Changing Change into a Piano
For many years I had no piano I wanted to play. Oh there was the spinet piano. It was the first piano I bought back around 1986. It was a "Chickering" but not a Chickering, as the piano industry over the years, like many American companies, was assimilated by corporations consolidating, acquiring "brand names" and producing products that lacked the uniqueness that came from the diversity of competing manufacturers. Chickering had in the 19th and 20th century produced pianos of exceptional quality. I had given this spinet to a neighbor and tenant and it had faired poorly have the cabinet damaged by potted plants placed on it. It also didn't sound that good. When she moved she left it behind and it had returned to me.
In Late December of 2020 I woke up to the futility of continuing with my relationship of twenty-five years. With the realization that change in the relationship was unlikely, I gave up and we commenced the divorce process.Divorce is rarely pleasant and my experience was also unpleasant. In the end I got the house and she got my cash.
Once we were divorced I began to see, feel and understand the lengths I had gone to be the accommodating spouse, sublimating my desires to get along. And, that leads to the title of this story. Changing Change into a Piano.
After she had moved I had a yearning to reinvigorate myself and the house. I lit sage to clear the energy of the house and decided I would invigorate myself and the house with music. I yearned for a piano, a piano that sings from it's soul, a quality piano, a piano with a history.
There had been a couple of years when I baby sat a Yamaha Concert Grand, a piano that had once been THE Yamaha piano in the Pacific Northwest -- the "touring" piano. It would be moved from venue to venue so fine was that piano. Playing such a fine piano is like having a mystical experience, you always remember it. When this piano ultimately left me and returned to it's owner I felt a great loss and I didn't play for several years.
So, I found myself divorced, on a budget, and thinking about a piano. I grew up in a home that emphasized frugality. Both of my parents had grown up in the depression and I was instilled with those values. My ex called me cheap but really I am a simple person without need to buy things to assuage my traumas. So, at that moment I wanted to live within my means and that meant a piano was not in my budget. Yet, something, some voice within me said "look for a piano". So I did. I looked in many places and one day I found on Craigs List a 1904 Chickering Baby Grand piano in a piano storage facility in Spokane. The piano was owned by a delightful woman named Mary and it had been her piano for decades (I will be talking with her about this piano and will write up its history sometime). She and her husband were living in Phoenix with her son. It was time for the piano to find a new home.
After talking with her son and her I did what is never done, I committed to buying the Chickering and transporting it to my home without ever hearing or playing it. Almost no one buys a piano they have not played. I did. After sending off a check for $1000 as a down payment I started wondering how I was to pay for the rest owed, and stay within my budget. One day, shortly thereafter, I thought about two boxes in my closet. Each of these boxes contained many Costco plastic nut containers all filled with spare change thatI had been saving since 1985. These boxes were so heavy that the muscular moving guys had been unable to pick them up. At that moment I decide to change the change into music, into a piano.
I next went to my bank of forty years, Olympia Federal, and gathered quarter, nickel, dime, and penny wrappers just in time for 18 inches of snow that would leave me stranded at home for five days. As I wrapped the coins I saved coins from every year, a remnant from my Boy Scout coin collecting merit badge I suppose.
When after a couple of weeks I had completed the packaging of the dimes, nickels, and quarters I tabulated and discovered they represented over $2500. One day I took all those coins to the Yelm Highway branch of Oly Federal. The delightful employees in that branch had never had such a number of boxes of coins brought to their branch. I wondered if they might have thought I robbed parking meters.
Now that is pretty much the story. It took weeks to arrange and weeks more to get the piano moved to my house. When it arrived it reminded me of me. It has dings, scratches and marks on its body -- just like me. Both of us have been around a long time and I'm relatively young next to a 117 year old Chickering.
I'm thrilled I can care for this piano until someone else takes my place. I am hoping to have many years together before it must move on.
And now, music now fills my home. The Chickering sounds wonderful. It sings!
I have always loved Roofs!
I used to love sitting on roofs. My family home from age eleven was 6314 Upton Avenue South in Richfield Minnesota. My room was upstairs on the left. On the right was the room my sisters shared and in the middle the three quarter bath.
My room had three foot wide four foot tall windows. One to the west and one to the south. Looking out the south window was a view of the houses that stretched down Upton Avenue and the roof of the single car garage. If you went out the window and climbed down the four twelve pitch roof to near the edge you found a narrow, probably 16 inch forty-five degree angle over hang that led up to the mostly flat roof that covered the second story living space. To the east of the flat roof was a steep roof extending down to the front of the house. It was unwise to be on that roof without some external means of avoiding sliding down inadvertently.
I found that flat roof a place of sanctuary, a meditative retreat in the midst of the city, for Richfield was rapidly becoming a city. The noise of traffic was a steady white noise punctuated then as today by the occasional broken muffler, loud truck, roaring motorcycle and, from jets as we were on a flight path from the Twin Cities International Airport.
The two best uses for the roof, excluding using it as a means of sneaking out on some summer night to roam with our friends like wild animals in the jungle, were suntanning and storm watching.
Suntanning always felt like you were a little closer to the sun being up two stories. No one could find you, though in time my sisters would also discover the roof and know where to find me. Another benefit was not being watched by neighbors. There were so many back yards that you could look into from Roy and Joyce's backyard, so many. It kind of reminded me of that game show where celebrities were in boxes stacked on each other.
Storm watching was of course the best. In the summer in Minnesota the storms come and come very ominously from the west. The sky becomes darker and darker, the sun but a memory, as it seems night is coming on at high speed. There is a while when there is this calm, yes it is true there is a calm before the storm, the birds understand completely and their calls become ones of warning each other to take cover. On the horizon the clouds now more distinct roll in hues of gray, black and dark blue. It is a sight to behold as my mother would say. It looms over everything and the street lights all come on now as the darkness descends.
First you hear the sound of the wind as the trees begin nature's pruning process rubbing limb upon limb and leaf upon leaf. Then the sounds of things banging or flapping -- the sounds of peoples stuff in their yards. It becomes louder and louder and it is the beginning of an epic experience for all involved. Storms like this often bring tornadoes and that is always an unspoken worry. (A tornado tried to assassinate me when I was young and missed. A tree did land on our house.)
In the distance come lightening flashes. I count the seconds. Five seconds equals about a mile. This is my criteria for evaluating when I am off the roof. As the storm gets closer there are rain drops, but theses are not your ordinary raindrops. These drops are very large and they come down at an angle, and they hit hard. But I'm still not leaving. I have no intention of giving up my seat at this spectacular show presented by the forces of nature converging, reacting, evolving, and traveling through my neighborhood during a rare visit.
There are other very sensual experiences as the storm approaches. The rumble of thunder in the distance is a very low pitch, things vibrate, I vibrate. A form of electromagnetic energy precedes the storm like a bubble and you can feel it. It is an exciting energy. When the lightning comes it often precedes the heavy rain and the discharge creates ozone and who knows what else that is dispersed by and forwarded by the winds that preceded the storm. Altogether, I feel people who have missed this have missed out on a spectacle.
Now the wind really picks up and things in the backyards start moving. Invisible people swinging on swing sets. The lightning flashes. I count. Four seconds. That's it, I give up my seat. I have been close, very close to lightening and I have no desire to act as RANUM THE HUMAN LIGHTNING ROD. The rain is increasing, the wind is howling as I scramble down the over hang and up the garage roof into the safety of my bedroom.
I have always loved a good roof as much as a good storm.
The Message Through the Spinet
About fifteen years ago I knew a woman, a nurse, who worked in Dr. Elmer Cranton’s clinic in Yelm. I came to know her when I was doing chelation therapy. And I was there doing chelation therapy because my friend Elmer gifted me many sessions. I was having what was called bilateral peripheral nueropathy; basically there was a sense of numbness in my hands and feet. I had perhaps twenty sessions and I got much better.
The nurse was very nice and quite kind. One summer she and her husband and others went canoeing on the Nisqually River. After eating lunch on the beach of the Nisqually River, she and her husband got back in the canoe and pushed off back into the river. The canoe tipped. She had not yet put on her life jacket. She was pulled under a snag in the river and drowned.
Months later I attended a wake for her that was a celebration of her life and then I returned home. At that time I had a spinet piano in the bedroom where I slept. As I lay in bed with the light on thinking about her, all the piano strings played in a manner that I had never heard. It was a unique sound. I could feel her presence in the room making her self known through the piano. Because I was so surprised at the sound the piano made, I spoke with her and asked her if she would "play" the piano again. She did.
I remember having many emotions at that moment. One of the strongest emotions was feeling gratitude for her. I don’t know exactly what I said to her in that moment but I do know the piano made the same sound again and never did again. I was so moved by this experience that I have always remembered and cherished it.
I don't know for sure when I began to remember my birth, or if I had always remembered my birth. Most people have no recollection of their birth and look at my memories with amusement or suspicion.
Just like every thing in our world this has a name and the name is hyperthymesia. "Individuals with hyperthymesia can extensively recall the events of their lives, as well as public events that hold some personal significance to them. Those affected describe their memories as uncontrollable associations; when they encounter a date, they "see" a vivid depiction of that day in their heads without hesitation or conscious effort." Now that is not me. But, I do remember my birth.
It was with amusement that my parents listened to me tell them that I remembered my birth. They whispered to each other and then asked me the questions that they thought would reveal my error in memory. They asked, what did the doctor look like? In their minds this would be the question that would be impossible for me to answer as the doctor that delivered me was only used to deliver me and was not our family doctor. So, I told them, the doctor was short, heavy, balding, and wore glasses. They were aghast. This was a precise description of the pediatrician that delivered me.
I remember "floating" about in the delivery room, seeing the darkness, the doctor, and the bright light. To me the interesting part of this are the implications this memory provides. If we don't necessarily enter our bodies in utereo perhaps we have a choice of entering even after birth. I have studied recollections of others like me and some have memories of entering their bodies days after the birth. Others, remember being in utereo. To me, it all adds up to humans being a consciousness having an earthly experience in a physical body. And then it begs the question why. This question has been the quest of my life and continues to this day.
There was a morning, or we might say, an archetype of mornings, memories of a time when we lived at 6337 Pillsbury Avenue. My room was on the east side of the house and in the morning the sun would pour into the room, yellow lava, promising another vacation day of summer. My feelings were those of exultation. The sun, the life force filling me with energy as my mind anticipated the experiences of the coming day.
At this age life had been one of a constant stream of new experiences, most of them pleasurable, or at least neutral. (The memories of the events that would constitute childhood trauma were mostly in my subconscious mind at that time, later to be the subject of therapy lol).
Some experiences of this time combined the yin and the yang. To enjoy walking I had to fall some and would have recurrent "falls" throughout life as the learning curve for me never ended.
Summer, after a long cold Minnesota winter, was an oasis of joy and play . These early years, especially the first seven, learning and absorbing everything heard, seen, and felt, are the years that shape us to the greatest degree. So, I remember feelings of joy deep in my soul, memories clear enough to know the difference between those experiences and the rest of the mornings, the rest of my life. The rest of my life when duty, responsibility and expectations eliminated that freedom of play and newness, the birth into adulthood.
What kind of world would we live in if we all woke with eager anticipation. What kind of world for me if I could model that early consciousness, to live in an anticipation for the day, a melding of wisdom with the joyful consciousness of discovery.
Bicycling To Nanny and Gampy's House on the bike of my dreams
I so remember the freedom, adventure and daring as a young boy with my Schwinn three speed bike. Just having that bike was a miracle, a miracle of joy. The three speed accomplished the flats and the hills through some sort of hidden magic within the back hub controlled by a super convenient shifter operated by my thumb. It was the best bike ever and I would wash and oil and pamper that wonderful bike in the drive way at home on Pillsbury Avenue and far into the future. It was a bike that would travel fifty miles in a day, my ticket to adventure.
It was a fearless time, people had more faith and confidence in their fellow human beings. We were allowed to get on bikes and ride. One ride I remember so well would take me from home to 60th street and 60th street to Portland avenue, Portland Avenue would lead to 43rd then over to Chicago Avenue to the home of my maternal grand parents Jay and Ethel Martin.
They might have been more excited than me at my arrival. This daring young boy traveling many miles braving automobiles to visit them for lunch. I remember having oyster stew for lunch, and though it was not my favorite I ate it with out comment or reservation. They honored my visit like I was a dignitary or a long lost son.
Nanny had always been very kind to me and when young would have me on her lap and massage my back bringing me to ecstasy as endorphines filled my brain. In the 21st century she would have been a most successful massage therapist. I can still see their house in my mind just as I can still see the houses on Pillsbury and Upton Avenues. And my Schwinn is still in my sister Barb's garage and maybe someday I will ride it again -- the bike of my dreams.
When was about 7,8, or 9 years of age, I could clearly see auras. I announced what I saw one day and it became a problem at that time. I overheard my parents talking about it. The nature of my parent's conversation was that I would have to go see the doctor. I promptly decide not to see auras anymore. I did not want to see the doctor. It would have been nice if my parents had understood frequencies and perceptual abilities and had encouraged my "sight".
The photo here is of me in the eighties when I was somewhere and for a small fee you could have your picture taken by a camera designed by a Russian named Semyon Davidovitch Kirlian. Kirlian photography can be traced back to the late 1700s and was officially invented in 1939 by Mr. Kirlian. The Kirlian photographic process reveals visible “auras” around the objects photographed.
It is now well established that life forms have a "electrical" field around them. This electrical field will someday, when we awaken from the modern nightmare of medicine utilizing primarily drugs and surgery, be part of the diagnostic process of advanced medical therapy. For now, we are of course stuck in a dead end mechanistic view of medicine.
I still see auras when I choose to though not as vividly as I did as a child. There is a way you can see part of your own energy field. My sisters and I used to take turns spinning each of us around until very dizzy and then we would see something that looked like shooting stars around us. Sometimes these days I still see those at times around my body.
An interesting side note: The shooting stars are a basic energy that you can see. If you look at the sky, a sunny day is best, and de-focus your eyes and let yourself observe, you may well see the amoeba like energy in the sky.
I still use aura viewing for safety purposes. In reading about Edgar Cayce's life, he once was about to get on an elevator in NYC when he was startled, taken aback by the people in the elevator. They had no auras he could see and he had the ability to see auras very well. So, he didn't get on the elevator and after the doors closed that elevator cable broke and those people plunged to their deaths. I always look at my fellow passengers before getting on any airplane. If I can't see auras I am not getting on that plane. It is said that the auric field changes sometime before someone is going to die.
There was a time I attended a solar industry convention and one man there got my attention. I talked with him. There was something special about him but I couldn't quite understand what I was perceiving. I heard a week or so later that his small plane and gone off course landing or taking off and crashed into trees causing his death.
My dad, Roy, grew up barely before he went off to war. He was 21 when it started and he knew he was going to be drafted. His dad was a carpenter from Norway and they would rent out a room in their house to make ends meet. He had grown up in the depression and the scarcity of those times and the gravity of going to war shaped him.
Each year of his 30 years working for Durkee-Atwood Company would see him take one week off. Only one week of vacation even when he had four coming. He was a dedicated and hard working man. For many years our family would vacation at Mule Lake up in the lake country of Minnesota. We would go to the same resort of a dozen cabins. He always booked the next year while we were there before heading back to Richfield, vacation over.
The one week at Mule Lake was the summer event we kids lived for. All I wanted to do was get in the boat and go. At first we had an old Johnson 5 horse power engine, the kind you spun around to go backwards. In this photo was the beloved Johnson 7 1/2 hp motor with a reverse gear.
I loved to go to the other end of the lake where there was a shallow narrows of lilly pads and no one living there. I would stare into the water transfixed by the beauty and life below and above the water. I was truly happy, life couldn't be better.
We swam everyday in the lake and once or twice a week the resort owner, Doc Pell would get the big row boat with a powerful Mercury engine and take anyone water skiing who wanted to try. After a few failures to get up we would find ourselves hanging on to the tow rope for dear life skimming over the water on old fashioned boards known as water skis. As we hung on stiffly we would at once be scared senseless and at the same time be having the time of our lives.
Once a Seaplane landed and offered rides. My dad went for it and I remember how I could see things mere walkers and boaters would seldom see. It was a birds perspective and I hence forth wished I could fly. I still wish I could fly.
There was an old tractor that pulled a trailer and it picked up the garbage everyday and we could ride on it and we wouldn't miss that for anything if we were there.
I caught a large sunfish one year and it was so big we entered it in a weekly local town contest with categories for a variety of fish species. I got third place or maybe first place.
Mule Lake still holds me in a romantic grip, a time when I experienced a true love of life.
You Have Got to be Kidding Me! How to survive an atomic bomb by getting under your desk?
I remember in grade school around 4th grade having to get under our flimsy school desks and cover our heads. This was supposed to help us survive an atomic bomb.
I don't know how much older I was when I first saw the film of an atomic bomb absolutely demolishing, totally destroying a building that looked like one of these two. (I was in the second building on the back side in fourth grade). But that was when I really began to doubt the sanity of my elders. Why the hell would either country want to roast the others kids in what looked like the hell fire I learned about at Mount Olivet Lutheran church. Mount Olivet, that's another story altogether.
And so, everyone would learn to live life with the knowledge that at any moment they could be fried from above. It is an interesting thing about children, whatever the circumstances of life a child is born into is the reality they will accept. They can never know the tranquility of the past. Sure the past had wars and pandemics, economic depression and social unrest; but the past did not have Armageddon weapon on a missile raining down at high speeds unseen.
Children now are growing up seeing expressionless faces erased by masks. The wearers of the mask are emitting a vibratory field of fear, submission, resentment or combinations of these and other emotions. They are suffering a trauma similar to getting under a desk, the ominous virus, an unseen weapon lurking everywhere. And more ominous, there are images beamed into their minds as they look toward the television screens, the laptops, the computers and the phones. (just a note: I have a great article on my blog about the addictive qualities of television). Here is the link.
And what will come of all this? Only time will tell. And maybe it is just a massive experiment to see the affects of people breathing in their own CO2 all day long. We already know it will produce respiratory problems. How will it affect the children?
The B-25 Gibson
It was about a 40 year love affair ending in a tragedy. A tragedy that would lead to a resurrection. Forty years earlier I was 15 years old and had saved money from my paper route. I found an ad in the newspaper for a Gibson guitar for sale for $150. My dad drove me out to Burnsville or Shakopee where a man was selling his Gibson B-25 guitar. I fell in love at once and willingly gave my savings.
It had a light weight case and its clear wood face and richly colored sides and back made me want to hold and caress it. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever owned and I would never live without it from that day forward. It would go to camp with with me as a boy scout and would camp with me into my early forties. If I moved, it moved with me. If I traveled it traveled with me. It went to Egypt with me twice and I played on massive stones at Abydos. I wrote most most of my songs with it. Writing songs with this guitar it became like a part of the expression of my soul. I thought of her as a she and she comforted me when I was lonely and was my dearest possession.
She was not a beauty queen. Gibson made some guitars I only dreamed of because of their price tags. She was a 3/4 body entry level guitar that got better and better as she aged as played instruments often do. We together sometimes moved people to tears or made them laugh, or lifted their hearts.
Around the year 2008 I tripped over a cord and she fell and broke her neck. I took her to guitar doctors but there was little they were willing to do. They looked at her aged and blemished body, the old screw holding the neck, the cracks in the finish, and said, it would be best to let her go. I mourned. I blamed my self. My carelessness caused her death. All those years together gone. I know the guitar is just a thing and all things must pass from us eventually. So I moved on. I put her in her now hardshell plush case, now a coffin, and into storage. I couldn't let her go. I wanted to have her cremated with me. We had a good life together, we were inseparable, we were one.
I moved on to a full size Martin Acoustic, a excellent guitar. She would have wanted me to move on and find a new love to make music with.
And that was the story for many many years. And then, through attending open mics I met Roger. Roger builds guitars and lived in Rochester Washington with his wife Deb. I talked with him and told him the sad story of my beloved B-25. And, he said to me "let me take a look at it". A month or two passed until I saw him again at an open mic. I had her with me and he took her home with him to Rochester. He was optimistic. Weeks passed by and one day we agreed to meet at Costco in Tumwater where he returned my sweet guitar rejuvenated, back from the dead. It was one of the best days ever, a greatest gift, back from the dead, better than ever.
Like Father Like Son: The Paperboys
Imagine 5am Sunday morning sometime in January or February in Minnesota, the temperature is 20 degrees below zero, the wind is blowing from the north causing snow to drift in to beautiful curves, into non-linear shapes due to the eddies and currents of this wind as it encounters objects.
My Dad always woke me, he was a disciplined man, a discipline that he learned in the army during world war two. Dressing for such a morning was focused on utility and comfort. Fashion had no place when it came to surviving the Minnesota dead of winter. My dad had a 1956 Ford Station Wagon red with white accents. He kept that car until 1964. He had paid cash for it and always paid cash for cars. It gave him leverage in making a good deal.
On a frozen morning when the snow is packed down on the streets, everything sounds different, muted. As a car goes by the sound is unique. Someone growing up in California would not be able to identify it. The car starter would turn slowly, the battery so cold. There was just enough electricity left in that battery to power the starter and turn the eight cylinders. Gasoline engines would start in that kind of cold, a cold that would turn diesel to jelly. It would seem to take such a long time for the engine to begin to warm up and dad and I kept an eye on the temperature gauge eagerly awaiting movement, the indicator of heat to come. Until the engine heated up our warm breath would collide with the windows creating frost. We would have to scrape the inside windows to see.
Driving on compacted snow the sound of tires on the snow was so soothing in the harsh darkness of pre-dawn Minnesota. The tires of that time would get a flat spot on the bottom side from sitting in that intense cold and when the car began to move there would be this thumping noise. Yet, the sound of the tires on packed or fresh snow was very soothing. When it snowed the flakes drifted silently down, delicate frozen abstractions of water, each said to be unique. I always wondered how you could prove or disprove that theory; how is it that each flake is unique?
We drove to the news shed where other frozen paperboys gathered. We all had to assemble the three components of the Sunday Minneapolis Star and Tribune. The Sunday paper was a big paper. Dad would help me assemble the papers and then drive along as I went door to door delivering. I had three blocks of houses and two blocks of 11 unit apartment buildings -- thank God! The apartment buildings were so easy to deliver to compared to the houses which involved slogging through great drifts of snow. And thank my dad Roy. I realize now that my dad was always there, always waking me up on Sundays. There were other paper boys on their own on Sunday morning, I had my dad's help and support and he would drive me on holidays also when the papers would be huge. What does it all mean my dad and I out delivering papers. Who knows. Just more life experiences I suppose.
There was a sense of courage and adventure on those days , for you do challenge yourself in the face of the elements, elements powerful enough to end your life. We men would step into the danger as my mother and sisters slept in a warm house.
My dad had been a paperboy and with his encouragement I followed in his footsteps. When my mom died in April of 2013 my sisters and I sorted through the life time of Roy and Joyce's things. One thing I found was a photo of my dad standing proudly astride his bicycle with a front basket and a Star and Tribune paper bag in it. He was so young and proud, and I too would be a proud paperboy for many years. It was nice to have your own business and I saved money that later came in handy as I paid my way through college. People looked forward to and expected their paper and it was my dad and my responsibility to see that the Sunday paper was delivered safely and timely inside their storm door. Thank you Dad.
The story of my finding my way to the home of TT Liang in Saint Cloud Minnesota is one that was inevitable once the company I worked for in Minneapolis decided to have me be the first sales representative in Saint Cloud. I was around 32 years of age at that time.
When I was in my mid twenties living in Cincinnati, I had studied Tai Chi at the Unitarian Church on Saturday mornings. The instructor was a very nice man in his forties a Psychologist by trade. I was a regular and enjoyed the group gathered to learn Tai Chi.
After returning to Minneapolis I briefly studied with a man who lived in Saint Paul. I didn't find his method of Tai Chi compatible and did not continue with him. When I arrived in
Saint Cloud I quickly found a local health food store for nourishing food. On a bulletin board in the store was a sheet of paper offering Tai Chi from TT Liang. I took the number and soon called and soon found myself his student. My trips to Saint Cloud had a silver lining. TT was the real thing, a Chinese man who had studied a myriad of martial arts techniques and had taught for decades. A vital man with power, humor and a zest for life in his mid eighties.
TT was living in Saint Cloud because his daughter was attending graduate school and he and his wife had moved there to be close to family. How wonderful for me for it was natural and easy for me to be around him. This short, pudgy old man was the most powerful man I had ever net. His skill in all aspects of Tai Chi manifested as kindness, patience, humor, friendliness and non-violence. One of the things he taught me was that if I find myself in a fight I wasn't practicing Tai Chi.
He had come to be the person he was through many difficult life experiences which included torture at the hands of oppressors. He had held positions of responsibility and power when younger when he was employed by the British in mainland China. He had known mobsters, prostitutes, politicians and British officials. AT one point he was demoted and sent to Taiwan which saved his life for shortly thereafter the Maoist revolution began and he would have been killed if he was in China. In time he moved to the US and lived in NYC and Boston. In Boston he taught Tai Chi at Harvard. Somehow he made a go of it. He loved to study the Tai Chi Classics, teach, and paint.
He liked to create practical jokes for some to experience. I wish I had stayed in contact with him. After I moved to Washington State he had a seminar in Seattle and I wish I had known. There was a time when I took a week of vacation and stayed in his basement bedroom for a week studying with him everyday. I wonder if he thought of me, ever missed me as I miss him now. Sometimes we have a treasure in our hands and don't know it. Life is but a series of choices and the choice I made to study with him is but one of many fortunate experiences I have had meeting remarkable people and learning from them. Bless you TT.
The Cadaver Fair
During a four year relationship with a woman named Deb, there was a time she was training to become a Massage Therapist. One of the aspects of this training is anatomy generally defined as the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts . The study of tissues, muscles, tendons, and bones is one thing in a book. It is another thing in a hands on experience, and quite another when a body is disassembled -- that is, dissected. And there is no better place to gain a full appreciation of anatomy than to see bodies laid open and in parts by saws and scalpels. Welcome to the Cadaver Fair held that year at a University of Washington satellite campus in Tacoma Washington.
I remember it being a pleasant day most likely in the fall or spring. The campus buildings seemed dated. There were many rooms in this fair and each was dedicated to some specific aspect of human anatomy. I remember there was a room with a skull opened to the brain I think. This was really not my cup of tea for my penchant for bodies at that time was younger, healthier, feminine, and alive. Most bodies don't become cadavers until later in life. That is just how it is.
Now the "Fair" was strange indeed. For me and it was about to become life changing when I entered one the rooms and saw the torso of a man. I stood transfixed, in a trance. Here was a man, a torso, no head, no legs. Were there arms? I don't remember.
I stood silently, a torso, a penis and gray pubic hair. I wondered about his life. Did he have a wife? Did he have children? What did he do for a living? What did he die of? Did he experience and share bliss with his penis? Did he have a good life? Was he at peace with his life and his death? I had so many questions that would never be answered.
There are images that once seen in a life are never forgotten. We all have some and I believe an image is forever when accompanied with a strong emotion. These emotions can range from ecstasy to agony. This image, the torso, is one of my permanent images. My particularly strong emotion was odd to me at the time as it was more of nature of awe and transcendence. I felt I was seeing the unfolding of his and my life from birth to death and how we all share most of the experiences of life. We all experience birth, family, neighborhood, relatives, cities, nature, hunger lust, energy, fatigue, love, loss, success, failure, seasons, school, politics, food, drugs, healthy, sickness, sorrow, happiness, desire, apathy, wonder, boredom, disgust,dating, mating, working, vacation, death and so many more.
I was greatly affected by him. I was greatly affected by his penis, At that time in my life I was in my late 30's and the mating urge was strong in me. So I wondered just how important his penis had been in his life? Had it been part of a plan fulfilled? Did it aid or detract in his evolution? I wondered where his consciousness was now.
Being a man who had since childhood contemplated the meaning of life, our beginnings and endings. I now began to realize that the importance I had placed on my penis would never be the same for someday it would lie lifeless with my lifeless body. And I knew it's role would be very small compared to all the other roles I would play in my lifetime. I realized this special moment and knew I was no longer the same man, I was not the man who accompanied Deb to the Cadaver Fair. I knew I had changed and would continue to do so from this experience, these realizations. This Fair I would always remember.
Deb and I remain friends to this day.
I sense I have been observed by space craft much of my life. I'm not special, we are being observed.
One time I'm sure there was lost time during a hike in Sedona. I remember coming back into conscious awareness when two jets screamed overhead. Another time, there was a ship moving as an orange ball through the valley in the Yucca Valley California desert around 1985.
In Yelm while driving on Bald Hills Road I saw a silver saucer shaped ship moving rapidly toward the East. Mount Ranier was completely clear at that moment and then I entered a part of the road that was heavily treed for about a mile. When I emerged from the forest I saw Rainier clothed in a massive perfect "lenticular cloud".
Later around 88 and 89, I was driving a tractor down Cougar Mountain Road when I saw a spherical silver ship far in the distance going down smoothly yet in increments or steps. In the 90's when installing a well pump I watched a spherical ship stationary in the sky. I watched for a long time. I stopped watching and continued with my work. Later it was gone. When I moved to Tumwater Wa. there was a ship of brilliant white light hovering close by over the power lines. Others reported seeing it over Black Lake earlier. I would have never seen this ship had the military not sent many helicopters and planes to circle the area. There was a stealth or B1 aircraft sighted headed my way also.
Earlier in the late 80's I had gone to a lookout with a good friend Cindy. We had observed a "saucer shaped "cloud off to the left side of Mount Rainier. From this cloud small (saucer shaped) clouds moved downward and over to the mountain where they disappeared. We decide to join our minds and ask a small "cloud" to come to us. Soon it began to move toward us. As it grew closer it stopped and went back toward the much larger cloud. Less that a minute later we knew why. From behind us two jet fighters sent from McCord Air force Base appeared flying over us and toward the mountain -- they did not go close to the "cloud" I am sure they knew better. I always have wondered what Cindy and I would have experienced had the military not come.
I sometimes share my experiences with people and either they have seen and understand or they have not and cannot comprehend such experiences. I feel very fortunate to have seen so many UFOs in my life. It is a mind expanding experience.
UFO's over Mt. Ranier taken from my home.
Return to the Kings Chamber
When I was in the fourth grade we had a history book. In the book was a picture of the Great Pyramid. Every afternoon I would stare at that picture and disappear into my ancient memories entering a trance like state that I throughly enjoyed. I remembered that place and time but it wouldn't be for many years, in my mid-twenties, that it would all make sense -- memories of past lives in Egypt at that time.
In 1994 I made my second trip to Egypt. I traveled with a group from many places including many from my home town of Minneapolis. Time blurs many details of the past, the insignificant blowing away leaving only the significant memories. Here are my memories.
We had arrived about a week earlier, and then traveled by overnight train to Aswan where we would spend a night before boarding a river cruise ship to follow the Nile back to Cairo. Now, I do not want to diminish the journey down the Nile to Luxor, The Valley of the Kings, Abydos, and other special places and experiences, I just want to focus on the unimaginable sequence of events, people, and synchronicity that leads to the seminal event.
Somewhere along the Nile a woman on the tour gave me a cassette to listen to about the pyramids. The speaker on the tape was "Ramtha" and the implications were very interesting. For several years, nearly seven or eight, I had been enraptured by the Edgar Cayce readings. Cayce, the most profound influence in my life then and now had many many times talked of the era that brought into being the Great Pyramid. Many people who sought Cayce's help with various problems were told of their lives in Egypt in and about the time of the creation of the pyramid. He talked of the architect of this structure being Hermes an earlier incarnation of Jesus. Anyway, the stories emerging from the Cayce readings that talk about this era have been written into many books. Books that bring together many readings given and pieced together of that very important time, the politics of the era, the incarnated connected souls, and the meaning of the Pyramid. All much too much for me to recount in a manner that would do justice to the subject in this "short story".
So, with the new information and the Cayce history I so wanted something magical. A person on the ship told me of a man who was "in charge" of the Giza area. His nick name was "The Champion" and he had earned this title by being the one who could most quickly ascend and descent the Great Pyramid in competitions that were formerly held before the structure had become a historic monument.
The real power structure in Giza, especially as the Pyramid was concerned was The Champion. The power structure was modeled closer to our idea of the mob. An informal power structure with great influence and power. The Champion had risen to be the head of this organization. I decided immediately upon arriving in Cairo and settling into my room to seek him out. The moment I mentioned his name to the cab driver he took me there at once. The cab driver asked for twenty or twenty-five dollars to take me there and I gladly paid. To my surprise it was almost around the corner. I was alone and filled with anticipation. Upon meeting The Champion I felt immediately peaceful in his presence. He was a powerful man and yet very kind.
Thirty years does distort the timing of events so let me tell you of the images I do remember. He explained to me there was a fee. Of course the official guards would need to be paid to allow us to be left in the Pyramid when it closed to the public at 4:30 in the afternoon. I arranged to return that evening with my friend Ginger to complete the arrangement for the next afternoon. When we returned we were greeted with great kindness. We were allowed to hold ancient scarabs. That was fascinating as I had never held anything that emitted such an energy since. I played a card game with an old woman who was a relative of his. She spoke no English and we played a game I didn't know. Somehow we played and it was evident by her joy just how completely she was beating me. We made arrangements, paid our "fee", and anticipated the next afternoon.
He also took me to a relation of his who he said had the purest oils in the world. I bought a small vial of "opium oil" and another oil. I still have the mostly empty small vial and the other. He showed me how to test the purity by putting a drop in a container and watching it move. I have never found anywhere an "opium oil" like that oil.
The next day, at around closing time for the tourists, we met The Champion and he led us to a small area off the entry where we were to remain for thirty minutes. During that time the pyramid would close and we would then ascend the Grand Gallery to the Kings Chamber where we would be until nine in the morning when our tour group was to arrive at the chamber for a ceremony.
Now, here is where words are not adequate to fully explain the sensation, the feelings, the energy of the chamber. Built by Enlightened beings around 11,000 BC. To give a better perspective of this Pyramid it is helpful to note that the base of it covers 13 acres. The Great Pyramid was designed to initiate those ready into greater being. Cayce readings indicate that this was one of the final experiences of Jesus before beginning his teachings. To this day I am in awe of being allowed to be there, to have created being there, to pray, meditate and experience the energy for sixteen hours uninterrupted. I prayed and meditated all night and into the morning. My prayer was simple: "to be God Man Christ Realized, to be all that I can be". To me this meant to meld the physical/mental personality into perfect harmony with my soul and spirit, to express a wonderful balance of kindness, love, compassion, understanding and so much more. The time passed quickly and eternally, I left and returned to my body many times that evening. At one point when I was lying in the granite sarcophagus I came back to my body and found Ginger staring at me with great concern. She said I had not breathed for many minutes (the acoustics in the Kings Chamber are ethereal).
During the night a symbol came to me and I sketched it in my note book. This became my personal symbol to this day. It was a rectangle emerging from a black void and it had dark purple shading. Inside the rectangle was an eye and in the center of the eye was the star of david, and floating out in front of this was a lit white candle. I kept this to myself for many years knowing that it represented my expressed desire yet wondering why the star of david? It wouldn't be for decades before that mystery would be resolved to my satisfaction. And wouldn't you know it, the resolution came in a Cayce reading that explained that the merging of the two triangles represented the merging of the body/personality with the soul/spirit, the Christ Consciousness. A consciousness that Cayce said is a state of being, an evolution not confined to Christianity but a state that could be found in those who embody love expressed on this planet. That this state is for all peoples and emerges when we evolve into a pure expression of love. I now believe the symbol is really better represented by two pyramids that merge and create from a certain point of view the two dimensional star of david symbol. Symbols do get reinterpreted on this planet over time.
I have lost touch with Ginger. She was a friend for a couple of years and I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for her to this day. She was as courageous and as adventuresome as I was, and our similar search for meaning was our bond. She brought a camera and took a few pictures in the chamber. When we left Egypt we went to England and then to Ireland where we traveled to sacred sites such as Stonehenge. Those pictures from the Kings Chamber remind me that we were there, it wasn't a dream or a past life memory. Together we created a mystical and eternal night in the Great Pyramid. I have never been the same since. I believe my desire held in that chamber is still manifesting in my life. Certainly I would like to fully manifest that state of Christ Consciousness in this lifetime. Oh wouldn't it be lovely.
It was also very interesting to greet our group as they arrived the next morning. They were in shock to see us there. We were missing in action that morning and we had told no one of our plan. Throughout history some have been able to spend time in this chamber. I would imagine that those who have been as fortunate as Ginger and myself are part of very small group. A very grateful group.
My Time with the Spinx and the Secret Passage To the Hall of Records
The second time I returned to Egypt I came with a cassette tape player (remember those?) that I had transferred eight tracks from my eight track reel to reel Fostex recorder used for music recording. Those eight tracks each had a unique frequency that I had recorded using a special sine wave generator that I borrowed from the telecommunications company I worked for.
My plan, right out of an Indiana Jones movie, was to play the frequencies around the base of the sphinx at night. I theorized that this might open a secret entrance to the “Hall of Records” that Edgar Cayce spoke of in trance. These records were of the Atlantean Civilization. A civilization that was coming to an end soon. Its end due primarily to the misuse of advanced technologies having to do with frequencies, stars, and very large crystals. These power stations were said to be located in at least two places on the planet — one off Bimini. This area is the Bermuda triangle . A place where boats and airplanes have often gone missing without a trace. I digress.
So, one dark night I crept over to the Sphinx and began to play my tape of frequencies as I walked around it. Alas, I was interrupted by a guard and had to leave. Life would have been quite different I suppose if I had discovered The Hall of Records. Maybe in some parallel reality I am living the life of the discover of the Hall of Records. Or maybe I would have never found my way out. Life is just a lot of choices.
I am a Witch
Yes I confess, I am a water witcher, a douser. I have been one since the mid nineteen eighties. I don't remember what got me interested in dousing but I suspect it was something I read in the 1970's in a book titled Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain.
When I first arrived in Washington State in 1985 the first house I owned had a well that was tainted with iron bacteria. The water would come out clear but turn a bit yellow/orange as it sat, it stained toilets and wasn't something I enjoyed drinking. Some water filtration would help and so would shocking the well with clorox help to some degree. With the purchase of my third property I got very interested in dousing and sought to learn about it by contacting the local water witchers.
There were two local water witchers and I hired them to witch for me and of course I asked them many questions about the art and science of finding water. (It is important to emphasize the necessity of having access to water witchers during the westward expansion of the United States. People moving to a new area had to have a potable water source or they would not survive. The water witchers were critical in locating water that could be accessed with hand dug wells. Nobody wanted to dig a 50 foot deep well by hand and come up dry.) So it turned out that I had two instructors, Pappy Goodwin and Milt Johnson.
Milt used a heavy v shaped wire that would wildly rotate in his hands. Pappy preferred the L shaped rods and was good with a tree branch. I discovered pretty quickly that I had the "ability" to sense the subtle currents, electrical or whatever that are created by the movement of underground water. I learned the most from Pappy who was happy to share his techniques and understanding. He taught me that most everything I might want to know about an stream of water underneath the ground could be determined. Some people use pendulums to douse. I do also for choosing foods and nutrients.
Dousers are kind of woo woo mystical people because we know it is our intention, our consciousness that is retrieving the the answers to the questions we ask. The stick, the rods, or other tools, are just amplifiers. We who wield the tools are the connection to the water below. If you realize you can connect your mind consciously with the unseen you have entered the quantum consciousness, the oneness of all life and things.
Finding water is in and of itself not enough. Not all underground water is created equal, some is very clean and some makes for very poor drinking water. So, I learned to ask many questions of the underground streams and rivers I found. I would ask: is it good water, how deep is the water, how much will the water rise up in the casing, how many gallons per minute will the well produce, is there any iron, manganese or other chemicals and many more questions?
I learned how to find buried water pipes, leaking pipes and even sewer and power lines. For many years people hired me to come and find water for them. I had a very positive reputation and was surprised once when talking to someone and he proudly said Rick Ranum had witched his wonderful well. He and I had never met. When we moved to Olympia I gave up the business part of witching.
Witching/dousing does not begin and end around finding water. Dousing is still a very contemporary craft. A man I knew years ago had extensive experience in the oil fields of Texas and he told me many stories of the dousing that had made the oil industry successful.
When I had a well drilled for a former property years ago, the driller told me there was no good water to be found in the valley we lived in. I had witched and discovered a huge underground river of water, one that was pure, and would produce well over 200 gallons per minute. I told him it was 110 feet deep. His driller hit a massive amount of water at about 80 feet and stopped. We had the water tested and it was bad. So, I had them come back and go deeper. At 111 feet they hit the water I expected. Some drillers believe in witching and others do not.
When you go to drill a well these days the cost is enormous. One person I witched for had a lot of money and had drilled a terrible well that was very deep and costly. I found her a stream that was only 120 feet down with great water. I often think I might like to witch for others again someday, maybe I will.
Not everyone is capable or tuned in enough to douse. I have shown people how I do it and the stick does not bend in their hands. However, if I put my hand on their shoulder the stick does bend when reaching the underground water.
As I have aged I have found that dousing has its most beneficial usage for health purposes. Your deeper mind, your body, know what foods are good for you and what nutrients or supplements are necessary. I don't take vitamins unless my dousing tells me I need them. I watch others habitually swallow handfuls of pills without the slightest consideration if they are necessary or simply too much for their bodies. Too much of anything can be very toxic. I have two big pill boxes with many vitamins and minerals in them. I use a pendulum for dousing pills and sometimes what to eat. I just put my finger on one pill at a time and see if the answer is yea or nay. If it is yea, I sometimes ask how many.
There are some alternative health practitioners that make good use of dousing. They mostly refer to it as applied kinesiology and it is a very good tool for diagnosis and for discovering the modalities that will best resolve the problems people have.
18 horses, just enough
It was a Johnson outboard motor, its housing was white. It was heavy, one guy could carry it but it was so easy with two. I must have talked my dad into buying it. I think he too wanted to fly across the water on a light weight aluminum boat. With one or two people on board the boat would get up and plane, heck, it would fly.
Now, the friends I knew had no boat or motor. My friends were the two Steve's, Steve Sommers and Steve Scurr along with my life long friend Dale Swenson. We all liked hanging out and we were brought together now and then to load up the 18 horse Johnson, water skis, tow rope, and life vests. We would head south on interstate 35w or take Old Shakopee Road and end up at Prior Lake.
A couple of blocks before the boat rental place we would stop by a cove and leave the water skis and tow rope and one person, and then continue on to the boat rental. We rented the boat at a place that was next to a narrow canal that connected the two halves of Prior Lake. After we rented the boat we would take the boat to the cove and pick up our friend, the skis and tow rope. We did this because we didn't think they would rent a boat to a bunch of teenage boys wanting to use it to water ski. Once away from the boat rental we would usually head to the windward side of the lake where the smooth water awaited. Then, of course, we would water ski.
If you want to ski behind a row boat with three boys in it and only 18 horsepower, you have to devise a way to pull a person out of the water. It is pretty much impossible to do this if the normal methodology is followed. Normal is to tighten the tow rope and then accelerate the boat. Try that behind this row boat with 18 horsepower and the skier never leaves the water. The solution to this problem was one of basic physics and momentum. To have enough momentum it was necessary to begin with considerable slack in the rope. The motor would go to maximum power and the boat began to accelerate. As the boat accelerated away you would be sitting in the water waiting for the slack to be gone and awaiting the moment when the considerable jerk of the rope would occur. (This required a lot of slack in the rope.) When you were first jerked up from the water the boat would shudder and slow and then accelerate again. At the first shudder it was common for the skier to sink down into the water about up to their knees. If all went well the skier would be skiing, slow by most standards, but all we had was the Johnson and a rented boat and a wonderful time.
By now you can see this rowboat, it's occupants and a skier moving across the water, and it may seem miraculous but it gets better. The next step once the skier was up was to drop one of the two skis and slalom, yes slalom behind an 18 hp Johnson. Dropping a ski always meant no easy second chance. If the slalom skier fell he would have to be pulled into the boat and the second ski found floating somewhere in Prior Lake. We always tried to drop the ski near the shore and a landmark, and, paying attention to which way the wind was blowing. We must have been a sight.
One of the best parts of slalom skiing is the great arcs of back and forth behind the boat. From far left to far right and back again is really the whole point of slalom water skiing. To do this behind the 18 hp Johnson had limitations. If you bent hard into the arc, the boat would slow down and the skier would find themselves very concerned they may be sinking into the lake if the boat didn't get going quick enough to take up the slack in the rope. Yes the rope would be slack again and there would be the familiar jerk once again. If you can ski behind an 18 hp Johnson you can most likely ski behind most boats.
After I had moved away my dad sold the 18 hp Johnson. I remember coming home to visit and learning it was gone and feeling nostalgia for that outboard motor. It is now in my life that I realize it wasn't so much about the motor as the motor's reminder of some of my favorite teenage high school years activities with the neighbor friends and having joy filled experiences.
I Did What!
Recently I got together with Jon. Jon goes way back in time, well over thirty years. As we sat talking and catching up at one point he said he remembers meeting me back in around 1986. He says he was visiting a person we both knew named Vicki and she lived on Fennel Road. Fennel Road is a road off of Neat Road and both roads share the distinction of being short roads that are out East of Yelm WA in a rural area. Fennel is a dead end road and at the end of the road is Weyerhauser timber property. It was about a mile from my house on Smith Prairie Road.
At the time I met Jon I had two horses Carousel and Pride.
Both horses were Arabian Saddle breds. Now keep in mind, my having horses no way indicated that I knew much about horses. For some reason my connection with JZ Knight and her desire to cull her considerable herd of horses had resulted in myself and others I knew receiving the gift of horses.
There is something to be said for considering looking a gift horse in the mouth, and though the common social injunction discourages that behavior, I would suggest, when it comes to horses, that you ignore that injunction.
When you receive a horse as a gift there a many things that become essential. Essential? Yes. Horses need to be contained and if they are not properly contained they will wander off. Twice my little darlings broke out and wandered about three miles down the road I lived on. They would end up visiting other horse friends and it would cost me $100 to get them a ride back home. One time they went to my neighbors yard and were hanging around the swimming pool. The neighbor, Uta, was not thrilled to have these visitors.
The horses escaped because I assumed any old fence would convince them to stay home. Alas, horses need solid sturdy fences not the 4 x 4 posts and the 1" x 4" boards I used to build the fence (see the fence in this picture with me, my beard, and my horses). Fencing, that is the first and foremost requirement.
Next you need food and water. Oh and where does that food reside? Well, the alfalfa, which would come on a big truck with dozens of bales needs a dry storage place so you have to build a shed or barn of sufficient size to fit the bales. And they need grain. The grain is bought in 50 lbs sacks at the feed store and must be in containers that are water and varmint proof. Trust me when I say that the varmints are very ingenious when it comes to opening containers. And, of course we could talk about Vet bills and the farrier bills and the cost of other necessities. You must make sure they have a good size trough of water and when that water freezes you break that ice first thing in the morning.
Ten years I supported those horses. I really liked them I got attached and they became part of my life. I figured my cost per ride to be over $1000. I built a lot of fences and sheds and one pole barn. They had become like having big dogs that don't bark and can never come in the house. So to conclude the horse details and get back to Jon, you might want to weigh the pros and cons, and consider whether to look a gift horse in the mouth.
So Jon says he was blown away when I came riding up on a horse at Vicki's house and I didn't remember riding there. Remember, I don't really know much about riding horses. I had a few, very few, lessons on riding and maintaining a horse as part of my receiving them.)
I told this story to Janice and she gave me one of those looks, the you must be nuts look, and then went on to explain that very few horses can be trusted to ride on a road. There is way too much danger in doing so. Add to that, the variety of horses I received are an excitable breed, skitish, nervous, and easily frightened. They were also rather young.
So I rode about a mile one way to Vicki's and back, and it all had to have gone well. If something out of the ordinary would have happened there would be a memory. These were generally fairly quiet country roads with a fifty mile per hour speed limit. All I have is a vague memory of this ride, and I know I would probably do it again if circumstances presented the opportunity.
When I think back to many many things I have done in this life time, I have to say that many of my exploits that have left me with quite clear memories. Very clear memories come perhaps because they are very emotional experences. My exploits were not due to some courageous intent, rather, they were due to my ignorance of the risks and my desire to have an experience. I have placed myself in real peril many many times on a wide variety of adventures and most I would love to do again. There is no adventure without risk. There is no life without risk.
So, the subject of this story is really about our minds and how we can forget parts of our lives, even things you would think you would remember. Now that Jon reminded me I am able to recall, vaguely, that memory. And we don't remember what we have forgotten in our conscious mind, and we do remember everything in our subconscious mind. Perhaps someday we will discover how to selectively connect with our subconscious mind and remember our best memories. Will you remember having read this in a year?