Running. And, slow sailing to a quiet dance.

drum-drumline
It’s a coincidence. (Again?)
It’s synchronicity. (Do you believe that?)
You made it up, you’re delusional. (Not yet, don’t think so, not just yet.)
It’s a sign, a message. It’s G – – . (Oh, boy.)

5:45 am. I round the corner to Cove Island – low tide.  The sulfur released from the exposed mud fills the lungs – gas, pungent smelling salts.

I inhale.

Geese float silently in the shadows.

I run.

I’m around the loop and back, 1/4 mile from the entrance.  GPS flashes 4.1 miles in. I don’t glance at the time, that’s been a year now, I’ve conceded. “Matured.”  Over 25 years of daily tracking of body weight and notating work-outs, first in a log book, then Excel spreadsheets and now Google Sheets.  And also, now, on a parallel path on a digital step tracker which automatically feeds volumes of data into machines and is charted and graphed and spliced into pieces – all of which I never look at.  The logging, the tracking, the effort, I mean Really! WHO CARES?

Yet, the tension pulls at both ends, a medieval body rack tearing the limbs from the torso. Wired to Do, whipped by a Mind that makes you Do and strapped to a Body that can no longer Do. And, the Head swims in rip currents.

[Read more…]

I’m not screwing around. It’s time.

patty-maher

I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever.

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.”

~ Brené Brown, Living In the Questions


Sources: Quote – Your Eyes Blaze Out. Photo: Patty Maher – There is Always Hope (2015)

Riding Metro North. In the Groove.

Portrait of artist Goran Kosanovic holding his painting on foil by Dragan Todorović

5:57 am train.
Metro North south to Grand Central.
New day. Another Monday.
A slow pan over the prior week, and weekend.
Work. Read. Eat. Toilet. Sleep. (Some). Do over.
And, now, same track, same rails, same destination.
And I sit basking in It.

It’s a Mid Term self evaluation.
The Grade: Content.
Work. Read. Eat. Toilet. Sleep (Some). Do Over.
And content with that.
I shift in my seat, close my eyes and contemplate that.

And then,
Here it comes: [Read more…]

She’s Gone (Again)

rachel-apartment-sullivan-street-2

Four days later, and the tops of both thighs still burn, sensitive to the touch. No, nothing to do with running, which is another sad story, left for another day.

I load my canons, yes one “n”, and fire.

  • The Tort: “You entered into a verbal contract. You said you would stay.”
  • The Economic: “Manhattan is nose bleed expensive. You’ll drain whatever savings you have.”
  • The Nostalgic: “I’m turning your room in an extension of my Den, and calling it my West Wing.”
  • The Desperate: “You know in Italy, kids live with their parents until well into their 30’s.”
  • The Fear Mongering: “I’m cutting you off Netflix, Amazon Prime and yes, AT&T Mobile Service.”

Nothing works. And we’re off.

The family caravan departs in the Resettlement. Eric (Son) drives the U-haul with two friends. Mom, Dad and Rachel are up ahead in a separate car.  Waze estimates 44 miles – a whopping 1 hour 42 minutes to lower Manhattan.

The rain falls gently, setting the appropriate back drop.

It’s a five-floor walk-up. I now know what a 5-floor walk-up means. No elevators and narrow stairwells. Walk-up means walk-up. With furniture, furnishings and oversize and overweight boxes, all up five floors – on foot. With adequate resistance provided by non-ventilated, A/C-free hallways. The musty carpet fibers are pulled deep into the lungs with each trip up and down the stairs. [Read more…]

Privileged? Check

Lou-Weiss

Lou Weiss, is a carpet salesman in Pittsburgh. These are excerpts from Privileged? Check Let me count the ways—without embarrassment:

Somewhere along the way, privilege went from something to be grateful for to something to be embarrassed about. As I approach 60, I have been doing the stocktaking prompted by such round-number birthdays and have decided to “give back,” as the saying goes, by performing a public service. I hereby declare myself the World’s Most Privileged Person…

What makes me so privileged? Let’s get the easy ones out of the way, those that are accidents of birth: male, white, straight. I have continued to self-identify as such…

Next come those privileges that reflect the hard work of others: Middle-class-moving-to-upper-middle-class upbringing by two wonderful parents who are still vital. I live in a country where my God-given freedom was articulated by the Founders and is maintained by the selflessness of U.S. soldiers…

Now come my own choices that make me so privileged. I have always been a pretty hard worker, have few vices and am fairly frugal. This allowed me to pay for the schooling of four daughters and make substantial charitable contributions. I don’t know what a single malt scotch is, let alone ever tasted one. Much of my wardrobe is from Costco. And to this day I can’t bring myself to purchase blueberries out of season. [Read more…]

When that happens, you do lose some of the white-hot intensity of your younger years

KwangHo-Shin-art-painting

Ryan Avent has a lovely essay about the reasons modern professionals tend to put in such long hours. As he says, it’s not just drudgery: for many people work is satisfying, a source of a lot more than just money. It can, of course, also be a form of avoidance, a way to avoid the messiness of real life. But anyway, for those lucky enough to have the right kind of work, it’s much more than a paycheck.

I just thought I’d add a note from further down the pike, as someone who’s a quarter-century older than Avent: the nature of the reward from work does change as you get older, although it doesn’t necessarily go away. The phrase that runs through my mind is “the end of ambition.” At a certain point you realize that it’s not about winning another prize, literally or figuratively, getting a promotion, whatever. (And yes, it’s easier to reach that state of mind if you have been lucky enough to get all the prizes you wanted.) Instead, it becomes about the craft, the service, just doing well what you hope you do well. When that happens, you do lose some of the white-hot intensity of your younger years, and (in my case, at least) start trying to make up at least a bit for other things you didn’t do. (Music!) But there’s still plenty of work to do, and plenty of reasons to do it, with — maybe — some new-found serenity.

~ Paul Krugman speaks Truth in: Work, Life, and Everything


Notes:

Siblings.

safe,parent,

She’s 23.  Her Brother, 22.

He orders a Tom Collins, and gets carded.  She, a Zinfindel. Dad, a tall ice water. “Sparkling, or Flat for you Sir?”  “Tap, Miami’s finest please.” After dinner cocktails in a hotel bar, with of-age children. Embrace the memories, block the melancholia. I fail, it seeps in and then overwhelms me, water around stone.

It’s a quiet Friday night. The Sushi Chef leans on the glass case and flirts with the cocktail waitress. She’s wearing a smart black skirt and jacket.  On the other side of the bar, middle aged lovers huddle, whispering.

A one-man band blows on an electronic wind instrument, alternating with a brass trumpet with a black trumpet cap.  His supporting cast, multi-colored bars flashing on a laptop and pumped out of tall, thin, floor standing speakers.  He sways to and fro, lips pursed on reed. The Chill music hangs, a sweet fine mist over the valley.  One could drop this, all of this, in Ramblas in Barcelona, in Gastown in Vancouver or the Dièse Onze in Montreal.  Vibe, Same.

The eyelids are heavy, barbells. The body, from its all day soak in the sun, the wind, and the ocean salt, aches for rest.

I watch them leave together, bar hopping. She leans into him with her shoulder, they laugh. How many times in their lifetimes? Hundreds of times where Mom, and Dad, the Heavy, broke up skirmishes, and worse. Salter’s Light Years: “Passing of life together, a compact that will never end…lives formed together, woven together.”  And Parents stitching, braiding, weaving it all in the hope of This. Look, This, a tapestry. Full body warmth rushes in.

I ride the elevator up.  Melancholy, a Tsunami now. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With Little Lights.

martin-stranka-birds-road-silence

6:14 am. 28° F. Friday morning.

You push the start button, the engine fires.  The heater begins to blow.  The wipers clear the morning dew. The transmission slides into reverse.  Sirius beams down from the satellite circling, silently, way above.  You turn the dial and it’s Seals & Crofts. “Summer Breeze” fills the cabin and you mouth “makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind.”  It fills you like Guskin’s current of heat running through your body, as if you’ve swum into a warm patch in a cold lake.  Your eyes scan the traffic in the right lanes, orderly, flowing. They shift to the horizon, the sunrise burns amber into the light cloud cover.

And there it comes. Heart-side. A morning rush of sorts.  The cables affixed to the poles – a mild current jumps and sparks, stops and starts up again. This continues for two to three minutes, a morning call in recent weeks.  This intermittent squeeze, a crack in the earth, the bedrock shivers. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 N. With Too Much Candy.

highway-stream-lights-driving

Thursday night ride home, up I-95 N on dry roads and heavy traffic.
My right hand rests on the dial.

So, DK, what’s it gonna be?
Radio, with its 50+ stations?
Sirius, with its 100 channels?
iPhone playlists, with 5437 tunes?
Or, Pandora streaming, with its infinite candy?

So much candy, yet never satisfied, yearning for the familiar grooves.

McEwen answers in World Enough & Time“Intake, for example: how much is enough?”

And Simon Reynolds follows: “Complaining that there’s too much good art and entertainment being made at the moment seems churlish — how could that be a problem? Yet it’s undeniable that there is something curiously oppressive about the current bounty, something paralyzing about our ease of access to it. keeping up with what’s good gets to seem like a chore. If anything, the overload in music feels even more unmanageable.”

And in flows nostalgia. An ache… [Read more…]

Holy Crap, how DID I get so lucky?

Sad man worrying about hair loss problem

32 years of marriage.

We can rely on the integrity of my portioning of responsibility for the tenor of the marriage or you can call on the Children, those coming from her womb…still tethered…but, come on, you can’t really count on them to be objective, right?

Or, you can come to your own conclusion.

Listen up.

There are ground rules, rails, that permit the Holy Union to remain One for more than 30 years.  There are simple rules that follow a grueling day: 1) no requests to share the day’s highlights and 2) the maintenance of a strict quiet zone for 10-15 minutes. That’s it.

So, when simple rules are broken, the Union is tested.

It’s 6:45 pm. It’s the tail end of a long day.  I’m sitting alone at the kitchen table. The fork hovers over meatloaf, mashed potatoes and a generous river of brown gravy. Susan sits in the family room (respecting the quiet zone).  The Nightly News offers background noise with gaps filled with commercials for Viagra, Depends and Bradshaw pitching remedies for Shingles.  The irritation level ratchets up from high to Red Zone. Network idiots feeding me this crap during the dinner hour. Are there no boundaries? [Read more…]

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