Reflections

I’m Already Gone…

There is a mockingbird calling outside my window today… (not really)… To be honest, I have no idea what a mockingbird sounds like, or if they even live in my part of the world. I suppose there could be one, but I wouldn’t know it if there was. I just like the name, and felt the connection, and the intrigue drew me on…

There is an icy wind slicing through the warmth of the strong spring sun… (true enough)…

There is a sense of expectation welling up inside me, spilling over, spreading out… tainting everything it touches today.

There is an image haunting me – a single line that branches into many separate ones – repeating over and over again. It’s in the bare tree branches only just beginning to bud, and in the broken ones so callously discarded by the wind. It’s there in the pavement cracks created by the spring thaw and freeze phenomenon. It’s there upon my very skin, where age and dryness intersect. And in the movement of the clouds so far above my head.

There is a phrase that’s taunting me, as my mind touches lightly upon discomfort of any kind… it plays itself, distracting me from every other thought… Don’t like what that person has said or done? Doesn’t matter anymore; move on. Got too much to do today? Doesn’t matter anymore; just get to it. Not feeling up to meeting your obligations today? Doesn’t matter; you do what you can. Feeling sorry for yourself today? Ha ha, hee hee, you’re too funny… damn!

And then the simple, all pervasive, perspective shifting thought…

I’m… already… gone!

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#BlogBattles, Stories..., Uncategorized

Ashes to Ashes…

“Ashes to ashes, dusk to dusk…,” began the pastor at the graveside service.

“Umm… excuse me,” interrupted one of the mourners (the only one there, in fact). “Don’t you mean ‘dust to dust’?”

The pastor looked confused for a moment, before understanding smoothed out the lines of his expression. He smiled warmly at his only living guest.

No, no, no…,” he chuckled quietly. “Why would I wish that fate on anyone?”

“Because that’s the way the service goes…?,” answered the mourner, a touch of snarky in the implied question.

The pastor waved off the comment, his usually placid expression fully restored. “A simple misunderstanding is all. Easy to see why it might happen, though, isn’t it? They sound so similar!…”. He paused for a moment, thinking.

Have you ever played that game where you try passing a word around a circle of people to see how it transforms? I think it’s called Telephone, or something similar. This is kind of like that; someone heard ‘dust to dust’ instead of ‘dusk to dusk,’ and others kind of ran with it.” He smiled again. “A silly game, a silly mistake, but enlightening in the end.”

The lone mourner looked confused now… “Are you serious, pastor?!… No! You can’t be.” His tone sharpened as his sensibilities rebelled against the offense. “A person is dead here! This is no time for jokes or games! How dare you dishonor my great aunt this way!”

Dishonor your aunt?!… Oh my, never!,” he reacted automatically, the mere thought of such completely disorienting the usually serene pastor. “I adored Agnes! She was a wonderful woman, who lived an extraordinary life, right here in this little town! Did you know she never left this place?…” He paused, but no answer came on the warm spring breeze…

I thought not,” added the pastor, smugly. “Well, Agnes, dear soul that she is, believed that this little town was enough. Always. When others grew up and moved away, she stayed. When the man she loved moved to the big city to make a name for himself, she stayed behind, promising to be here if he ever came back… Of course, he never did…” An almost sad sigh slid past the pastor’s lips…

And yet, in spite of all that, I never once heard her complain. She was content here, keeping her parents’ farm going after all the others left. It was a struggle, of course, especially after her parents were gone, but she carried on. That was her way. And if she lost most of the farm over the years, who could blame her? She was alone, and aging, and really… what more could she do?”

The pastor stopped talking. He looked at the young man standing at the grave site. He looked a long time, a thoughtful expression upon his face…

“What?!,” snapped the young mourner. “Why are you staring at me?!”

The pastor sighed deeply. “I was just looking for a trace of your Aunt Agnes in you, but…” He shook his head mournfully. “I’m afraid I just don’t see it. I’m sure she would, of course,” he hastily assured the young man, “but her gift of seeing the truth of others was always stronger than mine. I learned a lot from her over the many years we were friends, but never enough, I guess.”

“But then, isn’t that the point here?…” He waited patiently for a response that would never come. Sighing deeply, he continued…

It’s all about transitions, young man. Birth is a transition, a dawning of a new form. As is death. And it is in those twilight times, when shadow and light begin to balance out, that we see the truth of things. Outlines become stark in the growing and fading light, revealing the boundaries between…”

“Your aunt welcomed this transition, whatever changes it might bring. She was ready to move on into a new form of being. I will miss her, and our time together very much…” A single tear slipped down the pastor’s cheek…

Did you ever get to meet her?,” the pastor asked the mourner.

“Um… well… no, not exactly,” the young man began.

The pastor held up his hand to abruptly end the awkward explanation about to spill from the young man’s lips.

Never mind,” the pastor reassured him. “I understand. You’re here to liquidate what’s left of the farm, and you came to pay your respects. Enough said.” He turned back to the grave and lifted his arms, palms up, as if beginning to pray. The young man bowed his head.

The pastor, realizing this, turned to address the man once more. “It’s ok, son. You’ve done what you came to do; you don’t need to stay any longer. Agnes is still smiling, even if you can’t see her beyond the veil…”

“But if you’re looking for a quick sale, I’m sure the Jones’ will be happy to take the old homestead. That’s pretty much all Agnes had left, and Ned Jones, her neighbor, had bought most of the rest of the farm already. Probably pay a good price for it, too, if you push him. Some developer wants to come in here and build a resort for rich people – you know the type: big houses, a gated community, expensive coffee places, the works…”

The young man hesitated only a moment before nodding curtly and turning away. “Thanks for the tip, pastor. Please carry on…”

Resuming his prayerful stance, the pastor began his service again… “Ahhh, Agnes, you were right, as usual. Everything changes in Time…”

“Ashes to ashes, dusk to dusk…”

(933 words)

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Reflections

The Co-Dependency Crackdown. (i.e. Taking My Own Inventory)

Life is a challenge. A series of lessons. A chance to improve. A path to evolution. All of these things. And then some…

Right?

Maybe. Or maybe not. That is what I am discovering, anyway.

I mean, I have spent so much of my life in “school,” learning the hard way. Gaining wisdom, some might say. But all of that implies progress; slow, steady (sometimes regressive) steps forward. All of that implies time.

And if I look at the sum total of my nearly 55 years here (this time), and add to it the memories I have of other times and places, the “facts” (or experiences) would support that hypothesis.

Time heals all wounds. To everything there is a season. Slow and steady wins the race. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. Keep on keeping on… Time wins every time!

But Time is a construct. A deception. A barrier. And a lie. At least for me…

The truth is, every major breakthrough I’ve had (in this life or any other) came as an epiphany. There might have been wallowing that preceded said epiphany. There might have been intention. There may even have been hints and clues strewn about the landscape of my current timespace. But the moment of change was always dramatic, instantaneous and complete.

I spent months pondering the pros and cons of sobriety before I actually embraced it, still using occasionally and making excuses. And then one day someone said the “wrong” thing to me, embarrassed me, and made me mad as hell. A week later, as my anger subsided, I stopped drinking. And I’ve never even been truly tempted to look back. Does that mean I’m not an alcoholic, after all? Doesn’t matter, because I’m not interested in drinking anymore…

I spent years in and out of therapy, on various medications, trying to “fix” what was broken in me. Then one day it occurred to me that broken or not, I enjoyed my kind of crazy. I’ve never needed meds since…

I have spent a lifetime feeling like I need to “earn” my place in the world, developing integrity, seeking reciprocity, taking responsibility for whatever crosses my path. And yet…

It finally occurs to me that I have a right to exist, simply because I do!

Not earth shaking news for many of you, I’m sure, but it was a life-changing revelation for me.

And I don’t need to save the world, after all. Because each of you is capable of making your own decisions, whether I approve of them or not. Each of you has the same right to exist as me…

And as this “truth” sinks in, “gravity” falls away. My back straightens as my load is lightened. My wings unfurl once more, and I am delighted to discover I can fly once again.

And my spirit soars…

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Reflections

Happy New Year…? Really?!

Am I the only one who feels reluctance to voice those words this year? Am I the only one who believes that uttering such sentiments is tantamount to inviting people to indulge in fantasy while abandoning reality?

I mean, it’s not that I don’t want good things to happen to people, because I certainly do. It’s more that I sense that such “good things” as health, prosperity and peace are unattainable at this time. And while it’s true that I said the obligatory greetings at midnight between December 31st and January 1st, even I could not miss the sarcasm or irony in my tone as I did so.

I have avoided posting (or responding to) Facebook greetings about the new year for the most part. And when I felt it was necessary, I have acknowledged them with “likes” rather than reciprocity; anything more would feel too insincere. It just doesn’t seem like a happy new year…

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my innate honesty coming out. I’m not depressed, nor do I wish to trigger others’ anxieties, but all of my instincts rail against the false hope implied in that traditional greeting.

***. ***. ***

I avoid the news. I’ve cut myself off from anyone’s supposedly factual presentation of “what’s happening now.” I did so because… well, I guess if I have to explain why, then you likely would disagree with my reasoning, so never mind. The point is, when I feel compelled to investigate “what’s happening out there (as opposed to in here),” I tend to read opinion pieces instead. At least they’re honest about being opinions (mostly), and if I read enough opposing opinions, I can sometimes get a sense of what “facts” might have triggered them, somewhere in between their interpretations of events.

So today I got up early enough to read several such opposing opinions, and thought now might be a good time to catch up on the world my body is inhabiting.

I think that might have been a mistake…

Because I’m truly not sure what reality I tagged into. And I’m not convinced anyone else I read knows either, though they don’t seem at all concerned with their skewed points of view. I just couldn’t make sense of anything I read!

There were the Earth-friendly writers (usually liberal leaning, if not outright left wing extremists) touting Trump as the destroyer of the Cabal…?! Umm… is this the same Trump who’s been on a direct “destroy the environment to eke out a few more pennies of profit” kick for decades?

Or the self-declared leftist revolutionaries questioning why openly right wing conservatives are mysteriously dying, supporting the alt-right’s declaration of conspiracies against them…?! Umm… really?!

There are the Evangelicals finally admitting that their Bible prophesies a non-believer who would become king, restoring their patriarchal, authoritarian rule of law…?! “Of course Trump is a non-believer, but we wouldn’t want him any other way! Only a non-believer could support our [ridiculous, restrictive, murderous] agenda!”

There are high-ranking (former) military and government officials openly, and publicly, calling on our military to stage a coup, while our rank and file members turn out in droves (against military rules) in Trump supporting paraphernalia, appearing to be his greatest fans…! All while not getting paid?! Really?!

And then there’s the truly delusional ones. You know the hype. “We’ve finally turned the corner! So many people have evolved enough that true peace is right around the corner!” Really? Where?

Meanwhile, in my city, there were three murders already, before New Year’s Day was officially over – a shooting, a stabbing, and a home invasion resulting in a fatality (home dweller, not thief, of course). And these are all “poor on poor” crimes, regardless of color, religion, immigration status, or sexual orientation…

I don’t know… Maybe I am depressed after all. But “happy new year”?

Hardly…

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Poetry, Reflections

These are the reasons…

When I stop to question why I bother to survive

in a world hell-bent on destruction and dying

I realize…

I don’t have to travel far

to see the smiles or feel the scars

to ride the highs of excitement and joy

or wallow in the depths of disappointment and sorrow.

For all around me are excuses to be

whatever we want or expect to become:

the rich, the poor, the sickly and well

the humble, the prideful, the angry and lustful.

And whether or not I agree with their choices

I acknowledge their right to choose.

Soo…

Looking into the “eyes” that surround me

wherever the place, whatever the time

I accept

These are the reasons for all of the seasons

Life to be lived without rhyme or reason.

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Reflections

MIA (aka “Out of the Loop”)…

How long does something need to be missing from your life before you notice it’s gone? How long does it take you to identify that missing element? Can you even identify it?

Just curious, I guess. Lately I’ve been experiencing that a lot.

I walked into my craft room the other day, and noticed a gaping hole on a display shelf. I stopped to wonder what might have been there…? I mean, clearly something else must have sat there, else why would the one other item on the shelf be sitting off to one side? Or am I missing something obvious here…?

I have a shelf of broken and forgotten toys at work, gathered over my 13+ years there, and including some that predate even me. I noticed a similar “hole” on that shelf recently. But I absolutely cannot imagine what used to sit there!

My daughter was in serious crisis the weekend before Thanksgiving. It dragged into days… then weeks. She is attempting to reconstruct her life around new principles and priorities now. Yesterday, someone thought to ask me how she was doing with that. My response?

“I have no idea…”

“How can you have no idea?!,” she asked with incredulity.

Hmm… good question, so I pondered for a moment.

“I guess I’m just out of the loop these days,” I answered finally. “She doesn’t report to me, and we only talk when I see her once a week. But then the kids are there…”

A co-worker asked me about something work related yesterday (damned if I remember what – lol!), and my response was “I have no idea.” When she went on to question me about it, I learned something else I didn’t know! She just stared at me like I’d lost my mind, and I merely laughed, pointing out the obvious fact that I was clearly “out of the loop.”

And frankly, I don’t seem to mind…

Working the floor, dealing with customers a lot this time of year. And over the last week or so I’ve been pressed for things we haven’t carried in years. All things I remember having… once. But no more. “Sorry” is all I can offer. Why the sudden fascination with things long gone, things I wouldn’t even know we’re missing unless someone asked?

And so it goes, day in and day out. A monotony of dim colors with an occasional splash of brilliant sparkle, rapidly lost to memory. I not only feel detached from reality, but actually distanced from it, as though none of it is real anymore. My thoughts aren’t even present anymore, spinning as they are around long forgotten memories suddenly resurfacing in my conscious mind. Memories that seem to lack both purpose and significance. Memories that make me wonder why I’m even bothering…?

And all I can “hear” when I question all this is “I’m out of the loop…”

Missing in action…

And I didn’t even know…

So… how long has it been? How long did it take me to realize this?!

Ahhh, time. The loopiest of life’s loops!

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Reflections

Truisms…

Love heals all wounds…

Not really, though I might be willing to concede that caring causes most…

Denial – not just a river in Egypt…

Funny. Ha ha! But not. At least not when it really matters…

Truth speaks for itself…

Perhaps the biggest lie of All, because it means nothing, if no one can actually hear it.

***. ***. ***

And in the end, what does it really matter? We will do what we will do, regardless of love, awareness or truth. We will believe what we want to believe, regardless of what wisdom, experience or knowledge we possess. We will trust ourselves before all others, even when we know that we are wrong…

Why?

I have no real idea other than the fact that truisms stand by themselves. Static little moments in a dynamic, ever-changing reality. Anchors in a stormy sea of unrelenting tides and passions…

Hope springs eternal…

Though only in a world where time is irrelevant.

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