Designing A Future

ONCE UPON A TIME, I knew that our imagination was fiction, and our daily lives were fact.

Aren’t there rules?  Can’t we write a story that seems to have happened (but didn’t), and yet remember some startling event that no one believes is true (but it happened)?

Answer: No rules.  All our lives are gently stirred, our recollections and our imaginations become, to the best of our knowledge, the lives we live, day after day.

Of course we can play with rules that aren’t.  I remember flying formation long ago, through clouds that were so dense that I could only see just the wingtip of the flight leader, the rest was fog.  I had to fly breathtakingly close to his wing or he would be gone in the clouds.

Later, on the ground, and with years after the flight, I couldn’t believe that clouds could so tightly packed with mist.  I must have imagined that flight, i thought, and soon as I did, it became unreal.  I hadn’t had such a day ever, before that day, never had one after…it couldn’t have happened, just some light mist, I’m sure.  It couldn’t have been.  So today, it’s fiction, until perhaps some reader can tell me it happened to her or to him, too.  Some clouds are really dense!  Then it will come back into living experience for me, once again.

I wrote a little book called Rescue Ferrets at Sea.  A book from a few years ago, and since I loved the ferrets I decided to make them a little more true for myself and for readers.

I made an fifteen-inch insignia of the Ferret Rescue Service.  Since it was to be used in rescue events with one rescue boat, I centered the FRS insignia on one boat’s colors: striped orange and yellow.  Other rescue boats had their own colors, but Bethany Ferret and her crew had rebuilt a wrecked boat, the J-101 Resolute, so if she was to have an aerial seaplane to help her rescue small mammals, the seaplane needed the Resolute’s  colors.


I took the insignia for the Ferret Rescue Service, took it to an embroidery shop, made a flight jacket patch for the RFS:


I guess you know what seaplane was going to fly with the FRS.  Not from the pages of the book, but from the pages of my mind.


Is this fiction, or is it part of the every day experience of those who happen to see the FRS aircraft fly?

And sure enough, there came to be another plane, with a pilot who flew to the water and removed a rope that could have tangled in the legs of a small mammal, and Dan Nickens and his seaplane became the second aircraft of the Ferret Rescue Service.


So there in a minute you have the story.

One time not so long ago I believed that Lucky, my dear friend and Shetland Sheepdog might be returning to earth after three years (human time) gone.  I found one single Sheltie that seemed to have Lucky’s characteristics.  The little one, Lockie, I just discovered, was so reluctant to having a leash connected to his collar, (though he’d walk fine if Sabryna were with him) but he simply refused to walk with me.  It took a hundred treats to get him to come 200 yards down the road.

At last I took the leash off, and like magic, like Lucky, he immediately walked near me wherever I wished.  Little Lockie, preferred not to be forced, even if it was in the interest of his safety.  I have to admit that Lucky and I feel the same way.  Please don’t save me from my own decisions.  Even if I’ll crash, some day, don’t protect me from myself.

Not long ago, he was just an idea.  He’s a little puppy now.  Lucky loved my shoes when he was a puppy,  Little Lockie does, too:


Is Lockie fiction?  Am I?  Is our whole world, our beliefs and hopes and imagination, is that the shifting fantasy that we take for true?

For the few years of our mortal lives, maybe so.



17 thoughts on “Designing A Future

  1. So much truth spoken in this blog entry. It makes me rethink and find ground again…..about who and what we are all about while we inhabit our space here. After reading this entry it gave me pause and it gave me the same sort of shake that i got when i read your book ‘Hynpnotising Maria’. The fact that there are no rules and our life is ours and we are designing it as we see fit, true to ourselves and it is one that has no labels of ‘fiction’ or ‘reality’… just is-claimed as ours with no protection necessary. I am wondering why one always need to be reminded of this…..until today, reading this, yet again to be reminded of something i hold true, but had to hear again.
    Thank you for being so forthright in your way of writing-it is like an arrow hitting the target in exactly the right place. Perhaps you did pick up more in your archery class in college.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who needs constant reminders. But I have no idea why, these are beliefs I’ve held for years. Yet I find myself time and again caught up in what some would call the “real world”. It’s only when I remember it isn’t real at all that I’m once again calmed and at peace. Strange…

  3. does this whole commenting thing get easier? – heart racing.

    I had very similar thoughts this very morning! —-and several other times….
    -i believe?
    not about airplanes, just things that I remember from when I was smaller…

    sometimes when I’m more awake it feels to me that we may have left ourselves breadcrumbs as children to remind ourselves of our own eternalness as adults?
    However, still waiting to find the crumble to overcome the disbelief that “I” in fact am the one that left them!

    oh-sweet river of belief how you enchant me so ~

    thank you for your dense clouds for thought!

  4. ..don’t protect me from myself. Wise words indeed. Own self is just that. Clodagh was my Sheltie. She was quite stunning and Lockie reminds me of her. As we arrived at the house where the breeder lived, we were greeted by “mum n dad” Dad was at the gate and mum was at the entrance to the house keeping an eye on the litter. Most handsome proud parents. We had a choice! Three tiny pups! What!..Choose!?..We thought about taking all three! We left with one..the cheeky one, as the breeder mentioned. As time moved my partner was no longer my lover and we drifted. Clodagh was gone. Guess who I missed more!?…~(:O}

  5. Absolutely fantastic entry! How Ferrets entered this world…

    It is simply amazing how those timeless blueprints for perfection meet us in our minds becoming ideas which can actually materialize here and now! This concept really blows my mind as soon as I start looking in retrospection at all the significant events of my life…

    And as I am struck in awe, Lockie seems so smooth, unassuming and careless, enjoying this chance to be part of our world… Perhaps teaching us a certain lesson?

    Thanks Richard, for sharing this with us!

  6. Thank you Richard
    The wonder of our lives is only realised when we are truly empowered. When we have the confidence and ability to make informed decisions and then take full responsibility for them


  7. May I please have a FRS patch for my flight jacket? Where can I find one? I still have VR 61 (out of Whidbey) on my jacket (time for a new squadron!!!) and tho I don’t fly, I would be proud to rescue all small mammals under the logo. I’m still trying to ID all the marvelous planes that fly over my home on Candy Cane Lane in Bremerton; something very cool with front cunards and a V shape to the wings just went over. Thought it was you and Puff but probably not. Thanks for the good words and thoughts, just finished Illusions II and catching up with the others …. Christie

    • Not many of us wear flight jackets, but maybe with the love of small mammals against wild Nature, it’s time to make more of those patches.

      • I would be honored to carry one of those on my Jacket and, even more, on my airplane!

        What a conversation starter, that patch could be!

        • The standards are difficult. One has to know all about the Rescue Ferrets, know their high standards, and as a part of the Ferret Rescue Service, to strive to rescue any small mammal in deep waters (except for sea otters unless they request aid). I have a very few (three or less) patches for a flight jacket, two decals for the vertical stabilizer of an aircraft which can land on the water or on riversides and beaches, and a couple of scarves, which are very bright. I will probably not be ordering more, as they are expensive.

          • This sounds exciting!

            High standards indeed. But I’m sure many of us would be motivated to meet them. What could be better than taking an active role in “Designing a New Future”?

            What would it take to justify restarting the production of FRS patches, stickers and scarves?

            I would be more than happy to collaborate. What if gifting Ferret Chronicles books or e-books, spreading their wonderful message, would be part of the deal in order to be able to proudly bear such FRS patches?

          • Maybe so, though there are few who have read that adventure. The book, Rescue Ferrets at Sea, is out of print. It would take someone who cares about making fictions into fact.

  8. Looks like Amazon has a fair number of new and used copies of Curious Lives, so maybe… A worthy endeavor, I think!

  9. Richard, thank you for “Being” !
    I have read several of your books, starting with “Johnathan” but none of the ferret series. I must get up to speed.
    Each of your books caused me to see things from differing perspectives. I found it amazing that not everyone was able to “get into” your books. I myself, had to have time to read them and to allow things to gel and after reading some of them again, I found that there was so much more to learn.
    Just to share my most memorable flying experience. I launched from McMinnville, OR heading for Lincoln City, OR to pick up a friend.

    When I cleared the Coast Range, I could see that the clouds below were not penetrable, but I continued on, thinking that once I was over water, I could get below them, and land. There was a layer above me as well. Then I saw “it”, golden columns of golden light piercing the upper layer. It was so beautiful and peaceful, so I stayed between the layers, until I was approaching my fuel reserve limit, and had to return to home base. Never to be forgotten. It reminds me on your book where you wrote that every time you launched, you were in a different “space – time”, if I understood it correctly.

    Time for re-reading all of your book once again.

    Again, thank you for being.

    Aloha and Mahalo from Pukalani, Hawaii

  10. Richard, don’t feel that it is strange to talk to your airplane. I restored and fly a 1944 Piper L-4H and I talk to her all the time. It puts you in the frame of mind to concentrate on the machine, to refamiliarize yourself with every aspect of her being, and her makeup. It attunes you to what that airplane is, her capabilities and her limitations, as well as your limitations, and just what you’re about to do when you fly her. If you start talking to your front door, then maybe it’s time to be concerned!

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