December 31, 2004

 

Call Me Nostradamus

 

It is that time again when we think about the year just passed. It was one year ago today while in Guatemala that I made all kinds of predictions based upon...well, mainly beer and Chinese food.  How well did I do? Let's take a look. In the order that I wrote them, here they are.

 

Bush will win re-election in a landslide. Done deal. His victory goes beyond any electoral counting, as both House and Senate swung further into the Republican camp. There are also more Republicans at the state and local levels, a good harbinger of things to come in American politics. Compared to 2000 the Democrats lost votes among their usual hard-core constituency of blacks, Jews and women.

 

The Democrat Party will continue on its path to self-destruction. Done deal. Right now Democrats are trying to figure out why they lost. The leadership is yet clueless. It believes the American voters---at least those who voted for Bush---to be idiots. Democrats think that part of the problem is that they could not get their message out. Well, no, their message got out just fine, and the voters rejected it. To understand the magnitude of the decline of the Democrat Party you must see the county-by-county voting patterns for 2004. Red counties went for Bush, blue counties for Kerry.

 

 

Bush counties total 2,540,000 square miles (2,432,603 in 2000) and 160,000,000 (148,000,000 in 2000) in population. Kerry, 592,000 (577,029 for Gore in 2000) and 130,000,000 (133,000,000 for Gore in 2000) respectively. Bush counties much more so than Kerry counties attend church services, own firearms and send their sons to the military. Bush counties are against abortion, sodomite marriage and burning the American flag. They distrust the mainstream media, despise the UN and want prayer put back in schools. Bush counties are Bible Belt for sure.

 

And the Kerry counties? Well, they purchase most of the pornography consumed by Americans. Let's call Kerry counties the Porn Belt. This was written in 2000, but it is just as true now:

A porn popularity map of the US is almost identical to one showing which states Al Gore won in the recent presidential elections. The map shows that the Democrat-friendly West Coast, New England and Middle Atlantic states  have the highest appetite for video sex movies. As many as 40% of the home video market in Gore's winning states is sex-related, according to the Wall Street Journal data.

 

The Republican George W Bush, on the other hand, dominated the Bible-Belt which has the lowest number of porn viewers. Experts who analyzed the two maps say that morality and culture are reflected in both; conservative married couples wanted Bush, not Gore, who they associated too closely with Bill Clinton's impeachment troubles.

Americans see the Democrats as the party of abortion, sodomy, licentiousness, immorality, Hollywood, treason and pornography. Simply stated, it is not fit to rule, and its candidate was not fit to be president. Vox populi.

 

There will be war with Iran and Syria. Well, not yet---but the check is in the mail. Syrians and Iranians are pouring into Iraq to confront and---they  hope---defeat America there. Most of the foreign fighters captured or killed in Iraq are from these two countries. Syrian dictator Bashir Assad and the mullahs who rule Iran, like Belshazzar of old, have seen the writing on the wall. If the Americans succeed in bringing a stable democracy to Iraq, the dictatorships in the Middle East are finished. The war will go on until the home of the terror masters, Iran, is defeated. Most experts believe that Iran will get a nuclear bomb this year. When---if---it does all bets are off. The US cannot allow this, of course. So hang on, this will be a fun ride. Ceterum censeo Iranem esse delendam.

 

The Culture Wars in the US will continue. Done deal. Glance at any newspaper, read any blog, listen to any talk radio, and you will find the following issues take up most of the space and time: abortion, the war in Iraq, sodomite marriage, the vulgarity of US culture---MTV, Hollywood, TV---stem cell research, euthanasia, gun ownership, school vouchers, religion in the public square, and so on.  Americans have been here before, and the culture wars then were centered around slavery. The Democrat Party was on the wrong side of that issue just as it is on the wrong side of the great moral issues of today. These culture wars will continue until: 1) One side wins, or 2) Christ returns. Either outcome is fine with me, as the Red States have the guns and the military. Let's roll.

 

There will be a second Great Awakening in the US. Done deal. Church attendance up. Number of Americans who say they believe in God, up. Number of abortions and teen pregnancies, down. And so on. America is the last great Christian nation, and from her will issue missionaries to re-Christianize Europe, and bring the Word to the rest---starting with Iraq.

 

Palestinians will continue to murder Israeli schoolchildren. Done deal. Palestinian culture, like Islamo-fascism, is death centered. It concerns itself with killing Jews and not much else.

 

Pakistan's Musharraf will be assassinated. Not yet, thank God, though the killers have tried at least twice this year. May they always fail.

 

Arafat will at last be brought to justice---of one type or another. Done deal. This grotesque killer finally died---and of AIDS no less. He was Egyptian, not Palestinian, and his sodomite leanings were always know to his inner circle. He murdered all whom he could, but it was always the Palestinians who suffered and perished more than the rest. The culture of death in the Palestinian lands is Arafat's legacy. May he find a permanent rest playing cards with Ted Bundy and Joseph Stalin.

 

NATO's center will move east to Poland. Deal in process. The US is relocating its bases from Germany to areas, shall we say,  more strategic and welcoming. Poland is both.

 

Colin Powell will retire. Done deal. Truth be told, Powell was never a member of Bush's inner circle, and often found himself a lone voice crying in the wilderness against the policies of his boss. He is a good and decent man, but his presence and advice will not be missed.

 

North Korea will implode leading to an astronomical refugee problem for China and South Korea. Not yet. But the pressures mount upon the North Korean regime. Simply put, as it is the regime cannot continue. There is not enough outside support or domestic production. This problem will be solved one way or another this year. Anyway, it mainly concerns South Korea, China and Japan. Let them handle it. America is a little busy right now.

 

The US military will add several new divisions. Nope. Not yet. Too bad. In fact some of the higher ups are contemplating the opposite, of actually cutting the defense budget.

The Pentagon plans to retire one of the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers, buy fewer amphibious landing ships for the Marine Corps and delay the development of a costly Army combat system of high-tech arms as part of $60 billion in proposed cuts over the next six years, Congressional and military officials said Wednesday.

 

The proposed reductions, the details of which are still being fine-tuned and which would require Congressional approval, result from White House orders to all federal agencies to cut their spending requests for the 2006 fiscal year budgets, which will be submitted to lawmakers early next year.

Memo to Congress: Just say no. We are at war. Defense spending should be doubled. Any future enemy will surely not be as incompetent or suicidal as the idiotic Islamo-fascists. Let's be prepared for them , OK?

 

India and Israel will greatly strengthen their military and political ties. Done deal. This diplomatic and military collusion is very much in America's interest. India, Israel and the US have the same enemies at any rate, and India is the largest democracy in the world.

 

American high school students will take to blogging in a big way. Nope. Not yet. Too bad.

 

Castro dies and takes Chavez with him. Nope. Not yet. Too bad.

 

The UN disbands or moves to Paris. Nope. Not yet. Too bad.

 

The EU disintegrates. Nope. Not yet. Too bad.

 

Pope John Paul II hangs in there. Done deal. The next pope will almost assuredly come from Africa or Latin America. Orthodox cardinals and bishops are hard to come by outside of those places.

 

The Catholic Church excommunicates most of the Jesuits. Nope. Not yet. Too bad. Whatever use these creatures once had, they have long since become of the world rather than in it. Get rid of the lot of them.

 

China becomes a Christian nation. Nope. Not yet. Too bad. God works in His own time.

 

Saddam keeps his long-waited appointment with the electric chair. Nope. Not yet. Too bad. But this year certainly---and not by the electric chair (Iraqi electrical generation is a bit haphazard)---but by hanging. He will not be missed except by the mullahs and Assad. Saddam will join his pal Arafat.

 

I get a job. Done deal. And work starts again Monday. So...

 

Bye.

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December 30, 2004

More Wild, Weird Climes

I found some other gems while continuing to pour over all my photos. Some background probably is in order. (A more wordy explanation can be found here.)

 

My first journey out of my country was in 1980. I had just wrapped up a BA in History and was ready to see all those places  had read about---temples, palaces, forums, cathedrals and their like. All was good and right and fun until I arrived in southern Spain. Northern Africa was so close that it seemed a shame not to visit. So I took a ferry to Tetouan, Morocco. Upon hitting the ground there my life changed. No, I did not see God---that would happen in 1989---but I knew that if ever again overseas that it would not be to the civilized world but to 'wild weird climes, out of space, out of time.' Morocco was more vibrant, more real, more alive than staid old Europe. From then on my journeys would take to me to places such as Egypt, Turkey and Paraguay.

 

 

A street scene in Chechouan, Morocco, 1980.

 

 

The Atlas Mountains seen from Chechouan, Morocco, 1980

 

 

I journeyed from Istanbul down the Turkish coast to see the ruins of Ephesus, once the greatest city in the Eastern Mediterranean outside of Alexandria. Paul went there, and it was to the Christian churches of Ephesus that he wrote his Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians.

 

Ephesus, Turkey, 1980

 

 

Seventeen years after my European excursion I was already an experienced Latin American backpacker. During one Summer while teaching in Argentina I journeyed to the Chachapoyan ruins of Kuelap. I backpacked from the jungle town of Chachapoyas to the ruins of Kuelap, about five days all told. I went via the village of Tingo, then crossed the Utcabamba River and walked on a trail that no longer exists---it was washed away the next year by a landslide. I am here about five hours below the ruins enjoying a fine American product. (Here are more Peru photos, and here is my 14-day solo backpacking adventure through the same region in 2003.)

 

Marlboro break, on the way to Kuelap, Peru, 1997

 

 

My first visit to the Andes was in 1987, in Ecuador. I had just finished walking the Darien Gap, and decided to climb some damn volcano outside of Baños. I went on to hike the Inca Trail in Peru. I was not able to return to the Andes until 1994. Since then I have gone up and down almost its entire spine from Peru to Chile to Argentina and Tierra del Fuego. I need to return, now. The photo is above Laguna Azul outside of Bariloche, Argentina. (Here and here are more photos of the Andes of Argentina.)

 

Argentine Andes, 2001

 

 

OK, enough for now. If I keep looking at photos such as these I might just sell all that I have and embark upon another 'year of living dangerously.'

 

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December 27, 2004

The Past is Prologue

Some years ago I placed on CDs every photo I had taken since 1983. Yesterday I decided to review them all. There were some gems among them, and some horrors that I am glad no one will ever see. Among the gems are the following. They are in no particular order, not of chronology or importance. I left the pictures in large format after running them through Adobe Photoshop. They say that moments before your death your entire life will flash before your eyes. Here is mine, a small preview of coming attractions.

1987, standing above Machu Picchu after walking four days on the Inca Trail

 

With local anti-communist militia, near Sayache, Guatemala, 1987

 

 

Tikal, Guatemala, 1983. Skinny legs.

 

 

With Tim Price at the Mayan ruins of El Ceibol, Guatemala, 1986.

 

 

Somewhere in Mexico at some ruin, 1986.

 

 

At the Mayan ruins of Copan, Honduras, 1986

 

 

At the Mayan ruins of Copan, Honduras, 1986

 

 

The northern Guatemalan jungles, 2004.

 

 

In the Choco village of Balsal, Darien, Panama, 1987.

 

 

 

My self-designed sleeping system during my first 'Year of Living Dangerously,'

1986-87, northern Guatemala.

 

 

With Peruvian family, near the Chachapoyan ruins of Gran Vilaya, 2003

 

 

Peruvian family on the way to the ruins of Gran Vilaya, 2003

 

 

Street scene, Antigua, Guatemala, 1983

 

 

Enough already! There are more photos here and here.

 

Someday I will run every photo on my site through Adobe Photoshop---but not today.

 

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December 24, 2004

Herod Among Us

 

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise-men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children...

---Matt. 2:16

 

Herod (d. 4 BC) is known for his scandalous family life, for his multiple murders, for his succession of marriages, and for a rather careless attitude toward children---his own and those in Bethlehem especially. He was overly solicitous to what the Old Testament calls the worship of Moloch---that is, state idolatry, the blasphemous adoration of political power, of rendering unto Caesar that which belongs to God. In Herod's case the state was Rome, what the Book of Revelation calls 'Babylon.' Herod first bowed to Mark Antony, then Augustus. Tradition and Scripture has it that Herod died a particularly unpleasant death which befitted the nature and number of his crimes.

 

Christians hold a special place for Herod, of course, as he ordered the slaughter of every male child two years old or younger in Bethlehem. Why? What possible harm could a baby cause for a king? In Herod's case he was fearful of losing political power. All Jews believed that one day a King would arise out of Bethlehem.

 

And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will govern my people Israel.

---Matt. 2:6

 

In Herod's mind this meant that if this king showed up then he, Herod, would be unemployed and broke. He became quite agitated when he heard rumors that indeed such a king had just been born---and in Bethlehem, no less, in fulfillment of prophesy. What to do? Herod was well-practiced in the art of political murder. Victims included his wives and offspring. So he chose a typical 'Herodian' solution and sent his child-killers to Bethlehem. Of course, the object of his wrath was already on His way to Egypt with His mother and father. The Child escaped Herod and survived to be nailed on a cross. The results have been momentous.

 

The Massacre of Innocents  (1869-72)

Gustave Doré
 

I thought of Herod when coming across this, umm...'holiday card.' Innocuous enough, so it seems.

 

    

The card is from Planned Parenthood, and is for sale on its site. This organization is almost giddy this Christmas season:

 

'Tis the season to share with family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones the message of "choice on earth." Place your orders now for the 2004 Holiday Card.

These glossy print cards come in packs of 25 cards and 25 envelopes.

 You have a choice for the inside of the cards:

Blank (which you can customize for an additional fee)
or our special message imprinted inside:

Warmest wishes for a peaceful holiday season

 

For a look at the 'choice' in which Planned Parenthood exults, please click on the card. But do not do so if you are at all squeamish.

 

You clicked on the card as I knew you would. (We humans are more curious than any cat.) Disturbing photos, yes? They are the work of Gog and Magog. And now you can see---or you certainly should see---that this card is blasphemous. It uses the Christian phrase 'Peace on Earth' to recommend something a little different, something called 'infanticide.' Though the phrase 'infanticide on earth' does not have a pleasant ring to it. The card celebrates the slaughter of children while tomorrow the entire world will celebrate the birth of One.

 

You do know of course that every picture you saw was the result of acts legal in all 50 states. More than likely your tax dollars paid for them. Similar things could have been seen---they were seen---on the streets of Bethlehem 2000 years ago. At least our friend Herod restricted his massacre of the innocents to one little town, and only for a few hours. Planned Parenthood has worked hard to bring the work of Herod to every corner of God's country, my own US of A. It has been quite successful indeed, as 42,000,000 innocents have met the knives, vacuums, scissors and saline injections of little American Herods---42,000,000 actions wholeheartedly supported by Planned Parenthood, those people who send us 'the warmest wishes for a peaceful holiday season.' Let's call this group 'Herod's Club.'

 

Of course Herod's Club certainly could not be at all successful without the support of the American government, and even then only one political party stands behind it. That party is the Democrat Party. It so supports the activities of Herod's Club that no Democrat can rise to national prominence unless he firmly and wholeheartedly supports abortion on demand, up to and including 'partial-birth' abortions---what reasonable folks call infanticide. The entire Democrat establishment---the Kennedys and Pelosis and Clintons and Kerrys and Gores and Reids and all of their ilk---have made absolutely clear time after time their enthusiastic support for abortion.

 

Of course, the Democrat Party loses elections time after time. Part of the reason is its support of abortion. The powers in the party certainly understand this.

"All these issues that put us into the extreme and not the mainstream really hurt us with the heartland of the country," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party leader who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000.  "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies."

But "killing babies" is exactly what abortion is, Ms. Brazile. How can you hide that fact? Well, you cannot really hide it but you can change the language and pretend.

Howard Wolfson, a Democratic consultant and adviser to abortion rights groups and Mr. Kerry's presidential campaign, said the party had to rethink how it talked about the issue..."Either we're going to begin talking about this a different way  and making our arguments effectively, or we're going to keep losing."

Oh, that will work! Support abortion but pretend you don't. Remember that you beleive the American people are stupid---they re-elected an idiot after all---and will never figure this out. But a dose of reality here: you cannot make an effective argument in favor of abortion, and so you will keep losing.

 

Not so fast, says abortion apologist Gloria Feldt, president of Herod's Club:

Democrats "need to stop allowing the extreme, anti-choice right wing of the Republican Party to paint them into a corner where all they talk about is abortion. We have the high ground here if we focus our policy and our discussion  on the prevention of unintended pregnancies."

Ms. Feldt believes that the Democrats should embrace abortion as really the 'moral high ground' of American politics. But more and more Americans are coming to view abortion as something else entirely, as part of a 'culture of death' little distinguishable from the child sacrifice of the ancient Canaanites. And we all know what old Yahweh had Joshua do to them!

 

Ms. Feldt and her club might have another incentive other than a 'right to choose' or 'the prevention of unintended pregnancies.' According the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research wing of Herod's Club, each abortion costs an average of $400 or so. Let's see: $400 multiplied by 42,000,000 abortions and we have the tidy sum of $16,800,000,000. That is 16 billion dollars since 1973, or around $400 million per year. (And this does not count the sums earned by selling these aborted babies. This grisly practice is called 'harvesting.') So Herod's Club is quite the going concern. In fact, Herod's Club is merely the marketing arm of a huge industry, the abortion industry. Like old king Herod it is fearful of losing its political power, and thus its comfortable income. So it does what all industries do, it lobbies the US Congress for favors and tax breaks. It also makes large donations to the Democrat Party, no surprise there. Herod acted similarly, lobbying the Senate of Rome and donating large sums to the emperor. In return he was granted a large amount of political freedom to satisfy his wishes---like murdering children in Bethlehem.

 

But these goings on between Herod's Club and the Democrat Party are coming to an end. Part of the reason is the Roe Effect, another is that Americans are increasingly disillusioned with the big government largesse promised to them by the Democrat Party. Like Herod this party glorifies the state and wishes to see it increase in size and power. Witness the programs sponsored and supported by it, all of which necessitate a growing state: Social Security, Welfare, public education, Medicare and abortion on demand, to name only a paltry few. And this Moloch State like Moloch of old demands in return that living children be thrown into its brazen jaws. And Herod's Club and the Democrats gladly comply, one for money the other for power.

 

To know the future of Planned Parenthood, open any page of Dante's Inferno. To know the future of the Democrat Party, open up any dumpster in the back of an abortion clinic.

 

Too late for those 42,000,000, but none too soon for the next 42,000,000.

 

A more accurate 'Holiday Greetings' from Planned Parenthood

 

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December 22, 2004

Shadows and Dust

Vanity of vanities, all things are vanity!

---Ecclesiastes

 

If there is one truth of our earthly life, it is the utter worthlessness of worldly glory, power and fame. But do not believe me. Ask those who have had it. Their stories speak of woe and waste, of ashes and dust. The advice they give is older than The Wisdom of Amenemope (1000 BC):

 

Better poverty than riches, better one loaf when the heart is joyous than riches in unhappiness.

 

Read the words of Tabi-utul-Enlil, king of ancient Nippur who ruled 4500 years ago:

 

Pollution has befallen me, my eyes see not, my ears hear not.

My body grows dark with death. Like a net trouble has covered me.

 

Two thousand years later Ashurbanipal (d. 626 BC), the mighty Assyrian king  whose 'war chariots crushed man and beast,' cried out from his death bed:

 

Why have sickness and misery befallen me?

 I cannot do away with strife in my country and in my family.

Illness of body and mind bow me down.

With cries of woe I bring my days to en end.

 

At his death (138) the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the most powerful man on earth at the time of his empire's greatest wealth and prominence, left behind this poem:

 

My Soul, pretty and flitting,

the Guest and partner of my clay,

Where will you now go?

Never to play again, never to play.

 

Another emperor of Rome, Marcus Aurelius wrote this amid the horrors of the Second Marcomannic War (167):

 

Observe how fleeting and worthless human things are! Today a man, tomorrow ashes.  The whole s pace of a man's life is little, but yet it is filled with trouble

...and with what a wretched body it must be passed!

 

 Abd-er-Rahman II was the most powerful man of his time, yet right before he died (961) he wrote a summation of his life:

 

I have ruled 50 years in victory and peace.

Riches and honors have waited upon me;

all earthly blessings have come my way.

I have counted all of those days that I have been happy,

they number 14.

Oh man! place not confidence in this world!

 

Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II had as much power over his kingdom as any modern potentate does over his own. Yet even as Cortez began his march to Tenochtitlan (1519) the Aztec would write

 

I am to pass away like a faded flower,

My fame will be nothing,

My fame on earth will vanish...

Was all the gold and finery but dew on the meadows?

 

Homer had already answered the Aztec 2300 years earlier. In his Iliad Achilles says to Lycaon before he kills him

 

Why do you cry? Your tears are in vain. Look at me! Am I not beautiful and tall,

sprung from  a goddess?  Yet, Death looms over me.

A day is coming when an unknown hand will lay me dead.

 

And so it did.

 

My conclusion to all of this? By all means do not be afraid of money and fame and power, but if you do not feed the hungry and clothe the naked and comfort the widow and orphan all this 'getting' will be a colossal waste---of your time, of your life, and not just on earth but for all Eternity. Ask those experts who thought they had everything, yet in the end it all amounted to nothing but shadows and dust. Listen to Shelly's anti-hero and take heed:

 

My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings, 

Look on my Works ye Mighty, and despair! 

Nothing beside remains. 

Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare 

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

 

Trust not in earthly awards and praise. Be as Aristides who, when publicly acclaimed in the Athenian Assembly, wondered to himself what evil he had done.

 

Better yet, take the Carpenter's advice and put your treasure where moth and worm cannot go. And do not despair. For He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end. Unlike all those kingdoms mentioned above.

 

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December 20, 2004

One year ago today I was somewhere in the jungles of northern Guatemala. I was walking from one Mayan ruin to another, in search of...what, exactly? To this day I do not know and I cannot understand why I do such things, why I have spent the last 18 years of my life venturing forth at every opportunity (usually) alone into the wilds of South and Central America. It was---it is---some sort of hunger that can only be sated, and even then only temporarily, by loading up the backpack and heading out to some forsaken place, the more forsaken the better. It gnaws at me still, today, at this moment, yet I have not the ability to feed it. And it cannot be ignored. What to do?

 

Easy answer: There is nothing to be done about it. I sit in my oh-so-comfortable room here in Oklahoma City, surrounded by the toys and accoutrements of life in these United States. My life has never been more full of things, yet that damned (or is it blessed?) hunger calls me. But there is no way to satisfy it. And so it remains inside, unappeased.

 

It is now 15 years that I have had a life that has given me whatever nobility and grace I possess. It is the life of a teacher. And like everything good and noble it is a gift from God. Being a teacher is not what I do, it is what I am. But this year is the first in my career where I cannot plan on spending every vacation wandering the wilds of Latin America. Yes, one year ago I was in Guatemala, and one year before that I was in Chile, and one year before that I was in the Argentine Andes, and one year before that I was in the Venezuelan grasslands. And so on all the way back to 1989. I could both practice my vocation and feed the backpacking creature that lived and flourished inside me. And now?

 

I knew this morning that if I looked the travel diary of my 'Year of Living Dangerously' that something like this would happen. (Imagine a man on a diet who salivates while reading a restaurant menu.) It is all there: the adventure, the excitement, the danger and the wonder of solo extreme backpacking. And even though I just spent an entire year of walking the wilds of Latin America---something most men can only dream about---yet I need to return to it, somehow. And soon.

 

My first chance comes in July when I will have at least 6 weeks free. Already my thoughts turn to the there and then, making it hard to remain in the here and now. And so I plan...and am reminded of a park in northern Chile called Lauca. I went there before, but could not complete the adventure because of improper equipment. And I absolutely hate failure. So to Lauca it will be, and not nearly soon enough. But oh well.

 

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Wounded Knee

It still astounds me that of all the things crazy and sane I have done while backpacking, I have only suffered one debilitating injury. But as this photo shows, once was quite enough.

 

In the Spring of 2001 I was taking a bunch of Lincoln students for a 4-day hike through the Argentine Andes. On the third day we were climbing a scree slope to a ridge that overlooked our final campsite, the refugio at Laguna Jakob. I was walking about 30 feet behind a student. Her foot loosened some small rocks, which then allowed a slab of slate the size of a card table to cascade down the slope. It crashed into my leg right above the kneecap. Had it hit that bone I would have been crippled for life, and my backpacking days would have been over.

 

I yelped in pain, but still managed to make it to the ridge only a minute away. The pain seemed manageable. Unknown to me that rock had crushed tissue, nerves and blood vessels. The wound left only a small exterior mark, but under the skin the damage was extensive. Blood spilled out into the surrounding tissue and began to press beneath the skin, slowly ballooning my leg into a nightmarish shape.

 

The refugio was one hour away straight down. Most of the students headed down as I followed behind. After ten minutes it was clear that I could not go on. The pain in the leg had immobilized me. To put any pressure on it at all was to feel something like an electric jolt course through my body. It was the most intense physical pain I had ever experienced. I had a walkie-talkie and used it to call the students already at the refugio. A group headed back up the mountain and brought me down with a stretcher. The next day I arranged for a horse to carry me off the mountain and into the town of Bariloche.

 

A doctor in town told me that the bruise on my leg was the largest he had ever seen. Well, yes.

 

 

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December 6, 2004

 

Hard to believe that more than two months have passed without much work on my web site.  While backpacking for one year throughout Central and South America I never passed up an opportunity to write. Likewise while touring the US of A in my Jeep before I began to work. Chalk it up to...what? Laziness? Unlikely. Opportunity? No, I had enough time. Well, that leaves desire. I have always believed that my inspiration to write comes from the Holy Spirit, that when He moves me to write I write. He has been a bit quiet lately, a silence that can be described as 'writer's block.' I simply was not moved to write. And now? Things are beginning to stir, juices to flow, desire to increase. The hunger and passion I had to put thoughts to paper (OK, to the web) is returning.

 

Perhaps this block had something to do with my new job and responsibilities. Simply stated, I work more and earn less than I did in Argentina. I have four classes of 8th grade Social Studies, two of advanced guitar, one of Character Education, one of Academic Bowl and one study session, and I am the web master of the school. I am thinking of adding yet another after school class, something called 'Drill.' It will entail one hour of running, Physical Training and basic marching. Already many students have asked when this class will begin.

 

My work here in Oklahoma City has become my passion, something for which I was born. My life in Argentina was immensely rewarding and fulfilling, yet it ended after ten years. It was time. It prepared me for the here and the now. I remember it with great love and fondness, but I have no desire to return to that time, to that life. I have a new life, one (at last) in my own nation, God's very own country. He is as much at work in America as He is in me. Deus lo volt.

 

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