Showing posts from January, 2013


Notes from today’s WALK… The WALK takes me to a natural place.  Or does it?  Our house is 10 minutes from a State Park, a National Recreation Area, and a Land Trust. It is also 10 minutes from San Francisco. Our house has electricity, heat, and a modified bitumen roof. It is also half a mile from a redwood grove. I live a liminal existence, traversing the borderlands between grime and grace, civilization and survivalism.  Or perhaps I’m overstating this.  On recent WALKs, I have encountered, in some particular order, coyotes, a bobcat, snakes, foxes, rabbits, red tailed hawks, red shouldered hawks, deer, dead deer, and turkey vultures. The trail goes through a primordial forest of bay tree, live oaks, redwoods, ferns, and huckleberries before breaking into the windswept chaparral of manzanita, scrub oak, coyote brush, sage, toyon, lupine, and sticky monkey. Along the same path today I also saw a matchbox car, sunglasses, and a rusted out VW. And when I arri

The Flood

Notes from today’s WALK (with help from A.A. Milne)… It says something about me, though I’m not at all sure what, that the part of my Sunday newspaper I most look forward to is the Big 5 Sporting Goods advertising circular. (Actually, it says something about me that I still look forward to a newspaper at all, but that is another subject.) It is four full-color pages of ridiculous deals on everything from shoes to guns to barbells to tents to boogie boards; all from famous sounding brands like Adio, Columbus, Spenco, Rugged Exposure, and Kent. Every item looks so good and is priced so well that I find myself day dreaming of a garage full of off-brand and second run sporting goods; coolers with lids that don’t quite fit, dull hunting knives, and gas grills that may or may not be missing a crucial valve. Of course, I have never purchased a single thing.  The one item I do come close to buying every week is whichever inflatable raft is being advertised. This week there are tw

Old Friend

Notes from the WALK... The hotter the fire, the harder the steel.   It’s possible I have made this expression up, but searching the dust bunnies that cling to the contact paper of my mind, I seem to recall that it’s an actual saying. I think it comes from the blacksmithy, Medieval, twelve-sided dice world and applies literally to swords forged in fire and figuratively to bonds forged in suffering.  Or maybe it doesn’t. But I was reminded of it (or made it up) on today’s WALK as I took note of all the lichen and moss along the path. As mentioned previously, the first half of the path is in the shade. Bay trees, redwood, ferns, and huckleberry are everywhere. Enough to bring a native plant lover to climax. (Dear God. Maybe that’s not lichen!) And nearly everywhere you look, there is some kind of growth clinging to a branch or spreading over bark. It looks like the dermatology ward at the tree hospital. Moss and lichen remind me of one of my best friends. I’ve kno

The Artist

Notes from today’s WALK (San Francisco edition)…   “…and this guy’s   getting rich on his fuckin’ demented art showing little kids with tubes up their fuckin’ asses.” He speaks these words as he and his companion pass me on Bryant Street. He is a large man who walks with purpose in a bobbing hunch. His face is scrunched from brow to neck, as if compressed in a slowly constricting vice. His weak chin is impossibly close to his nearly-lipless mouth. His eyes squint under a black baseball cap with a defiantly flat brim. An oversized black baseball jersey covers his barrel chest. The jersey and cap combine to lend a post-Cholo-ish air to his appearance, but he is clearly Caucasian. His baggie black denim shorts and barely-laced combat boots are a dead giveaway. He is intimidating. His companion is older. They walk at a steady pace; the companion pushing an oversized green shopping cart. It is filled with a mix of empty bottles, personal eclectica, and something not alive b

Dog Balls

Notes from today’s WALK (as inspired by Eckhart Tolle, and the inspired Dana Gould Hour podcast)... Here’s how I know I’m making progress. When I was younger, like a hundred hack comics before me, I envied dogs’ ability to lick themselves. I would think, “Do you know how happy I would be if I could do that!”  Now I’m older and I no longer envy this about dogs. I envy that while they’re licking themselves, they’re not thinking about the laundry that needs folding. They don’t lap blissfully at their testicles while wondering if the car needs an oil change or if the rejection letter they're expecting is in the mailbox. Dogs live entirely in the moment. They are fully and only conscious of what they are doing that second ! Nothing else ever creeps in.  That is what I'm working on. I practice turning off the ego voice; the self-judging, shame-based story about not being good enough, not doing enough, not working hard enough. When that voice is silenced and I am in