PAST RAMBLINGS - 27
(collection of past Homepage greetings and stories)
April 1, 2010   -to-   Present

Michael Tomlinson - Past Ramblings
Ramblings 1
3/13/99 - 7/11/99
Ramblings 2
7/27/99 - 1/8/00
Ramblings 3
3/6/00  - 8/7/00
Ramblings 4
9/18/00 -  11/19/00
Ramblings 5
12/17/00 - 4/10/01
Ramblings 6
5/9/01 - 6/25/01
Ramblings 7
07/23/01 - 10/07/01
Ramblings 8
10/19/01 - 2/18/02
Ramblings 9
3/22/02 - 8/5/02
Ramblings 10
8/27/02-12/22/02
Ramblings 11
1/24/03 to 5/31/03
Ramblings 12
7/18/03 to 12/24/03
Ramblings 13
1/11/04 to 5/28/04
Ramblings 14
7/03/04 to 10/1/04
Ramblings 15
11/03/04 to 2/22/05
Ramblings 16
4/01/05 to 7/1/05
Ramblings 17
08/21/05 - 11/16/05
Ramblings 18
12/20/05 to 6/11/06
Ramblings 19
07/19/06 to 11/13/06
Ramblings 20
12/02/06 to 4/2/07
Ramblings 21
5/21/07 to 9/4/07
Ramblings 22
11/9/07 to 3/1/2008
Ramblings 23
5/16/08 to 11/8/08
Ramblings 24
12/11/08 to 09/06/09
Ramblings 25
11/01/09 to
10/21/2010
Ramblings 26
5/10/10 to
12/4/2010
Ramblings 27
4/01/11 to
10/1/11
Ramblings 28
2/1/12 - Fall 2012
Ramblings 29
Spring 2013 - Present
 

Howdy my friends,   April 1, 2011 
 Just out of curiosity, have you ever written a song for a US President? You have? oh. I thought I had done something unique but now I realize that lots of reg'lar joes have beat me to it. That sure sucks the wind out o' my sails. I was all set to start bragging. . . but wait just a dang minute, now! Have you ever done it at the top of a 70 foot ladder in high wind? Well now, I guess that's different. Maybe there is just a little somethin' spetchel 'bout me after all! So I'm going to tell you all about it right now, podnas.


photograph by Patricia O'Driscoll
I was asked to write a song as a tribute to President Jimmy Carter for an event in his honor that was to be held at an Atlanta school. I was thrilled at the idea of writing it but I definitely had some trepidation. I have long loved and honored Jimmy Carter for the life of service and courage he's lived in the decades after his presidency. I have long loved and honored Jimmy Carter for his honesty and good will and the way he has lived his life in service to humanity.

I read Jimmy's memoir, An Hour Before Daylight, about his boyhood in Plains and from that book I drew much of the inspiration and imagry I needed to write his song. One of the things he wrote about was the railroad that ran past his boyhood farm house and how he and his friend A.D. used to walk the rails for miles. It was there that I found my theme for the chorus; "and the train rolled right past our front door, chugging like a dream a young farm boy could not ignore. . ."

From the time the melody came to me, I had two weeks to finish writing the song. I lived with it daily. It seemed that even when I wasn't physically writing, my imagination was flowing, and a high level of creativity was going on automatically in my spirit and mind. I would wake up in the middle of the night to write down words that came in my sleep. I was writing the song from a very different perspective than I'd planned; I was writing as if I was Jimmy. Singing as if I was living his life. I tried to feel what he felt and longed for and imagined. More than anything, I could feel his love for his precious wife, Rosalynn. In my heart I asked that I be able to write as purely and with as much integrity and honor for the two of them as I was capable of.

Every day I'd play more of the song for Patricia and I don't think we ever got through those sessions without crying.  It was such a beautiful purpose we shared and it felt like I was being guided to create this song to honor Jimmy Carter. Patricia was in touch with people at the school and they had alerted the Carter Center in Atlanta that a song in honor of President Carter was coming especially for their tribute. Somehow, Patricia and I came to realize that they thought this was a song I'd already written - that it was finished and recorded. Gulp. We didn't reveal that it was actually being written right up until a few days before the event. I'm a man who takes a year to finish many of my songs. This tight time line was very different for me. I scheduled the studio time and prayed that the song would be finished in time and that I could get a good recording in a single afternoon. It absolutely had to be recorded that weekend in order to have time to get CDs made for the tribute.

Patricia laid out a beautiful CD booklet so that we could present the song in an attractive way and include lyrics and a dedication I'd written. Everything about it was timed to the hour. The day after recording, I had CDs made and overnighted them to Patricia in Atlanta. She met up with the officials at the school and played them my new song - and they loved it. Whew! They made arrangements through his aides to give it to Jimmy Carter through the Carter Center. A representative from the school visited his office at the Carter Center and left a copy for him that Patricia had beautifully wrapped, with a personal letter from me.

That's all we know for now. I hear rumors that Jimmy is quite the travelin' man and we're not sure when he will actually get to hear it. Every friend that has heard it has said to me, "there is no way on earth he isn't going to be deeply moved when he hears this song, Michael." I hope they're right. I hope that he hears the great gratitude and love I feel for him and Rosalynn for what they have done with their lives. I know there are millions of us who feel that way.

The title, "Seeds of Love", comes from the last verse. "Children, sow the seeds of love in all you do, you never will regret a life that love runs through. . . " I feel it is what Jimmy Carter's very life and work has shown the world. My desire for the future is to do a special release of Seeds of Love that will benefit some of the important causes the Carters support, perhaps Habitat for Humanity. Patricia and I are both working on figuring that out and she will be talking with the folks at the Carter Center about it. One thing I know for certain: this song will also become the title song of my upcoming album. "Seeds of Love"; it works on so many levels and it is what I wish for my songs to be; seeds of love planted in hearts and lives around the world.

Recording "Seeds of Love" ~ Want to help with Sponsorship or Support?
With such a strong and beautiful title song completed, I am ready now to record an album of my new songs with a full band. It is my intention for this to be something you will gain from and feel proud to be a part of. Also, you'll receive copies of the album before it is released to the public."
There are endless ways to do this; any level of sponsorship will make a difference. As always, I will try to make it good for you in creative ways. First of all obviously, you'll receive the album before anyone else does. I will include a list of sponsors and acknowledgment of their support in the CD package. I will also post a page on my website thanking all my sponsors and posting a link for those who are my primary sponsors. If you have something that you want to promote, maybe you feel that the folks who listen to my music will be a good audience for you. If you have a book or creation of some kind, a company or service, this could be a way to reach folks who you feel will be in alignment with what you do. 
If you're interested in becoming a sponsor or in helping to support the recording and release of "Seeds of Love", you may:
1. email me to open a dialogue at mt@michaeltomlinson.com
2. Visit my Support page and give whatever you'd like.
3. Use your paypal account to send sponsorship to mt@michaeltomlinson.com
4. Or write to me personally at PO Box 15248, Seattle, WA 98115
I'm just putting this out there for those who can and may wish to join me in releasing a beautiful, loving album of melodies and lyrics into the world.  (scroll down to read the lyrics of Seeds of Love)

Thank you so much for reading my website rambling. I hope you are finding something in this springtime that causes you to feel grateful to be alive. Don't forget to step outside now and breathe it all in. Let it all remind you to be kind to yourself.

Your friend in windy Seattle,
   ~Michael

 

Seeds of Love
a tribute to President Jimmy Carter
2011 Michael Tomlinson
Listen
to the
FULL
Song

From old Savannah you can drive two hundred miles
Or from Atlanta, just about two hours time
To the plains where I was born
Where my daddy had a farm
The year of nineteen-twenty-four

Theres not an acre any sweeter on this earth

Than the land we ran barefoot in every summer
Me and A.D. had it all
Wed walk the rails and wed never fall
We lived our boyhoods in the Georgia sun

For years Id dream upon the gleaming silver tracks

With the Seaboard Airline Railroad winding past
It seemed to beckon unto me
Like falling rain to the fertile land
I dreamed one day Id be a traveling man

     And the train rolled right past our front door
     Chugging like a dream a young farm boy could not ignore
     Blow like wind across the prairie to the sea
     Calling to the young boy and the old man in me

I grew up and I
     became a Navy man

Then I asked my lovely
     Rosalynn for her hand
Of all the luck I ever had

And every blessing
     that has been

S
he's the truest one, oh,
     my gentle loving friend
Id live it all with you
     if I could again

From that summer day in Plains we said I do

There was a road that knew my name - and calling, too
First, the Mansion of the Governor

Then the House of Gleaming White
A light on Pennsylvania Avenue
 
I remember waking up on that first day
I looked around the very house where Lincoln stayed
And I turned to my sweet Rosalynn
For we knew each others mind
How could God dream for us such a life?

     And the train rolled right past our front door
     Chugging like a dream a young farm boy could not ignore
     Blow like wind across the prairie to the sea
     Calling to the young boy and the old man in me

Now, over thirty years Im blessed to live this way
Around the world they open doors and call my name
Build a home for some cold family
Or a bridge in the Middle East
The work is never done
We cannot give up on peace
Take another breath my friends
'Cause here we go again

Children, sow the seeds of love in all you do
You never will regret a life that love runs through
Put no walls around your heart
Let no one tell you who you are
Itll unfold, all inside you that is gold
And all your mysteries
That you think you want to know
Will make you smile one day
When youre growing old

    
And the train rolled right past our front door

     Chugging like a dream a young
         farm boy could not ignore

     Blow like wind across
         the prairie to the sea

     Calling to the young boy
         and the old man in me

 


Howdy my friends,   July 29, 2011 

I'm writing you on a cloudy, gray day in Seattle. The sun has let the clouds shuffle the cards and I think a number of people are beginning to think that there is some cheatin' going on, 'cause it's the coolest summer anyone can recall around here. If you are from anywhere but the NW, you probably don't want to hear that, since you've been sitting in your underwear with a bowl of ice in your lap for weeks. But on the other hand, if you'll just close your eyes and allow yourself to dive into my story, you might just find that you feel cooler even if you're not.

I take a lot of walks around Seattle, urban adventure hikes I call them, because I meander down into ravines and over nature trails, through alleyways and across parks, as well as up and down many neighborhood streets. I've been doing this since I first moved to Seattle in the mid-80s. There is just something about an interesting neighborhood that I find much more inviting than walking the well-traveled roads. For a long time now, whenever I'm traveling to a new city, I want to take a walk through it's neighborhoods rather than to go see the monuments, and popular "must see" tourist destinations. I can tell you a lot about your city if you'll give me time to walk through your neighborhoods.

For years, I walked with my little fuzzy nubbin of a dog on a leash stretched out behind me. Bungee always went with me, I'll bet she has walked more miles than any Maltese in the country. She always stretched that 20-foot leash out behind me, not because I walked too fast for her, but because she felt that this gave her the most control over the situation. I believe she thought that if she was back where I couldn't see her, she had more freedom to stop and sniff. It was untrue, but I was never able to convince her of this, despite major public discourse and even once, a treatise I wrote for her benefit. She looked at it, but I don't think she ever really read it.

But now Bungee is fifteen years old and has suffered a terrible illness for a year. She is better now and has a sort of a life again, but she's an old pooch now and will not likely ever be led on a leash again in her little lifetime. Now she rides on my forearm everywhere we go. Thankfully, she is only six pounds. Even at that, when friends walk along and ask to carry her, they gasp at the exertion after a few blocks. You don't think six pounds is much to carry until you walk holding your arm in a particular position for a mile. I have forearms like Popeye now, which is handy, because a man carrying a fuzzy little purse of a dog is not necessarily considered manly. Whenever I see anyone looking at me as if I'm odd for carrying a furry pooch, I make a point to raise one fist before me, grip it and turn it downward so that my forearm pops and the stranger can easily see that I would be a man to reckon with in an arm wrasslin' competition. (or even at checkers - I make a big ol' pounding sound on the board!)

I love to exercise outdoors anyway, but I make it a point to "walk my dog" nearly every day. It's such a good part of her life, getting to look around and smell what is in the air without ever taking a step. I'm sure in her mind she is finally my master. We walk up long tall hills and I talk to her the whole time. There are probably people all over Seattle who have seen "the man who carries the little white dog, laughing and talking as he walks." Yep, that's me, folks. I'm the man who talks to a pooch like she was my good friend and equal, which she is.

You can learn a lot caring for a living thing who needs you. You learn about yourself, how much you are capable of loving and of giving all that you can in order for a little creature to have a good life. The truth is, you could do this with a tree or almost any kind of creature. It's all about love and respect. I'll bet somewhere there is a lady with a snail who is her very close friend. And she could probably tell you some great stories about their adventures.

In the time that Bungee has been sick, going through an illness I would pray no one would ever have to endure, I learned a lot about surrendering to what-is. About letting go of too much data, information, too many medical opinions, and just breathing in and getting centered so I could focus on getting to the basics; what does she need now? Can I listen so well that I will know the best things to do for her? I had the help of loving friends who sometimes led me to important decisions, but mostly, I learned to surrender and do the best I could do. I learned to do the things I knew to be true and to be open to asking questions about the rest of it. It shouldn't surprise us but we all have access to the inner knowing we need in order to take the steps we need to take in almost all situations. It's a trust not only in yourself, but in Life. It is the kind of trust that says to you, "Breathe and you will be guided - and understand that what comes may be to your desire or it may not be. But all outcomes may involve love and growth." Or something like that, maybe my words don't do it justice. If you have fostered trust in your life though, you know what I mean. And you may be able to say it better.

This summer I'm doing more than walking. I'm also working on recording songs for my next album. You can read more about that HERE. I am thrilled to be able to do this. It will be my 11th album, my 8th full-band album, and I feel very fortunate to be allowed to do another one. Of course, my little pooch is in the studio whenever I'm there. You can hear her barking on three of my albums - something I recorded on purpose. And probably, on a few where I was unaware that her little excited remarks cut through and got recorded accidentally. You can definitely thank Bungee for some of the good heartedness that turns up in my songs. Having that kind of friend can help you keep your heart open so that you never quite allow it to shut down even in the difficult times.

I would ramble on some more, but it's time for a hike on the trails through shady Ravenna, where the redwoods grow tall and the lush ferns glisten with dew and the creek plays music that everybody knows. Of course, I'll be building my forearms while I'm at it. Next time you see me in concert I'll probably have to have someone else strum my guitar so I don't crush it to smithereens.

I hope you're well this summertime. If you are not, if you're troubled or need some help, write me and allow me to send you a hopeful song and a kind note.

Your friend with the fuzzy little pooch,
 
 ~Michael

 
Oct 1, 2011
~ The House ~  

I walk outside
On fair weather days
And turn with some shyness
To gaze upon The House
She is shedding decades of paint
Revealing her past personalities
Do you remember when your mom
Dressed you in that brown and
Orange striped sweater?
And those ugly green corduroys
With cuffs?
What if someone made you
Put those on again
For all the neighborhood to see?
Yes, bell bottoms and all
That is what the House goes
Through lately
Though I mean her no
Embarrassment
Passersby now see how she
Once dressed
In blinding mustard yellow
For almost a decade
In New Mexico turquoise before that
And one of her doors in hot pink
Apparently, she was
A party destination back in the 60s
Or Jerry Garcia lived here
I know she wishes I would
Finish scraping her walls and gables
Sealing all her little gaps with caulk
And that I would just wrap her
In some decent clothes again
I'm all for this
For every day I emerge meekly from
Her yellow/turquoise/pinkness
And nothing I wear seems
A complement
Perhaps if I could find my old
Tie-dyed tee shirts
I've been ready to
Caress paint upon her for weeks
But her old layers
The flaking
Peeling
Sagging garments of her past
Just keep falling away
And so for two months now I am
The Scraper
The Man Who Undresses
The House
Wielding my shiny tools high
Upon a ladder
Scraping and peeling and flicking
Colorful snowflakes
Into the yard for endless days
Three times now I've circled
The House
Each time she releases more memories
We're down to her lingerie now and
I'm a little embarrassed
Each wispy layer another
Surprising glimpse into her flirty past
Finally, I am to her skin in places
She blushes at her
Exposure and vulnerability
So I'm hurrying now in brisk autumn
Spending every sunny afternoon on
The ladder
Getting closer to the day
When I will open up a can
Of her new clothes
And start to dress her for
Winter
She's more mature now
A stately charcoal gray
More age appropriate
With some warm cream trim
I'll just touch her with color
Here and there
On her front door and shutters maybe
Soon the white haired neighbors
Will forget again the days
When she used to arrive home
Very late
Laughing, wearing Sunshine
And Waterfall
Splashing their whites and Browns
With her disheveled love
Back in those hazy days when
There were squeaky tricycles
Red bouncy kick balls
And giggling, summersaulting children
In their front yards

   2011 Michael Tomlinson






















 











 
 
 

   

   

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