Standing on solemn ceremony…

*

Three mornings from now, it will be a new year. We make such a thing about restarts and clean slates that it tends to crank up the pressure right off the top, making the crispy-clean observance something less than joyful, so this time I’m proceeding on the basis that 2023 is NOBODY’S year, we’re all simply going to stroll nonchalantly to the door, peek through the peephole, open the barrier a crack, read the room, and hang around the coffee machine until the convo starts to sort itself out.

For me, 2023 says less is more. My plan, goal, thought, intent is that if and when the year 2024 shows its face, every drawer, shelf, cabinet, closet, space will have been scrutinized severely and lightened of its load. I feel guilty and heavy-laden if I’m harboring goods of the world for which I have no legit use, especially when I can envision others getting the benefit instead. Excess only adds to my anxiety, and one place that’s due for a purge is the desktop I’m typing on at the moment. Thousands of images, files, and folders must go in the name of mental health. It could happen… bit by bit, step by step.

Random thoughts and admonishments, curated to take us into the immediate future…

Alternatively, I might assign myself the task of adopting more freedom and flexibility.

*

*

Worth keeping in mind during the months ahead…

*

Image

Sail away…

*

We could live aboard a ship

Hip to hip

And lip to lip

And if we ever lose our grip

We’ll go right back

To lip to lip

*

And if our anchor doesn’t hold

If we drift and get too cold

If we falter, we won’t fold

We’ll go back to lip to lip

*

If we sail for many days

Go too far and get too crazed

I will gladly spend my days

Sailing lip to lip

*

Lip to lip

Lip to lip

On a big fat sailing ship

I would gladly spend my days

Sailing lip to lip

*

Let’s get aboard a big fat ship

And we’ll go sailing lip to lip

*

Composed by Kim Smith October 30, 2020 while attempting to achieve optimum weightlessness in the spa tub.

Image

Things… they happen

*

Couldn’t find it on my bucket list when I went to cross it off, but I finally earned a decent shiner in my lifetime, and it was so easy to do! Almost made it home from my walk Monday afternoon when I stubbed my toe in the driveway to our building and went down. I don’t remember the fall, just the solid impact and the aftermath. Once my senses returned I was trying to see where all my stuff was… little shoulder bag with essentials, my glasses, my walking pole, the tiny hearing aid that flew across the pavement… when a svelte young businesswoman drove slowly out the drive, looking at me turtled up while deciding to do nothing. It felt precisely like somebody was looking but not seeing. I was a bug on the sidewalk. Fortunately, a woman likely in her 60s hopped out of her car and tried to help me get my feet under me. Due to my suddenly messed up right side we were having no success, when a man in his 50s strode over and carefully lifted me under my arms so I could stand up, gathered my detritus for me, and saw me to the door. Those two people have obviously lived long enough to know everybody’s gonna need a hand sometime, and they made all the difference. I actually feel kinda bad for that lovely young woman… Karma never forgets and this mama’s heart wonders what the cost might be. Oh well.

So yeah, that’s how that was. My cheek swelled about 3″ beyond its limits, with the outline of my ruined glasses showing like a roadmap, and now we get to marvel over the beautifully changing fall colors on this canvas of a face, starting with livid purple. It’s been necessary to show myself in medical offices, making sure everything still checks out, and I have a disclaimer: Be advised that if you indicate Kim and say “I’ll bet HE did that, right?” I will look you in the eye and ask why you’d say that. “Do you hit YOUR wife?” It strikes me as an old-white-man thing to say and I’ll call you out. An old white man with Dr. in front of his name asked me that question on Tuesday, but the right words hadn’t yet formed in my frontal cortex where expressive language resides. Come at me again, you old fart, with your not-humor, I’ve got your answer right here.

Here’s the truth: if you’re a woman and you ask me that same question you’ll do it tentatively, softly, with eyes downcast, and you either know me really well or not at all. If you know me enough to trust me, you’re asking for yourself, things have happened, and you need someone to tell. And you know Kim would never hit me, but you need an in. If you don’t actually know me, you don’t know my husband either or you’d have the answer already. If you’re a man and ask me, something in you is damn proud of him for supposedly asserting his rightful authority over a clearly insubordinate wife. I’m not having it, Mr. Cellophane, sit down. And don’t speak to me again without authorization.

Okay… all better now.

Anyway, if you’re either brave or a masochist, here’s what it looked like Tuesday morning:

By evening, gravity was carrying it all south down to my real wrinkles and I have a kind of wondrous scary pirate vibe going now. No more pics, and I know you’re thanking me. My medical-everything friend Regina told us to go to a Mexican grocery and get arnica gel for the bruises. She broke her orbital socket last summer so she knows… and she’s right. It works. Not fast enough that I won’t shock my hairdresser out of her boots today… but I can see a difference already.

I have a love/hate attitude toward the new boots I was wearing when I fell, but I’ll put something on and get back on the horse today, walking to my haircut and home again, before an excess of caution puts me back in my comfy chair to stay. Cannot, will not, have that.

You know why I write about getting older?

  1. Barring circumstances, everyone goes there.
  2. There’s no cure for it.
  3. It gets realer and realer.
  4. If I can scout ahead and warn you of some of the pitfalls, well… one is glad to be of service.
  5. This is a part of life to be enjoyed, if possible, rather than discounted as “just getting old.”

Don’t fear life, it goes on. Never let the bastards wear you down, compadres. Your horse is waiting…

Image

Life from both sides…

*

It’s another glorious fall morning in the heartland… cool temps, sunshine, the sounds of commerce humming along. Our first frost is apparently due next week, but benevolent nights would be a grace as far into the season as possible, as we currently have what I can only call a “situation.”

A few of us have been aware for a while of a night-sleeper in our parking lot, only gradually gathering details and pertinent facts. What’s been gleaned: Her pronouns are she/her and she’s possibly elderly. I’ve not encountered her up close and personal yet, but from my 4th-floor windows she resembles a mummy. She may be suffering from narcolepsy, causing her to drop in her tracks and sleep it off regardless of surroundings or conditions. Alcohol or drugs will do the same thing, of course, but who’s to say. Sometimes, sleeping on the raw pavement, she’s wrapped in a blanket, sometimes more exposed to the elements, but her situation always appears haphazard and dire. Our building guy has found her lying in the middle of driveways… stretched out across parking spaces… sprawled in the bank drive-through… and he always tries to urge her out of harm’s way, with little success. It feels like only a matter of time before someone fails to see her in the predawn gloom, or mistakes her for a discarded remnant, or the weather takes over… but you can’t force anyone to accept unwanted help. Lawrence has a homeless population of somewhere around 400, a certain percentage of whom won’t set foot inside a building of any kind lest they feel trapped, possibly tricked into losing their independence for something they didn’t want. I think the shelters have been running full… there are also tent communities here and there… and some people sleep rough every night, weather be damned, in any sheltered spot they can find.

This solitary stick of a woman must feel a safe vibe on our block and I’d like that to be true as she’s either a phantom or a visiting angel. Twice I’ve spotted her shrouded unmoving outline from my window, put my shoes on, grabbed a few resources for her… and when I checked again she was gone. The stock photo above? Imagine no shoes, no cardboard, and everything too road-worn and dirty for words. Neither you nor I can see ourselves in this situation… but I’m guessing neither could our lone camper nor her mama.

Blessed be…

*

Image

Breathe…

She sat at the back and they said she was shy,

She led from the front and they hated her pride,

They asked her advice and then questioned her guidance,

They branded her loud, then were shocked by her silence,

When she shared no ambition they said it was sad,

So she told them her dreams and they said she was mad,

They told her they’d listen, then covered their ears,

And gave her a hug while they laughed at her fears,

And she listened to all of it thinking she should,

Be the girl they told her to be best as she could,

But one day she asked what was best for herself,

Instead of trying to please everyone else,

So she walked to the forest and stood with the trees,

She heard the wind whisper and dance with the leaves,

She spoke to the willow, the elm and the pine,

And she told them what she’d been told time after time,

She told them she felt she was never enough,

She was either too little or far far too much,

Too loud or too quiet, too fierce or too weak,

Too wise or too foolish, too bold or too meek,

Then she found a small clearing surrounded by firs,

And she stopped…and she heard what the trees said to her,

And she sat there for hours not wanting to leave,

For the forest said nothing, it just let her breathe.

Author: @Becky Helmsley

***

This breathtaking poem was shared on Facebook without accreditation, which google fixed for me, quickly finding Becky for the documentation she must have. The poem’s title is BREATHE. Reverse Image Search failed me utterly, however, so for now Tree Woman will remain anonymous.

***

The sweet discovery I made, three lines in, is that BREATHE is written in the same meter as Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman to Me.” So yes… you can sing it! And if ever a poem needed to be sung… LOUD… it’s this one.

Image

Hello, starshine…

It might sound odd, but I miss you when I stay away for too long and fail to write down every thought in my head as OCD, ADHD, and anxiety demand. Beyond an incredibly faithful core of readers, I have no idea who sees my words… but there are days when I can feel benevolent forces just behind the wall… this wall I’m scribbling on now, defacing it with my own brand of graffiti… and I’m glad you’re there. Makes me wish for words of wisdom to impart, something that would make your day a little shinier, your heart a bit lighter. Alas, it turns out I’m here mostly to bitch and moan and call for backup, so may the gods bless your heart for sticking around.

This morning was undoubtedly one of the most perfect of my lifetime, and that’s saying a lot. The temp and humidity were just right and the sky was pure sunshine, a Chamber of Commerce kind of day. I walked to Einstein’s to get a bagel and coffee, then to a picnic table in South Park where I enjoyed a quiet breakfast while I read my book via phone and watched Larryville wake up. Not a leaf was stirring in the massive trees that must have already been standing when Quantrill and the Boys came through during the Civil War, trying to burn everything to a cinder.

There’s no way I could reach across this, let alone around its circumference. There be giants.

A couple of people wrapped in blankets on the hard floor of the gazebo were gradually letting the sun’s rays wake them up, and I hope someone provided coffee after they came to life.

***

As we inch our way toward the season of the long shadows, I’m storing sunshine and benevolent days… we’ll need every bit of it.

Kim Smith self-portrait, August 2022

***

I’ll leave you with this… and if you know the translation, please share it!

Image

You become…

*

QUESTION: How do we know when a new practice has become a full-fledged habit? I say it’s when our access to said habit is rudely cut off and we find ourselves in a near-depressive state over it. Circumstances of various sorts, most of them entirely beyond my control, conspired to keep me off the streets this week for a 4-day stretch that by Day Three had me in a minor meltdown. Since December 22nd of last year my two best friends, after #1 Kimmers, have been #2 walking, and #3 icing. Just let me get out there and walk it off, keep the ice packs in rotation, and all’s well. I didn’t mean to give my aging body an 8-year hiatus, but I’m kind of proud of how it’s been willing to pick up the pace again, now that it can, and this is no time to back off. I’m finding that my once overactive conscience operates on a standby basis these days because I don’t give it much to do. Once that morning stroll around town is in the bag the day is mine to live out, which feels sweetly Zen. And the best part is that the time spent outside in this green green city feels like the most powerful health elixir I could find. It’s good… in the face of all the things… to be able to say “It’s all good.”

***

***

***

Remember that you are all you really have, which is entirely more than sufficient, so treat yourself with respect and don’t miss the good stuff along the way.

Image

Pre-fall melancholy, but it’s okay…

Yesterday, Kim and I said in unison “It feels like fall,” and this morning we’re still in that mode. It was in the low 60s when I walked this morning, no breeze, sunny… and I was glad for my long-sleeved shirt. There are already dry leaves to scuff through here and there… how quickly that happens! This afternoon I’ll walk downtown for a haircut and feel just virtuous as all get-out… two walks in one day, omigod, can she DO that? This is likely why energy is rationed after a certain age… we get all scrappy about it and tend to overuse the privilege.

Yesterday too, I learned of the death of someone I knew in another lifetime… a classmate through grade and high school, a truly nice guy. In the ensuing years, there have been few reasons or opportunities for contact, so nearly all the connections have faded except for this: he was the first boy ever to kiss me. Fifth grade. And now at 75 he’s gone, one of several from my graduating class of fourteen. (I don’t mean 1914, thx, I can read your mind!)

I can’t recall the last funeral I went to, no idea whose it was. During the years I looked after my dad, I carted him to service after service as his contemporaries left for parts unknown, until he and I had each absorbed an astounding surplus of words without remembering a single one. Kim and John know I don’t want a funeral… and I’m not sure I can even sit through another one in my lifetime. Say it NOW, everybody, ALL of us. NOW is what we have, ALL we have, as far as we know. Anything said or done after we assume room temperature is wasted. Relationships, however, are not a waste… all respect to the past and the people we’ve known. Each one plays a part.

In every segment of life, we need a tribe, but also to remain secure within ourselves when we feel cut adrift and tribe-less. It’s a process every time, with parts excised and others adopted and owned. After you follow the bread crumbs down the path enough times it starts to feel less scary and more challenging, by which I mean exciting. Interesting, at the very least.

***

Image

Watering flowers…

Welp, sorry friends, you signed on so you’re destined to be exposed to my Diary Thoughts on a regular basis, because if I don’t blog it, it didn’t happen.

This morning was a milestone of sorts… a cool 62º at 7am, blue sky, flowers in full bloom everywhere… IN MID-AUGUST! I’m compelled to record that I enjoyed every minute of my most ambitious solo stroll to date, south down New Hampshire all the way to South Park via a shortcut through the courthouse lawn, where I took a cool minute to appreciate a handy park bench and all the casual but carefully-planned flowerbeds, freshly watered by an army of vest-wearing city employees while I was still sleeping. Then a loop around the gazebo and north toward home on Mass Street, which was in the throes of waking up and opening its doors. Nobody screaming in front of The Replay this time, just kindred spirits enjoying a perfect morning… bagels, coffee, a newspaper or two. Cool air, not a leaf moving, everything green and blue as far as the eye could see… felt right to smile and say good morning along the way. Most people do, which is nice, but they’re cool about it. We’re still in Kansas, but not all-up-in-your-bidness Kansas. Natives will get the nuance.

To make a long story longer, what I’m full of appreciation for this morning is incremental positive gain and the fact that it’s a fact. When circumstance prevents progress for long enough the concept gets buried in the mud, so when altered circumstance enables nearly unlimited progress… it calls for a moment. It truly is step by step. Every day. Over and over. You’re getting there, do it again, some more. See how much better it feels today than yesterday? Think what your one-year anniversary will look like and keep going.

And now I’m bringing the house lights down for the people who can’t help hating me a little or a lot. If you’re somebody who lives with silent pain, who’s likely been disrespected for not jumping into your big-girl/guy panties and getting on with it, who’s had it absolutely up to here with people who don’t get it… please know that my empathy is genuine because I’ve been in your shoes… off and on for fifty years, steadily for the past eight before my spinal fusion. I know intimately how much it hurts to be told YOU CAN DO something you cannot do. There’s not a thing I’m telling you to do. If circumstance prevents you from being part of the life you’re living, you have my complete understanding. That’s all I know to say to you, because I’m as helpless as you are to alter anything. And that whatever is still within your power to do, do that, and don’t willingly give up your personhood because your life refuses to conform with what you see out there. You’re here, your life belongs to you and no one else, and if you’re living in your head make it a good place to be… insofar as you have that power. I’m saying don’t give up. I did and I can tell you from experience that it doesn’t help because you still have to BE here. And if things get better, you have to fight your way back.

***

Sometimes we give other people too big a vote in what our life will look like… because it takes time to figure it all out.

And REAL will tell you the truth.

***

Sometimes physical pain is so linked to psychic pain we can’t sort it for ourselves… and very few people are in a position to help us with that, especially our fellow walking-wounded. We look for answers from people who have none for themselves… we forget that we are all we have, requiring a kind of strength that takes a lifetime to build.

***

This. Because it’s exquisite and speaks volumes without words…

***

It’s Thursday, a good day for letting real love into our secret worlds… and allowing it to heal us.

Image

Almost the weekend…

8:30am

Big flash of lightning and now it’s pelting down rain, so I’m glad I got my walk in early. Now that they can actually go somewhere, my feet yearn for the sidewalks every morning and it’s getting to be a happy friendship. The annoying platitudes people have hit us with all our lives are turning out to be true. “One step at a time,” for example. Life in five little words. I can’t sit here for very long in the mornings before I have to put on my Tevas and get outta here, and by now I know old dogs can relearn old tricks, which is beyond gratifying.

***

1:00pm

Guess what, I have no rant for you today. It’s beautiful outside, although entirely on the hot side, Kim and I went for a drive in the country after PickleBall, I got an egg & cheese croissant, and we stopped at a roadside stand where he bought sweet corn that was picked this morning. We’ll have it tonight with grilled salmon, and garden cukes & tomatoes, and does it get any better than that… ?

***

So I’m just here to share STUFF, the bits and pieces I save all week with you in mind. I steal some of it from my friend Steve, and find the rest lying around loose. Enjoy…

***

***

***

***

***

***

And maybe related, maybe not…

Image

Breakthrough?

It’s been raining for days. It’s raining when we go to bed, still coming down when we get up. It’s wet, gray, fairly relentless, and requires a certain mindset, which is under construction as we speak, entailing reminders of green forest and spring flowers, justifying everything. And hark, what do I see in yon sky? Wonder of wonders, it be the SUN! Lo, life continues, boys and girls, despite every indication to the contrary. Not for all… but for us, the “lucky” survivors.

Even with sunlight now pouring through my windows, it’s hard to settle into thoughts of daily life as it used to be. The brokenness of our society is increasingly hard to ignore, to look away from, to deny, even more so this week with the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers. How do we deal with the heartache, knowing we can’t fix it but can only live in its midst and try not to turn into one of the bad guys? We don’t know, we’ve never been here before, and even my grandparents’ stories of the Civil War are not that instructive in these circumstances, although we are indeed engaged in a great barely-civil war of the spirit with our brothers and sisters.

Maybe our culture of “say the nice thing, do the nice thing” has rendered us incapable of truth in our relationships, even the closest. Does our desire to please, to be uber-accepted, keep us in circular mode… never quite getting it right but never giving up the effort? When do we hop off the Official Good Person treadmill and do a status check on who we are? You know, now, today, after everything that’s happened. I guess some of us stop treading when the world shuts down for a pandemic and we can suddenly hear ourselves think. We start slow-walking it when a million Americans die from the still-ongoing pandemic. We careen off the track when our babies are relentlessly slaughtered in their classrooms. We go into neutral when the whole world seems to be at war and rushing headlong into some kind of dystopia. And then the thoughts get really loud. Bossy and dictatorial. Words like “Stay awake!” figure bigly in the inner conversation. Simultaneously, it’s easier now to remember that I’m simply a creature on the planet, trying to survive without harming anyone else, doing my Girl Scout best, pretty much end of story. At this point, what seems doable to me as a human animal is very basic:

  • Want the good stuff for yourself and the world
  • Work toward conditions in which the good stuff will thrive
  • Don’t hoard any of it

Every human.

There’s no way to stop the decay without removing the two-headed monster of money and control. The monster has been alive and expanding since the first white man set foot on the soil of this continent, so it’s like… a big problem. Who’s gonna slay the dragon? Who ya’ gonna call? On the other hand, where ya’ gonna run? I’ll keep fighting with the only weapon I own, my words, in case they might have some effect somewhere that I’ll never know about. Since I always read what I write, the words are mainly for me… to keep me honest, to maintain sanity, to sort the world into digestible chunks, to keep the fulcrum balanced under the humor/angst see-saw.

Right now, with the sun lighting up the trees, I’m giving it all over to a strange sense of joy, inexplicable but undeniable. The feeling is completely welcome here, especially since it’s the foundation for all other emotions.

******

******

Kim just got home from PickleBall and said there’s a wall of black in the western sky, headed directly for us. That’s okay, can’t rain on my parade, I’ve already talked myself through it. You make it an excellent day, please, and if anything I say resonates with you, ever, come talk to me in comments. I know you’re out there. 💙

Image

Information saturation…

Someone please explain to me, like I’m in kindergarten, the process by which email procreates and multiplies when left to its own devices. I was sure my various folders had been whittled down to a single page of no more than 100 emails apiece mere weeks ago, but a sobering look this morning revealed thousands of messages lurking there in the dark. It’s war, kids, the kind I can proudly stand behind: DELETE EVERY IRRELEVANT EMAIL. Fortified with Kim’s coffee, I shall do so with glee. It concerns me that they’re able to gather silently and join forces this way, but once I see them they’re done for. What troubles me is all the “not seeing,” because that has staying power. Okay… off to wreak havoc and mayhem, thus atoning for my sins of neglect, and simultaneously exorcising a few demons. Frustration comes to mind… might be a good day to work on taming that one.

Our schizophrenic late-winter weather, the rollercoaster ride collectively known as COVID, war that threatens to turn global, daily rifts and tensions among humans everywhere… it all gives me pause 🐾 🐾 . But something feels different lately, beyond the astounding fact that I’m free of nerve pain for the first time in five decades. The atmosphere is starting to feel somehow changed… the tenor of conversation among thinking people has a distinct note of hopefulness under it… the knowledge is starting to penetrate that we might not have to stand still for fascism’s creep after all. And that’s a BFD.

******

Back from the Cyber Crusades, my Gmail is lighter by thousands of unopened messages, and what a rush THAT was. What with all the quiet and isolation since 2019, I really should approach such things with a measure of caution… what if the excitement had caused me to pass out? Bonus nap, you’re right!

After a few mild days in a row, we’re having a snow day, and I heard a rumor of waffles. If that happens imma whip out the Nutella and spread it right on that gorgeous Belgian baby and then settle in by the fire. The Big 12 Tournament is in progress, and the Jayhawks are on the floor at 2pm. Waffles, bacon, coffee, and a win would be perfection. And a bone-warming soak. Weather is an adventure aphrodisiac for your olds, isn’t it rich.

Speaking of old, which is where it goes if we’re lucky…

Image

Woke to the realities…

Ukraine 02/24/2022

Woke up to light snow this morning and the well-telegraphed news that Mother Russia is bombing her kith & kin in Ukraine, people are dying, and every word out of that little ferret’s mouth was a lie. And TFG is calling him “savvy.” At least Neville Chamberlain didn’t publicly suck up to Hitler.

Y’all GQP folks can force the world you want, but it comes at a price. And when you say you want 100% safe, clean, fair, you mean white… but your numbers are off.

Kentucky, the home state of Mitch McConnell, which he has “served” in office for almost 40 years. They keep electing him, I guess…

For the past decade, I’ve asked myself why any independent-spirited American would want what the party formerly known as Republican has to sell. Why trade your birthright for a pot of stew? If questioned directly, people will say, “No, I hate fascism, Nazis, bullying… I hate hating.” But when something of theirs comes under threat, they want an enforcer standing there ensuring they aren’t going to lose any of it.

The world is changing… it always is but the process used to take longer. The pace of change in the 21st century has broken the will of people who simply can’t keep up, which in truth is most of us in one way or another. Technology outstripped our basic knowledge decades ago, the planet is awash in deadly viruses, human relationships are on the line in ways we hadn’t contemplated until now. People don’t know what to do with all of it and we sure by god want somebody in charge when things feel crumbly.

In other words, humanity seems almost exclusively fear-driven in this century. The world we thought we understood has gone off and left us, and we’re having a hard time putting it all together in order to survive. Survival… that’s cold hard fear at its most genuine and it holds the power to send us back to the caves.

Enter a strong-man. I don’t think he’ll be the moral weakling behind the Oz-like curtain… that guy doesn’t have the staying power, and “law & order” has finally taken note of some of his shenanigans. But there’s somebody out there with the will, intelligence, and experience to pull off a “rescue of the free world.” The way has been paved, now it’s just a matter of waiting for Guffman and we’re off.

******

Image

Film at eleven…

We’re in the throes of a schizophrenic weather event, a thing the bread-basket is well known for. Yesterday’s high temp was 66º with sunshine. The wind, however, was a ravenous wolf that escorted winter back to our door as we slept last night, and at 6am the world outside is swiftly being layered like a wedding cake, even as the snow pushes southward. It’s currently 23º out there, which is almost our high for the day… a drop of 41º from yesterday’s temp. Real-feel is 8º so I’m sticking with blanket, fireplace, and hot chocolate for the duration… and we’ll pioneer our way through until tomorrow’s high of 40º and sunny.

I miss the colossal blizzards of my childhood, back in the olden days on the prairie. In retrospect, although school was canceled on a regular basis every year, there was one true big-deal weather event… in the winter/spring of 1957. The snow came down like wet laundry from March 23rd through the 25th while the wind made winter-festival sculptures of it and we cooked up adventures in our dark farmhouse. The electricity was out for about a week, but we had Coleman lanterns and kerosene lamps from my grandparents’ house across the drive, so it was all fine with us, by which I mean anyone not responsible for clothing, feeding, and sustaining us as viable humans. Our floor furnace ran on gas, but did it need a spark from the wires to fire it? At any rate, we stayed snug as bugs, my folks always kept the freezer full of food, and the kitchen stove was on gas. Yay us!

March 1957

That year I was nine years old, my little sisters about 4 and 5, and in the photo we’re sitting atop the evergreens in our grandparents’ shelter belt, which never really recovered. Our baby brother even got to check it all out for himself the day this photo was taken, feeling the cold, eating the snow. Our neighbors could walk out their upstairs bedroom windows onto the drifts that stacked up against the north side of their house. Good times…

It’s only grown darker since I got up at 5:45, and not much is shakin’ down there on the streets. A true snow day for savoring…

Next month is the 60th anniversary of one of Kansas’ biggest blizzards, MY blizzard, about which there’s information in the link if you’re interested, including a small paragraph about the blizzard of 1886, which was related to me by my grandma, born three years after the event. The People, with their verbal accounts of history, had it right… and I wish I’d listened to every word of hers like it was a lifeline.

https://www.weather.gov/ddc/1957Blizzard [Hit back-arrow to return to blog post.]

Image

Just let it go, Elsa…

So much swirling around in my head, so little to write home about. The sun comes up, shines through the winter clouds or not, the sun goes down, sleep does that thing it does and delivers us to another sunrise… and life continues to happen. More every day I understand how we’re but another species on the planet, albeit the one holding most of the chips. We’re smart, too much so for our own good in key ways… “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” if you know your proverbs. We want to believe we can handle anything and everything, but when reality bites we’re just another species at the mercy of our environment and earth’s other creatures, who don’t care about us one way or another.

For me that’s a freeing realization… I haven’t sussed out the what, where, and why of my existence, but I know I’m a sentient being with limited power in my sphere. Rather than fill me with dread and fear, that knowledge sets me free to live as me, end of story. I didn’t ask to come here, as far as I know, but I’ve willingly paid my dues on my way through, done what I can most of the time to make things better instead of worse, tried to keep it real. What more is required… what am I neglecting? It’s a large planet inhabited by billions of people, of which I am one. A blip. A speck of DNA in the universe. And yet, somehow, I matter to a handful of humans who are my life; therefore, I belong here, being me… and I don’t have to understand that in order to proceed.

If we could strip away ego, ambition, greed, and all the meanness in the world, leaving each of us standing in our own skin, on our own merits… and if we could each unselfishly look out for the guy next to us… being human would eventually become an accolade. “Yeah, that’s the species that cares, the one that nurtures its weaker members and pulls for the good of all. It’s cool to be human.”

***

Mr. Waits is my spirit animal.

With every passing day post-op I feel more human in good ways and more equipped to meet life on its terms, which… well, we have no other options, so… Projects that have languished for months (years) under my piteous gaze are falling like dominoes now that I can start and finish most of them in a day or less and without penalty in terms of pain. So… plot change… reset… I’m possibly not irretrievably ancient after all… and the freedom to pursue a goal and achieve it is beyond value.

*****

The world needs us to keep dancing…

Image

Previous Older Entries

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Playing for Time

"How did it get so late so soon?" ~Dr. Seuss

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Funny Blogs With A Hint Of Personal Development

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

The parts of my life I allow you to see

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 6,000 archived posts.

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Gretchen L. Kelly

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: