April 2, 2017 § 4 Comments
Die, and it provokes the question, what door did you leave unlocked? How did you invite death in?
Perhaps the dead look forward only, but if they glance back, that unlocked door is probably easy to see.
Too much sugar, cigarette smoke, a failure to look both ways, a blithely ignored message written into the genes, a job too stressful.
If only…. I sure wouldn’t do that again.
But dead is rather final.
March 5, 2017 § 4 Comments
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
“Ordinary time” is a liturgical term for the seasons between the church’s designated periods of penitence or rejoicing.
Ordinary time: when the faithful practice their faith with no added fervor, self-scrutiny, or elevated purpose.
In borrowing the term I take it out of its religious context and apply it to life—and by that I mean, not Life, but life in the lower case. Lower case life is where we spend most of our time.
Extraordinary time, that is Life, is when we make those bursts of flight that give loft to every life: falling in love, having a child, earning a degree, receiving an award, bowling 300.
Those are cairns that sit solemn in the grass while the world goes about its ordinary business.
Ordinary time passes without fanfare. It minds its own business.
February 12, 2017 § 6 Comments
My alone-self is relaxed, and as comfortable as a pair of well-worn jeans, entertained by quiet thinking, making a little music, leaving a trail of words across a page.
Who am I in company? That depends on the company.
It’s not that I am a mirror, vacant until you step up, but I respond to you.
Together, we create a dance that is not the freewheeling dance of all-alone. We cue each other. We synchronize.
Depending on you, the shift from the inner me to the public me can be slight or profound, but it always happens.
You do it too. You change for me as we turn toward each other.
No one is unyielding, unresponsive. No one is, under all circumstances, a single, monolithic self. That would be as impractical as wearing one outfit for all occasions.
Now, think of the people you are closest to: parents, children, spouse, best friend, colleague. But don’t think of them with you. Think of you with them.
Who do you become in their company?
Unlike a brief encounter with a stranger, that one-off in which we hold a door or honk because that idiot hasn’t noticed the green light, our encounters with those we know well come with a history, an unspoken set of rules. Over the years a shared vocabulary has been established.
January 29, 2017 § 9 Comments
You and I go way back.
Way, way back.
I know you through a trail of moments that shine like a comet’s tail all the way to the horizon.
Vanished moments, vanished days? None are really gone. They’re all right here in my catalog of you.
Versions you have outgrown or discarded? Got ’em, right here. Preserved as if in amber. The you of right-now is the hardest for me to see because I view you through the lens of all the yous I have known over the years.
I carry with me at all times, the scrapbook of you–I can open to any page.
Old? You’re not old. I’ve known you young and that’s who you are. What wrinkles?
If you are my best and oldest friend I still see you with chapped knees, waiting with me at the school bus stop up north. Remember up north? We’re still from there although it’s been years.
We don’t see each other all that often. Family and work obligations. You know… We are arrested at some point in the past, back when we had time, back when we were close.
That’s who you are to me, and who I am to you, still a couple of kids at the bus stop, or college roommates, or student teachers at the same elementary school. We could pick up that thread easy, if and when we get together.