UNIQUE WEST FLORIDA PHOTOS

DISCLAIMER

REFLECTIONS
   UNIQUE WESTERN FLORIDA PHOTOS
Dedicated To Michael  My Son
The Greatest Man I Ever Knew
I Can't Stop Loving You



I'VE SEEN IT RAINING FIRE IN TH
E SKY
                                                 Rocky Mountain High 
                                                                John Denver

















 





































BEAUTY IS THERE IF YOU JUST LOOK

"Once in a while you get shown the light in
the strangest of places if you look at it right"

From Scarlet Begonias 
The Grateful Dead

















ODDS AND ENDS
Shots that don't fit elsewhere




There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads

Peggy Lee...Is that all there is?



Foggy Mountain



Come on the risin' wind,
We're goin' up around the bend
Credence Clearwater Revival...Up around the bend.

  




 

Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul
Brokedown Palace...The Grateful Dead


Autumn in the mountains


TO HONOR FATHER THOMAS MERTON
The Mentor I Never Met But Grew To Know
And Love

The early morning view from Father Merton's hermit cabin.  A gentle rain fell on the previous night's light spring snowfall.  I sat crosslegged on the dusty floor and enjoyed the rain.  I was eventually encouraged by the experience to write this poem.

  THE RAIN, THOMAS MERTON AND MY SOUL
                    
It's been a lifetime tryin'
to outrun the rain
and now I'm tired,
my feet hurt,
and I'm soaking wet.
Time it is now to sit in the downpour
and feel its essence
to hear its sound among trees
to nod and smile to the rooftop tapping of simple gifts...
a code spelling loving graces.
Time to take refuge and rest
in the rain, Thomas Merton and my soul.


Thomas Merton understood the rain.  He realized it nurtured rich and poor indiscriminately.  Some of his greatest encounters with enlightenment were intertwined with the rain.  Rain is universal.  Merton knew further that salvation was universal.  Salvation was a gift of grace and it fell on all just as the rain.  He saw the duty and destiny of man to be one of abandoning oneself to enlightenment.  Man needed not to possess anything, he needed only to allow nothing to possess him.  For Thomas Merton life was a dance in the rain.  It was joy.  It was an unrestrained search and it was a calm day listening to the soft sound of rain in the pines.  No peaceful and sincere spiritual expression was exempt from its place at the dance or in the rain.  Buddhism, Judaism, Islam & Sufism, Hinduism...all spiritual paths, fit within the peaceful and loving world sanctified by Thomas Merton's dance in the rain.

Father Merton understood that rain without man was merely just a scientific event...a function of physical factors.  With man, rain became something to view with peace.  Contemplating the sound of rain caressing leaves brought comfort.  Rain tapping on the roof was the sound of God's fingers. Viewing the tiny droplets hanging from myrtle seeds like so many tiny crystal balls was to appreciate creation.  Rain became a metaphor for all that is holy.  Yes, Thomas Merton understood the rain.  Even more than that, he understood the dance of enlightenment.

Father Merton was crossing the street (4th and Walnut) in Louisville whem experienced a spiritual event that would change his life.  He realized his love and concern for his fellow humans.  He saw the God in man and he strove to serve both,

His prayer says it all:
 
"My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."


Gethsemani Monastery  where Father Merton lived and wrote
 

Talk only occurs when necessary.  They are called Trappists.


The view from the old part of the monastery.  I joined the monks for early prayer and chanting at 3:15 AM
for Vigils. Monks assemble eight times during the day for prayer and chanting Psalms. The final
event is Compline at 7:30, leaving us time for prayer and meditation before welcomed sleep.
The monastic life at the Abbey of Gethsemani leaves time for hard work and prayer.



Father Merton's grave.  He's buried next to his Zen Garden.


THE GOOD AND BAD OF LIVING ON THE COAST
The Gulf Coast is rich in beautiful views and wildlife










The beaches bring crowds but the crowds bring money and jobs




Sometimes the visitors are unwanted.  Dennis and Ivan were such visitors.













BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY
Adams, Brady and the other great photographers of the past had no choice but to provide black and white photos.  Some scenes still benefit from black and white.  Today we can take a short cut of sorts.  We can photograph in color and also get black and white shots in post productionSome of the following shots appear elsewhere on this site in color. I think there is a timeless quality to maritime scenes that are sometimes best represented by black and white photography.





































A PAPER AND PHOTO CHASE
or
How One Child Went Bad






I was born in a military hospital (Gardiner General) in Chicago as WW II was drawing to a close.  We lived on Cornell Ave and my father was in the Army and he met my future mother  while she worked for the Army Transportation Office.  The hospital was a converted hotel and is now gone.





Five year old living in the Cincinnati East End

First grade in Cardinal Pacelli School.







First Communion


First prayer book.


We were taught that you had a sure shot
at Heaven if you died wearing the right artifact.





Somewhere along the time of this photo, this smart ass
tried to come to grips with such heady terms as eternity
and transubstantiation.  Those were late Sunday nights
to agonize over.  I had been  thinking about becoming a
Trappist-style monk but the discovery of another deep
mystery interfered.  Right, I discovered girls and all that
went with that new world. 

The Trappists didn't lose much but the girls didn't get much out of the trade either.









High school kid who worked as a caddy, a gardener
and an insect trapper for the state of Ohio.


Bricklayer and team captain.  Basketball was our life.






Missing an "alley oop" attempt






Miss Heiserman was a teaching treasure who
introduced me to the power of the written word.

I was  young for high school.  I was still 13 when I went
from the Catholic school to register  at the high school.










I was the King of the Spanish Club Carnival!  
(standing,white sweater)

I played a psychiatrist.






My medal for being the leading athlete at graduation.



I had a good agent.









I admit I grabbed the diploma and ran
from the building before they could take it back.




My ever-present radio.  I am a "radio-phile" who came along at the end of radio's "Golden Age" before television dominated culture.  In the 50s, 60s and 70s I listened to local and far away radio stations.  WLS and WCFL in Chicago,  WLW in Ohio was the Nation's Station.  WWWE in Cleveland and WOWO in Ft Wayne were favorite as was KDKA in Pittsburgh.  Way down yonder in New Orleans we treasured WWL.  There were many others but none topped WLAC's night DJ John R who fed us the R&B lacking in the usual Top 40 markets.  The other king of the airwaves was NBC's weekend show called Monitor.  Staring at 8 AM on Saturday and signing off at Sunday Midnight, it was a constant 40 hour companion with news, weather, sports, comedy and anything else.  It was a joy and I only interrupted it with the radio drama and comedy of those days.  Only NPR even comes close today to the Golden Age








My first published work was in Statement Magazine.
It was controversial as it was critical of the war and other
aspects of society. I was defended by Dr. Martin Greenman
and Dr. Wilhelm Exelbirt.  They were beloved mentors.

Today I have self published 6 books: One novel, three
short story collections, one book on Existential
Philosophy and one poetry book. I was also the founder
and editor of an Internet poetry and photography site
which some great artists from several states and nations.

I had a number of my poems published in The San Fernamdo
Poetry Journal.  The editor was the late Richard Cloke. He was
great.  He fought in the Spanish Civil War against Fascism.

Existentialism class journal...my mentor, Dr. Greenman, made
 a big deal out of this and it remains the highlight of my college
 years.  He was a bridge over troubled water.  I miss him.

I don't mind if Christians doubt the salvation I experienced or
that the Buddhists likewise might question the enlightenment
I also achieved at the same time as I sat alone on the edge of the mountains.  The experiences remain exciting and ongoing.




My other favorite professor wrote to me after
graduation,  This great history teacher and scholar
had escaped the Nazi threat after he left school in Vienna.
I miss Dr. Wilhelm Exelbirt and his support and example.





The best day of my life.  We met while
walking in the rain on the quiet campus. 







She remains the greatest person I've ever known.




Draft card...!-A but they never called me.

While in college I often had to hitchhike to and from my work.
Summers I worked in a factory and  also drove a truck. I also
hitchhiked to other states.  I had some strange experiences but
the oddest encounter was  one Sunday morning as I hitched
across Indiana.  I guy picked me up and asked where I was
headed.  He drove us to a small airport and flew me to where
I was headed in a small Piper plane—my first ever flight!


How I felt (and feel) about the war.

    




70's



70s






An officer in a fraternal organization.



It wasn't a conversion to Buddhism.  I merely
added the philosophy to my beliefs.  I have
taken the vows of a Bodhisattva.  My Tibetan
Buddhist name is Sonam Yeshi. (Merit & Wisdom)





A full marathon at 240 lbs.








An article about me and archaeology.




One of the shop buildings I built when I
was a carpenter and a furniture maker.



I was a fisherman for a couple of years. 
The fish is a Muskie that I caught in a stream






An 8 pound Bass.



I fit in as a follower of the Grateful Dead.  I followed them from
Albany NY to San Fransisco and from Wisconsin to Florida.







The band provided special tickets for some of us to tape
their shows.  I have been to over 100 concerts including The
Grateful Dead, Neil Young,  Bob Dylan and several other rock
and folk performers.  First concert was The New Christie Minstrels








Like Paris,  San Fransisco and the
Grateful Dead are "a moveable feast."






Father Thomas Merton.'s monastery where I have stayed for
my spiritual life.  If it were not for my wonderful wife I
probably would be living there or in a Buddhist monastery.


I have backpacked, hiked and camped in 48 states and Canada.


At 75 (almost) they say you have the face you've earned!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR/PHOTOGRAPHER

The author  has undergraduate degrees  in political science and history.  He  worked in those fields for over 30 years.  He was first published in 1967. He attended Thomas More College and Morehead State University. He has also  received a fellowship to study  at the University of Cincinnati.  He has done graduate work in history at Xavier University.  Not one of these four basketball powers saw fit to offer him even walk-on status.  As a result a curse similar to the ”Curse Of The Bambino” has prevented these schools from winning an NCAA basketball championship although they won 2 before the curse. Bill bristles when it is intimated there is a reason he still has four years of eligibility but he remains willing to don his black high top Converse Chuck Taylors and reintroduce the basketball world to the two handed set shot.  Enjoying the tax advantages of living in what he claims is  a parsonage, Bill is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California. He will not try to sell you an indulgence.  No, Bill will rent you one first to see if you like it.  Bill worked his way through high school, college and several other periods of poverty with several jobs.  Along the way he learned money doesn't buy happiness but poverty isn't effective at achieving it either.  Income during his school and poverty years was acquired by stints as a caddy,  gardener,  insect trapper for the state (seriously), truck driver, plant worker (like a factory, not a house plant), postal worker, store clerk, warehouseman and forklift operator.  There are others but Bill is waiting for the statute of limitations in several states to run out.

Bill was taught and disciplined by nuns in his early years.  Their efforts made later classrooms work easy although Bill always seemed to find free time, and idle hands, a bit more than he could handle.  That and the comparative lax discipline of public schools made for a tense situation as Bill walked across the high school graduation stage.  In place of being given a diploma he was certain he would be handed an envelope containing a photo of the principal making an obscene gesture.  To this day the envelope remains unopened.

The author has taught political science, economics, history and natural history.  He has worked closely with elements of the criminal justice system both professionally and as a volunteer.  The San Fernando Poetry Journal saw fit to publish about ten of his poems. He has recently served as founder and editor of an international arts journal for 3 years. He has self published  6 books and maintains that a chimp with Microsoft Word and a few dollars can self publish a book.    Proving that a chimp with a WYSIWYG app can clutter even the World Wide Web, he has over 40 websites.

Bill has done volunteer work in the field of archaeology and formerly had a part-time business as a custom furniture and cabinet maker. The author has traveled, hitchhiked, backpacked and hiked extensively throughout the "Lower 48" and parts of Canada and Mexico. He has slept overnight in bus stations and farm fields. He once was hitchhiking when a person picked him up and flew him in his Little Piper airplane to one of the stops along his destination. He also encountered his share of weirdos but like the man sang: "Ain't that America."  Some of the most rewarding trips were solitary hikes in the wilderness. Born in Chicago, he was raised mostly in Ohio and felt most at home during his time in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the road following the Grateful Dead from city to city.  Bill loves music and has attended well over a 100  concerts including 75 Grateful Dead concerts.  Other concerts ranged from folk to jazz to such rock stars as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Neil Young.  He does not sing or play an instrument and the truth be known, he can barely play the radio.
  
On the more serious side he has taken the vows of a Buddhist Bodhisattva. He has briefly stayed on a "New Age" commune and has spent time in silence on a Trappist Monastery.  He is experiencing hopeful developments in his dealing with Cancer and continued heart “situations” that have caused him to have a few electrocardioversions to shock his heart into rhythm. One such pause in his heart rhythm featured a true out of body experience. He currently deals with Parkinson's Disease. Rejecting the fatalism that was taught him as a youth, he still warns those around him that should he defeat all of these maladies there is a chance the building he happens to occupy at the time could have its roof collapsed by a large meteorite. 

Bill maintains an interest in politics, religion, religious cults, wildlife photography and sports photography. He was first introduced to photography with a Kodak Brownie box camera in the 50s and later graduated to a Minolta.  The advent of digital photography made him, like everyone else, an active photographer.  He estimates he may have taken as many as 100,000 photos in the past 5 or 6 years.  He considers himself a freelance photographer although it has been suggested the term "free lunch" would be more accurate.

Bill has been happily married to the same wonderful person for over 50 years.  They met while each was walking alone in the rain on a college campus.  Bill has been in love with her and the rain ever since.  Bill's reading time has been devoured by the Internet and photography but he still finds time every few years to again read The Myth Of Sisyphus by Albert Camus and On The Road and The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac.  He wishes everyone else would do the same.  

Having been retired for around twenty years from paid employment, Bill now happily and proudly enjoys the freedom of being classified as an "amateur" in everything he now pursues. With this brief bio he also now proudly counts speaking of himself in the third person point of view as proof he is an important person or at least one dripping in hubris or its fellow traveler chutzpah.  He is heartened by the realization that no one will probably read this which is good because he wrote it with himself in mind anyway.  As his memory clears he reserves the right to revise and extend these remarks.  Bill is smiling.  And that's not easy to do with tongue in cheek.




  "Lord and I stay blue all the time. Yeah but that's all right, I will overcome some day."
                                                                                        ...Big Bill Broonzy


"There is a comfort in the strength of love;
'Twill make a thing endurable which else
    would overset the brain, or break the heart"
                                "Michael"  By William Wordsworth


"But if one of us must go first, it is my prayer that it shall be I; for he is strong, I am weak, I am
not so necessary to him as he is to me—life without him would not be life; how could I endure it?
This prayer is also immortal, and will not cease from being offered up while my race continues.
 I am the first wife; and in the last wife I shall be repeated."

                                                                             Eve  talking in her later years about Adam
                                                                                 Mark Twain:  The Diaries Of Adam And Eve                     

                                                       "Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden."
                                                                                          Adam at Eve's grave
                                                                                          Mark Twain: The Diaries Of Adam And Eve


"INTROIBO AD ALTARE DEI. AD DEUM
QUI LAETIFICAT JUVENTUTEM MEAM"
        From The Old Latin Mass


ATTENTION WRITERS AND PHOTOGRAPHERS!
Do you write poetry or create photographs?  I am the editor of a poetry journal that also features some great photography along with the world class poetry we publish on the Internet.  Please check our past issues at Banks Of The Little Miami  We have published poems and photographs from throughout the US and Canada as well as Norway, Iran, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand among others.  Send us 1-3 examples of your work and while we don't pay, we use only one time serial rights if we publish your work.  Individual artists retain their full copyright.  
Email Bill Stockland 
billstockland@cox.net




“The wheel in the sky keeps on turning.” “The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down.” The words belong to Journey and the Grateful Dead but the philosophy belongs to all of us.  For almost ten years I have been a “contributing photographer” for athletics at the University of West Florida. I started as a "walk on." Eventually some years I took around 10,000 photos. (ten thousand is not an exageration…I still have them stored on the net).  Unfortunately, I have become somewhat disabled as a result of Parkinson’s Disease and Cancer therapy.   Some of the venues are too difficult for a disabled person to navigate.  For example, the Soccer Complex contains a steep hill and difficult parking lot.  Because of  things like this  I created only about 700 photos this year.  Chemotherapy and radiation also mandated that I be careful about crowds.  Of course the current world pandemic requirement about avoiding too much social contact makes my temporary problem seem minor.  I have enjoyed my relationship with UWF Athletics.  It was a good run and I cherish the photos and memories.


A REMEDY FOR CABIN FEVER

IF THE CURRENT HEALTH CRISIS HAS LEFT YOU A LITTLE STIR CRAZY IN YOUR HOME, WE HAVE FOUND A GREAT FREE SITE TO HELP YOU PASS THE TIME WITH CARD GAMES.  THE CREATOR HAS DONE A GREAT JOB AND EVEN HAS CHOICES WHERE YOU CAN COMPETE AGAINST BOTH REAL AND IMAGINARY OPPONENTS.  MANY DIFFERENT GAMES ARE OFFERED FROM YAHTZEE TO MANY VERSIONS OF SOLITAIRE,  MAJ JONG TO HEARTS AND CHECKERS TO CHESS.  I RECOGNIZE A VERSION OF YAHTZEE I CALL "GOLF YAHTZEE" BECAUSE IT IS A VERSION WHERE LOW SCORE WINS.  I  GUESS I INVENTED AND FAVOR THIS VERSION BECAUSE I HOLD THE WORLD RECORD FOR THIS GAME. THAT'S RIGHT...I ONCE SCORED THE LOWEST SCORE POSSIBLE FOR YAHTZEE!  

Screen grab of score of the world record of "low score" yahtzee.  No one has beaten this record!
CLICK BELOW FOR SITE:

GREAT CARD GAMES
(https://cardgames.io/)


ANOTHER WAY TO FIGHT BOREDOM

Check Out This Site:
Confessions Of A Backyard Naturalist
(https://www.uwfphoto.com/THENATURALIST.html)

This site is about some of the natural features of my one third acre lot in Escambia County.  If you're trying to stay away from crowds why not get the kids involved in making a similar study of your yard.  All you'll need will be a digital camera, computer and a free web hosting site.  Free hosting sites often include free programs that make creating computer code automatic.  You also could go with a paid site such as GoDaddy. 


Some photos from near and far:










































Scroll Down For These And Other Photos



CHARACTER COUNTS
Two softball teams were battling for a  trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.  Western Oregon's  diminutive senior, Sara Tucholsky, hit her first ever home run.   There were 2 runners on.  The 5'2" player missed First and tore knee ligaments turning to return and touch the bag.  She collapsed and couldn't make it back to the bag.  The rules are simple.  If her coaches or teammates tried to help, she would be called out.  The umpire said a pinch runner could replace her but the hit would be just a single, not the home run she had hit. 

Here's where it becomes a story of character.  Central Washington's Liz Wallace and Mallory Holtman picked up their opponent and carefully walked her around the bases, pausing so she could touch each base!  That run eventually helped decide the game.  Such fears didn't deter the Central Washington players.  They did what they believed was the right thing. 

The name of the winner of that game will be forgotten.  What will be remembered will be two young women bending to lift a fallen opponent and looking as tall as any athletes ever looked.  Character counts.


Some shots from the pre-digital days...I took all of these photos in my hiking and backpacking throughout the United States.    Except for Hawaii and Alaska,  I have been in each of the lower 48 and Canada and Mexico.


COLORADO ABOVE THE TREELINE


Olympic trail

BACKPACK TRAIL NEAR PICTURED ROCKS

AMONG THE GIANT REDWOODS OF CALIFORNIA


Hoh rainforest...Washington


Rocky Mountains

GLACIER N.P. STORM...Montana


Rocky Mountains...where it's never summer

YELLOWSTONE RIVER

Badlands...South Dakota


Yellowstone National Park...Montana

Wilderness stream in Ohio


APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS


THAT'S A MOUNTAIN RAM IN THE CENTER OF THE PHOTO

GARDEN OF THE GODS

AU SABLE FALLS


Frozen stream in Ohio


ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

Colorado



Garden of the Gods










Dangerous...taken with 200MM lens














Mist covered Oregon Coastline










Lake Superior Provincial  Park in Ontario, Canada







Mt. Ranier




Lower Yellowstone Falls



Frozen Ohio Stream




Autumn in the Appalachian Mountains

California Redwoods








This was too close.  A moose can kill



I panned for gold in this Colorado stream,,








Don't be fooled by prairie dogs and other cute critters.  They
have been known to carry the flees that spread Bubonic Plague.










Serpent Mound in Ohio...a powerful place



OCEAN REFLECTION...DIGITAL PHOTO

Email Bill Stockland 
billstockland@cox.net


Artist and Spiritual Guide
Jerry Garcia in New York 1992




JERRY GARCIA
1942-1995


Glenna & Bill in the Bay Area



My three favorite places in the world are:  Machu Pichu,  San Francisco and anywhere Glenna is.



                                                                      SOME SITES I HAVE CREATED
 

 
Oh Georgia
From Sun Prairie Wisconsin To The World...This is a colorful tribute to Georgia O'Keeffe.
ANOTHER VIEW OF IMMIGRATION

BASEBALL
   A look at America's favorite game!
WITH LARGE BASEBALL PHOTO COLLECTION
THE BLUE ANGELS
The sight and sound of freedom
THE OLD DAYS
40's and 50's Style
ESCAMBIA UNIVERSITY 
There are many fine educational institutions in the Florida Panhandle. 
Unfortunately this isn't one of them.  You can't spell Escambia without scam
CONFESSIONS OF A BACKYARD NATURALIST
This is a study of the natural features in one suburban yard.
ARCHAEOLOGY 101  Time is running out to solve the mysteries of prehistory.
                                  
BACKPACKING 101

HOLY MATRIMONY
Gay or Straight
The vote by the Supreme Court to allow
same sex marriage was 5-4.
 
 
                                                                                                                                         FOR THE LOVE OF HOLLY
                                                                                                                               A Young Girl Discovers Who She Is
   
THE JOY OF WOODWORKING 
My life as a carpenter and custom furniture maker.
GREAT BIRD WATCHING
The Pensacola area is a wonderful place for bird watchers
CHRISTO BUDDHISM
All scripture is inspired if it works
GERRYMANDERING
In Political Science we learned about the Gerrymander—a creature that eats democratic principles
CLAIR BEE AND CHIP HILTON
Chip Hilton is the only thing Bobby Knight and I ever agreed on.
SEARS...WHERE AMERICA SHOPPED
Sears was more than just a store...it was a cultural influence.
PENSACOLA ZOO
This area has a fabulous zoo.
UWF SWAMP & NATURE TRAIL
Part of a beautiful campus
DEER ME
Dear me...I had a  brief encounter
GUIDE TO BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
How you can lose an election while getting 71% of the votes,

REMEMBERING YANCY SPENCER
Surfers honor one of their own
MISSING MY FRIEND FARLEY COLLINS
The streams of the mountains please me more than the sea.
BUDDHA IN THE RAIN
More About Buddhism
Great Smoky Mountains
One of our most popular parks!
WONDERFUL PENSACOLA SITES


A YEAR IN THE LIFE...PENSACOLA SITES


BUDDHA AND JESUS...ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED



FORT PICKENS...A LOCAL TREASURE



EDIBLE MUSHROOMS? MAYBE NOT



IS GOLF A SPORT



LITTLE RIVER NATIONAL PRESERVE IN ALABAMA




SOME WORDS TO LIVE BY

“There isn’t enough darkness in all the world to
snuff out the light of one little candle.”
                                          ...Buddha
                                               

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. 
                                                                    ...Eleanor Roosevelt, (and others)

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
 throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
                                  ... Buddha
                      
"...rest in reason and move in passion."
                                                         ...Kahlil Gibran,  the World
 
"I have things in my head that are not like what
anyonehas taught me - shapes and ideas so near
to me—so natural to my way of being and thinking
that it hasn't occurred to me to put them down."
                                                                                   ...Georgia O'Keeffe,  Sun Prairie Wisconsin

"Da Patchy is not what  Patchy was,
Da Patchy is as Patchy does."
                                                                          ...Patricia "Patchy" Brown,  Los Angeles

"What, me worry?"
                                                                     ...Alfred E. Neuman, beloved philosopher

“Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”
                                      ...Confucius,  China

"The situation is the boss."
                                         ...The Grateful Dead

           
"Hang in there Bro, it's always early."
                                        ...Raymond Mungo
                                                        Rebel, Author, Counselor

"I have long known that it is part of God's plan for me to spend
a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth,"
                                     ...Bill Bryson
                                                         A Walk In The Woods

"Mama Mama, many worlds I've come since I first left home."
                                                                  ...Robert Hunter & Jerry Garcia

"When you ain't got nothing you got nothing to lose..."
                                    ...Bob Dylan

  "Lord and I stay blue all the time. Yeah but
that's all right, I will overcome some day."
                                          ...Big Bill Broonzy

"This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people, but it's got no soul
And it's taken you so long
To find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything"
                                       ...Jerry Rafferty

"Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me, larger voices calling"
                                        ...David Crosby

"And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to
touch the sunAnd he lost a friend but kept his memory"
                                     ...John Denver

“My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what
you do it's bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad.”

                                       ...Jack Kerouac
                         
"But now old friends they're acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day."
                                    
...Joni Mitchell

"Well it's all right, even if they say you're wrong
Well it's all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it's all right, as long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it's all right, everyday is judgment day"
                                                          ...The Traveling Wilburys

"Take me for a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship
All my senses have been stripped
And my hands can't feel to grip
And my toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin'"
                                   ...Bob Dylan

One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line
Awaitin' for the train that goes home, sweet Mary
Hopin' that the train is on time
                                              ...Brewer & Shipley
There is a great story associated with this song and its drug references.  Lawrence Welk was a kindly man who had a very "whitebread" music program  on TV. In the 60s and 70s.  He thought this was a "spiritual"  song and he had his lead singers perform it. It was introduced with Gospel references. Somehow no one on his staff, including the two young squeaky clean singers who performed it, had a clue as to what "one toke over the line" was about.  VP Spiro Agnew labeled the song as subversive and the FCC actually banned it from broadcast.  Remember, this was an age where the director of the FBI assigned agents to study the largely incoherent lyrics in the song  Louie-Louie for obscenity.  Can you imagine the scene when someone explained the references to Mr. Welk?

"Be careful out there among them English."
                                    ...Amish man in Witness

"There's a crack in everything—that's how the light comes in."
                          ...Leonard Cohen

“I got in trouble my whole life for having a big mouth.”
                         ...Steven Tyler

"Want to hear God laugh?  Tell him you have plans."
                        ...Noah Brown

“You are loved just for being who you are, just
for
existing. You don’t have to do anything to
 earn it. Your short comings, your lack of
self-esteem, physical perfection, or social
 and economic success – none of that matters. No
one can take this love away from you, and it will
always be here.”

                     ...Ram Dass

"If the people are buying tears I'll be a rich girl someday."
(From "Look what they've done to my song Ma.")
                          ...Melanie Safka
                         
"Life is constantly offering us jewels.  It is whether we notice or not that is equally awesome."
                                                   ...Personal note from Holly Near

                                                    (Holly Near singer with HARP: Holly Near,
                                                                 Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert Pete Seeger)


 “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
                  
...Ian Maclaren
                .

 
            
   
    
              
BASEBALL, THE WORLD AND I MOURN THE PASSING OF
CHUCK HARMON 
1924-2019

Sometimes heroes make just a brief flash before our eyes.  Chuck Harmon was a hero to a nine year old boy in 1955.    I was attending my first ever Major League baseball game at old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. We had recently relocated from Chicago to an enclave of German Americans. Harmon had recently been signed to a contract.  He became the first black player on the Redlegs.  The name was briefly changed from "Reds" to "Redlegs" because local civic fathers were concerned about the "Red Menace" as Soviet, Chinese and North Korean entities were called in an era that would feature bomb raid drills and accusations of treason against anyone labeled as being "Red."  The Korean War was still smoldering.  The Iron Curtain was a reality.

At the time I didn't know that great athletes such as Harmon (who was also a championship level basketball player) and Jackie Robinson (A four sport letter winner in college) had been forbidden to play in the Majors because of their race.  White nine year old baseball fans hadn't heard about the Homestead Grays, Kansas City Monarchs, Pittsburgh Crawfords and other Negro League teams that were staffed by  great athletes like Willie Mays, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.   Even the city in which we lived had varioius Negro League teams we were never told about.  Military service and prejudice kept many players from joining Major League sports until they were older.  Brooklyn Dodger  (soon to be LA Dodger) owner Branch Rickey signed super athlete Jackie Robinson to a professional contract in 1947.  I don't know if he was trying to right a serious wrong or simply trying to get a leg up on his competition.  Maybe it was both.  An ever declining few have missed the irrefutable truth you build a great culture and great economy the same way you win a championship or a war.  You assemble the best and the brightest and get prejudice and other limitations out of their way.   The lesson from the American sports scene could not be more obvious.  Winners LOOK like all of America.

It was the summer of 1955.  The St. Louis Cardinals and the Redlegs were battling into the 9th inning.  St. Louis was ahead by one run when the Redlegs tied the score.  Then chaos broke out.  The two managers got into an argument between the mound and home.  Cincinnati manager Birdie Tebbetts lunged at St. Louis manager Harry "The Hat" Walker.  A bench clearing fight ensued and nine year old boys in the stands decided they wanted to be crazy baseball players too.  We were  hooked for life.  When order was restored Chuck Harmon was sent in as a pinch runner to 2nd base.  A ground ball through the infield sent Harmon flying around third base.  He ran so fast he had to take an unbelievably wide turn but he beat the throw to score the winning run.  Thanks Mr. Harmon.

In 2019 we received the sad news that boxing great Pernell Whitaker has passed.  I have been fortunate to have met three of the four greatest boxers of all time. 
As an 11 year old I met Rocky Marciano while he was on a promotional tour after retirement.  Later, as an adult I met Aaron Pryor "The Hawk."  He was friendly
and all so talented!  Sadly, Marciano and Pryor both preceded Whitaker in death  shortly after we lost Muhammad Ali. I never met Ali or Pernell Whitaker but like
many people around here, I had the honor of meeting arguably the greatest fighter of them all, Roy Jones Jr.  I took this photo at a softball charity  event at UWF



Email Bill Stockland 
billstockland@cox.net











Winter...The Good Old Days
If you've never lived in a cold climate you've missed something. Frostbite and pneumonia come to mind. Just kidding. Winter is an energizing event of hats, gloves, sleds and snowballs. It's the North Wind and it's every bit as refreshing as feeling the ocean breezes that reward you for living on the coast—even a coast as beautiful as this one. I don't remember much if anything about Chicago winters but I know they are sometimes brutal. The family took the train to Ohio.

Eventually we ended up in this Ohio house shown here and below. There was a heater of sorts built into the hall floor. You pumped until you spotted oil accumulating and the ignition system consisted of dropping pieces of flaming paper into the unit to ignite the fuel. Heat was to radiate up through a metal grate that ended up too hot to step on in bare feet. My father was from rural Wisconsin. He had no problem with someone being able to see his breath upon waking. My mother was orphaned and often near homeless before homelessness got our attention. Both parents were children of the Great Depression. It was nicer housing than they ever thought they could have,

Breakfast (and sometimes lunch and dinner) often consisted of an obscure German-American poverty food called goetta. It consisted of steel cut oats (called pinhead oats) and inexpensive meats (usually pork) that had most fat trimmed away before cooking and grinding. It was pronounced "gutta" in Low German. Today, most Germans on any continent have probably never heard of it. I still make a meatless version of it today. It's gone from a poverty food to a comfort food. Sugar and butter wer cheap. So was white bread.  Breakfast of sugar sandwiches was not uncommon.

Summers were hot and humid. Spring was full of the hope of happy futures (and baseball). Autumn featured the aroma of burning leaves and gradually colder nights and frosty mornings. Winter was the king of all of that. Cold, dark nights were tempered by lengthening daylight. The radio sometimes announced a snow day. For a little kid who hated school and generally feared the wrath of nuns, a snow day was a comfort. It's been easy to love winter and these occasional Florida cold (actually, cool) snaps are a touch of Paradise.

From the snowy recesses of my mind...


A place to walk—cold and wet
and alone


-1-
Winter in a bucolic little town in the American Midwest—it was the 1950s and we were taught to worry about communists waiting to take us over at any minute.  There were diseases such as Polio.  The Korean War was smoldering.   Most issues were black and white.  It was good vs evil.

There were no impersonal supermarkets or super highways.  The train whistle woke you in the night and beckoned of faraway places.  The radio had pop and country music and an insidious invasion of something called Rock & Roll.  It could be heard, via the radio, from mysterious, exotic places during the night.


The Street Where I Lived
-2-
The snow was pristine.  It was cold in the winter in Ohio.  Cities spread very little rock salt and sand.  A couple of guys in the back of a dump truck dispensed it with shovels. Autos were fitted with snow tires and chains. The cold wind came out of the north and the west.  They too, whispered of far away places. 

Crude televisions couldn't compete with the outdoors or even the radio, for my attention.

A person didn't have to know much to know enough.


This old house was home and shelter.

-3-
Only the super rich had big houses and luxuries such as air conditioners and reliable heaters.  Our house measured about 25 feet by 30 feet.  One tiny bathroom served a kitchen and 5 small rooms.  A damp basement with a low ceiling raised rats, mold and spiders.  For people in the post war housing shortage, it was paradise.

We were poor but we thought we were rich—therefore we were both.

Only hunters kept firearms and only the hard scrapple police chief carried a pistol in his pocket.  One of his deputies was armed, the other was not.  Nobody carried a door key and many left their car keys in their car.

Sled riding hill


-4-
Today, everyone is in a rush.  Cities spend a fortune plowing snow and spreading chemicals to keep traffic speeding along.   

Older children carry keys and let themselves into empty houses and apartments.  Younger kids sometimes go from pre school sitters in the winter morning darkness,  to school and then to latchkey sitters, before returning home after dark.  They have been cheated.

A child becomes those first things he sees each morning.  The spirit dies in increments. 


Winter Wonderland (to us, anyway)


The old school
One of the first of many 
places to be alone in a crowd



Winter fields in my heart


Barely 17—My senior year in a new high 
school—just another place I didn't belong


-5-
But seasons always change. The family moved  from the 
small house to an even smaller apartment behind some
stores and a bowling  alley.   It was cheaper but you had to 
lock your doors.






 -6-
The wooded view and the sounds of birds were traded for a
 parking lot and traffic noises.  The wind that once tumbled 
leaves across fields, now blew litter across concrete.  Angry 
voices came through thin walls.







-7-
The dirt and gravel, bike riding alley of our youth   was traded 
for the noise and litter of stores and another kind of alley—a 
bowling alley.  There are several types of poverty.  The one 
of the spirit is the worst.

Apartment living—a taste of 
urban life and impermanence


The woods  of my youth—explored alone


The alley—a dirt and gravel road home

The Duke Of Wellington is credited with saying, "The Battle Of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."  There is much disagreement about the authenticity of the saying.  No big deal.  It doesn't matter who shouts "Fire" as long as there really is a fire.  I've used the Wellington quote elsewhere in my work.  I've also experienced it in my life.   I am sure of this—a man is a product of what he experiences.  The spirit is truly the sum of its parts—those parts being  the things you see and hear—those things you touch and those things that touch you.  Growing up with few material treasures was not bad.  Nature and Nature's God had treasures for all to share and enjoy,   I have stumbled upon some of them.

There is a war raging in the hearts of men.  It is fought between the poverty of the spirit and the exaltation of that same spirit.  Choose your battlefields wisely.  Pick your weapons and allies carefully.  Invest your tears freely.  Winner takes all in this contest.   The man who fashions despair into optimism is a formidable warrior.  He is a dangerous man.

Like Charles Dickens, I have seen the best of times and the 
worst of times.  The entire quote is like an anthem for all ages:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

There is a lesser known quote from Dickens.  It may be of far more value to the soul.  It too, may qualify as an anthem—at least for those folks who have done time on the road—for those wayfaring souls who have felt the pain of being alone in the crowd.   In Great Expectations he wrote:

   "We need never to be ashamed of our tears."



BAY FRONT PRESS

I have decided to self publish some of my works on the Internet.   Pray the Internet survives.   MGB, Catawba Press, The San Fernando Poetry Journal and Statement Magazine are among the publishers/printers who found themselves defunct after handling my writing.  Being low-tech, I have no idea what if any device besides a computer can "read" these books. Believing as I do that you get what you pay for, I regret I can't get the price below free.  There are hard copies available but unless you're starting a campfire and need paper, I would suggest you merely read them on a computer screen. 

A longer self serving introduction can be found HERE

A
A CRITIQUE OF BEING



FIELD HOLLERS OF THE DISPOSSESSED



For All My Days



You Can Go Home Again



But I Was Just Passing Through



THERE ARE TIMES MY HEART COULD BURST

Email Bill Stockland 
billstockland@cox.


8-2-18

A REFUGE
The old library on a small college campus near the foothills of the mountains


OF TIMES AND SEASONS IN THE RAIN
As college classes begin each year I am reminded of what my own experience continues to mean to me so many years later.
 I received so much more than a diploma from what was first a picturesque little college near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Soon to be invaded by the first wave of baby boomers, it grew into a university before my eyes.  I grew too. A university is people—no more and no less.  Those  times and that place had a significant influence on me.  It was the Sixties and anything anyone has ever said about what went wrong in those times is probably telling the truth. In retrospect, a lot of things went right too. Authority was questioned.   A song asked if we'd questioned all the answers.  It was soon a time to even question the questions.  It's never easy but I guess that lament belongs to all ages.  For good or ill every time and place has its story to tell. It's been over 50 years but I am still influenced by four people I met on that diminutive campus.

 Dr. Martin Greenman taught philosophy but more than that he taught me by word and deed that it was alright to be the existentialist I realized I was, and am. He taught me how to live.  I learned there were many scriptures from many sources. The times were turbulent and his example for all was to embrace the turbulence and turn inward for the salvation and enlightenment to face the world. He led me to the conclusion that living in bad faith (to yourself) was the gravest of sins.  One cool starlit night I sat alone near the foothills and experienced my own enlightenment and salvation.  I found it to be true that the test of any philosophy was simple:  Does it work?  Calling him a mentor is an understatement.  He was a sanctuary in dark times of the soul.  He was my friend. 

Dr. Carlisle Cross taught me that literature can pass the test of time.  He taught me of satire and parody on one hand and the deep touching power of words written from the heart on the other.  He embraced humor. A few years ago I created a mythical internet diploma mill called  Escambia University.  It was an attempt to poke fun at the pretense of educational institutions. If he were here today he would be the first to accept a diploma from that phony school and probably hang it in his bathroom. He was a scholar who didn't  take  prestige seriously. He once told me he was thinking of changing his name from Carlisle to "Old Rugged." I still think about (and read and re-read) things my guide encouraged me to explore.
  


Dr. Wilhelm Exilbirt earned his doctorate in  history  in Vienna before managing to escape the jackboots of the Nazis.  England was his first stop.  A little school near the foothills would be his last.  His words of wisdom and scholarship were validated by the example of his life. He  encouraged me to pursue the academic life. He once said he was mystified by American students who paid for education but tried to acquire as little as they could get away with.  When asked what was the biggest adjustment he had to make in coming to his adoptive culture he responded with your grandfather’s twinkle in his eyes: “Zippers instead of buttons” was all he said.  It somehow pleases me that I am now the age he was when I was first inspired by him. The world and I need him today.

The fourth person is, and will always be,  the most important.  I met my wife-to-be as we each walked in the rain on the quiet campus.  I've loved her and I've loved rain ever since. She was born and raised in the mountains but had come to college after working in the big city.  I was born on Cornell Ave. in Chicago and raised in an Ohio middle class suburb.  Though neither of us was seeking a relationship we almost immediately began sharing a life.  Lover, most trusted confidant and best friend, she is one of the greatest people I've ever known.  She would deny that or say that I should probably try to get to know more people. I know her and it remains the most meaningful of all knowledge.  She is my pearl of great price.  At times it's been the two of us against the world.  Somehow she makes it a fair fight.

Truth and beauty  are wherever you are lucky enough to encounter them.  The University of West Florida campus has its own natural and man made beauty. Many colleges are likewise beautiful.  I enjoy being  around the local campus even though it is larger and architecturally more modern than the school I attended.  For some, college is career prep and if that works education has served a beneficial purpose.  Colleges can also be so much more than just career prep.  That works too.  I would advise students to experience real college campuses. Walk there in the rain and in the sunshine.  Take the words and spirit from the professors you encounter.  I encourage the professor and the student to get to know what the other is about. The exchange can be joy and enlightenment. And always smile at those you meet in the rain.  It may be "The One" you'll be sharing the rain with.  It can make someone's day.  It could make someone's life.