04 November 2014

The Redeye, A Thinking Perch from 30,000

Somewhere between Minnesota and Pennsylvania at around 30,000 feet I contemplate the world. Our nation attempts to change its fate at the polls, chaos reigns seemingly everywhere I look. Some things I used to believe I no longer do, faith once had I have no more.

Meanwhile back at the barn Old Man Winter stretches out of his slumber. Snow flakes fall lazily, in no hurry to meet the ground, they flip and twirl as they descend. My wife sits by a fire knitting a hat for youngest son who no doubt is making whir whir whir noises as he pushes his fire truck through a pile of partially dismembered action figures and overturned cars, robots, blocks, and dinosaurs.

Oldest son is perhaps on the phone with a girl, or not, eldest daughter has likely gone down to town, youngest daughter is on the computer and more than likely second son looks out at the sky with his father's eyes, gauging if the morning will call for a shovel.

My family is nestled in the home I've made, warmed by a fire in the stove I put in, burning wood I cut, split and stacked, having eaten a dinner I grew or killed for. Insulated and isolated from a world gone mad and if not then surely on the brink of.

My brow furrows and I look down, through the clouds at the cities below. This trip like so many others will determine the next turn for my company, and where we go from here. We'll discuss many things and none of them will completely take my mind from 'back home'. I am reminded of a Chris Knight song;
Well I'm thankful for the things I have, and all the things I don't. I've got dreams that will come true and I got some that won't. Most the time I just walk the line, where ever it goes...
 Next week I'll walk into the November woods with a narrow time line and a diminished chance of putting venison in the freezer. The Minnesota DNR has limited this year to one deer and buck only. There are a lot of reasons for this, and if an industrious soul wanted to dig a little he'd find a 50% reduction in the number of white tail deer in Minnesota in less than ten years after a stated goal of reducing it by 9%. For more on this go to Audit the MN DNR!

So with a diminished opportunity and a tight time line I'll put a rifle in my hand and put my face in the wind. A man, a husband, a father, a soul in search of wild nourishment for the body and the spirit. I'll drift the ridges and the hollows, the thickets and the cuts. I'll track and read sign, I'll feel my spirit soar with the hawks above, who too, are looking for their supper.

My senses will sharpen, my mind will become more alert, the dust left by spreadsheets and conference calls blown away, the primal man will rise and take to the trail in search of prey and in that moment I will indeed be alive and aligned within the circle, the cycle of life.

As those days pass I know my mind will wander from time to time, to the world beyond my world, and I know I'll cringe a moment and look back to my task at hand. If for a brief time I will escape to what I think of as the real world, to my dream in the trees as it were.

We hit rough air and started to climb again, must have rewrote that line three times as a result. I marvel as I type, connected to gogo inflight internet on a computer that might weigh a pound and a half, a traveler model smaller than most. Two decades ago I bought a monstrous desk top that ran close to $3000, with perhaps a tenth the power of this one, my how things have changed. Yet with all of the technological marvels released to the world, the breakthroughs and accomplishments I wonder are we better? Is it a more stable and safer world in which to live? Are we more prosperous? Are our lives easier? I recall then, going to work and going home and unless something exploded I wouldn't be called, I wouldn't receive an email, no contact would occur and the next morning I'd walk into an office with a cup of coffee and fire it back up. The only thing that is the same now is the coffee.

There is no real limit to the length of the work day, the yoke that is a 'smartphone' the fence that is Outlook email, these things that did not exist then but now do to supposedly make our lives easier have not done so, they have not made us more productive within an eight our day, they've made our days sixteen hours some times. I work until I cannot hold my eyes open and then I stop, I start again when I wake. Have our technological marvels helped us? Or have they helped to enslave us?

I need the wind and the cold to wash these things away. When Old Man Winter finishes stretching and finally gets down to the business of making winter I'll walk arms wide into that maw of driving snow and frost, it will for a freezing skin flaying moment cut away the world, leaving in that wake a realness, a cleansing instant of stark reality that fulfills me, I will howl into that gust, a guttural primordial scream of 'alive'.


  1. I hear you man and I often think about the same things you do, although you are far ahead on me on many things.
    How do you do it? Wondering between 2 worlds so alien from one another; being truly at home in one, yet spend most of your time in the other.
    And no, we have not become better, we have not become more free. Far from. Whatever we have been creating, it has enslaved and ensnared us more and more. For whatever progress we think we might have achieved we have taken one or two steps back. The world is not on the brink of madness, it is standing in the middle of it and it is reached up to our lips....
    I wish you a save trip home, brother, knowing you'll cherish what you'll find there....

  2. Spot on with your words as always and I hope you get your Venison! ;)

  3. Enjoyed your reading as many of us should. I to miss the days of patrolling the woods. Now that we have technology nothing is a secret, but what we keep to ourselves might just keep us sane.

  4. I needed this man, glad I found and read it. I'm in the Navy and it has been a strange journey to say the least. Keep fighting the good fight man.