Well I made it to three this morning, but I slept well till then. I would like to say I don’t worry, but apparently my sleep habits say otherwise. Most of the time when I’m like this I am focused and frankly I am also anxious. Maybe there’s some symmetry between the two. Some unholy alliance that sparks creativity and also fear. Used to I’d worry that I didn’t have enough time left to say what I needed say. And while that may have been true in the past, I guess old habits just die hard.
But at the moment my mind is focused elsewhere. Preoccupied with concern for another. When you create relationships thousands of miles apart, the sting of bad news isn’t easy. So I lay here and worry as if she were my own child, even though we are continents and oceans apart. But love doesn’t concern itself with circumstance, difference, or even commitments. It roams the world searching for lost souls to bring together.
Some relationships it brings together just as friends, some as a parent and child, while others are lover’s never having tasted the fruits of love. But love doesn’t concern itself with such things, for love is too deep to define. I sometimes ask myself, why am I here? What is my purpose in life? Now my more religious friends and family would say we’re here to spread God’s word or strive to live some holy life. My more “worldly” friends and family may would say it’s to simply live a good life by achieving comfort and standing.
Now I may have failed at most of these things, but that doesn’t bother me. Now I don’t know if that’s a sign of maturity or total surrender. Either way, it is what it is. So as I close this chapter of my life, let me say. We are more than cogs in the machine. We are more than drones to some master plan. We are in this together. So while we are separated by borders, language, and cultural upbringing. At the heart of it, we are the same. We love. We laugh. We feel. So don’t let pettiness and fear separate us. Don’t let old habits keep us apart.
Butterflies in the Garden
After too long a nap I looked out the bedroom window to see butterflies fluttering in the garden. It’s nearly six o’clock and the sun hangs to my right in the afternoon sky. The rains of February have left us with an abundance of gnats. But having grown up along the sandhills of the Ogeechee River, I’m more than used to swatting them. I sit here facing the highway watching the last of the commuter’s head home. Frazzled from their day, they wonder what to fix of supper.
As for me I’m still trying to wake up. My head’s a bit cloudy like the sky above me. But as the sun sinks a little deeper, it pulls back it’s covers to say goodnight. Reminding me that Spring’s only a day away. C.J. shuffles down the street I assume heading to his mama’s house. He graduated with my oldest daughter in a class with so full of hope and potential. Now most of them are long gone except for the few that stayed. The sycamore trees and the fig bush are budding, meaning in a few weeks I’ll finally get some shade.
So I sit here with my friends the mockingbirds singing me an old hymn. There are a few hardy souls gathered over at the Baptist Church. Tucked safely inside, while the real service goes on outside. It won’t be long before I’ll have to go back inside myself. The last of the empty log trucks sing their diesel induced song, while the sand gnats continue to lit around my face. As the butterflies begin to fold their wings for the long goodnight.
Just to show you how my mind works, there’s a bird nearby that sounds like it’s saying, “what’s up, what’s up, what’s up”. I know, right? It’s been a partly cloudy day today, still it’s warm for this time of the year. I’m sitting here behind one of the sycamore trees getting a little shade from the heat. The isolation of the moment has allowed me to focus on the things I see and smell. Like the fresh blooms I see on the trees and the bushes. The smell of the seeding grass, the fragrant blooms on the dogwoods, and the pungent smell of dogfennel growing next door.
The squawking crow singing in my ear adds an interesting contrast to the songs of the other birds. Creating an almost jazz-like break in the rhythm I hear. But if you think about it, isn’t that just nature’s way. That a symphony of apparent chaos creates its own magical symmetry. Since learning to slowdown, I understand that the methodical pace in which we live; is often counterproductive to our nature. That nature itself is chaotic yet still maintains a certain order.
Our analytical minds strive for order and a sense of normalcy. So while our so-called cognitive abilities grant us some power over mother nature. Our manipulation of nature only seems to create more disorder and harm. So as this afternoon settles in, I know it’s time for me to go inside. For mother nature is persistent, and that in my frailty, I know when it’s best to leave her alone. For all my manipulation and best intentions can’t stop me from getting burned.
I know you got to be tired of hearing me talk about the same shit all the time. The sleepless nights, the endless bouts with depression, not to mention the never ending physical issues. I honestly wish I had something more interesting to talk about. Like maybe an exotic vacation or a fabulous night on the town. But hey, all that ended for me way before the internet and social media even started.
Lost somewhere in a faded memory, there were days when life was just boundless energy. When friends would gather on the weekend to ride Clyde, Jr. down the highways to play gigs and believe we were making a difference. Moments when life had a greater purpose than just the nine to five. Where friends were family and dreams were more than empty calories on a store bought birthday cake.
Maybe my mind is just romanticizing about moments long past. Maybe I’m just wishing for things that were never going to come true. But they are my moments, they are my dreams. Our lives are based on foundations laid a long time ago. And while we live in the present moment, the past is still there. My point is, some of those dreams are real. Some of those dreams are our reality. Take a moment and look at yourself, ask yourself the tough questions. Don’t be afraid to embrace who you are. It’s long past time to embrace our truth and be what we dream.
The Peace I Feel
I told ya'll I was going to be out in the sunshine. The forecast for next week is calling for more rain. So I'm going to take advantage of this for as long as I can. I spent the better part of this morning answering messages and doling out dime store advice to anyone that asked. I consider myself the worse person to be giving out advice. But some people just keep asking, so I guess I’ll just keep giving. My wife says it’s because I’m such a cautionary tale of what not to do. She hopes those that ask of advice simply doing the opposite of what I say.
I’m not supposed to really be out in the sun. One or two of my medications warn against it. But here I am frying my cheeks at high noon, not really giving a shit. Maybe that’s where the cautionary tale part comes in? Still I breathe in and I breathe out. Seeing behind the red of my closed eyelids as the sun shines brightly against the sky. I listen to the world as it hurry’s by wondering, why everyone’s in such a hurry?
Life gives us moments, opportunities if you will, to pause and reflect on ourselves. The unfortunate thing is we often miss those opportunities by blindly running to the next shiny thing. But I suppose that’s just the way we are, with our “highly developed” cognitive abilities. Creating answers to questions no one thought to ask. So as I sit here listening to the birds and watching our Calico cat eat a tree. I pause for a moment and think of nothing, simply appreciating the peace I feel.
Surprise, surprise it’s raining again, only this time we got thunder and lighting. So I put in my earbuds and listen to music, while turning the TV to The Weather Channel so our son can keep an eye on things. As an Autistic person there are certain things our son doesn’t appreciate. For one break ups in his regular routine, and two, unpredictable sights and sounds (aka lighting and thunder). So during storms I know to leave the door open so he can come in and feel comfortable.
After 29 years you get used to it, just ask any caregiver I’m sure they will tell you the same. If anything, long-term care teaches you patience. But even then, you can’t help but be human. So he breaks down, I break down, but we both later apologize and get over it. It’s only natural to often look at life as a curse, especially when you’re dealing with things beyond your control. But in those moments when we look each other in the eye, you know.
Listen we all want to feel comfortable; I mean who do know that wants to live in misery? I mean, I may look like I’ve given up. But inside I’m still fighting, still wanting to create a better me. Recently someone told me they liked me, who I am, and I appreciate that. But internally only I know my struggles and my pain. And it is only me that has to either live with it or improve the situation. So for the moment, I choose to improve and feel comfortable.
All post written by
FD Thornton, Jr
All Rights Reserved.