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I have trekked scorching deserts,
leaving only temporary footprints,
upon trackless sands. Shallow etched
impressions soon erased by the wind.

Sailed upon deep ocean seas, swam
and surfed cobalt blue saline waves
skimming over colorful coral reefs.
Leaving nothing to mark my passage.

Hiked high mountain wilderness trails,
camped and slept under bright star lit
skies, decamping with not a single trace
of my transitory visit, or earthly presence.

In travel I learned meaningful values and
life lessons from people that lived in thatched
huts and never attended college or read a book.

My great grandchildren will not know me
except for some old photos and a few handed
down stories, I will not hold them, kiss their
tiny faces, or pass on anything I have learned,
that is my children's role. That will be my
lasting footprint.

This knowledge should be our goal in all
we do in our short lives. Like all living
creatures, we are but brief guest on this
earth. While we are passing through, we
should endeavor to do as little harm as
No amount of formal education can teach and
enlighten us as much as broad travel and the
exposure to the wisdom of nature.

I am grateful to have traveled and explored
diverse lands and cultures and to have
acquired broader insight gained in the

I have bought things, built things,
accumulated "Stuff" much of it
meaningless in the full scope of
time and importance. My only real
ongoing accomplishment is my
family, that and understanding my
limited significance upon this Earth.

It is not what we have, it is what we do,
or do not do that matters. And do no harm..
Endings are often sad, we had one yesterday.
He was a proud stocky three-year-old Angus
steer, the last of our small herd, filled out and
contented on augmented buckets of grain to
fatten him up over the last few months and
lessen his lonely estrangement from his
departed or sold off family herd.

All alone in the pasture he would often bellow
mournfully, which he would also do twice a
day to remind us he wanted his grain.

When the box truck pulled in, he trotted to the gate,
curious I suspect. The two men in not so white overalls
stepped down and approached their side of the fence.
One man held something at his side.  The steer raised
his head and ears, stepped back a little, perhaps he
sensed danger, the man raised his rifle from ten feet
away and a shot rang out.

Dead in a heartbeat, the big steer collapsed in the dust.
Deceased before he hit the ground. Yet in his throws of
death his legs thrashed violently in sad reflex. The
accomplice killer opened the gate and cut the beefs
throat to bleed him out and the thrashing soon ceased.

This was mobile butchery, done on the spot, the skilled
butchers knew their grisly tasks and bent to their work.
In about 30 minutes the steer, (we stopped naming our
cattle, all but the mothers, when my grandsons grew old
enough to understand that these animals were meat on
the hoof, not pets and names made the partings harder).
Useful Farm Boy emotional armor I suppose.

In half an hour the two halves of our animal were bleed
out, gutted, skinned, washed, dismembered tagged with
a number and hung up on hooks in the truck, alongside
eight other steers of the day, all on the way to the shop
for further cutting up and packaging. Then placed into
flash freezers. Ready for our family to bring home or to
sell to friends.

Raised without injections or hormones this is healthy
beef, tasty too, but which I reframed from eating some
years ago. Having watched our cattle born and growing,
I became too soft hearted to eat them. Preferring to buy
nameless, faceless meat with no personal history, from
grocery stores in neat little clear plastic wrappings. To
at least avoid some of my old man hypocritical guilt.
So, the barn and pasture are now empty, no more 4-H
animals for the almost grown boys to raise and show,
out of the side gig of beef and pig business. No more
cute baby swine or bovines, no more dung upon my boots.
It was yet another chapter in our book of family life, another
ending. As all things must.
Should you now take the time, perhaps,
To read between the lines,
You may then note a screaming crowd
Doth rail against the times.
How the masses voice, as one,
Their rage against the foe,
Blaming Isrealite excesses
For every vengeful blow.
Tip toeing round the spotlight
That, the initial,  brutal flaw....
Was instigated when Hamas
Turned those innocents to gore.

I note how those selective souls
Have ceased to raise the roof,
To the ceaseless ****** atrocities caused
While Putin stands aloof.
Two years of blood and mayhem
Grace Ukraine's shattered land....
Consigned, I note, to dim background
Since Gazza's bombing slammed?

Funny how the fickle few
Waft before the breeze,
To utter condemnation
Only to those that they please.
Funny how the fickle few
Command the higher ground
In screeching manic insults
To our profound?

So many vehemently against Israel, casting the nation of Jews as inhumane agressors, betrayers of  human values, destroyers of innocence.
They, completely ignoring the terrorism of Hamas which ignited this conflict.
Similtaneously putting aside the greater transgression of allout war waged by Russia in the systematic invasion of a sister nation, ukraine. Two continuous years of ****** and destruction, Invasion and crimes of war. imposed, brutally on a nation of fellow Slavs.
This theatre of war totally ignored by the world media and the howl of righteous outrage redirected toward Israel and Jewish agression.
Then there is the rest of us. The great realm of silence.
Going about our lives normally, doing everyday things unchanged by the dual paroxisms of warfare enacted in separate theatres of the globe.
In whom lies the greatest fault the agressors, the mob hurling ethnic insults and threatening wider escalation?
Or the mute millions sitting on their hands in the quiet corners of the globe.....uninvolved and determinably resolved to stay that way, keeping their hands squeaky clean and their concienses clear?
After several days of rain, blue sky was the theme,
fostering a sunshiny afternoon, I was on my way
to the mailbox when their flight songs pleasingly
reached my ears. Sounds that have captivated me
since childhood, the encouraging yet plaintive
heavenly honking incantations of Canada Geese in
their massive vee formations, and at once I began to
smile like a kid on Christmas morn.

When I cleared the large evergreen trees along
the drive that first clear sight took my breath away,
there were hundreds of them, three huge flocks in
tight formations calling to one another headed in an
Easterly direction, at an altitude of perhaps 1000 feet,
probably going to the recently harvested hay and
wheat fields in the valley to set down for rest and
nourishment on their long winter migration South.

I watched until they became but tiny blackish
dots in an azure sky. Then louder honking and
another huge flock crossed right above me, lower,
closer, their nearness and songs turned my smile
to spontaneous unabashed childlike laughter. . .
If I could still jump up and down, I might have.

Once again, I was that seven-year-old boy laying
in my bed listening to the migratory highflyers
passing over my home. Wishing I too had such
freedom gained from the flight of powerful wings.
When I was 14 friends took my dad and me goose
hunting in Northern California. I had hunted pheasants
a time or two with some success. My first shots that day
killed two geese. When I got to them, picking one up into
my arms, I was overtaken by emotions of regret and began
to cry. That was over 64 years ago, I have never hunted
birds again. I prefer to hear and watch them not **** them.
Now if I and or my family were starving that would be a
very different matter.

Yes, you are right, there goes that blithering old fool again!
Writing about Geese and old memories only he cares to relive.
But that is what old folks do. And it shames me not one bit.
I have always believed in the suggestion
and sound advice of "Carpe diem" (to seize
the day).

However now I am more inclined to sneak
carefully up behind it and gently pick its pocket.
My seizing days are pretty much over.
To quote the late Mister Buffett,
"Changes in latitudes and changes
in attitudes" Going with the flow
of necessity. To quote my grandfather
"The old grey mare ain't what she used
to be." Or stallion either.
To the cadence of drums and bugles they
enter the field, helmets gleaming in the light,
all clad in colorful matching battle dress.
A cadre of warriors crossing the impending
battleground. Prancing like cavalry steeds,
chomping at the bit, ready and eager to join
the fray.

Visceral electric energy fills the air, as in
one collective voice they begin their warrior
battle chant.

Across the field their adversary's approach,
clad in helmets and armor, fit and ready.
Both sides determined to defeat the other.
Fridy Night under the lights. The contest
about to begin.
Played out thousands of times each week
in America, at schools large and small,
from youngsters for fun, to beefy grown
men earning a living, spectator stadiums
filled with cheering rabid fans. Gridiron!
More than merely a sport, an extension
of our human evolution, a harnessing of
our inner natural instincts for aggression
and mutual hostility. Thankfully little or
no blood is shed, it is but a game. But oh,
what a truly marvelous sport to watch
and to have played.

Last night watching my youngest High
Schooler grandson and his brother warriors
play and defeat their foes of the week 42
to 6. Though, I felt saddened for the other
team, it was a very one-sided affair. But then,
there is as much knowledge gained from losing,
as from winning. I believe that to be true and
have shared that knowledge with my
offspring. Hopefully those boys on the
opposing team hear that from a parent,
or coach that cares about them as well.
Life Lessons, come in many ways.
Next to my computer desk, a battery
driven wall clock audibly ticks away each
expired second, "Tick Tock, Tick Tock,"
In the silence of the room, it's every measure
clicking like muffled somber drumbeats.
Sitting today the clock a foot from my ear,
I placed my fingers on my neck and found
a perfectly matching heart pulse beating
"Thump-Thump, Thump-Thump repeated.
Clock and Heart together paired in perfect
synchronization, an inescapable reminder
of the fleeting precious time that remains.

Each second, minute, hour and day a
cherished gift.
Older people are perhaps more aware
of time, knowing as we do that it is
not forever.
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