Tuesday, October 16, 2012


The foreign faculty here at Sias live in two buildings. The one I live in is called Peter Hall and was constructed approximately twelve years ago. It is five-and-half stories high. Between each floor there is a balcony that opens to the outdoors. Tonight, after reading for a while, I went outside hoping for a splash of night air to revive me enough to study for another hour or so. As soon as I stepped through the white framed glass doors of the lobby a blast of wind from the west greeted me. A few more steps and I was leaning over the balcony railing and staring into the heavens. What a surprise--the sky was so clear I could not only see the stars, but could actually see them twinkle. Though off in the distant north lights of dwellings and industry seemed like they were next door.

The fresh, cool, night carried with it the spirit of a muse. Within seconds it piqued my thoughts and I began recalling the many times--in just such weather--I trudged across harvested corn fields or followed a dim moon-shadowed trail through the woods to get to a tree stand before light, or to find my way home after dark. Images stored in my memory came back as clear as the sky that surrounded me: a bobcat sunning itself on the edge of a field--unaware he was under surveillance through my scope, coyotes that met their Maker--thanks to my scope, bucks sparring and running does, a flock of turkeys scratching at the dirt under my stand, and the piece of Wrigley's gum that I spit out that landed just above the tail feathers--for the next twenty minutes one of those gobblers strutted around with that stuck to its back! I always brought a book with me when I hunted from a blind; a Louise L'Amour western. Once, while hunting with my buddy Bob, I got to reading L'Amour's Shaliko, fell asleep, and woke up in time to see a nice buck step back into the woods. Never even got my Winchester model 88, 308 cal. to my shoulder. . .

Enjoying the Adventure,


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More of this. . . less of that


Following months abroad of hard work and difficult living conditions we looked forward to our refuge along the Penobscot. We envisioned kayaking, biking, taking long walks, enjoying friends around a campfire, and pleasant sunsets. Little of that came to pass. Last summer you were so sick: day-after-day receiving infusions, battling physical discomfort, dragging around and IV pole, and stumbling through fatigue.

You did so quite bravely, I might add.

But you are on the mend now. Feeling better. Getting stronger. Soon, fall and winter will give way to spring, and together we will greet the arrival of summer at our cabin. Soft rays of sunlight will reach through the windows and gently nudge us awake. . . I want you to stay in bed awhile. I will bring you coffee. With camera in hand, possessed like a posse after an outlaw, I will chase down and capture colorful horizons and the beauty of the wild. As daylight gives way to dark the melody of the woodthrush will echo through the timbers. . . you will cry the first time you hear them. You always do. Nightfall will cover us with a canopy of twinking stars, and from the fire pit mesmerizing flames will leap and dance and crackle and hiss. We will nod off to the baritone lullaby of the river. . .

Enjoying the Adventure,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Heckuva Writer . . .

If it were not for my improper use of colons, semi-colons, hyphens, commas, homophones, spelling, verb tenses, synonyms, and homonyms, I think I would be a heckuva writer . . . 

My Walden Pond. . .

Early this evening I took a walk down to the lake on campus. Cool air moved in. Fall is upon us. Leaves drifted and fluttered like butterflies, and tumbled across the twisting pathways. Autumn's onset is so unlike my home state of Maine where almost overnight bursts of color change its forests' into a brilliant painter's palet. Here in China, the living green slowly fades to shades of death.

I sat down on the stone steps of the bridge that connects the north and south banks, got out my Nook, flipped through the electronic pages, and began reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. Interesting man. Thoreau felled his own trees, built his own house, went off-grid for two years and two months--called it "simple living." Then he set about "a nine year process of composition and revision" to craft his experience into a literary classic.

As I was reading I thought. "And here I am in this densely populated part of the world where it's against the law for its people to cut down a tree, own a home or land, and civil disobedience never really caught on."

Life. . . a mixture of complexity and simplicity. Maybe I'll write a book . . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Consider the lilies of the field . . .

Confiding in a friend, Emily Dickinson said, "Consider the lilies of the field" is the only commandment I have never broken." Speaking for myself, if you could roll back my skin and bones and see directly into the full content of my soul, you would know I can relate to Emily Dickinson. I wish I were lily white, but I am not. No, I haven't physically broken every letter of the Law, but in spirit I have broken more of the Ten Commandments then I have kept. When I have it has never ended well.

More and more I am aware of my need for God to forgive me of all my trespasses, and less and less aware of those who have trespassed against me.