Thursday, September 04, 2014


I hold this myth in my head because it  helps propel me into deeper and richer experience----keeps me mindful of the briefness of my being---emboldens me to seize the day.
"Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
still achieving, still pursuing;
Learn to labor and to wait."
(Longfellow: A Psalm of Life)

A recognizable sphinx at the sand castle festival.

An ....Ugly face!

One day I visited an old fort and engaged the host--
Learned of his hobby--told him mine--suggested we perform for each other.

He agreed--we exchanged 3 songs for 3 poems.  By the time we finished, we had an audience.

Went to an Indian Pow Wow.  This one a series of dance contest for money.

Went to a unique boat show in Toledo, Or. ---featuring CARDBOARD and wooden boats.  The town lets you settle in along this river.  

There, dear readers is a rare sight---a functioning cardboard boat.

Here is the idea man and director of the festival--with his personal cardboard boat----chose not to float it.  He explained the rules:  One month ago, the local paper mill gave out lots of cardboard to anyone wishing to build a boat for the big race. Wood  is not permitted---only glue, paint and duct tape.

Here's a sample of what the contestants came up with. These are after-the-race shots of course.

Some survived splendidly,

others, not so splendidly.
Some were a hilarious disaster---the paddler had to swim for his life.

I think this was the winner---the situation was confusing.

Aaah but there was more to this festival.  for $425 you would be furnished with everything you needed to build your own kayak--including instructions.  You were given the weekend to finish your project.  Amazingly, most got their boat built.

And as you can see, they were exquisite, serviceable kayaks.

Engaged this pretty lady.  Meet Patti---and guess what---she's an inventor!  Posing here she wears her patented invention around her neck:  A "wine bra".  It's the answer to that troubling problem of where to put your wine glass as you move about in a social situation.  Read about it here .

Someone called my name---always a pleasant surprise. Fellow travelers I met in Quartzsite, Az at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous.

At the local rail museum I quizzed this expert on an obscure puzzlement of mine: How did the railroad builders finally solve the problem of eliminating the  noisy clack, clack, clack as trains passed over the once-considered-necessary expansion joints? Not only noisy, he said, but wearing on the wheels.  So RIBBON RAIL ---with no gaps is now standard.  But "How do they allow for expansion on hot days", I asked.  He smiled and punched up the answer: 

THEY WELD THE JOINTS WHEN THE RAILS ARE HOT--- making them hot with a temporary fire.   mystery solved!

Another guy answered questions about life in a caboose. Lets me hold the job for a jiffy.

Here's a shocker for you---on at least 3 occasions human beings were sent by mail.

The highlight of the day was engaging this brilliant guy---Steve---an attorney from Portland.  We are both Unitarians with much to share.  On another day he took me on a farm tour near Yachats, Or.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I believe that life is a zone of mystery because we do not know, ultimately, where we come from---why---if any reason-- we are here ---and what-- if anything--becomes of us.  So we speculate---and make up stories (myths) that ease our anxiety a bit and help us generate some temporary meaning for ourselves.  Most of the world's worst problems are caused by believers who take their myths too seriously. Everyone on the planet who does not know that they do not know is a part of the problem.  Everyone who embraces the mystery joyfully, is part of the solution. 


Jim and Gayle said...

Your final paragraph describes my thought only more eloquently.


Randy said...

Thank you Jim/Gale: Right from the beginning I have suspected a philosophical resonance with y'all.

VtChris said...

Randy, I came to comment to say exactly what Jim and Gayle just said! The way you put that final paragraph together was perfection. Do you mind me sharing your quote? With proper acknowledgement of course! Peace and love, Chris

Bon vivant said...

I've often thought the same (myths to placate) although religion being an accident of our species is no worse or better than agnosticism. It cannot be otherwise, can it? If a person doesn't harm in the name of religion s/he would harm in the name of something else.

Randy said...

Chris: I'm honored---be my guest.
By the way---you are missed---hurry back.

Randy said...

Bon Vivant: I disagree---I think an inspiring myth---a "tweakable" myth--IF YOU KNOW IT IS A MYTH--is better than agnosticism.
The I DON'T KNOW---NOBODY KNOWS--agnostic position protects from the evils of doctrines and all other pretensions of certainty----BUT it has no power in it. We humans are in something of a desperate position: Alive and hungry for meaning--urgently wishing to contribute---to create---to connect---yet we are headed for the grave --with limited time to act. We just gotta tell ourselves some kind of story----act AS IF something were worth living for.
To lie down and die knowing you did no harm is not very satisfying.
But to approach your grave knowing you have tasted the nectar of the gods--enjoyed exquisite pleasures, dared to go---(well you know)
lived a dream---loved someone---all these fine enterprises require a conscious or unconscious STORY that HINTS at ultimate value. (a myth)
It requires the wisdom of Solomon-(actually more--he was not all that smart) to find or create a good myth
and use it without letting it use you.
The song: To Dream the Impossible Dream---says it better than I can.

VtChris said...

Randy, You have no idea how much that simple comment means to me. Leaving Vermont (especially this year) has been an emotional roller coaster. And knowing there are friends out west wishing to see me.....well, there are no words. Chris