Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Been Thinking About.... Methuselah



   I heard from a friend of mine just the other day. He lives up near Syracuse, New York and had been out shoveling snow. He and his wife were using both the snow blower and the shovel, and had to remove the fine white  stuff both before and after work. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Anyway, he was lamenting the fact that he had hurt his back in the process of all that shoveling. He was already dealing with a knee that was hammered and had just returned from having two teeth crowned. Ouch! That puts a dent in the ol' pocket book. To say nothing of the obvious pain that back or knee problems bring. I got to thinking then about some of the old guys in the bible. The early fellows, just after men started living on the earth, were pretty long lived. Adam lived 930 years, his son Seth lived 912; Kenan 910 years. Enoch only lived 365 years, but it says he walked with God then he was no more because God took him away. His son, Methuselah, was the oldest living man; he lived to be 969 years old. I started wondering, how the heck did they do it? I'm either on the last legs of middle age or the beginning of being elderly, depending on how you look at it.  My friend with the physical problems is only in his mid thirties. How could people have lived for so long? I know that things like processed food wasn't around- no white flour or sugar, so that probably helped. Perhaps tooth decay wasn't an issue. What did they brush their teeth with though? What.... did you go out and break off a reed and grab a mouthful of sand and grind away?  What about minty fresh breath, what did you do about that? Frankly, I don't want to get too graphic here, but if your mouth smells like last night's dinner, whatever that may have been, how are you ever going to entice your wife into populating the earth? That's another thing. Did everyone just stay young for so much longer? I mean did these old guy's wives look like complete foxes until they were 800 or so? Human nature being what it is, didn't they get tired of each other, or did they come up with something to keep things pretty interesting for 750 or more years? Was it like the famous blues singers song - The Thrill is Gone  or more like Randy Travis's - I'm Going to Love You Forever? I can't say. There weren't any supermarkets, so I guess you had to grow or raise or catch or kill everything you ate. I imagine that would keep a guy busy. Of course there probably was a shortage of carpenters or plumbers so you had to build your own house unless you were a cave dweller. Even then, an outhouse or some form of waste management would be necessary. You couldn't just relieve yourself in the back of the cave, that could present all kinds of problems. Everything you needed you would have to make yourself- beds, bedding, clothes, pots, pans, eating utensils. I imagine their days were pretty full- gathering firewood, growing crops, tending livestock, building, packing water.  I bet no one ever uttered the phrase- I'm bored. What happened if you fell down and broke your arm or had a fever or got food poisoning?  I don't know if any of those things were ever an issue. Maybe there was no need for doctors at the time because everyone was so healthy. You'd have to be healthy to live that long. You sure wouldn't want to be suffering with depression for a few hundred years, that would be tough. I don't know what went on then, but I'm sure the food was healthy. Everyone got plenty of exercise and no doubt people must have gotten along with each other pretty well. They had to, they needed each other. I'd love to sit back and have a birds eye view of what things were like back then. I kind of doubt if sleep disorders were a problem. I imagine at the end of a long day of doing what it took to survive, you'd probably sleep like a baby and perhaps dream of what the future holds.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

In God We Trust?



















   I was in church today and the pastor happened to mention several times the phrase In God We Trust. Apparently there is another lawsuit going on by some atheists who are offended by the phrase and the fact that it is on our currency. From what I can gather, a California attorney by the name of Michael Newdow is bringing suit on behalf of something like 41 atheists in Ohio. It appears he also tried to get the phrase Under God in the pledge of allegiance removed unsuccessfully. I guess you can't blame a guy for trying, although I rather doubt that he would be pursuing this at all strictly on principle. No doubt he feels there is some money to be made or notoriety at least. Frankly, I think with all the problems that this country is facing that pursuing such a frivolous lawsuit would be near the bottom of the list of important things to do. If anything, my personal feeling is that we should call on God all the more. I believe it is because we have turned our back to Him that we're facing most of the problems that we are. You hear a lot about climate change, crime, gun violence, terrorism, the national debt, drug abuse and a host of other things that affect all of us on the news nightly. I suspect that we all trust in something. What is it, money? Money comes and goes. You can be riding high one day and lose it all the  next. Look at what the stock market is doing right now. One trip to the hospital could bankrupt a lot of people. The country is approaching a twenty trillion dollar debt. How much do you think that money is worth, or will be worth in a few more years? The price of everything is going up because the money is worth so little. What do we trust, the government? The government doesn't produce anything of value. They're like Robin Hood, taking from one source to give to another, skimming large amounts of money from the top to fund themselves. What do you trust in? Your health, your looks, your intelligence? I can attest to the fact that all of those things go by the wayside as our years upon this earth increase. What do you do when you're in an a jet and turbulence starts to slam the plane around, or a storm is raging outside your home, trees are being uprooted and the floodwaters are rising? Perhaps you're flat on your back in the hospital and the diagnosis isn't good. I know from experience the fear that one feels  when the plane is going down and the helpless feeling of being in a small boat when the waves are crashing over the bow and even the need for surgery in delicate places. Fortunately I do believe in God, and I feel like He was with me through each trial. But, what if you don't believe? Where do you find comfort? I'm asking because I don't know. Right now the airwaves are filled with political debates and debates about the debates as we try to determine who is going to lead this country next. I'm hoping the the next man or woman is a God fearing person. The world is too dangerous to be led by unbelievers.We don't need someone who will stick their finger into the wind to determine which way the  political wind is blowing. It may come as a surprise to some folks, but God isn't politically correct. There is one way that is right, and it's His way. Perhaps that's why some folks are uncomfortable with a phrase like In God We Trust. They don't want to be reminded that perhaps what they are doing is wrong. Perhaps they think that believing in God means that they have to be perfect. I haven't seen any believers who meet that standard yet, so don't let that be a reason for atheism.  I read a book once titled -God Doesn't Believe in Atheists. I can't recall what all it said, but I do remember one passage where the author mentioned that the likelihood of life being formed randomly from whatever gobbledygook was in the earth as a result of chemical reactions or whatever the evolutionist want to believe is as likely as a blob of bauxite over eons of time randomly forming into a cylinder and turning red and white and spelling out Coke. I think people will go to extremes to deny the existence of God, and because He gives us free will, they are allowed to do that. No one is making them worship or believe what they don't want to, but I do believe, and as I mentioned, I believe we would be far better off if we called on the name of the Lord all the more. For me, a little reminder is a good thing, since we certainly can't count on the paper that the phrase is written on. All it takes is watching the news for a half hour to know it's going to take divine intervention to get us out of the mess we're in.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Waiting For Spring

Hoonah Cold Storage Dock
The Alaskan Bush People boat - Integrity
Elephant Mountain
Frozen Mud Flats at the Airport
Airport Stream































































































    After weeks of hiding behind both rain and snow clouds, the sun finally decided to make an appearance yesterday. As often happens in Southeast Alaska, the burst of sunshine immediately lifts one's spirits. I was like a new born bunny yesterday when I saw the sun, ready to go out and prance around the woods. Unfortunately, although the sun was indeed out, the heat was missing, so any prancing on the frozen ground would have rendered me with a twisted back or knee. I opted to go take a few pictures instead. Around here, especially at this time of year, when the sun comes out, you want to capture it on film, just in case you don't see it again for another extended period of time and you start to believe that you  had perhaps imagined it.  I dropped down to the downtown float and got a picture of the cold storage. The float is empty, no boats tied up waiting to sell. All the insulated totes that hold fish during the season are scrubbed and stacked on the dock, waiting for the first delivery. The diesel engines that run the compressors that freeze the fish are silent; there's no fork lifts scurrying up and down the runway. There's not a person to be seen in the office. It's dark and silent. Much like winter in the woods, it's cold and quiet. I dropped down to the harbor. Except for a few skiffs that brave the elements in their search for an elusive king salmon or perhaps a few Dungeness crabs, most of the commercial boats are tied up for the winter. It costs more for fuel than you can make fishing around here this time of year, even though the price of salmon is good. The weather is always questionable now too. It can be nice in the morning and blow up a gale in the afternoon. I got a picture of The Integrity, the big grey boat on the end of the float. That's the Brown family's  boat- you know, the Alaskan Bush People? Oh Lordy, what a joke. It's winter, and they're nowhere to be found. Not surprising. I know that for some unknown reason, a lot of people think the show is real, but I don't know why. Ol' Billy Brown and a couple of the boys had to go before a judge and explain why they were collecting Alaska Permanent Fund checks. The fact is, they aren't residents. I can't recall what the judgement was, but I believe they had to repay the state. Funny how you can call yourself an Alaskan, and yet not qualify for the Permanent Fund. It seems odd too that you can consider yourself a real outdoorsman, but when winter comes, you disappear.Oh well, people believe what they want to believe. I really think they should change the name of the boat to something more appropriate though, unless integrity means something other than what I always thought it meant.  I ran on out to the airport to see if I could get a shot of the mountains while the sun was setting. I couldn't get the shot I wanted in particular, and while I was waiting outside for something better, I was freezing my buns off. I had driven by the school and looked at the temperature display on the way out. It said it was 38 degrees. No way! The ice on the roads were as solid as bone and there was still frost on the trees. As I was heading back home, I noticed the little stream that runs near the airport. I think it always runs, no matter how cold it gets. In any event, I know the water was frigid. I started wondering about the animals, if they drink out of that stream. Do animals get brain freeze from drinking icy cold water? Can you imagine ol' Bob the buck taking a nice long drink only to have his head feel like someone smacked him with a hammer?The ol' ice cream headache syndrome. I think that when it comes to anxious thoughts of spring, I'm probably not alone.