At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The winter chill has eased a bit. The squirrels have left their nests and descended from the trees.

Gawd, how I LOVE it when they all line up to dance!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Kampala, Uganda

I, as so many fellow bloggers do, have embedded a website tracking and counter system to intrigue me with (mostly) useless information. The data serve a purpose, though. They fuel my ego and satisfy my narcissistic needs. Hey, I’m human. I love to be loved...if only in fantasy, only in cyberspace...and only by a relative few.

Still, every now and then, I’ll spy something unusual. Something that makes me smile and, even better yet, ponder.

There was the individual who stumbled upon my blog late one night and, literally, read EVERY entry until the sun rose in the morning. And never returned.

And then there is the sojourner from Kampala. (S)he stopped by one day and stayed to read an entry or two or three. And dropped in again, and then again and again, to read systematically each entry, month by month, year by year, never commenting, never making his/her presence felt...(although felt it was).

Kampala, Uganda. Truth be told, Sitemeter isn’t all that accurate.
I can’t know if this visitor, this wayfaring stranger, even resides in Kampala. The locale may just be some digital way station somewhere along the electron highway. No matter. Kampala is the name I see;
in a country named Uganda on the continent we call Africa.

I’ve never been there. Neither the city, the country nor the continent. I feel embarrassed.

I’ve criss-crossed North America. I’ve traipsed through parts of Europe. It’s not that I haven’t travelled, I have. But not enough.
Not nearly enough.

And here’s this soul in Kampala.
A human being who has read my words and found a few that resonate (I presume). I want to meet this individual. I want to see, with my own eyes, what my fellow human beings see on different continents, in different time zones, where seasons are the opposite of mine, where Life manifests itself in ways I cannot fathom and, yet, despite that, where the human soul remains incredibly the same.

I want to see Kampala. Uganda. Africa. South America. Asia. Australia. I want to see EVERYTHING there is to see. Feel all there is to feel. Taste it all. Take pleasure in, and suffer along with, it all.

I’m just greedy that way.

And so, my nameless, faceless, unknowable Kampala friend, I thank you. I thank you for reminding me that there is so much to see, so many people to many experiences to experience.

I must get going. Ars longa vita brevis and all that...and toss in a bit o’ Carpe diem!

I must get going.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


So. I’m sitting here at the computer, red-eyed and lost in thought.

I’ve been thinking about honesty and all the implications. I’ve been thinking about the fact that I began posting my thoughts and feelings in this venue called a “blog” almost four years ago...315 entries ago.
I stated my earnest intentions in my very first entry. They haven’t changed. I had no desire to write for an audience (I only had an “audience” of one, initially, anyway). I was simply chronicling the thoughts that sprang from within. Striving to be honest, as best
I could.

It hasn’t been easy.

It is so very tempting (gratifying, even) to present a work of fiction.
A beautiful story about a beautiful man feeling beautiful emotions and thinking beautiful thoughts such that readers become enamored or enthralled, clapping and cheering and melting with desire (well, females, anyway). It’s tempting. Truly, truly tempting.

But what would be the point of that? My life’s no romance novel. Never was.

I wanted to create a memoir for myself, given that Alzheimer’s has haunted both sides of my family and every branch. As I stagger to the end of my sixth decade, I feel an ever greater urgency to capture all that resonates inside. There may come a time when I shall have to sit and read these words from start to finish in order to discover a person named Jonas.

But there’s more to it than that. I feel a need, a burning desire, to confront who I am and was. I don’t want to breathe my last as a fictional being hiding behind a mask. I’ve worn too many masks for far too long (out of necessity, mostly...sometimes from fear and times, simply to be loved and admired). There’s precious little time left for that. It serves no purpose to belie my realities.
If one aspires to be “authentic” well, one had better do it before Death comes knocking. The hourglass keeps draining towards empty.

But honesty doesn’t come easily. No, it’s far easier to keep pretending I’m better than who I am. Nobler, braver, taller, thinner, more beautiful, more talented and virtuous than who I truly am. It’s hard work to tear away the veils, cull the dross, scrape away the patina or the crusted shell. I’ll readily admit that I do censor myself in many ways, but mostly out of respect for the privacy of others. I’ve hardly said a word about my friends, the people I love so dearly. They all have their own stories, but those stories remain theirs to tell.

I’ve expended little effort to document every facet of my life and being. Most are just not all that important in the grand scheme of things. The hunt for the “essential” me is challenging enough.

It isn’t easy to be honest. Particularly while floating in cyberspace. Readers come and go...and I miss each and every one (the ego simply cannot be denied). I’ve watched stalwarts turn their backs and walk away upon discovering my failings and my frailties. Some leave out of boredom, I suppose. I can’t say that I blame them. I understand.
My life has not been pretty. In fact, it’s been quite the mess in many ways over the course of many years. I burn with’s an eternal flame.

It isn’t easy to be honest because honesty demands that we stand naked before a flawless full-length mirror to confront our flaws, the wounds and scars and...well...c’ many of us actually want to do that? Not I, not this graying man who no longer exudes the beauty of youth. It’s hard enough to face myself in the mirror while brushing my teeth.

Honesty doesn’t come easily. I wonder if I am to die alone because my truths repel. It’s a sorrowful outcome to contemplate. And yet, I’d rather die alone than pretend to be someone I am not. I’m all
I got, and if that’s not enough, I’ve got nothing.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

We Americans celebrate St. Patrick (sorta). We celebrate the Irish. Good humor, a touch o’ Irish brogue, street parades, corned beef and cabbage (and the requisite boiled potatoes) for dinner, green beer and a wee bit o’ madness and mayhem burst forth this day. The City of Chicago dyed its river green today (as it does every year). It’s actually kinda cool to see. The streets and taverns overflow with revelers.

Erin go bragh!

Funny (but not really), I feel as if some exile standing outside, alone in the rain...looking on with empty eyes. I honestly delight in Irish culture. I’m an absolute sucker for films about the trials, tribulations and amorous doings in Irish hamlets (and there have been many).
In fact, I actually studied Irish culture in a social anthropology class decades ago. I like the Irish. I do.

The thing is, though, two of my grandest of grand passions were Irish colleens. Surprising that a Lithuanian boy would say this, I suppose, but it’s true. It was probably mere coincidence, nothing at all to do with the Irish per se. I guess I was fated (ill or otherwise) to fall in love with these two most fascinating women (decades apart) who sent me soaring higher than I had ever soared...and sent me crashing back to earth harder than I could have ever imagined. Hard enough to almost kill me.

There’ll be no green beer for me. No green derby. No four-leaf clover.

I’m swilling straight, crystal-clear vodka.


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dogwood Daze

It’s a straight shot east along Interstate-40 from Nashville to my parents’ (former) home on the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Tennessee. All in all, about a two-hour ride.

I had departed my house early that afternoon (ever tardy, ever clumsily disorganized), leaving Chicago’s urban grit behind to visit my folks. I had already spent eight hours on the road when I turned left from Nashville and headed east. The day had disappeared behind my back and the air began to cool. Night swallowed me whole. I had grown numb hours ago from the vibrations coursing from the handlebars through my fingers, hands and arms. No matter how much one may love riding a motorcycle...those flights in the wind...
it all gets to be a bit much after a while. I felt bone-tired. I simply wanted to knock on their door and hug and kiss my way inside.

An hour into this last leg, I began the slow climb onto the plateau.
The air changed as I ascended almost imperceptibly. I caught a whiff of dogwood (it was spring). It then dawned on my nose that this was more than a mere whiff. In fact, the air grew ever more redolent of dogwood. It grew saturated with dogwood. I came to feel as if I were knifing through an aroma cloud, the most fragrant and refreshing air
I had ever inhaled. If Heaven has a scent, well, this could have most certainly been that. My weariness dissolved in that heavenly scent.
I was lost in scent, in love with scent, one with the dogwoods. Never had I been so enamored with the mere act of breathing (and never since). Time and miles morphed to perfume and reverie until, at last, I reached my destination, feeling as if I had experienced a miracle.

I hugged and kissed my way inside, and I felt blessed.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

I Celebrate

I celebrate the miracle day that hitches a ride on winter’s bedraggled tail. I celebrate the day that emerges, as if by sheer magic, from the cold and dreary fog...the day that demands that all windows be thrust open to flood dusty rooms with joy. You recognize that day. We all do. It visits once each year...this day of beloved blossoming.

As I throw back the curtains and breathe in the warmth and light,
I feel my heart and soul burst open, releasing all that had been confined or left for dead during the dark and frigid winter. Chimes seemingly ring as I burst open and become weightless. Gravity holds no sway on a day such as this. All that I bore for so long, the darkness and my winsome dreams, ascend to Heaven.

In bygone years, when I was filled with passion and rainbows, the contents of my heart and soul burst forth as butterfly swarms. And I would chase along, rushing to embrace the world. More often than not, I would roll a somnolent motorcycle out from under its blanket. I’d strike a spark and resurrect my iron Lazarus to propel me hair flying into the gaily dancing sunlight.

I am quite a bit more gray these days, a bit more burdened by burdens. On this miracle day,
I crack and break to release the flocks of bats that have haunted my deep recesses. They, too, take flight...swooping, soaring, then disappearing. It’s all the same.

Whether filled with butterflies or bats, I float free on the fresh breeze.

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