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Archive for the ‘time’ Category

Have you noticed?  You are getting older.  So am I.

At my annual physical recently – a systems check of moving parts. cardiac, respiratory, gastrointestinal, musculature, neurological, and dermatological.  Blood pressure — the force at which blood courses through veins to keep major organs fit.  Blood pressure is a Goldilocks statistic — neither high nor low is just right.

In concert, these systems create the song that is you. Regardless of age, the collaboration of those systems, and that song, is changing, even now. The breath and thought of today cannot be the same tomorrow.

The pithy slogan “Change Happens,” reminds those with concretized views that change comes to each life.  The deeper truth is we are change, conditioned upon those beautiful physiologic systems and the environments in which we find ourselves.

Sudden or chronic illness, or accident, drives home the message. If lucky, we are allowed to live within the one body granted us until it ages out of the game. Generation after generation until humans are no more.

Life is anguish for some, joy for others, maybe most of the time somewhere in between. Bridging the space between sky and earth, our bodies are the gift that allow us to feel, express, reflect, participate. They ferry us where we want to go on the planet, in its waters, and above.

Experience is the natural and sometimes hard-won aim of biological life.  When systems fail and the body slumps, the kernel that is us trills on, star stuff once again. The drama, accomplishments, losses, and possessions mean naught but as the memories of others that will fade in time.

At dawn, noon, or dusk, mind the blood, mind the body, and enjoy your glorious time while it lasts.

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Some are pushed by the past onto the road of their lives.

Still others drawn forward by a subtle half-light image.

The aims of each will be different.

One pulled by the future, one pushed by the past.

Which, I wonder.

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Spring Forward

A single gull wends eastward against pink clouds underlit by the rising sun.

Perhaps it is Jonathon, dropping in for a visit to try a few new moves.

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I watch my hands finger the small bootie once worn by my children. The tag inside reads “6/12 months.” This was a first shoe for two toddlers just learning to walk.

I see my fingers move, thinning, loose skin on the back of my hands piling up and relaxing. These are ‘doing’ hands.  I have thoughtlessly relied upon them forever.

My children are decades into their lives now. One grew into shoes he used to walk completely out of my life.  The other wears shoes that keep him in motion, learning, building, and exploring.

And here remains the small bootie and the hands that helped those tiny feet touch down on the earth so very long ago.

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It is older than me, taller too.  The silver tree, aluminum fronds, plain pink and silver ball ornaments.  Just the right kind of ornament to reflect the changing colors cast by the slowly rotating color wheel a few feet away.

I have not put the tree up in years.  Not since I became afraid my youngest would damage it when he became angry, as he often did.

2020 has broken lives, families, and created a historical scar on this planet.  People die that should not.  Souls flee failing flesh. I cry by the numbers.

The holiday spirit is in short supply for me this year.  My neighborhood, and this small town, has more holiday lights up this season than I ever remember.  The three-mile treed boulevard through town is festooned with lights strung on every tree. It is a sight. Light a candle against the darkness.

A week ago, I clambered high up in my garage to find the boxes holding the tree pieces. The light hardware and ornaments are stored in a Norbest turkey box. 

The silver tree and the Norbest turkey box are characters from a bygone era.  When companies handed out turkeys to employees as a seasonal boon and aluminum trees standing amid cotton clouds were the latest thing—well over 50 years ago.

Tonight, watching the tree, green to blue, to yellow to red, I remember the first year I was allowed to hang a ball ornament using both small hands, on a shiny limb. I recall the family parties by its light, then the teen parties I had.  One day, years in the future, I coincidentally stopped by my parent’s house on the day they dropped it at the curb for the garbage. 

Those people, that place, are gone.  The years of work, marriage, children, divorce, and youth long gone. Decades flash by.

Tonight, the scratchy sound of the color wheel is familiar.  Maybe working a bit harder given its age, but I understand. The tree and aluminum fronds stand straight, shiny, and untarnished. It is as it was when I was five.

I was not sure why I put the tree up this year, although the angry child in question is grown and gone.  Given the ignorance and infectious zeal that has taken and transformed our lives, I had thought to sideline the winter holidays in deference to the darkness. At this moment, I quietly understand the tree came back to open a window to the past, and perhaps the present, as it is all any of us really have.

I see the tree now as I did then.  My life is lived and the colors still change.  I remember.

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