At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I have written of beauty and my perceptions before. A few days ago,
I offered a comment on another blog about physical beauty. It was promptly dismissed as sexist. I suppose it was to some. Sexism and misogyny abound (more so in the Bible Belt). So much so, that some see sexism everywhere.

I see beauty.

I see beauty to an extent never experienced before. I think it's part of the sixth-decade terrain.

I gaze at physically beautiful humans a bit envious, mostly wistful.
I appreciate unblemished suppleness. The hormone-fueled vigor of glorious youth. But I know, all too well, the ephemeral nature of physical beauty. Gifts such as these, like the innocence we arrived with, are not ours to possess forever. These are transitory states.

And I know, too (and have through almost all of my adult life), that outward appearance does not necessarily correlate with an individual’s sensuality or eroticism...or true character for that matter. Surprises abound.

Even so, I revel in beauty. It grows ever more wondrous. I shall not be lusting for that beauty, though. I’ve lived too long and ventured too far on damaged legs for that.

I only lust for hearts that have endeared themselves to me:

In Love Made Visible

In love are we made visible
As in a magic bath
are unpeeled
to the sharp pit
so long concealed

With love’s alertness
we recognize
the soundless whimper
of the soul
behind the eyes
A shaft opens
and the timid thing
at last leaps to surface
with full-spread wing

The fingertips of love discover
more than the body’s smoothness
They uncover a hidden conduit
for the transfusion
of empathies that circumvent
the mind’s intrusion

In love are we set free
Objective bone
and flesh no longer insulate us
to ourselves alone
We are released
and flow into each other’s cup
Our two frail vials pierced
drink each other up

May Swenson

* * *

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


We chatted a few nights ago. She is smitten with her new 4G phone and eagerly anticipates buying a laptop with built-in cam.

Won’t it be great when we can see each other when we talk?

I’m not enthused about it” I answered.

Why!?!” (genuinely perplexed)

I’m not sure.”

That’s not a particularly enlightening response, is it? I feel duty-bound to explore my ambiguous reaction.

Thoughts manifest themselves in usual “Whack-a-Mole” fashion:

Perhaps it’s because (for all too many years) I’d certainly been seen but hardly heard?

Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for earnest or smoldering eyes? Truth be damned.

But...but...consider the exile who calls from worlds away to gaze upon a face loved beyond all others.

Would we be more respectful to each other if we saw inflicted hurt reflected in the eyes?

Would pollsters/telemarketers thrive? Will the "attractive" find jobs galore?

Will commerce blossom? After all, there are those who say: “Sincerity is the key. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” What better way to fake sincerity than with batting of lashes and sparkling smiles?

Just sign on the bottom line.

I’d certainly pay more attention to personal grooming.

Might even brush my hair.

I dunno.

I dunno.

I dunno.

I DO know it doesn’t matter whether I know or not how face-to-face Internet telecommunication will play itself out.

I know that it’s inevitable and it’s just ‘round the corner.

That I will surrender...

And make an appointment to have my teeth whitened.

* * *

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Surrendering to Pleasure

A loris shows us how.

This clip makes me happy...and leaves me feeling wistful.

* * *

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wild Optimism

Woke up early this morning to watch Stage 14 of the Tour de France. Today’s race was a 185 kilometer jaunt from Revel to Ax 3 Domaines, the first of four days to be spent climbing the Pyrenees (days filled with mile-high ascents and dizzying cascades on the flip sides).

I was inspired. So much so that I waited for the thunderstorms to pass so that I, too, could pump up my tires (and chest) to sally forth on my own two wheels.

I won’t claim this was a perfect day for a bicycle ride. The storms turned 90+ degree air to stew. The heat index climbed to 103. And did I mention the wind? Oh, yes, there were breezes aplenty. 30 mph zephyrs, in fact. Accompanied by their big brothers. Nothing a professional cyclist can’t handle.

But I’m a hapless dilettante.

I leg-wrestled with the wind for a solid hour. Turned around and breezed towards home. Didn’t quite make it. One mile from my doorstep and I ran out of...youth (nearly all my geezerhood, too). I was spent, shaking, darn near hallucinating. I found a patch of shade and collapsed. Prostrate in the grass, I wondered how long it would take for my heart rate to slow to something more reasonable like, say, 500 beats per minute. Too dizzy and weak to move, I amused myself by watching sweat geyser from my thighs. A gypsy crew of house flies arrived momentarily. And (I kid you not) two buzzards began circling overhead.

How do they do it? How does the house fly find decaying organic matter within seconds? I tend to ponder questions such as these whilst semi-comatose. The flies come to feed and lay their eggs. I suppose a creature with a lifespan shorter than a month doesn’t just hear the ticking of its “biological clock”. The explosions must be downright inspirational.

The flies descended. But I wasn’t dead quite yet. I thought I heard them mutter: “Any second now. Any. Second.”

Say what you will about the common house fly, but you have to admire it for its boundless optimism.

* * *

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Probing the Depths

I’ve been feeling kinda lost. Bereft of words. I was burglarized recently in a way I’d not experienced before (and believe me, I’ve been ripped-off often).

I discovered I’d been wildly plagiarized.

I hadn’t contemplated the possibility all that much over the past five years. Scarcely gave it a thought except to muse I wouldn’t be amused.

The reality was more troubling than I could have imagined.

What is plagiarism, exactly? OK. It’s the pilfering of prose. Do I place a high value on my prose? Not really. I try to select the right words and string them together. It’s a bead-worker's craft. I freely admit I took pleasure in reading some of the comments proffered in praise of the craft (albeit praise heaped on the thief).

What hurt so grievously was to see the essence of my life, the very fabric of my being, ripped apart and pawned by others for their own amusement or self-aggrandizement. Do we not all agree that our personal experiences, and how we integrate them over a lifetime, constitute our very essence? Strip away all possessions, turn bone to dust. All that remains are the experiences and how they shaped us...a life lived...memories cherished.

The thing about personal experience is that it don’t come easy and it don’t come cheap. Experiences that so often define us may have been perilous, painful, drawn-out affairs...cruel childhoods, failing marriages, illness and suffering. There are other experiences, too. Lifetimes of spiritual explorations. Whether baleful or benign, these experiences are uniquely ours and ours alone. How we come to them and come to regard them, how they shape our lives and change us...ultimately define us.

* * *

I suppose one must be of a certain age, and of a curious bent, to remember the Trieste. Fifty years ago, two men descended to the deepest depths of the ocean (seven miles deep, in fact), into an abyss named the “Challenger Deep” in the bowels of the Mariana Trench. Their vessel was named the Trieste.

(Digression: isn’t it odd that it’s been a half century since human beings ventured into the perpetual midnight depths and frolicked on the Moon? Have we lost our zest for audacious explorations?)

Trieste’s descent into the chasm took hours. The pressures were immense beyond measure. The slightest flaw or misstep could result in instant death. As the hours ticked by and Trieste dove deeper, a Plexiglass pane in an observation port cracked. Death knocked but didn’t enter. Jacques Piccard and Lt. Don Walsh stared at a world never seen before, or ever since, by human eyes.

* * *

I discovered how much it hurt to have my personal experience, my essence, treated shabbily. Childhood memories, dreams, yearnings, loved ones, matters held most dear, pains suffered and tears shed...all were sullied by an absolute stranger for purely selfish purpose.

Thieves will always lurk among us. Well, if you’re gonna steal, steal my car. It’s considered a luxury vehicle, low miles. It’s worth a pretty penny. Steal my car and I’d be inconvenienced and aggravated. I’d have to deal with the police, rental car agents, insurance representatives, car dealers and others. Yeah, I’d be aggravated. With any luck at all, the thief would serve time in prison.

But steal my personal experience, all that defines me!?!

No! Don’t you dare do that!

I can't think of a suitable punishment (although Dante has).

* * *

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Are You Content?

I posed this question to a friend:

Are you content?”

Silence ensued. I understood. That’s not a question answerable with a simplistic “yes/no.”

Am I content?” I asked myself

I pondercated a bit. Yes and no. I’m satisfied with approximately two-thirds of my life. That’s right, I’m content with roughly four decades outta purt near six. I've experienced forty years of decent (often joyous) living. Twenty years o’ Hell.

And it’s not like those forty “good” years were all that good or easy. They weren’t. I’m a human being, I’m talkin’ ‘bout 40 years of trials and tribulations. Even so, I consider them my “good” years because I know I did the best I could, bringing to bear all the skills that I possessed in search of the best possible outcomes. Still, there were tears. Buckets. Because I didn't always fact, I failed often. The outcomes varied. But that don’t matter much to me. I did the best I could.

Then there are the “twenty.” A third of my life haunts me. I’m troubled knowing I wasn't true. I hurt, knowing I hurt others. Forgiveness remains out of reach. I squandered a third of my life being less than I could or should have been.

I did damage. Threw away gifts and sold myself cheap.

Am I content?” I ask myself

No. Not really.

* * *

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