Monday, December 15, 2008

Unfilled, yet not unfulfilling...

(not my picture!)

After many years of trying I was fortunate enough to draw an cow elk tag. I was lucky enough to get the tag I wanted in the area I wanted. And after many years away from home (Rexburg, Idaho) in my home away from home (Mesa, Arizona) I had heard story after story of herds of elk walking up to the truck and asking politely to be shot and taken home for a bounteous feast. I was well aware that my much anticipated hunting season would probably be depressingly short. Only because I would probably see my first big cow shortly after pulling out of my driveway and bag her there, leaving the next four weeks for me to reminisce the 5 minutes of exhilarating adventure and hard fought trophy hunting. I mean certainly Ernest Hemingway would be proud right? "The air was musky with her scent, and the hair on the back of my neck stood up with the electric thrill of the hunt. I stalked my pray through the crunchy fall grass, until she was startled... by a passing car."
Well fate had something else mind for me because I didn't fill that tag on the first day of the hunt or the last for that matter. And although my freezer is a lot emptier than I would have liked, the opportunity to be out in the woods and connect to that primal nature that is so often repressed in our modern society filled my soul. I didn't have the opportunity to shoot my elk from the road, but I did see some from the road for just a split second. The adrenaline that dumps into my body at that time is as sweet as anything I have ever experienced and I imagine that is what a junkie feels like when getting high. Unlike the junkie however I can get my high each time I am in the woods without the negative repercussions. In fact to me, chasing an elk or deer through almost knee deep snow and trees as thick as peanut butter is about as pure of high as one can get. As I walked high ridges along the tree lines, my senses were heightened to the point where I could imagine some long gone ancestor far down the gene pool stalking his pray for survival.

And being in mountain lion and grizzly bear country just prior to the long winter I was cognisant of the possibility of being hunted myself. It is exhilarating.
When I hunt, fish, hike or camp I often feel myself compelled to pray. Sometimes I drop to me knees and pray out loud, often I pray silently but fervently in my heart with gratitude for the blessings of being able to be in the middle of God's most natural and beautiful creations. The spirituality of it to me is probably the biggest part of the high. It also engenders a great feeling of responsibility or stewardship for what God has given us. It makes me never want to litter, to make sure that I would never kill needlessly or wastefully, and to try and share my passion for the outdoors through my experiences if I can. I would love for everyone to feel the way I do. Then I probably wouldn't see so many beer cans along the side of the roads or trails while I'm out and about. What I did see though will give me memories that won't fade for a long time. The Murphy's law of hunting says that you will see whatever types of animals you are not hunting. True to form in the four or so weeks I was hunting and about 6-7 hunting trips I saw over 40 dear including 28 in one day. Two beautiful Muley bucks, two equally beautiful (but smaller) whitetail bucks (which I have never seen before in the wild), 6-8 wild turkeys, an enormous Golden eagle,

sage hens,

forest grouse (some of which I did shoot including one great head shot with my 40 cal sig sauer), sharp tail grouse,an antelope, and close to 20 moose both bulls and cows.

On one trip we cut some fresh tracks and stopped the truck. It was eerily quiet and a very grey cold day on the mountain. There was some fresh snow and these tracks were the best we had seen all day. Just in case, my mom (yes she hunts, and has killed more big game than I have), and I decided to follow them for a while and see if we could get into the 3-4 elk that appeared to have crossed the road there. We followed as quietly as we could through the trees walking slowly and trying to step at the same time. After some time and distance I heard a snap in the trees and and some clomping of hooves in the snow. I dropped to my knee and tried to see through the dense trees. I caught some movement ahead of me as I peered low around the trunks of the trees. I saw a large set of ears flicker and pulled up my rifle while I tried to catch my breath. I waited for a moment and then I couldn't see anything but the frost of my breath in the air. I signaled to my mom and crept forward as quietly as I could. After a short distance I found the beds of 3-4 large animals were they had spent quite some time in the snow resting. I realized I must have spooked them out of their beds and wondered how far they would go. We followed their tracks through the trees and again I heard the crackling of a large body moving through the trees. Just then a loud sound startled me, at first I thought it was a grouse that had flew but it sounded too big. All of the sudden one of the biggest raven I have seen flew over head and I could literally hear the air being forced over and through its feathers as it pushed its way through the heavy grey sky. It disappeared into the trees again and I once more caught movement ahead of me in the woods. Just then I saw the whole head of the animal I had been trailing. A huge bull moose with its long beard hanging below its chin and a great set of antlers the spoons of which were much broader and wider than any I had previously seen this year.
The moose was majestic, there really is now other way of describing it, short of a big grizzly or Alaskan bear, or a big buffalo there isn't a bigger mammal that I know of native to North America. Oh and maybe the Sasquatch. Then as this beauty was scratching around in the snow I saw another set of legs, then more antlers. Then again and again until I had counted 3 bulls and what I believe was a cow. Soon a bull grunted, it was a low moo, like a domestic cow but much deeper and more aggressive. Soon two moose were pawing the ground in front of them and grunting. Steam was coming from their noses with each grunt. The two big bulls lowered their heads and locked antlers, thrashing their heads back and forth rattling in the trees and grunting at each other. Although it looked fairly aggressive I had the impression that these two young bulls were playing. It did give me a very healthy respect for their ability to be hostile and to cause serious damage if provoked. I stood a few yards from my mom and watched them tussle about 20 yards from us. It was amazing to be so close to these powerful animals and watch them interact this way. Mom and I looked at each other and grinned. Usually when you see a moose ,even in the woods, they give an impression of slowness and even stupidity. These moose were anything but that. They were powerful, they were playful, they were beautiful. Sharing something like this with my mom was one of the best moments of my life. As we looked at each other and quietly whispered we knew that we were seeing something in real life that many people would never even seen on tv, and perhaps would never appreciate it when and if they did. My mind was racing as fast as my heart and I was so grateful to be alive.
Eventually the moose began to walk off doubling back around us and, I think, heading back to the beds we had chased them out of. They weren't the elk I had been hunting, but they still provided an amazing trophy that could beat any record in my book. As mom and I hiked back to the road discussing our good fortune I totally forget about being cold and wet, I forgot about being hungry, I forgot that my hunt was almost over and my tag would soon go unfilled. I forgot about all these things, and thought about how fulfilling life can be.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just a NOTE of explanation...

Much to my protestations as a writer I am making a little note for the one person who ever looks at my blog... my wife. The previous post entitled Sunset is not a suicide note, nor is is it intended to be construed as a suicide note. Rather it is a small blurb in the the tradition of Stephen King, Edger Allen Poe, or Richard Matheson or any other short story horror writer. A quick glimpse into the dark side of humanity. It IS NOT about me so just relax. There now I've said it. I feel so dirty and cheapened now, like I have no integrity as a writer. I think I am going to go kill myself! Kris

Monday, November 17, 2008


As I sit here in the sand and watch the sun crawl down the sky into a darkening pool, I wonder if their was meant to be symbolism in naming this the sunset. Like the Son of God was set into the tomb and laid beneath the ground. The light of the Earth is setting beneath the horizon and coming to rest beneath the ground. It seems right this imagery. Light brings life. Darkness symbolizes death, the darkness of the tomb. The darkness that is filling my eyes as I sit here in the sand. The life of the sun drains out in darker and darker shades of red like its blood running out causing that great light to grow pale and snuff out. Like the blood that now runs down my arms into a darkening pool. Causing my once flushed cheeks to pale, as I fall down into the sand and snuff out.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do Mormons Hate Homosexuals?

When I was thinking of a title for this post I thought what is the proper descriptor for someone who is "gay"? Is homosexual okay? Is gay? How about hetero challenged? And for that matter I think I have offended myself by referring to the name of my faith as the "Mormons." I have always been fascinated by other cultures; and by "other" I mean anything outside of the White, small town, conservative, Latter Day Saint culture I grew up surrounded by. I love to learn where people come from, what they have experienced in their lives, and why they are the way they are. I am often intrigued by people's negative experiences. For instance with racism. Growing up in Rexburg I had one Black person in my school for about one year when I was a sophomore. People outside of Rexburg might not get that. And actually there were probably less than 20 Hispanic kids in my high school when I graduated in 1992. I know there a lot more now. And with the "trend" in Mormondom of adopting kids of other races there are many more shades of color represented in the beloved halls of Madison High School.

But back to my inexperience with people different than me, I worked with a great lady at Wal-mart who was Black, and I'll tell you how I know. One day, while trying to be respectful and satisfy my curiosity at the same time, I asked if she preferred to be called African American or... she interrupted me and said "Honey I don't know about anybody else, but I'm Black." I was like okay. I totally loved her just throwing it out there, and I was proud of my self for not being so scared of being politically incorrect that I wouldn't ask. I really think that is the whole idea behind political correctness, fear. If we create a situation where people are afraid to talk to one another out of fear of being called a racist, or bigot, or whatever then we have these walls that divide us. These walls allow others for their own ulterior motives to control the actions of others. It is really a great tool for a minority group of thought to control a majority of people.

Now before I met certain members of Eliza's family I had never met anyone who actually gay. I have had my suspicions of people I knew, but Eliza would tell you I think everyone is gay (I am usually right), but to actually meet, talk to, and interact with someone that is gay was a completely new experience to me. And to the hick town farm kid I must admit it was intimidating. Why? I don't really know. Fear, that I might be politically incorrect? Its possible. I have to admit to my own shame, that there have probably said things that would have been hurtful that I have let slip. Not intentionally hurtful things, or crude name calling, or anything like that but just statements that would be considered insensitive. I know that I don't want to hurt anyone, not out of fear, but out of love. I don't fear someone thinking I'm a hate monger because I'm a Mormon, I fear someone thinking I wouldn't love them as a child of God because they were "different" from me. I have a much bigger fear of my Heavenly Father asking me why I didn't love a brother or sister when I could have, than I have of some politically correct "enlightened" person holding judgement over me because I am not marching in their parade. I don't recall anyone marching in support of the polygamous families in Texas a few months back when their "families" and "civil rights" were being infringed on. I don't see these people who are now calling Mormons gay haters speaking out against honor killings as women in arranged marriages are killed for alleged disgrace to their "families."

So for me, someone trying to understand others cultures and points of view, I would ask please try to understand mine. I don't hate anyone who is different than me. I may not agree with you either, but I still love you. I would say don't hate me for following the dictates of my heart, and the teachings of my faith. My faith does teach that marriage is ordained of God to be between a man and a woman. It also teaches that I should love all as Jesus has loved me. Jesus loved me perfectly because He is perfect. He loves me in spite of my imperfections, my differences from Him. I hope that you will love me in spite of my differences from you and my imperfections just as I will love you despite your differences from me.
So I would say that despite all you see or hear in the media, Mormons do not hate gays. In fact if we are striving to live by the tenets of our religion we will feel quite differently, in our imperfect way, we will love you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What A Day!

I love the Fall, I think that it is my favorite season. Even in Arizona when fall starts just after Thanksgiving, I still loved it. Football season, baseball playoffs, hunting season, my favorite holidays: Labor day, Columbus day, and Boxing Day. Today was a very busy but almost perfect Fall day for me. It started out fairly early as Matthew and I met with the Boy Scouts to distribute fliers for Scouting for Food at 8 AM (this is not early to be up on Saturday, but early to be dressed and out of the house), then dropping of the kids for Primary activity day at 10 AM while Eliza slept (aren't I a great husband?), then back to the church for a practice for the Primary program at 11 AM (I just found out that I am singing in it with Owen and some of the other boys his age and their dads). Phew I'm already tired. Then Matthew and I got spend some quality time together hunting & fishing which I thought was incredibly fun, Matthew said he enjoyed a brief nap that he got while we were driving (I thought we were making memories!). Oh well, I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a father, and grateful that I live in a place so richly blessed by the Creator with what I consider to be amazing beauty, and grateful for the times that I can try to share my passions with my children! Here are some pictures of our outing (and alas the big one did get away):

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gooooooo Cards!

How awesome was the Card's win over the Cowpies? Not as awesome as when the Suns beat the Celtics in the finals, or when I met Amare, or like your first no hand drop on Splash Mountain in the front seat, but you get the picture.

Who Knew?

Maybe Britny, and much to Eliza's chagrin, Eliza herself, but I am a huge fan of tattoos. I know that Brit knows cause she would watch Miami Ink with me when she lived with us before and I've told Eliza a lot of times (Which she hates, seriously I think that she would rather I smoked pot then played World of Warcraft or got a tattoo) but I have liked them as long as I can remember.

I have a cousin who is about 178 years old who had a swallow tattoo from when he was in the military during world war 2. I can remember the fuzzy blue outline and how faded it looked and still thinking it was so cool, in the web of his hand between his thumb and forefinger about the size of a golf ball. This may be where it all started for me. I have also had a life long affinity for the Hells Angels (yeah I know I'm weird!).

In high school I desperately wanted to get a tattoo. After I graduated two of my buddies and I headed down to Mesa and stayed at my Grandma's place at 3 Fountains for like two weeks. Somewhere around 8th Ave. and Stapley there used to be a tattoo shop in this old yellow house. I was so ready to go in there, lie about my age (I was 17) and get the most RAD Sparky tattoo ever. But the shop was always closed. It wasn't until later that I figured out that most artists are nocturnal and of course us small town boys didn't drive around too much in the big city at night. Anyway I'm sure it saved my unspoiled canvas from a really crappy apprentice tattoo that looked more like Ben Affleck as Daredevil than a beloved university mascot. Such is life!

Anyway knowing that there are quite a few people in the family with tattoos, and probably a few I don't know about, I am still craving my first. Which I'm sure would lead to who knows how many others. Personally I wouldn't mind having full sleeves. My dad is working on his, like father like son? I know that will will thrill Eliza!

ANYWAY this novel is coming to an end, here's a shot of something similar to what I would like to get done on my calf:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Death Magnetic

Most anyone who knows me well knows that I love Metallica, I have since about 6th grade and have continued to love them through thick and thin. Some so called "fans" have complianed about musical style changes or the band trying out different sounds (i.e. St. Anger) to them I say wah...! If you don't like a particular album don't listen! That being said, Death Magnetic, Metallica's newest album since St. Anger in 2003:

Completely rocks! (SORRY for the cliche). As a mix of about every sound the band has tried since Kill em' All back in 1983 (which yes I like) Death Magnetic should turn on the fair weather fans as well as those fans whose "loyalty", wavered when the band released its first video One

in 1989.

Death Magnetic allows a brilliant guitarist Kirk Hammet once again solo like like a mad man and allows fans to truly relish each song as they stretch out to more traditional Metallica lengths of time (around 7 minutes in most cases). I for one was just extatic to have new Metallica tunes to listen to, but the fact that the quality (in my opinion) of each song is amazing. With this album Metallica blazes new ground in that Death Magnetic is the first album to be simultaniously released to record stores, itunes, etc... but also available for download in entirety to play on Guitar Hero 3 the day of record release, good luck novices!

While I actually like each song on the album, and I've listened to it about 20 times, my favorite song is probably Unforgiven 3:

This song hearkens back to the feel of the S & M album recorded with the San Fransisco Philharmonic Orchestra and details the perils of failing to forgive oneself for past transgressions (to blatantly use some Mormon terminology, cause Mormons can rock!). It is in no way indicative of all of the songs on the album, but like I say probably my favorite right now. Give it a listen and let me know what you think! Free plug: I bought the album at Walmart, but the first single I got from iTunes!

So like I have mentioned before, I have a biased opinion, but this album is great. If you are new to Metallica, or have only heard a few songs on the radio, this album is a great introduction to the band and will give you a taste of the different sounds the band has put out over the years. Go out and buy it now and rock it loud!

Dennis Miller on Jay Leno

Did anyone catch Dennis Miller on Jay Leno a few weeks back? It is fairly rare to see even a semi mainstream guy on mainstream TV taking somewhat conservative stances on anything...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Journalizing... on the internet?

I must admit that this whole idea of keeping a type of journal on the Internet seems somewhat odd to me. First of all, it is the Internet, not exactly a thing of stability. And then how to pass it on to other generations? I have heard stories of people that have been blogging for ten years. So I guess its possible to see some of the things you had on your mind ten years ago, but for my four year old to be able to find and read these things when he is thirty seems a little far fetched. Eliza, a fairly new convert to blogging herself, tells me that you can have your blogs printed and bound. This would be cool but I bet it isn't cheap! I love America. No sooner has a new fangled technology started to take off then enterprising people find a way to make money on it. Then even more enterprising people find a way to make money converting a new format of writing into a very old format of writing. Behold the genius of capitalism! So anyway here lie my thoughts (read: skepticism) on blogging as a journal, but in all honesty it is rather fun!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Great Outdoors!!!

This last weekend the family was able to head to one of our favorite places Yellowstone National Park. Despite a lot of snow we were able to see beautiful scenary and great wildlife!

The Bison

A pair of Grizzlies

A Bald Eagle

I'm New To This!

This is pretty fun, much like an online scrapbook. I'm hoping it will be a good outlet for all me rants and raves and a way to see what I'm like. At least for that 5 second span. Like talk show host Glenn Beck likes to say I'm riddled with ADD!