A little look inside this weirdo
I don’t usually do these kinds of lists. Mostly because I’m something of a curmudgeon and also because I don’t take orders very well (yea, I’d be a poor employee if weren’t for how little direction I need).
Anyway, Iva called me out and I just finished reading Kris Gage’s piece so I sat here in my misery this evening and decided to show some gratitude to the Universe. ’Cause you know what? I’ve got SO MUCH to be grateful for.
So here it is, a somewhat truncated list of stuff that makes my life worth living. In no particular order.
1. Freshly washed sheets
Damn, there is nothing quite like the feeling of crawling into bed between two cold, high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets! It’s one of the luxuries I never even knew existed until I had to buy my own. A whole world I had missed out on because I had never even given it a second thought.
2. Never EVER needing an alarm clock
I rarely need to be up early but when I do I just wake up when I need to.
Say what you want about missing out on life. I’ll take my dream world over reality pretty much every time.
4. One ice-cold beer on a scorching hot day.
This is pretty much the only time I’ll drink cheap domestic beer. And it’s also the only beer that‘s good on a day like that. I’ll almost certainly drink more than one but it’s really only the first one that I love.
That time in a relationship when you are finally so close that you can be completely naked together. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s transcendental and once you’ve had it, you understand oneness. Once I’ve gotten there, I’ll love you forever. Regardless of what happens between us. Life often gets in the way, but that kind of love doesn’t end. The relationship may not survive but I don’t know how to stop loving someone I’ve known like that. Maybe I’m an incurable romantic, but I’ve been in that kind of love with three women and I can’t imagine living the rest of my life never experiencing it again.
Raw, untamed, untrammeled nature. It calls to my soul in a way I can’t even begin to explain. When the world gets to be too much I just walk off into the woods and converse with the trees.
And twisty mountain roads. Not two-up touring. Not club rides or breakfast runs. Just me, my bike and empty pavement. For as many hours as it takes to get my head back together. It’s my go-to cure for a bad breakup, a death in the family or just too damn much routine in my life. If you don’t believe me, take Neil Peart’s word for it and read “Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road”.
Seriously, they come around every summer and visit me on my back porch. I talk to them. They don’t talk back (yet).
About fifteen years ago I had this crazy idea to build a sail rig for my strip canoe. My mother bought me Todd Bradshaw’s book “Canoe Rig” for my birthday. I proceeded to build this gorgeous spruce and black cherry gaff rig, hollow mast and all, (’cause a wooden canoe NEEDS a wooden rig). I sewed up a sail and went for my very first sail ever in that canoe. I’ve been hooked ever since. There’s just nothing quite like sailing along in a breeze with no motors and nothing but the gentle voice of the wind in your ear. It’s even more spirit soothing than a day in the wilderness.
I have an owl head tattooed into the pommel of a sword on my right shoulder. It’s my spirit animal and I feel a kinship there that I have for no other creature (including people).
This is part of the reason I like to sleep so much. I have a colorful, pleasant and fascinating dream life. I almost never have any sort of bad dreams although I often have confusing ones. Still, they’re always interesting and often informative. It’s a rare morning when I wake up unable to remember anything about the dreams I had during the night.
12. The maple leaf
So much so that I used it for the signature plate on a couple of boats I built.
13. Pretty wood
Curly maple, cherry, walnut. Anything that has character. Just because.
Old, new, digital, topographical, antique. They just fascinate me.
15. Old dogs
Everybody loves a puppy, right? But old dogs have something…venerable about them. I go out of my way to greet them whenever I see one.
16. Little kids
Babies too, but they’re ever so much more interesting once they start interacting with their world. It’s just a pleasure to watch them explore and learn.
Anywhere, anytime. Preferably with good company and single malt scotch.
Big ocean waves crashing on the beach. The raw power just strips away all pretense. Nature at it’s most impressive.
In a car or especially on a motorcycle. The longer the better.
20. Women who are intimidating
Not the ones who are trying to intimidate people. The ones who just have that special something. They tend to think people, in general, don’t like them. Maybe they’re right, but they wind up being the ones that I either fall in love with or become best friends with. I can’t explain it and won’t even try. They know who they are and it tends to be one of the first things they tell me about themselves.
21. Honesty, integrity, ethics
Yes, we all make mistakes. We all do stupid shit that causes pain. It’s owning up to our fallibility and taking responsibility for ourselves that make us good people.
I love this way too much for most of the women I meet. I’m not sure how to ameliorate that.
23. Being in love
Yep, absolutely nothing quite like it. Sigh, someday it’ll happen again.
And darkness. Stars and the moon. I’m an unabashed night owl. I’d go to bed as the sun came up every day if it were up to me.
25. Old Jeeps
You can have most of the classic cars. And the luxurious modern ones too. I have a love affair for the classic Jeep CJ.
26. Human-powered vehicles
Bicycles, canoes, rowboats. I just like the slower pace of life these things represent. What’s the f’n hurry anyway?
’Cause I can get the motorcycle out.
Getting rid of stuff. Removing undesirable demands on my time. Forging a simpler less cluttered existence, in my environment but more importantly in my inner world.
29. Being five and a half months away from retirement
Not because I’m done working. But because I’m done with this life. It’s time to forge a whole new path and I’m more excited about this than I’ve been about anything in years.
30. The gym
Yep, I’m a gym rat. I’ve been lifting for over forty years but it’s only in the last year and a half that I’ve been anything like consistent. Sometimes I struggle with motivation but I’m always in a better place when I force myself to go.
Big questions, little questions. Anything that makes me think. I’m not particularly interested in answers. I just love to ponder the questions.
32. Meeting people on airplanes
I always have the best conversations with fellow travelers.
33. Long walks
Weather permitting, I often go for four mile walks at lunchtime. It clears the head and works up a bit of sweat. Plus, being right on a river I get to see eagles, geese and all sorts of other wildlife.
Now, I only just got my first and it’s not even finished yet. But, every woman I’ve dated since my wife died had one or more. I’m not exactly sure what it is about them but to me, it’s a way of taking possession of yourself. We’re essentially born with many of our features predetermined. A tattoo is a way of drawing on that canvas in a deliberate manner. I respect that. Whether one chooses to have tattoos or not.
35. People who express themselves
Whether it be through writing, painting, working with wood, sculpture, etc. Creative people who put it all out there are a gift to the world. It takes a lot of courage to show the world the things that you create. But I believe it’s one of the most important things we can do as human beings.
36. A good clean shave
Yes, I shave my head too. And there’s nothing that feels better than a smooth shave over my whole scalp and down over my face.
37. Going to new places
Seeing things I’ve never seen before. Even better if I stumble onto something I didn’t even know about.
Yea, finding just the right phrase when I’m writing is a little slice of heaven.
And lightning with horizontal rain coming across a lake while I sit transfixed looking out the window. Like the big ocean waves, it just dwarfs my sense of self.
40. My kids
And my granddaughter. It’s the absolute truth that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my kids. I love my whole family but my kids are the only reason I held on to my sanity after my wife died. I never would have been strong enough to make it without them.
Now, I’m not going to call anyone out for their forty things (these things must die somewhere) but I will admit it was a good exercise. It’s important to recognize and feel gratitude for the little positives in our lives. It’s the kind of thing that gives spice to life. Especially on a cold February day.
Thank you for reading.