At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Growing Serenity

I’ve noticed/realized that I’ve written precious little, lately.
I apologize to you, Dear Reader, for the clicks wasted to visit here, only to find nothing new or noteworthy.

Silence happens.

There have been other times when I’ve been relatively quiet. Over the past two years there have been months when I’ve found few words. Heretofore, it had always been a matter of too many questions and precious few answers.

It’s different this time.

I’ve lapsed into a serenity of sorts. Oh, sure, my head is still a ramshackle jumble, a cacophonous carousel. It always is. If my mind were ever to grow quiet and serene, I would surely die of terror. There’s always a riot going on upstairs.

I try to shelter you from my perennial ponderings about political prevaricators, the irreligious religious, humanity’s inhumanity, the Tao of bowling, the metaphysical mysteries of soup, the significance of shoelaces, and all the flotsam and jetsam ever present within this insomniac’s skull. I am a merciful man.

I’ve tried to answer my most pressing questions, define my deepest ponderings and truths. I have grieved the loss of three of my most important relationships. All had ended in the death of either someone or something most precious, rare and beautiful. I have grieved mightily. I’ve stumbled and crawled through all the stages of grief (even adding a few of my own). There was denial, anger, resentment, bargaining, guilt, numbness, depression, disorganization and despair aplenty. These emotions, these hurts, were my grist for words as I groped for acceptance, hope and understanding.

I’ve grown silent.

All the questions that could be answered have been answered. Those that have no answers have been buried or abandoned by the wayside. I can’t undo my doings. I can’t “un-choose” the choices I, and others, have chosen. Life’s road is, after all, a one-way street. I can look back (and often do), but time will slowly obliterate my footsteps, brambles will overgrow my traces, and fog will descend upon the road once traveled. I can look back through the mist, but know I can’t go back.

The way calls forward to the future.

Life and Love cry out to me, again. I’ve been lashed to the mast for too long. I yearn to submit to the Sirens’ Song. Granted, my steps are still tentative. I’ve yet to find the legs to dance. Still, I am on my way. My growing serenity tells me that it is time I must.

As Winter bows before the grandeur of Spring, I turn my face to the warming sun and the cleansing rain. Music has made a return, of sorts. Quiet songs of love and hope fill my ears again. I look to the future a chastened man, a humbled man. I look to the future with open eyes and an open heart. It’s not for me to know if I will prosper or perish and, frankly, it makes little difference (although I do have a decided preference for one versus the other). Whatever waits beyond the horizon will be my fate, my destiny.

I shall embrace it all with a growing sense of serenity.

* * *

(to be continued...)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Precious, Rare And Beautiful

Do we not all have at least something we hold to be most precious, rare and beautiful? I believe the phenomenon is nearly universal. Regardless of the individual, regardless of personal means, regardless of the object itself, do we not clutch close those things that resonate within our soul, that evince a passion, a love, a remembrance or a pleasure? The violinist caresses his Stradivarius; the hunter sleeps with his beloved hound. An elderly man keeps safe a battered, but prized, tin soldier; a mechanic lovingly polishes a vaunted and prized “dream car.”

It may be a child’s simple snow sled, dubbed “Rosebud.”

It may be a brooch, a painting, a worn and tattered book of verse, an heirloom or a lock of hair…it may be almost anything, anything at all…but to a singular soul it will forever be a source of magic, comfort, pride or pleasure. We feel blessed to have our precious, rare and beautiful gifts…we revere them.

So we hold close to our hearts that which we consider precious, rare and beautiful. We lovingly caress them. We provide safeguards. We preserve them. We dare not lose them or dispose of them or sell them to another. We would dash into a burning house, risking life or limb, to retrieve them; if misplaced or lost, we would search the world over to find them. For to lose forever something precious, rare and beautiful would be to suffer ineffable pain.

I have my own precious gifts: a hasty portrait of my father, sketched in charcoal by an accomplished artist dying of starvation in a refugee camp. He captured my father’s soul and that soul speaks to me at every glance. I have a poetry anthology that has journeyed with me near and far. The pages are dog-eared; many are torn. The spine broke decades ago and the pages have all worked themselves loose. Shabby though it may be, it is my best-loved, and most cherished, tome. There are paintings in my home that fill me with awe and wonder. I could not bear to live without them.

* * *

I ask you, then: “What about the human heart?”

What makes an object precious, rare and beautiful, if not the emotions engendered? And what, in our existence can engender the greatest, most profound of emotions if not the human heart? It seems simple enough to comprehend, does it not, that it is the human heart that is the most precious, rare and beautiful gift that may grace one’s life?

And yet…and yet…

I have failed to revere my most precious gifts. There have been times I’ve treated a loving heart with disdain. There have been hearts I’ve neglected, hearts I’ve betrayed…hearts I’ve taken for granted.

My losses, my shame, haunt me.

Perhaps it’s a function of age. Wisdom accrues, even to a fool, if given time enough and tears enough. Perhaps it’s because I’ve come to know that I would dearly give up that portrait of my father if only I could look into his eyes again. I know, in my very marrow, that I would gladly, ecstatically, barter my poetry and my art for the chance to embrace the woman with the soul of a poet, or wake to the heart of an artist beating beside me.

* * *

Of all that is truly precious, rare and beautiful, it is the human heart that must be revered and treasured and loved above all else.

* * *

Saturday, March 03, 2007

1 - 2 - 3 - 4

I’m an analog soul living in a digital world. We all have our burdens to bear, I suppose.

For the past six months or so, I’ve been experiencing a strange phenomenon. Seemingly twice each day, I’d glance at a digital clock somewhere/anywhere and I’d note the time: “12:34.” Yep. Day in…day out, my eyes always came to rest on a clock at that specific time…(no matter if it’s ante- or post-meridiem).

I was delighted the first time it happened. “12:34” - it struck my fancy. I think our minds (well…OK…mine anyway) gravitate towards patterns. Here was a 'digito-temporal' straight flush…a simple progression…carved in time.

Then it happened again and again, and then again. Regardless of where I was, or what I may have been doing, I’d glance at a digital clock at just that precise time. And each time it happened, I felt
a teeny-tiny cosmic jolt.

I ascribed it to mere chance at first. A whimsical smidge of serendipity. After a few more occurrences, it began to feel like Fate…an augury…1 – 2 – 3 – 4. Then I began to cheat a bit. Shortly after noon or midnight, I’d be mindful of any clock within eyeshot. Well, that certainly “de-funned” the phenomenon, so I quit doing it. And then it would happen again…and again: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4


I believe in Fate. I believe in omens and mystery and magic and serendipity. There are no empirical reasons to believe in such doings; but, it’s the spice of life…therefore, I believe. I must believe.

Still, I hate to think my science education may have been completely wasted, so I ponder and mull as to why? I recalled Freud’s postulate that our subconscious minds are all seeing, all-knowing…ever observant; however, our conscious minds cull, sift, sort and censor this avalanche of data lest we be perpetually overwhelmed. Methinks the good doctor may be right. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4…is this just the whimsical interplay of my conscious/subconscious minds?


* * *

Those who know me well, who have known me for decades, have often heard me proclaim that I am most fortunate…truly blessed. For, you see, whenever I’ve been laid to waste by love’s travails, someone with healing hands inexplicably wanders into my life…at just the right time…precisely when my heart begins to yearn again…and I, Destiny’s child, am blessed once more by the grace of another soul.

I’ve long ascribed it to the munificence of the Fates.

Perhaps the Fates truly are my smiling, merciful benefactresses. Perhaps I owe dear Themis, Clotho, Atropos and Lachesis more than a few heartfelt thank-you’s. Perhaps. Then again, it may be a matter of my heart telegraphing its yearnings to my brain…”Send me an angel.” My compliant mind then opens its shuttered eyes and exclaims:
Ah, there she is.” An angel made to order.

And thus, it begins again: awareness…appreciation…affection…adoration. As easy as 1 – 2 – 3 – 4…the dance begins again.

* * *

I hope and pray, this time, to dance my way to serenity.

* * *

Gratuitous non-sequitor: I love "Vanilla Mint" ChapStick®.

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