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Archive for August 2012

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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    Being There

    Wow What a Summer-Alaska is a lot like pizza. When it's good, it's really good.
    When it's bad, it's still pretty good; and like the Pizza Guy, Alaska always delivers.



    Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe videos. Nature's living mirror, however is water---whether still or in motion,The most beautiful landscapes go  better with H 2 Ooooooooh! 

    The Happy go Locals don't tan, they rust, and if they smoke, they smoke salmon.The  cruisers who inhabit this place for 6  hours a day may have come on different ships, but they are all in the same boat-Mother Nature's.





    

Here are my top 5 Videos:

    Keep close to Nature's heart...and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean-John Muir


    Write? Right!

    Here are my travel blog entries:

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on a bridge
looking like an idiot unless you are in Alaska holding a salmon

 It is truly the king of fish




I have been fishing all season but not for the fish, but what the wild salmon symbolize--- the Pacific Northwest's natural splendor.

The 1000 year-old salmon run is alive and well



- - -- by Ed Reif»
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More like Blue Sky Fjords 

205 inches of rain a year and not one drop today.

A unique Alaskan experience— We took off from Ketchikan Harbor Seaplane Base,  and the self-proclaimed Salmon capital of the world---the place where people don't get old, they rust...and rust never sleeps.

Up in the air for 30 minutes on the single engine "flying boat" and the small remote mountain lakes  we saw below would be next to impossible to reach on foot, a reminder that most of this area is still wilderness and accessible only by small boat or plane.  In the heyday, I could imagine how snail mail (US) delivery runs must have been done this way.

Hey Hey, My My

Yet they were spectacular by air, like waves  each one  more powerful than the next. Pilot Jeff Carlin, picked out one of the lakes, landed the "puddle jumper"  and  JC turned off the noisy diesel engine that was a reminder that we left  the  the buzz of everyday life. A kind of Dorothy, "No Longer In Kansas" moment.

We stepped out on the pontoon,  a big sitka spruce log , leftover from the lumber jack harvesters, lead  us to a small granite island. This was to be our platform and ad hoc dock for just now. I   breathed in the fresh temperate rain forest  air, listening to the silence, and seeing the unspoiled beauty in a 360 panoramic view--- it was awesome. The plane itself was the only man-made object as nature took over.  I could imagine being dropped off with fishing gear for a few days and living off this great land  on my wits.

Roll video...




A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water.
Anywhere there is blue on the map you can find them. Seaplanes don't need runways.Taking off and landing in water has a romantic fascination because float planes  can go places that you can't get to otherwise.


Smooth air and a great ride
with Jeff Carlin.
 



- - -- by Ed Reif»
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The way I see it, if you want to see Rainbow Falls,
you gotta put up with the rain.




I think salmon fish in the package is nice,
but then I think that rain is wet, so who am I to judge?



















Many consider the Tongass National Forest to be the "crown jewel" of our national forest system


 One thing for sure- It's a  Watershed Moment---A point in time when nothing after will ever be the same as before when it comes to my appreciation for precipitation. It's no longer  the path of moist resistance. I like the rain.





I finally got my bearings...


- - -- by Ed Reif»
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If you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing for six months. I could deal with that. Before you hibernate, you're supposed to  gorge yourself stupid. on salmon I could deal with that too. 

Bears are a proud people, although they're not people per-say. They're animals. Bears derive their name from an NFL football team in Chicago. Bears have been known to attack man, although the fact is that fewer people have been killed by bears than in all of World  Wars I and  II combined, and probably World War 3.

Note to self:“Always respect Mother Nature. Especially when she weighs 400 pounds and is guarding her baby.”





Come On Dog, Mush!

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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And the vagabond wind, whispers over the bay
and the songs and the laughter, are carried away in the sky


Anywhere there is blue on the map you can find them. Seaplanes don't need runways.Taking off and landing in water has a romantic fascination because float planes  can go places that you can't get to otherwise.


 De Plane, De Plane

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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And I Say It's Alright


5 days a year there is pure sunshine, the rest are liquid. The Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District encompasses over 3.2 million acres of temperate rainforest, mountain peaks, glaciers, alpine tundra, muskegs, lakes, rivers, and streams. Time to take a hike and listen to The Beatles...



The first tune I learned  to play on guitar was “Horse With No Name”, the second, "Here Comes The Sun”. It’s light and simple and my favorite George Harrison song.

The song is in A chromatic-minor with an A tonic major chord.[2] The refrain uses a IV (D chord) to V (E chord) progression (the reverse of that used in "Eight Days a Week" ). The melody in the verse and refrain basically follows the pentatonic scale from E up to C♯ (scale steps 5, 6, 1, 2, 3.Now where is my guitar..oh yea--- Gently weeping.

YESterday was cold and rainy




But Here Comes The Well -Deserved Sun

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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If people concentrated on the really important things they'd be a shortage of fishing poles. Carpet Diem means fish of the day around here. Pinks and Silver-Ko ho salmon.



Fishing is actually boring, unless you catch an actual fish, and then it is disgusting

I Hear Invoices 




I am thinking of that movie with Brando " I coulda been a contender." the central theme of the coulda, shouda, woulda crowd. At sea, however,  we have no CNN effect  nor 57 channels  to tell us our dancing, singing and comedy  is not good enough as American Idol-click- or DWTS-click, TMZ-click or Reality TV.

The Way In Is The Way Out

It's all self referential which ends up being the way out of the Contender Syndrome and  America’s culture of envy, and wanting be, do, and have more. The disease of more is  really an indictment of our  own judgments that we haven’t accomplished enough. Reaching our potential comes from a discrepancy between the ‘actual self’ (who we are), the ‘ideal self’ (who we’d like to be), and the ‘ought self’ (who we think others want us to be).

I am paying myself first.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Back in Ketchikan, Its Tlingit Indian name, Kach Khanna, means “spread wings of the eagle".  and I have seen many of them. I am within minutes by float plane from Misty Fjords and the Tongas National Rain Forest.

Timber harvesting is all but over, and the environmental narrative is about this place, while not being  as bio-diverse as The Amazon, Tongas  is denser and the largest rainforest  in the US,at 17 Million acres
Among the salmon and deer and black bears, and trees

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Doing some eco-tourism in Washington State and meeting people that work for Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon ,those bio tech firms and of course Starbucks.But I would have really liked to talk story with Chief Seattle.Here is his take on real estate. It is not just location, location, location:"Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people."
"Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth. This we know: the earth does not belong to us but man to the earth.
All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself"

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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If a man speaks in the forest and there are no women around to hear it, is he still wrong? 

I, the land

I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and
    never will be measured.
I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.

Tranquility Base, The ego has landed—male energy  and efforting doesn’t pay off-conquering mountains, owning the  ocean, the weather and wilderness won’t make you, it will break you,  if you are in competition instead of collaboration and cooperation with Gaia. —The idea that I, the land take's hold.

 I get it. It is not a place of domination, nor does nature reward aggression. Too much respect for it doesn’t make you a wimp. and you have to know your limitations




- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Have a nICE Day
“The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” -JM


Same Ship Different Day


I had a similar epiphiny in the

Norwegian  Geirangerfjord-Mother Nature and Father Time Are Effing Special.







“I'm past the point of no return,” Mother Jones

Before, Norway, Earth Goddess was just a yuppie  salad dressing you could buy at Whole  Foods. I never thought  that people died. They just went to organic health food stores... and  that Japanese guy who always wins the hot dog eating contest is the anti-christ.

Today as I kayak in the fjords and observe the sun, the water,  the green and everything in flow, I say to myself  "Yes indeed, all this belongs to me!". and, more than that,I play a role in its appearance.


As I get a glimpse of the deeper, random, chance  encounters of my 3 pound  universe (brain), with Mother Nature and Father Time being demoted from actual reality, to my mere subjective experience of my consciousness, I feel immortal.


Narrow Road To The Interior
4 season in one day
Mother Nature laughs out loud
Life is forever-
Basho aka Ed Reif  on A Frequent Flyer Pass


 The ephipany being:  Old school selfishness sez, I am  the center of the world, New World Order sez, I create the world. Space and time aren’t objects — they’re my brain`s tools for putting everything together. Without "me", they don't exist.

  Father Time Simply Reboots

 Reminds me of the joke, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound.....
We carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells..Without mind, matter doesn´t "matter". It hovers  in   waves  of probability. Thus, there is no absolute grid we live in where things occur independent of our own thinking about it.

Although our body may self destruct, the 20-watt  fountain of energy operating in the brain. doesn’t go away at death. Father Time simply reboots. The universe is in our head,and not out there seperate from us. What the bleep?


- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Finding Alaska is easy. My eyes mint gold. Nothing shines so brightly.

The scenery  paints itself. I'm just the middleman. 
You can't create experiences like this, you undergo them.

You can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes

Being born in the US is like being kidnapped and sold into entrepreneurship  on Planet Pick Axe.


My universe is made of stories, not atoms: land, air and sea travel and the power of now. If I wanted to be a multinational soul, and monetize my best asset,me, I couldn't do it in cities where I taught English like New York or Los Angeles, Paris or Tokyo alone-I needed to get consecrated by sailing on the oceans.It's a wonderful thing to get rid of everything and everybody and just go some place where you don't know anyone; where, as Melville said,"God's one and only voice is Silence."




All Ashore-Traquility Base, The Ego Has Landed

Skagway Today

Living on a ship, might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria.


 It's not real life but an alibi. It is like going out of your mind everyday- in order to come to your senses; and a fool who persists in his folly becomes wise.  If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it, After all, success doesn't come to you, you go to it. It's not easy getting a gig on a ship.The Only Easy Day  on board was Yesterday.


Ship/ Shift Happens

After 10 ships, yes TEN, I no longer want to cast doubt on perfection-America.“It’s not about the money” is the lesser known, I don’t have a dream speech. The Greeks invented the idea of nemesis to show how any single virtue, stubbornly maintained gradually changes into a destructive vice. Having a vague and abstract love for everybody and everything has its moments,  but by becoming passionate and vowing fidelity to concrete relationships, persons, institutions, and places are ideas whose time has come.


Fire In The Belly


Steve Jobs said “Money is life’s report card, Sam Keen, "Nice gets you a C+ in life" I've seen this kind of "success" as a drug of choice.More than that, success without fulfillment, is failure, yet, this kind of failure is going to get your best material.As An Art Director and World Cruise Coordinator, the experiences at sea turned my can’ts (no resources) into cans (resourcefulness) and leveraged my dreams (I haven't been everywhere but it is on my list) into serendipity a thousand unseen helping hands. As I stated in my Youtube channel bio--No matter how low the budget bar gets, I always manage to limbo my way under it. If you think about it, I am the Wilt Chamberlain of shoe-string travel.putting up #'s so unthinkable, mere normals will never, ever reach them.-300 ports in 38 months...

 Money isn't the root of all evil, boredom is the root of all evil, a spiritual anorexia- the despairing refusal to be oneself.

 The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, once you let go of the life you have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for youI have  come to love this new self, not by being  a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly, and renewed with a sense of wonder about this.  It’s only by becoming intimately acquainted with these narratives that we can begin to live consciously and, as the Sufi poet Rumi said, “unfold our own myth.”  I always tell  Bob Reif that he is  in a storytelling economy, and  gets paid for the stories he tells.

 I too am  constantly writing and re-writing my autobiography in this blog.(but I get paid in attention more than cash.).


Being born in America is like being kidnapped and sold into entrepreneurship



  •  the shared hallucination of running on the treadmill of consumption and materialism. It's a mask that eats up the face.  
  • ...It's also like winning the lottery, a currency, and I wanted to spend it well.Yet, we value material, we ignore emotions. If I wanted to serve my country, I had to betray it. 


What was the blue chip idea worth betraying? What was the lie I told myself? The disease of more in a world of plenty where most of the developing world is starving. The lack of simplicity and the yearn for complexity was, and in many ways still is, my blind spot.The most total opposite of pleasure is not pain but boredom. I was willing to risk pain ( culture shock) to make a boring life interesting and re framing (Home is a feeling not a place) travel as a verb and not a noun. You have to DO it.--- A 1 man National geographic on that everywhere trip.

The good, the bad and the ugly American- Why be difficult when you can be impossible--Hell was about to be other people,other cultures, other languages, and the National Anthem of Hell, was Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way". I had to make the switch from tourist to traveler, and adapt, otherwise this journey would be Karaoke traveling, a cheap imitation of the best yet to come.Without risk, faith is an impossibility. My "leap of faith" to give up all things material was curiosity.


The Power of NEW


The cure for my ennui and boredom was "Any place but here" and "I want to be surprised everyday". There's nothing ethical about the work ethic on ships. I got paid in cash, visited nice places, had a hotel room and six all you can eat meals a day! If the passengers were behaving badly, there was always a new group every 7 or 14 days to keep my interest.Now that I didn't need Power Point to explain my job, how much was I worth now that I was no longer in the w2 world of 9 to 5.

 I  am  a time millionaire. It is  going to be about resourcefulness and not resources.Who does not love the sea? The beach is a place of healing and joy. The salt cleanses us and the sun embraces us in its warmth. The ocean heals the heart, mind, and soul. life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment.Yet, the sea has never been friendly to me. At most it has been the accomplice of my restlessness.So there is no cure for this curiosity.

TV is an eraser and Youtube and Blogger, a paint brush. My leap of faith to go on ships was recreation and re-creation and re-invention. There are second acts in American lives, and third and fourths.No Man Is An Island, yet after age 40, land is seldom seen and you can count your friends on one hand.I am an expat, yet not every country will do. I don't know why, some countries fill the gaps and others emphasize my expat-ness. In reality those that satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ''idea of them." 

Life’s a beach in an ocean of ennui is the take away from places like Fiji, Tahiti and the Maldives, even Alaska, aka, The Big Alone., It is when laziness finds respectability.

 These "Islands" are extraordinary within their limits, but their limits are extraordinary. Yet if I do the math, an emotional algebra adds up to 1+1=infinity. It's a pristine place.This is no 9 to 5. You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. It is just a fraction of you. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating on a cruise ship, walking the painted line, where everything is nicely arranged--formal nights, shore excursions, shopping, bottled water.


When you’re perpetually cruising , you are what you are right there and then.



 People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yes in yesterdays on the road.I know both sides because I am both sides: a tourist who doesn't know where I've been; a traveller who doesn't know where he's going. I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list. 

I thought college was the longest vacation I ever took; but this Graduate School seamester is a kind of study abroad in Nomadic PursuitsI meet therefore I am- a multinational soul. I shrink therefore I am part of — and apart from American, European and Asian culture. and the countries I visit(ed) and live(d) in are as eclectic and restless as ports of call I "inhabit" for six hours or at most three daze. 

 Along with the displacement, and the associated "jet" lag" and culture shock, I am simply a fairly glib product of a movable feast, living and working in a world that is itself increasingly small and increasingly hybrid---a transit lounger, forever heading to the all "aboard" by 6PM gangway.The cult of the amateur wanderers is growing; global souls who haven't been everywhere but it is on their list; for whom home is a feeling, not a place in the soil but inside yourself. I am one of the privileged homeless. Is there a new kind of person being created by a new kind of life?


Rust Never Sleeps- 


It's Neil Young's Soundtrack again--"I've been to Hollywood, I've been to Redwood, I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold".  As a Canadian singing and living in the US, I know verbatim every song on his Harvest album. I used to dress like him in flannel shirts and Tims (Timberline Boots) He's still hip, and aging gracefully.Me too, I believe. 

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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One man's wilderness is another man's theme park

On a cruise ship- nothing fails like excess.

You don’t buy clothes, you wear them –North Face, Columbia and Patagonia; and in that order I see the passengers in gear, rough and  ready for some precip(atation) with anticipation. As I am doing laps, swimming onboard  the Golden Princess’ heated pool, 250 year old glacier melt's myst hits my face at the speed of trust. I have to re-evaluate my assertion: If Hollywood is loneliness beside the swimming pool, then Norway is  solitude by the fjords. 
I am safe in the solitude of  being a tourist. It plays more like a Disney animated feature film than a true Alaskan adventure.


Every one has a photographic memory, but not everyone film


York Cathedral-For Real
 North Face gear  is on just about everyone onboard, It reminds  me of when I wore it every day- Same Shirt Different day-- in  Scrabster, Scotland on my British Islands cruise. I somehow managed to lose my jacket.  That is an amazing feat, and I believe I have the onset of some-timers(forgetfulness). At this point, All you need is Google, and I can retrieve photos like the one above in a holy instant, but I am considering buying some North Face gear again--it's light weight and keeps you warm and water-resistant. Around here, -what your resist persists--rain I mean.

Glacier bay is closer now, and it plays like a Hemingway story; everything is  sepia-toned and bristling with subtext and I catch the mystery, power and vulnerability  of nature.

I love watching the sun  on the water, but I don't have to go to the sun. I just love knowing it is there. Same goes for AlaskaI probably will never get there again after this season, but I can imagine being there. I'm just content knowing this big wilderness is still there.
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Even after all this time, the sun and mountains never says to the earth 'you owe me'. Look what happens with a love like that. It lights up the whole sky

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Alaska Salmon

Why do they do it? The urge to merge-


The Pacific Northwestern salmon is hell bent on its quest to travel hundreds of miles upstream against the current, with a single purpose, sex of course, but also... life. 
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it 
Any fish  can achieve failure and get caught. But  a salmon fiasco is a disaster of epic propotions. I witness this "programming" and it makes me  feel more alive because it didn't happen to me.






To make matters worse, young bears bulk up with salmon for a long winter' s sleep.  

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Snow and Ice Fire And Rain

Nature is more, Man and Cruiseship, less.


A fjord is when sea water floods a valley carved out by a glacier. I have cruised in New Zealand's Flords, and Norway's, and this one, Tracy Fjord is equally astonishing and beautiful. The Fjords are Alaska's  Ecstasy.

The definition of ecstasy is that you are not doing your ordinary everyday routine....essentially stepping into an alternative reality.The blue glacier ice makes the invisible visible. Glaciers appear blue in color because water, including the frozen water that makes up glaciers) is very good at absorbing light.



Love is a blue sky on a glacier  pasture, and I am Quinn the Eskimo eating it all up
The more icy and clear an iceberg, the bluer it appears.

I met  a guy named Art. I took  him to a museum, hung him on the wall, criticized him, and left. Alaska, however, makes me want to wrap myself in tinfoil and walk on the moon.