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December 31, 2003
2:19 PM

It's come to my attention that this is truly the last day of the year and it is NOT some crazed dream of mine. Can it really be that this is it? In fact it's already 2004 in Australia, Japan, Korea, and many other foreign lands. Reflecting back on 2003 is a big fat blur to me. I guess I did a lot, but there's still so much more to do. My desire is to never limit myself and to make sure I get everything out of every minute of life. I realize I'm a pretty lucky to be doing what I'm doing and am sincerely thankful for this, but I know there's much more to do and that excites me. Tomorrow I depart for the great state of Texas to play music for people I don't know and some I do. This is perhaps the greatest gift in life. To be able to share my music with complete strangers. To make a connection with those who somewhat understand where I'm coming from and to make new friends and explore new cities, new climates, new everything. Wow!!

I look back on all the years of touring and how much I took it for granted. I really can't understand why I didn't appreciate those early years, but somehow I feel like this is a second chance for me to travel again and meet amazing people. That's the most wonderful thing in life....to meet people who share the love of life. Those who give a shit about people. Those connections are golden and I hope to continue growing from these encounters and to be inspired. Today I didn't go to the blind center for volunteering. Wednesdays is the day I do volunteer work and I got a late start in the day. I went with my mom to my dads cemetery. It's a pretty surreal experience. It's a very emotional time for my mom. I seem to zone out when I'm there, though reflection is unavoidable. I have a lot of admiration for my dad and a great respect for his life. I do miss him quite a bit and wonder how my life would be different if he were still alive.

My dad is buried right next to the childrens section. IThe hardest thing for me is the childs lives lost before having any chance to experience life. It's a ritual of mine to look over those childrens graves and ponder on their lives. How old they would be today? How they died? Most of the children lived no more than a few months. With Xmas just here, many of their graves are decorated with xmas toys and trees. It kills me to think how sad it is for their parents. I don't know how often I'd visit my dad if it weren't for my mom. She always tells me to bring flowers to her when she dies. I don't like to think about that. The weather is very Fall today. I held a tree next to my dad and just looked up at it, felt the cracks and it made me happy. I don't know why, it just made me smile.

So this evening I'll be helping feed the homeless until 10 PM. It's actually been a few years since I did this, but I used to do it every year. I'll cut out early to be with friends in Santa Cruz. I never drink on new years and this year won't be any different. Hopefully it's a safe time for all. Be careful people. Be safe and smile big as the clock ticks.

Peace always, Mike Park