Desert Travels, Dangerous and Beautiful.

Sunset in the Sonoran Desert, Mexico. Atardece...

Image via Wikipedia

A story of travels through an envisioned desert, not exactly what you expect.

The desert is barren and dangerous. A predatory land, filled with creatures, many so small they seem insignificant, yet usually the most dangerous. Always a slithering crawling critter crosses the path, altering the route to my envisioned destination.  I have learned to be imperturbable, self possessed and observant, above all, thrifty in my decisions.  This desert economy has made for trying times with dangers all its own, unique and un-relinquishing. 

I have confidence, born of a faith that I will find that oasis of security and prosperity.  I know it’s out there, hidden in waves of shimmering heat.  All I have to do is avoid the mirages created by an emanating desert swelter.  The oasis of an occupation, is waiting, somewhere on the fringes of this untilled wasteland.  I can see the promise of the mountains on the horizon, seemingly close… always promising.  All I have to do is trudge my way through the deep sands, recognizing and avoiding hazards. I travel from one life sustaining water hole to next, making my way ever towards those distant mountains.  My own personal oasis.

Even with all of its dangers, the desert holds a simple beauty.  At times I have to look hard, but it’s always there, right in front of my eyes, I just have to choose to see it.  The colors of a morning sun, bright and promising, shinning over the sands, creating a kaleidoscope of natural, neutral colors. Vibrant in their own illumination, yet subdued and hard to see when viewed in the wrong light.  Sometimes, I have to look hard to see the beauty that is always around me, but I know it’s there, simply waiting to be acknowledged. 

Although a desert sunrise can be an enticing allurement, it holds its own warning, find shelter to wait out the incinerate rays of the sun… always a sunset follows. A sunset that heralds safety and security in travel, for I can follow the stars, clearly visible in the heavens above.  I simply have to find one of those shelters, or even a temporary oasis to shelter my spirit during the scorching conflagration of day.  I trust to the moon and stars to direct me to a path leading to the security and refuge of a solid secure occupation.  Thank the deities, for the assurance and sustenance of family and friends, ever by my side, supporting and driving me forward.

I long for the welcome arms of the mountain passes.  Always a strenuous climb, with frequent peaks and sure descents, yet always the chance to climb once again.  I know that this inhospitable desert is but one of those descents, frightful and sometimes grisly on the surface but holding a simple beauty hidden in the sands.  Sometimes, I just have to dig to find it.

Until I find that dream vision, proving for longevity and security, I hold firm to my own wellspring of strength.  That never ending supply of confidence and compassion from family.  They are the beauty in my desert, an oasis of shelter, the sunset and sunrise that holds promise for a future… my consistency.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”  Mahatma Ghandi, via Quotations Book.

Summer Slumbers

Autume Reflections

Image by DanRhett via Flickr

I find it interesting, that my most precious memories, are simple flickers in time.  One tiny little moment, when time seemed to stand still.  When I look back at it, I realize that for at least that one little twinkling in my life, all was balanced and true.  In the big picture, there are a multitude of these significant eclipse's in time when all things come to pause, took a breath, then rejoined that never ending continuum that is life.  It’s important for me, especially during these trying times, to remember those special fleeting moments.  The flickers in time, that defined my spirit, cleared my thoughts, and gave me the strength to go on.

As anyone who has read some of my earlier posts knows, most of these moments were closely related to time spent in the arms of Mother Nature in all her grandeur.  One of the things I loved to do on a quiet beautiful Sunday, back home in the mountains, was to go fishing.   I would find one of the many remote little streams, filled with beaver dams, brook, and rainbow trout.  This generally entailed a short drive and long hike to get where I desired.  The key to my enjoying the fishing was, the seclusion and solitude of less traveled territories.

One of the transcendent events of an adventure in the wilds, especially in the mountains, is the hike in.  Walking along a creek bed, through lodge pole pine and aspen covered forests.  The strong vibrant fragrances of the mountain forest permeating my senses.   Always an abundance of willow growing near the streams, adding a flash of green with their red orange stalks radiant in the sun. The clear, remarkably brilliant blue of the morning sky, accented with tufts of billowy white clouds.  The sounds of the wilderness, combining to compose a music so beautiful and soothing. Songbirds singing their love songs and welcoming those who travel their domain.  Crickets chirping that strange singsong melody of their own.  The breeze rippling the leaves of aspen and willow, creating a soft balance.  The undulation of the creek as it flowed along its time worn path of polished and tumbled stones,  giving a steady pleasant chorus, finishing out the composition.

The spot I’m looking for is one near an old beaver dam, perhaps abandoned by its creator.  Surrounded by the willows and aspen, a lush green mat of tall grass swaying with the occasional flurry of a fickle breeze.  Soft grass to pad my perch near the creek, a place of relaxation and contentment.   I sit comfortably laying out the contrivances of the task at hand.  The tackle box with its collection of lures, hooks, and fly’s all intended to attract the sleekly swimming quarry of mountain creeks. 

As I dig through the impressive array of lures, I decide on a new and interesting tactic.  A tactic that probably, most definitely, will not, return the original intension of catching a few fish.  I weight a line, place a little red and white colored bobber on the line.  Intentionally failing to attach a hook or any other creative form of bait or lure.  Casting the line out so it will be clearly visible to any who might happen by.  I lay back on my soft bed of grass, close my eyes and allow the sweet sensual scents of the creek to mingle with the comforting fragrances of the forest.  Tuning my ears to natures orchestra, I allow myself to slip off into a warm sunny dreamland of mountain wonders.

Dream Big, Step Light, Take It As It Comes

Sunset over old route 66

Image by Todd Ryburn via Flickr

I sure wish starting a new chapter in life, was as easy as sitting down to write one.  Heck, for that matter, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to write your life’s chapters and have it turn out the way you want it to.  Of course that’s not the way life works, so we all have to ante up and play the cards we’re dealt. The gamble come when you have to decide weather to bet, check or fold.  Make dammed sure you don’t hold a poor hand for too darn long, the odds aren’t in your favor.

I have found out one thing during this most recent effort.  Driving jobs are not exactly as easy to come by as they make it sound.  The biggest problem I have right now, is all my driving experience is in the past and evidently it might as well be considered ancient history.  They could care less that I spent years driving tractor trailer in the mountains, over some of the most scenic and dangerous roads around.  The first thing they ask, is “What have you driven in the last five years?”. 

I’ve acclimated my thinking to the fact that I’m going to have to get a local driving job.  Spend some time on the roads down here to gain some of that cherished “current experience”.  I may not get to drive the scenic vistas I dream of, but I can still enjoy the country I do travel through.  The dream is not dead, just put to bed for a little while.  Most important right now, is simply to get a job, and hopefully one that has plenty of work to do.  I’m trying some local companies that deliver to the oil fields and drill rigs, so I’ll still be out in the country a little bit. Luckily I have my tanker endorsement, which is what most of the trucking down here seems to be right now.

I’m sure I can make the most of what ever is handed me.  I think just simply being able to get back on the road, and travel, even if it’s to the same old places day after day, will be inspiration enough.  There is a mesmerizing quality to the open road, that captivates my thoughts, and directs my interest.  I’ll just keep on working to the goal I’ve set for myself, and write the story given me.  One things for sure, I can add all the color and character I want.  All I have to do is write it the way I see it.

There is another dream I have, that I have not told anyone, and I do mean anyone about.  See if you can figure it out.  It has been made quite famous of late, thanks to a certain TV channel, and there is a lot of mountains, snow, Ice and cold weather involved.  I doubt I’ll ever have the opportunity, but one can always dream.  As I always say, dream big, step lightly, take what’s given as it comes, then all you have to do is make the best of it shaping it to suit yourself.

Starting a New Chapter, Story of My Life.

Mountain Sunset

Image by Section_Eight via Flickr

I’ve been compiling an updated resume, and have decided that I feel sorry for the person who might choose to write my history.  Naw, in all seriousness, the process has made me remember with fondness, many of the things I have done, and places I’ve been.  Most of all… all of the mountain connections I have. 

It’s always refreshing to recall those good times, when things were prosperous and productive.  But what I’m recalling are those reflective times, often when alone, enjoying the mountains that were home for so long.  There was always a certain comfort in being able to look in any direction and see that protective parapet of mountain ranges that surrounded our little community. 

I remember sunsets of amazing beauty and color that takes the breath away.  There was nothing better than watching the sun slowly hide behind the white capped ridges and craggy peaks of the Mosquito Range.  I would watch as the sky changed from the clear clean blue of day to an evening ablaze with the rusty wine colors of a setting sun.  One of the things I remember most was the change in temperature.  People are always surprised when I tell them that at 10,000 feet, you feel about a 20 degree, or more, change in temperature when the sun goes down. 

What’s even grander, is when you get to watch the sun come back up again.  There’s something nice about the start of a new day.  The positive feelings as the darkness fades to the light of day.  A completely new showing of colors that promise a fresh start.  Always accompanied by the sounds of nature, as the birds and high altitude critters set forth to face their daily toils. It’s like starting a new chapter each and every day, seldom the same, yet always familiar.

That’s what this process feels like, the closing of one chapter, and the new and fresh opening of another.  Hopefully all things fall into their appropriate place, and I get the chance to do what I’ve wanted to for the past few years.  It would be nice to start that new, yet familiar, career, full of prospect and potential.  You see I’m applying to trucking companies, looking for a position where I can go over the road.  To think I might just get to travel through those mountains that I called home for so long.  I would welcome the change of pace, and the chance to get out of the Texas heat once in a while.

Just think about all the time I would have to think and ruminate.  The stories and prose I could come up with while I drive over those mesmerizing macadam roadways.  I think it would be inspirational to my creative side, and a welcome change to my life.  I’ve had a commercial drivers license since I was 16, and even used it a few times through my life.  For once though, I have a certain ambition to join the ranks of those who transport the nations goods over prairies, mountains, and through valleys.  The lonely lifestyle, suits my nature, and would lend itself to some serious contemplations. 

Wish me luck, and just maybe I’ll get to travel to all those places I’ve wanted to visit.  Perhaps even be able to have lunch with some of my blog friends, and meet them in real life instead of virtually. 

New Sources From The Front

Mountains near the road from Kabul to Salang P...

Image via Wikipedia

Anyone who has visited here for a little time, knows I have a love for the Milblogs.  There’s something comforting in hearing (reading) the troops thoughts, in an open format.  I enjoy reading their perspective on what’s going on around the world, and right there in their own platoon, group, what have you.  I have to admit, I have a tendency to gravitate toward the Army blogs, after all, I was a lowly soldier at one time.

I keep up with all the new blogs out there through  I learn about new sites, and important things that are happening right there.  Just last week, they shared information about a new blog that would be posting updates from Afghanistan.  Flying O, is authored by an Air Force flight nurse. She introduces herself to the blogging community in her first post titled Genesis. She quotes within this article, and I found it moving.  I will share both a quote from her, and the one she quoted.

“This journey will be novel in some ways and repetitive in others.  The wounds may be the same but the patients, my troops, and the experiences will not be.” – Flying O.

“I may be compelled to face danger, but never fear it, and while our soldiers can stand and fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.” - Clara Barton

I plan on keeping tabs on her journey for a couple of reasons.  One is just basic curiosity, another is simple pride in our troops, and third, I have two family members over their.  A Nephew and a Cousin.  I receive updates from my cousin by email,  he is an Air Force Pilot, training the Afghan National Air Force, and helping them to organize their own operations.  I would love to be able to share his stories, for they are fabulous, but I can not, for they are not mine to share.  My Nephew is a Mortar Man in an infantry unit, patrolling the Afghan country side, and sharing a few pictures on his facebook page, and no I won’t share his facebook profile with you either, sorry.   I will say that many of the pictures he shares, look so much like the Colorado Mountains, it amazes me.

Another milblog author will be heading back into the danger zone also.  Bouhammer, by Tony Steward, who will be heading back to Afghanistan, but in civilian clothing this time.  He’ll be working as a military contractor, supporting the “War Fighter”.  I’m sure there is more to it than that, but imagine he can’t share to much. Bouhammer has been around for a long time,  and Tony Steward is a retired Army First Sergeant, with a highly developed sense of duty.  He has blogged about his service during his last deployment, which was in Afghanistan, and about his experiences after Army retirement, and his entry into the civilian life.  Now he’ll be sharing his unique perspective from the outside looking in, with the knowledge of what it was really like. 

Tony Steward wrote a very interesting post about “That Look”.  We all have an idea what he’s talking about, but how many of us know what the look holds for each of those individual soldiers.  Is caused from a memory, or a nightmarish cloud of experiences no one wants?  Personally, I don’t know, having never seen combat, but I did understand his distinction between the new, young soldier with their look of anticipation even excitement, and the older more seasoned veteran with that “indescribable look of weariness and determination”   You can also read an article on why he’s going back, The Military Is In My DNA, is all about his reasons.  He also shares that he has one son who recently served 6 years as a combat medic, and one son putting forward the effort to gain acceptance to West Point.  

Be sure to check them out, and find out what’s happening from their point of view.


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