At once man’s oldest accomplice and his oldest nemesis.
There is some evidence that ancient man used ancient carnivores, some distant relative of the wolf, to help him corner large and unruly sources of food, like woolly mammoths, the protein from which, in turn, increased the size of our brains, which led to more improved hunting techniques and eventually the idea to domesticate wolves into more predictable hunting partners.
My grandmother, Pearl, walked halfway across the world, from the Soviet-Ukraine of her birth, to the Ural Mountains of her youth. She came of age traveling across what was then Turkestan, the tattered remnents of the Golden Horde and into Uighur-controlled Northwest China, where she fell in love, married and began her own family.
In my youth, I listened to angry music to feel something.
In my early 20s, I rebelled against the politics of the evangelical conservatism I was raised in.
In my 30s, I was too tired to remember what I was frustrated by, but it was there underneath the surface and in the music I listened to with my headphones in the garage on Saturdays when I had a few minutes to myself.
Something splendid happened at the gym this morning. As I got myself situated on the treadmill, I looked up to see that one of the televisions on the wall of televisions in front of me was tuned into an episode of “The Simpsons” instead of Fox News.
I watched, read the subtitles and listened to my music during what turned out to be a blissful first 20 minutes of my run.
It was an episode about behavior drugs for kids, wherein Bart tests a new drug that is supposed to help him concentrate.
As always, the animation and satirical brilliance shined, and I laughed at the silliness of society.
I looked up into the thick Havana air at the brightly-lit poster on the wall of an old, stone government building.
Viva Fidel 80
The old revolutionary was somewhere in this town in a compound contemplating his retirement announcement, which would happen just a few days later on my last day in Cuba.
The old man didn’t really even make it out for his 80th birthday celebration, and his thin and frail image on television barely registered in a country where his black-bearded and green fatigues image is as ubiquitous as the Cuban flag. Continue reading Fidel→
Somewhere around the turn of the 21st Century, the world of man imploded. From what I gather, it had been intent on doing so for the better part of two centuries, which is how humans depicted chunks of time that consisted of 100 years, a year being 365 days, a day being 24 hours, an hour being 60 minutes, a minute being 60 seconds and so forth.
Growing up, I wished to know what life was like before our time. All permanent records were lost, but not the impermanent records in the minds of the very ancient ones.
But they would not speak of that time. The story of man was no longer passed down from generation to generation.
I once ran a marathon in almost the same time it took me to walk up a hill in search of small gamebirds known as chukars.
Chukars are mythical little creatures, undoubtedly the inspiration for wingsuit flying and possibly the Phoenix.
Originally brought to Oregon from India in the 1950s, they live on hillsides with slopes that seem to defy mathematics, they can run up hill faster than any hunter can go, and they dart away suddenly, as if carried away by the very hands of the gods.
I’ve perspired before. It’s a skill I’m rather gifted at, in fact. I rained down on those parched eastern Oregon slopes, and all the water from the turbulent Deschutes River a thousand feet below me couldn’t quench my thirst.