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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"A Time To Cast Away Stones…"

Sometimes I grow weary of reading blogs, my own included. I'm sure you must feel the same way once in a while. I wonder if I'm wasting precious time writing and keeping up with predictable blogs that serve up the same old "hash" every day. "Predictability" belongs in a lab or classroom or on the girl next door—the one your mom wanted you to marry.

"She'll be good for you—settle you down."
"To what, Mom, a predicable life with predictable kids and predicable pets, neighborhood, mortgage? Should I go ahead and  preplan my funeral too? I'd like to leave things to chance—live dangerously—you know skip a colonoscopy, eat a greasy steak." 

When a book gets predictable I put in down. When I get predictable I put myself down. When my blog gets predictable it should be put down (they shoot horses, don't they?). Predictability is something I've tried to avoid; being different was all I really had going for me—not so cool in high school, parking a slant-six Dodge Dart with racing stripes and three-on-the-column next to Mustangs and Cameros. 

I came from unpredictable parents... had an unpredictable son (these things run in families) and drove unpredictable vehicles most of my life. A '66 Jimmy pickup got me to this unpredictable dot on a map with unpredictable weather and people.

I've suffered unpredictable loss and unpredictable joy. I've climbed unpredictable mountains, dodged unpredictable lightning, rafted unpredictable rivers with unpredictable waters. One fine spring day on the Colorado River, just below the power plant, a class four section of ice water rapids sucked me through a sudden, gaping gash in the raft's floorboard. I was swallowed up like Jonah, in the belly of a recirculating wave, pinned to the bottom and shuddering like a rag doll in a hurricane. I fought to save myself—to escape the mega force of undertow. Seconds felt like hours. Finally I surrendered and waited for merciful unconsciousness to take me away. "So this it how it ends?"

 Peculiar how bears and rapids spit you out like rotten meat once you give in and play dead. A too small life jacket popped me to the surface. I gasped a mixture of pure air and muddy water, and bobbed out the remaining rapid with arms and legs leadened by exertion and deadened by snowmelt. Once out of the Colorado's main thrust, too weak to stand, I crawled on hands and knees through pebbled shallows while shedding layers of heavy wet clothing that doubled gravity. Bobbie was somewhere downstream fighting to save herself with a death grip on an oar anchor... floating along on the outside of a half deflated raft. 

That was then; this is now. Currently I'm knee deep in predicability, beige as a spec home, pale as blue john, stagnant as a Kansas pig farm pond. I want to cut and run—it's my M. O. after all—but that would be predicable, wouldn't it. Besides, my "horse" has a broken leg. Whattaya gonna to do.
"They shoot horses don't they?"

Maybe this is how it ends. Maybe some thing must die before something new takes its place. Maybe it's time to "cast away stones." And maybe, this is how it begins...   


  1. Well? I think what it is … is… cynicism. boredom. I relate very well to this post, Mark. I've been here and there and survived some pretty hairy stuff.

    I'm tired … I got tired when I was somewhere around 30. heard it all .. seen it all … what's next and who cares.

    I've had 40 more years since I thought that … and each day … I realize … I know nothing. wonder if I'll live to be 90… even 80…

    I have never been predictable. I am now at almost 71 ~ this Friday … becoming predictable and I do not like it. BUT I'm tired. shake it up? with what…

    I think the realization that what used to excite me doesn't any longer as well as knowing what I have to do to shake things up … just makes me tired.

    I write my blog for me. To rant. To look at my thoughts in black and white. There are times when I don't want to. There are times when I don't want to read other blogs OR comment. Sometimes, I just want to revert to being a lurker. An intrusion into someone else's life who invites intrusion.

    Interesting thing … this blogging. I like it … if it weren't for the public declarations of my mind prattle … I don't know how it would otherwise manifest itself.

    Is that clear? ha?

    I also don't like the fact that old age scares me. The end … how will I end. I don't mind ending… I just don't want to go piece by piece ~ spend my last few days, weeks ~ whatever in a nursing home… scares the beejeeebers outta me.

    I am a huge sissy wimp when it comes to becoming dependent. You have a wonderful partner ~ picture yourself old with a cat who drives you insane. how did this happen? how did a lot of me happen… don't know. maybe my aloneness was predictable…

    Almost every morning, I wake up trying to remember what it was like when I had a loving hug to say good morning … I am predicting that I will die alone. by myself. AND when I feel a bit out of sorts? and am sure I'm about to come down with something terrible awful bad? I just plead with the universe…. make it big… don't let it be a frigging stroke or some sort of … I've fallen and can't get up kinda thang…

    My birthday is Friday, Mark… and I've racked my brain trying to find something fun and different to do. I'm just going to go to a familiar place and soak in some sunsets and a sunrise or two… ;)

    While predictable…. it's comforting to realize that there will be a sunrise and a sunset with or without me ~ even if it's cloudy.

    Gorgeous day here in little ol Little Rock … hope your day is something to make you smile ...

  2. Predictable or Unpredictable, I always enjoy your well written blog with the unique pictures. When I experience something I like, I usually try it again and again. I have yet to find the joy of visiting Ouray/Southwest Colorado as predictable even though I go to many of the same spots and hiking trails.

    I noticed the picture of you changing a blown out tire. Risk/reward is something I struggle with now that I'm 61. I switched out two trailer tires while in Florida because I did not want to risk a blow out on tires 5+ years old. The risk of tire failure was small but I just couldn't imagine going through Atlanta, Ga. and having a flat on a very congested I-75.

    As you know, life is full of surprises and we must just look forward to meeting them head on and just enjoy the ride. Looking forward to seeing the very predictable thoughtful Mark and Bobbie this July.
    John Q

  3. Through the all the phases of my life there have been glories, defeats, passions and yes, despair. Mostly it seems the passions last through all the seasons of discovery and my interest fades when predictability becomes routine. Sometimes the phases ended due to predictability, sometimes due to changes in my universe beyond which I could control. When a new wind sailed my ship in a new direction, I struggled and fought against the current generally as I stop my struggle, I begin to feel the breeze leading to my new beginning. It certainly hasn't been easy at times to let go of old dreams, nor to embrace the new directions. Sometimes I have to just get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired before I'm ready to move on. But I carry the gaunlet on and seek the excitement of the next day. As my physical body changes and weakens and limits the things I can do I see the clock ticking and now find myself wanting to fit in all the chapters requiring the phyical strength while I am able. I shall sit and read later..... Adjusting to the sails of life.... Karen

  4. You have such gifts. Your painting and photography are amazing.
    Waiting to have stuff fixed is just the pits. It's boring, it's demoralizing, it feels like it's going to go on for freaking forever. Stout heart, this will pass.


  5. All I ask from life is that 10 years from today, I can look back on this present moment and say "Those were the good old days." As long as I am on that path, I don't mind if it gets a little predictable...especially when I am the one doing the predicting.

    Nothing wrong with you that a few predictable stitches won't fix. ;-)

  6. Predictable? Don't think that applies to you. Enjoy reading your blog because it is so different from the rest. I bought watercolor paints and paper in the hope that I could follow your directions. Haven't tried it yet!

  7. Timely post for me, given that just yesterday I was thinking that I'm getting bored with blogging but how I feel compelled to write it as we gain more followers. Maybe it's Boonie's voice in my head talking about how boring postcard blogs are, but I think it's just that our life and travels are so "predictable", just a different day, different place, different trail.
    Then to spice things up we woke up in the Walmart parking lot this morning and found that our bikes had been stolen! Guess it's time to write another blog post, minus the postcards this time.

  8. I think many of us can relate & understand how your feeling........

  9. Love your blog, it's never predictable to me. This quote is attributed to so many people, I really wonder who actually said it. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
    ― Jimmy Dean

    I guess the trick is not to know your destination...enjoy the trip, instead. There are many people who would sell their souls to be in your shoes. Go where you don't know what's around the bend.

  10. I think there's a danger when one starts defining one's personality/character in a certain way and it then becomes their persona which bears a certain pride in itself and begins to have a life of its own. Life is a series of changes and one's image of oneself is best a flexible one or brick walls will likely be encountered.
    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "predictable." What pops into my mind is open-minded vs close-minded. An open minded person, which I am presuming would be the quality necessary in order to entertain "the unpredictable" will remain such even when life's challenges slow them down a bit physically. Open-mindedness is a quality of the mind.
    As a reader of your blog, I can share with you my observations and they are that you continue to maintain your flexibility of mind, your openness to new interpretations and meanings, regardless of the physical challenges you are experiencing. In fact, could it be true that it is these very physical challenges which have opened a new door to you, a new experience, a new way to engage with life and living?

  11. Well, I know our blog is predictable, but I keep trying!
    Your posts on the other hand are anything but predictable! I do admire your water colors and am always amazed at the photography lesson I get every time I open your blog! Thanks!

  12. I know this slump...have had it many times in my life. It's not over yet....and you're not dead yet...life will renew just as the seasons renew. Love the pics, by the way. Art is in your soul.


  13. Predictability depresses me. Lots of folks love routine, traditions and those predictable things. I always tire. Wasting precious time a too frequent concern of mine every other day when I think I just have to stop this blogging thing. Great post.

  14. Frankly, I'm damn grateful for predictability. We're dealing with the Oso mudslide in our area. Talk about unpredictability.

  15. Life is not always an exciting "holiday experience" all rolled into one. In my younger days, there was my teaching career and I had a somewhat established routine of existence.

    I traveled in my RV this winter since just before Christmas and just recently returned. In traveling, life was always "fresh and new," and I felt happy. Every night I slept well and work up refreshed.

    While I love my home, my recent return has left me feeling - well...sort of depressed. It's like the air just deflated out of all of my tires.

    I recently wrote too about "living to blog, or living my life." I didn't blog much on the road since I was having such a good time. I felt guilty - but not too much.

    You know as well as I do that life is all about balance. I hope we both find ours...

  16. I am starting to worry that maybe the BC Blog got accidentally cast away with the stones...

  17. Good read. I'm thinking about traveling around the country creating a blog. But... I don't want to create another boring, predictable "postcard blog". Apparently there are many many blogs out there doing the same exact thing :/ This news is discouraging. You blog is not by any means boring!

  18. I haven't read any blogs in a few weeks now myself. Playing catch-up today. As for dealing with your current situation I've always found that just when it feels like my wheels are spinning and I'm going nowhere something will happen and life will take a new direction. Hang in there!

  19. Hope all is well with you. Take care bud...

  20. miss the Box Canyon Hernia Blog- !! kidding- finish that book and get healthy- went to library and got Travels with Charlie to get by for now-- You and John write a lot alike- you have better photos! Esp enjoy his travels through Wisc- Bumfuzzle blog in interesting- but think gas prices will catch up with them and 20,,000 for old rv- is a little steep to me- take care walden creek rv

    1. it takes a wise one to realize when the fun has run it's course. live a life that u and b can never regret with happiness and love in your hearts. i really love your
      art and have u in my thoughts and prayers

  21. Wow, your new header is gorgeous. Well done.

  22. Miss you, cous! Get back on here!


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