Archive for March, 2009

Reality check… Texas

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Another Facet of the Journey… The photos are from our neighborhood! Right and left and front and back… “Old Faithful” turns 200 today…

200 000 miles

Quote – “600,000 lost jobs every month in the US. More people taking pay cuts. Cities in the old rust belt collapsing. (Flint,Detroit). St Louis is eliminating half it’s bus service. Sacramento is opening up the state fairgrounds to people living in tents involuntarily. Things are changing and the easy living of the past two decades, on credit, has ended. The very wealthy are startled and the rest of us wait for the pink slip. Coffee table books? Coffee? Tables? You don’t need a coffee table book to live in a tent city. People write to me and tell me to make my blog into a book. I’m just glad my wife and I have jobs and can pay our mortgage and I have time to relieve the stress taking pictures of Key West, which has yet to feel the deep pain of this Great Depression. I’m also really glad we spent years out sailing and know how to live off the grid, a sentiment I’m sure you share. It’s 1930 Ara, and the worst is yet to come.”


sunset b

The words above woke me up this morning, a cold shiver, kind of, ran through my body and the reality of the above comment has just turned a page within my thoughts. “Wake up Ara” I started telling myself, feeling a bit “foreign” toward the words of my own last chapter. How true. Who in their right mind needs a coffee table book these days? The bare wall do not harm the eyes, but an empty refrigerator does. Who needs a photo hanging… it does not fill the stomach, only empties a wallet already hurting from this situation the country has rolled in. I don’t follow politics, neither write about it. I have not watched a television in centuries, but this seems to be more about survival right now. We are actually ourselves fortunate, reading above again, regarding our situation. Yes, there is no mortgage on the road, only the usual monthly bills such as Internet, phone, vehicle insurance, medication, fuel and such. But living on the land can be free. It is now just a matter of feeding ourselves, and sitting tight feeling deep for others in worse tribulation than us.

And yet, I see this as another challenge, one taken with a smile, one taken willingly. The prize is just too big to justify any other path in any other direction. I had this reply when I send the above to a Friend.

sunset a

Quote – Sorry, don’t quite subscribe to that view. This is not the Great Depression
redux. Instead, what you see is the inevitable retraction of the economy
following ridiculous exuberance and spending on all our parts. Stupid, short
sighted government policies allowing ridiculously bad loans to be made and a
general talking down of the economy during the last election cycle
contributed to the retraction. But, unlike the 30’s, this economy has decent
structure and will recover within months, not years. Yes, it will leave a
mark on everyone’s psyche, but that’s perhaps a good thing. Reality check

Anyway, those on fixed incomes can enjoy lower prices overall. Their
standard of living just improved. Others who are laid off not so much of
course. We’re at around 10% unemployment which is 4 to 5% over what you want
to see in an economy.

Yup, I’m a half full sort of guy but in this I think I’m seeing it pretty
clearly. Oh, and I’m still seeing people walking out of Best Buy and Costco
with large screen televisions. And my mother in law just bought a new car.
And a new art store just opened across from my office and they seem to be
doing a fair amount of business. Go figure. –


I am not posting this here for future rebuttal or any political/economy discussion, it is not the point, it is never my intend as I am sure the Internet is filled with Blogger’s on the subjects. It is just as I wrote above, an upcoming summon. It always has been, only more so today than previously. I stayed up late last night, I sat outside for a while, it was around past midnight, the moon was a thin crescent lowered in the horizon slowly putting herself to sleep. The air was cool, crisp, inviting and invigorating. The night time creatures were awake with sounds rarely heard throughout sunlight hours. She sank in and disappeared a bit as a sailboat would once the eyes could not discern it’s position. I felt the Earth move within it’s last seconds of appearance within this grandiose stage, a stage darkened by the moments and lit all at the same time by too many of the bright stars that makes me think so much as to who we really are and how humble we should be. I did not feel the above reality of Life I am reading going in either directions, good or bad.

flowers a

The mighty dollar is so much part of everyone’s Life including ours. I so much wish there would be another currency replacing it. Maybe bartering as sometimes we do in this part of the country, maybe Love, maybe just nothing, just us giving back and forth to each other the necessities that allows us to live. How naive… isn’t? But how beautiful it would be. I wonder if it would eliminate the ugly “greed” that drives the mainstream toward this present stage that has suddenly appeared. What could I trade for this new tire that I need to keep us rolling? What could I give for these few gallons of fuel necessary for us to get there from here or the little food our bodies need. Would ever my vehicle Insurance Company or Telephone Carrier send me a “Thank You” note in exchange for reading these words and maybe feeling fuzzy about the photos? I know… in my Dreams only. There is no regret, there is no fear of the fear. Spirit and I have survived much and as the expression says “this kick in the pants…” well, the future will only be an even more smiling variation of the past.

flowers b

We are gladly going to do, make do, with even less than before because truly the Journey is FREE. I have within me whatever needed, it is already there, the awareness does not need a diamond ring or even the new clothing with no holes in it. We will strip ourselves even more than the bare necessities that have been around us in the past, more so now than ever as “less is more”, less will only bring us even closer to that texture of the red rock I might have not felt just a few years back, or the smell of the dew build up within the dark hours of the night suddenly steaming up by the warmth of daylight.

steamer a

Quote – “Great web site. It is really interesting to read about his travels and the impact that the people and environment have on him. I have traveled in all 48 of the continental US and have not seen things the way he has.”

The above was an interesting comment posted just a few days ago. I think it ties it all together. It is the difference between the blurred vision and senses I started with, compared with today awareness of my surrounding with more steps ahead of us as I feel always the Journey has only began. Locked doors will not enable me to reach those steps, the more peeled the layers surrounding me are, the more I get closer to my faithful companion “Mother Nature”. I look and play with Spirit, he comes to me and licks my face, he smells me for his own assurance maybe that my Love for him is unconditional as his is for me. He is carrying what he was born with. He runs, he eats, he sleeps, yes… he does pose for the cameras, but he also has always been on that step above mine, probably the last step that I will always try to reach, the step that is named “NOW”.

La Harmonia

fuel pump  

He is not subjected to politics, neither economy. He was subjected to much abuse within his first year before our eyes met, him behind the bars of this waiting room  and myself searching for a buddy to share my Life with. Those ugly days are over for him, my own ugly days have only been left now with shadows tucked away that I try to confront with a better awareness. We are a team and truly in the scheme of it all, he is the true Leader of this Journey as without him my path would not exist as such. He is the definition of the total pure being living a Life I can only aspire toward, only wish for as it is the “Pure” one, unencumbered and empty from all the greed and evil that still remains in the bowels of this short passageway which is taking us from birth to eternity. 

steamer c

steamer e

When maybe so many would trip and fall, we stand up even taller today to embrace the coming times. As a fine meal served on a silver platter maybe in the distant past, today, that meal is even finer, the paper plate replacing the precious metal will be and is just fine, and if no paper plate is available we will just use our hands, yet the best tool we have ever been given. One less barrier between us and the gift of Life.

sunset c

Twenty nine months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order prints, all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload them on the Galleries.

Maybe your reading the Blog is worth $1 a month…

Be well…

Ara & Spirit