Wednesday, December 20, 2006
THE CANOE: A TRIBUTE TO MOBILITY
Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing.
- Henry David Thoreau
Recently I wrote about my truck's newest accessory, my canoe. Now people who have known me for sometime had begun to grow tired of me speaking about getting a new canoe. I think that Missy did not give in to letting me get one but instead we bought it so that she could stop hearing about getting one.
I have long been attracted to the romance of a canoe. I love boats. There is just something to being on the water. The fishing is better, more parts of the world are opened up, and the feeling of becoming an aqautic creature can be fantastic! Boats are great, but they come in many shapes and sizes. I grew up fishing in an old jonboat that I am sure was bought at Sears the first year Sears was in business. This thing was old, but it taught me about being on the water. It ws great for throwing in the back of a pickup and getting into really great backwaters. Later in life I was able to go on friends Bass boats. Now these things are a monument to comfort. You can basically jump up and down on these things and they will not tip over. The only problem is that they are suited only to big water. Which is fine because these babies can FLY across the water. I have never understood why someone needed to go 100 MPH in a boat, but then you look at the size of some of these lakes and well it begins to make sense. The largest boat I have ever been on was on my honeymoon. Missy and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon. Now it is hard to think of these ships as boats. They feel more like floating cities. But let a choppy sea come up and you are quickly reminded that you are on a boat. Stablizers can only do so much!
Well anyway, why the fascination with canoes? Well I guess the main reason that jumps out is my almost religious devotion to all things simple. I just love how stripped down a canoe can be. There are no electronics , no motors, nothing fancy! Just a hull, two seats, and a couple of paddles are all that is needed. I also love the fact that a canoe can go ANYWHERE! I strap that baby to the top of my truck and I can throw off the side of a road into a creek if need be. The canoe floats in mere inches of water therefore being able to get to places that would leave other heavier crafts beached. The other thing about a canoe is the reminder that we all have a center of gravity. Forget that and you will have a very wet, sometimes cold reminder!
This year many fish have been caught from my canoe. Good times are already being had. Stories are already taking shape.
This coming year I hope to take a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. This is an area that has been designated a wilderness area and is only accessable by canoe. It is a land filled with hundreds of glacier made lakes. Only a few groups are allowed in at any one time, so one can really experience something of a wilderness. This is a land that has changed very little since the first French furtraders came. The great thing is that on one of these trips you can experience the area in much the same way that they did.....from a canoe!
So I know that a canoe is not the most glorious of all watercrafts but I do love them. I love the silence that can be heard from a canoe. This past year my friend Kevin and I were able to drift very close to a relaxing bobcat. The thing never really seemed to even mind that we were there. It was at that moment when my canoe purchase seemed all worth it!
Thank You my beautiful wife for understanding your husband's weird fanatical obsessions. I apologize for not getting you out on the canoe this year. Next year you and I will take a float trip!
Monday, December 18, 2006
THE OTHER TWO "R'S" OF ENVIRONMENTALISM
So I am sure that by now many of you have heard of the three "R'S" of environmentalism: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Well today I was reading "The Last American Man" by Elizabeth Gilbert. In this book she chronicles the life, exploits, and philosophy of Eustace Conway. He is a guy that basically lives out of a teepee in the hills of North Carolina. He is as close as one can come to the old frontier mountain men of this country's origin.
Well anyway I could post a lot on his thoughts about modern American life. He and I share a lot of the same philosophies and ideas, though I live in a two bedroom apartment and not in the woods. Today I was reading about some of his ideas about American consumerism. We go through a lot of junk!
I know that this is probably the wrong time of year to be writing about this. This is Christmas. This is the time of year when all of our materialism comes rearing it's ugly head. We buy countless gifts for people, but how many of those gifts are going to be used? How many of them our even needed? Now I am not trying to hamper the giving spirit that grows in us this time of year. Sharing our wealth and blessing to bless others is a marvelous thing. The new idea is not just to give things but to improve someone's life.
THe other two "R'S" I was referring to are Reconsider and Refuse. Instead of buying that thing you are just going to use once then throw away, ask yourself do I even NEED this item. Can my life go on without it?
I don't want to sound extreme but I just want ot get people thinking. My dad used to tell people that I could live on less than anyone he ever knew. That I needed fewer things to be happy. Well I don't know if that is true or not. My wife and I have very little by American standards, and yet we have moved three times in the two years that we have been married. Everytime we move I am reminded of how much junk that we have that we never use. How many things do two people need to live?
Now I am NOT suggesting that you sell all of your possessions and move to the woods. I am a big supported of seemingly "useless" items. I know that reading a book will not put food on my plate or a roof over my head. It will not add another day to my life. But I am one for surrounding myself with books. I know that books will add to the quality of my life. My days are more enjoyable because of my books. I am all for surrounding ourselves with beautiful things as well.
I guess my point is think about your purchases. The more you buy the more space you need. Missy and I recently moved to a bigger apartment. We have a closet that we cannot even walk into because it is full of things we rarely use but need to store somewhere. My parents have lived in a house for over seven years now. They have a two car garage that has never had a car in it. It is just more storage space. They have boxes in their attic that have never been opened since the last time they moved! Now to my parents credit they ARE working hard to remedy this situation. They have made big strides over the last year to clean out the useless things they do not need. I forsee a HUGE garage sell in their near future.
My basic point is how much do we NEED! People are building bigger and bigger homes and going further and further into debt to pay for the homes they can't afford to house the things they cannot afford and do not need. The best illustration of my point is a modern business upstart. How many storage facilities did you see 15 years ago? Unit after unit of places that house the things that people cannot fit into their present lives.
Are we happier because of all of this junk? I think you know my answer.
Friday, December 15, 2006
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR! EGG NOG BABY!
So this Friday's post is not really about a food, but more of a drink. A drink that is so good that they can only bring it out once a year or Western Civilization would crumble under it's own gluttony (not that we're not doing that already, but anyway.) The drink is Egg Nog. Now where Egg Nog even comes from I have no idea. I think that it may have been handed down from the Lord Himself. You know when the Lord spoke of the Land of Canaan as flowing with milk and honey, we always assume that those were two seperate things. Maybe the Lord was leading His people to a fountain of Egg Nog. Now this is just a theory. Please do not quote me on this for I have no Scriptural basis. But it does get you to thinking.
So anyway, back to Egg Nog. I mean how many calories can one drink have!!! If there is something else out there then please do not tell me about it. The creamy sugary goodness that is Egg Nog, MAN!
Now there is some debate as to whether or not Egg Nog MUST have alcohol in it. My friend Brent used to say, "With no alcohol, how will you ever discover the True essence of the NOG?!" I cannot say. I will let you decide which you like better: virgin Egg Nog or the adult version.
All that I know is that I am glad that you can only get it for a short time every year. It makes the season smell and taste unique as only winter and Christmas can. Now I know that there is someone out there that is going to tell me that you can get Egg Nog all year long if you know the right places to look, but they are wrong. In Kyle's world the special drink is only revealed in its glory but for a few short weeks.
So I know that this is another post where I seemingly elevate the mundane to a hightened reality, but come on! It's Egg Nog! Man that stuff is good! It's like drinking a cake, a cake made by GOD! Bottoms UP!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
IF YOU EVER NEED A PICK-ME-UP, GET A PICK-UP! TRUCK THAT IS!
So for those who know me, they know I love my truck. I have always wanted a truck and finally in the fall of 2001 I got my wish. My own Ford Ranger! Now I know what you are thinking, Seriously Kyle, a Ford Ranger. I thought you were talking about a REAL truck. WEll I know that it is not a monster by any sense of the word. Heck it's not even a full size. It may not have four wheel drive or mud tires, but trust me it is a truck! I have treated it like a truck the whole time I have had it. I haul stuff, pull stuff, drive over stuff. Everything you would expect from a good truck.
Now you may ask me about my weird fascination with my truck. Well it all goes back to my childhood. I have had many memories over the years in trucks. My first memories of a truck goes back to an old green and white truck my grandfather had on his farm. I can remember this truck being so old that you could run your finger across the white paint and coming up with a white finger. After that one died, he got a Dodge Ram. Now not one of these new Rams with the rounded edges. This one was just a block laughing at concerns over MPG. I can remember riding in the back of that truck, feeling the wind blowing me about, looking up at the sky, and the thoughts of flying. Oh yes Virginia, there was a time when children rode in the back of pickups.
I can remember sitting in that truck eating crackers, spam, sardines, and an onion because it was too cold to be deer hunting. I can remember the feeling of coming home from a fishing trip squashed in the middle of my grandfather and my dad; falling asleep as the Cardinals were playing baseball on the radio.
The next big truck that I remember was in college. My roommate Drew had a Big Red Dodge Ram. It was a crew cab fit for young men in search of adventure. Man we got into a lot of fun with that old truck. I can remember a half a dozen different times either getting stuck in the mud or trying to get someone else out of the mud. I can remember showing up at church on a Sunday morning with wet waders, decoys, and a few dead ducks in the bed while we were changing into our sunday best in the cab!
I can remember my friend caleb's family truck, another BIG RED. This was the official vehicle of deer camp. Since it was four wheel drive we could drive that thing up and down the hill to our campsite. I can remember how happy it made me to see that truck loaded down with gear and coolers for the weekend. It always made me feel like an adventure was about to happen.
Then came my truck. My little Ranger. I have taken it offroad. I have had deer in the backend. I have hauled countless pieces of furniture in its bed. I have slept in that truck more times than I can remember.
Trucks are just useful. For fun or work. One of the best days was a day when I had to help my sister move some stuff to college. I had been deer hunting that morning. I had gotten a deer, so I had to take the truck to the car wash so that my sister would not get blood on her mattress. See how useful a truck can be! Hunting and moving in the same day.
When you have a truck, people become your best friend especially when they have something to move! I can remember when I asked Missy's parents if I could marry her. The next week the family was talking and Missy asked her dad if he was excited. He said he was just happy to now have a truck in the family. HA!
One time I was living in an apartment complex. One day I was just hanging out when there was a knock at the door. There was this guy out there that said, " Hey, you don't know me but my wife and I just bought a new desk. We need to get it home and the apartment manager said she new that you had a truck. I was wondering if you could help me go pick up the desk from the store?" I thought for a second and said......OK!
I have helped move countless friends. Missy and I seemed to have entered into quite a nomadic lifestyle considering we have now lived in three apartments in only two years of marriage. Yet with every move my truck comes in handy.
Well this past year my truck received the best accessory it could ever dream of...a new canoe. I cannot begin to tell you how freakin sexy my truck looks with a canoe strapped to the top. When I drive with it people just look from other cars giving me a headnod. As if to say, "There goes a man who is ready for adventure. I wish I was coming with you."
I know my truck will not last forever. I only hope there are more trucks in my future. I know that with each one will come all new stories to tell.
Monday, December 04, 2006
RELAXATION: THE WONDERDRUG!
So I know it has been almost a month since my last post. I make no excuses only to say that my life has been pretty crazy lately. Not the kind of crazy where you have two tests, three papers, and a still have to go to work crazy, but the stay up all night worrying about the future crazy. Crossroads kind of stuff. What is the next step in this journey called life. The days are spent with thinking about "God's Will For My Life" kind of thoughts, and I must refrain from picking up Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. The answers are slow in coming. You read and reread passages from Job and the Psalms. Those passages about patience, hope, and waiting on the Lord.
Well all was coming down pretty hard. My heart was broken by decisions beyond my control. Then I read a post by my good friend Brent over at Colossiansthreesixteen.com. His Nov. 27th post was from Psalm 46. You know the one. "Be Still and know that I am God." How many times have we heard that verse in times of strife,and yet how quickly we forget that command when the next wave of the storm comes rolling in. God has been faithful in the past and yet somehow our short memories forget this. We begin to think maybe God has forgotten about us. If God is teaching us a lesson, we sure are missing the point. All we see is the worry in front of us.
Well this weekend I spent some time alone with my wife and two other couples. The men were able to do a little deer hunting and the women were able to catch up and do the arts and crafts type of fun that my wife has so taken to. There really was no agenda for the weekend. Just a time of fellowship at a lakehouse retreat.
I think we all just needed to "get away for awhile." It was amazing how even in some of the down time between hunts there could be long periods of silence as good friends would share in moments of being still. Looking at the lake, watching two redtail hawks riding thermal updrafts, feeling the cold wind blow against your face, drinking good coffee that warmed all the way down, all of this for a moment was enough. Simply being was enough.
I thank the Lord for moments of peace, I thank my wife for her patience in sharing the journey with me, and I thank my friends for the fellowship at critical rest stops on the road of life.