Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Bard on the Mountain

            Today I decided to let the fates take me where they wished.  My original plans had to be changed and I found myself out in the world on a very nice day without a plan.  I therefor started driving, thinking and creating.  Remember that before anything is created in the world it must first be created in the mind so that is where I went.  Before long I found myself on top of Roan Mountain, and I mean the very top. 
            While driving up the mountain I started thinking about my friends and my family.  Now when I say "family" I am not referring to those people in the world that happen to share the same gene pool with me but rather those people who know the real me and with whom I can be completely open and honest about anything.  These are the people who speak the same language as I do and have similar values, thoughts and ideas. 
            Some are people who I have known for a long time like Ginger who has been a friend to me for nearly 30 years.  We could go a long time, even years,  without seeing each other and then when we do it's like we only just saw each other the day before.  Her daughter once crawled around my feet and drew on my shoes and grew up to be the best friend of the woman I would marry and cherish above everything else.
             Others are like Richard, Bill,  and Jessie who I have known for several years and would come to the aid of in a heartbeat because they would and have done so for me.  There are John, Matt, Jason, Laura, among others who are my brothers and sisters in arms.  They are closer to me than anyone who has any kind of blood kinship with me and I never feel completely whole without their company. 
            Then there are some who I have met only recently or see on rare occasions like Heather and Peter in Toronto,  Robert in West Virginia, or Grover in Georgia.  Even though I do not see these people very often or have had much chance to know them they are still my very dear friends, at least to me and in my mind.  What I am to them is their choice and no one can make that choice for them. 
            So why are these thought and feelings running through me?  Probably because at the moment I am the only person on top of a mountain.  No vehicles, no talking, no radios, TV, or distractions.  The only sounds are birds in the trees and the wind shaking the leaves.  I smell nothing but balsam, fir, and ozone rich air from an approaching rain storm.  I have been told that I have my head in the clouds and today that is literal.  I am standing in the middle of a water filled storm cloud that will soon deposit its contents onto areas below me and I wonder if it will carry a little bit of me along the way.
            I could be last person on the world right now.  But I'm not.
            All of those people that I just spoke of and many more like them are out there, somewhere.  Maybe they are thinking about me like I am them.  Only they would know.  It is enough for me to know that they are there, they know me, and that I love them all very much.  I will carry them and their spirit with me for the rest of my life, even if I never see them again in  person.
            And then there is Heather.  My wife.  She is also my best friend, my lover, my nurse, my helper, and my future.  She is my world.  There is nothing that I can think of that I would not do for her and because of who she is actually asks very little of me. I would lay down my own life with a smile if doing so saved hers.  She is the one person I have met who I could ever say that about. 
            So here I stand, a bald fat man on a bald fat mountain.  The air is cool and moist, the trees smell wonderful, and I have a world full of chosen family to come back to.  At this moment the man, druid, artist, friend, and husband in me are all at peace with each other and the rest of the world.  Maybe if more people took some time to stand alone on a mountain and just think about what is truly important to them then they would be happier just being a living creature walking on this world of ours. 
            Well it's time to come down from the mountain but I will always try to keep a little of it with me to help me survive all those things down there that really don't matter.  After all we are stardust and we are golden.  Let the world take care of its self and we can encourage those things to grow that would make our world a truly better place.

A Bard on the Mountain
The mist that fills my eyes comes from the air and from inside me.
There is song in me that must come from the deepest part of my soul.
Balsam and birds fill the air in the midst of a fine leafy orchestra.
They are greens, and yellows, and reds that make liars of artists.
The carpet is purple heather, white lace, and green fronds.

Here is Eden.  Why should I ever leave?

Below is pain, anger, hatred, spite, and petty valueless souls without nobility.
Why should  I return to them and let their world invade and effect mine?
Why not let them drown in a sea of darkness of their own creation?
They don't know the kind of peace that I find here or its effect upon me.
Their miasma of filth has no paradise, no place of utter peace and tranquility.

Here is Eden.  How could I ever leave?

I could stay here forever, basking in the happiness of peace. 
Alone while the worlds below gets what it has earned for itself.
Never knowing even a small part of this place or its magic.
Never having that moment that allows them to fortify against darkness.
No hope, no peace, no help against despair.

Here is Eden.  How can I not leave?

To share.

 I know where you are when I need to come back.
And I will leave a part as I take a part.
Peace be between us, always.

Now, to task.

I was under that cloud
My view after leaving the cloud.


Friday, May 31, 2013

My Role in the SCA and the World, sort of.

Many years ago I joined the SCA which stands for the Society for Creative Anachronism. It is essentially a group of like minded people who dress, act, and recreate select parts and activities of the past, mainly the middle ages. We are called geeks, freaks, weirdoes, and many other names intended to stamp us with a derogatory title. That's OK because we really don't care. We have a good time, have great parties, make friends who are there for life, and really don't care if the rest of the world doesn't get our type of fun. Now, that has been said so lets clear the decks for what I really want to talk about. For many years I was an armored combat fighter in the Society. My weight, age, and some very poor knees that were bad when I first came into the world and never got better have kept me from putting on my armor for awhile. In truth I may never get to wear it again. If so, then its OK as I am not a "One trick pony". I fell back into some other things that I like to do, namely, archery, weaving, cooking, etc. and so on. I have always had good eye/hand coordination and archery came naturally to me and I have had some success with it. Part of that is that I also love to create and that includes my archery equipment. I try to put as much care and skill into what I make to use as possible and I also never hold back when making things for other archers. I also like to weave on small looms designed for belts, sashes and clothing trim. I started learning this skill in my teens when I was a Boy Scout. I never thought that I would be using it later in life or that I would enjoy it so much. It is a form of relaxation and meditation for me. There are days when I can spend hours listening to a radio or TV show while never looking up from the loom except to look at my dear wife or deal with a cat demanding my attention. I share all of this to pass on a simple belief of mine. I am not God. No matter if to your belief that is the great architect of the universe , God of Abraham, Ra, Odin, Jesus, Mohamed, or any other of the deities worshiped throughout the world and over the years. I am however, a creator. I get to make stuff. It is stuff that may outlast me in the world. It is as close as I am ever likely to get to being God. I create. There are too many people in our world that only want to destroy things. They destroy a forest for a road or shopping mall. They break windows out of old buildings because no is there to get them in trouble for it. They smash mailboxes, paint graffiti, cut tires, or harm animals all because of 1 stupid excuse or another. The most common thing that most people tear down is each other. Not just physically but also their self esteem and sense of worth in our world. I am a rebel against that type of thinking so I create. As I said earlier, I used to be a fighter. Not out of anger but for fun. We would help each other build new armor, make sure it fits right, smack each other with practice swords, compare bruises then eat, drink, and laugh with each other late into the night. But to be honest, I am a much better artisan and archer than I ever was a fighter. I do miss the companionship of the circle of fighters but I still have friends there. There is one thing, however, that I create that makes me immortal on this world. It is the greatest and most phenomenal that I could ever make no matter what my creation medium happens to be. My students. hose people who ask me and look to me in order to learn something from me that I can pass on. You see, I don't just teach others in how to be crafters, I train future teachers. There is a piece of me in everything that they have or ever will create just as some part of my teachers is in my work and in my instruction to them. My body will one day cease to work completely. My heart will stop and my mind will go dark but hopefully I will be eternal. If at least 1 person is still using and teaching what they learned from me then that is what will keep my spirit on earth alive. When the day comes that I am no longer among you on this world then please do me a favor. Lift a drink in my memory, tell a story about me that amused you, read something that I wrote or that reminds you of me, and for the love of all that is good and holy in this world and beyond, make something. CREATE!!! Love to all of my foodie, archer, weaver, fighter, creating family. Ronan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Deep Roots or Tumbleweeds?

Are deep family roots always a good thing to have? My family has been living in East Tennessee since before the American Revolution. I know the back roads, the shops, and the people and I often feel like I am trapped in a cage. I really don't have anything in common with most of the people of my family and, truth be told, don't care for their company most of the time. Its not that they are weird or twisted, just different than me with different values and beliefs. I am grateful for them especially with my parents helping us with some of our bills while my wife finishes school, but they make my life very lonely at times. Most of my friends that I like to socialize with and visit or eat out with (Which we rarely do at today's prices) live quite q long way away from here. It is a 45 minute drive just to get to the closest of them.
When I think about moving out of the area it begins to feel like the day when I will get paroled. At the same time I am scared because we do have a safety net in place here and I know that here we will never be homeless. I am also an only child with parents who are getting older every day and there is no one else to care for them in their twilight years. The land that their house sets on was passed down through the family and I know that isn't the place I want to grow old with Heather but it will probably become mine. I am sure that I will not win any favor with my family if I decide to sell it.
I really like the idea of starting your own roots in a place that I want to grow old in, is of my own choosing and not just where I happened to be born and raised. I sometimes go to the extreme of thinking about buying an RV and just living wherever I choose to take it. There is something really appealing about the nomadic lifestyle. I know that sounds strange after the way I opened this blog but if a nomad doesn't like their neighborhood or their neighbors, they move on. Everyone used to want to make their mark on the world and now we want to reduce our "footprint" as much as we can. Part of the appeal is waiting to see what is over the next hill. Many of these people have seen the sun rise over the Atlantic, set over the Pacific, and all points between. It also means that they have the chance to find a place on the earth where they feel like they belong and have a needed space to fill, in other words, home.
Maybe I'm just bored with where I live. If that is so then the best that I can do to make it better is to change the world around me. Sometimes that is like trying to raise the ocean level by spitting into it. A lot of this area is run using "good ole boy" politics. It means that if you are a little different then you can almost forget about making a difference. Mix this with living in a very thick part of the bible belt and you get a lot of hate and prejudice covered in a moral indignity. It makes me look around and feel like I could cry or scream. I love this country with all my heart but I wish that people here were more open and mature in when looking at their fellow humans. Add to that the fact that we have homeless, drug users, dealers, and labs, violent crimes, home invasions, robbery, rape, and murder. Many people say that it is still better than the big cities but is it when our population is so much lower here.
Right now I live in a trailer and feel afraid all the time. I know how easy it is to get into these when you want in and I worry for my wife and our pets which we call our babies. I just want to feel safe again like I did when I was a kid here and 1 newsworthy violent crime or drug bust per month was the average news instead of daily. It no longer feels like home here and I am still trapped.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A thought about Christmas

I was just watching the news as they are reporting about the poor in our community and Christmas. They talk about how the only Christmas that these people might get is what they receive from a charitable institution, like Christmas is something that can be wrapped up and handed to you. Christmas is something that you must carry inside and share with others. You cannot buy or sell it. Give someone some of your time and company this year. It doesn’t cost a thing but you could never buy the time back even if you had all the wealth in the world.
Whether you are Christian, Pagan, Jewish, or many of the other religions of the world, everyone seems to understand that there is something special about this time of the year. If you doubt it then read about the World War I Christmas truce. Those men found the Christmas spirit in muddy trenches with snow and ice and no real luxury of any kind. All they had in abundance was misery and the Christmas spirit. Some people go the extra mile for their fellow man at this time. The only anger and violence usually is because of money, and money isn't really important unless you make it so. The best Christmas that I have ever had so far was last year when Heather and I didn't have any spare funds so we spent as much time with each other as possible. It was wonderful. With the same being true this year I am looking forward to giving my wife a lot of my time again.

With that being said, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, Festive Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, and any other name you wish to give to this most wonderful time of the year, and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Peace and love to you all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hiding in plain site

Hello again, it’s been far too long since I have written anything. I could say that I have been working, or that my wife has been using the computer a lot and these would have been true. But the most honest answer I can give is that I have been LAZY. I should try and post at least once a week just to keep the crazy thoughts in my head from becoming a chorus that I cannot deny. (Just to be clear, everyone has an inner voice. It is when a person thinks that the inner voice is coming from somewhere other than his own mind, ie. God, Satan, secret friend, the dead, the neighbor's dog, etc., is when they are ready for that in depth mental evaluation. ) I also cannot blame my absence on not having anything to write about as I have had several revelation type thoughts covering everything from religion to politics to really good ideas for Monty Python skits. With that in mind I want to talk about how we hide every day.
This isn't hiding in the closet because we are scared or under the covers because of what might be under the bed, or is it? I keep certain truths from my friends and my family because they wouldn't accept or understand it. I cannot be around my wife's grandparents as myself because if they found out that I was a democrat and did not follow the teaching of Glenn Beck's doctrines I believe they would demand that I leave their house. This would be OK with me but if they found out that their granddaughter was a democrat too they would either disown her or try to have her grabbed in order to have an intervention and get her away from my evil influence.
I would probably have the intervention from my family if they knew that though I grew up Christian and hold many of those beliefs near and dear, but I also have many pagan beliefs and several friends who are fully steeped in the pagan religion. Rather than learn about what I believe and try to understand, they would think that I have become corrupted by a cult and that the devil had taken control of my thoughts. I wouldn't mind all of the prayers that would come my way but the visits from their ministers would make me glad that I have the right to kick anyone out of my house. They think that I am the joker already but in reality I am the honest one. If someone asks my opinion, they get it. I don't sugar coat my answers and since they are blunt, they think that I am joking.
I am also a Freemason. I joined the same lodge that my father has been in for over 40 years. I am even an officer there but it really is a system made up mostly of good-ole-boys who are just a small step away from being KKK members. I keep the knowledge that I am a democrat and voted for President Obama from them. I have to constantly bite my tongue and hide my true expressions from them when I hear phrases like "that Washington nigger" or jokes about hanging him from a Christmas tree. I truly believed the beliefs of Freemasons like Benjamin Franklin who felt that politics and religion had no place for discussion in a Lodge. These were places for progressive minded men to come together for the sharing of ideas and beliefs to make the world better, not just gripe and complain about the way things are and who to blame it on.
I once told a brother mason that it made more sense that our current economic problems were caused by several years of mismanagement by a republican controlled government and not just because a black democrat had been elected to the office of President. He said that he would pray for me in church on Sunday. I would leave it and find a lodge that more closely followed my way of thinking but instead I am trying to make things better rather than turn my back on them. I just have to hide in order to do so.
So we hide. I hide even though it galls me to no end when I do so. It is one of the main reasons that I prefer to closely associate with a very small group of friends. These are people that I can be myself around. I am 42 years old and I doubt that I will live long enough to see my society and country grow up enough to let us all be ourselves openly. If you don't think that people don't hide in plain sight, just listen to the "Don't ask, don't tell" discussions. If we didn't hide in public this wouldn't even be a topic for discussion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Becoming Immortal

It would be nice to live as long as we want to whether it is our allotted 3 score and 10 or a thousand times that much. I would love to be a witness to the next 1000 years. I mean just think about all that a person would have seen during the past millennium. I would take that choice even with the daily pain that I have in my knees and all the aggravation that comes in this life. The reality is that I might not make it until the next sunrise or I might outlive everyone I know. It's the not knowing when, how, or what next that most people are afraid of when dealing with death. There is, however, a way that anyone can have a touch of immortality in this world. It comes in what we leave behind when we are gone. I am a teacher in my heart and my soul. It's not just the certificate that I have from the state of Tennessee (Which is been pretty useless over the past 10 years) but in the passing on of what you truly love to do. I am lucky enough to have a few students who want to learn what I can teach them and in them is where I will gain some small ability to stay around for a long time after I am gone. Especially if I can get them to pass on those skills and knowledge again and again. In time my name will be lost but my lessons will still be here. I was talking to a friend awhile ago and I told her that one of my students would surpass my teachings and achievements within 10 years or sooner. She asked me if I was OK with that and I had to answer that I was more than OK with it. A teacher should feel like a failure if their students never take what was taught to them then grow and add to it. Education isn't a fixed thing and I am looking forward to the day that young man shows the world just how good he is. At that time my soul will soar because I will know that I had a hand in his training. Education grows and expands as we go through time and by that same fact, the teacher needs to grow and keep learning too. I still spend hours at the Library or sorting through information on the net or practicing what I learn and I have to keep reminding myself that I am helping keep other people immortal as I keep learning from their teachings. What we pass on to others is an energy that never stops once it is put into motion and we are best served if that energy is a positive one. I hope that the energy that I start or that I continue is something that helps people and our world for that next 1000 years that I want to be here for so that I will still be here too.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where oh where has all my hair gone?

Sometimes when you decide to make a change in yourself, the people you know are surprised and shocked. They may even worry since "Drastic"changes are a warning sign for various problems. Its not that drastic of a change when you know the whole story. Having once had hair that reached all the way to my waist is a part of my past. I had my reasons for having it long and I now have them for shaving my head. Mother Nature and Father Time had slowly started taking my crown of glory about 12 years ago and keeping it in a tight ponytail all the time didn't help matters. I started to notice that I could see more skin than fur on the top while the sides were still very heavily padded with thick growth. At that time I realized that I was getting to have "Old Man" hair and that while I hate them, a comb over was a very "doable" hair style for me. That was when it was time for Heather and I to have a little chat. One of the reasons to justify my choice was the job I had planned to work over the Summer. I was going to teach Summer School at a group home for boys again this year. Having no hair in that setting is actually a safer way to be at work. One of the first things that a person in a fight who doesn't know how to fight will reach for is the hair. That is why most prison guards have shaved or close clipped hair. On my second day at the home, I had to break up a fight between 2 boys, one of whom was nearly as big as me and taller to boot. In a grappling fight I become a rock, I don't move and I don't budge, so he went for my hair which was no longer there. OK, I had made a good choice but back to the wife. Once I convinced her that it should go we didn't waste any time. She took the clippers to me with no guard on it and the tub on the floor filled quickly. When it was over she wasn't thrilled but she wasn't too upset either. Two days later I used a razor and went down to the skin. I mean "In for a penny, in for a pound" right. After 2 months I have become more used to it now myself. I no longer wonder if my hair looks goofy from a haircut, if I have bed head, or if its going to keep getting thin on top. I think that it took several years off of the way I look and I feel energized by the change.I am also not alone because I have several friends with the same need to show how good they look sans strands. My only concern is that if I am caught with Chad, Robby, and Matt all at the same time that someone will think that it is a skinhead rally. Nope just a group of men who don't need to hide under bad hairdos.