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Bloviating Zeppelin: Sunday Reflections

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Reflections

I suspect this post might just find itself wending all over the map; my apologies up front. It's been one of those weeks leading to one of those weekends. At this point I don't know if I'll insert politics or not. I'm just typing as I insert text into the Blogger "create post" screen. Who knows where this will go? I myself do not.

First, the rain has visited for the past four days straight and that, for me, has been absolutely glorious. There are persons who are overtly influenced by the weather, and most people want to live in a warmer, sunnier climate. I hate the heat and, in Fornicalia, I hate the summer.

I am one of those odd fellows who enjoys a good rainy day, darker skies, colder tempertures, fog and such. Some people hate Seattle for its rain. I could easily live there. Better yet, on my honeymoon my wife and I visited Astoria, Oregon. I could even more easily live in Astoria -- say, in retirement. Rainy. Cold. Adjacent the ocean and the massive Columbia River. Watching massive ships wind towards and from Portland through the channel.

There's a lovely fire in the stove right now as I listen to the rain slide off the metal roof of my cabin and pound the deck in sheets. Throughout all this, the fog is creeping up and out of the Bear River canyon; I'm watching it swirl through my property and up the street. Ahhh. Now that's relaxing and mesmerizing, both at once.

Earlier today, I caught a Union Pacific train making its way from a local siding onto the mainline track towards Donner Pass in the fog.

A retreat. That's what this is. My cabin in the mountains is most definitely a retreat. A place where I can release my tensions, where I can bask in the surrounding serenity of the rain, of the snow, of the fog. The closer I get, when going up The Hill at the end of the week, I can literally feel my shoulders lower, my muscles unbunch, my jaw unclench. It's my weekly release.

Everyone needs their own release mechanism. Their own individual way of dealing with the stressors of the past week. This cabin is my release mechanism.

Yes, it's more "primitive" than living in certain denser population corridors. I get no cell reception. My only source of TV is via satellite. My internet access is dial-up. The summer fire season scares me shitless. I don't have sewer access, I have a leach field. I have to shovel snow off my deck every winter and, at my advancing age, I don't know how much longer I can continue to do this. I've lost power for two weeks at a time, had a fallen tree kill my power and phone lines, had to spend $5,000 to professionally fell a massive redwood on my property which threatened the cabin.

I've had cars strike my fence, back into it, limbs from trees smash my windows, falling snow and ice dent my brand new RAV-4. I've had CalFire write me up for failing to limb my trees. Falling needles and brush once clogged my property and I usually spend at least $500 per year to clear undergrowth and needles. The house has never been air-conditioned. It is heated with propane and the wood stove.

And yet: I love this cabin completely.

Now let me give you the positives.

In the place where I live (you couldn't even call it a town; the population is around 300), the Postmaster, the B&B operator, the volunteer fire department, the store owner, they all know me by name. I can run up a tab at the store if I want (but I never have). I walk into the post office and the Postmaster just hands me my packages. She chats with me and wishes me well. When I stop for either mail or at the store I always leave the keys in my car; mostly I leave it running if I'm in a rush. Sometimes I've left it running for 15 minutes if I'm engaged in a good conversation. Nobody notices, nobody cares, no one wants to steal it.

During the day, I can hear the trains running up and down The Hill. During the night, I can hear the plaintive horns sounding for various crossings. Occasionally a dog barks.

I hear the wind whisking through the pines. I watch the boughs bend and crouch. The wind sounds exactly like a movie. I can see the startled flashes of lightning then the boom of thunder. I can't hear the freeway some few miles away. I can hear the patter then the storm of rain. In the winter, when temperatures plummet, I can hear the sound of rain diminish. When it becomes totally silent I know: there is snow.

But mostly, what I don't hear is this: I don't hear continuous sirens in the night. I don't hear neighbors fighting. I don't hear the incessant passage of traffic, the bleating of horns. I don't hear cop cars, cop helicopters, cop sirens. I don't hear the beep-beep-beep of backing trash trucks. I don't hear every stupid manic dog in the neighborhood. I don't hear the thump trucks and thump cars of ghetto white, black, Mexican, Asian urbans. I don't hear gunshots.

What I do hear, however, is the English language. Used continuously.

Yes. Some of the few welfare-sloths around me might be dentally-challenged. But they reflect my melanin-count, speak English, work hard as their limited capabilities allow, and are considerate.

I think I finally realize something massive: what I take for granted most urbanites will never experience. And they think me daft and addled. So here's where I have to acknowledge: I am blessed to the point where most persons cannot conceive of my town.

Yes, I freely admit that I am a dying breed. I am not the future of Fornicalia though -- unfortunately -- neither are my nieces and nephew. For they are white.

I've had a good run. No; I've had a great run. I've done things likely 99.99% of the population have never done nor will ever do. I've taken security oaths I can't reveal until 2015 at the earliest. If I make it to 2015 I'll consider that an amazing bonus. I've done things that, upon reflection, even I can't believe.

I've always had a job. I threw newspapers at 3 am. I mowed lawns. I shoveled snow and replaced lightbulbs on 20' ladders. And that's just in my single-digit years. I've worked for 10 radio stations. I took my BA then my Masters. In my late teens I was the Editor for a major 50,000-watt AM radio station and decided what was important in the world. I've programmed an FM radio station. I was the traffic reporter for both AM and PM drive in a major market. I managed to, while working for this major AM station, climb hand-over-hand up the Walnut Grove tower to the point where the RF emitted made my hair screech and my blood boil. I suspect that was the point where, quite frankly, I became sterile. That and the nuclear reactor. An issue with my first wife who wanted kids.

All the while I worked as Photo Editor for my college newspaper during the Patty Hearst days. I lived in San Francisco on California Street so I could qualify for SFPD hiring. I frequented the Plough and Stars on Clement (my all-time favorite Irish bar).

I graduated from CSUS but barely, because college was merely a waypoint. I worked for a security agency which guarded a local nuclear reactor facility. I was told I would be a Captain soon, but left the security business. I stood on the Turbine Deck of said facility and touched the exposed top portion of the turbine. The hair stood up on my head. I also gazed down into the Moon Pool of that nuclear facility. The Moon Pool surrounded the reactor core. I've seen a reactor core. Myself and my colleagues planned and plotted how we'd attack the facility if we were terrorists, even back in the late 70s. No one wanted to listen to us. I got bored. I left.

In the meantime, I became a ridiculously-young Reserve Deputy with my local law enforcement department. I was paired with my first training officer named Hugh McGraw -- a man to whom I owe a major portion of my life.

From there I worked for a coastal Fornicalia sheriff's department, the FBI, for the US Marshals, then again for my current department.

And then, I think an aberration, I got married for the second time and finally, finally, got respect for work and toil and application, with an appreciation that things don't just happen in a relationship. You work on them. And with that follows maturity. My wife, therefore, is a remarkable blessing.

Wow. That's been a journey. And no politics.

This post just drifted where it went.

I suppose those things happen on a Sunday.



Blogger Ranando said...

You planning on going somewhere, I sure hope not.

Sounds like it's been a great and fun ride. I too have been blessed with my life, never a dull moment and nothing but great memories.

My release at the good age of 56 is still surfing, fly-fishing, my business and traveling, without these I would be a wreck.

I thank God each and everyday for the life he has givin me and I never for a moment take it for granted.

All the best BZ.

Sat Jan 24, 08:31:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Jo said...

Wow ! I thought I was the only person on the planet that looks forward to dreary, rainy days. I find peace, serenity and happiness in them. My town isn't quite as small...about 2700 people and I enjoy a sense of safety ( well, til recently )
I hate shoveling snow, however. My 68 year old friend just broke 3 ribs after falling on her snow shovel.
It does sound like you have had a hell of a ride...this was a great post !

Sat Jan 24, 09:34:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Jo said...

Wow ! I thought I was the only person on the planet that looks forward to dreary, rainy days. I find peace, serenity and happiness in them. My town isn't quite as small...about 2700 people and I enjoy a sense of safety ( well, til recently )
I hate shoveling snow, however. My 68 year old friend just broke 3 ribs after falling on her snow shovel.
It does sound like you have had a hell of a ride...this was a great post !

Sat Jan 24, 09:34:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Reflections. Just reflections for a rainy day.


Sat Jan 24, 09:40:00 PM PST  
Blogger shoprat said...

I know that kind of town as I grew up in one and now live in a modest sized city. I don't ever want to Urban again.

Sun Jan 25, 04:28:00 PM PST  
Blogger Average American said...

I'd say that if "variety is the spice of life", then you have had a spicy one. Great post. Sometimes it's just nice to reflect on the good stuff in life. One of my favorite retreats is hunting camp. No electricity, no phones, no nothing. I love it!

Sun Jan 25, 05:00:00 PM PST  
Anonymous WMD_Maker said...

I am glad you love the rain and cold. I have a friend who just bought his "retirement" home in Michigan.
We need more like you and him it makes it less crowded in the sun and sand for me :). I can understand the draw of a good rainy day though. I just couldnt stand it all the time. I hated winter in Michigan as a kid, not because of the cold and snow (seems there was alot more snow then) but because of the 6 monthes of low grey clouds.

Sun Jan 25, 06:39:00 PM PST  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Love this post,BZ. It definitely "went somewhere", and these are my favorite kinds of posts from you.

I might not reflect your "melanin-count", but I reflect your values-count, and mourn some of the changes I see before me. Like Eastwood's character in Gran Torino, I sometimes don't recognize the country I thought I knew; I miss cultural things about America that no longer seem to exist.

I wonder, though, if every generation goes through this? Change and evolution are certainly a natural part of life; and culture is never fixed, no matter the attempts at preserving "tradition".

But still; I can't help but feel that we are losing some of the best parts of ourselves to multiculturalism and diversity. Assimilation should never have been given a negative connotation. Multiculturalism and diversity, however, should be stigmatized as the misguided concepts that they are.

Sun Jan 25, 07:43:00 PM PST  
Blogger cary said...

I could read your "unplanned writings" all day, bud.

But then, I am sitting here in a metropolitan area and wishing beyond reason that I could, instead, be the neighbor that keeps an eye on your cabin while you are down the hill...

Mon Jan 26, 07:21:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rivka said...

Great post! Really love hearing about your life.

(I left another post, but it didn't take for some reason.)

Mon Jan 26, 09:28:00 AM PST  
Anonymous kaveman said...

Great post.

The Oregon town I live in has about 300 people in it. I have to guess because we don't have a population sign. We have one school, one church, one store and one post office. We have no police department, no fire department, no medical facilities and no Starbucks.

Sure I have to drive a fair distance to my job each day, but there's something to be said about living in a town that has a store with a hitching post for your horses and walking around with a six-gun on your hip draws almost as much attention as road kill.

Most of the bloggers I read live in the midwest to the east coast, if you're ever in Oregon, I'll buy ya a beer.

Mon Jan 26, 12:24:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WordSmith: let me make myself even more plain with regard to "melanin count." I'm aware of who you are and that's entirely immaterial. What IS material is the persons I see surrounding me in a large urban center, not matching me, who couldn't care less about America, who are takers, who couldn't care less about anything but themselves. And unfortunately that's the PREDOMINANT view of the bulk of urban dwellers with, as I identify, their thump trucks and cars. I read your blog and I KNOW who you are and what you believe in; you write about it every day. You're a worker and a giver and one to whom the word "sacrifice" isn't unfamiliar. THAT'S the difference I see displayed by the street melanin surrounding MY big city. And mostly by its youth.

Kaveman: and yes, indeed, I do get to Oregon now and then.


Mon Jan 26, 03:41:00 PM PST  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


If I said anything in my comment that was offensive (definitely unintentional), I apologize.

Mon Jan 26, 11:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger Z said...

WoW! I wrote a long comment and it isn't here!!

Well, suffice it to say I LOVE RAIN!

Tue Jan 27, 07:18:00 PM PST  

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