Seeking Higher Ground & Following Random and True Directions

IMG_3112. keep your heart pointing trueBoots here on this beautiful summer day . . . pointing my compass and seeking Higher Ground today . . . and keeping my heart pointed true.

It seems as if some days my compass gets swiveled around and I find myself turning around in circles.  I think we all experience this from time to time.  Not knowing which way our compass is pointing or from which direction the winds are blowing or how high the river is going to rise.   There are so many uncertainties in life.

It is when I am out in the wilderness and trying to figure out which way to go on a “gently-used” (read invisible) trail when I most have to rely on my compass.  And on my internal compass — my intuition — as well.  There is something about aligning my intuition with the jittering of the compass needle that makes me feel ultra-alive.  Add to this a tiny and disconcerting sliver of the great unknown that lies ahead . . . you have a pretty good recipe for being in the moment.

Well, I am here now clacking away on the keyboard, so that must mean that I chose the right and true directions out there in the woods.   Still, this is not to say that I haven’t arrived home or back in camp without some mean bruises, scrapes, blackberry scratches, and nettle stings to remind me that lucky as I am to feel “found” again, it wasn’t without some discomfort along the trail.

Like life, we don’t really ever know if we have chosen the perfect directions . . . those directions that lead us to a sense of home, unscathed and happy.  There are always going to be forks in the trail, creeks to be forded, blazes that are tricky to find.

I once asked an old-timer, this tough Bull of the Woods, why blazes were cut so high up on the trees?  He answered me with one word, “Snow.”  Blazes, the recognizable scars you see high up on trees, are marked to establish a true line.  This line is run by what is called a “random and true” line method, ensuring that the trail can be followed through the woods.  Blazes are cut high up on the tree to allow for them to read during the wintertime’s heavy snowfall.

If you have ever been on skis or snowshoes in the forest in the dead of winter, you know how amazingly well a trail can hide in the wintertime.  So, a resounding Yay! for those who have gone before us with the foresight of cutting those blazes high for us — no matter how high the snow gets, we are still able to follow that random and true line.  [And I sometimes wonder if this foresight was learned partially by some tough-love from Mother Nature.]

So, if you are going to be relying on blazes, you have to take your eyes off the ground and look up for that random and true line that will lead you back home.

All of this to say, the change-ability of life is inevitable.  But the compass, if I trust it, will point in the direction that will determine my new destiny. When I think on it, true directions aren’t always going to be the Easy Path in life.  Sometimes it means doing what I have to do, reminding myself on a daily basis that this current paradigm is temporary.  That sometimes life kind of sucks and I feel kind of lost . . . and it’s up to me to get out my compass, line up with true north, and head off on a new adventure that will lead me out of my current temporary into a whole new feeling of temporary.

I listen to this music and see all of the collaborative effort that went into its recording.  It takes a lot of energy to make stuff like this happen.  I respect it. And I also respect the effort that people put into reaching a higher level of consciousness.

Here is some great music for you to check out!  Click on the images/links below.  Have a fantastic day, listen to good music, follow the blazes, and head in your true directions.

Keep your heart pointed true.

Songs Around The World (CD + DVD)

http://amzn.to/2aPFLSX

PFC 2: Songs Around The World [CD/DVD Combo]

http://amzn.to/2aPFpvh

PFC3: Songs Around The World [CD/DVD Combo]

http://amzn.to/2aPFfUK

Playing For Change: Peace Through Music: DVD

http://amzn.to/2aSQf0E

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Peep-Toe Boots, Hooker Barb, & Bullshitting Buck

Boots the Badass Coffee Babe here . . .

with some Peep-Toe Boots just for you!  That’s right.  Not pumps, but boots!

Just the name “Peep-Toe” is cute, don’t you think?   Peep-Toe pumps are worn by women who work  downtown.   Maybe girlfriends out for a luncheon.  Or maybe a first date at a coffee bar.  Or a pool party or a high-school reunion.  The connotation is something genteel and a little sophisticated and a little bit kicky, too.  A bit of casual chic polished up with a touch of class.  Peep-toes.  So much fun, right?

Well, for me, I can’t help but associate Peep-Toes with a woman named Barb.  It was the summer when I was working at a primitive fishing camp located on a remote and pristine lake at a high mountain lake.  It was the kind of camp that had no running water, no electricity, and no telephone.  The kind of place where the pack horses roamed with the deer and the dogs ran with the coyotes.  And where men came stag with nary a thought of bringing the womenfolk.

This camp was designed for tough, Bull-of-the-Woods, logger-woodsy types.  Hearty, plaid-shirted, maybe missing a finger or three from setting chains and cables in the woods.  Old-growth beards to match the old-growth trees that they had logged from the forest decades ago.  They wore stag pants, brown-and-white cotton monkey socks (the kind that were worn only in the summertime), and heavy, lace-up boots that defied all logic when worn in the middle of summer.   Hadn’t any of these fellas heard of flip-flops?  Jeez.

The men came up to the lake via a sweat-inspiring trail or by air.  To get there, you hiked up one hell of a trail and up and over a pretty tough pass or, if you had some dough to throw around, you could always “cheat” and fly in on the float plane.  The men arrived  with their “poles” — not rods — to catch rainbow trout.  Their backpacks and coolers were heavy-laden with beer, ham and cheese sandwiches, maybe an apple or banana for the more health-conscious, and worms for their hooks.

They traveled stag — meaning “No Women Allowed.”   They wanted to be able to belch and fart without censure while they fished and talked about politics, sports, and maybe even “the one that got away” (a previous gal pal from days gone by) with their buddies — all while rowing and floating serenely on the blue-green water.

Barb didn’t hike up the trail; rather, she arrived via floatplane.  And she was with her new guy, Buck.  Buck was one of the Regulars, the kind who flew in once a year to re-connect with his Inner Woodsman.  You could tell that Buck thought he was quite the catch.  Graying at the temples and still in possession of a full head of hair, Buck could bullshit with the Best of the Bulls.

After five minutes of bullshitting, any True Bull knew that Buck was not bonafide.  He had never been a chaser, a coiler, or a choker setter — let alone a bucker, faller, or climber.  Truth was, Buck worked for a non-profit in downtown Spokane, Washington, and probably only donned his hickory shirt, stag pants, and corks when he came to the lake to catch some trout.  But not a thing wrong with this.  Nothing at all.  Buck just wanted to lay some claim to his Inner-Woodsman.

This is the part of the story where I start to associate Peep-Toes with Lady Barb.  It was clear that Buck had not prepared Barb properly and truthfully for this particular foray into the wilderness.   (Remember: Buck was a real bullshitter.)  When Barb stepped out of the float plane, she was wearing white jeans, a white top, and the cutest little pair of tangerine and white striped Peep-Toes.  I am guessing that Barb thought that White-Knight Buck was whisking her away to some quaint and well-appointed fishing lodge in the mountains . . . a place where she could book a mani-pedi in the spa after she had a massage from a fully-bearded buckaroo named Billy.

And maybe Buck was happy to have led her along this particular garden path.  Or maybe Buck was just a bit thick and clueless.  Like I said, it was always really hard to tell with Buck.

The plane took off, and I got their boat ready . . . all the while Buck was jawing away at me.  How’s fishin’ this year?  How was the winter?  Snow get pretty high? When did the lake thaw?  Where are they biting this year?  This sort of thing.  Barb, clearly not feeling comfortable, asked me where the restroom was.  After giving her a rather complicated set of directions as to how to find the outhouse behind the main cabin up the hill from the dock, that was the last we saw of Barb for a while.  I finally asked Buck, “Do you think your lady friend is okay?”  But Buck just kept yakkin’ about trout and worms.

Eventually, Barb came picking her way back down the trail.  I couldn’t tell if she had found Ground Zero, but I wasn’t about to ask her.  It seemed indelicate.

Buck and Barb got in the boat tied to the dock and Buck started to get his fishing gear together.  He was in the middle seat — Rowing Position — and Barb made the error of choosing to sit in the bow of the boat.  “Damn, woman!” Buck growled. “I’m not gonna be able to row anywhere with your dead weight planted up there!”

Barb looked very confused, so I explained to Barb in plain English that it was easier to row the boat if the main weight was at the stern.  Hence, the mid-boat transfer began — Barb trip-trapping her way to the stern, doing her best to balance and stay inside the boat  — all while wearing those fancified wedge-heeled, Peep-Toe shoes.

[Nothing like adding a little Ginger-Rogers action to your fishing trip.  But it has to be said: Buck was no Fred Astaire.]

I have to hand it to Barb, as she was doing a damn good job of both trimming the boat and not tipping into the drink.  It was while she was stepping over the middle seat where Oblivious Buck was sitting that she caught Buck’s treble hook  . . . right in her you-know-where: the fork between her legs.

All of Barb’s wincing aside, I thought Buck was going to fall into the lake, he was laughing so hard.  The good news was that Buck had only caught her by the white of her jeans and nothing further.  Thank God.   While Buck and Barb were doing their dang-dest to remove the offending hook from Barb’s private area, Buck kept sputtering, “Damn!  Is it a keeper or a spawner?  A keeper or a spawner?”

I could tell that Barb did not have a fully-stocked fisherman’s lexicon in her brain, as she did not take any offense at the hint that she could be well past her prime as a Spawner — a fish that was only good for throwing back into the lake.  As I used to say when I was just a little tiny baby: Ignorance is bliss.  But I really had to hand it to Barb and give her an A+ for practicality.  While Buck was sputtering and exercising his pocket-fisherman wit, Barb whipped her pants down quicker than a pat of butter melts on a hot skillet.  Smart girl.  The hook extraction was more easily completed, and everyone was happy.  They left the dock, and I can’t really remember them saying if they caught any fish that day or not when they came back to catch the plane.

All of this.  And hence, the saga of Barb, Buck, the ill-placed fishing hook, and the tangerine-and-white Peep-Toe Shoes.

And as I am simply not ready to give up my boots for the summer, I am going for the next best thing: Peep-Toe Boots — in honor of hook-challenged Barb.  Are you with me here?  Here are some super-cute styles!  Have fun perusing and shopping and imagining the fun you are going to have in these shoes.   Not Hooker Barb-fun but real fun.

And Boots the Badass Coffee Babe’s advice for the day:

Never date a man named Buck.

Happy shopping!

P.S.  I always wanted to know what happened after Buck and Barb returned to Spokane.  Did they continue to date?  Did Buck get a cast-iron frying pan upside the head?  Did Barb trade in her pumps for some shit-kickers?  Inquiring minds and all that.