March 31, 2006


I woke up this morning thinking about transformation. More specifically, I was thinking about the chrysalis stage that a caterpillar goes through. Entering the protective cocoon as one thing and exiting later as something else entirely. I think the vision in my mind was a Monarch butterfly, but quickly turned to other species.

Why does the transformation hold such an attraction in people's minds. If I could only be...

Well, what is stopping you from being that which you desire? Or having that thing you covet above all else? Transformation is natural and healthy. A gift even. Without transformation and change, we would become stagnant and trite. Yet, sometimes we hesitate on the step forward. The unknown freezing us from action and inhibiting our progression.

Consider the butterfly. Long dormant and slowly changing, worth the wait as it contemplates it's emergence from it's chrysalis.

March 28, 2006

Stranded in time

Unlike most photos that I have put with my blog since I started (the exceptions being the Europe images), the photo above is one of mine (click on it for a larger view). I took it a few weeks ago.

One of those rare moments in time when everything was simply perfect. The quiet calm of the waves washing in. Soft voices murmur in the distance. The barely heard whisper of the breeze through the leaves above. My breath caught in my throat. Even the passion of my beating heart seemingly stopped for this instant in time. I look at the image now and I'm there once again. Caught in a spell of softness and delight.

March 27, 2006

Color me purple

As a person that has chosen the appearance of a good portion of my skin, I've experienced a great deal of discrimination. When I have on a sleeveless shirt or T-shirt, my signature on a credit card will always be checked. I am watched carefully (although not helped) in most nice stores under the same circumstances. People immediately assume I'm a stupid hick. I loved shocking the crap out of people in the wine shop I worked in with my wine knowledge (not that I know everything about wine). It happens when I shop for wine too. You wouldn't believe the stuff people have told me. I'm sure some of it is what they tell regular customers, but in the back of my mind, I wonder sometimes what they would have said if I didn't have sleeves.

I recall a comedy made in the 80's where a white guy wanted to go to Harvard and took tanning pills and whatnot to get a scholarship that was reserved for a black person. He ended up falling in love with the woman who should have had it. Throughout the movie two guys cracked racist jokes and he always said it was OK. At the end, one of his professors asked him what he had learned. His answer was interesting... "I could take it off anytime I wanted."

I can cover my ink, but when I'm forced to do so, I feel a strange sense of humiliation that I'm forced to conform to some other sensibility than what I know to be right. That bothers me every week. People often ask if I regret getting tattooed. My answer is invariably "no". Sometimes I continue with, "I regret the number of close-minded people I encounter in my daily activities". I once had a woman I worked with rant about people that had a lot of tattoos that were 'missing something inside' and that they were obviously disturbed. I had a an hour long talk with her about this. I never revealed to her during the conversation that I was tattooed. Later that week I wore a polo shirt to work for the first time. I was sorry to see she didn't have the balls to stand up for her convictions and she tried to exclude me from her previous observations. She never did get it that I wasn't different from other tattooed people, but rather that she had misperceptions about people who are tattooed.

I once saw a sign in a tattoo studio. "The only difference between tattooed people and those who aren't tattooed is that tattooed people don't care if you are tattooed or not."

March 23, 2006

Dangerous beauty

Last year I wrote about a 'near death' experience of skidding off the road on black ice and rolling a van three times. I wish I could say that this was the only near death experience I've had.

When I was 12 or 13, I was sent (begged to go) to summer camp on a western style ranch. Horses, a calf to feed, etc... Part of the daily routine was a horseback ride across the plains. The countryside in what is left of the west is truly stunning. It's not hard to imagine true herds of buffalo and nomadic tribes following the herds to meet their physical needs. On one ride, I had the unique experience of seeing a Bald Eagle majestic on it's perch.

One day as we were prepping to go ride, I had once again selected a horse named BJ. A large white and grey dappled beast. Elegant and proud. The perfect mount for a pre-teen in the throes of fantasy life about being a cowboy (or the Lone Ranger perhaps) on the wild plains. BJ was a tad larger than most of the horses on the ranch and as I selected his bridle rope that day, I picked a larger than normal rope. An act (gut instinct?) that ultimately, probably saved my life.

I tied BJ in the outdoor stall that we were assigned and went about gathering the saddle and other tack that we would need for the ride. Suddenly, a wrenching scream filled the air. Shocking most of us to stillness. I looked up to see BJ rearing up in his stall. Frantic sounds coming from wide spread lips. Fearsome horrible squeals. Thinking I could calm the wild eyed horse, I ran into the stall next to him and looked up to see a huge horse on it's hind legs pawing the air with his hooves.

I can see the steel horse shoes even now. Dull gray, clumped with bits of brown dirt and mud. Mere feet from my head. Scything through the air. Striking an unseen foe again and again. I don't remember how the situation resolved, but I do remember the ranch hand later telling me that he doubted BJ had ever been held by a rope before. "If you hadn't picked that thick rope son...," he said. His voice trailing off into a introspective silence. He left unsaid that if I ever did anything stupid like that again, that I probably deserved to die.

How I managed to not have my skull bashed in, I'll never know. That was the first of several near life ending moments for me. Would the world be any different if the steel shoe on that horses hoof had connected with my skull?

March 17, 2006


Is this thing on?