Take a hike.

May 15, 2011

I went for a hike yesterday.

It was just a day hike, not a long backpacking trip out into the wilderness where I proved my mettle against nature. Just a few hours to enjoy the solitude and beauty around me.  To be quiet with my thoughts.  I’m not great at introspection so the internal reel often repeats itself.

In the Pacific Northwest we are fortunate to have easy access to remoteness.  That sounds weird but wildness, parts of the earth that aren’t filled with human-ness, is pretty close and accessible.  We’re lucky that way.

I was reminded of this yesterday sweating my way up the trail in search of the pictures I’d seen online.  They were waiting for me.  Standing in the mist of the waterfall I was graced with the beauty of nature.  Further up the trail there was more.  There always is.  I saw an owl.  The first time I’ve seen an owl in the wild since I was teenager planting trees in Northwestern Ontario.  Pretty cool.  Especially when I clicked my hiking poles together to get it to look at me.  It did.  And for a moment we communicated.  With my eyes I said, “Hey you ARE an owl. I thought so.” With its eyes it said, “You’re not dangerous to me.  Goodbye.”  Then it flew to it’s next station.  Pretty cool.

That’ll keep me going until the next time I take a hike.

Eco-Malice?

February 6, 2010

The widely accepted view of eco-terrorism encompasses those who take action against individuals or organizations who damage the environment. The actions are considered extreme and usually have the specific intention of causing damage to property.

Maybe it’s my “can’t we all get along” Canadian sensibility but I’d prefer it if we would talk to each other. And these eco-terrorists are supporting things I believe in! Healthy environment. Clean air and water. Renewable energy. Better treatment of animals. I just can’t stomach the tactics.

It’s the malice that doesn’t sit well with me. Doing harm to win an argument or shed light on something. Feeling justified destroying construction sites or damaging forestry equipment. That’s malice.

And there are those who act with malice towards the environment. I know of a lady who purposely leaves her office lights on overnight and always puts recyclables in the garbage. She does it to make a point. She’s striking out against the environment as a way of showing political disagreement with those who support it. To me that’s eco-terrorism. That’s acting with malice.

If you want to read all the political nuance around the issue of the environment, there’s plenty out there to be found. The statistics to support everyone’s views are there as well. Have at it.

When you’re done educating yourself, I hope you’ll agree with me and support the same things I do. Regardless, if you’re moved to action, please don’t act with malice.

It’s not a diary.

February 1, 2010

I don’t keep a diary.  It seems unsafe.  Dear diary, today Billy heard Sally tell Jenny that she thinks I’m stupid.  Not worth putting down for posterity.

I have a journal though.  I have two.  Fancy leather covers and nice thick paper.  I use one to take acting notes at rehearsal.  It was an opening night gift from a good friend.  We were in a play together in which a journal played a large part.  The inevitable journal.  The other is the actual journal from the play.  Only the first page was used in the show so there was this whole blank book waiting for use.  It was my prop and I was allowed to keep it.

I use it to record our travels.  My wife and I have been to Europe twice and I did the show just before our first trip.  So I had this book at my disposal.  At the end of each day I would write a page or two about what we’d done.  We take a lot of pictures and the book helps fill in the holes that memory creates.

It’s pleasant to look back on it and recall some of the minutia.  What we had for lunch and where.  Little sights we saw that struck us as funny or odd.  To remember those times that we shared on a particular beach or inside a particular shop.

But it’s not a diary.

Openings

January 29, 2010

It’s very energizing to open a show. You’ve memorized, rehearsed, tried various tactics, laughed, been frustrated, worried that the show will stink, and been proud of yourself and those around you.

Then suddenly a whole bunch of people are there. In the theater. Waiting to see what story you’re going to tell. You don’t know how they’ll react. Will they like it? Will they even follow it? Will they laugh? Will they be moved?

Fortunately, at opening you often have family and friends watching, rooting for you, willing you to succeed. It’s when theatre proves itself once again to be a community, or more to the point, a communal event.

I just love theatre. The making of it. The sharing of it. The openings.

Take it easy.

January 26, 2010

I had a great conversation today with a colleague about how we live too fast.

He’s reading a book by Carl Honore called In Praise of Slowness.  It reminded me of something I heard or read somewhere a number of years back about how our brains take in information most effectively at about 2.5 miles per hour.  Literally a walking pace.  We’re not made/adapted (let’s not get into a philosophical discussion about our origins here) to absorb information as quickly as we force ourselves to.

When driving, we read signs, make decisions, likely listen to the radio, probably talk on the phone (tsk, tsk), and think about the next place we’re supposed to be or task we need to get done.  We unwind at the end of the day by watching TV which actually stimulates our brain more than relaxes it.  I heard about a study that shows we don’t spend enough time in silence.  (I’m riffing here, you can look this stuff up if you want citations)

And we wonder why we’re tired.  We need more coffee.  We feel less productive some days.

What’s our deal with being busy?  If we see someone meander down the hall rather than full out, head down, looking worried, we think, “They don’t have enough to do.”  We “produce” more, higher quality output (widgets, communication, whatever) when we take our time and are deliberate!  When we’re intentional.  I love that word these days.  Intentional.

I don’t know why we think busy=productive but I’m going to chew on it when I get some down time.

I should write a letter…

January 20, 2010

I’ve never been great about writing letters.  I don’t mean personal letters but I’ve always been lousy about those as well.

I’m talking about letters of thanks, praise, or complaint to a bank, restaurant, or store after the service has been notably on either side of the norm.  It’s after those experiences when I say to my wife, “I should write a letter.”  And I compose the letters.  Beautifully.  I just don’t write the dang things.   By the time I get the gumption to put pen to paper, I’ve lost my fervor.  The moment’s gone.

And pen and paper are the necessary tools for the task.  An email or web post would be too coarse where a handwritten note has style.  It shows I cared enough to sit down, spend the time, and thoughtfully put my comments on that thick piece of writing paper that has a little texture to it.  Only this can convey the gravity or sincerity of my mind.  It’s personal.

Or it would be if I wrote it.

Getting Sentimental

December 31, 2009

This is when many people look back over the past year, take stock of where they are now, make resolutions, and hope for the best in the year to come.

I don’t really do that.  I’m not saying I’m not sentimental, I’m just not sentimental about much.  I wish love and health for everyone in the coming year and continue to hope for those lottery numbers to come up.

But today will be 24 hours long just like yesterday and tomorrow.  Just like my birthday.  Just like Valentine’s Day.  Just like May 12, 1953.

At midnight it’ll be a new year and to me that means I have to remember to put the correct year on correspondence and checks.  I’ve been vacationing this week, so I’ll try to remember it’s Friday.  Just in case it comes up.  We’ll have friends over tomorrow to play games and, as always, it will be good to catch up, spend time together, and enjoy each other’s company.

But I’d feel the same way if it was the first week of March.

The Holiday Season comes to an unofficial end tomorrow and we go back to reality.  Is that it?  It’s time to stop thinking about sharing a smile and pleasantries with the check-out girl at the grocery market, donating to a food bank or international charity, or being thankful for the blessings we have.  There are bills to pay after all, and weight to lose, and decorations to put away, and toilets to clean, and we need to get back to work, and the kids need to go back to school, and life needs to get back to normal.

Don’t worry, all the needs we become aware of and all the thanks we’re ready to give will be waiting for us on the other side of Hallowe’en.  Right where we left them.

I’ll try not to miss them until then.  Otherwise I might get sentimental.

iPod Touch

December 29, 2009

I got myself an iPod Touch so I could play games without stealing/sneaking my wife’s iPhone. Now I have music I don’t listen to and photos I rarely look at all in my pocket. I guess I’m ready to be “that guy” who’s ready to whip out pictures of his dog at a moment’s notice in order to enter the cutest puppy competition at the water cooler.

Stand back. I have technology and I’m ready to use it!

Hello world!

December 26, 2009

Welcome to my very first blog at WordPress.com!  I’m not sure how often I’ll use this but heck, I’m joining the decade a decade late so here I am.  Feel free to welcome me by adding a comment.