Pipe Bombs Burstin’ in Their Hair

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If you don’t know who Nathan Bedford Forrest is, go look him up.

Hey, my book is still on special over on Amazon.

I’m not shocked.

Not shocked by the recent racist red meat thrown to Trump Chumps. America has a deep vein of that ‘send her back’ nastiness embedded in the marrow of her bones.

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The other. Not one of us. Not American. Doesn’t love America like us. Not a real American. They don’t get our ways. They don’t have our values. They won’t assimilate. They don’t speak our language. They come here to destroy our country. They are NOT ONE OF US. USA USA USA!!!

You can go back through American history, see plenty of that same shit Assolini spewed at his rally. It’s a diversion, sure. It’s meant to deflect from the Latest Scandal, this time the one with Jeffrey Epstein.

The child-trafficking bestie of powerful men across the spectrum of political and religious affiliations. As even those who worship Assolini would have to, and I’m not sure they would at this point, step back a bit and act sorta, kinda, almost mildly perturbed, if their savior-hero-object of worship gets tied to any of Epstein’s trafficking and underage rape sprees.

There’s also Robert Mueller testifying sometime, maybe? That might also be causing alarm and a need to throw out burning crosses and Make America White Again hysterical rantings.

However, the problem with all this is that there will be very real consequences for these political games. An elected Representative, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota’s Fifth District, might very well lose her life because of the ramped up rhetoric against her.

That someone who lies constantly gets believed by his base is Ionesco level absurd. It’s into Sam Beckett areas.

We’ve already had an Assolini follower try to send bombs to various Democrats on Assolin’s hit parade. It’s just…a matter of time, I guess. Before one of those acolytes succeeds.

And the press will fall in line and blame the victim…cause both sides or something. Maybe they won’t. Maybe lessons are being learned. And.

Nope. Nope, just checked. Nope!

I think America is all but dead. I think there are death rattles going on. But death swans in on chants of ‘send her back’. To people waving their red badges of dishonor.

Yes, I am incredibly disheartened by all this. I’ve even taken to writing a few things here and there over on Twitter. The disinformation, conspiracy theories about Hillary and now the Squad, just makes your hair rise on end. I hit fifty and less shits to give.

I’m watching the gutting of my country by a cynical walking and screaming actual piece of shit. I’m watching my own family embrace this enthusiastically. And swallow all of the lies, slick PR, the rhetoric…all of it.

I also notice, across the pond, that Boris Johnson will likely be the next PM. A British version of Assolini.

And I hope, I still hope, all this embracing of shouty men will end. I hope it doesn’t take a world war to end this fellating of horrorshows who shout and yell simplistic slogans that people can repeat and sneer at those like me.

I hope people notice there are no ideas offered. Give all the money to the rich and kill the group/s demonized for everything is so done that, been there, after all.

Never Again. Except. It’s How Fast Can We Repeat History while pretending this time it’s different?

Is the answer a lot?

Is the answer as much as possible because no one but whiny commie lefty hate the flag socialists who won’t say the Pledge and take knees point it out so it must be wrong, wrong, wrong to not be under the thrall of Orange Shouty Man Assolini??

At this point it’s just patriotic to be a fascist! MAGA! What are we shouting this time around again? I’m economically anxious! Look at me chanting horrible words at brown people while being economically anxious! Wheeeeeee!!!! I feelz so better now!!! Wheeeee!! Still can’t pay rent and buy groceries in the same month but SEND HER BACK SEND HER BACK SEND HER BACK.

That’s where we are. America has gone full tilt boogie insane. I guess those who stayed home rather than vote…nope. Nope, too fucking late to beat that skeletal horsie. You vote for Jill Stein [or any candidate that’s not the Dem nominee] in the next election cycle [if we have one] and I will personally roll my eyes at you. And write a nasty, barely veiled, poem about your genitalia. Okay? Okay!

Maybe! these shouty men [and the far right leaders getting voted into office all over the planet seem legion.] will just be a minor fever on the world’s journey toward some utopia.

Ah, world peace! Whirled peas! A UN type of world where the UN doesn’t really need to exist cause everyone, ahem, gets along! 

Some world where nearly everyone is treated well, there’s enough food and water, the environment isn’t a smoking trash heap, animals still exist in the ‘wild’ and the rise of shouty men is a laughable joke told by smirking comedians at art festivals dedicated to new works.

Yes, my utopia has a plethora of art festivals and smirking comedians. Make art, not war!

It can’t happen here.

Fuck yeah, it can. It is.

I think we’re there, for a while now– people also aint’ comin’ back from their Assolini fixation. You can’t pretend away that you were never really for him when he falls. And he will. Cause that’s what happens, for the most part, with shouty men. It’s not a nice or pretty ending or a ride off into the sunset on a pretty horse for shouty men.

Of course America is still fighting the War of Northern Aggression.

The Party of Lincoln is somehow also the Party of Jefferson Davis. That’s, um…yeah.

That’s nutballs with a capital NUT.

But hey, at least there’s a real sense of inert helplessness going around! We got that going for us!

USA USA USA. Flag.

Oh say can you ignore by the rally’s early light, what so cowardly we chant, is an echo of earlier shit our great-grandparents had chanted at them…And the machine gun’s red glare, the homemade pipe bombs burstin’ in their hair, gave proof through the day, that stirring up hatred works like a charm, hurray hurray.

 

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See what I mean? Lilly perfectly echoes the lies, rhetoric, all of it, right on cue. My own dad couldn’t have parroted this better.

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My book

Hi. My book, House on Clark Boulevard, is on sale over on Amazon until July 22. Go have a read, leave a review. And thanks if you do. 

Just got a bit of happy writing news so I thought I’d also post that MY BOOK IS ON SALE RIGHT NOW, GO GET IT FOR YOUR KINDLE OR E-READER AND HEY, LEAVE ME A REVIEW. 

Okay!

 

 

Also– try Oregon Gothic. What have you got to lose? Some sleep? Enjoy!

 

 

 

Sparklepony Jesus Spammer

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Heaven. I’m in heaven. And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak…

Admit it. You’ve been missing my genteel and delightful titles. Today’s post is about a persistent spammer with a Jesus fetish.

Now “Emmanuel Love” seems hellbent on trumpeting the end of the world is nigh messages. The first full sentence of this spammy spam was praise for the Insane shitweasel for moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Naming it the capital of Israel which needs to happen before a chain of events gets set off that will usher in…uh huh. It’s a parallel of the dominionism beliefs.

{If I am fuzzy here on Israel and all that, sorry. I’ll go look all this up, do some research.}

 Dominionisn?? What’s that? Ah. That’s Mike Pence and the Duggars. The Quiverful Movement. Where the women get bred like cows and the men are men, and don’t you ever forget it or they might snap and shoot you in the face cause Jesus. Where the end of the world is pretty much nigh and boy, oh boy, are they prepared for it. You can add survivalists in here. End time preppers. Hardcore Christians nearly vibrating with malice toward others. That’s my take. Just a vibrating set of WHEN JESUS GETS HERE YOU ARE ALL GONNA DIE AND BE SORRY SO THERE. 

That’s why the whole public masturbation over Israel. Because stuff needs to be arranged there to fit prophecy…cause Jesus needs help? Jesus can’t make shit fall into place? I know and you know Insane Shitweasel did that with Jerusalem on Mike Pence’s whispery pleadings. And the praise he got shivered shitweasel’s timbers.

Did you notice America’s birthday got hijacked? That California belched out an earthquake and DC brewed up a witch’s cauldron worth of rain, lightening and general bad wet awful weather?

I’ll let you go read up on this particularly awful branch of Christianity.

Now, my sparklepony spammer spams this same copy and paste completely batshit insane fanfic/novella at me about two or three times a day at times.

As if constantly bombarding me with nonsense and wrongness will turn my head.

Do you really want me wandering over to your site, dude? Or allowing your spammy shit to post, then taking it apart so hard you’ll still be crying for mommy in the echoing halls of some fourth rate hell?

I did go look at the site this darling oozed from. Holy hell and by the scaly tail of the devil!! Anti-human rights, anti-everything, pro-…?

From gay-bashing to how Noah’s Ark is super-real, you heathens. How evolution is fake. Yep. Anti-science, too. Anti-human rights. Anti-women.

The mark of the Beast, for the love of cupcakes and G-strings! Is, gasp, Obama still the Anti-Christ, dude?? Tell me MORE. Oh wait, don’t. Heard it!! Heard all this crap! Makes me giggle uncontrollably.

Prolly not the reaction you want, Emmanuel. 

All with the word ‘love’ thrown around like candy at a fascist rally. We do this out of love, I hear about such hardcore, used to be on the fringe, Christians. We do this to save you…Yeah, no.

Let me go to hell in my own way, to paraphrase Robert Frost.

I have no problem with religion or those who have faith or practice something. I have a problem with others demanding I practice a form of their whatever as well. I want to state that here.

Oh you’re just bashing Christianity!

Well, fuck yeah, I am.

When some lame ass spammer keeps spamming me about his fap fantasy end of the world ocean of blood cum dreams, I get a bit peevish.

Leave me the hell out of your everyone dies but about four people deathgasms. Leave me out of your world ends in fire and blood nuttery.

I’d rather fantasize about a deserted island, with a gorgeous beach and that inviting expanse of water. I can add whatever I need here.

A cocktail.

Someone to talk to, a brace of cheerful friends, a manta ray I can watch swim about.

Oh yes, I dream of going to the beach. That’s my heaven.

Not Emmanuel Love’s [maybe change your name to Blade Kill Em All, Blade Killemall]  grubby, awful, narrow vision of savagery. 

Blood to be spilled by a terrible version of the savior figure that floats through your fanfic like a combination of Voldemort and Rambo.

Just fuck off, sparklepony of hate, fear and jonesing for a big death show to end everything we know of life on this planet.

I’m starting to have no fucks to give anymore. Maybe this next decade is the ‘just go fuck yourself, you annoying shitmeister’ span of years as I toddle off into the surf to pet manta rays.

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from a calendar of sexy Jesus stuff. 
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Anyone else getting these numbingly frequent headscratchers? I cropped it. Emmanuel Love’s opening gambit. Notice that bull about prophecy, in case you thought I was inventing. 

Activities with Rocks

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Early attempts at painting rocks

I wrote a scathing diatribe on the political hellscape that is ‘murica lately. Instead, to welcome yet another interminable month in this interminable slog of a life, I’ll write about rocks.  I’ll mention two novels that will hit sometime that could be any time, really. And something of mine that got included in a literary journal.

Rocks? Wha?

Military parade with a bloated price tag. Tanks. Money to pay for this culled from the national parks and veteran’s programs. With ticket prices, VIP seats! Sumbitch! Kids in cages. But hey, Nike pulled the Betsy Ross flag design and PEOPLE LOST THEIR MINDS CAUSE FREEDOM AND RIGHTS AND HONORING THE TROOPS OR…or…or…mm. Is that blood leaking from my ears? 

Yeah, I’m painting rocks. Badly. But it’s been a long time since I’ve painted anything. It seems a lot of people I know have turned to artsy crafty stuff to deal with…the drumbeats that celebrate the end of my country. With those supporting this screaming that we should get over it. With a ‘snowflake’ thrown in there.

I have friends also painting mandalas on rocks, leaving them places. Or writing some inspirational on a pebble, leaving it where others can find it and hopefully get inspired.

I do have a reason for why I’m slapping cheap paint on free rocks.

Last year, I went to the Death Rattle writer’s conference in Nampa, Idaho. I tried to sell some books. I was ill prepared. I didn’t have the fancy bank transaction app on my knock off Chinese-made phone. Where you can take people’s credit cards, run a transaction. Cause I didn’t even know that existed…I’m woefully behind the tech times. I’m also not up with how to sell your shit in these ultra-modern times. So. Learning experience.

I did get out of the house and mingle with others. Plus right there!

So I will attempt another attempt at a booth. You don’t have to pay a fee. Just apply for a spot. It’s held in a small alley by a bar. You sit there and try to smile and look inviting and friendly. Everyone seems to know everyone else. They’re all old friends or at least nodding acquaintances. But this time, for my wares, I intend to offer some art.

This takes place in October so I have the long hot summer to create. Or try to create something I can display without cringing.

I’ll also make some salt clay somethings. I was thinking pendants. One of a kind, small, tasteful, pretty. As I would love something like that and would scrape pennies out of the cup holders in the car to get one. I could also do some Christmas ornaments or even Halloween ornaments. I do write a lot of horror fiction. And it is my fave holiday.

If I focus on this rather pleasant problem, I do not focus on the crud coating my brain or the GODDAMN FUCKERY THAT IS CHEETOLINI and all that. At least, not entirely.

Also, I find other friends painting rocks or quilting. I noticed that Seth Andrews, who does the Thinking Atheist podcast, among other endeavors, got hooked on the Great British Baking Show. He’s been baking. I know tons of folks who love that show and then try to bake. Like, oh, me. Me, I’m one of those. 

 I am also hooked on baking competition shows.  I find baking so oddly fulfilling. I take raw ingredients, produce something roughly like what I saw. I’ve even managed to produce loaves of bread. I’ve moved from just schlupping the dough into a heated up giant cast iron pot into cutting the lump of dough in half, then placing that into bread pans.

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I made this!

I’ve graduated to seeing what I can shape the dough into. Can I braid it or…turn it into something actually pretty or French Bakery-esque?

Yeah, no, not yet. But I haven’t been baking bread for that long and it takes a lot of flour. And yeast. It seems like a lot of people need comfort and an outlet to deal with reality lately. That everyone seems to have picked up some sort of art hobby or baking or throwing away all their stuff in some sort of supercleanse or life enema. I wonder why.  I don’t. That was sarcasm. I don’t wonder why at all.

Rocks.

I feel like I’ve got an actual plan here, planning for a booth space I might not even get. But it’s a long-range plan. Longer than “make it through day.”

Ah, a flash fiction piece of mine, By Starlight By Starlight My Dear, is included in the latest edition of A Door is a Jar literary magazine. I had entered an earlier version of this same one that got soundly rejected, with actual criticism sent my way. I rewrote it. It got better. A Door is a Jar accepted it and there ya go.

Oh, so I think I have two books in editing right now. Alice in Oregonlandia, the not at all anticipated sequel to my dead on arrival House on Clark Boulevard. I kid, I kid! You’re supposed to Always Be Closing. That line from the Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross.

It takes up about ten years after the end of House. Alice gets a turn. The fall out of Nancy’s time in that house. Alice discovering a few truths about herself. How Art steps up as dad and caregiver.

Aftermath, which is my take on…wait for it…zombies. I know. I know. But!! It follows Hannah as she finds herself in a world run by zombies, after killing herself because she was trapped in a dead end space by zombies. Hannah tries to navigate her way through a vastly changed world, where zombies run everything and have all the political, economic and actual power. Set in Boise, Idaho, because, frankly, it’s an hour down the road from me. I had great fun writing this. Isn’t that the point of all this?

Thank you to everyone who bothers to read these. I appreciate it. I can be a tedious bore with my depression and endless string of failures. My tiny advances that give me a tiny bit of hope that maybe I should keep writing. That maybe today I can find whatever courage or gumption it takes to just keep plugging on.

Plug on, you dull bit of coal. My shout out to Pink Floyd…

 

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Available in A Door is a Jar, latest issue.
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Miz Bridge and Molly the Chocolate Lab.

 

 

Just Words

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The Carlisle School. Wikipedia. Pennsylvania

You cannot avoid the news. About the American concentration camps housing children in filth, abject starkness, no basic necessities. Like soap. Or tooth paste or a toothbrush. Or diapers for babies and toddlers. Or food beyond enough not to outright starve people.

The GOP frame this as it’s the fault of the Democrats for not funding so and so. That those kids can leave any time. Just walk out. Past armed guards and…go off into the sunset, I guess. That Obama did it first so the GOP and Trump are helpless not to do that as well. The separation of families, the torturing of children, the secrecy and lies. Except it was Jeff Sessions, last year, who put this policy into place.

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From Zazzle

But what do facts matter when brown people can finally be treated as cockroaches again? Or more than usual.

We hear pundits and amateur alike point out how dangerous the language used is. That it hearkens back to Nazi Germany, to Rwanda, to Cambodia, to places where mass exterminations took place.

Dehumanizing others to make it okay to kill them in heart-stopping numbers. Thousands. Hundred thousands. Millions. Rats. Cockroaches. Scum. Rapists. Diseased. They all carry diseases. They’re all gang members and sex traffickers. So it’s good that we’re taking those kids away. Who are all trained to come here to infiltrate us anyway.

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from the Western Rifle Shooters Association

I did read where the Trump Concentration Camps are to be put under the auspices of the military. Which means no oversight. No monitoring. Nobody allowed in who is not authorized. Rather like Guantanamo Bay.

That those kids are being forcibly adopted out, even as parents seek to get reunited with them. Rather like America did with Native American children. Like the Australians did with Aboriginal children. Like Canada did with…There seems to be a pattern here.

The government of the US stepped in, on those reservations. They placed children into boarding schools, cut off their hair, forced them to speak English only, taught them to be farmers or some trade thought suitable to be useful to society. They were not allowed to visit their families. They were not allowed to go home, back to the place they had to call home instead of where their people had been for centuries. As those lands were now plowed under or buried beneath emerging cities. All of this right after the wrenching years of the American Civil War. Once again, the near success of stripping identity and pride away from people deemed less than or not quite human or not human at all.

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Actual poster from 1870’s-80’s

You hear that Christians built America. You look under that even a little, you see Chinese people laying the tracks for the railroads that would connect the East coast to the West coast. NYC to Frisco. Except you don’t call it Frisco. Those that live there have told me that. But the Chinese were brought over to build the paths for the steel horses, and to fill the brothels and to wash the clothes and cook the food. To be laborers of all kinds, in every way. Families back in China sold their children during that time period, or sold themselves or got on boats heading to the brash new country as there was a horrific drought at that time.

Rather like the Irish and the Great Potato Famine era.

Rather like the American-helped drug wars happening in other parts of the Americas in current time.

Droughts, famines, man-made horrors that seemingly have no end, can and do send people to escape them, outlive them. Refugees. Outcasts. Seekers. They all have individual names. They are all humans. Same as I am.

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This is from a slideshow. I did not put this together. Found it during a search.

There is a massacre of Chinese gold miners in my own back forty, so to speak. In Hells Canyon, the great rift in Northeast Oregon, very western Idaho. A group of about thirty people were slaughtered. They had set up a mining claim on the Snake River, the river that gouged the canyon out of the rocks same as the Colorado did the Grand Canyon. They had some success.

There’s gold yet in Eastern Oregon mountains, streams, lakes and rivers. You can stop and pan for gold alongside the freeway if you like. At least you used to. I haven’t driven up there for a while, it might be gone.

White men crept up on this peaceful group. Killed them, wounded them, took their gold. Some of the men were founders of Joseph, Oregon. Which is named for a Nez Perce leader who very nearly won against the US cavalry. If you don’t know that story, you should look it up. It will break whatever’s left of your heart. But he got a town named for him, set against the truly lovely Wallowa Lake. You can take a paddleboat out on it. You can walk around and look at the art and statues. You can attend Chief Joseph Days. In honor of a defeated cockroach.

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Memorial at Deep Creek honoring those who were murdered.  From the Oregon Encyclopedia

The men who killed the Chinese were not punished. There was a sort of trial. No convictions. Everyone knew they had done this but the Chinese were regarded as a necessary evil, a blight. They were not granted the right to seek citizenship. Their customs, language and way of life were considered disposable or laughable. Bodies of those that had died had to be buried in China or the spirits of the dead could not find rest.

The laws regarding those from Asia said that Asians were not welcome. They had been brought here as children or…what does it matter. I guess. It’s old history. It has no bearing on anything today.

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It seems all I have left is a ghostly wisp of sarcasm. A faint wraith with no power left to startle or actually haunt. I cannot even muster up a good sneer or that dry tone needed to deliver the deft blows of a well-placed absurdity into the squawkings about ‘illegals and gang bangers here to ruin ‘murica’.

I am not surprised that Christians justify what is going on now at the border and elsewhere with those whose skin marks them as targets. That seething hatred to dominate and oppress seems built into the foundations of that religion. It has never been about love. It’s been about domination, conquest and erasing all opponents as ruthlessly as possible. I might be exaggerating. I don’t think I am. 

It’s my religion as well. At least it was. Brought up a Missouri Synod Lutheran, a Protestant. Martin Luther started an actual holy war with the Catholic Church back in 1495 or so. I was baptized. I was confirmed as a member of the congregation. My grandparents were staunch Lutherans.

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I cannot see either of them going along with what’s going on now. Their two sons do. My dad. My uncle. They are both Fox junkies; they shoot up on Hannity and Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson instead of heroin. They cry fake news in echo of their lord and savior. They go off into that haze, that high, with a blissful smile.

But I cannot see my grandparents, who were alive for WWII, condoning this. I might be coloring them with rosy lights here but I honestly do not think my church-going grandparents who both spoke other languages and were one generation or so from being migrants themselves, would clap and cheer at children in concentration camps.

However, there were Japanese folks in America who were stripped of their rights and everything else, herded into interment camps. There’s even one nearby.

Whatever faith I might have had in God has leaked away like dirty water into the sand. Evaporated. I think today I am finally admitting I no longer believe. It’s been a long time coming, as the song goes. I look at my country. I listen to the people around me grumbling about illegals. About how Trump is trying to save us and the lefties won’t get in line to let that happen.

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1975, Camp Pendleton. Refugees known as the Vietnam Boat People. LA Times. 

My despair is profound, and awful.

There are children being kept in inhumane conditions in overcrowded cages. We are arguing over what to name such a thing. We are arguing that it’s just a matter of Democrats not willing to give ICE some funding or send funds toward the wall. That there’s a crisis at the border and the Democrats want a flood of…

Everything is broken. Another song title from Dylan. But it’s apt here. Never again. Just words after all.

Just words.

 

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The Owyhees

A few pictures of one of my favorite places. Eastern Oregon, the Owyhees. This area also covers part of Idaho.

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The Owyhee River
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Jake and Molly along the riverbank
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You can see the dry hills in the back. 
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Rocks, dry grass and hills
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Right before the dogs jumped in to fetch sticks. Owyhee River
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Sometimes you get lucky, get your camera up in time to catch deer racing up through the rocks

Three Happy Dogs

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Brigit, Jake in the middle and Molly to the right. The Oywhee River.

I took the three dogs out to the Owyhees, which is the mountain range about forty minutes away. I loaded them into the Jimmy or the GMC, took some water, three dog bones, a towel. The old dirty blanket got placed across the back seat because there’s a small river up that way. And the three dogs love to fling themselves into the waters, whether pond, mud puddle, ocean, lake, trickle, stream, or river.

The wind a bit gusty but the sun out, the day beautiful otherwise. June day, not too hot but hot enough.

It seemed my mood lifted the second I crossed the tiny bridge over the Malheur as I drove toward the state park area. There’s a road carved into the rocks and sagebrush that leads up to the big reservoir where you can boat or swim or just hang. I don’t go up there cause…people are there and my entire goal in life right now is to avoid all human contact. That’s not sarcasm or being cutesy. That’s my depression, which has won and is just waiting for me to cut my wrists already so it can move on to someone else who at least poses a challenge to it…

Medication? Other than whatever’s in the fridge? No.

The three dogs whine and whimper. When they get to go anywhere, their other ends spew. They get excited, they have to empty the chambers. So I pull over, as there are little roads cut into the hills, as well as free range cattle and places to shoot off mortar rounds and…it’s Eastern Oregon. You can also see where the wagons cut grooves into the earth for all time, seemingly. Oregon Trail tracks. No kidding. Come see the permanent damage people have done to the earth, y’all!

I slow down when I see a ‘road closed’ sign, and a traffic cone. One of my favorite little spots to hunt rocks. This part of Oregon is rock hound heaven, in case I have not mentioned that. There’s a Thunderegg Festival in Nyssa, Oregon. That’s where people bring rocks to sell, along with other things. A thunderegg is another name for a geode.

The bridge, a tiny stone and wood structure you can drive across, had been swept away by a spring flood. The litter of that bridge in the river yet, which rushed past it importantly. Now. This is a narrow little river but it packs a powerful current with a strength more suited to the Mississippi at times. Same with the Snake River. It’s deceptively narrow but treacherous as the current regime of Gross Old Perverts. Crossing it on a covered wagon, in the days before dams and crumbling bridges, shudder. There’s a couple of famous crossing places that have been preserved in Idaho and Oregon. Farewell Bend, for instance. It’s where you left the river and went up into the Blues. By this time in your Oregon Trail adventure, you were just happy you were still alive.

Up the badly maintained road, often with rocks tumbled across it from the stony outcroppings that lean over it like something from a LOTR movie, I discover one of my favorite spots has no camper or group of scrubbed tourists lounging there like ticks on a hound. The dogs explode out of the back of the Jimmy, I notice I’ve left my bucket at home. I did bring a small ice cream bucket and a sack but nothing to put any or all the rocks I was sure to find. Hope is always eternal when I rouse myself enough to sneak off to hunt the elusive stationary rock. Some trips I find agates or chunks of crystal this or that almost at my feet when I park. I make sure I can get back on the road again as getting stuck out there with no phone is not a goal of mine. I can’t afford minutes at the moment.

The dogs go swimming. They sniff. I wander about noting the rocks, how the river must have flooded this little area, as the ground is yet muddy and water plants had died in straight lines. I had just seen the small bridge destroyed by the Owyhee River. I knew of hikers trapped by a mudslide not days ago. Fifty or more. A man had been swept away after falling asleep when rafting this same river. Found safe after a while.

The current at this peaceful little spot, with a small ranch next to it with actual livestock wandering through now and then, seems relentlessly evil. The dogs have trouble swimming against it and I worry I might have to rescue either of the two big Labs or the young Kewpie. Or cow dog as I think of Miz Bridge.

However, they enjoy being out of the yard and I trudge about. I am happy enough as well to be out of the yard, so to speak. But there’s no real joy in me at being in what has always seemed a spiritual place that renews what little I have left in my life’s batteries. It’s my big birthday. I turned fifty. Is that it? I am just down over how old I am?

Yes, to be frankly honest as hell. That is a small part of that yesterday. I expected. I expected a life beyond failing over and over and over, with nothing to show for my writing efforts but two books nobody’s even read. Including people in my own immediate family. My own fault for not becoming a teacher way back when, a real one, with certificates and such. As I pushed to do by my mother and others, and I did see myself teaching English to high schoolers or even, gasp, my little dream of teaching theatre in a college. And if I go into any of my abject wrong turns here or actual dead end blunders, I really will give in despair. More than usual, anyway.

I am not writing this for sympathy or thrills. I am attempting to sort everything out before I can’t. Or am not able to anymore.

Yes, it’s that bad. All the time. That little trip yesterday was my birthday treat. That was it. My family didn’t do anything special for me and I was grateful to even have my dad remember it was my birthday on the actual day of my birthday. I am grateful for a scrap of ‘hey, birthday, whatever’. Grateful. I have never mattered to my family…that’s how I feel.

And we’re not supposed to have feelings anymore. Or ever?

Once my mother brought a German Chocolate cake for my birthday. From the bakery markdown selection. The frosting had cracks in it, as it was old. Cheap old cake. I realize now that during June farmers don’t have a ready supply of cash and that I should be happy she bothered to get me a town cake at all. I just…want to feel that I matter to my own flesh and blood a bit.

And every birthday, it seems, I am faced with the evidence that I don’t.

The lifelong depression is going to win. I’m not going to magically defeat this thing in my head. I can barely concentrate enough to write this. I want to give in so badly and just end it. There it is. If I can look that in the face a bit, maybe I can…

take the dogs for little jaunt somewhere else that’s strange and new to me. Where I have no memories to remember. And I make it through another day.

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Not the bridge I mentioned, obviously. You can see the river doesn’t look formidable or anything else.
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Already dry as a bone. Sagebrush and rocks.
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Happy Jake after he emptied the chambers.