Thursday, July 11, 2013


Vagabond Journey

No. 2,009

The World Hath Needs

Awake ye sunshine, night has had it's day.

It's time to lay down darkness and kiss the ground.

Send light across each branch and through each nook.

The earth hath need of you.

Awake ye blossoms, open your mouths to the light.

Let the warmth of the sun heat your ovens

And stir sweet aromas from your breasts.

The air hath need of you.

Awake ye birds and sing your morning songs.

It's the day to push the fledgling from the nest

In it's private Kitty Hawk, to 12 seconds of life changing flight.

The trees hath need of you.

Awake ye cats and dogs. Stretch the claws and prowl.

Wag the tail and bark. Make your presence known.

Establish your rights as residential beasts.

The neighborhood hath need of you.

Awake ye people, rise and greet the day.

Sign the contract, make the sale, win the case.

Finish the thesis, do your Due Diligence and smile.

The human race hath need of you.

Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Vagabond Journey

No. 2,008


The consciousness of having attempted faithfully to discharge my duty, and the approbation of my country will be a sufficient recompense for my services.

(George Washington)


Hello George


I've been an American for just over 74 years. My body was born in Port Chester. My heart was born in Provincetown. My mind was born in Boston. My life was born and hammered out on the streets and sidewalks of New York City. My courage was found on a mountain top in Conway and my erroneous self in the valley. My spirit comes from the strings, horns and timpani of the Metropolitan Opera. My soul was shaped by thousands of hours on the stage. I never tried to be an actor. It was a gift. I tried to sing, and I did. I tried to dance, and I did. I am not a typical American, but, in fact, there are none.

As we struggle alone through the undergrowth in the search for the elusive happiness we do things. You may play the trumpet, walk a tight rope or balance the books. You may pull a tooth, dig a hole, pitch seven innings or rescue a cat. Whatever you do you are an American and there is nothing typical about you.

America is not the marble halls of courts and governments, nor the fancy logos of large corporations, nor the hermetically sealed sky scrapers. Those things are salad dressing. America is a bunch of atypical people. And every time one of us does something well America will silently approve.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Thursday, June 27, 2013


June 27, 2013

Vagabond Journey

No. 2,007


The quality of mercy is not strain'd,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath:



Hello Linda


I sat out on the porch this evening in the gentle rain. High in the sky the lightening was flashing. Unconcerned with them thunder rumbled distantly. The rain felt good on my shoulders and head. There were no voices out there. People were inside, at home, with each other, safely away from the gentle storm.

But what does a loner do in such a storm? Is it really safe to go inside to be by myself. Wouldn't it be better to stay outside safely away from myself, to let the rain cleanse me and protect me from the eternally unfinished business of my life?

I sat in the rain thinking about how deeply we must dig to really know ourselves, uncovering ancient artifacts of tests not passed, ignorant mistakes, forsaken loves, forlorn losses. Why do we keep on living when fumbling through such ruins?

The birds and bugs don't mind the cleansing rain. They have no regrets. The people in their homes with rights and wrongs can change the subject if necessary. But what does the loner do?

Two of the most important words we will ever speak are "forgive me." I will forgive myself. I will try. Tonight I was cleansed by the gentle rain of mercy. I am the place beneath. I will have mercy on myself. I will try again.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Sunday, June 16, 2013


June 16, 2013

Vagabond Journey

No. 2,006


Happy the man, and happy he alone,

He who can call today his own.

(John Dryden)


Hello Beth


There has been rain, serious rain, enough to claim itself as a typhoon if it wants to. Then there has been the long slow steady rain that isn't dangerous but just enough to leave everything damp and soaking.

There have been flashes of light in the sky, startlingly unexpected in the night. Lightening not concerned with the mundane earth but rather speeding across the upper atmosphere in a race with its neighboring bolts.

There has been thunder, deep and dark. Distant groans, rumbling long and loud, often strong enough to shake my building.

There has been wind. Trash cans thrown across the parking lot. Too cool on my face when I step outside my door. I close the windows or the papers will be strewn around the room.

There has been sunshine, bright, warm, liquid light to make one forget the rain, wind and thunder. Warm beams across the pages lighting up the shadows.

And through it all, the days and nights have been mine, mine to call a few friends and share good news, mine to read and write, mine to think and paint, mine to search, to stretch, to reach, to climb into the secret places of the day, to discover, to rediscover the endless wine of wisdom from the ancient philosophers, ancient poets and ancient scientists.

My father died in 1943. He was a World War One hero and veteran. Here I sit, in my day, a 21st century man, so far removed from my father's world, and yet so aware of the seeds planted in the long ago which made his world and my world what they are.

Today, my day, I celebrate the Ancient Fathers.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Saturday, June 1, 2013


June 1, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2,005


There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.

(Annie Dillard)


Hello Margie


For some reason, I can't remember why, I have a lot of photos of roller coasters in my screen saver file. For many roller coasters are a lot of fun, although for some the idea of being whipped around at a dangerous speed and plunging down a steep descent into an unseen and unknown destiny does not appeal to them.

Nevertheless roller coasters hold a fascination for many people. You can think about them, hear about them, read about them, see pictures of them or go to the amusement park and watch them. But it is just not the same until you ride one.

I haven't ridden one in many years. There are none around here to tempt me. I would enjoy another trip around the winding rails but if I tried I would probably be stopped at the gate by some kindly attendant who would say "Yo, where do you think YOU'RE going, old timer?" So what, I would still give it a try.

The last coaster I rode was years ago at the Westchester County Fair in Yonkers, NY. It had a double loop and I carefully slipped my hat and my pen under my thigh so they wouldn't fall to the ground when we went upside down. Truthfully, the whole ride went so fast I don't even remember being upside down.

When I was a teenager my buddy Paul and I used to find roller coasters that were closed for the Winter, sneak in and walk the tracks. We would start from the end so that we would climb the first big cascade. We though it was probably safer than trying to walk down it. Some of them had tunnels which were creepy and noisy places. Eery step we took reverberated through the whole tunnel. I'm surprised we weren't arrested. I guess no one was watching, or if they were they were admiring our bravado.

I don't watch television now. I don't even own one. When I was in NYC I only watched if there was a program I wanted to see. But when I lived in New Hampshire I used to watch every night. Since it was a small northern New England community with no cable and only an internal antenna, I could only get one channel. As a result I had no choice but to watch the Tonight Show with a host I considered insipid and world-ignorant. Today I rue the many hours I spent glued to that TV set watching that irrelevant program.

Why was it irrelevant? Because the net work was giving me only something that resembled life. It wasn't real life. It didn't involve me beyond my eyes and ears. To watch and listen was to do something instead of life. When I woke up to that I realized in how many other ways I was not living my life. That realization took me out of New Hampshire and back to New York City and the frightening but courageous marathon of starting my acting career all over again.

In my early 20's a blessed teacher implanted in me an energy cell of enthusiasm for life. That cell has brought me through dangerous attempts, out of hopeless failures, plunged me into not too safe adventures and to the gates of gratifying successes. Timidity is not an option.

You can think about life, read about it, hear about it, you can even watch it. But it's just not the same until you get on board and live it.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


May 29, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2, 004


The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.

(Henry Van Dyke)


Hello Linda


The other day I heard an opera broadcast on the radio. (It was The Masked Ball by Verdi, for those of you who know opera.) The performance was from a provincial opera company in Italy. Though some were better than others they were not the best singers in the world. But they all sang with an earnest passion and love for the music. And that alone made it an enjoyable experience.

Listening to them I felt a kinship with them and their lives. I may not have been the best actor in the world but I was good enough to be appreciated by my peers and sometimes even by the critics. But the one remarkable blessing that stands as a pinnacle in my memory is the joy of performing. For the performing artist a performance is a time of being totally alive. For the actor the place he occupies on the stage is his own private tree branch from which to sing his song.

I happened to run into a group of actors from the local theatre during a short break and realized how much I miss being with those people. It made me feel like the show was going on and I was on the other side of a closed, locked door.

But there will be no more acting for me until I get myself out of debt, my body repaired and my address changed to a place in the cosmos where theatre lives. In the meantime I write blogs and stories, paint pictures, am solitary, alone, lonely and sometimes depressed.

Draw me looking ahead but color me blue.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


May 28, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2003


Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare.

(John Dryden)


Hello Sandy


For a year I lived across the street from a high school playground. I would sometimes see a man in a dark blue zippered jacket enter the playground and approach one of the boys who was obviously expecting him. They wouldn't look at each other but the boy reached behind him and dropped an envelope on the ground. Blue jacket would pick up the envelope, look inside, reach into his pocket, take out a plastic bag and drop it where the envelope had been. Then blue jacket would turn and leave and the boy picked up the bag. Any guesses as to what was in the bag?

When I was young teen I watched a documentary of a heroin addict who was coming off the dope unassisted. There were no medications to help withdrawel in those days. He was alone in a room under constant surveillance. The film, which spanned a few weeks, was over an hour long. The horror that poor man went through, which I won't describe, was a more articulate lesson, than anything I could imagine, to stay away from drugs.

I knew a young man, a good musician. He had his own band, and it was successful. One day he took too much cocaine and he died.

Over the past several months I've seen some documentaries about meth (Methamphetamine) addicts, in Europe, Asia and the United States. There are a very few people who can take such a drug and come out fine. But most of them are lost. And most of them are young. Their arms, legs, necks and gums are filled with injection wounds. Many of them got hooked because their parents gave it to them. Many of them have to steal or whore themselves to buy it. If they are on the street they have to go into alleys and behind buildings to cook the stuff so they don't get arrested. If they do they may get clean while they suffer in jail but when they get out they go right for it again. One addict said he has to have the meth just to feel "normal." Many of them admit that they began by smoking marijuana and went down from there. They never expected it to happen to them.

Legalizing drugs may take a huge chunk out of organized crime and smuggling, but what is it going to do for the determined addict, depressed, forlorn, wasted and lost. Besides meth you can make in your own kitchen. The ingredients are obtainable, all poisonous, and the recipe is on the Internet.

I don['t want to hear anything more from politicians about a high moral ground or from pastors saving people from sin. Our government needs to protect us from cyber attacks before our enemies get the technology to destroy us and society (pastors, teachers, doctors, parents, people who really care and don't just make talk and TV shows) needs to focus on why drugs are destroying the lives of so many young people.

Peace and power.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up