I come home late from a long work day, and she is tired. Leaning back in a chair, popcorn for dinner, I can tell: another chaotic day providing for others has left little of herself. She uses this time to shut down, and recover. The best love I can give is to tell her I love her, then leave her be; I remember she is in constant pain, and that She cannot keep all of what she gives away. Yes, I too ache, but I do not need that validated: the most sacred space in love is that which we respect between us.
I ask the music, for a time, To carry me to somewhere else; Another time, some kind of place Where troubles stop, and tension melts -- But it's a lot to ask, I guess. Creating island and lagoon From wood and wire, dust and string, When it too's tired, and Out of tune
It’s 3:30 in the morning as I type this and yesterday was not a great day.
I am sixty years old, but still feel shocked, saddened, and naive when confronted with the ugly realities of everyday life. I know it shouldn’t surprise me, but, it does. Over and over again.
Since I was born with a limited capacity to process and absorb reality, I have long used the arts as a place I could call… if not “home”, maybe like “an affordable hotel”. The piano has been the primary place for this, but it could be writing, or reading, or coloring, or… you get the picture. Or maybe you don’t, so here is some examples of pictures I recently colored using the Color Therapy app:
Reality is overrated, anyway. I mean, sure, that’s where you find all the food and stuff, but, it’s also where things like “assault” live.
Whether fortunate, or unfortunate, I have to spend most of my hours firmly within reality. On days like yesterday (which was not a great day) I feel pretty much like the piano pictured at the top of this post: chipped, dusty, and scantly able to perform my original purpose, which I’ve largely forgotten, anyway.
The best escape from reality isn’t always by way of fantasy, but into other people’s realities. That’s one of the beauties of “Nano Poblano”: reading other people’s blogs and seeing what their lives, loves, and struggles might be like.
Yesterday was not a great day. But maybe today will be.
People tell me things. I find this to be strange, as my perception is that I rarely shut up long enough for the other person to get a word in edgewise. Yet hardly a day goes by that someone or other isn’t telling me some kind of secret, unsolicited.
Maybe I’m really a bartender, and just haven’t learned to accept it — possibly because I don’t drink alcohol.
Recently, a very young woman who works at our company cafe told me that she doesn’t understand guys at all, and wishes she could find one who actually saw her, and heard her, and liked-her-as-her, not for what they hoped they could get from her.
I told her that there are indeed guys like that out there.
Where? she asked.
The fact that I get a biscuit and a Coke Zero five mornings a week has apparently qualified me as a relationship counselor, so I gave her the most Dad-like advice I could think of, namely:
“Find activities you like to do with other people, both men and women, and where you aren’t there primarily for the purpose of meeting anyone. If you meet someone, great; if not, you should be able to have fun anyway.”
She said that was actually do-able, so she’d try it and let me know how it went. Then she gave me my biscuit for free.
Okay, I made up that last part.
I am not quite sure why it is people trust me; I don’t trust me, and I’ve known me quite a while. Maybe people mistake my predictability for reliability; getting the same breakfast every day isn’t the most accurate indicator of emotional stability, however.
I am sixty years old, so I would say there’s a grandfather thing going on, but truthfully, things have been like this since I was about sixteen years old. Choosing me as a confidant has never seemed like the wisest choice, to me; but people did it, do it, and will seemingly keep doing it, so, there you go.
Currently, I’ve driven a ways out of town to some farmland to watch the sun set. Sundays, I will often go out for drives in the country; it’s lovely around here, and particularly in the fall.
Thinking about what I wrote, above, I realize: I tell all of you who read this blog my secrets, it’s only fair that people in real life tell me theirs.
It’s some kind of balance.
Signs of things already past Are ones I love to keep: Outdated fliers, slogans, posters, Stack up pretty deep Here at my house. I know it's strange, Just add that to my list -- But I get off on dwelling upon All the things I've missed
The moon was quite insistent, The winter -- in effect, And she was quieter than norm -- More circumspect -- For there are days where nothing Is all you have to give, And sometimes, merely breathing Is all you need To live
My mother was a teacher, and my father was a painter. I grew up in a house full of her books and his paintings.
I think it is safe to say that the modern world has as strong an interest in identity as any age before it. I chose to identify my parents by a profession (for my mom) and a hobby (for my dad) even though she didn’t become a teacher until she was around 40, and he gave up painting before I was born.
Defining an identity as being boiled down to single word or concept is part of our human tendency to want to substitute simple things for complex things. My mom was a singer, a reader, a union organizer, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a swimmer, a humorist, a melancholic. My dad was a pilot, a windsurfer, a track runner, a human rights advocate, a chorus director, an insomniac. And that only scratches the surface on each of them.
As storytellers — and I assume anyone with a blog or reading blogs is a storyteller — we struggle to transfer our known perspective through the prism of the unknown perspective of readers. So much that has become part of us — so much we have experienced — has been done without words, and that context informs our every thought. So we try to say how we feel, but our words fall short of conveying our meaning. I can describe my parents to you, though, and can bring parts of them back to life through stories. Which is just one reason why storytelling is magic.
I’m grateful to my parents, now, in ways I probably wasn’t while they were still alive. That is sad, of course, but I suspect it is common. My children, and their children, will one day describe me in some way: maybe, “he was a mathematician” or “he was a pianist”. They may also see in me some light I’ve long since lost track of. Or, they may truthfully remember the darkness in me, for there is plenty of that.
My mother was a teacher who taught me that I should never stop learning, and never stop wondering. My father was a painter who loved to show others the hidden beauty in things, and encouraged me to do the same, as best I could. And I hope for all of you the same things: truth, goodness, and beauty.
I called her on a Friday, To see if she was well; She told me she'd sold everything For two snails and a shell -- And so, I took her for a ride Out in the autumn air; We soaked in all that countryside And laid our secrets bare -- We climbed into an afterworld, Where silence was the rule: We broke into the one last vault For that remaining jewel -- I woke up on a Saturday Unable, much, to feel: I reached for her, but wasn't sure How much of it was real -- We heroes and we heroines Who grow up queens and kings Of snails and shells and countrysides And silences And things
the colors of her waking dreams were laid on papers as she fled into the pictures brought to life through breath she drew and paint she bled for though she worked within the dim the light she found was everywhere: the colors of her waking dreams removed whatever drab was there
Who was this friend you lost? He was A spirit floating in the air, A song you knew that suddenly Would morph, and change, and go somewhere It didn't seem to be made to go. The shape: a hole -- the place: within -- Who was this friend you lost? He was The 'is' within whatever's Been