Hip Update, Focus and Distractions, and then, the start of Grandad

Tomorrow may be my last chiropractic treatment related to the SI joint/Sciatic nerve thing I’ve been dealing with in my hip. I like the doctor. He’s tops. I think the treatment helped in many ways. The nature of the pain changed, as well as it’s location. It seems more muscle-based pain now, but when I hike or run, it turns sciatic. Maybe adjustments will help, but I’m open to try acupuncture or even massage at this point. We’ll see how it goes in the morning.

Texas Hill Country

Enchanted Rock Morning

My love of hiking, camping, and the outdoors continues to grow. Even with the pain in my hip, I’ve packed in to some primitive camping, I’ve hiked many miles. Might take me longer, but I’m out in the world and loving it. While I’ll continue to hike and camp around Austin, I have my sites set on the Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend for the Fall and Winter.

I need to focus. Perhaps, I have too much going on. I want to write on here. I have a photography pdf I want to complete, that covers the basics and talks about returning to the same places, etc. Sort of a manifesto against the new. More of a hopeful inspiration  to embrace your home and local wild.

projecting//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js leaf collecting is a distraction I am unlikely to let go of

There is the book, there is photography, there are artworks I’ve been working on, my new website, etc. I’m considering taking a memoir class by Spike Gillespie.

I want to collect my memories of my family, the ones who passed away, for myself, my son and my family. I was reticent in the past because I wonder how my memories jibe with other people in my family. I know we all see people differently. We can see actions and history so differently. I don’t want to start friction. Well, that’s what used to stop me. Now I don’t mind as much. Nevermind the fear. Press on.


When I was a little kid, mom would leave me to babysit grandad while my mom, grandmom and aunt went off to do whatever it was they did. Even as a little kid, I knew the setup was false, and grandad was babysitting me, but the time was too good, and so I didn’t hassle it.

At my grandparents, being inside wasn’t the thing for kids. You had to play outside, if the sun was up. If you came inside it was for baths, food, or a game of Monopoly. Maybe Scrabble. But get outside, pick blackberries, suck honeysuckle, build forts, or work in the yard and help grandma fight the woods. Run around and play.

When I was babysitting grandad, it was all inside time. Florida is hot and muggy. Inside time is good time.

Grandad was a bit of an artist. He wrote, painted with oils, played piano, and had the first book shelf I adored. When we were in babysit mode, he’d let me play with the books, he’d talk to me about the pictures, and best of all, he would tell me stories.

Grandad talked about his brother and him performing their vaudeville act at the Saenger Theater in Pensacola, Florida when they were kids. They were a singing a duo. They might have danced too. He told me ghost stories that he experienced, first hand account ghost stories.. As a kid, it freaked me out. He told me what it was like running restaurants in Houston, Tx. He talked about my mom and dad, and we talked about God and life. I was a kid, but grandad would venture into any subject. He was a good teacher.

I remember grandad had these books in his piano bench, and one had illustrations of Jacob’s ladder,or rather ladders, and chariots of fire, etc. One day we were looking at these pictures and talking about what they might signify. Grandad said, “Who knows what a chariot of fire might mean. It could be anything, but,” he leaned in close and said, “Darren, one day they’re going to open up one of those UFO’s and find angels inside.” I learned a broad perspective of possibilities from Granadad.

My grandparents, aunt, and my parents often had heated discussions about God. My father was an atheist when I was a kid, it didn’t last. Nearly everyone else in my family had a different denomination. There were many heated discussions. Discussions not fit for kids, but I was quiet, and kept close to the ground, and it was hot and humid outside.

I remember them talking about the Gospel of Thomas and Gnosticism. I don’t know if anyone kept these beliefs, because I don’t know anyone else in my family who talks about this stuff, but I remember, vividly, grandma and grandad both talking to me about how Jesus was everywhere, and in everything. I remember them teaching me the scripture:

“Cleave a piece of wood; I am there. Raise up a stone, and you will find me there.”

I puzzled over that for many days out in the yard, turning over rocks and breaking sticks. It was a pivotal moment for me. It was much later that I learned this comes from the Gospel of Thomas. I don’t think I know of anyone in my family who would now recognize the Gospel of Thomas as a Gospel. Grandad was adventurous, even though he was, a bit, chair bound.

I know alot of my fire these days is because I don’t want to be chair bound, but up and down the ladders like Grandma. Grandma. A whole other story. Another time.

I look like my grandfather, a bit, or maybe, alot. Either way it’s clear to me now how much Grandma, Grandad and my Aunt influenced me. Raised me. Some of the things they taught me I had to overcome, like:

They taught me to fear storms and lightning. Probably not their intent, but there it is. They would unplug appliances, the TV, and generally be afraid. I remember lots of talk of lightning rods. thunder and lightning meant automatic nap time. I grew up with that in me. I got over it camping in the Texas Hill Country in Spring time, where a storm can rise up and overtake you in violent moments. Catch you unaware out in a field, where you spend the storm underneath the lip of a roof over a too full shed. Experience enough of those, and the exhilaration changes the fear to wonder and awe.

I often think about deer and rabbits in the thunderstorms. They survive, surely we can too.

These are the type of things I’d like to start collecting. Little vignettes that’ll help my son know the people in our family.

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