Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Don't Stare at the Sun, it'll drive you to a void of Thought...

Just before sitting down I made this blown image of the sun casting out its photon light energy in all directions.  Both lens and exposure are manual in this shot, somehow the effect is appealing to me considering the transfer I was about to go on.

I believe it was Robert E. Lee who was quoted but not cited saying, "Fiction weakens [spoils] the mind."  Not sure if I agree or not anymore, he does however have a good point...

Physical Placement
In the middle of the daylight day two full earth rotations back from this, my body and mind came to a still sitting position on the hot shingled roof of the place where I sleep.  This spot I sat on was a completely exposed steep slant in the middle of the section that connects the main roof of the house to the big one over the two car carport. The cause of being there was work alone for hours up and down, and back up sweating without realization.  Up there is where it gets more hot than on the ground below.  Tar.  Radiant waves of solid heat do not seem to bother my emotions or form as hours pass, once again without realization.  The longer the exposure to our immediate physical environment, the better adapted we become.  Even in the blasting hot heat.  Although my eyes were protected from the sun's gamma and beta, the atmosphere and all else I could feel wasn't.

What it looked like
There I sat with my legs crossed tightly.  My back was straight, my torso erect.  The only neck I have came strong holding my head completely high perched above the rest of me facing the solar center of our system.  Underneath me at a slant between the hot sloping shingles and my sit bones was the blanket sized piece of gray carpet that I have held onto from the jeep I once owned, or thought I did anyway.  Back then, with that truck I could and often did drive anywhere without thought or consequence.  Those days have become completely gone forever because my connection to the actual emotional cost has been learned.  Gone for the reality of just being creates in me an understanding of what is for sale. Rationalization, justification, ownership, avoidance, separation and so on. With that I am afraid to unlearn having only a small understanding of why.  The colors of the blanket and the roof melded visually into one even though the blanket was softer, and less hot to the touch.

Electricity in the Brain Housing Group
Thoughts form in my skull from what my life has given me in experiences of being.  Unfortunately there is no logical way to convey to you the exact mechanism that designs the start of a specific human thought.  Mystery. 

Interlude with Visual Connection
The sun was a dime sized blazing disc in the middle of the sky pointing down directly at the center of my forehead.  In the calm hot fiery air my eyes assayed the white roof top in all direction as far as I could see without moving my brain.  All appeared white, even the space around me except for the bright red bricks of the chimney squarely morphing from the peak upwards and the out of focus vibrant green trees behind that.  Mental depth of field.  Hazard.  A sundry of items lie scattered about littering the steep pitched deck.  Every object in front of me was familiar save the feelings pouring out onto the the carpet, and a small patch of roof in the form of liquid sweat.  It was so quiet and still up there.  Wonder.  As the fluid left me, it made contact with a small piece of exposed shingle just outside the carpet edge.  For a second I could almost smell the salt water turn to vapor as soon as it made contact with the hot roof.  Essence of one's self is rarely understood, at that moment I was on the way to doing just that.

Specificity in the Inventory of  Visual Scanning
Without moving my body or head the optic recognition of senseless objects continues with little thought.  The narrow heavy blue steel cat's paw lied motionless just a few feet away out of reach.  It was sticking out on its side from underneath a trashed shingle.  It was apparent just by staring at its inert response that the tool was soaking up the heat without letting it go.  Holding on. 

Really, 94 Million Miles of an Absence of Space
Just then my eyes broke from the tool below me looking up towards the solar information disc above, some 94 million miles distant.  That orb of hot glowing gasses with a volume 1.3 million times greater than that of earth appeared dime to nickel size hanging motionless up above the white sky.  Blue is no longer.  Not only was the position of the northern hemisphere tilted on axis directly towards the sol, but the slanted roof I was perched on increased the visual angle.  Slant v. Slope.  Now I was still again soaking up the radiation without moving, only concentrating on what being felt like.  Inside my mind even that movement was slowing, which created space for a trickle of imagination.

Sound Vibration and Space
They say you cannot hear the sound of the sun, so I tried anyway.  Yes, there is no physical way that the deafening sound (to us here on earth) of the sun can be heard for the vibrations do not travel through the 94 million miles of vacant space vacuum between here and there.  Each and every atom in my human body takes up as much room as that space between here and the sun, that was my last thought before it all went away. My eyes were closing a bit just as the vibration became audible in my cortices.  Although the noise was made up, it was real as my mental landscape gave up the room to accept how easy it is to understand.  Distortion.  Electro-Magnetic sharp waves pulsating as a result of fiery hydrogen and helium gasses to name a few being the most powerful thing within my realm.  The light is on me immediately, however the sound is almost two decades behind at that exact second in time.  Confusion leads to more letting go and opening.

Breathe and Breath
The basic human function overlooked by our culture.  Time is irrelevant, a watch means nothing although watching is everything.  It takes many practices to get deep breathing to touch your diaphragm.  Many attempts of concentrating on a balance between the same length of inhales, versus the immediate transition to exhales without hesitation.  These practices allow you to focus on going deeper with inhales in succession each time moving right into the same length of exhales, back to a deeper inhale, matching exhale and so on.  Before long that inhale supersedes the times space allotted by the bounds of modernity and contact is made with the diaphragm, a feeling one never forgets or unlearns when it is experienced.  We all know that the diaphragm is the muscle under our lungs and above our stomach.  Feeling it which created a visual behind closed eyes is a whole other story.  In the scorch up high, no one dropped by as I began to free fall into the absence of thought with complete feeling.

First Movement out of the Trance
Om Shanti.  In my mind was a blank screen long enough to feel bliss, the journey took me to a destination not often seen.  A specific vision often comes to my mind, as far back as Christmas of 1976 or 77.  The better part of my life I would ignore the little picture or film in my mind's eye up until about twelve years ago when I was taught exactly how important it is to understand the visual impressions my mind provides me for free, in the true sense of the word.  These little clips are insights to the invisible forces of love and gravity, truth and what is real.  For the past few weeks I have been bothered while waking up in the middle of a night by an animated little cerebral video of a giant white three ring binder.  When I came out of my space vacant of thought or connection the first thing that I saw even though in light I was surrounded by darkness was that white three ring binder.  Somehow, the place was perfect for me to understand what was happening and hold onto what was being cast onto the inside front movie screen of my skull.  All of a sudden this plain white binder on an even brighter white backdrop opened up with invisible fingers attached to a just as invisible hand so that I could see the contents of the book.  White paper, completely blank.  The image was still for a piece, then the invisible fingers began to flip through the pages so that I could see three things.  First, there was nothing on either side of the paper.  Secondly, there was an infinite amount of pages from the beginning, the flipping would go on for eternity.  And finally, those blank pages are the empty guidelines not yet written for the future ahead of me, and us all passed the immediate now.

Conclusion leads to the Next Space
When I came back to earth reality sort of speak, I realized I was not sweating anymore.  My body was cooked even before I went into a meditative state and now distance had been traveled on the earth hurtling through at 55,000mph. How far had I gone while sitting there under the hypnosis of the information disc?  Wonderment.  My Indian Style motionless sit journey took me out for a spin of no fewer than 55,000 miles and what a ride it was considering I never left where the two roofs came together.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dam (like damn) Pictures of the Week...

On Thursday afternoon Albemarle Rd., HWY 24/27 was closed in both directions at the big dip just passed the Lawyers Rd. and East Harris intersection because of a cracked weir holding back the swollen man made Forest Lake.  Outbound rush hour car commuter traffic on Albemarle heading east was a dam standstill nightmare all the way back to Independence, unless of course you were on dam a bicycle. 
Friday morning I rolled out of the house early with my little camera in the bag and headed over to check out how much progress was made from the overnight efforts of the CFD and some contractors to drain the lake and relieve pressure on the dam weir.  When I stood on the east bank of the lake, the first thing I noticed besides the huge generator pumps and their lines was the roof of a car.  HWY 24/27 had been reopened long before I arrived. 
Here is a look at the riprap application on the backside of the stress fatigued dam.  A few meters down below the sloping terrain is 24/27.  Although Forest Lake is not a huge body of water, it had enough volume behind the dam to cause a major problem across Albemarle and in the neighborhood on the other side of the highway on down stream.  *Notice what appears to be a big pile of condoms that were cleared from the pipes. The man on the phone might be calling the mayor's office to find out what to do with them...
The dam draining seemed to be winding down, the big motors went silent.  I rode around to the west bank of the lake and talked to a few folks from the press corps, including a familiar staff photographer from the Observer.  This photographer who will remain anonymous for the time being or until you use your intuitive deductions skills, asked me if I had rode all the way from the big buildings just to get a shot of the car.  I gave him the brief organic explanation about my daily commute which made him smile and almost start to laugh.  When I asked him about the scoop on the car, he told me that the bigger story was that the pumps continuously stopped working through the night.  "Yeah", he said, "One of the engineers told me that the big pipes draining the lake kept getting clogged up which caused the motors down to shut down often.  Apparently there were 25 years worth of condoms in the lake that were jamming the pipes."  Oh, I get it, you are making a dam joke.  Very funny.
Seriously, what about the dam car, was there a body in it?  We talked a bit more about the project unfolding in front of us.  My intuitive self felt like there was no human in the sunken car, but that feeling was based on my scanning of what I could see of the passenger compartment and the body language of the CMPD brass standing quietly on the hill.  The contents of the trunk was the only question, there was a physical block I could not feel passed to know for sure whether or not there was a body in there. 
The news crews started packing up and it was time for me to get going as well.  I overheard one of the cameramen mention that 'they' will not pull the car out while the cameras were set up.  The waiting game was over and the Observer guy without offering to drive me into town told me to be careful on my ride in.  "Thanks, if I'm not you'll read about it in that paper you work for", I told him as I rode away beating him and his motorized van to East Harris and beyond. 
This parting image was the most interesting in the set to me.  Tree stumps at the bottom of Forest Lake, I would have never thought that the floor of the lake looked like this until I saw it myself.  It was clearly obvious that this man made lake was one day natural wooded space.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Geared Road Ride with Dude, PLUS 900th Post

Dude and I stopped at around about 55 miles for me, something like 63 for him under a shade tree at Cold Springs and Cold Springs.  Our twenty minute respite gave us a chance to get caught up on our emails, consume some liquid and advise a caller from far away on the best way to remove pedals from a bike. The caller must have never done that before...

Another one of Jerry's 105km (125km getting on and off from my hizzle) cues out east of here provided not only country visual oohs and aahs, but as well enough exposed to the sun's power climbing to hurt just a bit.  Dude rolled up from his house to mine at right before 0800hrs yesterday, the Fourth of July. He had just missed my dumb ass neighbor's thick black male cat remove a road killed meat bloody squirrel from the street in front of my mailbox, and then struggle with its head in his mouth all the way to his own back step. 

Never a dull moment here in the wild kingdom known as east Charlotte.  We rolled out on time with Dude convincing me that we do not have to swallow our pride surfing the side walk on Albemarle Rd. until it ends out by Wilgrove Mint Hill Rd., we would take to HWY 24/27 as if we owned it.  Interestingly enough, just like he said when we turned out of the far end of a connected neighborhood onto it, "Oh yeah, we got this."

Then out passed Sherman Branch we spun by as folks unloaded their mountain machines in the lot about to go into the woods before it got too hot.  The Rocky River Church Road took us out to the lower then right onto Morrison Rd. It is truly amazing how quickly leaving the hectic traffic of Charlotte disappears turning into an innocuous authentic smelling farm field scape lined with two miles of tall pines.  A dog barks while Dude talks about future rides he is preparing for right now. No one is out of their homes, even in the country the blinds are drawn behind the cars filling the drive.  A rooster blasts his calls announcing our approach as we zoom by.

Flowes Store Rd was next then left on it again riding deeper out into the gentle agricultural land rollers.  As the ride hit the 2 and a half hour mark I started to notice the most uniquely built old turn of the 19th Century farm houses. Some of them were abandoned, slanting to the right or left with rusted tin roofs clinging to main frame chimneys.  The porches on these places told me a short story each time I looked over my shoulder then hearing the hot wind in my ear. Mainly white now faded gray was the color of choice, even back then.  Vines and golden fields took up my view only yielding to those which were green or brown.  Jwaye, you were missing the 'where the fuck am I transfer'.

More heat but not the eXtreme kind, yet radiant and pulsating on my skin.  Morale is always good when riding with Dude.  As we talked about things in general and pro level drive trains (on his bike, not mine) I realized that I had been riding with him for over a decade.  Age is whiz dumb and learning simultaneously while watching friends pedal right next to you for long periods of time or transfer.  That famous morale of the only person I was riding with other than me never wavered when I (then we) realized that I had erroneously transposed a left turn missed for an actual right turn that I never saw until we were about four miles off the cue.  How could it be a ride with me if we didn't get lost for awhile?

Fixing that with the hand held transmitter as someone parked their idling Agway lawnmower to run into the store gave us the only busy road we felt.  Back on continued with the most incredible roads available to ride out of town.  Some of them were narrow without any painted lines or a single auto the whole way.  Again, the feeling of real living enveloped us as we rode right through the center of it.  Where are we, I thought to myself at about three hours in riding as I was staring at hundreds of cows and bulls dotting the immediate right hand side of the paved quiet Euro road for two thousand meters.  Cedar post fence with barbed wire run in between separated us on our bikes rolling from these large animals that like a painting disappeared into the distant tree line.  Some were eating the lush green short grass while others were moving about with their babies or standing in the center of a low brown pond.  Most of them seemed to at least take notice of us as we pedaled on by staring at them.

Mt. Olive Road and its series of sun blistered climbs as well as Dude's pace put me to task.  Once again my heart was apparent and visually on the front of the inside of my skull.  Bright lights small town or none at all.

Real sugar.  On in on Albemarle again something like four hours and a half riding time closing in on our separate homes Dude and I split before the train bridge, him to the right for Pence then Hickory Grove while I continued tingly on HWY 24/27.  It took me a minute to cool down when I arrived at the safety of the place I sleep with dogs. 

Note from Author:  When I logged in toonight to make this post documenting my latest road ride, I noticed that it was going to be my 900th post.  Yes I know, most of it is crap but it does fascinate me that I have gotten on here and put something, anything out that many times.  Even more intriguing is that you are part of it and at anytime can go back all the way to the beginning, 900 posts ago.  To Celebrate I feel like I should go on a 900 mile ride or something...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

13 Years Ago Today & It's About the People...

No gain, no pain...
Here is a recent shot of Nate on the beach near Bol Croatia.  He is apparently impressing the people on the ferry cruising the Adriatic Sea behind him with his mad HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA skills.  Photographer Nela Kranjcevic.  *Note:  Header image credit obviously Nela as well.

Today is July 3, 2011 which happens to be the thirteenth Anniversary of the first day I started as a bike messenger in Charlotte.  Time flies when you are having fun making money having fun.  Those very first few days on the job are clear in my memory, especially meeting two of the couriers already in place.  One of those was the not yet notable to many Rich Dillen, and the other was Nathan Sprinkle.  Dicky is still around, however Nathan has long since moved on with his life which has taken him on multiple journeys to far away places in Africa and Europe.

Friends do not have to talk much on the phone or the email to actually remain friends when time and space on this earth separates them.  Over the years riding as my livity in Charlotte I have met some truly amazing and powerful humans, Nathan is near the top of that list.  In celebration of my 13th year of couriering by bike, I would like to share with you Nate's response to 10 questions that I recently posed to him.  His matter of fact answers are coming all the way from Belgrade Serbia where he has found some sort of internal peace that is apparent in his words and the picture above.  I find his character and worldly bravery an inspiration that is worth sharing with you. 

1. Since I've known you Nate, you've been on many travels. How long has it been on this latest excursion since you left America, and where are you now?

I left the USofA in early July of 2010, so it's been almost a year. I am writing from Belgrade, Serbia, where I have a legally obtained Temporary Resident Visa. Since Nela and I plan to marry we have to figure out what procedures are necessary for maintaining my legitimate existence. For instance, do I try to get a new international driving permit or a license issued by the Serbian authorities?

2. Do you miss your existence here in the U.S.?

I miss certain things about the US. My family, of course. My sister's baby is growing up fast and I can only watch his human progress via skype. Not to mention my 3 nieces. I miss certain foods. I miss the National Park System. There are some really beautiful landscapes in this part of the world but they are not easy to access.
3. Have you found a bike, and more importantly do you ride it much? If so, what is it like to ride in such a far away place?

I do have a bike, remember I posted some photos of it on my FB wall. It is a strange gestalt that is referred to here as a fitness bike. I use it to commute as often as possible. I don't ride for recreation as much as I was in the States. Perhaps because I have a girlfriend (now fiance), and perhaps because Belgrade isn't really a great place to ride a bike, topographically or traffically. I have met a few local riders through a website (www.cikloberza.com) and plan to get riding more in the future. I want to do some touring, but that is predicated on finding a way to earn money.
4. Does your last experience as a messenger here in Charlotte still have an impact on your life right now?

I often feel very lazy. There isn't much teaching to do, I have only a few classes, and it is not physically taxing work. I do housework, of course, but that doesn't count. I have to remind myself that I can work hard and diligently when the need arises. I think back to my last messenger experience: 50 minute morning commute, 8 hour day of riding, then straight to class until after dark, and end with another long commute or a bus ride if I was lucky. I miss it sometimes.
5. What does it feel like to have a college degree from an American University while living in eastern Europe?

I wish I had studied Biology.

6. How's Nela?

Nela is in conflict right now. She wants to change her job, and has the opportunity to do so. But the new job pays less than her current job. Also she wants to have a baby, and if she takes the new job she feels she will have to put off having a baby. She is happy we are getting married, though, and that we are getting long really well, after a rough patch a month or so ago. *Late Edit: She took the new Job.
7. Do you ever tell anyone in Serbia that you know Team Dicky and The Pie personally?

I haven't met anyone who are aware of the Team Dicky phenomenon, much less The Pie. Sometimes I am surprised at how much people know of American Culture and at other times I am disappointed at things they have missed. I'm not sure how Team Dicky would be interpreted by the Serbian audience. Would they see it as just another example of American moral depravity? Or as the Id that opposes US cycle racing's Ego?
8. What's the biggest difference between the American culture you were raised in, and the culture of the people you are surrounded by right now?

Nela was surprised when I told her that many, if not most, people in the US believe in Heaven and Hell. I was raised by a Christian family in a Christian society and only reached atheism by way of a long period of contemplation and consideration. Here, atheism is just the way things are. Even people who are religious (in Serbia, Orthodox Christianity is most common) are not beholden to all of the strict doctrines that US Christians hold dear.
9. In the recent image (assumed to be shot by Nela) I saw of you holding some sort of yoga pose (excuse my ignorance like you always have), what body of water is behind you?

The body of water is The Adriatic Sea, specifically the part that flows between the islands of Brać and Hvar. The pebble beach on which I balanced is called Zlatni Rat or "Golden Cape" (though 'rat' can also mean 'war') near the town of Bol. The photo is deceiving, the beach is actually pretty crowded, but not nearly as crowded as, say, Myrtle Beach. The water is crystal clear down to at least 30 feet. Also I haven't done a full yoga session in months.
10. Right now, this magical instant before us, do you ever see yourself coming back to the land of the free?

Sure. At least to visit. It depends on economics, really. But I expect to be, as I always am, dismayed and depressed by the continual and unflagging destruction of the best thing about America: the land.

Thanks, I don't think of myself as an inspiring person. I had the pleasure of meeting two friends from the States on the recent trip to Croatia. I hope some day you and I have a chance to meet on the soil of this continent.

Smrt Fašizam (as they used to say),