To shine out like shook foil...

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

(note: see Preface)

The robin stood on one of the holly branches singing to the neighborhood and twitting about to sharp-see its view. The young boy aimed the rifle without breathing, one eye spying along the sight tool toward the orange chested bird six feet away. The round copper bb had several pounds pressure behind it and when released, it hit the bird with a quick furious force. The boy still wasn’t breathing when he saw the bird’s body jolt and its wings spring up in surprise. Instantly, loud flapping clattered the holly leaves as the bird struggled violently climbing down through the branches. The boy's war whoop brought his brothers up the stairs. He ran downward past their stone faces, heavy-handing the rifle by the barrel. When they turned and followed him they saw the butt of the rifle swing wide and bang the door--beige chips fell and were tread under by the new hunting crew.
They all trotted to separate halts under the dark thick shade of the holly tree where the bird lay still on its side in the sandy dirt. They peered closely looking for the red—the wound--that evidence of power that all guns could produce, and breathing now with widened eyes and opened mouth, the boy felt that power now transferred to him--the Rifleman.

With pride that matched a true hunter’s calm, the boy said, "I think I hit him in the head."

While someone turned the dead jeweled bird with a twig, four heads craned forward. Right at the feather line and the yellow of the beak was a red round spot.

Webster and the Greeks:

Respect: Latin. Spect, to look + re- , back or again

Flight Years

As I look back on that summer day, it appeared just that way: as if I was outside of myself looking at the event like the one who’s behind the camera making a movie. It was in the years that followed that I began to learn what had happened, to the bird and to the boy. And I was still remote-sensing somewhat, outside of myself as it were.

No one normal counts such things, but in the years following the day I became Rifleman, I saw no less than 300 hours of Rifleman, Silver Bullet Man and Matt Dillon but only about ten hours of bird movies. But it was those ten hours that interested me more and taught me more toward myself than all the gun-up movies I'd seen.

After those ten watchings I began to math the thrill that was the gunman, and compare that with the new thrill I was imagining: the thrill of flying. It was Superman who had come along to stop gunmen. There became a new me then—to become Superman required no death shot. I simply used bird math and a few ideas and I could jump like Supe and be a Spaceman.

Telescopic Vision

No, it wasn’t just the jump-flight-jump-down thrill that the Supe Show had introduced me to. Rather, it was the view that I could make happen—this was that magic that had arrowed through my life of 12. Though I never recognized it at that time, this view which I was oft imagining in my mind was in actuality respect. For when I looked back on that robin, who tried to escape as best it could by climbing down holly branches, I realized what I had truly destroyed. With one copper pellet and a few arm to gun physics I had destroyed all of the robin’s flight years; there was just simply no more math for that bird to use to fly up, --or up, up, and away.

There was a new me in these maturing years. A new me that tape measured every interesting thing I saw. It was like really seeing what was around me; it was like the distance between me and the world had thickened, yet moved and shimmered right before my eyes, and the more I practiced the math of this new thrill, the deeper my mind grew. And the deeper the view—telescopic hind-sight and all.

Sparkles of Sight
It was the fascinating sparkles of sight which all fliers own that had suffused me, ever widening my worlds the more I considered what tinker bells, hawks and pigeons could see as they went home, or landed on food. It simply amazed me, the many thousands of sights a turn of the eye could see from the top of even our little holly tree, or much later in life, 1969, the prime cuts of cheese on the side of moon craters.

Even the moving depths of field a bird made happen whenever they swooped into branches of leaves to sing, --truly this was what was banging around noisily inside my brain; I literarily felt those logistic desires sketching a gaggle of new thought back and around the inside of my skull.

From there I went on to imagine farther things, wider things and till now the future things out there. When I look back though I am compelled to math the shot heard ‘round my world’ that still involves so much of whom I am today. I cannot change that action; but I replay (respect) it, time to time, as a genuine component in one of my life’s many numerical sentences.

Even at present when I look into who I want to be next, I measure out the memories and the new steps I will use to become that person. By mathing respect I can see the many things that my ghost-fliers and regret have up-sparked in me over the years. Today, I know I am somewhat larger than baby-life than I was when I held a boy rifle. The flying that I do now, the swooping and depth of field I create in my many lives, take a more collective kind of math to perform, but the views that result seem to fit into my daily life fluently; just as any flier with wings expertly pits and pats the nothingness of the sky and makes it look easy.

Addendum 2

When a child looks over their shoulder toward the father or the mother, before he finally moves his hands toward an unhelpful task, he has looked back, although shakily, at his parents’ verbal, teaching face. At that moment respect in a young mind has come into existence. Repeatedly, after that age, as child grows, more and more of that which is behind cycles through each new present level they attain to. Respecting things deepens us; reflection on the events in daily life becomes something of a fresh fortitude.

We use respect properly and most movingly when we love, work or befriend someone, --and while playing team sports it is easy to see how respect is an honorable part of the esprit de corps of the game. When we drive a car: we respect. When we educate, we look back at our professors and the reference materials we received from them, and these important teachers never get to know that moment of looking that was done.

When we read, math, die; when we thank someone, judge, or eulogize we bury our deceased birds again and again and review their mentoring faces. And the more often than not we look back again, finding even our happy faces, or surprised faces when we finally realized that our mentoring faces were right about something.

Now, perchance, if we find ourselves looking ahead into the undiscovered country, we are always obliged to look behind ourselves—no matter how briefly--to assess if we even have the tools and items needed to be able to move into tomorrow and capture the gains we foresee in that day. For even the smallest child knows that they must have a coat today in order to go out in the snow that is coming tomorrow. Their hands hang it neatly on the door knob that night before going to bed, knowing that you can’t make good snow angels without a thick coat.


Only humans have the long possessed, enduring talent of looking into the deep past and playing the videos there. I call this mimagination, because Me, myself, is added to imagination and I am then uniquely conscious. I live and move my mass of purpose in a way that other creatures, which only have a me, do not. True, other animals may have images but do they process those images in three living time zones? (do they do complex Math?) This, to me, illustrates mimagination—for a great deal of math is required to perform this ratio of putting Me, and the time zones packed with their images, side by their sides.

The Depth of Humans

When I watch humans fly, I think I have found the ultimate things to look at repeatedly. I wonder at how mobile and free and changeable humans are. And delightfully so, nothing about humans is simple, nothing about humans is the same person to person --except the basics, i.e., air and water and love are essentially always there.

Diamonds brilliate only when refined and when seen flooded with three or more photons of light per facet per second. Humans are the same--we are made for light and this light makes all our inner detail sparkle in special ways, deep down where self and esteem really live. For centuries man has discovered that nothing about nature is simple --and humans are seen, not surprisingly, as a crowning point of that nature.

Addendum 3

Somewhere in the origins of the species of words, respect meant: “act of looking back at one”, from Latin. Sometime in the 1500’s it came into use as a verb to mean: “treat with deferential regard or esteem.”

This 1500’s definition exactly fits the word honor in honor’s origin of its species.

Respect then, if we honor its origin of species, is something you do; honor is something you give and do. You cannot ever give your teacher respect. You can respect her or him, though, --but never in his or her life would they know it unless you verbalized it in some civil way. Looking does not necessarily involve the talent of verbality. Respect is responsible for looking into the past, a critical function of humans. Honor uses many other groups of talents in its display toward other humans, and as the original definition of the word honor points out, these talents are performed as a custom, a civility, courtesy, and at public entertainment…it can be displayed in a variety of ways, with or without colors. Respect is simply one talent—looking back—boringly repetitive in its singularity.

True respect, then, is private, is performed undisputably millions of times a day and is therefore far more important a thing to habitualize and practice as a foundational something than giving of honor is. We develop our self-E from the inside numberings we do as opposed to developing esteem by honoring others. Honor is giftful, and crucially necessary, for sure. Respecting, though, has the portend, by being a vital enormous number of steps in our character building, our house keeping, and the forged channeling of our self-E.

In that highest sense of a role model, respect is like that moment your non-buckled seat allows you to travel toward the windshield, and all--all the thoughts of your three lifetimes—seem to flash before your mind’s eye. That’s a lot of TV watching and a lot of looking back or again—and all of it inside your surprised eyeballs. We may talk about it after the accident as we stand on the field of broken glass, but we could hardly display it civily to the officer.

Addendum 4

You who like using respect in the place of honor, because it feels better, or allows one avoidance of the word Honor, can certainly continue doing so. But I would hope that in some time (any of the three human times zones) we all may come to get it right; that we won’t just say the words, ‘as long as you live in this house, you will respect me,’ but that we would actually give a working definition of this important word so that our youth--and all of us too--may perform it well.

Respect is what it is. A crystal word of wisdom: let it be; let it be.

(Addendum 5?!  Humorlessly, 5,000 to 10,000 servicemen a month (2010) are discharged from the Armed Forces disrespectably…but we really say: they received a dishonorable discharge. Hmm.)

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