Heart

Good evening Travellers,

It’s Sunday eve, but this week I’m going to deviate from my usual offering of something splendid to just say a few things, I hope you won’t mind…let’s assume for arguments sake, that you won’t…

I’d like to take a few moments of appreciation here… just a few…

For the miraculous machine that dwells within us all

The thing that started to beat long before your lungs knew what air was

Long before your tongue found words or tastes or teeth

Or your eyes and ears were filled with the innumerable sensations that we take for granted each day

Or your tiny fingers and toes touched this Earth.

Your heart.

It’s a great word, right? Heart…I mean just say it out loud, your heart, my heart…

It’s a word that sounds like it’s loved, it’s got a gentle smile on it and a deeply resonating warmth.

It sounds tender. Like it wants to be deeply held.

I’m talking about the literal thing right now. That sinewy, blood filled muscle of an organ.

At one time, it was so tiny, you might even say miniscule. Beating inside your mom’s belly.

Smaller than the tip of your thumb. And now it’s the size of your fist.

Your heart that beats without fail every single second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, decade of your mortal life.

Have you ever taken a moment in absolute stillness and placed your hands on that pulsing and just felt it.

When you lie in bed tonight or perhaps when you awake in the morning, just take a moment and place your palms on your chest till you locate it and feel it.

The rhythm that is all yours, just yours.

That’s your life, right there, under your hands. Nestled in your chest.

It’s an odd looking organ, isn’t it? Hard to believe that thing, a thing that looks like it does is driving you forward.

Obviously in symphony with your brain and lungs and blood, but it’s the thing that is pumping life through your body

And when it ceases to do that, we are pronounced dead.

When I think about reasons to live well, I often think of my heart. And wanting to care for it.

Because I think about it’s location in the human body. It’s surrounded and protected by skin, muscle and bone.

Cradled in the center of our chest, in a place it can be defended and protected.

It’s as if it’s anatomical location shows us that it is precious.

It is worthy of your utmost care…

We often talk about heart break. We deeply hurt and say we are heart broken.

Of course this is figurative right?

A metaphor perhaps.

I have often said that Dave broke my heart and then his suicide smashed it into a million pieces, but that’s not entirely true, as my heart continues to beat ever so faithfully in my chest. Right now, as I type…there is no hesitation.

Someone hurt my heart recently from disappointment, but my organ itself feels fine, it’s somewhere else in my body…

Can you really die from heart break? Do our emotions break the muscles or the valves or the stymie the blood flow?

Why did we decide to call it heart break?

Who was the first person that used that phrase?

Doesn’t emotion come from the brain and nervous system? Or perhaps the soul if you are into that sort of thing.

Why don’t we call it brain break? Or say our nerves are deeply uncomfortable? Or say we are emotionally sick.

Just think if there was no such phrase as heart break.

There would be no Shakespeare, or songs, or movies or hell, just all kinds of things would require an entirely different vernacular.

Perhaps the heart is the great hall monitor of our human body. Slowing the blood down, or speeding it up. Trying to keep us in line where we belong.

It doesn’t seem to be breakable, but yet we believe it is…

And we all take it for granted too, don’t we? This life, our heart.

Because it is in fact your one ever present diligent companion.

Someone close to me has heart problems. He’s 85 and has both a defibrillator and a pace maker. He’s now taking medicine to help strengthen the muscles because they are beginning to get tired. As one expects to happen eventually.

I was thinking at their house the other night, or rather marveling how far that heart has travelled. How many beats it has drummed out in his lifetime, how many times his wife more than likely listened to it with her ear on his chest in their youth, and the fact that he made four other hearts in his children that will beat after he is gone.

It’s the kind of thing to marvel at and just think about for a few minutes…

This life is a marvel, just in case you have forgotten…it’s right there in your chest.

Resplendent is splendid’s cousin, right?

Welcome to another wind down Travellers,

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week in between a lot of working, cleaning, talking, moving, writing, driving, cooking, walking dogs, listening to music, listening to strange stories from various people and (deep sigh) here we are.

At the last sunset of the week. Or the first sunset, however you wanna see it.

Since it’s Sunday, you know why I’m here, or let’s assume you do, just for arguments sake…before I show you the simple splendid moments of my life, I hope you have been noticing your own. I’m gonna keep hoping you do, don’t think I’m not!! Whether you write it down, or take a snap with your phone or just mentally memorize it.

Just be with it. Witness it. Witness, as in stand there and observe and feel with all your self.

Something that makes you think, “THIS is GOOD” when it’s happening.

Give yourself time with things…

I would also like to add a little commentary here. I often see people meme-ing on apps about happiness being a state of mind, or how much I love myself or just this general idea that feels like we are being sold something that says happiness and self-love are like butterflies you can catch and be able to keep somehow. Like a constancy we can attain. Like you should want those above all the other emotions or feelings.

Did these people forget that butterflies will die in captivity? Nothing is constant in this life. Nothing can be white knuckled into existence.

Holding on too tight is called strangulation.

I just want to make sure that we understand each other here, and let’s assume we do. I’m not here to tell you life is meant to be happy all the time or to chase happiness all the time or that you should make yourself happy in order to love yourself. (Everyone nod your head.)

I come here every Sunday to say, Look at this, there is something good and it’s not perfect or forever, but it’s enough.

It’s enough.

When was the last time you thought “This small thing is enough.”?

Good and happy and love are all not forever, but the point is to learn that they are enough in their transcendental nature. Our lives are not cages to lock away things, our lives are doorways that are meant to be inhabited and ultimately passed through.

Now lemme show you some magic…

I really liked this sunrise, don’t remember what day it was. It wasn’t the skies or some magnificent display of colors. What caught me was the way the sunlight was passing through the trees in my front yard. They were luminous. Translucent like stained glass. You could the veins in the leaves. It was like they were glowing from within. I feel like we all forget that around us, at all the times, are these giant living creatures called trees. And sometimes they really look alive…or ethereal.
Yep. Another tree. No, I’m not about to launch into some environmental lecture. Don’t worry…I’ve learned that people either have reverence for this planet or they don’t…but… THIS is my tree that my hammock is under. THIS is my view from lying on my back, swaying gently in the early evening. I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating, a hundred times. Every time I lay here, I marvel at it all. Hammock time could change the course of the human race. Less tv, less cell phones, less filler, more awe. If you get two people in a hammock, great conversation or silence can be found. Just looking at this photo feels like a massive decompression in my body and soul.
My crack garden produced it’s first crack strawberry. I know he’s a little rough looking, but don’t be fooled. For those that are new here, I’m not talking about narcotics, but rather these few rather determined little plants that are growing in the crack between two concrete slabs on my patio. They just spontaneously erupted from nothing, but seem to be thriving with serious vigor. Growing out of nothing, feels like an anthem for human life right now, doesn’t it? And that sad little worn out looking berry was not even a half inch around, BUT damn, he was packed with flavor! All the flavors of the summer to come.
Decided to try something other than a pineapple this week and got a cantaloupe. The smell this melon gives off is so distinct, isn’t it? It’s like summer sugar. And there is something really interesting about the way it feels when your teeth penetrate the flesh. Like a specific kind of resistance that melons have, don’t they?

I was balling this in the early evening, sunlight flooding in the kitchen window and I thought the carved rind seemed artful. Like a meloncomb? And I remember my Grandma Biv always had balled fruits in her refrigerator for me as a kid. And I loved that stupid melon baller so much I bought one as an adult. Don’t use it often, but when I do, I remember her kitchens. And melon balls. The Tupperware dishes they were stored in. And her.

This is a lot of good right here. The kind of good that wells up in your eyes when you remember, know what I mean? And what a beautiful color the flesh is…
I know, more food right? Wait, lemme explain…I was coming home from work Monday night, wondering what am I gonna eat, like what do I even have to eat at home? Which is silly, I just went to grocer two days before, do you know that silly notion? Yea, so I used some canned tomato soup, tiny mozzarella balls and grilled chicken I had on hand and voila!! But really the reason this was good was that bread in the background. Dave used to make that for me, but I’ve found I can make it own my now.

And in that moment I thought, “I can make it on my own now.” Not to dismiss him, but we are nearing 8 months since he ended his life and I think something has begun to shift. I think a part of me, maybe a small part will always be mad at him, but I feel like he is with me, rooting for me. I feel that all the way through me.

Someday I will fully forgive him. For smashing my heart. Twice.

I will.

See that, good isn’t all happiness. But it’s still good.

Other worth mentioning moments…

I’m going to two concerts. I LOVE concerts as much as traveling. It’s a whole story that I won’t go into. I don’t like to jinx things, so let’s just dog ear that page and we’ll come back to it. One of them is a band he loves and the other is the Foo Fighters. I have to say I’ve always had immense love for Dave Grohl as an artist, but having now survived the suicide of someone integral to my own life, I have a whole new level of respect for him. Getting back up from Curt Cobain’s death was a feat, wasn’t it?

I’ve noticed this scent wafting through my backyard in the mornings and the evenings. And it took me a moment to figure it out. It’s my honeysuckle that some random bee gifted me on my fence line years ago. Actually, it’s a small honeysuckle jungle now, AND in the warm air, lying in a hammock, it’s heaven. I catch Lou smelling them sometimes. There are few things in life more delightful than watching your dog smell flowers!

Speaking of flowers, when we were walking home this morning there is this tree. (I know, a tree, AGAIN, I didn’t mean to do this, it’s not a theme! I can’t choose the goodness, for goodness sakes! Maybe I’m channeling the Lorax?) I have no idea what this tree is, but it’s funny looking and HUGE. It looks like lily pads on a tree. In groups. And the flowers look like tiny iris relatives, maybe? But the thing that really caught me was the way the flowers were falling from it’s branches this morning. It was like a soft rain of fauna and I stood in the street and watched as they floated to the ground. There was a blanket of white frothy flowers all around. Actually the three of us stood in the middle of the street and just watched for minutes. It was like something in a movie. Only real. And then we came home.

As I said early on, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and writing this week, so you might want to prepare yourself for possibly multiple blog posts from me? We’ll see what happens….BUT meanwhile, keep your eyes, ears, noses, fingers and mouths open for good things.

Okay, maybe don’t walk around with your mouth hanging agape, or getting handsy, but you know what I meant, let’s assume you did, for arguments sake..

And now, I’d like to leave you with a quote, since I mentioned happiness earlier…this one always makes me giggle when I hear it…it goes a little something like this:

“Ever since happiness heard your name, it’s been running through the streets trying to find you.”

Now tell me, what does happiness look like when you read those words?

What do you see in your mind?

What is looking for you?

Think about it…

I’ll be seeing you!

It’s Mopsy Day!!

Good morning Travellers,

It doesn’t really seem like a morning anymore without a walk. It’s amazing how quickly you can create a small change in life that mean so much. Walking in the early evening just doesn’t have the same effect…I want it to be Spring again just so the light shifts back for early morning walks…we haven’t even breached Winter yet, and I’m already wanting to jump to the next season, typical human yearnings, am I right?

My calendar says today is Mopsy Day!!

Continue reading “It’s Mopsy Day!!”

A rooster & the fog on a fine Friday

Well, you made it to Friday Travellers,

This morning was the most fantastically odd walk. Walking as the world wakes up, it feels like not only do we roll from bed stumbling in slumber, but so does the world itself. There was a thick blanket of fog covering the grounds where we walk that sort of glowed with the sunrise. And on top of that, a rooster crowing, IN THE MIDDLE OF A CITY!! I’ve never hear him before this morning, and the sound seemed to be coming from an adjacent neighborhood. It was just such an unlikely combination of ingredients, what a lovely start to this day…

I also realized this morning that today marks one month since I got divorced, to the day in fact, just randomly realized that on the way home…tempus Fugit my fellow travellers…

Continue reading “A rooster & the fog on a fine Friday”

And he signed the letter, Oceans of Love…

It’s another sun down, moon up Travellers-

Obviously I don’t need to tell you what tomorrow is, right? And this particular post is one I’ve wanted to write about for a fairly long time, maybe let’s call this serendipitous.  So everyone gather round and I’m going to tell you about love. Not the Disney princess happily ever after shit or Hallmark cards smooshiness, I mean the real deal that I was fortunate enough to witness. That I am fortunate enough to be related to and in truth, THIS is what always keeps the belief of love alive for me.

Cue the music

My Grandparents, as in my mom’s parents, were the kind of humans I think we would all aspire to be. I know that sounds like a lot, I’m not saying they were flawless, but they were real, salt of the Earth, Rock of Gibraltar, Greatest Generation people. I can easily tell you that my Grandma Max saved my life as a child. She was the calm against my mother’s storm and she didn’t have to do anything, it was just her presence that made me feel safe. Even now as an adult, when I find myself scared or say I’m in a particularly difficult balancing pose in yoga, I can think of her and I am suddenly solid. She always assured me that everything will work out, and I absolutely believed her. I still believe her now.

My Grandfather remains one of the most amazing souls I’ve ever encountered here on this plain of life. He had so much life in him and strength and just got it, life. He also had multiple sclerosis. From my earliest memories of him, he was already in a wheelchair. If he had born in our time, I think he would have been walking for most of his life. His was the slow progresssion MS, so even up till his passing, he had upper body mobility and his mind was fully intact. I never once heard him say that life had been unfair, never heard complain about his condition even though I saw the uncontrollable spasms and how his hands didn’t always do what he wanted, but he never showed any signs of defeat. When I came seeking advice once in college about a matter that seems trivial in hindsight, he told me how everything in this life worth having is going to be hard. It’s going to require hard work. When I look back on that moment, and I do with some frequency, I realize now that he was also talking about himself, or so I imagine. He so wanted to be here with us.

Now for the love story. I could tell you about this moment when I was in high school and was sitting in my car waiting for her in the VA parking lot. It was raining and I can still remember her walking towards the entrance next to him. He was in his electric wheelchair and she was holding an umbrella over them both. And I could swear there was a glow. An energy. And I thought to myself, if I can find that, right there, that’s life, that is love. Love that endures all things, and all pain and facing the unfairness of that diesease. I can’t imagine they didn’t feel robbed in some way. I know they had to hurt for each other, but they were together.

Flash forward, they are both gone now. After her passing, I came to possess part of their correspondence from when he was serving in WWII. There are more letters, but due to my choice made with regards to my mother, I will more than likely never see them all. But what I have read is enough. For all our technology I have to say, nothing touches the energy in a written letter. I don’t know the words to describe what it’s like to read these letters. Here are the people I love, but I didn’t know this version of these two people. These are young, so in love separated by a war, optimistic people. There is only hope of the future, no illness, no pain. And just typing this makes me cry, because I just think they had no idea what was coming. How could they have known, just like we never know. But here I am reading them, knowing how the story ends and yet, seeing the beginning that I was not alive for…impossible for me to put that into words..

When I first heard this song above, I thought of them and the lyrics, “If you die before I do, I know the heartache will kill me too, so if I ever lived again it would be to find you…” if there is the possibility of another time here, I hope they get it… I have no doubt they would find each other again. I would wish for them a life free of the hardships they endured. I would wish for those people in the letters to never know his illness. I would want them to have another chance.

After my Grandpa passed, she was never the same. Perhaps because she was his constant care giver and she didn’t know what to do. I don’t think she wanted to be here without him, not in some soap opera drama way, just he was her person. I wonder now if she ever read the letters again after he died. I’m obviously never going to know. But my favorite closing of his was, “Oceans of Love, Chas” Can you even imagine that?…

Ok, so I’ve changed format here abit, but wanted to throw out the photo I promised when I first began this blog. Joy, I was always going to have joy here, but I’ve realized now that joy accompanies other lesser awesome feelings, and now those will live here too…because I’m going to just let it all out…

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For the newbies in the back, this is Charlie, who I named after my Grandpa. He lost a leg as a kitten before we got him and I felt naming him this would hopefully imbue him with strength and fearlessness like his namesake.

P.S. I used to recommend a movie too with each post…If you want romance, ‘TThe Notebook” if you want sexy, “9 1/2 weeks” and if you want to rebel against the holiday, “Basic Instinct”…