The Pursuit of Vikings

The heritage I share with my children is an odd one to say the least. In my veins runs Latin, Norse, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon blood carried over from civilizations as great and proud as any to have existed. Over the years I have tried to keep both of the offspring aware of their Panamanian heritage that I passed on to them. I have tried to teach them as much Spanish as I can remember, I have shared with them the handcrafted artwork of the Kuna people, and I have stressed the importance of knowing their roots and the lessons that can be learned from having a multicultural background. It did not occur to me until recently as I was binge listening to Amon Amarth’s “Fate of Norns” (as I do from time to time) that by nature of my wife they possess more Nordic heritage than Latin. So as any good dad would do, I sat with my oldest and taught her about Yggdrasil, Odin, Thor, Valhalla, and the Norns.

Odin! Guide our ships Our axes, spears and swords! Guide us through storms that whip, and in brutal war!

I did not stop at that. I explained that for every part of her that was graceful, elegant, and charming there was another part that was blunt, headstrong, and fiercely loyal. She is my princess, with a warrior’s heart. I taught her this not to forsake the culture that I was raised to know, love and respect; but to raise her with the knowledge that her roots spread wider than mine do. When my youngest reaches an age where she can discover and comprehend all that makes her unique, I intend to have the same conversations with her. I hope to share the stories of the explorers that navigated the Caribbean in search of new lands, as well as the influence the Norsemen spread across Europe in its infancy. Though I would rather not think of it yet, one day my girls may have children of their own who will also have roots that are unique to them and I pray my daughters will teach them as I have done and will continue to do. History in and of itself has always fascinated me. It is common knowledge that there were people who existed long before my generation, but the intrigue comes from a continued attempt to understand these cultures and apply the lessons learned from their triumphs and failures to my own life. The fact that there is a history behind every person, including myself and those near to me intrigues me even more so. In order for my children and me to understand the lessons others can teach more clearly, I place a great importance on understanding who we are and what makes us unique. I believe we will never benefit from the lessons of others until we have learned what we consist of, from the deepest part of our roots to the tallest part of our branches. \m/ CRB


Seasons in the Abyss

We all get lost in life at some point or another. Some choose to find a way out, some collapse under the weight of it all, and others choose to remain in the dark until they are ready to find their way. I tried to be the first type, but it seemed like the more I tried, the deeper I found myself buried. I never collapsed, as is evident by my being here writing this now. That leaves the last option. Once I learned patience, I found I had the strength to be able to embrace whatever situation life threw my way and ride out the storm until it was over. There have been ups and downs as can be expected, but when life was at its hardest I didn’t turn and run, I stood firm and faced the turmoil. I’m not writing this to set myself on a pedestal. I wrote this because I know someone, somewhere, is struggling to keep their head above water and I want them to know that if they just take a deep breath and focus on what is important they just might make it out before they drown. That is what metal is about. Nobody in this world is more important than you are. When you are down you don’t curl into a ball and give up, you stand up with your middle finger raised and knock the shit out of what put you down in the first place! That is what metal is about. When you are excluded and abandoned, you find pride in all that you have done for yourself and that which is dear to you. That is what metal is about. I sit here and I think of all the things I’ve gone through, the mistakes I’ve made, and how there were many obstacles in the road that led me to where I am today. If I had stopped to look for the light, I might have never made it. As a father, I think constantly about how I can prepare my children once they get to a point where they can decide to blaze trails of their own. I keep coming back to a set of lyrics:

Close your eyes, look deep in your soul, step outside yourself and let your mind go….

The conclusion I’ve drawn is that the only way to prepare them is to teach them to have value in themselves. No matter what the situation is, they need to know that they have the strength within themselves to withstand the test of time and that they do not need anybody to pick their path for them. This goes for you too. You are only worth as little or as much as you think that you are. You don’t have to spend the seasons in the abyss like I did, I’ve gone through it so that you don’t have to. \m/etal dad out.