It's amazing how fast the brain can function when put into certain situations.
I have spent the past 4 days with a couple friends in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, which is part of the San Bernadino National Forrest. The first three days were really nice, a great strenuos hike into our campsite, and then we pretty much just lounged around for the rest of time taking short day hikes from there. I have a more detailed "play by play" journal of my time that I will post later after I get a chance to transcript it from the paper into the computer, but for now I want to share the most exciting part of my trip.
The first couple nights I spent sleeping inside a tent with Bob, I don't sleep very well or very late and the tent itself wasn't really designed for someone in the 6'3ish range as I am. I decided last night to sleep outside the tent in just my sleeping bag on top of my thermarest. My 20 degree bag was sufficient for the mid 30s nighttime temps that we were having up at the 7500' elevation camp. Also there were almost no bugs whatsoever during our trip, so I wasn't worried about getting eaten alive by mosquitos, which is usually my main reason for not sleeping outside the tent and under the stars. Along with myself I convinced Chris to sleep outside with me. I don't think she has ever slept directly in the elements before so she seemed geniunely excited about charting new territory. We both tossed and turned most of the night, every once in a while giving up and having short conversations, then falling back to sleep.
Sometime during twilight I was softly woken up by a strange moaning/cooing noise which seemed to be coming from the brush probably 20 yards away. It sounded almost like a quail or pigeon and I thought nothing of it. At this time I was laying on my back with only my head outside the sleeping bag. Chris was next to me on her sleeping pad completely inside her bag with the opening cinched shut. The weird noise persisted and I was just sitting there enoying what I thought was a bird doing it's wake up call, with the soothing sound of the stream behind me. Far off in the distance, probably 1/2 a mile I heard a dog barking. This was odd because the whole time were were out there in the wilderness we'd only seen one person, and he was on a day hike the day before. It seemed a bit early for anyone to be coming up the trail and I decided for some reason to look up. I tilted my head forward to see that there was full grown black bear about 2' away from the end of my sleeping bag. WOW, ok, WOW, ok, HOLY CRAP WOW.
This is where the speedy brain functioning comes into play. As soon as I saw the bear, I immediately lowered my head back into it's previous spot and here's what flushed through my brain, in the this order:
--There is a bear.
This entire internal conversation happened in less than a second! The human mind is amazing.!
Then I titled my head forward again and looked directly at the bear, who was more or less sniffing the end of the sleeping bag. "GET THE HECK AWAY FROM ME!!!" I yelled at the bear. This scared the crap out of the bear and it bolted away from me. After about 10 yards the bear stopped, turned around and looked at me, again I yelled "GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!". At this point I saw a little cub about 10 yards ahead of the bear hightailing himself out of there, and the momma bear followed it into the bushes. Somewhere between the first and second time I yelled at the bear I pushed Chris and said "Get out of your bag NOW". The bear was already in retreat and I just wanted Chris to have a chance to see the beautiful creature before it disappeared completely into the bushes. My tone of voice, probably due to being hyped up on adrenaline, didn't seem to convey my intended "look at the bear" message, but instead, gave off more of a "There is bear attacking us" message. Chris, noticing she couldn't get out of the bag easily or quickly, went stiff and played dead. By the time I convinced her it was alright, the bear was gone, she might have seen the bear's butt?
For the next 30 minutes I sat there telling her the whole story over and over again, totally shaky and hyped up on adrenaline. All I can say now is that this incident that happened less than 12 hours ago is one of the coolest things to ever happen to me. I doubt I will ever be that close to a wild bear again, unless I'm getting attacked!
Ok, I was just reading my Mom's blog and she used the word "blogosphere". I'm not sure if I should be impressed or scared.
My friend Inga of Miami Vegan has decided to do a painting of one of my photographs. She started today and will be publishing her progress along the way from the charcoal schetching to the finishing touches.
I've never had anyone reproduce my art like this and I am really excited to see it at his happens. If you're interested you might want to peak over at her blog every couple of days as she works on the piece.
I had a pretty gnarly arrhythmia today about an hour ago. No big deal, it was a "perfectly normal" thing that happens to me from time to time. It got me thinking though about a few things though. I started thinking about the whole DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) issue that I've pondered for a few years. Don't freak out, I'm currently still in the "Do Resuscitate" group. Along with that I started pondering the fact that I haven't had a medical bracelet for over a decade, and that I should probably get a new one in case I am unconscious when the inevitable happens.
So I looked around a bit for a pendant that wasn't too dumb or whatever and finally found one that I wouldn't mind wearing for another decade or so. Then...HOLY CRAP THESE THINGS ARE RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE!!! I know they have cheap ones for under $10, but I don't like the cheap ones and if I'm gonna have to wear the stupid thing I might as well get one I like. However, the one I like is $55! And that is before the engraving fees. Shitaki Mushroom!
The damn thing does not need to be made out of platinum! Sheesh (ok, it was actually made from silver, but stainless steel would have been FINE with me).
So in my ever-pondering everything ways, my mind abandoned that nicer looking pendant and now I'm considering just getting the stupid info tattooed on my chest. And if you think I'm being facetious, well, then you don't know me very well. Also, this way if I finally make up my mind about the DNR thing, I can just have the tattoo amended with that info as well as all my other stuff. Hmmm.
My entire goal in life right now is to locate and consume a 20oz bottle of Mountain Dew. ugh.
One of my closest friends had a health scare last night and ended up in the ER, then to be admitted to the hospital overnight. Out of respect to privacy I don't feel a need to give a name or what happened. Friend is feeling much better this morning, and I thank God for that. Friend still has some tests and such, but I'm guessing that friend will be released from the hospital this afternoon sometime.
It's sobering how an incident like this can make all the other "big" problems going on seem so juvenile and petty. One thing was important last night: making sure that my friend was as safe as possible. One thing is important today: making sure my friend is as safe as possible. Everything else melts into the "whatever" category.
If you're reading this and you believe in prayer, please send a couple up for my friend. First thank God for everything getting better so far, and ask God for total healing so there aren't any further complications. Thanks
I love you, my friend.
My mom smiles with her eyes...
For almost 8 years I have been a volunteer at the Polinsky Children's Center which has brought me sheer joy.
This center meets the immediate needs of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Many children come with so much fear and hurt in their little hearts that it's such a privileged to bring a smile to their face.
I bring the puppets every Sunday morning and share with them the Love of God.
Even if the time I spend with kids is short. I know that our message of hope brings them back to life.
Only God knows their pain. Only God can transform their sorrow to Joy!
One young man shared with me a little bit of what God has been doing in his life.
This young man is 17 years-old and was taken to the center because of poor choices that he had made in his life. Yet he was faithful to come to Sunday School and he asked very direct questions about God and Christianity. After three times seeing him go to Sunday School I had not seen him for awhile. Then one day he came and after we started the service he wanted to share.
He spoke about how that he was truly seeking a better way for his life and that he was not totally convinced about God, but that something happened to him that made him come just one step closer to God.
He told us that he was locked up in Juvenile Hall and that while there a chaplain came in to speak to the young men in the facility. It was on the same day that he was to present himself before a judge. The chaplain spoke to him in a way only he could understand. The chaplain explained that everything will fail, but God will never fail them. The chaplain invited them to make a decision today. The young man left the meeting and went back to his cell where he got on his knees and spoke frankly with God. He told God that he might be 100% a believer but that he was close to being so. Then he asked God to touch his life. At that moment he felt a touch on his shoulder. He opened his eyes and saw that no one was there. In his words he said that it "freaked him out", but he knew that it was God showing him that he was not alone.
God is looking at us and saying, "Who will go and be my hands and feet?"
Will you go?
Recently I went to a worship conference at Calvary Chapel San Diego where a group of musicians named Shachah played. Now what stood out for me about the group wasn't their talent (which by the way they had plenty!) But it was their name?...
Shachah means "to bow down" in Hebrew. At this point in my life that is just how I felt.
I mean lately I've been realizing that trust is not just a feeling, but an action. When you trust someone you actually physically need to rest that what they said they will do they will do!
Just like a flower who just sways in the breeze enjoying the sunshine and trusting that the earth will provide for it's very need. I too needed to come to a place to just enjoy my every day living.
Look up Shachah and enjoy the testimony of God's love and grace!
Here is a photo of my indoor soccer team, the JV Allstars. I'm in the back because I was pouting after just losing 2-9 in our first match.
foto by Tim Percy.