You see, food is used as a kind of gambling currency here in "the tank". During last night's card game, this morning's regular serving of bread was used to bet. We have one tribe member who repeatedly tried to "get one over" on his mates. When he loses, he makes himself small and quiet, hoping not to have to 'pay up'! On the other hand, when he wins, he grabs his "food-booty" off the breakfast tray without respecting anyone's personal space. "The tank", at the current full tenancy of 19 men, is physically and emotionally tight quarters. As he merrily snatched bread off the tray, looking like a four year old seizing candy from a ruptured pinata, he took TWO slices when he was only entitled to one! His smug demeanor...the early hour [We are startled awake with a booming voice announcing "Breakfast, Gentlemen"...one or two minutes before the trays arrive so around 5:25!]...the fact that today is Thanksgiving and we are here instead of "home" with family...all those circumstances lit the argument like a match to dry twigs!
The more rational tribesmen tried to quell the row by reminding the group that we could "lose TV if this fight doesn't stop...remember there's a Seahawks game today!". It took a few minutes yet the threat of losing the TV/babysitter choked the life out of the quarrel. Whew! What a way to kick off 'Giving Thanks Day'!
I like this time of day. It's probably about 6 AM now and "the tank" is sleeping. All is quiet on the western front. I know that quote but cannot remember where it comes from. Maybe it's a book title...Hemingway? Just a short month ago, I would have simply "asked the Oracle"....Googled it, ya'know? I no longer have access to Google or the internet or my iphone or MacBook Pro. Surprisingly, at this moment, I don't miss my old digital world. It's inconvenient at times but overall I feel liberated from that electronic leash. Every now and then, I will hear a sound like that of my iphone vibrating. It is amazing but no matter what I am doing, I involuntarily stop and reach for my iphone. I'm NOT exaggerating...I don't actually drool yet I feel a bit like one of Pavlov's dogs!
In the hush of this early morning hour, I read, write and ponder my circumstance..."Why am I here?". I suppose that in the comfort of my own "home", I could have (should have!) asked that same question. BUT I was always too busy! I want the remainder of my life (hopefully a few more decades) to have meaning. I'm not sure what that means but, as I daily consider the question, the out-of-focus future is beginning to sharpen with details, revealing my "new path". I am both excited and terrified! What's that expression (and where is Google?)? God never gives you more than you can handle. Whatever this unknown future is, I hope I am up to the task.
This pre-dawn experience gives me time to take stock of my life...warts and all. Who said, An unexamined life is an unlived life (or something like that)?? Well, I am examining! I don't always like what I see; yes, I have regrets. There are chasms next to the trail I have walked and times where I've lost my moral compass. Yet there are brilliant valleys overflowing with the most beautiful wildflowers AND snow-covered peaks glowing a soft pink as the Mt. Rainier I recall.
Okay...that's it for now. I'm going to read for an hour or so before the tribe wakes - before the cacophony starts...maybe I should think of it as a symphony tho' a little out of tune. HAH!
6:00 PM Twelve hours later and all's quiet in "the tank". :) I'm not sure what happened or how it happened but the day has been cheerful. After the argument this morning, all the usual suspects returned to their bunks until lunch. It was serene all day - WOW!! I had a fantastic mindfulness meditation around 2 PM...no interruptions, no noises, no TV blaring. I have a theory about this. It might have something to do with my practice of Ho'oponopono. I'll say a bit more about this in the future. But, for now, if you're interested, consult "the Oracle"....aka Google it!
A note about Turkey Day Dinner? Most of the tribe had turkey with a little gravy, yams, cranberries, mixed vegetables, a roll and pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. I had the vegetarian tray: same as above but swap the turkey for a Garden Burger and the pumpkin pie for apricots. Really the only things missing were the scent of baking bread and that joy full sound of friends sharing a meal...and, of course, I desperately wish I was sharing today with my lovely wife. Next year, we will go for a walk along a path I know outside Port Angeles. This time of year the trail is a carpet of yellow and red maple leaves...the big leaf maples...the size of an LP record (or a dinner plate for you youngsters!).
That's it for this installment. Hope you are all well and rejoicing in things just as they are.