Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How could I forget so soon?

The lesson, just learned, fled very quickly indeed. And perhaps I have suffered for it. But no more. I learned it not from anything she said, or did, but from her very presence. And how foolish to let lack of her presence take it from me. Somehow, without knowing it, she has still brought it back to me. Best as I can put it: Love life as it happens around you. The magic is everywhere. Grab it when you see it. Live and love the gusto. But don't ever try to force it.

That said, I prefer it without the words. It's a lesson better felt than anything else.
When you know it, you know it. I think she knows it. And I'm pretty sure I know it. And maybe even the Beatles knew it:

Life is very short, and there's no time
For fussing and fighting my friend.

All I'm saying is, I'm really enjoying the Beatles right now. That's all.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just now, just minutes ago!

Mere moments previous, I just watched a man run desperately, and perhaps drunkenly, in a particularly madcap fashion across the street, nearly tripping over the edge of the sidewalk, down to the Subway submarine sandwich shop. As soon as he reached it he realized it was in no way open, turned around, and wandered calmly back the way he came. To European Pizza.

Around the corner, I heard a completely different man yelling, perhaps sarcastically, about how much coke was in his back pocket, because he was such an enormous cokehead. He seemed to be yelling it to the people in the hotel lobby. Who also seemed not particularly interested in any of it. He was pointing at his ass through most of it.

It's only Wednesday night. And I haven't even told you the crazy parts.

What on Earth will the weekend hold?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This was meant to go up on Sunday . . .

. . . but, well, time makes fools of us all. Anyhow:

Last Thursday, I went over to a friend's house to barbecue up some hamburgers. Upon arriving, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my barbecue sauce. Not to be defeated by my own absentmindedness, I proceeded to mix together some catsup, vinegar, olive oil, sugar-in-the-raw, and some herbs described on the package as "Italian". And, as a matter of fact, this turned out to be a quite serviceable barbecue sauce. The burgers turned out quite well in the end.

But this is more than just me bragging about my saucery skills. What I realized, while stirring things up with a fork, is how it is that I was able to do this. The answer, of course, is my mother (or Mom, as I affectionately call her). Although I may not be famous for my common sense and practical application of knowledge, pretty much every time I do any of that, it's thanks to my mother. She's taught me an awful lot over the years. She's encouraged me when I'm doing well, pushed me when I'm not so much, and patiently understood when certain things have proved to be lost causes. And she continues so to this day. Certainly others have contributed over the years to shape who I am, but the little things that help me get by through this nutty ol' world I owe almost entirely to my ol' Ma.

I recently went out to dinner with several friends, associates, and Mom. It was a fine time, but a few times over the course of the evening she said a few things that embarrassed me in the way that only your parents can ever make you feel embarrassed. But then it occurred to me that I was the only one who felt embarrassed, I was the only one who knew I felt embarrassed, and I was only embarrassed because it was my mother. It was a warm, comfortable realization, and it made me feel even closer to my closest living relative.

That's what's on my mind this Mother's Day.

. . . and, well, this Tuesday, also.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Speak to me something
something in a language not my own

Say it honest
and say it true

We'll see what I can hear without my mind

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Things happen at night.

It was almost ten years ago and I had come here to the city for the Halifax Pop Explosion. Or rather, my best friend and roommate, Squirrely, had. I just came along with him. We were up around the North End, I'd say near Agricola St., for those of you who know the city. I certainly didn't at the time. Squirrely, knowing that I was a country boy at the time, was giving me some advice. "If I say run, just run." Certainly plenty to make a small town lad nervous, but somehow it didn't. Instead a strong sensation of unreality settled over me as we entered a quaint little side street. The dark orange hue of the streetlights combined with the hush of late night/early morning and somehow simplified the surroundings. It seemed as though I wasn't on a real street at all, but instead had somehow found myself on a miniaturized set, like you'd use for Claymation. Ludicrous though it may sound, the illusion was incredibly convincing. Everything about it, the perspectives, sense of scale, depth of focus, it was all scaled down, and then back up again. The whole thing passed as we passed on through, and then it was done. We never got jumped, either. Just a brief little magical experience.

Somewhat less magical, but fairly similar, was the time a couple of months earlier, when I noticed a car parked in front of our college residence. One of the doors had been replaced, and didn't match the rest of the vehicle's exterior. This made me think of Lego, the way you'd be almost finished building something but had run out of red. So, you throw in that one yellow brick. Does the job. And there it is, that acrid glow of the streetlight made my thoughts seem like reality, and I could swear that the car really was just Lego after all. Why, I could probably just walk on over and lift it right up! Now, I don't want to say I honestly believed this. I really didn't. But still, I did have to check. And the illusion vanished immediately. Cars are incredibly heavy. Even with two hands.

It's those streetlights, the ones that blend so well with fog to create a thick atmosphere (which, I suppose, is exactly what fog is) of drama and play saxophone solos in your head. I'm sure torchlight does something similar, and did so often back in the olden times. It's something you only see at night, and night is a time for imagination. Here, try this one: Stare at this screen and picture something in your mind. Now close your eyes and try again. See? Same basic principle.

Somewhere else around ten years gone was the night the full moon came closer to Earth than it had in a long, long time, and closer than it would for a similarly long time. I was at my folks' place out in the countryside, and decided to take advantage of the location. You don't have to walk long out there to be away from all artificial light, and within five minutes I was surrounded only by moonlight (and, I suppose, a little starshine). It's a perfect opposite to your standard streetlight. Blue, not orange, and it in no way makes your surroundings seem artificial. Instead they become, well, truer. It's almost alarming how much you can see. The ground was ever so lightly frosted, and I could see all the tiny glints as though a large diamond had exploded nearby. You may have missed this particular cosmic event, but a standard full moon on a clear night should do it. I highly recommend the experience.

They call it the wee hours of the morning, that time when you might as well have had a few drinks because you feel like you did anyhow. There are conversations had at this time of night that do not happen in the light of day. This was brought to my attention recently during a telephone conversation, late at night. People open up more and honesty flows like spring water. You'll talk about the most important things there are, and you'll do it better than ever. These conversations are more precious than gold or jewels, and if they ever make it to sunrise they will fade away soon after. We no longer need to huddle around our campfire.

We have our AMs and PMs, evenings, mornings, and whatnot. But way back at the beginning there was just day and night. Sun or no. Light and dark. And the night was both terrifying and freeing.

From time to time, it still is.