Running Away Was Not an Option

Miller and Debbie Harrell, Running Away Was Not an Option

MAD Hippies Life, Memories, Running Away Was Not an OptionKeepsakes, Family Photos, PolaroidsDid we both want to run at first sight? You bet ya! But it was too late. We both agree that we would have rather never met one another than be given a chance to walk away. Simply put, running away was not an option.

A recent conversation revealed another common feeling both of us had many years ago when we first met. Though perhaps somewhat counter to the way we were really feeling about each other then, and now, it spells out how deeply both of us feel for one another. Funny how we’ve been together 35 years and still keep learning new things about each other. A feeling we both share was that running away was not an option!

Was it love at first sight? Yes, and no. While we would both tell you, when we first met there was an immediate chemistry, we would also tell you it was the last thing on our minds.

Prior to our meeting we both felt a longing for something, yet unaware of what that something was but have come to realize it was a piece of one another’s soul. The honest side of the story that has come to the surface of late, neither one of us wanted to be in a relationship, nor were we looking for one. We were content to be alone, not wanting to partake in the often awkward human practice of dating or wanting to engage in the vulnerability of getting into a relationship.

As it were, and by a chance meeting, we did find one another and so began the history of us, MAD.

Did we both want to run at first sight? You bet ya! But it was too late. We both agree that we would have rather never met one another than be given a chance to walk away. Simply put, running away was not an option!

Over the years we have come to understand more fully what took place and how it would shape both of our lives, rather, shape our life together. You see, if either one of us were asked to talk about our fondest memory it would always contain “us” rather than a separate event apart from the other. It has always been us and will always be us when it comes to memories, time, togetherness, life.

Perhaps not for everyone, but given the chance, we would spend every breathing moment together. Unfortunately the bills have to be paid, and thus time is “stolen” from us during the work week. Needless to say a good data package with our smartphone provider is a must!

We do not need personal space. We don’t want separation in any form. Our memories, experiences and life together encompass all things from the mundane to the life altering. We would not want it any other way.

Looking back it has always been us. Looking forward it will always be us. When we are gone, our children, their childen and beyond will speak about us. The bottom line and truth about us from the beginning has been, MAD. Running away was not an option!

Peace,

MAD

Follow MAD Hippies Life on Facebook and Twitter

Save

Hike to Nowhere

Hike to Nowhere, Rocky Mountain National ParkSometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off trail with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

We took a hike just such as this. With no goal in mind and no destination planned, the rule of the day was, just hike until it feels right. The trail had no real defining features. A well blended forest of alpine fir, lodgepole pine and aspen opening here and there with an occasional glimpse of snow-capped mountain peaks. A gentle rolling creek trickling alongside on our left fed by a high alpine lake in the far distance. Steep slopes rising to the right and dropping to the left, leaving just enough room for the trail and our unknown destination of a hike to nowhere.

We meandered our way up the canyon, stopping here and there, taking a non-aggressive pace and enjoying the quiet of nature.

At some point the trail turned away from the creek and headed uphill. We, on the other hand, did not. Following the creek, off the trail, we made our own way. Our trail to nowhere brought us to a small outcropping overlooking the creek, surrounded by dense woods and the perfect place to call it a day.

Hike to Nowhere, Trail FoodThere we were, all alone, despite the wildlife who possibly hadn’t seen humans for quite some time, if ever. We coexisted well with them and enjoyed each other’s company. For us, time didn’t exist.

While preparing lunch we looked up at a lone aspen tree that sat on the edge of the outcropping and were dumbstruck at our finding. Perfectly carved in its aging trunk, a peace emblem. Indeed, this was the spot we had been looking for. Perfect in so many ways, and yet, perhaps, unimpressive to anyone else.

Sometimes the best outdoor adventures have no goals, no expeditions to high mountain peaks and pristine alpine lakes. Sometimes the best adventures are found deep in the forest, off-trail, with only the sound of silence to reward you. Sometimes the best adventures are nothing more than a hike to nowhere.

Hike to Nowhere, Peace SignBirds singing, a gentle breeze winding its way through the trees and the creek running gently below us, we sat front row to a natural symphony while a flood of memories of our lives together danced through our heads.

Our hike to nowhere had indeed taken us to a very special place.

Peace,

MAD

Follow MAD Hippies Life on Twitter and Facebook

Save

Save

Backpacking Eccles Pass

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Eagle's Nest Wilderness, White River National ForestBack at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

What a beautiful late summer outing, backpacking Eccles Pass. Heading up into the Gore Mountain Range near Frisco, Colorado can be some what of an uphill battle, especially with a full backpack. Though, once out of the gulch the trail levels into picturesque meadows surrounded by mountain peaks. Simply put, the hike up is lush and quiet. Aspen groves give way to mixed pine woods with fresh running streams and a much more laid-back environment versus the hustle and bustle of city life.

Arriving in the high valley, you’ll find open meadows thinning out to rugged peaks and big open skies. Wildflowers abound here, while gentle creeks flow from snowmelt high above bring life giving waters to the valley below. There’s room for everyone and everything here, that is, man, nature and wildlife enjoy the pristine unmaintained landscape of the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Wilderness, just the way it should remain.

We camped just below Eccles Pass, somewhere around 11,500′, out of touch and out of time with nowhere to go, no place to be, relaxing and allowing the natural flow of things to overtake our minds. A room with a view, if you will, positioning our tent to face west at the mountain range, prime for sunset and sunrise and a hopeful moose having dinner among the reeds.

Backpacking Eccles Pass, Marmot Tent, Backpacking TentThe nights were quiet, so much so you could hear a mouse chewing on a pine cone fifty yards away. Shadows danced all around the meadow under an almost full moon. We were alone with only nature as our cohabitant. We would drift in and out of sleep with anticipation of first light and exploring further.

“What was that?”

“A bear”

“What!?”

“A rabid moose”

“What?!!”

“An alligator…”

The next morning we would wander, aimlessly, exploring fields of wildflowers, cool running streams and eventually up to Eccles Pass for the view of a lifetime. From our vantage point the whole landscape disappeared into further untouched lands waiting to be explored. Trails winding in and out and over further mountain passes. If only we had more supplies we could just walk on in any direction letting our imaginations lead the way.

Back at camp, we carried out our duty to do nothing. Breakfast and the inevitable to follow, a walk in the woods with a small shovel. Funny how mundane tasks in the city become something of an art form in the high country. Backpacking Eccles Pass will always remain an experience to remember.

Does a bear sh*t in the woods? I know we do! Finding that “spot” where you need to relieve yourself can be tricky at times. You obviously don’t want an audience, hell, we don’t even want a chipmunk watching, nor do you want someone to find your, well, you just don’t want someone finding “it.” Privacy, secrecy and no mosquitoes coming up behind you is what it’s all about.

“How deep should I make the hole?”

“I don’t know, how full of sh*t are you?”

After breaking camp, we fueled up, loaded up and began our decent back to city life. How we would love to just stay and never go back. Backpacking Eccles Pass, much less anyplace in the Colorado High Country, just seems to sit well with us. We always feel at home and as if the weight of the world and all its frustrations just lift off of us. Perhaps one day we’ll just take that one last look behind us as we disappear into the wilderness for good.

Peace,

MAD

Follow MAD Hippies Life on Facebook and Twitter

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Summer Breeze

Summer BreezeAn almost perfect moment in time, a cool summer breeze, listening to music and watching nature unfold into another day.

It’s 5:00 in the morning, the airport is still and a gentle morning summer breeze is rolling through. Sitting outside, in what normally is an extremely hostile environment, feels calm and serene. Perched atop a piece of aircraft servicing equipment, watching the drama of night and day play out, the early morning light begins to overtake the dark and create amazingly rich colors across the sky.

I sit, iPod on, earbuds in, the Rush album Signals drifting through my ears, all coordinating in a seemingly remarkable multi-dimensional composition of sound and nature in such an unlikely place. The song “The Weapon (Part II Of Fear)” sparks the imagination and gives way to the enchanting violins of the next song “Losing It” that dances with the sunrise. I’ve often enjoyed the silence of headphones (now days earbuds) that shut out the world and allows for no interference where my imagination is left to wander.

An almost perfect moment in time, a cool summer breeze, listening to music and watching nature unfold into another day. I say, almost perfect. Despite being at work, and most noticeably, wishing Debbie was here with me to experience what I’m seeing and feeling, I take what I can get to pass the time of being someplace I don’t want to be. Some days you just want to quit the rat race and run to the mountains. Who created this mess we call life anyway?

The music continues and I wonder, does anyone even see the sunrise anymore? Are we all just so damn busy to realize the natural world and what we really are? The lyrics linger as the dark fades to light and another day begins…

 “Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we’d like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee…”

Peace,

MAD

Follow MAD Hippies Life on Facebook and Twitter

The Most Powerful Weapon

The Most Powerful Weapon
Photo: MAD Hippies Life – Street Art: David Choe

What is the most powerful weapon known to humanity, the mind of man. For it is his mind that creates, devises and unleashes the nightmares we have endured throughout the ages.

We stand on crowded trains looking around at everyone, judging them the best we can with what we think we know and leave knowing less. Did we even bother to ask, to understand, to even care that they, too, live in their own hell? We’re so consumed with knowing [about] everyone else we forget who we are, we forget to become ourselves. The question begs to be asked, what is the most powerful weapon known to humanity?

Try as we may, no one will ever know the secret world that lives on within each man, woman and child. We share, we expound and we allow ourselves to be known as we so choose. Doubtful though, anyone will ever really know the entirety of an individual’s life, the intricate details of their experiences. Much less how they were affected by others, and to the extent that others would even consider their own impact on someone else.

How deep do we go? What depth of life do we strive for? To what end do we allow ourselves the freedom to live within? What outer influences hold us at bay? Are we a shipwreck to the rest of the world, all the while a succession of creative thought to ourselves? Or, to the contrary, a shipwreck on the inside all the while an upright citizen to the masses?

Who really knows us? Who would really want to? Do we know ourselves? To what end are we under the scope of those wanting to know us, using as it were, patterns of human behavior to assume our reactions to any given situation? Who of us would know the difference? How deep do we allow ourselves to be?

Are we programmed from birth? Are we programmed in our learning institutions? Are we allowed freedom of thought? Do we have such? Labeled as rebellious we defend our desire to question, while others succumb, accept and live out what they are told. Choose freedom of speech or contend to be silenced by those who disagree.

Just what are we? Physical, spiritual, a dream? Do we even exist at all? Is everything on the outside of our mind an illusion? Where in time, where in the cosmos, where in the fabric of our existence are we? How have we evolved into the here and now? To what end will we go forward knowing we are killing ourselves, physically, spiritually and emotionally? Are we at liberty to question G-d?

Are we content with our knowledge? Are we accepting of what we think we know? Is our understanding biased by memes? Do we know anything at all? Do we judge another without ever knowing them… how could we ever really know them at all? Are we just judging what we’ve been allowed to know?

Trust is lost, empathy abandoned, relationships disintegrated…humanity replaced by generic memes driving economic growth. Religion and Politics have replaced G-d while philosophy and art are manipulated to be weapons to drive man into a self-induced lobotomy. Nothing is original except the weapon used to manipulate man. The original sin of man is his inability to own his own mind.

What is the most powerful weapon known to humanity, the mind of man. For it is his mind that creates, devises and unleashes the nightmares we have endured throughout the ages. Equally so, man creates good. Knowing what is good and what is evil is an age old question, a personal dilemma with global ramifications.

Peace,

MAD

MAD Hippies Life is on Facebook and Twitter

Love is in the Air

Love is in the air

Love is in the airOn Valentine’s Day love is in the air, Letters Say Words Too Honest To Be Spoken. “In their senior year, the young couple eloped — then came back to school to finish the year. Letters, they say, help express feelings that can be difficult to say out loud.”

We were interviewed on CPR by Michael de Yoanna for a Valentine’s Day piece on the radio show Colorado Matters. Indeed, love is in the air! He asked us to share our story and some memories for the show. You can listen to the interview and read excerpts from the show here, Letters Say Words Too Honest To Be Spoken

Peace,

MAD

MAD Hippies Life is on Facebook and Twitter

To the World Their Baby Never Existed

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Baby Loss, MAD Hippies Life, Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Baby Loss, MAD Hippies Life, Miller Harrell, Debbie Harrell, to the world their baby never existed“They left the hospital, never to mention their baby again. Their tears were shed in private, and they had to bear the burden of their grief and their pain silently. To the world their baby never existed.”

In October Debbie and I went to a Remembrance Walk for our daughter Shira Rose. We had no idea what we were walking into or the experience we would have…we can’t even begin to express our gratitude for the support and love we have felt since, and during, the Remembrance Walk. It wasn’t until this year that we had even begun to “allow” ourselves to discuss Shira and do something after 33 years in her honor. We began writing, started our blog and talking [perhaps for the first time] with each other about our hidden feelings that had been kept at bay, deep within us, for so many years.

We went to the Remembrance Walk unprepared to grieve, to feel and to somehow be those young parents we were so many years ago who had just lost their daughter. It was all so surreal. Cheryl Haggard, co-founder of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, gave a speech that day which hit a special place within us, we couldn’t help but think to ourselves, “thank G-d we came.” Seeing Shira’s name on signs along the route, hearing her name read aloud and releasing a balloon to the heavens was like coming home. Our daughter has a name, she is our daughter, she lives on and will always be a part of us.

Our experience and story was recently shared on the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Facebook page

“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Co-founder, Cheryl Haggard met Shira Rose’s parents, Miller and Debbie Harrell after speaking at the NILMDTS Remembrance Walk on October 3rd, 2015. Miller walked up to her and in a hushed tone, voice breaking, he simply said, ‘It’s been 33 years for us…

She had asked the audience to look around them that day.

‘Most likely the person standing next to you experienced the death of their precious baby recently. Within the past 5 to 10 years. They probably left the hospital with a beautiful care package lovingly assembled by other bereaved parents. And hopefully a photograph. Whether that photograph was taken by a professional photographer, a nurse or taken by the family themselves, they were encouraged to, and knew it was ok to create those memories of their baby. They left the hospital with empty arms and a broken heart, but they left with something tangible to remember their baby by. Something to hold onto. They have been told about or ‘googled’ support groups and resources nearest to them. They have shared their baby’s story with family and friends and possibly even the world through social medial. They have found acceptance and support by a beautiful community of bereaved parent’s online and right here, today.’

She then asked the audience to look around them again, and this time to look closer…

‘You could be standing next to a mother or a father whose baby died 20 or more years ago. They might be hesitant in telling you about their baby, because they were told it wasn’t appropriate to mention their baby. If you ask them questions, they might share with you their story of how they were never allowed or discouraged to hold or even see their baby. How they were told it wasn’t worth naming their child, and told to move on…try to have ‘another’ one. Forget about this one. They left the hospital, never to mention their baby again. Their tears were shed in private, and they had to bear the burden of their grief and their pain silently. To the world their baby never existed.’

That is, until now.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has given parents a safe place to share their baby. Share their story. And even share their photographs. Whether they were taken by themselves or taken by a professional. These parents have read our stories, and seen our photographs. Our babies have given their baby’s a face, and our stories have given these parents a voice. Some parents have given a name to their baby…and they are looking for ways to honor their baby’s memory.

Please share with us, especially, if you are a parent that has experienced a loss 20 or more years ago, your experience and how you think grieving and remembrance has changed between then and now. Was there a certain moment in time, when you decided enough was enough? How did you break the silence?”

Peace,

MAD

MAD Hippies Life is on Facebook and Twitter

Windows in the Cosmos

Super Moon, Full Moon, Celestial Color, MAD Hippies Life

The loss of a child is heart wrenching. A personal hell that those who experience it suffer in silence and alone. And yet, there is healing, healing that comes from the unseen and hidden world. Windows in the Cosmos.

There are things in this world that go unseen, we were lucky enough to open our eyes and catch a glimpse of what was, what is and what possibilities are out there.

Windows in the Cosmos allow us to see clues, patterns and sometimes answers to what our souls constantly reach out to.

Science, religion and philosophy, to name a few, have only scratched the surface. Detoured by their damned determination to know it all and be right all the time has kept them at bay.

Sometimes it’s better to just stand still and take notice of the events that are unfolding around you. One never knows what they might miss in the midst of the busy ongoing world.

December of 1982 was a trying time for us. In the midst of our own chaos of losing our daughter Shira, much less many factors around this soul wrenching time of our lives, there was a spectacular celestial event taking place we were not attune to. And, while we lived out our own personal hell, many watched in awe as a Super Blood Moon eclipsed fully before their eyes, unbeknownst to our situation.

Early this year, 2015, Debbie and I began a process of healing. Ironically, and perhaps sadly, it took us 33 years to get to this place. But here we are, slowly evolving and processing the most horrific experience of our lives, the loss of our daughter Shira.

In an interesting turn of events, last night we stood under the stars anxiously awaiting that same celestial event that happened so many years ago. Unfolding as it does, slowly before our eyes, along with the memories of our daughter, we anxiously awaited in awe of its beauty, but even more so, an energy of hope and cleansing. Perhaps we have come full circle, and after all, here we are, a bit older, a bit wiser and by and far, still together living life one experience at a time.

The intriguing notion here is not necessarily the Super Blood Moon eclipsing, although that is very cool, it’s more, so much more, it is a personal invitation for Debbie and I to not only experience something larger than life, but resonate with it, come to an understanding, heal and most notably, understand we are not alone in our loss.

Many don’t put much into astrology. We find it fascinating. We also tend to research things down to their very core and take notice of the obvious. The factors surrounding the event 33 years ago have once again surfaced. And, like it was then, we found ourselves dealing with the past without understanding that something else was at play here.

Way too many details to get into, needless to say, they are obvious to us, then and now, and we have taken them to heart and mind and feel the soul connection within ourselves and our daughter.

There are things in this world that go unseen, we were lucky enough to open our eyes and catch a glimpse of what was, what is and what possibilities are out there.

Peace,

MAD

MAD Hippies Life is on Facebook and Twitter

It is a MAD World Out There

It is A MAD World Out There

It is A MAD World Out There

It is a MAD world out there! Each morning we get up and do it all over again. Consumed by the rat race we neglect to capture our thoughts and go about our day out of tune and out of touch.

Do what you love, or hate what you’re doing. Seems pretty straight forward, and most likely a statement attributed to our work or careers, but this could also apply to all of life, everything we do. 

Who knows. We’re the kind of people that tends to incorporate every mundane thought and action into a complete package where nothing is exempt as it all is a part of life. We’d love to make it a la carte, picking and choosing what is personal and what is not, but unfortunately that is not a task that we find feasible, if we’re breathing, it’s life.

Wish we would have known all this stuff at an early age.

Alas, we are all taught what someone else believes to be a successful and productive life. In a meme driven culture, it’s a wonder anyone of us has half a mind to figure out what it is, as individuals, we want out of life. Essentially, it is like a virus that takes over our thought-process and tells us what we believe we want, but do we want those things, and how do we know and does it matter to most? 

The business, political, religious and educational leaders [to name a few] seem to have a plan they’d like us to follow, outside of that box, you’re deemed rebellious and a societal outcast…or, better put, weird. Keep ’em busy so they can’t think for themselves and the machine will run as designed.

If you do stop, observe and think about it for even a second, it can cause one to wonder who you really are. Or, at the very least, confuse the hell out of you and leave you wondering what exactly truth is, and what it is not.

It is a MAD world out there! Each morning we get up and do it all over again. Consumed by the rat race we neglect to capture our thoughts and go about our day out of tune and out of touch.

Peace,

MAD

MAD Hippies Life is on Facebook and Twitter

Imagination Ends When We Stop Dreaming

Rush R40 Tour

Rush R40 Tour

True artistry will always come from experience. How that experience finds its way into the lives of strangers is the key to moving others and bringing us a little closer to understanding that we all impact each other daily, albeit in a positive or negative way. Imagination ends when we stop dreaming.

We love music. Live, studio, headphones, pick your venue, it all has a way of impacting us on so many levels. Is it the actual sounds? Perhaps the lyrics? Who knows, it just seems to find a path into our soul and move us, touching our senses, engaging our minds and feeding our being.

Sure, we get the science of vibrations and how humanity can sense it and the response we have towards them. We also get the physiology of emotional response to the lyrics and the imagery of stories told. It all works together.

Truth be told, many songs just don’t sink in that far with us. While catchy, commercialism and the draw to “make it” in the music industry, to have that one hit, has never really created much of a pool of truly raw and untapped talent, perse. Many artists have come and gone, made some money and notoriety. But what was their real impact? What was their intention? What motivated them is most likely what finished them. After all, bands come and go all the time, but legends, true artistry, soul moving, mind blowing and life impacting musicians leave their mark and exist well beyond trends.

Forty years after their start, one such band takes the stage once again. The R40 anniversary tour is not what many tours are about. It’s not about another album, it’s not about another hit song and it’s certainly not just another public campaign to promote themselves. Such descriptions never seemed to fit this trio from Canada.This is about celebrating forty years in an industry that never quite gave them credit. But honestly speaking, they are in a league all to themselves, or, at the very least, a league of few and far between.

Indeed, Rush never fit the bill, they never were able to truly fit into any mold other than being a truly unique and quite legendary three piece blend of what the unknowing listener would have to wonder how such sound could come from so few. If the music wasn’t enough, the lyrics made up for it. But the essence of this band was far from the stage or studio, these were men with profound depth apart from their musical career. As it were, that human impact just happens to come through their music and into the lives of many who found solace in knowing they weren’t alone.

It never gets old. call it progressive rock, call it what you will, Rush’s ability to transcend time, stay away from trends and still be able to release amazing music is nothing short of “from the heart.” Few bands, artists or individuals have been able to walk this road over the years, doubtful there will be as many in the future.

True artistry will always come from experience. How that experience finds its way into the lives of strangers is the key to moving others and bringing us a little closer to understanding that we all impact each other daily, albeit in a positive or negative way.

Halfway through the R40 tour, Rush reminded us of how fragile life still is. But that fragility is strengthened by the fact that true humanity does exist, love can still be found in a cold world and that imagination ends when we stop dreaming.

Peace,

MAD

Follow MAD Hippies Life on Facebook and Twitter