Sunday, September 04, 2005


Rapelling into a cavern of unknown depth, reaching the end of the rope and tieing another on, continuing the rapell until my head lamp fades out and for a moment, I'm spinning in sheer darkness...

A judo tournament my freshman year- my opponent out ranks me by four belts and broke Kelly's arm less than an hour ago and he has me in the same hold. Everyone is yelling for me to tap- my teammates, my coach and even my girlfriend. One second of feeling completely alone and I twist my elbow off the breaking point and get to my feet. I can see in his eyes that he is shaken and he taps out to a weak choke a few seconds later. Lesson learned: when you go all the way, you will be alone.

Taking a defunct raft down the side of Mount Hood and getting air and slamming into the ground and seeing flashes of color: blue-white-blue-white.... Thinking, "This is the weirdest concussion I've ever had." Then I realized it was the snow and the sky and I was spinning!

Concussion- learning naginata at the SCA and my coach/partner faked me beautifully and caught me under the helmet. Everything is in slow motion as I see the helmet spin through the air and I'm thinking, "Boy, I hope my head's not still in there." The unbelievable relief and happiness when the helmet bounces off the wall and rolls to my feet and there isn't a head inside.

Taking my son out in the rain in the first seconds after his twenty-three hour ordeal of birth.

My wife after the same labor- a soft rattle wakes me up and she is standing, moving her IV over to get water or something. "What are you doing? Get back to bed!" She looked at me and said, "You looked so tired I didn't want to wake you."

Drinking Chichu with Bobby, a reformed cannibal in Ecuador.

Night time sling load operation- I'm on the top of a humvee holding up a probe so that the static charge created by the copters spinning props doesn't shock anyone bad as a squad of copters come in low over the trees lit only by moonlight. Hold the probe steady as the pilot tries to hold the copter steady while my partner hooks the clips on the sling. It is gale-force winds from the blades and an enormous mass of steel held from crushing me only by the skill of the pilot and load master... and then it is done and I watch the tank-killing vehicle fly into the night dangling from the helicopter.

Hanging out the doors of a helicopter as the pilot flies knap-of-the-earth. He's practicing flying and I'm practicing gunning... the disconcerting feel that the earth has risen to vertical because there is almost no sensation that we are flying on our side.

Really wild sex in a tropical rainstorm on top of a Mayan watch tower.

Walking away from a violent, developementally disabled, schizophrenic and bipolar arrestee who always fights but has just promised that he would be quiet and behave and even went so far as to give me some friendly advice (he suggested a good counselor, he thought I could use one) when another experienced officer walks over and whispers, "How the hell do you do that, Sarge?" The force has great power over weak minds....

Playing bad guy, I'm literally standing on one foot, balanced on a speaker above the door when the tactical team enters. No one looks up. They enter, fan out... and I drop down behind them and just leave. They all look up now.

In a hanging valley on Snoqualmie pass, camping. Early in the morning the little jays are begging for food and we get the Francis of Assissi pictures with wild birds eating out of our hands... within an hour we're trying to drive the little buggers off so we can eat in peace.

Another year in the same camp site with good friends, good scotch and the Aurora Borealis lighting the sky.

Playing bad guy again, I was a bit unprofessional. Their team leader had ignored my critique, so I decided to role-play me instead of a random criminal for their second run through the scenario. Now the four-man cell is standing there, each with a smear of paint from a sim bullet or two on the helmet and two in the chest and one or two at the hips. I've been hit once in the arm and twice in the leg out of 40 bullets down range.. and all the hits were after I was out of ammo.

My family shows up at a DT instructor's meeting to take me to lunch. We're boxing. "Anybody want to box?" I ask and without hesitation my eleven-year old daughter says, "Sure!" and grabs some gloves.

It's a good life, and a life is nothing but moments and stories. I hope all of you reading this are living the stories you dream.

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