A Most Remarkable and Heartfelt Thank You from a Fine Man

This is Layne Gneiting from Arizona. He runs Way of the Hero, an international bicycle touring company. He’s a fine man.

He just posted these wonderful words on Facebook:

Today’s #LightTheWorld invitation is to list things a mentor has done for you. It’s tough to narrow down mentors, right? I mean we all have racks of them, whether through books, talks, conversations, or other interactions. But in reflecting I realize the one that stands out is the one I pursued. He didn’t try to mentor me; he just lived his truth. That lit a spark, and I thought, “I want to know what he knows.”

Two interactions stand out. First I met him at the National Storytelling Festival and his performance stirred something deep in my soul. When I approached and requested an audience with him, his kind understanding eyes saw the earnestness of my plea, and his generous heart opened wide. “Let me see to these good folks, then let’s chat.”

The second was at his home. I flew across the country to spend a solid day with him, learning, stretching, and reveling in discoveries I cherish still. Among others, he taught me . . .

1. I don’t need to follow someone else’s script. (That was a chain-breaking moment.)
2. My job is to get out of the way and allow the Muse to flow through me.
3. The imagination is more powerful than we can possibly imagine.
4. It’s okay to be different than other performers.
5. Spend time in nature.
6. We rehearse not to perfect, but to thread words and music deep into the memory. Then you can perform autonomically.
7. There is real in the fantastical, and fantastical in the real.
8. Take risks.
9. You can design your life.
10. We don’t tell stories that are “true.” We tell stories that have truth in them.

He has left a legacy of story from one side of this country to the other, igniting fires in the imagination, and elevating hearts near and far. He embodies story, and I love his soul.

Thank you, Odds Bodkin. You are the living embodiment of the Muse.

Here in New Hampshire where temperatures are in the single digits, I feel all warmed up. Thanks, Layne, for such moving words. You have claimed an original life.

We Should Learn to Grow Coffee in America

We Should Learn to Grow Coffee in America

We’ve learned to grow wine grapes in the U.S., so why not coffee? Only two states, Hawaii and California, grow coffee currently, but surely there are slopes in the Smokies where coffee bushes would thrive. And at moist Pacific Northwest elevations. After all, the tropics are moving north at a great clip and coffee-friendly biomes should be opening up fairly soon in the U.S.

With a little directed science, could new coffee growing regions could be established across North America? In areas distant enough from coffee leaf rust, a leaf-killing fungus, Hemileia vastatrix, to remain uninfected? The rust turns the leaves yellow and photosynthesis stops. Of course, the coffee “cherries” can’t grow, or the seeds inside. Especially those seeds dried and roasted to produce Arabica beans.

So how would soon-to-be American coffee growers explore that business? Well, they’d need some directed science. What temperatures and atmospheric pressures do coffee bushes and Robusta trees like? What sorts of mountain slope soils? Preferred PH? How much rain, and when? Do they like morning light from the east, or afternoon light from the west, or does it matter much to them as long as they get enough sun? And the big question: is there enough sun in the first place, so far north of the equator?

What about greenhouses?

If were a wealthy coffee drinker, I’d invest in that research, just to find out.


–Odds Bodkin