It is 1:30 a.m.
as I begin this post.

I started to write this song,
at a little after midnight tonight.

It is written in a choral hymn
four voice
type of form.

I did not really do this
with any forethought.

It just sort of happened
as I began to play around
in the key of F,
which I rarely write in.

I decided as I placed my hands
on the keyboard
with no thoughts, whatsoever,
as to what exactly I intended to do,
that I wanted to work with this key
a little bit more.

I really like the fact
that it is the relative major
of D minor.

Or, that D minor
is the relative minor of F major.

For those who do not know,
every major scale has a
corresponding minor scale,
using all, or nearly all
of the same notes
as the major scale.

This makes it very easy
to slip out of the major key
into a minor key
without anyone noticing
that you have done so.

And of course,
once you are in the relative minor key
it opens up numerous possibilities
for going into other closely related keys.

I am not going to get into
what closely related means,
at this time,
because it is just complicated enough
that it would take an entire post
just to explain it
in the simplest terms possible.

Although, I must admit that I am tempted to.

As I played I noticed that I was
inadvertently flirting with a melody
by the great choral composer
Michael Praetorius.

I am sure many of you know the melody
(from early 1600s)
as it was turned into
a very famous Christmas carol
known as
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.

I have always loved this song,
such that my voice leading
was going in that direction,
whether I like it or not.

So, after several cycles
I ended up stating the melody outright,
without wanting to get into
a theme and variations
type of situation.

It is much more fun
to tease the ears
of the listener a little bit,
as they say to themselves,
Hey, wait a minute,
I know that song.

And then they will think
that I am Michael Praetorius,

Who knows?

While he is much more famous than I am,
I can't say that he writes better than I do.

As a matter of fact,
I don't think that is the case at all.

But, maybe I am just showing
my egomaniacal bias.

On another subject,
I just have to tell
that I went out the second time
in my life
to ride waves
in a 9 foot kayak
which is made for this purpose.

I normally use a 16 foot touring kayak,
which is completely uncontrollable in waves.

I decided that it was time
to try to kill myself again,
and I couldn't think
of a better way to do it,
so off I go into the wild surf
like the totally insane person
I can be at times.

I have been prepping for this
during the past several months,
so that I can paddle hard and fast
and not get drowned on the first time out.

That worked out pretty good,
several days ago,
as I reported.

I have been busy with work,
but decided to sneak off
during the late afternoon
and hit the water.

The waves were pumping extra hard today
in what I call the washing machine.

That is when the waves are coming in
fast and furious
with one right on top of the other.

As an example,
if you swim through the waves
they get bigger and bigger
until you are forced to dive under the wave.

But, as you come back up,
there is another wall of water
right there in your face
waiting for you.

Then, you dive under that one,
because it is too big and fast
to swim through,
and there is yet another one
right in your face
as you come up again.

This keeps happening
over and over again,
until you are pretty sure
that you are about to get drowned.

The washing machine.

When I worked doing ambulance rescue
a number of years ago,
I was on a rescue
at what we call the South Jetty
of Ventura Marina
while the washing machine
was happening.

A boat full of persons
had gotten into some serious trouble
and the people had fallen off
into the water
and were drowning.

As the fire rescue boat came to their rescue
a huge rope somehow got tangled up
into the props of the rescue boat,
which was now stuck helplessly,
as the waves were driving it hard
toward the shore.

I will never forget
as our best lifeguards and firemen
jumped onto paddle boards
and tried to get out into the surf
to assist.

Paddle all you want.

The washing machine
will not let you get out.

Very scary to watch.

But even scarier to be in,
which is what I did today.

I was told by one of my mentors
that I had best get used to
going straight up a wall of water
and getting flipped out of the kayak
as it gets turned on it's back.

This is when you have got to learn
to get away,
or you will get hit in the head,
as I did this afternnoon.

Luckily this small of a kayak
only weighs about 40 pounds,
so it didn't take my head off
like one of my bigger 75 pound ones
probably would have.

But, ouch, nevertheless.

Do I really have to learn this,
I thought to myself
as I paddled as hard as possible
to get throught all of that surf.

As you get through each wave,
it pulls you backward,
as you are trying to paddle like crazy
to get in position
to get over the next wave
which is coming in right behind it.

But, all to no avail.

You are going to get slammed hard,
over and over again.

That's bad enough,
but how about the waves get bigger and bigger
the further out you get.

So when you are maximally tired
you are going up the wall of the biggest wave yet,
with an even bigger one right behind it.

I must be completley out of my mind,
I thought to myself,
as sure enough,
I was adding flying
to my repertoire of paddling
as I was tossed unceremoniously
off of my kayak
by the monster six footer wave.

It doesn't seem so tall from the beach,
but when you are facing head on into it
and feel the power of it
and realize how helpless you are
I wonder whether I should
have a word with my mentor.

Completely nuts !!

After taking a good thrashing,
over and over, 
until I was totally exhausted
I have never felt so good
to get back onto the beach
to collapse.

As I laid there while wondering
how long it will be before I am dead
from this strange but fascinating sport
I realized just how much
like my life
those waves are.

As you overcome one obstacle
after another
and just think that you are
on your way to easy street
you look up
and see another wave
coming right at you,
way bigger than any before it,
and more coming right behind it.

Yes, life can give you the very same sort
of a sound thrashing
as I was getting in that surf.

Not a very good day to be learning
how to control this wild and crazy machine,
I thought to myself.

Maybe next time
I should try it on a calmer day.

But, then, how am I going to get good
at plowing through the surf
which seems unduly bent
on destroying me?

If you want to get good at it,
then you just have to hold your breath,
say a prayer,
and go for it.

Over and over and over again.

Maybe by the end of summer
I will be strong enough
to kick some you know what
out there.

So it is in life.

If you keep running away
from all the difficulties
which are sure to be thrown into your path,
then how will you ever get as strong
as God intended you to be?

That is the true question.

So, as my very good attorney friend
told me about a year ago,
You have just got to learn to suck it up.

While I really don't like this idea or concept,
I do realize that it is just all too true.

But, I still think
I will try it on a calmer day
next time.

Is that a cop out?

Or am I just being smarter about things?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime
I am just glad to be here,
alive and well
and writing more music
and getting to wish you all
a wonderful night
and tomorrow day.

It is time to lay down
and try to get some sleep
as I have to get up early
and get some more work done
over in a neighboring town.

Hope this finds all well
with all of my loved ones.

w/ ridiculously abounding love
and thankfulness


2:00 a.m.
Ventura, California, USA