The Honest Answers.

k7223-7Once upon a time, when life was a little idyllic, somewhere before age 9, we were going on a picnic – my mother, father and myself – and she asked this little boy what kind of sandwich he wanted.

Without thinking, I blurted out that I wanted Genoa Salami and swiss on rye with a pickle on the side, and a Coke, please.

My parents stared at me. My mother looked at my father, and while I could not see her face I saw his full response. He shrugged, arched an eyebrow, “If he doesn’t eat it, he won’t eat.”

So she proceeded to make the sandwich under my careful supervision, with me handling the mustard – we didn’t have fancy mustard back then – just so. And all was well in the world at lunch time when I devoured that sandwich in front of my puzzled parents and actually wanted the other sandwich that I had begged my mother to create while telling her how pretty she was. “The Snowman”, she would call me.

This all came to mind in the fast food aisle at the grocery store today because, as luck would have it, I was picking up Salami and Swiss (and I’m baking my own rye).

It dawned on me, right there and then, that this was the most honest answer I had ever given anyone… ever. There was no thought. There was no questioning. There was simply the assembly of ingredients in my mind that came straight out of the mind of a 7 year old, without guile, without a hidden agenda, without even influence.

I was asked what I wanted. I was able to answer without worrying about expectation, what the other person would want to hear, and so on.

For a long time, I lost that, and if I’m honest with myself, it is even now difficult after years of my self-rehabilitation.

Children, in happy homes – and up til age 9 or so, mine was – have that gift of honesty. They don’t care. They say it. They mean it, and the only trouble is that they don’t necessarily have the words or data to express it as best they can to adults that aren’t as honest with themselves.

We go through our lives, thinking we’re giving honest answers, when so many aren’t.

Vacation Thoughts

Bananaquit from aboveThe time away was a wonderful thing; I hadn’t realized how much I needed a vacation.

There was time for some necessary culling of what I have been doing over the years by not doing any of it. I wrote for days in a notebook, a means I have for clearing my mind. I started doing that as a teenager, a way to get everything out – every sting, every joy, every itching wound. That writing is never to be published – simply an exercise in free writing that cleanses and, which at the end, is destroyed.

An open letter to the Universe as some might see it, an open letter to the Self as others might see it. The physical act of making everything inside external, the mechanical process, is something that works for me because then you can look at it from the outside looking in. The shift in perspective is then more easily done, going through one’s own life as the reader rather than the author.

You find petty things, you find important things glossed over, you find a character whose world-view is affected by things no longer present, whose actions are affected by that world-view in both good and bad ways.

And then I burn them – a symbolic thing I have always done, watching the black ink contrast less and less on the pages that go from white to ash.

Then you’re left with a start, and in that start, in a space where you can be yourself, you find what’s really there now. What I found was not what I had thought was there – faux rationality is easily scattered from the urn and you can see yourself for what you are, the world for what it is…

And then the vacation starts where you can do the things you want to do.

One morning I idyllically tossing a tethered waterproof camera into an area of deep current, just because I had one and some 550 cord.

Another morning I traipsed around on the abandoned paths of Blue Waters Inn – full of life, absent people who wanted to spend money to go see things and were out and about. I saw new things.

I sat with a hummingbird for hours, watching it feed and chase others from it’s source.

Most of all, I figured out what the next me was going to do with his life, if only for a while.

dark hour

Even the best wishes can be discarded
At the target’s whim fickle
And even this can be pardoned
As autumn leaves resemble sickle.

Tiring efforts clutch at straws
To save every last one
Lost romance in a just cause
Just because it’s done.

And in the dark hour
The tallies and scores are counted
And though defeat tastes sour
Victory on either side is routed.

“To arms, to arms! Redeem fate!”,
Will cry those blind in dark hour
As light reveals and finds late
Barbarians guard the tower.