Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Blogiversary- On Endurance

Endurance doesn't always shout. 
There are times
it is simply that soft voice
 you hear with each new day,
 quietly stating "never give up".
 - Brigid

Home on the Range just hit the six year mark.  It feels like I've always done this, as natural each day as breathing, but somewhere since 2009, when the stat counter went up, some 8.3 million people wandered by to say hello.

My first blog post was on food. It had about 15 visits. The second was a simple post on the Heller Decision and  it garnered over 2700 visits. My audience was pretty clearly defined at that point. But I had started this to write for my daughter, so she could get to know the woman who gave her up for adoption. I wrote for my Dad and Big Bro who were so  far away. I wrote for me, to let things out, things that, like water, gather in all the light and the cold and the darkness, then release it with a torrent.  And there's bacon.

Seriously, you could replace a picture of the President with a picture of bacon and his approval ratings would go up.

It would have to be a lot of bacon though.
My recipes archive runs from 2006 through Feb. 2008, simply to have a section of the blog that's just recipes for the sidebar links, but the first public post was this date in 2008. In these years since, a lot has changed, and yet it has not.

Another evening in a quiet house, with a cup of coffee and the computer, and the need to simply write about my day, my thoughts, sharing with those who have become part of my daily life. Reaching out to like spirits, those of us that love the shooting sports and the outdoors, our indomitable desire and will to pursue and grasp beyond all limits of flesh, of the outdoors, teeming with life. To defend and protect and teach. To share a simple meal, the renewing power of family and a belief in a way of life that goes back to our forefathers.

What has changed are those souls that share this space with me, some now, only in memory, waiting at the Rainbow Bridge and beyond, others tethering themselves here, with only love.
Though many people have come and gone through this small space, the quiet has not changed. I'm often amazed how very quiet it is around the Range as I sit at the computer. Here I am, all said and done, after 50 some years of roaming this planet, a wanderer, an adventurer, on this tiny piece of land, in a small state, finally stationary, easing into quiet.

The years have been one of change, of brutally hard decisions, of happiness, winters of cold and seasons of astonishing rain, falling like coins onto parched earth. But even the rain grows quiet now, the earth soaking up only sun, the corn turning, dying slowly, the cool, solacing stalks spinning the last of golden radiance from a white hot sun. I  will arise early, the smell of biscuits baking, the land beginning to stir.
I wish I could sleep in, but too many years of living on a small farm broke me of that. A reader commented early on that farmers are all basically on government welfare, the small family farm dead, and I looked down on calluses that remained after the work on that farm ceased, and didn't know whether to laugh at that or cry. Tears won out, splashing on hands whose last grasp of that family farm were as they lay on top of a coffin, a touch goodbye to someone who in defending that way of life lost his very breath.Still, years later, on a much smaller piece of property, the sun draws me up, Abby snoozing on the little futon in the office on which Barkley will be forever imprinted, barking silently at ducks still floating on dreams. The coffee has perked, and the world falls into still again as memories of youth come unbidden, stories I do not write about, but that stay with me.

On the desk is an author's galley of a book, to be published within a few short weeks, the one you all said I should write, and I didn't think I could.  Then came the month I lost not only my four legged best friend but my beloved big brother just 3 weeks later.  As they left me, I began to write, the words filling their void. Five weeks later the words and the tears dried up, remaining forever as traces upon paper and skin, visible only to me.

So many memories, ones I hope you will share. 
The early ones revolved around aircraft.  I still remember the sounds of a flight to Ireland, a small fuel stop on the way further on. A cockpit is rarely quiet, but it's a symphony of familiar sounds. The voice of the air traffic controller, a reassuring sotto voice confirmation that two minds are in agreement, and all is well with the world. The clatter of a trim switch and the beep of an altitude alerter, sounds of warning that the earth is approaching. The ground. It's solid underneath you, and hard, and if you flared too high you'll break your aircraft against its incontrovertible passivity.
   
Aloft and level though, airplane sounds stabilize into a gentle song with just the occasional background chorus of the controllers, and you would have time to think and perhaps chat a little. We rarely talked about the mission, but like pilots everywhere we talked of everything else. We talk of the spiritual and we talk of the mundane. We talk about families and jobs, spouses, children, food, politics, food again and surprise, we talk about airplanes. 
Then, with the remark about someone we knew, lost in combat, flying more dangerous work than we'd ever know, that familiar awe-filled sadness enveloped our little space and we grew silent, remembering him, sounds of mourning and respect. Airmen, like Patriots, are a small community of thousands, and we never forget our fallen.

The descent and the landing were at hand and the day was drawing towards sunset, or would if we could see it through the prevailing overcast of our world, so we paused. The sound of conversation ended there. We simply basked in the hum of the engines and the view out the window to our world, clouds disbanding with the disinterest of late day, and the contrail of another aircraft 1000 feet above, vanishing upward like smoke as we descend for landing.

For just a moment, I leaned my head against the side wall of the cockpit and felt the vibration rattle through my bones, breathing in and letting the surge of the engines push my thoughts inward and breathing out in unison with the straining metal of the airplane. The sounds of our craft and the exhale of our breath mingled with the voices of those guiding us. Talk of things past fell away, for we knew that for now, we all had a task to do. We were so alive in that moment, and thoughts of our own mortality disappeared behind us like vapor trail as the sounds of our aircraft drove us towards duty and home.

Home.

It is a place, now  16 years later, where the world is simpler, quiet, the only motored hum I hear that of a tractor or a small tailwheel plane. I still travel, my work takes me around the world, but it's done from the back, not the cockpit. But there are many more mornings tending the earth, afternoons tending to myself. Quiet gatherings of people I trust over for food, wine, stories and laughter.

The First Range Dinner Party- Shooty Buddy, Barkley, Roberta X, Turk Turon and Tam (playing with my Swiss K31 in the other room)

Only a handful of them are pilots, yet all are of the same cloth. Determined, strong, traveling great distances within themselves to find the life they wanted. Things are never the same, yet they are. We all blog, but for many of us, that is not how we met, just a trait we share in common.  It is simply that space where we share about families and jobs, spouses, children, food, politics, food again and surprise, we talk about firearms even as we stop to remember a comrade gone West. 

Airborne or earthbound, some things just do not change.

Home on the Range. Days of work and weekends of sharing bullets and beer with those who believe as I do. Late evenings spent in front of the computer, writing, a post, Internet letters to my daughter, writing to you, as you chat back with me like the air traffic controllers of years ago, giving me guidance and encouragement, propelling me onward into this life that I lead, now shared.

These week days fly by, but I'll get out Saturday morning, like most, and head out walking, passing gardens past their prime, and flowers still unfolding in lush morning dew in defiance of their season. I move quickly forward, gun on my hip, black lab by my side, watching life scuttle out of my path. Walking onward, out through pavement unmoving and shallow in the great streaming light, out towards the trees and towards the train tracks.

As I wander these trails of history and sound,  I look around my world, changed, yet unchanged, a scattered mosaic of leaves and broken flowers, the small bones of a broken bird laying among dried needles of pine, footprints of invisible deer. The hushed sound of my breathing, thoughts of a hand on a pine box, thoughts of another hand on my skin, tracing a scar that stands in stark relief to white skin, fingers kind, strong and forgiving.
Too soon it's time to get back in and start my day, the sound of the train forlorn in my ears, breath quickened but quiet after my morning absolution. I need these walks out in my surroundings, a place more quiet than church, in a place where my God lays his hand on me, a hand also kind and forgiving, giving me strength to go on.

 It's a different life, yet the same. Days of hard work, countless days marked with bitter cold and radiating warmth, monotonous wonderful days of work and friends that I love, of water, woods and sky. Countless days here retreating like fields of corn, replaced by city, leaving their mark on the landscape even when they are nothing more than dust.
On the porch, used as vases for some fresh flowers, are old-fashioned glass milk bottles, from cows that live as well out in a beautiful countryside, no longer part of my daily world, yet always contained in it.  I look at the clean lines of the rinsed glass, carefully washed and dried, stark, clear lines against a backdrop of country life, empty now, but soon to be filled with all that is beautiful from the earth.

Things that were worth waiting for.

Things that were worth remembering.

It is not the life of spoiled subsidy, it is not the life of an adventurer that I once led. It is my life, strong, quiet, true to myself and joined with those who hold not just my values, but my heart.  It can't truly be judged by those who have never spent time with me. It can't be totally understood just from some words on a page.  It is simply my life.

It is stalking a deer in drowsing sunlight, wrestling life from the ground in a flaying of green, sore muscles, mending heart. It is soil and sweat; it is books and reports and hours spent looking at the smallest of life's tragedies through a microscope. It is a life of putting together the pieces of shattered lives, pieces of me. But it is that life that all those contrails led me to, and I thank those of you, who have showed nothing but kindness, for sharing it with me.
Photobucket

37 comments:

  1. Happy Blogiversary my sister-in-arms. Thanks for bringing some sunshine into my world.

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  2. Congratulations on your sixth Blogiversary!

    I find it hard to imagine I found your blog so early in its existence: I've been reading regularly since around March of '09.

    You were already on everyone's "must read" list.

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  3. what is easy is to say here how much your humble blog has made my life happier through the years, perhaps harder is your knowing how true that statement is for me, as many others, no doubt...

    what isn't easy is getting a room full of quirky or geeky or busy contented loners together, and talking, but somehow you've done it, Brigid--must be the bacon!!! and beer. and whiskey. and plain truth.

    God Bless you (and yours) and fellow readers on your Blogiversary!!!

    and again, thank you for taking the time to peel back the curtain a bit, and for sharing many personal stories and smiles during some tumultuous years for all.

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  4. Congrats on your 6th milestone of Bloggery. Prayers up for Many Many more.

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  5. Happy Blogiversary from Me and Lu and a small black dog named Angus. Lu and I are really looking forward to reading your book.

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  6. Happy 6th. I found you a little later than others, in early 2010. But I found more than recipes, stories and laughs. I found a friend. {{{HUGS}}}

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  7. OldAfSarge - thank you for being a great example of what a life well lived is all about.

    Graybeard - I'm glad you showed up and stayed.

    Sugar Lips - that meant so much to me. Thank you. If you want am autographed copy of the book let me know and we'll work out the details.

    Brigid - you too my other "Brighid" friend. Dad sends his best, and we miss seeing you.

    Six - Angus and Abby would be quite the pair Thank you for your well wishes.

    Marty - the gift was mine to receive. Thank you for your friendship these years, moose hunts, moose slippers, great food, great friends. HUGS

    All - I started my day at 3 am. so I will be saying goodnight for now. Abby is snoring on the couch, and I will be doing the same shortly.

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  8. Hey, it's been six great years for all of us who've known you or just enjoyed your thoughts. Here's to six more.

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  9. Happy blogiversary! Thank you for the gift of your writing - I know it makes me a better writer.

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  10. Congratulations on your blogiversary! Glad you started writing, otherwise we may never have met! It's a privilege to know you and share your experiences.

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  11. I knew you had lungs. From the first day I read you. :-)

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  12. Well, it has been - and continues to be - a great place to come visit and read some wonderful writing.

    One thing that strikes me here is how personal this blog is. You are not scared to reveal a lot about how you feel; but you don't hold that just because you feel something that it invalidates facts or compels compliance on other people's part. The other thing that I've noticed is that while you have some very definite political opinions you rarely express anger and never use invective. That's rare in the blogosphere.

    There's peace here. That's not easy. Thanks!

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  13. Happy Blogiversary!!! I can't help but think it's not so long years wise - yet it seems like a lifetime because of some of the memories you manage to write about so realistically. In 6 yrs you have covered/uncovered decades.

    It's not lost on me that I discovered this blog at the same time I lost "home"; how unknowingly you kept what a real home is right there in front of me each day simply by reading (and reminiscing) here. Reminding me how important it is to live life with the right priorities firmly in place. No matter how much chaos surrounds me. The (family) reasons why you blog were right there from the beginning and as much as I respect that I also couldn't resist the feeling that you could reach inside some of us strangers and awaken a common bond. Put into words and structure some thoughts we all share, just not articulate as well as you do.

    Thank you for rescuing some of us, even when you had no idea you were. Thank you for bringing us along on your life journey, the good times and the sad times and the ever changing flow of all our lives. Even if you never expected there to be so many of us tagging along, LOL. We appreciate the acceptance :)

    As for the quiet life, I imagine with a personality as yours it seems odd to not have a challenge or an adventure happening. Enjoy it while you can, that will probably change just like everything else :)

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  14. Happy Blogiversary! Happy to have been an observer.

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  15. " [My life] It can't be totally understood just from some words on a page."
    Maybe not, but "just from" have amplified the echos of my past and illuminated my own history as if by Magic. Yeah, I know I've said that you write in "Kodachrome" but I'm wrong, as that definition falls far far short of the of the reality from my history that you've helped uncover with "just some words on a page". Happy Blogiversary
    Rich in NC

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  16. 6 years of blogging.....congrats!

    Here's to another 6+ years!

    Cheers,

    Bob
    III

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  17. Happy Blogiversary, Indeed, BlogMom!
    So glad to be part of your journey, if only via long distance.

    gfa

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  18. I always enjoy your blog so keep it up!

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  19. Your partner has got to be the most lucky guy in the universe. A redhead who likes airplanes, guns, and cooking. WOW. I've only been around for about a year, but I'll stay 'till the shooting is over the bird is tied down and fueled and the supper dishes are done. Congratulations !!

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  20. Has it only been six years? I must have started reading your offerings on day 3 or 4!

    Love the recipes; tried a few, never had a failure, though I always have my freezer burned hot dogs to fall back on, if I have to.

    Learned a lot more about guns than I knew, as my world revolves around only three. Thanks for that!

    Learned about Labs, too, which is why, when Sadie, our now 3 year old Golden Lab came into our lives, it was a no-brainer to try to make a fit. She is now 65 pounds of puppy love and action, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    You reminded us about love and loss. You shared your pleasure and pain with us; you reminded us about our own. Lots of times, we cover the hurt and try to move on past it. You remind us that it's okay to hurt, to remember. Thank you for all of that!

    Keep up the great efforts. I'm sure we all know how painful it can be sometimes, but you have built some pretty d*mn strong friendships out here in six short years. Even in the worst of times, we ALL, gently, have your back.

    Congratulations on six wonderful years!

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  21. Happy (a little belated) Blogiversary, Brigid. I found your blog in 2011 and been made to laugh, cry, ponder, and look myself in the eye on many occasions. Thank you for sharing your slices of life...

    and for helping me understand life with a Black Lab. :)

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  22. Another amazing feast of thought and soul and images--and humor. I'm stealing this one: "You could replace a picture of the President with a picture of bacon and his approval ratings would go up."

    To mark your exquisite blog's sixth annum, Brigid, I'm giving it a new name, just for myself, of course: "The Mandatory Blog". May it continue to thrive!

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  23. My God, woman, but you write poetry.

    Keep doing that.

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  24. I've always loved your writing. Congratulations on the blogiversary. I don't always have the time to check daily, but always know this is the place to find heartfelt prose that touches me deep inside.

    I look forward to the book.

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  25. Mandatory stop, every single day, for longer than I can even count.

    Thanks for all you do.

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  26. Happy Blogoversary Brigid! I have never tasted your cooking but I know this, Lord, that woman can write! I truly enjoy stopping by and perusing your blog...keep up the good work.

    da Bear

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  27. Hello Brigid:

    Thank-you for bringing joy to my life.

    A highly rated blogger who has been banging out daily posts for many years once shared with me that the median lifespan of a blogger appears to be about two months.

    They will typically write a post-a-day for two weeks. Then, as the surge to say something diminishes, they slide to once-a-week for a month. Then it becomes a chore and peters away to nothing.

    Anybody who can write essays of substance for years is a person of depth and discernment. They tend to be Renaissance men (people?) with wide ranging interests. They also seem to be people who can toggle between introspection and observation.

    Many of them have tamed their egos: "Me", "me", "me" is a shallow topic.

    The best writers use their ego (actually, their id) as a bird dog, working into the wind and sweeping all cover within shotgun range of the super-ego.

    I salute you. You number among "the best" writers.

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  28. Congratulations, Brigid!

    I might not comment much here, but I stop by almost every day.

    Life is one of those never ending journeys, and your blog has made mine more enjoyable!

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  29. Murphy's Law - I hope there are six more as well, but if the book actually sells, I'll probably write another one, and there will be less posting, but there WILL be posting.

    Borepatch - you were an awesome writer before I came along, but thanks.

    Midwest Chick - I still remember that first blog meet where we met and you were all "it's Brigid!". Who would have thought that just a few short years later you would be my Maid Marion of Honor at the Ren Fest/Steampunk/Dr. Who wedding

    Skip - back at ya. My best to you and your bride, hope she's doing OK.

    Stephen - "lungs", I like that, thank you my friend, and a big hug for reasons today you and I both remember.

    RonF - thank you.

    naturegirl - I remember when you lost home, and your work with flowers and your coming into your own true self even if you weren't blogging any more. Thank you for being my friend through our mutual journey.

    og - you're more than an observer, you are family. Give a big hug to Mrs. O and the oglette for me, and I hope to see you all sometime soon (Warsaw Inn again?)

    Rich in NC - it's comments such as yours that have kept me going when I've written something that' the equivalent of opening a vein and it gets six comments. Thank you.

    Idahobob - if the book sells a million copies (haha!) I will do an interview and say "I owe it all to Idahobob's salsa!"

    armedlaughing - hopefully someday it will be in person and not just on the phone. My best to you and all who surround you.

    Christina - it's been too long since we've shared supper, I missed you after you moved east, but glad we are always still in touch.

    Sherry - and I yours, so fun seeing all the adventures, especially now with Morgan to brighten up your world.

    Old Richard - and I like beer too! :) I'm the lucky one there, and I know how blessed I am (even if I now know officially, EVERY cougar joke on the planet).

    Murphy(AZ) - I'm so glad you got Sadie! And yes, so many good friendships here.

    Andie - I'm always happy to have you stop in. Thanks.

    Mathew Paust - you've been an inspiration, and I keep a copy of your book on my shelf to remind myself what's in us all.

    Kevin - well, wow, (blush). I won't make it out to GBR with Dad's situation but I'll make sure Partner buys you a beer (and the Ruger that Ruger donated for the raffle which is in our safe,
    is SWEET!)

    Fast Richard - glad you make us all part of your life, as well.

    John P (Toronto) - that just made my day, you are one of the best.

    Rumbear - I will do my best.

    JoeMama - I've reverted to "look, my new haircut!" before, and occassionally repost a classic, but I understand. I'm glad it's still fun, for when it quits to be so, I'll likely stop as well, but that won't be for a while.

    drjim - as have a few boxes of assorted electronic pieces and parts you have sent my way, made mine. :-)

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  30. Thank you for letting us in.

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  31. A bit late to the party but Here's to you and the big day!

    For a long time now your little spot on the interwebz has been a daily stop for me and I thank you for sharing with us.

    The mention of the Rainbow Bridge made me smile as my wife has a rainbow paw print bracelet tattooed on her wrist, she volunteers at a no kill shelter and it was inspired by both sides of the Rainbow Bridge story.

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  32. Congratulations on your Blogiversary! You have shared so much, and it is most surely appreciated.
    And yes, a lot of bacon!

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  33. Happy blogiversary! So many changes in your life during that time, but the quality has never changed. And we're still proud to call you "friend".

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  34. Congrats, and well said as always! ;-)

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  35. Happy Blogiversary. Wow - six years. It seems like a long time. However, with most things time passes so quickly. Before you know it you will be at ten years.

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I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..