Let the Sunshine In

I’ve been working more on my infamous book lately, and i have to say, i’m getting excited about writing again. This winter has been a tough one for me – and a lot of my friends as well – and so i haven’t had much of a creative bent. It has been a dreary winter with far too much rain, but last weekend, things brightened up and we had reasonable temps and some sunshine. I spent a day out in my yard, raking and digging and clearing branches, and that seemed to snap me out of it a bit. (Isn’t it amazing how much Mother Nature can affect us?) I paid for it for days after, walking like a 90 year old man, but it was worth it. I managed a painting and two chapters last week – More, i think, than i accomplished the whole month previous.

Depression is a bitch. And it makes me terribly unproductive.

But i’m grateful that i have learned over the years what makes me feel better. An enjoyable day outdoors is always good medicine for me. Yard work, hiking, or even just sitting on the porch with a cup of tea and a good book… Just being exposed to life outside four walls is better than any anti-depressant alone. (An anti-depressant with outdoor time is my personal magical mix.) If i really need a boost, a hike with a picnic is unbeatable. A scenic trail full of wildlife and the scents of the Earth followed by a bounty of cheeses, some soppressata, olives, tomatoes, fruits, fresh bread, some wine or Italian soda… It’s like it opens the space between every atom of your soul, and the Universe takes advantage and fills you with positive energy.

When i do this with SiriDog, i actually make her a plate as well. A hard boiled egg, a bit of cheese, a slice or two of apple, a doggie biscuit…. Other hikers sometimes look and laugh at the two plates on the picnic cloth, but why shouldn’t she get to experience that same infusion of God/Goddess/Universe? She is a being as much as any human. She loves a good hike and good food as much as i do. And she has been a steadfast companion. She deserves a picnic too.

Laying on the ground after the meal, staring up into the sky away from the city, the sounds of birds and breeze… That is bliss.

But, no hike today. And no picnic. It is back to raining. Before the cold snap comes this week, tho, i’m on the porch, listening to the rain, watching bluebirds scope out future nesting places, enjoying a cup of tea with Siridog. I have chores and baking to do in a bit, but it will wait until i’ve been soothed by Mother Earth. Watching her drop her miracle liquid onto the moss that has become bright green this week, watching my lawn ornaments spin under the drops, wind chimes tinkling, daffodils and iris starting to burst from the ground… It will keep a smile on my face through the mopping and dusting.

If i’m lucky, it will last me through cleaning out the fridge. But i’ll definitely need a booster after.

****

Fast forward a few hours. The temp has dropped significantly. It’s colder than Machiavelli’s heart out there. It’s still raining, and even the birds have hidden away. It’s ok, tho. I got my boost. I’m ready to tackle the housework.

Side note: I would love to see one of those silly Facebook articles on which crazy-rich people still do housework. Martha Stewart may write articles on the best way to do laundry, but you bet dollars to donuts that she hasn’t done any in a long time!

*****

Fast forward again. So, i did some of the chores. The rest will wait. It was just too perfect of a day for curling up and relaxing. Soup bubbling on the stove. SiriDog curled up beside me. Life is good, folks.  Get some Mother Nature. Curl up with your pet. Or your spouse, if you prefer. (I have better luck with pets.) Make some soup. Don’t spend the whole day being Suzy Cleanfreak. Life’s too short. As long as you have clean undies, the rest of the mess will wait. Live a good life. Enjoy it.

Advice From the Trenches

Last week, i was asked by a friend who is recently divorced if i had any advice for the middle-aged and newly single. Once i realized they were serious  – I mean, helloooo, my social calendar looks like death valley in the middle of winter – I got to thinking about what i could offer in the way of advice. I have learned a few things in my lifetime. They may not keep my social calendar full, but at least they keep me from making a lot of dating mistakes. And on the whole, i am able to enjoy my life. So here goes… A few things i have learned about being single and silver:

 

~ It sounds trite, but learn to enjoy your own company. Find a place you like – A restaurant, a wine bar, a park, a bookstore… Whatever.. And frequent it by yourself. Bring a book or magazine and take some time there on occasion. Other regulars will eventually notice you and will likely have something in common with you since they frequent the same place. And if not, well, at least you got to spend some time out of the house in a place you like.

~ Don’t feel obligated to say yes to every offer you get. Sometimes we need time to ourselves. Sometimes we just think they are icky. You don’t have to accept. And you don’t have to make up an excuse. You just say, “No, thank you,” or “Some other time,” and move on. Don’t concoct a story. It is false and unnecessary.

~ While it is true that not all toads will turn into Prince Charming, it is also true that sometimes a bad book jacket can hide a really good story. Physical attraction is a good thing, but most of your options aren’t going to have wrinkle free faces and 6-pack abs. And guess what? You probably don’t either. And it’s ok. Don’t be afraid of it. He may be shorter than you expected. She may have dirt under her fingernails. Those are silly reasons to turn away good company.

~ Conversely, if they aren’t good company, cut bait and move on. I don’t care how handsome or beautiful they are… If they aren’t enjoyable over a cup of coffee, they won’t be enjoyable anyplace else, either.

~ Extrapolating on the above: Don’t sleep with anyone that you can’t enjoy coffee with. No matter how good the sex is, sooner or later they are going to open their mouth and say something that makes you want to smack them. It’s just not worth it.

~ And speaking of sex… I know you miss it (Don’t we all???), but settling for someone who is annoying as hell the moment they open their mouth, or whose hygiene habits make you wince, does serious damage to your self-worth. There’s a reason your hands reach to your pink parts, and that reason is to keep you out of trouble and from undercutting your own value. Take advantage of it.

~ One last note about sex – Just because we are silver-aged doesn’t mean we are disease immune. If you are venturing out into the dating world, in the name of all that is holy, get yourself screened and make sure your partners do too. There is no shame in it – Hell, the young staff at the doctor’s office will likely find hope in the fact that us older folk still have reason to! Don’t forgo testing out of embarrassment. You are only hurting yourself… And everyone you sleep with.

~ Don’t take a first date to a movie. It is useless in getting to know someone. You can’t talk to each other. You can’t get to know them. Find something else to do – An exhibit, a walk, a meal… Anything but a place where you have to be silent for 2 hours.

~ My personal favorite first date is Sunday brunch. The atmosphere alone makes it laid back and easier to handle. Menus are usually varied enough so that everyone can find something to eat. If the date doesn’t float your goat, you still have time to improve your day. And if they do strike your fancy, you can suggest another activity without having to cross the late-night-line.

~ I know traditionally we are told not to discuss politics or religion, but i disagree. Maybe not on the first date, but soon after. It’s important to see if they share similar values. They don’t have to be exactly the same, but you don’t want to be wrapped around someone, all sweet and warm, and have them say something that forces the words, “Are you that stupid?” out of your mouth before you are able to catch them. Better to find out they’re that stupid before you get naked.

~ And lastly, be honest. If you don’t really know what you are looking for, say so. If you know what you want, don’t be afraid to share. If something or someone isn’t working out for you, let them know. If you feel uncomfortable with someone or about something, speak up. Don’t lie about who you are, nor accept lies in return. We are adults and should be able to handle honesty presented in a polite manner. (If the polite manner doesn’t work, that’s a different matter entirely. Do what you have to do to keep yourself safe.)

 

You aren’t going to like everyone. Everyone isn’t going to like you. You will meet nice people who don’t strike your fancy. You will find people who you think are amazing, but don’t feel the same in return. And you will meet schmucks and people who still behave like children. But chances are, even if you don’t meet the partner of your dreams, you will make some friends and have some fun.

Fun is underrated. And at our age, we have earned it. Let’s not leave it all to the young ones.

Throw Your Hands Up

When i was a weedling, i loved to read stories about witches. The pretty ones who hid their talents from the outside world, and the ugly ones who threw it back in society’s face. The good ones and the bad ones. They fascinated me, and i couldn’t get enough. My Ma, for all her weaknesses, loved the library and would take us pretty regularly. I devoured every book in that building that had anything to do with witches, sorcerers – Hell, any kind of misfit with magical powers. I would bury myself in them until my dreams became epics of me, spectacular and powerful, righting the wrongs of the world by raising my hands in a glorious swooping gesture while wearing a bold-faced look of “Take that, you bastard!” Like every other child in the world, i felt powerless in real life, so i lived for the times when i could close my eyes and actually be someone important.

And of course i tried that swooping gesture in real life more than once to see if i actually could make magic.

As i got older, tho i still loved to read about witches,  i branched out a bit. Sorcerers, fairies, aliens, the occasional superhero…. It was still a lot about the power, but also starting to become a treatise on not being bound by societal norms. Instead of being sad because i always felt like an outsider, i started to be a proud of it.

Ok, that’s a bit of a lie. I tried hard to relish being an outsider. I really did. But in reality, i was no different from any other young teenager, desperate to feel i fit in. What can i say? Some things are universal for kids.

And in my dreams, i still made the grand, swooping gesture as i worked my magic… Only now, instead of always being the righter of wrongs, i occasionally took a bit of revenge. I laughed as the ones i envied watched me win at whatever the current favorite thing was. And the ones who made me cry, well, i made them cry just as hard.

I’m so glad that i only had venue to deal with that in my brain. As painful as teenage angst is at the time, in retrospect you end up seeing yourself as so self-involved that it’s embarrassing.

As my teenage years progressed, i discovered science fiction. I’d loved sci-fi TV and movies since birth, but reading science fiction is a whole other ballgame. Science fiction books had it all! Action, adventure, power, altruism, and even (almost) sex. It was misfit heaven, and i felt at home there. Heinlein’s world was mine. Chalker’s world was mine. Adams’ and Herbert’s worlds were mine. Sure, i read other books as well, but it was the sci-fi writers who made me question what i thought was right and wrong. They were the ones who made me think about politics and sociology and human relationships. These writers made me question the universe and the meaning of it all. They filled my dreams with thoughts of power to change the world. It wasn’t me alone anymore. In my dreams i had a band of friends and we all worked like superheroes (And bed-behaved like tomcats. I mean, i was still a teenager, after all), and we made the universe a better, if more bawdy, place. I didn’t often throw my hands up and do the grand swooping gesture anymore, but hey, at least i stopped wanting revenge. Instead, i wanted to make the world, the universe, better and freer.

Not that i didn’t do the gesture once in a blue moon, just in case my magical powers were as delayed as my puberty.

In my earlier adult years, i didn’t read much sci-fi, fantasy, or magic anymore (Well, except for the occasional re-read of favorites.) I found other genres that piqued my interest. And as much as  i love a good historical fiction tome à la Clan of the Cave Bear, that kind of book never gave me the dreams i had with my earlier genres. Ayla had chutzpah, to be sure, but she didn’t weave spells or jump timelines. She didn’t evoke that kind of powerful feeling in me.

So my dreams got rather boring until the rebirth of fantasy for the younger generation. I delighted in going to the midnight release of the newest Harry Potter book with my own weedlings. I read all of the Hunger Games and Divergent books along with them. (I’m so glad i had children at that age. I would have had to come up with a good story otherwise, since there was never any doubt in my mind that i had to read the books!) And i started having those dreams again…. Those dreams where i am powerful and fixing the world.

Yes, i also try to do a bit to fix the world for real. I have raised good and socially conscious weedlings. I reduce, re-use, and recycle. I save energy where i can and eat less and less meat and dairy as i get older. I volunteer and help at causes that are important to me. But it’s not the same, is it? I have no lightning in my being to throw at bad guys. I can’t steep herbs from my yard and make cancer go away.  And even tho i occasionally throw my hands up in the grand swoop, it doesn’t do anything except make me giggle.

It’s terribly anti-climactic.

Thankfully, we have books. And dreams. And in them, we can have the power really change things. Not that we should give up the efforts in real life, but it can be really therapeutic to wield a wand, or a sword, or a phaser to fight the righteous fight. There is something to be said for keeping those childhood fantasies alive and well in that place in your mind where anything is possible. And if you occasionally throw your hands up in the grand swoop to see if you are dreaming, i, for one, will not laugh. In fact, i may invite you to the Leaky Cauldron for some butterbeer. Or the local pub for an actual beer. We can talk about books, We can talk about fantasy. And we can talk about our powers and how we make things better.

Potty Mouth

Tonight i am preparing for a very important event. Cancelled all my other plans, bought a fancy bottle of drink that i’ve never tried before, donned a special outfit, lit some candles…. You’d think everything would be perfect for a first date. Or an anniversary celebration. Or a sensual interlude. And it probably would be, if that is what i were preparing for.

But i’m not.

All of that stuff that sounds so romantic takes on a whole new light when i tell you i’m preparing for my “Welcome to Middle Age” screening colonoscopy.

A strong flavored juice to cover the taste of the laxative seemed like a good idea. And the first 2 glasses were easily tolerable. Now that i’m about halfway through two liters of “The fastest way to lose five pounds”, i’m pretty sure that just the smell of tropical flavor fruit juice is going to cause me nausea for the next couple years. Hopefully it won’t affect my ability to enjoy tropical drinks on the beach. Note to self: Next time, pick something that i will never, ever want to drink otherwise. Like Cheerwine. Or hemp milk. That way i don’t risk ruining potential future vacations.

I’m decked out in sweatpants and sweatshirt – Something i rarely do. I know that there is nothing wrong with sweatpants, but i have this irrational fear that Liam Neeson will break down on my street, and when he comes to my house to ask for help,  i’ll unwittingly answer the door looking like a schlump. And wouldn’t that be a total tragedy? Because, you know, it would take celestial aligning for him to break down on my street… I wouldn’t want to spoil it by having him see me look dumpy. But i also know that if i try to undo belts and zippers every time this prep-kit works its magic, i risk ruining a pair of nice pants. Nice pants that really fit and look good are too hard to come by. Liam will have to deal.

The candles are dual purpose. First, the only thing worse than having Liam catch me in sweatpants would be if i opened the door, and the cottage smelled like a sewer. And second, sometimes in the face of a bout of misery, you have to take the bright spots where you can. I love candles. They make anything more special. Even this. In fact, this needed a lot of bright spots, so i lit a lot of candles and put on some of my favorite music to boot (An Amazon playlist of Requiems, if you care.) At least a couple parts of my body are happy and at peace. That’s definitely better than none. I’ll take it.

I know some (Most) of you are wondering why i am posting this. If you read my ramblings often, the answer won’t surprise you.

Like so many other things in life, there are things that we all go through, but no one talks openly about. Unsightly things. Embarrassing things. Hard-to-admit things. And by avoiding the topics, we make hard things even more difficult. Whether it is parenting, aging, sex, our faulty bodies… By refusing to discuss them, bitch about them, even laugh about them, we make it worse for ourselves. On top of all the discomfort we face, we compound it with the worry that we’re doing it wrong. Or that we’re abnormal. When in reality, everyone before us could have assured us that it’s a well-worn path. Making the subject taboo in conversation also perpetuates fear and anxiety about it. And most of us have plenty of fear and anxiety already without adding to it. Better to cleanse the air of mystery.

Just don’t cleanse it with laxative if you can avoid it.

I told a few people about what i was facing at the surgery center tomorrow. I mostly did this because i wanted to see how people would respond. Everyone who has ever had one either offered advice, joked about their own experience, or just gave that empathetic grin that let you know they feel your pain. No one responded with horror or disgust.

Granted, these were people who knew me, so it’s unlikely that hearing me bring up a not-ready-for-prime-time topic surprised them at all.

Nor would any of them find it unusual that i would be stressing the importance of preventative health by making jokes about it. That’s what i do. I talk and joke about stuff – Especially stuff that others don’t.

So i’ve been talking about tomorrow’s colonoscopy. It has made it a little less daunting. Well, some of that is the talking. Some of it is the promise of some solid Propofol-induced sleep. Some of it is the thought of a thinner waist in the morning. Some of it is knowing that i am taking care of myself. And some of it is because i know i will treat myself the day after with something really yummy. Between all of that, and my pretty candles and nice music, it isn’t unbearable. I’d still rather be eating calamari on the beach, but it isn’t terrible. In fact, i’ve been on first dates that were far worse. So i can definitely take this in stride. I got this. Yup yup.

And Liam, if your car breaks down and you have to come here, please forgive the sweatpants.

Games People Play

Apparently nothing is safe from the trawling creepers.

My oldest daughter got me into playing Words with Friends. Since i am a tireless Scrabble player from way back, it made sense to add this app to my repertoire. It took me a while to get used to the changes in rules and features in the web-based versus board-based, so in the beginning, i only played my daughter and a couple of close friends. Once i started getting the hang of it, i added in suggested players. It got to be great fun, if still a bit of a time-waster.

Then WWF added in a new feature: Messaging. Seems like a cool thing. You can give your competitor kudos for an exceptional play. Complain about having nothing but vowels for 3 turns in a row. Maybe even get to make a friend. I enjoyed the additional perk until recently.

A few days ago, i received some new game requests. The first came with an immediate message. It was an introduction, which seemed innocent enough. The man appeared to be about my age and said he was in Idaho. I responded with a polite introduction. As he continued on, i noticed a few things:

  1. Judging by his vocabulary and syntax, he was not likely to be a native English speaker – Rather odd since his name and picture screamed “middle America”
  2. His hours of play made more sense for someone in a time zone 5 or 6 hours ahead of me, not 2 behind me.
  3. He became overly familiar very quickly. Questions about occupation, etc, rapidly gave way to questions about location and other specifics (That i would never hand out to a stranger)

I decided to have a little fun with him. I made up some fairly ridiculous answers to his questions. He didn’t catch on to the unlikelihood of the responses and kept asking away about the personal details of my life.

In less than 6 messages, he was asking for my email address. Uuuuuhhhhhh… Nope. But i kept on replying with complete and utter ridiculous fabrication, just for my own amusement. And when he finally got around to asking if i was married, i replied, “I married Jesus when i took my vows.”

I haven’t heard back from him since.

Mind you, i am not in any way knocking or mocking nuns. I think their commitment is a wonderful thing. But i guarantee it wasn’t what the trawler wanted to hear. And i do hope the sisters would enjoy the humor in using that line to put him in his place.

The second gentleman was a bit more relaxed, admitted to me he was from one of the more cosmopolitan areas of Africa, and has not asked nearly as many invasive questions as the first man. In fact, his first handful of contacts were about the game itself. Then came the inevitable “You are so beautiful!” bit. He went on and on about my insanely good looks (To note, while i am certainly not the bad side of a tram smash, i am in no danger of being mistaken for a fashion model. My profile pic on the app isn’t even a particularly good one. So excessive use of phrases like, “You look like a movie star!” reek of fresh horse shit.) I think he sent half a dozen messages about my sparkling appearance and the probability that i had a great figure before the eventual “Are you married?”

This time i replied, “I was before my transition.”

To his credit, he replied “Ok,” and has continued playing the game – Albeit with no more small talk.

(Again, this was not to place any harm on the transgendered. My response was solely crafted to be something he would not expect, especially if he was only trawling.)

The third player got to the “Are you married?” on message 2. Not even a formal introduction first. (Apparently he didn’t read the national bestseller, Miss Manners’ Guide to Social Media Trawling.) I went left field on this one and sent a rambling rant on how marriage is the creation of the patriarchy, meant to keep women down, “Screw the establishment!”, reasons why men should be cut up and used as shark bait, and, hey, my coven throws a big shin dig for Ostara – It would be great if you could come!

No response yet, but the night is early.

True, i could just not respond – But where’s the fun in that?  Besides, i’m kind of angry, and my passive-aggressive solution helps me to feel better.

Yes, i realize that social media is full of trawlers, and by joining anything that has messaging capability, i effectively take the blame for it. A handful of times a few years ago on Facebook i would get similar messages… And back then i made a game of seeing how long it would take them to ask me for money. I’ve had similar things on other sites as well. But good grief – This is Scrabble! It’s a game, not true social media. It’s supposed to help my brain stay agile as i slide down the splintered pole of middle age, not inundate me with fake men fishing for money. But then again, i suppose creating all these stories to thwart them probably does at least as much for my brain as the game does.

Yes, i will feel badly if it turns out that any of these people is for real and just looking for a friend. Just as i feel badly for the people who take the charlatans seriously and fall prey to money scams. But more than either of those, i’m disappointed that it took such a short time for such a relatively innocent pastime to become just another way for lowlifes to fleece people by preying on their insecurities and sympathies. If they spent half as much effort trying to do good for people, i can’t imagine all the wonders they could accomplish.

But we all know that isn’t going to happen. There have been cheats for as long as there have been humans on this Earth. And there is little i can do to stop it. What i can do is stop allowing the fact that i am a common target of trawlers make me feel bad about myself. I am not pitiful, insanely lonely, or stupid; and i am most definitely not going to follow someone into a metaphorical unmarked van for flattery and a piece of figurative candy. Instead, i will entertain myself by having them fish for the figments of my active imagination. For my stories. I will waste their time as much as they do mine.  In fact, i already have a plan for the next one… I’m going to (Appear to) fall for it, hook, line, and sinker, and ask so many specific and personal questions in return that i creep them out as much as they do me!

C-o-u-n-t-e-r-i-n-s-u-r-g-e-n-c-y. With the triple word scores and the double letter scores…. I’d say i win the game.

Kick It To The Curb

Aaahhhh…. It’s that time of year  – The new year. Fresh starts, new leafs, clean slates. For so many, it brings celebrations complete with fireworks, champagne, and general overindulgence. For others, it is feasts of black-eyed peas and other lucky foods, and time spent with family. All different kinds of traditions all over the world. But for me, the new year means one thing…

REORGANIZING!

I love sorting things and getting them all settled into an orderly fashion. I like little drawers and buckets and boxes and new coat hangers. And i LOVE getting to throw away things that do nothing but clutter my space. To my way of thinking, it is best not to bring last year’s garbage into the new year. The coming year will have plenty trash of its own.

Yes, yes… I know that if i were a better woman, i’d have thrown all the crap away as it appeared and not waited til the day i hung the new calendar. But i’m not. And i didn’t.

No one has ever accused me of being Nellie the Neat Freak.

So this time, every year, i go thru the house with bags to hold the garbage and bags to go to charity. I clear everything out that needs to go. Expired medicines and makeup. Clothing i hate or haven’t worn in a year. Accumulated magazines. Any Tupperware without a lid. And the bags of reuse/recycle items that i had craft ideas for that never panned out. And then i go back through and sort everything into new and better containers. Pretty baskets, decorator boxes, expandable shelves… You get the idea. By the second week of January, i am Martha Stewart’s rightful heir.

Come next season, it’s all right back to Clutter Central.

Throughout the year i will go back through and do a smaller version of the purge, but nothing like the High Baptism of the New Year’s Shedding of the Past Year’s Shit.

Seriously – This New Year’s ritual is my own personal day of rebirth.

For the record, i make no resolutions other than the one i always do – To be a bit better this coming year than the last. And each year, the cleansing of my house and head last a a bit longer than the one before. (Nothing like a resolution that you can keep!) It’s unlikely i’ll live long enough for the organization to last all year. I’ll keep doing my best and falling short, and the Grim Reaper will be tripping over stacks of books and craft supplies the day he comes to find me.

Unless the Hindus and Buddhists are right, in which case, i will die on December 31st of the year i finally keep my closet in order for a full 12 months.

At my current rate of improvement, that should put me somewhere around 200 years old when i finally leave this Earth.

This year’s purge is a little more complex, as i am starting to double down and really work on the house as a structure. I have lots of big plans for my little beach cottage in the woods… And the funding to complete about a third of it in the coming year. Not ideal, but it’s a start. And because i have all these plans that might actually come to fruition, i’ve had to cull even more than usual. Because trying to rehab a house that’s full of excess crap is like decorating a Christmas tree with green bows… Unhelpful and unnoticeable.

Anyway, the point of all this housecleaning is that it becomes symbolic – As my house is, so is my head. By clearing all the cobwebs, dustbunnies, and unused hand lotion samples; i am clearing my head of the same. Unused hand lotion samples become any leftover grudges and head smacks as they hit the trash bin. Dustbunnies become those things that i beat myself for daily, even tho they’ve been under the couch so long that everyone has forgotten them but me. And the cobwebs become… Well, truthfully, they’re just cobwebs. And the older i get, the more of a pain in the ass they are in both my house and my brain.

So here’s to those of us who shun parties in favor of self-improvement. While it’s true that we may not get to keep our OCD award for more than a month or two, we are setting ourselves up to start the year with a literal clean slate. Well, if we have a slate. I don’t. I’ll be starting with a clean closet. But i don’t think there’s a euphemism about closets that applies in this situation. Although i suppose it could to someone else. If they cleaned their closet and then came out of it. I think. Maybe. But being in the closet when there’s already so much clutter in there… I can’t imagine.

And there i go, weaving another cobweb.

No matter how you celebrate the new year, i hope it starts you off right: With Love, Light, and Laughter, and faith in a year that is better than the last. I wish you all the sweet things that life has to offer… And just enough salt to remember how sweet the good stuff is. And i wish you a rebirth and the chance to make yourself all you can be… Even if you fall short and there are still dustbunnies under the couch, your effort is not in vain. Any bag of garbage that makes it to the curb is a good thing, both literally and figuratively.

Let the purge begin.

 

My Bleak Midwinter

In my bleak midwinter i sit,

The grass dead and trees barren,

My breath like the fog on an abandoned pier

In a Bogart film.

Grey and opaque.

My bones are shaking from the chill in the air,

Or my past,

I know not which,

And they make a frosted mug that holds

The slush of my bleak midwinter soul.

The cracking of dead limbs as they drop to the ground form percussion.

The whistling wind sings both melody and harmony

While the squirrels make the bass lick of the shortest day.

My Bleak Midwinter Suite, first movement.

Final movement.

Cold and shallow.

Cold and shallow and yet

Beautiful still.

The cheers of cardinals over the sound of the empty landscape,

The crunch of little paws on frost covered leaves over the mush of mud semifreddo,

The smell of hickory smoke overlaying the metallic scent of the cold ozone.

There is still beauty to please my eyes and ears and nose

And to feed my soul.

For even in the bleak midwinter,

A stone will warm in the sun.

And once heated, radiate and

Warm everything that it touches

Just a bit.

Just enough

To stave off the victory of my bleak midwinter.

Would that i will be that rock,

Warmth in the midst of cold.

Would that i will be the cardinal,

Color in a sea of greys.

Would that i will be the sun,

The eventual vanquisher of

All bleak midwinters

Starting with my own.