Tim Apple

Writing while contemplating very deep things about deep, deep, deep stuff that you wouldn't understand. And also just slinging some words. Some items are cross posted from my MicroBlog.

Morning prompt - 11/18/21

The stone building sitting on top of the hill stood as a lone silhouette with the backdrop of blue sky. A stairway of flat white stone with intermediate patches of gravel and dirt on the not so steep parts ran up the rocky slope to it's entrance. Along each side the plant life in browns, yellows, and greens grew sparsely around the hill in a colorful patchwork.

Grey stone made up the building with it's slate roof. It was worn and showed it's age. I can imagine it being some medieval outpost or maybe it was a shelter for a shepherd who watched from above as his flock grazed upon the side of the hill.

It had two doors, one arched on it's long side next to the only window in the structure. The window itself arched looking like a miniature version of the door itself. On the short side stood a larger door arched but coming more to a point at it's pinnacle instead of the nice rounded finish of the side door. there were a few small stairs leading up to it. From this side it could appear to be a small house of worship if it only had some sort of adornment to characterize it as so.

Men raise these structures throughout history and it appears they live so much longer than the men themselves. Did they realize I would be writing this about the product of their labor so many years after they had passed.

My web map

My web map

I have had so many configurations of blogs, social media, and whatnot. I think I have finally settled for now. I mapped out my little corner of the web.

I have three blogs going.

  1. Tim Scrawls - this is just miscellaneous stuff with some stuff cross posted from the other two here for redundancy.
  2. Infantry wtf? - My military memoir project which has just started.
  3. Tim Apple the Main Blog- this is my main blog hosted on Micro.Blog

In the Middle of this I have my omg.lol site. Which has links to most every place I am on the web. This and all three blogs have links going to each other so you can jump around all 4 places.

Finally, everything from timapple.com is syndicated to Twitter, Mastodon, and Tumblr. I will manually sometimes throw stuff on my Facebook or other rando place, but rarely.

In the end I made this diagram so I can play with Scapple. Which seems like a fun tool.

Land

A Creek

I’ve never really owned land, in the big sense. Nothing more than a backyard for me. But I do know people who have some, and they have been kind enough to let me pretend it was mine for short periods. Well, maybe they didn’t know I was pretending it was mine. But none the less they let me make use if it freely. I believe there is nothing better than being free to experience a place with no limits. To have free rein to do what you wish.

There is one piece in particular that is close to my heart. I’ve spent a lot of years exploring it, chasing one of my true loves (trout), and even teaching myself to hunt and skin small game. I spent day after day there, summer, fall, winter, and spring again.

It was around my early twenties when I first encountered it.This piece of land is back where I call home. It was owned by someone I considered a great man and now it’s in the hands of another. Both of them having the skill, patience, and ingenuity to make use of it. When I speak of making use of it, I don’t mean leveling it for the greater good. It’s something more intricate. It’s keeping it as it is yet making a few adjustments for the people who live there to learn, grow, and commune with that which is their home.

When you pull up, there is what appears to be an average little brown split-level ranch house. It looks to be only one story, but it’s sunk into the side of a small hill it sits upon. I rarely, if ever, walked through the front door of that house. I would usually park my car in the driveway. Sometimes I would throw on waders and grab a fly-rod, sometimes not. I then would immediately set forth down the slope off to the side of the house.

Right away I remember the fire pit surrounded by some stumps and chairs. Sometimes with a big cast iron cauldron sitting nearby. All of this under a large, robust tree. I feel that tree had seen so much. A young man providing for his family and building their home. The laughter of a young girl running around the garden and the woods nearby. The same young girl raising children of her own. Let alone all the stories it has heard from neighbors, wandering fisherman, and my mouth even.

There are times I would visit and never made it beyond that fire pit. I sat there and shared brews and stories with the best friends a guy could have. Good times and bad, before the war and after. I am so blessed some of my children have even been lucky enough to visit and sit by that fire also, at least when they weren’t running around or playing with Red, one of the nicer chickens at the time. I do so pray the rest of my children make it there at some point also.

Next to the fire pit were the chicken coops and orchard. Alongside the multiple cords of wood, some from this property and some from others in the area, all local. A couple of buildings sitting next to them. One filled with motorcycles from other eras. The other being a place for industrious work. Giant machines from decades past created all kinds of contraptions and doohickeys with wood and steel. Now and then one would hear gunshots from within even. For those brave enough to blow out their eardrums there was a short shooting range inside. This was a place men would hang out, or boys who thought they were men at the time.

Back outside the workshop was a large fenced yard behind the main house. Here you could see the lower floor and the large porch coming off the top floor. Towards the end of the fenced yard was the beginning of a nicely mowed trail that was the width of what I think your standard urban bike path would be, but to be exact was actually exactly the width of the blades the tractor that cut it pulled about.At this point and beyond it really gave the feeling of a developed park.The trails all wide went off in various loops. If I remember correctly there were at least a couple strategically placed benches to rest on also.

Not long after you start meandering down the trail you encounter a ‘T’ with the top being a pool. Not a swimming pool, well it could have been. But the corner in a stream with a big stump hanging into it. At the top of it was a narrow fast flowing channel that had a deeply undercut bank. It has been home to some of the larger small stream trout I’ve ever caught. The pool itself is nice and round, maybe ten to fifteen feet across. When you approach it you are on a high bank looking down into it. I used to spend multiple days on my belly gazing into the water watching the trout feed. To this day I believe it is my favorite place on earth. If I could just lay on my belly there again on a nice cool spring day.

The stream itself was most picturesque little stream you could ever imagine, especially for this location. It was a beautiful beacon of the natural world hidden not very far from one of the highest crime rates in the country. It crossed the entire property and many others. It ran all the way to a Forest Preserve down the road. Where we had hang outs with names like “Magic Rock” and at times may have partaken in certain liberties and tried to follow that stream to its end. We never would make it. Not that I remember at least.

Back to the property. I told you there was a ‘T’. If you went to the right you would loop back towards the start. The trail lined with tall grasses and insects buzzing about. If you went to the left, which was the longer path, you would walk along the creek which was lined with young trees and the tall grasses and before mentioned buzzing on the right. But not long after you would be flanked by trees on both sides. As you walked the trail had a couple branches and loops you could go off on. But you continue straight ahead and a large meadow opens up before you. The meadow was surrounded by trees on three sides. the fourth side was open to the stream and another large corner pool. Not as deep as the other, but it was a tad larger with a wider shallow riffle feeding it.

The landowner always kept the meadow mowed just like the paths we used to walk in on. This is a place for festivities of all kinds, whether it was the Fourth of July or just a weekend. Friends would picnic, camp, and just commune with each other and the meadow.The property was just so amazing, for some time I would describe it as Disney Land for guys. I could go on and on with stories about shooting skeet, hunting chicken murdering raccoons, and various other shenanigans, but I think I will keep some of those memories to myself for now.

Land is a beautiful thing, whether public or private. I think we all need a little of it in our lives to keep sanity in these times where it seems hustle culture rains supreme. I can only pray that I will be able to provide a similar experience for my kids before they are to old to want to give it a shot. I also hope others get to embark on their own adventures with land. If only to entice them to care for it and protect it. It’s such a treasure and I long for the day I myself will get to return to wander it again. 

The weekend November 6, 2021

Well, it was a fairly uneventful weekend. I did get a new car tire. My front driver tire has been showing metal for a couple months, finally got that taken care of.

I didn't do as much writing as I would like to; it was just to busy at the house. I did get a lot organized and have been falling into the Bullet Journal habit.

On the movie front, I watched "Stillwater". It was a pretty good movie with a bit of a twist that ticked me off a little. I hate to spoil it. Matt Damon does a good job. The character he played reflected many people I know and have worked with. Even I had a little resemblance to it in my past, living in Texas and working at Gas wells, then as an electrician. I don't think I am going to give it it's own review here on the blog but I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐on Letterboxd

That about sums up a slow weekend.

Veterans Day

I actually wrote this a couple of years ago, it was on an old blog of mine that came down. I just wanted it to have a place. -Tim

It's the Friday before Veterans Day and I'm here sitting in my living room trying to gather my thoughts about it. I have held the title of veteran since 2004. I have built a big part of my identity around it even. But today, my daughter who is six came home with the assignment. She needs to get a picture of a family member who is a veteran and a little history for veterans day. My daughter doesn't know that part of my life existed. I'm not sure she even knows exactly what a war is. She understands what fighting is, but full blown war, no. She sees the KIA bracelet I wear and asks about the names. All I say is 'they were my friends.'

She needs to know about my brothers now. I will tell her how we care for each other. The bond we have. The fact that we may not see or hear from each other for years and still drop everything when one of us is in need.

I am going to spend the next day or two explaining in the softest way possible a little bit of dads history. How we formed those bonds together. I will explain that 10 years of my adult life I was a soldier. I went to war twice, and participated in one of the ugliest things any human being could.

I imagine I will get the why question. And I'll say my country called and explain duty. She will understand, right?
Then their are the things I won't share, the dark stuff, how scared I was, what I felt when I saw my friends fall. How it felt when I fell. The fact that I relive certain moments in my head over and over to this day.

Do I tell her I cry?

Even weirder, do I tell her I miss it? That I wish I was still doing the work. Not war itself, but the stuff I did during the rest of those 10 years. How I wish the bonds I built in the military world could be built in the civilian world. How I wish everyone else loved one another. Not in the hippie sense, but in the "you need me? I will be there" sense. How I miss being able to count on people.

I hope someday not only her, but all four of my children will understand me some day.

My little one

My little one spins,
my little one bounces,
my little one twirrels,
my little one smiles,
my little one dances.

#poems

I'm at war

Butterflies in my stomach.
I'm anxious and shaky.
The snaps and pops are heard in the distance.
Time slows down.
Fear sets in.
Prayer begins.
I'm at war.

#poems

The weekend October 29, 2021

Well the obvious main event this weekend was Trick or Treating. We spent an hour on the streets in our neighborhood here in Staten Island. The littlest got tired about halfway through and I ended up carrying her. I think the combination of stairs and hills wore her out.

Other than that it was chores, errands, and cooking. Nothing to exciting though. I can't remember even watching a movie, nope, no movies.

I did get in the latest episodes of my favorite current shows, "Foundation", "Invasion", and "The Morning Show".. Wow, those are all AppleTV+ shows...oh well. The new Star Trek: Discovery season should be starting in a couple weeks. That will be great!

Oh, and I did buckle down and buy a copy of Scrivener for Windows. I also purchased a new setup for journaling from Lochby.

That's about it for this weekend, cheers!

The weekend October 24, 2021

I've decided every Sunday I am going to attempt to summarize the weekend and what happenings went on. I'm sure everyone will find it so exciting..lol. But it gives me something to write about, practice, practice, practice.

So, I started out with a complete wipe of my laptop to get me off to a fresh start. I'm pretty settled on the Apps I needed and I don't want to have to much extra. The main apps being...

  • MS Office
  • Standard Notes
  • Hemingway
  • iCloud
  • iTunes
  • VSCode along with Go and Python
  • Affinity Photo and Designer

Part of the IT things dealt with this weekend was also moving my email to iCloud+ on my own domain. I'll see how long I can stick with it. I love fastmail, but I'm already paying for iCloud and I can't justify paying for two services offering the same thing.

I’ve also been trying to decide what I need to do to get writing more. I keep looking at different tricks, apps, and gadgets. I think I need to just get to writing. I thought about doing a 30 day Limerick challenge. I am by no means a poet, but it could be fun, or maybe one a week. We will just have to see. It could be a good activity for all of my Micro.Blog friends.

As far as cooking goes, I tried my hand at making Somalie Sweet Fried Bread and also Lamb Kebabs. Both turned out pretty well. I think the sweet bread could of been rolled thinner, next time.

And this weekends Movie was Dune which unlike the rest of the world, I don't think impressed me. It was interesting enough and cinematically it was great. But it felt a little slow paced for me and left me feeling very unfufulled as far as answers go. It's like they just didn't give me enough to be happy waiting another couple of years to find out what happens next.

That's my weekend mainly.

Cheers!
Tim

River Crossing

For those who don’t know, the building I live in is in a hospital parking lot, so sometimes I sit at the window with my coffee watching the morning activities.

The funny thing is, this hospital has been here on this island since 1903. You would think they may have figured out drainage by now since we’re at the bottom of a hill. Let alone again, as I stated, we are on an island. Yet still all the buildings flood and water gushes down the streets and sidewalks like you were watching the great Colorado River rush through the Grand Canyon. But who am I to judge.

To my point now. It’s been raining here all night. I’ve been watching all the medical staff trying to get from the parking lot to the hospital through a class VI rapid. Including my wife. It’s pretty funny. I watch them stop in small groups right at the edge of the water. You see them consulting with each other, trying to decide who will take the sacrificial plunge. And like I said, it is raining, so they are getting pretty wet whether or not they cross.

Finally, as if their very survival itself depends on them getting into work, one or two brave individuals will take those first steps into the torrential waters before them. Water immediately fills their sneakers and socks become wet. And the others follow immediately ... imagine the voice of David Attenborough “Dashing a across the torrential river like gazelle running from a predator...”.

They all of course make it to work unscathed with their shoes inevitably squeaking on the tiled floors of the hospital. And then the cycle begins again as a new group arrives at the crossing. I need more coffee.