PAST RAMBLINGS - 28
(collection of past Homepage greetings and stories)
February 1, 2012   -to-   
Autumn 2012

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 - Holiday
Ramblings 30
2014 & 2015
 

Howdy my friends,   February 1, 2012 
 If you know my music, you probably expect the words "rain" or "water" or "wind" or the name of a season to be in every song. Am I right? Obviously, I have no problem repeating myself when it comes to singing about the weather. Natural Elements fill all my songs and most of my conversations.

Today I was walking a few miles in Seattle neighborhoods. There is a long, circuitous route that I have walked for over a decade, starting at close to the highest point in Seattle and winding down a long road to Lake Washington, then meandering up a long hill and back to my truck. We had a lot of snow last week and it's mostly gone, which has left thousands of puddles of water around the city. As I walked I couldn't help but remember what a puddle of water was to me as a boy living in Dumas and Amarillo on the dusty Texas plains. We'd go months without rain sometimes and so when it finally came, the ground was so dry that it would not soak in right away. There would be puddles and rivulets rushing down the gutter. These were rivers and lakes to me. You could not keep me in the house when there were rivers running down the streets of our prairie town. I was out there standing in the current, my toes flexing, my heart pounding at the excitement of what water felt like, what it looked like, the way it distorted stones and items lying in it and the way it reflected the sky. Anything that stood beyond it was captured by it, reflected back to me in duplicate, only shinier and more shimmering than the actual object.

As I hiked today I let myself remember my childhood. One way to remember who you were is to simply be who you are now, and notice how you feel right this moment. If you ever try this you will notice that when you pause to notice how you feel, at the very core of that part of you is the same being you were as a little boy or little girl. It's a wonder really, that this could be, but it's true. You are still the same inside your most perfect being. It's only that we gradually began to think that we lost all that. We grieved for our lost innocence, but actually, we never really lost it. We just learned to think about it and dissect it and define it. And so we lost the experience of being it.

Every puddle I saw today I imagined looking at as the boy I once was. I stood looking into it, noticing the stones you could see in it, or the ripples across it's surface that the bitter wind was whipping across the land. In my boyhood no puddle was immune to having a board thrown into it and me standing on it and pretending to be a pirate on his stolen ship or a Mohawk warrior in his canoe. It didn't have to be fresh water, either. Once in Amarillo, we lived next to a machine shop. They poured nasty, oily solvent-water out the back door into a ditch. It was heavenly. I found a greasy wooden pallet and though the water was too shallow to actually float it with me on it, I found a high place in the ground beneath the water and as it rocked with my weight I would swipe my sword and holler out what I thought one of the Three Muskateers might announce in a sword fight. "Take that, scoundrel!" That little pond of petroleum was blood red when I was through wreaking havoc.

While I have never known a time when I was not a lover of water, there have been a few short periods of my life when I was not a walker. Actually, I think the only time was maybe in my late teens into my early twenties. In those days you drive everywhere because you've waited so long to get your own car and be free to drive it, that you don't like to go back to the drudgery of hoofing it. It feels beneath you. I was living in Fort Worth and some friends from Amarillo had moved two blocks away on my same street, Purington. Even at 23, I could not justify driving to their house, so I began to walk to their house and back most days. The way home was always slightly more hazy due to the effects of marijuana. (second hand smoke) To my surprise, the ground and sidewalk were fascinating to me. Childhood had been so recent that all the memories of walking to school in first grade, in third and fifth and all through Junior High came pouring out. The detail of a stick on the sidewalk, the smell of fresh cut grass, a caterpillar crossing the concrete, all those things came back to me and I decided I would never again forget the joy of walking, the pure pleasure of being able to go where I want on my own two feet.

I was hiking along a river trail with my friend Brian a few days ago. There was still snow and the going was a little precarious. But the woods were magnificent with their patches of snow and the rust colored leaves and grasses peaking out in the bare spots. The tall trunks were spindly and slender and in their upper branches were hundreds of black crows calling out. I looked at Brian and said, "Walking is my favorite thing to do in the world." He seemed surprised, even though he too walks nearly every day. "I just feel so much gratitude and peace when I walk."

After I reached the top of the long hill today, a little sweaty in my windbreaker and hat, I took them off and walked the last mile on flat ground with the wind behind me. The chill wind felt good to me now and I wanted to dry out before I reached my truck. In the last couple of months before my sweet pup died last summer, this was a route I would take with her most Sundays. I would carry her on my right forearm, close to my chest and where I could talk to her and even lift her little being up every so often and kiss the back of her head. I held my arm as if I were carrying her, spoke a few words in case she can still hear me, and made the motion to kiss her little head. I felt grateful for her life, for the time I was allowed to have her as my friend, and for the miles and miles and miles we'd walked around Seattle and the beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest.

I stood looking into a very beautiful puddle with a few leaves sunk in it and some mossy rocks shimmering beneath the surface. I thought of how water has been my soul's love. How I hear water in my melodies, allowing the notes to meander and flow in the ways of a trickling stream. And I realized how much I aspire for my whole life to be like water. I wish my compassion to be as ever flowing as a river. I wish for my patience to be as eternal as the steady ripples lapping the shore of a mountain lake. I wish for my love to be as permeating and steady as rain soaking into the earth, seeking every possible pore and crevasse to enter and nurture life. And I wish for my forgiveness to be as healing and natural as the fragrance of spring rain, reawakening buds and roots and seeds and bringing memories of how life was when I was young and filled with all that wonder. I know that child is still inside me. He is me.

If you should spot a man standing next to a little puddle of rain water, one arm tucked up against his chest almost as if he was holding onto something precious, talking and chuckling and staring into the depths of that miracle water, it's probably me.

 Your friend in windy Seattle,
   ~Michael

As always, anything I post on FaceBook is yours to share, post, print out and toss into the wind.

 

    March 12, 2012 
Howdy my friends,

Its the first Monday after going to daylight savings time and I'm up before the birdies. The reason? Because I'm excited about the inaugural launch of Sutherland Living Magazine, featuring an interview with President Jimmy Carter and including a photo montage paired with my song, Seeds of Love, which I wrote as' a tribute to Jimmy. I've been really looking forward to this since Stephen Sutherland and I became acquainted a few weeks ago and the idea blossomed to include my song in their first issue.

Last year I wrote the song as a tribute to President Jimmy Carter, for an event honoring him in Atlanta. It was a daunting task, because the timeline was short, but also because I have loved and admired Jimmy since I first came to know of him in the 1970s and wanted to do something worthy of him. I hoped I could do it in a way that honored the man who has given so much to humanity and our country.

I read Jimmy's memoir of his boyhood in Plains, called, "An Hour Before Daylight". And the first lyrics came to me. . .

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"

Every day for two weeks I would pick up my guitar over and over again, looking for what was trying to be written, listening to the nuance of the melody flowing through me and seeking a way to write about Jimmy that was sincere, poetic and personal. When I realized that I was singing from his voice it was humbling, but the most natural way for me to pour my heart fully into each word. I was able somehow to imagine being him, feeling the richness of walking fertile farmland barefoot, the wonder of seeing the Seaboard Airline Railroad run past his boyhood home and the joy of walking those rails with his best friend, A.D. Especially, I felt his deep and tender love for Rosalyn. And so these feelings I imagined him having flowed into the song.

I grew up and I became a Navy man
Then I asked my lovely Rosalyn for her hand
Of all the luck I ever had and every blessing that has been
She's the truest one, Oh my gentle loving friend
I'd live it all with you if I could again. . .


After I finished writing it, I had a short time to record it so that it could be officially presented to The Carter Center in Atlanta. I was very pleased with the feedback I received, but unsure of whether Jimmy himself would ever even hear the song. Over just one month during that time, I'd heard that he was in Cuba, the next week, China, and the next, North Korea. I couldn't picture him having a lot of time to sit back and listen to CDs that people send him. But I hoped that someone who loves him would hear the song. I believed if they did that they would make certain that he heard it as well.

Several weeks after I'd sent the song, I was spending a quiet Saturday afternoon here at my home in Seattle. I heard the jangle of the mail slot flap and looked over and saw a small envelope fall through my front door. Almost before I picked it up I sensed that it was something special. I turned it over and saw that it was from Jimmy Carter. I didn't open it at first, just stood there looking at it and thinking what an unlikely thing in my life, that I would ever receive a letter from President Jimmy Carter.

I opened it and pulled out a small sheet of paper with Jimmy's seal at the top, and read his words thanking me for honoring him with my song. I could see that he himself had typed it, because there was one small typo in it and also, when signing it, he'd gone back with his pen to add a comma he'd forgotten. I knew no secretary had done that, and it meant the world to me that Jimmy Carter had sat down to write me personally. I never had expected that. At best, I thought I might hear something from his office that maybe he'd signed.

I stood there with chills, thinking that only a couple of months before I had been hoping I could write a song worthy of him and his life, and one beautiful enough that you'd want to listen to it more than once. And now I was reading a letter from the great man I'd written about, someone who had inspired me and taught me about life and integrity and giving my whole adult life.

When I saw recently that Sutherland Living was interviewing Jimmy, I wrote to the editor of the magazine, which turned out to be Stephen Sutherland himself, and said something like, "I am pleased that you are interviewing Jimmy Carter for your first issue. If there is any way that my song may serve you, I'd love for you to have free use of it."

I had no idea how well received my offer would be. Stephen let me know that they'd love to use the song in a photo montage of Jimmy's life, which Jun Sutherland has so beautifully created. And then we both decided that in keeping with the life of giving which Jimmy has so generously lived, we wanted to offer the song as a complimentary download on the Sutherland Living website. I'm thrilled to be a part of what they are doing with their magazine and website, and especially pleased that my song may play some part in sharing the photographic story of Jimmy Carter's life. You can watch the video here.

Thank you my friends, for reading my early morning rambling on Seeds of Love. I want to add this for all who listen to and hopefully, love this song: It would never have been written if Patricia O'Driscoll had not asked me to do so. Together we dreamed it into being. As you listen to the song, a part of what I hope you'll experience is the reminder of the great, wondrous potential that can come in trusting your own heart to attempt something you are greatly drawn to, even if you are not sure you can accomplish it.

The early morning birds have arrived now and seem amazed that I'm up waiting for them. So I must toss out some seeds and peanuts. The peanuts are from Plains, Georgia, of course. I hope you're doing well this almost-spring day and that you remember to take some deep breaths now and then, and to be kind to yourself.

Your friend in windy Seattle,
   ~Michael

PS. You can listen to Seeds of Love and read the lyrics here

 

 
Autumn 2012

Howdy my friends, Howdy my friends, Howdy my friends,

 
It's been a long time since I sat down to write a new website rambling for you. Once I started posting frequent stories and humor on Facebook, I gradually came to believe that most people were checking in on me there. However, I had a dream last night that one million people came to my website, saw that my last entry was six months old, and held a memorial for me. As much as I enjoy festive affairs, I'd like to actually be headed out to the wild blue yonder when my memorial is someday held. So hold off on that. The truth is, I'm in the middle of creating a number of new projects right now and can't be dawdlin' around watching a slide show of my life while a minister who never met me tells about the time I helped a little ol' lady go over Niagara Falls in sleeping bag - even though she didn't want to.
I just got back from a visit to Wyoming, where I sang a short concert in honor of my friend, Randall Hall, and even got in a couple of hikes on the trails along the Platte River. I hadn't been in the shade of tall cottonwoods in a long time, had almost forgotten what it's like to hike in country that dry. The river was wide and blue and inviting, and gazing from alongside it, up the powder dry caliche bluff and out over windy yellow grasslands brought back a lot of memories of my hiking and camping in Palo Duro Canyon as a young man. Wow, I was a young man for a long time. And then I wasn't. It's a fascinating thing, this journey through life that we take, isn't it?

A lot has changed in how I look at life. Once you get far enough into it, you start to see that much of what you always thought was tragic in life actually is not. But to get to that point I think you have to have some sense that life goes on and on in some form forever. And I do sense that. You almost can't lose someone you love and not come to know that in your heart.It's been a little over a year since my precious friend Bungee died. She was a sweet little dog, but so much more. You could start a University based on what she taught me and what I learned as a result of having such a fine being as my companion for fifteen years. I found out many things about myself. I found my own gentleness in ways I had not known. I found my own loyalty and strength. Yes, I found a lot of character too, because a big man walking along a public street with a six pound fuzzy pooch on a leash is absolutely going to have to build some character.

I learned a lot about grief in this last year since her passing. As you have, I have experienced much grief in my life. But I had never allowed it's fullness to flow into and through me in such a powerful way before. What comes alongside it is what will surprise you. Along with the dread, the hopelessness, the deep sadness and longing and regret - if you're courageous enough to really feel it - comes beauty, gratitude, acceptance and wonder. Especially if you breathe your way through it, opening your heart and breathing directly into it. I had moments when I actually felt the shift in me from deep grief to open wonder. If you've never felt that happen, let me tell you my friends, you need to give it a try. It will forever change your conception of life evolving on and on.

I have been working on ideas for several months now for a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter.com is a crowd funding website where you can go with a proposal you present to the public in hopes that the "rewards" you offer will encourage them to support your endeavor financially. Often from one dollar on up to ten thousand dollars. There have been some phenomenal successes there when people have had genuinely novel ideas or very compelling projects they hold up to the world. That is what I wish to do. My next album is going to be filled with rich songs, deep stories and beauty, and much wind and rain and flowing of seasons. I'll be writing more about this soon and, if you're on my personal email list, (just write me a mt@michaeltomlinson.com) I'll be sending you information about it and an invitation to take a look and see if anything calls to you.

As we are in the last couple of days of summertime, I'm enjoying the changes. There is always some sadness when the garden begins fading and the leaves first start to turn. As beautiful as it is, we have a tendency to grieve for what is over. But I believe the reason Autumn was made to be so magnificently beautiful and striking was so that we would see the beauty in re-dying as well as in rebirth. I hope these coming months are filled with beauty for you. I wish for you the gift of becoming your own loving friend. Of practicing forgiving yourself and being kind to yourself. That is where all the outward love begins. Love yourself. If you can't figure out how to do that, just stand outside under a tree, take some deep breaths and ask all of Life to love you. There you go, you've already taken a big step.

Your friend,
~Michael
           

   
 

   

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