Category Archives: reality

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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Finally and More

Two ticks, so far,
in a forest of black fur,
still hungry, searching,
and not yet settled
into his skin.

Exhausted, he lets me comb
through his mass, a massage he thinks,
tongue a slab of deli ham,
my dog smiles with his eyes
and ears; surely this must be his
post-hike reward.

He swims through a bowl
of water, everywhere spashing,
then gobbles up his kibble,
perhaps thinking between breaths
that this day wasn’t his typical
lazy day.

Hills, mud, rocks and up, up, up.
More likely, he is thinking,
now that the air is just between
cool and warm and full of
critter scents and bird songs,
“Finally!” and “More!”


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.


Celtic Punk

My new kick: Celtic Punk.

More “full” than my childhood punk music, but coursing with the same angst. More than a nod to traditional music and boiling over with modern story. As a consumer of punk rock for over 30 years, I know that the genre’s rivers run much deeper than the extremes of silliness and nihilism that are the sharp outlines of the cartoon. But even this seems different – an older cousin who buys you cigarettes and reads the political editorials, and later, the one whose forearm is wrapped tight around your shoulder while singing pub songs. The rolling lyrics and mandolin are there; the fiddle and the dumpity-dum-a-dum drums as well, all backed by a heavy guitar and voices simultaneously growling, slurring, and singing about the “da devil” and dear “mudder and fadder” over the choruses and breaks. And the pipes, of course.

Hailing from the Isle, Scotland, Boston, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and even San Francisco, the sounds draw from musical traditions of rebellion, tough living, hope, camaraderie, and lost love. Perfect punk themes. Folk as well.

The Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, Street Dogs, and Flogging Molly were already on my iPod playlists.  Put Sticky Little Fingers in that mix for a more UK punk vibe. Pandora radio opened me up to the Real McKenzies, Young Dubliners, The Bollox, The Tossers, Blaggards, and two-dozen more.


Comfort

Define achievement and success in terms
so basic, banal, and un-spectacular,
in a grey and beige shelter
of business casual beams and
game night girders,

like daddy-daughter day,
or coaching, or concerts,
or buttered noodles and green beans.

Like replacing a cracked windshield,
upgrading my smart phone,
or dinner with an old coworker.

Or trees, trails, and falling April skies
on a lone Sunday.

Comfort.

Comfort in chasing clients, winning trust,
making decisions for everyone stuck,
consulting with those who won’t speak up,
and the priveledge to
be trusted in the role. 

Comfort in designing a world that can be sustained,
in holding everyone to account,
Me first.

Who has been saved, included?
What questions were answered?
What footprints were layed deep
enough to withstand erosion?

What can be called progress?

Any?

The uncomfortable answer, the one
that is past the guilt of not enough,

or not yet enough, is

Yes.


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.


Telephony

That device that my son uses to text me cryptic, yet extraordinarily complicated logistical, immediate, and preferential information requiring my action, could use an enhancement.

If there was only some way the developers could add some sort of 2-way, real time, voice-based communication; some tele-phonic feature that could work directly with my own device. That would be great.


The last days of winter

Walking together with the dog,
the air is heavy, a waterlogged cold,
though the wind reminds me of
winter’s true desire, now fading,
to be crisp, keen, knifey.
The sky is dark at this hour,
shifting all hues toward dark blue and
purple, even the young grass, now
poking through mud and the season’s decay.

Ten minutes pass, lights off, door locked,
the sky has trimmed itself a bright blue.
I walk to my car, frost no longer
wrapping the panels, as I set wheels in motion.
I fight against the glare as a
mandarin sun swings above the treeline,
my eastward push slowed, with the others,
on the salt stained highway
heading into spring.


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.