Saturday, December 31, 2011

Onward, ho!

It's been a good twelve months.
I find myself answering people when they ask me how things are going, "The kids are healthy and as happy as they can be and they sure make me feel happy, too." That makes sense to me.
The mountains were beautiful this year, all year long; from last winter's thick snowpack to the summer's long beginning and ardent wildflowers and the long autumn starting with a quick temperature slam that froze the bones of the high country followed by a long slide into this odd, dry winter's beginning.
I've been grateful for the desert, too.  We took some fine trips out into the sage and red rock, too; the weather in the mountains treated the high deserts just the same. There was color and abundant movement of the wildlife living there.
We enjoyed our little house and garden like we haven't in years. Drie's leadership in that department has really come into its own and the kids really took pride in their individual plants and crops.
There were setbacks and a general feeling of isolation, too, but when I think on the kids, things are going better than I'd ever thought possible when Drie and I set off on this grand experiment.
Happy New Year to you, and may the reflection and results of each day therein bring you joy that carries forward into whatever eternity you hope for.

The End of 2011

by e.e. cummings

may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

 may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
for even if it's sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

 and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there's never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile

About six months before before I found Mr. Eliot's little book in the Bountiful library, I was browsing the poetry section and found the collection of e.e. cummings, a person I had been made aware of during a seventh grade English class as slightly off-kilter sort of guy who liked to mess with the rules.
I was fair excited when I found that book.
Winter was nearing its end that year, and I was looking for something to take me in a different direction. One's ninth grade year does that to a person. Edward Estlin did just that; his writing took me somewhere I imagine hip-hop mc's have been taking youth for a few decades now. I loved how he wrote with disregard for rules and grammar. His ideas were conveyed through words without the direction or distraction of punctuation or capitalization, and when he did use them, there was an ulterior motive behind it. My mind was free to wander the fields of his ideas, pausing and parsing when I wanted or thought necessary.
I didn't understand the adult world much at all. I thought adults had rational reasons for their actions for the most part, and when they didn't for much of a stretch, that's when they turned to crime, atrocities or other tomfoolery. I wasn't aware that they were rooting around for reasons and sanity as much as I was, or that the rules of the world were much like grammar; if you rose to an appropriate level of acceptance or standing, you could apply and ignore the rules as you wished, needed or saw fit.
At least Mr. cummings' work is beautiful and insightful in its disregard of conventions.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ever Rising Cost of Education

This is trouble.
In an article in The New Yorker, James Surowiecki explains the college debt crisis in soberingly clear terms.  It brings a few other problems into focus; including rising medical costs and really, why it costs so much to keep any school running.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To write.

I've been filling wee notebooks and dropping them in different places lately.
A version of what I do here on the 'puck', I don't know if they'll be thrown in the garbage or enjoyed by someone for the sheer curiosity of the find. The subjects and manners of writing have been varied like the colors of the leaves on the ground and still on trees here in the high desert, from still green to vibrant yellows and deep browns.
I've written straight for twenty minutes at a time, noticing the variations in my own mood and writing as I press onward across the tiny pages. The moods I experience change as much as my hand, and that change is reflected, too, on the prose and poetry.
Other times I write until I get sick of it, then go on a walk around the building, house, yard, or wherever I find myself, returning to the page renewed and wishing that I could erase what I'd already written.  Often the writing is interrupted by what I need to get done; grading, interviews, teaching, or just lapsing into a planning session for a class looming on the horizon.  I don't often get much more than ten minutes at a time to spill ink onto the paper, but when I do, it interests me beyond what I can express that sometimes it really stinks, but if I am patient and persistent, it comes around to something I can reflect upon as beautiful.
Has anyone read anything I left on a desk, a square of concrete, or a tree? Maybe not. Sometime I think it's more likely 'probably not'. I'm afraid that some of the folios have been almost illegible to anyone besides me, and I like that part, too. I'm coming to peace with my own impermanence and intractable imperfection these days as the sun wanes in his northern sphere. The death of light reflects my mind and spirit in some ways, even as my attitudes and energy retain some relation to youth's energy and verve, the night comes on quickly in my joints and bones. It's as if the marrow and brain's core are where undoing start.
The paper doesn't matter; nor does the ink or much the thoughts to anyone who might come upon them. To someone, someday, it might provoke a smile or an exasperated eye roll, but I feel that's good on both points. Maybe they're being cleaned up and thrown in the garbage by people energized by the opportunity to dispose of odd ephemera left about in places they don't belong. That's good, too.
Not sure how much longer this might last. I'm trying to choose a place to end; a place where I don't just get bored and slack off like I do so terribly often, a time where I can do it and make a good end of the process for now. I'm glad I always have the blog to practice a little of the same process, though, and for the opportunity to understand the process a little more though a slightly different project.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Wolf Debates

Credit: Rich Addicks for The New York Times

An update on the anti/pro wolf conundrum in and around Montana, from the NYTimes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An interesting interpretation and graph of Mr. Cain's amazingly marketable but tragically flawed 9-9-9 'plan'.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Been thinking on what fuels individual fires
and allows them to burn at a rate that
keeps colors bright, yet minimizes scorching and pain
Keeping that as short as juniper leaves during winter days
What is your fuel?
Does it flow and combust without pause?
Or does it give shivers as your thoughts turn to stars or lost cattle
or God's Eye?

Monday, October 3, 2011

On the Mountain

On the Thousand Lakes yesterday, it was another of those almost frantic sessions of smelling, tasting, listening, and seeing. The light coming from the rising sun off of the desert after a night of rain was radiantly warm, while the grasses and aspens lining Round lake were already primed for any light that strayed their way.

The light and lake shores danced to a song that I couldn't record and with choreography that I can't begin to describe.

It didn't matter, because Ryan and I left off of fishing to sit entranced and dashing from one perspective to another; it was just so nice to see and feel the interplay as it came and changed and played with the senses.

Another quick trip, though it seemed to consist of ages of time in some ways.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

And as it has been for fourteen years now, today was Jerusha's birthday fest; she spent most of the day finishing a chicken brooder with her brother Jess.
What a blessing the girl is, we're glad she keeps us around her and hope that continues for at least another ninety years or so...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Anwyn's Birthday

Today's Anwyn's birthday!
The Suburban was our Conestoga over the hill to see the leaves, according to the little girl's wishes.
A beautiful drive.

In Opposition to Injustice and Corruption

Wall street occupiers.
People with something to say who are standing up and getting some publicity for their efforts.
I hope they can reflect upon what they're thinking better than it seems most of our society has been able to, especially as of late. Politics, economics and human rights are often oversimplified by people involved in such efforts; I know this from hard personal experience.
At least they're really trying to do something they believe in, something that's not just for themselves.
Que viva la peaceful revoluciĆ³n!

The Voice of the Lord, from a 'Special Witness' of Jesus Christ

Good Gord a'mighty, the end must be nigh!
Packer says the end is not near.
You have to understand that I basically take everything this man says to be Heyokha...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I should have worn pants on this jaunt up the mountain. I reckon there'll be plenty of time to wear long pants come November, though.
Not many of these days left; scraped shins are a fair fitting way to welcome the moment's autumnal equality and seasonal slackening of sunlight's stake in our valley.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There's something about those forward-looking Germans. They manage to mix things up and try something different since getting away from that whole world war thing.
They've to taken from our form of governance and made it, at least in some very important ways, much better at the representation of those who are traditionally under or non-represented.
...Nah. Preposterous. We're doing much better with a two-party representative republic these days. I certainly feel like I've a representational voice in our government managed by zealot panderers and monied interests.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Weekend

Fifty-one narrative essays between four and five pages long, in need of edits and a grade; not exactly what I want to be doing, but at least I'm at home where I want to be, doing something I like, at least to a point.
Besides this 'que hacer' that needs doing, as I get this part of my duties finished, others pile up in the inbox; a full day of EHS student work has to be gone over, checked and commented on.
Tomorrow morning, mostly because I know how my mind works through these situations, I'll probably hurriedly compile some sort of plan to supplement the day's writing that needs doing at the residential treatment center where I teach a couple of Arts and Humanities classes. It'll work, it'll be just fine; but not exactly what I'd like to make of the classes. I used to have time and resources for real fine arts activities like painting and pottery, especially at the high school I was able to work at before it shut down. But that's really not a possibility right now in these classrooms. Lessons and activities work out very well sometimes, but at others, because of my own workload and constrictions on time and resources, things aren't ideal.
I'll chip slowly away at what remains of those essays over the next couple of days, stopping from time to time to check on developments and those oh-so-important questions and inquiries on EHS and whatnot, and best of all, to push the Miya on the tree swing or talk with Drie. Then, I'll make myself start again on what has to be finished in order to keep the semester's order of operations moving forward right now, the editing and grading of narrative essays.
It's a darned good life, in many ways, but sometimes it just about brings on a heart attack, or at least a heavy sigh...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Out With Jesse

One good thing about Jesse's crazy bilateral amblyopia is that at least twice a year, I get to take him up north for eye checkups and to get glasses or contacts.
He's a capital young man, and he's always up to a walkie or hike to wherever when we're done with what has to be done in town.
Yesterday, we hiked up to and beyond Stewart Cascade and had a fine time of it. It is especially amazing to me nowadays, that he hasn't a bit of trouble keeping up, no matter what pace we decide on. He could set the pace beyond my capability, I'm sure of it.
He's growing up.
He has comments on what we see, questions about how it got there or how it came to be, and seems to be genuinely interested in what I have to say or blather on about.  I appreciate that; I hope it has some good effect on the good Jesse's making with his life and times.
We'll see; but I have a good feeling that he'll do just fine, no matter what I might or might not be able to do. I'm glad to keep doing my best, one way or the other.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


As autumn descends on upon the wee house on the high desert, the weekend has brought a certain amount of melancholy and some disappointment. The best thing about these emotions is that they are firmly rooted in my own efforts and shortcomings.

The garden this year has been a source of joy and labor, of hope and in a year of odd weather, of missteps.  The beans? A great year; very grateful we have been for that bounty. The squash and melons have grown better and in more variety than we've been able to coax for years. Carrots and beets have been good to have straight from the earth. There's been both plenty of success and a few long-earned lessons from this year's growth.
On the other hand, partially because of the the uncommonly wet, cool season, well half of the tomatoes have stunted or failed to flourish, and as is usual for us, those that are coming along are on a headlong course with disaster or bounty, depending on when the first hard frost arrives.  Peas? Almost none. That's chalked up to the learning curve and poor decisions, as well. The corn, though growing well, has had timing problems as well; it didn't make it into the ground quite on time to coincide with the hottest time of the summer and pollination cycles.  For all of the florid growth, there is only about three quarters of the usual yield, and of that yield, the ears are three quarters size and about three quarters to half the kernels. The seeds were placed too close together as well, so that undoubtedly contributed to the poor pollination and per-stalk yield. The new variety we tried this year, an heirloom, has a very short window of tenderness. We seem to have missed about three quarters of the window waiting to get some more growth.  Ah well, the whole situation's not exactly unexpected, but 'tis a punch in the gut. We'll continue to enjoy what we pull off, nevertheless.
In wandering about the house strategizing preparations for winter, there is much to do in order to be ready, as usual.  I've put off chimney sweeping, at least one more load of wood and a big load of coal, new tops for the wood and coal bins, window cleaning, at least one new storm door, and a much-needed surrender to convention, a furnace to replace the aging ventless heater so as to preserve our mini-chimney (and as much of my sanity as can be spared) for as long as possible and to get rid of what Drie sees as a source of some winter health problems.  Lots to get done, and I'm pretty good at finding other things that I need to do, like run away for the afternoon...

But time moves forward. With that change and exertion comes some good; new snow for next spring's gestation, a new angle of repose for sunlight that enters my eyes, and the opportunity to see how much I can get done before it's too late, by any account. There is some hope that I can pull away from at least a few of my shortcomings over the next few months, anyway.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Blindingly Quick Escape to Snake Valley

She's Lost Control by Joy Division
Such a good bit of group trance and performance. Always loved this one.

Confusion in her eyes that says it all.
She's lost control.
And she's clinging to the nearest passer by,
She's lost control.
And she gave away the secrets of her past,
And said I've lost control again,
And of a voice that told her when and where to act,
She said I've lost control again.

And she turned around and took me by the hand
And said I've lost control again.
And how I'll never know just why or understand
She said I've lost control again.
And she screamed out kicking on her side
And said I've lost control again.
And seized up on the floor, I thought she'd die.
She said I've lost control.
She's lost control again.
She's lost control.
She's lost control again.
She's lost control.

Well I had to phone her friend to state my case,
And say she's lost control again.
And she showed up all the errors and mistakes,
And said I've lost control again.
But she expressed herself in many different ways,
Until she lost control again.
And walked upon the edge of no escape,
And laughed I've lost control.
She's lost control again.
She's lost control.
She's lost control again.
She's lost control.

I could live a little better with the myths and the lies,
When the darkness broke in, I just broke down and cried.
I could live a little in a wider line,
When the change is gone, when the urge is gone,
To lose control. When here we come.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Pretty place. Lots of places to get lost in, and a few others well-refined in their humanistic pretense.
A good combination for a conflicted person like myself these days.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I originally bought my auto and home insurance locally when we moved back to Spring City, trying to at least deal with local people and keep a couple of the dollars close to home.
First, my auto agent sold his "business" to a gentleman in Salem, Utah, a place about fifty miles from here with a much larger economy than we have here in Sanpete. Then, four years later, the Salem guy sold me downstream to another agent in Provo, around seventy miles away and upscale in economy and otherwise than even Salem.
A similar thing happened recently to my homeowner's insurance. The agent went independent and sold his business to a lady in Gunnison, a place forty miles south of here. Not much in the way of economic change form here, but it is a step up.  I'm just waiting for her to sell us south to Richfield or Cedar City, remaining true to the trickle-up theory that I see digressing with even my dumb insurance policies and money that goes into them.
Seems pretty normal to me in the grand scheme these days.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Went up the Wales Divide to see how the seasons were progressing. There was a lull in work action and a deep need to see the face of God; that's where the fates guided.
I took a break on the top in an area with a wide flat where one could see far and all 'round. I sat in a chair and watched the thunderclouds form; haven't really seen that for a while. The clouds came up from the south, materialized over the eastern plateau, and climbed into the stratosphere in a wave stretching from south to north.
As the thunderclouds began climbing the west side of the valley, I thought I'd best head down from the top. Wish I didn't have such an aversion to lightning.
The rain was delicious down a little too; I was just glad to get away from those static prickles on top of my head...

As things really started progressing on the east side. 
Spring City's down there at center.

The young Aussie had a good time 'sploring the top, canyons and creeks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Took a quick drive over the Payson loop again today after work.  Caught in a couple of storms on the road and on the trail; it was so nice to be out after this long week that it was worth every minute wet and cold. Deep, thick scents and similar light all along the way. The squirrels are busy and active on the edge of the clearings; I wonder how they plan their forays. Well, on second thought, they probably don't plan. Anthropomorphism is a tempting pattern. Who knows?
It was warm enough toward the valley that I dried of nice and quickly; August is a pretty good time to be alive.