Ten ways I’ve found to slow down time, other than fishing.

1. Watch my grandson play

playing at the pool

playing at the pool


2. Hold a purring cat close to my cheek
Purrrr

Purrrr


3. Look into the eyes of my Labrador retriever.
I love you

I love you


4. Make a silly face
If you make a funny face you'll feel better

If you make a funny face you’ll feel better


5. Hike in the Rocky Mountains
RMNP

RMNP


6. Watch a rainbow
rainbow over Cameron Pass

rainbow over Cameron Pass


7. Listen to a stream
Ah, spring

Ah, spring


8. Sing a favorite song
Probably John Denver, or Jimmy Buffet

Probably John Denver, or Jimmy Buffet


9. Tie a fly for a friend
tying at the Bighorn

tying at the Bighorn


10. Row the drift boat and watch a friend catch a fish.
Bighorn

Bighorn

Okay, so some of them INVOLVE fishing. Can you blame me?
What are your favorite ways to slow time? Share them with me. With us. There are lots more, I’m sure.

Milt

Are there Miracles Anymore? Quick and Easy may not get it.

Do you have a miracle in your life?


You don’t have to look far. Even the mirror will do. But, you can go to your local hospital nursery, or talk to any new parent. Human beings are born every day. If you don’t believe that’s a miracle, just think about it.

Somehow two random people in a world of seven billion find love and create a new person. If the mom is in Iran or Syria or other hot spot where wars revolve around oil ( Wiki List of Ongoing military conflicts ), to have that great little miracle she must simply avoid starvation or getting shot.

She could be having fun gardening in the good old USA, in Colorado, and smoke from a drought-induced forest fire invades her back yard for days causing coughing attacks that lead her to premature labor. Maybe she lives in New Orleans and is swept away by the next hurricane, or develops typhoid fever from poor water supply.

These could all be due to energy problems, global warming. Or not. What do you think? The next link may take a long time to review, but keep it. Lots of good stuff.  Main Arguments Pro and Con Global Warming

Okay, here’s a story for you:

About a mile away on my farm, an oil company fracked a well. No big deal, right? Hey, I own the mineral rights on that land. In fact, if I didn’t get the money from the oil company for fracking, my pregnant wife would be eating rice and ham, and we would have to forget going to the doctor since I couldn’t afford health insurance anymore. I heard that contamination of the water supply by fracking is very rare, so why not? My wife can get that great medical care, she can eat good nutritious foods, and we’re on our way to a healthy baby boy, or so says the ultrasound. And, to top it all off, how great can it be that I’m doing the patriotic thing for my country, making us energy independent. Right?

Joe, my neighbor invited us over for spaghetti last night. That’s not what the MF wanted, though. He flicked his Bic lighter and the water flamed on from his faucet. He’s blaming me and my fracking well. Hmm. Could the water be contaminated from fracking?

Is fracking good or bad for you?

Okay, so forget about babies for a minute. I am, by virtue of my middle class USA standing, in the top 1%, economically, of human beings in the world. My son graduated from high school. He’s done well. He’s used those one-hundred billion neurons in his brain to rank him in the top 10% of the top 1% of humans in the world. I wanted him to go to college, but he wanted to serve his country. Why not? He goes to Iraq. I’m a very proud parent. He goes to Afghanistan.

Then today someone knocked on my door in full dress uniform and had an envelope in their hand. Yeah.

Yes, miracles occur every day. A human is born, creates a painting, writes a song, or maybe despite being raised by his mother after his worthless African father runs off, he becomes President. And he’s got a weird name like Obama and he’s black. Or maybe a baby boy I loved my whole life goes off to war, and doesn’t come back. Don’t guess that last one was a miracle.

For some reason we ignore all those daily miracles by doing stupid things to preserve quick and easy energy for the USA. We have become a nation of quick and easy—news, money, food, energy. Has this translated to lives of the few in the military we risk for the quick and easy comforts of many?

Are we willing to modify our comforts to make sure those human lives are not put at risk?

Would we be willing to give up two hours a day of lights, or instead of driving to work all by myself carpool with three other people at work?

Power is in numbers. If only a few do it, nada. If millions do it then we may no longer use so much oil every day, need so much coal for energy, and perhaps, just perhaps we could become energy independent. We would not need to frack our country to death.

Should we continue to kill thousands of human miracles every year to maintain our quick and easy comforts or should we do a few simple things to keep us from having wars over oil?

Milt

Robin Williams: The Unknown Man

Robin_Williams

What do we really know about someone? I know he was funny—God, funnier than anyone I’d ever seen. His funny words were like bullets from a machine gun, and each bullet a different size and shape, though each one hit a target. Bull’s-eye. Laugh riot.

Perhaps that word, ammo, is more appropriate than you think. Were his quips and jibes and rants that had us in stitches really thrown at a world as bullets to protect him from himself? To murder foul spirits that haunted him every minute? If only he could get enough laughs everything would be okay. If only he could make someone feel joy, perhaps he would feel it, too.

Robin Williams was a man who lived in each moment, so quick he had a comeback for every phrase uttered a mere second before. His mind seemed to be on a different time frame, living in 80 frames a second rather than us lowly humans at our 60 frames, even faster than dogs at 70 frames. Watching TV was probably harder for him than for dogs!
dogs watching tv

People call him a comic genius. That order of words seems wrong to me. I would call him a genius of comedy. Comedy: the other side of the mask of tragedy. The Greeks got it right, only too well. What is comedy but poking fun at tragedy, and getting us to do that one thing that relieves the stress of tragedy more than anything else: laugh. It might start as a giggle, then expand when you realize just how funny the joke is. If you laugh hard enough and loud enough, you forget the pain and others join in. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. So his genius, his total and ultimate incredible genius of comedy, was turning a tragedy he saw in everything, every second of every waking minute, into something to laugh about. In the end, perhaps the darkness overcame him. A dark shroud covers his body and you hear a tiny cutting, and a pink tongue pokes through the shroud and his voice sings, “Nah-nee-nah-nee-boo-boo!”
einstein tongue out
Oops! My bad. That was another genius.

Genius, I think, is tragic in itself. It is so close to perfection, yet so bounded by being human, that perfection seems further away at every attempt. So there has to be a balance to genius, or it gradually eats away at the person, the brain killing the heart. How the hell can a blob of gray, quivering crap kill a muscle that beats the hell out of blood for decades? Sounds like a movie—Stephen Hawking vs. Arnold!
stephenhawking Arnold picture
How can you balance genius? Here’s my advice to every genius, having seen a few in my profession and noticed how fragile they are. Forgive yourself. Be patient and forgiving of your failures. Perfection is not possible, but you get closer than anyone. Pat yourself on the back every time you think you missed that bull’s-eye, because your attempts make us all strive harder, and makes each moment on this earth a better place.

If you find a genius in your midst (maybe one of those two dudes, or dudettes, walking into a bar!), talk to them, have a beer with them, take them fishing, give them raspberries on their belly, and love them. Never, ever forget each moment. Because in the end, that’s all that counts.

Two Dudes in a Bar

Two Dudes in a Bar



Robin, I never knew you, yet through the wonders of TV and movies I did. Now, to staunch my tears today, I will have to watch you again and again to cheer up. Thanks for making the world a better place, making me want to be a better person, and making me laugh.

Milt Mays

Why would anyone fly fish?

resting

resting

I sit back on a rock, stretch my aching back, watch the snowy glacier feed the crystalline lake at 11,500 feet and wonder why I do this. I’m sore from standing for hours, tired from hiking an hour to get here, thirsty because I didn’t bring enough water, and the fish aren’t biting. It’s enough to make a guy write a nasty poem!
Lawn Lake, RMNP

Yet, I can’t wait to get back at it after a scant rest. It’s as addicting as any poker game. Somehow the strike, the set, the wiggle, the fight, and then the release of a cold blooded animal as beautiful as the surroundings make all of it worthwhile: orange and green and dark unblinking eyes that reflect a world too wild to tame.

Yellowstone cutthroat, First meadow, Slough Creek

Yellowstone cutthroat, First meadow, Slough Creek


Slough Creek cutt

Slough Creek cutt

There’s also sharing it all with my son or a friend. There’s talking in the tent after the predictable afternoon rain shower. And the smell of wet pine and rotting wood, and wind whishing in the trees. There are stars at night that I know if I stretch I can touch, and hearing an elk bugle only a few feet from your tent. There’s the view down the canyon that makes your chest expand.

It was a long hike, but we got there! Lawn Lake

It was a long hike, but we got there! Lawn Lake


Camping by Roaring River, RMNP

Camping by Roaring River, RMNP


But most of all I love casting a fly line like conducting an orchestra over water and watching a dry fly touch down like a wisp of cottonwood on a river so cold it makes your hands ache to dip inside. The fish rising to take the fly and everything after completes the symphony. I hope the music never stops. But it does.

And I come back to civilization and ache for the next time.

Crystal Lake, RMNP. Just missed that cutt!

Crystal Lake, RMNP. Just missed that cutt!

Milt

Hello, Dad.

Dad and his car, before me

Dad and his car, before me


I know. It’s been a long time. But I think of you often. I still have Mom, and we talk some about you.

I remember when you drove us from Albuquerque to a lake near Tucumcari, with the canoe on top of the old Hudson Hornet. The Hudson got us there as usual, just like it made it out of that high mountain muddy meadow one time. But the canoe…Well, we had to fish from the shore. We did okay.

Dad the tennis bum

Dad the tennis bum


I remember the house in Albuquerque and you letting me up to watch Zorro, even though I was supposed to be sleeping. I remember you showing me how to swim like Johnny Weissmuller, how to serve a tennis ball, and how to dance. When we boys danced to the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, we weren’t Fred Astaire, but we did okay.

I remember us cheering for Johnny Unitas and his Colts, and you teaching me about football. I remember you showing me to put neat’s-foot oil on my baseball glove so it would mold to the ball, and how to throw a curve ball and setting up a pitching target on the chain length fence. Pretty soon that fence was all bulged out and a few balls went through to the neighbors. You even played catch with me, despite your bad vision. I wasn’t a great pitcher, but we did okay.

I remember running beside you while you road the bike on the dirt road up Waterton Canyon to fish at a small dam on the South Platte. Not sure what dam it was back then, but you needed still water and bait. The fishing was tough, but we learned how to dry out Fire Balls so the fish would take them before they got so soggy they fell off the hook. There were a few rattlesnakes. I got to run around. We had a nice sack lunch. Usually it rained in the afternoon. I remember the smell of rain on dust. I ran part way back and then you road me on the handlebars. Maybe that’s why I always liked to run. We never caught a lot of fish. I didn’t fly fish like I do now. But we did okay.

I remember that one time at Jefferson Lake when we forgot the funnel and tried a coffee cup to add gas to the outboard. We both remembered after that how gasoline melts Styrofoam. I learned to fly fish on the outlet stream with monofilament and a Zebco reel. You fished from shore. We did okay.

It started snowing that day, pretty hard, and soon we were driving back over Kenosha pass in a blizzard. You pulled over and looked at me and said, “I can’t see the road. You have to drive.” You’d already taught me how to drive. I had my learner’s permit. We did okay.

16 yo me, the year after the snowy drive

16 yo me, the year after the snowy drive

You taught me so, so many things, but your lasting lessons are: be kind to others yet firm, live up to your word, work for your money, and love your family.

I remember after my first year in medical school you holding my first born, Sarah, your loving calm eyes so close your nose touched her and she jumped. She didn’t cry though. She knew how kind you were. You just wanted to see her. I laughed and you hugged her to your chest. We did okay.

You died the next year in Mexico, trying to help your family live better on a meager medical retirement due to your blindness.

In Mexico

In Mexico

In Mexico

In Mexico

I never got to say good bye. I hope you read this and know how much I loved you.

I’m doing okay.

No. Because of you, I’m doing better than okay. Way better. And a lot of the reason has to do with you. I’m so happy Father’s Day helped me to remember you. I wish you were here to hug.

Love you, Dad.

Milt