Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sunday in the park...

...and the bed. And at the computer and in the kitchen and all over.

My mind is full of sailing ships, but no sealing wax, while patriotic John Sousa music plays in the park two blocks away, battling admirably with a hot jazz/rock band at the BBQ place across the street from the park. It is a night of firecrackers and whistling roman candles and the quick pop of cherry bombs as darkness creeps slowly in and the raspberry dark sky hovers like a settling cloak. I know tomorrow is a holiday, but it feels more like a second Sunday waiting to be enjoyed lazily in a hammock rocking gently in a soft ocean breeze to the slap of fish falling back into a quiet lagoon where waves tickle the sandy beach.

I am in love again with the idea of the sea. I have had an on again-off again romance with the sea, one I have indulged on surf boards or in diving gear or wearing a snorkel. Jacques Cousteau was my idea of a romantic figure, but I always saw him as a pirate brandishing a slender stinger of Toledo steel. Probably why as a child I was captivated by Captain Blood, Scaramouche and the Prisoner of Zenda, among so many others. The time when life and death were judged on the point of a blade at the end of a dance of shining steel death.

So many idea swirling around in my mind right now as the Eagles burn a bright path through my mind with their music.

Jimmy Buffet, swords, sailing, flying and fly fishing

I spent most of the day on A Salty Piece of Land with Tully Mars, Solomon, Cleopatra and Ix-Nay, among others. All I ever knew about Jimmy Buffet was his Parrot Heads and Margaritaville music until the Evil One entered my life and suggested another of his favorites. I suppose it's only fair since I have introduced him to literary novels of many stripes and types. It took a while because, like a tarpon or bonefish struggling with a fly lure and diving into the deeps trailing a nearly unbreakable line, I didn't want to like his writing. He was no weaver of prose poems or author of magical realism -- and yet he is. His simple words magically placed me in the islands on both sides of Panama's isthmus and in the Pacific Islands where ex-cannibals still believe the world was created from the volcanoes on their little island, flying a PBY, landing in a pink jet and driving a jeep through the misty jungles of Belize with a three-legged ocelot looking for the soul of the light to repair a Bahamanian lighthouse so masted schooners can navigate the coral atolls in the darkness toward safe harbor to watch a simple man with a gift for hurling the horsehide in shut out after shut out for Cuban fans.

Tall ships always remind me of pirates and swashbuckling adventurers on land and at sea with four or five feet of supple steel in practiced fists. That makes me want to take out Excalibur and learn the dance of death with a broad sword or Toledo Salamanca or Japanese Samurai sword. For some reason the idea has planted itself in the midst of my mind that it is possible to mold and shape a body with a sword while learning the tango of Toledo steel. It's another book whispering in my mind before I have finished with the rest of my list. And it is so far from what I did yesterday.

Yesterday I drove up to Woodland Park to work as VE again with the MARC (Mountain Amateur Radio Club) where I had the privilege of telling a 77-year-old gentleman, who took his Technician exam during my VE baptism by fire last month at the Monument hamfest and failed, that he passed. I admit I made the announcement as dramatic as possible, coming out of the testing room with a straight face devoid of emotion, catching the eyes of him and his family and shaking his hand to tell him he passed. Okay, so I was accused of being mean and his son said he needed a new battery for his pacemaker, but it is a moment I will never forget and one I doubt they will either. And the day kept getting better.

I will be on the communications team next year for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a car race to the top of Pikes Peak and I'll also be involved with the ARES group to provide emergency communications during forest fires and the like. I'm a little long in the tooth to fight forest fires, but I can still keep them connected and dispatch smoke jumpers. And I've been invited to come back to Woodland Park every other month to help with exams.

Living here is very different from the solitude and silence of my mountain cabin, but when life comes with musical accompaniment, new challenges and adventures and a new world to explore, it brings nothing but joy. I definitely live in exciting times and this is ground zero.

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