Saturday, October 24, 2015

34. Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur.

Start again your starting over. This attempt is over, or so it appears, but the bigger "it" keeps coming.
 Play until the whistle. You have to move forward, like it or not. Keep going. Where there's life, there's ho....

Well, there's life.

He started in at a new gym last night. The coaches called him "sir". He performed a closely directed, scaled-down, Crossfit workout that left him shaking,gasping, and soaked; helped him to rage appropriately; got him home late and made him sleep for a couple of hours. When he woke up, she was there but not really, and he started sinking. Thankfully, the pager went off and kept him moving for the next few hours until it was time to leave for his day job.

Today, someone started talking about something he did not want to listen to. He watched himself retreat to her inside himself, as he so often does, but found her gone. There was startlingly nothing in that space. He feels that emptiness still. There aren't good words for how bad that is.

An article posted on Facebook reports withdrawing and detoxing from love activates the same parts of the brain as withdrawing and detoxing from drugs. But drugs don't have your face. They don't have your touch.

A significant age difference, the sudden need to start a family, an unsatisfactory income - twitching legs pulled from a spider. Meanwhile, he tries hard to not see this part of her. But he does.

He can find there in the darkness no partnership, no soul mate, only idolatry.

Desolate. Drone. Done.

She said, I want to walk away and start all over again...


Saturday, October 17, 2015

33. If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.

Sitting in the dark now, the music is Spanish, the temperature outside the door steadily plunges down to freezing and below. There's a yellow carpet of leaves on the lawn that wasn't there 24 hours ago. It's that stage of Autumn where things are at their most acute.

I saw it along the wooded hillsides Saturday morning - yellow mostly,  some orange,  a little brilliant red contrasted by dark evergreen. The leaves fell faster than they had been, and I felt a building panic. Definitely a noticeable increase in the tempo of decline. Any minute now and it will realize it's dying and start to thrash and bellow and fight with all the wild it has left. If we are going to pick apples, today is the day.

We ended up doing so later, the three children and I. We arrived ten minutes before the orchard closed for the day, purchased a five pound bag, and set out. The apples were all spotted, some were pitted and misshapen - organic and unappealing to the eyes of the kids. The eldest will graduate high school in June, so any seasonal activities like apple picking or Thanksgiving have taken on a sentimental significance for her. The last time.

Next year, apparently, she will be gone out into the world making a life of her own. I smirk a little, internally, but still have to fight off vertigo.

In short order we fill the bag, share some laughs, pay the boy, and jump back in the car. Just like that, it's over.

That night, the temperature drops below 25 degrees. The first killing frost. The next day the first snowflakes fall.  I'm not ready for this.

Monday, October 12, 2015

32. Benefit by doing the things that others give up on.

Praying to the patron saint of things left behind. Picking up litter from school yards, playgrounds and parks after midnight. Storing found pennies. Scrutinizing discarded lottery tickets. Collecting rain in barrels for dry seasons. Tending to the upkeep of roadside traffic fatality memorials. Keeping vigil. Bearing witness. Lighting candles. Handling the pressure. Making adult arguments inaudible to children. Cushioning the Santa Claus realization. Transmitting blessings through a hand on the shoulder of the aged, a wink and a nod to the lonely and untouched. Over watching small children crossing streets and riding bikes. Singing silent praises to otherwise unnoticed moments of beauty, and then telling that story to others, or at least writing it down. Always picking up the check, even though eating alone mostly, being at least willing to pick up the check. Walking through dark passages to show it can, it must, be done. Remembering all of your best moments - those times when you did the right thing. Doing this for everyone on Earth. Averting one's gaze when you are in not-your-proudest-moment. Making sandwiches with care. Keeping in touch. Keeping tabs. Not keeping score. Keeping keepsakes and memories coherent and chronological. Making order and meaning out of chaos. Listening to and obeying the heart. Walking this hard road.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

31. Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.

I like this one a little bit. It fits - in a certain context. It fits if your life can be classified as Hunky-Dory, if you have first world benefits and first world problems. The rest of you have plenty to be afraid of so please disregard this fortune. We apologize for any inconvenience.

This morning I sat in a contentious meeting trying to address a flaw in communication protocol in one small (wealthy) corner of the mental health care delivery system. The chief psychiatrist interrupted. She said she knew each of us had a long, angry book inside us about the broken system which we could write later, but right now we needed to get beyond just saying the system is broken. That's about the best thing I've ever heard a psychiatrist say.

That's what I'm doing here, writing down fragments of my long, angry book. That's all I've ever written.

Each day marks the beginning of a new world, a different life, peppered with memory-flashes of past lives and the sudden weight of an anchor. The sun is rising now. The clear, starlit October sky is giving way. A crow caws, trying again to speak to me, as it does every Fall. I fail to understand, again.

Last night, I watched through a window a rising star author signing copies of her new book. She was smiling and completely looked the part. The scene was absolutely right, and I am glad to have seen it.

About twenty-five years, more than half my life, has gone since then. We each had a rope tied around our respective ankles. That's how we recognized each other. For a short while, we wore opposite ends of the same rope.