Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter Break

This week – the very last week in January – deep into the northern hemisphere’s winter – we had a gift of two balmy days (near 70 degrees Fahrenheit) plus several others with temperatures well above freezing.

For weeks and weeks my days have been crammed with things I had to do. Important things. Things I had promised to do. Places I had to go. Meetings I had to run or to attend. Reports or minutes I had to write.

I am supposed to be retired. But there was no leisure. Not that I noticed.

The first 70-degree day was filled, as usual, with obligations. The second 70-degree day was, after a brief morning appointment, completely open.

I live on the high plains only an hour from Rocky Mountain National Park. There were things I could have worked on but Rocky Mountain National Park is only an hour away.

I drove west, through one of Colorado’s most stunningly beautiful canyons, into the town just outside the park. There I had lunch in a restaurant near the river. The water surging beneath, and sometimes over, the ice was worth the trip.

But I was not yet in the park.

As I drove into the park I suddenly knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to sit in the sunshine on a rock in my favorite meadow. So I did – letting the rock and warmth and grasses and trees and the spectacular vista heal me.

Surrounded by growing and eroding things, my soul was restored. I drove slowly through the park and coasted home. Ready to resume my obligations.

Grateful for my winter break.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Four AAA Batteries

It had been a long day and I needed (or felt that I needed) a television break.

I now have three remotes to use if I wish to be electronically amused.

One, turns on the machine. That worked.

Another, connects to the satellite feed. That did not work.

Another, connects to DVDs. That might work.

The satellite feed remote had dead batteries – four AAA batteries.

Nothing in my battery drawer sufficed. Therefore, if I was going to be electronically amused, I would need to find a DVD.

Long ago, during a PBS station pledge drive, I bought the documentary, “Pete Seeger, the Power of Song.” I put that in.

And played it.

I don’t cry at movies or much of anything. That documentary brings me close to tears.

One person, one talent, one passion for justice -- for people, for the earth – the closest thing to a saint any of us will ever know.

Watching a documentary on Pete Seeger’s life is watching a template for what a life can be.

I am so grateful that I was out of AAA batteries. I needed to be recharged.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Report

I bought the book, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, on the recommendation of friends . . . and because I knew Ann Pachett to be a fine writer . . . and because I thought it would be a full-length narrative describing the condition of its title.

When I discovered that, instead, it is a collection of personal essays reflecting various periods and conditions of the author’s life, I was annoyed. So annoyed, I actually stopped reading it.

[At base, I wanted to read a full-length narrative about a happy marriage because I had not had one and do not expect to have one but still kind of want one although I would never admit it publically.]

Then I got some kind of flu and the only method I could think of to get better was to get as much rest as possible and I had just finished another book and needed something to read so I would stay in bed and rest and maybe recover from whatever was making me feel so lousy.

So I finished Ann Pachett’s book. And I’m glad … although I still have a sore throat and some vertigo. It’s a good book. And there is, toward the end of the book, a chapter on her happy marriage. Somewhat heartening.

But it has been a good lesson for me, on many levels. Number One: Don’t abandon things just because they are different than your expectations.

It’s true of books . . . and probably true of marriages as well.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Power Play

All living beings like to feel as if they are in charge of something. Not necessarily dominant. Just in charge of something.

Look at the pride on a four-year-old’s face when she creates a work of art in crayons. Or a bride when her second meatloaf turns out to be delicious. Or any kid when they learn how to ride a bike.

You’d think it would be easy for cats – especially my cats. They’re pretty much in charge of everything in my house – where to sleep, when to eat, when to get my undivided attention. Yet they still want more.

At least Guinness does. He’s a 13-year-old grey-brown tabby. His adopted brother, Herbie, is a 14-year-old quasi Siamese (same coloring, blue eyes but an absolute snuggle addict) who sleeps a lot. And I spend too much time at the computer.

An inventive animal, Guinness is always thinking up games – fetch, catch and other romps. But none of this was enough.

In my upstairs bathroom, I have curtains suspended on tension rods hanging in front of three shelves. Once a day, Guinness has walked into that bathroom, walked over to the curtains and quite deliberately knocked the bottom curtain down. Then walked away.

The other day he came in only to discover that the bottom curtain was already down.

He sat there for a moment. Pondering.

Then he got up on his hind legs and, after several attempts, knocked the second curtain down. Then he walked away. In charge. Empowered.

And pretty funny.