Wilderness — A Meditation

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Holden Caulfield

Mirriam-Webster on-line Dictionary
. . . . . . . caul . . . . . . .
Etymology: Middle English calle net, probably from Old English cawl basket
Date: 14th century
2 : the inner fetal membrane of higher vertebrates especially when covering the head at birth

I subscribe to an INFJ list serve on line. Today the following post urged me to an old rant about Holden Caulfield whose very name suggests that I may be correct.

After hearing references about this book, Catcher in the Rye, most of my life I finally bought a copy to read at Christmas.
I am sure that some Podlings have read the book, interesting to hear comments.

Hi, Des,

I read Catcher in the Rye as a first year teacher in
1962. Subsequently, I have read and taught Salinger at least thirty
times in my forty year career as an American high school English

My perceptions about Holden and about Salinger differ. One is a
character. One is the creator of the character. Really impt! Way too
many folks confuse the two.

Holden's little brother has died recently as he starts his tale of
being kicked out of prep school for the umpteenth time. After his
little bro died, Holden's parents dealt with the tragedy not by
grieving, but by sending Holden off to yet another prep school.

Obviously the kid is supposed to be a T wandering around in a mind
that has absolutely no idea how to deal with the intense emotional
issues at hand, in this case, not being allowed to grieve the death
of a younger sibling.

Holden is 16 going on 17 - trying to cross the adolescent bridge
between childhood and adulthood that American foists on it's teen
agers with no help from any of the adults surrounding them. I think
his STJ parents are busily avoiding any contact with this kid who
reminds them of what they (ought - could) be feeling - Who's stuffing
in this book! Absolutely everybody.

What's Salinger's point? Stuffing is bad for us. Making money at the
expense of creating relationships is death. Using the job (Tiger
Woods) to avoid dealing with messy, fragmented family ties is not

When Holden finally has a breakdown and destroys all the windows in the
garage, his parents try to help the kid by sending him off to yet
another boarding school..a psychological institution - from which he
begins to tell us this tale (the first lines of the novel) - probably
part of the recovery program. " Here, patient, write out your story. "

So, Holden may seem sarcastic - wonder where he learned that tool? At
the breakfast table when he was seven, maybe. Don't blame the kid for
what his models taught him to do in order to survive.

Mostly Holden is one of the most vulnerable characters in all of
American literature. Hell, the other iconic American hero,
Huckleberry Finn, is a master of survival in contrast. Which, by the
way, is how Americans generally like their heroes.

I could go on for pages on this topic. I happen to have known maybe
1000 Holdens during my career. Most, but not all of them, lacked his
parental background ( here I mean Salinger) but several were as
brilliant, as astute, as upset and as vulnerable.

If you know kids who remind you of Holden, stop and offer them some
sincere heartfelt compassion, give them some quality time, listen to
them, feed them a good meal, remember they are looking for a role
model who is not into the American Dream (Edward Albee) - financial
success no matter what it costs - Cause they need you! They really,
really need your undivided, uncritical attention.

Oh, and although I addressed this note to Desmond, I really mean it
for everyone. American teens may have most of the material stuff they
need, but right now while their parents are undergoing one of the most
frightful economic tragedies of their lifetime, the teens are badly in
need of friendship, nonjudgmental acceptance, and just a little plain
ole love from the adults around them.

regards to all..this is a tough ask, I know..

from whence I have temporarily escaped

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rain Showers

Woke to rain showers this morning. Lovely and cool. Rain tanks will fill up, the garden will thrive, and the birds will return to the gutter above my office window to splash.

Altogether, it's a fine way to start a Friday.

House Angels arrive at noon! We head out to the movies..not sure which one yet, but another escape will be okd with me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Some evenings are very quiet and more than a little lonely. This is one.

Isabella Bird - a woman with global values

Isabella Bird's adventures include travel from the eastern United States to Inner Mongolia. Her memoir, A Lady's Ride in the Rockies; Travels on Horseback in 1873, chronicles her journey on horseback through the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains of the United States. At the end of her adventure, Bird returns home to Britain from which she eventually escapes to travel again.

Even though during travel Bird experiences major changes in her values, before returning home in December 1874, eight days before leaving Colorado, she echoes the sentiments of Lord Byron then living in Italy, 'England, with all thy faults, I love thee still! I can truly say'.

During her fourteen-month journey in the USA, Bird candidly reflects on her own growth, on her undertaking to tell her personal myth, the story we each create for ourselves about ourselves.

Whether or not the stories are true is not the issue. The only question is whether what we write is our own truth. A travel memoir is written at least in part to put to paper the way the world looks from one 'uniquely idiosyncratic perspective'. In travel writing, as illustrated by Bird's letters, the subject is not only the locale in which one is traveling, but also the author herself.

Alan Elms in Uncovering Lives: The Uneasy Alliance of Biography and Psychology assures us that, 'only what is interior has proved to have substance . . . outer experience were never so very essential anyhow or were so only in that they coincided with phases of [one's] inner development'.

And you? What do your travels say about the substance of your values?

(click on the blog title for more info on Bird)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

According to Freud

'According to Freud, not a single molecule of experience is squandered. It all goes back into circulation, which means that the past never ends, never recedes, but continues to play onstage while your life extends in front of it like an ever-lengthening proscenium. And since nothing is lost, nothing is meaningless.'
(James Marcus, Faint Music, The Best American Essays 2009)

My latest manuscript, the one I'm supposed to be composing right now while I'm typing this out for ya'll, is therefore worth the effort. Holidays; One Child's Misery Begets Another's documents the experiences of one WW2 pre-boomer as she attempts to mitigate the effects of her early childhood experiences on her own mothering.

See ya later; I'm off to relate the first remembered Christmas.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

'GREEN' House takes on new meaning

So many projects; so little time!

Retirement isn't retiring - having no regular workday just opens up hours to contemplate and then begin myriad projects that have been simmering in the back of fertile minds.

Latest project: fix up the Paddington abode (fill in gaps in ceiling, paint, finish off corners and doorways, rebuild pool, trim garden) in preparation for leaving it behind.

Next project: Find acreage in Tasmania with all-season stream or river frontage on which to build a 'green' home. We have found plans for a small (less than 1000 sq. ft.) cottage built with concrete infested wood blocks. Check on the title of this post for the web page. We want off the grid - water and solar and wind generated electricity, reverse osmosis for our own water supply. Can't you just see it? I'm gonna garden and get Marcia to teach me how to 'can'.

Ongoing project: complete renovations in Nordacotah house; new stairwell, back and side verandas, finish upstairs with cathedral windows looking out over the prairie so we have a home on the north side of the equator.

Ah, I think we need another thirty years for all of this! Guess we'll just have to stay healthy. Maybe life really does begin at 60 - everything before that was preparation!

Oh, the other ongoing project is finding a publisher for DAS BOOK whose American working title is now Across the Equator: Almost Parallel Tales of Love and Adventure.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gurls Night Out

It's time for a lingerie party! Pretty little and large undies on parade accompanied by nibbles and bubbly to loosen inhibitions.

Some women head out to drool over sweet muscled young men tucking dollars into jock straps, some women trek together to the high passes of the tallest mountains, and some of us gather into a gaggle of femininity to pick and choose red lacy bras, black slenderizing sleeze, purple lacy panties, or some combination.

Whichever is your choice, it is the sisterhood that counts; being together with like minded women in a blistering array of conversation, laughter, and celebration.

Kudos for being with the sisters, the goddesses of the planet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Lunch today in the Brisbane outback
- not really outback -

Once outside Brisbane, we drove through green hills and paddocks to Kalbar where a charming little sandwich shop serves delicious Merlo flat whites.

Three women off for a chatty afternoon.

The hotel had the requisite males sitting outside on bar stools checking out the traffic - four automobiles besides ourselves.

The ladies behind the counter had a fine accent I failed to figure out.

The coffee was terrific. The salad yummy. The pumpkin quiche a new taste.

The company was the best. Two wise women, one with chocolate mouse, the other with an Aussie iced coffee (milk, coffee, vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream)

Enjoyed the quiet (which takes on new meaning in the middle of somewhere).

We found a house to buy - not the one in the picture, although it was for sale recently.

And in a relaxed ambiance, we found each another again. These two were my best mates at wedding time last March.

Good to have us all three together again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vanity, Vanity!

I've always promised myself that I would never go under the knife for vanity's sake.

However, in March, I'll undergo a partial knee replacement; tisn't about vanity. 'Tis about backpacking! I need to see Evolution Valley one more time!

But, this morning, I did something else I swore I'd never do in the name of vanity. I spent $99.97 for one ounce of cream that is supposed to protect the skin on my face, cancel a few wrinkles, tighten up the jaw line. Course you know I'll use it in my cleavage, too! Vanity!!

What possible difference does it make that old faces are creased and sagging? Beautiful still? Yeah, if folks smile, the creases just add character. My experience, however, is not about smiling, but about applying make up every morning because I just don't like the texture of my skin as I grow older. Sigh! I've acclimitised to my saggy cheeks, to the loose skin below my eyes, but not to the texture of my skin..if only I had a beard.

I understand that men with more facial hair follicles, thus more oil glands, have smoother, finer skin than most of us northern European skinned women. Never thought I'd be hungering after a moustache!!

Click the title to this entry for the web site on the product.
I'll post about whether I notice any difference at all in the next few weeks.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Kookaburra Serenade or Two in the Bush (an excerpt)

New Day - New Hemisphere Dorothy (pp 67-69)

Flying to Australia on December 26, I wondered whether my mountaineer would be waiting for me at the airport. Would I respond with the same equanimity should he be late? Was it possible that international terminals with their arrival and departure gates could become the bookends of my life?

Nothing in my world had prepared me for the trans-Pacific flight where long legs and wide buttocks suffered in middle seats for fifteen (mostly night time) hours between Los Angeles and Sydney where I transferred to a domestic flight to Brisbane, the stormy subtropical eastern center of Queensland.

As I walked off the air bridge into the summery Brisbane airport clad in my Los Angeles winter wardrobe, the 90 degrees of 90% humidity left my hair frizzy, my lungs breathless.

My tears from July manifested again as the tall fellow, this time clothed in shorts and a checked cotton shirt, bent for a sweet kiss. He reached for my carry-on luggage as he handed me a stuffed kangaroo that played Waltzing Matilda when her tummy was rubbed. Suddenly, previous uncomfortable hours were inconsequential; everything seemed right side up in the down- under.

‘You ready to relinquish that massive suitcase?’ he teased as the huge green bag bundled off the baggage ramp.

‘It has wheels. I’ll pull it; how far do we have to go?’

‘You carry the roo; I’ll carry the bag; not far. I parked in the shade. The blue Commodore is your chariot for the next ten days.’ He opened the trunk, stowed the bag, then headed for the wrong side of the car to open the door.

Heading for the right side of the car, I stopped, confused.

Pointing, he laughed, ‘Here's the passenger seat.‘

True enough; here was the steering wheel. Embarrassed, I scooted around the other side of the car. We exited the airport onto the Brisbane Gateway in the fast lane on the wrong side of the road; it made me dizzy. Turning left was easy. Turning right wasn't ever gonna happen if I were driving.

We twisted onto a mammoth cloverleaf off the freeway into traffic on Sir Somebody Important’s Drive beside the Brisbane River. At way too many stoplights, I glimpsed the City Catamarans, the water taxis. criss-crossing the wide expanse of river to deliver commuters.

Finally, we entered the Inner City Bypass with four lanes of stoplight-free passage. Off to the left were skyscrapers of the Central Business District. We headed for the western suburbs.

Stranded Lorraine (pp 79-81)

It had been ten minutes since we had passed a streetlight. My body clock was telling me it had to be 11:30 pm and I should be sleeping. Ghostly gum trees flared repeatedly in the headlights. Leaning back, I could make out the stars in the sky. Beneath the wheels, the road went from gravel to compacted clay to grass then finally to what felt like loose boulders as we bounced up a ludicrously steep hill. Several times my head hit the roof of the car. My knees were crushed against the back of the seat in front. Surely, we were lost. What a mistake. I was miserable and longed for my single bed and quiet room.

Suddenly, with a final shriek of the engine, the car made the brow of the hill. Parked cars swam into view to the right and miraculously Ziggy pulled up alongside them.

We were in a tiny clearing two thirds of the way up a six hundred foot hill. Back the way we had come, the land dropped off about one in five into blackness. No house lights broke the gloom in any direction. However a sizeable bonfire lit the faces of an animated crowd of fifty people. We all piled out of the car and in the novelty of it all, the fire, the music blaring out of the shed, the jovial crowd, the isolation; my self-consciousness backed off a little.

Jerrie introduced me to a dozen people indistinguishable from one another. Some were volunteers at the conference centre. Some I vaguely recognised from the video screenings. None of them was particularly interested in me nor I in them, really. The weeks before and during an event were a riot of introductions, but now most overseas visitors had gone home. Most likely locals were tired of asking people where are you from, what do you do, how did you get here, when are you going back.

I know I was tired of answering. Life was returning to normal for these Australian residents. Jobs and families were coming back into the foreground; I dreaded it happening to me.

Geoff had quickly found an audience which relieved me of one source of worry. Ziggy got to talking to a girl from New Zealand and Jerrie, as predicted, disappeared with a man. I made polite conversation with strangers for a while, and then found myself sitting on a log idly watching the dancers.

Among my introductions had been an acknowledgement of John, our host. I’d established that this Londoner got permission to stay in Australia by citing his qualification as a wood turner. Australia had been short of wood turners at the time. So much for my hopes of discovering some way to stay in the country myself. I had no uncommon skills to offer. He now worked as a self-employed carpenter and had built the shed – his home – himself. I had idly wondered whether there might be any possibility of renting a room from him if the others went back to New Zealand. Clearly that was out of the question.

John was dancing with a pint glass in his hand, -home brewed stout. It probably fuelled all the dancers. By all accounts it was excellent. Less than a foot away, a few women were dancing by themselves alongside two couples, whose familiarity with each other had long since extinguished any flicker of seduction.

John waved his glass in my direction and asked me to join him – actually he insisted, loudly -– so I did; one of these experiences of dancing in front of someone rather than with them. Clearly, he didn't feel that. I remember he said, ‘We're clicking, aren't we?’

Saturday, January 16, 2010

10 Careers That Didn't Exist 10 Years Ago

1. Bloggers
2. Community managers or Content managers
3. Green funeral directors
4. Interior re-designers
5. Patient advocates
6. Senior move management
7. Social media strategists
8. User experience analyst
9. Video journalists
10. Virtual business service providers

If you want to know more click on the title to this entry. It contains a link that will take you to the MSN careers web page, but do keep in mind who compiled this list. There may have been a focus glitch!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Bran Nue Dae

Geoffrey Rush, Magda (she is, after all, a diva), Missy Higgins, Jessica Mauboy, Ernie Dingo, Rocky McKenzie, and Tom Budge bring an old stage musical to exuberant life in the midst of 'red sandy' Western Australia. Chorus and dancers rouse the audience and fill the auditorium with entertaining foolishness, smiles all round.

A respite from a too warm afternoon in the down under, the film keeps feet taping and smiles in full array. Good on Ya, Andrew Lesnie, academy award winning cinematographer for Lord of the Rings - you done good!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday in the Garden

Yep, lovely sunny summer morning - trash man woke me at 7:30, late for the Brizzie pick-up in my neighbourhood. Usually clangs the cans around 5:55.

Mozzies active last night. Last rain showers were four days ago. That must be gestation period for pesky blood sucking insects. They swarmed last night. My trusty and a tad rusty fan at the foot of the bed blew them away most of the night, though! Hooray for electrical connections.

The Aussie, still recovering from shoulder surgery is sleeping in the extra bedroom; and the mozzies thought they were the honoured guests! Don't think he slept much last night. His choice - fight with the mozzies or sit up all night protecting his shoulder from a sleeping bedmate. He made the right choice - At least I didn't have to wake up feeling guilty for injuring the already injured.

Spent half an hour watering the front garden this morning- unheard of endeavour. I never pull weeds before drinking coffee!

The three weeks of rather constant rain showers have an amazing payoff. Seeds are sprouting in every cranny. Some are pesky, some will provide lovely colour.

Fingers in the soil, a sensuous way to start the day -

Friday, January 08, 2010

Friday in Oz

Quiet day except for the house renos going on down the street and around the corner. Nail guns and lawn mowers - summer sounds.

Was going to see Avatar this evening, but changed my mind - Friday evening in the middle of Brisbane's entertainment centre is not my comfort zone.

Will catch the movie (3D glasses attached) around noon on a week day - lets me stretch out in the theatre for that long long sit! Better be more engaging than Titanic.

Can you tell that I think Cameron is a self indulgent buffoon?

Some film makers forget that there is an audience involved in the process - that the idea is to CONNECT! I suspect Cameron not only forgot about the folks in the auditorium - He never knew we were there in the first place.

I'm one of those folks who believe that less is more! Give me the option of figuring it out for myself - allow my imagination to function - baby food is for the young at heart and the very old without teeth. Give me something to chew on, to nibble or knaw.

I know, I know - here I rant without ever having seen the movie. More after I do. Sam and Signoury are two of my favs.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Where did I go?

The New Year really didn't find me falling into the 'rabbit hole'.

There are two blogs for which I am responsible. Actually there are four blogs to which I contribute. Some days I find it easy to write for all four. Often, I only manage one.

If you don't find a post here, you might try Prairie School of the Arts. The addy is in the right hand side column if you want to read those posts.

Misty morning here in Oz - cool respite after a scorcher yesterday. Spent the afternoon down at Morton Bay in convo with a dear Aussie friend. We managed in five hours to cover topics from the breadth of Wikipedia.

Recovery time: have to digest all that info and see where it fits into the next volume of short stories under way.

A writer's life is the life for me! Am loving every moment of it.

The Aussie is in healing mode! Three more weeks of being tied to the sling around his left right arm.

Movie today; something about 'Morgans'.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Show Low

I love that Show Low stopped in!

December's Blue Moon - a Gift to us all

Bluuuuuue Moon, you saw me standing alone,
Without a dream in my heart,
Without a love of my own,
Bluuuuuue moon, you knew just what I was there for,
You heard me saying a prayer for,
Someone I [really] could care for,

And then there suddenly appeared before me,
Someone my arms could really hold,
I heard you whisper "Darling please adore me,"
And when I looked to the moon it had turned to gold,. . .'

May we all feel adored.
May we all have someone to adore.
May we all work to make sure that the planet
and the denizen thereon be showered with adoration.
in the ensuing decade of the twenty-first century

Please know that you are a loved entity - it does make a difference
You do make a difference.

Happy New Decade...dear readers..