At Twilight

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Location: Midwest, United States

Monday, May 28, 2012


There were times when I felt as if I were flying.  

No, this has nothing to do with aeronautics.

There were times when I felt as if I were flying, when my heart soared.

I came to experience the sensation often enough in my youth.  When first straddling a motorcycle.  When first caressing a breast.  When first experiencing awe. 

Many were the times in my youth when I flew.

My heart doesn’t fly as much as it once did.  “Ignorance is bliss” the saying goes.  That statement is valid enough.  To soar, is to be untethered from reality.   

There’s a lot to be said for freeing oneself from tethers.

But, then, there’s reality. Icarus, sadly, came to learn that lesson all too well.

Still.  Still.  Even so.

There’s something about flying that remains irresistible

* * *.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Faster I Pedal...

...the more treacherous the ride.

I never expected this: a cycling season that began the first week of March when temperatures soared absurdly to July heights. 

I’ve since pedaled my way to the end of May.  I’ve logged over three hundred miles compared to the fact that, last year, I only began cycling in June.

I count the miles and chart my progress.  I can’t believe what I’m seeing.  I’m riding so much farther, stronger, faster than I was riding by mid-summer last year. 

I’m only just beginning. 

I’ve become more proficient.  I shift through gears efficiently.  My pedal cadence is steadier.  I sweep through corners faster.  I descend hills at speeds I never matched last summer.

The thrill-seeker in me revels.  But the humble soul knows: the faster I pedal...the more treacherous the ride.

I’ve crashed at speed on a motorcycle.  It hurt.

I spilled on my bicycle several weeks ago.  It hurt.

I think about such things on long, fast descents. 

It’s all a metaphor.  

The harder the effort, the greater the passion, the bigger the risk, the more enticing the thrill...the harder the fall, the greater the damage and pain unimaginable..

Even so. 

I’ll try to pedal faster for longer tomorrow...and the day after that. 

I know no other way.

* * *

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In a "Fado" Mood

Years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Portuguese Fado music.  This friend was a linguist, fluent in English, Lithuanian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.   She and her husband were world travelers, Peace Corps volunteers, experienced sojourners, citizens of the world.

We all NEED friends such as these.  But I digress.

These friends introduced me to Fado music.  It’s a genre of music somewhat mournful.  The lyrics, generally speaking, reflect a longing for loves far away (or lost) at sea.  The Portuguese were, after all, a seafaring people.  The music, more often than not, is an incredibly beautiful vocalization of irreparable loss and its consequences.  I swear, I've listened to songs that simply tore my heart apart.  Yes.  It can be that...beautiful.

There’s actually quite a bit more that can be said about Fado, its history, its misuse and its evolution.  But it’s late.  I’m tired and I simply want to listen to this modern, rather creative, electric variant.

‘Cuz that’s the mood I’m in this midnight...

* * *

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wheeling About

I’m a Prairie Child who enjoys spending time with toes buried in sand, ocean side.  What can I say?  I’ve thrilled to deep waters squatting on Aracadia’s rocks or traipsing along the soft beach bordering Calabogie Sound. 

Anyone who has spent any time at all observing Life along briny coasts has seen seagulls flocking around trawlers and shrimp boats.  It’s a sight to see.  Birds by the hundreds pilfering whatever there is to be gleaned in the wake of fishers and seiners.  

Landlubber though I am, I’m surrounded by gulls.  The ring-billed gull, in particular, decided to homestead in the Chicago area.  They numbered in the thousands some thirty years ago.  Today?  They number in the hundreds of thousands.

You can take the gull from the sea, but you can’t take the sea from the gull.

I saw an amazing thing today: hundreds of gulls flocking about a farmer discing his field.  It was quite a sight.  Here was a farmer on a tractor, turning the soil amidst a cloud of gulls.  They swooped and soared, wheeling about, diving from great heights to ripples of loam.  Feasting on the proteins exposed.  I’d seen that sight, many a time, over saltwater...behind boats.  Never over a farm field, though.  Boat had morphed to tractor, liquid had morphed to loam, yet the gulls behaved the same.

I marveled at their telecommunication skills.  How had these gulls, so far from water, found this field, this farmer and this plow?  Made me realize how badly I suck at long-distance messaging. 

I was mesmerized, enthralled.  This unexpected ocean view over dry land caught me utterly by surprise.

Though my legs had grown weary pedaling so far from home, my heart reveled.

* * *

The roadside attractions did not begin nor end with gulls and grubs.

The day before, legs coated with sweat, lime dust and cottonwood seeds, I chanced upon a young coyote crossing my path on his/her way to a farmer’s field.  I confess: I got a thing for young mammals.  They’re curious.  Every bit as curious as I was at their age. 

It’s a funny thing.  I pass by quite a few fields populated by grazing horses and cows.  The older members of the herd content themselves with grazing, mostly.  Preoccupied, almost exclusively, with matters of nutrition and romance.  The colts and calves?  They indulge in curiosity.  I like that.

This specific coyote?  Seemed a bit scrawny to me.  I’ve been fretting about his/her general health ever since.  ‘Cuz I’m a worrier.  That’s what I do.

Regardless, this young predator eyed me suspiciously.  (S)he moved a few steps farther afield as I pedaled closer.  The eyes remained fixated on me, a lycra-clad apparition moving most bizarrely.  I pedaled closer.  Coyote sidled farther.  Our eyes locked together.

I gotta say, I felt flattered.  I am of an age when I draw nary a glance from younger homo sapiens.  This “seventh decade” denizen has become accustomed to obscurity.  Regardless, this young, rather malnourished, coyote  found me most intriguing. 

For that, I am grateful.  I feel rather blessed, actually.

* * *

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Letter to a Friend...

(never sent)

Dear _______,

You’ve been uncharacteristically quiet of late.  After all these years, I believe I know you well enough to know that you are either ecstatically happy or rather despondent.

Given that I’m a melancholic by nature, I fret that you might be hurting.

On the other hand, it is my own nature to wallow in happiness silently...and despair in torrents of words.

As a consequence, I am of two minds regarding your silence.

Should the truth be that you are busy being happy, then I will cheer you on in silence, knowing that Happiness, eventually, spills onto everyone.

Should it be that you are sad and struggling, know that you are not alone, that there is always a shoulder available to sop up tears...when the time is right.  I accept that the Time must necessarily be of your choosing. 

Through it all, I remain your friend.



* * *

Friday, May 11, 2012

Early Breakfast

I was a young man, just starting my career.  Back then, I traveled back roads three weeks out of four.  My life consisted of motels and early breakfasts...and way too many cigarettes.

All those miles, the motels and cheap, expense account meals, have faded to fog, except this one:

I was offered a seat at a table for two one row from the window wall.  To my left were plush window booths.  To my immediate left was a booth occupied by two.

One man wore a suit and tie.  Across that table sat a man in denim.

The odd pairing caught my attention.  I strained to listen in.

The man in plain denim, albeit silver hair, silver bracelet and silver Rolex, stated he was going to Mexico to begin life anew.  His starched shirt-and-suited companion sputtered: “Why!?!

I can’t take it any more.  I’m spent.  Done.  Finished.”

But, your wife?”

She’ll be fine.  She’s well taken care of.”

I poked at my eggs distracted.  There was something momentous happening immediately on my left.  I couldn’t catch the complete conversation, but I caught the drift:

Man who had it all gives up all.

I was young then.  Slurping caffeine and runny yolks to gird myself for the future, I could not understand.

Decades later...

I do.

* * *

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Yusuf 'n Me

See things the same way.

Miles from nowhere

But it's all right...

* * *

It's Not Yet 3 AM

But I'm listening to this

* * *

Friday, May 04, 2012

Our Emotions

Emotions are the oceans within us

Cast adrift at birth

We row forth on seas limitless and mysterious

Waters of abyssal depths

Unique tides and currents

A thermohaline circulation...fed by tears

We drift forth

Destination unknown

Warm waters...and cold

Gentle swells...Tsunamis

The navigator has yet been born

With art enough to chart these seas

What can a castaway do

But pray for safe harbor?



 * * *

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