuate ‘properly’ since reading ee cummings and emily dickenson. my favorite punctuation mark is the ellipsis. . .

as a young person, i signed up for service in the u.s. navy. six years in the naval nuclear propulsion program. six years of reprogramming. six years of aiding and abetting. i dont regret the experience, but i do have regrets from that time. i didnt have the courage to declare my ‘conscientious objection’. i justified my weakness by the desire to fulfill my ‘contract’. the united states was at war then as we are today.

operation desert shield became operation desert storm became operation iraqi freedom. the war on terror. the ministry of defense. the ministry of homeland security.

is life imitating fiction?

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