Oh, oh, oh, you know

heat Oh, I don’t know, you know? You know what I mean, I’m sure.

Oh, the stifling heat. Walk outside and into an oven. Drown in endless glasses of ice water and spray down legs with the hose. The humidity can’t be wiped off faces and arms, and the sweat pours from places never known to emit moisture. It’ll save on the water bill since there’s a lot less flushing going on.

Oh, the endless tension and stress in the news. If it can go wrong, it does. It’s all Dominoes, all connected, and it’s just a matter of time before they are all knocked down. Lickety-split, the blocks tumble faster and faster. Oh, you know what I mean.


Caution: uneven lanes ahead


I lost my mind somewhere, and I have a feeling it took a jump off the bridge that I was taking this photo from. (This is facing east, going across the Arkansas River that separates North Little Rock from Little Rock.) This bridge illustrates perfectly what it feels like to have my mind go one way and my heart another. Discombobulating. If I recall, they call that being torn, right?

It’s everywhere too, like the world is mocking me. On the highway into town they’ve shaved off a few layers of asphalt, with one lane stripped and the other not. Nice little ridges are left for the sides of your tires to catch on and throw your car around a bit. One up, one down. Which lane is the one to be in? Bump up or bump down? Mock away, world. I’m still trying to figure out how a train can cross that bridge. They fly down the tracks, and somehow, that bridge doesn’t look like it would drop fast enough. I’ll get back to you about the lanes when I figure out the bridge.

Have you ever had that feeling?

I know what it is. The temps have been up around 100 degrees for three weeks now. I’ll blame it on the heat. The heat is discombobulating. Heh.


A slap upside the head


The other day, our sunset held more than just the sun dipping out of sight behind the mountains and trees. To the south was this spectacularly illuminated cloud that made that particular sunset far more than just a sunset. It caught the eye of many, with many of them taking a photo and sharing it on Facebook and blogs. It’s almost like nature in all its glory becomes more awesome and breathtaking when we all need to be reminded that it is nature, it is everything, that depends on us. So, it gives us a gift, a huge, remarkable sight to slap us upside the head as a reminder of our responsibility to all of life. Nowadays, it can’t just be delegated to “those with the ears to hear and the eyes to see.” It’s too late for that.

Yes, it’s too late for that. We’re in a big mess. Every moment of every day, I see more evidence of just how big this mess has become.

I watch the news like a hawk. I yearn for an indication that the politicians in Washington are even aware of the impact their games have on people, real people. Instead, it’s politics as usual, and real people,watch their lives crumble under their feet. Do politicians ever look up and see?

Sure, we have information overload. We have access to so much information that buzzes around our heads like a swarm of angry wasps that we do whatever we can to swat that noise away from our ears, in self defense. But, that information is not the danger. Far from it.

There has been a shift, a dramatic change in all the information that is available. All those talking heads, those pundits that have always shaped public opinion by offering up their drivel after a politician’s speech no longer have the power in their hands to push America into their version of a neat little pile. That power is gone. What has taken its place is social networking like Facebook and Twitter where everyday people, you and I, post our own reactions and opinions way before the pundits have a chance to open their mouths.

Now, finally, the voice of America comes from us! We have our voice and we are using it. What we haven’t realized yet is that our voice, our very voluminous and powerful voice, has the responsibility to shape our own future – and fix the big mess that we’re in.

You see, our responsibility goes beyond ourselves, our families, towns, cities, states and country. Our responsibility includes all of life, all of nature, every living thing in our environment. Nature is slapping us upside the head almost every day now, trying to get us, humanity, to wake up and take the responsibility that comes with being the highest life form on the planet. Sweltering heat, bitter cold, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts, deafening thunder and murderous lightning are all slaps upside the head. So are the incredibly beautiful moments that nature gives us. She is reminding us of the way life could be all the time.

And, it’s all up to us how it’ll be, disaster or beauty. It’s our choice.

It’s time to wake up. Take responsibility and use that voice of yours.


It’s all in the release

odinheadtossThere are times when I waver, split between the joy of life in all it's totality and fear of walking life's paths alone. Every fleeting thought is ripe with potential for both fear and joy. When the scales tip toward joy, which they do more often than not, life is astounding, glorious and rich. When the scales tip the other way toward the negative, fear rises up and overwhelms. No matter which way those scales tip, it is all symbiotic. When I remember the symbiosis, I remember that I am never alone. This I learned from my horse.

Odin never ceases to amaze me. I have never met a horse so expressive, interactive and communicative. I’m sure that has more to do with the years we’ve spent together than anything else, with those years spent growing and learning and growing some more.

To point at anything specific that has shaped our relationship is riddled with many of the terms that rile horse people on either side of the spectrum from traditional to the so-called natural horsemanship fad of the day. All the way up and down that spectrum are things of value, things to learn and things to incorporate into a relationship with a horse. So, my first bit of advice is to be an extremist in a different way – take it all in.


I have great neighbors!

The blue pickup pulled out of the driveway and headed slowly toward me. The truck pulled into my driveway, the window rolled down and he said, “You’ll be over tomorrow, right? I’m cooking out again, and I want you over there.” His usual, big smile on his face, he insisted. “If you don’t, I’ll send Jason and Jennifer over to drag you over.”

That’s my neighbor, Larry. He’s taken to inviting me over every Sunday to “socialize,” as he calls it, insisting that he’s going to teach me Southern ways if it kills him. He’s persistent, that’s for sure, and for the first time in my life, I have great neighbors that have become a large part of why I call this place “home.”


BP working to contain oil and profits only

Discover Enterprise: Photo taken from bp.com

I’m not a scientist, not by any means. As much as I’ve been following the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, I am not satisfied that I’ve learned enough to know what’s really going on. Those reporting the news of the disaster are no more learned than I am, so the result is a dumbed-down version of the important points.

What we know is that, under the ownership and direction of British Petroleum, the Deepwater Horizon drill rig didn’t follow the rules which resulted in the April explosion and sinking of the rig, taking 11 lives in the process. Now, oil and natural gas are streaming into the Gulf from the hole in the ocean’s floor, and several attempts to stem that flow did not work. First, a huge containment dome, then a ‘top kill’ attempt to push the oil back into the ground with heavy drill water and junk, and now a top hat is in place. The top hat has one pipe up to the Discover Enterprise and several vents, which allows it to capture 6,000 gallons of escaping oil a day so far; a mere third of the oil spewing from the hole.