Oh, the things I could have done had I just felt like doing them. Just felt like doing them.
Sometimes at the end of a day when I accomplished very little, I sometimes sum up all my excuses for not having done much with the time I was given. The total is often disheartening. I then realize that my basket is filled more with excuses than with satisfaction. That is so sad.
Today's excuses would be that it was too hot, too muggy, to do anything much outside. And while I did clean the kitchen a bit, I really didn't clean house or sort through those things piled up in the front den or upstairs. I didn't write much. I didn't do any photographic work. Mostly because I was tired and didn't feel like it.
I did help a dear friend celebrate her birthday with lunch and a "just for fun" care package. That was something that actually fills a good portion of my basket for the day. That was worth it.
But still, what is this feeling of ennui that keeps me from doing those things...those things I could have done with my day that would have amounted to something? I guess not every day is a day to accomplish great things. But I did write this blog. And that is one of those things I wasn't feeling like doing today. So I guess I can say, "good for me" afterall.
The heat and the humidity of August can make it impossible to have a rational thought, let alone a flash of inspiration. Even though I live is what should be an "arid" climate, it sometimes seems like the tropics when a monsoon finishes its run off the coast sending waves of heavy, damp air, and a smattering of rain here and there. That in itself can taunt you to distraction when we are deep into the fourth year of a devastating draught.
As I was sitting on my front porch this evening, I overheard a conversation between my neighbors. The woman was watering her great variety of non-draught tolerant plants when she said to her male friend, "I love the yard, especially when it is wet." He chuckled and said, "But we live in an arid climate. This is not natural. You can't force your desires on the environment. You won't win."
"I went to the mountains today," she sighed wistfully. "I just like how it feels like that here...especially when I water."
"Then we should move to the mountains," he said, seemingly fully aware they were not going to be doing that. After a pause, he said again, "You can't force your will on nature."
She went on watering. He went inside to get them both a drink.
I thought about this overheard conversation for a while. No, we cannot force our will on nature. And, man, oh, man, how we have tried. I admit I have be complicit in this "crime" against nature. We move here for the climate from the changeable east cost and midwest, and then try to make this place, Southern California, as much like home as possible.
It seems nature is tired of our arrogance. And as the gentleman next door said, against nature, we won't win.
I was trying to avoid Monday. Of course, it found me. All the things left undone from last week and the broken intentions of "catching up" on the weekend have come back to haunt me. Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day! (Mamas and the Papas) Monday will always tell on you. The world seems to wake up again after a week end of normal activities. Oh, well. The piper must be paid. The accounts must be settled. So what to do?
Run away! That's right. Well, not actually. I am going away for the day, but I have actually returned some calls, addressed some issues and put necessary items in the mail. Productivity feels good...especially if it is true productivity and not just busywork. Meaning. That is what it is really all about. Monday is the beginning of a new week...another new week...one of 52 every year that comes our way. And it is up to us to make of it what we will and not what we won't.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, Monday will find you. Mind as well say hello, shake its hand and be friends with it. And contrary to what the Mamas and Papas sang so many years ago, you actually can trust Mondays. There's something amazing about the new beginnings they always offer if you don't hide from them.
Ten days left in August. September is waiting to sweep in. Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving....and then....well, you know what's ahead. Where, oh, where, does the time go? I am still in June...or maybe very early July. Somehow the seasons, the months...even the days...are rushing by me and am left running after them.
This morning is grey and overcast. The Pacific's marine layer has reached all the way into the Inland Empire. The IE, as you may recall, is fifty miles at least inland from the coast. This does mean a cooler day, more humidity and a foretaste of autumn. But I'm not ready for fall. I still need to live into summer. Perhaps it's the sameness of the seasons in Southern California. But, contrary to popular impressions, SoCal does have its seasons. This is one of them. I call it seasonal disharmony. It is unsettled, even uncomfortable, and can definitely catch you off guard.
So I say the heck with it. It is summer. It is at least until the autumnal equinox. And it is so even as the days grow shorter and the kids go back to school (in August!). It is all a state of mind anyway. Plus I am one of those guys who still wears shorts in winter. After all, it is Southern California.
Take that time bandit. You can't rob me of time and season without paying a price. Or can you?
Every year, on August 18 and 19, I spend time thinking about two very special people in my life: my maternal grandparents. Jack and Lucy Moore were very special to me, a very important source of love and support when I was growing up. Grandma died on August 18, 1983, and Grandpa died on August 19, 1979. Even today, I wake up and have to remind myself they are gone. I think that is normal. Of course I never forget they are gone. Yet, I know on some mystical level, they are always with me.
They were married 31 years when Grandpa passed. He had suffered a form of Alzheimer's back before much was known about it. He basically had stopped talking, yet he always lit up when one of us walked into the room. He spent the last several years in a nursing home. Taking care of him nearly killed my grandmother. Even so, she never got over the guilt of placing him there. Yet there was always love there between them. They were good together.
And they were good to me. I owe a lot of who I am today to them. I hear their voices in my head all the time. That is how I know they are still around. Love never dies.
So today, as I prepare to once again move on after observing some time in meditative reflection, I pick up their smiles, senses of humor and contribution to my life, and say thank you.
BY CARL SANDBURG
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Recently, a little kitten came into my life for a short time, changing everything. She was rescued from a man who obviously didn't know how to treat a ten-week old baby. He was waving her in the air, walking down the street in front of an estate sale I was helping at. My friend Kerry relieved this gentleman of the kitty and she stayed with us at the sale for the day. When it came time to close up, guess who got to take the newly dubbed Graycie (she is gray) home with him?
Carl Sandberg's wonderful poem, Fog, describes Graycie to a tee. Graycie came in on little cat's feet. That is what Graycie did. She just showed up, came into our home, and stole our hearts. Sadly, I came to realize I could not keep her. She deserved a safe, secure home. Yes, mine is pretty secure for dogs. And my mature kitty, Nina, has never suffered from wanderlust. But a kitten tends to want to explore, and having lost one kitty to this proclivity in cats, I decided it would be best to find her a forever home...an place for indoor kitties who do not roam. And miracle of miracles, I found one. And Graycie left last Friday. And she loves her new home. She is happy and content. And is sorely missed.
Two weeks was all she was here. Tiime is not what dictates the attachments of the heart. Fortunately she is close by and I will know how she is doing, and perhaps get to visit her. I wonder, though, if she will remember me? Will she remember the dogs and the rescue and all of the events of her young life so far? Time will tell. The important thing, though, is that she is happy. And the memory of her will always warm my heart.
I have a list of things I ought/should/must do as long as my arm. Or so it seems. I am good, too, at making lists. Writing it down seems to help. (Writing this blog is always on this list...you see how successful I am sometimes on doing that!). Yet my motivation comes and goes something like the tide or the sun and the moon. It rises up, gets your attention, and then fades into the background. Bottom line, sometimes I just don't feel like it. It can be anything I'm supposed/expected/want to do. That last one, "want", is a killer. If I want to do it, who I resist doing it so?
Today is a blank slate. Mine to schedule. Dogs have gone to the spa and the kitty is in her office doing whatever it is she does during the day. She left me a tiny little mousie in the den. Her day's work is done I guess. So what will I do with this day? Darned if I know. I have a list. Things to do. I don't feel like doing any of them. But going back to bed is not an option. That would be almost a crime against nature. So at least I am writing this blog. Motivation. It comes and it goes. For now, it seems to have come to visit for a while.
Look out life, here I come....and there I go. And there you have it.
Sunday morning should be a time for meditation, reflection and worship of all that is holy. By "holy" I mean, sacred, blessed and life-giving. It is a time to give thanks for all of life's natural wonders and all of humankind's gifts and talents. So perhaps that is why sometimes I just stay home and quietly, in my own fashion, ponder and wonder. It is in the quiet that small still voice can be heard. But, I admit, it is not the only place it can be heard.
When I go to a place of worship, I go loaded up (or down) with expectations. I expect everyone will be there for the same reason. Often, this is not the case, to which I allow myself to become critical and judgemental. That, I know, is on me. Tune it out. Listen to the music. Hear the words of scripture and the sermon. This is difficult, if not impossible, in a room filled with people who have come into the sanctuary much as if it were their living room or an open park.
This is when I am reminded that Jesus himself was never in a church. He never advocated a church structure such as we find today. He was a take it to the street kind of guy. Imagine, calling Jesus a "guy"! Blasphemy?
Anyway, sometimes I just think I need to be with myself and dwell on the living Spirit, much like I am doing here in these words. Lest this become a sermon, I must draw myself up short here, and give the caveat that it is my way of justifying not going to church this morning. The Holy is in the garden and in the wind. It is in the sound of the birds and gentle breathing of a sleeping dog. And, yes, it is in the everyday hubbub of life as we know it. This Sunday morning, it seems, I just needed to remind myself of that.