Posts tagged “time

When did the clock find the wind…again?

When did the clock find the wind…to sprint like this?

And how could we not see its fleeing?

There were baby hugs

And finger paints

Mid-day naps

And lollipops

Sand in her tennies

And potted beans on the windowsill

Pound-puppies and princess’s ponies

And bubble gum and pig-tails

Now she wants to drive

And her iPod is in her backpack

With her cell phone at her ear

Long curly hair ironed flat in the mirror

And she’s ready for the prom

When did the clock find the wind…to sprint like this?

When we were young, we noticed that it took forever for special days to get here; whether they were birthdays, Christmases, the last days of school, etc…they took an eternity, as marked by our child’s minds that registered time’s passing by those ultra-special days coming and going.

Now that the years have gathered, so many more things mark time…payday Fridays, her birthday, your birthday, her mom’s birthday, vacation, the first day of school, early-release every third Thursday, progress reports, report cards, the annual re-bid at work, a trainee for five weeks, the boss is gone for two, the weekend stand-by form on every Thursday, monitor each employee every month, we just checked your messages, it’s Thanksgiving and now it’s New Years and another move or not, and Christmas or winter break is passed and past, and one more semester until it’s done, and this process takes four weeks and that one takes seven, and the puppy needs his next set of shots and three more months until that movie comes out, another week to read the book, pay this bill on the 15th and that one on the first, and pay it again on the 15th, and the other one again on the first, and next month there are three paychecks for you and for me, so we look forward to yours and to mine and we pay extra on this one and it’s time to trim the bushes again, and the bug-guy is here again, and it’s time to change your oil and rotate the tires again, and it’s her birthday again then mine and her mom’s and my mom’s and school’s out again for the year and then she’s 21 weeks along and they can do the ultra-sound and see if it’s a boy or a girl, and which type of paint and trim do we get and we’ll know pretty soon…it does seem to rush by, unbidden, just passing with speed beyond belief, sometimes like tempests and torn in the way, and images of youth and what used to be has gone in the swirling of leaves and thought and remembrance, our encumbered spirits and minds loose (not lose) those things of yesterday and try to gather them back again before they are ungraspable in their passing, gone in that spirit of has-been and collected somewhere up in the ether where lost thoughts and radio waves linger unhitched for evermore.

We used to think that our grandparents and parents were old or getting that way and now we find ourselves noticing the little lines by our eyes…and the ones that run down into our cheeks or spread like the sun’s rays from the corners of our mouths…we find that the singular gray hairs have multiplied into a profusion that creeps into our vision until it’s time to dye them again…or not…and the moustache had a couple and the chin several more and it’s no longer possible to trim that one or pluck it away as before…they aren’t going away…our memories hold when our bodies won’t…and our children are getting older…the lines on the door frame that used to be fun to mark once or twice a year are slowly catching-up with our chin and eye-level reaches…and we wonder where it’s gone…we wonder how it not only learned to sprint and spring away but to indeed flee and leave us watching…making yet more notes of its passing…she was only 11 months-old when we saw her the first time and she just turned 13 years-old…another was captured in a picture at almost three years-old with her arm in a cast and now she’s 26 years-old…and the first-born is crowing at 28 years…and those in between with babies and lives and house-payments and then….

And my friend, Byron, whose gentle soul found the words that title this writing, noticed in awe the beauty and unbelievable 16 years of his daughter as he took her to school one day last week…it struck him how she’s not that little girl anymore who used to crawl into his lap with a favorite book or doll and sit there playing with his chin…time has fled with that little one and brought a beautiful young lady to take her place…unbeknownst to anyone watching…suddenly she is here…and we wonder again…where did the clock find the wind to sprint like this?

Thank you, Byron.

***This is a Favorite Re-post from December, 2009….it was brought to mind again after seeing my friend Byron for the first time in nearly four years…and he told me that his daughter is now married and recently graduated from college.

Advertisement

Image

Time

Old tree and mountain


Old Doors and New

I was at first stunned by the clarity of the image and then by what I noticed when I actually looked at the keys and what they meant, what they were and are in their time.  This is my wife’s key-ring and keys…and most of the keys belong to locks that she no longer opens…some of them no longer exist, literally, and others might still be there, somehwere, in a city and a time from not-so-long-ago, but because of the context of her life, and mine and ours, there is no reason to possess them, for they will no longer be used for anything…other than to add mass to her key-ring…or to open doors to memories of that other life in that other place where things were familiar and made sense, before they became what they are to her now, and then.  But there are new keys, too, new keys to open new doors with new possibilities…and new memories….


it rained again

It rained again in that place where memories are stored, where the synapses fire and storm and lay things waste and then they are gone again or whole again and the images and sounds and scents live in the memories where we laid them those years ago, where they got tucked away somehow and have been waiting, if memories can wait, for us to rekindle them to their cogent prescience, for us to make them live again. 

Those pictures lived, then, they were images and words wrought together with footsteps down hallways, belts rattling into their drawer at the end of the day, a rough hand on a cheek, the smell of gum and tobacco smoke, and the image of a big yellow car slowly easing itself into the driveway,Vitalis in his hair and the shuffle and hitch of the arm or hand into his waistband, keys and coins rattling and black-framed glasses surrounding the dark, sad eyes again…and the gift of a shiny red pocket knife…and after sand through the glass, a car in a time of need, a gesture, an attempt…what can I do?  Moments and years and two or three lifetimes and the breath stops and the cheeks are tucked into place with clay or toothpicks or whatever the embalmer uses, and a little smile lives and holds that rictus shape until the crematory’s fires take it away.  He was an old man early, and gone, limiting his life by wanting to live only so long, so that’s what he did, just for so long…testify, prophecy….  And I wonder what he really wanted, what he really desired and didn’t quite get.  What dream remained unfulfilled, what heights weren’t reached?  I don’t know.  I have tainted memories and the taste of ocher, but that was my experience…what was he to someone else, what was he to his friends, what redeemed him when nobody else was around, or when he was in some others’ eyes, and not mine?  What unconfessed sins tormented his soul, or what happiness lived there, even, beyond others’ eyes and mine?  I don’t know what made him happy, or sad, or what left him feeling empty, what defined loss for him, or love…what stranger did he long for, what living or dead person didn’t fill a void that he needed filling, what or whom did he mourn, or caused him to smile when nobody was watching?  Did he really believe in a god, did he really believe that he was going to live with a heavenly father when he died, that he would walk on streets of gold up there when his life was informed by asphalt and broken concrete…was that going to be his reward, really, did he actually believe that…did he have to turn off a part of his brain to do so, or did it just come naturally, did he like flowers or football, or what about weeds and wild grasses that grow along rushing mountain streams?  Did he love his father, or even know him…or forgive him…or sin against him and not forgive himself after all those years?  I don’t know…and at the end of it all, it’s for naught anyway, the deeds are done, the tears fallen, the regret swallowed and poisoned the body to the marrow, and maybe the only redeeming truth is that he didn’t know how to be what he was, didn’t know how to be what he wouldn’t have chosen to be, and he had no guide along the way to steer him out of the footsteps that had been laid before him….

And it rained again as the thoughts fired upon themselves as the fingers tapped the keys and as the neurons kicked themselves and rocked themselves and curled around their own shadows again and shot again into the void, into the primordial abyss of eternity that ranges in the wasted spaces between the fibers and strands of the cerebral mass. 

Why are you crying, Daddy?

*neuron activity photo found via google at www.darkgovernment.com


Eleven Miles from Somewhere

Yesterday morning, on my drive home from the store where I had just purchased the week’s food and other household supplies, I was looking at the neighborhoods I passed and at the smoke and steam coming from roof-top chimneys and vent pipes.  I also caught sight, through and beyond the clouds, of parts and pieces of the white and enormous mountains that line our eastern horizon.  It was and is still amazing and weird and wonderful to find myself in this place in the middle hours of this last day of the year, in a place so new and strange and removed from where I was last year.  As I drove those snow-lined streets back to our neighborhood proper, I happened to notice a mile-marker sign that was posted along the road.  It said “Mile 11.”  Now, I am familiar with state highways and roads that leave their freeway confines and become or pass along the same route as a city street, like US Highway 60 in Arizona that becomes or passes-along on Grand Avenue, bisecting the Valley of the Sun to take travelers on their way to Wickenburg or beyond, and I know of US Highway 89 that takes us from Flagstaff to Page, and to Kanab and Panguitch, and then marks a parallel course to I-15 as it leads north to Provo and Salt Lake, eventually becoming State Street that runs the central length of our city, but I was not familiar with any such state route or US highway that had turned into 700 East as it made its course through the city.

Seeing the sign made me wonder about the eleven miles that had passed on the other side of that mile marker and how many other miles existed in the opposite and other direction, whatever and whichever way that actually was.  It struck me as odd, too, and maybe allegorical even, in the processing of what yesterday was and what today is in the marking of time in a year and this present time or era or segment of my life and my family’s lives in this time of crazy and dramatic change.  We’ve come to this station and place in our lives, taken such drastic steps to find ourselves in a new state and locale, and work and living and natural environment and our heads and hearts and sometimes emotions are spinning and wondering and looking for something familiar to grasp and hold-on to as we attempt to regain our balance and direction.  And here we are then, eleven miles from somewhere, remembering and thinking about the past and wondering about the future, holding-on to each other, leaning against one another in our little relocated family, awaiting the arrival of others and missing those who won’t or cannot join us…and our friends, of course, we remember and miss them too, those precious ones who, even from outside the circle of our family and intimates, loved us and brought us joy and companionship for the past twenty years and more.

So it’s not only us, but you, too, and then, who on this first day of a new year are eleven miles from somewhere.  Where are you going, what are you doing, how are you, and we, too, going to measure this year when it’s gone, like we’ve done to the one that is just passed and passing?


The Present

The notes dropped softly into the quiet air of the darkened room, falling easily like thick snowflakes on a wintry and wood-smokey night.  They slid sometimes in icy wonder up the scales and tinkled down again and pattered along the floor like a baby’s footsteps as he’s learning to walk, all wobbly-legged and unsure, patting his bare toes in sprinkled notes and laughs of fancy and then.  They remind the man of a music box that used to sit on the shelf in other babies’ rooms in days and nights of a past that is thin and fleeting.  Cars and cars pass and the furnace clicks on and a smell of warm dust and human dander swirls against the cold walls as another tune steps from the stereo and moves him further along and into the night.  The muted lights from something moving on the quiet television that glow through his closed eyelids make him wonder for a second why it’s on, but then it doesn’t matter…as the notes keep rising and falling like a tiny heartbeat.  A tiny heartbeat that is just below the other notes and endures with its tender strength and doesn’t go away even when the music ends, that one little note that lay underneath and within and kept on with its steady, un-fading ping ping ping ping, and then, that heartbeat.  There is an Indian running swiftly in tinkling notes of raindrops and teardrops of gentle cadence, a rushing of golden tango-notes like freckles falling on a fair and tender face, and a person dining alone in a happy sadness that isn’t sad, with a movement and sway that comforts and soothes in its quietude. They are notes in their touching caress and the passing of the minutes and hours of a night that lure the man into a wakeful sleep where his heart beats slow and calm and there is nothing else, just the song.


And we touch a life….

It’s amazing sometimes, how we can be affected by the people who come into our lives, and vice versa.  Whether they or we are there for years or months, days, or even moments, the interactions and actions can leave a permanent mark that is felt and known, sometimes only by the bearer, for the rest of our/their lives.  People have studied the human attachment and socialization processes for years, and in an objective sense, we can all understand and relate to the academic ponderings and writings that filled lectures and library shelves over the span of curious and inquiring time.  We can perceive that we begin to learn to be a human and a social person within the boundaries of our homes.  We understand, too, that we continue that learning when we step outside of our homes and have those first interactions with other kids or adults out on the front porch step…and down the sidewalk that leads to the park or the neighbor’s house…and then further down the sidewalk and street toward our first school experience…and it goes from there.  The people in our surround begin to touch our lives, sometimes good, hopefully most-times good, and sometimes not-so-good…and many times not necessarily either, just touched.  Just enough of an imprint or lesson was left behind, or maybe just an impression, a feeling, or even a suspicion, is left in our memories, and that represents the “touch” that was theirs, or ours, on us or them, me or you.

When we continue to read those journal articles, psychology books, sociology books, or whatever, and then compare their essential content to our lives, the subjective part of our studies, we notice that there are, indeed, similarities between the texts and “real” life.  We comprehend the depth of impression and effect when we look at the patterns of family and work-life that repeat themselves from generation to generation.  Our experiences are full of knowing people whose fathers and grandfathers were physicians or mechanics or plumbers or academics or military men or police officers…just as they are, those people we know – or their mothers and grandmothers were physicians or nurses or teachers or professors or seamstresses or military women, just as they are, those people we know.  We notice the same movements or gestures or uses of words and phrases, or even similar postures or habits of a family member, or ourselves, returning home from their or our workday as they stand there in the kitchen eating from a bag of chips just like their father did.  We know, too, that some of our friends or co-workers, or clients, or family members, or other people with whom we are familiar, also have substance abuse or violence problems just like their parents did, their father or their mother and alone or together, those pairings of influence that leave a permanent mark, a dent, a troubled soul, a perpetuating something that wasn’t good when it started and hasn’t been good since it’s been passed along and along.  People never learned to listen or care or nurture, or they were suffocating and rigid and unbending and unforgiving…or they weren’t…and they weren’t.  Sometimes people learn the most and best how to love from their families, their moms and dads, their brothers and sisters, grandparents, and then.  And sometimes they learn to love from other people who come in and touch their lives, other people who come in and accept them for who they are, love them for and with their faults…and encourage them to grow and look inside and outside, to see how their own actions are affecting others and others, and eyes open and open over time and see and learn, and still err, but learn and learn and strive and try and hope and work and love and watch and enjoy and cherish and endure and love…and get tired and fed-up and say “screw it” and so…and they still love and cherish and endure and hope….  And sometimes love comes late, or it becomes known late, but it is still love, and can still touch us the right way, so that we can still pass it along, and along.

Sometimes those touches that come to us are not good, but they turn to good when we recognize them and remold them and twist them and apply them as lessons in what not to do, or what not to allow, or tolerate, or what not to be; they become things that we specifically do not want to repeat from one generation unto another, from home to workplace to home and mine and yours and another.

And then sometimes, sometimes, regardless of the lesson, regardless of the example, regardless of the impression, or whatever, we do things or other people do things that go so strikingly against the examples and lessons and intentional impressions, that we and you and the other observers are left scratching our and your heads, thinking “What the…?”  And then what of the examples, what of the lessons, what of the conversations and explanations and illustrations and demonstrated failures and successes, and hopes and yearnings, and shared strivings and conquerings of indefatigable foes and odds…what happens to all of that when a person or that person or some people or those people choose to go and do or be something so different or choose or pursue something so unlikely, or whatever…what then?  What then?  Where is that touch?  What happened to that touch to sour it so, to corrupt it unto repugnance and scorn?  “Who freaking touched your life after I did or we did, to turn you so?” we wonder to ourselves and then.  Or the righteous mother looks at her unrepentant and atheistic child and wonders where her touch went, wonders at the child’s soul and eternity, as the child doesn’t wonder at hers.  Or the touch is horrible and malevolent and wrong and that touched-one becomes or remains pure and upright and motivated and enduring and patient and tolerant and the most empathetic and understanding and…how did that happen, from a wrong touch and impression and example and…?  In the end, after all the analyzing and hypothesizing and considering the bad and what must have been there, somewhere, as good, it just did.

How did your life become as it is?  How did you or I, you and I, become as we did?  Those people in our lives touched us in little ways and big and their touch and impressions are still with us.  Someone touched a second-grader’s heart and caused that little one to want to grow-up and help others, someone else touched another second-grader’s heart and caused that little one to seek solitude in the hills and the woods, someone else touched another second-grader’s heart and caused that child to want to fly planes or study bacteria or write music or stories or make jewelry or build cathedrals or shape metal into cars or design hospitals or cure cancers or find new stars or…to shampoo dogs or plow fields or sail ships or paint pictures or…because they were touched so.

How did we affect someone’s life today or yesterday or last year or then…how did you and I?


Still In-Between

Several years ago, a friend asked me to write something about my thoughts and feelings pertaining to the transition from employee to supervisor within our workplace, from 9-1-1 operator and dispatcher to Radio Supervisor.  When contemplating the paper, I thought I would discuss the relationships with my immediate co-workers, the relationships with peer supervisors from other shifts, the relationship with my supervisor, the aspects of the performance of my job that my supervisor evaluated, the relationships that I had with my employees and the employees of other supervisors, both on my shift and other shifts, and related to and intertwined with all of the above, the political nature of written communication, things said and/or not said, actual and implied or perceived intent, and the ever-present need to actually consider and weigh one’s reaction to any other word, intent, omission, look, possibility, idea, etc..

After discussing the changes in relationships and interactions with all of the people in the workplace, and when considering those changes, there was also the immediately personal aspect to look at – my evaluation of myself inside myself, the changes in my thought processes that included moving from a solitary person to one of community and all that it entailed, i.e., what I lost and gained, etc.  And then more – my thoughts of the bureau, the department, the officers, the citizens; my responsibilities to my co-workers, my employees, my boss, the department, the citizens; how my perspective of liability had changed or remained the same; my dedication to the job; my thoughts of other people’s dedication to the job; my sense of belonging and not belonging; it was just a job, a means to a nice paycheck that provided for my family and the commitment I had to making sure I deserved what the city gave me for compensation;  and then my occasional thoughts of demoting, or other thoughts of trying for another promotion where I would supervise my then co-worker supervisors.

All of that processing of my transition within that particular workplace got my mind going in similar yet unassociated areas and caused me to wonder about the different and many transitions that one undergoes in a lifetime – which I then applied to myself and the many aspects and experiences of my own existence that have led me from one place to another, both literally and figuratively.  My mind went in directions ranging from being an innocent in every sense of the word and passing into and through the stages of gaining knowledge that removed the innocence and replaced it with experiences that changed me forever, even if only in the slightest ways.  My thoughts wandered, then and now – if I’m going to have this current and up-to-date, down the trails of my childhood turning into adolescence and adulthood; the paths that led me from the Air Force to the health department, from the health department to the police department, and from there to my present workplace in another health department in an altogether different state and locale; from carelessness to concern, or selfishness to awareness; the journey from being a solitary person, as I mentioned earlier, to one who out of necessity or yearning became one of community with a participatory audience, be it large or small; the change from being a young father with little children to being an older father with young and older children; from being a Believer to being a non-believer or disbeliever…and….  So I wondered at change and transition.

And then a friend of mine sent me a link to another article about a man who tossed caution to the wind and left his steady and secure job that paid well, but wasn’t fulfilling, and bought a boat and started a charter business and sailing school…and changed his life.  He left the security for something he loved, something that spoke to or moved his “soul” or the core of his being.  And I thought of transitions again and still.  I thought of how I have done something similar to the guy who “quit” his former job and bought a boat so he could pursue his dreams, however unsteady they might have been.  I thought of pursuing a simpler life, one less complicated, without and within, one that was rewarding and fulfilling and wrought with a different and compelling potential that didn’t exist in another place, for me and mine, anyway.  I thought of how making that change will cause other transitions to occur within me as so many transitions and changes were occurring outwardly in my life.

Yes, I’ve only been there for a few weeks, but I actually look forward to going to work in the morning.  I also look forward to waking and seeing that big beautiful mountain down at the end of my street, knowing that at the end of my work week, or even some afternoon after work, I will be out there driving or hiking among its hills and valleys, listening to its streams trickling or rumbling over its rocks, and hearing its scolding squirrels and singing birds touching the otherwise quiet and clean forest air.  No…the monetary rewards won’t be there at work; I’m not going to be rich or even “well-to-do” after working there…but then I don’t have dreams of making millions.  I’m looking for peace that lives within.

So the other day, when I was in the turn-lane to merge into the lane of traffic that was going to take me out and into Mill Creek Canyon, I suddenly saw and heard, racing toward me, three police cars in a line with their lights and sirens going full blast, “Code-3,” with a fourth one coming a minute or so later, flying so fast that they shook my truck in their passing.  In my mind, and in my memory that has formed over the past eleven years, that many cops heading in the same direction, so close together, with lights and sirens screaming and blaring, could only mean one thing…someone got shot…some police officer got shot and the others were driving there as quickly as they could so they could render aid and catch the bad-guy.  My heart nearly jumped out of my chest. 

The view of the big beautiful mountain in front of me was suddenly absent as my former life and concerns came crashing and screaming into my very real and present and different life.  I almost went back to my apartment to await the news flash on the television.  But, I didn’t.  I did, however, ask the mountain “Why?” and then sat there for another half-minute or so before venturing out into the traffic on the road that would take me away from my immediate concern and anxiety and out into the green embrace of that lush and welcoming “other world” that exists a few miles down the road from the everyday.  I did watch the news that night, which I normally don’t do…and…regarding all the cops in a line with their lights and sirens and my imagined tragedy that struck or befell those brothers in blue…nothing.  It was a “Big Fat Numba-Three.”

And today, with the “new employee” orientation that touched on emergency preparedness and the talk of 800MHz radios and interoperability and incident command and chain-of-command and what if our cell-phones won’t work and the radio towers are down and they’ve got two new fancy trucks with mobile antennas for the radios and stored rations and a cache of this and a cache of that and a 72-hour kit and we need to get help to those in need and 9-1-1 will be out of business and so will we and…and…what does all of this have to do with gonorrhea?

So…I am still somewhere in-between the past and the present, the “used-to-be” and the “is.”


That place in the used-to-be

My ears are still ringing and my head is still buzzing or humming from the road-wind and travel and my arms and legs can still feel the pulling and turning and little bumps in the roadway that have embedded themselves into the corporeal memory of my day and afternoon.  We have traveled, I and me, from the south to here again and have resumed the new habits and routine that have become mine in these last days and week.  I have returned to here from there, from my home and home to this place of preparation and waiting.  The long road and miles took me back to that place that has been mine and ours for these many years, that place of rest and sanctuary from the world and its assailing us and me.  I have found myself here again after being there for only a couple days and my mind is still there as these keys type and start and stop and wonder at the words as they come and go and form and don’t and retype themselves as the clothes tumble in the dryer and I wonder at who’s sleeping and not.  I wonder at who has cried today and not.  I wonder at the quiet here and the eyes in the pictures and the empty pillow and the couch that used to be there in our bedroom and is now here in my living room.  It’s tall and large and greenish golden brown and fit in that first and intended place and is now huge in its occupying of space and then.  It looks like it belongs somewhere else as I think of tomorrow and the people who will be in mine and the other people’s tomorrows in which I will not be in substance and form.

Words came to me in the turning of the wheels and the passing of the wind and sahuaros and stands of shoulder-high sunflowers in their patchiness and grounded and monster junipers with their blue-berried cones all jumping and a-gaggle in their hodge-podge placement and positioning on the hills and passing landscape with the prickled-pears and cow-tongued cacti that clung neatly and a-jumbled along the side of the carven hillsides that bound and bordered that twisting ribbon of concrete and asphalt for those many miles from there to here.  Those many miles that spoke in sundry tongues and painted images with their palate of words and thoughts that fled in happenstance at and in their impermanence, their scattered thoughts and round again and between glimpses at the guardrail and the mountains that command in their presence, Do come and stay and make anew that home and home and prepare the way for those to follow like the earlier pioneers who made their trails and forded streams and were the first and first as they went away.

I pondered the thought of this not being home yet and the gentle pressing of keys that told of hating the place where lonely lives, that ghosted realm of things and people gone from where they used to be, gone from where they’ve always been and not within reach or touch or the distance of a cross-room glance, but gone…and it lives alone there and waits the knocking door, the familiar step, the simple look, and the…rolling tears and the empty chair.

And the images of faces known and voices left behind, those Sunday mornings of yesterday and what they held and laughter and friends and none await me yet and the past is full and the present bare and the mountains beckon me and tell me that they will be my first friend here, as I think of my first friend there and my last one, too, and note the passing of time that was short and the leaving soon…and here we are, wondering at what tomorrow will bring.


In case you’ve heard I’m leaving….

This is where you’ll find me….

Remember the road less traveled…?

And the bridge to your future…?

I have found my bridge….

What’s in your back-yard?


On saying “Good-bye”

“Goodbye brothers!  You were a good crowd.  As good a crowd as ever fisted with wild cries the beating canvas with a heavy foresail; or tossing aloft, invisible in the night, gave back yell for yell to a westerly gale.” – Joseph Conrad

“Here lies my past.  Goodbye I have kissed it; Thank you kids.  I wouldn’t have missed it.” – Ogden Nash

“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” – Robert Southey

“Can miles truly separate you from friends….  If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there? – Richard Bach

“Not to understand a treasure’s worth till time has stole away the slightest good, is cause of half the poverty we feel, and makes the world the wilderness it is.” – William Cowper

“Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.” – George Eliot

“The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected.” – Nicholas Sparks

“You and I will meet again – when we’re least expecting it – one day in some far off place – I will recognize your face – I can’t say goodbye my friend – for you and I will meet again.” – Tom Petty

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” – Flavia Weedn

“As contraries are known by contraries, so is the delight of presence best known by the torments of absence.” – Alcibiades

“Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire.” – Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” – Kahlil Gibran

“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.” – Theodor Seuss Geisel

“Sweet is the memory of distant friends!  Like the mellow rays of the parting sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.” – Washington Irving

“If I had a single flower for every time I think of you, I could walk forever in my garden.” – Claudia Ghandi

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard to do.” – Carol Sobieski & Thomas Meehan


Recollections

Is the distance of the past determined by the one looking or by the mirror into which the one looks?  And what is that mirror, but the reflections of recollections wrought by the looker?  Those recollections that are drawn-up by the one’s present state and circumstance that would bring forth something so deeded to the past.  As with the observer’s effect on a phenomenon when it is being studied, how does a memory of the past change simply because it is being recalled?  And how are the recollections touched and remolded, but with the present’s gaze backward?  They are impure in their recollection because they are touched by the current remembrance and the state or circumstance that brought them back.  Was it the emotion of the past circumstance that brought them back, or was it the event itself…and are the recollections actually recollections of the event or of other remembrances…and those recollections that are recalled, are they pure or laced with the state and circumstances and emotions of their earlier recollections, or of the present?  Do we really “remember when…?”


How Beats My Heart?

How beats my heart, until this night is over?

My child struggles in the portal of his dawn while nature and time fight against him.

I have yet to meet him and my heart aches at what must not be.

As time and pressure bring forth diamonds and gems,

I wait for them to bring my son.

 

As angels roar and demons quake,

I stand on the edge of time and yell through the heavens and beyond the fiery dust of our beginnings and demand what is mine and hers to be ours and then. 

Three times gone and here at last,

a life coveted and desired and hoped for in dreams and waking and plans and.

Our hearts beat in our bedroom chamber when love joined flesh and might.

And now mine beats in my chest and head and hands…

as his echoes between these walls…strong and solid and fading and gone…

and back.

 

Fast hands and quick and yawning door, her pulse rips live in mine,

From flesh comes flesh and beating blood, I yell and scream;

In tears and raging life comes dawn in pulse and pounding show.

In crushing force and ragged breath

Tiny ribs and lungs and arms and hands

Grasping wildly at light and cold and what.

 

And now beats my heart, and hers, in his.

 


I went walking…

I started my evening walk earlier than usual tonight, as my little one and his mom were on their way over to our other son’s house where my youngest would/will spend the night and day tomorrow until I retrieve him after work and go to yet another son’s house for his son’s birthday party.  Over the many years that we have lived here, we have found a circuit through the neighborhood that is exactly one mile in length, as measured by our various cars and trucks over the same years to make sure that we were accurate that one or several time(s) that we thought we measured it correctly and determined that it was really a mile…and it is almost a habit of sorts to make two rounds of the path or circuit of an evening, maybe once or twice or sometimes three times a week, if I’m in that particular habit at the particular moment, or week or month or whatever.  So, again, I set out early tonight as the little one and his mom are gone and I knew that if I sat in my esteemed and favorite chair to begin reading a book, it would be only a matter of minutes until my already heavy eyelids would close and close and bother me in their desire to sleep and I would fall that way and then, and then I would be hitting some serious sleep several or a few hours before I needed to go that way for the evening…so I went walking earlier than normal, as I’ve said.

And the smells of our desert winter Friday evening ranged from someone frying some kind of food with nice spices to accent the flavor or cover their wanting skill in the kitchen, the wonderful something or other that they were preparing in the Chinese restaurant kitchen down the road and around the corner…maybe the empress or emperor’s chicken with sweetened brown hot sauce and smothered deep-fried chicken chunks or something that hopefully isn’t cat or dog or something we don’t normally eat…but it does look like chicken when you tear it open or cut it in half…and I noticed when passing the mobile-home park down the road from our neighborhood that all the fan-palm trees were leaning southward…really, they’ve got that lean.  I understand their reaching upwards to the sun, but I guess they have altered their stretch and yearn to the south where the sun is more direct, I guess, and not exactly overhead…and some of the passing vehicles on my rounds were very quiet, some mostly quiet, and only one or two that were loud enough to make me want to get out of the street and stay on the sidewalk as I pondered my life and the smells of my evening walk…and one of the louder trucks had an exhaust that was a bit rich and I could smell the heavy gas linger in the cooling evening air as I looked beyond the leaning palm trees and watched the flaming orange and pink clouds of this January sunset roll into themselves from their vaporous lines and trails and become fat-bottomed and darkening masses of pink and gray cotton batting that would coat the underside of our nighttime sky…as I smelled dryer sheets and dust that one of the neighborhood dogs was kicking-up on the other side of his gate in his feisty demonstrating and complaining that I should be trespassing in his line of sight or within earshot with my worn tennies occasionally scraping the asphalt or kicking a loosened pebble as I made my way past his house and along the road and track and measured pathway of my walking, as I pondered my life and smelled what the approaching night offered me…in the way of corn tortillas being warmed or cooked on the raw burner of someone’s stove…or others that were being stuffed with some type of carne or another and wrapped and fried in the Mexican food restaurant just around the same different corner as the Chinese restaurant. 

There were oil stains in front of some houses that had and have been rented two and three and more times over the last several years and have yards with weeds sticking up through the gravel and plastic and gum wrappers and the blown G2 bottle from someone’s careless aim at an open-lidded garbage can/dumpster that was parked on the sidewalk, and another house that used to belong to a lawyer and her pool-builder husband and their clan of dark-skinned and beautiful children and their grandmother, that had a lighted multi-tiered fountain in their front yard and beautiful queen palms and ocotillos and a sweetly-clipped lawn and flagstone walkway now has dead palm trees that have folded-over onto themselves and collapsed in their dying onto the dirt that remains from the not-watered lawn that has broken and blown away and they used to have a parrot in a cage on their backyard screened-in porch that would talk and squawk in the sweet sunrising spring-time mornings…and many of the other homes do not have oil stains in front of their curbs and their winter lawns are manicured and coifed and otherwise trimmed to an obsessive’s perfection as the living room or family room lamps illumine and reflect into and through their decorated rooms and offer window-framed glimpses into their comfy sanctuaries as their white and spotted boxer stands at the security door and huffs while their own little ones run pell-mell through and around the kitchen and living room and “I told you to settle down already” mixes with the boxer’s huff and the pebble that rolled under my shoe as I consider my children and the drama of life and my daughters-in-law and sons and daughters and coworkers and my sisters and mother and the things and situations that I have passed-through and observed in my figurative times around the block and wonder again or marvel again at the pink and closing sky and remember the images and renderings from the book I just finished, The Good Soldiers, that chronicled a year in the life of a battalion of soldiers in Iraq and the horrors they endured every single day over there, the lives and limbs and dreams that were lost in what I and some others perceive to be a senseless war as my eyes tear-up again and my throat is tight as I swallow in the evening air, and wonder again at what is significant and what matters and how we can write hurtful words that express our deepest thoughts, our truest thoughts, and somewhere along the line we should have learned that we’re not supposed to do that…sometimes we aren’t supposed to tell the truth because it is going to hurt too much.  We’re not supposed to say anything…we’re not supposed to write those things…we’re supposed to keep them to ourselves…we abhor the game, yet we commit ourselves to playing it to spare the others’ feelings…and the one soldier had both of his legs blown off above the knee and his one arm at the shoulder and his other arm just below the elbow and a piece of shrapnel tore off the bottom of his jaw and his ears and eyelids were burned off and his 19 year-old wife and his mother sat at his bedside for months hoping that he would again be the husband and son that he had been those six or eight months ago before he went off and fought his fight in a country that didn’t want him there and did their goddamned best to get rid of him and his buddies who had taken that oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all foes, foreign and domestic…so help me God…SO HELP ME GOD!!!

And I noticed the one house that has a huge satellite dish on its roof with an accompanying smaller dish right next to it and even an old-timey UHF/VHF television antennae close-by…they must be a multi-generational-multiple-television-technology-viewing household, and while there were a handful of houses that still had their Christmas lights affixed to their roof trim, doors, and landscaping, only one house still had their lights on…blue-ish white lights strung and twisted around the columns in front of their door…that blue-white light that looks like the projector-lamps that you see on some cars…Merry Christmas brought to you by after-market lighting…and my one daughter-in-law/daughter is due to deliver her first child in two days, and my other daughter-in-law who is due in June learned today that her spotting or bleeding is due to the placenta having attached itself to the interior side of her cervix…which isn’t supposed to happen…and bed-rest and no nookie and no picking-up of her other child and no scooting of the laundry basket down the hall…and really take it easy, so said the doctor…and it’s a boy…at 20 weeks along…five grandkids and only one girl…and the one soldier who said he fell in love with the Army because of the testimony and promises of brotherhood and the friendship of his recruiter, one of the guys who had been there to uncover the spider-hole where Saddam Hussein was hiding, this soldier received a letter from his mom or girlfriend telling him that his recruiter friend had killed himself…he couldn’t deal with the pain of what he saw and did over there…all these years later…and the second time around the block or measured mile brings a breeze and the smell of my wife’s perfume from my hoodie as the black and white long-haired cat scampers in a low-crawl from the front tire of the red suburban and up to the house where the people are always sitting on the bench outside their front door smoking in the dark…the cigarette smell is there, the glowing tip of their smoke in front of their face, and the productive cough that speaks of sand in the glass and the ticking and tocking of the clock of their life as the guy across the street from them grinds something or other in his garage, making a shower and cascade of orange-yellow-white sparks and noise as the SUVs and passenger cars and full-sized and mid-sized pick-up trucks come around the corner and pull into their respective driveways and garages beneath winter mesquite trees and mercury-vapor lights that reveal or otherwise prevent from hiding what might be hiding in the shadows as the pink is wholly gone from the western sky and a dense gray has come to take its place as the lights from the jet-liners appear in an arc in their blinking and circling from that northern pathway and down to and around the western city and into the metropolitan middle where there is a sky harbor in the middle of an asphalt and literal desert. 

And holy mother of Buddha!  It was 30 years ago tonight that I first held the soft hand of that 17 year-old, tall, blonde, and gray-eyed little-girl-young-lady who became my girlfriend and wife and mother of my six kids…and I thank you, Lori Kim, for your love and patience and wisdom and understanding and forgiveness and guiding hand in bringing me from where and what I used to be to where and what I am today.  I do love you so….

 


Some Things End

We look at the calendar today and know or understand that we are at the end of another year, the end of another demarcated segment of the passing of time, the end of an illusion of something that we have created to guide or note the passing of our lives, and others’.  It is the end of a period, a mini-eon, a turning of the earth on its axis around its star, an exhaustion of common moments and days and weeks and months that share our contrived labels.

 

I took-down our Christmas tree and the other decorations yesterday, marking the official (?) end of the holiday in our household.  Our home is now as bare of this seasonal celebration as it was the day before it started.  The Christmas CD’s have been returned to their storage place, the strings of lights and garlands and hand-chosen hand-made and picked-just-for-you ornaments and stockings and wreath and ceramic hand-made Christmas tree with the birds as lights resting in the branches and the little teddy-bears that were crocheted and stuffed into the red plastic cups that were also stuffed into the also crocheted stocking boot things, one for each child of Yesterday’s Christmases, all packed back into their storage crates and returned to the garage where they will sit and wait for the end of the non-Christmas season when they will be resurrected, brought back to their temporal lives out of hiding or hibernation or nothingness to once again adorn, decorate, and symbolically remind us of their importance or taken-for-granted-ness that they do as only they can do.  Many of our neighbors still have their Christmas lights up and lit and making the outsides of their homes sparkle in the afterglow of that esteemed-as-blessed day that is now part of the past.  I think they look lonely, somehow.  They are pretty in their own way, of course, but they shine for something that has passed and is past…something that has ended…and something that will be back in the cycle of time, like most things.

 

The football season is in its final weeks; the playoffs will commence very soon and then end in that glorious display of something that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes good, and sometimes not worth near anything that has been spent on it…not even the moments we took out of our lives to observe it or think about it.  I remember watching the final game of this year’s World Series, the one that put the 27th notch on the victory belt of the New York Yankees, the one that kind of seemed like another ho-hum moment in sports history…all those grown and pin-striped men bouncing on the infield in a big group-hug of arms around each other or raised with fists or fingers up and triumphant, jumping up and down in unison with plastic smiles of perceived wonderfulness and greatness…the entire image of which somehow reminds me of a dog humping someone’s leg.  Anyway, that was the end of the baseball season, the end of summer…the end of the other team’s dream, their fans’ dreams…of something.

 

The end of dreaming, our sleep, with waking, facing our lives in their cycles of beginnings and endings, startings and stoppings, commencements and completions…the joy of picking-up a new book and opening it, smelling and feeling the smoothness of its pages and sensing the tiny and barely perceptible ridge of each line of script, and noting the crispness of the binding, the essence of its newness, unread, untraveled, untried, unfelt, and unlived…and a few hours or days or weeks later, when we have finished it, turned the last page and come to the end of the last thought and image of the last sentence of the last paragraph and that final period of the book, we set it aside, return it to the shelf where it was waiting for us those hours or days or weeks ago, beckoning to us for a visit, a journey, a co-existence and a shared life.  Its pages are now familiar to us, some marked, some words underlined, some pages dog-eared or crumpled, maybe spotted with a fingerprint or drop of coffee, the story read, felt, and lived, and our lives are different.  We have another perspective, another view of another’s view, another experience or life lived from within those pages…and it’s over.

 

Our children’s Christmas vacation, or winter break, will soon be over, our staff assignments and current work rotation will also end soon, the computers at work and home will mark the hour and date with a final ‘2009;’ we will open and post our new calendars with that ‘2010’ on our kitchen and bathroom walls, work walls, desks, partitions, and may open new journals, pocket and purse-sized weekly or monthly calendars…and make errors on our checks, payroll forms, and the other assorted papers in our lives where we leave our dated signatures to mark the significance of our passing.

 

While the actual physical substance of matter can neither be created nor destroyed and we understand that it only changes form with its constituent parts and components being rearranged in other forms, we do measure the end of physical items or objects as they move through our lives in their insignificant and momentous states.  It is nothing, to us in our everyday lives, to finish a bottle of laundry detergent, a bar of soap, a package of napkins, a roll of toilet-paper, a package of frozen taquitos, a box of cereal, a tank of gas, a ream of paper, a package of razor-blades, a box of dog biscuits, a carton of eggs, a bottle of soda or can of beer, a package of CDs, or a cartridge for the plug-in air freshener…but it does mean something to note the end of a life, a relationship, or other significant existence.  In this year that has almost passed, our friends and family members and pets have died, sometimes unexpectedly in tragedy, sometimes after long illnesses, sometimes in almost expected circumstances as they were young soldiers fighting in old men’s wars, and sometimes they passed when they were two months or eight months along and had yet to draw a breath of their own….

 

Sometimes the things that end are not lives but significant relationships or things or measures of accomplishments or adornments of our lives or homes that come to their expected or unexpected ends.  The cottonwood tree that has been the symbolic guardian and watchful eye of our backyard and family events, celebrations, pool-parties, hushed conversations and confessions, and carefree afternoons and evenings is nigh unto death as its top half to two-thirds has withered and died after 17 years.  That once beautiful mass of trunk and leaf and branch that would bend sideways in monsoon storms and was so tall that it could be seen from several streets away and housed numerous birds and bugs and offered dense shade in the summer and a golden wash and blanket of leaves to the yard in the fall and winter has passed into its own December…where it awaits its executioner on some unknown and approaching date…and my in-laws’ garage and workshop and hangar passed into a charred and skeletal nothingness on a fiery desert evening that consumed hand-made airplanes and a life-time’s accumulation of tools and lived dreams and celebrated accomplishments…and friendships and relationships and reputations were marred and lost over misunderstandings, deceptions, ill-spoken words, rekindled affirmations of differences in philosophies and world-views, too-personal revelations and fear, self-disclosures meant to validate and encourage that shook foundations of confidence and intimacy with the past.

 

These things and people and situations have gone away from us in their familiar and everyday forms, but they still exist in our minds and as substance that we might not readily perceive or recognize.  Our loved-ones and accomplishments live in our memories and in the pictures on our walls, the stories we tell across the fire-pit in the backyard, around the dining-room table, or in the living and remembering ‘living’ and ‘family’ rooms of our gentle homes…they become the standards against which we measure love and closeness and commitment and desire, the benchmarks for future accomplishments and lived-dreams, the substance for the stories that we have to tell so that we can live and endure our sometimes harsh and un-tender lives.  The cottonwood will continue to nourish the grass and other shrubs and bushes in the yard, as well as whatever tree we plant in its stead, as its monstrous roots decompose and reform in their mineral elements as nutrients and sustenance and the other stuff of life.

 

Some things end and some things continue on their circuits, cycles, repetitions, re-happenings, and re-constitutions…hopes and dreams that expired can be grieved and mourned and reborn…lives and relationships hurt or lost can be gleaned-from and cherished with lessons learned and priorities re-evaluated and commitments recommitted and memories relived in the expanse of eternity in the retellings and re-livings and the passing-on of his mother’s eyes to his baby boy…and it’s another moment and another day and another year that we celebrate and another opportunity to do those things that we didn’t do in the many yesterdays of the past year, to accomplish those minor and major goals and dreams that populate our sleeping and waking moments…and to tell those we love that we love them…that we love them…and we go on….

 


When Did The Clock Find The Wind?

When did the clock find the wind…to sprint like this?

And how could we not see its fleeing?

There were baby hugs

And finger paints

Mid-day naps

And lollipops

Sand in her tennies

And potted beans on the windowsill

Pound-puppies and princess’s ponies

And bubble gum and pig-tails

Now she wants to drive

And her iPod is in her backpack

With her cell phone at her ear

Long curly hair ironed flat in the mirror

And she’s ready for the prom

When did the clock find the wind…to sprint like this?

 

When we were young, we noticed that it took forever for special days to get here; whether they were birthdays, Christmases, the last days of school, etc…they took an eternity, as marked by our child’s minds that registered time’s passing by those ultra-special days coming and going.  Now that the years have gathered, so many more things mark time…payday Fridays, her birthday, your birthday, her mom’s birthday, vacation, the first day of school, early-release every third Thursday, progress reports, report cards, the annual re-bid at work, a trainee for five weeks, the boss is gone for two, the weekend stand-by form on every Thursday, monitor each employee every month, we just checked your messages, it’s Thanksgiving and now it’s New Years and another move or not, and Christmas or winter break is passed and past, and one more semester until it’s done, and this process takes four weeks and that one takes seven, and the puppy needs his next set of shots and three more months until that movie comes out, another week to read the book, pay this bill on the 15th and that one on the first, and pay it again on the 15th, and the other one again on the first, and next month there are three paychecks for you and for me, so we look forward to yours and to mine and we pay extra on this one and it’s time to trim the bushes again, and the bug-guy is here again, and it’s time to change your oil and rotate the tires again, and it’s her birthday again then mine and her mom’s and my mom’s and school’s out again for the year and then she’s 21 weeks along and they can do the ultra-sound and see if it’s a boy or a girl, and which type of paint and trim do we get and we’ll know pretty soon…it does seem to rush by, unbidden, just passing with speed beyond belief, sometimes like tempests and torn in the way, and images of youth and what used to be has gone in the swirling of leaves and thought and remembrance, our encumbered spirits and minds loose (not lose) those things of yesterday and try to gather them back again before they are ungraspable in their passing, gone in that spirit of has-been and collected somewhere up in the ether where lost thoughts and radio waves linger unhitched for evermore.  We used to think that our grandparents and parents were old or getting that way and now we find ourselves noticing the little lines by our eyes…and the ones that run down into our cheeks or spread like the sun’s rays from the corners of our mouths…we find that the singular gray hairs have multiplied into a profusion that creeps into our vision until it’s time to dye them again…or not…and the moustache had a couple and the chin several more and it’s no longer possible to trim that one or pluck it away as before…they aren’t going away…our memories hold when our bodies won’t…and our children are getting older…the lines on the door frame that used to be fun to mark once or twice a year are slowly catching-up with our chin and eye-level reaches…and we wonder where it’s gone…we wonder how it not only learned to sprint and spring away but to indeed flee and leave us watching…making yet more notes of its passing…she was only 11 months-old when we saw her the first time and she just turned 13 years-old…another was captured in a picture at almost three years-old with her arm in a cast and now she’s 26 years-old…and the first-born is crowing at 28 years…and those in between with babies and lives and house-payments and then…and my friend, Byron, whose gentle soul found the words that title this writing, noticed in awe the beauty and unbelievable 16 years of his daughter as he took her to school one day last week…it struck him how she’s not that little girl anymore who used to crawl into his lap with a favorite book or doll and sit there playing with his chin…time has fled with that little one and brought a beautiful young lady to take her place…unbeknownst to anyone watching…suddenly she is here…and we wonder again…where did the clock find the wind to sprint like this?

 

Thank you, Byron.

 

 


Everything Happens for a Reason?

What are we really saying when we offer that ‘everything happens for a reason?’  Are we suggesting that our lives and the lives of those around us have been pre-programmed in every possible way so that absolutely everything that happens in our singular and collective lives happens because it was ordained or determined to happen as such?  Or does it mean that once something has happened, we can take a retrospective glance or study of the event or happening and see that it might have been caused by a combination of events that came together in the moment of whatever it was that happened?  ‘This’ plus ‘this’ led to ‘this,’ and then when ‘this’ happened, it led to ‘this,’ and then when ‘that’ happened it led to ‘thus and such,’ and then ‘those things’ combined to cause ‘this and that’ to happen, which led to this person doing ‘this particular thing,’ or led to ‘this particular something’ happening to ‘this specific person?’  Is that what it means?

 

In my ‘quest’ to discover some possible meanings for this rather commonplace saying, I found another blog that mentions the book Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the True Meaning of the Events in our Lives, by psychologist Mira Kirshenbaum.  When I followed the link to Amazon.com, I read what Publishers Weekly had to say about the book –

 

If you believe that “everything happens for a reason,” you might find solace in this well-written self-help guide by psychotherapist Kirshenbaum. Her premise is that “that no matter what happens to you, not only does something valuable come out of it, but it’s just what you need.” Kirshenbaum details…10 possible life lessons one might learn from unhappy life events, ranging from self-acceptance, feeling at home in the world and letting go of fear to finding true love or your hidden talents…Kirshenbaum is careful to note that what you learn doesn’t make up for what you have lost…If you don’t believe there is comfort to be found in life’s worst events, this book isn’t for you. But if you’ve undergone a tragedy and are desperate to find meaning in it, Kirshenbaum’s smooth, comforting tone may give you some direction.  (Underlining added)

 

The “10 possible life lessons one might learn from unhappy life events” are listed in the blog as:

 

1.     To help you feel at home in the world

2.     To help you totally accept yourself

3.     To show you that you can let go of fear

4.     To bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness

5.     To help you uncover your hidden talent

6.     To give you what you need to find true love

7.     To help you become stronger

8.     To help you discover the play in life

9.     To show you how to live with a sense of mission

10. To help you become a truly good person

 

Another reviewer, Gavin de Becker, the bestselling author of The Gift of Fear, said that, “In a loving universe, everything does happen for a reason, and in Mira Kirshenbaum’s book we are persuaded that the universe always has our best interests at heart – even in our darkest moments.”  I’ve got some comments to make about that statement, but it will have to wait a bit.

 

While I haven’t read the book (yet?) and will concede that neither the blog nor the book reviews could possibly do the book every justice or injustice that it might deserve, it appears that the author is suggesting that a retrospective look at the events of our lives can be analyzed and suggested to fit into one or more of her above-named categories.  But having said that, it appears that she is also saying, in her premise anyway, that no matter what happens to you/us, something good is going to come from it…and that something is going to be just what we need…which means, to me anyway, that someone or something is directing the events and circumstances in our lives…in essence, good and bad things are brought to us by the universe (God?) because we need them.

 

Let’s run with that for a second…we got a good job after working shit jobs for 15 years building our resume while going to school…and we didn’t earn or acquire that ourselves…the universe brought it to us?  Our in-laws were killed in a car crash when some drunk crossed the line and plowed into their vehicle head-on…and he lived…and the universe brought that to us for some good reason?  Or did that happen so that we could learn to live our lives with a sense of mission?  Our client’s three and four year-old daughters were raped in their private parts, bottom, and mouth…both of them were raped in all three places…and the universe brought that to the client and the little girls for their own good?  Or did that happen so the mother could be brought to the place where she can feel forgiveness?  We finally won the lottery after spending $20 twice a week every week for 23 years…and the universe brought that to us?  Our son or daughter joined the military to fight against some fabricated threat somewhere across the world and got killed while trying to save the people who don’t want us there from themselves…and the universe brought that to us for our own good?  Please tell those 3,600-plus families who lost their loved ones in the events of September 11th that the universe brought them that experience for their own good…for a particular and specific reason…because the universe is a loving universe and only gives us what we need…please tell them and me how that could be true….

 

In my searching for other possible meanings or examples of this saying that ‘everything happens for a reason,’ I came across some other ‘comforting’ words from the Christian scriptures -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says that:

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which was planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

 

So, there’s right time for a four year-old to be sexually abused by some monster of a person?  There’s a right time for people to be killed by a drunk driver and have the drunk live?  There’s a right time for planes to fly into buildings and kill thousands of people?  There’s a right time for crazed white people to hang black people from trees?  There’s a right time for hurricanes and tidal waves and volcanoes and plagues to wipe-out thousands upon thousands of people?  There’s a right time for carbon monoxide leaks to kill entire families as they sleep?  There’s a right time for mothers suffering from post-partum depression to drown their children in their bathtubs?  There’s a right time for one tribe of people to massacre another tribe of people because they believe in different spirits and gods?  There’s a right time for men and fathers to cut the labia off of their daughters’ vaginal openings so they don’t experience any pleasure in the sex act?  Everything happens for a reason?  There’s a right time for freeway snipers to shoot unsuspecting people as they went about the mundane tasks and routines of their lives, or for a disgruntled mate to barge into city council chambers and start shooting employees, or for a disenchanted veteran to load a rental truck full of explosives and kill 168 people because he didn’t like the way the government handled certain incidents…there’s a right time for all of that?  There’s a right time for 50yo men to ‘marry’ 14yo girls to have them as second and third and fourth and fifth wives?  There is a right time for a US Army major to open fire and kill 12 people and wound 31 others on a US Army base in the middle of the United States?  All of those things happened because the loving universe brought them to people and to us for our own good and theirs, Gavin de Becker?  What?

 

Or this, from AOL News:

 

A British hospital wants to remove a 1-year-old boy born with a rare neuromuscular condition from life support, but the child’s father is fighting to keep him alive.

 

The baby’s mother agrees with hospital officials, who sought High Court permission Monday to remove the boy from the ventilator that allows him to breathe, British media reported.

 

“RB’s mother has sat by her son’s bedside every day since he was born,” her lawyer, Anthony Fairweather, said in a statement, according to Sky News. “In her mind the intolerable suffering experienced by her son must outweigh her own personal grief should she lose her child.”


The infant, known only as “Baby RB,” was born with congenital myasthenic syndrome, a muscle weakness that limits the movement of his limbs and his ability to breathe on his own. He has been in the hospital since birth.

 

Doctors treating the baby say he has such poor quality of life that it’s not in his best interests to keep him alive. But lawyers for the father argue that the child’s brain is not affected by the condition and that Baby RB can see, hear, feel, recognize his parents and even play with toys.

 

“This is a tragic case. The father feels very strongly that Baby RB has a quality of life that demands the trust should continue to provide life-sustaining treatment. The father clearly adores his son and hopes to demonstrate to the court that the trust’s application should be rejected,” Christopher Cuddihee, a lawyer representing the father, told the Sunday Telegraph.

 

The parents are separated, but both have been living in a special dedicated family accommodation near the hospital since Baby RB’s birth. Their identities were withheld for legal reasons.

 

If the hospital’s application is granted, it will be the first time a British court has gone against the wishes of a parent and ruled that life support can be discontinued or withdrawn from a child who does not have brain damage, the Guardian newspaper said.

 

Congenital myasthenic syndrome is the result of a rare gene abnormality that affects the link between the nerve and muscle, destroying the “signal” between the two when the nerve wants the muscle to contract.

 

Only 300 people in the United Kingdom are believed to have CMS, and they are affected with varying degrees of severity.

 

Please tell the mother and father in the article above that this all happened for a reason.  Tell them and me that the universe was looking out for this baby, this mom and this dad, and that it is all coming together for some good purpose…for a reason and one that will benefit everyone involved, because that’s how the universe is…it just is, right?  Please tell the mother and father in the article above, Mira Kirshenbaum, that not only will “something valuable come out of” this situation with their little baby…but that it will be “just what [they] need;” I fucking dare you.

 

Forgive me, but the universe doesn’t give a shit about us.  We’re life forms that happened to have survived the thousands of thousands of years and have managed to do so despite what we’ve done to ourselves as cultures and as a species…the universe doesn’t bring anything, things just happen.  Genetic mutations occur and people die…just like other animals do out in ‘nature.’  This mom wants her baby to be taken off the respirator so he can stop suffering physically, so his body will cease to live and he will pass away…and his father wants him to continue to exist physically because his brain is aware and present…and is aware that he is hurting as his body is fighting against itself and that some of the people who love him want him to continue to be in this state…shit…love him and let him go.

 

Everything happens for a reason?  I don’t think so.  Good happens and shit happens and that’s just the way it is. 

 


I know my name is Timothy

The little boy with too-long hair and hazel and brown streaked eyes and two little girls, with their mom, are sitting half-way back in the theater, staring transfixed at the screen as Bambi and his mother are nibbling the spring grass after the long winter.  Bambi and his mom are in the open snow-covered and foggy meadow.  Slow, somber music is stepping from the speakers in a near marching cadence as Bambi’s mom suddenly raises her head and looks about, one direction and then the next, her ears twitching as her head turns and her eyes searching for what her soul knows is nearby.  “Bambi, quick, to the thicket!”  Bambi and his mom spring away, near flying to the edge of the meadow as the music’s tempo increases with horn blasts and smart drums and strings…Bambi approaches and jumps the stream as his mom follows…with a bullet ricocheting off some tree or forest boulder….  “Faster, faster, Bambi!” his mom desperately pleads as he approaches and enters the first snow-rounded bushes skirting the meadow’s edge.  “Don’t look back, keep running!”  The music is frantic with strings and horns, screeching and marching as the baby and mommy deer flee through the snow, kicking-up little storms of white clouds in their passing.  As Bambi makes it through the snow covered bushes and rounds the corner, his mom pleads one last time “Keep running!” and then a deep and terrible gunshot rings out as the music reaches its peak, drops, and then begins to slow, the march gone, and now the strings lessen their intensity as Bambi makes it into their deep thicket home.

 

“We made it!  We made it, Mother!”  Bambi says as he pants and looks expectantly at the thicket opening.  “Wait…Mother?”  Bambi approaches the opening and looks out, then steps out of the thicket and into the now falling snow.  “Mother?!  Mother?!”  A choir of angelic voices begin to hum and ‘ooh’ in the background as Bambi starts to walk further out into the darkening woods.  Snow is falling and the trees and bushes exist in shadow form, shades of gray and white and black forming, outlining, blurring, and accentuating the hushed frames.  “Mother, where are you?!”  Bambi is running and walking this way and that and angelic choir voices continue oohing and the snow is falling thicker as Bambi is calling “Mother?!  Mother?!”  Slowly, as Bambi keeps running and walking through the snowy woods, his calling for his mother becomes weaker, weaker… “Mother….”  Oh, where can you be?  Bambi is standing in the falling snow with his ears laid back against his head, his tail down, and his little legs close together feeling the weight of the unknown falling on him in the thickening snow.  “Mother” now comes with a sob, a little boy sob as his chest shakes, walking, ears and head down.  He suddenly stops, gasps, and looks up to see his mighty, antlered father in a silhouette against the falling snow and gray black of the night.  His father’s deep, calm voice says, “Your mother can’t be with you anymore.”  Bambi slowly lowers his head and closes his eyes as the little boy with hazel and brown streaked eyes sitting next to those two little girls and their mom suddenly bursts into tears, crying inconsolably as his tender heart rips open with that un-named sadness…soul tears and sobs and baby anguish as Bambi learns that his mother is gone…and he, himself, understands maybe for the first time that his mother, too, is gone…echoes of “Your mother can’t be with you anymore” resound in his little boy mind and aching heart…wondering….

 

There is a certain loneliness or remove from those in his company.  The girls are nice and then not, or ok, but girls, and he remembers them from a few years ago, his sisters new, ones who opened their rooms and toy-boxes to him, shared their blankets and sheets with him, and even moved one of the dining room chairs over to allow his to scoot that much closer and up next to the dark, smooth surface of the table…chin up to the plastic cereal bowl or flower-printed plates that held his and their dinners….  They used to share a house and mom and dad, now there were miles and time separating them and their ‘visits’ were regular, but not as frequent as either of them would prefer.  This caused them to have to get to know one another all over again, to figure out the right approaches, the things to say or not say, which things to take or not….  “She’s my mommy,” one would say to the other as little elbows and knees struggled to find that other someone off of that mommy’s lap.  The separation of miles and time were wrought by emotionally uninvolved people in offices in tall buildings in a downtown that was as cold and uncaring as the winter wind that blew across the farmland where he now lived with another sister, other brothers and a different mom and dad…these were good people, just like the lady and the two girls and their dad at home, but they are nearer to his birth-mom and are the last of four families in 18 months or so and now resembled what might be stability…a stability that was foreign, yet welcome, strange, yet necessary…and temporary, if not known to the little boy as such, it was understood by the other mom and dad and brothers and sister…it was temporary, again, another stopping or resting place on the journey of his little life.

 

The little boy with hazel and brown streaked eyes names his first memories as those of being in a basement somewhere, walking down wooden stairs to a cold cement floor and sitting next to a water heater that ticked and hummed as the pilot light kicked the flame on and warmed the water that would go upstairs to the sinks and tubs where he remembers seeing syringe tubes and dirt and soiled underwear and socks…other memories of sitting behind the door in a mobile home or trailer in some part of the world that has no name or form…his little body tucked away and wondering at the strange people who populated his existence…a tall man with olive skin and dark hair who was sometimes there, the one who might have contributed to his life, laying the seed in the very light-skinned woman with stringy yellow brown hair and freckles and pimples and greasy skin and picking fingers, the one who washed her face and her son’s with a sour washcloth that had been wadded into a ball and sat alongside the kitchen sink that was full of clotted utensils and matted food and scum and waste…and other people who didn’t have faces or names or forms other than larger-than-me and scary, sometimes tender hands and sometimes rough kicks and shoves…life sucked-ass and vomited its bilious shit and vileness onto the tender skin and rat’s nest hair of the little boy with hazel and brown streaked eyes…sad eyes that questioned other eyes’ meeting his, waited for rising voices and strange cars, moving, transplanting, uprooting momentary threads of what could be and not……and traveled again to another place with that cold downtown building where people viewed others’ lives in black and white as they appeared on papers and papers and in folders and file-drawers, tucked away inside satchels, briefcases, purses and later appeared on court dockets and in attorneys’ offices.

 

The little boy’s maternal grandmother, his mom’s mom, called the police to check on him as he was living in the cab of a pick-up truck…sometimes parked behind the restrooms at a city park and sometimes tucked-away in the rear of the parking lot of the club where the mom sometimes danced or worked or found people to give her money for things or things…the grandmother called the authorities on the mom…the grandmother knew something was wrong…and the little boy was taken away from that mom…taken away from that mom….  The police found that little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes in the cab of the pick-up truck, along with the things and stuff of his life…shirts and pants and socks and a blue and gray jacket and a baby-bottle of soda, a baby-bottle of soda, and an unopened bottle of antibiotics that a doctor had given the mom for the little boy’s double ear infection…a bottle that had a prescription dated two weeks earlier than the day the police found him…two weeks earlier than the day the police found him…it was unopened…the police took that little boy to the community hospital where doctors examined him and found both of his ears still infected and bleeding, found bald spots on his head where handfuls of his too-long brown hair had been ripped-out in clumps, found damaged and swollen and bleeding kidneys, found signs suggesting that he had been shaken violently, found nickel and dime shaped bruises on his little chest and back and stomach that were supposedly caused by ‘the ski poles falling out of the closet…’ on that little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes…and he stayed in the hospital for two weeks while strangers came to look at him and draw diagrams and pictures of what they saw…police reports and doctors’ reports and social-workers’ reports and judges thought about the reports and the little boy and signed papers and sent orders and people to do his deeds for him…to take him away and keep him away…in the hospital for two weeks to heal and find something inside of his three year old self…and then go to a medical receiving-home with caretakers for a couple days until they could find someone to take care of him on a more permanent but temporary basis…and a social-worker called that lady with the two little girls and asked her if she was ready for another child, she and her husband and her two little girls, asked her if she was ready for that little boy with the too-long brown hair and the hazel and brown streaked eyes and that lady said ‘yes.’ 

 

That lady said ‘yes’ and told her husband and her two little girls that they were going to have a son and a brother and didn’t know how long it was going to be for, but it would be good for that little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes and they would make it good for them, too.  The girls shared their Princess-Pony bedspread and Barbie toys and wondered why he didn’t want to play with the He-man toys and teddy bears…they wondered why.  For six months that little boy lived in the home with his new mom and dad and two sisters and he came to know stability and evenness and life and have expectations met and consistency and warm arms and gentle hands and medicine when he needed it and dogs…and he laughed and played with those two little girls, one older and one younger than he, and fit right in…for six months.  He had to visit his mom in the office buildings in that cold downtown and would have sad hazel and brown streaked eyes or nothing on his face when the visits were done…little hands grasping a teddy-bear by the leg and walking where he was led and so.

 

The six months were the beginning of an eternity for that little boy and were a moment’s time for the lady and man and the two little girls.  It was a moment’s time and then gone as the little boy’s mom moved an hour and more away to a larger city where something or someone was waiting for her or things would just be better or who knows why but she did it anyway and ripped the little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes out of the hearts and life of that lady and man and the two little girls and ripped that little boy out of his new life and then.  And there was one home and another and another and more and one last one…and some of the people took care of him because they wanted to help and some took care of him because they wanted the money and some took care of him because they wanted another child of their own but their own family fell apart and they could no longer take care of him because they couldn’t take care of themselves and that woman cried and the little boy cried and silent tears marked his face in their passing from so-sad hazel and brown streaked eyes and empty and wanting and.

 

And he would visit his mom in the tall office buildings in that farther-away and larger city with the cold downtown and then visit his mom in his mom’s apartment or at Burger King or a park or wherever and the mom’s boyfriend would be there when things had gone well enough for the mom to have unsupervised visits and then that little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes got stabbed in the hand and thrown down a staircase by his mom’s fucking boyfriend and the visits stopped again and we wonder if the little boy would wonder at his life and himself and trust and love and what things might be like somewhere else.

 

Finally, that little boy went to that home on the farmland where the cold winter wind blows and it seemed that he would be there for a long time through spring and summer and maybe preschool in the fall and then.  He thought that he might be or would be, but the mom and dad and sister and brothers knew that they were only taking care of him for a while…they were just taking care of him for a some kind of a while…his brothers and sister came to love him and did love him and the parents were good people but they knew the little boy with the hazel and browns streaked eyes would be leaving again sometime maybe soon and maybe not, but they didn’t love him like they would have if they thought he wouldn’t be leaving soon or maybe not…they were good people and they took care of him for someone else…they did take care of him for someone else.

 

The people in the tall buildings in that cold downtown contacted the lady and man with the two little girls and said that they could have the little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes again because his mom’s legal rights were going to be severed soon and the little boy would need a permanent and real family and home and did they still want him?  The lady and the man and the two little girls did want him and thought it would be wonderful to have him back again.  They began making visits to that farther-away place and met the lady and the man and the boys and the girl with whom the little boy was living out on that farm-land and learned that they were good people…and the courts and the laws and time dragged by in their papers and appearances and dates and rescheduling and motions and hearings and lawyers and social-workers and interested-parties and paperwork and attorney’s fees and you can’t say anything but you can be there and you need to be there so the judge can see you and the little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes at the same time and when do we get to see him again and his birthday is coming up soon and we’ll make the long drive and bring him that present of a big yellow car.

 

Time and time continued to slip through the glass as moments and days and months have done and do and the lady and her husband and the two little girls moved out of state because it was their time to move and to start or continue in a new life they had chosen…and they gave their address to the people in that building in the cold downtown and those people talked to other people in buildings in a very warm downtown in the new and larger city where they lived with their two little girls and things were in motion to bring the little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes down to their new warm city.  More studies and reports were done on the family for the family of the lady and her husband and the two little girls and social-workers and supervisors and attorneys and clerks and judges looked at those reports and decided that it was time to send that little boy back to that family and that is what happened.  The lady left her husband and two little girls one day and flew up to that other colder city with a social worker from the state of her warm city and the two of them met the little boy again with the hazel and brown streaked eyes and brought him home with them…he came to join the lady and her husband and their two little girls again to live together and be a family again and laugh and share the new dining room table and his own new bed with the Transformers heroes on his own new bedspread and curtains and pillows and then.  He still had the brown hair and the hazel and brown streaked eyes and a scar on his hand that he remembered getting…and his hazel and brown streaked eyes were sometimes sad but more often happy and one can still wonder at what was going on, what is going on in that little boy’s heart and mind…what memories beat with the pulse of his heart, what loneliness clings to his soul’s deepest chambers and yearns for a love that is pure and unmarked and he still wonders at trust and love and who is there for good and who does he need to push away to see if they will still love him and not leave him and go away forever as he rounds the snowy bushes along the meadow and makes it into the safety of his own thicket home and turns around and cries “Mother?!”  The things taken and gone and left behind and not known and never known and who, he wonders at these and those things and doesn’t know.  He goes to bed at night in his new room, in his new room with his new family thinking about those things that he doesn’t know and wonders at what he does know, and wonders at what he does know…and the measure of his seven years of life and the seven years of life of that little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes might be summed-up in his thoughts, “I know my name is Timothy.”

 

The day finally came after months and years of waiting and then in cold cities and warm for the judge to make his ultimate decision and order that the little boy with the short brown hair and hazel and brown streaked eyes be named as belonging to the lady and her husband and the two little girls.  When the lady and her husband had asked the little boy what name he would choose if he could choose any possible name from any that existed in the whole world that was known to that little boy with the hazel and brown streaked eyes, he said “Why Timothy, of course!”  And on that special day the judge so ordered and declared and decreed and made known to all and to him that he would be and is named Timothy Wayne with his ‘new’ and final family’s last name…and so it is and was and will be and then.

 

And today, October 6, 2009, that little boy with the short brown hair and hazel and brown streaked eyes turns 28 years-old at 9:58 a.m. and knows that he is and has been and will be loved and cherished by that lady and her husband and those two grown little girls for many years and yesterdays of the past and the moments and days of today and for the many tomorrows and years to come and he knows more of himself and his life than he could say those many times past when the only thing he knew was that his name is and was and will be Timothy.

 

If you think you know Timothy, you might; if you are certain that you know him, you couldn’t possibly, because that little boy with the short brown hair and the hazel and brown streaked eyes is the combination of the many little boys and girls who exist as names on papers and papers and in folders and file-drawers, tucked away inside satchels, briefcases, purses and later appeared on court dockets and in attorneys’ offices and…he is nobody and everyone and somebody and then.  He is that one little someone inside every foster and adopted child who used to be someone else and is now who they are, the measure of who they have become in the process and system that defines and decides and makes judgments and rulings and decrees about little lives and girls and boys who used to belong to somebody and now belong to somebody else and then…he is the totality of those other little Someones who lost everything they had and were and only know for a certainty that their name was and is and will be theirs, so please don’t change it for if you change it who did they used to be and are and who will they be if they can no longer say that they know their name is…?