The tree frogs have just started their night songs in the area where I live, a good thing if one enjoys the beauties and sounds of nature. I do. But I cannot see most of the stars at nights here. The Dark Skies environmental movement has not made many inroads here. I’m looking forward to moving to the mountains, a lifetime dream and a more recent goal. I love those waves of stone that make up the ancient Smokey and Blue Ridge mountains, day and night. Soon, I hope.
Ah, the seasons, they do change. This morning I awoke to 8" of snow with a sleet covering on the ground. Another 2-4" to come, according to the weatherman, that sublime trickster. As this is the most snow in these parts since the early 2000's, I had to take a bit of a walk. As I expected, not another soul around, no footprints or tire tracks. I love that. No sound other than the wind, the caw of crows that seem to be undeterred by most anything and a small finch-type bird that is in the process of committing suicide. No food to be found for him, so no energy to spare this day. If he continues, he will certainly fall prey to the laws of Darwin. I doubt that there will be any traffic today - Southerners are well aware of their lack of expertise in snow driving. Now the area's many snowbirds, who seem to know everything there is to know about driving in the snow, they will be out. Good luck to them.
I suppose the primary thing that I would say about myself is that I have lived a richly textured life, and have a richly textured history, intellect and personality. Not all good or all bad, some brightly colored and some dark or drab, but all textured and interwoven in complex ways. If one could create an illustrated flow chart for my life, it would look more like construction plans for a Rube Goldberg machine than anything else.
I am a free-spirited and very independent individual; free from everything but myself and the hammer and anvil of my personal evolution; and disinclined to follow others to places I don't want to go or that go to nowhere. I color outside the lines; think outside the box; take the road less traveled; march to the beat of my own drummer; think for myself, don't play by the rules. I'm sure you get the picture.
I am also a retired civil/sanitary/environmental engineer with additional degrees in literature and history. Consequently, I can confidently converse in diverse subject matters ranging from English Romantic Poetry to 19th Century European History to the deleterious environmental effects of maintaining grass lawns. I am quite certain that I can hold up my end of most conversations.
I am a lover of art in most of its many forms: symphony – Scheherazade to Rhapsody in Blue; ballet – Swan Lake and the Nutcracker; art – Starry Night to Michelangelo’s Captives; theater – Death of a Salesman to The Crucible; cinema - Dr. Zhivago to Blade Runner; literature - Shakespeare’s sonnets to the novels of James Lee Burke; and rock and roll music – Cream to Alice in Chains. I have not yet learned to like opera, despite my best efforts, though I love the music from Carmen.
I was raised to be their idea of a Southern gentleman – at least in terms of manners and treatment of women - by my grandmother and her sisters for the most part. Completely unsophisticated and poorly educated working women all, through the very hard times of the Great Depression, without husbands by way of being widowed by death or alcohol, and having many children needing their care. I generally reflect their values with the exceptions of religion and prejudices.
Today, I find myself to be a large – NFL large and still muscular - intelligent, mild-mannered, grizzled, doubtlessly difficult and eccentric, introspective, and analytical man. I lay no claim to being sexy, at least visually. Nor to “cleaning up well”, as I tend to look more like a pompous ass - note my profile photo - or a toney bouncer than a cultivated or stylish man. I am somewhat of an aging Boy Scout in that I love the outdoors and wildlife; respect the environment; and adhere to most of the original list of boy scout virtues (clean, kind, trustworthy, loyal, friendly, cheerful, courteous, and brave). A few of the other listed virtues - obedience, reverence and thrift, not so much. I long ago substituted being faithful and true for reverent; never saw much benefit in being thrifty, given that tomorrow is promised to no one; and I'm far too independent to be obedient. I am known for having a well developed sense of humor, generally witty, dry on occasion, bawdy and rollicking on others, and nearly always subtlety but noticeably edgy.
I love hard and deeply but also playfully. I don't know that I am a romantic, though I very well might be, depending on how deeply one peels away the layers. Though I have not been particularly successful in these areas, I do believe in marriage and love; perhaps not "true love" as I really don't understand exactly what that means, and definitely not love at first sight. But I believe that the best things in life spring from love and that nearly all of the good things that come to one from love, come not from being loved but from the love one gives. And I love long walks along a deserted beach at night, regardless of the presence of moonlight or company. But with both is usually better. Nonetheless, I deeply value the combination of solitude or near solitude with great natural beauty.
I enjoy domestic and foreign travel, in the sense of aimless or whimsical wandering as well as adventure and cultural enlightenment. Accordingly, I'm well traveled insofar as the US and Europe are concerned, but there are still many places left on my bucket list to see or see again at a more leisurely pace. As much as I enjoy travel, I hate flying. The military took care of any interest I might have in helicopters as they are uncomfortably noisy and have a nearly vertical glide slope. As I cannot afford to fly first class, I find myself very uncomfortably wedged - in terms of width and length - into airliner seats. I cannot sit in a middle seat. My butt fits, but my shoulders and arms extend about 6” into the seating spaces on either side. I can at least lean away in aisle and window seats, but it’s still no picnic for me on a long flight. And most puddle-jumpers are much worse. The damn overhead storage won't even hold my hat, though I'll admit it's a large hat.
Left to my own devices, I am primarily an outdoorsman - camping, hiking, whitewater sports, sailing and kayaking, and target shooting. I am not a fan of blood sports like hunting or fishing, though I can and would do either if it were a matter of actual survival. I cannot take, or even understand, pleasure or entertainment in the death of any living thing.
I enjoy a simple life and I am undemanding of a significant other or of people in general. On a neediness scale of 1-10, I’m probably about a 2, with one being the lowest possible score and generally allocated to the deceased. I don't expect anyone to defer to me or take care of me. I am not in the least manipulative or controlling (I believe that control of people, events or things outside oneself is illusion) and I'm not easily or readily controlled or manipulated by others. If and when I realize that others are trying to manipulative or control me, I generally react in a noticeably negative manner - I am not the least bit passive-aggressive. I am financially comfortable, but I'm not a accumulator of "stuff" and don't have a great deal of interest in material things other than my outdoor gear, photography equipment, motorcycle and music - though if someone offered me a Monet, a van Gogh or a Porsche, I wouldn’t turn them down.
I am neither a hermit nor a loner, though I can be alone comfortably and successfully in any place or situation. I am not a fan of crowds - say the sidewalks of Manhattan in the vicinity of Macy’s at midday - and I typically do not like most large cities for extended periods of time (generally measured in hours). In spite of that, I have a real fondness for San Francisco, Seattle, Paris, Amsterdam and Rome. New York, LA and London not so much, even though New York and London have such wonderful museums. I am certainly not a social butterfly, more of a social bumblebee if one is to adhere to the metaphor. You know, a flying insect that aeronautic sciences say cannot possiblyfly, but somehow manages to do so anyway.
Should you be interested in knowing more about me, I refer you to my often detailed answers to more than 2000 of OKC's questions, and the OKC tests which may or may not be either relative to or reflective of my nature. While I am not necessary completely upfront on all things concerning my psyche, habits, traits, successes, failures, shortcomings, etc., I believe in full disclosure and will answer most questions as honestly as possible. Unless I don't answer at all, finding that all truths need not be spoken.