Time Savers?

Oh right, computers and the plethora of electronic devices that are available allow us to do more. Or, is that buy more? I've invested in a Kindle, thinking that I’ll read more because the device does nothing more than display text from formatted books—no e-mail or Web surfing. I have not even received my “new generation” device, however, I have spent upwards of an hour browsing Kindle titles and adding them to my “wish list”—such a time saver.
I find it curious that I do not own a Smart Phone device. What does that say about my intelligence? I like to think it means that I’m smart enough without a phone that parrots that virtue. Fact is it may have more to say about my age rather than intelligence. Most Smart Phone owners don’t fondly remember a time before devices that are as mundane as cell phones and personal computers!
And just why do I want to read more and what will a Kindle do for me? After all, my passion is writing. I am curious about e-publishing—the wave of the future? There is a huge variety of titles in Kindle form, but just a fraction of print books. So, perhaps there is a niche there for me, that is if I have anything worthwhile to say, and can take time from away from my timesaving electronic devices/toys to actually write.
BTW, happy birthday, Martha!


I am trying a different approach, however with similar results. So, I’m not paddling this weekend in an effort to connect with what’s inside, but I have been awful busy going to meetings, walking dogs and buying stuff—watch, Kindle. Inside, there’s a guy trying to reinvent and reshape, trying desperately to move form mundane unhappiness toward observation and understanding.
My motivation is easy in hindsight—removed from the day, the more clear my motivation. However, day to day, it’s almost impossible to rise above. Even when I recognize what is pushing me, changing course is difficult. Slow motion self-destruction is painful.
If I was a fictional character, how would I describe me? He is tall, head and shoulders above most—he feels that he is on display. He usually wears a smile; however, it does not reflect what he’s feeling. He adds to conversation when he is comfortable. However, under pressure and in difficult situations he does not have a lot to say—clams up. The voices of fear and doubt raise internal voices and take his tongue. If pressed to open up or answer pointed questions when stressed, he will invariably shift attention to someone else who is an easy blame target in his eyes. The shift includes ridicule and is cutting and relentless. He rarely admits that he does not know the answers.
Move in a different direction, change, and think objectively/spiritually.


I am continually trying to make order and sense out of people places and things that defy order leads to frustration and, yes despair. The Serenity prayer is so easy to say, but “the wisdom to know the difference” between things that can be controlled and those beyond anybody’s control, especially mine, is not so clear in the moment.
So, on the 9/11 anniversary our collective desire to make order and sense of the tragedy leads many voices to place blame on those who look like the few that caused such pain. It draws us into the confused mindset that started it. By doing so, we admit defeat and desire only retribution on faceless people that we refuse to see as people with possibilities and that have limitations just like ours. We cling to our flags and twist our patriotic ideals.

Once again, I’m sitting in my office with all the same old mundane sounds—hot water heater fan, hum of air conditioning, and chatter of people in the “big room.” I’m hypnotized by it all and it feeds “quiet desperation.” I am not fully awake yet not sleeping, pushing through the malaise of Friday, and cannot wait to come to life away from here. Spending most of our time in this situation leads to bizarre behavior—pushing back, grasping at perceived control, trying to manage the unmanageable.
Last night I dreamed I was climbing down a waterfall, trying to fight the push of the flow, not wanting to be swept to the bottom. I wanted to reach that point on my own terms. However, in the light of day, I’m not sure why I was headed to the bottom. Was it my choice of direction?

Moving Water

What makes us do the weird, crazy stuff that we often do on a regular basis? I justify myself by making up grand spiritual aspirations which, in truth, are a load of shit that I use to convince myself and those around me that I am not the self-centered and self-gratifying person that I am. My AA program seeks to move us toward caring and giving to others—not working.
One of weird, crazy things that I love to justify is whitewater paddling. I go to great lengths to romanticize the sport/pastime. Yes, it is exhilarating and a great way to spend free time. But I really want to make more of it.
The mystery of moving water and what moves over, on, and under it keeps many of us transfixed. We search for places where the Spirit is strong, saying nothing of this to one another. Nonetheless, we feel it and see it occasionally in each other’s eyes. We seek strong fast water and convince ourselves that we have the power to glide gracefully over it and avoid the places that can draw us under and keep us.
We must think we are gods of sorts, but truth be told, we egg each other on and to push our limits. This is good, in a way, because we grow in paddling strength and confidence. That is until we are reminded by the river that we are indeed human. The river slaps and takes us down a notch or two. But to save face, we are drawn back to try it again and again until we succeed and again convince ourselves and perhaps those around us that we are stronger than the river and that we are the alpha paddler. What a load of mystery/shit.
Copyright © 2009 Mark Holmberg. All rights reserved.


Jack woke late in the morning after another night of sleep that felt like hibernation. Throwing his feet on the floor he bolted for the bathroom. His puffy round face and Kicking Bird hair greeted him once again as he pulled on a starched shirt covering his chest, just his neck protruding above a blue tie with brown and red fishing fly print. He usually did not wear ties, but he had a meeting scheduled and knew everyone else in attendance would be dressed in coat and tie.
Copyright © 2009 Mark Holmberg. All rights reserved.

The Inlet

During mid-day the bright sun reflects on the sand and bleaches everything white hot and on both sides of the fast moving water and can blind the eyes. Boynton Inlet breaks the narrow strip of land separating Lake Worth and the Atlantic Ocean. Twice daily tides rush in and suck out the channel. The current rests fifteen to twenty minutes during slack tide at high and low tides. Violent currents occur on a strong ebb tide and can create six to ten foot waves stand at the seaward mouth of the channel. Boats exiting must broadside to these waves to follow the channel to deeper water and there have been countless accidents running the ebb tide gauntlet. And if the waves are not enough, there is a shallow, four foot deep rock ledge on the south side of the channel that comes into play at low tide when the wind blows northeast, which pushes the waves higher. The inlet mouth points to Freeport, Bahamas and is the shortest Intercoastal exit to an open water run of about eighty miles to the islands.
At the channel entrance, birds wait for an opportunity to pluck a meal when the predator fish—Snook and Bluefish—drive the small pray fish near the surface or to shallow water. Just as the mullet and pilchard think can breathe having survived pressures from the deep, the diving gulls and pelicans swoop and pick them up. The predators prowl waiting for the prey to return to deeper water. All of this seems to conspire against the schools of baitfish, but their numbers stay constant—enough to feed the birds and the Barracudas.
My dad would take me to the inlet on weekends to fish from the jetty and the side of the channel. Fishing was best on an incoming tide when water would be a bright blue-green color and, when the sun was high, we could see silver flashes of fish truing in the current. However, when the tide turned to drain Lake Worth the water turned a murky and it was time to head home with our catch. The water swirling in and out of the inlet made me feel strong when I hooked a big fish. It also created fear when I thought of falling in and swimming around the rocks with the fish.
The inlet was more alive that the beach or the waterway and the place where the two meet draw fish, and boats. I would watch the faces of be captains as they navigated. A calm face looking ahead of the boat had no problems. Tight eyes looking from side to side were touch and go whether they would make it in or out of the channel—we held our breath.

Cartecay River Trip Report

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Six paddlers took a day off form work on Thursday, December
11 and headed to the Cartecay
: Mike Kellis, Jeff
Salembier, Don Robertson, Jeff and David (last names unknown), and me—Mark
Holmberg. We put on at Lower
Cartecay Road
about 1 PM. The rain that graced North Georgia for two days had just stopped and the sun
broke through the clouds. The river was at a great level and rising.  


Several of the rapids looked much different at the
relatively high water level today (3’+) compared to recent low level runs.
S-Turn had an intimidating wave in the normal line; however, an easy over the
ledge line on river right was open. There was a large hole on the upper right
side of Whirlpool along with a wave on river left. A large tree across the
river just above Blackberry
was a new obstacle.
There are openings on extreme river right and left just large enough to allow boats
to pass. The tree is visible from a distance; however be careful here. Finally,
a large wave—3’ to 4’—at the bottom of the falls filled my canoe to the gunwales.


It was great to see water in the Cartecay for a change. I
couldn’t help but imagine that Jay Srymanske’s spirit was with us on the river


It is our responsibilities, not
ourselves, that we should take seriously.”

Peter Ustinov,
British actor and writer


When one door closes, another
opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that
we do not see the one which has opened.”

Alexander Graham Bell,
American inventor


In any moment of decision the best
thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing,
and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”


26th president of the


The most successful people are
those who are good at Plan B.”

James Yorke,
mathematics and physics


Pick battles big enough to matter,
small enough to win.”

Jonathan Kozol,
American nonfiction
writer and educator


Most companies don't exercise
patience during the hiring process. There is no development system that is
going to compensate for making a bad hire.”

Eric Foss,
CEO of Pepsi Bottling


You must be the change you wish to
see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi,
Indian political leader


Service is the rent we pay for
being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare

Wright Edelman

children's activist


The first half of our lives is
ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.”

Clarence Darrow,
American lawyer


The Thanksgiving feast is just a day away, a singular American
tradition obsessed with consuming at a single meal more food and drink than
most central African residents eat in a month or more. We give thanks for our
abundance by eating abundantly. However, given the troubling economic
conditions, for most of us our abundance has dwindled a bit. Nonetheless, we give
thanks for all we have, just as the Puritan New England settlers gave thanks, to
the God of our understanding.

The Thanksgiving celebration evolved from the English “Harvest
Home” festival observed in early New England and was a Puritan gathering to
give thanks for the first crop of corn, squash, and beans along with wild game,
fish, and fowl that they had learned to gather, as a New York Times article by
Andrew Beahrs notes in the paper today. From what I recall of pre-American
history, I doubt that the Puritans gorged themselves because the cold of winter
was coming, if not already on them. Most of us, me included, can only imagine how daunting
the prospect of winter was for the settlers in a strange place and how they must have wondered if they
could survive on what they had grown and gathered. Some us may wonder today if
we can weather the current economic winter.

Projecting and planning is a natural human instinct. Ancestors
that survived passed on our collective obsessions and fears. Nevertheless, for
just one day we try to lay aside these evolved character traits and give thanks
for all we have.