Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Mekkar traveled to Australia on a reciprocal visit to stay with few friends he met when they previously sojourned to his hometown and stayed at the local youth hostel there. They turned Mekkar onto surfing, during this time, by taking him to watch a live surfing competition involving Mark Richards. The now legendary Richards would soon afterward conquer the world of Pro Surfing. Mekkar stood among the crowd on that Australian beach and pondered how he needed a new activity to pursue. He thought there must be some other physical activity to get away from it all. At the same time, supplant the martial arts disciplines he participated in for years with his brother and best friend.

The tendency is for Mekkar to get bored easily and seek out new challenges. There was a churning for something different, stimulating inside of him. It did not matter if he wanted it or not, it was a part of his inner being. The expression had to get out somehow. Also, he wanted to distance himself from the reason why he left the Asian fighting arts in the first place. The Arctic Warrior decided to move on when his instructors restricted his advancement and told him that he could not test for a black belt in both styles. The sensei’s agreed that Mekkar’s temperament was too violent and a risk to others, if the situation presented itself. Due to his learned proficiency, fighting, and athletic ability, the mentors explained that they did not want to feel responsible for the Native from the North’s possible future actions. They had seen Mekkar go into a seemingly uncontrolled, frenzied mode with a potential to use excessive force in a relative minor encounter. So, Mekkar moved on.    

During the trip in the Land of Plenty, Mekkar started with his buddies by floating on the long rideable waves off the coast that could last as long as fifteen minutes or more. It was a good thing that the waves were not large for him to learn to balance himself properly on the board. The Aussie group was quite surprised that Mekkar was able to move along with the wave as quickly he did. Mekkar convinced himself that he could grasp this and run with it. Soon, the Young Man from the Arctic caught the fever and surf as much as he could, while he was in the Land Down Under.

Even though he was hooked on the sport, he wasn’t very good at it and still wet behind the ears. Mekkar made a decision then that he would have to find a spot nearby back home to continue on and improve. There were enough rough areas, with rapids, in the river near his house to practice. Top notch kayakers use those places on a frequent basis, he reasoned. His friends told him that it was imperative for him to get his own surf boards before he left. Someone in the group brought up that the Aussie-born Richards also did board shaping and modification as a part of his many talents. Mekkar recognized the name from the contest at the beach and had items he sought. He figured, what was he waiting for? The nice weather made a great time for a road trip to go get what he wanted, as soon as possible, two unique boards that expressed his personality.

Unfortunately, the time spent in the Great Southern Continent went by much too quickly and the fun had to end. By the time Mekkar was ready to leave from this journey, he did possess two custom painted Mark Richards (MR) Twin-fin surfboards made especially for him. They were blue, yellow, and white colored emblazoned with the MR logo in black. Mekkar would take his new possessions on the long flight back home with him and it was a costly venture. Those items, later on, would receive a lot more travel time to other far away locales.

Eventually, the native of the north used those MR sticks extensively to improve his skills on the water during his days as a foreign exchange student in San Diego. Surfing became to Mekkar a type if release similar to other sports related activities which he had done before. He saw it as a relationship in regard to a person’s connection of yourself, your board, and the ocean environment. Mekkar remembered his interactions with Aslak when he was younger and took on a spiritual significance in a way. Even though he was dissed by a few of the much more highly skilled surfers as being below par, Mekkar gained a greater appreciation for the sport. He realized how easy it could become a lifestyle. Especially, if he stuck with it for a great length of time. Mekkar was aware that the true surfers are a very different breed than all of the other souls that invade the beach. The key for the Arctic teenager was could he somewhat tap into that mindset.

School itself bored Mekkar to death. Mekkar had learned a great many things during the education process instituted by his various hockey programs. There were long bus rides with extensive reading, paper writing, and homework assignments to keep the players engaged. A couple of the team trainers were always tutors and seemed to be always present for any questions. Mekkar sometimes felt as though he could never get away from them. The result was high school seemed fairly easy to him He felt that he was being loaded with plain busywork to keep occupied. The classroom setting was tedious in his mind. Teachers noticed Mekkar was inclined to daydream often or at least have his mind somewhere else. It was obvious to many around him. The Arctic Adventurer was not used to this type of setting. He never was involved in a formal school environment previous to this program. The learning environment he grew up with was unconventional and adapted to his pursuit of a future professional athletic career.

There was still the incessant desire to learn and undertake new things. Mekkar was still a teen at this point and had not adopted the concept of Older People’s Syndrome as he termed it, yet. His viewpoint was awakened by observing people throughout his life and interaction with wiser individuals back home in the native culture which shaped Mekkar’s particular theory. The terminology reflected a conviction that Mekkar believed about people in general. His idea was that younger people are more open to new adventures and experiences. However, that begins to change at various rates when a person reaches about thirty-five to forty years old. Mekkar admits that his application does not apply to everyone as each person is different, but is a generally applied principle. Anyway, the older person becomes set in their own ways and habits. Thus, much more than a teenager, eventually develops into a state which is more resistant to great changes in any area of their life. Reasons are that one gets to a place of relative comfort, can predict certain circumstances and outcomes, increasing dislike of uncertainty, and flat-out stubbornness levels increase exponentially. Experiencing the syndrome was still a long way off for the restless Northerner.

Mekkar normally would take his usual route to get to his favorite spot to hit the waves. His modified silver beach cruiser bike had a contraption welded to it on the ride side by a friend. It was setup with metal bars extended with a basket in the bottom to carry a bag with his wetsuit and other needed supplies. Mekkar would place his surfboard flat on the top of the rack and fastened it with bungee cords. His stick was secure and was not going anywhere. Plus, the side carriage as he referred to it had wheels at the bottom that rolled along the ground with the bike. It took some time to put it altogether to make it handy, even though it was odd to look at. Once in awhile the native from the north would get struck with a fondness to mix things up once in a while. Just to break up the monotony and boredom.

On one occasion, he decided to ride along a very different path to another beach, after checking the weather report to make sure it was worth the trip. In the water at this new location he looked down and noticed alongside his surfboard little creatures. They moved too quickly to be seaweed. Mekkar called them sand or beach sharks and knew they were much too small to be any danger to the people in the water. Usually they swam away when he would get too close. Only the braver ones might bump into his board with a thump sound or his leg unintentionally. Mekkar never saw larger sharks during his time in the water like they have in recent years. He quipped, “I guess, I could never have been mistaken for a seal as people are typically seen by the larger predator sharks.” He had a blast that day and started back home at dusk. As Mekkar was passing a school, he noticed a film crew was shooting a scene in the parking area near one of the buildings. There were a lot of props, cameras, and people in that crowded space. It reminded him of the environment he was exposed to when his mama would take him on her modeling shoots. Later, when he watched the well-known movie with his buddies at the theatre, he recognized what he had seen on the school grounds that day. However at the time, Mekkar was focused on riding back home. It was a two-pronged race for his safety against both the sun’s descent below the horizon and heavier evening vehicle traffic. He asked himself the question that if drivers have trouble seeing other cars, then how much easier can it be for them to miss seeing him? He did not have any desire to become an accident statistic.     

When the young man was not occupied with school, related sports activities, and work he would make time to enjoy some waves. He received more than his share of beach time because of his penchant of being bored in class. Many times the teacher would present material that he had already learned back home in the continuous study sessions when not playing sports. Sometimes, he would act out in a ridiculous manner with an intention to be sent directly to the front office. It was not an exhibition of negative behavior for attention’s sake, there was an agenda on his part. The school administrator asked the Arctic Warrior why he couldn’t behave in a manner identical to other foreign students. Mekkar always had a comeback statement to the authority figure. He had a disposition that seem to automatic challenge or oppose those in charge. The teenager was quite creative in his defense with comments such as, “I am the valedictorian. So, give me a hassle when I receive a B grade from a class.” The result was various suspensions for mouthing off to the school’s Vice Principal. Yet, he would flatly reply with the challenge, “Do it and you will add to my surfing time.” Mekkar’s bluff was repeatedly called and was he happy about that since he was not fond of the boring academic classroom atmosphere. Mekkar preferred the extra curricular activities anyway.

Most likely due to his athletic and fighting background, Mekkar carried the same attitude everywhere he went. It was natural for him not to be afraid of others in the sports arena, football field, or the beach. The Arctic young man grew up in an area where there were large bears and other wild animals. To him, people in comparison are no contest and not more intimidating. Mekkar also had experience going toe-to-toe fisticuffs, on skates, with opponents much larger than him in hockey rinks all around the globe.

The brazen teen never got as proficient as he would have liked at the newly found water sport. His effort was always there to improve and ensure the fun and freedom aspect of the activity. Unfortunately, Mekkar lost one of his prized sticks when it was broken while dancing among the rocks after being swept by the strong current. It was a particularly bad day for him on that occasion and he should probably have stayed onshore until conditions were better. In the end, Mekkar’s athletic competitive spirit got the best of him and he paid the price. The Northern Native should have remembered advice he received from Aslak on the trek long ago. Lessons, whether he wanted to accept it or not, that taught him regarding the different skills needed for different environments. Being tough and able on land and ice did not translate the same in water elements; other abilities are needed to adapt in a different setting. This should have been completely installed into him long ago that nature is no respecter of persons. Maybe, he had forgotten part of this concept due to always being away from the village and his native culture? Was the modern world outlook changing Mekkar’s perspective and viewpoints? Even, the Arctic teen was unable to arrive at those answers.        

His best day in the water was the one time when he was inside a barrel-roll as he called it and made it most of the way through before wiping out at the end. The inside of the tube could have looked like one of those surfing pictures he had previously seen in magazines. Of course, the photos rarely show the surfer getting overwhelmed by the wave at the end, which happened in Mekkar’s case. He always sought to repeat that one feat but never was able to duplicate it. The arctic native did steadily continue to improve his surfing ability, but he was not as competent at it as he thought he was. It didn’t help that Mekkar’s young cockiness and ultra competitive nature contributed to the overestimation of his actual abilities in the surf.

A couple of years later Mekkar received a true test of his water capabilities when he visited some friends in Hawaii. Mekkar had heard about and read about surfing in the Islands. He did his diligent research and could identify on the map where the major sunbather beaches were located and wanted to avoid those. When Mekkar landed, he wanted to try his hand where some his friends hit the waves. Mekkar got the itch to take one ride at The Banzai Beach Pipeline on the Oahu North Shore [wikipedia.com]. He was aware of the Shore’s past history regarding how the Pipeline had taken the lives of pro surfers much better than him. Yet, he felt as though he must attempt one wave, at least one time or the trip would be a disappointment for him. The waves that day were larger than normal and his friends that lived in the area were used to surfing there, but he was not. In Mekkar’s mind, they were still a great deal more imposing than the California coast where he had been. His friends, and some others on the shore, warned him that he was not ready for this and attempted to keep him away from possible danger. They were also aware of the landscape which Mekkar was not. Nevertheless, Mekkar is very stubborn when he wants to be and was not to be denied. The Arctic Native began to psych himself out into what he called a Water Warrior mode, similar to a Lion Tamer before getting into the cage with the animals. He next took his board and ran off diving into the water with a lack of fear in his eyes. He rode his board out toward the waves. It was customary for local master surfers to discourage the inexperienced from injuring themselves in the water. Intentionally, it seemed Mekkar chose to ignore all signals from everyone else. He felt that his friends didn’t pay attention to his true prowess and ability, even though they had done this here for quite awhile.

This turned out to be a big mistake on Mekkar’s part. Mekkar had a false confidence in his abilities in the water and grossly miscalculated them in this instance. Plus, he only said that he had been surfing for two years now. A time experience indicator, like an aircraft pilot, is applicable in the number of hours spent in the actual activity. The two year period didn’t point how frequently or not he had the chance to participate in surfing with all the other distractions in his life. When his turn in the lineup came, he attacked that wave and caught it. The whoosh sound of the water around him lulled him into a temporary and imaginary assurance. He was mesmerized by the sound of rushing water. Yet, it was short-lived. Suddenly, Mekkar was crushed by the full force of the wave and received a good hammering by the sheer mass of the ocean that enveloped him. He thought to himself, I have to get to the surface as quickly as I can to get air. At the same time, the thoughts raced in his mind as he started to question whether his time had finally run out. Maybe, the last of his nine lives was about to be unexpectedly snuffed out. Too bad it wasn’t on his own terms. The rapidly crashing wave seemed to continue on forever and was kicking his rear-end. Mekkar reflected on the previous lives extinguished and hoped that he wouldn’t be next. The truth and danger was being delivered with full force right at that moment. He realized that he had no control over the situation and was at the mercy of the ocean. He felt like he was a rag doll and was in a blender to be shaken and stirred. Then, it was over and calm set in. Mekkar wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead until he appeared in the shallow water coughing up remaining water from his lungs.

The battering Mekkar took cut him up on the reef below and the foot leash had snapped. His separated board broke up. Later on, a remaining few pieces washed ashore. Some of the other local surfers rushed to rescue him from his potential calamity. They pointed out to him, later on, that a large chunk including one of fins almost hit him in the head. That might have sliced through and killed him for sure. Other people there, as well as his buddies, warned him that he was wacked for paddling out that day in the first place. Mekkar nearly paid with his life. The ocean taught him a lesson and had treated him harshly. He was ticked off, but was too exhausted to come back for another round to due battle. If the Arctic Warrior wanted to try again no one was willing to give or even rent him another surfboard. With his last own remaining board destroyed and feeling humiliated that was the last time Mekkar took his chances to test out the waves.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


[This story is an improved version from mini cassette recordings of Mekkar’s actual voice in 1990 while hiking and walking as a University student; Then, it was converted to a Windows Media Audio File and transcribed in 2011. Mekkar’s spoken English skills are nowhere near as polished as Saavo’s are. Continued from PART 2 (A) in May, 2014.]

The hunters are familiar with their quarry and realize that females are attentive to their young and usually have a smaller set of antlers than the male counterparts. Caribou and reindeer are the only deer species that produce a rack, though normally less impressive than the males. A full grown mama can take out a raider just as quickly as any masculine member of the herd. With similar weaponry and quickness too!

These aspects reflect a key part of the native society Mekkar grew up in. The language of the area expresses this as well. The terminology typically lacks a gender distinction in Mekkar’s native tongue. Similar words that refer to animals have been modified over time and have been made applicable to humans. Similar to many places, people have continually updated and modernized the vocabulary up to the current day. This is the case in many areas of speech and reveals an always evolving process of adaptation.

Some natives through typology still have the belief that reindeer and a few other animals can survive better in this Arctic environment than humans. Others have the opinion that wild creatures do not need people at all to adapt to these surroundings since they have been doing it for a much longer time. Still, dissenters believe that many individuals are unable to endure the harsh conditions and bitter climate by themselves. In those cases, creatures take precedence over people even in spoken communication. The battle rages and those sentiments are always open to debate among the locals. Still, going back to the source, the cycle of life and existence, the intertwined puzzle – everything stems from that. The view is that all examples emerge from that point or beginning in some respect.

Mekkar was in a state of wonder and also was anxious at the same time because of the helicopters. He knew that those flying vehicles were another thing that could destroy them and the herd also. The youngster overheard conversation about how the field wasn’t now limited to only dealing with natural predators in this setting. As a boy, he was still learning about aspects regarding the cycle of life. It was hard to fit those concepts to anything related to the flying enemy overhead. The confusion and lack of understanding greatly increased his stress levels. All the trekkers realized the natural balance between various wild creatures. On the other hand, this way of thinking does create some paradoxes. For example, the number of various enemies against their own herd animals actually creates a sense of evenness to prevent over population of any one species. It would be a bad idea to screw with the natural process by wiping out all of the wolves or bears, for instance. Fortunately, this concept was not the main concern in anyone’s mind among the trekking party at that moment. The end result would be some other great enemy would take wolf’s place.

Modern society has not learned this lesson. They still have the misguided concept that humans can control the earth and nature to a fairly high degree. History should have taught people that the opposite is in fact the case. When there is too much or too few of a species other issues can arise. Varieties must adapt, become resistant, modify themselves, take on another form, or disappear altogether. Setting artificial limits and restrictions or enhancing over-the-top growth will eventually result in the whole chain of life getting messed up and thrown out of whack to the detriment of all.

Anyway, now these added elements can affect the environment in multiple ways all at the same time. All anyone can do is estimate the damage and effects within the concept of the whole cycle of life. That is truly what Mekkar was bothered by, even if he didn’t comprehend all the aspects of its meaning, yet.

Like native children, the animals can get somewhat used to the sound of the helicopter. However, they can also be greatly distracted by the flying machines and panic. The tendency is to flock or huddle together when the flying machine hovers so close to the ground. Ideally, this tactic is done in more wide open areas without vegetation and cover. Hopefully, the herd will be seen from the air, as no threat, and be left alone. The distracted animals feel safer in numbers as to not be fair game for their enemies and invite a ground attack. Stragglers, drifters, and those who stray are the most vulnerable. The point is that one split second can make all the difference between life and death during a raid.
The confusion is somewhat similar, but not completely, to smaller pests like the fly. Mekkar says that when he approaches and surrounds it with both hands, it cannot decide which direction to go. There is a bewilderment and distrust of both directions to flee toward. A reaction is to stop or to run comparable to a fight or flight response that humans exert. [Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage by Walter Bradford Cannon, 1915]

This is all part of the fragile setting, the inter-relatedness of trust and expectation of predicted outcomes. The animals trust the herders only up to a point and usually if there exists some type of familiarity. Mekkar asks this question, “Do you trust anything that you are not familiar with? Probably not.” The trouble is, in more modern times, the modified environment have put a wrench into the entire system. It is more so in regard to war machines and combat. Who on the ground can predict what those outside the domain are going to do? This is the kind of stuff Mekkar began to ponder as he grew up and looked back on those situations he was involved in. His youthful captured thoughts were in a very undeveloped, superficial stage and would disappear almost as quickly as they arrived. Yet, these facets of thinking pave the way and frequently evolve into greater depths of research within the mind. Plus, listening to the wise leaders of his tribe didn’t hurt either. The young reindeer herder’s thought processes would later far expand the present capabilities of his brain. Mekkar required much more learning by him to improve his skills to someday possibly lead a trek of his own.

Following the path the seemingly intrepid party continued on to the east for many miles.  Well, it was probably less of a distance than a boy could predict. Mekkar has heard the joke told around the campfire about a relative walked fifty miles through the snow, uphill, and with no shoes. It seems that all cultures have parallel stories used to embarrass and implore a person to carry out an action they want to avoid. Yet, in this habitat and under these conditions, the escapade could be plausible indeed, especially on a trek.

In this case, Mekkar had already travelled many kilometers in deep powder. Some of which had hard crust on top and was soft underneath. Not to forget the blizzards, up and down countless hills, but the Arctic boy had solid footwear. Mekkar had on a pair of fur boots created for the harsh winter environment. Socks were not always needed either just some treated grass inside to absorb the shock and moisture. On their way east to areas Mekkar was not familiar with or didn’t remember travelling in. He sensed that he had been on this path before, possibly with his parents. He had been told, by Aslak, about a few of his previous trips in the region with relatives, however he was unable to recall any of those journeys. Either way, Mekkar was looking forward to going there in a more independent capacity.

Mekkar was thinking the settings might be more recognizable to him after the weather had slightly diverted the group from the normal route. He couldn’t be certain, though. He anticipated that he might meet a few people that he had a closer common ground with, even in speech. People around the world know everything is all relative to the region one is from. Other places that one cannot readily identify have a whole new set of surroundings and challenges to get acclimated with. Too bad, Mekkar found out that was wrong. As they pushed on, the youngster noticed the people seemed more different than he would have expected. Disappointedly, the boy instead found fewer locals there like himself.

After all, he knew there were other tribes in the vast territory from one perspective, but to run into them gave a different view in person. The people appeared to him as similar to his tribesmen, but not exactly the same. Ansetti explained to Mekkar that the inhabitants here face the very same issues and struggles like him and his kin. It appeared to Mekkar, along the coastal areas in both directions on this journey that more families were dedicated to fishing instead of reindeer herding. These folks work on the boats which he thought was kind of odd. It was a different type of community than his own back home. Then, at that point it struck him that he could relate as he had just completed employment on a boat to begin the working portion of his life. Mekkar next summarized, after conversing with Ansetti, that some exchange of goods might take place. Thus, the reason for stopping here and stocking up with a different variety of goods, some to take with them back home.

However, Mekkar was misguided in his assumption that by this age he would have already explored this whole region in some manner. Of course, if that were to take place Mekkar would have developed a negative trait of cockiness and attitude. He would have also used it as an advantage over his peers at home. Aslak warned him about any potential haughtiness and to use his experiences to enlighten his friends instead. The advice from the spiritual leader was for Mekkar to feel humbled and privileged to be able to share his good fortune with others. Not to lord it over anyone and brag about what he had done because there is always someone who has done and seen much more. Unexpectedly, what was to come was more dynamic than what he had already exposed to, seen, or would have guessed.

The route winded in a southeasterly direction, not far from sea, and continued on for about thirty miles (48.28 kilometers) or so toward the next small town. Unfortunately, before they got there, the trekkers faced another pack of aggressive wild canines. The stalkers were first spotted during Mekkar’s shift as a watchman that night. The youngest herder audibly called out to alert the others of potential danger.

Juhani was also on guard with Mekkar tracking the wolves’ movements as they sneakily looked to strike. The beasts were ready for action and it was a fairly large wolf pack. The wild creatures suddenly charged the herd seeking to surprise and devour. Wolves are deceptively quick and strong for their size. Yet, humans have a definite weapons advantage if they choose to use it. Guns are useful, but not in all situations due to noise and frightening the herd. One main goal of the herder is to keep their own animals from being spooked for any reason and stampeding away. Hence, knives tend to be more useful and stealthy.

Mekkar swiftly took his blade out from its sheath. Next, he went on the pursuit. Some of the other herders also got the attention of a number of the animals. Well, at least a few of them. Other tribesmen joined Mekkar in the immediate area, at the ready. Juhani later told Mekkar that they didn’t want him to be overwhelmed with too many attackers to combat by himself. A part of the attacking pack scrambled a bit. The natives protecting the herd had to be quiet at the same time while counter stalking the enemy. One reason is too not attract the complete bunch and be outnumbered in any individual confrontation. Mekkar says that it is comparable to a military shadow, seek, and, if necessary, destroy mission. The other important aspect is to not spook the reindeer and cause them to run away as a group. No one wanted to watch their valued possessions just vanish from sight.

The strategy chosen was to divide and encounter a few of the adversaries at a time, not all at once. The hope was to split the raiding party up and maybe the majority might scatter after the herders made their move. Mekkar attributes the approach to engaging the leader and defeating that individual first. Then, the rest of the gang tends to voluntarily remove themselves from the battle. Aslak tried to explain to the lad that is an aspect of psychology. Specifically, a theory that after the head is removed as a threat and cannot take an opponent on, the rest of the gang normally loses hope in their chances of victory in the battle. The wise man commented to Mekkar the logic had meaning to people alone. Applying the same to animals without much field examination and evidence was another matter altogether. Not many want to test it out in live situations to avoid injury or death.

Akin to most animals the band of wolves also has a leadership hierarchy. Even observers soon can identify which one is the alpha male or who the boss is. Mekkar has used the New York Yankees baseball franchise as an illustration of this leadership system. Under the operation of George Steinbrenner, there was no dispute or question of who was large and in charge. Mekkar now had the lead animal in his sights and sought out a confrontation to make his mark. On the other hand, Juhani had done these treks for a long time for years and years and first spotted the same one the young herder in training was pursuing. Problem was Juhani had a longer distance to cover. Mekkar’s original task description was to help keep the throng bunched together and not let any in the back stray off. Yet, the inexperienced Mekkar let his sight and rush adrenaline overtake him as he broke away from his pre-assigned task. No matter what happened the boy felt that was ready for a strike just in case.

In the nick of time, Juhani arrived on the scene and he faced off with the top dog with his knife already drawn. The wolf rushed as it felt threatened and sprang at the veteran herder. Mekkar saw this happen and thought to himself that this scenario can’t be occurring, it was not real. It seemed to the young boy that the animal jumped ten feet through the air like a long jumper in track. The wolf had its teeth bared with a snarl. Mekkar’s impression was as if the beast wanted to leap toward Juhani’s throat or whatever the animal could grab with its powerful fangs. Still, Juhani was not a small individual and had enormous strength unlike Mekkar. In an instant, Juhani brought up his large knife to the chin of his aggressor. He drove it through the protruding jaw and broke a bone in the assailant’s neck as he had been trained so many years ago. The decimated head wolf of the pack was now gone.

Nonetheless, there was a hint that others of the group didn’t see their fallen leader as they were occupied in their own pitched skirmishes. After a few more of the attackers had been put down, a couple of gunshots rang out with a pop, pop. Arrows made the ppfft sound as they whizzed past. Bows were repeatedly firing their projectiles off one by one. The scene was unfolding rapidly in front of Mekkar as he observed one of the aggressors nearby tagged right in the head. Finally, the opposition unit started to scatter.

Some of leaders thought it was stupid to bring out the guns and risk the stampede of whole herd. One of them commented toward the boy the necessary additional firepower was needed for that drastic action. Mekkar needed to get back to his responsibilities and contribute his efforts to keep the now frightened herd animals from straying. The mood of the reindeer was on edge right at that time. He along with the other tribesmen knew that if any of their hooved animals had departed during the clash they would have been gone. Most likely killed by the still remaining wolves in the vicinity. The enemies had retreated but were still in the neighborhood simply lying in wait, desperate to fill their bellies.     

Little did the adolescent know that two reindeer turned up missing from the herd. As soon as they left not even about one hundred and sixty four yards (150 meters) away Mekkar heard a loud sound. He detected the high pitch and knew one of the stray animals had been attacked. A few of the herders including the boy followed the noise they listened to. Those saw the wolf pack in action. Mekkar said in a low voice as to not be detected, “This is it.” The host onslaught was relentless by grabbing the hind legs while the hooved creature was distracted by the adversary in front. Once the aggressors got complete control another jumped for the neck and secured it. Oh, Mekkar secretly wished that he could leap upon prey like that. 

The small unit of herders realized it was no use trying to rescue one of the flock now, they all recognized it was a goner. That reindeer was stupid for running away from the bunch and became wolf food because it was too late to be saved, thought Mekkar. Then, Mekkar felt helpless and blamed himself for leaving his post. The young boy did warn the others. At the same time, he was of the opinion that he didn’t do anything to save one his tribesmen’s animals. The boy’s mind told him that he didn’t fully carry out his duty. Mekkar technically did not remove not one enemy combatant nor directly save any reindeer himself. The rest of the belligerents had run off. They must have had their fill deemed Mekkar. However, the assailants got theirs. One of them was picked off and later seen with the others of his clan ripping apart that one animal before it soon perished. Not taking it out with the first shot was not a good thing for that one adversary.

After the drama had died down somewhat, it was discovered that seven of the raiders had been dispatched along with two reindeer from the herd. Mekkar considered they had done a pretty good job by only losing two animals to that large of a blitz. Unfortunately, that assumption just showed his inexperience. Seven to two was not considered a good ratio. It was made clear that there should be a twenty to one minimum kill proportion of pack beasts to hooved creatures. The trek leader would not be happy with the outcome. Ansetti was very angry. Possibly it was at the lack of expectation of an assault, defense execution planning, or overall preparation of the crew. Mekkar never received an answer regarding this. Ansetti appraised the situation and was aware that if a party loses two reindeer for every seven wolves you will lose way too many animals. First off, the enemy will gain confidence and this herding group will most likely encounter more packs of potential foes in this area.

They set up the sauna and only a small part of the camp when the activity had died down. All of them appeared ready to relax and took a needed break, except for a few watchmen. Ansetti told them there that the meat eaters would be back on the pursuit. The leaders used the time to conduct more planning to prevent another outcome such as the one they had just endured. “This was only the first meeting,” said Ansetti to Mekkar while they were in the hot tent. What was odd to the boy was that all of the tents were speedily dismantled right after the impromptu gathering. The trek leader told Mekkar once again, “The wolves will be back because they see their own. The blood will attract them. They remember their catch from before and that will draw them once again. So, us and the herd should be on the move. Our goal is to finish this journey and get back to our homes safe and sound with our bodies and herds intact.”

Sunday, August 10, 2014


The University Mekkar attended strongly encouraged all incoming freshmen International students to live in the student dormitories. The smaller rooms housed two people, while there were also quad layouts with an additional common kitchen and living room areas. The normal practice was to pair together two or more individuals from very different countries and cultures. Ideally, it seemed to Mekkar, that the hope was to expand each student’s knowledge of the world and create a greater environment of tolerance. In Mekkar’s mind, institutions of higher learning have this as part of their overall agenda and it is increasing each year. Of course, there were some situational challenges as well. The Arctic Warrior saw this experiment as a way to solve problems with creative solutions.

One of his roommates was from the Middle East. At first, Sharif was very cautious as he moved about the campus. He was always looking around corners before entering any area. Mekkar soon found why in a discussion with him and his friends. Only a few years before, Sharif and his papa were coming out of a restaurant in Beirut, Lebanon after eating a delicious dinner. Unfortunately, a car bomb exploded nearby which killed his father and injured the young man also. Mekkar tried to relate with his situation as much as could but his own relatives had lost their lives in a different manner. It took some time for Sharif to overcome these fears and he did. Sharif’s friends from back home received Mekkar into their little group. The northerner even dubbed them “The Desert Clan”, even though Mekkar knew most of the group was from coastal cities instead.

Their clan, except Mekkar who was not an adherent to their religion, would carry a small rug around with them in their vehicles or in their backpacks. One person in the group has a bad knee so he carried an extra foam pad to place underneath his rug. They were to be used during their minimum of five prayer times throughout each day. They would always direct themselves by laying out their rugs on the ground in a specific direction. One of them had a compass that was set to always aim toward their holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. At first, others wondered what they were doing when they see the clan together in this manner, such as in their dorm lobby area. Mekkar knew better and would leave them alone, out of respect, to carry out their daily rituals. The young man from the Far North understood that people from other parts of the globe had different cultures and did things differently. Mekkar would sometimes attract unwanted attention with some his own actions or speech, thus he could relate.

A couple of years later, the clan invited Mekkar to travel with them when they were about to visit their relatives back in their homeland. Since, Mekkar had been to the Middle East before with his papa, he agreed. The Arctic Adventurer had already traveled extensively around the world and was looking forward to a new journey. The plan was that Mekkar would be there for a couple of weeks, while the clan would stay a whole month. The bonus for Mekkar was there were no classes during this time and it was during their cooler season.

During one instance, while the group was visiting their relatives in a southern valley region, they were all drinking and laughing together during the day. The Ouzo was flowing. Mekkar would add a cherry flavored additive to it the alcohol as he was not a fan of the strong black liquorish taste. A milder red liquorish flavor would have been acceptable to him, yet that was not available there. As they relaxed there, the group noticed a few others around them. Mekkar, with the others, were aware of a band of uniformed officers having fun among the opium poppy plants over on the nearby plain.

Sharif offhandedly stated to Mekkar, during the group’s interaction in this place, that he had gained a new appreciation of life and the world by going off to college. Sharif also said that after the initial cultural shock, he has become a better-rounded person. Before leaving home, Sharif commented that he had a limited view of the planet as a whole with little exposure to other places. He said the media reporting plays a large part in creating these images and influencing minds. Due to this discussion, Mekkar coined his own term “Beirut Syndrome”. The definition is the belief that people do not leave or move away from violent situations or environments because they believe everywhere is the same like where they already are. So, why bother as it might be worse somewhere else. Mekkar says that local news sources tend to reinforce these biases to control inhabitants.

Later on that day, they all saw a squadron of foreign jets zip past them in the sky. Even though the aircraft went by very quickly, they were close enough to identify them as a type of fighter-bomber. Decals and insignias were easily readable also. Some of them mentioned out loud that the planes were headed toward Beirut or some other city near the capital. The prediction was gathered from the direction of the flight paths of the aircraft overhead. It appeared to Mekkar that everyone there was not surprised regarding this type of activity, as this was a common occurrence. Then, he remembered similar activity back in his childhood on the reindeer trek. Mekkar quipped, “Maybe, we are all more alike than we believe because, as people, we encounter the same things?”


In an exhibition hockey game against the Northland Aces all-star squad, Mekkar was fortunate to play alongside one of his heroes. The matchup this day was in his heroes’ hometown. Mekkar was part of a youth team program there also. So, Mekkar was on the local side that had a mix of professionals and a few younger athletes which included him. The Arctic Warrior even stated, “Wow, I am playing with a superstar!” 

Mekkar’s nervousness was evident when the game began. His teammates saw that he was overwhelmed by the situation at first. Early in the game, Mekkar gave the puck away on foolish turnovers. It happened not once, but twice in a row and deep in his own zone. Those turnovers resulted in two quick goals by the opposition and the netminders was not too happy with the young defenseman.

The superstar tried to calm Mekkar down and told him, “Don’t worry about it. You need to relax and we will get those back. Play your game in the manner you usually do and everything will be fine. I have seen you perform before and know what you can do. I will be there to back you up.”

On the bench in between shifts, one of the pro’s on his squad told Mekkar, “You are not the second coming of Booby Orr. It would be foolish for anyone to compare themselves with him. Mainly because nobody does everything Orr can do. A player just needs to work hard to improve their skills, especially their weaknesses, and try to everything well. Be your own person! Don’t try to copy someone else.” Another pro seated next to Mekkar on the pine chimed in, “If it wasn’t for all of Orr’s knee injuries, we would have thought that he wasn’t human. You are still a kid; just learn from your mistakes.”

Those were the magic words, because suddenly Mekkar found his groove. His normal method to get rid of game environment jitters was to bodycheck opponents and throw around his body. Sometimes, it also resulted in getting hit by someone on the other team. It took awhile for Mekkar’s side to come back and make up for his early mistakes. Yet, they did and were victorious with a late goal in the third period by his hero.


Most netminders, even in very different sports, have similar traits and quirks. The position tended to attract those types of personalities. It was even more so for old time hockey goalies. There were a few exceptions but it was a small number in comparison.

Guardians of the goal spend way too much time alone in Mekkar’s opinion. He mentions that many have more superstitions than wizards or witches. The Arctic Warrior comments that an individual must have some mental issues and be a little crazy to be shot at over and over by a frozen, hard vulcanized rubber disc. In the old days, goalies risked their very lives to stop pucks and played the game without facial protection.

One thing the forwards and defensemen didn’t want was to be caught on a bad line change, especially in the second stanza, when the bench is further away. Leaving your own goalie deserted on the ice usually results in the unpleasant scenario of you getting the business later on.

Mekkar could somewhat relate to a netminders’ mindset since he was used at times as an emergency third goalie during practice. He was glad that he never had to play the position in a real game. Thus, Mekkar feels that many people do not fully appreciate goaltenders enough. This goes for him also, as he would sometimes forget, with his non-traditional almost always attacking style of play. That is, instead of cutting off the passing lanes during odd-man rushes by the opposition. Mekkar’s style was big risk, big reward. He wanted to mainly close the gaps of space and speed up reaction time of other players to force them into turnovers.

This meant leaving the far side of the net vulnerable by not cutting off those potential back door plays. Also, unaccounted for were open opponents trailing the play into the center of the ice for prime scoring chances on net. His mindset always expected to arrive at the right time and keep the puck from getting behind him toward the goal. There were many times that his own netminders and teammates bailed him out when he didn’t get there for the hit in time.

The young man from the Far North was fortunate to play with and against some fantastic big name goalies in his time. At times they were very displeased with his style and would later chew him out for leaving them “out to dry” by themselves for a breakaway against. Mekkar frustrated fellow teammates with style of attack which could often take make him positionally vulnerable. In Mekkar’s opinion, he would have been less successful if he adopted a more passive method of playing defense. He would tweak and modify his style a bit but decided to never completely change it altogether.

Despite the flaws in his game, many appreciated his extremely hard driving effort. No one ever criticized his no quit demeanor, no matter what the scoreboard said. The knock against Mekkar, by his detractors, was his on-ice decision making, even though he had a high hockey IQ. It appeared to some observers as though Mekkar would selfishly disregard the safe play on a too frequent basis.


When it came to dishing out the sports related physical punishment Mekkar didn’t hold back. He didn’t realize it at the time but he should have played smarter when he was younger. Mekkar surely does understand his folly now as his body is crippled and falling apart. Some days it is a chore just to get out of bed for the day. He knew the risks and accepted willingly blaming no one else but himself.

It is too bad he didn’t listen to others who had told him through their own past experiences about the possible end physical results. Mekkar now wishes he could have perceived or viewed the consequences of this harsh lesson and learned them sooner. He now attributes it as being young and the thought process that it will not happen to you. As the paraphrased saying goes, “Those who do not learn from past history are doomed to repeat it (and its past mistakes).” [Edmund Burke, 1729-1797] or something to that effect, according to Mekkar.

Sirga told Mekkar flat to his face on more than one occasion, “No matter how much you give, you always receive more in return. That is because there is only one of you and so many more of them ready to return the favor.” This statement, or some variation of it, had been passed down to Sirga by her mama and through her lineage. Sirga applied this piece of wisdom to her oldest son in regard to a physical state. Yet, of course the young Mekkar did not take it to heart nor apply the message into his play on the ice.

There is a similar adage used during the Christmas season – It is better to give than to receive. Mekkar preferred this application instead. It showed itself to be especially true when he would throw his body around on the ice and wipe opposing players out with hard body checks of all types.

Still Mekkar, like most other teenagers, are prone to do blow off much of the advice and sage wisdom given to him by the adults. Mainly because he thought it was so old school thinking and that times had changed. Similar to many individuals that are growing into eventual adulthood, Mekkar thought he knew better. Young people in this stage of life tend to think they know it all and more than anyone else. Plus, Mekkar felt that no parent or relative could relate to him during this time with regard to his own life and his own chosen direction for it. There is the tendency to forget that all adults have already gone through those things beforehand and made it through.

The result usually is that the youthful person has to stubbornly learn various lessons in life the painful hard way and Mekkar eventually did as well. Yes, Mekkar would find out that when he thinks he knows it all, that attitude will soon make him look foolish in reality. It does happen when life kicks him around a bit and humbles him through tough circumstances. These trials and tests would come about sooner than he ever imagined. Then, finally the boy would become a man by gaining the required life instruction to go on to the next set of tasks.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Mekkar has knowledge that he, along with others, was intentionally blacklisted with many closed doors and lack of opportunities imposed by some governments. Related corporations and big businesses have taken a similar stance. Many possible employment prospects have mysteriously fallen though as well. Even after background searches of him turned up no criminal activity in his past.

He says it stems from being in a specialty unit during a certain time period in the military. Mekkar had to fulfill his compulsory service like everyone else. One small group The Arctic Warrior was involved in had been trained by a known foreign clandestine agency to execute special tasks. The undertakings were labeled as Black flag, or better known as Black Ops, operations. The target was a rival during the decades-long superpower standoff between the United States and Soviet Union and their allies.

The foundation of this particular mission was for the unit to poison water tables, rivers, lakes, ground water sources, etc. of an opposing Cold War adversary. The focus was sources that served large swaths of the public. Quicker movement of the water would make it spread faster and cause more harm. By the time the cause could be discovered and antidote formulated to combat the effects, many people would have been affected.

However, the small outfit Mekkar was a member of dragged their feet and never carried out the dastardly deeds they were assigned. Thus, many innocent civilians were not harmed. This lack of action did not please their superiors or the people who directed the endeavor in the first place. They felt the exclusive preparation and costs had been wasted.

As a result, Mekkar mentions that he and the group have been punished and blacklisted on an individual, as well as, collective basis. Those in charge of the project have taken revenge against them due to their refusal to execute the plan. Some of the individuals from the inactive group have suffered unexplained and unsolved deaths since that time. The rest, that are still alive, have developed a habit of always looking over their shoulder for potential enemies.

Mekkar is uncomfortable when this topic was broached because he has not spoken about this matter for a long time. The man from the Far North wouldn’t say if the others lost their nerve to speak regarding the subject. It appears to be a matter of self-preservation. Maybe, Mekkar doesn’t care about the potential consequences anymore as the damage has been done and is non-reversible. It is ironic that despite the events which led to the Cold War ending its stalemate just a few years later, the battle still rages.