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Archive for the ‘random thoughts’ Category

Reblogged from October, 2011…because what’s old is new again:

I suppose it wasn’t really there after all. I must have been daydreaming. When you’re hanging at the beach, some things just kind of blur together, like the pod of dolphins the other day at one point clearly being a pod of dolphins, gradually fooling the eyes into trying to decipher what was bottlenose and what was fin and what was tall wave. The playful animals somehow melded into being waves. Eventually when the excitement wanes and you start questioning your own senses and sensibility, you learn to quit looking, and refocus anew on what is, on what was, to begin with.

I thought I saw a ship, of great proportions, traversing the horizon. It had a bright color that caught my eye, contrasting from the sea, and maintained a steady path, as long as I dared to watch.

While it caught my gaze, I imagined where it came from, how long it had stayed in port, and where it now headed, what it carried. The Sunday newspaper keeps a public record of such data, but it’s been a month of Sundays since I read a Sunday paper.

But the ship was real as long as I looked at it.

I was driving, though, and could only afford intermittent glances. I was driving fast, windows down, music loud, hair flying.

I know it was there. But then, I glanced again, and it was not. Simply slipped out of my vision, out of my reality.

It reminded me of the man I used to see come home on what I calculated must be his lunch hour, as I ran the last hill on my runs. His house was one of my reality checks – I used it to remind myself of my goal, since it was at the peak of the knoll, the hardest and steepest hill of the three I conquer on my usual 2.5 run.

Once upon a time in the season of jasmine, I marveled at the tall southern pines which graced his front yard, with something that looked like clematis climbing up the trunks of each tree. They were so fragrant, I came to look forward to springtime runs, just to get to that last, steep incline.

 

Each labored inhalation was rewarded. His front porch was typically Southern, a wraparound with ample rocking chairs and detail in the woodwork, beckoning one to stop for a glass of sweet tea (slice of lemon) in the fragrance of the climbing flowers. The trees, and the clinging flowers, disappeared up into the sky-blue like some Jack-in-the-Beanstalk fairy tale.

How I would have loved to stop!

But my course would have been ruined had I done so – I was compelled to finish what I began, compulsively dedicated to completing my circuit, and his house was only one stop on my way to my destination. How sad…and it always seemed…no, seems (I still go by) so inviting.

Through the spring and part of the summer, I saw him come home. He would be parked in the side driveway, sometimes standing on the porch, sometimes inside, sometimes conversing with his landscapers. Sometimes just standing there, yakking on his phone, or pausing to watch me and wave.

And I always kept going.

Although we saw each other nearly daily, he was a stranger, and I to him. He was at the end of my run, at the top of the steepest hill, and I could not, would not stop, no, never. Never meant to be. He and his coveted possessions were well out of my league. I would not be interested in such.

I had to keep running, keep my pace, knowing the end was near and soon I would have rest. But in that rest I often thought of how nice it would have been to stop my run short and crash on that ample front porch and get acquainted with the wealthy neighbor. He didn’t know me, not really. And I didn’t know him. No, we were Worlds Apart, on two different courses, two different schedules, two different paths. He may have thought he knew me; he probably imagined he knew me, but he would have been wrong. Someone like that and those Things could not have understood or known joy from someone like me and my things.

And, like the ship that I’m not sure ever really existed, he also ceased to exist after my weeks of illness which prevented me from my daily runs. I have gingerly, carefully resumed and gone back, as I sit at the lapping water here, but he no longer comes home for lunch. And I have not seen a ship like it on the horizon since, either.

Both are gone; I am alone, and left wondering if they ever really existed, or if they were figments of my imagination, like so many other things.

I suppose I was a figment, too…not quite real, not quite tangible. Just sort of, out there. Interesting to imagine, but not really existent.

There is safety in not really being real, not able to be figured out, comprehended, perceived fully. Perhaps it is best if figments remain figments, visions as visions, dreams as dreams. That way, things of intrigue remain as we wish for them to be thought of, and we do not run the risk of disappointment, should the harshness of reality not live up to our dreams.

Our dreams…our delusions…our mirages serve us well, to provide the comfort of distracted vision, and of hope and curiosity, without the pain of what is, what must be, no matter how satisfying what must be, is.

Both the ship and the man were elusive and surreal as they passed before what I thought was my reality, bringing interest and reason to look while they lingered in the periphery of my reality, ever just so out of reach and causing me to question my sanity, yet serving a purpose by challenging myself to keep looking and to keep running all at the same time.

Oh, why O why, didn’t I stop long enough to verify the existence of the ship? and the man? Was I afraid they’d be real? Or that I would have to change to accommodate their reality? Was it better that they came and went from what I thought was my vision, that they remained a part of the Unsure?

How bittersweet, never to know for sure. I could never pursue either, and must stay on my circuit.

Damn, today’s run was totally to mentally detox. The news at high noon (delivered in the best room with the best catered food which I didn’t eat) was supposed to be good, which I couldn’t swallow, either. It was good to everyone but me. My crestfallenness did not go unnoticed, and I know they saw me tear out of the parking lot on my run after the meeting with more vigor than usual Upon my return, I was swamped with Higher Visitors and calls from all angles, feeling me out, no one daring to ask. The Secret is not theirs to uncover, they knew. And I was helpless, speechless, unable to explain. Only someone like me could be living such a dual life in so many dimensions.

But the run was hard and fast, and the man wasn’t there…again. I guess I missed too many days, so it was…just…a run. And I returned to face reality, my dreams and thoughts and feelings sequestered to the depths of my inner being, where they are better kept behind the game face.

But nothing can erase the ship on the horizon. I know it was there. I know it seemed like it wasn’t at one point, but I can still see it, I can still picture it crossing my path when I had time to pause my gaze. It was big and bright and happy, and added perspective to the horizon. The fact idea that it was there gave enough impetus to relish the rest of the surroundings, even after it disappeared.

Even if it wasn’t real, it was…just for a moment…it really was. And if I willed it to be so for the sake of my sanity, is there anything wrong with that?

The fumes of belief fuel faith.

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Hey, God…thank You for a beautiful Christmas season. May all the WP readers have joyous holidays…and blessings in 2016. 

Merry Christmas, my friends!!

~~ssm

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Today on my morning commute I was reminded of a song that I’d forgotten. I’d never actually heard it; someone once had mentioned it in passing and I dismissed it after hearing the first lines and decided I wasn’t interested.

Maybe it was the heart-wrenching history I learned today about little child I met – fire-setting, animal abuse, you name it. Maybe it was the upheaval of my hospital unit being moved last week from its decade-long location to a new unit, far away from the rest of our program – upheaval at its best. Or maybe it was my mother dragging me back into the church of my upbringing over the past two weeks.

But the reference today likened something edgy to a Lucinda Williams video.

Lucinda it was, and it prompted me to go back and reexamine that which I had discarded. Mental dumpster-diving, if you will:

(credit: Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”):

Sittin in the kitcken a house in Macon
Loretta’s singing on the radio
Smell of coffee eggs and bacon
Car wheels on a gravel road
Pull the curtains back and look outside
Somebody somehere I don’t know
Come on now child we’re gonna go for a ride
Car wheels on a gravel road
Can’t find a damn thing in this place
Nothing’s where I left it before
Set of keys and a dusty suitcase
Car wheels on a gravel road
There goes the screen door slamming shut
You better do what you’re told
When I get back this room better be picked-up
Car wheels on a gravel road
Low hum of voices in the front seat
Stories nobody knows
Got folks in Jackson we’re going to meet
Car wheels on a gravel road
Cotton fields stretching miles and miles
Hank’s voice on the radio
Telephone poles trees and wires fly on by
Car wheels on a gravel road
Broken down shacks engine parts
Could tell a lie but my heart would know
Listen to the dogs barkin in the yard
Car wheels on a gravel road
Child in the backseat about four or five years
Lookin out the window
Little bit of dirt mixed with tears
Car wheels on a gravel road

So, the tune itself doesn’t do much for me, which is why I dismissed it so easily the first time, and which is why I am not embedding the video. But looking at the lyrics, it sparked my mind.

How many of us have been uprooted, either physically or mentally, in early childhood? Or gotten that worldly come-uppin’ that only our parents could have provided by uprooting us?

Were you uprooted physically, as your parents chased their dream to have a better life than your grandparents?

Were you uprooted mentally and emotionally, as you came of age and discovered that there was a harsh reality to all you’ve known and taken as truth?

Found out that there is fakery both for protection and exploitation, and it’s ultimately up to you to discern the difference?

Found out that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause were one and the same?

Did your mom leave your dad? Or your dad leave your mom, or a mutual parting regardless? Or remain together in wedded torment instead of bliss?

What fissures developed in your world that contributed to your inner continental drifting?

At some point our innocence was abducted by some grounding event.

And not that it is an event that is evil – it is simply the moment we cash in our ignorant bliss for the intriguing dismay of the reality of the human condition.

Kind of like the day my older bothers brothers forced me to admit my two imaginary BFFs did not exist.

Yet, how necessary is this in order to acknowledge that there just might be something Bigger, Better and Stronger than all our toil and sin?

There’s something comforting in a little bit of dirt mixed with tears.

It would make me nervous, otherwise.

Thanks, Lucinda, for accurately portraying the very first moments we first experience the sensation of anxiety, aware yet unaware – accepting yet unaccepting. Jostled from our nest of knowing, into that first breath of utter dependence on God and the unknown.

And thanks, God, for taking our anxiety and providing proper closure and resolution for it – that our parents, our life, our course may drag us down the aisle kicking and screaming into the unknown, yet You make it all okay in the end.

(The Lord be with you…and also with y’all.)

And thanks, God,  for letting me keep my imaginary BFFs, too. 😀

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1.) (at 7:38 pm) “Hey, Mom, the band director said we needed a tuxedo for tomorrow’s competition in the city…”

2.) (from dear mother with advancing Alzheimer’s) “Well, I’ll just hitchhike if you can’t take off work to take me where I want to go tomorrow.”

3.)  (sequestered in the corner office with all windows and lots of top brass) “Nobody else can do what you do here…please don’t accept that promotion! We’ll adjust your schedule, whatever it takes!”

4.) (from a post-rehab mom in treatment) “How dare you tell me I’m showing too much cleavage with my breast tattoo!!! Now, what were you saying about my son’s sexually inappropriate behavior?”

5.) “Your four-year-old scored a zero on the assessment – he refused to initiate any effort.” (this, after warning the Pre-K assessor he has stranger anxiety and would not perform in a room alone with her – duh).

6.) “Please accept and wear this honorary pin commemorating your 25 years’ dedication to the profession…” (‘and in doing so, ‘fess up to everyone just how antique you are) (Therapisauras Rex, here!).

7.) (from 4-year-old recollecting in utero) “I don’t wanna go back in your tummy…I was ‘fraid of the big splinters.” (what big splinters?) “The big, black splinters – they were owchie. They were your poopy. They hurt me. I gonna stay out here now and make san’ castles.”

8.) (CPA conversation) “For some reason, the IRS hasn’t put out a refund calendar.” (“So, what, they’re trying not to be accountable now?”) “No, the IRS has never been accountable…”

9.) “Your (disabled) child won’t stop bolting toward the elevators and pressing the alarm button…”

10.) “The court date has been postponed until July. But we’ll need a deposition later this month. We want you to be there in case anybody lies.”

11.) “We’re out of wine.” (or was it ‘whine?’)

I swear, this all bubbled forth THIS WEEK.

Welcome to the merry-go-round of my life.

Even so and despite it all, here’s a pretty bunch of blooming azaleas against a field of soon-to-be-harvested winter wheat that I saw this Sunday whizzing past a neighbor’s farm:

2013-03-10_15-42-38_592

Spring rocks!!!

 

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It seems that…

Youth is a burst of fast energy,

punctuated by brief spurts of rest.

As life progresses,

this gradually reverses

Until our age yields to

Slowing,

punctuated with brief spurts of

Energy.

Perspective is relative.

Just when we think our hearts and souls

can bear

not one more tear…

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…the Sun rises again

~~

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Known for making a conscious effort to shun sunglasses in most cases (to savor full effects of hot/bright), I found myself squinting with joy when the word-wise Literary Tiger sprang forth and pounced, nominating me for the Sunshine Award. And earlier this week, my blogging pal over at The Waiting (who may no longer be waiting, as of this post) tagged me in a game of “Guten Tag.”

I have typically dodged the full responsibility of such awards in the past, as I am not one to engage in electronic tag or chain mail, introvert that I am. However, these questions appear to be almost as much fun as enjoying the evening on the front porch swing in my l’il black nightie, listening to the chorus of bullfrogs nearby and hearing the parade of day-boaters whiz past under the bridge on their way to dock up for the night. (I assume I blend in with the darkness and our neighbors don’t see me. And if they do, bless their hearts for acting none the wiser the next day.)

Thus, I will halfway follow the rules by answering questions, but as for nominating others, YOU – yeah, you, dear friend reading this – consider yourself nominated and/or tagged, but only if you feel like it. Entirely up to you. Dontcha love freedom of choice?! So, here are the Sunshine Award questions:

1. Favorite color– Orange

2. Favorite animal–  Anole

3. Favorite number– 17

4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink– Cream Soda – the good stuff.

5. Prefer Facebook or Twitter– Neither. I fully intend to remain as unsocial as possible toward these two evil twin sisters, unless they get around to changing some of their privacy policies and formats. WordPress is about as far down the plank as I’ll venture.

6. My passion– Father, Son & Holy Spirit…and also Publix’s Chocolate Trinity

7. Prefer Giving or Getting presents– Giving. Yesterday on the beach was a tourist family of 4, with the two little angelic girls looking for shells. They weren’t finding many where they were looking, so I began collecting some unique ones in a good spot I knew of down the beach a-ways. They didn’t notice me. When they turned to walk the other direction, I snook up to the girls’ pail and quietly deposited the treasures, sprinted back to my beach chair and buried my nose in the 400+ pages of foreplay in the Victorian novel I was reading. I had as much delight sneaking glances down-shore, spying their discovery, as did the girls, inspecting their mysterious treasures (and their puzzled-but-pleased parents).

8. Favorite pattern– Hurricane season, as the storms build and march across the Atlantic – predictable patterns early on, not so predictable patterns as they approach. Fun to track, anyway, that is until you’re in the cone of uncertainty.

9. Favorite day of the week–  Which ever day it happens to be when I’m at the beach. All days are faves!

10. Favorite flower – Calla lily

And now for the “Guten Tag” questions:

 

1. Coke or Pepsi? Or Fanta (we don’t judge)- See #4 above.

2. What is your guilty pleasure? See #6, part B, above.

3.) The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Stones. Stones. Stones.

4.) Describe your first crush: Tommy, second grade. I tricked him into meeting me at the nether edges of the playground during recess one day and kissed and ran. Sorry, Tom. Sort of. 

5.) How often do you respond to/pass along blogging honors, such as the Versatile Blogging Award? See intro above.

6.) Where would you travel if you could go anywhere? Outer space would be cool. Or maybe deep down beneath Mt. Shasta to put to rest for once and for all that there is no booming civilization happenin’ down there, if I thought I could return up to the base of the mountain unscathed.

7.) Did you have cable TV growing up? Um, no. There was no such thing. There was a box with little knobs and rabbit ears, and about 5 channels. What you saw was what you got. But I was one of the first on my block to get Pong. Hours of entertainment!

8.) What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever eaten?  My toes, when I was real little. They were pretty interesting, at least to me, back then. I also used to suck two fingers and hang onto my ear lobe with the other hand, until I was about 3 or 4…always against the current from the thumb-sucking crowd.

9.) Why do you blog? Because it is there. See #5 above. It is the only way I can/will communicate with you.

10.) What’s the worst gift you’ve ever been given? Gab.

11.) Any baby advice? Be careful where you breastfeed. In some cultures they could care less how skillfully you drape the blankie over the deed. Just don’t ask them to justify an unspoken rule like this given the smut they suck off their boob tube.

Thank you again to my nominators, and y’all have a beachy day!

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“So Adios to California…Nothing to do but turn around…” ~~John Hiatt, from Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns

How many times have we envisioned something, fed our beliefs with ideals and convinced ourselves that something surreal-ly out of reach could become ours? That we could somehow insert ourselves into a new reality that had all appearances of being superior to our current circumstances?

And how many times did we arrive at the sign that officially designates the precise spot where the Greener Pasture actually exists (“Pinch me!!”), only to discover it wasn’t quite what we had in mind? Fell short of our expectations, somehow…didn’t quite measure up. This may have come in the form of an actual place, a person or people, a job/career, a vacation, a material object, whatever. You know, peel back the sheets at the 5-Star Grand Poo-Bah Resort, only to find a nice specimen-strand of someone else’s DNA awaiting your plunge into the pillows.

I remember the first time I finally arrived at what I thought was the destination of my dreams. I had seen pictures, gorgeous pictures of this place, and was finally in a position to be there (not here, dear reader). It seemed like the perfect area, perfect climate, perfect people, perfect opportunities. It had everything. The last 50 miles or so of the drive drove me bananas with anticipation.

Upon arrival, however, the reality of the place did not hesitate to show me its true colors. It was Cold. Damp. Blustery. Gray. Rocky. Unwelcoming. Unforgiving of my folly of idealizing it in my head for too long.

Dismay is an extreme understatement to my initial reaction.

Nothing to do but turn around.

Dream-chasing has distinct advantages, though. It is what propels us forward and keeps us from stagnating. It is what gives us hope and motivation. It provides us with purpose and direction. It breathes life into us.

If we did not strive for that which we idealize, life would be terribly dreary. We would get stuck in the mud. And wither. And die.

I was never a fan of dream-catchers even though I understand their cultural purpose; there was always something so interruptive, arresting about them. I always liked to think about dreams as a fluidly beautiful, ongoing process, full of possibility and meaning. It’s a hell of a double life, for what it’s worth, imagining ourselves in another dimension as we go about life in this one. So what if they never materialize?

The joy is in savoring the trip, even if only in privacy and comfort of our own mind. And if we find ourselves on an actual journey to a destination that falls short, well, hey – we have still broadened our horizons. There is value in the salt of our tears and the stretching of our parameters. It’s a win-win. We have taken a chance and pursued passion.

Besides, sometimes dreams DO come true.

Thanks, God, for giving us that passion.

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