Wednesday, December 12, 2018

   October blurs into November's Thanksgiving - and now as the weather settles into winter in earnest, the temps drop and friendships become the warmth sought for, making the year special.

                         Sometimes the pace can run you ragged...


But after all, Family is Forever!


Playtime along the bay holds all kinds of fascination for an inquisitive pup, and Beaufort is at his best right in the middle of a Maine winter!


I can enjoy his companionship as no other - where I go, he goes, and life becomes an adventure we share together.

The depth of the memories can be a bit overwhelming as I enjoy all of what has been given me, through the generosity of this wonderful Family's time, home and friendship - but it personifies itself in dignity when I realize that some things in life are worth more than gold...


Beaufort is a mirror of the solidarity I've grown to appreciate in the good Family who allowed me to welcome him into my life - Jonathan, Bettyann, and Joanna, Thank You.
And as Beaufort continues to grow into his role as the protector of my heart and the lifeline of my life, the gratitude for what he means to all of us grows with him.
   I've worked with the finest, but this pup excels them all. He stands with the Big Dogs that fought beside me years ago, as he drives the demons out of my life and anchors my soul in peace. 
He ranks with the finest of his breed.


Beaufort Arctic Sea of the Pond.

My Benefactor, my Friend - my Life.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

   This evening is rather special. As we relax in the fading light from across the bay, Beaufort and I quietly celebrate our first year together with my Wife Kimi, as a family.
    
He and I shared our first evening sleeping together on the floor, a puppy so new to his new home that the mutual companionship couldn't wait...  

Since then the adventures for an inquisitive puppy and his handler have been diverse and numerous,
                          from watching the local geese moving in,

or the morning sea smoke drifting across the bay

to Jeeping,

Beaching with the Friends who've entrusted him to us,

As well as a few treks later on his own...

Playing with the Mighty Mushroom, 


and, well, other adventures in the making...

But the real joy has been when nothing else in life seems to make sense,


He does.

There's no darkness where this wonderful companion walks with me.
 Thank you for a very special year, Beaufort.
And Thank you, Jonathan, Bettyann, Joanne and especially Dougal and Jasmine.
I love this pup to tears, and he loves me right back.


Who says we can't, on occasion, have a perfect world?


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

   It's interesting the things you learn about yourself in the culture of others.
   Being raised on an Alaskan homestead with my upbringing on her seas has brought me into the way of life and the history of several nations, especially from the Irish and Native American heritage of my family. 
   Other predominant cultures that proved to be of considerable influence came from the German family I grew up with, the Russia villages of Homer and Kodiak I lived with, and the Norwegians and Eskimo cultures, in addition to several families from the Philippines, that I worked with in the fishing industry. It made for a lively interaction of ideas and growth I could not have enjoyed any other way, and an appreciation of their ways of life whenever I had the privilege to be overseas. Many of these also became friends over the years of my travels later, often in unusual ways. Who, for example, who expect that an Irishman in the Arctic would become lifelong friends with an Englishman? Or with a wonderful family and their Pups from Maine in the vastness of Montana and Wyoming? Such is the quality these rich experiences have given me in life, and I treasure them.
                                                       
 
   As I've reviewed the working of this blog, I've taken the time to study the culture of those countries which have been reviewing me, and learned even more of the similarities we share. A recent one being Estonia, which I've learned has a very rich and ancient northern heritage very similar to the Arctic people in many ways, but especially in how well they have adapted and advanced through a changing and modernizing world. Both have taken themselves from a rugged past and through education and self industry, launched themselves as leaders into a path of world industrial and technological advancement. 
   It's really quite amazing when you consider what they've been through to achieve what they have. You would expect that kind of technological expertise from the Germans, for example, who have held an edge amongst European nations for quite some time in many fields. And the Russian culture has, at least with those I grew up with, demonstrated an amazing resilience in some of the harshest living conditions of the northern hemisphere.
   It's the example of these families around me through my life that has kept me going when so much else doesn't seem to make sense. And helps me to appreciate what I have, given me of their worth in life - and substance in living it.
   Beaufort and I took that in, as we walked in the quiet mists of his first August morning together. Life isn't just what you make of it - it's often what it gives to you. 
   And the gratitude you show in wisely sharing that gift with others. 
   Beaufort helps me to remember that each time he eagerly greets me, every time he joyfully runs the beaches with me - and each night we are allowed the privilege of one more peaceful evening together. That is something not everyone enjoys - which hurts me to know, from experience.
   But as I learn how other nations learn to care for each other and pull themselves ahead, I find hope from my youth that just maybe, someone else has found fulfillment today, too - and is enjoying peace tonight. - WKBD
        
  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

   It's the anger that concerns me.
   Wrong word - unnerves me.
   Because I know what I am capable of if I were to let things get out of hand. I exhaust myself within hours each day, trying to keep a handle on the emotions that are still at war within me, dealing with people who only see their agendas at the expense of others including myself and those I love.
   Yet I battle through it because the consequences of failure are the unacceptable misery of those I fight for. 
   I've always felt at peace in the Arctic because I'm so far removed from the petty and shallow that sparks these conflicts within me, including my own imperfections in that confusion. There's no deception in the reality of ice and wind, and I deal well with that.


 The costs for success or failure are real, not smeared with the selfish lust for empty power over others around you. Virtual "reality" has no place there - you either make it, or you don't.
   In the world around me now, I see so much of stupid ambition that does nothing but destroy the hopes and lives of good people. There are many who are only trying to make the world a sane, stable place where we can live together in real peace and happiness, uplifting and sustaining each other in honesty and kindness. In that environment we look out for each other and really care about each other, prospering and thriving as we build with those around us.
   But in the midst of this effort so many others seek to have dominance over those around them, destroying and stealing the peace of others as if that makes them stronger and smarter. But in doing so, they bring about their own eventual destruction through the incredible lack of comprehension they demonstrate in the hopeless reality of despair they have created for themselves. They are spending their lives trying to crawl out of a hole they keep digging for themselves over the backs of the very people that could help them out. It's perpetual misery at it's worse.
   Take God out of your life and something else will fill the void, a person much wiser than myself once said. And that something else is most certainly not going to be good.
   So I put my efforts each day into filling my existence with what will give to those around me what I actually desperately need for myself. And the odd thing is, when I do that, what I need comes back to me - somehow, sooner or later, but it does come. It would no doubt work far better and faster if I was more apt at it, but I'm still a work in progress - as those around me are only too well aware.
   I remember during a time in my life when I was homeless, and hungry. Work was hard to find, and even day work hard to get. I was along a river watching pumpkins float by that fall season, wondering who would allow so much good food to drift out to sea. I remember aching just to be able to have one of those pumpkins for a meal, drifting past so far out of my reach.
   It was about then I noticed one starting to actually cut across the current of the river towards me, until it had drifted into a small lagoon on my side of the river. It was still far out of my reach, but I hopefully approached the bank, looking for anything I could use to reach out over the considerable expanse, just to touch it and try...just try...but there was nothing on that field or bank around me I could use.
   Then the pumpkin started to spin, and in an amazing display of accuracy cut directly across the lagoon, straight for me, until it had touched against the shore in front of me.
   And stopped.
   I carefully reached down and picked the gift up, in tears to our God that hears even the quiet whispering of our hearts.
   So was it manly to show such emotions in my hour of need? Fortunately, I learned from the good man in my Father that there are times when you do, because a man shows his greatest strength in self control, and his intelligence in the kindness of good and useful service to others. This isn't a feminist side - this is part of the protecting strength that should be found in every man.
  His friends, ranking high on the list a WW II Veteran Bob Hoedel, also taught me that even the worst of war can be overcome through consistent honest work and the art of culture - in his case, music. 
   He hit the beaches of Normandy that June at the height of the war in Europe, and was fighting at the point of the spear against the worst Hitler could throw at them.    
   What made it especially difficult for him was his German heritage - his family was from Germany, migrating to America after WW I. They spoke German still while growing up in Alaska on the homestead, which is where I met and grew up with them and their children. So he fought and acted as an interpreter as they advanced, struggling with combat in the land and against the people he loved as his home.
   But it wasn't until he reached the concentration camps where he saw the what was being done to the Jews that he truly understood how Hitler had so cruelly distorted the vision of his people and their nation, bringing about their eventual destruction. "It was the only time in my life, Bill," he told me, "that I was ever ashamed to be German." A good man caught in the grinder of war, and who spent the rest of his life afterward determined to leave as much good behind him as he could.
   God bless you, Bob - you succeeded. Especially in the gifts you gave us children.
   And now as a Veteran myself, and knowing from my own family history that I, too, come from a German heritage, I feel the pain he must have felt for his people and their nation. I have learned in my time there so many years later, walking up to the silent concrete bunkers now hidden in small groups of trees amidst the fields and the hillsides, that these, too, were people caught in a machine of another's ambitions until it tore them apart - good families with loving husbands and wives, children playing in their villages and celebrating the joys of life, caught up in the vain empty promises of those only determined to satisfy their drive for power on the backs of those they should have served.
   Such is history.
   So as time continues, good people continue to try to keep faith alive by living it. We find our ways to confront the dilemma that conflicting emotions create, and take each day as best we can, one at a time.
   For me, that stabilizing influence comes from God, my loving Wife, and a big white dog who insists that getting up together by 0400 hrs. each morning is worth it.
   And so far, he's been right.
       

Monday, June 25, 2018

   He's a foul weather Jack, just like his handler.
                               


And just as sensitive to my moods. He proved that today.
   It was one of those days where something triggered a mood swing that threw me into a dark pit - and the further I fall, the darker it gets. 
   Fall is an accurate word to describe the sensation of becoming lost in a world where everything good becomes lost in a tailspin of mental and emotional destruction. I never quite know how these depressions start - all I know is where they are taking me is not good.
   I left the kitchen, growing colder by the minute. I felt hunted and angry, in a home that is safe and warm. I couldn't meet what was attacking me to neutralize the threat, so the feelings grew stronger, darker, more angry and frustrated. Beaufort was concentrating on trying to paw his blanket out from his kennel under the kitchen island when I left the room. 
   It was all happening in a matter of minutes, and I couldn't escape. Hardened by my emotional desperation I walked through the living room and started up the stairs. I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do - until I heard paws behind me. I turned to face Beaufort looking at me, standing in the middle of the room with a very concerned look on his face.
   "What do you want?" I asked, not unkindly but not warmly either. He continued to look at me, so I turned and went upstairs. I had barely gone into the room, when I heard those paws coming up the stairs, following me. I sat down in a chair I've had next to our door for some time now, bewildered at the actions of my follower, as he came through the door - but only for a moment. Without hesitation he buried his head under my arm, then raising himself up, climbed with his forequarters into my lap and started nuzzling me. 
   I broke, and the darkness fled.
   The pure love of devotion and trust only he could have given, reached beyond the betrayal humans had thrust into my life, came into the jungle I was being drug into, and pulled me out. My dogs had kept me alive before, and now Beaufort was doing it again, as unselfishly and reliably as ever. I put my arms around him, cried and laughed with him, and when I came downstairs again it was as if I had never been challenged. We were together, and I knew I would make it.
   We go through this every day, some worse than others - sometimes I catch myself, but sometimes I trip and fall away too fast to pull myself to safety. The war may not be over for me, but that's when he lets me know I'm not fighting this battle alone.
  This country is worth fighting for - my Wife and Beaufort are proof of that blessing as I am given one more day they keep giving me, to enjoy seeing their faces in the window as they greet the rumble of our Harley as I come home.
   He's my Service Dog - God bless them all for their gift of devotion.

                               
   
     

Saturday, June 23, 2018

   Beaufort's First Birthday is a celebration of many things for us, survival being up there on top of the list. So much has happened through the years that to enjoy this special day with him gives hope, after my 66 years of less than a peaceful existence, there can be wonderful days amidst the storm. 
   We celebrated the arrival of our mutual birthday gift - I say mutual because the Dog on the Hog was willing to share his new ride with me, well, at least for a moment...

                       
 
   It's rather obvious when he's ready to ride...

                     

And as he gets older, his chew toys get bigger...


The celebration becomes a very special event in All of our lives...and a Birthday steak the rare treat for enjoying that monumental breakfast together.


Which he then shared with the Family, generous Pup that he is - his Terrier Sisters enjoyed his kindness immensely ... Cosmo simply took it in stride, as one would expect from a cat.

He is maturing, understanding each day more of what is expected of him...it's actually proving to be of serious reflection for me to see how much he is  stepping so rapidly out of his puppyhood in just the last few short weeks.

He is becoming everything I could have ever needed of him. 


This is Beaufort Arctic Sea of the Pond 
on his first Birthday, 82.0 lbs working weight.
I Love this Dog to tears.
Happy Birthday, Beaufort! 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

   Yesterday was a difficult day, as our family learned that Beaufort's sire, Dougal, had just passed with quiet dignity through the veil of this life into the next. 
   In respect we took a longer than usual walk around the point of the tides this morning, then came home to watch our first day dawn across the bay without him.

    



Beaufort will turn 10 months old tomorrow, without knowing that the magnificent pedigree sire who gave him life will not be there to greet him this summer when we return.
But Dougal's legacy will continue - Beaufort will see to that.

All one has to do is see Dougal at 9 months,

to compare those same magnificent features at the same age in his son.

Thank you, Dougal, for the priceless gift you've given me.





 Enjoy the beaches where the breeze is always fresh on your face.



           Know you will be remembered by those you have served in life,




And those who have loved you for all of what you have given to us. 

 Jonathan, Bettyann, Joanne, Thank you for sharing so much with me. And of course Dylan, who will carry the torch with them now.

God Bless you for your gift through Dougal that gives me hope and freedom.

From Beaufort and I, and All of us, Big Dog, this is for you.
Thank you. - WKD