Posts Tagged ‘life’

Dec. 21, winter solstice, first day of winter, the least amount of daylight, is called the shortest day of the year. Winter, the season that gets better from the very moment that it begins. Yes, although the temperatures may be more extreme, we will have more sunshine by a minute or two each day from now until summer begins on June 21 next year. We can start to enjoy winter because the days will now only get better. No wonder this day caught the eye of even the most ancient men. Every afternoon sitting in their cave watching the sun set farther and farther south causing less and less time during the day and more and more time in the darkness of night. More time spent guarding against the predators of the night and less time during the day spent hunting for food and shelter. They seriously wondered if the sun would return.

When did they realize that the sun could be depended on to finally ebb at its furthest reach and slowly begin travel of the reverse bringing with it needed daylight and warmth. I’m sure they celebrated this day as they watched the sun set and rise on the two landmarks they may have physically or mentally erected on the horizon. As should we. They could measure their stored food reserve and know that they would either have enough to last the remaining half of their most sparse days or not enough. They would know that their lean days and confinement would indeed end. Although the remaining days of the season may be hard, they would at least be measurable.

When I notice the sun shining through our south windows and reflecting from the glass doors on our old book-case, without looking at the calendar I know that we are approaching this season. Not as elaborate as Stonehenge but just as effective. And deep down in the core of me, I still feel a sense of relief that the growing darkness is contained and the sunshine will remain just a little longer each day. Although, my food supply is as close as our neighborhood grocery store and the fuel for my fire is delivered to me effortlessly, I have this innate feeling of relief on this day each year. A core feeling that is as surely as much the evidence of the remains of our ancient ancestors as the huge heavy stone pillars of Wiltshire or the small stone circles and charcoal of their ancient fires. The core feelings from the remains of their DNA memory. Their feelings of survival, relief and wonder are in me even though my life is now much easier.

The changing of the seasons are powerful events for man, events that their survival depended on. They mark celebrations, the beginning of tasks and the beginnings and endings of hot and cold climate and the abundance of food. Man is finely tuned to them. We are finely tuned to them because of the feelings and behaviors that were engraved into our DNA from early ancient man as they observed, learned and adapted to those predictable seasonal times.

I wonder what feelings and behaviors we are engraving into the DNA memory of future man from the powerful events of our days. We are not just leaving the ruins of our buildings, pottery, weapons and bones. We are leaving behind either the good knowledge or the ruins of our minds in our inherited DNA. Which of these, the knowledge or the ruins, from today’s events of our civilization will be ingrained and become innate behavior or feelings of our future man? What ingrained seasons will we pass on for them to celebrate from our DNA?

Such is the life of John

Now that I have finished with my Texas political review, I will tread ahead and continue lightening the weight. Remember? I believe in always going forward and leaving the closed minds and ignorant behind. I left the 1950’s years ago. If people in 2021, the 21st century, find comfort in the 1950’s, so be it. Black and white television, called TV at that time, was simple and even capable of being repaired by a local radio and TV shop. And they really needed repaired often. But even freshly repaired, Lucy’s red hair was never seen as red, only imagined. In that time, many things imagined were believed true.

It was imagined, because it was on TV, that ladies fixed dinner in party dresses and high heels (They DIDN’T),  everyone was able to vote (They COULDN’T), the U.S. always won wars(NOT anymore) and the Christmas trees were always filled with electric trains, talking dolls saying only “Mama” and Red Ryder B.B. guns(Only in their IMAGINATION). The 1950’s are when Americans learned to imagine their own false realities.

Wishing for and imagining their own reality continued into the 1960’s. But in about 1963, actual true reality, the way things really were, began to be seen. Most saw and realized that a President could be assasinated, Black civil rights protesters marched and we saw them broken up by fire hoses and billy clubs and the boys that were under that Christmas tree in the 1950’s were now drafted, handed M16s and setting under rain wet jungles, fighting a questioned war. Imagining our make-believe reality in a Leave It To Beaver and Lassy world didn’t seem so real any more. Some of us learned and accepted this TRUE reality that was going on all around us but many, perhaps for a while most, never did. They liked their imagined reality and they were going to keep it. Even if colored TV now showed them a little more truth and actual reality in “living color”. But because so many still thought the life that they enjoyed were in the 1950’s, they wanted that imagined world back. And the way to get the 50’s back was to change true reality by using lies and questionable politics.

Thus began the 80’s. And for the next 40 years the “Imagining our own 1950’s reality”political party hammered their way through their political convention platforms, destroying labor unions, reversing civil rights, reversing free choice, any 1960’s and 70’s legislation, whether it was supported by the majority of their party at the time or not.

Thus, here  we find ourselves. Stuck by an opposing party that now, having practically run out of any more lies trying to recreate their 1950’s world, frozen, unable to legislate  with a more progressive counterpart. Refusing to vote on even the most nonpartisan duty as paying their own fiscal bills. 

Well, the 1950’s aren’t going to happen again.


The world you saw back then may not of even been. It was only being projected by “make believe” people on a very “make believe” and crude electronic screen. My 1950’s was in a sawed board house with no indoor plumbing, small country school and we had no TV screen. I learned at a very young age that things should be better. People need not live like this. We, at a very young age, perhaps learned to recognize life’s true realities sooner and never wanted to return to the 1950’s again. We wanted a better FUTURE not past, we wanted a life that  makes things better for our families and the families of others and we voted and supported the politics that saw true realities. Life is a rock and we don’t need those that make it harder or have no VISION for that less hard rock. We do not need any of those that only see life in a mis-believed fairytale reality while poverty, poor health, poor shelter and lies dominates. Yes realities sometime suck but it is much better than lies and stagnation. 


E. 


 

I quietly opened the door and slowly peeked inside. Squinting through the narrow opened crevice, I could see a smoking cigarette, half eaten sandwich and cat licking an unwrapped bar of butter. The side of an Ice tea glass was still wet with dripping condensing cool ice cube chill. He had made a quick escape. Good, I would have the house to myself.

OC

 

 

Well, here I go, I’m breaking in the new computer.

I’m sure you’re way ahead of me.
There are many things I don’t know
when you say the words you say
Your unkindness can not help but show.

I really don’t know why I’m saying this
There is no amount of words I can explain
So shove this

Stop, stop, stop, STOP!

This ain’t my style! It my Mojo again! I done said diss all before!

Mojo back. That’s what you call it. When will I get my Mojo back? Have you got your Mojo back? You don’t have to put an accent to it. It’s just Mojo, plain and simple.

While you are talkin about no Mojo you can use “ain’t” a lot. You can drop your g’s in the i-n-g’s like, “I ain’t doin nothin about findin my Mojo”. You can do that because you ain’t got none. You don’t know no better. Oh, you will use double negatives, too.

Nobody knows where their Mojo goes. They just know that it’s gone. Away, far away to where you don’t know where. Just gone. You capitalize Mojo cause it’s a big deal. But you don’t know it til it’s gone. You may not know it when you got it. You just know it when it’s gone…..

I lost my Mojo maybe 6 months go, don’t know where, don’t know when, I just realized all of a sudden, I ain’t got none! Mojo that is. You feel sad, real sad and you walk slow with no Mojo. You walk slow, you talk slow and you feel real low with no Mojo. Mojo is a good thing to have. You want to keep it but you ain’t got no chance. It’s goin ta leave when it wants ta.

Mojo…back. Even a new computer don’t bring no Mojo back! Last time Mojo went to da beach!

DSS

To A Man

Posted: August 18, 2021 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, politics, writing
Tags: , , , , ,

To A Man

I have always wanted to run after life eagerly
But at this time in my life I am at peace.
Accepting the circumstances of my chance
and the results of my best laid plans.
Plans of best intentions, done with the most skillful of execution
but ending with questionable final outcome.
Gang aft agley *
I am now more fond of watching order from chaos.
After all, the entire Universe was built from it.
Of the largest galaxy to the least of the nests of a shivering mouse.
Both occasionally going awry
And both still doing quite well.
But I, Man, doomed with the ability of foreseeing
the billiard ball’s ricochet
Doing no better

Such is the life of John

  • Gang aft agley – From Robert Burn’s “To A Mouse

Food of Life

Posted: August 4, 2021 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Here is one from 5 years ago. Perhaps means more now than then.

Food of Life

Here’s to you, sweet food of life
the struggle, the pain, the strife
blood fights won, blood fights lost
Rising from knees, at any cost
Here’s to you, you son of a bitch
One arm behind, rope’s half hitch
As hard as you tried, to tie the knot
you’re not as tough, as once thought
Thrown brown bottles and broken glass
I’ve dodged your throw and kicked your ass

OC

I would describe it as gnarly. It has been split by ice, dried by drought and trimmed cruelly by storm winds. It sheds not only leaves in the summer and fall but branches and long dry sticks during the winter. Squarely sawed stubs of once strong branches protrude from its trunk. The wounds were undeserved and now are only slightly healed with a green rounded rim. The constant and predominate southern winds have trained our willow’s branches to spread reaching northward, permanently posed in a windswept profile even on the few calm days of summer. But despite its rough life, its trunk grows thicker and it gains a few feet of height each year.

The globe willow, even growing untended in the wild, is a most beautiful tree. As its name implies, its branches will naturally form a very rounded shape as if from a Grant Wood painting. That is what drew my first attention. It has rough thick bark and in its mature form casts a very thick cool shadow. But the species is known for its poor disease and insect resistance, which I found out only after choosing to plant it. My tree chose to ignore the rounded branches shape genetic characteristics, instead grows weak branches and retained its poor health reputation. It has survived many doses of insecticides and antibacterial sprays. Until now, I was unaware that a tree could unwind its own DNA helix.

Today I read of the Oriental bonsai tree. As I write this I realize that I may now better understand my 18 year old globe willow. The bonsai trees are grown in a small pot or tray. Through careful pruning and training, the tree is caused to flourish in a stunted growth state. Wire is used to bind the branches and trunks to force it to grow in whatever way the “gardener” prefers. They are an amazing and beautiful addition to a home. Imagine having a whispering pine tree growing in your home that is smaller than the average table lamp. But there is something more intangible and harder to explain about these miniature trees. Growing a bonsai requires a meditative state and the cutting and pruning should be approached with a Zen-like state of mind. It is all about harmony, peace and balance. Only with harmony between nature, man and soul will the tree flourish.

But I’ve read that most of the bonsai tree inter-meaning and Zen has been lost to the general public in the last few years. Westerners look at this tree as only decoration and added atmosphere to their homes. The trees are losing popularity because the Zen is lost. Maybe this too for my globe willow.

Oh it started off in Zen, I planted my little globe willow exactly on my birthday just 18 years ago. How much closer to harmony between nature, man and soul can you get. With the help of two steel posts, wire and rubber hose to cushion the bark, I braced my new tiny 2 inch in diameter tree so it would remain straight for its first couple of formative years until it was strong enough to stand against the wind on its own. But I didn’t think of meditating about it either before or after. Just a few years later when aphids invaded, as I sprayed the insecticidal soap, gently washing each branch and leaf, no prayers, meditation or aaahummmms were uttered. The tree grew at the mercy of the winds, being pruned violently during each storm. Not the required Zen-like state of mind to promote flourished growth, but admittedly done with a closeness to nature. The wire of the wind has formed it branches to lean and flow northward instead of the familiar globe shape of its brothers. No thought was given this, the gradual change was hardly noticed.

With all of this, the tree lives on, though gnarly, leaning, battle scarred and robbed of its intended form and handsomeness. It is still able to cast a cool shade, protect my home by breaking the wind and ice and growing steadfastly adding character to our yard. Perhaps there has been a speechless connection with man all along. The two share the same traits, the same scars, the same stubbornness for life. Perhaps a cosmic connection was made at the time of the first turn of the spade to prepare for its planting. Much like the man that shares its birthday it grows old. Perhaps there has been a harmony between nature, man and soul and both have flourished from it, although awkwardly, surviving and growing despite the forces. Bonsai, the western world’s largest bonsai may be growing in my front yard.

I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a Zen thing.

DSS

Yesterday I watched a mother robin that was feeding her young offspring that had just taken flight from its nest and fallen near our old pear tree. It made me think of this post that was written a few years ago. Perhaps one of my favorites.

Flight On Top

I am thinking of the bird’s nest built on the spring season wreath that was hanging on my front porch at home this summer. I thought the eggs would surely be hatched by the time I returned. Perhaps then the young birds, mouth wide open, would still be begging a meal from mother robin and stealing a bug or two from their nest mates. Or maybe if I was long coming  home, they would have flown the nest, placing their trust in the thin air as I am today traveling far from my home.

It is always sunny here on top, above the clouds. As the wisps of mist turn to thin clean air, we break into a hidden world above the cloudy day. Towering columns reach high but try as they may they still are beneath us. Our earth thousands of feet below is now only white vapor and rain and clouds covered by sunshine.

One hundred and five minutes, that’s how long it will take to travel what would take my four-wheeled conveyance eleven and a half hours. I’m traveling seven times faster but there is no breeze to my face or rumble at my feet. And as far as I know, no one on my bumper, to the left or right of my lane or rambling too slow ahead of us. How can others sleep while I am wide-eyed. I have traveled 12700 miles by air this year so far. I have never kept track of the miles in earlier years. Tell me, how many miles does it take until a guy is able to read a newspaper, play a computer game or sleep while being 35000 feet in the air and traveling 535 miles an hour? How many miles until you are deadened to the marvel of it all? Keep the orange juice, forget the pretzels or peanuts, don’t bother me, I’m looking out the window and wishing I was up front.

Nothing better than being on the way home. Check your bags, who cares if you’ll never see them again. No reason to drag your dirty laundry with you in the tightly packed, neatly tagged and tiny wheeled canvas Samsonite. Sure, keep the computer and camera but pack the little black bag so you are traveling lightly. You need at least one hand to drink the Tim Hortons or Starbucks. Worry about balancing the coffee and watching the scenery, not balancing two bags and keeping sight of your replaceable possessions. Don’t waste your time and energy protecting your “stuff”. You are miles from home and seeing things that you may never have the chance to see again, even if it is just a pretty girl or a set of 4-year-old twins each carrying a complete boxed set of Matchbox cars that Dad gave them on his way to war.

DSS

( From 4 years ago )

When the green shot glass fell and bounced to the linoleum floor, the room grew sober and silent. He’d had enough of the shouting and swearing of the Alabama boys with their blustery threats and pigeon lies. It wasn’t their success that was being celebrated that night. Only by the aimless wandering bar hopping had they come upon this place, this place of stale smoke, spilled Jim Beam and soft skin perfumed women. Their loud mouths weren’t wanted, neither were their rolls of ill gotten money.

Gerald Watswigger had made a lot of ill-fated decisions in his short life but this one had irrevocable consequences. A 9 millimeter bullet at close range makes a perfect 9 millimeter size entrance wound in any part of the human body but on exit leaves a massive hole emptied of flesh, blood, pain and life.  Gerald had placed one squarely between the eyes of the man who had threatened him with the heavy end of a snooker pool cue. Once again he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gerald would pay for it the rest of his life down so deep in the Alabama State Prison that they would have to pipe daylight to him.

DSS

(This is of a series of the flash fiction life of Gerald Watswigger. The life of a troubled and unfortunate man. Search his name for more stories.)

I know, I know, December is the month of only Christmas expectations. But as we travel about from mall to store to online shopping literally and figuratively pushing our rattling, child pissed on, flat sided squeaking swivel wheeled shopping carts, we really need to pause and put life a little more into proper perspective.

Not only have there been “big deals” at Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy and Amazon, there have been Real Big Deals that happened in the world between December 15th and December 25th in history that most forget about and fail to pay proper December homage to.

So put away the wallet, the credit card, Amazon Prime login password, your and your children’s selfish shopping list and pause a couple of minutes to remember what other things happened on these ten days approaching this holiday of whatever religious Christmas you celebrate. These are real human events, nothing mystical about them. Please just pause for a few minutes.

Remember:

December 15, 1791 – The Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) became effective following ratification by Virginia.

December 16, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, the Battle of the Bulge began as the Germans launched a big counter-offensive in the Ardennes Forest along a 75-mile front, taking American troops by surprise. There were an estimated 77,000 Allied and 130,000 German casualties.

December 17, 1903 – After many years of experimentation, Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first powered, controlled airplane flights. They made four flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the longest lasting about a minute.

December 18, 1916 – During World War I, the Battle of Verdun concluded after ten months of fighting in which 543,000 French and 434,000 German soldiers were killed.

December 19, 1946 – War broke out in French Indochina as Ho Chi Minh attacked the French seeking to oust them from Vietnam. This marked the beginning of a thirty-year conflict which eventually led to heavy U.S. involvement and ended with a Communist victory in April 1975 after U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam.

December 20, 1956 – The Montgomery bus boycott ended after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling integrating the Montgomery bus system was implemented. The boycott by African Americans had begun on December 5, 1955, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man.

December 21st – Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer.

December 21, 1846 – Anesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during an operation at University College Hospital in London performed by Robert Liston who amputated the leg of a servant.

December 22, 1783 – Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, Maryland, George Washington, victorious Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appeared before Congress and voluntarily resigned his commission.

December 23, 1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear during a fit of depression.

December 23, 1947 – The transistor was invented at Bell Laboratories by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, who shared the Nobel Prize for their invention which sparked a worldwide revolution in electronics.

December 23, 1987 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flight around the world without refueling. Their aircraft Voyager traveled 24,986 miles at a speed of about 115 miles per hour. They were in the air without landing for nine days of these ten days before Xmas.

December 24, 1968 – Astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., and William A. Anders orbited the moon during the Apollo 8 mission, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 orbits, and the live TV broadcast became one of the most-watched programs in history.

Now do ya get it?

E.

( Merry Christmas from all the Gang, even E.  He sometimes slumps to a seasonal low this time of year.  John )

For E’s last year’s post.