Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family photo for 2009-
A bit hurried as the sun retired for the evening; I forgot how to use the danged timer on the camera after doing all of the individual photos. Not the best exposure nor even very well focused.
Nevertheless, the sentiment is still the same. The Burninghams wish you the very best of New Years and anything else you've been wishing for...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Friction of Grains

On the consenting, injured tip
Of a madly colored though feeble crayon,
We began a game of chance
And the final days are upon us.
The cell doors are sprung,
the backs of the public buses all turned to beds
Each buzzing with the activity of honeysuckles and orchids and prickly pear
Beside streets paved with rancid butter and bean husks
Smaller than those that nourished us during winters and springs in not long past;
Our gardens plowed and gutted, roots and vines displayed as trophies for inspection
by arts councils, tallied by crooked pens.
And though the number of eggs hatched
Naturally corresponds with the number of those fertilized,
I keep my heart-sleeves fully extended despite the promises of absentee neighbors and
my eyes on the sweeping hand of father time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The roof is, for the winter at least, finished.
It's a deeply satisfying realization that we don't have to worry about the drippy leaks or amount of heat pouring out into the dark nights.
It wasn't a simple labor, nor was the price in work, stress or money easy to take in the moment. If it weren't for friends and family who helped, it wouldn't be even a project finished, or for that matter, a thing began. Seriously. And that makes it even more gratifying. Besides, it's so nice to be warm and dry.
'Twas a cold morning. It got down to nine degrees Fahrenheit as the sun came up, so I thought I'd go out and reacquaint myself with the temperature of things to come. Moshe was happy about the turn of events; then again, he's always happy when I take him out and about.

He's been part of our family for almost ten years now. Just a big, half-blind old puppy, really.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I went to a nutriceutical presentation at the behest of a friend last night. It looks to me a good product with, perhaps, a huge potential for health and curative benefits. The friendly people who were there to present the product and ideas were certainly sold on the product, and while I was aware of the (in Utah) inevitability of some connection to multi-level marketing, I went to the presentation to find out a little more about the contents of the wee can. Again, I came away duly impressed with the quality and potential of the product, but I was surprisingly fascinated with watching the salespeople switch between heartfelt and amazing testimonials about the merchandise and ‘the tremendous and ground-level opportunity for growth and income potential in this group’.
In this case, it’s hard to not come away with some amount of interest in distributing the stuff, if for nothing else the ingredients and quality thereof. I’ll probably give it a try even though it’s fairly expensive to see if it can help a few of the things I’m trying to fix or stave off in the future. But Get Out There and Hustle It? Nah.
I have a deep and abiding desire to not sell things. I know all of the arguments of the salesman: “You sell yourself to your boss every day!” or “You might as well sell something you believe in to people you care about rather than being poor and miserable the rest of your life, think about the number of people you could help if you just had some more money from selling (insert product or service here).” Then there’re those more personally directed, “You sell yourself and English to your students every day!” EVERYONE’S a salesman, no? It doesn’t really work for me.
The money from this fine medicine will circulate many times over after the sale is completed. The financial pyramid will ascend to the sky (or at least to the peak of the mansion on the roof of some numbers-oriented person in Utah Valley) and the money will swirl and work its transformative magic, but I really don’t see much in the way of real benefit in it for me. We have what we have and will rely on my own lame ability to provide a teacher’s service or product to those who can see the merits of my person or manner in exchange for paltry sums and lame excuses for the lack of more offered. If I have something that I’ve specifically done or made, I might sell that, but something that seventy other people ‘above’ me have sold and will profit from through a well-oiled, slippery multi-level hype machine? I just can’t bring myself to get enthusiastic about it, no matter how truly quality the people making the pitch are.
Perhaps I’ll miss the boat on this again. I’ve done that many times over for varying reasons. At least I’ll survive a little longer with my ideals and principals intact, and I’ll live another day to search out that little thing that might connect me more closely with God and others who might be willing to cooperate in making my family and the community more livable and perhaps more happy from day to day.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The closest I may ever come to that halcyon and much vaunted ideal is my wife, Drie. She is an angel; a person who sees the world through eyes that see well. Much of what she does is for higher purposes, and what she works for and achieves is designed expressly for durability and the soul's prosperity. She listens to other's dreams and contemplates distances, points and dimensions that might fulfill them.
I woke early this morning; perhaps I sensed the light of the yellowed gibbous moon as it sank toward the conglomerate range to the west of our high desert valley. I must have dreamed in the manner that I walked yesterday; my mood turbid and shifting between melancholy and choler. Yesterday morning,I received an invitation to join an online petition to impeach 'Barack Hussein Obama', with the usually unnecessary appellation 'Hussein' repeated within his name over and over in the piece like a depraved wizard's cursing incantation under the headings of angry looking, pixilated screengrabs from video of Obama. The website described the 'high crimes and misdemeanors' committed by the sitting president and other, as a vitriolic conservative pundit called, acts of "malevolence toward this country, which is unabated."
Malevolence. Synonyms would include hate, maliciousness, spite, spitefulness, grudge, and venom. Unabated. 'With undiminished force, power or vigor.' Them there are strong and fighting words, folks.
I would argue, and without much in the way of need to present empirical, specific evidence, that those words do not fit, in any way, the situation as it stands. Such words simply stir strong emotions, especially those of people who are frightened or experiencing hardship because of events and situations beyond their control or comprehensions. People who do love their country, right or wrong, hot or cold and have done much in their estimation to preserve or promote what they see as her freedoms or purposes.
That's the purpose of these manipulating and in my view, evil-purposed individuals.
Yeah. Evil. I said it. But did I say 'evil individuals'?
There is a difference between purpose and the individual. As human beings, We naturally seek an equilibrium where we are the center of the universe, where we feel the ground solidly beneath us, where we are solid, central and stable. I do not fault these people for promoting what they might rightfully see as a status quo or dare I say, political correctness? I do strongly condemn their tendency to twist words, situations and ideas to portray what they wish to project on the minds of those who want, in their minds, what's best for this nation.
I am no fan of Barack Obama. I was no fan of George W. Bush. I voted for neither of the two main candidates in last year's latest folly of an election. But what is happening right now is the continuation of a process that will tear this country to shreds when there are ravening beasts circling the fold of this country. Whether those who would destroy seek to do so politically, economically, socially or militarily, I do not know, but all are possible in the current global environment. These who sow such twisted propaganda and vitriol as are on this impeachment site are contributing to what they least desire.
The end of America.
I can go at length into what I see as distortions of fact or principal within the arguments I read on the site and have heard from the mouths of dear friends, but suffice to say, they are emotional distortions that have rational explanations. Even if I don't agree with execution or reason, I can see reasonable and political rationale for most anything presented by the conservative opposition.
I don't like the direction that this country is headed. I haven't liked the way the country is headed since I was a youth. I saw the inevitable end of each stock market gamble and real estate speculation that's come around the bend for some years now. Am I claiming some sort of occulted knowledge or metaphysical seership? Certainly not, I only know when people are getting gain to the determent of their neighbor, making money from nothing or building on a foundation of financial dust. I understand the basics of 'capitalism' and know that no value or principled service or product is being produced by the current American economy, and that most of us are grasping at worse than straws to find stability and security in the current financial market that has been handed to us as salvation both temporal and cultural.
If the situation is dire, or the enemies within, why is it so difficult to surmise that the threat might come from both sides of the political fence, and that threat might not be 'malevolent' necessarily, but simply terribly misguided, as I see this ridiculous impeachment movement is?
What will happen if we keep thinking and acting in this vein, where our neighbor is seen as the enemy or another to simply soak money from?
I have to surmise that this is one of the most influential ways that we have we turned this supposedly enlightened world's direction toward such an inhospitable political and social hell.
And one hell of a hell it will become, if we keep on like this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

“You ought to take Asher up to see the leaves,” Drie mentioned one day a couple of weeks ago, "the boy is really enjoying the transition and looking forward to winter. He knows his birthday can't be far behind." We were well into the project of putting a new roof on the house and the process of playing catch-up in getting ready for the winter that approaches. Yeah, the predictable happened. The colors came and went for the most part before I was able to take the youngest boy out to see a few of the leaves before the bulk came down in the last couple of storms that came through. I saw it coming, and I wasn’t able to prevent it.
Did I have some time to put into the deed? Yep. Could I have made it happen? Sure. I remember thinking about it a couple of times, once when I was out on a project to get some stupid errands finished and another when I decided to instead get some work done on the computer that could have waited until the evening. I remember the two instances and the errors in logic that developed, and I remember them clearly. The roof was too important and the worry it created, right or wrong, made it hard to carve out a place for some of the pleasures and duties that I usually carry out during this season.
Others, like a whirlwind trip to Yellowstone, followed its well-worn course almost out of a force of habit. Or perhaps it took priority out of the terror that I experience in facing the frozen and wintery near future at the doorstep. Even the (still) unfinished roof couldn't eclipse the (perceived) import of the Yellowstone trip.
Ah, habits, fear, and fleeting perspective. Let's not forget the allure of beauty, either.
I have many like situations in my life; as a teacher, a friend, a husband and as a father. So many needs and so many dependents counting on me or what I do; I sometimes don’t understand where the time, energy or ability to make conscious and considered decisions that will have the best effect on the most important people in my world. At other times I understand the line of thought well. The expediencies and immediate emotions carve deep ruts and reactions that far outweigh the lasting perspectives that endure.
The reasons and philosophies behind my actions would fill a book. A confusing and convoluted volume indeed, but a book nevertheless. Each of us have a novel inside of us, or so the philosophers and publishers say; I believe it as I watch my children and students wrestle with the ideas and information swirling about them. They are building the ramparts of their minds right now, carving doors and windows to the beauties and stimulants that surround them, and creating the keys that will give access to those openings. A person’s philosophies and prejudices become the defenses and bridges of the personality whether or not they are correct or good. This process would constitutes at least a book for each of us if recorded at a fraction of the time and thought it takes.
The world is a wide and wild place. The stories that live and lurk inside our hearts can only illuminate our world if we give them the air and breath of voice. And only with that voice can we understand ourselves, both our strengths and follies, and perhaps it can allow others to understand the reasons for our collective and individual ways.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

'Round Cooke, they have some odd perceptions of the tourists. Here, they're depicted as outsized hamburgers, betopped with white Stetsons while reclining on beds.
Lots of luck to be had here, as well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Humans and wolves.
Oh yeah- money, livelihoods, those who don't need to worry about money and those who just don't much freaking care about it.
Judging from this century and a half old battle, it's pretty obvious why it's hard for the human race to get along. We're widely diverse in method and perspectives and it's near impossible to bring any two poles to any sort of agreement.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Time is getting pretty short; school starts the week after next and I have plenty to do before I start teaching the boys where I'm running the education program this year.
This sort of trip is what usually happens at this time of year; quick outings to the Thousand Lakes as the countdown to autumn becomes more apparent.
There were plenty of trucks headed south with atv's and trailers in tow today. Tomorrow is the first of the hunting season, the general bow hunt begins. Never know quite what to think as this sort of thing happens; people are so crazy about these things nowadays. The 'typical' American male worries hell out of me, in many ways.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

There's another drill rig in an odd spot, this one right off of Skyline drive west of Miller's flat Reservoir (just west of a very special spot to me, a creek we call Endowment Run). There's a significant amount of outbuildings and the rig, right out on the end of a ridge.
Strange behavior and frustrating placement. I wonder who put this one through on National Forest land.

The ridge it's on, just short of the cirque at the north east end of the horizontal ridge.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

From the Parade magazine in today’s Sunday paper:
Q Why are my tax dollars going to pay a poet laureate when nobody reads poetry? - Jeff Kawabata, Omaha, Nebraska
A “It is difficult/ to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack/ of what is found there,” wrote the great American poet William Carlos Williams. (We hope you’ll look him up!) While it’s true that not many people read poetry, they’d probably get a lot out of it if they gave it a try. The current U.S. Poet Laureate, Californian Kay Ryan, earns all of $35,000. But fret not: Her stipend is funded from a private endowment, not tax revenues.
The weather has been fresh and new these past few days, with temps at night around 45f and days no higher than 75. What a sweet blessing.
Up to the Huntington, Ryan and I arrived at streamside to this sight.
Frost on the sweet peas; my toes were a bit nipped as my breath coalesced into steam in front of my face.
The fish were fair resplendent as we fished and reflected on the fast approaching fall and still steadfast summer.

Friday, August 7, 2009

John Hughes, the icon of eighties iconoclastism and conflicting materialism, died of a heart attack yesterday morning. There is a mountain of articles by often maudlin and always reminiscent soon-to-be middleagers like me available on the web, but I really liked this one in its analyses of his film's allure and lasting influence on many of my generation.

Friday, July 31, 2009

With the clouds threatening rain while only delivering wind and a wee shower, the path to the well stem beckoned us onward and up the canyon. It was delicious blend of dust, greenery, wild raspberries and mountain heat that made this walk one to well remember for the four of us.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The 24th occasion was a rousing success with activities and joy had by all.
The outing began with a visit to the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy followed by a visit to the old homestead of Marla and George.
The Parade was as friggin' hot as it ever is, and the fireworks were an uproarious diversion on the hill.
We hung about in Bountiful on the 24th itself, and enjoyed visiting with George, Marla, my sister, Heather and her groom and children, and my sis-in-law Wendy and her two in tow.
On the way home, Tyler treated all to a ride in his (well, not really his, as his is in the shop getting an overhaul) engine and some water spraying at the station in Rose Park.
It's amazing how much running around can be squeezed into a thirty two hour period, but the kids can do it without flinching.
They sure can sleep soundly, too, when it's all finished.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A little more evidence of the grandstanding, profiteering, imageineering, and quasi(?)-fascist complexion of law 'enforcement' in the U.S.
Sherrif Joe Arpaio in the New Yorker.
Imagine what Adolph Hitler could have done if Goebbels had the kind of resources Arpaio's PR office has at their disposal.
While it is a tribute to our form of laws and government that the brand of abuse that Arpaio exercises isn't more prevalent or overarching, his ilk isn't the minority from what is evident in politics and enforcement these days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

T. Herman Zweibel has sold The Onion to the China-Men!
The Yu Wan Mei Amalgamated Salvage Fisheries and Polymer Injection Group has announced the acquisition.

Just one of the quality products made by this conglomerate:

Taste Stick
Kids, you want a stick that has your favorite tastes attached to it. From lychee to trout, to even Chinese boar, there are more taste options than stars in the sky! Apply with caution to your tongue and then enjoy the tastes.

I, for one, welcome our almost obviously inevitable Sino-overlords!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

While I in no way approve of the consumption of celery by human beings, these two were having such fun fixing to do just that, that I had to snap a picture of this particular activity.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Big day on the mountain...
Mike Black said he always needs a few more warm bodies on the mountain when he takes the sheep up over to the other side of the mountain, so this year I took him up on that-
What a good day, that's all I can say. One of the longest and hardest days I've had in a long time, but I can honestly say I had more fun than I've had in an even longer time.
Thanks, Mike. Good action!
And to the kids- sorry I was such a no-show on the fourth!

Friday, June 19, 2009

We had our annual meeting for the Electronic High School up at the Utah State Office of Ed a couple of days ago.
The overview: much to be learned and relearned with EHS in the near future.
We're moving over to an opensource software base to save a load of money that was lost with the budget cuts this year. That's going to be an adventure.
On the way home, I was happy to head up the canyon and readjust the riggings. Beautiful day, overall.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ah, ramble on.
Define the hope that keeps those who see the world from the margins of the earth as it meets both darkness and the light. What keeps the heart's drum beating when it seems that the secrets the idle withhold fortunes from those who would work with all of their hearts for the common good?
It is sheer labor enough to push on, often into the blinding incandescence of a billion egos shoving back, singing the songs of themselves at a feverpitch. Dreams can come true, but they are more likely to flourish if they follow the grain of popular society and those who seek justification. Remember the Mahatma; he did more than only a very few for the rest of us, yet he still died thinking that he had failed in the greater part of his labors. His path was higher than most can ever hope to aspire to, even in fantasy. The aspirations of the great are the seeds that might become oaks centuries from today, and that is why the greatest often feel more lowly than they are perceived by others.
Remember the dreams of the Buddha, the hopes of Mohammad, the aspirations of Jesus, and the ideals of Lao-Tsu. These weren't always lauded, often were spat upon, found themselves exiled, or worse, given death as payment for their works.
Prophets aren't recognized as such by those who aren't in synch with their hearts. That's why they are cast out, seen as antisocial, uncooperative or at worst, unfit to co mingle with the rest of polite society. Not all prophets have found their views canonized in scripture or justified through later reflection. Most, I'll posit, simply died or were slowly killed by societal pressures, seeing themselves as misunderstood, or worse, as untouchable failures.
I have known a few of these, and more than a couple have already met their ends at the hands of misunderstanding or irreconcilable differences with society at large. They always fight hard against what they see as unjust or unwholesome behavior and treatment, and often try to show others the way to healing or change. They do great things, they exhibit strength and beauty through unconventional means, and leave the world a little better. They are most often seen by conventional or unfamiliar others as deserving of their pain or of punishment handed out by life and institutions, even when those institutions might have been seeded by people as unconventional or visionary as the persecuted soul being condemned.
Love is more than a pejorative, ethereal, or trite cliche. Love is the ideal sought after by idealists and seekers everywhere, it is the hope that keeps even the most jaded materialist seeking God or spiritual comfort at the end.
Hope is more than mere faith, it is the flame that is imagined as both warmth and the quenching waters of life. It is the promise that souls cling to, the birthright of all who claim to have felt a closeness to something unseen.
Hope is the light that touches the earth at the margins, illuminating the envelope that is our body, that which is, at this moment, our shared lives in this shared world.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I haven't been on game for a while; lots of concerns and anxiety about the world and universe in general. After school got out for the summer with still no firm prospects for employment in the future, the roller coaster really started buffeting.
Now, Ryan hasn't had things too easy lately, either. He felt gravity's thump while playing with his students at recess on the second to last day, falling on and fracturing the hell out of his wrist. He had been anticipating (with some trepidation) surgery on his knee and now faced another slicing and dicing of his wrist, so, long story short, Ryan and I lit out once more for the upper left corner of Wyoming and lower middle of the great state of Montana.
We again took it upon ourselves to allow only a quick three days and two nights to drive all the way to the heart of the Beartooths and back. Along the way, as usual, we took in beauty and the power of raging rivers, we met grand people and a few really unhappy ones, and were changed by the feel of good earth under our feet and the rush of gravel or asfault beneath our tires.
The nights out there have a way of changing perspective, and if one can rally forces fast enough to get up early again, the mornings have a similar effect. The two views combined are truly life-changing, so if one can bring his own realizations to bear on the world and view thereof, the elixir of that perspective is more powerful than I yet understand.
Ramble on, my dear readers, and may the light of the world illuminate that which is before you.