The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog post non-fiction literature & policy analysis articles for some alternative news, views, solutions, and perspectives. We believe individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. We advocate for what we term "Libertarian Internationalism" in a time we describe as the "Post-Historical Era."

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sub Terra Vita #47—Art as Instructor of Life Lessons: Some Thoughts on Paintings by Dan Osborne

Sub Terra Vita #47—Art as Instructor of Life Lessons: Some Thoughts on Paintings by Dan Osborne

For: NormalcyMag, Vol. 1, No. 2, July 2017
By Tim Krenz

This spring, in early sunny May, when warmth began thawing down the hibernating soil, I attended a stoked occasion that heated a learning from art. My great friend of many years, Dan Osborne, hosted his opening of newer paintings on display at a chateau winery, just north of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. In those paintings, I witnessed a new era for my friend's work as a servant to a higher and better form of human understanding.

Where this new body of works stands, so must I as a participant in life. In the theme of the paintings, Dan Osborne shows that people must own their passions for the broader visions they see, while learning to live fused as part of the world and not the sole actors in it. This comes, in my view, from Dan's newer work, in his challenge as an honest, relative spectator of the subjects he paints.

In the solarium in the southeast wing of the gray stone brick chateau, the room's white walls and glass windows and doors illuminated Dan's paintings by reflective sunlight. The perspective of some paintings immediately enticed me to the company of my own self, viewing them with a feeling now lighted on my inner morning after an immense winter slumber.

Before I saw them fully, I could view most of the exhibit satisfied with my own wandering thoughts, viewing this entire scene as part of the audience, separate from the picture. I absorbed them as an involved observer behind the painter. I shortly became a participant of the mini-panoramas, but not an obtrusive clutter like a person blocking the majesty of natural creation in a selfie photo. I do not want to see me. I want to see the scene.

Knowing Dan for well over a decade now, and in discussing the fine art of painting over those years, I see more and more of his method as artist within his work, without him never needing to tell the story he can show so well. Nonetheless, I later asked Dan to give me some verbal insights on his work over a cup of coffee weeks after the opening party.

In the late-night burst of his painting frenzies, 5 or 6 hours on occasion, that come in unsustainable spurts of time, Dan said that he does not see the result beforehand, “but I can see the direction. I never see the finished piece. . . . I don't know what that point is.” Some pieces take years, and some take hours, he told me. He added that no one would ever know it by looking at the paintings.

In painting, he never uses a photograph to paint simple replicas, and when he goes through with the need to embellish a color, or a form, or shape, he admits to a lot of trial and error in his work. “They [the paintings] will let me know what they need.” According to him, it becomes more than just a mechanism for healing an individual, himself included. “I feel like I'm healing the painting to make it right. It helps me, calming anxiety.” In that pointed statement of empathy, Dan concluded the thought: “It's the closest I get to joy.”

“Like a good meal,” Dan called the act of painting; satisfying, art form, creation—sustenance.

The “Obsession with silhouette, pink, and backgrounds,” as Dan described the exhibit that day, clearly marked some spectacular scenic impressions. Not just a droll landscape or a wildlife art print, the merit of the selections on display captured in the indirect use of color and black the new inner vistas of old scenes for me while I looked at them. I still now think of them months later.

The names of the paintings can and always should carry weight, for each of the pieces individually. “Sunrise on the Dalles,” a moment-in-time view of our venerable St. Croix River valley. “Violet Dusk.” “Trillium #1.” “Moonlight Savannah.” “Stained Glass Moonshine.” “Strawberry Moon.” All of these come with high marks as both pieces of fine art and the personal era for the artist.

“Trillium #2—Isn't She Pretty In Pink?” as Dan subtitled it (appropriately) I saw immediately upon entering the solarium. Rightfully so I noticed it first, for its quality, not only because I saw it centered directly opposite the entrance. Indescribable, beyond pinkish on a green field, it almost seemed as though blue bubbles of the flower painting floated on the flat large face of the canvas, in extra-dimensional texture. It said to me, “Hell Yeah!” A flower suspended, yet moving with bubbles coming from the wall.

“Luna in Bettula” gave the soft show, in the primary color of the oils. Balanced with the dark black outline and shapes of trees, the depth of night's sky composed in a reverse “sight-cology;” We see a moon in an everyday normal sky that hardly moves when constantly watching it, but when looking at the painting, the purple moon dangles over the earth, comfortably. The brush strokes move the moon forward in the ellipse on the large canvas, creating the movement and not just motion—free, balanced; dancing. That whole piece expands the mind of the possible on such a restricted, human-limiting medium of cloth and oil paint.

While “Luna in Bettula” made my favorite and personal rank as “best in show,” Dan's painting “Sunset on Boundary Waters” gave me a recall and direct connection with the artist's original viewpoint and his inspiration.

A long while ago, I took a paddling trip to that same Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). Dan mocked his own painting to me, as a piece of “orange crayon on the dashboard” of an old car, as he said that day. It still, however, arrives at a common experience he and I must have shared, on occasions separated by long time but only little in distance.

The Boundary Waters painting also teaches me a lesson, as I now found my own theme for Dan's works on display that day. It may give me some truth to the power of some worthy passion, in how I view things in my life. Stated thus: I can not add or subtract from nature itself, from any natural form, of any kind. I can observe, I can interpret, and I can enjoy and bask in that natural moment. I must stand better, like some, without imposing a preconceived will upon it. I do take it according to my delights and whims—as it exist. Beauty has its own value, which we all get to share, as we see it. Pray we see it in the equal truth of that inspiring light.

In that Boundary Waters picture, of northern Minnesota, Dan and I saw the same thing, which my own words failed to capture as well as the painting. In my camping journal I noted the sunset during my trip that day in late June 2010:

“In the water, the tree line on the opposite shore is reflected [of] its top. And in the water, pink on the closer end of the [dark] green mirroring the lake combines the soft red, and to my right (east), I see the gold visoring over the treeline on land to the north. And five minutes ago, I could see peachy pink on the east as bright as if the sun wanted to dawn like premature morning.” (“Field Book” entry).

Dan's “Sunset on Boundary Waters” captured that rapture, letting me recall it. Comparing notes, he and I saw a similar sight, almost exact in extent, on different lakes in BWCA, in different years. The same mystical sunsets of a Boundary Waters Canoe Area separated in time? As a witness, Dan did not put himself in the painting. Why would he? Anyone in that pristine scene would only make it less universal, and an obstruction to the nature of it. Dan's entire show left the images untainted, unobstructed with the clutter, but full of image that evoke impression and interpretation. The artist giving it uniform objectivity. The paintings—nearly all of them—successfully give themselves objective meaning. Dan let the paintings know what they wanted to heal, to complete them, as he said. The subject views of the show wanted only to know themselves.

In that, Dan's gifts made the art and the audience, separately, each complete.

Part 2: The First and Uncertain Trip of The Low Adventures: Trekking Superior Hiking Trail

The Low Adventures: Trekking Superior Hiking Trail
Part 2: The First and Uncertain Trip
By Tim Krenz
July 18, 2017

After convincing me on the “day of the Pinto” in November to trek the entire Superior Hiking Trail from Two Harbors, MN to the Canadian border, Craig made various ideas of planning over the course of that winter, 2001-2002.Time available, our age, and our physical conditions would mean we could do it by stages, in short trips, and take leisurely lollygagging time on the actual trail.

We would start in June, but I feared for my mortality and several very irrational things in the whole ordeal to come—heart attack, primary among them; bears, equally worrisome; and everything from UFO abductions to getting eaten by Big Foot, both of those last surprisingly notable in my list. I had no idea what to expect. I knew I could not deal with bears, so I tried to ignore that potential problem. Aliens and Big Foot, I pushed out of my mind, with some remarkable difficulty for a paranoid and imaginative guy like me. To avoid the heart attack, I had some solutions.

Beginning that Thanksgiving, I decided to train physically for the trip. A heavy smoker, and never too enthusiastic about exercise, I started my regimen small. Over the next several months, I walked all over my hometown of Osceola, Wisconsin—up the hill on County Highway M, around the circuit of the village, and down and up the massive and steep stair cases to the Cascade Falls. Even with a back pack full of heavy crap to accustom myself to the weight, I trudged those steps to the falls immediately below my apartment above the main street gift shop.

I thought I took big steps to strengthen my body, and dispose the irrational thoughts like ET and Sasquatch from my mind. I did push ups, sit ups, ate healthier, lost weight, gained self-respect, and all that jazz. I did it on my own, without paying a trainer, but I imagined I looked pretty vagrant walking through a normal semi-suburban idyllic town wearing cheap hiking boots and carrying my gear. All the while, Craig had made me one promise when he convinced me to do the trail: No matter what happened to me, he would get me out of the woods, even if it took several trips, and I came out in pieces (HA!). By mid-spring, armed with a poorly outdated Superior Hiking Trail guide book, Craig had the trip mapped out and we set the date, June 18, 2002, to mark our beginning.

I had a work commitment the day before, so we could not leave before the appointed morning. I packed heavy stuff—too heavy, like a novice would. I had a good, a very good back pack, but old, rotting, war surplus gear I inherited and collected at sales from several wars back (though all still made in the Twentieth Century). I slept well. That morning, Craig picked me up in his mini-truck around half past seven o'clock. I felt ready, but disguised a dose of trepidation. What to expect? Would I even enjoy it? I did not know. I had to go find out. We headed into Minnesota, and we turned north for a three hour ride.

After a quick breakfast in Hinckley, MN, we made it just past Two Harbors, MN, which sat on the big lake, Superior, before 11 AM. At that point in time, the trail started north from there, although years later it extended southward to Duluth. We parked at a parking lot on some lake country road, a place ominously called Castle Danger. We unloaded our packs, and stripping heavy crap out of them, we then threw out more crap. Finally, still heavy, we put the packs on and headed north on the Superior Hiking Trail (S.H.i.T). Right away, we encountered a tall and rugged hill, straight up and steep, called Wolf's Rock.

The hill trail went up, and up; up; up. Way up. Just starting this trekking, this low, spirit-crushing adventure that first half mile, really, really discouraged me. At the top of Wolf's Rock, before the leg-shortening, crunching walk down the other side, we did see the nice but distant view of the lake. In fact, my journal calls it a “breath-taking view.” I think “breathtaking” might have referred to the fact that my smoker lungs raged in pain. Either way, after only one-half of a mile, I really, really wanted to quit this entire adventure. Done, finished. Puss out. But we had not really started, and Craig encouraged, and might have threatened, me to go on to the campsite. We still had over three-quarters of a million steps to go to finish the trail. (We estimated the total steps years later). Those first steps, on the other hand, made me painfully aware that I needed a lot of training, some inspiration, and lighter gear.

At three miles into the hike we ate lunch, a simple and heavy-to-carry mix of food Craig packed—summer sausage, cheese, PB sandwiches, crackers, and apples. We moved out from our lingering lunch rest at 2 pm, and encountered another “S.O.B. Hill,” called Mike's Rock. Again, we saw the spectacular, panoramic, hazy summer view of Lake Superior off to our east, closer now, but still over the horizon of a green, thick forest.

At 3:15, we reached West Gooseberry Campsite, on the creek of the same name, but only after we had walked right through some type of wood tick nest. Craig and I each found over a dozen ticks on us, on our clothes, on our skin—everywhere. Before we set up his four-man blue tent, we spent fifteen minutes picking the little fuckers off of us. Eww! We thought the tent worms all over the roads and trees, and in webs across the trail bad enough. To deal with these ticks proved more intrusive, personal, and tricky.

Five miles into a rather quiet forest, but with the calming sound of the creek trickling below our site, we pitched our camp and drank coffee for two hours. I smoked cigarettes, to catch up on that “breathtaking” view ahead of time. Like I discovered camping with Craig before he left for the Peace Corps in 1997, he had a lot of stories. Of course, I would hear many of the same ones several times over the next six years. I brought a book to read, too, on this trip. I could read and ignore his stories for years, it turned out. As I noted in my journal before supper that first night, “I couldn't believe it. I made it.” We settled into camp, and I enjoyed every minute.

Craig's commercial backpacking gas stove did not work properly. It never would. It spit out gas all over. I unpacked our supper, which I cooked over the small fire Craig built in the rock-lined fire ring. We ate reheated, pre-cooked chicken breast, rice, cheese, cooked baby carrots, and drank flavored powder mixed with filtered stream water. (We used the mix to make the water somewhat palatable).

I filtered more water after supper while Craig did dishes. I became highly suspect of the creek. After washing my arms in the creek once we set up camp, my arms began to get little bites and bumps. They itched horribly, so bad that I scratched them raw and red that night and the next day. I had to drink this stuff? The camping filter, with a nozzle, two hoses, and a very sticky pump took forever to fill bottles.

Did all that cross contamination of the hoses, or the clogged charcoal filter inside of the filter really take out the impurities? Novice me, I decided to ignore it, like I ignored the thought of bears attacking me, flying saucers taking me to the mother ship, and Big Foot eating me for a midnight snack. I just learned on this trip that while I could take precautions against bad water and bears, I just had to live with it by not getting too paranoid. I drank the filtered creek water, reluctantly, and scratched the hell out of my arms the rest of the trip.

The rest of the night, we sat by the dwindling little fire, feeding it what slim pickings of fire wood we managed to find around the heavily used campsite . I wrote a journal entry. Craig told stories. The sky at 9 PM still looked blue, although the sun had set. I contemplated the soon to come summer solstice two days away. I always felt a little spirit crushing remorse the days after the June solstice. It meant shorter days. I did feel, and write about, a certain reward in many ways by the past nine months and the recent turn for fortune my life took in that time. I managed, with some very hard work and honest, introspective thought brought to my existence on earth some new and enlightened understanding every day for the past nine months. Just into my thirties, I had a choice between life and early death. I chose right.

In my intemperate twenties, I always wanted to do more, act for a purpose in things, and not live aimlessly and mindlessly. I also wanted more pleasant adventures, and happier ones, too, than the decade of the 1990s brought to me. Did I have any chance? I thought I did have one, to live “as a person lives life, to feel, to breath, to experience, without negative defects. . . ,” I wrote in my journal around that fire. “. . .This is what I meant,” I continued, “. . . and to do with the rest of my time; live without fear and live doing—an active life.” So go the optimisms of a youth at age thirty-one.

After a night sweating in the tent on a warm and dark night, we packed and left for the last 5 miles of our short trip. Near Gooseberry Falls, itself a wonderful and beautiful waterfall no different than many others, we passed an old state park building near the highway before entering Gooseberry State Park proper itself. The building, one of the old Great Depression era structures built by civilians in the construction corps, still had its rather stolid, solid presence. Rock and timber built, with wood shingles, the park, however, had all the windows and doors boarded and nailed shut.

The building, while insignificant in its presence near to the modern park building a half mile away, represented something beyond: It carried a venerable presence of wisdom, natural material, and stout construction. We would return to this theme a lot on this adventure. What wisdom would I learn? With what material did I have to work in my life and on the trail? How stout did my god construct me?

At the new park building, we became worried. We expected a ride back to Craig's little truck, nine miles south. A park worker came up to us, and gave Craig a message to call home. It turned into no real emergency, nor even an inconvenience. Poor two-year old Anya, Craig's daughter, had a severe rash and Jen, his wife, could not meet us at Gooseberry State Park for the afternoon. We had no ride back to the car. We definitely needed an “Alternative Contingency Scenario Bravo,” a “Plan B.” Craig decided to leave me at the park with the gear and walk and hitch hike back to Castle Danger. I thought it sounded a little risky, but Craig and I could see no other way.

Surprisingly, he came back a half hour later, with the truck, for me and the gear. “Retired pastors are our new best friends,” he declared in beaming relief. Apparently, a retired pastor picked him up and drove him from the park gate to the truck. Lucky, we thought, at that point, after a very successful and satisfying short lollygag through the forest and hills of northern Minnesota. In a way, the retired pastor that day seemed to give us a little blessing for my existential exercise of trekking the Superior Hiking Trail with my friend Craig.

With around three-quarters-of-a-million steps to go, all the way home from Two Harbors, MN, to Osceola, WI, I wondered, “What part do we do next? And When?”

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Prayer for a Closing Pitcher

Prayer for a Closing Pitcher
By Pi Kielty
July 27, 2017

Now I step me out to pitch;
I pray the ump the ball's unstitched.
And if I throw it to home plate;

I pray the batter strikes he takes.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #46: Words Made of Letters

Sub Terra Vita Chronicle #46: Words Made of Letters
By Tim Krenz
January 25, 2017

In a prized heirloom which I keep well protected, I can read the words written by my maternal grandfather that he wrote to my grandmother before they married and started a family. Beside old pictures in the photo book where I found the letter—including a black and white photo of my Grandpa at my parent's wedding—I have no other way for him to speak to me. I can conjure no memories of him. My grandfather, Victor Michael Kielty, died almost a decade prior to my birth. My Grandmother Evelyn M. Kielty, neè Yonker, lived until almost age 89, passing away just a few months prior to my 30th birthday. I have memories of her, many in fact, as she lived close and played an prominent part in my life.

Once in a while, Granny Kielty, provided me with stories of Grandpa, some funny, some sad, all good. When talking about her long-departed husband, she always looked fondly at her memories while sharing. She wore her wedding ring proudly until her death. I could see in her the love she had for Grandpa Kielty, the love she never lost. With these few contacts with the past, like the letter, the photo(s), and her own reminiscence, I got to somehow know Grandpa Kielty in the only ways possible. The insights gave me the impression of very good, decent and kind man.

In that letter to Grandma Kielty, Grandpa mentioned things about the life he wanted, some hopeful things, and some stern things about what he did not want. He signed the letter, pre-marriage proposal, “Your friend, Victor.” In all the stories, and all the other ways concerning Grandpa Kielty, like his newspaper obituary, I do not trip over the words, but I read into them the place or time he lived. Even more, I try every time to hear his voice, how he thought, the man inside and how he outwardly presented himself. I hear cautious words of a suitor, and the depth of his affection for Granny.

The letter I discovered gave me this “hearing” of him, the first real sense I ever had of him, and can ever have, unless I find more of his letters. Growing up, I always had wished I knew him in my life, even if too young to remember it. If I only had a word or picture of him holding me, I would have enjoyed it. More than for me, I always wished that he and Grandma Kielty would have lived old, for the sake of Granny who always seemed sad at the end of her stories. Grandpa left the world at the age of 52. He died far too young.

In a different lette in the same photo album, I found a letter from my maternal great-grandmother, Katherine Yonker, neè Yiddake, to my Grandmother Evelyn. I reach further back into the history of my maternal family, to before the birth of my own mother. I know that Great-grandma Katherine died a long, long time ago before 1940, and the circumstances of her death remain a mystery, speculation notwithstanding. I may have never known her, if not for a letter.

I don't remember Great-grandpa Yonker, Katherine's husband and my Granny's father, but I know from stories that I attended his funeral when very young in the early 1970s. He died in old age, and had lived as a widower. I have an heirloom from him, however: an old ring, a beautiful whitish agate on a sterling band. I found no letters from him, but I have the ring. Yet, somehow, I understand part of his life. In Great-grandma Katherine's letter, I hear that ghost-like voice, one of a sad woman, depressive even. The family lore I hear confirms that she lived a very, very sad life before dying awfully young.

In the photo album of my mother's family, I recognize some of the great-aunts and great uncles, and more recent relations when full of youth and exuberance. I can also see that many relations now living share similar looks and features of our ancestors. Not myself in that album, because I look like my father's side of the family.

I can touch and smell the ancientness of the frail paper on which my heritage wrote their letters. I can smell the chemical decay of the photos, too, as they fragment away in the thick, black paper of the album. I have memory now of those I did not know, because I could read their words and sense their time, by sight, by touch and by smell. The pictures survive, too, though the photos disordered and got loose in the book, by the age of the glue worn away. Like photos and letters, we survivors of our ancestors, on both sides of my family, begin the long journey to brittleness and fragility by age and living.

The letters, especially, I have something that both excites the sense of history, and daunts the passing of our time. In the relics, I can touch them in the careful way to avoid damaging them. I feel the threads of the note paper, unmarking themselves by time of the now faint colored blue and red lines. The pencil and pen scripts erode. In them, I have the authentic history, that historians cherish in their research, of a primary document created by those people important for me to define present things. I actually can touch the paper held by my Grandfather. That gave me more reality and closeness to him than I ever knew before I found his words and his voice. In touching the letter, I create the shape of the room where he wrote. I see the lantern giving him light to write. I see the desk. The person blind to my actual memory comes alive.

The photos give me a different sense. The black and white smoothness speaks the words that I cannot express. Images of them give me the image of their minds. Drying their sweat in soiled work clothes, lunching from pails in the shade of the house during fall harvest on the plains of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.. My Grandpa Kielty met my Granny Kielty while harvesting with a crew one season on Grandpa Yonkers farm. I pretend to see that moment of spark.

I touch that history, that identity of the Kielty family, their heritage that I do not know by personal experience in the Great Depression, but that I see in their faces. I hold the moment that my grandparents beheld, even if I cannot see what they looked upon. But even that picture gives me words in my thoughts of their home and hearth, their land and their work. Holding these letters and pictures, I behold them.

Regardless of what others think, I need these things to understand better, allowing me to comprehend my present better, and help point me in the direction of my future. I cannot covet the letters and the photos on a computer, which digitizing may preserve them for an historian and journalist (like myself), but having them and holding them mean so much more to my spirit. I have to forget the intellect, the ingenuity, the very technology that runs the work and the social world. I have to create these persons from real fragments.

I cannot hold something an ancestor held in their hands through any number of computer pixels in order to bond with my heritage. For most of my life, I could feel the absence in my heart of those people I never knew. In touching their affects, I found a contact with that side of my family, and that itself fulfilled a missing part of my spirit. I could never have asked for more, when all technology fails, than for touching an accidental discovery to surprise my sense of heritage.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wonder Pory Psalm: From: Alphabet Psalms

Wonder Pory Psalm
From: Alphabet Psalms
By: Pi Kielty (posthumously)
Found: January 10, 2017

Wonder Pory Psalm

The depths of thee, your empathy, always mark you strange. Where you walk, you wander, and call your father's name. The odd cloth you wear, what you do, you've always done your same. How you talk to raptured rooms, you rebel toward your early tomb. Then you feel around that shore, and command a stormy sway? What makes you different, we cannot tell, yet we feign embrace your bizarring self. You carry them, then leave them all, for hills you roam, in desert realms. Eating what, but clay? What heights you see? How wise you know? Then talk of things ancient old, yet still removed our ills away. That simple path, without silver you trod, and show those things you pray. We wonder. It makes you odd, but now we see, your bloody crown, hands, and hobbled legs. We see your wondering soul. At your grave, we saw the stone, now pushed and rolled. He saved. Forgive us, Lord, for we thought you strange. You left the world. We remained. We live with guilt and sinful shame. Now we grieve our awful crime. In last, we see the Wonder. We need you more, and once and more, as time returns. We pray you welcome. Please, Lord, reveal more wonder. . . come home with us and Stay.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Low Adventures: Trekking Superior Hiking Trail Part 1: Introduction

The Low Adventures: Trekking Superior Hiking Trail
Part 1: Introduction
By Tim Krenz
November 29, 2016

Why on god's otherwise even-leveled earth did I spend two or three weekend trips a year, or sometimes 8 or 9 days, climbing trails with a heavy backpack, if those trails always went up and up hills and moutainish peaks, instead of the nice, level ground between them; or walk almost 800,000 steps on the soles of battered, smelly boots; to cover almost 280 miles of trail, sightseeing detours, and spur trails to the car and back; why did I endure warm or freezing rain, snow, and depressive heat that made fog over Lake Superior on hot, sunny, windless days; for what did I trek in total from Two Harbors just north of Duluth, MN, to the Canadian border, and not in a straight line or in any sections of trail that made any logical order or plain sense in the way we did them?

For almost a decade now, I pondered that question: The “why did I do it?” question. What compelled me to challenge my overweight body and my smoker's lungs, my crooked knees, my butt-grabbing pain to literally carry myself over the next step or hill? The severe challenge of the Superior Hiking Trail now rests in a hubristic memory, a feat that I did that which so many others did in much better style, and could do in a few weeks what took me and my worn out body six years to find time to finish.

I swore at those hills that never stopping climbing. I cursed the rain that forced me to eat cold suppers of some dehydrated crap in a metal bag, in my tent, while I wrote the journal of this low, not high, adventure. I know the answer now, to most of my questions, and the “why did I do it?” question. I will admit no guilt, other than accomplice in this particular story of my life. The camping high court of adventure gods would not condemn me for my act of extended temporary insanity. Why did I trek the Superior Hiking Trail? Well, I blame my good friend, Craig.

The story, of course, has its beginning. This story began in November of Two-Thousand-and-One. By then, I had lived in my apartment for over two years, since around the time Craig returned from Africa with his Peace Corps fiance, Jennifer, the daughter of a Kansas pastor. The apartment on main street Osceola, WI, itself possessed many qualities besides spacious rooms. It owed a view from its upstairs window of Wilke Glen and the Cascade Falls, and rebounded the sound of crashing water to white noise me asleep or into relaxation whenever I left the window open

Craig still calls that the ultimate bachelor writer's pad. Aside from the window views from the top of the corner building, downstairs, I could sit on the sidewalk at the coffee shop next door, and I could walk to the public library or the brazier for ice cream, both of those within one block. Most of all, as Craig said, I had a trout stream and the Mill Pond kitty corner across Cascade Street. I lived an idyllic, though rather empty life. Of importance to me, two months before that day in November 2001, I committed to significant changes in my personal and spiritual life, heretofore run rampant in lethargy and slackness. I had barely begun that razor's path of enlightened learning, but I knew fuller, more purposed and even some deliberate living lay ahead.

That November Saturday, Craig brought his family to Osceola to visit his parents, and he stopped by my place alone to talk about Bill Bryson's book, A Walk in the Woods. Then he asked me to trek the Superior Hiking Trail on the northern Lake Superior shore together with him. While I fitfully watched a tense, and ultimately disappointing, Michigan-Wisconsin college football game, Craig talked. And he talked. And, . . he talked. The idea deeply intrigued me. I asked questions, but his answers always came clouded with no certainty as to how many years of weekend camping it would take us to complete the trips. But if anything happened to me, he promised get me off the trail, even if it took several trips (Huh?).

I always enjoyed camping, as a kid with my family, and in Boy Scouts. I always wanted to do long distance backpacking. With my new commitment to more vigorous, actual living, instead of dreaming, I eventually said, “Craig, I'll do it!” I felt enthused, and honored, that my good friend since college years, (we did not know each other in our smallish high school), asked me to go on this great adventure.

“Tim, let's go for ride,” Craig said. “My dad let me take his classic car today, his classic, mint conditioned car. We'll ride in style and talk more about it.” I did not know that Craig's dad had a collector's car, and I knew nothing about hot rods or “muscle cars,” so as the football game entered halftime, we went out the downstairs door and into the garden out the back of the shops.

We walked through the parking lot on that cool, cloudy fall day, and I asked Craig, “Where's the car?”

“Right there,” he pointed, at a classic and mint car. I looked at this immaculately-conditioned white car with a red racing stripe along its length on the side. Craig drove to my place that day in a great looking, flawlessly preserved, Ford Pinto. Although we had to wait for spring to trek the trail, the real adventure just began.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Welcome to Cepiaclub 2017

The Cepia Club LLC Description

The Cepia Club LLC, a community-based media company located in the St. Croix Valley of Western Wisconsin, provides media services and products to customers, clients, enterprises, and the public. Since its foundation as a limited liability company in December of 2007, Cepiaclub uses the access and resources of the world-wide web for both its own operations and to connect globally, The Cepia Club's core function seeks to both inform and empower others with clear, feasible options to reduce larger, even global problems, into smaller, manageable, local—even individual—solutions, whenever possible.

Through regular e- and hard-copy publications of Freedom Scene America!, Strategikon, and Normalcy Magazine, and special books, articles, and pamphlets, The Cepia Club's unique look at politics, economics, society, and culture, give handy, accessible guides to activism for any person, inside or outside the mainstream of America.

Freedom Scene America!, a short handbill publication for the CepiaNet and the general public, gives updates and news about our business and its operations. Strategikon, for invited readers and the Cepiaglobal Associated Membership Program, offers inside information on the latest public and private policies, etc. that impact readers, and how Cepiaglobal can influence them.

Normalcy Magazine, a free and advertiser-supported public document, lets global readers the insights and impacts of groundbreaking ideas and events, through essay, story, poetry, and other creative arts. Normalcy Magazine will challenge readers to think about the world, ask questions, and help those readers work toward the new normal they would like to see in their lives and in the world around them.

The Cepia Club LLC also produces modest broadcast programs and special features for either the discerning viewer or those inclined to lighter entertainment. Found on our Pikzl Vision T.V. Station, programs like the community news maker interviews on Freedom Affairs, or Cepia Community News, bring the same ideas and solutions to the viewers in a community-oriented format. Other presentations, including documentary, drama, music, sports, let viewers connect with community media.

Finally, as a supporter of a world connected to itself in a meaningful and valued relationship between people, The Cepia Club also provides resources, management, training, and helpful guidelines for others around the globe to help them and their community connect to each other in the spirit of a free idea, freely shared, for a peaceful and prosperous present and future.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sub Terra Vita #45 Questing for Normalcy: Allowing the Change: Why? What Type?

Sub Terra Vita #45
By Tim Krenz
April 24, 2016
Rev. November 23, 2016

Questing for Normalcy: Allowing the Change: Why? What Type?

We need to engage in the discussion of change, because of the inevitability of change can assert its own means beyond human ability to control. Many cliche's about change in civilization nonetheless will sometimes hold true: “Nothing ever changes;” or “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Yet, these cliches usually speak power to apathy among people who feel powerlessness to change anything. Voice to this reason: Everyone has it in their power to make change in themselves, in their immediate surroundings, and somewhat beyond themselves—at any time in their lives if they choose to do it.

The ability to change anything takes what most people would only reluctantly give up, things like effort, work, ideas, energy and the irreplaceable quality of time. As a great industrialist once reportedly said, “If you think you can't, you're right!” The power of believing that change can happen, and that good can result from that personal action, demands the informed decision and hard work in the individual. Positive change requires willingness and effort to make it a reality.

If people want nothing to change, change will still happen without them, but it might not turn out well. If not done broadly, someone else or a motivated few will benefit from any change to the status quo, seizing the opportunity to profit from a mass reluctance to participate. Time does make everyone outdated in the end. In certain moments in history, those who failed to evolve with the new conditions ceased to keep their status, their prestige, their security, or their very lives in some instances. If a consenting majority does not involve itself in the process of change, then the few will profit. In that case, a small faction thereby obtains too much power in their own hands, which harms the good of the whole.

What level of change in our society would work best? In short, change from the bottom up in society, from the homestead and main street, actually has the most advantages for the greater good of all. In the world today, technology and the power relationships vibrate in an odd flux. How the changes we make or allow politically, economically, socially, and culturally to affect us here in the St. Croix Valley have more importance to people here, more impact for the good, here, than any amount of change a person tries to implement in the Madison Capitol or Washington, D.C.

To clarify the argument, a voter in the Valley, or even an activist, has little to absolutely NO IMPACT on state or national policy, unless, of course, they swing massive amounts of wealth. While that statement holds generally sound as a “gold rule” of higher level changes, only truly exceptional and visionary people, those few bright souls in a century, have the ability to affect change beyond their line of sight. But ultimately the simple voter and even the vocal and caring person, can change almost zero things beyond their home town. To use resources better and wiser, the focus put in the Valley or any hometown to make those necessary or desired changes can multiply effects—better and here, rather than wasted and frittered elsewhere.

On the optimistic side, the effort to change things grows naturally, the closer to home a voter, an activist, an entrepreneur, indeed ANYONE, puts her or his effort. And furthermore, those individuals or a community conscience will always find it harder to work alone to create the type of changes necessary. Whatever way the community defines as necessary and good changes for the most people, the entire community or a large portion must work together. Beware the change that the majority consent will not approve or cannot control. That type of force or unleashed spirit to only destroy the old without a consensus for viable, stable, and logical replacements will in the end unleash horrible consequences in which everyone gets victimized. Always seek changes that could unite and solidify a stable order in a community or region.

As implied above, a local change close to home can grow easier in a natural, steady way forward, with less disruption. Like a Frenchman named Talleyrand said about his country's 18th Century revolution, any upper-level or mass and chaotic disruptions in the name of changes will eventually “eat their children.” Digest those words, and do not gorge on change without thought and effort. Changes happen, with or without us. It remains the responsibility of all to help work for them and to guide them.