31 December, 2009

Open Carry

~~ Sixth Sense ~~

Back in the dark ages.... when we were young and dumb, sometimes stoned, we roamed the lower mountains in noisome and bothersome packs. The old mines around Idaho Springs or Georgetown and those above Central City, along with the ancient cemetery beckoned us. All of us were skiers. Hiking and running down hill, rock hopping and making quick cuts between trees were one way we kept in shape during the off season.

One June while camped on the edge of an Aspen grove near Brainard Lake, that now familiar "sixth sense" woke me in the eerie alpenglow just before true dawn. My friends were still asleep, racked out mounds of colorful nylon, unconscious. Peering, bleary eyed over the frosty edge of my bag, I watched as a cottontail fairly flew around the corner, and blasted down the trail, zig-zagging in a ragged dance of deception. Two breaths behind him, a large coyote streaked into our camp, running low and intent. The moment the critter caught our scent, it froze. A burning yellow eye caught mine. A low growl rumbled, pissed. We, the intruders, had foiled a breakfast hunt. In less than a heart-beat, he(or she) turned tail and disappeared back up the trail.

Just a song dog, yet I had never before felt quite as vulnerable. I lay there shaking...unable to think or move, frozen in time. I caught a glimpse of what it meant to “be” prey. It was one of those seminal, teachable moments, serendipitous some might say. The experience was filed away in a growing inner library that ultimately led to a tipping point. I changed. I grew from being an undisciplined, loopy thinking liberal college kid into an adult, a hunter, gun owner and conservative in thought and action.

These days I ply the high mountain creeks with a light fly rod, seeking cutthroat and brook trout. Much of the time I am alone or with one friend. The reassuring weight of either the S&W .357 or the Ruger hogleg .44 mag. rest at the ready on my hip. Mountain lions and black bear prowl the environs where I prefer to fish. There are apocryphal tales, unproven, of wolves who have migrated down the Rockies spine from Yellowstone and the Tetons.

The act of being armed is purposed, intentional. It changes my placement in the environment from being possible prey into an equal to those with tooth and claw, speed and stealth. The weight, the presence of the firearm creates a change in my attitude and approach in how I interact with the environment.

Before, a blithely unconscious two legged simian, thin skinned and devoid of defensive (or offensive) protection, I wandered the trails, canyons and creek beds with an invisible sign on my back. “Eat me!”, the sign blinked. Now, with the firearm’s weight as a reminder, I remain aware that there is only that deadly tool and my reasoning mind that changes me from helpless prey into a defender. I am no longer prey. I am become predator.

Would it be that four legged predators were the only critters of concern.

Given the continued influx of people into the high country, some with questionable motives and some with downright evil intent, the open carry of a sidearm provides me, an aging, arthritic man, with a self-defense mechanism, an equalizer. You see, beloved, dialing 911 five miles from nowhere is not a viable option.

(a tip of the hat to Brigid over at:
http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/ for the inspiration.)

26 December, 2009

Christmas Dinner


It all began when og (http://www.neanderpundit.com/) posted his version of Venison Wellington last week. The wheels in the right side of my brain began to spin, thinking of what to do to create a fine Colorado rendition of the same.

Mark and I harvested two mule deer does the first weekend of December. I had a roast in the freezer just begging to be made into a version of Wellington. Here's the recipe:

  • one pint of fresh button mushrooms, coarse chopped
  • two shallots, coarse chopped
  • two garlic cloves, coarse chopped
  • quarter cup of dried currants
  • two quarter inch thick discs of Liverwurst (Braunschweiger)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • two Tblsp. unsalted butter
Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron) medium heat with the butter and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Dump the mushrooms, shallots, garlic into the food processor, pulse until they are very fine, almost a paste, drizzle a bit of olive oil as needed to keep the texture fine. Saute the mixture in the butter and olive oil about 10 minutes till the liquid is reduced. Salt and Pepper to tase. DO NOT clean the skillet! Set the mixture aside to cool. When the mix is cooled, mix in the currants.


The Roast:

  • One small (2 to3 lb) Loin or Bottom Round Venison roast
  • 12 slices (about a half pound) good Prosciutto ham
  • One package (18 sheets) phyllo dough
  • Mild Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil (or melted butter)
  • Bacon grease
  • Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
  • Marsala wine
  • one egg, beaten with water to make an egg wash

In the same skillet that you sauteed the pate mixture, add some bacon grease and olive oil, about a tablespoon of each. Heat on medium high until the oil begins to smoke. Dust the roast with salt and pepper. Sear all sides of the roast until well browned. It will take about 10 minutes total. Set the roast aside covered with foil to rest for about 5 minutes. AGAIN....do not clean the skillet

Lay out the slices of prosciutto overlapping (herringbone or bricklayers pattern) on long piece of plastic wrap...or a cross made of plastic wrap. Spread the pate mixture on the prosciutto. Add cut or torn chunks of the liverwurst evenly on the pate. Coat the roast on all side with the dijon mustard and place it in the center of the pate. Fold the prosciutto over the roast, sealing it inside. Wrap the plastic tight, creating a solid seal. Refigerate or put in the freezer to cool and retain its shape, about 20 minutes in the 'fridge, 10 minutes in the freezer.

Heat your oven to 425 degrees.

While the roast is cooling, brush or spritz all the layers of phyllo dough with either melted butter or olive oil. Remove the plastic and place the roast in the center of the stack of phyllo. Fold the dough around the roast, sealing it inside. Cut slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Place the roast in an oiled baking pan....I prefer glass. Brush with the egg wash.

Roast the Wellington for 35 to 45 minutes depending on how rare you like your meat. I did ours for 35.

Remember the unclean skillet? It has good stuff in it! While the roast is in the oven, reheat the skillet and add a bit of bacon grease or butter if needed. If you wish, add flour or corn starch to make a roux. Whisk in between a quarter to half cup of the Marsala to make a bit of gravy to drizzle over the Wellington.

Remove your Wellington, slice thick and enjoy!

The dijon slathered roast laid out on the pate and prosciutto and plastic, ready to be wrapped and cooled.

The Wellington wrapped in phyllo, slits cut and brushed with the egg wash; ready for the oven.

Thirty five minutes later, it came out of the oven, ready for the table, a luscious brown crust on the phyllo.

Sliced from the center out, the meat was done to perfection, barely medium rare, extremely tender and redolent with the flavors of currants, shallots, mushrooms and the spicy bite of the liverurst.

We served it with steamed broccoli spritzed with lemon butter and mashed yams with rice syrup, currants and more butter! A fine Cab or Merlot for those inclined. Oh...and desert was Brandied Pears.

07 December, 2009


November arrived decked in a flaming sunrise. The Summer of travel and death and wandering grief is gone. Autumn came with the promise of more troubles on the world stage. But this!, this sunrise was astounding, a portent of the fires of Winter.
Winter where cold mangles cold and callous hearts turn to stone.
Winter, where deep longings slumber dreaming of the freshets of Spring

The last of the brilliant colors on the Cherry tree and the Spirea bush. The garden was a joy. It went totally out of control as I spent more of the Summer traveling or taking care of Mom and her estate in Tucson, than I did tending my garden. Its overgrown and sorely in need of trimming and cutting back.

Mark took two fine pheasants opening day. I missed more than my share of "gimme" shots. It was obvious when I returned home that I had not been mounting the ol' Browning correctly. I had a series of bruises on my bicep. Can't hit a bird if ya can't shoulder and point the dang gun!

Rifles were cleaned and adjusted. Last year I missed two or three seemingly easy shots after a very disconcerting misfire where a piece of straw had lodged between the bolt face and the round, stopping the firing pin from hitting the primer. I cleaned and checked both long guns for any loose fasteners, rust and crud.

Scopes were checked for accuracy. I shot a total of five or six three round groups with the .270.
The scope was high at 3 inches and way off to the right by almost 5 inches. Dialed in, it was set 2 inches high on vertical center at 100 yards.
Two decent sized does fell to the spell of well placed bullets. I shot mine and Mark followed suit within the blink of an eye. Both animals were dropped almost in their tracks by lung and/or heart shots.

We gutted, skinned, tagged and bagged the carcasses. We iced them down in the big cooler and said farewell to another successful year of hunting near Cheyenne Wells.

05 September, 2009

West River Nathaniel No Fear

Nate's last portrait. A good Scottish Collie with
fine Scottish Harebells behind him.
"Ruadh Gu Brath!"

*~ In Memoriam ~*

b. 4 June 1997
d. 3 Sept. 2009

Nate grew progressively weaker and weaker over the summer. He was losing weight. The docs thought it was because of an auto-immune problem effecting his thyroid. A couple of weeks ago, he began developing symptoms of Lupus, another immune system problem. His back legs and hips have been giving him trouble for nearly a year. When we awoke last Thursday, the 3rd, he was hardly able to rise and walk, listing strongly to Port. Deborah was concerned that he might have had a stroke, or some kind of seizure. It was clear that he was not well. He was loosing control over his bowels and bladder. As the day warmed, the flies were swarming, biting his ears and nose, worrying his hind end.

One of our neighbors, a massage therapist and alternative vet practitioner gave us the name of a vet who specializes in geriatric care, acupuncture and does house calls. (Yes, he does house calls!) I phoned Dr. Jeff and explained the constellation of symptoms and set up a time for him to come by on Saturday.

By 5:00 P.M. it was clear to me that Nate's condition was worsening almost exponentially. I called Dr. Jeff and asked if he could come over that evening. He agreed to do so. Meanwhile Nate was losing all ability to move without help, he was growing disoriented, unable to find a comfortable position. I sat with him in the waning afternoon, kept him hydrated and brushed the flies away.

Right at dusk, as my old friend lay next to me on the southwest corner of the yard, Dr. Jeff drove up and immediately began running diagnostics on Nate. His prognoses was not good. Ms. D arrived and we consulted together and with the vet. All the while, Sprocket kept pacing back and forth, just out of way of the humans surrounding "his" big canine brother.

It was time. I could not stand to watch him suffer any longer. Both Dr. Jeff and Ms. D agreed. It was time to say goodbye.


How do you say goodbye to a wonderful companion, protector, guardian, neighborhood ambassador and friend who has graced our lives and the lives of all our neighbors for just over twelve years? How do you say goodbye to the dog that slept between us, kept us warm as an early June snow storm raged across the Delaney Buttes lakes, while we huddled in a cold, cold camp? How do you say goodbye to a dog that would run back and forth along the river bank, yipping while we two fished, knee deep in frigid waters of Bear Creek? How do you say goodbye to a grand dog who made a point of placing himself between the street and any child who wandered by with his parents, who made it a point to make a gentle peace with every canine that came into "his" territory? How do you say goodbye?


Dr. Jeff went to his car, came back with a plaid blanket. He laid it out on the ground along Nate's back. As he did, he explained what he was going to do. First, he would give Nate a sedative to allow him to relax, feel more comfortable. Then he would leave us all together for a few minutes while the sedative did its work. He gave us choices on how we wanted to handle the remains. We could bury him ourselves or we could have him cremated. We could have his ashes or not.


Ms. D and I sat and wept, holding the old guy, saying our pathos ridden, empty goodbyes. Dr. Jeff then shaved Nate's fore arm, found a vein and injected the lethal dose, the drug that would shut down his cardio-pulmonary function. After the allotted time, he check his heart. It was still beating. He shaved his rear leg, found a vein and injected another dose. He looked at us incredulous, saying: "He has a strong heart. I have given him enough dosage to kill a 200 pound animal."

Dammit...a strong and faltering heart... And then beloved, Nate died.

How do you say goodbye? It is the long, long goodbye. Everyday for some period of time there will be a reminder, a hole in the universe where Nate stood, or lay, or in some way filled with his presence. A year, six months, forever...I suspect a bit of it all. The grieving process is interwoven in humankind's psyche. It belongs to the realm of Kairos. Its God's time, not mine, not yours...not some collective mind.

The day after, neighbors began asking: "Where's Nate?" Ms. D printed out epitaph pages and taped them to Nate's Run. Almost immediately, flowers and cards began to appear. The memorial is still growing. Grown men, tough and strong, come by walking their own canine companions. They learn that Nate has passed... And their shoulders slump, heads drop and hot tears well up. Grief overtakes them.

Dammit!!! -- That, beloved, is how you say good-bye.

Nate and I on New Year's Day, 2009.

Nate enjoying one of his favorite treats:
a new snow fall, wet and cool, late October, 2008

The old Ambassador walking the early Autumn
riparian paths along Clear Creek last September.

I leave you with a recollection brought to us yesterday by one of those burly, strong men:

Big Nate, The Mayor of 42nd and Quitman, loved very much and never to be forgotten by all who knew him:

(In memory of beloved pets who are gone, but not forgotten.)

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"Its me, I haven't left you. I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour your tea,
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I long to take your parcels, I wished I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today. You tend it with such care.
I want to reassure you, that I'm not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on your, I smiled and said: "Its me."

You looked so very tired and sank into the chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.

Its possible fro me to so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty: "I never went away."

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew...
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
And say: "Goodnight, God Bless, I see you in the morning."

And when the time is right for you to cross this brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you, we'll stand together, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there's so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out...then come home and be with me.

- author unknown

21 July, 2009

Where Memories Collide and God Resides

Mary Anne Anthony

b. 29 November, 1928
d. 17 July 2009

"Sileo in Pacem"

" Thou goest home this night to thy home of winter,
To thy home of autumn, of spring, and of summer;
Thou goest home this night to thy perpetual home,
To thine eternal bed to thine eternal slumber.

Sleep thou, sleep, and away with thy sorrow,
Sleep thou, sleep, and away with thy sorrow,
Sleep thou, sleep, and away with thy sorrow,
Sleep thou beloved, in the Rock of the Fold.

Sleep this night in the breast of thy Mother,
Sleep, thou beloved, while she herself soothes thee;
Sleep thou this night on the Virgin's arm,
Sleep thou beloved, while she herself kisses thee.

The great sleep of Jesus, the supassing sleep of Jesus,
The sleep of Jesus' wound, the sleep of Jesus' grief,
The young sleep of Jesus, the restoring sleep of Jesus,
The sleep of the kiss of Jesus of peace and glory,

The sleep of the seven lights be thine, beloved,
The sleep of the seven joys be thine, beloved,
The sleep of the seven slumbers be thine beloved,
On the arm of the Jesus of blessings, the Christ of grace.

The shade of death lies upon thy face, beloved,
But the Jesus of grace has His hand round about thee;
In the nearness to the Trinity farewell to thy pains,
Christ stands before thee and peace is in his mind.

Sleep, O sleep in the calm of all calm,
Sleep, O sleep in the guidance of guidance,
Sleep, O sleep in the love of all loves,
Sleep, O beloved, in the Lord of life,
Sleep, O beloved, in the God of life!

( "Death Dirge", from Carmina Gadelica, edited by Esther de Waal. )

On 17 July 2009, about 21:15 hours Arizona Std. Time, Mom Anthony passed through the veil. She headed home to be with her Christ her Saviour, to reunite with her husband, siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, her own parents and grandparents. The long unbroken line of Ripleys and Martins reaching back in earthly time, in Chronos to the British Isles.

Barb and Bill Frey arrived on Thursday the 16th, fresh from the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim. Sister Martha, her daughter Havah and grandaughter Zoie were here, along with good friends, Chiqui and Joe Kelly and their daughter Lorena Madrazo. I flew in on Friday mid-afternoon. Brother John arrived about 8:00 Friday evening.

Mom was laid out in her bed, barely conscious, breathing shallow and quiet. Her last real lucid moments had been two days before when she told Martha that she was done and was just waiting. That night, we all gathered around Mom's bed, held hands, spoke to her, prayed with her and held her up in God's great light. Each of us spoke words of love and release, quietly letting go. Each one holding her memory up in love. Together we prayed the Lord‘s prayer and gathered in the living room, sharing common and uncommon memories of Mom.

Twenty minutes later, Lori (Lorena) walked out from Mom's room saying that her breathing was growing ragged. I walked in, stood beside her and picked up her hand. With one small little shudder, she released her last breath and her heart ceased its long years of rhythmic dance. Her body was dead. Her earthly suffering had ceased. Mom was finally at peace.

It was clear from that moment on that nothing of the true Mary Anne remained. Her spirit was released and winging its way heavenward, sailing into the bright, never ending sunrise beside a quiet sea where Christ awaits us all.

She is free. The gangly and bossy young girl who wandered the Iowa corn fields has gone home. The striking, dark haired teen who sang and suffered adolescent years with TWO younger sisters in Lakewood, she too has returned home. The barely adult young woman bore me out of passion and love for a bright smiling Swede, fresh out of the Marine Corp. He who broke her heart...Well, that heart is now mended and whole. The fiesty young beauty who married the soft spoken Southern gent and spent nearly 54 years loving him fierce and fine, funny and in the final moments, faithful to his going, she is now at peace. She is once again resting in his strong arms.

All of that history, all of the pain, the unsaid words, the broken promises, the miscarried children, the dreams unfulfilled...They are now redeemed and made whole. I know it to be true. It is the promise that Christ himself made manifest in his short walk as a Man amongst us.
Now we, those left behind to walk our singular paths in imperfect clay vessels, we are the ones who grieve. We feel the loss, the empty place at the table, the phone calls that will never be again, the assurance of a hug, a mother's word or gesture or the simple knowledge that she is there just to listen. We reach out in the darkest night and she is no longer here. That grief will remain 'til God's healing grace soothes us and the sure knowledge that behind her love...His love is stronger. Behind her fierce protection, His fierce love is infinite, all powerful. Beyond our loss, His love is an ever flowing fountain where we can kneel and rest and drink to our hearts contentment.

And when that day comes when we are released from these broken and imperfect bodies, she will be waiting with all the saints who from their earthly labors rest, quiet and complete; encompassed in the arms of our true Father God.

Until that day, we have one another and the promise alive in Christ’s gift to us, His everpresent comforter, the paraclete, the Holy Spirit. His voice and love shown forth in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters sustains us.

For me, this continues to be a life shattering process. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Today, the moon turns full dark, a new moon in its home sign, Cancer. Tomorrow there is a full eclipse of the Sun, its umbral centered in Bangladesh. AND, two days later the Sun passes from Cancer into its home sign, Leo...fiery, expansive, magnanimous. It is the heart of summer. Between the two major influences of Moon and Sun, I find that I am torn.

Its a strange place, unknown and uncharted territory.

I am undone. It is forevermore, an alien land. I feel caught between worlds. I flew down here on Friday full of fears and caught up in the angst of a 4 year old boy who felt his whole world turned inside out. Abandoned, chained to an unknown shadowy father... He seemed a dead and stinking corpse following the boy day and night.

I steeled myself for the worst when I arrived. I was afraid to look at, much less touch Mom as she lay dying.

All of those fears were washed away when I saw her sunken, waxy face and heard her raspy breath. Under the dying flesh, the Beethoven like death mask, there was my MOM! At that moment, the universe tilted and changed. I held her hand, I brushed her cheek with mine. I pushed an errant whisp of grey-white hair from her forehead. I sat with her, talked with her. (Yep, I did all the talking, heh!) Still, it was a conversation.

All of those fears and revulsion about death and dying are now gone.
They were washed away on Friday night.

Holding Mom's hand as she breathed her last breath is a moment that will remain seared in my psyche as long as I wander this broken ol' world. It was a "knowing" moment. Her passing was so sweet and gentle.

Now...why am I torn? Grief is a strange beast, seemingly insatiable. It rips unseen wounds in the strangest and most unlikely places. I am undone, wounded and racked with pain. Yet, I am also very much at peace. Time and prayer and God's grace will heal the pain. That's all I know right now. The peace that God has bestowed will reside, refreshed by his Holy Spirit. Although Mom has departed, her memories remain in each of us. And, more importantly, God has blessed us all with gifts beyond grace, beyond salvation. It is the gift of Himself. It is Christ His Son. It is the Holy Spirit…This is God complete. This is true peace.

Godspeed Mother mine.


Linda SoG (http://www.lindasog.com/) one of the regular contributors over at the KisP Institute (http://www.sondrak.com/) read this memorial on my facebook page.

This is her reply :

" Her resting place shall be in the Garden of Eden.Therefore, the Master of Mercy will care for her under the protection of His wings for all time and bind her soul in the bond of everlasting life. God is her inheritance and she will rest in peace and let us say Amen."


08 July, 2009

Victory Gardens and Wheel Guns

~ Faugh a Ballagh! ~

West River Nathaniel No Fear, a fine rough collie dog lies at sentinel under the Scottish harebells. He patrols the morning and the evening and sleeps outside, under the west windows. He, the "neighborhood ambassador" keeps watch. Fox and coyote, feral dog and feral cat are all greeted with a sharp bark. Any wayward and unknown human is greeted with the same.

He is a Watchman, bred by the Scots-Irish Celts, a breed of herdsmen and hunters, readers of the sun and moon and stars.

Nate is 13 years old. That is old for his breed, given his history. 'Tis tangential. Suffice it to say thus....Nate has been well loved and well received here in these North-west Denver Highlands.

I plant gardens. Flowers for the lady fair, she who tore up roots and family to join me here some fourteen years ago. A Scots-Irish lass her own self...more Scot than I.

And we share history from the Plymouth Colony.

The only reason it makes a tinker's damn is this:

Our beloved country is being overtaken by those who would impose new and heinous iterations of the failed, Socialist Democratic and Communist regimes which our fathers and grandfathers fought and died to defeat.

In defiance, I grow flowers to show them who would tether us and kill our spirits. Joy and hope and the knowledge that we are truly free can never be taken from us.

It is why I grow a garden filled with flowers and greens and herbs.

It is why I encourage sunflowers and wild greens to grow. It is why I stand in awe every morning, thanking God for the beauty of one rose,.

This is why I rise to see the squash blossoms on the summer and winter squash, and on the pumpkins.It is why I grow tomatoes and peppers, hardy greens and potatoes. It is why I make my own way in this life, by the Grace of God and by his Son and His angelic host.


And beloved, it is why I keep myself well armed. This is why I encourage my family and friends to do the same.

A people who depend upon the Government to provide more than the basics as clearly stated within the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, has abdicated their responsibility to make their way, by the grace of God, in this wicked world.


Brigid over at http://mausersandmuffins.blogspot.com/ commented on an old post wherein I spoke about my favorite sidearm, a Smith&Wesson, mod.29, "N" frame revolver chambered in .357 Mag. In a serendipitous moment, an old friend of mine called to ask me about her grandfather's wheelgun.
From that call came the pic above. Two double action S&W pistols at the top, a single action Colt and a single action Ruger below compare size and construction of decidedly different pistol concepts and configuration.

Single action revolvers, where the hammer must be on cock to fire, are infused with the aura of the old west. Sam Colt's wheel guns were the benchmark. The rounded grip of the typical Beasley or other older models was superceded by the flat base. yet the gooseneck curve rolling into the action and trigger housing still remains as a reminder of the older models. It is a sturdy, no nosense tool made work in all manner of climate and condition.
Many cowpokes and ranch hands carried SA revolvers and saddle carbines chambered in the same round. (See: http://theprairiemelts.blogspot.com/2007/11/prairie-arms-ii.html) Colt chambered everything from a .25-20 up to its .45 Long Colt in both pistol and carbine.
Shooting a single action revolver takes a bit of practice, compared to a double action revolver which allows the shooter to simply point and pull the trigger.

The two S&W wheel guns above reflect the evolution of the double-action revolver from the turn of the last century to the mid-20th century. The upper pistol, probably manufactured around 1915/1920 is an elegant gal of a gun. IMHO, she has great legs. The long tapered barrel moving into the wheel housing and the slender curved grip rising to the grip mount...well I find it elegant in that it is machine/tool as art, where form follows function.
The big "N" frame, Model 28~Highway Patrolman, is my go to carry gun. The short barrel is easy to pull and point. The massive frame and aftermarket Pachmayr grips help tame the considerable recoil of hot .357 Mag. handloads. It is a no nonsense tool made to do one thing very well, provide protection against goblins and critters, both two and four legged.

While researching the older S&W .38 special, my lady friend handed me a full box of ammunition marked: "Remington .38 Long Colt, 150 grs. lead bullet". On the side of the box there is this statement: "specially adapted for .38 Colt Double Action and other arms chambered for this size."
The .38 Long Colt was used by Military and Police until it was superceded by the S&W .38 Special just as the First World War broke out. The old .38 was not powerful enough for the needs of modern combat.
The pic above is a comparative look at some pistol rounds for wheel guns, from the .22 long rifle to the .45 Long Colt.

29 June, 2009

TIME : Too Little, Too Much, and Never Enough

~Seeking Kairos~

When the sun slides ever Westward, drawn to the horizon, rolling down to a distant night, there is a point where the veil twixt this world and all others grows thin, easily breeched. The twenty (or so) universes lie close to one another as pages in a book, separated by a mere breath of thought. The mind wanders across the threshold. Spirits slip back and forth and sometimes forget which side they tread. Time as we know it grows meaningless.

Golems, Grendels and wraiths wait in that place twixt the worlds, shadows ready to slip into mischief. Some come unbidden, some are called. Fear is their greatest weapon. Darkness is their being. 'Tis primeval...as C.S. Lewis calls it:

"Deep magic from the dawn of time."
Young children understand this instinctually. Those who hunt and fish alone in the wild understand....And many of the ancient ones among us know it well.

Most modern "adult" humans don't understand, they are out of tune...or they dismiss it as some physical or psychological abberation. As Scrooge scoffed: "...nothing more than a bit of undigested potato! "....Until at some point while wandering into old age, that vision rises up, unfettered by reason, modern societal sensory overload and the ability to dismiss the sight of an angelic spectre sitting on their life partner's headboard, beckoning them homeward...

Or the Magnolia which puts out a singular, spectacular bloom in late September as a southern gentleman departs from the broken, used up vessel that carried him for near 90 years on this wicked ol'earth.

Those of you who read this blog with some frequency understand the concepts of Chronos and Kairos.

- Chronos is Man's time. It is created.... the inevitable ticking of the clock leading us all to that one point when the clock stops and we cease to exist on this plane, this planet, and in this "TIME."

- Kairos is God's time. It knows no bounds. It is the mind of God, the moving will of the great Creator.


I mentioned C.S. Lewis and his statement about deep magic from the beginning of time. The irony is that this "magic" of which Lewis speaks, is tied to Chronos. It is:
" ...from the beginning of time."

This concept is predicated upon the fact that there is something else. Lewis calls it:

" Deeper Magic from Before the Beginning of Time "

This is Kairos, God's time. It is uncluttered by any of creation... or reason or scientific exploration and the laws of physics...or any other construct of mankind.
It is not Gaia, the earth mother.
It is not Mars, the bringer of War.
It is not the entertwined planetary aspects of astrology.
It exists outside the universe twisting theorem of quantum physics.
It is not Wicca, or Muslim, or Methodist, or Shinto, or Bhodidharma- Bhodisatva Hindu.
It is not any creation of mankind.....

It is found in direct relationship with God thru His only Son.

And that is the conundrum, the inescapable, implausable, ultimately unknowable God desiring with his whole being to reconnect with imperfect, broken and sinful creation, and with mankind.

He shows up in the most uncanny of places. I saw this shoe. It belongs to my Mom and was dragged out of the closet by the youngest of her dogs as a chew toy. Set on the table, someone placed a feather in the heel socket. I walked in the door and the image impaled my spirit. Mom's flight is nearing ready to call her and take her home.

Does that mean she will die tomorrow, or next week or next year?


And that, beloved is the imposition of my Chronos on God's Kairos.
Her pewter and lace and fine antiques will remain for some "time" after she has gone

Her 200 year old square grand piano will continue to sing for another 200 years, long after we all have gone....in Chronos time.

None of that matters to God. His will is outside of and encompasses all of creation from the moment that Chronos began burning the wick of creation until He, the Master, chooses to snuff it out.

What matters to him is relationship. Y’all might want to plop down on your knees and have a little talk. God, the great Creator, He is waiting, hoping you will come and walk outside of Chronos for a little bit. What? You are too busy, too distracted, too involved? OK, He will wait and call to you. After all, He has all the time in the world.

20 June, 2009

Pacific Winds, Pacific Monsoon

~The Monsoon Flow ~

Yesterday, the monsoon clouds lay low after a spectacular sunrise...most of which I missed dealing with the whole process of rising to the morning. Mom's dogs were not happy about another day without their Pack Leader. Their inability to relax and rest most of the night reflected that.

Mom is not happy. The docs will not allow her to eat until they find the blockage or whatever it is that is causing her illness. Test upon test upon test with no definitive answers have left her frustrated, fearful.

Nothing can be done. We simply must wait.
It rained in Tucson. The clouds piled up into a pewter mass, pushing against the Santa Rita mountains. A slow, soft and steady rain began to fall. And that made Mom angry. She could not sneak outside and have her smoke.
Yep, the world is against her... AND....The sullen sunset sky reflects her mood:

The evening before yesterday's rain, clouds rolled in and created the most magnificent sunset.

The range of brilliant raging brush strokes to the subtle delicate pastels never ceases to amaze me.

I forget, when I am not here, just how magnificent these skies can be.

15 June, 2009

Arizona Highways

~Green Valley Summer~

Last Wednesday night I received a call from my sister Martha. Mom had been taken to the hospital in Tucson after collapsing in a faint while having dinner with friends. The devil in the details not necessary, yet an historic background will help.

Mom has had trouble with her gut off and on for years. Chronic problems with stomach, intestines and liver have plagued her late adult life. She is now almost 82. She lost Dad Anthony, her husband, the love of her life in 2005. The last four years have not been easy for her.

The phone call from my sister, though a shock, was not unexpected. One of we three siblings needed to go to Green Valley / Tucson with all haste. Martha and her husband Jim own and run a successful fly fishing shop and guide service in Evergreen. This is their busy season. My brother John just began a major cabinet and interior job which could not be put aside. I, on the other hand, am unemployed. I drew the short straw by choice and by chance.

Last Friday, the 12th, I flew out of Denver, heading southwest through the growing afternoon clouds and foothills turbulence, over the mountains and high desert and down into the gusty Sonoran winds dancing in the canyons and pecan orchards and city of Tucson.

This is not about Mom's illness. Its about the life of this Valley infused in the lives of one family...our family.

Mom and Dad moved to Green Valley in 1985/86. Dad had retired in 1979. They sold the old homestead in Wheat Ridge, Colorado some three or four years later and moved to Guatemala. Central American politics being what they are... The folks decided to move back to the states. They picked Green Valley, bought a three bedroom patio home and settled into retirement.

Mom's love of vibrant colors that compliment the climate and culture are clearly evident in how she has decorated with palette and plant. She and Dad worked slowly and with intent to turn the little home into a refuge and welcoming destination for friend and family alike.

Green Valley was founded as a designated retirement community in the early 1960's. It sits off to the west of Interstate 19 about a half hour south of Tucson in the Santa Cruz River Valley. It has grown into one of the Sonoran Desert's premiere places to retire.

There are spectacular sunsets and at least one great restaurant:


AND...Sonoran desert weather mitigated by 3,000+ foot altitude and two distinct monsoon seasons make it very desirable almost all year round.

There are golf courses..heh.... Ask my brother about that, as I am not a golfer. I like the hikes and the skies and the birds. Literally thousands of dove make Green Valley their home year round, White Wing, Mourning, Eurasian and Aztec.

A goodly variety of desert trees, both deciduous and coniferous, native and transplants make the Northern Sonoran NOT your typical desert environment. My favorite is the Mesquite. This one Dad transplanted the year they moved here.

It is a beautiful place. Soft and vibrant, it has a very feminine feel to it. Unlike the Mojave in California and Nevada, which, to me seems very coarse, brazen and strident, and at times, enraged, engorged with anger.

The Sonoran is harsh in heat and sun, yet there is a yielding to the rugged mountains and dry river valleys. It seems to be an acceptance of the earth beneath, twisted geological turmoil that formed this land. It is laughter at the rolling, everchanging weather feeding and watering, blowing and freezing, nurturing and killing with beauty and deadly charm.

That is the Sonoran Desert I know here in Green Valley where my parents made their final outpost of their physical life on this broken ol' planet.