Tag Archives: joy

Cedar Key Nomadic New Year Convergence

We spent a week at Cedar Key,  getting home yesterday feeling rested and contented. We have a special friendship with a community of people who live the peripatetic life: They are nomadic, you see, working jobs they can perform most anywhere, most of them. Oh, some of these folks self-describe as retired, but in truth are roaming, seeking, and working at all manner of things along their paths.  Many of these folks converged at Cedar Key for New Year’s Eve a year ago, and the same tribe (with many new representatives) did so again last week.

It was a colder winter there this year, and with a pair of rainy days that had our little camper, The LeSharo, dripping a bit from around the ceiling vent, but this didn’t dampen our spirits. We walked, and ran, and did yoga during the week, and made new friends every day of our stay.

We participated in ‘Bar Wars’ for the evening of NYE; an event where contestants made and served cocktails of every description, sharing favorite recipes. I fixed Vodka Gummy Worms, with hilarious results. Pro tip: I should have started them three DAYS earlier for best results. They are far too chewy after only 3 hours.

We read, and read, and read in our snug little camper on the slack hours, and dined here and there,  sharing fixings and condiments in the rolling home of our friends. It’s easy to imagine doing this sort of thing when it’s time to hang up my clinical job, oh, many years from now.

In recent reading, I’ve learned that human beings were massively changed by the advent of agriculture, being fixed to tilled land, their nomadic ways arrested by cleaving to one place. For one thing, sharing basic needs was curtailed. Acquisitiveness, ownership, and guarding one’s “lot” came to replace general sharing of everything.  Human “classes” came into being. Agriculture, while it sustains more complex civilizations, does not improve the welfare of all, but balances the improvements enjoyed by landowners and their “priests” on the backs of the balance of the closed tribe, and fully excludes “The Other”, all those wanderers who exist outside the fringes of the one tribe. Workers and Warriors support Landowners and Priests, unified in the task of excluding and defending against The Other,  even if they all share the same basic DNA. Peace cannot be a part of this construct.  Sadly, it always comes down to Us and Them.New Year Ann 2014

It is so ironic that in The Book of Genesis it says that Adam and Eve were cast out of The Garden, to toil ever after in their own damned garden. God’s Garden was the free range, where Wanderers gathered of  The Plenty, and shared freely.

Modern motorhome nomads tend to emulate God’s Garden and ancient nomads because it rapidly builds Community among transients in the moment of being together.  It is warm, and lovely, and just the best thing ever. I’ll give you an instance: One afternoon this past week, there was a spontaneous “Swap Meet”: people brought things they’d found themselves carrying around that they had no use for. People laid stuff out, and people just admired, and conversed, and tried on old hats, and laughed over hip-waders and cookware. And eventually, everything was picked up, and stowed away in EACH OTHERS ROLLING HOMES! If any money changed hands in this process, I never saw  it happen.New Year Technomadia 2014

Nomads are like that. I just love being around them. As a lesson for the New Year, and all the years ahead, it’s one to bear in mind: Be open to others, share what you have, and love beyond the limits of your own  “tribe”. If you drop your fences, and wander “outside”, you will be astonished at what you receive, and the freedom that you find.

A Hourney to Jaco, Costa Rica

My wife, daughters and I traveled to Costa Rica a few weeks ago on a first family vacation in some years. More often when we do this, there’s one or some of Ann’s kin at the other end of the road. The last time I think there was a wedding, too, out in Oregon. If I’ve misplaced some intervening journey, please someone refresh my memory.  However, this trip was for us as a nuclear family, sans extensions, to the beach town of Jaco, CR, pronounced Haco.

The centerpiece of Jaco,  for us was, hands down, the zip-line adventure.  Many photographs were taken. My face may have betrayed a wee bit of anxiety at times. For a pilot, I am surprisingly uncomfortable with heights experienced without the benefit of wings, ailerons and rudder.

A close second for me was simply walking,  exploring a road up into the mountains overlooking the Pacific, or strolling into Jaco town along the beachfront, watching surfer bums. We also rode the buses down to Manuel Antonio National Park,  where Ann and Kelly saw a monkey in the wild, and I communed with yet another iguana. Iguanas are curious, and rather sociable if you offer to take their picture. It might be natural vanity on their part.

Such a beautiful coast line! One can’t help but imagine retiring there, but, alas, my trip was marred by two episodes of pilfering by the locals. The first was losing my cellphone to (most probably) a Costa Rican airport security worker in San Juan. I also foolishly left a backpack out of sight on our bus ride to the park, and it was spirited away by a clever thief. That cost me two pairs of glasses, and my swimsuit!  A neighbor here had warned us of the casual attitude toward and presence of larceny in C.R., and I can attest, it’s true!

Enjoy these pictures!


‘Searching for Sugarman’ – a film review

searchingforsugarman1.jpgWe saw a real “feel good” documentary last night, that came highly recommended, and came away wanting to share it with others. ‘Searching for Sugarman’ is a story of validation, both personal and artistic, in a world where one’s seeming insignificance can never be presumed. It’s about a singer/songwriter whose work never caught on with his own countrymen, but contributed to the canon of social change in another land.

“Sugarman” refers to Sixto Rodriguez, or simply ‘Rodriguez’. In his two obscure albums in the early 1970’s, his voice cuts a high, clear path above a simple MoTown combo sound, singing lyrics which are at once sardonic and challenging, but oddly at peace with the rough edges of the society his songs criticize.  His lyrics and vocals suggest a blend of Nick Drake on mood-elevators, with an edge of Dylan to provoke the mind. It is surprising that his songs never caught on in the United States.

The name Sixto may refer to his being the sixth born child to immigrant parents, and it is unclear whether this was self-chosen, or actually used in his childhood Detroit, Michigan. Some of his songs are attributed to ‘Jesus Rodriguez’, others to ‘Sixto’. It doesn’t matter. What does, is that unknown to Rodriguez, his music struck a chord with the people of South Africa during its years of foment. Mandela was in jail,  apartheid was the rule, and that nation was a police state, oppressed. Certain of his songs were banned from air-play, and thus assured brisk sales of his albums, and wide exchange of boot-legged cassettes.

The story of this musician, as brought to film, becomes a kind of George Bailey story, in that even a minor artist may never realize the impact he has beyond his ken. Thematically, that is wonderful to explore, and the core of the movie. Viewed from an innocent perspective, the documentary is wonderful, and deserves its accolades. It’s also pleasing to consider that it can only do good for its subject, whose work does deserve the attention that passed him by when the tracks were new.  Like the documentary ‘Winnebago Man’, it  lifts a life out of a fabled-state, and brings a Lazarus back into the world. It’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’, only these are real people who left a mark, never knew it, and lived to learn that they had touched others.

That there are those who have taken issue with this film for overlooking certain facts in Rodriguez’s touring and performing history matters not a whit to me: Why let the facts stand in the way of a great story? That Rodriguez played as well in Australia and New Zealand doesn’t alter the unique story of how his art was appreciated in and affected the people of South Africa. This story concerns that special perception, and I’ll not quibble with the small minds of nay-sayers who have missed the point.

Hunt up a copy of ‘Searching for Sugarman’, and go find a copy of the film’s compilation album, and bask in the joy of a good musician’s re-discovery!

Life in Balance

Portal FlagThis post is about sharing contentment.

It’s just been one of those weeks in which  life hits its stride, the cogs mesh, and everything feels pretty darned good. My “boxes of life” are various, and, as a list, can change around quite a bit, but have always included “Time with Ann”, “Fixing Things Up”, “Flying”, “Work in the Clinic”, “Server Maintenance”; those sorts of things.  This past week it just seems like everything I’ve had time to tackle has felt good, and made me happy.

I think it’s helped, too, that we are enjoying a taste of early spring just now.

The big thing is this:  I’ve made a pact with myself to use the airplane several times every week, even if it’s just for short trips. I’ve been able to arrange things so I have a vehicle (the old LeSharo camper), in position at the airport so I can FLY to work from the airstrip here at the house, if the weather cooperates. The journey by air is trivial, something on the order of 10 minutes if I hurry, but with ground handling the airplane at both ends it doesn’t really save any time.  That doesn’t matter! I FLEW TO WORK!

It isn’t the bragging rights.  It’s more to do with using a skill, and keeping the batteries charged, the airplane’s, that old Winnebago’s, and mine!


Speaking of contentment, a few of our readers might know about the issues we’ve had with our neighbor’s mean-spirited dog over the past two years. Well, I’m very glad to report that after a few serious run-ins with that pest, animal control has come out and read the riot act to the owners, and they seem to have started to control the dog more responsibly. Sometimes we hear him barking, but we never see him anymore.  What a wonderful difference that makes!


Other stray and happy details:

Our friend, Bruce, who had a wretched accident last fall said today that his leg is definitely knitting natural bone into the scaffolding in his leg. We’ve been waiting months for this good news. Mend, Friend, mend! Ann expects to be helping him around at a professional meeting in a few weeks, so he can maintain his professional licenses during this hiatus in his life.

Lastly, I bought an updated navigation radio for my airplane. It was a genuine bargain, as these things go, and I’m delighted with it. It’s a GPS with VFR and IFR charts, and approach plates loaded into it, if that means anything to you. The device is called the iFly 700, and you can check it out here. I might do a comprehensive review of the device eventually.

Thanks for tuning in…  🙂