AMBIENT THOUGHT – EPISODE One Hundred Nineteen: Cast Away…

The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.


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Big thanks to Dennis Strassburg for his use of his picture of the Cast Away intersection in Texas


Tom Hanks is my favorite actor. Even though his films aren’t in my top five, no matter what he’s in, he’s amazing. He’s the kind of guy you would want to hang out with and just call a friend. Maybe have him over for Thanksgiving to break bread and have him tell you stories. Plus the guy collects typewriters. THIS is my kind of guy.

And I’m sure I’m not the only person that feels that way. He’s kind of like that guy that could be your dad or uncle that is always fun to be around and teaches you things. And you want to learn from him.

The other day, I had a mini- Tom Hanks marathon. I watched Saving Private Ryan, The Terminal, and one I can watch over and over again, Cast Away.

In case you aren’t familiar with the movie (and shame on you), it’s about a guy named Chuck Noland who work for Fed Ex and happens to be on a Fed Ex plane when it goes down in the South Pacific leaving him the only survivor on a small uninhabited island. It’s Robinson Crusoe but a tad bit different. He has to learn to survive.

And…if you’ve seen it, you know how it ends. If you haven’t (shame on you again), go rent it, buy it, borrow it, or whatever. It’s a must watch.

As I watched it this time, it hit me in a different way. It wasn’t just a guy trying to learn how to make fire or just keeping hope alive with his buddy Wilson that a day would come he could be rescued or leave on his own accord.
He was me.

I’m on my own uninhabited island at times. I think we all are. We can be surrounded by loved ones and have access to things he wasn’t (an ice machine) but mentally, we sometimes find ourselves trying to live and get off an island that we put ourselves. We feel alone with nobody to talk to but a volleyball we give a personality. Think that’s silly? Ever talk to yourself? Ever answer yourself? Don’t answer out loud. We both know the truth.
It’s not that crazy.

We go day to day, looking for ways to survive. We try to find a place out of the weather to stay as dry as possible. And we plan. We plan to make our escape to get home, back to where we are loved and cared about. We want to be back among the world.

And we do. And we stay awhile. We smile and are happy. And we are loved.
Then, we wake up one morning and we are right back on that beach, all alone.
And we put ourselves there.


I can’t speak for you. I can only speak for myself. It’s as if when times get hard or I’m feeling stressed and full of anxiety, that island gets me far away. I created that island. It doesn’t have everything I want but just enough to keep me alive, if I learn how to do things and create things to keep me breathing.

That island isn’t a great place. There is coral under the water that cuts my feet, food is hard to get, and the isolation can drive you mad.
Over time, my feet have become tough, I have become an expert at spearing fish and crabs, and as I’ve said before, I got my old buddy, Wilson, the volleyball to talk to.

OK. I’m exaggerating a bit.

But there are days I feel stuck in a place I can’t get off of or away from. And I put myself there.  That’s the biggest thing to take away from this: I put myself there.

And I will make it off again. And again. Maybe one day I will not go back ever again. That island will slowly slip under the waves and never be seen again. I will have escaped permanently forever…

Warning: The following contains spoilers about the end of the movie. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

Chuck had found Fed Ex packages wash up on the beach when he was first there. He had intended to save them but decided they may contain something helpful for his survival. He opened them all…all but open. One box had some angel wings printed on it and that one, he saved. I believe, inside that box, held his sanity. And hope. Hope that he could deliver it himself.

And at the end of the movie, that’s where we find him, in the same location that opens the movie. He drives to the house that’s out in the middle of the Texas flatlands. Nobody’s home, so he leaves the package and a note.
This package saved my life. Thank you. Chuck Noland

He drives away and at the intersection, he sees a truck pull up next to him. A red-headed woman asks him if he’s lost. They chat a minute and she drives down the road he had just come down. That’s when he noticed on the tailgate of her truck is the exact kind of angel wings that was on the box.
He stands in the intersection and looks every way. The camera ends up on his face as he looks back down the road where the woman went. And he smiles.
That intersection is where we all want to get to. Different paths to different places in life. One is the one you need to go down. Sometimes we have to spend our lives trying to survive and if we’re lucky or blessed, we find ourselves with a decision, one that can change our life for the better.
We hope.

I hope that he followed her down the road and talked to her more. I hope that she was really his real soul mate, the love of his future life.

I’ll leave you with these parting words from Chuck himself:
And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?

-Loyd Elmore Jr
July 27th, 2018


I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me. 

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