Sunday, September 03, 2017

DEATH BY CHOICE---A GOOD FRIEND TAKES HIS LIFE

My dear friend and fellow blogger Wayne Wirs took his life yesterday in one of his favorite camping spots along the Green River near Le Barge, Wyoming.

I met him in Aug of 09 in Portland, Oregon when he came down from the mountain to meet me and discuss the pros and cons of living in a trailer.  We quickly got philosophical and never stopped as we reconnected many times in the coming years.


Here, we connected in Salida, Colorado 2 years ago.  A few days ago we made plans to connect in Wyoming after the eclipse.  I lost computer service for awhile, then yesterday I received the same sad notice that all his friends received:  "See you soon".


Click HERE to read one of the greatest suicide notes ever written.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: Here's my take on this extraordinary man and his extraordinary death:

1, HE WALKED HIS TALK.  He said he would do this willingly when he felt the moment was right--and he did!

2. HIS BOLDNESS AND COURAGE  WILL REFRESH  DISCUSSION OF A GREAT MORAL QUESTION: DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE THE MANNER AND TIME OF OUR DEATH.

3.  HE INSPIRES ME TO DIE COURAGEOUSLY BY MY CHOICE WHENEVER I WISH.
( Though I must admit that we also hurried to contact the authorities in his area when we read his note)

4.  HIS INABILITY TO GET HIS PAIN ALLEVIATED AT THE VA HAS INSPIRED ME TO BRING THIS INCIDENT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE VA REQUESTING THAT THEY REEXAMINE THEIR PROCEEDURES IN DEALING WITH SUCH CASES.  Did they take his complaints seriously---or just dismiss him with a handfull of pills?

5. I HAVE RESOLVED TO ASSEMBLE  THOSE WHO LOVED HIM IN A CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE THIS WINTER AT THE RTR (Rubber tramp Rendezvous) at Quartzsite, Az.

6. I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO CONSIDER AND REVIEW HIS BASIC IDEAS:
     A. Perhaps there is a God---who loves us.
     B. Attempts to communicate with us directly---often through synchronicities.
     C.  Perhaps we are an immortal soul inhabiting a body.
     D. Perhaps we will be reincarnated after we die.
     E, Perhaps God wants us to live happy and fulfilling lives and guides us when we are receptive.

Wayne was not alone in his beliefs.  Here's what my favorite poet, Walt Whitman had to say on the subject of death:

"As to you death, you bitter hug of mortality,
It is idle to try to alarm me.
No doubt I have already died many times before.
I wish I could translate the hints about those dead young men and women,
and the hints about old men and mothers
and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.

what do you think has become of the young and old men
what do you think has become of the women and children?
They are alive and well somewhere.
The smallest sprout shows there's really no death
All goes onward and outward and nothing collapses,
and to die is different than anyone supposed.

Has anyone considered it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her that it is just as lucky to die.
And I know it.
I do not know what is untried and afterward
but I know it is sure, and alive and sufficient.
Do you see oh my brothers and sisters, it is not chaos and death,
It is form and union and plan,
it is eternal life, it is happiness.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

THE EERIE EXPERIENCE OF A TOTAL ECLIPSE

We drove 700 miles---located a great--free camping spot in the dead center of its path--waited 3 days for it to happen---welcomed abut 30 others to our fine spot---AND THEN---AND THEN.

At 10:20 AM on 8/21/2017 the world began to darken,

and darken,

and darken,

until it was near total darkness for 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

Strange things began to happen:
 This bird ceased flying and settled herself into roosting posture.
The temperature dropped an estimated 20 degrees--chilly.
Cricket sounds suddenly filled the air.
Stars came out--Venus was especially bright.

Then slowly dawn appeared on the eastern horizon.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  YES, SWEET PEOPLE, IT WAS WORTH THE 700 MILE DRIVE.
AND NO, IT DIDN'T MAKE ME BEGIN TO BELIEVE IN GOD!
My feelings were of AWE and WONDER  I marvel that SCIENCE can so accurately predict its exact path and time.  SCIENCE took the terror out of this and other phenomenon and now we are free to enjoy.




Saturday, August 19, 2017

LET'S GO TO WYOMING AND SEE THE ECLIPSE

SHE SAID LET'S GO---IT'S A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY--MORE OR LESS.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to see total darkness fall over the land at 10:00 O'clock in the morning so that you could see the stars.  Wyoming is the best place. Scientist studying weather history say there is where clear skies are most likely.

The offer comes as I'm settled into one of my favorite spots in the Flagstaff area--a meadow of some thousands of acres.
Looking to my south---and no, that;s not the moon rising.  It's the Naval observatory perched on that distant hill.  It's primary function is to certify what time it is---nd if necessary to add or subtract from our officil time.  As a sideline, it locates exo-planets outside our solar system.  They have found several.
And this is Kat, come to visit for a few days--one of my favorite people--the sanest, most contributing citizen I have the privledge to know.  She is amazingly resourceful, self reliant and joyful--and a terrific dancer.

A better view from my campsite--Mt. Humphrey behind me.


Two more friends arrive to enjoy Flagstaff's coolness and beauty.

And later, two more old friends Laurie and Lisa just in time for a rainbow shot.
So why would I leave such a spot and such friends.

Well, to go on a grand adventure with another of my friends.
I stashed my trailer, cobbled together a bed and some supplies in my van and off we went, North of Flagstaff through Indian country toward Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Our first night out we made it to Navajo National Monument. (terrific and the parking is free)

Past Kayenta through monument valley


and on past mexican hat.  Isn't this amazing?  I have climbed up to its neck, but there are climbers who have succeeded in climbing on top of it.

Climbing down into a real kiva at Edge of Cedars museum in Blanding, Utah. (worth seeing)


Our second night we spent at Recovery Reservoir just 4 miles outside Blsnding. (free)


Enroute to Moab, Ut is this well named CHURCH ROCK.

Some miles south of Moab is one of America's great Rest areas.  Stop and rest awhile and get some good water.  Butch Cassidy and gang did so.

Then drive this fantasy highway---#128 along the Colorado River


To the ghost town of Cisco.

Into Colorado and North on scenic highway #139 to Rangley. Very exciting--high passes--at the top of which we met these guys who locate and photograph animals in the valley below.  They showed us a large black bear.

We camped for the night at this rest area south of Rangely.

In Vernal Utah



We visited the dinasaur museum---don't miss this one--it's great.

We moved on into Wyoming--surprisingly treeless here, camping at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.


And then I very nearly got destroyed by this gigantic  wide load. I managed to take this pict and swerve to the roadside
.
  
In Lander Wyoming we met these wonderfully helpful people: Steve Schacht, Barb Gustin and Rob Robertson.  I was amazed at how well prepared they were to be helpful to the public during this special event.  In addition to giving free eclipse glasses and a special Forestry Service eclipse bandana, they helped us locate a terrific viewing spot---dead center of the event.



Here's one page of  a specially prepared report on everything you could wish to know.
Ahh sweet people, believe it, the world really is getting better and these federal employees are stretching their imagination to prove it. (read Pinker's latest book:  THE WORLD IS NOT FALLING APART)

Settled into a dead center lovely spot to await the big show.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  A road trip with a friendly and flexible companion is one of life's great joys.  No one said it better than Walt Whitman:

Afoot and light hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free--the world before me.
Henceforth I ask not good fortune;
I myself am good fortune
Strong and content I travel the open road..
I inhale great draughts of space;
The East and West are mine;
The North and South are mine.
All seems besutiful to me.
I can repeat over to men and women;
you have done such good to me;
I will do the same for you.
Whoever you are, come--- travel with me;
However sweet these laid up stores,
However convenient this dwelling
we cannot remain here.
However calm these waters, however secure this harbor,
 we cannot anchor here.
Together the inducements shall seem greater.
We will sail wild and pathless seas;
 go where the winds blow, Waves dash
and the yankee clipper speeds by under full sail.

Forward, after the great companions
and to belong to them;
they too are-- on the road.
Onward to that which is endless
as it was beginningless.
To undergo much, tramps of days and rest of nights.
 To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it and pass it;.
To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you.
To know the universe itself as a road;-- as many roads;
As roads for traveling souls.




Friday, July 28, 2017

A DEAR FRIEND HAS DIED---HE WAS A GENIUS

I TOLD YOU ABOUT HIM SOME YEARS AGO: CLICK HERE


Here he is reading a bit of poetry he's written On a portable stage he built.  Later he performed a one hour concert of Sinatra songs.


He and I built an (impossible?) desert dancefloor at Quartzsite, Az for the amusement of our rv club the Wandering Individual's Network. It worked beqautifully--for a hundred folks for 2 weeks. Here he's testing it with a passer by Donna.

A year or so ago I was privledged to be best man at his wedding to a wonderful Thai Lady.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Please click on the link above to learn more about this amazingly creative personality. He died last Sunday (July 23 at age 69, I think of heart trouble).

On his last birthday I dashed off this poem celebrating inventors and sent it to him.
 I SING THE GLORY OF INVENTORS

They lift us up from savagery
beginning perhaps that day we broke a rock
and noticed one sharp edge
that scraped meat away from bone;
The whole tribe learned the trick.
Then we learned to work the stone
on both sides of the edge
and knives were born;spears and spear points;
bows and arrows and more,
stepping us up
from scavenger to hunter.

One day noticing sparks from stone,
fire-making was born--
a giant leap up  that brought us down
from the trees  to safely sleep on the ground.

They showed us a thousnd ways to make shelter
from whatever was at hand.

Inventors were the first to notice noticed that mud
got hard in the fire.
pottery was born. Oh what a boon
to boil and bake, to store things and carry water.
Our nests got even cozier.
Designs in the mud
likely our first art.

Clothes from animal skins---on and on.
Like a stone set rolling downhill;
ever faster the inventors
lifted us to comfort and freedom.
And even glory.

While others prayed to invisible gods
for magic and luck and deliverance,
inventors thought-- and tinkered-- with tangible things
till from their workplace came
a new and better home.

They bless the world and build the stairs
we climb to the future.
Thank you is not enough.
Reverence is more appropriate.
Thank you Ron
You and your kind are heroes to humanity.


Friday, July 14, 2017

TIME---THE CURRENCY OF LIFE---HOW ARE YOU SPENDING IT?

HERE'S HOW I'M SPENDING MINE:


Competed in a Poetry Slam.  This pretty lady sat beside me and announced that she was inspired by my blog to move into a van and take to the open road.  I have a lot to answer for.

You will recognize my old friends Laurie and CB.  We spent a whole day making this truck comfortable to camp in.  She insisted on plexiglass windows and a shaded roof strong enough to sleep on.

Breaking camp, I share a goodbye meal with Laurie and Kat.  We are headed in three different direction
s.
My first stop is only 20 miles away, camping with an old friend in this lovely spot with a view of Mt Humphrey. (12,633 ft--highest point in Az)

Then on toward Santa Fe, I pause for the night near the border with New Mexico.  Every exit usually offers little roads into the desert--away from the interstate noise.

Arriving at my friends place near Santa Fe.  He has 5 acres.

That's him on the right--Bushrod, my oldest friend--40 plus years. You may recognize Debora and CB from our last campsite who arrive shortly afterwards. (everyone travels separately--the only way to feel free)

Once settled in here, CB gets busy recording a new musician. (Simon) If you are unfamiliar with his hobby of recording musicians?  Click here for a sample of his fine work.

This was an ego boosting moment: In Sam's club I was surprised when this guy called my name and said " I recognize you from the movie". Without Bounds

Enjoyed an amazing experience of virtual reality..

and  an outdoor symphony.---they played all the 4th of  July favorites.

Attended a session of professional poets in this building and afterwards witnessed this dragon tearing its way out of the building.

CB found a musician on the plaza--brought him to the studio on his scooter.
The guy , Ricky,  a singer/songwriter/musician was a terrific guitar player and seemed deeply grateful that someone with the CB's skill and equipment would polish his music and provide him with a demo record he can use to promote himself.

Bushrod and I got to work equiping my van with solar power. (200 watt panel costs $250.)

Ah but this controller costs $300

and these two batteries $400.  Someone gave me the inverter.  So there you have a good solar system for a thousand dollars.  Should be good for 10 years service. ($8 amonth)

The heartbeat of Santa Fe is the Plaza.  Here's a selfie of me and a scientist from Los Alamos Laboratory that I engaged.

And over there, a musical duo named "HALF A SHIPWRECK".  I recruited them for CB to record.

A block away is the most astounding art exhibit I've ever seen:  giant art works by great artist from the past from one of the premier galleries in the world---The PRADO museum in Madrid, Spain.
They are of course copies---but I could not tell. Here's Adam and Eve.


This is Bosch's vision of hell.
There must hve been a hundred of the finest art in human history--free to all--outside in the shade of a churchyard.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  TWO WEEKS OF MY LIFE--- scanned for you.  In the grand scheme of things, it amounts to nothing perhaps, but I enjoyed it.  Are you enjoying your life?