Sam: a short tale of a tall hare

Once upon a time in a deep sleepy shire there lived a fluffy being named Sam. On certain sunny days, Sam would hop across the green pasture over the roaring creek and into the growing garden to get himself an afternoon snack. (I know what you’re thinking, Sam must be a bunny rabbit with all this hopping around and eating carrots business. But Sam wasn’t your ordinary Peter Cottontail rabbit, not by any stretch; Sam was a jackrabbit. And with the title of jackrabbit came a vast distinction and added responsibility which included but wasn’t limited to: gathering food for his enormous appetite, fending off potential predators with his dazzling speed, and protecting his burrow from invading terrorists. One could say that Sam’s life was literally a constant rotation of eating, sleeping, and battling off bandits.)

Unfortunately for Sam, the growing garden wasn’t the friendliest place in the world. In addition to the human beings who were the keepers of the land, there were sly foxes and crafty bobcats always on the prowl surveying the area. Generally speaking these enemies were no match for this hasty hare who once broke a land record by moving his hind legs to a near forty miles per hour. In addition, he could zig zag like a lightning bolt and once jumped ten feet in the air to avoid a rattlesnake assassin. Even with the skills of a stealthy ninja, the threat of imminent danger was real enough, so these trips for carrot tops and celery stalks were somewhat limited.

Most days, Sam would venture around the greenlands of the pasture, mainly collecting dandelions, clovers, and grains for consumption. As already mentioned, Sam had quite a healthy appetite. For example, one day, he followed the roaring creek down to the wooded pass and found a thicket of raspberry leaves. Sam ate so much food that day that he nearly lost his life. You see, the wooded pass was notorious for owls. These winged creatures would come out at night looking for dinner and jackrabbit was seemingly at the top of their menu. So that day he ate the entire raspberry thicket and fell into a deep slumber underneath the bush. What Sam didn’t know is that after the sun sets the observant owls take flight. Sam’s speed and versatility were no match for these beasts and Sam spent the evening hidden and harrowed in that hole. Needless to say he hasn’t returned to this spot since that lowly night.

One vibrant day, Sam was taking a morning nap by his grove near a patch of blue gramma grass (this peculiar grass was one of Sam’s favorite meals because it was limitless as it grew almost faster than he could eat it). He was startled awake by a creature hopping along that Sam had never seen before. Truth be told, Sam didn’t get much visitors near his home that weren’t looking to harm him. Thankfully God supplied him with the longest ears you’ve ever seen and with that physical attribute came the innate ability to hear a lurking coyote or slithering snake from many paces away. This visiting squirrel seemed kind with its fluffy tail, tiny ears, and happy glow. It made eye contact with Sam and seemingly smiled as it passed through the shire. Without thinking, Sam decided to follow this gray creature for sport.

The shifty squirrel skipped down the roaring creek to the wooded pass, past the raspberry thicket to a clearing on the other side. This was as far from home as Sam had ever been. Nightfall was near and the owls and other birds of night would surely soon take flight. Curiosity got the better of Sam though as he followed his bushy-tailed friend a little further. They quickly reached a bank which ended Sam’s journey with haste. This bank met a body of water which separated another body of land that seemed similar to his shire. The crafty squirrel was able to hop across some rocks and vertically climb up the hillside but Sam didn’t have the skill set (or front legs) required to pull off that feat. And besides he really should be getting back home. Right before he decided to turn back something magical caught his eye. Another jackrabbit. Multiple jackrabbits in fact. Sam hadn’t seen another jackrabbit since his mother crossed over the growing garden when he was a boy and never came home. He knew immediately he had to find a way across but the gap was just too wide. The only way to do it was to leap. He was too scared. If he didn’t make the jump he would surely drown in the swirling water below. This fear sent him bouncing back home into his burrow where he fell fast asleep.

That night Sam dreamt of mint leaves and mango and wheat grass and watercress. He imagined that this new foreign land had the most amazing food his tiny mind could muster. He became transfixed on what it would be like to meet someone like himself and have the support of new friends and family. That night he tossed and turned, and the next morning he awoke with a fervor in his belly that could only be quieted with making that jump across the bank.

Sam said goodbye to his shire and slowly hopped to the roaring creek, taking his time to embrace what it all has meant to him. He stopped one last time to look over the growing garden and said goodbye to his mother, hoping that she was safe, wherever she might be. He hopped past the raspberry thicket and thought about that scary night alone under the stars and shrub. His anxiety quickly turned to elation when he began to think about how he may never have to feel that loneliness again if he made it across the water. He glanced up at the owls who were sound asleep and felt comfort in knowing that there was power in numbers and his new family could help protect him.

He reached the bank and imagined successfully making the jump. He could see the other jackrabbits in the distance happy and free. Sam backed up and gave himself enough room to maneuver a running start. Without a moment’s hesitation he ran. And when he reached the edge he closed his eyes and leapt. That moment seemingly lasted forever with the wind falling behind him and all the possibility of the world in front of him. The next feeling he experienced was the safety of the ground beneath him. He made it. And as Sam sprightly sprung along to his new home, he saw mango trees and new friends and knew that his life would never be the same again.

Evolution v. Creation Debate

Tonight I avoided the Polar Vortex by staying in and watching the live debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham which took place at the Creation Museum some 30 miles away. I watched with an open mind hoping to learn something or gain some new perspective.

First off my hats go off to both men. Both brought valid points to the table (particularly in their 30 minute opening speeches) and both were very well spoken and educated.

Before I get too deep I should mention that although I don’t buy into the idea of Young EarthNyeHamDebate Creationism as presented by Ken Ham, I do believe in God and I believe that God had some part in creating life and this planet as we know it (sometimes referred to as Intelligent Design). Unfortunately for me, Ken Ham’s ideas of Creationism came across as deeply inaccurate because he takes the word of the Bible as literal (or natural as he says it). If you add up all the dates in the Bible from the time Adam was born to the time of the Great Flood to the time of Christ you quickly learn that the Earth is 6,000 years old. The Great Flood took place some 4,000 years ago. And it is this literal translation of the Bible where Ken Ham and Creationists lose me.

Ken Ham wants me to believe that radiometric testing and carbon dating processes are completely inaccurate, that all of these advances in science and study are not valid because of something he kept referring to called observational and historical science. That is to say that observational science is valid because it’s based on things we can see with our own eyes and likewise can be tested. Adversely, historical science is not valid because we cannot see it and is based on past evidence and cannot be tested. One of my favorite things said during the debate was in the beginning when Bill Nye referred to CSI and how modern technology allows for investigators to quickly determine with pin point accuracy what happened in the past. This kind of science is used in the highest courts to persecute men sometimes with a sentence of death. And never do the investigators stop and say this is historical science and not observational science. To me, it is beyond absurd (and as Bill Nye kept saying disturbing and troubling) that Ken Ham could call himself a scientist and turn a blind eye to these facts.

For me, I take fact over faith all day long. For Ken Ham to try to tell me that the Earth is 6,000 years old, that the rings on trees don’t matter, that 680,000 layers of snow ice cores are irrelevant, that fossil layers aren’t accurate, is appalling. And it’s for no other reason than he is taking a book (the Bible) that has been translated many times over as his jumping off point for fact. When faced with the questions of consciousness in man or where matter comes from, Ken Ham kept saying to Bill Nye that there is a book written that answers those questions and every time he said it I cringed. You can’t back up biblical theory with the Bible. That’s the stupidest thing ever. So you’re saying that the Bible is real because it says so in the Bible? That God created the Earth is fact because it says so in a book written by God? That’s like me saying that Harry Potter is real because it says so in Harry Potter novels. Or that Muhammad is real because it says so in the Quran. Come on Ken Ham, that is so weak.

Ken Ham loses a huge chunk of potential followers by sticking with this theory. No intelligent person who understands science could believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. Or that a flood covered the Earth for an entire year some 4,000 years ago. Its absurd. And so for me I will once again side with fact over faith. Bill Nye brought so many good points to the table that Ken Ham couldn’t answer.

And as I said in the beginning this is all rather unfortunate because although I do somewhat buy into the Big Bang Theory, I truly believe there is just something more to it than that. I believe in God, I feel God’s presence best described as love, and I see God in every tree, mountain, and stream. I wish Creationists would expand their beliefs to be relevant to the rest of the scientific community. Yes we get it, you believe in the Bible, but does it have to be literally? The Bible is full of parables and metaphors not meant to be taken literally: Jonah and the whale, Jesus walked on water, turned water into wine, rose from the dead, etc., etc..

In the end, I’d say Ken Ham made my decision for me and lost the debate by his inability to see past a book proven time and time again to be historically inaccurate. He may want to read “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman sometime. Or read about how modern day Christian scholars believe that three books are so inaccurate that they don’t belong in the Bible. Those books: Genesis, Matthew, and Revelations. Of course, Genesis was the basis for every point Ken Ham made tonight. He kept referring to Adam and Eve as if it was the absolute truth. What does he have to say about the near 250 Adam and Eve stories found in Mesopotamia that are now housed in the Books of Adam & Eve in the Apocrypha?

For me, instead of relying on the Bible to find God, I have personally found God through meditation and admiration for love and nature. As for the answers to where we come from and how this world was created, I will just have to continue to consider it a great mystery that science is avidly searching for the answers to. I’d say Bill Nye crushed it tonight. And Ken Ham secured his place as a fundamentalist Christian who can’t move forward because he’s stuck in the past.

I also think that Bill Nye is a classy and amazing man after watching this debate. At any time he could have blasted the Bible or the religion as a whole but he did not. He could have mentioned the 3700 year old clay tablet that was recently discovered that suggests that the Ark was nothing more than a story passed down, but he didn’t. I love that Bill Nye kept his focus on the scientific side of things and urged Christians to expand their horizons in the interest of moving forward scientifically and intellectually.

Although I do despise the Creation Museum, I’m actually quite pleased that they hosted this event. I understand that any publicity is good publicity so I’m sure Ken Ham considers this a success. But I venture to say that any person with a free thinking mind couldn’t possibly buy into Young Earth Creationism.

Miss the debate? Watch it HERE!

Twelve Thanksgiving Thoughts

My life is a holiday. It started on Thanksgiving. It ended in despair.

Baby it’s cold outside isn’t the same without the baby.

I see mushrooms all the time. They are laughing at me. I ground them.

Sowing wild oats is a game to me. Game on? Game over.

Almond milk can be used for all your favorite recipes. It’s my second favorite milk.

I once knew an actual Little Drummer Boy.

Dogs are bitches. So are some girls. But Rick, he is the biggest bitch I know.

How to Meet Girls Using Facebook, iPhones, and Jeeps. A bestseller.

My three favorite words in the English language are no, no, and no.

There are worse things I could do but you’re the one that I want.

I once loved a girl so completely she took a piece of my soul. I still love her.

I once knew a girl so completely she gave me a piece of her soul. I don’t know her anymore.

(There is nothing to know anymore because that girl no longer exists. She disappeared with all of her lies.)

Willow

Dalton met Willow at a company picnic on the 20th of June. He would remember this day for all of his life for one reason: the summer solstice. More specifically he would remember this day because of how passionately young beautiful Willow explained the way ancient civilizations once worshiped the sun and how the summer solstice was, to some cultures, the most important day of the entire year.

Dalton worked for a large litigation firm which employed several hundred people including the seemingly arcane Willow. He had never seen her prior to this day and would later find that she worked on the third floor in the research department. He asked around but no one seemed to know much about her. This mysteriousness only added to Dalton’s sudden fixation with her.

Dalton spent most of that day watching her speak of the Golden Age of Paris, Greek philosophy, and the building practices of the Egyptians. When she talked to others, her lips moved in such a way that it stirred Dalton’s soul. Willow majestically carried conversations with alluring body language and her penetrating emerald blue eyes. When she spoke everyone listened. After some time, Dalton tuned out her words and just heard the harmonics in her voice fluctuate rhythmically up and down. For a while he focused on her long dark auburn hair and the way it would effortlessly bounce freely in the warm summer wind. Her pale skin seemed unfazed by the vibrant yellow sun and all that Dalton could imagine was that she seemed flawless in every way.

Near the end of the day, Dalton gathered enough courage to approach her and initiate conversation. He remembered her being gracious and full of charm. She had commented on Dalton watching her from afar and admitted to wondering if he was ever going to introduce himself. Dalton felt bashful but relieved by the playfulness in her demeanor. He asked her if she would like to go out with him some time. She said yes.

The next year was the happiest of Dalton’s life. They talked and laughed and ate and played together nearly every day. They hiked around the city, the forest, various markets, anywhere their feet would take them. They compared childhoods and reveled in the fact that they both loved Doug and Fruit Rollups as kids. They would come to find that they both shared a strange fascination with F. Scott Fitzgerald, his writings, and his love for Zelda. They were both enthralled with hockey and talked of going to see Anaheim destroy Calgary come the winter. Their conversations were always light, fun, and engaging. Dalton soon realized that Willow was unequivocally and most certainly the most perfect girl he had ever met.

Willow could literally change Dalton’s very existence with the touch of her hand. Dalton never knew if it was the softness of her skin, the warmness that radiated from her fingertips, or something else ethereal altogether but he had never felt more loved in his life than he did by the caress of Willow. Every night would end the same with the warmth of her body and the tenderness of her voice transfixing Dalton into a deep slumber. It was as if nothing else in the entire world was significant when Willow was by his side. And so it was through the alluring summer, the sublime fall, and the cold blistering winter.

One day in early March when the world was becoming new again they had a blowout argument that would change everything. Willow had planned on driving down to Napa to meet her parents for a weekend of wine tasting and day hiking. She explained to Dalton how beautiful the sprouting buds of the maples and crocuses were along the Russian River and how her parents were only in town once a year from Glasgow. But this time fell during an annual tradition of Dalton’s to meet his old college roommates in Boulder for a weekend of camping and reminiscing. He made every attempt to move the dates around and make everyone happy but it was all for nothing. In the end, he made the mistake of not compromising. Willow drove to Napa alone and heartbroken.

The next few months seemed inert. Willow seemingly held a grudge and wouldn’t let Dalton in on any level. She picked arguments about nothing, stopped laughing at his jokes, and was less than affectionate. She had changed. Gone now was the spark and the excitement. Gone was the simplicity and effortlessness of their conversations. Gone was any passion whatsoever. And gone was Willow. She said that she had fallen out of love with Dalton and that the relationship had run its course. She left right before summer started.

Dalton would later go through several meaningless relationships before finally settling on Hanna. Hanna would eventually take his hand in marriage and father three of his children. But she never had the impact on him that Willow had. No girl did. And that’s why on Dalton’s last days on Earth, on his deathbed, with his children at his side, he thought of only one thing: the summer solstice. And how on that day, that very important day, he found love in a beautiful girl named Willow. He didn’t remember why he and Willow broke up or what that argument was about, he only remembered her grace and charm and dark auburn hair and emerald blue eyes. And he felt lucky to have felt that love, if only for a brief time.

Empty

The scarlet sun sets just behind the lighthouse on Farallon Island a few miles north of Monterey. Seagulls glide gracefully along the choppy water as I take in the mild California air. Ever since my daughter’s death last year, I have been coming here by myself. I like to pretend that she is still out there, playing in the tide and flying her kite and laughing. But no matter how intently I imagine, nothing can change the fact that I’m alone.

I can’t quite remember what happened the day that Cayla died. When I close my eyes and try to go back to that place all that I see are her indigo eyes, all that I hear is her laughter. My mind runs on a constant loop, playing the memories of Cayla over and over again in my head. I like to try to remember the happy times like when she would wear her mother’s dress and sandals and dance to Chopin. Or when she would wake up early in the morning and draw pictures of emerald mountains and landscapes that existed only in her mind. Or when she would hum joyous melodies while brushing her teeth and then climb into bed and pray to her God. Or my favorite memory of Cayla: when her auburn hair would hang over her right eye, she looked just like her mother.

I spotted Cayla’s mother for the first time some ten years ago taking in the wild orchids at a nature preserve in northern San Francisco. She was wearing a pale topaz sundress that accented her petite frame and she had a yellow daisy between her left ear and her golden brown hair. To say she looked beautiful would have been an understatement. And even though I’d come to find that she was a frequent visitor of the Baylands Preserve, I had never seen her there before. She would later tell me that it was the efflorescence and petrichor that drew her to that place. Eventually, I mustered up enough courage to introduce myself and two years later we were wed on a beach at Pescadero. I never knew I could be that happy, that is, until we had Cayla the next year.

Cayla was your typical happy child but she had a grace about her and an eloquence in her being that I have never seen in anyone. I know that everyone thinks that their child is special but Cayla really was inimitable. In her first year of grade school she wrote a story about an assemblage of faeries who were coming together to save humanity by forming elixirs of serendipity and sprinkling it on the weak and listless. She was the lead choir singer three years in a row and a local newspaper reporter called her voice “opulent and angelic”. But it wasn’t just her achievements that made her so special, it was her ability to see magnificence in everything and everyone around her.

On the day that Cayla passed on, my wife left me. The whole event must have been too much for her to handle as I have not seen her or heard from her since that day. I spent weeks looking for her but to no avail; I am in too dark of a place to try to find her now.

At certain times, I can somehow reconnect to that painful day but it has never been clear to me what happened. I believe regression to be the culprit for my abstraction. What I do remember is Cayla’s lifeless body lying in the grass. She would love to climb on the hyperions in our backyard but I never imagined she’d get high enough to actually injure herself. I remember crying and paramedics and a heaviness coming over me that I had never felt before. I wish I could go back to that day and change something. I would give anything to get my life back to the way it once was.

The sky is completely dark now and I am alone. The only sound I hear is the low tide crashing softly onto the rocky desolate beach.  I have no daughter, no wife, no joy. I am, on all accounts, empty. And with each day that passes I begin to fear that maybe I am the one who has died.

transpositional regression

tiny caplets of petrichor dangle in my being. i am tepid most days but thrive in the shallow brackish waters. i am rooted at the cascading laurels and the lonesome mouths of branching rivers. my heart is enraptured by the air that I breathe.

the efflorescence of the moon transcends my soulbound journey. the ethereal of the pleiades is my home yet i can’t remember how I can recall. my sisters are cerulean and serene. i feel that i am not alone.

i am conflated and deflated over the question of why. is it to wait for the fetching who have their own paths? is it to lead a life of dissolute and abandonment? why can’t I feel sorrow when I’m surrounded by pain? i can’t help but think, even the listless dissemblers get a chance at salvation. or is salvation as real as hate? where does the grey end and the answers begin?

the hammock sways without me there.