Reflections as I move into Middle Age

All Copy Right Reserved Lark Ritchie 1968 - 1997
(Last Updated February 2, 2000)

A reconsideration of my views and writings throughout my life.

On Living In A Small Town

They sit and laugh and live their life
Unaware of people and the situation
Of their environment and the strife
That wreaks among us. A plantation
of sickness and illness. That's Life,
They say, and pass it off without reaction.
Too dense and ignorant of their mind
to realize the lack of true communication
on which minds and life and peace survive
and grow: and frustrated thinkers cry
in rage and tears for a spark of real life.

Truth and honesty and self admittance -
Too much to ask from the heads of them
They hide and pretend that they're alive, and dance
The dance of life so unexpressingly - The Fools!
Living and dying and not knowing; but the blankness
of mind is happiness and I sit with Mind
grinding its path through my head to eternities
of time and distance and imagination
and suffer the frustration of seeking
or knowing the truth.

Know the impossible - a quest of mind and life
that stretches from the dawn of curiosity
to the light that shines on our own mind
from an infinity of miles, ever brightening
and frustrating, because we know too little...
So we look and laugh and live our life
And our minds forget the quest and die.
We become the unaware, and find the Peace
That is the ignorance of the situation... We live,
We Die...


I wrote this after visiting my home town of 2300 people after being away for several months. I was at a stage of personal discovery, recently aware that the "world didn't end at the town dump". I had tried to have discussions with some of my friends and found that they could not relate to my feelings, ideas, and new perceptions. I had found that the world did indeed exist, and that there was less than happiness in it.

I had experienced loneliness, and also alienation. I knew that these feelings were real, and that people could only realize their true existence through direct experience. If true human peace was ever to be found, we would have to become alienated to understand the importance of caring for others on a global scale. (I suppose that this was a big factor in the success of the people of the Jewish Fervour and Faith.) I was bitter that I could not relate my ideas to them, and envied them the unawareness of lonliness.

Some people never experience those feelings, because either they have never been exposed to them ( people living in a small town), or because their own personalities are secure and outgoing, so that striking up relations with people is either non-threatening or the type of relationships they maintain are at a superficial level.

Many of expectations concerning relationships are determined by the concepts of relationships in the family during an individual's personality development. I felt secure within my family, but had little exposure to the formations of close relationships outside of the family. When they did occur, those relationship were usually between my parents and other adults. The family view was that children were to be seen and not heard. I think that this type of thinking is probably a major factor in constructing one's self image, and the expected relationships between children and adults, and by extension, authority figures.

My frustrations on small town living were based in a need to communicate my anxieties, in conflict with an earlier inability to form close friendship ties which would have allow me the relationships in which I could express and share my uncomfortableness.

Moral: Self image is formed very early, and within the family experiences. Rules and codes of behaviour determine the range of social abilities for the individual. These rules and codes are difficult to break, and when they exist in the area of interpersonal relations, they can have a dramatic impedance on personal well being. One should strive to understand the internal influences governing one's range of behaviours, and conciously strive to reduce their relative importance in limiting behaviour. The individual must violate the code or rule to prove that the consequences may not indeed be negative. It's a difficult struggle.

The Lake

There is a lake in the forest
Where a Canoe once floated
Carrying a father and his children.

There is a lake somewhere
that is clear and cool and green
in the sun.

It gave us pleasure
It gave us food
It gave us itself

There is a lake somewhere
where lovers swam
and touched
and children swam
and played.

The lake is a part of us
for we are people of nature.
That lake, to others,
is now a body of water,
surrounded by land.
To us, a special memory
of being one, together
a people of nature.

The Canoe still glides
The swimmer still swims
and each look to the other
but only in a memory.

There is another lake
beside a town
where a father takes his children
They use a canoe and they touch the water.
The swimmer is not there
And when they go home, they wash their hands.
© 1992, Lark Ritchie. All rights reserved.

On Looking At A Yearbook

I see your face on the page of yesteryear
And look deep into the eyes of life
That all men seek and find or lose.

Your face is alive with happiness, or is it
An ignorance that lifts you so high
That nothing matters save yourself.
Your mind rambles and scrambles,
Your voice needles the air searching
And finding its mark:
For what?

What is it you enjoy, if not the pain of others?
Or is this torture a product of my own mind
Brought about by thinking?
You hold the string that tugs to be free;
Only to release it and pull it back again.
Teasing, hurting, confusing, killing.
Killing - it is your game.
It's all a game, you win - I lose.

To praise is my game; to gaze,
To enjoy, to open your mind and
Walk those Clouds that seem so solid.
Your Face, your hair, your long hair...
What happened to your hair?

Your eyes, your mouth, your smile, Your Tongue...
Ah Your Tongue. So alive it moves and lives
A life of its own - forever.

Why do you live?
Why do you look? Why do you kill?
How do you love? Are you blind?
Cut the rope, free my mind of thoughts
I hold - I long for speech, for communication,
To speak the nothings, to dream and to live and to laugh
And to tickle your head with thoughts.
To Tortue You - would it be better?
Can you feel - You act your part so well
You probably are real.

©1992, Lark Ritchie. All rights reserved.


This was written sometime in 1968. I was lamenting my confusing life and thinking after an on again off again relationship with a girl I still think is beautiful, although I have not seen her in many years. It expresses the confusion experienced when one desires to make a life follow an individual's plan, rather than accept the reality of the situation, which was that the relationship had ended. The reasons for the breakup were based in the mutual pain and loss of trust in the relationship.

Moral. Understand that trust in a relationship is a terrifyingly fragile bond. Once disrupted, the relationship can never be the same unless both parties work very hard to understand the motivations which caused the schism and the pain. In my experience, most of us are not able to reach that level of analysis because entry into that arena bears several risks, the major risk being that the relationship will end. Fear of the loss reinforces an avoidance of honesty, and eventually destroys what could have been a successful relationship. We were both too young and inexperienced, although I believe we loved each other. We were afraid to be hurt.

Bearhunt Memories


First Bears. Big Bears
Fathers and Sons
Black Ones

Pope & Young's

Next Time
Last Time

Bibs and Stars
Peanut Butter
Honey Jars

Skinning Talk
Last Night Walk
BedTime Talk




Dedicated to all bear hunters and guides
who have experienced and love the things
that hunting brings to their lives.

Written for the Bill Ritchie Memorial Hunt.
Lark Ritchie, 1987

Lark Ritchie

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