That’s what words are.

Just wind.

Blowing in and out,



Even words written

Or graven in stone

Or captured in electrons

Are just captured scents,

Bottled and held,

But still insubstantial and temporary.

Words are wind

And wind is just moving air.


Air is what we breathe.

We take it in

And make it a part of ourselves.

Its the catalyst for the fires of life.

A breeze refreshes,

A tornado destroys,

And a hurricane devastates.

All moving air.

All wind.

Spirit means air too.

Movements of the spirit.



Old Porch

The porch is almost new

But it has a warm, comfortable feel,

Like a favorite coat

Or a well-loved blanket,

So, to me, it’ll be the old porch.

I’m welcome here.

Among friends.

The sun set,



Dipping slowly beyond the trees

As we ate good food.

The dark brought a cool evening breeze

And increasing laughter

And a few moments of companionable silence.

There have been drinks

And shared memories

And the kind of stories friends share.

Candles in copper lanterns

Shed soft, golden light.

The women are beautiful and kind,

And occasionally raunchy

And strong in the way that only mothers can be.

The men are handsome and brave.

An island of candlelight on a porch in a sea of comfortable darkness

Shows everyone at their best,

(Sometimes their worst I suppose, depending on the person)

I like to think that best is truth.

For these folks,

On this porch,

On this night,

Seeing them at I do is seeing them as they are.

At least that’s what I believe.

That’s the magic of an old porch.

No Mood

I’m in no-mood tonight.


Sort of.

Not a good mood.

Not a bad mood

(Or, not really bad).

I’m listless.


Maybe not waiting either.

Just here

But not in a Zen kind of here;

More like a bullet kind of here.

Stored energy waiting for a direction.

Without the sharp sense of purpose.

I’m not at peace

(I find, more often than not these days, that I have a greater sense of peace than I used to have)

But I’m not really in turmoil either.

I’m a big slow cooker of stewed emotions.

A little of this,

A bit of that,

A soupçon of the other.

And I’m ok with it tonight.

I know I’ll wander out one edge or another.

Tomorrow I’ll have some peace.

Likely I’ll have a bit of anxiety and turmoil at some point too.  (I’m under grace but not perfected.)



More of the former than the latter

(Cause I’m under grace).


I’ll drift.



Under Stars

I went out tonight.

I shut the door behind me.

Instantly I was blind.


I walked slowly to the edge of the porch

And sat on the topmost step.


Things changed.

The black on black sky

Began to glow with inky luminescence,

Not bright

But a perfect tarnished silver backdrop

For the charcoal sketch that was everything beyond my skin.

The branches and trunks of trees were lines of shadow

And I saw the most intricate shapes in the intertwining of the lines.

After my eyes woke to the world at night,

My ears followed suit.

Frogs and crickets and birds

(I’m sure there were some birds)

Filled the air with their croaks and squeaks and trills.

The echoes bounced from tree to tree so that one song came from all sides

And joined with the other songs in surround sound that Bose can’t match.

I heard something small and furtive moving through the un-raked leaves beside the porch.

I heard a deer

(It had to be a deer, from the size of the sound)

Crash through the swamp nearby.

Not long ago the crashes and skitterings would have made me nervous.

A bit nervous,

Not too much,

But some.

In the past, anything not fully seen,



And controlled

Would have done that.

Not now.

I’ve never had control.

I know who does.

That proves a release and a relief.

I don’t need control.

I can sit

In the noisy quiet

And feel the gentle spring breeze

Carrying a faint memory of winter

And a faint promise of summer

Wrap around me.

The mind expands under the stars

I think.

It was hard to come back in.

It was peaceful out there.


Maybe I can carry peace with me




Shadow Shapes

Shadow shapes

Of trees in relief,

Stark and graceful

Against a luminous, grey sky.

Fog veils the world.

Clouds brought low for passionate kisses with the earth?

Or Oceans taking hesitant flight?

Either way, a veiled world

Is a changed world.

Sometimes, a veiled view leads to clearer sight.

Surroundings can obscure the heart of a thing.

The tyranny of eyes is that they make one picture of everything they view.

Sometimes the forest hides the trees.

It’s occasionally good to change perspective,

To see the edges,

To blur the edges and see the heart,

To see the thing,

And to see the shadow it casts.

Getaway Key

The water was warm.

It’s always warm.  One of the many nice things about living on a small Key at the tail end of Florida is that the water is almost always warm.  I like to swim and am a fairly strong swimmer. When I lived up North, winter swimming meant an indoor pool.  The ocean was off limits unless you were one of those polar bear people which I never was.  Of the many reasons I picked this little island to be my primary residence, warm water and a nice beach was one of the important ones.

You won’t have heard of my Key.  Like No Name Key it’s not hooked up to the electrical grid and unlike it, my island truly doesn’t have a name.  It just had a numerical designation when I bought it.  In the tax records it’s now known as Residence of Sam Howell.  Sam Howell is not my name, by the way, except on a few documents scattered randomly about.  Old Sam has the barest of backstory, just a few dates and numbers that satisfy certain requirements.  He’s almost a non-person.  Like my home is almost a non-place.  They were both designed that way.

I mentioned that I’m off the electrical grid here.  Water too.  No public utilities at all.  I have two small solar arrays, though, and a small wind turbine.  I also have a fairly experimental wave power buoy system.  It doesn’t generate a lot of electricity but between the three I have more than enough for what I need.  I also have a diesel generator and a two hundred gallon tank buried near the house.  That is part of the failsafe.  I had the tank put in by a local company but I did the work on the other systems myself.  I have a lot of eclectic knowledge.

I named my island Getaway Key.  Not overly clever, perhaps, but there you have it.  No roads lead to it.  You’d need a boat or helicopter to reach it, though it’s only about a mile from Marathon (coincidentally just outside the twelve hundred foot area of incorporations) which is where I park my car.  It’s no big chore to make a trip to town to check the mail or get groceries.  I even have satellite internet.

I designed the house myself.  It fits into the surroundings.  Looks like just the sort of beach house you might expect on a little key.  I did the best I could to keep it energy efficient but you really can’t build an Earthship kind of place on a subtropical island unless you really want people to talk about it.  Also, underground homes are not ideal in a place that gets hit regularly by tropical storms and hurricanes.  My little home was sturdy though.  I was sorry when it blew up.  But I always knew it would. In a manner of speaking, that was one of the design features.

They came at three in the morning.  Statistically, that’s the best time for a covert assault.  People tend to be in their deepest sleep.  Response times are slow, even for those awake.  It was three teams, two by water, sweeping in from the Northeast and Southeast with a fast rope air assault team timed to arrive as the other two converged on my little house.  The approach of the two sea teams cut off any escape towards Marathon or North to the Glades.  The air team approached from the Northwest.  The entire operation would have constant satellite surveillance.  It would be easy to see anyone trying to escape west to avoid the assault teams.  The ideal would be a swift and silent convergence on the house followed by a multi-point breach which would, hopefully, give me just a brief moment of confused wakefulness before I was killed.  Then the house would be quickly searched, sanitized and destroyed in a fire which would be blamed on an electrical problem that spread to the diesel tank nearby.  All teams would be home by sunrise and certain people would enjoy their first trouble free breakfast in three years.

That would be the ideal.

Don’t think so.

My first death was just five years ago.  The airplane I was in suffered complete engine failure (brought on by C4) and went down in the Catskills.  It took them a week to find the wreckage.  In the life just before that I was an analyst.  I analyzed…patterns…and trends.  I was very good at probabilities.  I was good enough at patterns and probabilities to notice certain patterns that some of the people I reported to didn’t want noticed and good enough at probabilities to recognize the probability that I might become very fatally accident prone.  I was also good enough to have seen that outcome as a possibility many years before and plan accordingly.  If you’re privy to most of the big secrets that move the world along, it’s not too hard to make sure you have the resources for a backup plan.  When the wreckage was found (two days before it was reported found, by the way) there were enough pieces to make a positive DNA match to me.  That gave me a little breathing space.

But I knew they’d come.

The first burst of gunfire came from my bedroom window as the teams converged on my house.  It was returned immediately, first from one, then from all sides.  Bullets tore into the house but I’d reinforced the walls from waist height down.  The soldiers fired efficiently, in controlled bursts, suppressing return fire as they moved quickly on the house.  Once they reached the walls, two men moved to every entry point.  At every window and door the man on the left tossed in a flash bang and the man on the right tossed in a frag grenade.  I guess they were counting on the walls to stop the fragments.  Would have worked if the house hadn’t blown up. I don’t know for sure but I’ll bet you could have seen that fireball even in Marathon.

I have to hand it to the support and over watch.  They recovered quickly.  I’d barely gotten to the end of my escape tunnel (yes, trite but effective) when coms reported, “Runner near the beach, heading east”.

I ran hard for the beach.

I could hear the pounding of combat boots behind me.

Only one man, dark against the waves, between me and the warm water.

I raised my rifle.

He moved into the water.

With a “whup, whup, whup” an Apache gunship (really, an Apache just for little ol’ me) dropped into view just ahead and opened fire.

Tracer fire stitched a brilliant line across the dark sky.

Bullets tore through flesh.

No chance to survive that.

Poor guy.

Well, not really “poor guy”.  He was not a nice person. The list of really nasty things he’d done was long and repulsive.  I’d spent quite a few months finding him and then convincing him that some “rivals” had a bad end in mind for him.  I’d kindly let him stay, for a generous sum (actually a lot more generous than he was aware), on my island for the past week, until I could handle the situation for him.

I knew they were coming.

When the teams swept in from the corners they swept right over my hide.  I rose up just behind them, dressed identically, and joined the assault on my home.

I hadn’t expected the gunship though.  That almost blew things apart for me.  Fortunately, one of those fifty caliber rounds was a direct head shot.  Not reconstructing that face.  Truthfully, there was little left of the body.  Apaches are not really designed to be used against a single human target but they are very effective against one. Since he was already waist deep, most of the bits of him washed out.  What could be recovered would match the DNA profile stored on me.  Again.  That makes me smile. It wouldn’t last forever.  The people who were looking for me wouldn’t stop unless they saw my unquestionably dead body and had God sign the death certificate.  Maybe not even then.  It would buy me some time though.

By the time the teams had gathered their dead (I have some regrets about the soldiers but they were there to kill me) and the clean-up team had arrived I was finishing the swim to Marathon.  When the sun rose over the Keys the assault teams were almost back to their base, my house was a warm pile of ashes and I was crossing the Georgia state line.  I had a cozy little home (well, a bit more of a bunker really) in the mountains.


I wouldn’t be telling you about it if it was still there.

Measure of a man

The average man lives two lives. One life is lived on the outside and is measured by worldly successes.  The second life is lived on the inside and is measured by personal failures.

A strong man lives a single life measured by success and failure inside and out.

A weak man also lives but one life, a life weighed by failures on every side.

The villain lives measured by triumph inside the skull and whether he is found out on the outside.

Each one is only one step away from the others.