Friday, November 21, 2014

The Emphasis Is on the 'Is'

Sometimes, recently for me, we back away from our own thoughts.  This is, of course, increasingly easy in an age...

Sometimes we forget how to use the feelings and difficulties our personal journeys gently shove into our faces, we forget to look behind emotion and failure and we forget that they are the fuel that energizes us...

Sometimes I suffer an almost vertigo-like fear when I think about the despair and doubt and injustice so evident in human affairs which will be suffered on Nick and Zack...

Sometimes life can really suck...

I am having a bit of difficulty getting started today.  I want to speak of cold basements and lost opportunities and hard decisions and my mastery and understanding of them all.  I don't know how to do that.

At a morning mass this week, I had a thought.  I am embarrassed to admit that I've had it before, and I can safely assume I will have it again.  It is a selfish and practically pathetic little thought that whines up from my ego sometimes:  Why isn't this working?  Why don't I feel the peace and love, why don't I get the parables, why do I question all of it so thoroughly?  Where's the kumbaya of it all?

But this time was different, this time I got my answer:  It is working...

Zack decided that he wanted to use a word program on the computer to write a "persuasive speech" he has been working on for school.  He got out the laptop we begrudgingly use upstairs sometimes and turned it on.  Well, it hadn't been on for a while and decided it needed to load several hundred new updates, a process which pisses me of to the point of enragement, which isn't even a word  I find slightly annoying.  As I stood and he sat, me seething, he staring hopefully as the updates ticked down, I said something like "This isn't gonna work, Zack."

"Dad, it is working."

Surrounded by Cheerios he had spilled, a half boxful, Nick was picking them up one at a time and eating them off the floor.  They were everywhere and the floor wasn't as clean as it maybe should have been and we were a little pressed for time and he was maybe four and I said "Nick, this may not work, let me get a broom."

"Dad, it is working."

Always the emphasis is on the 'is.'

And it is, working that is...  Sometimes not to my satisfaction, sometimes not in my time-frame, sometimes totally contrary to my liking.

Zack got his paper done and didn't really mind the wait.  I sat down with Nick and munched Cheerios off the dirty floor, and I'll remember it forever.  And, my faith is working.  I am a better man now than I was twenty years ago, I guarantee it.  I am hopeful again and, although I am still at times lonely and frightened, I do not feel alone.

Everything is working.  Our parenting, our providing, our moral direction; our dishwasher and computer and the old toaster-oven; our smiles and tears and fears - all working.  Presently, right now, it is all working, not has worked, or will work but the emphasis is on the 'is.'

Z spent most of an hour working on this under the dining room table so no one would see it before he was done:

The award ceremony is on the back:

And yes, second place dude is wearing this shirt:

That hair is defiantly working for him.

Nick drew this for reasons yet to be determined:

It's a "pirate guy's hook wielding a gleaming rune-encrusted scimitar."  Well, that is indeed working for me.

I found this under a table in the living room.  I don't know if it is important or not:

"Icious"  It must mean something, like the state of being in the moment.  Or not...  it's still weird, though.  "Having or full of..." is what the suffix 'cious' means.  Hmm, full of "I," yep that's me sometimes, especially when I don't think anything is working.  As in: I am one icious idiot sometimes.

I am glad you could come around today, peace to you and remember, as we all should, that it is working.  Don't be icious...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Your Title Here

Write your own ding-dang story.  I'd call it "Snow Day" or something like that...

Well done, you can really spin a good one.

From Marci's ".... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"There is bacon between my toes!"

(as result of barefoot omelette making)

Is there a better feeling?  I do draw the line at salami between the toes, although it is important to note that if you lick a piece of salami it will stick nicely to bare skin...

Thanks for coming around today and telling yourself my story.  I wasn't trying to be flip or anything, but I'd imagine this story is familiar to everyone.  Not because I assume the ubiquity of snow, I know a lot of folks don't get a snow day or more a year.  No, I guess I was thinking about the inevitability of some moments.  This day was written for us long ago by the hearts of children still remembered.  It is the simplest and most fundamental of stories.  It is also a story easy to forget:  Let's play!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Moments Between or The Essential Nothing

It's the nothingness of it.  Childhood, that is.  And, not in an existential, angsty way.  No, just an empty, waiting-to-be-filled nothingness, a sort of holy void or a soul waiting to be conjured or a mind waiting to be wired, however you might describe it.  Not that.

Today I am thinking of the nothingness of the days we pass as children.  We remember the bigger events and wilder moments.  We forget what happens between them.  There is a lot of time to fill between toddlerhood and puberty, hell, there is a lot of time to fill between birth and death.  We sort of forget that, except, when we don't...

I used to look back on my childhood and remember the grandness of it, the sled rides and bicycle jumps, the football in the mud, the holidays, the deaths and lost pets, the friends.  Now that I have kids, boys in particular, I find myself looking back and recalling the "nothing-to-do" moments.  The moments between.

JB, my best childhood pal,  and I dug holes - not a hole, mind you - multiple holes, trenches, dugouts in the roots of a tree, bunkers, rock-filled foundations.  In fact, I have a scar on my forehead from he and I digging horse shoe pits in the back yard.  I bent over as he was coming up and his shovel tip got me good just above my left eye - twelve stitches worth.  That may sound energetic and boyish and a little wild and adventurous.  In all honesty, it was mostly standing around leaning on shovels talking, talking about, well... digging a hole.  It was nothing.

Another childhood friend, JR, and I used to get together at his house and draw cars.  We used protractors and rulers and compasses to draw big finned roadsters with fiery carburetors and big block engines or long lean dragsters with smoking tires and spoked wheels.  We did it for hours on end, talking about, you got it, race cars and colored pencils.  It was nothing.

I read endless Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes and... oh yeah, sports novels.  Back in the fifties and sixties there were these short little chapter books about a boy or a group of boys who faced some sort of difficult dilemma, often moral, and had to figure out how to overcome it, usually with some shenanigans, and win the big game.  They came in football, basketball and baseball.  By the time I discovered them in the early seventies, their pages were yellowed and torn, the spines were tired and the checkout card filled with the names of families I knew, boys long gone.  They were trite and mindless and, again, nothing.

Another next-door neighbor, EW, taught me how to make cubes out of paper.  I suppose you'd call it origami today but, believe me, I'd never heard of the word when I was nine or ten and learning to make these elegant cubes.  I think we ran out of ideas and desire to make more paper airplanes and moved on to these.  We spent a few weeks obsessing over them.  We made little tiny ones and big ones out of butcher paper, we learned to color them before we folded them, we bopped them back and forth, I think we ignited some made from newspaper and threw them of his back deck if you want to know the truth.  I could still make one today, blindfolded.  It was just another way of doing nothing.

Good nothing.

Essential nothing.

The boys stare down at their Kindles a lot, often there is a Disney show running on Netflix at the same time and... it irritates me.  But, it shouldn't.  Some parents fill all the moments between for their kids.  That's cool, it makes for smart, clever kids, but doing nothing between somethings is as important and also makes for clever, smart, albeit sometimes odd, kids.

Zack drew this between something and something else.  It's "Pandini the Panda" eating bamboo in a forest of... bamboo:

Nick drew this when he got home from school one day as he waited for Z to finish his homework, it is a cat gazing into the distance:

Well, uh, no, actually it is one of his line-eyed-big-headed-floppy-eared-thong-wearing-ninja-dudes, sorry:

Zack found time between home and the optometrist's to do this:

Nick spent about three minutes crafting this between spilling his juice on the carpet and eating three pieces of Halloween candy:

And I will never know what this is or why someone took the time to make it, but I know it was between four and five o'clock yesterday afternoon:

In the grand scheme of it all, these things and so many more are just the detritus of our everyday life, the throw-away nothings that those moments between the big moments produce.  Stuff we think we've forgotten but we haven't.  Just like the nothings we do, stargazing and cloudwatching and holedigging, the nothings we produce build and form us as surely as winning the big game or shaping hope in our souls or learning to love or any of those "memorable" childhood times.

For a long while now I have been sitting on an essay called "An Open Apology for All the Crap," or something snappy like that, in which I explain why I feel so sorry we've introduced so many devices and technologies and the like to the boys.  I'll probably publish it someday - it's clever enough and kinda sweet.  Except there is one problem with it, it is from the wrong point of view.  They love the technology.  They love the Kindle, the laptops, the Wii, all that stuff.  And, when I give it some real thought, I would've, too.  It is nice to have something easy and mindless to do, between the hard parts.  Hell, I blog...

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

N: "I have had enough of your smart-alecky responses."

Z: "They were remarks. And it is aleck, not alecky."

N: "Exactly."

Now I'm confused...

I am glad you could stop by today.  I have written about JB and my own growing up before in this post, Sticks and Stories and in a few others along the way.  See ya next time.

Friday, November 7, 2014

An Alternative to Today's Other Post... Post

It's been a week now since I last invited you over, sorry about that.  Days are busy and this and that and the other thing needed to be done and, more and more, I am trying to be less topical and such around here, so, truly, it shouldn't matter when I write these.  Theoretically...

The boys played in a soccer tourney this last weekend.  The first game was at eight in the morning here in Ohio... yes, before the time changed.  They didn't play in the dark but suffice to say that when we pulled into the complex car lights were shining on the fields so the boys and girls could get warmed up.  They needed it, not the light but the warming up.  It was like thirty-seven and there was snow in the air.  It sort of sucked but, you know what, it'll be one of the few soccer games they may remember in thirty years.  I played a ton of football games and only a few in mud and snow and storms and a particularly eerie game in the fog do I really remember.

They won, or maybe they tied that one and won the one at ten... I don't remember, really.  I remember them whimpering and winning in the wind, at some point that day.  It was nicer on Sunday, they had a "shootout" and Z was in goal.  That was sorta rough... for Marci and I.  There was another game, we won, I think, and then they played one later after we went for hamburgers and, something else.  Oh, they came in as runners-up for their division, "wings," I think, and they got a cool trophy, cup to be accurate.

You see, I shouldn't let the memory wait so long before I try to get it down.  It fades, but it also seems to distill, crystallize.  It seems now like a rembrance from long ago, from my childhood, or yours.

Zack drew this when Marci suggested he draw the soccer matches that Sunday night as a fire popped in the living-room:

Well, that about covers it.

It was an emotional weekend for them.  Not in a bad way just in a boy way.  They lost, they bonded, they won, they tied, they had their first shootout, they had their last game as a team.  Hard stuff.  Good stuff.  The stuff of dreams.  Stuff that works.  Before bed that night we were cleaning up a little and Zack accidentally crumpled up a drawing that Nick had made earlier that day.  A nothing little sketch of a guy in a tasseled toboggan, a sort of self-portrait I suspect now in retrospect.

Nick got really upset about it getting messed up, irrationally so it seemed at the time.  I asked him why he was so upset.

"I love that little guy," was all he said.

What he really said was he loved what had happened, he loved his place in it, he loved his friends and his brother and his home and his fireplace and bed and... well, you get it.

Here's the little guy:

I love him, too.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"I lost my hat ... and my dignity."

There is truth in this...

Thanks for coming around today.  I wrote something else today as well, but, it's not for everyone, really.  Some might say it is a little mean or out of character, but, It was something I needed to say.   If you're interested take a look here.

On Whittling, Pickling and Blogging

I am going to break character for a bit today.  I don't usually talk about blogging and, to be honest, I recently promised myself I would just sort of ignore the fact that I am indeed a blogger.  Honestly, I consider myself more of a memoirist at best, an archivist at least.  That's all fine and good, but the fact remains that what I do here is called "blogging" and the site that hosts my stuff is called "Blogger."

But what is this thing we do?  I'd guess the answer to that is as varied as the number of folks that do it.  I've just done an exhaustive twenty minute search in an attempt to define the genre.  Not so easy.  Basically, this seems to be the consensus, a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.  Simple enough.  As a contrast, this is what I found on the Urban Dictionary site, Short for weblog.
A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life. Consists of such riveting entries as "homework sucks" and "I slept until noon today."  
Well, I can't really say that is inaccurate.

As I looked around today at the various definitions and references to "blogs" I found, it wasn't until I got to Wikipedia that the term was linked to business and commercialism and consumerism.  Blogs were not conceived as commercial entities, I think that is important to note.  Personally, I made a vow when I started doing this that mine would remain ad-free.  In fact, in the last couple of years, I have taken to telling folks, if it comes up, that I write a "non-commercial" blog.  I do this because many of the people who might come here have become jaded and annoyed by the commercialization of the internet and they are - I think justifiably - hesitant to even look at blogs because so many are so blatantly commercial.

I read a lot of blogs, mostly parenting blogs, and am increasingly turned off by the number of ads and sponsored content I see, even pop-ups and self-loading videos, more each week it seems.  Often, I can't even figure out where the content begins and the ads end.  On the other hand, I read dozens of blogs with unobtrusive ads or none at all and, even as I admit that it is to them I return again and again, I cannot say which is better, that's not up to me.

If you want to know the truth, I am taking a risk talking about this.  It may ostracize me from a community that I very much enjoy.  However, for every one overtly commercial blog there are probably dozens of relatively ad-free and sponsorless folks just writing.  Writing about their lives, their kids, their hopes and fears, joys and failures and it is them I wish to recognize, them I want you to consider, they who merit the kind of attention that stems from the heart and not the pocketbook.

When I was a boy, the grandfather of a friend of mine whittled chess pieces out of oak branches which fell into my friends yard.  I can see him now, either on the front porch of my friend Don's home or, in winter, inside a garage next to the house which was heated with an old coal-fired furnace.  Honestly, they weren't exquisite, in fact they were rough and simple but the lines were elegant and what I remember most was his concentration and, well, joy in carving them.  He died when we were in high school and the porch seemed so empty and the garage so silent.

I lost touch with Don when I went to college and tried to shed my small town roots and soul.  In recent years though I have seen him around a few times and I mentioned the carved chess pieces.  He told me that a few years after his "Pap" passed he and one of his brothers were hanging a new electric engine hoist from the joists of that old garage.  Over in a corner, out of sight, were about thirty hand made wooden boxes each containing a chess set, nestled in straw, waiting.  Most had names in them, names of daughters and sons and grandchildren and friends.  He'd carved each set for someone, hidden them away, a quiet gift, a piece of him.  My old friend, Don, cherishes his.

My childhood friend JB's mother, Mrs. B, canned, jarred or pickled just about everything that grew in our rural corner of the Ohio valley.  She made applesauce and canned beets and green beans.  She jarred pears and apricots and jellied strawberries, plums and grapes.  She pickled every imaginable variety of cucumber, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, sometimes somehow both.  Tomatoes were sauced and stewed and put in Mason jars.  She also made an amber dandelion wine I've talked of before and Concord grape juice and bottled it all in small clip top bottles.

Year after year this amazing yield was placed on sturdy hand-made shelves, eight, maybe ten of them, which Mr. B had nestled in above the washer and dryer in a small room off their family room.  Each with a lip on the front so the jars could not be jostled off.  It is not the boiling pans of jellies and brine, not the pots and pots of sterilizing jars, not the hand grinder she used to mill the apples and grapes, not the acidic smell of stewing tomatoes or the tear-inducing piles of onions waiting to be pickled with ginger into an onion kraut or even the overbearing heat of it all that I remember best.  No, it is those larder laden shelves I recall so vividly, arranged so practically and beautifully on those hand-crafted shelves, a labor of love and commitment and joy.  God, they were a beautiful sight.

A hootenanny comes to mind.  It's a silly word, to be sure, but, when I was younger, it was what we called a group of guys and gals getting together, playing guitars and whatever was close by, singing and drinking into the late night.  We all frequently played together - this was in my college years and just after - but every now and again we'd have a party, call it a "hoot" and, well, it was.  But something else happened, something important.  We performed.  We nailed leads.  We remembered all the words.  We found evasive harmonies.  We looked each other in the eye, proud as we celebrated the songs and friends we loved.

Our collective songbook was mostly the folk and early rock we grew up on.  Songs I still play today, songs I bet all those guys still play today.  (Don't you guys... and gals?  It just occurred to me that maybe a dozen of those folks read this blog.  I told you it was something important.)  I sometimes wish they had been recorded, or at least chronicled in some way, a photo or a song list in a forgotten guitar case.  They weren't.  There are a few recordings of this or that, mixed and overdubbed on rudimentary cassette tape technology, embarrassingly crude and raw.  I don't really know where they are.  I wouldn't listen to them if I did.  But, sometimes as I belt out "This Land Is Your Land" I nearly weep at the beauty of those long ago singalongs.

I must, and do, have a point.  My friend Don's grandfather never considered making hand carved chess sets to sell them.  I knew the man and I am sure it never occurred to him.  In fact, only happenstance ever brought them to the hands for whom they were made.  Mrs. B would have never dreamed of putting up canned goods for profit.  She did it because she wanted a family fed, traditions followed and passed on, and a shelf of hope in her basement.  When my friends and I jammed out in a living-room or around a campfire back in the seventies and eighties we weren't doing it to be the next Pete or Joan or Woody or Bob, you know, for commercial success.  No, we were just making some beautiful music together.

When we make something, sing something, arrange something we made beautifully; when we make picket rail fences and fashion quilts from scraps and bake bread; when we write poems on scraps of paper and pen long love letters; when we create these things hoping not for the gold of reward but merely the quicksilver of memory, we are artists.

I have long loved folk art.  It is difficult to define and encompasses everything from the tangible paintings and sculptures and carvings of antiquity to the intangible traditions of the dying arts of craftsmen - the print-makers and the ironsmiths and mountain fiddlers and the cloistered poets.  It seems that every definition and explanation included the fact that that it was art by and for the people.  Music and dance and paintings and traditions that all bubble up from the very soul of us.  Art we are compelled to make and take in and art we intrinsically understand and essentially need.

I think blogging is a folk art.  Sure, there are times when it becomes a Fine Art, but the majority of those are from writers who choose the internet as their medium.  And yes, some blogs are designed and fashioned to be commercial exploits.  But, as I listen to fellow bloggers, I hear over and over again that their true and original reason for starting was because they wanted to create something for others, often their children as in my case, but for family and friends, lovers and like-minded souls as well.  Rarely, particularly for those who have been around a while, was a blog created initially and intentionally to make money.

Listen, truth is only a few people will have a look at this.  My reach is limited and my blog is an inconsequential blip in the wide world of blogs.  I respect and read a number of commercial blogs, I can hardly avoid it because a lot of great stories and wisdom are coming from them.  However, I do think that I get a lot more from a blogger who writes from his heart, about his heart, and through his heart than I do from one who is writing from his pocketbook, about things that clearly don't matter to him or her, and through a wall of ads and pop-ups.  Also, I think blogging is already on the decline.  I think in a decade or less it will be relegated to a "remember when" or a punchline on a late night talk-show.  Blogger, where I write, may someday start making me have ads, and I will no longer be able to afford a domain and a host, and I'll have to shut down.  But, it's all backed up, I could print it out tomorrow, place it on a shelf and hope that it finds its way.

So, you may be wondering why I have lined up these words today, words that may get me in trouble, words that may seem hurtful to some, words that may seem mean or discouraging.  Well, I want my fellow folk art bloggers to know that I am listening to them, that I admire them, that I cherish them as they will be cherished someday ... and, well, ultimately, that is my point:  Nick and Zack, I never even considered exploiting you in any way, nor did I.


Now, back to our originally scheduled programming.

Thanks for stopping by, I know for many it wasn't what you've come to expect around here.  I'll work on something else today as well. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Patronum Interruptus

I don't really care for Halloween.  There, I've said it.  I don't care for a lot of holidays.  In fact, the only one that really passes full muster in my opinion is Thanksgiving.  I've been wondering about that, what makes me so distanced from so many perfectly legitimate holidays, even the actual Holy Days.  Now, especially, as I see more and more how intrinsically twined are the childhoods of parents and kids. 

My memories of holidays as a kid are all pretty swell and I ...

Wait.  What?  "... intrinsically twined ..."  That doesn't even make sense ...

(Shut up.)  As I was saying, I liked holidays as a kid.  My mom was always very enthusiastic about them, the presents were great, the eggs were well-dyed, the costumes clever; the pies and hams and potato salad and turkeys and green cakes, all delicious; the church services were touching and crowded and somehow unforgettable.  My aversion to holidays come from somewhere else, my guess is ...

... from all those years working in the restaurant business.  It was always busy on those days, stressful and you hated it.  That's sort of stupid and, well, dull.

It is not dull and I planned on telling it a little more elegantly than that - you know, citing examples and weaving in the sadness and melancholy certain days seem to bring along in their coat pockets.

What?  "... coat pockets..."  You're definitely not making sense.

Are you going to stick around or what?  Because, this always gets very confusing for the readers and it irritates the shit out of me.

What readers?

Not funny ...

Yeah, actually it was funny, and, yes, I am sticking around.
Oh, goody.  Well, I suppose, I should introduce you.  This folks is an italicized literary device, an alter-ego - an invention, I might add - which interrupts me now and again and again and again...

Oooh, look at you at you gettin' all clever with the linkity-links...

I am simply trying to give you some context.

Shut up.  It is just a desperate little attempt at getting your "readers" to look at a few back posts.  It's pedestrian, cheap.

No, it's not.  It is a legitimate thing, people do it all the time.  And, don't do the air quotes thing around the word "readers."

And, you always hate it when people put a bunch of links to past posts in their pieces.

Well, yes, but that's because I usually have seen the post someone links to, and a lot of folks have it open in the same window as the blog I am reading and then I look at it and see something else and go down the rabbit hole and forget what I was doing in the first place.

That's because you are an idiot.

Can we just move on?  Why are you interrupting me today?

Because you aren't doing what you said you were going to do.

Yes, I am. 

Really?  There's a plan?  Because, you said, or thought, or, uh, however you'd say that ...

Go on...

... you said you wanted to try something different, today, something ethereal and, I think you used the word 'wispy.'

Yes, I am getting to that.

Dude, you don't "get" to that, you start from that.  And, you are certainly not going to "get" to that in this first person, self-indulgent, tripe of a voice you always use.

Well, that's not very nice.

No, I don't suppose it was.


I'm sorry.  So, tell me what do you have planned.  Do you have some images?  Some stories?  Some deep and meaningful prose?  What?

Stop badgering me.

Don't be so touchy.  Go ahead, tell us all what you have planned.

Well, I thought I'd start with this drawing of a greenish sunset Zack drew:

 I like it a lot and he used a lot of different colors.  I thought I might talk about the fact that he still likes crayons and how I am glad about that and ...

Uh ... you, um, have it ...

Stop interrupting, you asked me what I was planning to do and ...

... upside down.  It looks like a green alien in a golden spaceship flying at light speeds.


Not your wispiest moment, dude.  So, a sunset and a few words about crayons, that is deepI can't what to see what's next.

Well, if you must know, I was going to show a picture of the pumpkins the boys made this year and I thought I wouldn't say whose was whose, you know, leave it to time and maybe someday they might have fun trying to figure it out.  I thought it might be fun for the readers, too.

What readers?

You know what?  Screw you.

I'm sorry.  That was uncalled for and rude.  Go ahead.


You didn't even take the picture yet, did you?

Well, I am going to ...  I just haven't had a chance to and then you interrupted and, well, I, uh ...

Go ahead, go take it, but you've got our attention right now, do you really think we are going to wait?  Go...

It'll just take a sec.

It's about time, dude.  Where've you been?

Sorry, the shed door was open and I had to go shut it 'cause the wind was picking up and that got me thinking about the lawn and the leaves and that made me think of getting gas for the mower and my trunk and that made me hungry so I ate a peanut butter English muffin.

Did you by any chance take the picture we've been waiting to see?

Yes, like eight of them.

One will do...


That's Zack's on the left and Nick's on the right.

You said you weren't going to say, remember, "whose is whose" and it might be fun for the readers and all...

What readers?


Finally, back to what I have planned for today, I am going to come full round to not liking Halloween again and say that it is important for me to remember that the boys do.  Perhaps I should be aware of that and not be so vocal about not liking it.  You know...

And that's what you had planned today?


It's not what you decided to do when you realized it was Halloween and all the other kids do Halloween posts and you have in the past and you probably should?

Well, maybe that, too.

What about what you were going to do?  I mean really.  You spent all week thinking about it and you've done the outline and the research, the images are ready, why don't you just do that?

The country-road-memory-lane thing?

Yes.  Why aren't you doing that?

I dunno...

Yes, you do.

Because it's going to be hard to do - you, know - hard to write and that future perfect tense is hard to sustain and, well, it will make me cry.  And, it would take a lot of time and energy.  And, it will make me cry.  Anyway, you interrupted and it's too late to start on it now.

To be clear, you conjured me up from the twisted depths of your imagination, on purpose, I might add, just to avoid a little heartache and handful of bittersweet memoriesOh, and I saw that link you slipped in there.

I didn't conjure you up, you cold-ass busted up the whole thing.  Who knows, if you hadn't come storming in here I might have that whole piece done and be sitting here weeping on the keyboard right now... Oh, that's probably your point, isn't it?

If my point is sometimes you avoid the hard stuff, the painful stuff, then yes.  That's my point.

Okay, so what would you have done today if you, say, didn't want to get all emotional telling a story that might break your heart a little and, also, suddenly realized it was Halloween?

I'd have gone with the pumpkin thing, not saying which was which boys (totally avoiding the awkward "whose was whose" syntax you chose) and then perhaps a simple haiku and an image teasing the post I will write soon ...

See, it's not so easy is it?  What, wait ...  that's a pretty good idea.  Hey, you just linked up your last haiku, didn't you?  Whoa, I didn't say you could do it...

Gravel tar and trucks
A golden lane of mem'ry
Perfect childhood still

What I would not do is finish with some folksy thank you and one of those silly aphorisms you insist on ending on.

Like that preposition on which you are now squatting.

Oh, just be done with this already, it's getting long and there is no time for ...

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"Use your smarty-pants-ness!"

I can go with that...

... that.

Thanks for coming around and please, excuse my patronum interruptus there ...


... I am working on a piece that is difficult and emotional.  I did plan on doing it today.  I did then realize it was Halloween.   And then dude interrupted.

Y'all come back now.

Oh, for God's sake that is the most hack-kneed, stupid phrase ever ...

Race you to the publish key.

Well, that's not fair you're already closest and ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mazes and Spirals and Such

Sometimes life wants to talk all at once to me and, unlike memories, listening takes time.  A million memories may flood all at once at the scent of a tar road or the sight of a crescent moon, but sometimes I can't hear life's soft soliloquies and whispered asides when they seem to come all at once.  I am sorry for that, and, I forgive myself for that.  The notes and chords, colors and textures, fragrances and flavors I miss in a day, will, I hope, return when I have more time to entertain them.

About this time every year I must get rid of all the leaves that pile up between the fences.  I used to rake them, as I did as a boy, and pile them in high mounds and let the boys jump in them as we have in the past, as I did as a boy.  But, I don't anymore.  It is an unspoken but immutable fact that leaves make awful landing pads, you know it, I know it, and yet...

 ... here are Nick and Zack planted deep in the maple leaves, Z doesn't look too happy.

Growing up we used to rake the leaves and jump on them, and then one time, at maybe eleven or twelve, I landed flat on my back and laid gasping for air as my friends looked on.  I am lucky I didn't break my back.  I am pretty sure we burned the leaves in giant bonfires, with gasoline and used motor oil, from there on out... seemed safer.

Here at home, I usually sort of chop them all up with my tractor and then use my push mower with a leaf catcher and just sweep them all up.  A couple of years ago the boys were watching and, as I went to dump the bag in the mulch pile, they started running around in the paths the little mower had made.  It looked like fun, and I somehow remembered it being fun, so I made some more and they imagined and ran and screamed and laughed.  I did it last year, too, but there was a strong wind and the paths didn't last.

Yesterday, I got to thinking, and it was a calm day, and I wanted to be outside, and I heard a fragment of what life was saying to me and, well... I did this:

I made a lawn maze.

It had a nifty little dead-end spiral:

And two young warriors came and battled in the golden setting sun:

This morning the wind was whispering up high so, before the paths were blown into memory, I went out and took a few more pictures as the sun came up:

Around here we don't really get into Halloween so much.  Oh, we carve pumpkins and get our candy, but it is not that important.  I would say, though, that making a maze in the leaves of the back yard may be something I do for years to come.

You never know what might happen when you listen to the wind.

Lately, there hasn't been too much coming from the back seat so this'll have to do, today.

From Bill's "... things you don't expect to see scribbled on your notes on your desk ..."

It is sad how funny I think this is...

Well, that's all for today.  Thanks for dropping in and come back if you get a chance.

I think next year I might make a giant spiral in the lawn.  You know why?  It was fun, I think that's why I wanted to share it with you, that and the fact that the boys were really thrilled by it all and I want them to remember that someday, later, when life isn't always as thrilling.