The sound of a good thunder storm is music to my ears. The onslaught of rapid fire “notes” as the drops splash down on the roof, porch, street, etc. The slower ones that fall on a nice tinny, metal object creating a little bit of syncopation with the nice *bing bing bing*. The miniature rivers from rain gutters that add a slightly different “color” to the sound with the different breaks. It’s like a gigantic symphony, interspersed with claps of thunder and flashes of lightning. Sitting and listening to this and watching it all happen from the big window in my living room is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I even pull my guitar out and play along. Who needs a drummer when you’ve got all of that?
“It’s in the journey that we see there’s no destination” – Martin Sexton
What is more rewarding? Is it the reward? You’ve worked so hard and you got what you feel you wanted. But will you still want it by the time you get there? How about everything you go through to get to that thing or place that you desire? All the trials, the knowledge, the experience that you’ve gained through the events leading to the reward has to count for something, right? Did you learn something by receiving, or did you learn something by doing? I’ve not seen too many awards acceptance speeches without people talking about grateful they are to have had the opportunity and the hard work to get to that stage. It wasn’t about the reward (Or maybe it was, how am I to truly know?). Without experience, how do we know to keep going? To make changes? To try harder? If all one does is show up, and they receive an award, what have they learned? The “journey” does not end with the reward. It helps shape the individual, helps them to grow. I want to say the journey ends when we die, but I do not think that is the case. Maybe hearing of your journey will inspire someone else to continue theirs?
Hello, and welcome to my back yard. As you can see, there is plenty of shade here. If you prefer direct sunlight over the shade, take a few steps to the left and enjoy the sun from the other part of the concrete slab. Rest if you like, but if play is your thing, there is plenty of grass to run around in. Just remember to let my trusty sidekick, Stinky, run with you. She loves a good run, especially when someone joins her.
Would you just look at that smile? She can’t help herself. She will welcome you just as well as I will, but she may be a little long-winded and loud about it. Just trust that she’s saying “Hello. I’m happy to see and meet you. Would you like to pet me? Run with me?” over and over again. Sometimes for longer than ten minutes. Do not be alarmed, she will calm down.
This concludes our welcome to our back yard. If you get thirsty, there’s a hose by the house. Enjoy the sun and shade and romp in the grass.
I think it might be time to own up to one of my many faults. I’m a slacking, procrastinating, S.O.B. I enjoy doing things very much. I also enjoy avoiding other things just as much, if not more. There are many things that I have wanted to do, as well as things that I want to do now, that I just will not allow myself to do. There are also many things that need to be done that I won’t allow either. One would think that there is an easy fix to this. At least, the things that are required and not just “wanted”. In some cases, there definitely are easy fixes; other times, not so much. A lot of the time, this is due to fear.
I oftentimes make the attempt to portray myself as a fearless person. I like to try new things and go to new places when I have the opportunity (that qualifies as fearless, right?). But with big changes and decisions,things can get rather overwhelming pretty quickly. Even when the answer is logical and clearly right in front of me. Committing my time and energy to most things is a big step. This is not because I am a busy person. I am far from it. As a matter of fact, I woke up at 10 this morning just to sit around and play video games. There are many other things that I could have been doing that would have been much more productive. I tend to work on things as I get to them until I get a call to go into work or do something else. Little things like this “blog” are good exercises in making daily habits. Now, if only I could get around to doing it every day. But, what about important things? Obligations, jobs, and the like?
I think I tend to avoid making important decisions about the aforementioned things out of fear. What if I succeed? Will I be required to spend more time doing this? Am I ok with that, or will doing more cause me to get burnt out? If I decided that I don’t like it, can I stop? If I enjoy it and want to do more, will I be able to produce desired results on a regular basis? So many questions being answered with more questions. Relationships? Ha…What if I miss out on something? Someone? These questions don’t always show up right away, but usually when its time to jump in to the proverbial “deep end.”
It is a fear of losing control of a situation. Maybe even a situation that I was never in control of. Doing something like this blog is a “simple” exercise. I am in control of the content. I can add to, take away, and leave things as they are. I can decide that I don’t want to mess with it one day and there are no repercussions. With more important decisions, avoiding them will not help anything. Sometimes, you have to let go and jump in. See what can happen. Go with the flow. Lose expectations. Just be there.
Ducks. This all starts with ducks. That and a need for movement. I try to get four or five miles of walking in every day if I can. If not for my health, then to give myself a feigned sense of not being sedentary. Some days, it works. Others, it does not. So to play a bit of catch-up due to my “lack of movement” yesterday, I decided I would take a walk. I’ve grown a bit bored with seeing downtown on my daily strolls, so I opted for the park on the other side town. There is a nice pond there where folks fish and ducks and geese chase folks around. It makes for a good time. I already knew this particular walk through the park, past the baseball fields and rv park, would be a slight departure due to the fact that all the ducks seemed to be way on the other side of the pond (no duck pics for me this time, I guess). As I walked past the pond, a teen on a bike called to me. “Sir,” he said, “do you like to read?” I looked at him funny, I’m sure. I’m not exactly the biggest people person, and I’m usually in my head thinking, so I imagine I looked at him a little funny. He repeats: “Excuse me sir, do you like to read?” I respond that I do and ask what he’s got. He asks: “Do you believe in Jesus?” I figure this is a harmless question. I grew up in a southern baptist church for the better part of my childhood. I wanted to state that I am a bit on the fence about a lot of this stuff (to which my old pastor would probably say “I’m sorry.”), but being the “people person” that I am, I kind of just shrugged and said “Ehhhh….” He handed me a book entitled, National Sunday Law, and proceeded to attempt to tell me about it. “Have you ever wondered about why all these bad things are happening? This book will tell you about what is happening, why it is happening, and what it all means. This book is the truth.” I look at the book, flip it open for a second, then close it and think about what this kid just stated. Well, more or less, I figured he didn’t really say anything to convince me that this book would be something that might be good for me to read. “I’ve had like four people I know try to prove this book false, and they couldn’t do it, and they bought like 1,000 copies each after reading it.” If your biggest selling point is that your friends couldn’t decipher your crazy, I think I find that a little unsettling. So, as I did not then, I will not, now, go into a “speech” about my beliefs or lack there of. “Thank you for sharing, but here is what I’m going to do: I’m going to give this book back to you as I am taking a walk and I am not going to have time to read this.” I think his sense of “hope” or “security” or whatever came off as a huge sort of smugness. I am unsure as to whether or not he was there to genuinely help someone or just to be like “I’m right and you’re wrong. Read my book, I’m not insane.” Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way. I mean he was just a kid. Who knows….
Also, after doing about as much research as I am willing to do on books that cult kids try to hand me on the street, it turns out it was a conspiracy theory book. He can keep it.
As a child, I recall having a bit of a fear of the dark. I cannot at all recall as to why this was so. What was in that vast space where there was no light? Were there beasts that would take me away? What were the noises that would make me pause and hold my breath in hopes that whatever made them would not see me? Why was this happening in my room late at night? Of course, growing older, one starts to notice the shapes and sounds as familiar things that were strategically placed around the room as to not trip over them. Things that were once dark creatures as big as a door became hooded sweatshirts hanging from the top of the door. That random gurgling and winding sound in the pitch black room became an awfully cheap plugin windup alarm clock (does that even makes sense?).
As an adult, I enjoy taking walks at night. Especially in the summer, when the temperature in Texas goes below “inferno” into “pleasantly scalding”. I live in a fairly populated area, so I don’t catch too many “beasts” these days. Only other solitary people that seem to enjoy walks in the dark. Random noises only give me pause if I have never heard it before. But, instead of trying to get away, I tend to inspect. The other morning, I was walking before sunrise when I saw a bunch of shadowy blobs bouncing all over the place in a small field. As I got closer, I assumed they were a small litter of kittens playing and rolling around. That is, until two or three of them stood up and seemed to be watching me. As I came upon them, I saw a small litter of raccoon kits. Some were still playing while others seemed to take an interest in this tall thing moving slightly in their direction. They stood on their hind legs and held their fore-paws close to their chests and swiveled their heads as I walked by. The shapeless mass in the distance became a gigantic mass of adorable. The “beast” was something to say “awww” to. Darkness isn’t all bad after all, eh?
There’s a guy that I know. For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him “T.C.”. He’s a crazy guy and, for the most part, harmless. Our small circle of friends has turned T.C. into a Beetlejuice type figure and this comparison is fairly accurate. When he shows up, the party starts. It may only be a one man party, but it’s a party nonetheless. There’s dancing, drinking, chair throwing, people throwing, a whole lot of shouting “Hail Satan” and “Rock and roll!” For years, this is what our group called a typical weekend. Then we calmed down, got a little older. Not T.C. Absolutely not him. He has remained the unstoppable juggernaut of crazy, harmless, drunk destruction that he has been since we met him.
Now, you might ask “How does this equal a comparison to Beetlejuice?”. It is the rule of 3s, basically. If his name is spoken three times, he just shows up. Be it at your front door, a phone call, text message, or just a song that he would normally drunkenly mumble, he’s there. So unless the whole town is ready for a party, our group has forbidden anyone from speaking his name. This is usually a fruitless task, as most stories that we have about anything involve T.C. But we try, often times hard, more often not, to not speak his name for when we do, we’re in for some very long nights.
A great ogre once said that “Ogres are like onions. They have layers”. Just like ogres, we humans also have layers. Be they the actual physical layers of flesh and innards and bone, or emotional layers, they make us who and what we are.
Without layers, we would be fairly bland. Imagine a cake without that sheet of frosting on top. Sure its sweet and fluffy by itself, but you throw a coat of frosting on top and I don’t know many people who would deny a slice. Well, I do, but for the sake of this post, I don’t. Layers enhance our experience of everything from food to art to people. A painting seeming to be one solid color turns out to be layer upon layer of different shades to help create the “singular” color. It was the sum of all the parts involved and it made it more of an experience than taking a bucket of paint and just splashing it on something (This too can be considered art by some). A piece of music is the sum of its parts as well. Even a piece created for a singular instrument has multiple layers. Contrary motion, harmonization, and the like help to take a melody and give it a backdrop and help it to stand out. Without the extra stuff, it would still be a melody worthy of the ears, but the extra stuff brings it out and makes it sing.
Some folks don’t look for layers, will accept things at face value, and maybe aren’t that surprised with what they are missing when they don’t dig. I prefer to dig and see what else is there.
A person’s ability to speak and decide for themselves is important. If a person can’t decide for themselves, who will do it for them? My whole life experience has been one whole “Can’t Decide” platter after another. There is so much to do, so many decisions to make, but so many factors involved. I can only fit so many metaphorical mozzarella sticks in my stomach before I have to call it quits in terms of thinking on things. If I perform this action, how will it affect this person, place, or thing? Will it affect them at all? How will it affect me? Will it make it more difficult? Will it make things easier? If so, at what price? Is it legal? Is it actually worth the effort? Will others approve? Does their approval really matter? What if others agree? Will I have to start basing my decisions around them? What if they disagree with what I think? Will I be shunned or removed from this group? Multiply that by millions of individual brains….
The idea of self-governing is great. I think we all are able to do it to a point. I like that we have some form of voice, no matter how small or quiet it can seem sometimes. But we are part of a larger group and we have to be cautious to a point, because even some of our smaller mundane actions can have an effect on others.
Over the years, I (like many, many others) have been drawn to the idea of having my own private island. Nothing says “relaxation” like a nice quiet ocean view, a warm breeze, and waves washing off one’s feet. To be able to sit under the shade of a small tree and read would be enjoyable, I imagine. Perhaps even enjoying a nice cool beer like in all those commercials….Though with better beer (Sorry Corona, you just don’t cut it). Who would not want to just enjoy their day at their leisure? “I’ll work when I feel like working, I suppose.”, they would say. It sounds perfect. But how does one achieve this goal of having their own private island? As it turns out, they sell them in magazines. Who would have thought?
In my freshman year of high school, I shared Health Sciences class with a potential future island owner. This classmate would become an acquaintance to talk with during lulls in class. One day, he was talking to me about how he was staying with his grandparents and how they were fairly wealthy. Of course, everyone loves a good story about rich people, right? (Social Media…YAY) He seemed to think that I wanted proof that his grandparents were “loaded”, so he pulls out this magazine. It happened to be a catalog for mansions, with a large selection of islands. Up to that point, I had always thought it was a cool idea, but I never knew it was a real thing you could do. “You can do that? You can buy an island?”, I asked. He explained that, yes, one could definitely purchase and own their very own island, granted their funds were ample enough. He then said that he was, one day, going to own his own island. I was intrigued. So far, I have not been able to raise a couple of million dollars with which to purchase said island, but I can dream. I don’t think that classmate ever did either though.