Thursday, March 11, 2021

Light shines upon the hard path

You may remember this young lady, my cousin Elisa. We share a birthday. She has Cystic Fibrosis. She was three years old when I participated in a CF hike out in Salem, Oregon, where she lives. Many of you kind readers supported the DF research cause, and your thoughts, prayers, and dollars made a real difference. Many lives have been and continue to be improved and blessed with promise.

Elisa is seven now!

The 5K hike you readers and I participated in was fun and cool. On July 10 it will be time for me and other hikers to embark on an adventure in an effort to bring awareness and dollars to the ongoing battle against CF. The Oregon CFF Chapter has challenged us with an Xtreme hike. Can I do 30 miles in one day across the Wildwood Trail in Portland?

Why yes. Yes I can.

I've started training. I'm Team Elisa. The team may expand to include other hikers; it's a work in progress and we're just getting started. I'll post more details here I continue the adventure.


In the movie The Shootist John Wayne's character J.B. Books takes a small town tram ride on a sunny and warm January morning. "It's what we call a false spring," he remarks to a bubbly young girl on the tram.

According to the calendar and more significantly to the Earth's location in her solar orbit it's still winter and will be until 0337 Juliet (Tango/MDT) on Saturday, March 20.

When it's winter in this part of the world we often experience very nice weather days. Warm sunshine, balmy air temperatures, and little if any wind. Delightful hints of the springtime sure to follow and ultimately the season of easy living.

But these nice weather days are what J.B. Books was talking about.

False spring.

Of course it's not really false spring. It's early March. The days are getting longer, which means the sun has more time to warm the air mass and warm the ground. As the sun shines down and we are enveloped in late-winter warmth, it becomes popsicle weather. Kind of.

Nature responds with a slow waking of grasses and forbs. You have to look beneath the prairie's shaggy coat of dried leaves and stems, but when you do the greening blades of future cow food are evident. Therefore, what would have been false spring on a January day is now in March a neonatal spring day. Lovely and well worth the effort to embrace and enjoy.

There's more cold and snow in store for us. The weather man correctly predicted a return of freezing air temps, snow, and cutting wind. A slow moving weather system has been spitting snow and returning s morning skim of ice to Tommy and Nona's water dish. The next car in the weather train is predicted to bless us with a winter storm this weekend.

This is all as it should be. I relish excursions into false spring, but I also relish winter's return and even winter's unavoidable encroachment into calendar/celestial spring.


I am in a very odd place. Odd but good.
NAS Oceana SH-3G on the ramp at Cecil. I learned hard and beautiful lessons in this pig.

I'm not the only one.

Pri-Fly, USS Midway. Smell that?

SH-3A/D, USS Midway Museum, June 2017

SH-3A/D, USS Midway Museum, June 2017. This one flew Apollo recoveries.

Countless hours spent in a treatment room just like this one on Midway.

This ladder-bottom pharmacy on Midway instantly made me think of HMC Roundtree. Really old dude, pushing 40 as I recall. His morning routine was to power-slam two pots of coffee while simultaneously smoking two cigarettes and chewing two pieces of nicorette. He was a cool cat after that, but woe betide the sailor who even glanced at him before.

I used to could sneak up this ladder and steal cereal and toast or bread when it was too busy to justify standing in a chow line. On Coral sea of course; this is Midway.

Main entry to sick bay was/is down this second deck ladder. Medical was on the third deck to keep it a little more protected. On later carriers they put medical on the second deck.

Emergency medical supply chest or locker. Whenever I wanted to firetruck off for a few hours I'd grab a clipboard and pen and "Inventory" these things.

There was always a medical locker needing inventoried near the gedunk.

Knee-knocker, yay!

Queer. Yes, it's a queer. Sometimes (but rarely) called the EA-6B Prowler.

She looked good back in 2017. Probably covered in wuhandromeda today.

A great deal of life happened for me here. What a strong connection to livin' a warship represents to a sailor.

I can't get Post Malone's Circles out of my head.

If you have to have a song stuck in there, Circles might be the best option. Love the song, love the video, don't know why.


We're at the seven month mark. Over the last 30 days the acute shock of the thing has faded. It feels like the shock was a roaring, consuming flame. The flame has guttered out now, having burned all there is to burn. So what remains of me? Am I nothing more than a burned out husk? While that certainly could have happened, it didn't. With God's help and my conscious decision to actively live life the flame forged rather than destroyed, What remains is clean and spare and case hardened. The forging process continues though, for as the shock departs it is replaced with a more complete understanding  of how utterly smashed I am.

Smashed, exploded, strewn across a metaphorical/metaphysical landscape.

The clean me that's left can look at the devastation, accept it, and soldier on.

It feels... good. Right and proper. I suspect that doesn't make much sense.

Over the years I've learned through trial and error and hard, hard lessons that the best path is the hard path, that actively living and walking with God is the proper place to inhabit. In that place the choice to give up and quit is ever present. The hard and proper thing is to eschew quitting, stand tall, and soldier on. Which is impossible, save for the power and grace of God.

So I go on. I've left the furnace behind now, and as a fundamentally changed man I have a life to actively live. On with the show.


Kind reader Tom shared this with me, written by his son. It's a good read. It's a good read to be read and re-read, considered, and savored. I don't and can't know the whys and hows of this life-adventure. I do know that God's grace shines on me when I walk the spiritual path, and that path is heaven on earth.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.