Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Oral Board...

On this second to last day of 2009, just before the moon transits into Cancer and spends it's last hours in Gemini, I feel like talking..

I remember a day in November of 1971, this one as clear in my mind as if I were there today, when I was challenged in a manner I had never experienced before. Just having returned from Vietnam a couple of months previously, still trying to adjust to life in the new world, I had applied to the Detroit Police Department. My last three years had been spent as a military police officer in the good old US Army of A. Trained in law enforcement and combat operations and having spent a great deal of time in both, I was ready to take on my chosen career.

It had been almost six weeks since I applied and three weeks since the physical and psychological examinations. I was notified that I had passed both and had been scheduled for my oral interview. Throughout my Army service I had experienced oral interviews, always a staple of the promotion process. Having exited as a Sergeant, there had been three of them to get that far. They were all the same.

"Private, what is the muzzle velocity of an M-16 rifle?" "Yes, sir, 2386 feet per second. Sir."

"Specialist, how many rounds are carried in the magazine of an M191A1 Model .45 caliber, semi-automatic weapon?" "Uh, yes sir, 7, sir." And on and on. They tried to trick me in the Sergeant's exam by asking, "Who won the Triple Crown in 1968?" "Hmmm, yes, sir, Secretariat, sir." (I think) There were always several "What would you do if?" questions, the answers always being common sense which luckily I seemed to have in bundles, and I was promoted up the line.

On this day, I arrived for my oral interview at the Detroit Police Department dressed in my best suit, new haircut, tight, GI shave - smooth, very smooth - and shoes that shined like mirrors. After waiting for nearly an hour, I was finally called into the interview room. I must say that the state of the building and the decor was better than I had seen in the service, but not by much. Solid wood doors, dull, drab tan and green walls with pictures of the president an chief of police placed precisely in the center. The furniture was old, scarred and mismatched, looking like it had come from the days of post-World War II.

The lighting was low wattage, buzzing florescent and there was an odor in the air that I knew but couldn't quite describe. Like a combination of bad paint, old wax, sweat and fear. It was the fear and sweat part that bothered me a little because I had smelled it before. But, as a veteran of that element, I wasn't bothered that much.

Placed directly in the center of the room was a long wooden table. It had stains and scars and part of the side molding was peeling away. On one side there were three chairs and on the other, one. This singular wooden chair had armrests with shiny finish, except where hands had worn away the gloss. Sweaty hands, squeezing hands, hands that shook and slid. I smiled because I knew what that was about. I was alone in the room.

I sat in that lone chair and waited. The room was hot and the heating vents lifted the dust from the floor and swirled it around the room. I wanted to sneeze but wouldn't. The morning sun beat through the windows to the east, shining directly on the side of my face, causing little beads of sweat to erupt on my forehead. I ignored them. It was another half an hour before the door at the end of the room finally opened. Through it marched three large individuals.

The first was a grizzled, uniformed police sergeant, his face craggy with weather, worry and a fierce, fierce intention. He had short, wiry, salt and pepper hair and looked like he could best a lumberjack without breaking a sweat. Wide shoulders, a slight bulge at the gut and hands that could break your neck in a flash. He snapped back his chair, staring at me with small, close set eyes that were black as coal. He sat in his seat with a cool calculation.

The second person through the door was a tall, immaculately uniformed black man. His face was unlined, his hair perfectly cut to his features. He wore lieutenant's bars on his shoulders and he carried a clipboard like it was a bible. He was intensely good looking but I saw no emotion in his face. He, too, sat down directly opposite with precision yet his eyes showed no interest in me.

The third man just slouched through the door, his arms too long for his body. I judged his age at mid-forties though it was a little difficult to tell. He was white but his cauliflower nose sort of bloomed and spread to the left on his face. He had a Clutch Cargo mouth, nothing more than a slit across his jaw and his moustache was thick and black. His eyebrows matched it, connecting above his nose. He wore a uniform with no insignia and I knew that meant he was - or had been - just a street cop. He slid into his chair, huge forearms on the table and smiled this cruel little smile, looking deep past my eyes into my soul.

Those little beads of sweat kept popping out just below my hairline and the room kept getting hotter by degrees. But I never moved and after meeting their eyes as they entered, stared straight ahead like a statue. I knew what was going on and it was pure, undisguised intimidation. I was grinning inside but kept it there where it quietly amused only me.

We sat for what seemed like an hour while the lieutenant checked and re-checked his clipboard. No one moved and I sat with my hands on my knees, back straight, head erect, eyes looking directly forward.

"Larry Fowler," said the lieutenant, his voice flat.

"Yes, sir." Clipped, respectful and direct.

"Why do you want to be a cop?" asked the sergeant to my left. His dark, penetrating eyes burning holes into mine.

"Yes, sir" I began before I was cut off by the lieutenant. "Honorable discharge," he said.

"Yes, sir, two years, nine months and 8 days. US Army, sir." You could never use too many sirs. The sergeant glared at me.

"I asked you why you want to be a cop," he growled. "Didn't you hear me?"

"Yes, sir," I said, "but the lieutenant asked me a question." I knew the game; rank had it's privileges and policy dictated that you answered the higher one first.

"Says here you finished as a sergeant," said the lieutenant. "That's pretty good in a Corps as small as the Military Police. Not much attrition and a lot of competition. Also says that you were awarded the Bronze Star."

"Yes, sir, I worked hard and did my best." Keeping it short, smart and direct.

"How many times have you had intercourse with your mother?" snapped the police officer to my right. His grin had gotten wider, pulling back like a grimace.

I looked calmly to my right, directing my attention to the Cruel Grin. "Sir, approximately fourteen thousand, five hundred and sixty five, if I recall correctly, sir."

"What!" he screamed. "You screwed your mother fourteen thousand times!? Jesus Christ, that's sick!"

Without looking directly, I could see that the sergeant and the lieutenant were horrified, thinking what in the hell do we have here? How did this guy get past the psychologicals?

"Sir, I've had verbal intercourse with my mother for as long as I remember, sir." My close kept amusement started to waver but discipline kept me like granite.

There was a stunned silence and then the lieutenant started to laugh and the sergeant followed. The cop was slower on the uptake but his grin turned to raucous laughter while I sat there like a rock.

"Oh, shit, that was a good one!" laughed the sergeant and the lieutenant looked at me like he had seen the promised land. "Damn, you are quick, arent' you?" he asked.

"I try, sir, I try," barely keeping my face in control. Score one for the recruit.

And on it went, back and forth, question to question. Most were innocuous dealing with my background and experience. I answered quickly, respecting rank and keeping my posture erect. These guys had nothing on me.

"I see you have a roommate," said the cop. "He's from, where, uh, oh, Beaver Island, eh? What, you gay?"

"No, sir," I said, "He's applying for the force, too, and needed a place to live while he did. My landlord, who's on the job, asked if I could put him up. Sir."

No one else said anything so I figured I had handled that one okay. Suddenly the sergeant produced a joint and threw it on the table. A big, fat splib that landed and rolled right in front of me.

"You were in 'Nam," he said, "and I know that pot was everywhere so I'm sure you smoked some. So why don't you fire that one up for me?" The grins were back except for the lieutenant who looked at me with equanimity.

Of course, having smoked my share during the war, my mouth started to water at the sight of that white, fat joint on the table. My composure was wavering but I remained strong.

"No, sir." My eyes were locked on the lieutenant, gauging his reaction. I wasn't falling for this one. "Never touch the stuff."

"I said smoke it," he growled.

"No, sir, thank you, sir" I said. "That's an illegal substance and I do not indulge."

"I gave you a direct fucking order!" he swore. "And I expect you to obey it!"

"I'm sorry, sir, but that's an illegal order and I'm not required to follow it. Sir."

I could almost see the smoke coming from his ears as the lieutenant and the cop watched the action. I was sweating profusely at this point but would not raise a hand to wipe my face.

"Get the fuck out of here!" he screamed. "Just get the fuck out of my sight!" He stood up knocking his chair to the floor. Spittle was forming in the corners of his mouth and I was sure he was going to come across the table at me.

"Yes, sir!" I stood straight up, pushed back my chair, smartly did an about face and exited the room.

By the time I found a chair in the waiting room, I was shaking. Aw, fuck, what did I do to myself? I thought. Nope, I did the right thing, I know I did. I found a men's room and toweled the sweat from my face. My shirt was wet and sticking to me and I felt like crap. My head hurt and I was sore all over.

Back in the waiting room, I sat on another ancient, uncomfortable chair with 10 other faces looking at me like, what in the hell happened to you? They had yet to go in and now I could see their faces were filled with fear.

"They kicked me out." I said softly and sat there wondering what in hell was happening. God, I wanted a cigarette! Twenty long, nerve shattering minutes went by before the door opened again.

"Fowler!" snarled the sergeant. "Get your ass in here!"

I returned to the room and sat in my chair. By now the sweat was pouring down my back.

"I'm gonna give you one last chance," said the sergeant. "Are you gonna smoke that joint?"

"No, sir," I said with as much confidence as I could muster. "I will not. Sir."

Silence that lasted an eternity. I stared at the lieutenant across from me until a smile broke across his face. "Ok, son, that's all. We'll be in contact."

I was afraid to move but I did. Performing another perfect about face I left the room never looking at the sergeant or the cop.

Three weeks later I was accepted to the department, first to work as a trainee until a slot at the academy opened up. I was gainfully employed in the career of my dreams and sang "Joy to the World" for days.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Heartlight, Lovelight and Peace...

The Moon is in Gemini today which presupposes that we all want to communicate about everything. The night sky is getting brighter in the evening as it makes it's way to a full blue moon New Year's Eve. I'm not sure about all the talk and blather that's supposed to be going on because I sit in solitude up in the wildwoods of Michigan. More like the moon in Cancer on the last day of the year.

I like it this way, no one around to ring my doorbell, no traffic up and down our street which is only a few hundred feet long anyway. Up here, in the winter, there are only 92 residents living along a 7 mile stretch of beach on Lake Huron. Everyone else has gone home. Not till May or June will we hears sounds of tourists and summer residents. It is God's country and God's peace.

All year long we park the truck near the carriage house with the keys in it, doors unlocked, home windows open to the night. In the winter there is a fire going in the woodstove and the cats laze in their cat tree near the heat. It is a bucolic sense of well being living here and the only intrusion is the television which is never on during the day.

If the square between Saturn and Pluto is causing havoc and disarray elsewhere in the world, we do not feel it here. Uranus moving toward the cusp of Aries, a harbinger of great and tremendous change, has no effect on us. Even the mighty Mars, retrograde in Leo, slides silently by on it's way to war. Somewhere, but not here.

It is my sense that it takes the friction of people together en masse to distribute the energies symbolized by these planets and no such friction exists in the north, where we are. No telephone lines buzzing with the conversations of millions, no great and blasting cacophony of city sounds to rend the nerves and shatter the eardrums with constant disharmony. No, here there is peace, warmth and a feeling of love for all creatures.

This is what heaven must be like. Where the only sounds are the waves lapping at the ice building on the shore. Where you can only feel the rhythm of your heartlight as it thrums softly along. Where pain exists somewhere far away and joy de jour is the special of the day.

I wish everyone could have what we have, no tears, no fears, no regrets. Just the love between two people whose souls have connected over years. Who have come to know one another in spirit, to love one another gently and to care in unconditional ways.

But all we can do is hope and to keep our fires burning, sending lovelight into the ethers, lighting, for moments, the way home to the heavens for all...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Simple Joys of War...

It was a long ago Christmas. 1970 Vietnam to be exact. We were 18,000 miles from home and secluded in a bunker high atop Khe Sahn, just a few miles from the demilitarized zone and North Vietnam. We were Military Police leading convoys up and down QL1, the main "highway" west to east. It was only a lane and a half wide dirt road through mountains and valleys and elephant grass. At some points we were curling round a mountain pass with a 150 foot drop on one side and a sheer cliff upwards on the other.

We had no armored vehicles, no Humvees, nothing but an open jeep mounted with a machine gun. We didn't call them IED's but simply mines. Ambushes were commonplace; they usually hit the middle of the convoy trapping half on that narrow dirt road. We would have to go back to the truck that had been hit and push it off the cliff so we could continue. It was pretty tricky duty.

This day, in our sand bagged bunker, the incoming was non-stop while Charlie was trying to take out the airfield behind us. Every so often a short round would land near us and shake us to hell and back. The sandbags would tremble and dust would cover us from head to toe. We had built it solidly but a direct hit would have sent us all to the promised land.

The concussions were so constant that the ringing in our ears never stopped. We would wrap our arms around our chests so that the innards wouldn't shake out. But, like GI's and Cops and Firemen, when you're in a situation like that, you use humor to get you through. You laugh or cry but you have to choose one.

The names I will use are to protect the guilty, because none of us were innocent then. The gentleman I am referring to, Standish we'll call him, slept on a pillow full of marijuana. Everywhere he went, his pillow went, too. We didn't care as long as he took care of business, and he did. Never smoked it on duty as far as I knew.

So, with the calamity around us, with the walls shaking to beat hell, Standish decides to fill his pipe. Dust all around now mixing with the smoke we all started to catch a contact high. Then, of course, the pipe started moving around the bunker. There were 6 of us and only two had ever tried the stuff and one of those wasn't me. Up until then I was a straight arrow patriot.

Well, it wasn't long before the giggles started; the pot from the Golden Triangle was some very potent stuff I discovered. Then the giggles turned to hilarious laughter as the explosions continued. Booom! Boooom! Dust everywhere to the point we couldn't even see each other. But, boy, that pipe continued around.

Pretty soon we began to rate the explosions on a scale of 1-10. Whaammm! Uh, 7, no shit, that was only a 6! Laughing and choking and rolling on the dirt floor. It hurts we're laughing so hard. Boooom! Oh, shit, that was a definite 8, Jesus! That was waaay too close! Bullshit, man, I give it a 4, you're a wuss! The metal roof is shaking, the sandbags are shifting and we're 6 crazy people on a raft filled with pot. I think we just bilocated, all of us as a group!

We had constructed a toilet in the elephant grass about 50 yards from our bunker. It was a milk carton with a toilet seat we had stolen from the Cam Rahn airport. It was the only toilet seat in Khe Sahn. Through the dust and the smoke and the shaking roars, Bricker says he's got to go. Of course, we all stopped laughing long enough to look at him like an idiot. Ah, fuck, he says, I can't do it here!

Gathering himself as we started laughing at him, he low crawled out the hole into the night. It was silent for a few moments, Charlie deciding to take a coffee break, I guess, and then came a huge explosion that knocked us all to the floor. Fuckin' A! That was a 10 for sure, yelled Standish. Oronsky seconded that and we all lay there stunned but still giggling.

A scream like a banshee ripped through the night and we thought Bricker was a goner. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't stop laughing, though! All of a sudden, through the hole comes Bricker, low crawling like a madman. His head was high, his neck outstretched, tendons taught and he had a deathly grimace on his face. His eyes were wide and he was covered with dirt, chunks of it sticking in his hair. There was even a shaft of elephant grass caught behind his ear and he was making these grunty little sounds with a growl that seemed to start deep in his throat. Spittle filled the corners of his mouth while tears ran rivers down his face.

Of course, we all stopped laughing for a moment; were far beyond sober but we took turns holding him till he calmed. We could find no injuries, no obvious trauma so we laid him down on his cot. He told us, voice shaking, just as he got 20 yards or so from our 'men's room', it took a direct hit, blowing the only toilet seat in Khe Sahn to hell. Ah, shit, I said, pass the pipe, we'll have to dig a trench like everyone else.

And that's how you survive war...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Terrors Past...

It's the Eve of Christmas Day and, with my family around me, I find myself reaching back to my past. Not of volition, not of choice but almost as if it's pulling me. I can't seem to escape it.

An astrologer said just yesterday, or the day before, I can't remember, not to fall into the trap that the past will hold as Saturn and Pluto square off in their dance. I vowed to follow, to think of the present and what the future might bring. But I've found myself defenseless to the lure of choices made long ago.

As the planets surround and connect with me natally it seems that I've lost all control. A conjunction here, a T-Square there and another just waiting in the wings. A trine and an inconjunct, another a square and the energies flash around in a fury. When one planet is touched, the rest are afire and spin in my head like a blur.

Back my heart reaches to times where I've hurt and caused my loved ones such pain. If I could only return and do it again would the pain in my soul would go away? But I can't and I know it and this causes such sorrow on a day when all hearts should be free.

That it hurts so deeply I can't sometimes breathe is a wonder to behold on it's own. I raise my eyes and pray for my soul, insistent that I was the cause for such heartache and that I was the cause for my own. The past is a terror that frightens me now and I've never been scared of a thing. I've marched into battle and into the darkness where my life has been there for the taking without thinking if it mattered at all.

But this is new, this past that haunts me and I cry to please be released. May the ache in my heart begone and the spirit of life be with me. I love my family so...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Chrismas Tale...

After the other day's rage, I find that the Pisces moon has brought me some needed solace. I wish I could write like Billy Joel in "We Didn't Start the Fire," but I can't. At least at the moment.

It has been one of those months that could be covered by "It's been the best of...and it's been the worst of." I am so thankful for all the new friends I have made, the new things I have read and the things that my Muse helped me to write. Actually, it's been a blockbuster of a month for those things.

I have learned about myself through some amazing experiences and I have been slapped silly by events that I don't wish to revisit. I have always wanted a spiritual Christmas and not a material one. This year I got my wish. First it was repairs to the truck that took away most of the Christmas presents we had planned to buy. Then, it was the Gas and Electric company who continued in their indomitable way by threatening a cutoff - erroneously I might add - followed by one of nature's most torturous visits; a major toothache for my wife, which took away the rest of what might have been a material Christmas.

But, in the positive column, my family is healthy - my wife, too, after some surgical dentistry this morning - and my pets are all fine. I got some free mood cards in the mail for stocking stuffers and though my Wii was blown away, there's still my birthday. I've been wanting the Wii for a couple of years but something always seems to come up. Well, I guess that's ok because it would have made a material Christmas for me. Now, a material birthday is something I could handle. Do you hear that, my Angels?

We have the Congress and the Senate but we also have a white Christmas with my family all together. We have the war in Afghanistan but we have...uh, there's nothing to compensate for that.

Pluto and Saturn are battling in the skies but they have no effect on us if we don't allow it. The Jupiter/Neptune conjunction can confuse us but I prefer to let it bring more of the beautiful spirituality we all need, while Chiron says, "Be healed."

After all, it's attitude that makes the difference in our lives as well as our reactions to events. When we surround ourselves, our friends and our family with White Light, it will be the most wonderful Christmas of all...No thanks to you, Lieberman.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Advocating Revolt...

After writing so many posts and talking about the things I've learned, I cannot let this slip by and keep it to myself..

Listening to the morning shows today, I believe that Mars may have taken hold of me as it begins to retrograde. The anger I haven't felt in so long is burning deep below the surface. And it has to do with our government, our democracy which is no longer "of the people, by the people and for the people." It has become "of some of the people, by some of the people and for some of the people." And this is the tragedy.

I listened to the pundits discuss the Health Care Bill with it's watered down consistency and wanted to cry. It was obvious to both sides, Democrats and Republicans alike (Oh, my God!) that the only winners in this one are the health care companies as a direct result of the lobbies.

What is happening here? I understand that it's been going on for a while now but it is definitely getting worse, way over the top. With the majority of the American people wanting the "government option," that was the first thing to go out the window. Let's thank God that the tanning salons will be taxed 10% while plastic surgery is left alone! I realize the media throws this out there just to poke and aggravate the electorate to upset us enough to throw things at the TV.

But it's so obviously deeper than that. The populace has no say anymore in anything that goes on in Washington. Big business and big lobbies have complete control. Why do we stand for this? Why don't we revolt and take back what used to be the greatest country in the world? Why are there so many starving in the world while we fight two ridiculous wars of attrition? It's so way over the top now.

I'll tell you why: because they've got us by the (fill in word) till we can't breathe, can't fight, can't survive, can't pursue the old American dream at all. The oil lobbies, the insurance lobbies and the wall street bimbos who give not an rat's ass for we the people have it all. We are out-gunned, out-moneyed and out sourced while we cry and whine about the predicament we're in. Helpless, hopeless and horrified we watch our lives hanging by the precipice until we think we can only hold on by our fingertips!

We need to do something and that something is not write letters. We need to act. We need to march, we need to all go to the offices of our government leaders. We need to show these half-assed legislators that we mean business!

We need to say that this is how much you get to get re-elected and you will only get additional contributions from individuals. We need to blow the lobbyists and special interests out of the process. I really hate to say this but who has more guns, the people or the insurance lobby? And I'm a pacifist. Not "lets write more emails" but "lets load our own ammunition."

It all has gone beyond the pale and our survival stands at stake. I'm a veteran of Vietnam, my life is compromised by my service and my very life hangs in the balance, but I'm ready to act. What about you?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Folly...

Twas darker ‘ere than the depths of dawn
and below
the river kept its pace
toward lands beyond my knowing

Amidst the rocks, still reaching up
toward pain and sorrows, small
depressions filled
with crumbled fate
while endless winds kept blowing

As the writhing forces swelled
in mighty song, designed to breach the rise
of struggling hopes
and long kept dreams
left stunned and broken so, I lay
wondering how I came to be
near death beneath these skies

Whose eternal reaches had mystified
and drawn my upturned face
through years of lonely quests
to finally meet myself, my soul
in searing, naked truth

Whose unexplained and beck’ning realms
entranced and bid my journeys
whose captivating, joyous breadth
had loved me since my youth

Yet I’d stayed those rocks through tearing winds
and river’s rage, committed
born of fears and lost in tears
enmeshed in damned desires

Such dire folly had I caused my soul
through those days and nights of searching
straining past my mirror’d soul
to touch those dying fires

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mars Is All The Rage...

A new friend and an all around great lady, Donna Cunningham, on her website "Skywriter.wordpress.com" posted an article yesterday on Mars in transit. About how everyone was feeling rage these days as it lingers in Leo for a month or so. And how that rage turns to grief the more time goes by.

I posted a response to those intense feelings and talked a little about how I learned to deal with my rage. She wrote me back and suggested that I put it on my blog. I was honored and here it is:


I understand what you're saying about the grief. My wife and I feel it, too. Strongly. But I do not feel the rage, perhaps because I used to be rage many years ago. I recognized it one day shooting pool with someone vastly better than I; I was trying to learn and move up a level and becoming extremely frustrated. I missed a shot and the rage came out. I literally threw my stick on the floor and swore like a sailor - or a cop. My opponent, my teacher, my mentor said to me: "If you ever do that again, we're through playing, you and I!"

I was suddenly dumbstruck with a huge empty feeling in my stomach. No, I thought! I will not lose this opportunity to learn from a genius! And he was. Billiards is a vastly layered game of geometry, touch, feel, consistency and stroke. It is a beautiful game when played correctly.

Something struck me and I reached into my wallet and pulled out a mood card. One of those credit card sized variations on the mood ring. I can't remember where I got it, but I had stuck it deep in my wallet to be forgotten till now. You place your thumb on a certain part of the card and if you're angry, it turns black. If you're feeling good it turns a beautiful shade of blue/green. Much the way a polygraph works measuring heat changes in your skin.

I began to use this card every time I played. If it was black, I breathed deeply and let myself sink. When I got it to turn blue/green, I was ready to start playing again. I used that card until I didn't need it anymore. Much like astrology should be. I knew the signs and I knew when they changed.

Whenever I got that feeling, I held the card in my mind till any hint of anger disappeared, and I haven't been angry in a long time. While reading your post, I was wondering why I didn't seem affected by Mars or the Saturn/Pluto square, and then it came to me. I may be affected by them, buy they don't produce anger. But they do produce the grief you talk about. Maybe I'm lucky, maybe I'm not. Maybe I sublimate any anger that I feel but I don't think so. I feel at peace...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Faith Uncovered...

When I first came to being spiritual, I accepted Christ as my Savior. I didn't have any problem with that and, although I tried, I just could not fall back when the preacher touched my forehead. I thought there was something wrong with me; my Faith wasn't strong enough - I'm sure because I didn't know what real Faith was - or I was too bad, even for that.

I kept going to different churches for about six months and never fell backwards, never felt a glow when I was supposed to. It was pretty frustrating. I tried Protestant, I tried Lutheran, Evangelism, I even tried Catholicism. That ended for all time when my wife's priest refused to marry us because we didn't attend his church enough. Denise had been going there since she was a child.

I wound my way through different faiths until I was sick and tired of the whole thing; rituals, no you can't have communion, you're a sinner, and the worst, an angry, vengeful God. How could that be? It couldn't, it's ridiculous.

Finally, through my astrology and my search for the Truth, I began to realize that it would be my Truth and no one else's. Everything else was gibberish; I couldn't make hide nor hair of the bible. I think I remember Jesus saying, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, all the rest is rhetoric." The golden rule. It made a lot of sense to me. And it was simple. I loved simple. I believe that Jesus didn't want us to idolize him but rather to realize that he was the example that we should follow. I didn't like being confused, frustrated and being told that I was a sinner. Hell, I knew that! But I no longer wanted to be one. Which is one main reason I hung up my guns.

I was learning about spirit - not religion - and Faith by listening to my own heart. I prayed and I prayed, knees on the floor next to my bed. It felt good but something was missing. I didn't feel right asking for things. Or situations or absolution. If God was a loving, caring God, H/She would understand that without me having to talk about it.

Then I started thinking about Angels and met a few. Not with wings and beautiful glow, but ordinary people who not only helped me at times but actually saved my life on a couple of occasions. I felt very good about that. Then I started running into people or reading their books, who told me about spirit and the Soul. I learned that God was in my heart and that I was God individuated. I learned about the Soul and it's long journey home.

I learned that prayer was something to be lived every day, not just at night or on Sunday. Prayer was a way of living. That made sense to me, too. I had married a lady who knew all these things already and I was changed while being with her. I realized that I was blessed having her and my two, beautiful daughters. And for my life, regardless how hard it got. And it got hard. Really hard. As we passed through those times, I began to understand what Faith was all about. It's not belief, it's Knowing. There's a huge difference.

I found the direct connection between my God and I and it was so, so personal. I never pray to Saints or Goddesses or to Witches - and I had met a few of those; really nice people with the right love in their hearts. I just maintained my connection directly to my God.

And finally, I learned how to ask for things that I needed. That the universe was a reflection of me. My needs, my wants and my glory. I learned about the law of attraction; that how you think determines what and who you encounter. It was a tremendous revelation to me.

I learned to ask God and my Angels for the perfect solution to my situation, whatever it was. I knew that I sure didn't understand everything that I was dealing with, but I knew my God and my Angels did. Since that incredible lesson, I know that whatever I need - not want - the perfect solution would come my way. And it has, every time.

I also know that without Christ, the world is in real trouble. I don't believe that Jesus is going to come back to be on television, I have Faith that the Christ is going to come back as an awakening in our hearts. The knowing that the world needs to continue on in the Light. There are terrible times ahead, we all know that. If we don't we need to pull our heads out of the sand and listen, quietly, to that voice within.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Casual Stroll or Crash and Burn?

I've been talking to a friend about his upcoming Saturn Return. He says he is a bit scared that it's looking him in the face. It's not an uncommon reaction when you know there's one coming. But it can be a lot worse if you don't. Whoever said "Ignorance is bliss" certainly didn't know about the Saturn Return. I was completely ignorant when my first one came around.

It was near the middle of September, 1979. During the previous year, I had been spinning around like an out of control top. I had left my career as a cop in the dust and my marriage followed soon after. Actually it was final on September 9. We had been separated for a year and a half. When Saturn crossed my Ascendant, the astrologer had said, I would experience a break-up. When it did I told my wife that we needed some time apart. After all, isn't that what he had told me would happen? Not might, would. He got some other things right so I figured he had to be right on that one. That was my first experience with self-fulfilling prophecies.

Anyway, the year before I had been working as a drill instructor at the Detroit Police Academy. I loved it, teaching young rookies how to stay alive at work. I was the quintessential street cop with a huge reputation. All the stories in the world. Except they wouldn't let me tell most of them; couldn't swear, couldn't growl, couldn't do anything that might upset these poor up and coming police officers. It's been said that you come out of the academy knowing about 5% of what you need to know to become a good cop. I could see why.

I didn't remember my days as a rookie in the academy that way. It wasn't long after the riots in Detroit and things were different, I guess. So, as it turned out, I did tell some of those stories and the students loved it! I was their favorite instructor because I tried to tell them what was. My supervisors hated it. Then they began to hate me. I had walked into this place 8 months before having no experience whatsoever teaching. The commander had greeted me, handed me a lesson plan and told me to go to work. No problem. What's new?

I had worked hard to become the best instructor I could be, and I was doing it. But, I was doing it the wrong way. Apparently. So we began to battle, the administration and me. I was learning what happens when you bang your head against a wall enough times; you got a really sore head and nothing else. Do I have to tell you how this worked out? One day I just told them to shove the badge where it don't shine and walked away. Not just from a job but an identity. Walked away from something I loved so much I did it 24/7. Well, we were required to by law. We were always on duty wherever we were in Michigan and I loved that part of it.

One day in October of 1978, as this was all starting, I was confused, depressed and separated from my wife of 6 years. I was sitting on the couch one day trying to figure things out and wondering how I was going to pay all the bills. The phrase "Rent-a-Poet" flashed through me head. I said, "huh?"

I had written a poem for a friend in a lecture at the university who wanted to meet a girl in the second row. He ended up taking her out to lunch. This came out of nowhere like things of that nature tend to do. I immediately picked up the telephone and ran an ad in the Detroit Free Press: "Rent-a-Poet, your thoughts through my pen." One of the things about those flashes of inspiration, you can't sit on them because the ethers will give them to someone else. A telepathic network.

At this point, at the Academy, they knew just how to get to me. The wouldn't give me anything to do. I would walk around all day or sit at my desk and meditate. This got some attention, too. My buddies all knew me and they just threw paper airplanes at me. Management thought I was crazy. The ball kept rolling.

So, after a week I'd had no response to my ad. I decided, "oh, well, nothing ventured nothing gained." I didn't put it just like that but something close. The last day of the ad came and the phone rang. It was a reporter from the Free Press. He said his editor had seen my ad and thought it was 'cute." Would I mind if he came over to interview me. I thought 'what the hey?' And he came. When he got there and discovered I was a cop, he called for a photographer. They interviewed me and took pictures and left. He said he was going to run it in tomorrow's paper. See where this is going?

The next morning I looked in the paper. I was thinking 'Section G, page 38." Oh, no, it wasn't like that. The article was on the second front page with this big picture of me and the caption, "Detroit cop writes Poetry, he's the Rent-a-Poet." I wanted to cry. What was going to happen to my great rep now? Excuse my language but I would become known as the "Sissy Cop." Lovely. I was thinking, 'I'm calling in sick.'

Luckily, that day they had me assigned to the Federal Prison at Milan to conduct research on a new training program we were developing. I was out of there before anyone came in. When I got home, my brother was there. He had been answering the phone all day long. People were calling every few minutes to have poems done! Dear God, I hadn't even thought about how I was going to do this! So I made it up on the run.

I called some of the people back and found that they wanted mainly poems to boyfriends or girlfriends. One lady wanted a eulogy. On the fly, I started asking them questions about their situations. Important things in relationships, memories, code words, dates and anything they felt was important. I had said in the interview that I was charging two dollars a line. It sounded good at the time. Initially I had about half a dozen poems to write. I hadn't even thought about format, delivery or how to charge. Right at that point, my head was spinning.

Later that day, the story hit the wire services, went all over the United States. The next day, which was a Saturday, thank God, I started getting calls from places as far away as Alaska, Hawaii and Cleveland. I got calls asking me to be on talk shows, radio and TV. But, I didn't let it get into my head; I had poems to write.

It wasn't long before I figured out length, format, delivery and, of course, the money. It took me about 20 minutes to write the average poem which was 4 stanzas or sixteen lines in length. That was worth thirty two dollars and I could do two an hour. My muse was working overtime. Sixty four dollars an hour was a little more than I was making as a cop. Probably ten dollars an hour. This could be worth something, I thought.

Then Monday came. I reported to work and immediately was told, the Chief wants to see you. This was not good. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. In four months I was standing out on a cold downtown street wondering what had happened to my life.

Nine months later was my Saturn Return. Rent-a-Poet had pretty much gone by the wayside; I had no business sense, no marketing ability, no start up money. And so it goes. I was broke, I had to send my dog off to a lady in Washington State because I had to sell my house and move in with my parents. The only thing left from my former life was my pool cue. I had written her a poem and we became friends. I think it was six months later when Mt. St. Helens blew up. She lived at the base of it.

Looking back at the astrology of it, Saturn was conjunct my Saturn (maturity); Jupiter had just crossed my Ascendant, (opportunity, new relationships, greater understanding of self); Pluto was conjunct my Neptune in the third house (creativity, confusion and the beginning of my spiritual life); Uranus was conjunct my IC and opposing my Moon (residence, career, reputation and security); Neptune was conjunct my Mercury in the fifth (more creativity and confusion, sense of self and communication skills); Chiron was conjunct my Moon on the MC (old wounds, new healing and the beginnings of a new self).

All of the major planets save Jupiter were at seventeen degrees of consecutive signs; Virgo through Capricorn. Most of the planets in my chart are in the middle decanates, five at seventeen degrees. All of the planets connect to each other in major aspects. One of them may be a semi-square. Whenever a transiting planet hits one of mine, everything is activated. Is it surprising that I've led such a wild and crazy life?

So, my Saturn Return was an all or nothing time. I suppose I took both the all and the nothing. What would I have done if I had known in advance about the Saturn Return? If I had had someone talking to me about it? I'm sure my choices would have been less radical, less based upon emotion and much more considered. This aspect happens for everyone around the age of twenty nine. It is when you fully - and finally - become an adult. When you let go of things that no longer have a purpose in your life. Baggage. Saturnian rules apply. It's when you move forward with your life toward your second Saturn Return which happens at about fifty nine. That's a story for another time. Suffice to say, "forwarned may be forearmed."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You Just Gotta Do What You Think You Can't...

September, 1982. I was driving a methadone delivery truck for a security company, part time. There wasn't much work for an ex-Detroit cop who didn't want to be a cop anymore. I had just gotten married and my wife was working but we needed more income. It wasn't much but it was all right as long as I didn't run into any of my old buddies in the precinct. Which I did one day when my truck was struck by a drunk. Oh, that was hard.

My friend Steve, who was a personality on Detroit rock radio at the time, and I had recently applied for a grant to produce a news show on the local cable station. Neither one of us had a clue how to do it, but we were very willing to learn. Our application had been granted and we had taken a 2 hour class on how to turn on and white balance a studio camera.

My wife, Denise, was working for a corporate travel agency as administrative assistant to the president. He told her one day that he wanted to produce some video training tapes on the reservation computers. He said he'd rented the equipment, written the script but he had no one to produce them. Denise, a fast thinker in all kinds of situations said with a big smile, "My husband works at Group W, the Dearborn cable company!" Uh huh, yeah, works. Right.

"Excellent!" said Brent. "Get him in here!" There was no moss growing under this guy. Denise came home with the good news that night. "Guess what, honey! My boss wants to see you tomorrow about doing some video work!" Of course I asked her what was involved and she told me. I looked at her with confused astonishment, wondering if she had all her faculties right then.

The next afternoon, dressed in my suit and tie, I arrived on time at Total Travel Management, still wondering what the hell I was doing. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was going to do. It was a blank slate and I hadn't started thinking about writing on it, much less actually doing it.

Then it hit me. There was no way I could do this, absolutely no way. I had no idea how to make a video, no idea what it entailed. I started to get up and leave when the receptionist said Mr. Garback was ready for me. Ah, shit, I thought, this is really going to be embarrassing. But, by the time I got to his office door, I had a plan. A plan to get out of it gracefully. I have Mars square Uranus. One astrologer called it the "hair trigger" aspect; I was good at making split second decisions. So I did.

I walked in, shook hands and sat down. We covered the pleasantries for a minute or so, then got down to business. I asked him to explain just exactly what he needed. My plan was to quote a figure so high that he would politely kick me out of his office. When he explained what he needed done - I had trouble following him at first because of the terminology. "Talking head, multiple camera shoot, computer screen B-roll, AB editing" and on, I would nod politely when I thought I should and generally acted intelligent. I pretty much had no idea what he was talking about. But I knew how to white balance a camera.

When he was finished, he asked me what it would cost him for me to do the project. I looked contemplative for a while, figuring in my head if I had enough gas to get home. Finally, I looked at him right in the eyes and gave him my figure, trying not to laugh. Then he said it. The words that would change my life.

He said, "Fine, you've got the job. When can you start?" I started to say that it was nice to have met him when his words hit me right between the eyes. I wanted to say, no, no, this was all a joke, I don't have a clue how to do what you want, I only know how to white balance a camera! What I said was, "Let's see. Next Tuesday would be good. I've got commitments until then." He said, "Excellent, I'll see you then."

I walked out in a fog with my stomach churning like a sea storm. Oh, God! What did I just do? Ah, shit, this is ridiculous. I've gotta go back in and tell him the truth! But, I kept walking to my car, a beater, and discovered to my amazement that I did have enough gas to get home.

When Denise came home that evening, I told her what had happened and the figure I had quoted. She looked at me, eyes wide, mouth open and said, "What are you going to do?" I said, "You got me into this and I don't know what in the hell I'm gonna do!" I knew, I would be sick to my stomach for the next week then call him and tell him something had come up, a family emergency and I wouldn't be able to handle his project. Sorry, but I know you understand.

I told Steve what I'd gotten myself into and he just looked at me. "You idiot. You can't do that. What are you going to do?" I didn't have an answer. I finished my soup and rye toast and went home.

Next Tuesday came and I delivered my methadone. There was a shotgun in the truck but I never touched it. If someone had to shoot somebody it wasn't going to be me. Then again, I thought, now there's a way out. Nah, I'd still have to shoot somebody. Me.

After work, I dressed casually and headed down to the travel agency thinking to myself, "You're a poser, an impostor, and they're going to know it as soon as you show up with your thumb in your ear." I walked in. There was an area set up with cameras, this complicated looking two-deck videotape system, wires everywhere and an idiot standing there. What the @#** am I going to do here? I saw a pile of manuals sitting on the counter and picked one up. It was on the two-deck editing system. I opened it and began to read.

I started to come in everyday after work, reading the manuals and playing with the equipment. I was actually having fun and looking intelligent at the same time. After about two weeks I felt comfortable with the cameras and the editing system. I had a deadline, a date by which Brent wanted the videos - yep, multiple videos -done. But now I was fired up.

I finally got everything set up, created my own teleprompter out of an art easel and a dowel and was introduced to my "talent." Three travel agents whom Brent had picked for this project. They were as clueless as I was, but I was determined. Very determined not to embarrass myself.

Do you know that I produced those three videotapes by the seat of my pants and finishing them before the deadline. And, I did it all on crutches. My knee had swelled up like a balloon, the result of a motorcycle accident seven years prior. I had no health insurance so I bought a set of crutches and got to work. It was very hard and very sweaty to do it that way but what was the alternative? Ah, I so love challenges.

Then the day came when I was to show Brent the finished product. I don't know how many takes it had taken to do this thing, probably millions. I wasn't sure if he would kick me out of his office or just cry. He did neither.

What he did was smile broadly and write me a check for that way over the top figure. He was so impressed with my work that he hired me full time as his Multi-Media Manager, bought the equipment I had used and gave me a company car. My salary was more than I had made as a cop.

My life had turned in those three months as I learned a trade and got paid handsomely for it. I would go on to work in the business for the next eight years, producing videos for Ford, Chrysler and other corporate clients. It would become a pattern for me: falling into positions doing something I had no idea how to do. It was always basically the same. I would teach myself how to do whatever it was through on-the-job training. Always saying with confidence, "Sure, I can do that." And then doing it.

I can't delineate the astrology of it because I don't know the exact dates when I presented and when I accomplished. I guess I'll have to see a psychic to get them. Now, if I only knew one besides me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You Gotta Love That Intuition...

It was June 1, 2003. I had just received notice that I would be granted a disability pension from the VA and Social Security. We were living in Dearborn, Michigan, our home town in a house owned by my wife's family. We had cared for Denise's parents full time for two years while they died slowly. We also had cared for my mother during the same period though she was living with us. We moved in to her parent's house after their deaths.

Now, Denise's older sister, the executor, wanted us out of the house so it could be sold. We hadn't even thought of where we could go but we finally had the means to go somewhere. This all happened pretty quickly, the retirement, the note we got saying we needed to get out of the house. It was a great time in our lives but a little confusing, too.

On this day, a Sunday, I woke up with this strong gut feeling that I needed to go up to northern Michigan. I am in tune with my gut and it has saved my life on several occasions. I turned to Denise and told her. She has seen me do this before, many times, so she just nodded her head and went back to sleep. I got my things together and left. Going out the door, for some reason, I grabbed my checkbook.

I had absolutely no plan in mind and just started driving north. After about 300 miles I could go no farther north without crossing the Mackinac Bridge and heading to the upper peninsula. So, I turned right. This part of the drive took me through Cheboygan, just south of the Straits of Mackinac. I drove through town but was not impressed. Just as I was leaving the city, I remembered that an old friend from school and the neighborhood had retired and moved up here somewhere. I put on my investigator gear and started looking.

After a couple of dead ends, I checked with the County Clerk's office. There I found, in the Platt book, David's name and address. It was about 25 miles south of me and I headed out. It was beautiful country and US 23 ran right along the shore of Lake Huron. The sky was a deep blue and the water, very calm, was a turquoise color. Much like the Caribbean. Wow. I pulled up to David's house on a little lane that ran down to the water. His was set back a couple of hundred feet and was gorgeous. I remembered then that he had built it himself. I hadn't seen him in five years and was surprised when he opened the door immediately.

It was old home week, just like it is everytime when you see someone from your past. We sat down with a beer and started talking. We weren't halfway through the cold Budweisers when he said, "Hey, man, you've got to see this house!" I kind of looked at him like a crazy man and said, "Why do I need to see a house?" We went back and forth and finally I gave in. We got in his truck and headed south again.

After about seven miles we turned into another little lane that led down to the water and pulled up to the first house we saw. There were only four houses on this lane and the lake was about two hundred feet from the house. It was a ranch style home with an unattached carriage house. It was surrounded by forest in every direction. The home owner met us outside and invited us in.

When I walked in and saw the interior, I was stunned. It was beautiful! It had large windows and french doors that made it seem like the walls were glass. A country kitchen with more windows that looked out into the forest. I thought to myself, "This is ridiculous! Why did he bring me here in the first place? I couldn't afford a place like this!"

The owner offered us coffee and we sat down. After talking for a bit, I asked him how much he was selling the place for. He replied with a figure and my jaw dropped. The figure was about the same as the houses in Dearborn. No way! A beautiful home on a beautiful lake in the middle of a forest, twenty miles from any town. In any of the surrounding suburbs of Detroit this house with it's proximity to water would go for at least half a million. Not so here.

I looked at him, looked at Dave and brought out my checkbook. I asked if he would accept a down payment on a land contract for a year. He looked as stunned as I was. Dave was just shaking his head slowly. He knew I was impulsive; growing up I had proven that. But this!

After a few seconds, the owner shook his head and then shook my hand. I had offered a little less than he was asking but apparently it was no impediment. I wrote the check and handed it to him. Then I thought it wise to call Denise and tell her what I'd done. Since I hadn't called her before I wrote the check. Uh, trouble?

I knew there wouldn't be because when she saw the house, I knew she'd fall to her knees. I was that positive. We had wanted to move up north since we first married, twenty two years ago. But, there were no jobs up here because Michigan's economy had been in trouble for years. So, we dreamed.

I drove home to face my family. The looks I saw struck me. Denise was tight-eyed and stern mouthed. Danielle my oldest had a smile on her face. Jessica, my youngest, looked like she wanted to tear my heart out. She had just finished her senior year of high school and was looking forward to hanging out with her friends. How could I do this to her?

Well, the next week I took everyone up to see the house. Just as I knew, Denise almost fell to her knees and looked at me with this huge smile on her face. Danielle's smile was just as big. She was attending Albion College downstate and it was a straight drive up for her. Jessica still had fire in her eyes but when she saw the private beach and the soft sand, I could see her relent. The carriage house has a finished upstairs and the first thing she asked was, "I can bring my friends up here, right?"

A month later we closed on the house. On our twenty second anniversary and started moving in a week later. We have now been here for six and a half wonderful years. It is our dream house. Back in 1994 we made a list of the things we wanted in our house when we got it. Up on a hill near water. Glass all around and trees, too. A place where our friends could come and relax and the animals would be our friends, as well. There were a few more stipulations that just so happened to match this house, too.

The house was built in 1994 as we were dreaming of it. We didn't get the house we wanted back then but we were here now. And it matched everything on our list to a T. We just laughed. We've been working on trying to understand the universe and the one thing we have learned is that your dreams come when you least expect it, and just when you need it.

I looked at the astrology of June 1, 2003 and laughed again. Almost too much to write about here: Jupiter in the 12th, opposing Sun/Venus/Jupiter in the 6th. Saturn conjunct Uranus in the 11th (in Cancer) with the Moon conjunct them both.

Mercury conjunct Moon and MC in Taurus, Pluto conjunct exactly Chiron in the 4th, Chiron conjuncting exactly Mercury in the 5th, also trining Moon/MC and Saturn in the 2nd. Neptune was exactly conjunct Venus/Jupiter in the 6th and Uranus trining Uranus, 7th house to 11th. Finally, the Sun/Venus/N. Node in transit trining the stellium in the 6th, Gemini to Aquarius.

I'm not going to delineate but I'm sure the aspects are self-evident. No wonder my intuition scored that day! I love the way the universe works, the way my God works, both who know more about what I need than I do. Sometimes we need challenges to wake us up with tough times and other times we are rewarded for our efforts. Myself, I just thank my God every morning for the day and what it will bring. As long as I'm upright and taking nourishment, I'm good...

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Case of Ironic Astrology

I was an MP in the U.S. Army on April 8, 1970, stationed at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. It was a small, quiet little base where helicopter pilots were first training on fixed wing aircraft. Not much going on at all. Actually, it was pretty boring for a guy who loved action.

I was a good cop and tried to be super professional, making rank pretty quickly. I was 20. I was called into the commander's office and told he was sending me to Sergeant's school in Alabama. It was a very high honor because they were able to send only one soldier a year. Upon finishing the school, I would return to Ft. Stewart as a Sergeant. I was geeked to say the least. I had been in the Army for only 15 months.

I decided that I wanted transportation at Ft. McLellan, so I rode my little 350 Honda all the way there. 3 days of mind and hand numbing travel. Just before I got there, in the early morning dark, I was coming down the side of a mountain in the rain. I was scared to death. All of a sudden I saw these huge headlights in my mirror; it was a semi, right behind me. And I mean right behind. Feet behind. All I could see in my mirror now was this huge grill with huge headlights.

The road was slick and downhill. I was having to go 60 miles an hour to keep in front of this truck. I knew I was dead but I wasn't sure when. My back wheel was sliding sideways and I was nearly rigid with fear. The rain was coming down in sheets. I didn't have a visor on my helmet; it had been cracked by a rock thrown up by another semi the day before. It served it's purpose, though, the rock surely would have killed me.

This horrifying ride lasted nearly a half hour but it seemed like twelve. With this bozo blowing his horn all the way down; it surely hadn't helped my disposition. All of a sudden, after coming out of a sharp turn and almost losing it, I saw the lights of an intersection. I made it to the light as the it turned yellow. I stopped the bike, started breathing and the asshole cut out and screamed by me as it turned red. But, I had made it! Oh, man! I was still among the living. I think I cried.

I was late getting to the base and the company where I was reporting. My mission had not started well. The duty sergeant gave me a nasty lecture then assigned me a bunk. Everyone else had unpacked and repacked their footlockers in the manner prescribed by the sergeant. I had no clue. Ah, shit. But the sun was shining and everyone else had gone to dinner. So I sat on my bunk and waited.

Finally, someone else came in. It was another student. We got to talking and he said he, too, had driven in on his Honda 350 and he knew the base. Thumbs up for synchronicity. I had recovered sufficiently so when he asked if I wanted to take a ride, I agreed. We were going to drive by the WAC - Women's Army Corps - barracks to see what was what. Ft. McLellan was a WAC Basic Training base. I had not known that. It was April 12, 1970.

We took off and started cruising the base. We turned down a street filled with WAC barracks and there were girls everywhere! I could see that it was going to be heaven here. In a flash, as I was looking to the side, my right hand came off the throttle. I lost control and started falling to the right, where my new friend was riding beside me. The next thing I knew, I opened my eyes on the sidewalk with this beautiful face looking down at me. I had no idea who it was or why she was there. I remember thinking that she must have been an angel. I'm not sure how long I was out but it was too damned long as far as I was concerned. An ambulance showed up, they put me in and drove to the base hospital.

When I arrived, two doctors in the ER checked me over. My loss of consciousness was never discussed. My right shoulder was getting sore, I had abrasions down the entire length of my right leg and I was having a little trouble turning my head. After examining me without x-rays, the two doctors pronounced me fine and told me to go to the barracks and clean my up my own leg . What could I say? I think I called a cab and left.

It was dark when I arrived at the barracks, and most of the guys were already asleep. I somehow climbed into my bunk with my uniform still on and passed out. No supervisor had asked me about the accident.

I awoke the next morning and I couldn't move. At all. Nothing. Panic hit me and I think I screamed. At this, a supervisor came running. He called another ambulance and back I went to the hospital. This time there were competent physicians in the ER. They took x-rays and told me that I had a broken collarbone...and a broken neck. If I had moved the wrong way during the night, they said, I might have been dead. Cool.

I spent a month in the hospital, flat on my back wearing a collar and a sling. No pillow. Every 4 hours for that entire month I was given a shot of Demerol. All of us in the ward got one. We were constantly high and in rare humor. I discovered after I was released that I was addicted to the stuff, but never having had drugs before, I thought the extreme pain was due to my injuries. I was sent home for a month of convalescent leave.

When I returned to the base, healed, physically and psychologically, I discovered that I was persona non grata. I had screwed up their plans for a new supervisor and there was no changing their minds. I tried. The next day I was washing scout cars. I did this, and other menial tasks, for 2 weeks before they finally let me back on the road. I was angry. Very angry. Prior to my assignment to Alabama, I had filed two requests for transfer to Vietnam. My buddies were over there dying and I needed to go. Requests denied. I tried again. Request denied. I couldn't understand it.

On the road again, I developed a plan to piss people off, thinking they would send me to 'Nam as punishment. Writing tickets to officers for traffic violations was a no-no. Rank had it's privileges at Ft. Stewart. Unwritten policy. So, I began to write officers tickets. One was the Deputy Post Commander, a colonel. The next day, I was standing in front of the Post Commander's desk. On a red carpet, actually, while I got the crap kicked out of me verbally. I remember a lot of "yes, sirs" before I was ordered out of his sight and back to my company. My plan had failed. I was assigned to wash scout cars once again.

After a week, they needed another body to go out on patrol. Back on the road again but with another plan. There was a company on the base called the POR Levy Section. These people were responsible for putting names in blanks, filling requests for more troops to go to Vietnam. I began to mess with them. Severely. Tickets, minor arrests, just your petty, basic harassment. Within a week I had my orders for Vietnam. I spent 13 months there and was subjected to the defoliant, Agent Orange, and other dangerous things.

I made it home safely - having been promoted to sergeant in the process while receiving a Bronze star - and joined the Detroit Police only to leave seven years later. After that, my career was varied until I finally opened my own Private Investigator Agency. I had banked no retirement savings, no 401k, no stocks or bonds so my future financial situation looked pretty bleak.

One day while on a moving surveillance, I felt a sharp pain in my back. Just about where I had injured it in a jeep accident in 'Nam. It went downhill from there until I was unable to sit in a car for more than a few minutes or walk any distance at all. I was done as a private investigator because I was it for my company. I hadn't grown to the point where I could hire another person. On my way but not there yet. One day flying, the next augering into the ground. Gone, just like that.

On a visit to a doctor, I discovered I also had diabetes and I didn't have any medical coverage. No place to go but the VA. Not at the top of my list of providers but the only one I had. I qualified for free treatment at that time because I was broke. Nothing coming in. Very tough situation for my family and I. Two daughters and a beautiful wife.

During the course of my "treatment", and I laugh at what they called treatment, I was told that my back was too degenerated to be helped by surgery. Not that I would ever do that, anyway. They said, "you're 50, your back is 80. Live with it." So, I did but I couldn't work. On the way out of the VA hospital, I ran into an old friend from the police department. He told me that my diabetes was compensable because I had served in Vietnam. Elated, I applied. I asked my doctor why he hadn't told me this and he replied, "it's not my job." Ah, the VA.

Three long years later - my wife had been working and supporting us while I was battling with the VA - I was awarded my disability. 100%. Now I had enough coming in to retire. We were able to move up to paradise here and I'm covered medically for the rest of my life. Isn't it strange how things work? If I had not attended that sergeant's school and had that accident, I would have spent the rest of my enlistment at Ft. Stewart. Did I unconsciously make some kind of Faustian deal, would I have ended up here anyway, just by a different means?

Uranus was conjunct my Mars in the second house on the day of the accident, which trines my stellium in Aquarius (6th house - Sun, Venus, Jupiter). Mars was conjunct my Mercury in the fifth, part of a grand trine in earth and Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct my Part of Fortune. Seemingly lots of good luck and opportunity there, but obfuscated by Neptune. Oh, and Saturn had just conjoined my Moon and MC. Another third of that grand trine.

Astrology is a tough nut to crack and in life it's usually only through hindsight that we can understand what happened to us. I could go deeper into my chart on that day but I don't know if it would clarify anything any better. The aspects were good yet in the short term it was bad then good again. In the long term it saved my family and I. So, who knows?

But, God, I love it anyway!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Deathless Voyage

I am a seeker on a deathless voyage
to points unknown
an adventure
I seek light and wisdom
and the opportunity
to share mine

I have lived
six lifetimes in one,
I have seen the shadows
and chosen the Light
I have closed with the darkness
and walked away wiser, untouched
and free

I am a seeker of destiny
and union

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Transit Blessings...

Back on July 18 (our anniversary - 28 years) my second Saturn return was days from being exact for the third time. Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune stationed on my DSC in Rx and we didn't have enough money to celebrate. I can't remember why; I'm sure it had to do with kids, automobiles or some other unexpected expense. Saturn was in my second house.

We didn't need to go anywhere because we live in paradise already and we'd agreed years before that no gifts were necessary. So we celebrated by walking on the beach in the moonlight. I was recovering from a year of several major surgeries and my physicality was still weak, so we didn't walk too far. It was a beautiful anniversary.

Those three planets I mentioned before kept hanging around my DSC, with Mars conjunct my Pluto in the 12th, opposing them. By September I was pretty depressed. I wasn't healing like I had in the past and I was concerned with mortality. Not concerned in the "fearful" sense because to me, death is the greatest adventure. I've seen enough in my lifetime to know that most go peacefully. I was more concerned with my wife and my children and how they were going to do without me.

I guess I didn't realize that Jupiter and Chiron in my sixth conjuncting my Sun, Venus and Jupiter had pulled me through the mess the year before. They almost lost me a few times and I must have had one hell of a will to live. Neptune there just made it confusing.

By October, I was really down in the dumps, worried even about my purpose in life. I had already lived 6 lifetimes in one and done a lot of things I could be proud of, but I knew I hadn't done "It" yet. What "it" was, I had no idea but "it" was there. Finally, I asked my God and my Angels for someone to guide me, a teacher, or a facilitator. I thanked them and moved on.

In the middle of October, my good friend, Steve Monkiewicz - his Dr. Steve site is on this blog - emailed me with a copy of an essay written by an astrologer about the Saturn Return. He and I were both in the middle of ours. I read it and was greatly impressed so I went to the author's site, where I read more of her essays.

I noticed that she had just published a book called, "North Node Astrology" and based on the content of her other essays, I ordered it. Little did I know that it would change my life.

I read the book and suddenly understood what my North Node in Aries actually meant. I was amazed. I had thought of the North Node as some place we were called to go and the South, where we had been already. This book delineated it far beyond that. I contacted the author, Elizabeth Spring, and eventually we became friends. The gist of the matter was that I needed to start writing again, and get back to my astrology which had lain fallow for nearly a decade.

At the same time, Steve was pushing me to write and we started discussing astrology. Again. So, I started writing and reading and looking at charts. Almost suddenly, in November, we got high speed internet, We had had dial-up for 6 years because of our remote location. Now we had satellite. Jesus! (excuse me!:) There was a whole new world out there!

Since then I have met a great number of people with whom I now correspond. Two of the main ones, astrologers, are Diane Lang and Lynne Ewart. They both have urged me on, encouraged me, along with Elizabeth, almost like my own peanut gallery. And I am so grateful for these three, Elizabeth, Diane and Lynne, that it's hard to put into words. And, as you can tell, I have a lot of them.

Those three planets, Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune cross my DSC for the last time beginning on Christmas Day (Jupiter), just before my birthday Neptune, and finally Chiron just afterwards. I will be sad to see them go, but life goes on, I know. My friends on the 'net have saved my sanity - and maybe my life - and I can only go up from here. Thank you planets and people. Ah, but you are one in the same...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mars, Mars, Mars...

Today we arose feeling homey. The Moon is in Cancer and the tough aspects were gone by the time we woke up. Well, the general ones, anyway. Today, Mars in Leo in the 12th is exactly inconjunct my Mercury in Cap in the 5th.

The first indication was a text from my youngest daughter who runs a pre-school program for a local school system. It came just as I made it to my chair in the living room and said, "I need a cigarette (she's not smoked in two days) and these kids are pushing me over the edge!" Oh, lovely. I can't even see yet, feel like a frozen log and haven't even tasted my first sip of coffee and I've got a wild child on my hands!

I sat there trying to figure out not only what I was going to say but how I was going to text it when I can't see and my fingers don't work. The dog is wanting out and the cats are mewling around my feet. What the hell am I going to do?

Well, I'm a dad and I have to be a dad, regardless. Right? So I texted. Slowly. "Hey, baby, you get off in 20 minutes." The instant reply, "Get off what in 20 min?" Back to her, "Work, honey, work." Here it comes: "I need a damn cigarette!!" She had two teeth pulled on Wednesday and hasn't been able to draw very well, and thought it would be a good time to quit.

"Okay, if it's that bad, have one. I can't really tell you what to do because I'm smoking right now." Jessi: " :-(" "Ok, don't smoke then." "But Dad! I really need one!" This is the way it goes. "Ok, smoke then. And I'm sorry about the little rugrats."

She must have left work because I haven't heard from her since that last volley. So I sent her a funny e-card, with music, and commiserated with her in the remarks section. Still haven't heard from her.

A little after noon, my oldest called the house and talked to her mom. She said, "I've got some awesome news but I can't talk so I'll text it!" Mom told me and we waited on pins and needles for the phone to beep. Finally, after 5 minutes it did.

"Some asshole screwed up his paperwork and now my hours are cut to 24. My boss says she'll try to fix it but it might take a while. Happy damn Birthday!" Ah, shit. She works for the State of Michigan, a huge bureacracy and we all know how that is. So, I texted back, "Aw, shit, honey! We're so sorry!"

Denise and I looked at each other and said, simultaneously, "Merry Christmas" and sent her an e-card. It's her birthday tomorrow. So with the Mars inconjunct, no one could see around the corner and we had to handle it all blindly. I'm not even looking at their charts today. The universe will take care of it...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I woke up this morning to a Michigan winter wonderland. I looked out the window and saw a beautiful blanket of white, small flakes floating down. Lake effect snow. Finally. It's been raining here since the beginning of fall, October 21. So much drudgery. Gray clouds, denuded trees, the fall colors all but wiped out by the constant drizzle and the metal sky. When the sun did come out it was almost an afterthought.

But now, with everything white, the absence of sun makes no difference at all. I look out the window of my den while writing this and see a forest candyland. Sugar covering the branches of the half white trees, the result of gentle winds whispering from the north. The snowflakes small, almost invisible as individuals yet joining to make veils of gossamer drifting to the ground. Lake effect snow is always like that; grains of white, like winter sand slowly covering everything in sight.

I love the white, especially up here. It is so pure and virginal and stays that way all winter. No black and brown covered mounds along the highway, no city slush or dirty grime only snow, white and glistening, just as nature intended. Winter is my favorite season.

And sitting in my recliner, gazing out the glass walls of our living room at the black squirrels leaping and running, standouts against a pure white curtain, I think about peace. A warming fire in the wood stove with the quiet so absolute you can hear your own heartbeat. What pain could there be in the world? What possible distress? Surely the rest of humanity is feeling what I feel. Love. Love has to be white, sweet and comforting, like snow in the wildwoods of the north.

To me, there is no better place to be. Safe and secure in our woodsy wonderland, close to the gentle ripples of the Sweetwater Sea, and far from the worries to the south where discord abounds and the winds of change are blowing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

(R)evolution

At the very heart of every human civilization lies the drive toward evolution; the inexorable need for growth and progress. At the heart of our human evolution lies the pursuit of wisdom, the illusory key to survival and triumph over entropy. All things save human consciousness are subject to the laws of the physical universe. The warp and woof of ultimate destruction spare nothing, grinding planets to dust, stars to darkness and galaxies into oblivion. The human spirit alone survives. Toward enlightenment’s grasp and the warmth of understanding we move. But it is always the choice of the individual carried along through opportunity after opportunity. This way or that? That thought or this? Sometimes the process is slow, sometimes it is not. Within each of us lie the options; stasis or not, we remain the captains of our destiny.

It has been said that there are souls waiting at the gate, holding lifetime contracts for the momentous game being played out in our arena, twenty-first century Earth. Seven billion have now come through the tunnels to participate in the greatest events of human history. The game is called evolution and evolution has its own rules; revolution precedes each new beginning with wisdom and spiritual growth as the goal. Those who gain the most ground win. To the victors? Survival. Transcendence. The well lit road leading home. Peace, love, connection and the opportunity to move on to the next venue. The next season. We’ve now made it to the world series. Pluto, agent of evolution, impatient and demanding confrontation has called for speed through ultimate challenge. Decisions before nightfall, though it remains our individual choice to accept. Or not. Do we contribute or do we lie fallow, grist for the mill in this game we call life?

Not since the Revolutionary War and the birth of a nation has the American Soul had the opportunity to gain so much experience, so much understanding, to make so many choices and so many changes. In so short a time. To create something so new, so unique that its developing character defies description. In 1753, with Pluto in Sagittarius, few could imagine what the new world would become. Now, across the threshold of a new millenium we stand at the precipice of a similar vision, yet one so much farther reaching in scope that the playing field now encompasses a globally connected civilization. To prepare for the emergence of this new world we have the opportunity to incorporate an incredible depth of self-understanding as Pluto transits nearly six signs over the lifetimes of the boom generation.

Since mid-century, we have been spurred to faster and deeper self-analysis. Since then Pluto, the archetype of evolution, the symbol of evolutionary growth through concentrated effort has transited over four signs to trine its natal position. That is already twice the number experienced by most people over the normal course of sixty years of life. Long before it is done, many of us will have seen a quincunx to its natal position in our charts and we won’t yet have reached retirement age. Some of us might even live to experience an opposition. For perspective, I quote Robert Hand’s, Planets in Transit for Pluto trine Pluto:

“In this century, this transit has happened only to people when they are in their eighties and nineties. I have had no opportunity to observe its effects, but I expect the result to be similar to a sextile.”


Well, we will know, won’t we? If we pay attention, if we recognize the opportunity. If we accept Pluto’s mandate to ‘let go and let God’ and confront our fears with understanding.

Fanaticism, religious tyranny, intolerance, greed and the thirst for power are all elements of the crusty detritus that keeps us from seeing the light. But, we have been given the time and the motivation and the ability to understand ourselves well enough to counter that darkness. More time, more opportunities and yes, more pain. There is no growth without pain. Even trapped by the prisons of our compulsions, our fears and the complex psychological patterns locked deep within, we fight to survive, intact. We cannot surrender now. Not when we stand at the foot of the (R)evolution. To not seize this momentous opportunity, to fail to grasp its incredible significance would be fatal to the life, the spirit and the brilliance of mankind.

We have seen the Renaissance, the birth of the United States, a nation committed to the ideals of men created equal, and now, the coming of age of a global civilization perched precariously on the edge of utter darkness or brilliant light. Is it a coincidence that the advent of global technology, the neural net, the Internet was born as Pluto reached its perihelion in Scorpio? Was it a coincidence that America, the land of freedom and the pursuit of happiness was also born there? Or the Renaissance, a rebirth of original thought? Logic doubts it and conventional wisdom, well, conventional wisdom fades in the glory of these nascent truths. Man is greater than the chains of his ignorance.

Unfortunately, man’s wisdom rarely has kept pace with his technology, yet the opportunity to throw off these shackles of ignorance stands boldly before us. Not in two hundred and fifty years have we achieved the awareness necessary for such informed and wise choices. What will we do with them? Time, compressed by perception, can be our ally. Pluto’s quick but lengthy transit through our lifetime offers a unique opportunity for greater vistas of experience, learning, understanding. More fuel for the evolutionary fires, driving us to greater introspection, greater understanding and greater enlightenment.

Revolution begets evolution. Let us be sure that we use our lessons for the greater good. To break the material bonds that enslave us. To make the final truth our Truth. We can win the World Series, it can be our destiny but the game has reached its final moments. Pluto in Capricorn awaits, a stern and unforgiving taskmaster.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Astrology and the Truck..

Well, we're approaching Christmas again and this means - for us - truck problems. Last year at Christmas it was the front left wheel bearing. Cost us $395. On a fixed income this meant fewer Christmas presents for our daughters. I don't mind it so much and the girls don't mind it so much but my wife, Denise, looks at it with somewhat unamused eyes.

I feel that Christmas should be experienced as a spiritual holiday and have been lobbying for this for many years. There's altogether too much commercialism and it bugs me to no end. But, discretion being the better part of valor, I don't fight it too much. It seems, though, that for the last few years the universe has been helping me out. Something mechanical always goes wrong at Christmas or I end up in the hospital for one damn thing or another. I've always been out in time for the holiday but it can put a damper on things.

Today, as the Moon directly opposed my Mercury (to the minute) by progession, I heard that grinding sound again. The progressed Moon also squares my Neptune, Mars is still conjunct my Pluto by transit and transiting Saturn is in my 2nd house. Let's see, Moon in the 11th (hopes and wishes/security) opposing Mercury (local travel); squaring Neptune in the 3rd, confusion and illusion with that local travel and Saturn in the 2nd, uh, tough financial times. I could keep going but what's the point? The point is we're going to be down $500 this year with the towing.

We have learned to laugh at these synchronicities and the universe has yet again come to my aid. Christmas should be a spiritual observance and for another year, it will be. What more can a guy ask for?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mars and Pluto, together..

Last night around dinner time, we heard shooting in the distance. Lots of shooting. Not deer rifle shooting but handguns. Whomever it was must have fired off at least 200 rounds - and that was before dinner. I couldn't figure out who would be poppin' so many caps the day after Thanksgiving. It is the wildwoods up here and shooting is fine as long as you don't hit somebody and I heard no ricochets.

I have a love/hate thing going with gunfire and weapons. I used to love to shoot and shot every weapon I could, whenever I could. I was an expert in the Army and the Police Department and was pretty damn accurate under stress - as highlighted by my last post. But, since I left the police 30 years ago, I haven't touched a weapon, nor even really thought about it. Yesterday it seemed as though I might have tried to clear my conscience or something like that, talking about the guy I shot long ago. Mars was just approaching an exact conjunction with my Pluto in Leo.

This morning, the shooting started again, non-stop. With ammunition being so expensive - a county sergeant told me that when I called to have them go check out these bozos - I wondered if millionaires had bought the store out. The cops said they had no jurisdiction in our little township and over the firing of weapons, but said if they were still shooting after dark to call and they would check them out.

The gunfire brings back flashes of Viet Nam and the streets of Detroit and there's something there that I enjoy. And somethings I don't. So, I decided if the cops weren't going to do anything, then I was.

I drove around slowly until I pinpointed the location of the shooters. It was up the road a bit and across from our little community. I sat on the side of the road and just listened, watching some guys back in the woods near a residence moving around. When they saw me watching, they went into the house. Right about this time, Mars was pretty much exactly conjunct my Pluto in the 12th house and Mercury was exactly conjunct Chiron in the 4th.

I fired up the truck and drove into the grounds of the house. There was no one I could see so I sat there for a minute then honked my horn. A few minutes later this gentleman came out dressed in jeans and a hunting shirt. I got out of the truck and introduced myself. He said his name was Bill and he was just corking off some ammo he'd accumulated during the year. It wasn't his house but a buddy's he said, like he wasn't trying to hide something but he was. Whatever, it was no nevermind to me.

We talked for a bit and then he asked, "you want to shoot some?" I was kind of stunned for a moment and then I said, "sure." We walked over to this tree stump and on this stump lay a beautiful, new, Colt Commander .45. I had carried a different version in the Army. He popped a clip of 9 rounds into it and handed it to me.

God help me if that gun didn't feel good and right in my hand. It was like those 30 years had vanished in an instant. He had hung a wire between two trees about 25 yards away and had suspended these round targets, like crumpled up aluminum, from the wire. It was a decent distance away. The average distance in a police shooting is said to be 8-12'. My last shooting was at about 25' to give you an idea.

I palmed that gun and aimed. Centered the sights on one of the targets and fired. That sucker spun around like a tetherball! I fired 4 more times and it spun even faster. I stopped, looked at the target and then at Bill. He said, "30 years?" I said, "yup" and turned to fire again. Bam! Bam! I drilled that piece of aluminum until I finally missed with the last two shots. I think that was because I was dumbfounded.

It was like riding a bicycle and it felt sooo good. Oh, shit, I said to myself, this is not good. I had lost the taste for it way back when I told them to shove my badge where the sun don't shine. The taste was back. What wasn't back was the desire to do it again, to use it to shoot something - or someone. I cleared the weapon and handed it back to Bill. "Thanks, man." He stood there looking at me like, "How in the hell did you do that?" I got the feeling that they had been trying to hit that sucker since yesterday.

I walked away feeling good about myself. The wondering had been there for years: what would I do if I ever got another gun in my hand? Now I knew. A healing of sorts had happened thanks to the "opportunity - Mars and Pluto" and the thoughts, "Mercury on Chiron." And that, my friends, is how astrology works...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dark Larry

I woke up yesterday morning with Dark Larry inhabiting my consciousness. Dark Larry is the other half of me, the half that I saw in the mirror after I shot the B&E man. Oh, it was a righteous shooting according to the my department, the Detroit PD. He was in the window, had a large gray object in his hand and I was standing in the dark about 35 feet away. It was a spit-second decision and I pulled my .44 Magnum and drilled him in the center of the chest. Problem was, the thing he was holding was a big ole paper clamp and not a gun.

A counselor once told me that I shot him because that was what I was trained to do. By the Army during Viet Nam who drilled into me the word "Kill." By the police department who drilled into me "Protect Life" even if it is your own. But you know, there was a part of me that night that, I think, wanted to shoot somebody. And, the universe being what it is, offered me the opportunity. The old Law of Attraction. The law that says, "you will attract to yourself the lessons needed to learn what you need to learn."

Anyway, Dark Larry woke up yesterday morning and tore the shit out of Elsa in a private email to her on ElsaElsa.com. I was angry because she was not letting me express my opinion on her site. Up until then, my opinions were logical, caring and written to help the others on the site to see what was going on. I still think they were blocked out of malice but that was no reason for me to attack.

I could fall back on the training I've had, but that's a cop out. I know who Dark Larry is and I should have kept him in his box. I could blame Mercury in Sagittarius but that's another cop out. I'm old enough and wise enough (or I thought) to make the right decision. I didn't. Class is still in session...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sanctuary

For the last forty years or so I've been heading to northern Michigan but never quite made it beyond the big city limits. Something always kept me there: responsibility, family, finances, ailing parents, career. It was though I had this big rubber band around my neck and it would stretch so far before it yanked me back. Once it stretched all the way to Big Rapids which isn't really Up North but it was close. That time I was pulled back kicking and screaming, truly angry at circumstance.

I learned long ago that too often we just can't do what we want to do, no matter how determined we are. The timing is wrong, the planets aren't aligned or we are stuck, deep in the mud of our own making. I think usually it's that. We do have free will, it's just that sometimes that will becomes won't. Our lives are crafted by our choices and no matter how hard we struggle, we have to play each one out. After a while they become so intertwixed, so intertwined, that free will seems just a memory and we slog ahead just trying to survive.

I spent a lifetime fighting crime on the mean streets of Motown, first as a cop then as an undercover guy in the private sector. I'm telling you the truth when I say that I forever fought to keep my spiritual head above water and hope in my heart. Vietnam was an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone and I was lucky to come home sane. Well, relatively sane anyway. I know a lot of guys who didn't and suffer to this day.

After so much of that you begin to wonder about the big guy - or girl - upstairs. Is anyone really minding the store? I knew I had to get away but that rubber band just kept pulling me back. I needed sanctuary. Faith was an elusive thing but once I found it, there was no way that I was letting it go. It was during the dark night of my soul that it first touched me and assured me that my promised land was still there. I kept it close, seeking, always seeking that light at the end of the tunnel yet secretly hoping it wasn't another train.

I learned to go with the flow and follow my intuition. I learned it is true that whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger, that challenge is growth and that dreams fulfilled are not always what we've imagined. And I learned that 'someday, someplace, somehow' will come but not until we are ready, and wise enough to recognize them when they appear.

Amazingly, at least to me, they came just over six years ago. The somehow and someday came when my health went south, as events in Vietnam caught up to me and I discovered retirement. The someplace came when I drove north one day and came back the next as the owner of a new home near the shores of the Sweetwater Sea.

Ever since I was a child, vacationing with my family every year at Fireside Inn on Grand Lake in Presque Isle County, I dreamed that someday I would return permanently. That I needed to live Up North where nature held sway became a mantra, an endless ripple in the tides of my consciousness. Wherever I was, wherever life took me, I always imagined that I could smell the wood smoke, sense the water's edge and the sound of the loons on the lake. I yearned for it but, as we know, our choices create the roadmap of our lives, complete with detours and dark alleys.

I negotiated those roads, over years and years, sometimes blind, sometimes focused until I found myself, by chance, in Ocqueoc. I had never heard the name but in the language of the Anishanabe, a long ago tribe of native Americans, it means 'sacred.' Sacred was exactly what I had been looking for. Sacred, sanctuary, peace and tranquility, a place where I could celebrate the Self I had slowly discovered along my epic journey.

Ocqueoc is located equidistant between Rogers City, Onaway and Cheboygan. The heart of the township is a seven mile stretch along Lake Huron, or the Sweetwater Sea as it was called by the Huron Indians, who once lived in a small village at the mouth of the Ocqueoc river where it empties into the lake. Isolated, even today, the banks of the river were once used as a burial ground. History writes that as the tribe prepared for the long winters when the food was scarce, the crippled and infirm would throw themselves from those high banks into the river, their bodies floating into Lake Huron, in courageous attempts to insure the survival of the village.

Called Huron Beach now, the sandy shores of Hammond Bay are pristine, home to a loosely populated group of year-rounders and summer residents, and beckon to those seeking peace, solitude and quiet recreation. Infrequently, one can hear the muted sounds of a few jet skis and powerboats but mostly one sees the kayaks and sailboats as they silently skim the gentle surface of the bay.

The Huron Beach community is a private association of homeowners and ingress is limited to residents and guests. On the beach, more often than not, I find myself the only human for three miles in either direction. The bay itself, on the lee side of the state, is quite frequently calm as glass. The colors of the water on sunny days rival any view I've seen of the oceans of the world, even the Caribbean. A pure sandy bottom stretches out farther than you can walk or swim and in summer, because of the shallows, the water is nearly warm.

There is no town, only the Hammond Bay Trading Post, located near the banks of the Ocqueoc river on the site formerly populated by the Hurons and Anishanabe. I'd often dreamed of a place like this, where I was known at the local store in a small, tight knit community. Where I could find company if I needed it, yet live in quiet seclusion when I didn't. I had had enough of jet noise, trains, traffic, horns and the overpowering decibels of city life. Now, I turn onto U.S. 23, set the cruise and sometimes don't see another car for 15 or 20 miles until I reach a town. I have close to a hundred thousand miles on my Dodge Dakota and still have the original brakes. That should tell you something.

During the summer I can relax on what is essentially a private beach or paddle my kayak out into the bay, meditating while I float on the beautiful, calm waters. The sunrises are magnificent and often, at dusk, I will drift a half a mile out watching the sunset to the west, content, serene and basking in my connection to nature.

Winters are my favorite as the forest around our home grows white, heavy with sparkling snow. The quiet is so absolute you can hear your own heart beat and the deer gather every night, just outside our windows, for dinner. Sometimes there are three, sometimes fifteen but they always come on schedule. I love to sit in my chair by the window and wait for the first one to bound through the woods. They are so beautiful, so guileless, though sometimes competitive about sunflower seeds. I've learned that everyone loves sunflower seeds; the deer, the birds, the squirrels, the chipmunks and skunks and especially the raccoons who will defeat any security you construct. The badgers, well they must love badger food because I rarely see them outside the tunnels they dig.

I haven't seen any bears but I await my wolf when he arrives. The wolf is my totem and very close to my heart. The name of my investigative company was "Wolf's Run," and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. They say there are no wolves in the lower Peninsula but two were found, last winter, trapped just outside of Rogers City. He will come, I have faith, to be sure. In the meantime, the hawks and eagles keep me company.

I have discovered my paradise, my Nirvana, our personal Garden of Eden. Every day my family is awed by the majesty of the north. Each morning I look out at the forest and know the essence of life is truly with me and that my friends, the animals, will never do me harm. And I can float my kayak in the stream of consciousness finding inspiration as it meanders, gently, in spirit.