Battery

Every once in a while you run into the end of your path and your left facing impassable brambles. It happens to everyone ad you have two choices, go back and find another path, or forge ahead, pulling at the brambles and making your own bloody path. Either path can be the right path, in fact, that is the real heck of it – there may be fewer ‘wrong’ paths than there are ‘right’ ones. It’s just a matter of which path you choose to follow.

The journey is rough, and long, and there will be times when you lose every last bit of strength to push forward. The brambles close in, the darkness starts to suffocate you, and the light that you use to guide your way forward dims until it is almost extinguished.

You will fight but the harder you fight the dimmer your light will get because that light depends on you and when you are out of juice, it is out of juice and you give up.

You give up dreams, hopes, passions, and even loves.

You give up on yourself.

Once you do that, the path engulfs you and you’re just sleepwalking through the rest of your life, letting life push you this way and that along the path of least resistance, and you can find happiness there, sure, but you also find that the engine driving you has died and that instead you are on a conveyor, pulled along until your eventual end.

A passenger in your own life.

When you feel yourself running down you have to stop, to pause, and let that light dim and let yourself slow down so you can hear your own heart.

We forget that our only guide along this path is our heart and if we stop being able to hear it then we won’t get anywhere. We’ll just be wandering, following our own echoes.

We have to take time to breathe and think about where we are and what we are going towards and then we can plot our course.

Sometimes it is forward.

Sometimes back.

Sometimes you make your own path.

You never know.

The journey is full of all of those things and more.

The only way forward, truly forward though is if we slow down to make sure you are taking care of yourself and your dream.

In the end, despite the support of friends, lovers, or family, you are truly all you have in the end.

It’s your journey and your path and if you won’t take care of yourself and your vision then no one else will.

That’s just how it is.

There is a path forward.

There is always a path forward.

It may not be the one we like, or the one that seems best, but if we take the time to slow down and listen to our hearts, to ourselves, take time to recharge, then in the end we’ll still be moving forward, and that is the only way we can get to where we need to end up.

Forward.

…c…

(hey, do me a favor and go buy a one of my books!)

 

 

going to be ok – story

most days there is only screaming.
a white noise filling her head and crawling through her body like a thousand fire ants.
the world was so loud.
so angry.
so fast.
at school she would try to find a corner to go to and sit, away from everyone and everything, trying to grab hold of her thoughts and slow her heartbeat, which was booming away.
she would close her eyes and imagine herself as a rock with the waves of the ocean crashing upon her and drown, drown, drowning her.
the world would go gray and all she felt was screams wanting to explode from inside her. she felt cracks forming along her body and prayed to god, oh please god please, to not let her fall apart. to not let the screams escape.
to not let them see how scared she was.
home, she wished she was home, and in the dark, and alone in her room under the covers with her favorite song playing.
then the world would slow down.
then the world would let her breathe.
when it coudln’t see her.
she just wants her headphones.
headphones.
headphones.
she just wants to be little, tiny, and gone.
why can’t she be invisible?
she felt more cracks spreading.
she was going to fall apart.
it was going to happen.
it was going to happen.
it was…
a voice.
her name.
said softly, as if it was a secret.
and again, her name.
and again, and this time she opened her eyes
mr. ames was kneeling in front of her as the students worked on a project behind him. miss amy was leading the class as mr. ames was back here and no one seemed to notice.
maybe she had become invisible.
but mr. ames spoke her name once more so he must see her.
she must be here.
you are here, he said, you are safe, you are ok.
she was here?
she was safe?
she was ok?
but she didn’t feel like ANY of those things?
let’s slow the world down a little, ok? he said.
she wanted the world to slow.
she wanted everything to slow.
let’s take a breath, ok? a deep breath now hold it for three, two, one, and let it out, and with that breath will go all of the bad thoughts and feelings you have been feeling.
she wasn’t sure about this. she didn’t want to do this. she liked mr. ames though, he was always nice to her so she would try it.
she would try it.
just once.
she took a deep breath.
deep, deep. deeeeeeeep.
she held her breath and her chest started to burn and then she let her breath out and she felt the fire go out and the world did seem like it slowed down.
mr. ames smiled at her.
ok, good, now let’s try that again, ok? do it two more times in a row and let’s see how you feel. ok. ready? he asked.
she did as he said and took a breath, held it, then released it. then she took another and did the same.
she felt light headed afterward but she also felt good.
the roar in her head was almost gone.
most of the ants in her body were asleep.
and the world seemed quieter.
she smiled at mr. ames.
ok, great. that is great. now every time you start to feel anxious, like you need to go away then take a few deep, deep breaths to try to slow things down. i think this will help. i think there is more that we can do for you though. i think there are more things we can do to help you when you start to feel like that. do you think you’d like that?
she almost screamed and hugged mr. ames but didn’t.
of COURSE she wanted some help to stop feeling this way.
that was all she had ever-ever wanted.
she nodded and mr. ames smiled.
ok. when your dad comes to pick you up today after school i will talk to him about some ideas i have. about a person i think that can help and maybe you, your dad, and your mom can go see this friend of mine an7d maybe, just maybe…
the bell rang to signal the end of one class and the beginning of another and the girl started to get up, brushing dust and dirt from her pants as she did.
do you need me to call your dad or are you going to be ok?
she looked at mr. ames and thought about it a moment, biting her lower lip as she ran her hands down along the lines of her courdoroys. she nodded and smiled.
i am gonna be ok. breathe. just breathe. breathe. breathe. breathe.
mr. ames nodded and stood up and watched as the little girl went to her desk and grabbed her notebook and text book and walked out of the room.
she was going to be just fine.
…c…

ball – A Story

this is a creepy little story that has been rattling in my brain for a bit now. this is a VERY rough draft of the story. it needs work. it needs smoothing out. i’ll do those things…eventually. for now i offer this, a creepy tale i call 

BALL

I had a dog.

I loved that dog.

It was a great big Great Dane. Grandma got it for us when my sister went off to college. There was a big gap between she and I so Grams figured that a dog was what the family needed.

What I needed.

And it was always my dog.

Captain was four when we got him and I was eleven.

When I was fourteen, and Keri was twenty-one, mom and dad adopted one last kid.

A baby.

She was a daughter of a friend of the family, someone mom had met in college. 
The woman had lost her husband in a car accident and she was dying from Leukemia so mom and dad had a long talk together, then with my sister and me, and that was how Amelia came to live with us.

She was too young to remember he mom but my mom and dad made sure to get photos, and letters from her, and recordings over her so that when the time came they would tell her about her mother.

That’d be years from now though because she was three when she came to live with us.

She moved into the house in late June and we lost the dog in August.

Things started though in early July.

The third.

Captain was a good dog.

The best dog.

He was a pain in the butt though.

Cleaning up his poo.

Feeding him.

Letting him out at night.

Mom and dad wanted me to learn to be more responsible, and I get that, I got that, but it didn’t make it any less annoying.

He had to go outside every night at three in the morning, like clockwork.

In the summer it was easier because it didn’t matter if I was tired in the day.

 

I had just fallen asleep after staying up late to watch a monster movie when Captain wandered into my bedroom and nudged me to tell me he had to go out. I got up and followed him to the back door, stubbing my toes a half dozen times as I went. The path he took rambled through the house. It wasn’t a direct route. It went from my bedroom, down the hall, left into the living room, through that to the dining room, and then through the kitchen to the backdoor when he could have just gone down the hall and to the kitchen and out. He liked the other route best though. I think it was his way to patrol and show me that we were safe. At the back door I patted him on the head, unlocked the sliding glass door, and let him out into the backyard.

The yard was fenced with three big trees standing guard at the back edge of the property and a small shed dad had built standing in the opposite corner. I turned the backyard light on and then went back inside and sat down at the kitchen table and dropped my head in my hands.

Captain wasn’t always one to stay outside to play but at night he was all in, racing around the yard, rolling around in the wet grass, and generally being a giant goof. As soon as my head hit my hands I fell into darkness and was gone.

I woke some time later and groggily realized that the sun was starting to rise and I was still at the table, the backdoor was still open, and Captain, I quickly saw, was still outside.

I got up and slowly trudged to the door to call him.

He was sitting at the base of the middle tree in the backyard, looking up and panting as if he was excited.

I called him again.

He ignored me.

He must have had something treed.

That was what I figured.

A raccoon or an opossum.

I called a third time and he turned, gave me a goofy grin, then got up and ran to me and kissed my hand as he came inside and went right for his bed.

He was asleep in flash.

Lucky guy.

Dad caught me as I was making my way back to bed and he clapped me on the shoulder and said the one word every kid hates more than any other in the summer – lawn.

I nodded and went into my room to get dressed and ready to mow the lawn.

 

Now, did the lawn NEED to be mowed at 8AM?

No.

But that’s how dad liked things.

Early.

I’d cut the grass, he’d trim the bushes and edging, and mom would ramble out later with the baby to work in a small flower garden we had in the front of the house.

We didn’t have a big lawn but with an old-fashioned push mower with no motor it tended to take a while.

Oh, and did I mention dad didn’t believe in music during yard work?

Yeah, there was that.

He felt it was a distraction.

From what he wouldn’t say.

So, I went out, opened the shed, pulled out the mower, and got to mowing.

Dad would holler out to me from time to time to make sure I didn’t have headphones on. It was a dick move but that was dad. He wasn’t mean but he was strict, and he liked his rules. When he called out to me he never really had anything to say, just would yell – How’s it going out there? – or something else.

It was dumb.

But it was what it was.

Still and all though, the mind drifts as you do something repetitive.

It just does.

I didn’t notice anything in the grass when I ran it over.

Dad called out to me then hurried out to see why I had stopped.

Maybe he was worried about me, I would like to think he was, but odds were that he was worried about the mower.

I pulled the mower backwards and saw a dark red ball.

Weird.

I bent down to grab it and as soon as my hand touched it I felt how wet it was.

I looked at my hand and saw it was red.

Crap.

I had run over an animal.

My stomach dropped.

Dad came up to me and saw my hand and grabbed it to see where I had cut myself. I told him I hadn’t, that the red came from the ball. He looked down at it then dropped to his knees. He grabbed it, grimacing as he did, and dropped it again.

  “Did you hit something?”

 

I shook my head.

He looked back down and picked it up again and then tilted his head as he looked at the mower. He grabbed hold of something beneath the mower, which was off now, and pulled and out came a long piece of something that was also red and also attached to the ball. He pulled until all of it was out and then looked at the ball. I walked up to him and knelt and it was gross and creepy, the ball, but it wasn’t something dead. It was fabric. Fabric someone had rolled up and dipped in paint or something.

Dad dropped it back onto the ground and wiped his hands on the grass.

 

  “Get some gloves on and throw this thing in the trash, will ya? Then just finish things up and we’ll call it a day for the yard work. We can finish it tomorrow.”

 

I nodded and watched him walk back towards the house, his eyes on his hands. He looked over his shoulder once, back towards the ball, and then went inside. For my part I did as he asked and got some gloves, got the trash can we put outside trash in, and I threw the ball away. After that I finished mowing and put the mower away and went inside to clean up.

 

We ended up going to the beach that day and left Captain inside the house with the air conditioning. Dad was strange all day. Distant. Distracted. I caught him looking at his hands and rubbing them on a towel one time as if something was on him. A chill ran down me and I thought of that ball of material we found and the rest of the day wasn’t as fun anymore. That night we had burgers on the grill and mom played with the baby and dad seemed to have forgotten whatever was bothering him earlier and was laughing and even I got out of my funk as I was playing with Captain. It was strange though, every time he got near the trees at the back of the yard he’d whine a little, look up, and I’d have to call him to get him to look away from the trees and back to where the stick was I was throwing.

Strange.

 

That night I beat Captain to the punch, getting up in the middle of the night to pee and deciding to check on him when I was done. I saw him sitting alert by the back door and figured he had to go out so I opened the door for him. He looked up at me for a moment, almost, I dunno, asking permission maybe, and I patted him on the head and he slowly made his way outside. I closed the door because it had gotten chilly out and figured he’d want to play a little and I went and sat on the couch and promptly fell asleep.

I woke to Captain’s whining and got up groggily and went to the door. It was nearly dawn again and when I let him in he raced past me and right to my room, where he slid under my bed.

I followed him and laughed as I saw him go under the bed but when I got down to look at him I saw he was shaking.

He was scared.

Maybe he wanted permission to go out at all.

Maybe he wanted permission to stay in.  

 

I didn’t get back to sleep and when mom and dad called me down for breakfast I didn’t come. After a few minutes dad came up looking for me, concerned. He could tell by the look on my face that something was bothering me and he sat down on the side of the bed and patted my leg.

 

 “What is it, buddy? And hey, where…oh, what the heck is Captain doing under your bed?”

 

I told him what had happened the night before, and then the other night, the one that lead to us finding the ball of fabric. Dad was silent for a minute then patted me on the head.

 

 “Let me take a look back there and see if anyone has been fooling around with anything and I tell you what, for the next few nights if the big guy wants to go out then you wake me and I’ll take him, OK?”

 

I smiled and felt like a weight had been lifted. I got up and followed dad out to breakfast and Captain was hot on my heels, sidling up next to me as we made our way into the kitchen.

 

Dad spent a good part of the afternoon out by the back of the yard, looking around the fence, then around the shed, and finally he got a ladder out and looked up in the trees. He was up in the one closest to the back of the yard and came down after a few minutes, something held in his left hand as he descended the ladder. He stuffed something into the pocket of his pants as he pulled the ladder down, eyes up on the tree the whole time. Afterward he wouldn’t answer any questions when I asked him what he’d found, just saying that it was nothing and to make sure to wake him if the dog wanted to go out. Later that night, as I was heading to bed I heard him speaking to mom in a hushed tone and only caught the words ‘another one’ but didn’t know what he meant.

I popped my head into the baby’s room to check on her then headed to bed where Captain already was waiting for me, hiding under the bed.

And we slept.

 

I woke late and got up to pee and found Captain sitting at the door again, staring into the darkness. Dad had turned the backyard light on so I stood beside Cap and patted him on the head as we both looked out. He started whining and I strained to see something but couldn’t. I checked to make sure the door was locked, hurried off to pee, and then went right back to bed and found Cap laying on my bed waiting for me. He hadn’t done that since he was a puppy.

 

Nightmares chased me through my dreams that night and I woke tired and listless. Cap was the same way and when I let him out to go to the bathroom he wouldn’t go near the back of the yard. I walked back there and looked around and at first found nothing until I came back up to the house and that was when I saw it, next to the patio and the backdoor. Another red ball. I looked around for mom or dad and not seeing them I picked it up, frowning that it was still damp, and unraveled it slowly. More cloth, though I wasn’t sure what it was from. The ball wasn’t large but it seemed as if the layers of soaked red cloth would never end until I knew I had gotten to the center when I pricked my thumb on something. I dropped the cloth and the last bit unraveled, revealing several small red pieces of something. They looked like toothpicks but when I picked one up it felt smooth and hard. I rubbed at it and when I saw that it was yellowish beneath the red I dropped it, thinking suddenly of the documentaries mom and dad made me watch about archeology and bones. The things in the cloth looked like little shards of bone and if Cap had gotten this ball, gotten and bitten into it…

I heard dad and swept the mess up in my hand and got up and threw it into the trash. Later that afternoon I caught dad while mom was out in the front yard with the baby and told him what I had found and showed it to him in the trash. He got quiet and rubbed his chin.

 

 “Someone is playing a cruel game with us, kiddo. A dangerous game.”

 

 “What do you mean?” I asked.

 

 “Someone wants to hurt Cap. I found the same sort of things in the other balls I found. I saved one of those balls. I am going to call the police and speak to them. Until they can get out here you keep Cap on a leash and you don’t let him out of your sight and you stay close to the house and away from the back there. Got me?” He was serious so I nodded and headed back in to the house. Cap was under my bed and I got under there with him and we lay like that for a while.

Until mom came looking for me.

 

 “Honey, get dressed, your dad’s had an accident.”

 

Dad had been up in the trees again, looking for something, he told my mom. She had been back there with him, holding the ladder but thought she heard me calling for her so she left him to check and as soon as she got into the house she heard my dad cry out and when she turned he was in a heap at the bottom of the ladder, his arm twisted at a wrong angle and several deep scratches along his face. He was dazed but mom got him up and into the car, that was when she came for me and Amelia. She called our next door neighbor, and elderly woman and told her what had happened and she promised to look in on Cap to see how he was doing in case we were gone for a while.

 

We were gone for seven hours.

There’d been a boating accident nearby and the hospital was a mess. Dad’s arm was busted in two places and he had a concussion but the doctor said he was lucky it wasn’t worse. When asked about the scratches he said dad wasn’t sure how it had happened. The doctor told us that it must have been from the tree, though he didn’t seem sure about this. When they wheeled dad back in he looked drugged but as soon as mom and the baby left the area he was in the ER to speak to a nurse about when he’d be let go he pulled me close and whispered to me –

 

 “I caught it up there. I caught it. Christ. Jesus Christ, son. It’s…it’s…Captain. Where’s Captain?”

 

Mom returned and dad let got of me and was out in an instant, stoned on pain medication that was dripping into him drop by drop. Dad was hurting, it was clear, but it was Cap I was thinking of, my big, sweet boy.

 

It was after ten at night when mom called the neighbor woman. The old lady had been asleep and the phone woke her but yeah, she said, old Cap is fine. Just fine. It had been such a nice day that she thought he’d like spending some time outside so she’d let him out at five and he was still out there. She’d forgotten all about him but hadn’t even heard him barking. Mom asked her to go check on him and the woman insisted he was fine, just fine. She had even hooked him to the cable we had out there for him when he’d been a puppy. The woman, sweet as she usually was, had no interest in going out at ‘this hour’ but mom insisted, so the lady walked over to the house, muttering to mom the entire time about how she shouldn’t have to do this, and she looked through the fence and said Cap was lying by the ladder, back by the trees in the back of the house and that…and she went quiet. Mom asked her what she was going to say and the woman told her that there was a large puddle underneath Captain, as if he was lying in a puddle. Mom got quiet then and told the woman goodbye and hung up.

I saw from the look on her face what I had been horrified about all these days.

I knew my dog was dead.

 

Mom called the police and they met us at the house when we returned with dad. The police pulled mom aside when we got there and I saw her start crying. There were two police cars and the officer from the second car was next door speaking to that woman. Neighbors were at their doors, in their yards, at the road, speaking to one another asking what was going on. Dad was still heavily sedated and in the passenger seat while I had been in the back with Amelia. Mom had told me to stay put but as soon as everyone’s attention was away from me I slipped out of the car and towards the back of the house. I went through the lady’s yard to the back and dropped to my knees and looked through the gaps in the fence. Cap was there, lying motionless, sprawled out and long cold. His head was mostly gone, but there was no blood. Not even beneath him, like the woman had said. It was just him. I reached through the gap and grabbed his paw and held it and cried quietly until my mom and an officer ushered me away.

 

We slept at the house with an officer parked out front and a directive not to go outside. The next day more police arrived to check ‘the scene’ as they called it, and Cap, who they had left back there until someone could come to collect him. Dad was more himself and I heard he and mom crying when she told him what had happened. I slept under my bed with the blanket he liked to carry around. All I could think about were those balls that someone was leaving for him. But whatever had happened to him, it was more than him chewing on one of those.

Much more.

 

In the middle of the day the police were done and they sat us all down to speak to us. Interview us, they said. We told them everything we knew, and they nodded and took notes. They pulled out a bag with one of the balls in it and showed us and we nodded that yes, that was what had been left out there. More notes. the officer told us that they believed that someone had slipped Cap a firecracker and that was how he died. It had exploded in his mouth. M80 was what they said it probably was. I didn’t ask why there wasn’t any blood. I didn’t have anything to say at all, to be honest. I just wanted to go back under my bed.


The officer told us that they believed it had been some local kids but they wanted us to keep an eye out and to be careful and that they’d have an officer checking in with us to make sure everything was OK. Dad asked if they had checked the trees. If they had looked up in the trees. The officer seemed confused by the question and told him that no, they hadn’t, and asked if he thought there might be something up there. Dad nodded and the officer called to his partner and they grabbed the ladder and went up to look. Dad had been right. they found several more of those balls inside a big hole high up in the tree at the furthest back part of the yard. Dad nodded.

 

 “Sir, I know this may seem extreme but we might recommend…”

 

 “Already ahead of you, officer. I have the tree removers coming tomorrow. I just wish they’d made it here sooner.”

 

After the police left we all looked out at the back yard and dad closed the blinds to block it out. We’d had enough of back there. The police had Cap cremated for us in case there was anything else done to him. They didn’t find anything on their check of him but we live in a smallish city and this was a horrible crime so, more than anything, I think this was just small town kindness and we appreciated it. I slept with Cap every night for a month. I only let him go when we were about to go into the new school year and dad asked me if I was ready to let him rest.

I was.

I didn’t want to be, but I was.

 

Dad, mom, baby Amelia, and I went out into the front yard and grabbed some flowers then into the backyard to the bushes he loved to hide beneath and we all said a few words. As we were talking I noticed Amelia looking back to where the trees had been. She giggled then toddled over to the bushes that were back there. With the trees gone we were as nervous about the back of the yard but I watched her the entire way. We all said our peace and I and I put the box with Cap in it into a hole behind the bushes. It was a box mom had painted and which we had all put notes in for Cap. I covered the box with dirt and knelt there crying as dad and mom patted my shoulders. Dad called to Amelia but I stood up and told him I’d get her. I walked back towards her and was confused. She was laughing and wiggling and acting as if she was playing with someone. I came up behind her and she never even knew I was there. I scooped her up in my arms and she squealed as I kissed her on the back of her neck. I dropped her back down and she giggled and poked me in the leg then ran off to mom and dad. I looked at the three tree stumps, left until someone could come dig them out, and then the bushes behind them. A long row that ran to both sides of the fence and along to where we had buried Cap. I scanned it, looking to see if there was a rabbit or some other animal she was playing with but saw nothing. I was turning to leave when I noticed something sticking out of the bottom of a bush at the point where the two sides of the fence met. I walked over to it and knelt and saw red mass there. I reached forward towards it and stopped short. It was just like one of the balls. I poked it and it rolled over and it was roughly shaped like a person with a long piece of cloth that lead back into the bushes. I was confused. Cap was dead so what was…then I thought of Amelia back here laughing and dancing.

A doll.

This was supposed to be a doll.

 

My stomach dropped.

 

Oh my god.

 

I reached for it, to grab it to show dad but a long, thin stick emerged from the bushes and went towards the doll. As the stick stretched out one foot, two feet, and more, more, more, I saw an elbow and saw fingers erupt from a balled fist.

An arm.

It was an arm.

Thin, white, and looking like it was more stick than flesh. It reached and grabbed the doll and pulled it slowly back into the bushes and I threw myself backwards on my butt.

I stared at the bushes, in utter shock, uncertain what to do.

From those bushes came a long growl that I realized was someone shushing me.

From the bushes the arm reemerged and a long, pale finger wagged at me as if to say ‘no-no-no’.

 

I was up and running towards the house in a flash and the growl chased after me as I went.

 

Whatever that thing in the bushes was had taken my dog and now, now it wanted Amelia.

I ran to the kitchen and reached into one of the higher cupboards, where I wasn’t supposed to be, and grabbed some lighter fluid and matches.

It had already taken my dog.

It would never take my sister.

Never.

 

…c..

The Way Of The Gun

The Way Of The Gun

There is something chilling in our national adoration of guns and gun culture. Something that goes beyond a simple appreciation of shooting, or a desire to honor and champion the Second Amendment and freedom in America. What was once something that people had, a gun for hunting, maybe a handgun for self defense or home defense, has turned into a sickness that has lead to proliferation and absurdity. The need to have not just hunting weapons, or something for home/self defense but to have many guns, even stretching towards those use primarily for war or crime, is a new thing. An American thing. It has become obsession and greed. If there is a mass shooting you will see gun enthusiasts run towards their outlets to load up on whatever weapon or shell is held responsible for the crime to make sure they can load up before the right to own those things is taken from them.
There is a fear, lurking like the boogieman under a bed, that someone will come and take the guns away.
Something that, at its base level, bears no logical weight.
The idea that the nation has the resources, or desire, to actively head out into the field to take weapons is insane. Sure, certain guns could be pulled from market but the effort to track them down and reclaim them is not something that is going to happen. It just isn’t.
Still, the fear persists.
And why?
This isn’t about freedom, not really.
It’s about greed.
It’s about the need to own and have things that others don’t want you to have or own.
And there is no discussion about this.
There cannot be.
It is too ingrained into our culture now.
Guns are America.
We claim to want to show the world we are strong and free but we are showing we are frightened and slaves to this fear.
We have young people standing up and voicing their concerns and fears and they are being shouted down and mocked.
We want them to be more mature, but not too mature, and not in the wrong way.
How can they win?
And we lose sight of the fact that we don’t have to agree with the reasons these young people are rising but we have to support them.
THAT is freedom.
THAT is honoring what founded our nation.
But we don’t want to see that.
We don’t want to see beyond our issues and our freedoms.
We cannot allow others to be free if it means we have to reign our own freedom in.

We look at issues with the reasoning – how can that person be allowed to do that if it offends me?

We look at issues with the reasoning – how dare they take something from me and give someone else something in return?

What have we become?
Or is it more…what have we always been?

And this supercedes religion or politics.
We have to rise above those things.
If we tie everything to those narrow scopes then we are simply building a very long noose that will eventually choke the life from the nation.

Faith and social/moral mores are part of what forms us and who we are, and yes, they guide our views and beliefs but if there is no room for us to change our minds or become enlightened then there is nothing to talk about.
But there’s a deep hubris on that path.
There is a presumption that our way is the only way.
Our belief the only belief.
There is a presumption that our faiths and politics are without reproach or doubt and that arrogance makes us fools.

Ideals and faith are beautiful but in human hands they are damaged because we are imperfect beings. We are always growing and learning. Always bettering ourselves.
And we have to allow some elasticity to the growth of ourselve and nation.
Or we die and rot.

And then back to guns.
And the thing is that it isn’t that guns are bad, yeah, they are tools, but they are also weapons. And we need to ask ourselves – why do we need so many?
Do we mistrust one another THAT much?
Did we come by that mistrust honestly, from experience, or is it second hand, rousted by others who have a reason to make us fearful?
Who pulls those strings?
There are oceans of safe, sane, and conscientious gun owners.
There are also gun zealots.
And ther is a national organization that preaches the way of the gun above all else.
An organization that turned from a fun sporting club to a powerful lobby.

I don’t like guns.
I hate them.
They are made to destroy.
But I am not looking to take your guns.
I just want some common sense to what is sold.
We still struggle over pot being legal but have no issue about weapons used primarily in war zones being legal.
And why?
Because those guns are neat.
Legally you can only fire them at a range.
Does anyone really think that this is an effective way to protect a home?
Truly?
For me, you take weapons made for war off the market and let gun dealers and sporting shops rent them for range shooting. And in that you rent all manner of crazy guns to people. And you license those shops and you make them responsible if those guns are lost or stolen but we make it so that if they reappear they will be found and reclaimed.

The fallacy of good guys with guns is a fairy tale crafted by people more interested in being cowboys than they are being shepards to our future generations.

I realize that people grew up with guns and around them but can anyone say that the vision of America they had, the era of greatness we seem to always be looking back towards, was one where people carried weapons of war openly on the street?
Is that your America?
It isn’t mine.

We need to step back and ask why?
Why do we need them?
Why do we want them?
There is no league of baddies proliferating weapons and readying an attack.
No foreign nation is waiting for us to put our guns away before they strike.
Why do we let fear drive us so much?

And maybe I am wrong.
Maybe.
I know I am writing for an echo chamber here because this is not something that one voice or opinion will change. It is something that you have to change yourself through experience.
I just wish everyone had to return to our public schools to see what these kids are going through, living with, and being raised around.
I wonder if it would help sober us all up.

I know it opened my eyes, heart, and own fears of what comes next for us if we won’t change.

…c…

Reach

The saying goes that you should never let your reach get beyond your grasp. The idea is that you will risk too much for a gain that may be achieved with patience and a time. And this is a fair thing to say and, in its way, very wise.

While not every endeavor is as dangerous as parkour or rock climbing, the notion that you must make a ‘leap of faith’ to achieve something you love while risking everything you have is a very present one. I have seen the stories of people that quit their ‘day job’ in order to pursue something they love. We look at them with a mix of respect and shock. How dare they? How could they?

Why won’t I?

Simply put, because it often doesn’t work. You reach too far and your grasp loosens and you fall. Not necessarily to your doom but enough to put you back so that you must take time now to move back to where you were.

No one likes to fall. To fail. But it is often through failure that we learn what it takes to succeed.

There is a balance, delicate as a spiderweb but just as strong, and that balance is how you find your way forward.

You must trust yourself enough to do the work to know that if you fall you will be not perish, but you must also trust yourself enough to know that if you are reaching for it then it’s something worth falling for if that happens.

Walk down the street or get on a social network and you’ll find thousands of people who will tell you how not to do things. How to fail. How to lose. How to wait. They will tell you that they know best. The thing is though that they don’t know. They don’t know you, your true heart, your true passion, and they don’t know what you are willing to do or willing to risk. The wise person never risks so much that they will lose everything on a lark but they also won’t let their dream stagnate and die if there was true hope and life in it.

People will tell you all day how not to do things.

Show them how TO do things.

Make your path.

Step by clumsy step.

Be the inspiration for yourself and others.

Fall and get the heck back up and learn how not to fall next time.

Sure, everything has been done, but not by you.

You have YOUR eye, YOUR vision, YOUR voice, and YOUR skills.

You don’t have to do things how everyone else did them. Know what you want, what you’re willing to do to get it, and risk something a little, and see what happens. Slow is safe, yes, but once in a while you have to take what you’ve learned and push yourself a little further than you are comfortable and trust that if you should fall, you’ll get right back up and figure out a way to succeed next time.

And success…that’s up to you. You make that decision, that call.

You’re the one that gets to say what is and isn’t success. No one else.

We have become a nation of people looking everywhere but within.

Look within.

Find your passion.

Invest in it.

Nurture it.

Reach for it.

And if it takes you falling a hundred times to fall into success, then my friend, bruised though you may be, you still made it.

And that’s what matters.

…c…