Hambling in Reno

IMG_9698Hambling only because my iPhone corrected gamboling to hambling, so this post is hambling in Reno.

I’m not much of a gambler. But don’t get me wrong, I’d dearly love to be.

There’s something about slouching over the craps table casually doling out chips on those ciphers on the felted floors of the table.

Or the way the roulette players never seem stressed, at least not like the black jack players.  Continue reading Hambling in Reno

Sliver: Intro (History as a parasite)

Intro

NGC 5907 galaxy
NGC 5907 galaxy

2120 – Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest region of what was once the United States of America.

Only shards of history survived the cullings.

And by shards, I’m being generous.

We passed history down from one person to the next in small groups around burning wood with the flames casting shadows on our surroundings for ten thousand years.

We marked the rocks with the images in our mind drawn by flames. And pounded reeds flat and bleached them in the sun and made up words to describe the images and the actions around them in complex relationships that became written language.

And then we maximized efficiency and built printing presses to make short work of storing our history in volumes in libraries.

But war, as it does, burns away the words with fire and rhetoric.

We digitized history and made the whole thing accessible to every human being in small, hand-held computers. And we shrank it, until millions of volumes could fit onto the tip of a needle.

History compounded is a radioactive element biding its time until transmutation releases energy and blows itself into shards and larger chunks.

And so we’re left to tell our story one generation to the next, to pass along the DNA of our existence, sometimes in rich detail and sometimes in shards too small to understand why we keep repeating our mistakes.

I pieced this all together from the slivers of information I have gathered over my lifetime, which evenly spans the turn of the 22nd Century.

I inherited some of it and found most of it, extracting it willingly or unwillingly from its hosts. Oh, yes, history is a parasite. Or didn’t you know that?

History periodically blows itself up, so we must pick it up in shards or larger chunks and piece it together and determine that we will never kill each other in large numbers again for resources. But we can’t fight history’s innate need to repeat itself, and so we become willing hosts, corrupted and finally destroyed as the shards and larger chunks to be pieced together by a future generation.

In this way we have eked out our existence on this rock for this brief moment in time.

 

Sliver by Timothy Alex Akimoff copyright 2016

A dragon of our own

 

Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia

My son Carson has a dragon. He likely inherited his dragon from me, and there’s a good chance I inherited my dragon from my father.

We each carry scars from our battles with our dragons, but more remarkably, we carry our stories, especially our inability to defeat our dragons, as banners rather than shame.

My wife and I had to go meet with counselors at Carson’s high school this week. He’s a freshmen, attending a new school in a different state for the fifth time in his academic life.

Carson’s ability to reason, his affability and an enviable dose of empathy caused his early teachers to miss his dragon completely.

He wasn’t diagnosed until a specialized test caught the discrepancy between his reading comprehension and math scores in Alaska.  Continue reading A dragon of our own

Strong at the broken places

Lake Alva
Lake Alva

They are like brothers to me, this band of disparate men in various stages of repair.

We are doctors, diesel mechanics, purveyors of coffee, psychiatrists, students and writers, at least by lines denoted on our resumes.

But when we’re together, we’re bigger than our titles, those small words that encompass so much of our lives.

We have climbed mountains together, paddled into wild lakes, floated rivers, drank deeply from what surrounded us. Continue reading Strong at the broken places

Is the west still wild?

Birds take flight at Malheur Lake.
Birds take flight at Malheur Lake.

If you were to judge Oregon based on the fact that a bunch of angry militants took over a wildlife refuge demanding the government return the land to the people, well, I wouldn’t blame you.

Of course I’ve been following this.

Over the last six months, I’ve become incredibly fascinated with Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the ill-fated scene of the hostile (silly) takeover.

Why?

It was the first waterfowl sanctuary created west of the Mississippi. It was created, in the most simplified way I know how to explain this, when one William L Finley took photographs of the birds there and traveled to Washington D.C., where he showed them to Theodore Roosevelt, who said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Well, bully, let’s create a bird sanctuary for the protection of native birds.” Or something similar.

What you might not know is that there was a chicken egg shortage on the west coast in those days, and people, desperate for their eggs, as we tend to get, were raiding the nests of wild birds and wiping out native populations all over the countryside.

Continue reading Is the west still wild?

People watching the gym-rat race

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.25.30 AMIt’s the second day of January, and I can barely walk.

No, this is not a two-day hangover.

It’s the residual effects of starting over gym for maybe the fourth or fifth time in the last 10 years.

This last break from the gym was due to long-lasting rehabilitation effort for a dislocated shoulder during a rousing game of 16-inch softball in Chicago.

By rehabilitation effort, I mean avoidance of anything and everything that caused even a hint of pain to my right shoulder.

Continue reading People watching the gym-rat race

The 15-year-decade

salvador-dali-persistence-of-memory-clocks-meaningDon’t worry, this won’t be one of those look-back posts where I sum up everything that happened to us last year.

Though, admittedly, 2015 was a big year.

But it’s been a big decade, for that matter.

Only they don’t have names for 15-year increments. At least they don’t have common names everyone can use like decade or century.

There’s actually an old name for 15-year cycles that comes from medieval Europe called the indiction and which had to do with a periodic reassessment of an agricultural or land tax.

What I’m talking about is the last 10 years of our lives, a cycle that I can’t quite fit nicely into a decade.

Continue reading The 15-year-decade

A Vocation Vacation

A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.
A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.

It’s raining, really raining.

Not just the little summer drizzle. The kind of rain that builds into a rhythmic melody on the roof and on the windows.

I’m sitting here in my parents’ kitchen drinking a big mug of green tea staring at a counter full of vegetables I want to ferment.

It’s Friday.

The Friday before I return to work after an overextended hiatus.

I thought about going back to bed after I dropped my daughter off at school. The sound of the rain and the thought of laying there under the covers and drifting off to the pitter patter of water on window was extremely hard to resist.

The only reason I didn’t, is because I know that next week I will completely rely on routine to get me through the week.

Continue reading A Vocation Vacation

A Dory on the River

She fitted out and ready for the water.
She fitted out and ready for the water.

It’s a perfect Oregon afternoon.

By that, I mean it’s in the mid-seventies, and the sun is shining and the trees have that look about them. That look they get just before they start to change their colors.

It’s imperceptible, just the lightest downgrade from summer’s dark green but not quite as verdant as spring. If you look carefully, you can watch summer’s slow demise every day.

It’s not fall yet, but the dog days are over. The perfect in-between.

My brother texts and says he has some things to finish around the farm, but that we can hit the river at 1:30.

I run around frantically looking through storage for my bass gear, before remembering that it was twenty years ago that I put together a nice bait caster with a 6 foot super stiff rod that could lift smallies and largemouth from the river like a crane.

Continue reading A Dory on the River

The Back Story

WanderlustIt all started with an insatiable wanderlust.

And a girl who wanted to go along for the ride.

We have traveled to dozens of countries together. We’ve lived in seven cities in five states. We’ve moved 26 times in our 20 years together.

And it’s time to come home for a while.

Every adventurer has a home base. And for us, that home base has always been Salem, Oregon. If you’ve seen it, you know it’s the perfect place, sandwiched between the Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range, full of rivers and lakes and trails. A perfect place for an adventurer to keep his or her legs fit and eyes ever looking towards the next vista.

Continue reading The Back Story

"THE WORLD BREAKS EVERYONE, AND AFTERWARD, SOME ARE STRONG AT THE BROKEN PLACES." – HEMINGWAY