Solitude in the rain

Rain has a way of driving people away and inside, emptying the earth of inhabitants.

Those are the times I feel freer – even in the city.

It’s when a new, secret world comes to life, calling out to my soul to come and play.

I decide to go for swim — a favorite thing to do when the sky is weeping — in the local community pool. Thankfully there is no threat of electricity falling.

At first glance the vast pool looks lonely, abandoned of laughing children and ardent lap swimmers. I slide into the water at eye-level amidst raindrops dancing on the surface.

I’m taken back to the days of my beloved cabin on the Suwannee where I would walk naked in the rain and sink into river’s warm embrace. I’d sit a long time, eyes level with tannin surface, watching rain drops reunite with their beloved.

Ashes to ashes, water to water.

I miss it.

I’m brought back to the pool, tiny spheres of blue water bouncing in multitude with each drop and I smile.

River or no, I’m still in the warm ambience of an empty pool given life by nature pelting it with her own, trees nearby swaying in the wind, and an occasional dragonfly braving the rain.

It’s when everything feels most alive, more than sunny days full of swimmers. It’s where quiet magic takes over in the whims of nature and solitude and becomes a force of its own.

My soul comes out to play, unfurling the inner child within and dances freely with the rain.

Solitude and rain.


(Photo of me in my childhood days contemplating in the rain taken by my uncle Terry)


Tranquil view of Sarasota Bay

View of a tranquil Sarasota bay

A tranquil sunset view of Sarasota Bay in Florida just off the New College campus. Perfect meditation spot.


Losing a best friend

I remember when I first saw him in high school. His sister, a good friend of mine, pointed across a campus yard and said, “That’s my brother.”

He looked a bit like Harry Potter with his backpack and glasses and the way he trudged to class.

I met him later at their home and it was an immediate kinship where an invisible bond within the both of us blossomed to life. It was one of those instant friendships that deepened quickly over a short amount of time.

My deafness was actually familiar to him because his sister was deaf.

We were a band of brothers, the two of us. It was a versatile combination – we were troublemakers, pushing the limits to see what we could get away with. We were deep thinkers, talking long into the night on humanity, life, and of course girls and sexuality.

We were also practical jokers and there were many nights where we’d laugh our asses off at ourselves or whatever crazy situation we got ourselves into.

As we got older we stayed close. He became my best man at my wedding and later a godfather to my daughter upon her birth.

It was one of those forever high school friendships. We were soulmates.

Back then I was still hot headed at times and not always thoughtful with my words. I would make judgemental comments about others, even him and his family.

It was borne out of a lifetime of insecurity growing up deaf in a hearing world. For the longest time I didn’t always feel accepted or up to the standards of hearing folk so I’d take it out on those close to me and bring them to down to bring myself up.

That’s how I lost him.

I crossed a valley with my words and when he tried to talk to me about it I doubled down, basically saying he was making a mountain of a molehill.

I thought he was being foolish when it was I that was the fool, cratering the foundation of our friendship.

I didn’t realize the damage wrought and kept thinking he would cool off and come back around.

He never did.

I tried to circle back around a few years later and apologise but it wasn’t honest because I still didn’t realize exactly what I was apologizing for and I think he knew that.

Twenty years later I don’t know the full extent of my damaging words because my memory fails, but with the grace of growing up over those long years, I understand now he was setting healthy boundaries.

He did what he had to do and it was the right thing after I kept breaking those boundaries.

For many years after he broke our friendship off, I kept running into people who taught me the value of healthy boundaries the hard way by walking all over me.

That’s how life works in its own graceful way of giving me the hindsight to see what I did to our friendship.

It was one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever hard to learn — along with learning the value and necessity of healthy boundaries in one’s life.

In a sense, his parting of the ways was a lifelong gift of learning.

I love and miss you, brother.


View off coast of Manzanita, Oregon

Another view off the Oregon coast in the town of Manzanita. It’s classic Oregon — thick morning fog, overcast skies, blanketed mountains, and rich colors.


“You’re too solitary”

Forest and mountains in northern Oregon near the coast

An old flame once told me I was too solitary when I spoke of the need for alone time in the woods and how much I relished being by myself.

She understood to an extent but didn’t quite get the depth of it. She called me her lone wolf.

Maybe it has to do with being born deaf into a world of total silence. When I was fitted for hearing aids a couple years later, mom would write in her journals how I still dwelled in my own worlds, lost in oceans of imagination.

Whatever the cause, it’s deeply ingrained within.

I wasn’t a social outcast and I had my good share of friends. Most honored my penchant for solitary time even if they didn’t always get it.

Wanting to be alone didn’t mean I didn’t value their companionship. It’s like love… Just because I love something or someone else doesn’t mean I love you any less.

Going nomadic a couple years ago was the ultimate plunge into aloneness. I would go weeks without communication, virtually disappearing into the ether.

It was where I found my true joy, being all alone in the wilderness. And knowing I was never alone all along.

It’s where my self melted away into the trees, rivers, mountains, and clouds. There was nothing left of me — I lost my true nature and became nature. An embrace of the beloved. It was ecstatic.

It was meant to be. Embracing aloneness into a merging of soul with nature and immortal beloved.

We all have paths to follow that bring us ever closer to our own divinity, our souls. To the great loves of our lives.

Mine is to walk the trails of solitude and get lost in all that is.

Your lone wolf


College daze – where I ended up a happy failure

Some say your college days are supposed to be one of the best times in your life.

I guess I was an anomaly. I was dazed through my college days and not in a pleasant way.

It’s odd because I thrived in high school — honor society, near the top of my class, quite popular, and so on. For some reason it didn’t translate to college.

I first went to New College down in Sarasota. I thought it would be a great fit – small (like my high school), unorthodox education methods that stressed independence, and students that were generally rebels and misfits outside of mainstream society.

That’s me.

It didn’t work. I had no passion — it was as if a switch had turned off and I was done. Doubly odd because I’m a passionate learner.

After less than a year I petitioned to withdraw. I was surprised when the New College folk encouraged me to stay and keep trying.

Surprised because by then I was slacking with classes and homework. My grades merited probationary status, the campus police had issues with me (too many friends sleeping over in my dorm, roomies rats escaping from pet snake, a friend drove drunk across campus into a ditch, etc., etc.).

Maybe they wanted me to stay because I was being a true rebel.

Still, I declined.

Thinking I needed to go to a college with a strong computer program to stoke my passion (once a computer nerd, always a computer nerd), I gave the University of Florida a try next.

Things didn’t go any better there.

Once again I was skipping classes (but not Gator football games!) and homework, had dorm issues (mostly from having a military brat as a roomie — baaaad fit), girlfriend problems (I couldn’t decide if I loved her or not), I was annoyed with professors insisting I learn outdated computer languages, etc. etc.

Somehow I managed to accrue nearly two years worth of credits but by then I was a goner — I bolted out of my dorm early into my own place, my grades were riddled with the letter “I” (incomplete, which is exactly how I felt), and I was thoroughly burnt out from anything to do with education.

One day I simply stopped showing up. I was done.

A silly decision in retrospect, perhaps. But solid for me at the time. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore and it didn’t make sense to keep throwing money away doing nothing.

Thinking back, what I remember acutely was very much feeling like an alien on campus. I never fit in as much as I tried. Was it my deafness? I don’t think so – it’s never been an issue. I simply was a fish out of water gasping for relevance and passion.

The whole thing was living a repetitive dream I couldn’t wake out of. I’d keep repeating shit over and over and nothing worked.

Not long after I walked away, I found my passion again by finding a good job with my computer experience (although I was eventually passed over for a promotion because of my deafness — that’s another story for later).

I started thriving again and even bootstraped a computer consulting business on the side.

The fog went away.

Because I was happy.

That was the crux of it all: I just was not a happy camper in college.

I guess it’s not for everyone, even a computer geek like me.