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Eric F. S. Larson (O'Rafferty)
Beautiful Altadena
A writer/storyteller, student, teacher/nurturer, world traveler/curious explorer (outward and inward), and big picture thinker/non-linear synthesizer of disparate ideas.
Interests: Kids, Education, Twice-Exceptional Beings, Climbing, Mountaineering, Outdoors, Backpacking, Camping, Bouldering, Sport Climbing, Travel, Food, Spirits (multiple kinds!) Expats, cooking, friends, diversity, and lots more.
Recent Activity
So begins this blog, The Dirtbag Educator, not at the beginning, but at a continuation of a journey already in progress. There are journeys taking place on many levels, all the time. For oneself, for other human beings, for flora and fauna, for life itself. For geologic substances, for particles... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2019 at The Dirtbag Educator
Adapted from my Labor Day Instagram post. Today is Labor Day. I asked my high school students on Friday what it means to them. Most didn’t know the origins of why we celebrate this day. I reassured them that many American adults don’t know or don’t remember. Today is more... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2019 at The Dirtbag Dad
The rush and crush of this Type A glorifying culture alternately can put you unto either a manic, frenzied, high energy state or can lock you down into a fog of numbness and blithering social media ramblings. Or worse. Yet, every now and then, you are jerked from this modern,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2019 at The Dirtbag Dad
Andrew Niemeijer, via his TEDx talk (Niemeijer, 2013), expresses two supremely important concepts: (1) the need for teachers to fuel student curiosity rather than to suppress it by requiring them to strictly color within the lines (so to speak) and (2) the need to “invest in teachers” to ensure that... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2019 at The Dirtbag Dad
I saw these words today (image at left) and there was instant resonance. In addition to all the other significant impedimenta that I’ve been carrying (for some time now), my brother, Daniel Larson, passed away four weeks ago tomorrow (as some of you already know). He had been living—and i... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2019 at The Dirtbag Dad
What is the connection between music, technology, and by extension, mathematics? Are there any? If so, how might they be connected? As I’ll describe, this topic holds a deep fascination for me; it has done so for quite a long time, dating back to my observations and experiences from a... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2019 at The Dirtbag Dad
I wrote this remembrance on the occasion of my dear friend and teacher, Irving Schwartz's retirement (1993) and has become part of a trilogy of pieces about him. I'll be posting the other two in the future. This piece marks the renaissance of my own writing. It came at a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2019 at The Dirtbag Dad
"I associate summer with shade, resting and reading, napping." I am in complete alignment with this childhood association of Linda Wertheimer's! #typebunderachieversunite Fields need winter to lay fallow, rest, and regenerate. Summer can be this for humans too. Colin with the right idea. We Should Turn Down The Volume Of... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2018 at The Dirtbag Dad
Maya Angelou's poetry that has me reflecting on the United States' Independence Day in a new way; an alternative declaration of independence for which all of humanity must strive. See also a full discussion around this poem and Carl Sagan's "pale blue dot" from Maria Popova's Brainpickings: A Brave and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2018 at The Dirtbag Dad
A belated Mother's Day post. But not too late for Mother's Day itself. Of course, lest we forget, everyday is Mother's Day. Dear Mom, These words struck me first: because I don't mean these poems only but the unseen unbelievable effort it takes to live the life that goes on... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2018 at The Dirtbag Dad
Powerful, beautiful, wise thoughts from Patti Smith (interviewed live on Alex Baldwin’s Here’s the Thing podcast): “Your prime directive has to be to do something new, to give something new to the canon of art, to give something new to the people, to do something great, to do something enduring,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
Prelude: "The night is always darkest just prior to the dawn" (Thomas Fuller and many others since and likely before). Gone When he’s gone, it won’t be because he did not care It won’t be because was not capable It won’t be because he could not love It won’t be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
Another episode in the Defining the Dirtbag Dad series. Hardship, deprivation, and struggles of many varieties have made me one resilient, tough, and resourceful motherfucker. Yet they have not made me vengeful, cynical, or hardened. Instead, this journey has wrought increasing gentleness, kindness, and compassion unto me and just as... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
...sometimes need not begin with even a step, but a deep kiss: "Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground." —Rumi "Follow your bliss." Joseph Campell didn't originate this, he just affirmed what has lain within the human... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
Slowly, Slowly, Do not rush the unfolding of your soul. Everything takes time to bloom. —Unattributed. Anyone know from where this came? I have a gut feeling it may be from either some Sanskrit text or a poet like Rumi. A vastly more poetic version of my old technology industry... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
But he did provide the inspiration that set me on this journey. Another in the from the Dirtbag Dad origin story series. My dad was very interested in backpacking. In the early 1970's, he was inspired by Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker, bought an Optimus Stove, and scads of other... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
In the never ending journey (and why would I want it to end?) to give substance and form to the essence of what a dirtbag dad is, I came across these words attributed to Margaret Mead. Even though they are expressed in a language prevalent around 50 years ago, they... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
A poem from Rumi, resonating on multiple levels in this season of renewal and rebirth. You just can't go wrong with Rumi. The Guest House This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
These symptoms (distress and impairment) are a critical element to a mental health diagnosis. Not only is this aspect misunderstood with regards to the President, but for those who suffer from mental health ailments in general (perhaps more importantly). Dr. Frances eloquently (and succinctly) clarifies this in his letter to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
A highly worthy repost (re-poem?) from Dr. R. Scott Colglazier: The Bible as Haiku (1) The sun begins to shine. Large dark clouds gather in our hearts. The sun keeps shining. The Bible as Haiku (2) Paradise is lost. We never stop looking for it. Paradise finds us. The Bible... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
Dear Dr. Scott*, The act of not-writing a poem/script/song, in this instance, is a clever means of doing just that. Evocative. Mysterious. My prayers and blessings to you and yours. Not sure which of the two is more needed, so covering all bases. All my best regards, Eric * Dr.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at The Dirtbag Dad
This is the third in a series of reflections on significant people in my life during my formative years. I think I may still working through those formative years! The first two are about my dad and my mom. I've known Irving for over 40 years now. He's married to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2016 at The Dirtbag Dad
The following are thoughts I shared with my family today during Thanksgiving dinner here on Whidbey Island: Dugualla Bay from Uncle Bob's Sportsman's Lodge On this Thanksgiving, we are blessed with gratitude in abundance. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s for quiet reflection and raucous discussion. Above all, for me... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2016 at The Dirtbag Dad
Beauty 1 Cone from Coulter Pine. About 9" tall. Really cool. Hurts when dropped on head. #nottoofarfromdirtbagdadsneighborhood Beauty 2 "God is in the roses and the thorns" Soulful, wise, and thoughtful lyrics from the amazing Rosanne Cash. Let us not forget the incredible and largely unknowable machinations and/or randomness born... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at The Dirtbag Dad
How's that for a long title? I just finished listening to an episode of one of my top, go-to podcasts: the Enormocast. The Enormocast is focused on climbing. It definitely covers areas most non-climbers won't have any clue as to what being discussed. Yet, to paraphrase its host Chris Kalous,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2016 at The Dirtbag Dad