At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, October 31, 2011

Listenin' to Tyrone

This offering from singer/songwriter Tyrone Wells moves me.
His entire repertoire is worth a listen.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Reading an Obituary

I read an obituary not long ago. The facts were presented in formal, austere fashion: full name; names of parents, brothers and sisters, spouse(s), children and grandchildren. A complex web. Then there were the academic and career achievements: degrees attained and subsequent employers. Honors and achievements duly noted. Then come references to church affiliations along with community ties, volunteer activities and society memberships.

The obituary has its place and serves a purpose.

It's not enough.

It barely scratches the surface.

There’s no hint of what it all meant to the deceased, the family and community. The heart at the heart of things receives no mention.

But it’s the heart that matters most and only.

Obituary. Fail. We’re not privy to the details of the extraordinary heart now silent. We’re left wondering just how much that heart suffered and bled, swelled and rejoiced.

It's the Suffering and Joy that constitute a life.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If I...

Gently kissed your fingertips

Would you kiss mine?

I ask because

I’ve grown old

And kisses

Have proved important.

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Worn notched oak
Cradles throat


Wrists bound tight


Blade to spine
Blood to ground


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Tear

If I were challenged to identify a symbol for a human life,

It would be this:

A tear

There’s no way around it

Simply no escapin’

If you’re gonna live, you’re gonna cry

Gonna cry when parents struggle

Gonna cry when you discover Life ain’t fair

Gonna cry when first rejected. Then again.

And again.

Gonna cry when friends

And lovers

Drift away


Gonna cry when you lose your faith, hopes, dreams, looks, youth and vitality

Believe me,

You’ll cry when you are orphaned

Live long enough and you’re guaranteed to cry a whole lot:

Cry at weddings

Cry at first steps

Cry in ecstasy

Cry in sympathy

Cry because it’s all just...too, too


Cry because you kinda comprehend

Cry because you don’t

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Time and Distance

Time and distance are typical measures for most endurance endeavors. Time and distance. There’s a whole lot packed in those two words.

Yeah. I’m about to go all metaphorical on ya.

What I loved most about long distance running, what I love most about cycling today, is the time allowed to think and feel. Time to simply think and feel.

I should explain from the outset that I’m an emotional, not an analytical, creature. When I say “think” know that I’m thinking about whatever it is that I’m feeling, physically and emotionally. No better way to come to some understanding of the Self than to spend lots of time with same.

Of all the elements that comprise endurance training, I love the long runs/rides the most. There’s something profound in becoming absorbed in one’s own breathing, to be a self-aware physical creation marveling at how it all feels. Yeah. I love that. I’m addicted to it, actually.

Then there’s the emotional side of the agenda. I go long to discover my truest emotions, to confront fears, grieve, find strength and to come to some understanding of the true importance of the truly important.

I find it therapeutic.

This was a summer filled with long rides in anticipation of completing a Century. It was all good. Training went well. The performance gains actually astonished me. I didn’t think a sixty year old body could respond to training as quickly as it did. Damn, but the body is amazing!

And I had lots of time to think about a great many things across a great swath of emotions. Say what you will about aging but, for me, one of the best aspects is the richness of the reflections and contemplations.

A week or so ago, I passed on apple cider. I had trained all summer in anticipation of a 100-mile cycling endeavor. The weather gods ruled that the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks, Michigan was not to be. The weather gods continued raining on me for another full week. I never saddled up.

But I had me a hunger.

And, no, I wasn’t hungering to bicycle over rolling terrain for eight-plus hours. That part intimidated me.

I was hungering for something else. Solace? Yes. Remembrance? Yes. Mourning? Yes. Honoring? Yes.

Saddle sores? Not really.

My heart craved pleasure and pain. Pain and Pleasure. Both have their purpose.

And this is the perfect season for all that. Now was the time, the perfect time, to saddle up and ride for as long and as far as my body would allow. So I did.

‘Cuz I wanted nothing more than to ride while the slanting, saturated light bathed my surroundings in shadowed relief, rendering everything glorious. I wanted to ride on a day teetering on the cusp of life and death, when Nature busies herself preparing for winter. This is the season of change that in its poignant beauty reminds us that the cycle of life will continue unbroken...and that Life is incredibly beautiful and unimaginably cruel.

So I saddled up and rode. Rode for hours upon hours. Reveling in beauty. Shedding a tear or three. After some four-plus hours, it became a matter of relentless forward motion. Call me crazy, but I kinda like that state of mind. Yeah. ‘Cuz it often comes down to just that: One foot in front of the other. Just one more pedal stroke. One more breath. Relentless forward motion. Past tears. Past hopes, dreams, heartaches. Past all the wouldda/couldda/shoulda-beens. Past every outrage, wound and scar. Past beyond the Past. Suffering endured to leave suffering behind.

Sometimes relentless forward motion is all we got.

Yes, it’s all about the pleasure and the pain. It’s all about giving homage to all that must be revered...and leaving all that must not receding far in the distance. It’s pleasure and pain. Time and distance. Taking all that Life dishes out in such huge helpings...joys, sorrows, comedy and drama...because we must.

I pedaled my way to 77 miles in just under six hours. I think I couldda done a hunnert if it was just a matter of legs. My legs had it in them. My left arm/hand did not. Something went haywire. My arm and hand went numb. Not just numb, enervated. I couldn’t squeeze the water bottle in my left hand. Found it challenging to shift. The nerve damage kinda freaked me out.

I thought it best to stop. I thought it best to heal a bit before I rode again.

‘Cuz all I want to do is ride again, for as long and as far as my body can take me. I sorely need a few more rides in that slanting, gorgeous sun, as the Earth braces for winter and prepares for renewal.

I need me that solace now more than ever.

* * *

Amazing Woman has breathed her last.

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