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Wild Man – Part 4 – Reflections

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THE FINAL CHAPTER of Wild Man

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I stand and look into the bathroom mirror and see, really see, the old man I have become. It is not an easy look, but it is what it is. Growing old is not for sissies.

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I find solace in the notion, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” This poor body had three decades of driving too fast on bumpy roads and neglect in changing the oil. I have paid a price for the commitments and sacrifices I made. I can see and feel the costs.

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The big question is “Was it worth it?”

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The answer is, “Yes it was.”

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Let me tell you a story.  Lately I have seen the primitive man from my dream.

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Just the other day I was walking across the Post Office parking lot. In the wall of windows I had a curious moment. I saw an elderly man walking somewhat stooped from lower-back pain, his arms dangling loose and swinging as he walked. From a distance he looked like Bigfoot striding through a mountain meadow, all but waving at the camera.

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It was my reflection of course.

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As I sit at my desk in silence, the storm rocks my Holiday Rambler with a supernatural rhythm. I find myself reaching, without knowing why, for a journal I made entries in ten years ago. I open and browse thoughts and reminders of a decade ago.

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I wrote . . .

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The good news?

Angels are real.

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The bad news?

They are wildly out-numbered.

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“Not an optimistic day,” I thought as I turned the page.

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Then before my brain cells could hold hands and form the next thought, my left hand nearly slapped my ear off.

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It was that sound I heard while I prayed on the spirit trail in the storm.

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Mosquito was back. And it was in my house.

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Now this is funny to me, because I am a long-time student of Native, or indigenous, cultures. The ones I am familiar with see nature as a sacred place of beauty, learning, and sustenance. All of life is part of creation and each life has something to teach us.

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The cougar teaches something different than the eagle. The trees, or standing-people, teach us something different than the rivers. The winged-people teach different lessons than the crawling-people. I have had the privilege of knowing some remarkable people walking the Red Road, learning and sharing their lives.

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So what does mosquito have to teach me?

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I searched for information and found an old southeastern Alaskan Tlingit legend. In this story there was, long ago, a giant that found humans to be a tasty food, just loved our blood and organs, hmm, mmm, good!  The hero of the story killed the giant, and to prevent its coming back to life, cut up the giant into tiny pieces. Each of the pieces transformed into a mosquito.

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My apologies to the Tlingit people for the rough summary.

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Clearly not the kind of legend easily put to music.

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I  have two takes on this legend, and I could be way off.  First.  It is a lesson in humility.  It reminds us two-leggeds what it feels like to not be at the top of the food chain, and we ought to keep it in mind when dealing with other creatures.

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Second.  The story tells us that there is a force in the universe that can devour human beings.  Nothing personal.  That is just what this force does.  The only control we have is in helping people stay out of its way and in the manner in which we deal with its aftermath.

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There are a lot of ways to read the story, and it would take a team of tribal elders to understand more of its history and significance. Some of the rewards in legends is in the discussion and learning possibilities.

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With that search for meaning intention, I decided to take a little time to reflect on that pesky mosquito and see if it has some qualities I could learn from. Here is what I came up with. You can add more.

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Say what you will, mosquito has a very effective voice.

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As small as it is, it can incite instant human response. The instant one hears mosquito near the ear, a part of the human brain kicks in that goes back to our relatives that learned to walk upright. There is something primal and hilarious in knowing that Neanderthals batted mosquitoes the same way you and I do.

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As I reflect on mosquito and my life of writing and telling stories, some comparisons might be made.

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My stories sometimes bite. The narrative sometimes requires a little blood-letting. The messages can sometimes cause a psychological itch that demands to be scratched. The images described may be uncomfortable or provocative, but this  eventually goes away.

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It may be that my writing efforts will be no more popular that the tiny voice of a lone mosquito. And maybe that is not all bad. According to Smithsonian Magazine, scientists report that romantic mosquitoes harmonize their whining wing beats. Hey, for the right mosquitoes, that buzzy whisper in our ears is a seriously hot love song.

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Maybe mosquito reminds us that we each have a love song to sing.

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And maybe we should all be careful about getting slapped.

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I remember learning of an upper-Ohio River tribe that was renowned for being invisible in the forest, a kind of Zen and the art of camouflage, being one with the environment.

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A few weeks later, I prayed to have such an invisibility.  I had a twenty-minute dangerous mission of mercy for a boy and his mother.  It was crowded, no one bumped me, spoke to me, or looked me in the eyes.  As far as I could tell, the prayer worked.  I remember to this day the crunchy, nutty sound of countless empty nine-millimeter shell casings under my footsteps like gravel on a rural road.

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I have lived a richly weird life, a life of scientific study, learning, failing, moral dilemmas, religions, philosophy, music, literature, writing, singing, suffering, artistry, relationships, loneliness, good works, evil deeds, confrontation, intervention, risk, fear, courage, psychology, epistemology, cultural anthropology, food, dance, travel, law, women, men, saving children, marriage, birth, death, grief, discovery, disgust, enemies, angels, warriors, wimps, rumor-mongers, revenge-seekers,

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and a few . .

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true . . .

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blue

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disciples of good faiths.

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I cannot say if Yeti or Bigfoot exist in what we call the physical world. What I know is that I dreamed of this unusual being and looked into his eyes.  He is a wild man that lives in a remote place in nature, can blend into whatever his natural surroundings, and only reveals himself to people who are open to seeing.

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I believe that I know that wild man,

and I shall  continue to embrace him . . .

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for he

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is me.

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* THE END *

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Thank you for reading the four-part Wild Man series.

Feel free to click the Comment button below.

To learn more about the Tlingit people, click here.

RUN-WITH-COYOTE-SONG

“Making music is the most fun a human being can have in life with his/her  clothes on.”

(Unknown Nashville songwriter)

That has pretty much been my experience. When everyone’s talents and passions come together, something beautiful happens, and we are transported, . . even if just for a few moments, . . to a place where magic happens, and three ordinary guys can Run With Coyote.

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I read a story about one red man’s first encounter with a white man. The Native man watched the European man from a distance in the forest. The newcomer to his land carried a heavy iron stick that he pointed at brother deer. A thunder-clap exploded from the stick and brother deer dropped dead.

The Indian watched as the white man dressed out the carcass, saving the hide and meat on which he later feasted. The next day the Indian watched as the white man again pointed his thunder-stick at another brother deer, at even greater distance, and again brother deer dropped dead.

What startled and confounded the Indian man is that he watched as the newcomer turned and walked away from his kill, back to his camp, while admiring his weapon.

In astonishment, the Indian man’s mind thunder-clapped, “What kind of creatures are these?!”

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For me, the spirit of that story combined with a local newspaper article twenty years ago.  There was an upcoming project by authorities in north-central Arizona to “thin the coyote population” by shooting them from a helicopter with a shotgun.

My original title was “Shotgun Coyote” and this song is my crying out a warning to the coyotes.  Doc helped finish off the lyrics and made the recording happen.  Bubba worked his guitar and studio gifts.  The day we created this song, in our minds and hearts, we were  with the coyotes.

Perhaps you will be there with us.

Vocals by Dennis “Doc” McCracken and guitar by James ” Bubba” Hudson, Nashville.

coyote in desert postcardClick RUN WITH COYOTE SONG

Then click your download.

 

 

THE SPIRIT-HORSE SONG

Lyrics by Jeff “Reddog” Kirkendall & Dennis “Doc” McCracken

Vocals by Doc McCracken

Reddog & Sundancer
Reddog & Sundancer

Guitar by Bubba Hudson

Recorded by Behind-the-Tack-Shed-Studios, Nashville, TN 2/2/96

Dear Readers & Listeners,

I wrote the foundation of this song when I had been through enough hard times in life to appreciate the fact that facing the truth is not only the-right-thing-to-do, it can also be the most mysterious and exciting.

The song shares the notion that facing the truth and doing the right thing have an intuitive rhythm.  When practiced and done well, you don’t have to think.  You sense the mood, act, and experience the quiet joy of the truth setting you free.

This song came in a dream.  Bubba captures this quality with his truly fine guitar work.  The magic of Doc’s vocals brings the message home.

Click THE SPIRIT-HORSE SONG

Replies and Forwardings are greatly appreciated.

Many blessings to you and your relatives this Year 2013,

J. Kirkendall

 

FIRST VERSE

Come with me; let’s take a ride
      On an Arapaho pony called Dreamer
Wrap tight your legs; let loose the reins
      Open up your eyes to your Redeemer

          Yes, listen to the call of your Redeemer

VERSE TWO

Come with me, on a starlit night
      Ride to the edge of all you know
Sacred canyons, whispering winds
      Mysteries you’ve yet to know

          There are powers you have yet to know

VERSE THREE

Come with me, and I will show you
      The light your spirit longs to show
You’ll cry out with passion, and you’ll weep with joy
      To find out who you are, you must surrender

          Yes, to know who you are . . . surrender

VERSE FOUR

Come with me; take a leap of faith
      On this war pony called Dreamer
If you ride with me, I’ll set you free
      I’m what your soul’s been yearning for

          Yes, I am Truth, your Redeemer

               On a pony called Dreamer
                    The truth is your Redeemer
                         The truth of Dreamer