At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

I Touched Her

I wandered about a bit in the artist's studio.  The art appealed.  I looked forward to an opportunity to express my admiration.  The opportunity arrived.  We conversed and then she moved on to converse with others.

I stood there, alone, surrounded by beauty.

I can't recollect exactly how "she" entered my consciousness.  She simply did.

We talked.  Indeed, we talked for hours.

But here's the thing: I touched her.  I know now that she took little note of that.  Why should she?  Many people touch others whilst conversing.  What she didn't/couldn't know was that I wasn't one to touch strangers.

What was a trivial happenstance to her was momentous to me.  I reached out and touched her.  Did it again.  And then again.  I surprised myself.  I didn't understand what was happening.  My mind, obviously, had relinquished control to my heart.  And my heart, as you readers know, has a mind all its own.

I observed (rather surprised/stunned) each time I touched her shoulder.  My hand had moved of my heart's accord.

And I knew...simply knew...there would be more to this story.

* * *

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


I've been haunted by this for the past three years.  

Three years ago, I was cycling Chicago's Lakefront Trail.  The trail loop is a fairly long ride.  Back then, it was a challenge for me to ride for over 30 miles at a stretch.  That day, I had cycled north for fifteen miles or so, and I was feeling a bit peaked.  I came to a stretch where, on my right, was a soccer field.  There was a game on, contested by young girls.  On my left was a park bench.  I wanted to stop.  I wanted to rest.  But then it came to me: the song "Aqualung".

The song may not mean much to some/most.  But it meant a lot to me.  I was a fan of the band Jethro Tull in the 70's (there was no Jethro in the band, the front man was Ian Anderson).  The band released an album in 1971 entitled "Aqualung".  The album fascinated me way back then.  The title song intrigued me most.  I found it disturbing.

The park bench across from the soccer field enticed.  But I thought it best to ride on.  Right about then, the opening lyrics of Aqualung exploded in my head:

Sitting on a park bench
 Eyeing little girls
 With bad intent

And ever since this song has bounced around inside my head.  I didn't want to be perceived as another Aqualung.  And yet, and yet, there are aspects of the song that touch and trouble me.

The lyrics intrigue.  My personal interpretation is that two distinct views are expressed.  The first is a public perception: a dirty derelict...eyeing little girls with bad intent.  The second is the viewpoint of
a sympathetic friend who sees Aqualung for who he is: a sad old man, hobbled and forlorn...yet somehow still aware that "flowers bloom like madness in the spring".

I've come to understand the truth of that.  

* * * 

Saturday, June 20, 2015


I woke, Thursday morning, aware that I was officially one year older than I was the night before.  I had entered the fifth year of my seventh decade.

I suppose that, if I were of a more philosophical bent that morning, I might have formulated a thought or two about this whole "aging" thing.  I didn't dwell much on that.  I simply brewed my coffee and slowly prepared for a morning bicycle ride.  I wanted to ride.  I looked forward to cycling a favorite forest preserve trail while the day was young (though I can't claim that I felt all that young myself).

The weather was...uncertain.  That's pretty much the way the weather has been for weeks and months on end.  We've had rain.  Lots and lots of rain.  We've had wind.  Lotsa wind.  In recent days, I've cycled either in cold temperatures or hot temperatures.  All things in moderation is a worthwhile concept but, in these here environs, "moderation" seems a quaint notion.  The days swing between extremes, rarely pausing in any state remotely resembling moderation.  So be it.

I'm slowly learning to accept Life as it comes.  

The sky was overcast when I arrived at the preserve.  The wind was brisk to say the least.  The humidity was near 100%.  While every cyclist hopes for ideal conditions, this cyclist...this day...didn't care.  I wanted to ride and ride I did.

Several miles along the trail, it began to rain.  A few sprinkles at first, then a drizzle as a prelude to a steady, gentle rain.  I didn't mind.  It was satisfying enough to keep pedaling, moving forward, traversing past groves of trees and wetlands and prairies.  My eyeglasses were pretty much useless, coated with raindrops and completely fogged by the humidity.  I pedaled in an out-of-focus dream state.  I didn't mind.  It seemed a good metaphor for my general state of mind.

I felt content.  I felt blessed.  A young doe crossed the trail ahead of me and that pleased me.  A hawk flew past.  Miles later, a heron glided by.  I was in a happy dream state.

As rain dripped from my helmet, my arms and legs, and sprayed from my bicycle's tires, I slowly came to the realization that I had been deliberately steering my way through puddles.  I made no effort to avoid them.  Not at all.   I rather enjoyed making splashes and ripples.  And then it hit me: I was simply being a child again.  This seventh decade denizen had enthusiastically reverted to that long-lost child who loved to splash about in puddles.  And that, my friends, was a joyous realization.

So it was...on the day I turned to be sixty-four...I became a child of five again.

That pleases me more than I can express.

* * * 


Friday, December 19, 2014


All I need is a bowl of gumbo
With someone across the table
To share in the experience
 Not looking for a miracle
Gumbo is magic enough
A bowl of goodness
A glass of wine or two
 A meal shared with a sympathetic soul
 A bowl that satisfies
But, to be true to self,
It must do much, much more....
Gumbo must propel, nay,
Compel to sin
Spice cannot be denied
Lest the universe crumble to cinders

 * * *

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