Flag Day, ‘85

36 years ago, 1985. I graduated from high school on Friday, that Flag Day, 1985.

There were 377 of us that day. I’ve known some of them since before high school; for sure on that day, I felt connected to every one of them. They were my first tribe. Kindred spirits, launched into the world on that day.

And we’re still going, most of us, anyway. And we’re still connected, some of us, anyway.

Grateful for that feeling, for those people, my tribe, everyday.

All of us with that common mark of Flag Day, Graduation Day, 1985.

Summer Season

Summer is just upon us and the kids are out of school. Last season we set up a tent in the back yard for a handful of backyard camp-outs. The plan is the same for this summer; maybe a few more nights even.

And as the kids have gotten bigger, it was time to upgrade the tent size too. And outfit the crew with full size sleeping bags. And bedrolls as well.

We are geared up now and good to go. Bring on the outdoor night sounds; bring on the breeze against the nylon walls; bring on the middle of night staring at the tent ceiling, when I wake up and consider how blessed I am to have these three kids in my life, to be their dad, to have this time, our time.

The pace changes a little for a couple months, the tempo and timing shifts, joy and a little freedom on the rise.

It’s summer season, it’s Tent Time, it’s OUR Time. Soak it up. GOOD.

Yosemite

Things came together today. I’m pretty grateful.

I really want to take my kids on a summer adventure. My older daughter suggested Yosemite not too long ago.

Until then I had been thinking camper road trip. When she said Yosemite, the trip drew into better focus.

Yosemite. More than a thousand square miles of mostly wilderness. A blessed place. A protected place. A holy place, really.

I spent maybe ten Mother’s Day weekends in Yosemite; it was our family tradition growing up. I packed in the back-country maybe another half-dozen times when I was older.

I can’t think of a better place to bridge my child / growing-up experiences to my own children.

Usually you need to make plans way in advance, it’s such a popular destination. Covid Times, we’ll see if maybe I can get luck. A reservation is in process. We’ll see. Hopefully soon we’ll know yea or ney.

And so I watched Free Solo, about a climber who free soloed El Captain four years ago. I’m no climber; a minor boulder guy at best.

But watching an hour plus documentary centered in Yosemite? Just the primer.

I love that place. I love those rocks. I hope it works out. Even as one of the more popular outdoor destinations on the planet — and certainly here in the west, it will be peaceful, and change, and outdoor adventure, and exactly what the doctor ordered (as they say — no doctor involved just now on that front).

This trip, this place, much needed. For me as much as my kids. I need it. They need it. WE need it.

YOSEMITE.

Don’t know it? Maybe do, but want to read more. Here.

A Child’s Wisdom

“This is peaceful” – Levi, my son, as we walked the woods recently with his sisters.

Wind in the trees, sound like rushing water.

So close to the metropolis of a million people, yet a world away too.

Well-worn dirt paths, trails much traveled, loved.

These places, those I want to insure my children know, appreciate, love.

I’m reminded, again and again, how important these wild places are, to our present, our future, our souls.

Go to the wild. Be in the wild. Return to the wild again and again.

Let it slow you down, let it soak in.

As the Ohlone said, “…walk gently, walk with reverence, it will give you peace.”

Tribe

A few of the tribe come together, the warmth, the laughter, easy sharing, caring, catching up, so good, so good.

What does the tribe do? Some how through some magic, a sense of belonging, knowing, acceptance, concern. It fortifies, reassures, comforts.

My tribe? At least two. SCHS85, SCU89. When I’m with these people the thick thread rises up from the ground, pulls taught, a line from then until now. In this moment, I know this, I’m better with them, for them, the tribe, my people, stories, lives lived, it gives, power.

The tribe gives power, the tribe let’s love shine through, let’s love shine through.

Consider The Porch Stoop

How often do I sit there, and just consider the day? Not so often.

How often do I sit there, on this stoop I’ve lived behind for half my life? No often enough. I’ve lived in this house, on this street, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life.

And how often have I sat on the stoop, listening to the cars up and down Winchester, listen to the birdsong from the bushes and trees, watch the day wane to the west.

Not often enough. But I did today.

The Morning Dove sat on the street light. The ants crawled across the brick. The wind gently moved the high grass under the Maple.

And I was just there. So thankful to just be there.

Shanty Town

It’s not near Cape Town or Karachi, not even Skid Row— nothing like that scale or density of population, but in this home town of mine, San Jose, California, homelessness has over the years become a societal problem on the rise.

The pandemic has only made it worse.

Vast disparities of income versus the cost of living is part of it. Mental health issues are part of it. And with the pandemic, pretty suddenly many whole could just make it, can’t anymore. And so they live in their car, maybe, or under an overpass, or in a shanty.

In this wealthiest of regions in this wealthiest of nations, how can this be so? And how can we fix it?

Can we agree that it should be fixed? That we are better than that, that we can do better than that. Let’s figure it out. Let’s make it better.

We can do this. We are called to do this. Love your neighbor as yourself. love your neighbor as yourself.

Beach

Funny thing, the beach.

Timeless, the waves, the sound, the water never stops.

Here with family, a little break, celebrating birthdays. Time with the kids, our reduced family, COVID-style. Would that we could be a bigger group, but the pandemic demands a different path.

All the same, the beach is our friend. The ocean is our friend. Magical friends, they are. They create this simple yet so special, wondrous place, space.

The beach, the ocean, it’s one of those places that might bring us a little closer to God, if you let it, if you’re open to it, if you believe in that sorta thing.

I believe in that sorta thing. With my family, in nature, all the more aware of the infinity of it all.

The beach. Family. Timeless. Joy.