Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rely on the message of the teacher, not on his personality
Rely on the meaning, not just the words.
Rely on the real meaning, not on the provisional one.
Rely on your wisdom mind, not on your ordinary judgmental mind.
-The Teachings of Buddha

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A day at home with the kids and Drie.
There is always much to do around this little house- we bought it originally with the intent of gutting and fixing it before we moved in, but Drie's unscheduled pregnancy with Hyrum lowered our workforce by one and hastened the move-in. We were only able to drag all of the unuseables out of the house, fix to a usable level the things that were unserviceable, hope for the best, and move in.
Once you have six, followed by seven, soon another eighth and finally a ninth person sharing a (scant) thirteen hundred square foot house with a large german shepherd, not much renovation happens.
We have been able to put up some drywall, redo some plumbing, upgrade some wiring and reglaze the odd window, but that isn't all that should have been done. The first clue on that subject is rain in the bathroom whenever a storm lasts longer than seven or eight minutes.
The projects I was able to do this summer leave us better off for this winter than ever, but we ought to figure out something better as this horde grows bigger individually even if the collective is at its largest point.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I felt sick this morning but went to work anyway. It didn't last very long.
Yesterday was a day of struggle as my co-workers fidgeted and worked on tentative plans for the new arrangements that are coming with the new year, so I was feeling left out and unneeded. No, it was more like rejected and unwanted, as they were discussing new directives of the superintentents that included my absence in the school and a directive to abandon my little room that I have worked so hard to make into an inviting and comfortable place for the students and I.
The teachers at our school are naturally an independet lot, each strong in a way that enables them to work with our little angry and sad children especially well. To see them discussing ways to submit to the blessed administrators who really don't know a thing about what we're doing makes me feel angry and sad myself.
But what is a person to do? The tune is set by these middle-level men and they sing the songs prescribed by the higher ups who politik and set agendas that look as good as they can on the surface without showing through for the fakery it really is.
It is all fairly pathetic, and pathetic is what I really feel as one low man in need of approbabtion and money so that I can keep my family fed and clothed.
It is hard for some people to walk in such a way to impress the people who have accumulated power and acclaim by impressing those who had power and acclaim before them, but that is how things work, that is the order of things.
Rewards are given for increasing the power, prestige and riches of those who already have them.
I went to work today, but I couldn't stay, so I went home for a while and then drove around to see things and listen to music.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jerusha, Jesse and I went swimming yesterday with our friend Chris and his son Madoc.
Nearly every Saturday, Chris and Madoc head to Nephi where there's a hotel pool in a glass enclosure. They swim together in bliss and privacy. They decided to share their secret with us yesterday, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Bless their hearts for that.
You learn to appreciate the little things here in Central Utah, I'm telling you.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Yellowstone Fellowship is up and running, well, perhaps a better adjective would be crawling (or even slithering, in its present obsolete format).
At any rate, the project has officially begun. Wish me luck.
Else? Not too much- though I was able to make it up to Heber to see my brother Tyler's new house yesterday. We moved a few things around and I was able to spend some time with my brother, so it was a good and productive trip. He sure has a great place up there, possibilities abound in that little valley. It'll be fun to see what happens.
I also ran into some old friends at Costco quite fortuitously, and was able to stop in and visit them in the Springville area. The Rasmussen family has been hard at work building support and financing for Charter Schools and other projects, and we caught up in other areas and exploits.
We spoke until one in the morning and was able to top off a fine travelling Friday with an uplanned surprise and quite the uplifting speak session!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Here's an article on desert sheep in central and southern Utah from yesterday's SL Tribune. I've not seen any sheep out there for years. I'd better get out more often...

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Whatever shall I do?

In a world with opportunities and ideas for profit and gain coming out of the worm-holes and pockmarks like so much accompanying, …stuff, I am in the middle of decisions and questions about my and my family’s well-being and temporal welfare.

While the statement about opportunity and money above is true for so much of the world, here in wee little Sanpete County, the abundance is quite a bit leaner. Does this reflect a can-do attitude so necessary for ‘success’ in our go-get-em society and world? Probably not.

Balance between reality, what one has experienced in one’s perception of reality and the reality that one wants to create within the at-large reality is not always easy to acquire and even harder at times to maintain. Perhaps it is easier for some, but I for one have not arrived at that point. It is something I aspire to, though.

I have two dear friends who have recently struck out on wild paths of self and familial fulfillment who have been rewarded handsomely for their efforts. While their goals are only slightly different from mine, the variation of core values and how to fulfill those hopes takes methodology of fulfillment to potentially radically different places. That’s where things get hard for people of my ilk.

Rigid ideals can be punishing taskmasters. I’ve learned that, and compromise comes from equally toilsome effort as well.

Nevertheless, I’m coming to a crossroads. I’ve especially recently compromised and worked to keep my ideals and responsibilities satisfied somewhere in the middle, but all the same, I might have to compromise and pay the taskmaster even more. That isn’t a happy place for me at this point.

Happy things are what I’m hoping for. I yet have faith in hope. There is so danged much that I don’t know or see in the future. I’ve no idea how things will work out.
Here's an interesting article on an urban parental debate: kids and cafes.
It's a weird time we live in. Take it from a parent of seven.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

I've been mulling over a few ideas since receiving word of my impending time off after December, and one of them is another web site apart from this one.
While I was up in Yellowstone during the UEA weekend, I started thinking about a Yellowstone-related project that I could use as a vehicle to keep myself interested in life in general during the following winter. Something that might serve as a foundation for future projects and ideas.
The Yellowstone Fellowship is the present form of that idea. I've got Ryan David graciously helping me with some basic page architecture and graphics and I'm throwing around ideas about the community and services aspect of the site.
It should turn out to be a good resource of non-commercial information and contacts for the greater Yellowstone area, and hopefully it will keep me more connected with the area that I have developed such a love for over the past couple of decades.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Ryan David's hit the bigtime! He sent a letter to Sony-BMG and CC'ed it to a few sources including a CNet podcast forum, and he got on the program. He's even featured as a 'voice message' personality on the PodCast at this link.
The letter is darned good, also.

Well, there it is.
One of the bigger reasons for my more recent bloggy silence, my walking papers from the school district effective 01 Jan 06. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, indeed.
The rumors and heresay began a couple of months ago and culminated with this letter from a couple of weeks ago.
North Sanpete School District has recently decided that the scale and scope of our little alternative high school has outstripped their vision for the cooperative project. Other opinons include that the district has outstripped their own ultra-conservative financial outline for special programs other than athletics, but who knows. All I know is that our full-time administrator and I are not returning to the school effective with the new year.
I was quite nervous and apprehensive with all of the politics, rumor and local press that has accompanied this process, and when the final news finally came out, it was after a few days of relative joy that accompanyed a false report of full funding of the school that came of some strange numbers jockying by North Sanpete and incomplete reportage. The news, even after all of the preparation and instability, came as a bit of a surprise.
My energy level has been somewhat low during this whole process, and the written word has been fairly slow in coming. I've done all I could to keep going to work and taking the classes mandated by my inane alternative licensure program.
We'll see what happens with job prospects, but thankfully I have my Electronic High School job until at least July. After that, we'll see what happens with the next crop of Legislative oversight and funding and State Board recommendations, but it imparts wiggle room to our little ship.
We'll just have to see, neh?

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Ryan and I tooled out to the San Rafael Swell this afternoon at two, blazing all the way over the mountain on a quick exploratory out to the San Rafael River crossing and back by six o'clock.
All together too quick was the dash, but now we know what it takes. The long winter ahead will be all the better for that knowlege.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Besides more waiting and taking on blood-bulking fluids and super antibiotics through her clear vein tube, Drie did naught but feed the tiny girl and rest all day Friday.
Her doctors came through from time to time to discuss her situation and make decisions with her, letting her know that she’d not be going home unless she didn’t mind letting the awful infection she was getting over have a good chance of coming back. Her anxiousness to leave the hospital was quickly changed to a resolute desire to do anything in her power to get as healthy as possible before she left.
We got her showered and set for the day and I went home to fix all that had gone awry since we left in a whirl early Wednesday morning. I worked on the soot-plugged wood stove and the gas heater that Asher had placed a piece of wood and a golf ball into the day we left. It burst into flame at around three o’clock in the morning when the wood stove had cooled, sending my mother-in-law into a flurry of panic and child evacuation before it burned down of its own accord. Two-year-olds are sowers of nervous breakdowns.
I went into work to check conditions generally and to let my coworkers know that all was on the mend. They were all very supportive and generally glad that the week was over, they had endured the week not only without me around, but mostly without our principal, whose wife endured hip replacement surgery over last weekend. There might have been more like joys, but I wasn’t around to know of them. I was having my own fun.
After that excursion, I got a few things at the store for the family and some for the Drie after which I picked up the family for a visit to their mom. Asher began running around saying ‘momma’ and ‘baby,’ while everyone else searched high and low for the sneakers he always puts in separate hiding places at inopportune times.
Eventually that got sorted out and we got over to see Drie, all else but Hyrum with semi-presentable clothes, he with the dross and detritus of three days of four-year- old adventure all over his shirt and faded, holey jeans. Every thing went well in spite of cards stacked against us. The kids and the mom were happy, though disappointed that the time of casseroles and an absent, beloved mother hadn’t come to the quick close that they had been hoping for.
I took them home and took care of a few other to-do's so that I could come back here to the hospital room and sleep on a silly little cot next to my beloved and her newest offspring. All of this is yet worth it, because after everything Drie has had to go through, Anwyn is still here and happy to be learning to smile and coo and yawn for food. And Drie is feeling much better, on top of it.

Friday, October 7, 2005

Dispatch from the field:
Drie and I have spent the past day and a half in the Sanpete Valley Hospital. Though our seventh child, a wee lass by the name of Anwyn Iza, was born well and happy on the night of the first, her mom retained enough placenta to keep us on our toes for the past few days until it finally went septic.
Unfortunately for us and our ‘bronze-step’ but still oh-so-expensive insurance, the decision was taken at one o’clock at night when it turned automatically into an “emergency” situation by classification of what was open at that hour. Nevertheless, we weren’t going to stick by our original plan and wait ‘til the morning at that point.
She was admitted to the hospital. Our old friend, the doctor who took care of Drie when she had a difficult miscarriage back in February of ’02, Dr. Cole, called in a prescription of nasty-ass intravenous antibiotics until the break of day when he’d be in to figure out the rest. By that time, it was about five in the morning, and I don’t think either of us got a wink of sleep.
The day was eaten up by tests, poking, prodding and much waiting. Little Anwyn didn’t mind it at all- she had her mom all to her self and her adoring brothers and sisters were at a distance where she didn’t have be poked and prodded by anybody at all.
Finally, the decision was taken by all that it would be better to have the resident surgeon do the hysteroscopy and d&c instead of the OBGYN. A uterus that’s just been through its seventh big job can be a little thin and delicate for someone scraping and poking around blindly, so Dr. Cole was rightly a little nervous. We waited until Dr. Hansen, the surgeon, had an opening in his day at around five. We suddenly pathetically realized that we could inquire of a nurse after a breast pump so that little Anwyn wouldn’t have to wait the whole five or six hours afterwards to eat to avoid the same sort of anesthetic and narcotics that Drie was about to go through.
While the nurses waited to drag poor Drie to the cutter, she madly pumped a miniature bottle full of milk and was whisked off to her boon and doom. No sooner had the nurses deposited the bottle in the fridge, when Anwyn decided it was time for her supper.
Though she had finished her dinner no more than twenty minutes before, we spent the time arguing back and forth between us over conservation of the precious resource at hand. She inevitably won each warm-hearted exchange, and by the time Drie was wheeled back from her surgery in a drugged stupor, the half-pint bottle of gold was near gone.
Drie emerged from the fog in her usual good-natured manner, asking how everything had gone and how Anwyn and I had passed the time. Her surgery had gone well, if unexpectedly, and she had lost more than a couple of pints of blood and the “reproductive remains” of placenta left over a quarter of her uterine wall. It was a good thing that Dr. Hansen had done the procedure, as having the advantage of the scope and surgeon’s specialties had made all of the difference in a smooth and thorough procedure.
I was very grateful all had gone well- and more than a little glad for a fine male nurse who asked me sincerely and unflinchingly if I needed anything while Drie was away, and who brought me a plate of food, the first that I had eaten since the night before. The rest of the night was spent helping Drie fully wake and come back to herself while watching a great program on PBS about the conquest of Mexico City by Cortéz.
While watching, Ryan came back from his day’s hunt with his dad and graciously called wanting to know what he could do. I wearily mumbled something about cheezebread, grape juice and my laptop. He responded by arriving in less than twenty minutes with just that, minus the juice for the hurry to get to the hospital before the nine o’clock witching hour of the end of visitor’s hours. We had customary, welcome laughs and social and environmental commentary about the hospital while we filled in the gaps in our ribs with mozzarella and bread. Man, did than bread and chatter go down well.
After Ryan went home to his family, Drie and I wound down to my rapidly declining cognitive and physical coordination. I began spilling everything and blathering incoherently, so I made my small, lumpy bed and collapsed in it for the choppy and nurse-interrupted night ahead.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

A little girl named Anwyn Iza was born in our house just before nine in the eventide yesterday. She's doing very well.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I had to go through this country two days in a row because I left my camera at lakeside during a fishing trip. Not bad luck when you really think about it, in spite of the six -hour round trip.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Fairly odd thing happened this afternoon.
I forgot to pick up the paper this morning and brought it in after a trip to the grocery.
On my bed when I got back was a paper from the fifteenth of February. Drie or one of the kids had found it while cleaning up the school supplies and put it there for me for some unexplainable reason instead of throwing it away.
Anyhoo, I brought today's paper in and threw it absently on the bed and walked out to put groceries away. When I came back to the bedroom, these two were sitting almost side by side on the farging bed.
It done gave me the willies. See what you think...

Right down to the same relative size (sorta), a fireman in the lower left corner and the people around the edges. Strange, neh?
Taken this week on the way to Thousand Lakes. I've not much in the way of verbosity this week, so here's a pixel or two. Don't forget to click on it for much amplification and the accompanying joy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

In the tradition of Spring City Summertime Sunsets, tonight's was truly a barn-burner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Hey, look, over there! It's Ryan Syme's new golfing buddy! I wonder if he's a Scientologist.

Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune

Monday, August 1, 2005

I realized last night that it'd been a week or so since I posted. The summer seems to have accelerated to a point that I cannot keep track of time or the time needed to keep track of it, so I haven't spent the time to type and ftp and keep the site up to any sort of date.
For a very few, the Twenty-Fourth of July (and on many years such as this, many days on either side)is a day of reverence for the pioneers of the LDS faith who tramped across thousands of miles of prairie, desert and mountain to escape the persecution of the US, fleeing to the freedom and isolation of far-off desert oasis still in the possession of Mexico, named by them the land of 'Deseret.'
For most these days, the holiday is a mere extension of the festivities of Independence Day, another opportunity to put up red, white and blue banners, set off fireworks, and generally eat and spend too much.
We enjoyed a full day of the celebrations as we usually do, up in Bountiful with our extended family on the Burningham side. Many of our traditions have been upset by the passing on of Grandpa Burningham and the subsequent sale of his home last year.
We soldiered on, gathering at Uncle George and Aunt Marla's house. It was the home of my great grandma and grandpa, where my grandpa was born and died, so the spirit of the holiday has been preserved in a fine way after all.

The kids and I headed down to Main Street to catch the parade. No cool lawn to watch from, but we had a good time nevertheless.

The Sunday of the 24th was a day at home resting from the travels and bustle of the city. The kids pretty uniformly sacked out at around dusk, leaving me without an audience for the fireworks I had purchased so patriotically for the occasion. I had more fun rocking and talking with Drie on the porch anyhow.

Ryan and I headed over to Black Canyon on the other side of the Skyline directly east of us late last week, taking some time to photograph verdant sights and chart some familiar spots on his GPS.

This is the well stem at the Black Canyon trailhead. Our mountains have quite a few of these silly things, evidence of mineral speculation during the midpoint of the twentieth century much like the current oil boom in our area.
Now the welded and information-festooned stems are little more than hunting rendezvous, camping sites and curiosities, but I'm sure that today's prospectors have their eyes on the spots still.

An aspen with the name of our good neighbor to the west carved into it.

Even the cast-off bedsprings of loggers of yesteryear have a beauty of their own.

The wildflowers are every bit as beautiful as on Reader Ridge and South Tent. This moisty area would have looked even more remarkably reminiscent of some areas in Oregon had the spruces not been ravaged by the dreaded boring beetle.

Some splendid forget-me-nots that caught my eye more than once on the trail.

Even at this late time of the summer, there were a few wild rosebuds to coax the faces of the hikers down into the growth at the side of the trail.
It was a grand day out, indeed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

After having not made it up the mountain since 2003 for some inexplicable reason, Ryan and I headed up to the highest point in Sanpete County yesterdee.

South Tent is about an hour drive up the canyon from Spring City; afterwhich one needs take a forty someodd minute half-mile, 1700 foot elevation gain hike to the top.
This year, there are live springs everywhere and a great deal of verdant bounty to delight the senses on one's strenuous jaunt up the slope.

There was a large bank of snow on the west face providing quite a flow for the stream below. This bank has been melting 24 hours a day for at least a month and a half, so it must have been quite a monster of snowfall and driftage.

Ryan helped me out with this after I took at least two pictures of myself with my eyes closed. That takes talent, taking pictures of one's self blinking on accident, I hope you realize.

By the time we made it to the top, there was quite a fire on a ridge to the south, a couple five miles away. It was roaring along with a westerly gust coming over the ridges at fifteen to thirty miles an hour, setting spruces bright like torches even during the day from across that distance.

Here's Ryan in a most familiar aspect; with his fieldglasses up, scanning the area for next fall's hunt.

Here's a fine cooperative relationship, near the summit of South Tent.

Like I said, there were many more wildflowers than there have been for years, all looking like rain had fallen just last night and the carpet had been laid out new for the day.

We made our way down the mountain, down a rather rocky wash on the barren south face. There was a fresh spring running from a source about seventy five feet from the rim. This wee falls was down the slope about three-quarters of the way, providing a cool contrast to the rest of the face.

The wildflowers weren't isolated to the high peaks, these were right next to the Skyline at around 9500 feet.

As the sun went down after we got home, I was sitting on the porch watching the evening come on. I noticed a huge cumulo nimbus cloud coming up from the area close to where we were, over where the smoke was trailing to the north east of the fire, just over the ridge from our view. The dern thing looked for all the world like a thermonuclear explosion's mushroom cloud, only dappled by the colors of the setting sun.
I watched it for a while and surmised that it must be from evaporation from Joe's Reservoir to the east of the fire. The lake was cooling slower than the air, as is usual, but with the fire sending huge amounts of particulates for the moisture to condense upon, the clouds were forming in huge columns while there were not many other clouds to speak of in the rest of the sky.
I took these two photos later on after the cloud had lost most of its definition. I Photoshopped them a bit to make them show up better, so the blindingly bright blotch is the almost full moon as it came up over the clouds.
From an article by Peter Yates for The New York Times, Published on the 17th of July.

JIM SINEGAL, the chief executive of Costco Wholesale, the nation's fifth-largest retailer, had all the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old in a candy store as he tore open the container of one of his favorite new products: granola snack mix. "You got to try this; it's delicious," he said. "And just $9.99 for 38 ounces."

Some 60 feet away, inside Costco's cavernous warehouse store here in the company's hometown, Mr. Sinegal became positively exuberant about the 87-inch-long Natuzzi brown leather sofas. "This is just $799.99," he said. "It's terrific quality. Most other places you'd have to pay $1,500, even $2,000."

But the pièce de résistance, the item he most wanted to crow about, was Costco's private-label pinpoint cotton dress shirts. "Look, these are just $12.99," he said, while lifting a crisp blue button-down. "At Nordstrom or Macy's, this is a $45, $50 shirt."

Combining high quality with stunningly low prices, the shirts appeal to upscale customers - and epitomize why some retail analysts say Mr. Sinegal just might be America's shrewdest merchant since Sam Walton.

But not everyone is happy with Costco's business strategy. Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well.

Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder."
(Itallics and Bold added)

Um. Shouldn't that always be the case in a sane, ethical society? Well, once again, I just don't get this world, I reckon.

Here's the entire article.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Yesterday was a fairly important day in history.
In 1945, in the isolated and windswept beauty of the New Mexico desert, the Trinity Test succeeded in creating the first human-manipulated nuclear detonation. The blast, with a yield of around 20 kilotons, was concurrently a much dreaded and sought after ushering in of the atomic age, and it happened sixty years ago yesterday.
Beside that somewhat troubling event, there was also the anniversary of The Catcher in the Rye, published originally in on the same date in 1951 by the now reclusive J.D. Salinger. I remember the first time I read that book, a tattered paperback version, during the summer of my sophomore year in high school. Its impact upon my young mind was formidable, leading me to read the thing once at least every two years up to last summer's reading.

I love the way Salinger wrote in those days, with an edge that cut the fascia from the deep muscle of life's very fist, showing the means and method for human effort and folly. The spirit of his works, especially that of the Glass family series continues to haunt me, especially in my effort to dissect the green from the moribund from my own somewhat contradictory life and morays.
I can see in my mind's eye the imposing figure of Mrs. Glass in her housecoat, slippers and ever-present cigarette perched on the edge of Zooey Glass' bathtub, lecturing him on his and his brother's mishandling of their sister Franny's delicate spiritual and metaphysical sensibilities. The lives of that somewhat irrational though incredibly lucid family seem to me intertwined with my own heart, and have become in a way, a part of my family.
Two very different events that happened on the same day in the summers of different years. Yet the power of each reverberates, in the hearts and minds of millions of people.
The power of the bomb is the puissance of life or death, war and peace, each in their own time and season because of the man's tentative power over the atom. The power of the Salinger's work is the potential of man's quest; of people's search for meaning and connection to one's own soul and those surrounding.
When might we be able to connect the two and understand the integral nature of each of our own struggles and triumphs, our wars and truces, our bombs and our books?
Perhaps when we understand the inseparability between our own hearts and minds we will be able to comprehend the connections outside of ourselves.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The fishing has been wonderful lately, having been down to the Escalante Plateau and Thousand Lakes Mountain to hunt Brookies in the last week in separate trips.
And what about photos? Well... I had a good quiver of images, but some no-good took advantage of my absentmindedness the day after one of the trips while I was up in Provo getting the monthly resupply at Costco and the like and lifted the camera from the back seat. What do I expect when I drive an old 4Runner with a folded and bungeed tarp for a top during the summer? Well, not this, but I guess it's not that surprising.
I didn't notice that I'd left it in there, but it's not anywhere to be found.
So, no photos! Darn the luck.
P'raps sometime soon. I'll take the family camera on a trip as soon as I'm finished being frustrated with my lack of foresight and or even general awareness at times.
On second thought, It'll be before that far-off day, for sure.
The kids are having a great time this summer, their little gang has a good range of ages and abilities these days. They range all over our acre of land, building things and taking others down, chasing chickens, geese, ducks and skunks from one end to the other, and ruining pair after pair of socks with the aid of cheatgrass and other burr-producing weeds.
And as for Drie, she's in her third trimester now and finally feeling her pregnancy. She tries so hard to deny her mortality at times that it's hard to see her start to slow down during this part of her pregnancies. She's still doing more in a day than most ordinary people do in three, though.
Other than that, the sky still hovers over Spring City, and the mountains are holding it up right nicely, as is their job. I hope they don't soon tire of their labour as we do at times.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A couple of glorious magazines came in the mail today, what more could one ask for to make a summer day complete???

Friday, June 24, 2005

The papers and opinion blogs are all abuzz with astonishment over the Supreme Court's eminent domain decision, Kelo v. New London, but this collection of photos over at Lilek's says quite a bit for me, so I don't have to cuss and jump up and down. It's hard to jump up and down in boring old electronic words on a screen anyway...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

To counter what may amount to revulsion from one more poem without much concrete meaning or perhaps any limbic value, here's a photo from the Endowment Run area during a fishing trip last week.

What a treat! More poetry! This one second draft, too:

To the century old Box Elder-
having passed throuh one too many cycles
of moisture then long drought,
though with a full crown of anxious new leaves
and a trunk as big around as
twelve handsome men;
when the wind blows
and then slackens
to blow anew,
it's the heart that matters
(especially if the skin has cracked.)
And, if the root has gone dry,
all the tea in China
won't save that grand
old tree
from the fires
of the coming winter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ryan came over with his kids for a fire, s'mores and a bit of the gab this solstice eventide. Good times indeed.
A poem written upon the Solstice:
(second draft)

Having Built

With a deadly blow
and windows blackened,
though facing sunward
our houses would seem in order
from without.
Even the poor are burdened with a sort of pride
as new houses are built,
shining like alabaster in
the summer sun-
each timber placed higher and
covering hunting ground
and grandfather’s farm,
having forgotten the lessons
of family and friends,
all those
passed on and covered over,
for whom no cosmetic will overlay
death's progression or allay
the forgetting of human hearts.
It is if the mantle of the elders
had never fallen to the next
or the next,
or even the next.
We, today's scurrying ants
with worn-out, though fashionable pants
can’t remember what is beneath our feet
or before our lips
aside from raw material
and the throb of expanding economic output.

Ah, competition’s fair face,
having been stricken
by errant balls and
having wasted time spent watching
the play instead of the blue sky,
playing monopoly instead of
singing in the rain.
What is excellence?
What is right pursuit?
We few seek power well-spent, the
hope of both kinetic and potential
passed on in pure motion-
progression with a joyful smile.
Tribute is my goal,
as balance is achieved in each step,
I know these views grow
with me.

in the light of a summer moon,
being followed by lost friends
and the kindness of thieves.
Internally as without,
the hands spin with an abandon that betrays
a sour taste in my mouth
and cloud in my eye's lens.
can become a blank page,
and the first in line
be filled with compassion
for the last-
having willingly received light second hand from
a moon,
as the hope of a promise
can echo faces and sweet memories
long forgotten.
So shines the brow of the beloved,
shining like red sandstone
in the evening sun-
each memory placed higher
and deeper,
building commitment and broad shoulders
for the mantle that will descend
along with those who have passed
beyond the horizon and into
our greatest hope.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I had some great and interesting times this last week at least in part because of the aging major appliance department here at the Burningham house.
After replacing the decrepit freezer whose door had come apart and needed defrosting almost every other week earlier in the month, our fridge and dishwasher died on virtually the same day.
Our discussion over priorities and finances didn’t take any time at all, we needed a fridge and the dishwasher could wait for later. And since I had an Electronic High School faculty meeting up in SLC on Friday, at least I could avail upon the Good State of Utah pay for my mileage in picking up the precious thing.
After the EHS meeting, I found a fair sufficient fridge at Sears in Salt Lake after much deliberation and calculation. Much to my dismay, while waiting at the delivery door and fastening the crate to the back of the 4Runner, the wind picked up. It didn't slacken at all before 3:30, when I made like mad down the freeway toward home.
In fact, the gusts picked up quite a bit enroute. I had a heck of a time keeping the rig headed straight at much more than 50mph, so I began looking forward much more impatiently to meeting with a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen since coming home from my LDS mission in Colombia. I got off of the freeway near Thanksgiving Point and called his work number, wondering where and when he'd like to get together.
He said, "Have you ever spent time at Thanksgiving Point? It's a nice place to poke around for a while." So, quite happily, I turned into the parking lot and shut down the machine, ducking with relief out of the wind to await Dan's arrival.

Dan Mortenson graduated from Bountiful High two years before I did, but before he left the joint for the big world, I had a few opportunities to get to know him a little bit and develop a long-standing admiration for his demeanor and intellect. He has a brother, Dave, who is my age and followed closely his brother's outstanding footsteps, so I was able to stay in contact with the most excellent family.
Dan went to Colombia on his LDS mission, so there was another commonality. The last time I saw heard from him was around the time of my return home to Bountiful, and time did its worst to separate much that was associated with my youth from there on out.
I saw one of Dan and Dave's brothers, Craig, and his wife briefly in Logan back in '98. They were heading for Oregon after finishing some school; that was a brief but very welcome reminder of the great Mortenson clan and their ways.
Somehow, Dave or Dan found this collection of digi-tripe in a search engine last year, and Dan sent a missive to verify whether or not the writer of said trip was, in fact, the Adam B. of yore. We have since been writing back and forth from time to time, trying to arrange some sort of meeting between the two neighboring counties of Utah and Sanpete.
Dan's sister-in-law, Jennifer, teaches at the Electronic High School with me (another fortunate circumstance). She re-introduced herself at the faculty meeting I mentioned earlier and we enjoyed a few minutes talking. 'Twas great to see her, and I took the opportunity to put two and two together and ask of her Dan's phone number to arrange some sort of meeting later in the afternoon. After all, I was in the general area with a snatch of extra time...
I was not in the least bit disappointed with my decision. Dan and I had a great discussion over chips and a smoked turkey sandwich, catching up on the times and exchanging philosophical and family currencies. We talked of fishing, old houses, Divinity Schools, James and Kathleen Flake, family news, more fishing, and a generally upbeat and insightful collection of delightful ephemera.

We parted all too early so that I might be able to return home the hero with our new fridge before too late in the evening. I had an exceptional time. I was even able to extract a promise from Dan that he would at least come down to Sanpete and check on things generally, acting as a point-man for Dave and Craig with the end of drawing the Morten-brothers out to our wee boondocks and into the wilderness and beauty beyond.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's been a while since I posted any local images, so, in the spirit of springtime (and in contrast to the rest of the day's miserable posts), I give you several clickable photos:

Isn't this what you think of when YOU think spring??? I don't think ol' G. Hayduke would be fond of this particular roadsign, especially since it maligns all the 'good' chemicals. Damn herbicides fertilizers and pesticides, anyway.
I reckon they're currently a "necessary" evil in our culture, unless you want a citation from your local Beautification Committee, that is.

This is taken north of Fairview, looking toward the south.

Ryan and I heading over the mountain to fish the Huntington, near the summit looking west.

Same vantage, looking south. The Horseshoe is on the right for reference. Spring City is down there, somewhere.

It must be summer! The sheep are moving to their mountain homes! The annual roadsheep photo. (Here's last year's.)
Some more content from the class, this time a letter of introduction required as an assignment to a Professor from whom I've already taken a class. If I last all the way through these courses it will truly be a miracle.

Dear Dr. xxxxx,
I went into teaching because I feel a deep need to help others and a desire to assist people in the development of curiosity about learning that I seem to have been born obsessed with.
I am able to connect with young adults and children on a level that opens communication, and have demonstrated an ability to work with even the most stubborn or 'difficult' of young adults. This has lead to solicitations for help and work in a field that I feel 'makes a difference' and is worthwhile.
I don't think that much of what follows will come as a surprise to you, Dr. xxxxx, but here it is
As I have been drawn deeper into the what I (for good or ill) feel is the morass of pedagogical training, I have gotten more and more discouraged with my chosen field. My own confidence in my ability and talent receives blow after blow because of disagreement with and the distaste I feel for the Educational Establishment. Much or all of the data and research within the body of pedagogical scholarship has a place, but it and/or its presentation in most cases drives me to maniacal tears.
Please don't feel offended or annoyed with me, I know that you are far too intelligent for that sort of silliness, but the classes that I have taken out of obligation to Licensure have been, at best, drudgery to me. I enjoy your personality and the excitement you bring to your teaching, Dr. xxxxx. I thank you deeply for that.
Nevertheless, I continue to teach because there will probably always be those who fall between the large cracks in education's societal armor, as I am personal and at least pseudo-intellectual evidence of.
Very sincerely,
Adam Burningham

Please direct any offers of employment or suggestions for my imminent career-change to my email address.
Thank you.
Hey, Kids!
I just started another aggravating Education class at the behest of the Utah State Office of Eduction! The following is another of my occasionaly posts of excerpts from my comments within discussion groups mandated by these great classes!
Oh what fun!

When I hear or see the acronym NCLB, my crest falls and my countenance darkens. I have heard from all levels of our state and federal bureaucracy about the 'intent' and 'reality' of the legislation and I have seen how it affects the teachers in the schools and students we are here for since NCLB came into play.
It has not been positive in our rural or at-risk populations, nor has it been anything but an expensive distraction from the day-to-day labor of nurturing and educating our students.
That is the down-to-earth, no-positive-rhetoric answer to the original question, from my humble perspective.
We can speak interminably to the high-minded intent of the legislation and praise the grand promise of a Plato's Republic rewritten by Republicans, but the net result of the legislation has been contention and division, differing levels of fear and a general atmosphere of resentment at federal effrontery and blamesmanship thinly veiled by educated jargon about promises and educational ideology.
These reforms express my deep belief in our public schools and their mission to build the mind and character of every child, from every background, in every part of America.
President George W. Bush
January 2001

How can one build a logical case against this sort of carefully-crafted emotional language? Who would try? This program must be good; it must only be balm for the neglected and downtrodden!
I probably can't argue with any of the points brought out in favor of NCLB, nor could I defend rhetorically or with much evidence empirical my opposition to what has come about because of the law.
I can only say that reasoned and open faculty correlation and in-service coupled with pedagogical freedom and the resulting passion would do the students much more good in a month than this boondoggle called NCLB has done in four years.
Trickle-down has done no more good in Education Reform than it has done in Economic Reovery, and I wish that the general and educational public would see and acknowledge the power of grass-roots policy in both. As Michelle so aptly said in her previous post, "As I have been reading the text for our class, it says over and over that good teachers let students drive their instruction."
But that is almost as pie-in-the-sky as the garbage given lipservice to in NCLB.<>
I'm fairly sure the educational elite would much rather elucidate policy than empower an educational revolution, anyway.

Oh, coincidently, there's lots more of this from me in the forum. And probably a bit more to come.

Friday, June 10, 2005

This “summer” is going nicely, with the appropriate amount of winter pull and summer push involved in the springtime weather. We got up to 90 degrees briefly a couple of weeks ago, and the last couple of days have struggled to get up over sixty degrees. Some would heap scorn upon this sort of weather, but to me it conserves precious runoff and soil moisture, giving those sure-to-come high nineties something to lean against in my mind and soul.
Ryan and I have had great opportunities to feel like we’re making progress as fly fishermen. I’ve been heading up to the Huntington River over the mountain quite frequently, and over to the Thousand Lake Mountain vicinity a few times to try out what we’ve learned about dry fly tossing. Success has been had, and the birds accompanying us to the waters have been a delight to see and hear as we’re doing our best to fool the wise old fish with our less than expert casts. I’m sure I’ve heard a few Mountain Bluejays laugh under their calls.
The Burningkids have been running around our field making forts and playing with our neighbor’s goats between baseball practices and games all around the county. Jerusha, Jesse and Bryn are each playing on a separate team, having fun and learning the virtues and vices of competitive sports in the process. We hope our kids don’t have too much of Drie’s and my curse of being Nowhere People after a fashion, but I’m afraid the kid’s discussions with us about their peculiar observations of human nature and behavior on their team don’t bode well for their social conformity. But who really knows what the future holds? Certainly not I.
Hope springs eternal afterall, especially during the glorious spring of the year, so I think I’ll go outside and dig a hole for a tree.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

I post this while outside, watching the sun reflect brightly off of the Horseshoe, tending to a Sanpete turkey a-roasting on the Campchef. Tis good where I am presently.
Asher is doing adance on top of the picnic table, screaming at some injustice that he perceives and then smiling at me.
I suppose I should be at a meeting right now, but I forgot about it pretty well. As school winds down for summer, I have a hard time even thinking about other peripheral obligations.
Neato thing: Last time I was up in SLC, I stopped briefly at The Pie Pizzaria and got a small sample and a gray T-shirt to take home and wear. I wore it today, it makes me feel all youthful and flibbertigibbity. That's not bad the day before school lets out, so I'll run with that.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Yesterday had a flavor all its own.
Here at the school, the attendance has dropped precipitously, with an average of only twenty five out of sixty five attending during the week. Things are mighty laid back, right now, making me feel a bit useless and like the days are misspent. Not much for a teacher to do but keep the few on task and answer a question here and there.
After work, I stopped off at Wally's to get a snack for a trip over the mountain with Ryan to fish. In the parking lot was something indicative of these odd times here in Sanpete. There has been a bit of an oil rush in northern Sevier and Sanpete counties the past few months, and people like this are showing up in our normally staid and lower-income population. You probably see this sort of thing all of the time where you live, but here in the lowest per capita income and highest unemployment county in Utah, this sort of thing is rather in-your-face-conspicuous:

See what I mean? The status quo in our little county is older Suburbans, flat-bed pickups and other tattered domestics, so this is fairly like a greyhound amongst pugs.
There are quite a few speculators here about besides the Texas Olman above, with even local wannabe tycoons getting into the act. At least one fellow has been going through land titles, offering little old widows and the like ridiculously low sums to sign over mineral rights on property in an effort to increase his holdings made in cellular and real-estate.
All of this turns my stomach. If oil really happens, I don't know if I want to be around as our little place becomes something like freaking Evanston, Wyoming; thousands of opportunists descending like locusts, bringing change at a pace and magnitude never before seen around here.
The fishing trip was a cold and snowy outing, with whiteout conditions at the top of the pass. There is more snow up at the high elevations than there has been all season. The drifts at the side of the road are falling down onto the lanes in places. Lower down the hill, there is evidence that the roadbed is slumping and might head into the canyon below. One such place, about forty feet long and as wide as the road itself had fallen at least four inches by the time we passed on our way home. That was somewhat freaky, I'll say.
As we came into the valley, the sun finally came out. Off to the south, the dark clouds remained and the valley floor was shrouded in mist, but we were bathed with brightness in the clear air after five days of rain and snow. Everything shimmered as we headed through Fairview, discussing fly patterns and parasitic speculators, the two ideas conflicting in our light banter almost as much as in our hearts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

school and rain

Rain continues to fall here in central Utah, and as the grass rises, so do my expectations of the sweet respite that awaits on the other side of this school year.
There was an uncomfortable silence at the staff meeting last week when our principal asked for people who wanted to teach a session or two of summer school. I was stone-silent and still while others fidgeted and glanced from side to side, but eventually a couple of people spoke up and relented to the pressure. I did not, and wouldn’t have even if my job would have depended upon it at that time.
Circumstances have since tempered my deepening level of aversion to being anywhere near this good school, but I am glad that trial has passed.
The kids are pretty excited to get out of here and there are more seniors scrambling for year-end credit than there have been for many a year. Most should make it, but I’m more than a little worried for a couple of them. We’ll probably be checking a bunch of work around the May twentieth senior deadline. Carpe diem!

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Between sessions, I often head up to the third level to sit on the couch. The sun came out strong for about an hour and a half. A dandy thing to have, a ten-story high south-facing window on a cool morning.

Out in front of that same view, Cliff Lodge, Snowbird.

The tram coming down from the mountain. I should have been on the next trip up, but I was too dern weary. Plus, after all, duty called.

A dear person got married yesterday, Emily Kimball Bigelow, now Emily Kimball Bigelow Marchant. Em married Josh, a very good friend to my good cousin, KC Burningham. I was able to make it to the reception in Salt Lake before heading back home to SpringTowne.
Good on both of them, and we wish them only the best.
There is a sense of angst in my soul in relation to reality, more specifically, human perception of reality.
Our own role in continuing our threads and lines of perception is a subject open to much discussion. Too many eddies, vortices and tangents cross my own little sliver of consciousness. I have long seen people as basically good, but I see those who are at some level basically bad in their intent, or at least in my perception give much energy to their personal lust for power over others.
That lust for power seems to be the origin of many of these eddies that I see.
The Tao and Christ would have one flow with the natural currents of power and energy, using them for good purpose and ends that promote some kind of harmony. The gentle changes and adjustments in the course of human events and lives produced by this sort of use of personal and social power would be gradual and gentle.
In such an environment, steady growth and natural entropy is more given to progression and consentual modification.
Such would have each individual consciously manage one's own field of influence and grace. Repentance, healing and other positive change would be more simple and achievable by a higher percentage of people, and a greater level of social transparency would become possible.
How's that for a vague thread of malleable perception?

Friday, May 6, 2005

Another day up here at the 'Bird. I'll be taking photos as I see them and we'll see a post sometime later on. P'raps tomorree. Quien sabe?

Thursday, May 5, 2005

It's been a nice day. Things have gone well, and I've gotten quite a few ideas. It was sure nice to see all of those birds oiut before the sky opened up again, the birds are always great up here during spring.
Nevertheless, right now it's quite blustery and the sky is full of Mjolnir's fury. I need to get back over to the lodge for dinner right quick, but I'm not going out in that sleet and lightning. I'll sit tight and watch the sky for now.

Just outside the overcast window where I'm drinking over-honeyed chai right now. I missed the woodpecker. Danged camera.