Sunday, September 18, 2022

Now is now, at least until Yesterday

 Reflections: September 18, 2022

Cool this morning and I feel autumn in the air. The sun is shining brightly through my bedroom window. It’s about 9:30 am and I hear several neighbors heading out for the day.

I'm thinking about one of my fears while making coffee. How will time fill itself. Now that I’m no longer on the corporate clock there’s a void. Voids fill themselves. I catch myself worrying about it. I still have so much I want to do and I react to friends who call and say, “Now that you’re retired, are you thinking about travel?”

No, not really. I want to get my life in order so I can devote my time to music and writing. It’s a full time gig even though I’m not making much if any progress at the moment.

Henry Miller...

 One can fight evil but against stupidity one is helpless… I have accepted the fact, hard as it may be, that human beings are inclined to behave in ways that would make animals blush. The ironic, the tragic thing is that we often behave in ignoble fashion from what we consider the highest motives. The animal makes no excuse for killing his prey; the human animal, on the other hand, can invoke God’s blessing when massacring his fellow men. He forgets that God is not on his side but at his side. 

I'm watching too many political videos lately on YouTube and making comments. My only revelation is the that I get all fired up, raise my blood pressure, and for what? 

This is not the way I want that void to fill itself. Idiots are idiots and I remind myself it doesn’t really matter and I don't need to participate in the mud slinging. I vent, and nothing will change. I get that. The only thing likely to happen is someone will rudely insult me and remind me of just how stupid I am.

Miller continued...  There is nothing wrong with life itself. It is the ocean in which we swim and we either adapt to it or sink to the bottom. But it is in our power as human beings not to pollute the waters of life, not to destroy the spirit which animates us.

In the late 1990s I viewed the emerging social media scene as a new frontier with almost utopian energy. It became my career of sorts and I preached the new age gospel of its benefits to mankind. Today, I'm mostly retracting that view. The platforms, the corporations that are home to them, have broken the promise and the plumbing. In many ways, and I get it not in all ways, they are drowning us in a sewer.

The world seems split down the middle, each side adamant that the other side is horribly wrong and mistaken. No points are ever argued, just simply destroy the person who shared one. "You don't agree with our side, we hate you!"

On my way to the grocery store the other day I was driving up Shattuck Street and about to cross South 3rd as two young probably teen guys were walking against the green light. I brake to slow down and wait for them to pass. They see me and slow down their walk so it takes longer to cross when one of them laughs to the other loud enough for me to hear, “Watch out for grandpa!”

This is but a mild distraction because I'm in a totally different head space. I'm deep in thought wondering, "Does my old neighborhood Earlington remember me or any of those days long ago?" Are old neighborhoods like old people? Do they have consciousness like they seemed to have when you were a kid? They have a name for a reason. They have boundaries like all beings alive. They were once a unique identity that set them apart from anywhere else. They had personality, a one of a kindness. (pun intended)

Each home was built by, or for, a family one at a time, large or small, with a unique style extravagant or modest all their own. None had fences, window drapes were mostly always open during the day, and all yards had at least a few fruit trees. Garages were unattached with workbenches where projects were always present and revealed some stage of creation or repairs. Around and on each bench were parts and pieces of old things that would certainly be useful someday. Nuts and bolts, washers and screws, nails of all sizes and old hinges too, all organized in jars and old coffee cans. Light switches, wire, and electrical cord, boxes and bins of wood and metal pieces of all sizes and shapes. 

On the walls hung handsaws, rip, crosscut, and fine. Toolboxes were nearby with several hammers. A collection of machine and motor oils were present for lubrication and gasoline for cleaning various greasy engine parts. And numerous small paint cans to refurbish any interior or exterior that needed fixing, patching or trim. 

Though now the old neighborhood is mostly apartments and condos, dear Earlington, do you remember the woods and pastures? Do any of the old homes recall our childhood days of long ago as fondly as I do. Do you remember the birds and wild flowers of spring and summer? The foggy autumn mornings that lifted to sunny warm afternoons. The cold damp gray rainy cold Novembers evenings with a heart warming blaze in the fireplace.

Remember when we woke to rooster crows, and the neighbor's dog barked to alert us that someone (not from our neighborhood) was walking down our street. Robins chirped to raise the sun, then again at sunset as the day drew to a close to say goodnight. 

I remember walking home in autumn and winter at dinner time. You’d inhale the wonderful smell of ethnicity from the street as you passed each home. On Saturday mornings in spring, summer, and early fall the lawn mowers would start up and soon the smell of freshly cut grass would fill the air. When flowers were blooming a divine sweetness was added to the mix. It filled our senses, it was intoxicating.

As I reflect, I’d like to go back and I know I can’t. I don’t want to say life was better then than now. But now lends the opportunity to remember then and I cherish that. I don’t dwell there, I honor it. 

The other day I was thinking about places. They have a life cycle as we humans do. They were one thing and over time as all of us do became another as changes made us what we turned out to be today.

I was struck with these thoughts. Do they also have memory? I think they must because we’re so alike, in that we came from a place, we lived, we grew, and life and change happened. We’ve all experienced the good, the not so good, and the bad that leaves us with at least a few regrets.

We all evolved, like it or not, and now... now is now. At least until it's yesterday.

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