Thursday, September 24, 2020

Ants marching and other stuff

Today promises to be hot for early autumn. High air temp of 88 in the forecast, with not much breeze. Shifting air patterns seem to have drawn a lot of the smoke away from our immediate area.

I've got a lot of little piddly but important tasks to accomplish this morning, so I'll have to get stuck in before long.

Tomorrow I get hearing aids fitted, and doesn't that sound like fun?

The ironic thing is that I only ever agreed to the hearing aid thing because Allie insisted. She was right -- it was very frustrating for her to try to communicate with a deaf old codger. Until that problem cropped up I simply didn't give a firetruck if I could easily hear and understand others. If it was important they could bloody well speak loudly and clearly or firetruck off.

So now I'm getting the things and I'm not entirely sure there's a good reason to hear people. The one person I desperately want to hear is dead. But that's not correct either. Because I do want to hear the kids and my family and my friends as well.

It's a mixed up time for this mixed up dude. But that's as it should be.


I almost stuck this bit in Wednesday. But that post was more properly about video and images of the first day of autumn, 2020, on the EJE Ranch south of Kimball, Nebraska.

I didn't do that post justice anyway. For various reasons I just wasn't in writing/posting/blogging mode. It's a bit hard to explain, because the various reasons are manifold and consist of conceptual thoughts and feelings rather than words. When I try to describe them they writhe around like quicksilver and refuse to let me shove them into the usual communication stream. It's a bitch of a problem to surmount. Or is it? Maybe (probably) I'm just whining.

In addition to being hard to describe, the conceptual thoughts and feelings often run rampant through my mind and body, wreaking havoc everywhere. That part really is a bitch. The effect is both familiar and unwanted. I do not desire to be swayed by powerful inner forces which refuse to follow my commands.

So I found myself feeling the pressure to produce and post a beautiful blog homage to nature's majesty on the first day of autumn, while at the same time feeling a powerful urge to run away and hide from inner turmoil. This combination does not for happy blogging make.

What a pain in the ass. Ah well.


I spent Wednesday morning working on stock tanks, fence, and shooting videos. Mostly the latter. I came to town for lunch and the littlest wanted a song, which means she wanted to sit on my lap and watch a music video or 10 on my phone. I am a sucker for that.

She picked DMB "Ants Marching," the live version from 2007 in Atlanta*. She was completely absorbed by the song; just watched and watched and didn't squirm or wiggle a bit. Moments stretch into minutes. Each instant is more precious than the wealth of the world. I wish there was a way to share what that experience feels like, but there just aren't any clever ape-lizard words big enough or grand enough or full enough. Close your eyes and imagine.

Yesterday morning the little ones and I sat on the couch and watched Nanny McPhee. It's a fascinating and fun movie. They did a lot of squirming, trading places sitting in my lap and at times crawling all over me. At two and four they've got far too much energy bursting forth to sit quietly for more than a few minutes at a time. But they stayed very close to me, keeping in physical contact.

There's something vitally important going on when we spend time together. We're all growing and learning and living. It's something I'd never have experienced or even had a hint such a thing could exist.



From the batshit crazy file.

I mentioned in passing some time ago that an old injury had flared up. Many years ago I had a chest injury that required surgery. The combination of injury and surgery left plastic and metal junk and suture material (itself a form of plastic) under the skin. The flare up in question took the form of a skin infection, a spot of redness and tenderness. A couple of days later it pointed and began leaking pus. I pulled an old piece of suture out, perhaps half an inch long. I cleaned it up and expected it to quickly heal.

It stayed sore and tender though and refused to heal. Allie decided it needed a proper cleaning and went after it with soap, water, and peroxide. Big peroxide fan. Gave it a proper scrubbing, and that was just what it needed.

"Oh shit," she said, "what's this?"

It was more suture material. I gave it an experimental tug. It didn't hurt, but I could tell by the way it felt both inside and through gentle tension that more of the old nylon monofilament was ready to (and needed to) come out.

I had her grab the ready blowout kit and dig out a kelly clamp. This one in fact.

"Just grab the end and pull," I said.


"You started it," I said, "you get to finish it."

I'd told her the story behind the scar previously, and now I explained that my body had tired of the old suture material and wanted to get it out, thus the redness/soreness and non-healing of an immune response.

"I'll tell you if it hurts or if you should stop. Go ahead."

So she pulled about 15 centimeters of old suture material out. It was gross and fascinating at the same time. It felt good to get it out.

I ran the numbers in my head. Without checking my log book I was pretty sure I had the dates right. "You were eight days old when those sutures went in."

This is exactly the brand of temporal reality which proved beyond doubt that I am a dirty old man.

We looked at each other for an endless moment of love and connection. It was a very cool experience though the thing probably makes zero sense to anyone else.

She finished cleaning the site. Within 24 hours the thing had healed completely. Human body is pretty cool.

The heart is completely unfathomable.



A bit of breeze this morning.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

*He wakes up in the morning
Does his teeth bite to eat and he's rolling
Never changes a thing
The week ends the week begins
She thinks, we look at each other
Wondering what the other is thinking
But we never say a thing
These crimes between us grow deeper

Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die

Goes to visit his mommy
She feeds him well his concerns
He forgets them
And remembers being small
Playing under the table and dreaming

Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die
Driving in on this highway
All these cars and upon the sidewalk
People in every direction
No words exchanged
No time to exchange

When all the little ants are marching
Red and black antennas waving
They all do it the same
They all do it the same way

Candyman teasing the thoughts of a
Sweet tooth tortured by the weight loss
Programs cutting the corners
Loose end, loose end, cut, cut
On the fence, could not to offend
Cut, cut, cut, cut

Take these chances
Place them in a box until a quieter time
Lights down, you up and die


  1. Don't need hearing aids (yet). A friend tells me the nicest feature is an "off" switch.

    1. Gunfire, jet noise, helo noise... my hearing is shot.😳

      They tell me I'll be able to run 'em, including the off thing, with my phone!

      Thanks WSF

  2. Thanks for sharing. Yeah, hearing decline sounds (speak up!) sorta familiar but not really necessaryyet. I have pretty good selective hearing, still.

    Suture story is enlightening, and provided a good excuse to go back and read the Corpsman Chronicles where you first mentioned it. Too bad you cannot tell us about your seeing elephants, but thanks for doing so. Presumably pinnipeds enjoy having a doc along when they go exploring, so good on y'all.

    1. Selective hearing is a skill born of mistakes and maturation. Or something like that.

      Harry Lipshit kinda gooned the suture removal. If you clip the pursestring without solid purchase on the biter end it'll suck back inside and you've lost the whole bloody thing. Choices are then to incise and go after it or leave it and hope for the best. I'd say 30 years qualifies for best. And it all worked out in the end.

      I'm sore tempted to fictionalize that time and get some plausibly deniable details out there. I actually have a couple of pinniped stories I can share. There's the beginning of one lurking somewhere in the blog without a CC tag and with an obscure enough title that I can't find it easily. I'll track it down and build on it. "Once upon a time we landed in a Beirut soccer stadium and that's where I first encountered Stockholm Syndrome for reals..."

      Thanks John.

  3. How have I not listened to DMB before? Damn, they're really good.

    Thanks for expanding my horizons. (Again.)

    Good luck with the enhanced aural sensors.

    1. It's a 90's/2000's thing. I had heard of DMB but never listened before the hot chick turned me on to it. So Allie strikes again in her role of horizon expander.

      The new sensors are, well, interesting. Gonna take a little getting used to. Keyboard clicking is driving me nuts! Time to peruse the dash one and see if I can find some boldface.

      Thanks Chris.

  4. Thanks for the vid.
    I've heard them before but never really paid close attention.
    Amazon Music has a DMB station.
    Ants Marching was the first selection the Echo played.

    1. That's cool, the first one. It's a song I heard a lot but never knew it was DMB. Have a whole new appreciation now that it's a fave of the littlest one.

      Thanks Skip.

  5. When I had the hearing test that led to my hearing aids a few years ago,the audiologist asked me, after the test - so , you were around big guns and loud rock&roll?Guilty on both counts. And you can control your hearing aids with an app on your smart phone. I remember an Allman Brother’s concert at Piedmont Park right after I graduated from high school in Atlanta. Loud for sure, and that was before the big guns.

    1. Funny how that works. Gunfire and loud music, what could possibly go wrong? Ah well.

      Thanks GLT.