Category Archives: growth

Daughter

She laughs and we make up songs along with the radio “fresh hits”, usually about the dog or some other silliness.    She’s clever, almost as clever as her dad at finding a dumb rhyme to work in the words “Zeus” or “poop”.

She’s trying to make me laugh, and that is the whole point.  She says, “I love you, Daddy” three or four times during an hour long trip.

She’s tougher than she used to be, able to change her mood from self-pity to resolve by refocusing and moving onto the next thing. She’s way more adaptive.

She’s so much like me. She’s nutty creative. She’s a cuddler.

She is on the cusp of change, and I see her genuinely facing it.

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Easy Crazy

I will plant myself at the end of my driveway.

Like an old friend, the chatter of a suburban world just past bedtime will hold me in conversation, like it had when I whispered, knowing my kids were dozing just above the garage, two in the same bed, there because the other one was.

My crazy will flutter under the beam of the lamp, dissolve into an old comfort.  This spot, where I pulled my knees up inside my arms, believing that newness in the world was an old letter finally finding its way to my home, will be different.  My crazy will attach itself to the moths and crickets dancing outside of me.

Thoughts will be of a friend whom I will soon visit, and what I will say.  No wisdom to impart, just a punched ticket and a lot of miles. He’s five years behind, and has no idea what the end of a driveway brings.

Thoughts of someone else.  Easy thoughts.

I will watch for shooting stars and feel at ease with my crazy.  The planning, the parting, and simpler things, like smiles and painting and dancing, will come easier here.  Being with me comes easier.  Sleep comes easier.

And I will wait for my crazy to return in a fox’s whine or the hum of the freeway.  I will wrap it up in humid summer air and see it to bed.


It Just Doesn’t Matter

Accepting and striving counterpoised. It all reminds me of Tripper’s speech, in the movie Meatballs…

That’s just the attitude we don’t need. Sure, Mohawk has beaten us twelve years in a row. Sure, they’re terrific athletes. They’ve got the best equipment that money can buy. Hell, every team they’re sending over here has their own personal masseuse, not masseur, masseuse. But it doesn’t matter. Do you know that every Mohawk competitor has an electrocardiogram, blood and urine tests every 48 hours to see if there’s any change in his physical condition? Do you know that they use the most sophisticated training methods from the Soviet Union, East and West Germany, and the newest Olympic power Trinidad-Tobago? But it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER. I tell you, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!

And even, and even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far over our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days. Even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field. Even if every man, woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn’t matter, because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk cause they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER!

It doesn’t matter…at least, the thing we were all supposed to want. This is not nihilism, but a rejection of some external definition of winning and losing in favor of some other acceptance. 

Detractors will appear. Critics and well meaning sages may offer unsolicited comment.

Settling? Perhaps. So what? 

I know what does matter to me most of the time, and it is different than it used to be.


Son

He’s getting older and I am getting old.  He doesn’t want to talk so much these days, and I want too much to talk with him.  He is fine, even when he is not, and this we have in common.

He is a man in ways he may not recognize. He is young, and he has the benefit of choices, a terribly scary burden. He is excited to make them his. 

He is my son, and he is tied to my life. He is his own, not yet on his own.


Coach

Even my son called me “Coach” when we were on the field.  I suppose it was easier for both of us.  I could correct, teach, and praise with the roles defined and accepted. He could play, develop, and be part of the team. Player and Coach.  We were on the same team, but with clearly different responsibilities. 

I was still Dad on the way to the game and the ride home.  Talking about video games, the weekend plans, and school.

Coaching is now over for me in the sense it was for tee-ball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, basketball, lacrosse, and football.  My office at home is decorated by plaques and photos, signed by my players and fellow coaches.  With my kids moving into upper school, the rec league years are in the past. And I did not miss out of them.  I am thankful.

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Just Right Words

Words. Too many. Where were the words, the right ones, when they were being called back to the yard? Hiding in the treetops or under the foundation walls?

It was quicker to swallow the words that came, but not easier, and assuredly not satisfying. Or empty them out over everything.

They were knives to slice and stab; spoons to dig, overturn, and mix. So much cutlery, clanging.

Except … sometimes.

Sometimes chiming.
Sometimes singing.

Sometimes they were right for a moment when the right words were needed. Unrehearsed, freed expressions finding escape from webs.

In those times, the right words held power to heal, to explore.

And when the words left, so did their power, only much more slowly and a few laps behind.  They now linger at the edges, but as tired memories, lucky and leaden both. The rants, arguments, and rehashings are now reduced to what they always were: mere distractions from what was and is real.

But the words, their potential…oh. And, I have the luxury of keeping the ones I need, dare say, want.

The right words still taste of sweet poetry and play melodies in my ears, occasionally harmonies; these words I deserve to keep dear, even though that is the only choice available.


Meadow

Hardened earth and hallowed ground
grow hardy and thirsty notions,
thistle and briar, engaged in wind-borne
attempts at spreading gospel.

Hitching to a body in motion, a transient,
unknowing and unconcerned, other
than to gnaw and pull at the roots,
to sate a hunger.

Riding the reaper, then ejecting itself,
the emigrant arrives an immigrant,
the notion spreads to fertile breasts
and hips, and takes hold.

But that is just a singular gene, a body atomic.
The whole of it is truly wide, a legion of
seeds spread in every lee,
unmarried and independent.

Born of almost infinite notions, a meadow rolls
and breathes, crawling over the dells, climbing and diving,
a map of invasion and recession
and constant flexure.


Multiple Choice

Phantom limb,
or persistent weather,
or mental gravity,
or re-runs?

Selective memory,
or self-delusion,
or cosmetic makeover,
or choice?

Necessary growth,
or attic clearing,
or season turning,
or loss?

Door, window, map?
Risk, reward?
Hourglass?
Dune?
Deluge?


Point on a curve

There is a point you pass and never see it.  When you wake up and don’t react personally if it’s cold, rainy, sweltering, or mild, you’ve passed it. You don what you think you need, prepare for the environment, take your chances and count on your best self, your faith in your own resiliency and skill that those are enough.

When winning and losing still matter, but you stop re-playing the losses and missed opportunities in your mind with a sense of regret, you’ve passed it. The universe isn’t focused on thwarting you – it isn’t even considering you.

General unfairness in the world wears no specific name tag. Unlucky stars have no bearing, and yet your luck and fortune continue to fluctuate. Specific affronts, on the other hand, are drawn in solid contours. Obstacles, just or unjust, reveal themselves for what they are, often opportunities, often needed challenges.  They resist generalities.  They have names.

When the brilliance and vibrancy of the world has increased, but so has the seriousness and gravity, you’ve passed it.  You move with greater purpose and the moments of directionless stasis are more rare, sometimes only present as memories or left-over notions. You shift your concerns from small to large and back again, without losing your grip.

I wouldn’t call it transcendence, though it is akin to the notion.  More like living in true color. You begin seeing the relief in high-definition.

Shy of that point, you may get stuck. The cloud around you is glued to your skin. Time may push you through it, but I believe you have to consciously decide not to carry the cloud with you.

Once you’ve passed that point, you start piloting the curve ahead, plotting it, changing its direction, gliding over its curves, and dodging or barreling through its uneven patches.


Sustainable

Truth is that life is struggle.

Accepting that, dropping the frustration at inconsistency and the search for righteousness, makes way for applying considerable skill and resources to the short view goals and the long term plan.

Each circle emanating from me, from my very self outward to the world I know, gets a part of me today. Today, some events in the greater circles will get special attention. Excitement and organization is building around an idea, my idea.

Today, I’m planting more seeds in one field as I reap the harvest from another.

I am the earth I tend, and it is high time to get back to work.