Monday, November 28, 2011

Listening for the Rain



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Nine o’clock seems the time to retrieve consciences. The repetitive syndrome seems to reappear. Awakening to liquid and a lighted word, wrapped in old clothing. Taking a look around the foliage and detecting the delicate changes while preparing for another long voyage. Strange sense awakens the thought that this could be the last time of viewing the familiar. Crumbling over the long gravel road to the city. Stop to review the cloud patterns and the change in seasons. Deep breathe and begin Yesterdays news is resting in plastic wrap awaiting someone to unfold and review what is already known. And the hill waits. Sunday pattern turns a different direction. More traffic than normal, but patience is a virtue. Indian summer brings dripping water but a smile at the refresh station. A turn and down the opulent neighborhood to two lads walking in the sunshine. Another turn to another slow downhill past the volumes of knowledge with an unused card. The dogs don’t bark here. And the hill waits. Traveling onward into the darkness of the last shade enjoying the waterfall of leaves. The street is paved now but the way is still bumpy. Fresh smells of coffee with the clink of dishes and conversations at a pause for light. The children play in the sunshine. Another rider passes in more of a hurry or to meet a tattooed deadline. And the hill waits. Perhaps taking a different route as last week, but return to the lane of streetlights. No one is walking? The shirt and sweatshirt is wet now. This is supposed to be fall. Wait for traffic when the street narrows. And the hill waits. A final water break is taken before the assent that stands before. Not a remarkably tall or even evil climb, but a constant incline bears witness to last weeks overwhelming attempt to catch air. Today was a continuous push without shifting gears or stopping. Success! Glide back into the quiet and remove the traveling equipment.
Another morning travel to refresh the mind and body.
Tonight, with the streetlight flashing off and on and the neighbor coming home to let her dogs pee and the other neighbor putting up candle lights and the runner going down the street while the jet flies overhead, the carpet of leaves catch the first sound of the rain that was felt earlier. Rocking and resting and listening for the rain.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three is the Perfect Pair



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What? A pair is two. Maybe this is supposed to be pear? Or maybe pare?

Think about this.

Get your head out of the gutter. This is not about an Ménage à trois.


But we have all done it.


You meet a person. Boy or girl. You become friends. You hang around together and become a pair.


Then one of you meets another person.


Perhaps introduce that person to the first person.


So why is this the perfect pair?


With two people, there are mutual agreements and easily shared conversations, but a third person brings tension.


A pair can become romantically involved or become couples with another pair, but not with a trio.

The third person is the odd person out raising conflict to any situation.


Three is the Perfect Pair.

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Couples



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You probably don’t realize it, but couples have an interesting interaction and conversational quality about them.

Just being a couple means you know each other better than anyone else. You know secrets and share experiences that only the two of you will ever be able to relate to.

Couples have pet names for one another created on some quirky reference only intended for special meaning.

Some couples are so close they their names become intertwined, like Fred and Ginger, Bonnie and Clyde or even Tom and Jerry.

People lose their individuality to become a couple. In the setting of being a couple some seemingly deep-set values and beliefs are altered to compensate the other.

Couples may laugh together or finish each others sentences with familiarity, but certain subjects or topics of conversation that were openly discussed before are foreboded.

Couples who have been together for a long time even mimic each others patterns.

Having not had a “couple” relationship early in life, like having a girlfriend or going steady, my first experience was getting married.

Marriage puts a contract announcing that the two people of legally a couple, but a couple of what’s?

Since there are no classes on marriage the only reference is your own family. What made mom and dad a couple?

Well it’s too late for that. No one said how things might change.

So to all the couples out there, please continue. I’m enjoying the discovery of watching and listening and learning.

Spend Your Life Avoiding Boredom




Have you ever sat alone with no distractions?

No meetings to go to.

No family requirements.

No appointments or deadlines

Just alone, by yourself.

Left to your own devices.

Some call this boredom, actually many call this time as being bored.

Nothing to do?

So we have to go somewhere or do something to keep ourselves entertained and amused until exhaustion forces us to rest.

Certain activities take up some of the time, like eating and working and producing waste, yet much of our time is spent avoiding boredom.

Making a Living with my Hands



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Each of us has the possibility of learning and practicing some talent or skill for dutiful monetary rewards. While some have the opportunity for higher education, an occupation can be accomplished with just our hands.

I had one of the occupations.

With a title of artist, I had the joy of working with my hands, using the tools of the trade to form visuals of thoughts and turn dreams into reality. There were some more skilled in techniques but the field of expertise continued changing and evolving.

Ideas and brainstorming sessions with others motivated actions but it was the hands that did all the work. Drawing a line, adding color, evaluating space and texture was all manipulated by hands. The feel of the scratchy pen on paper, the finger rubbing the hash line into shade, then stepping back to view the concept and extending the next move down to the hands.

Rather than shuffling papers or numbers or even people around, there is a great sense of accomplishment creating something with your hands.

My first attempt at making a living with my hands was not as lucrative or perhaps I lacked the talent or drive so playing the guitar became my hobby and enjoyment.

So I guess if anyone asked me what I did for a living, I should respond, “I had a hand-job.”

Who Owns The Moon?



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Saw this title of an article today and couldn’t remember where I saw it, so naturally I had to Goggle it and found a bunch of articles with the same title.

They were all talking about the space race to the moon continuing to private entrepreneurs who will provide travel for ordinary people to the moon. One line I liked is “If we pee on it first, does it mark out claim?”

But the title struck me differently. “Who Owns The Moon?”

We, as a species, work to earn money to go out shopping, especially this time of year. We wander about looking at merchandise comparing colors, features and even prices. Our goal is to give away some of our money for items. Perhaps these items will be shared with others or even given away as presents. Some of these items are for self-gratification or perceived value.

So stop and look around you. The computer you read this on, the bottle drink sitting next to you, the soft plush chair you sit on, the jacket hanging on the door, the large screen television in the corner, the entertainment center blaring more invitations for spend more money are all yours. They declare who you are. You OWN them.

But do you really?

First there is an industry out there manufacturing hundred or thousands of more items just like them for hundreds of thousands more individual for feel complete just like you.

Second the items that make you feel so good today are already obsolete and must be replaced with the newer model.

Third and possibly the most important is does obtaining these objects do you really own them.

Sure they sit in your house on your plot of land in your presence but one day each and every one of these items will be passed down to another family member or given away to charity or even placed in a heap of leftovers and forgotten.

As a culture or a society we have learned it is better not to share but to own.

Wars have been fought for greed of land and wealth and thousands if not millions have given their lives to own something or fight to keep what they own away from others.

We even owned people in our not too distant past.

So who should own the moon?

And just like that, we recognize in our surroundings the freedoms of life like air, wind, sky, and possibly on a warm summer night relaxing under a tree, a sleepy dog at your feet and the love of your life cuddled in your arms looking up, even the moon.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sleeping on a New Bed



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To some, a bed is just another piece of furniture, but a bed is almost a personal friend.

Rooms are named after the bed. There is no chair-room or table-room, but every home has at least one bedroom.

They are quiet dark places with only the most intimate reactions take place by couples. There is even special clothing to be worn on the bed.

On the bed is where you start your day and on the bed is where you finish your night.

The bed gives comfort to the sick, a gathering spot for families on Christmas, and a platform for incredible pleasure.

The bed may be the most important piece of furniture one purchases. More time is spent on the bed than anywhere else.

Our dreams and sometimes hopes rely on the bed being comfortable and a haven for relaxing.

On the bed, couples tell their most vulnerable secrets that no one else will ever know. The bed offers a safe haven for holding on to one another, sharing the same breath, sometimes bringing out horrible noises and performing bodily functions that would never be accepting in other locations.

A simple wooden box woven with metal springs and wrapped in soft material has become the treasured location for our body to rest yet out minds continue to sort our emotions, memories, anxieties into dreams.

Laying down and closing our eyes either by time of day or exhaustion our bodies go into an altered state.
Perhaps the darkness will bring rejuvenation and a blissful feeling welcoming a new dawn. Perhaps the act of sleeping only torments the body to uneasy tossing and struggling through nightmares.

When traveling, a hotel room is nothing more than an elaborate bedroom. There are no reservations for the firmness of the bed, only the size. Sheets that may have been cleaned cover a bed that hundreds have laid on before you.

In our youth we are given a bed to grow up on. Once to large to fit in a protective caged crib, we are taught to “make up” our bed every morning. A night we resist going into a dark room where frightful things may be lurking. Beds are where books are read to us by our parents to inspire the mind to dream of pirates, unicorns, and fairies.

The purchasing of a bed is much like buying a car. Lots of models and price ranges, but they are all made the same. This one is too soft. This one is too hard. This one is just right.

My first bed, in this home, was the bed I had as a child. The bed was one of two that was transformed by my father from two singles to bunk beds. The bed traveled with me through my first apartment in college resting on the floor. This bed went back to my parents when my first wife and I decided we needed more space between us. When that space increased, I gave her the bed and went back to my ole childhood friend. After a few years, I decided to move to a larger bedroom and a larger bed. Then one bed became two beds stacked up on top of each other only a few feet from the ceiling. Every room in the house was tried and tested as a bedroom until one matched the size and space needed for two people. To celebrate, a larger bed was purchased.

A brand new top-of-the-line bed with softness and space for the expanding family was placed as directed and assembled. The bed became the location for Sunday morning coffee and television, the quiet place during illnesses, a scratching post and finally a crash pad for long nights outside.

So now I can check off an item that has been on the to-do list for over two years. Tonight I will try to sleep on the new member of the household while the other cushion where she died is carted away.

Stimulation


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The continual sunrise and sunset revolves our life.
Open the eyes to the brightness, splash water on the face, open the window and welcome the morning.
You have survived another day.
Put on a clean shirt or at least one that doesn’t smell too bad.
Drag on the slacks and tighten the buckle that is tighter than it use to be.
Walk outside, pause and take it all in.
Breathe deep and present yourself to the little blue marble you ride on.
Feel the light that warms you.
Listen to the conversations of the creatures that accompany you on this journey.
Enjoy the constant evolving surroundings nature creates.
Taste the air that provides life.
Each day presents itself as a new adventure.
Shake yourself off and continue on your quest.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Table For One



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This is what happens.

When asked at the door, "How many will being dining tonight?" and you reply "A table for one." the adventure has just taken a turn.

You usually get a table by the kitchen door or the bathroom. Small, with barely room for salt and pepper and two settings which is quickly reduced.

Like a second hand citizen your order takes longer as you are left in the dark to entertain yourself.

Others turn and stare then comment to each other describing their thoughts on the reason one person sits at a table – alone. “Perhaps he is waiting for someone?” “It’s so sad.” “Maybe his date didn’t show up?” then their conversation changes to the reviews of their meals washed down with laughter and wine.

Without electronic appliances to entertain during the wait, one can observe the faces of other town folk who have left the warmth and safety of their homes to wander out to an establishment for a dining experience.

Some look bored as if this is a weekly tradition that must be observed. Some are engulfed in fascinating wonder of each others words losing the interest in the meal. Some are regulars recognizing and acknowledging others in the room as in a sales meeting. Some are family groups with adults discussing the births, deaths and success under the same name as the children squirm.

Some times there are few in the room except for bored wait staff wrapping silver wear in napkins and telling lies to busboys anxiously waiting for a couple to leave a booth while the manager at the cash register scans his emails.

The wallpaper pattern is studied against the shadows of the twirling overhead fans. Even paintings probably purchased at the local box store attract a scrutiny while a background soundtrack of clinking glasses and dull mumble of a variety of voices and stories fills the air.

If really creative, one can look at a table of people and decide what their names are, what they do for a living, where they live, all by their body language, clothing and menu choices, but there is no one to share this revelation with.

Once the meal arrives with perhaps a pleasant comment from the delivery person, then again, perhaps not a decision must be made. Should the preparation be savored and enjoyed or merely consumed as quickly as possible to get on with the task at hand.

Life is funny that way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Watching TV



We don’t realize how much time and effort it takes to watch TV. The magic box that is turned on at the beginning of the day with the lame excuse to find out what the weather will be or update our sleepiness with world events. It is the background noise of our lives.

Remembering the big wooden box in our house with fuzzy black and white images and terrible sound became a hypnotic attraction. The radio continued to play in the kitchen with Paul Harvey and George Goble, but the fleeting moments of television drew us in with its mysterious spell.

So the need to continue viewing this glass window on the world around us grew with more programs and longer hours. What was a brief family gathering became a daily necessary with continuous news, sports, weather, and a variety of entertainment. Polls were kept to judge the viewing audience and adjust programming and advertising to fill all desires. Celebrities were formed and fans began to follow weekly series of westerns, comedies, and live performances with varied results. Soap operas filled the housewife’s afternoon then the family would gather around the glowing screen while eating dinner under Walter Cronkite’s wisdom then become enthralled in whatever appeared before sign off.

Networks started to assimilate programs and families picked their favorite of the three because they didn’t want to have to get up and switch the tuning knob. Yes, there were no remote controls to surf with.

Ingrained into our culture, this box told us what to buy, how to look, and what was important to our daily lives and conversations with one another. It presented us with examples of the wealthy to aspire to or the poor bumbling fools we could mock or heroic examples of our past to emulate.

The small wooden box became the entertainment center with surround sound, wide high definition screens, recording and playback devices constantly changing requiring families to purchase additional units with the latest new and improved features to enhance our viewing pleasure.

The television is the first appliance turned on in the morning and the last to be shut down at night. We can not function until we know what the latest weather forecast is and how the traffic flow will effect our attempt to arrive at work on time, all brought to us by pleasant looking people smiling and creating a comfortable atmosphere to give us a positive start of the day. Talk shows and soap operas fill the afternoons for the sick, retired, or unemployed leading into a bank of flashing news programs combining entertainment with celebrating sightings or social media events.

Police shows, or at least authoritarian good over evil shows, have taken over from too graphic medical shows as a cast interaction with recent events and predicable outcomes. Reality shows of every size and description are the new comedy and mystery showing the struggles of good looking people surviving in the wild or losing weight or competing for a gazillion dollars hoping to make the viewers life seems a little better or at least tolerable.

Yet as we surf through the infomercials and repeated enticements to eat and drink and lust after the latest gadget, hours of our lives are wasted staring at the light. Multitasking with preparing food, checking emails, surfing the social media, downloading music, watching online movies, talking on the phone, texting a neighbor; the television is still on as a background drone, always ready to announce something we must be aware of.

Perhaps this is the “light” we are to walk toward?

As for me, I just turn it off and watch the glow fade to black. I got better things to do.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crowds



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Recently an event in town reminded me one of my “least favorite” occurrences. Being surrounded by crowds.

Now crowds are just people like you and me who come together for an event like music or other performing art or shopping or even a family gathering, but with over 7 billion of us now, it is starting to get crowded.

Sporting venues are constantly expanding to accommodate for the crowds. Music events have become outdoor extravaganzas for the crowds. Wherever we go or whatever we do, there is a crowd around.

Again, I’m not opposed to people; why I am one, but I do like my space and in today’s crowds I get a little cramped.

Don’t know where this feeling started but I think at the State Fair when I was just a little tot and got separated from my family and wandered about lost in a sea of legs.



People do things in crowds they would never do by themselves. They dress up funny and scream and holler at sporting events supporting “their” team. People dance and sing in mass responding to deafening music. People will follow one another like lemmings with the support of each other in a crowd.

Crowds will wait for hours to get tickets or get a brief glance at someone who is presented as someone better than the crowd or gather because others are gathering.

Some crowds can be meaningful protest to show solidity in numbers. Some crowds can get out of hand and cause the animal instinct in all of us that can create harm and destruction.

The individual is lost in the crowd and perhaps that is a protective device, but I find it annoying.

I notice, even in the grocery store, if an aisle is crowded with people examining a vast array of boxes and jars deciding on which has the best elements or price per pound, I move to the next aisle, sometimes going all around the store to avoid a entanglement with someone else.

I know that is my shopping phobia but when someone comes up behind me too close for my comfort I move on.
Imagine that feeling in a crowd.

Time and space to contemplate are rare and should be cherished.












Enjoy solitude.