Friday, August 16, 2013

Almost blows Dixie

Eric and I get together from time to time when Wild Cub passes through and without a doubt our conversation turns to home. Eric and I come from Auburn. We did not share the entirely same experience but that's another post. This is about some of the characters we grew up with in our formative years. It is a wonder how we made out "normal".
There was a guy, for his privacy I will only refer to him by his self given nickname. I am serious about his name. He called himself SLIM PICKENS. That was written in bold red letters across the windshield of his old beater Chevy truck. This truck and this guy are the memory. 

In a high school that had themed days such as drive your tractor to school day and muddy truck day Ole' Slim and his truck fit right in! Being Kentucky there was a rebel or two still keeping the south alive! Slim certainly was, trying at least! His truck horn blew Dixie.... Well almost blew Dixie. Every afternoon he would pass by and slam his horn "bamp, bamp, bamp, bamp  bamp bamp bamp bamp bam.... And that's it. If your familiar with the tune you'll know this is all but the last bamp. A crucial bamp in the glory that is Dixie! 

That is our life. A comical list of eccentric characters and a half honked horn of Dixie!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gorillaquake and Tarantulanche

Whilst watching Sharknado of a Tuesday before the Wild Cub show Eric and I began developmental thought on two Films to come! 

Gorillaquake: the scientists didn't listen when they were told to turn away. Now there is nowhere to run. A mythically giant gorilla has emerged from beneath the earth. As his anger rises so does the death toll!! 

Tarantulanche: In the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado two adventurous young scientists are studying the tarantula during matting season. What they s didn't see coming was shifting of the plates that releases a torrent of tarantula hurdling down the mountain toward civilization in an avalanche of death! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Springtime and the Power of Ruminative Thought

Since last I wrote there has been a boom of sunshine, warmth and thousands of flowering tulips all across the city. The same, in turn, can be said about my mind. As winter has crept into springtime casting light on the world, and here sunlight can last about 21 hours a day, light and warm thought has occupied me like the changes of the season.
Stockholm is a vibrant city. The sunshine and long days have brought a smile to the city the likes of which I have never experienced. Parks have been flooded with people soaking up the sun and literally stopping to smell the flowers. The sun shines warm and bright and long, giving plenty of time to picnic and dance in the excitement of ridding the long darkness of a northern winter. It really is surreal to me to see this. Where I grew up the days were "normal". In the summer there were longer days but nothing like here. The sun sits around 11:30 leaving a dusk like glow and then rises again around 1am. When the day is in full swing the parks and water fronts are filled with people waving their Swedish flags, grilling and drinking. In Kentucky in the middle of the day the humidity melts a person like an ice cream cone in a sauna and usually leads to people staying inside with the safety of the air conditioning. This is not the case here. With a high of around 76 and very little humidity I can easily lay in sun, play volley ball or stroll through the city with minimal complaint, and then a cool sea breeze comes and blows any complaint right from my mind.
Easter is Sweden was incredible. Spring had sprung 2 weeks early! The sun and warmth welcomed Anne to Stockholm with open arms and blooms. The two of us explored the city daily watching the cherry blossoms pop up like magic, we witnessed flower gardens explode with color and ate some really incredible food. 
I enjoyed learning about the Swedish tradition of Easter Hags. This is when children dress up as witches and go around asking for candy. Yes, it is a little like Halloween but with sunshine. It stems from a tradition of witches in Germany who fly away under the Paschal moon. This Paschal moon was unbelievable. Anne and I sat on a bench by the sea and watched the glowing orange moon reflect off of the glass still water of the Baltic sea. It was a moon like I had never seen; Incredibly large and possessing a glowing fire color that is hard to describe. It left me with a feeling equally hard to describe. All in all Easter was a great experience for me.
Now that I have been left alone here again to experience spring I have made a stronger effort to be out and make friends, and to enjoy every minute of the light I can. I have been successful in both. I have made a small group of friends that come from around the world. It is amazing to sit in a park with a group so diverse and talk. It is something that I could spend days doing and never get enough. It is so nice to soak up knowledge of different cultures and experiences. I am finding that the world is a small place. Aside from small differences the human spirit and soul is very similar no matter where you are from. We share the same basic desires and needs, and therefore have a connection that some people will never learn.
Now a quick thought on ruminative thought. Traveling alone has its advantages. I am given plenty, if not excess, time to think. To ponder the what, where, why and how's of my life and reasons for my adventures. I have stirred for hours these questions in my mind and feel like it would be a disservice to anyone who reads my blog not to describe the reality of traveling alone and the honesty of myself. Unfortunately it is not all sunshine and tulips. I have always been prisoner to my own mind. Never being able to escape. It is not a bad thing. For years it helped me be self-aware and that self-awareness of my surroundings helped me to leave the things that could have trapped me for a lifetime. Spending that time by the creek in Kentucky I was able to objectively see and judge my surroundings picking from them the ones that I wanted to keep in memory and learn from and the ones I needed to pass over and leave behind or else they would drag me down. Gaining that ability to leave things behind, over the years, is what fueled the fire to be on the move. Now at 27 I see that the things that should have scarred me in my childhood left no measurable wounds. However it is stupid to think it didn't leave me with something. Here in the sunshine of a Swedish springtime I sat in a park and for the first time thought, and thought slowly and repetitively and honestly about why. Why is it that I have had the drive to move? A physiologist would say that the days I spent as a child covering and moving past any real connection to the fact that I had no father gave me a "gypsy" soul. I say this is probably true. There is no bitterness to the fact that I did not know the man. No pain inside or thoughts of "why didn't he ....?” Those thoughts were never there, but the work that I put into not letting those thoughts creep in and the time I spent passing over did put me on a "move". I have never been satisfied. I have always been on this constant search for more. A search for more knowledge, to see new things, go everywhere and do everything. I am not in search of who I am, for I know exactly who that is. Rather, who I am wants to see everything, meet everyone and do everything. This I am ok with. The things that should have left gaping holes in my psyche have not. I left that place mostly unscathed. Though no one grows up in a trailer park in Kentucky without a little of that creeping into their changed selves. For me it was a few years of financial irresponsibility. Now I am on the course to remedy that.
I sat in the park and tried to contemplate a million deep questions. I thought about them and realized what I have already known about myself. I left the things that should have dragged me down; I have the power to choose when to be happy and enjoy the sunshine and when to choose to draw the curtains. My soul enjoys the roaming and my mind couldn't live without it. This realization is the power of ruminative thought. Traveling alone has its advantages and I am becoming closer to myself and what I am capable of.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival

On an overcast Sunday with a crisp cold breeze gently blowing off of the nearby water, stirring up a kind of magic, I walk under the branches of the newly flowered Cherry Blossoms of Kungstragarden. In the Kings garden near the palace and the city center there grows a present from Japan to the king. These cherry blossoms add even more beauty and an early burst of color to spring. These trees, being a gift and extremely beautiful, are celebrated every spring. The celebration today has certain sense of magic. The overcast skies create a world of shadows with these bright pink blossoms falling and floating in the breeze, dancing slowly until they rest upon the water of the fountain. The darkness of the day and the slight sprinkling of rain bring the pink into focus even sharper. As I walk through the dancing blossoms and feel the cool breeze and cold rain upon my face I am sound tracked by wonderful opera singers standing at large fountain in the center of the four rows of trees. The trees are planted to create a tunnel underneath which large crowds have gathered for pictures and picnics, now covered in the shedding blossoms. It really feels magical, a scene from a beautiful movie, watching the flowers fall and then rise again from the ground in the breeze, seeming to pause in mid

air. Walking, I feel like I am moving in slow motion in another time and place, the music rings throughout the air drowning the sound of the city. It is the sounds of singers, people laughing and the water from the fountain that are in the air. The Cherry Blossoms look incredible floating  upon the pooled water in the rectangular fountain creating land where water once was. People dressed in traditional Japanese garb walk through the crowds stopping for pictures and helping to establish that I am no longer in Stockholm but somewhere in the in between. Somewhere in a scene from the magic of my imagination walking and wading my way through the wall of flowers suspended in the air. The sun could be shining and could be warmer and some would say that this would be a better way to enjoy the Cherry Blossom festival, and I would have agreed until this day. The crisp autumn day created a magic I couldn’t have imagined and made this day memorable for me.

“That’s it I quit, I’m Moving on”, to “Hard to Handle” not “Right as Rain” this “Pain in My Heart” I can’t “Let it Go”. “If I should Fall Behind”, if the “Whiskey’s Gone” “Bring it on Home to Me”, with “Cigarettes and Coffee” and show me “Living Proof”. For “Human Touch” there is “No Surrender” I would “Drive All Night” for “My Girl” because I am a “Good Man” and “That’s Life”. “The Best is Yet to Come” I was “Born to Run” to be “Rolling in the Deep”. “Set fire to the Rain” because “She’s the One”, I was “Blinded by the Light” “Because the Night” takes me back to the “American Land” “To Make you Feel My Love.”

A small poem using the song titles from the playlist of one day here in Stockholm. The artists are Bruce Springsteen, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Adele, Zac Brown Band, Josh Ritter, Michael Buble and Sam Cooke. Give it a try, it is kind of fun.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Valborg: The eve of May

So today is April 30th. Back home this is just another day. Here in Sweden it is a day, or night, of celebration. The eve of May is very exciting; Swedes and many other Europeans cultures celebrate the coming of spring with large bonfires, singing and dancing. I had not heard of this, and didn't realize how special it was. I nearly missed out completely, but I did manage to make it a bonfire here in Djursholm. In a small harbor on the Baltic Sea there was a small group surrounding the last of a once great bonfire that glows hot orange. The moonlight is reflecting on the glass still waters of the sea and a cool breeze blows the warmth of the fire to my face as I approach the group. Cold crisp air and the smell of a bonfire is intoxicating to me, it always has been. That feeling and smell now brings back so many memories of nights spent in the wilderness of the Southwest. The memories of all those nights I rested after a long day of building trail, muscles tired and achy, and stared up into the heavens at the vastness of space and dreamt of travel. Here I am now, in the midst of my adventure, my travel, at the edge of the Baltic Sea feeling the last few fleeting hours of the long Swedish winter upon my face and watching the fire and smoke dance in the shadows of the night. I stand, alone, not knowing anyone and observe. I hear a small group starting to sing a song I cannot understand, but it is a happy song. I stand beside a group of young guys speaking in Swedish and am now able to understand the jest of their conversation about "The Godfather”. Their Swedish is interspersed with English quotes from the movie, each trying their best Brando. To my right is a family of three roasting wieners on sticks and enjoying the night. A beautiful golden retriever bounces behind me, also excited by the night. I stand, taking it all in. The sea, the scene, and just how far I have come from what I know. I look up at the house in front of me as I walk away from the fire and see a Swedish flag blowing in the night. It is a shadow, colors indistinguishable, that dances with the smoke billowing past. Everything seems to be welcoming spring and the sunlight that has for months now been a loved one gone too long and the fireworks begin in the distance as a 21 cannon salute fires off from the Palace in Stockholm for the Kings 65th birthday. The Earth trembles from the sound of the cannons and the explosions of the fireworks. Valborg and the Kings celebration fill this eve of May with excitement and life. I breath in the smell of the fire in the night, take in the sound of the cannons and enjoy the coming of Spring.

Monday, April 11, 2011

White Shoes, White Hair and the Beauty of Stockholm

Stockholm is buzzing with the sounds of the first footsteps and chattering laughter of springtime. The sun is shining, and shining longer and longer each day. Swede's live for the sun and coming running out of the darkness of winter at a full sprint. Smiling people pour into the streets, soaking up the sun on the staircases of opera houses, museums and the docks of the canals. The restaurants and cafes have excitedly moved their seats outside in search of the sun, and found smiling faces to fill them.

With the ever warming days, Swede’s shed the restrictions of winter, ice and jackets and trade them in for white converse sneakers, and small H&M shopping bags filled with the first newly bought treasures of the season. To understand the aesthetic s of Stockholm you must set your minds to white and tight! White converse all-stars flood the streets marching like a million Swedish rabbits feet. These shoes can be found in the windows of many shops throughout the city and on the feet of the majority of Stockholmians of all ages and both sexes. The shoes rest below very tight jeans. Skin tight jeans and white sneakers are all the rage. This is all accented by the correct stereotype of Swedish blonde hair. The electric blonde may be dyed but it still is true that the streets of Stockholm are packed with tall blonde beautiful people. Fashion is king in Sweden and it isn’t just for women or a select few with taste. Swedes take pride in health and a clean well-manicured appearance. This makes for a picture of beauty from both men and women. The surrounding beauty of the old city and modest streamlined Swedish design help to create this fa├žade of beauty.

The sound of seagulls overhead and the sea below create a nice soundtrack to the setting of the sun just behind the palace. This city resting on the islands of the archipelago burns with

the majestic glow of the setting sun coming to life in the fire. The shadows dance on the rooftops of cathedrals and the lights of the city begin their illuminating glow on the water and sidewalks of the night. The sounds of the evening begin to rise high as the sun sinks lower. The smell of the sea rises from the water and with it brings the familiar feeling of the birth of a new beginning, a new season. Stockholm is a small city but is large with captivating beauty and thirst for life. The magical spell that Stockholm’s beauty casts will resonate.