09, August 2021

One thing I noticed about my first “Journal” entry was how different it is from when I actually write. The post was far less intimate and written without depth to my feelings and emotions. Two things that I constantly look at daily. I desire to know why they happen and what exactly they  are. There is a real curiosity at uncovering the mystery. In some way I think it’s going to be the cure for every bane of my existence. Thus far I have discovered that my thoughts are the most influential on my feelings and if I let them get out of control they can become emotions. My emotions are influenced by my thoughts as well, but the way they come on seems much different than with feelings. The feelings seem to come after the thoughts while the emotion seems to precede them. E.G, I was walking a trail where I work and heard a noise that sounded like a large animal moving. Immediately I felt anxious nervousness as I swirled around; my hand instinctively went on the bear spray. Then came the thought, “What’s that noise?”.  The first thing I noticed was the noise, then the emotion of anxious nervousness, and concluded with what’s that noise as my eyes honed to the spot. Turned out it was a few larger avions. In this situation, did subconsciously I receive a thought that caused the fight/flight reaction? That’s what the anxious nervousness was, fight or flight. It was pretty easy to identify. I felt the adrenaline and shaky voice that accompanies sincere  fear. Am I scared of death or scared of not living? Am I scared to get eaten because I know it’ll realy be a difficult way to leave, or am I scared to move on and see what’s after this epoch of my life? Or perhaps it’s a fear of truth? That last one seems to be pretty cultural for the planet. Could be my problem. What about the truth scares me?  I’ll be persecuted for it or it’ll cause people to dislike me. Why? Because my self image is important. Vanity I say, Vanity. Plus, if I’m honest, a sprinkle of cowardice. Truth. Two things I need to work on, vanity and cowardice. Feels logical and my thoughts brought that on 😉 ! 

Today was as splendid as any. The sandhill call came later than yesterday. I’m not sure why. They aren’t going to be around much longer as migration day approaches and I can’t help but sense I’ll miss them. There depatture signals the white season is just around the corner. Had a friend, he’s more of a friend of my brother than of me, who arrived in town and asked if I wanted to fish with him and my brother. So I spent the day fishing. We started at the reservoir where Jeff turned into the fishing magician. I have no idea how he did it, but I copied his setup so I could catch a few fish. Getting a hand up and wanting a hand out are two different things. After Jeff helped me catch my limit of fish we headed towards town and did some surf fishing. The tide was coming and would soon arrive at it’s climax. I didn’t end up fishing, but I did walk the beach, catch up with Jeff, found a new place to purchase fishing bait, and helped support a local business through a purchase. This busines was Salmon Sisters. It was a small place in a large building. The clerk was friendly with righteous energy. Their eyes were calm and the music relaxing. If I had a book with me I might have asked if I could sit down. But I did not, so I settled for some postcards and a sticker, then bid adu to the elevated feng shui.  As for fishing; Jeffs luck was left at the reservoir. He was handed a goose egg. I accepted my egg before participating, and my brother caught a couple. A small flounder and a decent pacific staghorn sculpin. Both are botto dwelling fish. This brought us to around dinner in which my brother offered to cook. We had Salmon 😀 And that concluded the evening and events. Nothing less than spectacular I must confess. Tomorrow they offered to take me hunting. I’m excited to try out a blow gun and I believe my brother is eager to try out a slingshot. Jeff will have the trusted twenty-two. Oh, I didn’t get a German lesson in, but it’s ok. Maybe I’ll do a quick fifteener when I get off. I’ll let you know on the tenth. 

Don’t forget: Be who you love and love who you are 🙂

08, August 2021

To help save my feeble wrists I’m going to start keeping my jornal online. A little frightening, perhaps; nonetheless, here we go. 

I woke up in a rather delightful mood. The sandhill cranes had been calling for at least the last hour and I reluctantly ignored their babble no longer. I really desired a cup of coffee, but stuck with my vow to omit it from routine. Instead I had some water, took a shower, and made breakfast. Nothing fancy. Eggs and sweetpeppers.  Shortly after I ran into town, had sticker shock for the 15th time, completed my errands then returned to the preserve. I had intended to get some extra work in. Not because I had to, my hours are done for the week, but because I enjoy the job. I’m thankful I have ended up where I am at. I got suited up, i.e., put on rain gear, gathered equipment, and loaded my pack, but ended up talking to my mother for an hour. When I hung up and opened the door it was raining a good little step so I opted not to work. Instead I went on a little stroll around and took some photos. I’m glad I went out because although it was raining most of the time it sure was pretty. I left my field guide at the house, but tried to identify as many plants as I could. I also found a couple I have to look up. I’ll do that after I’m done writing. Strange little fruits with spikes they are.Throughout the day I contemplated how my thoughts influence my actions, dreams, and responses. It’s this constant, epic battle trying to keep them under control. The work has been worth it for sure. After my three hour jaunt I did a German Lesson. This is something I started recently. I’m going slow. Learning the alphabet and sounds first. E.g., liebe (leebu), which translates to love and the letter R which sounds like (air) . I enjoyed it. I also noticed that this time was different. There was an enjoyment and eagerness to learn that hasn’t been there before. I must confess I attempted this once before, but it didn’t feel the same. The excitement wasn’t there like it is now. I’ve also been around, i.e, viideo chats, people who are working on German just as I am and provide encouragement, relatability, patience, and a willingness to help. The environment has been the most noticeable difference from when I tried to learn before. My state of mind is in a far different place as well. Regardless, I’m thrilled to be striving for it. After this I’m going to read some from Whatever you do, don’t look behind you. I’m realy into it. Then probably call it a night. Hopefully sleep comes quickly. My mind has been pretty active today though. I had a friend, Tom Bodnar, pose a couple questions that I found stimulating. The first, “How does one keep the individual consciousness in a ripened state while living in society?” and the second, “If one’s mindset and psyche are the primary items to master, how does one do it without going to live in the woods?” Tom is a beautiful human being and I’m thankful to have him in my life. Thanks, Tom. Here are a few pictures from my walk.

 

Mulberry Palooza

I noticed, a few days ago, the mulberries are ripening. The thing about these delectable treats is they do not all ripen at once. Every tree/bush is different as well so they have their own schedule. You’ll often see every stage of a mulberry on a single branch which creates a colorful experience. As I plucked on from its perch, enjoying the sweetness on my pallet, I thought, “I should gather some of these, make a jam, and send them to friends’ ‘. So, that’s what I did. 

I went out to a local mulberry spot, layed a sheet down, and shook the branch. It only took a couple good shakes and all the ripe, ready berries fell like raindrops; many landing on the sheet I had placed to catch them, and some not so close. I managed to get most of the escaped berries, but a large few found freedom. I could have just plucked them from the tree, but I find the sheet method less time consuming. Once I’ve picked up all the berries I relocate the sheet, select another branch, and shake. I do this around the diameter of the tree and have all the berries I need. Now it’s time to get them cleaned and prepared for cooking. 

I wash the berries in a bath of cold water and remove the stems, placing them in a pot as I go. (In future I will remove the stems as I pick them ←lesson  I learned) Once I’ve cleaned and prepared all the berries I start to cook them over a medium heat, mashing tthem as I go. I was surprised at how much liquid these little fruit actually held. The smell was rather delightful too. I couldn’t help myself and took a quick sip with the ole spoon. “Wooo Buddy, I could leave this as is and use it as a syrup for pancakes” was my initial thought. The thought was shortlived as I became sad I wouldn’t be sharing it, so I continued on to making a jam. This wasn’t a difficult process as I only needed to add pectin. Have I mentioned that I’ve never made jam before? I add the pectin and let it simmer, hoping I don’t overcook them. In the meantime I get the jars ready. 

I grab a couple of pots and add hot water. I place them on the stove and bring the water temperature to 180. I don’t want it boiling, but I want it to steralize the lids. I do the same for the glass jars. I also get the pressure canner ready for use. It’s been a rather lengthy amount of time since I’ve used one, but I think I remember how it goes. Actually it’s more like I’ve never made this and I’m just going to use the same method I used as a child with my grandparents. So that’s what I did. 

After the berries reduced and thickened I added them to the jars, sealed the lids on, and placed them in the pressure cooker. I then let the pressure cooker do what it does. Honestly it doesn’t take much time at all. Before I knew it I was taking out the jars and placing them on a cooling rack to dry. To my surprise I was able to fill 6 jelly jars and one half pint jar. Not too bad of a harvest and a delightfully fun experience. All in all it was worth every second of fun I had. 

Fruit

Decided to play a round of disc golf with a couple friends. Nothing competitive or anything to that nature. We were just getting some indirect exercise, sharing company, enjoying the weather, scenery, and making memories. And memories we did make. I also utilized an urban tumble weed (plastic shopping bag) instead of my usual bag. It was blowing around the parking lot so why not put it tto use? It just needed a ride to the trash can and I heppend to be going that way.

Anyway, we were on hole 12 when an errant shot ended up twenty feet off the fairway in the tall, overgrown honeysuckle. This stuff is dense as a jungle and eats discs with nondiscriminatory judgement. It’s pretty thick. Luckily my buddy found his disc rather quickly and had somewhat of a line to the fairway. After taking his shot he beckoned me over. I thought maybe he had found a flower or was curious about a wild edible, but he wasn’t. He had found an old, empty beer can, picked it up, and asked if he could put it in my bag. Talk about a hearts smile!!!! To see a seed bear fruit, even if only a few, is beyond rewarding. I thanked him with multiple high fives, and a smile that couldn’t disguise itself. We can all make a difference!

Doing things to help others; Is this a gift we should all share?

I spent this entire spring season looking for morel mushrooms. It was a challenging season to say the least, but it was rewarding and productive. I’m also into flowers, especially spring flowers, so it didn’t take much persuasion to get me out. Even on the days many would consider dismal I found excitement at the thought of going into the woods. I watched as the spring beauties made their debut. I was also around for the venomous abomination we call, tick. I plucked my fair share during my search for the elusive shroom. I recall one time in particular where I found seven on me at once. That one was a little unnerving. I know looking for morels this early in the sason is a little ambitious, but why not. You never know when one might jump up earlier than anticipated; I wanted to be ready. Nonetheless, the spring beauties came and went in a colorful dance and I was no more richer in the fungi category. 

As the rest of the spring flowers emerged, e.g., cutleaf toothwart, bluebells, violets, anemone, hepatica, toadshade trillium, and large flower trillium, I found it difficult to stay focused. My sensory perception was locked in overdrive with all the fragrant colors. However, when the mayapples made an appearance I doubled my effort. It’s been my experience that when these shady canopies emerge the shrooms will come. I’ve always found it fascinating that the flower of the may apple is under it’s leaf structure. It also must have two leaves or it will not have a bloom. I spent every free second traveling to places where I might have the opportunity to find them, but I found no success. 

Then, one evening I was out throwing a round of disc golf when I ran into a friend from many moons ago. It had been a while since we had talked or seen each other, but our relationship was exactly how it left off. Peaceful, fun, and kind. I know, right! Anyway, he noticed me looking towards the ground more than concentrating on disc golf and asked if I was looking for the elusive. I let out a sigh and informed him of my plight. I had promised myself I would do all I could to make sure my grandmother had some morels. She’s not in the best shape and I’m not sure she’ll be around for another season of them. (She’s currently on chemo and struggling to keep her weight and strength. Not to mention she took a fall recently from her blood pressure dropping. That however, is a  tale for another day.) I hadn’t informed my grandmother as I didn’t want to get her hopes up and not deliver. After our chat about it he told me he would keep his eyes out for some. 

Three days later I received a message from my friend, Greg Randolph. He simply asked, “you still wanting some mushrooms for your grandmother?” With overwhelming joy I replied, “Yes, please “and provided an address. The next day my grandmother was gifted 11 morels. Wouldn’t you know it, she soaked them in salt water that evening then awoke at 4:30 in the morning to eat them. I would say she was more than excited. 

As for my search. I never did give up. I kept looking and looking and looking, but never found a one. Complete goose egg, i.e., zero. I did realize, at times, it requires a group effort to arrive at success. Thank you for the TBM, Greg. You’re truly a beautiful human BEING! 

Thanks, Coach

Sometimes the impression we have on others may be unseen to ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t succeeding.

I recently took a temporary job so I could add some financial security to my lifestyle. Granted this security is only a short term concept and I will, in the future, need to procure employment. Nonetheless this job has been no less than rewarding. On this particular job I was provided an opportunity as a shipping/receiving clerk located in the rural countryside. How beautiful for me, right? Not only is it tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but it’s also small enough that I only worked with a handful of people. I also listened to birds talking to each other on the daily.

Every day I would come to work with a smile and good cheer as there was truly nothing I could find discontent with. I was always treated equitably, kind, and with patient understanding. Who wouldn’t enjoy those gifts? The department only had two bay doors (these are doors trucks load and unload), one for vans and one for the larger, 18 wheelers; rarely where they occupied simultaneously. I should mention that I am working in the power sports section of the facility, i.e., side by sides, four wheelers, and motorcycles. With that being said, I was fortunate to see some pretty neat concepts come through the doors. I cannot talk or discuss them, but I can say they were revolutionary, packed with options, and catchy to the eye. As I was watching one of these vehicles roam freely around the lot I caught myself thinking, “I bet that would be fun to ride in”. At that moment I made the choice to try and bring this thought to fruition. So I did what most in my position would do, I asked. It wasn’t difficult to pose or structure the question and at worst they would say no. I wouldn’t be out anything and I would have tried. I also find more peace when I try rather than dismiss or assume something can’t be done. I was given the response of, “I’ll see what we can do” upon my initial inquiry, I accepted it with grace. After about a week of not hearing anything I asked a follow up question. Not exactly my initial question, but one similar to show I was still interested and sincere in my request. At this the delightful human BEING I was associating with said, “I was talking to so and so last night about that but he seemed eager to leave and we didn’t get far”. I smiled and replied, “perhaps you should catch him in the morning?”. The chuckle that ensued was both sincere and delightful for me to hear and witness. It was also the end of our conversation as he left, laughing as he went. Fast forward a week.

I’m checking in some parts when two individuals walk into the dock. Both I know and have grown rather fond of. They are also the two who would make a ride along possible for me. As they approached I smiled and welcomed them with the warmth of a sunshine hug and asked what I could do for them. They immediately grinned and said, “We would like to get you fitted for a helmet, goggles and some gloves if you have time”. If my boots hadn’t been tied I would have left them right on the dock where I had been standing. In no time at all I had the appropriate PPE and was now waiting for my ride. I was informed it may be a while, but it would definitely happen. Thanking them both with childlike enthusiasm, one I’m sure would have made the most apoplectic individual reconsider his position, I returned to work eager for what was to come. Shortly after lunch a machine drives up the ramp and honks. As soon as I turn around I’m greeted with, “Are you ready for your ride?”. Am I ever, was my initial thought. I donned my gear and as I approached noticed two things. One: this particular machine wasn’t a “family” machine. It had the look of speed and the cautious design of potentially dangerous. I must confess the nerves came up a bit at this point. Two: the driver was one who was known for speed and pushing boundaries. As soon as my mind correlated the cohesion I became aware of the gift. Not only was I getting a ride along, but I was getting one that I probably wouldn’t forget. I’m sitting in the fastest machine they make with the most aggressive test driver. Good thing they have these handle bars conveniently located for passengers to hold onto. Think of bicycle handlebars protruding from the passenger dash. I cannot tell you how long I was in the machine as it all blurred together in a vision of speed, the effects of gravity, and giggling excitement. I believe this may also be referred to as adrenaline. I was stepping out of the vehicle on cloud nine, grateful for the gift and reward I had just received. What a reward. The next day would be my last day working with the facility and I arrived at another beautiful gift on my desk. All I could say was; Thank You, Coach.

Welcome and thanks for checking out my blog. This is where I share my life experiences, creativity, and struggles. A wise man said, “When we talk about our feelings they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary” (Fred Rogers). That is my main objective here. Find peace and solace for myself. It’s also a place for everyone to enjoy, provide corrective criticism, or give a little encouragement. And perhaps, if I do things correctly, share a little courageous inspiration along the way.

My name is Alan Dilts and I’m just an average guy. Yup, pretty much somes it up.