Ephemeral Joy

Is there any other kind? What kind of joy can you bottle? Except maybe wine. I often sit on the sidelines at social gatherings, happily, in fact, watching others laugh their hearts out, wondering what it’s all about. Laughter, is as vital as air, but elusive to me. Observing, learning, recording, dissecting. But with time, patience, perseverance, and a kind of envious exhaustion, I’ve learned the just stay with the mood, let it happen, even if I still have no idea what or why "it" is.

"It" is this– Tonight was a petal of a blossom of the cherry tree of life, fluttering elusively, flipping, dipping, slowly, inevitable to the ground. But I was on that magic carpet, riding the soft, contented pink cushion of the petal, curving, zipping, dizzy with glee as it floated joyfully to it’s fruition, and perfect demise- the end of the evening.

I had dinner with some very good friends. One in particular, accompanies me on many fantastic forays into aesthetic Disneyland; food, wine, poetry, beauty, music. Joe is he. He and I are co-conspirators, floating side by side, guiding each other deeper into ourselves. The other two are neighbors, but oh so much more. Serendipitously, they fell into my life, at least that’s the way I see it, when they bought the house next door 8 years ago.

Summer is approaching, the pressures of time give in a bit, the wine waits for our attention. So, I threw together a meal to accompany a special bottle of wine, a 2000 Turley Zinfandel. I really did throw it together. Serendipity. I like it that way, the accidental perfection for which I can take no credit. I went for a reliable standby: grilled beef fillet mignon, Mache (an heirloom salad green, nutty) and Watercress salad (with a garlicky sweet, nutty dressing), sauteed Portabella mushrooms and Vidallia onions and a hearty loaf of sourdough bread. Some wine and food were meant to meet their consummation in tandem.

The fillet, with mushrooms, onions and horseradish sauce, and the Turley, were made for each other. Turley Zinfandel, a limited release, subscription only wine, is audacious, muscular and carelessly voluptuous on the tongue. As for the meat, the creature form which we stole it blessed our bodies tonight with it’s life. It was succulent and full flavored. The food was wonderful, the wine spectacularly memorable. But the real chemistry was in the company.

Paul is a story teller, with countless hilarious accounts of his life. He’s cute, engineer smart (in a boyish way), wise, sexy, and married to Mary, who is brilliant, wry, artistic and a perfect balance for Paul, in humor and life. He and Mary will finish each other’s sentences, and also contradict each other.

It’s even fun to watch them garden together over the fence. Her:"What the heck are you doin’? I told you ta put it over there!" Him:"I thought you said the rose over there and this hosta over here!" Her:"No, you dufus, I told you three times, the rose over here! How may times do I have to say it before you get it through your head. Roses don’t grow in shade." and on. Or, he’ll start up his "power tool" "weed wacker" and start edging the grass, then I’ll hear Her:"NOOOO, not my creeping thyme garden, that’s not grass!!!" Him:"Oh, OK, but they look the same…". Such lighthearted banter, mixed with bird song and wind chimes, is the background music to my gardening. I guess you have to be there. But they’re genuine, good hearted, very cultured, well traveled, and also lover’s of food and wine, and laughter.

Joe is a debonair, free spirit, who has taught me the ornate passions of food and wine, among other things. Though I enjoy good food, I tend toward functional nourishment, and consider "haute cuisine" delightful, if a bit decadent. Not Joe. He dives in, head first. And why not? What are we saving it for?? Really? What do we really gain by starving, parsing just to look like a photo? What’s the use of living long, is we only skim the surface? (My philosophy is "everything in moderation, including moderation")

So, we ate, we talked, we laughed and laughed. What did we laugh about? Everything, and nothing, a word, a story. It’s all gone, the food, the laughter, the words, the stories, evaporated, a puff of steam, released into the ether. During dinner I thought, wistfully, "This is as good as it gets!" I’m on the magic carpet, the fluttering petal. This is the only heaven I’ll ever need. When it’s over, it’s still ours, because it was shared. Otherwise, it’s added to the memory banks of eternity. Thank you Joe, Paul and Mary.

Memorialize them with the Truth

There is no greater insult to the memories of our nation’s heros than to wonder if they fought and died in vain. Their willingness to give their lives, their future, their entire existence, is the greatest act of heroism. Their dutiful adherence to the chain of command is unwavering. I salute their bravery and thank them from my heart.

But if the war’s purpose is only to prove and demonstrate the power and oil interests of those who initiated the war, we need to know the truth. If the war was started to intimidate unruly nations and prove who’s in charge, our faithful defenders deserve to know the truth. If the war was started without solid evidence and just cause for it’s purpose, my anger turns to rage. Even if the political spin put on the Iraq war has some valid tone to it, the truth is, those kids didn’t have to die. Yes, Hussein was a despicable dictator. That’s not reason enough for the astronomical cost and countless lives lost.

When I see signs in my neighbors yards which seem to shout “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”, I think, yes, let’s support them, let’s find out the truth. Let’s give them justice and truth. Let’s bring them home. It’s the least we can do for our heroes.

Demand the truth about the Downing Street Memo.
Please sign the peitition HERE

The Hills are Alive

Nature is not something you can hurry. Planning for weather or flowers usually fails. I went to Hocking Hills yesterday with Joe to get away from Columbus, and hopefully to find some Lady Slipper orchids. We didn’t see any, but it didn’t matter. The whole experience was still very healing, at least after I started relaxing. 

I always forget how alluring natural beauty can be. Hocking Hills is only an hour away, but I still don’t go down there often enough. Each time, I promise to return frequently, but only go a few times a year. This time I even had the "been there" attitude. I had trouble shedding my daily thick skin. I had trouble letting nature in. It’s hard to believe when you see these photos. But I felt clogged, at least at first.


Moss and ferns prevailed in the shade and cool moisture of this gorge. There were numerous shades of green which contrasted with red, rusty pools.

This next photo really looks like a liquid spirit slithering across the rock surface. What does this say to me? My attention was drawn to all the tentacled roots, often dramatically bunched. The micro climate in this gorge is very protective and moist, so these exposed roots can survive. Many trees can be found growing over rocks, like molasses pouring very, very slowly. 


We’re so used to filtering most things out so we can function in the chaos of daily life. I barely listen to birds anymore, or hear the wind whispering through the trees. At one point, we sat on a hill, and when the breeze rustled the hemlock branches above, we could hear the light tapping of needles clicking against the leaf covered ground. It sounded like sleet falling, tapping a message I couldn’t understand.


We came upon this fungus growing out of last Fall’s leaf cover. I have never seen anything like them. They look like pine cones, but they’re soft like mushrooms. If anybody reading this knows what these are, let me know.


After an hour of walking and chatting, Joe and I reminisced about how much each of us used to hike, and how beneficial it is to spirit and body. It takes it’s time, presents itself modestly, even in its glory. It’s our responsibility to give our attention. The incessant inner voice, the monkey mind, chatters to me and through me, babbling about the past, the future, problems, solutions, resolutions, shoulds, won’ts. All the while, this glorious symphony of smells, gentle sounds and sights played before me.


I listened, opened my eyes, breathed into it. And, sporadically, I felt little messages getting through. All this is changing. It’s dying and being born, ruthlessly, peacefully, inevitably. This scene is ultimately temporary. Even the rocks, like the ones in the above photo, are moving. They erode and fall. I wonder what it is like to be around when one of those behemoths shivers, groans, and roars off the cliff above into the ravine below.

Even this tree has it’s story. Growing off the edge of the ledge, it’s glorious reign is all the more regal for its tenacity.


Joe and I trekked 6 miles round trip from Old Man’s Cave to  Cedar Falls. I wish it could have been 16 miles. Near the end I felt all the more aware of my crusty shell and what glorious anthems I barely heard or saw. But I knew that message would alway be there, anytime I was ready to open to it.

Ohio Zen.JPG

No Borders Here


Each word defines
a distance
between us-
but also
a bridge
spanning that gulf

am just
another side
another word
to mean you

My country
is my soul,
but in my land
and sky
you and I
have no borders

Photo taken in Hocking Hills, OH- near Old Man’s Cave

Two Scents

OK, I know lots of folks have already posted about the new research on how gay men’s brains get off on the stud pheromones of men. DUH! But it’s such a juicy topic (especially on hot days) I had to add a few words, and some other scents.

The words for smells could flow over this page. Cloves. Honey. Tea. Cheese. Fresh Bread. Apple Pie. Roses. Peaches. Roasted Nuts. Fresh Air. Clean Clothes. Wet Wool. Newspaper. Gasoline. Basement. Wood. Pine. Pencils. Elementary Schools. Locker Rooms. Feet. Hair. Hands. Pits. Each smell with it’s own arsenal of subcategories, and each person with their own unique array. And they all have powerful affects on us.

I used to love the smell of gasoline and musty basements. I have no idea why I liked the smell of gasoline. Maybe I had a passionate affair with a NASCAR racer in a past life. Actually, I wouldn’t mind having that happen again…like maybe with Kevin Harvick(left). Or Casey Mears. In either case, I wouldn’t mind the smell of gasoline or oil at all.

kevin Harvick.jpgcasey mears.jpg

Positive association with a musty basement also sounds kind of weird. I remember playing for hours in my grandfathers basement. Maybe it was musty. My sister and I entertained ourselves with toys grampop made for us. Or he would show us all his tools and how they all worked. Those are fond memories. Safe, secure, musty.

I have a pretty good smeller, nice and big, with lots of room for air and those chunky smell molecules to bounce around before lodging in my olfactory receptors. Achoo! Excuse me. Too many words in my nose. Words is all they are. The real smells can barely be imagined. But the real thing short cuts the mind and goes right to our animal instincts.

So, it turns out gay men get turned on by the smells of other men’s bodies. No wonder I didn’t mind taking gym class in high school. Gyms, locker rooms, weight rooms. And I thought I was into being healthy and strong. It turns out I was into being around healthy and strong

Then there’s the smell of good cologne, on a man, of course. Cologne smells different on each man. Different chemistry. Some of my favorite colognes, like Azzaro, glorify the pungent muskiness of men’s natural smells. They actually smell a little like B.O. On the right man, B.O. is yummy! Most of the newer ones, however, like Nautica, have no male edge, and smell more like a woman. Nothing wrong with that. Just doesn’t click in my brain.

I could go on forever about smells, especially male smells. But I won’t get too into that personal head space here. Yet. I just thought I’d put in my two scents about men and "faerie moans". (OK, now you can roll your eyes or groan)