Friday, April 27, 2012

Once again nearly a year has elapsed since my last post here--hardly a journal frequency of posts.  Yet I came to Blogspot again in order to find a familiar interface.  Silly me.  Little did I expect to find that Google has taken over Blogspot and Blogger along with an alarming amount of internet things and I now need to learn yet another set of rules that make little sense or have little appeal to me.  I had sought to escape the byzantine frustrations of trying to use Facebook.  Which I will use more in future I don't know, but I suppose I have little right to complain about either since they're free.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is it May already--again?

I thought I'd better post something now to let people know I'm still "among the quick"; it's been a year since my last post, and that's too long. I'm not sure why I stopped exactly, but I feel like starting up again now. So who knows? maybe I won't wait another year to post the next one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is it May already? or Shakespeare was right

"Growing old ain't what it's cracked up to be," Barb's mom used to say, rest her soul. "But it is, that's the problem," Barb and I sometimes say today.

At this point we can appreciate what she meant, though--especially me. I've got ten years seniority on Barb. Our grown sons have their busy lives, families and careers to keep them getting up quickly when they get knocked down.. Our grandchildren probably have the most going for them and bounce back from elemenetary and middle school pressures and upheavals the fastest of our family generations. They also tend to "get over it" the fastest, forgive, forget, and move on with amazing resiliency.

But I am the oldest of us by about ten years, and retired, and my moxie isn't always so quick to come back. Barb is still a working elementary school media specialist and keeps up her fitness most of the time with diets, workouts, and the daily bustle of her job. but this year has put "new wrinkles on my brow", figuratively and maybe literally. I can't tell that my wife, my children, or my grandchildren seem any worse for wear, but any of them might feel otherwise; they're living in their "ages" as I am in mine. We've all dealt with our situations with what we had to work with.

Robert Herrick said of life, "the best age is the first, when youth and blood are warmer/not the last, when "worse and worst times still succeed the former." He had his own motives, of course, in "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" ("Gather ye rosebuds while ye may'", remember?) But Shakespeare said of life's stages we are left upon life's seventh stage, "...sans teeth, sans hair, sans eyes, sans everything...." I haven't reached that stage yet, thank Goodness, but I can certainly relate to those who have.

Friday, January 01, 2010

What Is A New Year?

What's new about a new year? And why do we stay up till midnight to count down to it and celebrate its arrival so giddily? It's only time, artificially segmented, after all. It's not any part of nature, except as it's named and measured by man, the same way we name an eagle or a grasshopper, for there's nothing inherent in the thing we name, or period of time we name, which suggests very much about it by its naming.

A new year isn't about the world; it's about people. It's about how we see the world, and how we see each other, and how we see ourselves. It gives us a timeframe for our experiences and our memories, hopes and dreams. We can put them into the timeframe together, at any particular longitude or time zone we are on December 31 at the witching hour each year. The new year is the essence of the clean slate in our lives, the new chance to embrace living , working, striving, planning, coping and pursuing what goals we set for ourselves and call our new year's resolutions. A new year is a new period time we have agreed to name and perceive together and live together, as individuals, families, communities and cultures, nations and peoples, for better or worse, on our planet Earth.

In looking back upon the previous year as the new one approaches, we evaluate and codify it and in many instances make our peace with it, for often many things have happened we need to remember and deal with so we can move on afresh. Many other things. conversely, we will carry forward with us gladly and with a renewed sense of appreciation and adventure, gratefully.

New Year's Eve isn't only about Auld Lang Syne and memories of the past. It is above all about expectation and hope, the expiring of the former order of things and the birth of the new. It is the time above all other moments in our 365 days when we sense the future opportunities most keenly as we stand on a threshold and step forward into our destinies together.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glorious Autumn

It's the last day in September. We're into our packed fall schedule heading into October, November, December and the run-up to Christmas and New Year's. But this year feels different. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it seems somehow meloncholy.

Maybe it's the events of the past twelve months which tore our economy apart and left us all to try to stay above water till things returned to "normal." But this recession-depression-calamity hasn't seemed like others I remember. This time I could see the pain on faces, feel the panic of friends and neighbors, and finally be affected personally by Barbara's lessened support for her teaching work and more cutbacks at her school. I'm sure that's part of what I feel now as September Song comes to an end.

And also maybe it's the loss of both Mom and Dad within six weeks of each other a year ago beginning at Halloween. We flew to Indiana for each funeral, of course. On October 31 the fall foliage was ablaze and glorious. Dad loved the leaves and took many beautiful photos and videos of them for decades around our county and down at the Salamonie Reservoir and State Park. Glorious, glorious autumn. Crisp, pumpkin weather, a bright sunny chill in the air, the old brick Bingham farmhouse now converted into a flower shop. I thought at the time as so many old friends came to pay their respects, "Well, you did it, didn't you, Dad. You brought us back to our autumn and family and friends we hadn't seen for years. It was a shame it had to be like this, but it is somehow your hand in it all, and I'll bet you are smiling down this day. Dad treasured family and friends above everything.

Mom died at the start of January, and when we flew up for the funeral it was snowing everywhere, and very beautiful and very cold. Mark and Scott made snowmen and snow angels at the motel parking lot, and we got some snow disks at Walmart and slid down the big hill at Memorial Park, grown men turned ten again. We gave the snow disks to some real children when we left for the airport; there was nowhere left in Huntington for our possessions then, with the house long sold, we couldn't pack them for the flight home, and what would we do with snow disks in South Florida? The stark maples and elms and firs were black and twiggy against the glaring white blanket that covered all as we laid her to rest beside Dad's grave, barely settled and still fresh earth. And again the good friends and family made their way to pay their respects with us and renew our stories and our bonds. Mom and Dad had planned their final arrangements years earlier, and done so well it was inspiring.

Barb's brother, Stephen--my firstborn's namesake--, had been the folks' living will executor and taken care of just about everything for many years as they fell victim to Alzheimers and the infirmities of age and needed nursing home care. He lived with his wife just 22 miles away, and everything fell to him to care for them, sell the house, pay the bills and manage. He did a Herculean and wonderful job of it, and his city manager skills of balancing many things at once served him well. There was little we could do but try to be supportive of his decisions. We were 1,200 miles away in Florida and could only visit the home town Barb and I both grew up in once or twice a year.

This summer for the first time in many years we didn't go to Huntington. And now a year has passed since the sweet sadness of autumn and winter of the previous October and January.

We are headed for Mackenzie's ninth birthday party this weekend, and we'll be with Dr. Steve and his lovely wife Rhonda, Christopher, who just turned twelve in August, and the birthday girl. who just may be the most beautiful granddaughter in the world.

Then we're flying to New York this Halloween to see the Central Park's autumn at its peak, which is supposed to be the last two weeks of October and the first week in November. Scott is looking forward to some fall foliage photography with his new high resolution camera. (Sound familiar?) Something pulled at me to go also, something hard to explain. Something abiding. Family. Love. Continuity. Circles unbroken. But I really wanted to, and talked Barb into it. She can scarcely afford the two days off work, but one's a teacher workday. She'll go, with our middle son Scott and me over Halloween weekend and we'll be together with Mark, our youngest, with the family again, in autumn. Glorious, glorious autumn.