Alas, the month of July is spent,
wondereth I whereto it went?
My attention seems to others lent,
I cannot fathom wherst July just went.
I woke up this morning and it was August. How did that happen? Seems just last week it was March, then April. The pandemic was swiftly changing everything. And we kept thinking surely it cannot last until summer...the heat will surely kill the virus and buy the scientists time to find the vaccine. But, no, we missed that boat. It is almost as if the boat was on the horizon and was torpedoed.
But here we are. May, June and now July. All gone. All a blur as we stay in our homes more, wear protective gear to go out, if we dare. Hope seems to be flagging quickly. Yet I tell myself do not despair. This too shall pass. It will. That's how things work. We rise and move on.
The first of every month always feels to me the chance for a new beginning. Set new goals. Start new projects. Finish the old ones. Take a deep breath and begin again. Twelve times a year. I noticed, even if you may not have, that I have been distracted from my own life by other priorities. It happens. Time to rein it is again. So here we go.
Even with advent of fire and hurricane seasons, excessive heat waves, pandemic fears, conflict and protests in the streets, twitter storms from above and more, it is what we make of it, how we react to it, that makes the difference. Do what we can as we can.
Let August begin with our hearts beating to rhythm of life as they always have as we soldier on.
This is the entrance to the auditorium at Redford Union High School in Redford Charter Township, Michigan. I attended RUHS from 1966 through 1970. Long time ago. I don't think this entrance has changed much, although I don't remember the stylized drama masks wall art. It might have been there, but I don't know. I do know I like it.
I remember many happy hours in this auditorium. Its where I studied Humanities and Drama with Mr. Mestas. It's where study hall and detention was held. To the right of the doors was where I had Geometry. It was kind of my sanctuary during some very dark and tumultuous days in the rough world of adolescents.
Just to the left of this entrance is where the manual arts were taught. I actually took woodshop, driver's ed, and auto maintenance there. Hadn't thought about those classes in a long time.
I found this picture scrolling through some pictures I took during my last visit to Michigan in 2014. It revived an interest in writing about those days when I wasn't quite sure I would make it to adulthood...wasn't even sure I wanted to make it adulthood. I wonder how many others were feeling the same way? Interesting how I thought I was the only one to have those feelings.
So this is a very significant picture for me. It is one I hadn't realized how much personal history had happened here, like when one very cold winter evening I came our of rehearsals for our production of My Sister Eileen only to find my '65 Corvair encased in ice from a sudden freeze after a light rain. Those were the days.
Memories, I think I'll keep 'em.
I was watching CBS Sunday Morning a bit ago. I always DVR it and watch later. That's just how I control my viewing habits, I guess. There is so little that I can control these days, that, is just one I cling to.
Anyway, one of the stories was about a little Indian restaurant at a truck stop in Laramie, Wyoming*. An Indian restaurant. Laramie, Wyoming. Truck stop. Who knew it would be a hit? It's worth checking out the story at the link below. Seems different cultures can find ways to co-exist.
What I'm musing on though is the afterward for me. Suddenly I was hungry for, you guessed it, Indian food. I thought, well, I can just run out closer to dinner time and grab some Indian food at one of my favorite Indian food places nearby. My tongue could taste it. I even began to salivate. Yumm!
I googled the restaurants near me. Ghandi. Namaste. Both I like a lot. Then I realized I hadn't been to either in months, not since before the Great Pandemic. Yes, they were open, though. But no dine-in. Online orders only. Pick up or delivery. Convenient. But somehow second best. Not the same as being in the restaurant, smelling the variety of aromas. The smiling staff. Sharing with friends.
Suddenly I was very sad. Tears began to form in my eyes. Even if there was in store dining, its six feet apart, face masks, hand sanitizers, etc. The new way of life. The New Normal. (Insert expletive here).
I will probably check with my neighbor and see if they are interested in Indian food tonight. I'll make the run. But I don't know what I want. And usually you share dishes at the table while sipping wine and passing the naan.
It's not the same to bring it home in a box and take it to your house and eat it in front of the TV. Thanks to those who failed to protect us, to act and protect us from this thing called the New Normal.
Maybe I'll just have some leftover spaghetti again tonight.
*Here's a link to the story: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-taste-of-india-at-a-wyoming-truck-stop/
Prelude to this Post
These posts are basically somewhat like wills of the wisp: something that is impossible to get or achieve.* Or maybe a delusive or elusive goal.** I particularly like the legend described below at part of MW's description of the terms origins.
The will-o'-the-wisp is a flame-like phosphorescence caused by gases from decaying plants in marshy areas. In olden days, it was personified as "Will with the wisp," a sprite who carried a fleeting "wisp" of light. Foolish travelers were said to try to follow the light and were then led astray into the marsh. (An 18th-century fairy tale described Will as one "who bears the wispy fire to trail the swains among the mire.") The light was first known, and still also is, as ignis fatuus, which in Latin means "foolish fire." Eventually, the name will-o’-the-wisp was extended to any impractical or unattainable goal.
I can admit to it: I might be lazy. But in reality it is not just laziness, but I think my first draft should be it. It should just be perfect and just what it is. Editing? Bleh. No stinking editing for me. Publish and let the chips fall where they may...even if it is cliche riddled. When I "save" it and close it and add a picture or catchy title, I'm done. I don't want to think about it again. I lose interest. What's next? Good enough is good enough.
So I would like to think. I do to my chagrin still believe in magic.
Inevitably, though, I ask someone's opinion. Oh, dear, that can be the kiss of death or you might think so as I recoil and am devastated when the reader or reviewer says something like, "With some work, you might have something." I sigh, (to myself of course), and wish I hadn't asked. Oh that they could just say, "That is was good and they enjoyed it and they wouldn't change a thing?" Magical thinking again.
Dreamer. Lazy me. What, me work on it some more? Sigh. They're right of course. No first draft is ever perfect. This is a only first draft, far from perfect.
I like to think of myself as speaking from the heart, a free-spirited whimsical storyteller. After all, these things are basically ephemeral moments in the lives of the reader...aren't they? Great literature? I think not.
Quirky thoughts and musings come to mind. I write them down. I'm do that now. But I think often amusing and maybe even thought provoking.
Anyway, and that is my go to shrug off, whatever expression. I know really I do have some work to do. I might have something. I am not really lazy, just reluctant to wait. That bedeviling urge called "instant gratification" gets me every time. Like now. Like when I hit save and send this out. Most likely unproofed.
This image is from the home of someone who passed away sometime ago. I captured it when I was taking pictures for as estate sale, something I do as a sort of strange hobby. Anyway, it struck me when I was looking at it today that sometimes this is what happens to our memories, our souvenirs, or cherished trinkets.
My great aunt died years ago. Before she passed, she asked me to make sure all the family photos she possessed didn't end up in some antique store. That would break her heart. And it would mean that no one treasured those memories just as she had for all her 90 years. And, saddest of all, few of them were annotated, so no one would know who they were. Not until the people in these pictures shown here.
This picture evokes for me a peek into the lives of someone I never knew, never hope to know. I can only imagine their stories. That, I believe, is something good. I would only hope that my odd little treasures bring the same curiosity and perhaps inspiration to someone someday.
Someone else's memories are now in an odd way, mine.
This herd of burros were taking a pause in the heat on the ridge behind a ranch in Reche Canyon the other day. Donkeys are very social and usually live in a group called a herd. The herd is usually lead by one jack and consists of several jennies in the wild. https://www.livescience.com/54258-donkeys.html They are also called donkeys or asses.
The burros of Reche Canyon, halfway between Riverside and San Bernardino are well known to locals. As the canyon has become more and more populated, they have become more and more endangered. Yet they continue living much as they have since they were introduced to the area in the way back when.
I wondered as I watched them making their way along how they felt about the 100 degree heat we have here during the summer. I imagine them complaining just like we humans do. And I always am somewhat amused that we, as humans, are always surprised or caught off guard during the first days of high temps. Are the burro surprised?
Anyway, summer is here. Burros carry on. We retreat to our air conditioned cars and houses. And the summer does what the summer does: heat us up and drive us slightly mad. Just like mad dogs and Englishmen, we continue to go out in the noonday sun....or not.
Ever look at old photos and wonder what you were thinking? I do, but I don't have to with this pic. Picture it: San Bernardino County Admin Center. County employees called it (affectionately I think) the Taj. I am sitting there all duded up waiting to be presented to the Board of Supervisors to receive my retirement resolution certificate. No wonder I'm smiling, huh?
That was in June of 2009. I was a mere kid...at least it feels like it now. Never dreamed I'd still be kicking all these years later. Well, no, I guess I did kinda think I would, but even so, it is kind of a feat of accomplishment. I spent just days short of thirty years with the County. But it did pay off I guess.
Anyway, across the years things change and yet I look at old photos like this and wonder what I was thinking. What lay ahead? Did I do the right thing? Would I miss working? Eleven years later, I know some of the answers. And, still, here I am, still asking the same questions. What lies ahead? Am I doing the right thing? Will I miss working? LOL
I found this on a website called LoyalityLeader.com. "There's an old saying, “Smile. It increases your face value.” It also increases your success. Researchers conclude that people who frequently smile appear to be more successful than their less-happy peers in three primary areas of life: work, relationships, and health." See the original at LoyaltyLeader.com
And that's worth smiling about.
Well, it's Independence Day again and I find myself thinking of how I was born and bred to believe in the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." And now I wonder if that is slipping away. I find myself feeling that raising the flag today is not a celebration of our establishment as a democracy where all men and women are created equal. Why, then, are we still sorting that out?
Once again I debated whether I should fly my flag on this the anniversary of our declaring independence from what we deemed as oppressive regime. And early this morning, I hoisted it up once again by my front entrance. All the while I was thinking, it is my flag, my country and right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" we I celebrate along with every other American and this 244th anniversary of that day in 1776.
I listen to the current occupant in the White House speaking from Mount Rushmore and the lawn of the White Houes. I am alarmed by what he says. Inaccurate, untrue, and pandering to a base of which I am not and never can be a member.
A few years ago, I wrote: "I am thankful for waking up freer than most in a country that has more rights than most and may not be perfect, but is my home and we can agree to disagree." That is still mostly true. I realized if I didn't hoist up Old Glory, I was giving in. We cannot let the forces of darkness win. So once again, I may not celebrate as joyously this year, in part due the current pandemic raging around us, but I still claim my rights as a citizen and am thankful for what the flag has always stood for... "with liberty and justice for all."
The thought keeps rising in my mind about the idea of lost time. We've lost so much time. March, April, May...all of spring went by without the usual awakenings. Sure, nature did her thing. Flowers bloomed, fruit ripened, temperatures warmed. Some rain, some sun, some morning, some night. But what of the rites of spring? And now June has gone, too. Summer has begun. Did it "bust out all over"? If it did, I really didn't notice.
And now it is July first. Even the weather has been off. Is the corn as high as an elephant's eye? We there be firework displays in the usual places instead of every night in every neighborhood, scaring small animals and battle-scarred veterans?
I wish I had been more productive during these first months in the Time of Covid. Instead I stayed to myself, isolated, shopped online. I attended some zoom meetings with friends and church services. Little did those folks know how this became so important to me. Connection. I miss connection, I think. And freedom. I miss getting in the car and just driving somewhere. To Trader Joe's or the botanical parks or a museum. A movie. Up the coast.
Lost time. Time is never lost. It's currency is spent as we see fit. Did I waste my time? No, I don't think so. All of this has been valuable in its own way. Sometimes I felt like armageddon had come. Or perhaps the rapture. And here I was, left behind. And yet I never really despaired. I just hunkered down. I knew we would move through this season of the plague. And I still know we will.
Lost time last time lost. Lost time doesn't last and this is the last time lost time will get to me. Since we really only have the "now", how can it be that time is lost? Sure, I'm a little older, maybe a bit wiser, but I am not lost. I am emerging from the haze of spring to do what I feel called to do. I am finally enjoying time with myself, my animals, and with readers like you with whom in the virtual reality of things, are always with me.
You can't lose time. There is no last time. Time is time. And that's about it.
I was merrily writing a very serious blog about how today is the last day of the first half of this very weird and chaotic year. I had rational rationalizations, insights and ways to cope. It was really outstanding. You would have benefitted so much by reading it. Sadly, or maybe not sadly at all, you were spared reading it when my computer decided to freeze up and then erase everything I had written. Kaphooey. (Not sure that is a word, but I'm too lazy right now to look it up right now).
So that's just perfect for this, the last of June, the last of hurrah as it were, for the first half of a time of tribulation. It's been chaotic, challenging, scary, mystifying, demoralizing, inspiring, uplifting, insightful, discouraging....and so much more. In a nutshell, its been a time like no other, and one that shall be written about and studied for many, many years.
I have to say I am more than weary of it all. Life in the time of COVID. Political upheaval. Paradigm shifts, some which I pray will take hold and last, and others that need to be abandoned. It's all just too much to bear sometimes.
One thing I believe is in the power of mind. As Oprah once said, "You don't become what you want, you become what you believe." Matthew 29-31 say He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” Bruce Lee, the world renown martial artist, said, “As you think, so shall you become.” I'm sure I could find many more examples. But what I'm trying to say is, however, that as long as we let ourselves accept this particular "reality", we will never achieve the actual Reality.
We weren't meant to live as we have, especially for the past six months. Fear, angst, anxiety...it is not our natural state.
But how can we move past all that? Ain't easy. But it does begin with me. I know there is much work to be done. And I guess I need to start with me.
Tomorrow is July First. It is the beginning of the last half of the year. A new fiscal year begins. July 1 is the 183rd day of 2020. 183 days remain until the end of the year. It is up to us how we are going to live those 183 days. I don't know about you, but I'm tired. It ain't easy being worried all the time. I for one am gonna pray, meditate, spiritual mind treat, set my intentions, and all the other stuff I can think of to find hope and optimism back into my life, our lives.
One person can change the world. If it isn't me, then maybe its you. We've got work to do.
According to Webster's, kaphooey is a variation of phooey, an interjection.
The definition of phooey—it is a word used to express repudiation or disgust
That about says it.