Monday, December 27, 2010
The day you were born, Virginia Tech lost to California. I remember it. I was sitting in a hard chair next to your Mother. She was trying to find a way to deliver you but her body was not feeling cooperative.
We found a way, though.
When I first picked you up, you screamed at me. I was so afraid of breaking You. I cradled you in my arms and held you closer than I hold my own soul.
I still do.
The first piano you ever found, found you. It was your third birthday. You ambled into the room one Christmas Morning and sat down on the little pink bench. Plunk Plunk and you made music. It was beautiful.
Seven Years is a Lifetime for some. I hope it's only the beginning of yours.
I so hope you like Second Pianos.
Happy Birthday, Frog.
Daddy Loves You.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The earth has tilted. It's colder now. Our little blue dot is leaning timidly away from the sun. We are in the deep breath of winter now, though it only began... today.
The passing week's snowfall is but a fading memory, its patchwork remnants blanket the nooks & bends that the day's sunlight could not find a way to breach. I've always found that after a day's fresh snowfall, when the ground is shivered & still, when the night wraps its scarf around my pale flesh, the world sounds a little more at peace. An unusual quiet washes over every little thing. Rogue leaves that had thus far refused to let go of their slumbered hosts don't seem to rattle when a breeze strays by. Small creatures of the wild burrow down into their place of rest and patiently await the coming of the dawn. Everything seems to find a reason to watch, to listen, daring not contribute even the slightest hint of life, as if only to be still... for a moment. It is a pleasant repose.
The moon is full tonight. It hangs plump & ponderous, ever keeping a watchful eye. As a Mother stealing one last glimpse at her resting brood. Daring not to wake the infants below, she lets linger upon our cheeks and foreheads her cherished adulation. She pours out onto our flesh her handfuls of silver.
It is in times such as these and moments such as this that you realize it is a good thing to be alive. Maybe the best of things.
Be still when the world around you rests. Be quiet when the moment has run out of words to say. Be as content as the moonlight that pools in your hands on a patient winter's eve.
There is wisdom to be found in such things.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Your Father has a hitch. More to the point, an affliction. Whenever a camera is around my fingers become uncontrollable. Well... at least one of them does.
This may happen to you one day.
Useful around Others...
Useful when making cartoon caricatures of yourself...
Useful around others, er, other times... Noticing a pattern here?
I don't know how this one got in here. Ignore this one...
It's beginning to occur to me that this probably isn't the greatest means of influence for you...
Better yet... just know Love. Regardless of what your fingers do. Make sure you only let them do such things... out of Love.
Flick that idea around for a season.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Chasing rainbows and stealing moonlight are the harbingers of youth. But the world is not always as it appears.
I want to tell you about patchwork clouds and trampolines, the scent of warm summer grass and the right song on the radio. I want to tell you about the glow from a dashboard and the sounds of winter just outside your barely cracked window. I want to tell you of sand & sable and what it was like to believe that anything was still possible.
I want to share with you the feeling of cool lake water on my toes, lapping its way up onto my ankles. I want to give you my eyes so you see what built me, defined me, and sent me off into tomorrow. I want you to take the wheel of the truck that broke down the barriers of forever and propelled me beyond the county line.
I want you to know that what I've done has been done before & what I've yet to do... has as well.
We've got one second to breath, two minutes to bleed & three hours left to believe in. We have sixty days to live, seventy years to give & one hundred thousand little pieces to leave along the way.
I want you to realize that sometimes we're nothing more than fireflies.
Don't blink or you just might miss us.
Unless we're stuck in a jar.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
No being in this world will give you anything you cannot give yourself.
When you have to Fight, Fight Harder. When you have to Love, Love Longer. When you have to Lose, Lose Gracefully. When you have to Quit, Quit Quietly.
When you know you have to Live, Live Bigger.
The big secret is that nothing really matters. It's all a grand facade built by individuals who want those who do not desire, to desire less. And that grand lie, Sells.
If you want Redemption, Redeem Yourself.
Then you can do whatever your heart desires.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
When I was a young man of no more than 6 or 7 years, I found the spring.
Nestled in a nook on the northern perch of my Pawpaw's farm, just beneath several old and tired willow trees, it sputtered its way up from the rock and dirt and pooled in the cool afternoon sun. Green ferns bowed their limbs over the crystal clear water. Glistening rocks glimmered with approval at its lip.
I would often make my way through the back pasture, up and over the old wooden fence, and spirit myself away through the corn. I would hover around the edge of the woods until I saw the moss begin creeping over the boulders. The small footpath that led me into the heart of the forest had carried far more little feet than my own.
When the honeysuckle & wild blackberries gave way to shadow and pine needles, I always knew I was getting close. You see, my Pawpaw had taken me to the little spring many times before. And many times before that, he'd taken my Mother.
The gourd hung solemnly and still from a hewed limb, just within the reach of tiny prying fingers such as my own.
With one knee in the soft earth and with one arm outstretched, that gourd swallowed enough sweet water to quench any thirst.
It's one of my fondest memories.
PawPaw passed away in the spring of 1983. The spring dried up the following summer. Several years later, Nannie sold that farm and moved closer to town.
I suppose that gourd is still there, though. Hanging patiently from that limb. Hidden in shadow and beneath pine needles, beyond the honeysuckle & blackberries. Perhaps just out of view of the footpath. Maybe it's simply waiting. On what... well, that's up to you.
Once upon a gourd, indeed.
Friday, November 5, 2010
People will eventually forget everything you've ever said. They will eventually forget everything you've ever done. The one thing they'll never forget, though, is the way you made them Feel while you said and did those things.
If you can close your eyes and fall asleep content knowing that... then you've found the definition of Honor.
It lasts and lingers longer than your own shadow. It's something you cannot sew on and something you cannot wash off.
It will follow you to the grave and it will end up being the only resurrection you'll never know.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Sometimes the bad guys aren't really bad. Sometimes the good guys aren't really good.
Sometimes it's the perceptions we choose to believe within ourselves that give weight to the adornments others seem to wear.
Always make sure you see a costume for what it really is.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Find your Moment.
We all have them.
You probably haven't found yours yet, but you will. It's that moment when every worry you've ever had or every fear you've ever faced just fades away. It's that one moment that you can wrap around yourself, shielding whatever may come as best you can, and still know that you'll be OK.
It might be a memory or it might be a hopeful dream. It might be a vague idea or it might be a fantasy. It might be a song or it might be a book. It might be a wish or it might be a look. That rhymed in such an absurd way. This is your Dad we're talking about here.
Find your Moment and keep it stored so deep inside that no one, nothing & no circumstance can take it from you.
That's your center of the universe. That's your immortal star. That's your singularity.
We're all scared. We're all afraid of tomorrow, in a sense. We all worry about what is just right around the bend. We don't do such things because we're cowards, we do such things because we're Humans Being Human. It's a gift that being Alive gave us.
Find your Moment when you need it most. Rest in it for a while. And when you're ready to try again...
Just make sure that, above all else, you Be Good.
Because if you don't... you can't take it back.
Just Do It!
I kill me.
Monday, October 25, 2010
On your best day they'll love you and on you're worst day they'll hate you.
If they don't find one or the other, they never really cared to begin with.
That's what it feels like on the stage. Some nights you might find yourself a King and others you might find yourself a Pauper. It's an ugly gamble that you choose to make when you climb those three steps.
I say this because one day you'll start wondering and, knowing you as I have, you'll seek out the Why.
You don't have to sing better than everyone else. You don't have to play better than anyone else. You don't even have to give them something worth remembering. That isn't your job. Your job is to give them everything in you that is worthy of giving away. What they do with it is up to them.
Your Daddy has been there. On both sides of the bulbs.
There was a reason I put a full length mirror in both of your rooms. Ha Ha. There was a reason that Santa brought you instruments. He & I were in agreement. We both know what you'll end up chasing. It's in your blood. It's in your flesh. It's in your mind. It's in You.
Find a way to give them Love Songs or Alcohol.
That's what they're looking for.
Except when they're not.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Just about every night I have the same dream.
It may come around just after I've fallen asleep, when the numbers on the clock are virgin and young, or it may come around when those numbers climb their way to a new tomorrow. The only guarantee I know is that eventually, at some point, it will come.
The bed is always warm, the fan is always pointed in just the right direction, the pillows are always far too comfortable, and the night is always still hours away from its marriage with the rising sun.
In that dream I stir, I roll over onto my left side, and the question pops into my groggy head.
"Hey Kid... if you don't wake up tomorrow... are you proud of what you were awake for Today?"
As much as I want to say "Yes", I always know I'd be a liar to say such things. On the other hand, it always feels wrong to say "No". So, I always say the same thing.
"I might be."
Do me a favor... don't ever "Might Be".
It's a waste of a good dream.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Orange Juice with the pulp may feel weird inside your mouth, but it tastes so much better than Orange Juice without the pulp.
Mountains aren't there to find a way around, they're there so you'll find the initiative to climb over them.
People are Mean. People, though, are usually not. (Just wait for it)
Hugs linger longer than handshakes.
Smiles may fade but frowns can't fade anymore than they already have.
Faith isn't spiritual, it's a choice.
Trust is something to re-gift. Often.
The only thing that matters more than anything in this world is, well, Mattering.
Quit worrying so damn much.
Oh, and one other thing... Love Is Yours.
Those are My Ten Miles.
Monday, October 18, 2010
When I was 14 years old I had my first real kiss.
Granted, I kissed Tammy on the cheek in 4th grade but I don't think that actually counts.
When I was 14, though, at a church retreat, Carolyn and I snuck behind a building and she shoved her tongue into my mouth.
Yea, it was as creepy as that last sentence. But it was also something more. It made my face flush, my legs quiver, and my fingers play air guitar. I'm quite serious, I think I may have played "Flight of the wounded bumble bee" right there next to the central air units.
I say all of this so you'll know that when all else fails, when your body doesn't quite do what you intend it to do, and when your intentions outweigh your reality, the one thing you will always be able to count on... is your Kiss.
Everything else may change, but that does not.
So make it stick.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
A few moments before you were born, I was afraid.
You had incubated inside your Mother for the better part of nine months and we'd waited impatiently for you to find us outside her womb. When the day finally came, I found myself in a comfortable room watching Virginia Tech lose to California on the little TV nestled in the corner. Your Mom, though, wasn't quite as comfortable. The epidural hadn't done what years of scientific research had predicted. It had only given half of her body the joys of lost sensation. Her left side, on the other hand, was ripe with feeling.
Couple that with the unsettling revelation that she hadn't dilated nearly enough, we were left with the prospect that you would be liberated through an incision.
When you finally graced this stage with your presence, you let everyone within earshot know you had arrived. It was calm at first, just hints that you were knocking on the door to a life, then the colors in the room changed. Casual at first, and then with vigor only a Daughter of mine could muster. Just when we all wondered what to expect, you let us know that expectations weren't worth passing glances.
The first time I looked into your eyes, you squinted and yelled at me. I fell in love with you immediately. That's why you're my Fall. That's when I let all of my fears slip away.
You surprised us every step along the way.
Not only did you sneak into life quietly and unassuming, you found a way to leave us standing wide eyed and breathless in a living room. I'll bet you can still recall that living room.
The whirlwind that found us sequestered in a small side room was as much to blame on the hospital's construction as it was on your choice when to arrive. The plan was well thought out, scripted and sculpted, and convenient. Valentine's Day seemed that much more of a perk.
But you're like me. Why leave a party content when you can leave it with style.
You weren't breathing when you found that little room. Your eyes were closed and you couldn't see me looking at you across the table. I watched them work on your little chest for what seemed like hours. In reality, it was a few immortal minutes.
When you quietly chirped for the first time, I exhaled. It was as if I'd kept a deep held breath for my entire life. I was elated and light headed and exhausted. All for a tiny, quiet "chirp".
One day later they finally let me see you. You were in a little plastic bubble. I couldn't hold you but I could reach my hand in and touch yours. You seemed so peaceful laying there. You just looked at me as if to convey "Be Still". Then you inhaled so deeply that I saw your little chest rise and without missing a beat you exhaled even deeper. I cried like a baby. I cried like a Father finally seeing his Son. Fittingly.
That's why you're my Winter. Because you let the world assume one thing and then you give it something altogether different.
I used to lament the fact that my world was tilted on its axis. I used to begrudge the fact that I rotated in an odd manner. Now I realize that if I didn't turn in such a fashion...
... I wouldn't have My Seasons to adore.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
One day this won't sound like gibberish.
There is a before of which you cannot conceive, not yet, anyway. So many things happened, happen, and will happen. There is also an after that hasn't yet to find it's way into being a before. It's trying though. It's trying with every breath.
Afters tend to do that to the befores. They hang around until they can be what they weren't, and ironically, what they're not yet. Until they are, of course.
That's what makes the in between so fragile.
Think of the moments before you were born. Better yet, before that perfect moment when the electrons in your freshly developed brain began firing off. Think back to your time in the womb and that moment before you recognized that you Were. Granted, you had no idea where you Were or what in the world You were doing, but you Were, and that mattered most of all. Now the big question... can you recall the moment before That occurred?
What if the after doesn't actually do anything to the before... other than learn from it?
Things change, then they change again, then they change once or twice more. That is the nature of those things in between the before and the after. They don't have a choice, like you do. They do so because they must. That is why they Are.
If you try, you might be able to collect the before in one hand and the after in the other hand.
If you can pull that off, then maybe, just maybe, you'll figure out how to hold on tight to that in between. Maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to stuff it in your pocket and carry it with you.
Find a way to do so and the Before & After won't end up mattering at all.
And that... Matters.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The road tends to shy away from the meadow. I don't know why. Perhaps it knows it has no place there.
I've passed by it so very many times. The asphalt nudges its way around a brook and leans precariously to the right. Almost as if it were avoiding what it could not, does not, or wishes to never, understand. Land.
I see the house there. The home, as it were. The place where I lay my head at night and rest easy and accomplished until the sun finds reason to rise again, the following morning. I see my hands in the soil, planting flowers, planting crops, planting abundance. I see the blisters I earn in planting such things.
Our nearest star sets low over the valley. It casually finds its way down, as softly as possible, kissing the last remaining remnants of whatever stands tall enough to see it's momentary slumber. The trees, the weeds, the tallest grass blade. It sends out its immortal light to find a place to linger. If only for a moment.
In the quiet places I can see myself inhaling the cool, fragrant, innocent autumn air. The exhaustion of thousands of years of renewal, redemption, invigoration, and invitation. It begs me to visit. It pleads with me to partake of what it quietly has to whisper. It desires me to remain there, if only for a season.
Sprout, old Friend.
Friday, October 8, 2010
When I was young and full of intent I always found a way to find a way. Now that I'm waning in the sky of my life, I find I'm more inclined to let the way find me.
I can recall with vigor how voraciously I pursued the ideology that we are born and as such, begin to die. I can also recall with vigor countering that view with the fact that we live, alive, and continue to do so until we do not anymore.
On one hand the glass is half empty, on the other it is half full.
Frankly, at this point, I find all of that horseshit funny.
Perhaps the ultimate truth is simply that the water remains. One way or the other.
The glass is indifferent.
I'm halfway Home.
Patient and waiting in the wings, willing and able, wanting and wondering, those are my definitions. The days push past as drab and vibrant as they intended. I stand aside and nod. That is my purpose right now. Observing what is and what will never be, seeing what is not and will always be.
Sometimes breathing intoxicates me. Other times, it chokes me.
The leaves are falling now. They're letting go and finding their way down. They're going where they must go.
Some days I see far too much. Other days... well, I simply envy the blind.
Either way I figure I'm just chasing ghosts in the dark.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Breathing comes easy.
It's just what I do. Well, it's what we all do. Without thinking upon it, ironically enough. The one thing that keeps us upright and uptight and Up.
Some days we're the fresh breath of the wind that hovers over the river. Other days we're the gentle, lazy cadence of the breeze that winds its way along a little bit of worn out earth that one day found itself a stream. Still sometimes, not often, but on occasion, we may just be the stagnant haze that weighs itself down, heavy and fat, waiting on a reason for drifting in an estuary.
I wonder which category I fall into, or float within, or drift about. Then again, maybe I'm just a bottle. A bottle waiting on a beach. Perhaps I've already found out how to hover. Perhaps I've already discovered how to waltz. Maybe I've finally figured out the secret to a drift.
What is inside doesn't matter as much as the fact that what was inside finally found somewhere to land.
Or at least beach itself.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
It curves and dips, sways and throbs, drops and rises, lives and dies in a cul-de-sac.
I found some wind to push across the side of my face. I suppose it found me as much as I found it, to be perfectly honest. The steering wheel is thick and ignorant beneath my palms. My foot finds its pedestal and stands at attention. We Move.
Driving purges me. It gives me a moment to let go of all those things that refuse to let go of Me. It entertains my fancy and allows me to be anywhere, in any time, and with anyone. Even if that someone happens to be me, or that time happens to be now, or that place happens to be here.
If the grand designer struggled itself out of the dirt before me and granted me one wish, to become one thing, one unending thing, be it a gust of wind, a ray of sunshine, a stream of water, or even a great set of odds at the races... I'd fault and choose none of those. I'd ask to be a road. A long, winding, wandering road that has but one purpose and one purpose only.
A road that finds roads.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The moon finds me big and bold. Or, perhaps I find the moon as such.
This is my time of year. My awakening. My rebirth, if you will. I feel alive, prosperous, possible, and above all of these things... hopeful.
The wind has shrugged off its laziness and wrapped itself with intent. It has purpose now. It brings with it a change, temperature being the most innocent of those charges. It carries vigor. It pushes change. Frankly, it demands it.
I've had such a short life and yet I find myself halfway There.
The simplest of things move me often times. The passing shadow of a cloud, the vague adjustment of a scent, the faint hint of a memory, or a dream. They stir me to my core. I find myself giddy and abundant beneath the full sun above and yet so very shy beneath its bride at night.
Perhaps it's simply the tides that work there way into Me.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I so desperately wanted her to believe that I was a Vagabond worth keeping.
In a sense.
Unencumbered by the quiet patience that only Fall can exude, I burst, bold and brash, upon her stages. Oh, there were so very many to perform upon. Nestled between the shoulders of the smothering summer warmth and the aloof approach of a bitter winter cold, we found our way in the uncertainty that is the In Between.
Wide eyed, wonderful, and young enough to believe forever was a nomenclature for the rest of my moments, I drowned within the ticking drops of a bedside clock. Piercing red numbers, glaring out from a soft, plastic sheath, prying their way beneath my eyelids. How majestic & cruel goodness can be defines me to this very day.
There were quilted skies. So many nights blanketed by them. Quilted.
In the hopeful dreams of youth and the waning recall of age & discretion, there exists a place where all things are completely wrong and yet so very, very right.
I hear a lonely violin that seems so out of place yet so wonderful and moving, pulsing inside my eardrum. I can hear it and yet, I cannot. A singular sound finding its way without a whimper. A raindrop that began a deluge.
In the autumn of my eve, I remain.
At least tonight.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I kind of like orbiting. It makes me feel wide open and unending.
Much in the same way that the wheat on a late summer day sways its way beneath a harvest moon. Let the wind push me into the blades of the tall grass and then pull me back, high and proud. I suppose that isn't so much of an orbit as it is a swagger.
I kind of like swaggering too, though.
Orbit & Swagger. I may have just invented the best folk group you've never heard of. Or possibly a Sunday morning "Hour of Power".
Sometimes the colors are too vivid, too bright, to bold. Sometimes the colors are too alive. Sometimes I step back and envy them for that very thing. Still, I'm trying my best to glow.
The other evening I plucked a small stone from a stream and held it in my hand. Watching the water dry upon its smooth surface, suddenly everything found clarity. Ironically enough, that sudden clarity found Me. Maybe we're all rough and jaded for a season, but with the winds of time or the waters of days, maybe just maybe we'll end up smooth and comfortable.
Even comfortable enough to hold.
In someone's hand.
As it were.