Friday, October 2, 2009


Greetings to all and any who happen by this little corner of the Blogosphere. Time for another little exercise in public expression designed to do something – what, I’m not sure of, but all the cool kids are doing it so in this case I’ll follow the herd.

I suppose blogging is somewhat dated, what with Twitter and such available to post up-to-the minute details of our lives for all to see, but that just proves that I am never as cool as the coolest, and always lagging behind the latest trends. That probably explains why my guitar rig is completely state-of-the-art circa 1985, and the car I just took halfway across the country just turned 16 years old (and turned over its 144,000th mile). Hey, if you find something that works, why rush to replace it?

Even the things that work great for awhile get old and maybe less functional, and we are seeing that trend in many ways all around us today. In the rush to replace things that work just fine with things that appear to work “better”, many things that had plenty of life left were replaced by things of greater complexity and now we see that with that increasing complexity comes a need for higher degrees of maintenance and vigilance. I remember when MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) first came around and all the cool guys were wiring up the refrigerator-sized racks with lots of blinking light and miles of cable, just so they could make sound changes with one stomp of a footswitch instead of 2 or 3. Yeah, it was convenient, but the amount of added complexity was staggering, and the cost was substantial. Plus, when you start chaining together lots and lots of electronic gear, stuff can (and will) go wrong. After a time, lots of guys who were NOT touring pros with technicians on staff went back to attaching individual pedals to plywood with Velcro, and that is where I stayed the whole time. Wait, does that make me a trend-setter? Ahead of the curve??

O.K., enough of the guitar geek stuff. Let’s talk about something that is always relevant – change, and how to know where and when to make it.

For many months now, the issue of how my family was to move toward a different way of living has been the focus of much thought, prayer, and angst. The idea that we were no longer able to simply continue on our current path was the easy part to arrive at. This brought about the question of what our next move was, and what, exactly, we were seeking to establish in this move. Some simple concepts came to the fore right away, and they all seemed to have a common denominator; rejection of the pursuit of material things in exchange for, well, our lives, and wanting to have more time together as a family in uncertain times. The question marks about my physical health, and the health of society in general pounded ever harder on the door. The other huge factors were a pressing desire to get closer to our natural state, and not wanting to contribute to the evil perpetuated by our “leaders” via taxation of our labor. All signs pointed towards getting simpler, smaller and lighter. I assumed that many of these things would happen whether we chose them or not, so it became another question of being “ahead of the curve”.

As described in an earlier post, we had done the best we could within the framework of the “get a job, buy a house, raise up some kids” model, and had our share of success and failure. While we find ourselves living in a very nice neighborhood with fabulous schools and my wife working in a secure job in a corporate legal environment, we have also gone through the process of a foreclosure and bankruptcy. Plus, there was the fact that we were living in a very nice neighborhood with fabulous schools and my wife was working in a corporate legal environment (see “greater complexity” reference above). The question became “how do we extract ourselves without having to lose everything and start over?”
That continues to be the big question.

One of the challenges of our situation is trying to plan everything and see into the future. I want to know what is in store so we can plan accordingly. I want to know that we will be safe and protected as we fumble towards our new ideal lifestyle. I want to know that we have allies and safety nets in place. I want to know that the pain I experience daily is not an indication that my body is about to quit and that I am strong enough to help guide my family forward out of our current model. I want guarantees and promises and cross-my-hearts that we are doing the right thing. These are the demands made by a certain part of my anatomy that seems to reside somewhere above my neck, sometimes feeling like nothing less than a foreign entity that seeks only to drown out that deeper, calmer part that is at my very core. There is a duality here, one I can no longer deny but one that seems to be changing as time passes and certain efforts are made to refine the contact with one and give less attention to the rants of the other. I am very late to this game, but the rewards of said effort only reinforce the notion that this is extremely important and the key to making the changes we seek to undertake.

At this point I feel I need to thank a man who I have never met, but who has played a big part in this progression over that past 2 years or so. I want to thank Les Visible for doing what he does, and for introducing me to so many other people (who I have never met) that comprise a virtual “community” of support and love that sustains and nourishes me while I fumble around and grasp at things. These others include Nina, Murph and Freeacre, Pangolin, Montana Freeman, Palooka, Psychegram, Publius, and the many other folks who comment at various blogs I visit. What happens in these places has a certain magic to it that I cannot deny, and while it will never replace the face-to-face relationships I have, many of these people I have never met are as dear to me as some in-the-flesh friends. I hope one day to make the rounds and at least shake these hands and let them all know in person how much I value them. I have done so on a few occasions and hope to expand that circle on my current road trip.

Oh yeah, the road trip. I was going to write about our current adventure but obviously got sidetracked here. I’ll do some of that in a few days, but the message I wanted to impart today can be summed up thusly; one can plan and hope and try to wrest full control of the wheel all we want, but sometimes things pop up in an unexpected fashion that simply dictate what the next right thing is. In this case, a sudden illness and the need to be close to aging parents forced our hand and made us put off any grand plans for a quick and hurried voyage across the country. Plan, try to anticipate and prognosticate all you want – sometimes you just have to listen to your guts and GO. So go we did. More soon.