Monthly Archives: November 2009

so much depends upon

a red wheel

barrow

wcw

and so began another day,

cold and wet and dreary…

a perfect reflection of my waking mood.

I spent the entire day reaching for some thread to unravel my tied up brain. To somehow loosen its ties to my heart.
I tried in vain to push my mood upwards through the soil in order to allow some sort of positivity to bloom.
All day i fought myself.
I did exactly what I have already written against.
I refused to back up and gain perspective.

“so much depends
upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water”

I refused to recognize my own wheel barrow, glazed with rain water, standing outside the library I had sought refuge within from the storm in my head.
Most days I ride my bike everywhere.
Some days I just ride my bike.
Sometimes I just need to embrace the freedom to get up and go. To move under my own volition. To feel the freedom that comes from pedaling hard through city streets and down back roads.

Today was a day where I did not want to go and ride my bike downtown in the rainy November cold. Today was a day where I needed get out of myself and into the weather.  To pedal down wet empty streets with rain dripping onto my glasses, wind in my face, upright, arms out.  Embracing my foul weather search for clarity.  

When we are still children we learn to crawl then walk then run.  Always moving slowly in circles around and through and under the watchful eyes of parents.  It is when we learn to ride a bicycle for the first time that we discover the word “freedom”.  We begin to understand the fear and exhilaration of speed that first time our furiously pedaling feet start to outrun our ability to keep control .  The first time we maniacally laugh and continue far and fast past our parents grip with them calling loudly. “slow!”   “stop!”   “no farther!”

This is the first full, true taste of freedom.  

Now, we have the ability to go and do and fly and flee!

We can move out of our tiny circles and watchful eyes.  

We can move out into golden open worlds we have yet to explore.  

We can move so much faster than we ever could before.

We can feel the wind on our faces and the burning in our lungs.  

We can also fall fantastically and destroy lips and noses and knees and elbows.  We can come home barely breathing through tears and show horrified parents the places where skin and teeth should be. 

And tomorrow we can go out and do it all over again.

And again the next day.

And again.

We can learn to ghost ride bikes through wide open fields of grass.  We can feel both the thrill and the fear of the chase.  

We can experience those first disgusting and truly amazing emotions that go along with the first dangerous and secret missions undertaken by children out alone in the world, away from the disapproving glare of parental interference.  

Ah yes, the places we weren’t allowed to ride to with the children you weren’t allowed to know.

So much opened up once you learned to ride a bicycle.

This is why one never forgets how.  

Not because it is easy or part of our muscle memory.

Because it is so closely tied to freedom inside our hearts.  The part of your heart that still lives inside your chest.  That same part that beats inside your chest at 6 and 12 and 15 still slams hard against your ribs at 33 while pedaling furiously through wet empty streets dodging puddles and potholes.

So much depends upon my beautiful chrome bicycle glazed with rain water.

So much sanity and heartbreak and need and salvation.  

So much depends upon burning lungs and occupied eyes and straining legs.

So much depends upon freezing cold nose and ears and fingertips.

So much depends upon the ability to  get on the seat called a saddle with all the feelings and dreams it holds, its ties to one’s needs to move always westward, always onward, always forward once more towards wilds and adventure.

So much depends on its connection to memories of first childhood freedoms and independence.

So much depends upon…

So much.

 

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And did you get what you wanted from this life…?

Today is a sunny fifty-five degree day in late November.

The market is still in full swing. The farmers are happy and friendly, able to continue selling their hard-earned fruits. The crowds are enthusiastic and appreciative, allowed one more bright and shiny fall afternoon.  Families enjoy a slow and  sweet Saturday together outside after forced family functions and rainy cold holiday drives.

The long holiday weekend is festive.  

There is no line jostling or overcrowded sale table.

There is no tumultuous toy grabbing or clothes rifling.

There are carols and singalongs and tuba santas, fresh-baked breads and ripe vegetables, local honeys and grass fed meats.

 

A sense of community and strength of spirit prevails. There is an understanding that today is one of those great and beautiful days that we need to enjoy and be grateful and appreciative of because the coming days ahead will be cold and windswept. Barren fields without fruit or vegetable. Snowy iced over sidewalks for trudging, bundled against the elements.

But those are ahead.

Not now.

Not today.

Today is for the small child’s wonderment at a reindeer with one big antler.

Today is the small sticky hand full of kettle corn.  

Today is the warm cup of cider you blow gently across while sharing smiles and handshakes with strangers and old friends alike.

Today is today. And although tomorrow will dawn soon enough, we must not forget:

Now.

Here and so very bright and tangible.

Here is warm bread and sunlight. Here is now and real. Today is alive.

Tomorrow will come.

Today we have all of this.

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a small, good thing

 “You probably need to eat something,” the baker said. “I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this,” he said.

Carver

Working to change your current direction and accompanying mindset is a project.  A work in progress.  Sometimes there are setbacks.  Sometimes there is forward movement.  Not every day will be a good one.  Part of treating it this way is being ok with having bad days.  Realizing it for what it is.  Moving forward.  

Those times call for backing away.  Stepping back from the work and gaining perspective.  

Terribly cliché.

Horribly necessary.

Today I’m having a bad day.

crescent donuts

Night time in the late fall and early winter is beautiful.  The air is so crisp at times, burning  your lungs.  A wind can eat right through the combined layers of shirts, sweatshirts, down. A wool hat pulled tight wants to ride up over your ears as they grow even pinker.

 These nights beg for late slow aimless cruises by bicycle.  

The sky is amazingly clear.  The lights of a small midwestern college town do not overwhelm the stars like the coastal cities back east.  The air is cleaner.  Allowing for crisp clarity of vision.  It is not the starry endless night of the desert or mountains.  

But there are still so very, very many of them to see.  

A long aimless ride.  Toes cold.  Curled into woolen socks, tucked inside old sneakers.  Legs pumping slowly.  Rhythmically.  Trying to stay focused but loose.  Allowing that cold air to fully pull you in and wrap around you.  Watching light after burning front porch light fall away behind.

Warm homes.  

Cold houses.  

A wrong way down the one way past the cemetery.  

Out of the neighborhoods through empty parking lots by warehouses.

The glow is the donut shop.  It is warm and inviting.  Twenty-four hours.  

back home, at night,  you could always drive down towards the beach to the lighthouse.

In winter you could sit down there in your car.  

Heat cranked.  

Window half down.  

Listening.

The crashing rhythm of waves.  Over and over against the shore.

The gentle sweep of the lighthouse beacon passing out and over the crests of frigid winter waves along the New England coast.

The amazingly dense darkness of night over the ocean.  

Perspective.

Here I find the glow of big full bright windows fogged up with heat from so many ovens baking.  

Frozen gloved fingers trying to work out bike lock and keys.  

Inside, the smell of dough and coffee and frosting is as much tangible as salt spray and winter wind.

The comfort of childhood associated with early winter morning trips with dad before work. 

Oh, it is home this smell.  

Small hot chocolate.  Chocolate frosted and cream filled donut.  

A counter just like every other counter at every other small town donut shop everywhere.  Music from the back.  Machine noise and warm dough and bakers voices.  

This small midwestern oasis, with its beacon passing gently out over my waves, warms me.   

This small good thing, with its frosted windows and neon sign, beckons me.  

I can sit here.  Warm myself, inside and out.  Take deep warm breaths.   Slow down my head.  Listen to the music.  Smell the dough.  Exchange kind small talk.  

Allow my heart room to breathe. 

This is stepping back.

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you keep using that word

“i do not think it means what you think it means”

-the princess bride

Part of doing this project and setting these goals for myself was also to better understand my own motivations. The “why” of my actions and inactions.  J.M. thanked me for wanting to undertake this somewhat* secret blog project with her.  I replied that i needed to do this.  

Then I stopped.

I thought about the words want and need for a second.  I thought about the last few years of my life.  I thought about the next few years of my life.  I don’t want to do much of anything lately.  I definitely don’t need to be writing somewhat self centered missives to the online world.  I figure there are quite enough of those.  I concluded the more appropriate word is should.  And not just I but We.  

We should be writing every day about the many good things we find in the world around us.  We should be sharing these things with others.  Not to impress or to gain notoriety or points.  Not to sway opinion or put the self up as an authority.  The idea is that we should be shining a spotlight on the very many little things that are overlooked every day because these are things that deserve to be recognized and shared.  And more than just that, others deserve to know about them.  

We are not the leaders of cool.  We are not experts in fields.  We are not authorities on how you should live or be.  We are everyday people with small voices and scattered brains and failing eyes. And for every little thing we catch there will be billions we don’t. But those few we manage to discover, we would very much like to share with you.  Sincerely and without irony.  

My motivation is the desire to overcome my own depression fueled apathy.  The apathy fueled by loss and regret and sadness that I have been mired in for far, far too long.  My motivation is to escape the swamp of sadness and begin to fight the Nothing. 

So.  

Here we go.

Together.

*The “somewhat” being that it is so far a secret from the people that know us in our other online and real world lives.  Which may seem contrary to the goal.  Because it is.  But hey, come on.  I’m a shy self conscious dude.  Baby steps ok?   A little patience.  We’ll get there.

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jumping from airplanes

Many a recent day has been lost in a daydream state, pondering my options for doing, for reading, for seeing, for eating.  Pondering and weighing and staring.  Usually right up until the light had fallen, the day had ended.  Most days never doing. Unfortunately, most days never eating.  

I have stood many a recent day in the doorway, chute on, door open, staring.   Totally unwilling to step outside.  

I say recently.

Now, I would like to step from the plane.  Not a real plane of course.  My incredible fear of heights is a problem to be solved another day… or never.  Probably more like never.  

I digress.

Today, I would like to step from the plane.  

In conjunction with a dear friend over at somuchsoclose (whose metaphor I am currently butchering) I will be attempting to reenter the world and get back to both living and writing.  I will be attempting to show appreciation for more things.  I will be attempting to share the things i find that make me happy, enthusiastic.  

In short, “sometimes a great notion” is an attempt at living better. 

It is my motivation to do more.  See more.  Appreciate more.  Share more.

I also hope to improve my writing past the 4th grade level.  

So, J.M., today’s goal has been filled.  What does tomorrow bring?  What do we jump from next?

 

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