Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Five Things

Guess what happened to me the other day?

I was working on my second cup of coffee the other morning, trying to come to grips with the coming day. It was 8:02am exactly. I was told by a member of my family, her name will not be mentioned, that I could be, well, grumpy, judgmental, and hard to be around in the early am. Imagine.
Judgmental? Me? She should talk!

So in that light, I decided to stop complaining (if I ever did!) and try to discover the good in some simple, mundane things over the next few days. And guess what? I did... five things.

Kyoto/Tic Tac
Did you ever click on "NEXT BLOG" at the top of this page. You may not have the time, but I do right now. There's a great deal of music/cinema/young family blogs and strangely more blogs than you would think on knitting and food. I never thought that food or knitting engenders words, but there you have it. I came across a blog from a 20 something computer engineer from Kyoto. He was uncomfortably honest about his inability, despite conscientiously working out with free weights, of developing a physique that would impress his friends and help him find his female soul mate in life. No six pack, no girl. He took his deepest fears and put them to words, sentences, then paragraphs. Some would say that this was an exercise in narcissistic drivel. I do not. He reached me because he was shadow boxing with his existence; in his own way, trying to come to grips with his failings and his future. He was saying to himself "I matter", and then he put all his fears on the blog and shared them with us; saying, "you matter too". That took courage.

Tennessee Williams wrote in A Street Car Named Desire, that Blanche, one of the characters, "depended on the kindness of strangers." We all do, but I pray he learns that we don't measure our worth against their approval. I also hope that life assuages his loneliness and youthful angst, and soon, perhaps walking down the street, his heart will whisper and another heart will hear and they will connect.

Ditto the young pregnant woman whose journaling blog elucidates her emotions about her upcoming motherhood. Her words give voice to her perceived inadequacies, maternal insecurities, and imagined thrills. She strives to be the perfect mother, but hasn't yet gone through the process and therefore learned that's impossible. I can tell by her wants that she will be a wonderful mom to the him or her she calls "Tic Tac."

Sometimes life is like reading a map in the mist. You get a vague sense of topography and a warren of squiggles without clear orientation. We shoot a moral azimuth and hope for the best. Unclear exactly where we are going and where we have been, but sometimes we know. Sometimes we are led on a path clearly defined to a good place we know with certainty. We call this place a happy ending

Donna showed me the attached picture from yesterday. Prior to moving back home last year, my son had two dogs that always got along famously until one day they didn't. He brought one, Kali, to live with us temporarily while we looked for another home for her. He was moving back with the other dog, Bruno, shortly, so there was a pressured, time consideration involved. As you may or may not know, giving a pet away is not easy. Kali was a wonderful dog that would be a great pet for any family. We dreaded giving her up and dreaded we wouldn't give her to the right family or worse, no family at all. The process is also overloaded with luck.

But sometimes luck is enough. Donna met a mom with two boys. Long story short, after several meetings, Kali found a wonderful home with a wonderful family. If you look close in the picture below, Kali is smiling. I can tell. If you never think anything ends happily in life and you can't point to any examples, you can borrow this one.

Bad Weather

It snowed this morning - about an inch. It is a pleasant reminder that we live inside nature and are dependent on it. I am no environmentalist, but anyone can see we live in a cell phone society, cut off from our surroundings. We give nature adoration after subjugation and then just plain ignore it. But nature finds ways to subtly remind us of our limitations and let us know those limitations are sagacious and life affirming. It's not us then nature, it's us and nature. Genesis established that symmetry in the first few pages. Have you ever lived without electricity? Even for a short time, summer camp or mountain hiking perhaps? Your body quickly gets into a natural rhythm with daylight. You do activities when the sun is up and don't when the sun is down. It is restful and relaxing. Thomas Edison did us no favors.

The snow came with that lesson. Eric Hoffer, the philosopher/longshoreman from San Francisco said that man's progress is measured by his supremacy over nature. To clear a forest to build a factory is man at his best. No, Eric. Clearing or not clearing the forest for the factory is not the measurement. The measurement is the decision not to clear the forest for the factory if it is not needed. That is man at his best because that is man at his wisest. (I love arguing with dead philosophers - you always win because you always get the last word.)

Mark Twain

I read yesterday on the internet the following quote by Mark Twain, "I didn't attend the funeral, but sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." The net is filled with a lot of mendacious attributions so I can't be sure it was him, but it sounds like Mark Twain.

I wonder if the subject of the sentence perhaps told Mr. Twain prior to his second cup of coffee that he was grumpy...around 8:02am.

Charlie, Kali and Willem...All smiling...All happy

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