Farting Uphill to Poo Poo Point

A Tiger Mountain Adventure,

Or, rather, a Meditation on Relationships

Mount Rainier aka The Mountain from along the Chirico Trail on West Tiger Mountain on Monday the 26th of January 2015. Furthermore, it’s time to restore The Mountain to her Native name: Ti’Swaq’ … the Sky Wiper!

Mount Rainier aka The Mountain from along the Chirico Trail on West Tiger Mountain on Monday the 26th of January 2015. Furthermore, it’s time to restore The Mountain to her chosen Native name: Ti’Swaq’ … the Sky Wiper!

Monday 26 January 2015

Our day hike had two purposes: to spend time together reconnecting as father and daughter, and for my daughter to train for her upcoming attempt to thruhike the Appalachian Trail. Morgan and I are both rather eccentric. We both know it, too, and value such in the other. We both appreciate being outdoors and nature is a spiritual connection. Otherwise it feels like night and day to me. This day, however, we were late getting ourselves together as we made the gravest error of making busy work a priority. Especially me.

“Hurry up, Dad!” Morgan shouted. “Jeezus, Dad! You’re always yelling at me to hurry up and let’s go and all, and here you are texting old girlfriends and stuff!”

Except I didn’t have any girlfriends at that point, old or otherwise, as I was divorced and still single.

At this point our hike had to meet several criteria so as to qualify both as quality bonding time and provide at least SOME training. First, both drive time and trail mileage had to be short. The trail also needed to be steep as all get out to make up for being so short. We also wanted a trail we haven’t done over and over again.

Ah! Poo Poo Point! Yes!

“What?” Morgan asked with a scowl. “Poo Poo Point? Ew, gross, Dad. Like what, horses and cow poop and stuff?”

“No, it’s a short, steep hike up the side of Tiger Mountain from the back side of Issaquah. You’ve done it once before with Kate and Talia and me and Kristina back when Kristina and I were married. We watched paragliders sail off the cliff top.”

“Oh. Yeah, I remember now. OK, let’s go.”

What many call the Poo Poo Point Trail is really the Chirico Trail. This locally notorious footpath drives straight up the slopes of West Tiger Mountain. It’s steep and sweaty sweet before unraveling into rambling twists and turns. Two open, grassy meadows high up near the summit provided launch jump-offs for hang gliders and paragliders. Well, one doesn’t see hang gliders much anymore as paragliding has won out as technology advanced. Hiking thru wintry trees, however, one can look south upon the mighty leviathan bulk of Mt. Rainier, or as the Native Americans prefer, Ti’Swaq’ the Sky Swiper!

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At the Bottom of The Mountain

A Winter Day Trip to Mt. Rainier in the Throes of Climate Change,

Monday 29 December 2014

Morgan (L) & Anne outside the Nisqually Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park.

Morgan (L) & Anne outside the Nisqually Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Normally the snow is deep and there isn’t much frozen snowmelt on the road. Not the case here this time nor up around the bend.

On the last Monday in the Year 2014 Common Era, I drove three of us to Mount Rainier National Park. The other two were my oldest daughter Morgan, a few months shy of turning 21, and her maternal cousin, Anne, of about the same age but a little older. Morgan had recently moved back to Seattle from Bellingham to prepare for her journey along the Appalachian Trail. Her mother Gwen Hughes, Anne’s auntie, and now my ex-wife tho still dear friend, and I had thruhiked the AT once upon a somewhat long time ago back in 1991. Gwen and I, originally from Virginia, still lived in Seattle, Washington. Anne was from Florida, and had not ever been to Seattle or Mt. Rainier before, and wanted to go. Woo Hoo, Mt. Rainier! Off we went. We didn’t make it past the bottom of The Mountain.

We determined to have fun anyway.

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Old Man God with the Green Guitar

Discordian Harmony at the Pacific Northwest Folklife Festival

with

Zombie Jimi

Mystery Musician aka Zombie Jimi

Mystery Musician aka Zombie Jimi

 

Sunday 24 May 2015

My eyes heard him hunched over his old green guitar before my ears could see him stretching notes thru the air. Old Man God stood in the Center of Seattle crouched in the corner facing Jerusalem on the other side of the world before turning his back on Abraham’s minions to face Ancient Timbuktu instead, his skin all black as Mississippi Goddamn and his beard as snowy white as polar bear belly all while focused on changing what never changes as he grasped the old, banged-up, burring, purring, electric, green guitar in his hands the same way Neptune once burst open the sky with his trident held high all a buzzsaw humming like Betty Dodson’s Hitachi Magic Wand gripped in Goddess hands orgasming the Himalayas apart with the Love Song of a Cosmic Chainsaw. His hands trembled all steady with purpose as he caressed his green guitar with the adoration Zeus once had for electric thunderbolts and nymphs sweaty with humid rust. Old God Man shuddered back on his feet, unwound his pelvis as Mike Mulligan once cranked up trusty Mary Anne, lumbered forward at the wall as a Zen steam shovel on testosterone and played his green guitar with a certain must with a deliberate lust driven to play things as they are with a ferocious thrust not what others demanded oh yeah he played with raw beauty and ugly grace oh yeah he played with verve to shear men and women like sheep oh yeah played his old green guitar so damn hard I swear the sky blazed electric blue and in the midst of such Rapture heard a vast groaning zombie drone as reanimated angels buzzed straight up outa the ground like Jimi Hendrix lighting up Woodstock high up on stage high above the mud deep down in O Mississippi Goddamn mud it’s Nina Simone eating up the sky with her brow all furrowed like eight thirty o’clock way up upon a stage crowded with pianos on fire PIANOS ON FIRE! giving voice to the lynched the burned and to the drowned. Aye, my hearing aids filled with the android squeals of Betty Dodson Jimi Hendrix Nina Simone jackhammering open bones skin and soul to touch my love with feathers stuffed with steel.

See, I heard all these things in a voodoo of pain nothing could change not even Deuteronomous Dali Bosch. Continue reading “Old Man God with the Green Guitar” »

Three Bands wrack Café Racer during one magnificent wet Saturday night in Seattle

“Yeah! I think this is like Your Band’s first review!” ~ Ben Callup of Your Band

Your Band distorts gravity down at Cafe Racer

Your Band distorts gravity down at Cafe Racer~

My Saturday was awesome. Awesome beyond cliches, Hell yeah it was! The 3rd of January! 2015! Busted my middle-age Happy New Year ass in the Gym. Hung out with a dear friend I haven’t seen in almost 2 years and dove down an esoteric rabbit hole with her between death & life, and spent the evening of a Full Moon Eve at Café Racer where I met up with friends from the Socialist Alternative and listened to a trio of bands jam. It was good to get my butt away from the house and out on the town a bit. Slowly enjoyed a pint of Scotch Style Pike Kilt Lifter Ruby Ale from a scruffy, jolly bartender. I’m a glass-draining, guzzling gulper by habit, so I disciplined myself to slow it waaay down to one, delicious slow-drinkin’ beer while eyeing all the qwerty-quirky colorful, kitschy, & strange ugly ass art all over dayglow walls. Outside on the sidewalks knots of people smoked cigarettes in the rain as if it was the most natural thing to do at night in the misty Seattle rain.

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Raise the Minimum Wage

It’s not about the Money

Up Close and Uncompromising! The front of one of the famous Red T-Shirts worn by volunteers for Kshama Sawant's Socialist Alternative Campaign for Seattle City Council, Position 2, the 5th of November 2013. Photo by William Dudley Bass.

Up Close and Uncompromising! The front of one of the famous Red T-Shirts worn by volunteers for Kshama Sawant’s Socialist Alternative Campaign for Seattle City Council, Position 2, the 5th of November 2013. Photo by William Dudley Bass.

Those who argue against raising the minimum wage do not get it. The naysayers spin broken webs of economic facts and figures rooted not in the reality of our natural environment but inside the charts and computer algorithms of a virtual world divorced from physical reality. It’s not about the money. I want to stand up and shout, “It’s not about the money; it’s about people! Real live human beings!”

I really want to jump up and yell, “It’s not about money, you insert language most foul!” Such verbal intensity, however deliciously vulgar, would just rile up the troll militias, so I won’t cuss here. It’s challenging enough to feel compassion and empathy for my fellow human beings, including those who exhibit cruelty and heartless stupidity. No matter. We all suffer. Everyone single one of us experiences suffering. Life is Struggle.

The working classes get life is a struggle. So do artists and small business owners. So do the unemployed, the underemployed, the homeless, the foreclosed, the laid off, the poorly paid, the uneducated, the overeducated, students deep in debt, the hungry, the sick, the pissed off. Reformers understand action is better than indulging in cynicism, apathy, and do-nothingism. Revolutionaries understand reform only goes so far before it dead ends in a mirage. Struggle serves to move the working classes from enduring ever more suffering to survive to rising up to stand in their power and thrive.

During these bleak but exciting times I volunteered for Kshama Sawant’s openly Socialist campaign for Seattle City Council. I joined with other veterans of the Occupy Uprisings from the Green Party of Seattle and the Seattle branches of the Socialist Alternatives to serve to get her elected. Other Socialist Alternatives ran strong campaigns elsewhere, especially Ty Moore in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It proved a tight race. Still counting ballots days after the Election. We rocked the city and made waves across the nation. Ripples were felt around the world. It was an astonishing experience. A small, highly disciplined organization raised well over $110,000 and marshaled over 300 volunteers, many of them part-time volunteers such as myself. What helped us stand out in addition to our red t-shirts was our uncompromising stand for a $15.00 an hour minimum wage.

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Headless Sally

Ghost Hunting amid the Echoes of Tragedy and Carnage at Saylor’s Creek

Midnight came and went across the woods and fields of a 118-year old Civil War battlefield. With a firm grip on powerful flashlights turned off, we crept along the edge of the bridge and peered downstream into the darkness for ghosts. Well, for a specific ghost in particular, a ghost named Headless Sally. The three of us stood there in the dark feeling stupid and scared all at once. It was cold, too, down there in the damp mini-valley of Saylor’s Creek. A full moon hung in the sky casting shadows through trees and thickets leafless in Winter.

Earlier during the day we had agreed to hunt for Headless Sally under a full moon in a relatively clear and calm night sky. Luna draws out the madness in people, draws out mindless ghosts questing about on soulless autopilot, the objects of long-faded desires lost to spiritual dementia. And here we were, three Witches of Silverwood, leaning over the bridge railing facing downstream looking for the ghost of a floating head or perhaps her headless torso. We were confident of our abilities to protect ourselves against harmful or mischievous spirit entities. Besides, we figured after midnight on a cold weeknight there would be far less traffic on a lonely country road to disturb our focus than earlier in the day or on a weekend.

We have visited with ghosts nearby at the Hillsman Farmhouse at the epicenter of the Battle of Saylor’s Creek. Fought on Thursday 6 April 1865, as heavy rains fell and the creek rose, the fields, woods, creeks, and farms were the scene of a ferocious and savage three-part battle between Confederates and Federals. American Civil War combat was often at close quarters with severe injuries from up-close discharges of firearms and artillery as well as hand-to-hand fighting.

The Hillsman home was occupied by the Federals and used as a battlefield hospital. The family and servants there were forced downstairs into the basement, but afterwards helped dig mass graves for the dead. I don’t know if the “servants” were Black slaves, lowly-paid Whites, or White indentured servants. Indentured servants as an institution, shockingly enough, endured in the U.S.A. until 1917, long after slavery itself was legally abolished. Few narratives from Civil War battles more than mentioned the presence of slaves as if they were a bothersome afterthought.

The medical staff operated on screaming Union and Confederate wounded without question. Stories were told of so many amputations deemed necessary as the gory battle unfolded, the pile of severed limbs and body parts tossed out the windows reached up to the windowsills. Soft lead Minié ball bullets tore large holes through soft tissue and shattered bones. Cannons firing loaded canisters bursting with lead and iron balls packed in sawdust mowed down troops on both sides.

Sanitation was unknown, and this lack of hygiene helped generate severe rates of infections such as gangrene. Doctors and nurses, including surgeons, may care for their patients and feel passionate for their professions, yes. Their knowledge and technologies, unfortunately, were surprisingly Medieval during what many historians consider the first Modern, Industrial Age war. No wonder so many ghosts haunted the area. Sally, however, didn’t die in the war.

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Sleeping with Ghosts on the Appalachian Trail

Ruminations, Romance, and the Lives of a Family Long Dead

Story and Photographs by William Dudley Bass

Ruins of the old Sarver Homestead along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, May 1991.

Ruins of the old Sarver Homestead along the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, May 1991.

In late May 1991, almost three months into our odyssey along the Appalachian Trail, my wife and I planned to sleep among ghosts. Old-timey Virginia ghosts. It seemed like a fitting thing to do while walking across our home state, a journey as rich with rumination as it was with hardship and joy.

Gwen and I had embarked on the first day of spring from the top of Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to backpack the whole Appalachian Trail end to end. The AT, as we hikers called it, or simply “the Trail,” stretches more than 2,000 miles northwards across 14 states to the summit of mile-high Mt. Katahdin in north-central Maine. Almost a quarter of the Trail passes through the Old Dominion, making Virginia home to the longest section of the AT, more than any other state. Gwen and I took six-and-a-half months to backpack the whole Trail, climbing Katahdin in early October on the day after our third wedding anniversary.

Rich in both history and wildlife, the Appalachian Trail is an intersection of people and wilderness. Those who backpack end-to-end in one push are known as “thruhikers,” while those who attempt to complete the whole thing in stages are called “section hikers.” Most take on trail names. Gwen and I were thruhikers, as such a distinct minority among the day hikers, weekenders, and picnickers. We called ourselves the Pregnant Rhinos.

Our trail name arose from a backpacking trip out West the previous year, when we got teased about the huge new internal-frame expedition packs bulging from our backs. “Damn, y’all look like a coupla pregnant rhinoceroses,” exclaimed a teenage boy, his own rickety, external-frame pack jangling with pots and pans and sloppy blankets.

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Skipping Rocks at Carkeek Park

Blended Family Fun on the Beach just after Sunset

Morgan & Talia at Play

~ Summer of 2004 ~

All photographs by William Dudley Bass.

Click upon any photo to expand it. Click again to make it bigger! Click the return arrow to go back to the previous page to the photo’s original size.

Morgan showing Talia how to skip rocks into the Sound, Carkeek Park, Seattle, June 2004.

Morgan showing Talia how to skip rocks into the Sound, Carkeek Park, Seattle, Wednesday 16 June 2004.

Kristina, my partner at the time, and I discovered one of the best ways to blend our quirky families was to play together. Shared activities made any chore much more fun and the play a hooty wild blast. Sometimes we played rough, too. My kids and I called wrestling with Daddy “rumble tumble.” Kate was the roughest, although Talia enjoyed a good tumble, too, until she decided she didn’t appreciate a particular move. Morgan didn’t care for such forceful fun. She was a more gentle, restrained, and patient player who valued eccentric, witty goofiness over “play fightin’.”

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The Lost Creek Monster

Did a Sasquatch tear up the woods between two Virginia farms?

The mystery of this strange event has never been solved. Recent scientific discoveries and claims, however, may provide the inquisitive with clues.

It’s springtime in Virginia. The year is either 1967 or 1968, and possibly as late as 1972. My memory of time and dates from long-ago events are a little hazy these days. Not the incidents and sequences of events, however long ago they occurred. These events are crystal clear in the “documentary film” of my memories.

A giant and mysterious beast went berserk in the woods shared by two intermarried family farms. The destruction was extensive and required immediate repair. We farmers kept our herds of cows and heifers separate to prevent them from getting all mixed up. Both farms had planned to turn loose their herds into adjacent fields separated by the fences along Lost Creek. Compounding the mystery was odd feeling the destruction appeared to be far more playful than malicious. Or perhaps it was a warning?

Maybe there was more than one entity. Perhaps a small family of these unknown monsters was responsible for the bizarre rampage. At the time people, adults as well as us kids, thought a tornado was the most likely culprit even if a tornado made no sense at all as there were no storms. So we imagined a giant, troll-like creature and named it the Lost Creek Monster. We certainly hoped if there really was such a beast there was only one at most. Feeling a bit superstitious, we nonetheless prayed the monster would leave us alone. Especially if it was the Devil. But we were just as afraid of God.

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Out of My Body and Across the Sea

Once I had an OBE, an Out-of-Body-Experience, and flew across the sea. There were a few times I am certain I had other OBEs, one bordering on a NDE or Near-Death Experience. This particular OBE had one significant difference, though, that distinguished it from all the others. As of March 2013, this event remains the only time I managed to intentionally astral travel. All of my other OBEs were unintentional and spontaneous. This particular astral journey was startling in its clarity. I remember it vividly many years later as if it happened yesterday.

During my time as a Wiccan, I was exposed to a number of practices and paranormal phenomena at odds with mainstream orthodox science. Among these were strange “things” called astral projection, astral travel, or out-of-body experiences. They are different terms for the same phenomena. One could dismiss such things as magical thinking, a level of psycho-spiritual and socio-cultural evolutionary development considered inferior. Magical thinking is a cluster of different religious and psychological belief systems wrapped up in elements of what many deride as “superstition.”

The one primary distinction shared within this cluster is the idea thinking certain thoughts either intentionally or unintentionally generates actions and events in the outer or “real” world of matter and energy. Research into psychic phenomena and brain waves demonstrate the power of focused mental energy to affect change in the environment beyond the body. Meditation, prayer, casting spells, calling down old Deities, and focused ESP represent different examples of focused mental power.

There is still much to learn regarding the mysteries of consciousness. The experience of Afterlife beings raises questions about definitions of life, especially beyond biological death. None of this mattered to those who feared for my soul, however, as they were sure these “things” were real. My Fundamentalist Christian friends and a few family members swore I was deluded by the Devil and flying straight down into Hell.

One afternoon, however, regardless of Heaven or Hell or the Levels In Between, I faced my fears and deliberately left my body for what proved to be an exciting adventure.

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Doppelganger Among the Cows

Once I saw a doppelganger, although I wasn’t aware of it until the next day. This mysterious event still baffles my mind. Strange and still unresolved questions were raised for which “hoax” would be the easiest yet least likely answer. There are questions regarding the possibility for the bilocation of matter, especially biological organisms, at high levels of material cohesion. Can a person split themselves at will or unconsciously? Other questions provoke inquiries into the evidence consciousness extends beyond our living bodyminds as well as continues, at least for a while, after death. One may speculate as well upon the spiritual ramifications of doppelgangers.

I was not the only witness that warm, sunny afternoon. First, however, what is a doppelganger? Yeah, what the heck is that? And is it dangerous? There’s no way this was a hoax. Well, a hoax is highly unlikely. I’ll explain why further down in this article.

Doppelgangers have existed in myths and legends since Ancient Times. I’d never given the phenomena much attention or credibility prior to this event. Yet my wife and I and others witnessed a doppelganger. Later that afternoon, one man even worked unknowingly alongside this doppelganger. When the man discovered he had done so, he freaked out and prayed feverishly to God so he wouldn’t be snatched up by the Devil and flung down into the fires and stench of Hell.

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Summer Twilight of the Burning Sky

The following anomalous event occurred one summer in the early 1970s in rural Prince Edward County, south-central Virginia. It remains unexplained.

This weird incident happened about five or six years after my family and I experienced an unidentified flying ship over the fields and woods behind our farmhouse. Those two experiences may have nothing to do with each other except both were strange and were dismissed, ridiculed, or explained away by our American Government.

Our paranoid Cold War fears intensified after the anomaly occurred this particular hot and sweaty summer evening. I was a young teenager back then. A group of us kids played outside in a grassy cow pasture between my house and the neighbors’. Joe, my younger brother, was running around with us, too. Our parents were out and about in their respective yards. The fireflies were already out, winking on and off along the edge of the woods bordering the field even though there was still plenty of light left. We called ’em lightnin’ bugs. We jerked alert as we found ourselves and everything around us bathed in glowing light. It happened fast. BOOM without sound.

“Whoa, look!” shouted one friend in awe. “Look at the sky!”

“Oh, wow!”

“What the hell is that?”

“I sure don’t think it’s Jesus comin’ back. Don’t hear no trumpets a blowin’.”

“Trumpets, shit. Maybe the Russians are bombin’ us.”

“Or aliens from Outer Space!”

“Whoa, look at that! Hey, over there, too. Oh man, the sky’s on fire!”

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Call of the Divine down by the Clothesline

Our culture is riven with wounds. The linguistic tapestries woven from many of our stories arise from psychological, emotional, social, and physical trauma. Ken Woodley, a man who once attended the same small, all-male college as I did went on to advocate for deep racial and social healing between Blacks and Whites in Virginia and across America. From his position as Editor of The Farmville Herald, the local newspaper in Prince Edward County where he still works, he once stated, “We are not responsible for a lot of the wounds we find, but we can be responsible for the healing.”

Healing of such magnitude begins with awareness and presence. Healing of any kind demands such presence. Awareness begins with waking up. Dreams aren’t any good unless you wake up to take action to make your dreams come true.

I remember when I first woke up.

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Goat-Headed Devil in a Black Tuxedo

Ancient image of Cernunnos on the silver Gundestrop Cauldron created by Celtic craftsmen during the European Iron Age. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

Ancient image of Cernunnos on the silver Gundestrop Cauldron created by Celtic craftsmen during the European Iron Age. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

A Modern image of the Horned God of the Wiccans dispayed in the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall, the UK. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

A Modern image of the Horned God of the Wiccans dispayed in the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall, the UK. Photo from Wikipedia Commons.

 

What transpired is true and cannot be proven.

Once upon a time in the deep dark of night my first wife Margaret and I walked in the door of our home and saw a goat-headed devil sitting in the chair watching us with his legs crossed and his hands in his lap. Scared the bejesus out of us, too. We didn’t know what in Hell this creature was other than it was male. He certainly challenged our religious, psycho-spiritual, and cultural upbringing.

Thick, smoky fog oozed through the woods and draped the open fields. Down the hill beyond the bluffs snaked Big and Little Sandy Rivers. It wasn’t too cold, but the damp chill made the fog drip with hypothermia. Margaret and I arrived home close to midnight. We’d been out at a gathering celebrating Goddess and God with the other Witches of Silverwood Circle. Our group was a Neo-Pagan Celtic Wiccan coven in Prince Edward County, Virginia.

My wife, well, she was my first wife, was the Inner Flamenca or High Priestess of Silverwood. Our close friend, Paul, was the Inner Flamen or High Priest. We preferred “Inner” instead of  “High” to promote ideas of going deep into the mysteries rather than someone being superior above others. The terms “flamen” and “flamenca” derived from Latin words for Roman priests and priestesses responsible for the sacred flames of Gods and Goddesses. They’re not as common in Wiccan usage these days, but some Celtic Wiccans preferred the Roman words to distinguish themselves from Neo-Celtic Druids.

The closer we approached our home the colder and clammier everything seemed. We felt open psychically, perhaps too much so, for we had relatively little training in the arts of psychic and spiritual self-defense. We were beginning to encounter spiritual entities for which we were unprepared to meet.

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Ghosts and Hauntings at the Old Bass Family Farmhouse

 

Old Bass Family Farmhouse on a visit to Virginia from Seattle, December 2005. Foto by William Bass.

Old Bass Family Farmhouse on a visit to Virginia from Seattle, December 2005. Foto by William Bass.

A ghost, yes, an invisible ghost, scared me nearly all to pieces once upon a time back when I was a little kid. I was young, so you can laugh if you wanna, but I was well read and smart, too for being such a squirt. The way that ol’ ghost stomped down the hallway of an old farmhouse in my direction freaked me out. Made my big Frankenstein hearing aid SCREAM. I could hear this ghost, too. I could feel it, feel both the vibrations of the stomps and the cold blob of air moving along with it.

I was a young boy back in the mid-to-late1960s sometime. I don’t remember how many years old I was or what grade I attended in school. What I do recall, however, was the weather. It was Summertime. Lush, green Summertime! It must’ve been between grades. I reckon I was in late elementary school or maybe even early middle. Not sure. But it was Summer that I know. And a ghost scared the bedoobus outa my insides. This true story began late one afternoon.

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Big Belly Cigarette Smoking Man Swimming in Winter

The Author staring across Puget Sound towards the Olympics from the beaches of Carkeek Park, Seattle. This foto is not from the same time as the essay, it was taken years later on 6 November 2011 by Kate Bass, but it captures the chill of the story as the slide fotos of the actual event were lost in the 2010 house fire.

The Author staring across Puget Sound towards the Olympics from the beaches of Carkeek Park, Seattle. This foto is not from the same time as the essay, it was taken years later on 6 November 2011 by Kate Bass, but it captures the chill of the story as the slide fotos of the actual event were lost in the 2010 house fire.

One bitter cold sunny day I came upon a tall, balding man standing on the beach wearing nothing but a skimpy Speedo swimsuit and smoking cigarettes. He had an enormous belly, a tremendous leviathan of a belly; the kind of tight power belly a big man could even feel proud of. Yet he moved like James Bond in the movies. He smoked like Humphrey Bogart used to in the movies, too. Him and Katherine Hepburn, remember? This man stood barefoot before me in sand, pebbles, and broken seashells as he gazed across the Salish Sea from the shores of Carkeek Park. I estimated he was a youngish sixty. An icy breeze sliced through my coat and stung my cheeks.

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Fear and Paranoia: Down Out of the UFO Attic

UFOs are taboo.

To be more precise, as Unidentified Flying Objects seem to come and go as they please and not when and where as we would expect or even like, it is the topic of UFOs which is taboo. This includes many squirmy topics, which may or may not be completely true nor completely false, such as: shape-shifting and transforming objects, alien abductions with grotesque medical, genetic, and sexual experiments, mutilations of animals including cattle, horses, and humans, USOs or UUOs (Unidentified Submersible Objects or Unidentified Underwater Objects), secret underground and underwater bases, soul harvesting, anomalies on the Moon and on Mars and elsewhere which appear to be the ruins of vastly ancient civilizations, mysterious orbs, biomechanical or cyborg ships, Cold War conspiracies, ridicule by the authorities, stupidity in the media, cover-ups by hypercompartmentalized entities within or outside the military/security-industrial/corporate-education/prison-intelligence/surveillance complex, extraterrestrial and/or interdimensional species and technologies, free energy, and secret weapons.

There are allegations by whistleblowers and others in or who used to be in the militaries, intelligence agencies, scientific institutions, and other reputable organizations around the planet about and for these things. There are the so-called “black projects” within Unacknowledged Special Access Programs (USAPs). A deluge of documents has been declassified by a number of governments that demonstrate a significant and prolonged interest in a mystery otherwise dismissed and debunked in public.

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A Wild Kayak Adventure Down Slickrock Creek

Wanna hammer down a creek few have ever paddled? Flush through crooked, boulder-strewn chutes and delicately pick your route down Class 5 Wildcat Falls as you drop off the edge of the world into forever? Then throw away your guidebooks and come south prepared to hike in with your boat. You won’t forget this big, open secret as you rassle with the River Gods to turn it loose. This little bugger roars.

April 4,1989. We were deep in the lush, virgin forests of the Joyce Kilmer – Slickrock Wilderness putting onto a stream we knew very little about. None of us had hiked it, and we only knew a handful of other NOC boaters who had paddled it. Rain had been falling steadily, and we were looking for something different. Steepcreekin’ in Appalachia is Southeastern tradition, and part of the fun is seeking out and paddling remote and seldom run descents. As thunderstorms rolled over the mountains and feeling as if we were in a jungle, we knew we were in for dangerous adventures in a mysterious whitewater gorge.

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Overflow! Reflections on Kayaking Class 5 Overflow Creek

Jeff going "singless" running Singley's Falls.

Jeff going “singless” running Singley’s Falls.

We expected extreme whitewater. We knew we were all skilled paddlers, climbers, and hikers and could handle ourselves in the wilderness. We were trained in river rescue. We just had no idea our party of four kayakers would get stuck in a confrontation with the Grim Reaper deep in a remote Appalachian gorge as the Sun slid down behind the tallest trees.

In the pages of North Carolina Canoeing, Bob Sehlinger and Don Otey write of the notoriously wild Chattooga River, “If Section IV bores you, try Overflow Creek.” They declared it was for  “boaters with…a little insanity.”

Such crazy madness was the predicament the four of us found ourselves in one sunny, warm afternoon: were we really all that bored with Section IV? Heck, after all, the Chattooga was at a romping 2.8 feet on the gauge. In the end we figured we were indeed bored with Section IV and probably not quite all there in the head, either. Though we were much more of a humble and calm team. We were just more on the spiritually cool side of gonzo.

Truth be told, we mainly wanted relief from rowdy crowds congregating along Section III that day for the recent International Peace Rally hosted by the Nantahala Outdoor Center. As much as we enjoyed partying with the Soviets and Costa Ricans, when it came down to the water, we were seekers of solitude. So off into the wilderness of North Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest we went.

Continue reading “Overflow! Reflections on Kayaking Class 5 Overflow Creek” »

Running Towards the Quiet Roar of the Dharma

I felt swallowed by suffering into the giant maw of a monstrous lion. Over the past few years I’ve lost almost everything but life, and even that was in question at times. In the midst of such suffering I learned to run towards the roar, the roaring of lions mute with fear and rage and cravings. I had to learn to do so or else the Grim Reaper would hug me with his scythe. I learned to run towards the quiet roar, the quiet ROAR of the Dharma, to stay present to the miracle of my life.

An unusual compression of numerous losses traumatized me more than I would like to admit. I even ended up semi-homeless for two months and staying with friends for a few more. I say “semi-homeless” because I lived out of a tent pitched back in the bushes behind three enormous woodpiles and a Native American sweat lodge with access to the facilities of a nearby house. All in the middle of urban North Seattle. In each moment I was awake I ran and sometimes stumbled towards that quiet roar, that quiet ROAR of the Dharma.

Continue reading “Running Towards the Quiet Roar of the Dharma” »

Inner Shifts of Being

Sunset from the bluffs while gazing across the Sound toward the Olympics. Richmond Beach Park, Shoreline, Washington, Sunday 23 September 2012. Foto by William Dudley Bass.

Sunset from the bluffs while gazing across the Sound toward the Olympics. Richmond Beach Park, Shoreline, Washington, Sunday 23 September 2012. Foto by William Dudley Bass.

Something has shifted in me recently. What has shifted is I’ve lost my taste to speak harshly of others.

During the unexpected challenges of recent years I almost crumbled. The past few months were particularly difficult emotionally and financially. I could’ve sunk deeper into cynicism and bitterness and wallowed in apathy and self-pity. Instead I found the strength and the courage to pivot into a field where there are no paths. My life was my own to choose. My life was mine to live.

Continue reading “Inner Shifts of Being” »

The Other Nantahala

Big Kahuna - Nantahala Cascades - est flow 950 cfsLooking at the Great Kahuna, crux of the Nantahala Cascades, from a photo dated November 14, 2009 when the Upper Nantahala Gorge was running about 950 cfs.
NOTE: This foto has since been removed and the server is often unaccessible.

 

The Nantahala River is one the most famous whitewater runs in North America. Most people, however, know it merely as a scenic but beginner-level run. Only recently has word been getting out about “the Other Nantahala,” the river of the Class V-VI Cascades, frequent floodstage big water, of shooting the Horns of the Ram into the maw of Big Wesser Falls. Carving a deep gorge across an earthquake fault through some of the steepest mountains in the Southeast – mountains so rough they have earned the dread of many Appalachian Trail thruhikers – it is home to the paddleheads of the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Located deep in the boonies of Southwestern North Carolina, down there where Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina all butt up against the Tarheel State, the “Nanty” runs year round. Most of the recent International Peace Rally-Nantahala ’90, featuring competitors from around the world including the Soviet Union – were held in the Nantahala’s narrow, heavily-forested gorge. Right before the rally, the Nantahala raged up to a near-record 9.5 ft.

After several years of unrelenting drought, the Southeast has been in the whitewater limelight since heavy rains and frequent flooding returned in January 1989. While disastrous in the eyes of many, the high water has been a boon to paddlers. It has been a special boon to water-starved boaters of the Nantahala area.

Rising high in the Nantahala Mountains, the small river and its headwaters drop into an artificial impoundment, Nantahala Lake. Here Nantahala Power and Light Company (NLP) pumps water through 5.6 miles of pipe and releases at the generating plant about 13 miles downstream.

Most boaters put in below the powerhouse for an exciting dash through continuous Class II-III rapids as the river drops a mellow 33 feet per mile. The icy waters clash with the warm air to create thick ribbons of fog through which one spies bobbing multicolored helmets. In fact, the word Nantahala is Cherokee for “Valley of the Noonday Sun.” The river crashes on until the run culminates in Class III Nantahala Falls, 400 feet above the takeout.

This is the normal run, great for beginners to learn and for intermediates to hone their moves without fear. In the summer the river is often crowded with rafters.

But for others there is the Other Nantahala, the Nantahala of frequent high water. For a time in 1989, NPL was releasing from the lake itself. Water continues to pour down the spillway even now. In both 1989 and 1990 there were numerous extended releases on White Oak Creek, a major tributary of the Nantahala. The character of the river changed as boaters came from all over to experience the Upper Nanty, the Cascades, and Big Wesser. Or even the regular run during high water.

For many miles below the dam, the Nantahala runs through dense willow thickets, gradually widening and descending. The rapids begin to build up to Class II, sometimes III, becoming more continuous and technical. The river plunges over three jumbled waterfalls known as the Upper Cascades and finally merges with White Oak Creek to form the famous Upper Nantahala run. The stretch above the confluence is only rarely run due to the congestion of brush and the fact that the Class IV-V+ Upper Cascades are runnable only when the rest of the Upper Nantahala below is just too high, thus prematurely ending the trip.

White Oak Creek deserves mention. It is one of the hardest hair runs in the Southeast. White Oak flows through continuous Class II rapids through a gentle valley into a small NPL lake. Below the dam the bottom drops out as it plunges for several miles through a tiny gorge with continuous Class II-V rapids. Halfway down is Triple Drop (or Becky’s Catapult), a nasty Class VI three-tier waterfall choked with jagged rocks, vertical pins, and shallow pools. It has been run only once to my knowledge. Becky Weiss, one of NOC’s best hair boaters, catapulted end over end, miraculously without injury.

Continue reading “The Other Nantahala” »

Running from Mad Yellow Jackets

Two Days Later... (Click on all images to enlarge.)

Two Days Later… (Click on all images to ENLARGE.)

There it is ... Pandora's Garbage Can.

There it is … Pandora’s Garbage Can.

I pissed off a blizzard of yellow jackets the other day. They were the Mask of Death rising up without any forewarning or expectation. The Grim Reaper swung out his scythe in warning as I jumped high, and we both whirled away in opposite directions. Death by surprise with the horror of a thousand toxic stings. Except it wasn’t my time to pass on through to the other side…yet.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon in early October 2012, on the 2nd of October to be exact. I stepped outside into the backyard to help clean up some trash and debris. I’ve been staying with my friends Gabriel and Joy in Shoreline, just north of Seattle, as they settle into their “new” home. The backyard was a glorious overgrown wood with tall, beautiful trees and thick bushes bunched around an urban meadow of shaggy grass and dandelions gone to see. In the corner set an old, abandoned metal garbage can. The lid sat somewhat ajar. Bits of trash hung out over the rim. One long, blue length of twine spooled down and out and lay snarled in weeds and sticks.

Behind me on the upstairs balcony Gabriel and his little boy, the one I call “Young Master,” were cleaning up, too. They watched from above. And they just as easily could’ve been out in the yard, too. Young Master could’ve been walking right there with me to peek inside the old garbage can with the same curiosity that possessed me. After all, he was out there messin’ around a couple days earlier over the weekend.

I carried two bags of trash and one of compost. Without much thought I strode up to the ugly old can squatting among the bushes on the edge of the woods. My hand reached out, grabbed the lid, and lifted.

My eyes caught a quick view of what looked like gray paper. Immediately, a monster swarm of bigass yellow jackets rolled out in a thick curling cloud. These were plump, end-of-summer demons all fattened up to die in another month or so. They came together in the air like a biological chainsaw, like a living robot from the Transformer movies, and they were enraged. When I lifted up the lid, apparently I’d ripped their nest apart.

For a moment so brief yet so long I stood there on hyperalert seeing the massed swarm of buzzing yellow jackets pouring out of the can into the air around me. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, way slooooww mooooshunnn. I felt as if I was inside The Matrix movie.

Continue reading “Running from Mad Yellow Jackets” »

Tears for Me

Tears welled up from my eyes – for my self – for the first time in many moons – and I felt them wet upon my face. Ever since my heart got turned to stone 27 years ago, even after that story was dissolved & discarded 3 years ago as all made up in my mind, I find it hard to cry for myself, easy to cry for others. A moving incident from a book, movie, or article – both fiction & nonfiction – can move me to generate a flood of tears. But, oh no, only a drought to dry up my soul. I felt the depth of my own sorrow at the pain I’ve caused those I adore so deeply. Sorrow that turned to grief and eventually via the alchemical transmutation of forgiveness & compassion up into joy.

 

(First shared on Facebook in Prezz Pressley’s group “MEN who r NOT AFRAID 2 CRY.”)

William Dudley Bass
On Facebook on 27 June 2011,
Here on 8 July 2011
30 March 2012
Seattle, Washington

From my Mythic Awakening period.

NOTE: This prose poem originally appeared on FB then on my older blog on Friday 8 July 2011, at http://cultivateandharvest.blogspot.com/2011/07/tears-for-me-tears-welled-up-from-my.html. Eventually I revised and reposted it here this March 2012 on my new website. Thank you.

 

 

Copyright © 2011, 2012, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.

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The Devil in Uncle Watt

Uncle Watt bit off the head of a big, fat, juicy green tobacco worm, peed on his deaf cousin, and poked mules in the ass with a sharp stick just to see ‘em kick. Oh, yes, he was full of the Devil. Yes, he was! So people said, and thus my efforts to untangle dead ancestors one from the other to find the truth lured me down into a genealogical exorcism.

“Oh my Lord, he done got the Devil in ‘im BAD,” Raffie, an ancient-looking man who said he used to work beside Uncle Watt on the farm once told me back when I was a young lad. “Yeah, Lord, I’m tellin’ ya, it’s BAD!” As late as July 2009, Helen, one of my beloved aunts and a Beatnik artist in her 80s, when reminded of Uncle Watt called him “quite a character.” And so I tumbled down the dumbwaiter chute of a family mystery. Who was this “Devil?”

My Dad told me stories. Raffie told me stories. Uncle Willy told me stories. Even Uncle Aumon who got peed on told me stories. Willy and Aumon were brothers, and as they were also my Dad’s uncles they were really my paternal great-uncles. All of them would shake their heads with bemused dismay and chuckle. They could laugh simply because Uncle Watt was dead. He died young and wasn’t around anymore to torment anyone with all his foolishness. I never got to meet him. Dad said, “Uncle Watt died before you were born, Son, long before you were born.” He didn’t remember what of, tho.

“You don’t remember what he died of?” I asked all eaten up bug-eyed in impatient dismay.

“No, I don’t recall anything,” Dad replied. “Wait. Something about his toe. His big toe, maybe? Hell, I don’t know. Can’t help ya there. Got work to do now. Don’t you?”

Turns out Uncle Watt died long before my Daddy was born, too, as in a little over two decades before Dad’s birth. The strangeness about Watt Bass includes those who told all those crazy wild tales about him spoke as if they were there running alongside him in the same window of time. Whenever I asked way back then how long ago did those events happen not one person seemed to know. Asking a few questions turned into an unexpected adventure in genealogy as I dove into the rabbit hole of fading memories, cryptic notes on faded paper, and incomplete information online.

He was a fun-loving guy who apparently was constantly pushing people’s buttons, telling jokes, and playing pranks like biting off the head of a giant caterpillar to pee all over Uncle Aumon, who was but a laddie-lad, too. He lived life on the wild side. Chased pretty girls but never married. Or so I was told. Which I found out was wrong, wrong, wrong as he certainly did marry. Unless I stumbled upon the tombstone of the wrong Uncle Watt. Turns out I didn’t as the correct tombstone was also the same shared with his now-deceased wife.

Continue reading “The Devil in Uncle Watt” »

My Third Wife Changes Her Name: Gender Issues, Ex-Wives, and Surname Conflicts

 

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The Blended Family Wedding of Kristina Katayama (L) and William Bass (R) with vows to their children (Morgan, Kate, & Talia) and with their Community.

I married Kristina this past 11 July 2009. She was the great love of my life at that time. We have been together over 7 years, ever since late 2001, as I write this essay. Kristina is a vibrant and dynamic woman, bold, sexy, intelligent, professional, and passionate. She lives full out as a Postmodern Age human being. We married ourselves privately in May 2005, became officially engaged back in November 2005, and intended to celebrate with a public, legal wedding in the summer of 2006. We felt too busy with careers and children, however, and lived as if already married. And in 2009 we finally did it. Up to our Wedding Day, she used her father’s family name, “Katayama,” as her own. And after our wedding she insisted on changing her name. Or, to be more accurate, adding my surname to hers.

“What?” I asked incredulously. “That’s old-fashioned culturally-ingrained male domination of females. I don’t own you. I’ve fought against this kind of bigotry my whole life.”

I had more to say, too. “I LIKE the Japanese sound of ‘Katayama.’ Mine is an “Olde English” name. I like the global feel of Bass and Katayama being together as a couple. It supports Euro-Asian-American planetary integration! My name is short and monosyllabic. Yours is long and lovely with four syllables emphasizing the same vowel. And don’t you dare hyphenate! That’s a monstrosity!” Blah blah blah.

Continue reading “My Third Wife Changes Her Name: Gender Issues, Ex-Wives, and Surname Conflicts” »

My Beloved & I (2001-2013)

I love this amazing woman, Kristina Katayama.

Then 12 and a half years later we divorced, darn it, but not before we dove thru our Hearts deep into the Center of the Sun.

Kristina Katayama: Businesswoman, World Traveler, Adventurer, Mom, Stepmom, my Fiance, & then my Wife. Professional Photo by Cass Redstone for Kristina, April 23, 2008, & adapted on iPhoto by William Bass, March 17, 2012. Seattle, Washington, Cascadia.

Kristina Katayama: Businesswoman, World Traveler, Adventurer, Mom, Stepmom, my Fiance, & then my Wife. Professional Photo by Cass Redstone for Kristina in Seattle on 23 April 2008, & adapted on iPhoto by William Bass for this essay on 17 March 2012. Seattle, Washington, Cascadia.

Note: Click on any photo to expand it, and click again to make it even larger. Click the back arrow to return to the essay. All photographs protected by Copyright with All Rights Reserved. Thank you, and enjoy!

Continue reading “My Beloved & I (2001-2013)” »

Broken Glass

My Momma always used t’say I was rough on things. And after awhile, my Daddy started saying the same thing. They called me by my middle name, and said, “Dudley, you’re rough on things!” Well, I was a very energetic little boy. Things had a tendency to break around me.

I grew up on a dairy farm in Prince Edward County in South-Central Virginia during the 1960s. I lived in a house built in the middle of what used to be a big pigpen. “Hogs,” they called ’em back then. When pigs got big they called ’em hogs. “Hawgs.” As in “Hawgs!” You could even see the straight line of trees where the old woven wire fence used to run to keep the hogs in the pen. Otherwise it was all green grass, daffodils, shade trees, pansies, irises, and vegetable gardens.

It grossed me out a few years later, though, when I got my hands on a couple of Daddy’s college textbooks on parasitic worms and other nauseating diseases associated with domestic livestock. The books showed the most graphic and horrible pictures, and I found them quite fascinating – until I realized I lived inside of an old pigpen.

My house back then was small. I could run from one end to the other, and often did. The front door opened from a small, cozy front porch into the living room on the almost-east side of the house. That flowed through a big wide walk-through into a dining room, which opened into the kitchen, which opened onto an enclosed back porch where the washing machine was. All the bedrooms, closets, bathroom, and the den were on the sorta-west side of the house. I could run all the way from the front door to the back door and back again. The full length of the house. As hard as I could. Fast!

Drove my Momma crazy. “Dudley,” she would yell, “Stop slamming the front door! Either go out and play or stay inside and be quiet.”

“Yes Ma’am!” I shouted and deciding to stay inside, charged through the house as fast as I could, my little feet drumming across the floors. That drove my Momma crazy, too.

“Dudley!” she scolded again. “Stop running in the house! Go outside and run.”

Oh, boy, but I was having too much fun.

Continue reading “Broken Glass” »

Crazy Making: A Bad, Bad RapSongPoem with a Nod to the Beatles

Hey Gwen,
Hey Hey, Crazy Gweeyin,
In the news today,
O boy,
I heard Big Government say,
Ahoy,
All the airlines have to play
The way we say
And all passenger information
On all international flights
Has to be reported directly
To Homeland Security…
Sex…cure…me…pleeeeeze…

Security Security Security
For:
Terror
Drugs
Guns
International Pornography…

O boy,
Oh no,
Uh oh,
So I ran a comb thru the air
And disappeared into thin hair
Locked in a black jail
By the CIA
And the NSA
With only a pail
And a bed of hay
Where you can’t call Triple A.

We’re worse off
Than in George Orwell’s 1984
Where peace is war
And Security is now our Haven
Where for “Safety Reasons”
We’ve become craven
Slaves driven Insane
By Psychotic Corporations
Living in Freedom
By Purchased Declarations
Spawned in greed
Among bloody, dark Corruptions.

Oh yeah,
O Boy,
Now what the …   FUCK!!!!!!!!!
George W. Bush,
American President by a Bloodless Coup,
Says our “Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper.”

“The most successful dictatorship is one that presents itself as a democracy and enrolls the majority of the public into that belief.” Yep.

And on top of that I-5 & I-90 from central Seattle to SeaTac to Bellevue will be shut down to 1 lane of traffic each way for 19 days of mass construction beginning tonight…yes, beginning tonight.

BOOM!!!

I shave my head in shame
And remove my Name.

I stand in line
To pull myself
Out of Time.

BOOM!!! FUCKA FUCKA FUCKA BOOM FUCK!

“WTF?” ain’t no Government Agency.
WTF!
WTF?

It’s the Question all the Talking Heads in the Mainstream Mass Media Need to start asking LIVE on prime time yea peel the duct tape off your mouths cuz its time its time and its long over due this time to say it shout it whisper it slam it down all along the grapevine lines and all across the dinner table to make the microwave oven jump and make folks turn their round WALL-E faces away from screentime mating:

WTF!?!?

In the news today, THIS really happened, folks!
Ain’t no lie
Ain’t no air left for hair
Ain’t no comb big enough to shove down
Into the deep, deep Big Government Pies
And rake out Big Bankster
Corporate Nits and Lice and Happy Lies
As THEY plug your brains into the nice, warm Matrix
As Orange as Clockwork on Mars
And Green as Soy on Lent,
Only two questions left to ask
All you happy little Bell Jars:

WTF?!!!?
&
Who’s driving those UFOs?

 

William Dudley Bass
10 August 2007
Edited and reposted February-March 2012.
Seattle, Washington

NOTE: This was first published on my earlier website, Cultivate and Harvest, on Wednesday 19 November 2008, at http://cultivateandharvest.blogspot.com/2008/11/crazy-making-bad-poem-with-nod-to.html, then revised and republished here this 4 March 2012 with my permission as the Author. Thank you.

 

Copyright © 2007, 2012, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.

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Swimming in Avalanches

Click on any photo to ENLARGE it.

Lightning Storms are common in the Mountains. Photo from a free wallpaper/stock photo set.

Lightning Storms are common in the Mountains. Foto of multiple plasma strikes in the Rockies from a free wallpaper/stock photo set.

Lightning struck the mountain as the heavens cracked with thunder. Snow and ice burst loose like boiling water, and I was swept down the couloir, a steep gulley plunging down the flank of the mountain. Runaway snow felt like galloping wet sand and hissed like snakes. It was a hell of a way to spend a summer vacation.

It was mid-July 1986, and I was in the Wyoming Wind River Range toward the end of a 30-day Wind River Mountaineering Course with NOLS, the world-famous National Outdoor Leadership School. Headquartered on the edge of the range in the cowboy town of Lander, Wyoming, NOLS was the premier outdoor adventure school of my time. Once I was on purpose to become a NOLS Instructor. At least I was until love, romance, and a broken down car got in the way. Nevertheless this 30-day NOLS mountaineering course proved to be one of the most pivotal points in my life.

Back then I planned a career in outdoor adventure and sought concentrated training in hard skills such as alpine rock climbing and glacier travel and in soft skills such as teamwork and leadership under pressure. Along with those skills NOLS also taught natural history, science in the field, environmental responsibility, wilderness navigation, and backcountry first aid, all knowledge I desired. I had one semester left in grad school, too, back east in Richmond, Virginia. And, to be sure, what I most wanted as an ol’ farmboy from Virginia was an immersion adventure in the Wild American West. And I got it.

Continue reading “Swimming in Avalanches” »

UFO over Seattle on 21 January 2012

Down at the Seattle Center, I climbed a grassy knoll waving my smart phone around in the sunshine for better reception. Below me in the Fisher Pavilion hundreds of people including many of Vietnamese descent celebrated Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. Kristina, my wife at the time, remained down there with our foreign exchange student from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. I turned around, heard a helicopter overhead, looked up into blue skies, and saw the helicopter circling toward Downtown where Occupy protests were occurring. Then I spied the UFO.

What appeared to be a silver sphere moved in a straight, horizontal line from the southeast, or the direction of Downtown Seattle, northwest over Queen Anne Hill toward the Salish Sea. The object flew swiftly and steadily, perfectly straight. It was shiny silver and reflected the sunlight. The sun was low in the sky more toward the southwest. The time, date, and date was 3:00pm on Saturday 21 January 2012.

For a second I shrugged it off as an airplane or helicopter, then I realized, wait, hey, it’s far more silvery-metallic than any of those would be. More importantly, there were no visible wings, fins, rows of blinking lights, jets, or visible thrusts, rocket engines, or propellers. It was silent, and flew so straight as to be smooth, as in none of the buffeting and wing-dipping I normally see even on straight-flying aircraft. At one point the object appeared to pivot or partially rotate while continuing to “fly” in a straight line at a steady pace. When it pivoted, it appeared as more of a silvery rod, a short, stumpy rod, and reminded me of a fat airplane fuselage.

Continue reading “UFO over Seattle on 21 January 2012” »

Over Meditated

After four days away in the woods of Cloud Mountain, a Buddhist meditation retreat center down near Mt. St. Helens, Washington, I’m back in the Emerald City of Seattle surfing traffic in my four-wheeled kayak. With fiercely serene contemplation my breath guides me to all the sweet spots between grinding dump trucks and vrooming sports cars and teeth-gnashing morons, oops, excuse me, peoplyps, wow, post-meditation Freudian malapropism there smashing together people and polyps! Oops, back to the breath. Breathing in, breathing out. Good thing we worked with our nasal orifices and not any others. Indeed.

During the retreat, we focused on Samatha or Concentration and Tranquility Meditation with Jhana practices. Samatha is “the other twin” to Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, and is little known in North America. It’s beginning to take root, however, as it is rediscovered by many practitioners. My two teachers, Tina Rasmussen, a former nun, and Stephen Snyder, had immersed themselves deeply in these Samatha practices. They mentored under a rare master, the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw of Myanmar/Burma.

After studying and practicing Vipassana in Seattle for two years it proved to be the missing link. For the two middle days I spent at least nine to ten hours in sitting meditation, or attempting to, and the rest of my time awake meditating while walking, eating, and during tasks such as brushing my teeth or working as one of two “soup yogis.”

As part of trading work for money to get myself into the course, I set up and maneuvered giant soup contraptions for the cook. It wasn’t hard, especially as a tiny woman with a head-spinning mane of hair who once spent five years as a bald nun on a silent Zen meditation retreat handled those big soup gamdoodles even faster than I did.

Continue reading “Over Meditated” »

UFO witnessed in action from atop Mt. Erie, Washington

A group of six people, including myself, witnessed an unidentified flying object from the summit of Mt. Erie on Sunday 3 July 2011. We observed what we eventually determined to be a large, garbage-can lid type flying saucer shrink down into a bizarre high-speed orb. The other five observers were my then-wife Kristina (then age 42), my daughter Kate (age 12), and three men who appeared to be in their mid-to-late 60s. As I write this article I am 52 years old. Mt. Erie itself is a relatively short but steep mountain amid those scattered across the San Juan Islands. At 388 meters high (or 1,273 ft.) it is the most prominent in the area and dominates the Skagit River Delta region of northwestern Washington State. It also dominates Fidalgo Island and looms above a string of lakes near Deception Pass. The peak lies in the City of Anacortes park system. From the mountaintop we six saw a UFO engaged in unusual actions. Those actions were as if a machine ship or biological organism behaved as a subatomic quantum particle/wave.

Continue reading “UFO witnessed in action from atop Mt. Erie, Washington” »

UFO Encounter in Virginia

Classic flying saucer image from the Rex Heflin Orange County case in Southern California, 3 August 1965, the same general time period the Bass Family encountered a UFO in Southcentral Virginia. Except their's wasn't saucer shaped. From: http://www.ufoevidence.org/photographs/section/1960s/Photo305.htm

Classic flying saucer image from the Rex Heflin Orange County case in Southern California, 3 August 1965, the same general time period the Bass Family encountered a UFO in Southcentral Virginia. Except their’s wasn’t saucer shaped. From: http://www.ufoevidence.org/photographs/section/1960s/Photo305.htm.

My entire family of origin had a vivid UFO experience back in the mid to late 1960s. The event was exciting, even amazing, and also at moments terrifying. For years afterwards this encounter affected my family and me in unexpected ways such as the odd actions of the FBI and weird behavior among certain people involved with this incident including myself. Ever since then I’ve had a deep, personal interest in so-called “Unidentified Flying Objects” and the controversies UFOs generated.

Despite some apprehension I feel it’s time to tell my story and some of what I’ve discovered since then. My story is long overdue, too. As I stand for transparency and full disclosure, I feel strongly We the People of Earth need to know the full truth whether or not others feel we can “handle it.” Indeed, I stand for full and immediate disclosure of all information from all organizations and institutions regarding UFOs and the immense complexity of what’s alleged to have gone on in some cases for millions of years and what goes on in our current timeframe.

The list of what so many credible whistleblowers are claiming is long, overwhelming, unexpected, and goes far beyond flying saucers, galactic empires, free energy, and underground bases. They include numerous species of ETs/ESs/EDs/IDs (extraterrestrials, extrasolarials, extradimensionals, and inter- or intra-dimensionals), Majestic 12 and other hypercompartmentalized units within Earth nation-state regimes, various breakaway civilizations, ancient even prehistoric ET and human civilizations with ruins throughout the Sol System, the Secret Space Programs (SSPs), the Inner Earth civilizations, secret societies, the German role, the Cabal/Illuminati/Elitist crime syndicates and factions, black budget ops and other USAPs or Unacknowledged Special Access Programs, advanced and hidden technologies and scientific discoveries, global economic and financial manipulation and fraud on unprecedented scales, debunking and disinformation campaigns, grotesque medical and genetic experiments on many lifeforms including Earth humans, widespread human trafficking and slavery, Solarian bases, possibilities for a Star Trek-style civilization, exopolitical ramifications, orbs and plasma life forms, an apparently extreme intergalactic A.I. or Artificial Intelligence menace more omnicidal than nuclear weapons, new understandings about the nature and possibilities of consciousness, and considerations regarding densities versus dimensions and biological evolution with spiritual ascension.

The lines between so-called academic research, mainstream mass media, alternative media, and so-called conspiracy theory first dissolve into murkiness before becoming clearer. Everything one thinks they think they know regarding consciousness, compassion, health, money, politics, religion, spirituality, war, genetics, science, energy, love, relationships, and the definition of life may well be turned upside down and inside out. No, shall be. Let’s return, however, to where and how my involvement in this labyrinthine entanglement began and back to what occurred.

Our family UFO encounter happened on a warm late afternoon after I was home from grade school following a long ride on a yellow school bus. It was dinner time. I think it was early Autumn, although it could have been Spring. I sat around the dinner table with my younger siblings. They were my sister Beth and brother Joe. Our mother bustled about in the kitchen. Our kitchen was a big farmhouse kind of kitchen, and the dinner table was pragmatically placed there off to one side of the room. Dorothy Ussery Bass was my Mama’s real name, but most people who knew her called her Dot. It feels strange to me the actual events of almost four decades ago were so dramatic I remember them in great detail but, alas, I can’t recall whether it was Spring or Fall.

We had a table full of food, however, a big family dinner farmer-style. We kids began to shove food into our mouths, which annoyed Mama. My Dad, William M. Bass, known as Bill, was away where he worked up the hill at “the Barn.” As the large cow barn with the enormous hayloft dominated the center of our dairy farm as some Medieval Great Hall, we simply called it “the Barn.” The rest of the farm’s buildings circled around the hill and ridge. The family business had long been named Riverview Dairy Farm from the proximity of Big and Little Sandy Rivers as they looped around the estate. We were in the Rice – Sandy River – Green Bay belt of northeastern Prince Edward County. This area’s in turn is located in Southside Virginia, i.e. Virginia south of the James River, in the Piedmont of rolling hills, woods, ravines, and cultivated fields.

Mama was mad because we’d started chowing down before we said the Blessing. Dad wasn’t expected home until later. As we munched down into our dinner, we heard an unexpected ruckus. Daddy burst through the back door into the house.

“Come quick!” he shouted. “There’s a flying saucer out back!”

Continue reading “UFO Encounter in Virginia” »

Boomerang Tree

Once upon a time when I was a brave and crazy fool I rode a tree like a dragon. Armed with a homemade boomerang, I was a pretty young lad somewhere in that transition between preteen to true teen. My exact age and even what grade I was in remain lost to memory. What I do remember is a gusty, late afternoon storm with cloudy skies churning the color of dark green moss. It happened in Virginia where I grew up on a farm, and I thought I was gonna die.

I felt proud of my boomerang. I’ve spent hours carving and sanding it from a piece of wood. When I whipped it through the air across the cow pastures on my parents’ dairy farm, my boomerang actually returned. It would spin away from me whirling like a helicopter propeller. As my boomerang spun it rose high and higher still, turned, and came zooming back to me. Sometimes it flopped and dug into grass and dirt and skittered off rocks. At other times, however, I had to duck as it zipped over my head. I dared not reach out to grab it. Those were the best!

My buddy Jerry Vernon and I were out in a huge cowpasture on the Gates Family Farm. Jerry’s dad worked for the Gateses milking cows and fixing fences, so we played a lot. My brother Joe, six years younger, also hung with us that day. Our dad ran the Bass farm for his uncle, who was cousins with the Gateses and further down the road the Bruces.

It was one afternoon after school, and I can’t remember if it was November or March. The weather felt heavy with a cloudy-late-afternoon-right-before-supper-time feel, and we had one eye out for bulls. Rumor had it the Gateses had turned loose a bull into the pasture to impregnate the cows, and he would snort, charge, stomp, and gore you all to bloody pieces if he discovered you simply existed. We were terrified of bulls.

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“Bobby’s shot! Bobby Kennedy’s been shot!”

When we first learned Bobby Kennedy was assassinated

Hot, muggy day in farm country Virginia. Late spring, not yet Summer. The Solstice was about two weeks off, but all practical purposes it was Summer with school soon to be out for the season. Humid with a hint of afternoon thunderstorms, the air was pungent with honeysuckle flowers and tree pollen and the promise of picnics in the shade and swimming in lakes.

I was outside in the yard playing. My little sister and brother were probably around somewhere, playing with me, but I don’t remember them this particular day. I just remember my Momma, and Daddy, too, a little bit.

We grew up on Riverview Dairy Farm in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Outside of the town of Farmville. Earlier in the late 1950s and early to mid 1960s the Civil Rights movement had swept across the South and into Prince Edward Country. Racial desegregation and integration efforts polarized whole communities, shut down the schools, and brought Mike Wallace to Farmville for the Evening News and Prince Edward County before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Vietnam and Southeast Asia burned overseas and riots and urban guerrilla warfare kept erupting all around the United States. We were still in the thick of it all, this second revolution or quasi-civil war or whatever you wanted to call these rock’n’roll times, with no end in sight. As time would tell, these Troubles would grind and rumble on till 1975. Though many in the Occupy Wall Street and Everywhere on Earth movement today claim to draw their inspiration as much from these turbulent times as from the Arab Spring.

The sharp staccato roar of the gasoline-powered farm tractor washed over us as Daddy drove it around and around the pasture out back. We were used to that awful mechanical racket, however, and other than a glance over now and then paid it no mind. It was a green and yellow John Deere 420 with a wide, adjustable-width front end manufactured back in the mid-to-late 1950s. Dad sat up in there turned sideways in the seat as was his custom, one hand on the steering wheel, the other gripping the big fin of the rear fender as he made sure the tractor and the mower and the line of hay and the lay of the land were in perfect alignment. He wore blue denim jeans, a white, short-sleeved T-shirt, and a khaki baseball cap. Back then he smoked Camel cigarettes, too.

I heard a shriek. Loud one, too. Momma! I stood up.

The back door of the house slammed open and Momma sailed down the stairs. I remember her in slow motion, dressed in white clothes, had on a white skirt or dress. Black hair thrown back. Her legs wide as a ballet dancer’s leap. She raced shouting toward my father as he rounded the side of the pasture closest to our backyard. By then I was running there, too.

“Bobby’s shot!” Momma yelled. “Bobby’s been shot!”

Continue reading ““Bobby’s shot! Bobby Kennedy’s been shot!”” »

back when we welcomed the invasion of the first colored television

I’m in my early 50s now, just a little bit more than halfway to a hundred. I know, I know, those elderly gents snort and splash air at me with wrinkled old hands, grin a somber smile, and remind me “Young man, you’re still just a puppy! Only fifty some years outa diapers.”

Tho I imagine another voice cackling among fluttering pigeons not to worry “cuz you might find yourself back in diapers before you get to turn a hunnert years old.”

Once upon a time, however, way back a long, long time ago, long before old folks could depend on Depends,  (wait, little ® there, right?), I was a wee little bitty fella all excited because every Monday night I could snuggle up next to my Momma on the sofa across from the TV and watch “Lost in Space.” Then talk all about spaceships, alien planets, and monsters in school the next day. Especially with my buddy Eddie. I was in First Grade, and our television was black-and-white.

B & W was all I knew. Clear, crisp black, grey, and white. Unless zigzagging zebra stripes took over the screen.

One evening my parents were giddy with excitement and anticipation. They beamed at me with eyes like flying saucers. I looked around in wonder.

“Come on,” Dad said. “Get ready. We’re going up the road to Charlie Watt and Rosella’s new house.”

“What for?” I asked.

Continue reading “back when we welcomed the invasion of the first colored television” »

Reticence

“OK, who’s in?” asked Deborah Drake for her scary, post-Halloween blogging challenge. She threw down yet another gauntlet to our delightfully strange circle of creative writers and business bloggers. “It starts next Tuesday, November 1st!”

Slouched in my folding chair with my legs flopped out from once sitting excited on the edge of my seat with my feet planted, I raised my arm. It was as a dead tree limb except it moved. It moved “yes.” My arm stuck up higher than I expected in spite of my reticence. And oh, I was reticent.

It occurs to me as I type we associate dead things as “heavy.” Dead weight. I think of death as lighter. If you’re an animal, well…uh…stuff drains out. Air expires. For a little bit, anyway, right, till decay generates more, uh … gas. Plants decay, too. In the water dead things float, become waterlogged, and sink to the bottom. Now that IS added weight, unlike the Lady of the Lake who turned into soap at Lake Crescent. But if there’s any spirit or soul, well, we’re a few nanograms lighter after bio-death, right? Hmmnnn…no more glazed donuts and Boston cream-filled shuga yummies adding to the scales. But a dead branch still jutting from a tree is dry and hollow, much lighter than a living branch heavy with water and life. Good Lord, see what happens with me living in my own ADHD? Everything relates. Oh, good, I’m now at 217 words.

That’s 117 more than the minimum per blog post. Deborah Drake is fierce in her advocacy for writing, or rather the discipline of writing every day even if it isn’t much or all that great. We return to the mindfulness of the practice of being mindful: we wash the dishes to wash the dishes to wash the dishes, not to hurry up and get out of the kitchen so we can rush off to the next distraction. We create to create. I write to write to write. Strip out the “because to’s” or the reasons why and all the “in-order-to’s.” We hone our craft with the presence of someone sharpening a dull axe or a big-bladed knife. I pay attention and drop into the flow of sharpening my edge whether it’s my axe, my writing, or, more challengingly, my children and my wife. Continue reading “Reticence” »

Dancing at the Gates of the Underworld

“Celebrating the 13th Mortiversary of the best man I’ve ever known,” leapt from the glowing blue and white screen a few days before Halloween. The author was a gorgeous and stunning enigma who turned heads whenever she strode into a room, or in my case, a tipi during an all-night Native American prayer meeting. “Mortiversary?” I wondered in awe. “Oh, he’s dead!”

Then I felt the glow of shame for not getting it right away at my friend’s expense. Here was a woman honoring the life of a man who once moved her deeply by celebrating his death. From beyond the veils between worlds he continued to move and inspire her. In allowing her self to feel so moved she inspired me and my heart opened to the pain and the sadness and even the magnificence of death.

As storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade said about two years ago on a blustery November night in Port Townsend, “Welcome to the Endarkenment.” He felt the world has energetically moved away from a period of awakening, enlightenment, even bliss into a period of darkness and turmoil and chaos. It wasn’t all bad, either. Such dark times are often the cauldron of creativity and transformation. Our spirits fly away leaving our souls burrowing into dirt and filth, transforming both into rich soil.

It was Samhain, the Celtic New Year, All Hallows Eve 2011. This year it fell across a three-day weekend with October 31st falling upon a Monday with two more dark holy days following. Samhain (usually pronounced as ‘sow-win’), Feralia, Pomona, Halloween, Hallowmas and All Soul’s, Dia de los Muertas … it’s that time of the year to really celebrate Summer’s End and herald in the Endarkenment. I love how they mix and blend together like the blood and genes in our Postmodern flesh.

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October Falls

I love October. Leaves burst with color then fall leaving the conifers green. Rocks turn dark. Bright sunny warm days dance with chilly wet rainy days. Crunch of twigs, grit, and animal bones. Samhain awaits at the Gates of November stirrin’ up what’s left of my old, hot Celtic blood.

William Dudley Bass
October 2011
Seattle, Washington

 

Copyright © 2011, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.