An Old Familiar Place

Another week behind the wheel, another week closer to my goals. I’m parked in Dingman’s Ferry Pa again tonight, and I took Vinny for a walk up the hill. Anytime the weather is good we go up top to stretch our legs.

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I say hill, but it’s not much really. This may only be a parking area by a McDonald’s, but it’s better than a dirty old truck stop! It’s a short steep hill but worth the climb.

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The wind is strong today but the temp is 70 or so and Vinny just stands there as it blows past, slowly sniffing the scents we will never notice.

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I think it would be good to be a dog. Every moment a cascade of pleasure surrounded by the people that care for you and the simple pleasures only a dog could know. Sometimes he stares at the sky and I wonder if he can appreciate the beautiful blue color.

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When the wind rustles the dry leaves in the woods, does he sense the rhythm of nature, the symphony it places before us if we listen?

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I can’t help but feel a sense of comfort, a feeling of calm as I sit here. I’m in my element outdoors and I relish every moment I have to spend in the sunlight. Tomorrow I will drive 600 or more miles, and by Wednesday morning I will be in Georgia and half my week will be over. I hope to be back by Saturday so I can visit some people that have an existing charity in Maine and have offered to help me start my plan of sailing adventures for veterans and their children. I’m very excited to get started down my chosen path, my chance to make up for past mistakes and make a real difference. You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.

Take The Good With The Bad

I’m at a very bad truck stop tonight in North Carolina. It’s the kind of stop you don’t want to walk around at night so I take Vinny out one last time at dusk. Here you see the usual trash cast aside by those with no respect for others.

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Like I always do I try to find some corner of content, a little wedge of clear elegance in the midst of human disregard. I think I succeeded.

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This field of wheat reminds us that even surrounded by people that don’t care, in the middle of the decay of society as a whole, the beauty of nature shines through to give us something to be thankful for. For one to truly live a life of fulfillment we must learn to look past the jagged edges, through the barbed wire, and take the good with the bad.

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Higher Ground

People keep on learnin’
Soldiers keep on warrin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

Powers keep on lyin’
While your people keep on dyin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long

I’m so darn glad he let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground

Teachers keep on teachin’
Preachers keep on preachin’
World keep on turnin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long, oh no

Lovers keep on lovin’
Believers keep on believin’
Sleepers just stop sleepin’
‘Cause it won’t be too long, oh no

I’m so glad that he let me try it again
‘Cause my last time on earth I lived a whole world of sin
I’m so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin’
Till I reach my highest ground

An’ Stevie knows that nobody’s gonna bring me down
Till I reach the highest ground, ’cause me ‘n’ Stevie, see
We’re gonna be a sailin’ on the funky, funky sound (till I reach the highest ground)
Bustin’ out and I’ll break you out, ’cause I’m sailin’ on
(Till I reach the highest ground)
Just sailin’ on, sailin’ on the higher ground (till I reach the highest ground)

Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Someone said to me recently that I was reinventing myself on this blog, but I don’t see it that way. I think I’m the same person now as I was in my youth, minus the drugs! I don’t think much of who we are on a very deep level changes over our lifetimes. Sure your opinion about this or that will differ, your taste in friends may temper, but the core of who you are will not. You still hold on to the things that brought you joy, you still like the same music, you still follow the same ideals. Were you born with this? To some degree yes, but alot of it was taught to you when you were young by your parents, teachers, and even the shows you watched on TV. You are the cumulative effect of genetics and outside influences in your formative years.

So who am I? I have asked myself that question alot over the last few years, and I think I denied the truth as a way to placate those to whom I feel the most connected, the few that matter in my life. I’ve tried to keep a balance of what they wanted and what matters to me to keep the peace, not ruffle feathers as it were. But I understand now that if they truly care about me, as I’m sure they do, they will accept me no matter what. Here’s a few truth’s about who I really am!

I love hard ass rock and roll. I know many of the songs I put on my blog could be considered mellow, but I am really edgy and heavy metal underneath. Nothing fires me up more than playing Higher Ground at 120 decibels on my new car stereo! I get too loud and curse alot when I’ve had a few, much to the disdain of those with me. I like guns and have many, including an AR15 and a 44 magnum revolver. I don’t like people much and prefer to keep to myself most of the time. I do put on a good show around those I work with, but only 2 have proven to be anything more than workmates. Their loss I say.

My goal for the future is quite simple, get away from society as much as reasonably possible. I’m tired of the social drama you have to go through just to fit in. I don’t care about your kids, your new house, what car you drive or how much you make. I’m tired of all the insecure imps thinking with their genitals, spouting their ill informed liberal opinions about this group or that, trying to impose their belief system on the nation as a whole. I’m not saying you should shut up, you have the right to speak your mind. I’m saying I don’t have to listen to you. In comes the sailboat.

With a sailboat I can have what I feel has always been at the core of who I am. FREEDOM! I won’t be tied to any one place, free to go where I choose when I choose. Free to be the person I so long to be, free to express in pictures what inspires me the most…nature in it’s raw form. Although I can be a little abrasive, deep down I am very sensitive about certain things. Every day I see animals dead on the highway, and every time it bothers me. I can’t watch anything about animals being killed, even by other animals! Nature is what it is, but I’m not fascinated with watching animals die. One of the hardest days of my life will be when I have to put my dog Vinny down in the not so distant future. I’m not an activist by any means, nor am I a vegetarian. If I was hungry enough Bambi would be on the table, but animals should be treated humanely.

I don’t care about the middle east, and I’m never going to visit a Muslim country. They have been killing their own for centuries with no end in sight. Yes it’s sad what happens to the people in war ravaged countries, but it’s their own doing. If they really wanted to end their strife they need to stand up as one and take control of their countries. I’m not against sending food or medical supplies but that’s it. We need to take care of our own now instead of sending our sons and daughters to die in another country. And if you choose to go over to volunteer and get abducted, your on your own…STUPID! What did you think was going to happen?

The only thing in this country that is a right is “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and that’s all. the rest are gifts as we are the most generous people in the world. You are not entitled to anything else unless you are willing to work for it. My father was never without a job, even when it meant working in the cold winters of Maine. He understood what it was to be a citizen, to take care of your own, to carry your own weight. As children we wanted for nothing, we felt secure, and I thank him and my mother for their efforts.

Yes there are those to whom we should strive to take care of, those who through no fault of their own, cannot support themselves for one reason or another. I don’t think anyone would deny them food, clothing, shelter or medical needs. But today’s society has become a feeding ground for all those who are not willing to put forth the effort, those who feel they are entitled to these things. I for one am tired of paying for you, so in the future I will work only enough for me to live so I can pay almost no taxes that go to those who abuse the system. I will do my part for those that deserve help through voluntarism and direct help. Their is nothing more satisfying than looking into the eyes of someone you have helped in a direct way. It’s all the payment you need.

No, I’m not reinventing myself. I’m embracing who I really am without the worry of being judged, without apology for the things I hold dear. As I strive for my Higher Ground I feel a great relief in expressing what I feel is my life’s work, my true purpose in this world. I wish to bring another perspective of what life has to offer, another view of the world around us. I want to put in pictures how I see the beauty around us that so many take for granted, the quiet side of our existence on this planet called Earth. If we could learn to live with nature, go back to a simpler time, I think we could understand what it means to have a better life worth living.

PS: On another crazy note of who I am…I get my first tattoo’s in a few weeks!

Lightning Crashes

Lightning crashes a new mother cries
Her placenta falls to the floor
The angel opens her eyes
The confusion sets in
Before the doctor can even close the door

Lightning crashes an old mother dies
Her intentions fall to the floor
The angel closes her eyes
The confusion that was hers
Belongs now to the baby down the hall

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Lightning crashes a new mother cries
This moment she’s been waiting for
The angel opens her eyes
Pale blue colored iris
Presents the circle
And puts the glory out to hide, hide

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.

How much control do we really have over our lives? Can we overcome anything that confronts us? We like to think we are the masters of our fate, our decision making powers provide us with the ability to take charge of the circumstances that present themselves to us, the forethought to have prepared for the worst. We are going to make our mark in this world before we die, we can make a difference that will leave a lasting change in the fate of others. But what if were wrong? What if there’s no rhyme or reason to it?

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Will this be the last sunset I ever see? If so, can I savor it in the here and now with the knowledge of whats to come? I think not. I think we have no idea of whats going to happen in the future with any certainty. Oh we can plan for this contingency or that, prepare for bad times with the hope of skating by with little damage, but I truly feel it’s mostly just dumb luck.

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Was this pond formed for the expressed purpose of providing a habitat for the woodland animals and migrating birds in this area, or was it just because it was gouged out by a glacier during the last ice age in the correct shape to hold water? How did the fish arrive in it’s depths? I think the human mind can think up all kinds of methods or reason many ways that this or that happened, but ultimately we don’t really know for sure. We can attribute some sort of consequence that led to our existence on this planet but we have no solid proof to show for certain how it came about.

I choose to believe there is a balance to all things. An underlying equilibrium that plays into everyday life. Not fate per say, but more of a poetry of existence that shows itself in the opposites of every action. As every child is born, someone dies having lived a full life, after a forest burns, new seedlings sprout to once again showcase the splendor of nature. A storm may wipe away a desert landscape, but a fuller array of life comes forth where only sand was before.

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Like this flowering tree against a cloudy sky, life provides many contrasts, many colors that soothe the everyday trials. Our senses provide the impetus that completes the circle, the stimulation that gives us clarity of our surroundings. Each smell and taste, sight and sound, conspire to bring everyday experiences into a more concise arrangement, a palate of life full of the colors that show us how wonderful it is to be alive in this world. I for one relish every day of life and will continue until it’s last breath.

Reset In Maybrook New York

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Like most every reset I like to take a walk with Vinny my dog. Today we are at the TA in Maybrook NY. I was told by someone who works here of an old farm that used to be in the area, so we went to take a look.

Here’s the stone entrance he spoke of.

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Whats that smell? The smell of death is never mistaken for anything else. Here is the carcass of a dear and other trash dumped by someone.

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A little further up the road and one would think they arrived at the town dump.

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Even more around the next corner. Many people have no respect.

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Some of the trash has been here a long time. When was the last time you saw one of these?

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A little farther in I found the old farm well and what looked like a large stone BBQ.

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Here’s the remnants of a cement block barn, and even more trash!

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Past this point I come into an area that looks like it was open pasture some time ago.

 

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As we are walking back to the truck I notice something shiny in the crotch of a tree. What in the world is that doing there? You never know just what you will find at old homesteads.

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As we walk back into the truck stop, I thought it fitting that this truck came out hauling hay.

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Well Vinny, time to kick back, pluck all the ticks out of my socks and your fur and take a nap. Goodnight all!

 

What Is Wisdom, And Where Can I Buy Some?

We all would like to think we are wise, refined in our thinking, complete in our depth of thought. Bold in our actions with the assurance of our ability to discern the proper path, the right way of things. With our perceived knowledge of a sage and the foresight of a prophet we sometimes fall prey to our own misguided plans that lead to sorrow or pain. I have been down this road, sometimes more than once. After careful thought I believe the path to wisdom is found in the realization of our mistakes and the focus of thought in not perpetuating the same.

Over the past few weeks since my father died I have been caught in a battle between sorrow and hope, disbelief and fortitude. On one side I feel the loss of someone dear, a wound only now realized in it’s pain. On the other I feel the excitement of my plans for a fuller life, the freedom of the seas and the restless longing for travel. I feel torn as to how long to mourn before release, how long to wait till I no longer feel guilty for past sins. I am not as wise as I wish for I have no answer.

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I question the wisdom of a job that can be very dangerous at times. One false move and my best friend and I could be injured or killed in the blink of an eye. I tell myself that the journey to happiness is fraught with danger. Only those who are willing to pay will succeed. Again, I hope I am right.

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There are days when the majesty of the open road take my breath away, the beauty of nature overwhelms you and you feel like all is good in the world. Moments like this are the saving grace in my life, the recharge of my internal batteries I so need at this time.

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When I drive in the early morning I feel a sense of peace as the sun rises. A new day has come, another chance to get it right. Even as I write this, tears well in my eyes with the hope of a future filled with the things I am most inspired by. Nature, photography, sailing, solitude, giving back to those in need. I will fulfill my goals no matter how long it takes.

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While stopping at a rest area I notice these two trees. They seem so lopsided in the growth of their limbs, very few between them. It comes to me the simple wisdom of it. It make no sense to grow limbs in the shade of each other, better to send more limbs and leaves into the sunny side. So too should be my life. No more standing in the shade of despair. Better to stand in the light of hopefulness, basking in the glow of the brilliant light of another day. Better to squint in the sunshine than stumble in the shade.

PS: In a shocking LACK of wisdom, the hospital that last treated my father sent a package to my mother a week ago…in that package was my fathers false teeth. Even though they knew he was sent to hospice, they felt compelled to mail them. Unbelievable.

What Inspires You?

Anyone who knows me understands that I am obsessed with sailboats, right mom? But realistically the boat is only a means to an end. The boat is one piece in the lifestyle I have been searching for my entire life, even though I didn’t understand the “Big Picture” until recently.

Some years ago I moved my folks to a town in central Maine called Sebec. We bought 2 plots of land and a 34 foot motor home. (If you look closely you can see Vinny in the windshield) 

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We stayed at a nearby campground for a month while my father and I cleared one lot to move the camper to so we could live while setting up their home next door.  Here’s a few pictures of the initial setup for the camper.

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Once this part was done we could place the camper and not pay for the campground. I had a power pole placed and we moved onto what would become my lot.  I think it was only a week or so until we had a bad hailstorm come through. Pretty big hail for Maine!

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My mother and I still talk about how much fun it was living in that camper.

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Later, after my folks home was complete and they moved in, I cleared further back on my lot to build a shelter for the camper. I rented a small excavator to do the heavy lifting then built the structure. At this point in time my father was recovering from cancer and couldn’t help much even though he tried.

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Vinny thinking with his stomach!

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This picture above shows the left side of the camper. What you don’t see is the area to the right and the whole reason I set the lot up this way. This is Meadow Brook, about 50 feet from the right side and down a small hill. (There are the young cinnamon ferns Jessica!)

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This was the point in my life I had broken from the drug use of my past. Every day was a struggle to suppress the urge to fall back on the “crutch” I had relied on for so long. My goal in doing all this was to help my folks live in a less expensive area and remove myself from all the reminders of my past, including every person that I knew from a very troubling time in my life. I wanted the freedom of my little spot on this earth where I could get away from the stress of everyday trials, my safe haven. What I didn’t realize at the time was I would not find my peace tied to one spot. My wandering spirit and lust for ever greater adventure was bubbling forth now that my mind was clearing.

Some years later when my father lost his drivers license, my folks could not stay here because they were to far from stores and no public transportation was available. My fathers dementia was also becoming more apparent along with his angry outbursts. Not long after my folks gave up their house to the bank and moved to an apartment I sold my camper and land. I started to see I was never going to be happy in one place, never going to feel at home living a “Normal” life as most do.

Just let it go

My lust for travel was partially satisfied when I bought my truck and rode through almost all the states with Vinny at my side. It was at this time that I started to understand what inspired me, what gave me a true feeling of freedom. The idea of having your home with you all the time means you always have your comfort zone. Like a turtle, your always home no matter what. Everything you need is within reach anytime you need it. I felt in control for the first time in my life.

laura-dekkerThe idea of a sailboat came from the story of Laura Dekker. Laura was the 14 year old Dutch girl who had a dream of being the youngest person to sail around the world alone, and she did it! If you have never seen her movie “Maidentrip” on Netflix you really should. I was totally inspired by her strength and tenacity even when her own government tried to stop her.

I don’t know if I will sail around the world, but I know living free on a boat, no rent or property taxes, no electric or phone bills, it’s the way I want to spend the rest of my life. Even now as I watch her movie again I feel a strong attachment not to her, I don’t personally know her, but to her spirit and her strength, her unwillingness to give up. Just like my father, she never quit and neither will I.

I’ve looked at many boats, read many stories and articles about this design and that. Studied what made this boat or that the ideal candidate for me, but I finally realized I was not really forming a plan, setting a goal. I think now I have the perfect boat in mind, the goal I need to focus my aspirations toward.

Lin & Larry Pardey Books and Videos

Lin and Larry Pardey are among America’s (and the world’s) most knowledgeable and recognized cruising sailors. They are known as “America’s first couple of cruising.” Together, Lin and Larry have sailed over 200,000 miles, including two circumnavigations east to west and west to east aboard self-built, wooden, engine-free cutters under 30 feet. Author of a dozen books, countless magazine articles, and co-creators of five cruising documentaries, Lin and Larry have shared their sailing experiences with tens of thousands around the globe prompting many to take up the sport and live the dream of the cruising lifestyle. Their motto has always been, Go simple, go small, go now!

The above image and script comes from Lin & Larry Pardey’s website. Of all the information I have read I believe theirs is the idea I should follow. I see no need for a large boat, all the amenities and all the costs that go with it. A boat 30 feet or less, very stout and strong, good storage and easy to sail single-handed. A boat that has a proven record of seaworthiness and open ocean passages. A boat I can trust to get me there. I have chosen a Baba 30.

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Watch this video for a complete understanding of just how beautiful they are.

Granted this one is in “Bristol” condition, and the one I purchase may not start out as nice, but I can purchase one for $40,000 to $50,000 or less. If I work really hard I can save the money over the next 2 years to purchase it, then work maybe 2 more years to fund a complete refit with enough money left over for a long vacation to give her a long shakedown cruise. After that I can drive part time or go back to landscaping in the summer, the one job I truly loved.

This is what inspires me, this is what I have been looking for all my life. The freedom to go where I want when I want. The freedom to work a job I love not just the best paying one. What are you willing to give up for the chance to live a life worth living?  I’ve made my choice.

Simple Man

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Oh yes, I will

“Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Baby, be a simple, really simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand

Simple Man – Lynyrd Skynyrd

I’ve been thinking about this post for days, trying to find the words to best portray the thoughts in my mind. A vision is coming into focus of the person I want to be, the lifestyle I wish to lead, and what it will take to get there. A friend recently commented on a post about the people that inspire her. People that understand what truly gives one happiness, how simple and fulfilling life can be when lived at it’s most basic level. There is one man that really inspires me, one man who’s footsteps I would like to follow, albeit with a slightly different abode. That man is Richard Proenneke.

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Richard Louis “Dick” Proenneke
(May 4, 1916 – April 20, 2003) was a self-educated naturalist who lived alone for nearly thirty years in the mountains of Alaska in a log cabin he had constructed by hand near the shore of Twin Lakes. Proenneke hunted, fished, raised and gathered his own food, and also had supplies flown in occasionally. He documented his activities in journals and on film, and also recorded valuable meteorological and natural data. The journals and film were later used by others to write books and produce documentaries about his time in the wilderness.
(copied from Wikipedia)

This man was a true naturist, not some granola crunching nut who ties them self to a tree or lays on a highway to try and stop a drilling rig. This man lived in and with nature in it’s purest form. He lived mostly from the land, both animal and vegetable, cultivated and culled by his own hands. He brought with him only the tools he could not make, and only the best quality so they would last. He understood what it meant to be self sufficient, unlike many today who wouldn’t last a week without a supermarket or Starbucks.

If you watch the PBS documentary about his time in Alaska you cant help but come away with a deep respect for this man, a sorrowful feeling of having never met him. I wish I could have spent a day talking with him about his philosophy on life, whether he had any unfulfilled dreams, any regrets. I bet he had none. I think that alone is something we should all strive for…no regrets.

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This is also my quest, to test myself. When my sailboat is purchased and fitted out with only the needed, and best quality equipment, I will try to find my inner peace. I will separate myself from society as much as reasonably possible and live a life in harmony with nature instead of trying to control it. I will have to work some but I will choose an occupation I enjoy even at a much lower income. I miss looking forward to going to work.

I look forward to honing my photography skills, maybe have some pictures published. Sharing my boat and time with those who could use some real quality time with their children such as Veterans. Exploring my writing wherever it leads. Letting go of the regrets of my past and replacing them with feelings of accomplishment and generosity. I want my life to mean something other than just another name in a computer, another face lost in the masses.

Like you Osyth I admire people who see life for what it is, not what we surround ourselves with. There is so much in this world that people walk right by each day and never fully appreciate the beauty of it, so much we take for granted. When was the last time you spent time with someone just talking? No TV, radio, cellphones or any other distractions, just words and eye contact? It’s part of what make’s relationships work over the long run. The true understanding of others only comes from direct and meaningful conversation.

In time I will be writing my posts from the cockpit of my boat anchored in some quiet bay. I will share the pictures I took that day in the hopes of letting you see the world through my eyes, feel the day as I experienced it. My life will mean something when I have found the skill to help others immerse themselves into a world of simple pleasures from a simple man.

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New Years Day In Maine

I left Bangor Maine this morning with my next load heading for Georgia. I will deliver it on the 4th and pick up another to come back by friday to start my vacation! It snowed alot over the last few days and it makes for a beautiful ride early in the morning. Maine has some incredible beauty in all 4 seasons. Here’s some pics of the first 100 miles of my day.