Broken Top

A good struggle
The bad
Don't last longer
Than the good

A man of means
Has less to fear
Than a man
In arrears

Drink the whisky
While you can
Before succumbing
To God's Plan


Its funny, but we’ve had a dream to move to Bend for 15 years. I’ve never experienced a place that feels more like the place I need to be – and I have been wondering why. It does go back to my childhood growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian’s.

My wife grew up in LA and the beach and ocean have always been a major influence on her. At one point we had a dream to move to San Luis Obispo – which I also love, but for whatever reason – Bend is my place.

Its the mountains. As a kid, I lived in the woods – built tree forts and hiked all day long – I even blazed some trails and we named geological landmarks. There was “The Big Ditch”, “The Little Ditch” and “Skunk Swamp”. There were springs and even a big sand pit where we would dive off a cliff into snow piled up high. There was a slate quarry that had secrets at the bottom – like supposedly a tractor fell in and it was so deep no one ever found it.

Mountain Folklore – its in my blood.

Newton, NJ is a sad little town. While growing up there – it was a shiny gotham city that couldn’t be beat. When my son visited there a few years back – and I asked him what he thought – he tried hard not to say “But its such a poor place”. That’s only because it was a tiny town – 7000 population in 1979 when we moved away – and today only 8000 population. While it was much poorer than just about any part of the SF Bay Area – in terms of natural beauty – it was a”wealthy”. Sussex County, NJ is a beautiful place.

I think Bend is what I had (incorrectly) envisioned Newton as – a beautiful, tranquil small town that I felt was MINE. Hell, for all I knew I was the MAYOR of Newton. Bend is what I had dreamed Newton was.

The Pisces Aries cusp, in particular, is one of rest and rebirth; the twin-fish sign Pisces ends the astrological year, while Aries leads the charge of the next one. The  shift between these two signs also marks the transition from winter to spring, which can be a confusing time, but often poetic.

We have two very different figures at war today: Pisces is calm, empathetic, and psychic—the mystic by the river. Aries is the knight who charges into action, someone who doesn’t feel, rarely thinks, and instead just acts.

Now that I have two new knees and where I have lost 29 pounds – with 11 more to go – I have to walk every day. I will never take my ability to walk for granted again – and I will “behave” eating and drinking wise – because when you go down the “Jabba The Hut Trail” – its a slippery slope where you may not be able to hike up out of. Its really scary – incredible how being grossly overweight rapidly reduces your health and welfare.

HOWEVER, when you do make a pact with yourself and pull yourself back up – there is a pride and joy that is hard to explain. I’ve lost this weight since mid October – when I made a pact with myself at the Martinez Catholic Cemetery. Its all fitting because it was a steep broken down, very spooky cemetery that I wanted to see because of Halloween – my favorite holiday. It sounds gothic – and maybe it is.

When I set out on my weight loss and “return to health” goal – I envisioned that I was running Cross Country. Being a short guy – in High School I could beat everyone UP the hill, and then the guys with long legs beat me down the hill. My strategy was to be so far ahead of everyone going UP that I could clinch a place (top 10 if I remember right) – and I ALWAYS did. In fact – I was always in the Top 5.

When I was cycling (metric) centuries in several SF Bay Area counties (very hilly) – I also kicked butt climbing. I just love to climb.

So this whole mountain man metaphor is truly in my soul and spirit. I might be a Pisces – but I many times feel more like an old mountain goat – an Aries.

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