My Way Forward—The Wonders of the Universe

“This Way to the Egress.”  P.T. Barnum  

I started out as most chemical engineers do—working for a large chemical company where the bottom line is worshipped over the ultimate effect of the product on people and the environment.

These large chemical companies are a con job. I refuse to join the Madison Avenue hordes or be lulled into pill promises and by material bondage hype. I won’t be promoted by my government into thinking we are chosen messiahs instead of a new brand of Mongol horde. 

I want to progressively go forward and backward with life, feel the tidal push and pull of past and present. But mostly, I wait for and crave the riptide, that tumultuous drug-under-the-surf image so overwhelming I am left gasping.

I can only understand life by sharing my experiences and having you share yours. I have a kaleidoscope nexus of contacts and webs where I have caught so much but, until recently, have not prized it. Like a trawler, I left the port of Montana armed with a chemical engineering degree and went fishing for life. I have traversed the world and have friends and associates ranging from Icelanders, Japanese and South Africans. I know Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo, Norway, and Kruger Park in Africa as intimately as I know my birthplace, Bozeman, Montana. Everywhere I’ve traveled, I have met good people and had my North American myopic sight opened to the panoramic. Africa’s gift to me was the ability to see so much variety, endless variations in herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, interwoven in the landscape and life of this rich continent.

As a research chemical engineer, I stare daily at molecules, trying to corner, train and direct them while feverishly taking notes as they try to lecture me on the wonders of the universe echoed in their choruses. When I’m thinking about my poetry and worry about not having an MFA in English, I encourage myself by remembering that T.S. Elliot was a banker, Wallace Stevens an insurance executive and Wendell Berry, a farmer.