2022

the times


It was the image out the windshield that framed my state of mind. A car-lined street. And trees up and down both sides. The first time in many months I looked out and saw trees that looked like winter. They all looked like winter. A clear November sky, and it was the trees that made the statement.

Time marches forward. We’re practically at the beginning of December, yet I still feel I’m wandering, lost in time somehow. How long has it been with this feeling? Months for sure. Like I need to wake up one morning soon and feel grounded. Is this an end-of-summer thing? It’s been going on since then. I don’t think it’s that, but it’s a longing for the cold. I find myself looking forward, in hope, to colder days. I long to be reassured, comforted, free of fear and worries. Don’t we all? And I expect winter to deliver that comfort and freedom? Maybe I should read my book, and hope for the best.

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2022

patterns


The pasty smell of drywall and paint…tell-tale leftovers from the morning’s work.

Sheer curtains scarcely move at the open window, not enough to call it a flutter. And the afternoon sun floats columns of dark and light about the architecture of the panes and the surface of a half-drawn shade. Plaids, squares, rectangles.

The air works a gentle song from the chimes outside. A soft musical chant. I hear children down the street, and a distant car engine. Repetitious drumming, the tap, tap, tap, of a small animal.

There’s covid and war and the contradiction of what should feel normal in spring. Reactions feel confused and hollow. Optimistic/pessimistic/oppressive. Unworthy of a sunny beginning-of-spring afternoon.

heavens

clouds

The picture of a cloudy day, unpretentious treetops, and a white expanse of nothing. A simple palette and few expectations.

Sometimes I look for heaven past the treetops.

I could shut my eyes and envision the divine among those dreamy colors that shine through the back of our eyelids. But I don’t.

I picture heaven somewhere far, far up past those treetops, and the stars and planets, and past a vast emptiness that’s not ours to see.

It’s a cloudy day. The browns are browner. The greens didn’t bother to shine.

winter

wintering

There’s a drag that comes from lack of sunlight. That’s for real, and the lure of sleeping in on a winter morning is a real temptation.

I’m not a morning person. We know who we are. Years ago, I was in a carpool with a woman who was a morning person. I’m not sure she ever stopped talking for the entire ride into work. It worked out fine. She didn’t seem to mind that no one responded. Other than her and the driver, everyone else in the car was asleep.

This is how it works with me. I open my eyes, and even before the sleep fog clears, a whole litany of unwelcome thoughts line up for attention. Really…can’t I just get some coffee or OJ?

The thought that wakes us at 3 am feels like a heart-thumping immediate crisis. What if there’s a new killer COVID variant? At 8 am, it’s not quite as dramatic, more like a mental listing of every conceivable worry and bad outcome I might need to deal with that day, or anytime in the next six months, or the next six years.

So how does this relate to winter? In the winter, I wake and the sun’s shining through the shades, or it’s not, and either way it’s something to be happy about. Well, maybe not happy, but relieved. It’s something like the winter clause. I have good reason, loosely based on science or nature, to postpone, to hesitate, or to give in. To succumb, to hold back, put off, delay, and dispense, everything I don’t want to deal with, in effect and with great affection, on the pretext that it’s winter.

2021

faded dreams ….

faded scenes and sinking dreams,
missed connections,

and narrow streets in all directions,
immense,
impending structures,
intense,
irrational stares,
dizzying stairs in random rooms,
that lead to rooms,
commanding,
tangled thoughts,
unravel reality,
erase familiarity,
hands sweaty,
legs heavy,
breathless,
and thready,
turning,
reverting,
blurring,
escape,
escape

ahhh, yes … awake … yes … awake.

________________________

Do we all have pieces like this? Words we write, and we re-write, and re-write. It never feels complete or just right. I have at least five versions of this one. I’m not comfortable with this style of writing, but the words don’t fit well in sentences and paragraphs. Just maybe … it’s the sort of thing that should take me out of my comfort zone.

I just completed a small collection of written pieces and photos to give as presents this holiday. I did this last year too, and although the project is always surprisingly time-consuming, the end results are gratifying. This time, I tried to bring in plenty of bold colors and some of the dreamier layers of life. This piece is probably atypical, in terms of style, but it was one of the bits I included.

2021

november

Walks are good for thinking. They’re settling. You get time to spend pondering whatever’s on your mind.

There’s something I can’t quite bring to focus. And it’s not what I’d expect.

… I’m ready for cold …

I’m ready for a cold December morning when a few flakes of snow float in the neutral nothing of a dismal day, or whatever they do when it’s December and not yet the hard bitter cold of January’s winter.

Hmmm … cloudy skies and long walks.