Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Finding me

I'm not really lost, I'm just as I tell people, "I'm never lost, I just don't always know where I am." Well, as a geographer, I always know where am I, but as a person, I don't. Sometimes it's nice to find a chair, get a cup of coffee, and ponder and wonder the universe. It's the old adage about finding one's place in the giant scheme of things. But sometimes it's about simply being, the who and what.

You see I was always taught from being an military officer's kid, to know, understand, accept and follow rules and roles. I even spent my four years during the Vietnam era doing my role to follow my father, except I didn't stay. We had a rather heart-felt talk one day about my staying and our generation's views collided, and exploded. We didn't speak for a long time afterward, and rarely even then.

That was a dumb and stupid mistake on both our parts, and while I tried to reconcile things later, he wasn't open to it, as he had his own issues and was facing his own demons near the end of his life. We had very similar younger life experiences and I wonder if that added to our conflict. I'll never know as he died in 1994. Anyway, I don't regret my life, only not having a Dad to sit down and talk about the world and life.

And I followed the expected role as a husband. I married a really great woman, Linda, who was everything in a woman. Ok, we had our faults, but we were good together for a number of years, even through some rough and tough time. And we parted friends. She remarried and divorced, and we keep in touch occasionally. She still has a corner in my heart. As does a few other women who came along later in my life. It's my nature, they capture their piece and it's permanently there.

And all along that I was a professional hydrologic technician and hydrologist with the US Geological Survey. Nearly twenty eight years. Whew. What a career in Oregon, Arizona and Washington. While I hated management - except a few bosses in Arizona, even being in it the last half of my career, I loved the work and the field staff. You couldn't ask for a better organization for the field people.

After all, how many people have the ability to say they've done work few ever do on rivers and lakes, including knowing you were part of the team who collected data on the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. I still have my pass into the red zone only USGS and a few other people had. And all the rest of the field work was worth the time, as I cherish the work I did as a senior data/database manager for Washington.

Anyway, after retiring in December 2005 to pursue some personal life directions and my personal photography, the latter eventually into a small, personal business, it's been the big change. It's not life that worries me, but redefining yourself on your own grounds where you're not responsible or obligated to anyone else. Just me.

And so it's a wandering path. As I describe to folks, it's the old highway 50 from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe. Wandering and scenic. Except I've intentionally misplaced the map and I've lost my watch because I have the rest of my life on this long road to somewhere. There is no end, only when happenstance decides it.

The photo? If you're ever downtown Seattle, by all means visit Belle Epicurean. Your taste buds, body, mind, spirit and soul will appreciate it. Overstated? Maybe, but go there first before you disagree.

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