Security or Balance?

I noticed, when going downstairs while using the handrail,

That I don’t cling to it for safety/security,

But I lean on the handrail,

For balance.

And, as always, I seek the metaphor for life, my life.

I think security/safety is important for a stable life, but

It is balance I seek for a meaningful life.

Balance is often thought of as a teeter totter between two members of a dichotomy:

Good/evil, fit/unfit, religious/atheist, etc.

But there are no dichotomies; there are three or more forces involved in each problem.

As a physics teacher, I believe in force vectors, in which the sum of each force AND their directions determines your movement.

Unattended, forces are exerted, causing movement.

And so what reaction to these forces do you perceive?

A. Nothing, I am blown by forces not of my making.

B. Resist the impinging forces by my own personal strength.

C. Seek balance, seek to balance forces with other forces that act in opposition or in replacement of forces arrayed to place stress in my life.

For me this balance comes in the form of meditation, jigsaw puzzles and bike rides.

Walks in the beach, turning off cable news, spiritual practices, walking with the dog etc. offer balance to my stressors.

Hugs, cuddling, touch, kisses, are powerful forces in this regard.

And so, instead moving according to forces I don’t control,

I sit quietly as the whirlwinds if life,

Not fighting,

Just leaning 

In a direction that

Gives me balance.

It is this balance that sustains me in the face of trauma,

Like death of a loved one, illness, surgery, motor accident, addiction, and so on and so on.

Balance, and God,

And my wife of forty five years.

Love is a great balancing agent.

I see others, people who don’t have balance,

And I can’t give them balance,

I can only be sure that I am balanced.

Can you see?

That I am balanced?

And not teetering?

Sometimes, sometimes, I teeter,

When I teeter I know what to do,

Seek balance, find equilibrium,

And go on to the next event.

– Small town boy

Don’t Eat the Donuts!

I love donuts.

The woman behind the donut machine,

In Steele’s grocery in 1950’s Fort Collins, CO, 

Next to St Luke’s Episcopal church (my church) on College and Oak (I think),

Across the street from BPOE, the Elks club,

Watched the donuts drop in to the carrousel of hot lard,

Move half way around the track and flip to cook the other side,

And then continue the full circle to drop down the chute to be captured,

And frosted.

I delivered the Coloradoan newspaper to her home,

So she would give me a warm, sweet, mouth watering sample donut,

When I came in and she was cooking them.

Now I can’t eat them.

I have type II diabetes and am on a diet, having lost 26 lbs.

Last week we were in Wheatland, CA after the passing of my 37 year old grandson,

And near the Suites we stayed was Krispy Creme.

I can’t eat them either.

They have a similar way to cook them, in rows instead of a carrousel,

And like that other donut machine, they flip half way to brown the other side.

I just love Krispy Kreme’s.

Oh sure there are other donuts in my life, non edible and non enticing:

The spare tire in my Honda Element is just such a donut,

A small tire only strong enough to get you to Les Schwab to fix the flat,

Or better yet, to remain hidden under the back deck while AAA is called.

Remaining hidden is a good thing for donuts.

There is also a donut (hole) in my Medicaid, wherein I have to pay until I get out of it;

I hope Obama care fixes that.

Sometimes love handles that live around my middle are called a donut, now called muffin too?

I don’t eat them, but they are there due to some heavy donut bouts in the past. 

I used to stop at the donut shop in Hollywood, Portland, OR to get a bag of  donuts to eat on the way to school in Corvallis or Eugene,

Not Dunkin’ Donuts, the other one.

I’m paying for that now.

I never cared much for the boxed powdered Wonder bread/Hostess donuts,

Too dry, not fresh.

I don’t sit on a donut, though I have in the past when hemorrhoids got bad, a cusion of air, that is.

Anyway despite my digressions,

I still have donuts on my mind,

Hot fresh frosted cake donuts with sprinkles.

I have yet to visit Voodo Donuts in Portland, home of the donut with bacon on it?

– Small town boy

No clothes on

If you want to know how it feels, then take your clothes off.

Feel it? Skin’s a tingle?

Find a mirror and take a look.

What do you see?

This is the vehicle God gave you to walk around in.

Lots of special features:

Eyes that can see and transmit to the brain.

Ears likewise.

Tongue is not much different, things taste the same with or without clothes.

Nose likewise.

Feeling is greater, more exposed now.

What’s the other sense? The sixth sense?

Oh yea, it doesn’t change much either, in less new insight into being clothes free counts.

Now go do something: wash dishes or laundry, sweep or vacuum.

Feels good, yes?

The nervousness that someone might see you is cultural shame. Pretty strong, I admit, but with practice, it lessens.

Fix something or build something or, as I am doing just now, write something. Things seem to work better, with some titilation that helps the job go better.

Sitting in front of a computer or Television does note seem to be enhanced, unless you are folding clothes at the same time.

Reading is better when you’re more alert, sensitizing, feeling everywhere on your body.

Tasks are easier, go quicker, and are more fun when the clothes are off.

Social nude recreation is not the point in this discussion. If you are interested find a nudist club or nude beach.

What I’m working here is just between you and… well you.

As you feel more comfortable being clothes free, you will find opportunities to go outside.

Now your skin really feels a difference.

I recommend sandals if you are walking or hiking, having tender feet myself.

This is a good time to center yourself.

Calmness is helpful when naked.

It just feels good, sans textiles.

Eventually you will consider being naked in the company of others, it’s not only for sexual reasons that we undress.

Calmness is helpful here also.

Wow, no big deal, after some initial discomfort.

We are all naked apes.

We need to recognize that and honor our God given bodies.

Well, have fun.

Love,

-Small town boy

Trees fell down

There are trees down in the forest.

Some fell, but mostly as a result of storm damage.

A natural end to life in a vertical posture.


Now I lay me down to sleep…

No!

Prematurely, not due to any weakness in my limbs,

I am fallen to die,

And then, after a time,

Resurrection, just as Christ died on a tree and was resurrected after being placed in a cave on the ground,

I, laying here on the forest floor,

Will become a nurse log for others to grow from.

The cycle continues.

I m fallen, but others will rise 

With my help.

From

My life comes the life of others,

Standing in the sun.

Amen

– small town boy

Pedal faster

Pedal faster, he’s right behind you,

In his power chair,

He’s going to overwhelm you, again.

I’m at my gym, Fitness Over Fifty,

Pedaling the stationary bike, faster and faster,

Feeling feelings I don’t want to deal with,

About to erupt.

I thought I dealt with his death, but

He chases after me, laughing,

Because he no longer needs his power chair.

But it’s good for the chase.

It’s good because it still gives him power,

The power of love,

The power of his personality that overwhelmed his disabilities,

The power of God that dwelt within

Him and me.

Oh lord deliver me from the great sadness chasing me.

Let me weep again, let my heart break again, let my guts turn to jelly once more,,

So that he can rest and quit chasing me.

Pedal faster. Ignore him, if you can.

Dear God, he is yours now, running and laughing in the heavenly domain.

And we are left here

With our sorrows,

Pedaling as fast as we can.

I love you Terrae.

Thanks for your light in my darkness.

– Small town Boy

Awesome

I hate that word and the way people overuse and abuse it.

Awesome, dude!

That was awesome!

He/she was awesome.

Fuck awesome!

If everything is awesome, then nothing is awesome. We’ve reduced it to triviality.

But, then…

When you have the honor and privilege to know and love an awesome person.

Awesome because, though he was quadriplegic, he ran to you for a hug.

In his power chair.

Though his speech was difficult to understand, he spoke plainly

When he was on the phone with his girl friend.

Though he needed help with the meanest tasks,

His smile was AWESOME.

His love was awesome.

His humor was awesome.

His strength in the face of disability was awesome.

His love for his young nephew, yep, awesome.

It is not hyperbole when you are talking about him.

You have led the way for the rest of us.

Today I will try to be awesome too.

I guess awesome isn’t so bad after all,

When applied to the right person.

– Small town boy

Dedicated to Terrae O’Neal, 

1/6/80-4/6/17


Awesome!!!

Today is the next day

Since I decided to live out each day I have been given,

My life is much simpler and anticipatory.

After experiencing grief over the loss of my eldest grandson this weekend,

I realized this morning that today is the next day

In a series that is ongoing 

Despite death, and grief, and sadness.

The moon still shines and becomes full again;

The sun rises; the rain falls; flowers bloom again.

Even as they will when I am gone.

Even as they have since my father, my mother, and my sister have gone.

One day after the next.

So, each day holds the promise of a next day.

And this is it.

I still love you, even in your absence;

I still have those around me who love me;

I await the gifts you have for me today,

With great anticipation.

Thank you.

– Small town boy

Grandpa’s field trip

This was the second field trip I have  gone on with my grandchildren.

The first was to a fishery with Dashawn, the third grader.

This trip was to a play at the restored Whiteside theater downtown,

With Angel, the first grader.

The teacher was confused when  I showed up. 

Had I checked in to the office computer that  confirmed that I was approved to volunteer?

Was Angel’s aunt Becca going to come?

Yes, no, and when do we go?

I must say right off that going with Angel is different than going with Dashawn.

There is much more touching, hand holding, and chatter. Chatter. Chatter.

So we got onto the school bus, eventually, having loaded two boxes and buckets of lunches,

And rode two miles to the theater.

I was not able to sit on the bus with my three charges: Bianca, Angel and Maecy (only three to a seat),

So I sat behind them next to Emma,

Who began to tell me all the people in her family who were dying or going to die.

Someone had brain cancer, an aunt had died last week, and the new born twins weren’t going to make it, etc.

Emma’s mother was in charge of the Whitside theater.

So we we’re dropped in front of the theater, en masse, two bus loads, plus others from other schools.

The hike up to our seats in the balcony was as far as my hike up Austen stadium to the 80th row at the University of Oregon.

We climbed three flights to the balcony, and I was beginning to feel faint.

I didn’t take  my charges down another flight when  we got into the balcony,

Choosing to sit halfway up on the aisle we came in on. The girls were fine with this.

Angel had my hand the whole way and held  it during the performance.

I dug out a bar I had brought to regain my energy, but it didn’t help.

My stomach felt queezy.

The play was great and we learned that girls could be swordsmen instead of princesses.

Upon leaving I received two hugs from Tavin, my grandson in kindergarden, who was also at the play with his mother, Becca.

After the play we walked three or four blocks to the gazebo in Central Park.

I had to stop and sit part way. My bloodsugar was plummeting.

And I had nothing to eat.

So the two girls (Maecy had been taken by another adult because she was constantly ahead of us) went to get their lunches which both had brought from  home.

I eyed them hungrily.

Then Alexandro came over by us, on the bench, to throw his lunch in the trash.

I asked if  he had finished it? He said no.

I asked if he would get it out of the trash can for me?

He was hesitant.

Another adult asked him what was going on and volunteered to retrieve the lunch, but I said no; I would do it.

It was a school packed lunch. It had an apple with one bite out of it, a P B&J sandwich (half eaten) and a bag of small carrots.

I was saved! Not only had I been  provided lunch but it fit with  my NutraSystems diet (having just lost 20 lbs).

The girls looked askance, and eagerly told anyone who would listen that grandpa was  eating Alexandro’s lunch which he  had dug out  of the trash barrel.

I felt it was a life  lesson about those less fortunate that went “dumpster diving” for food.

I think there was divine providence here.

The girls wanted to play on the playground at the park, and insisted that I had  to go along with them.

I agreed, since my blood sugar had recovered and I could be human again.

They had a wonderful  time building sand temples, with dndelions on tlhem.

We got on the bus and returned to the  school.

I’m home now and resting.

Phew, what a day!

-Small town boy

A Barking Dog

Oh, would that I were a barking dog,

Free to woof and growl,

I’d bark at kids on the way to school,

And on their way home again.

I’d bark in the day and awaken

So I could bark at a sound in the night.

If you think my bark discordant,

And it bothers you so much,

Just remember, as a dog, I’m immune.

I bark because I have to, my ancestors barked and barked,

And now it’s compulsive, like lightening and thunder.

The UPS driver, and the FedEx guy too, understand my dilemma,

So why don’t you?

I want not to bark, but as it is uncontrollable, so I will simply

Run to your side, as if to say, “I know, I know.”

You’ll be sorry when I’m quiet and gone,

You’ll wish I were there to help you carry on.

Just remember, if you will,

I’m just a dog,

And I love you still.

– Small town boy

A little at a time

I do things a little at a time now.

I’m teaching my self piano, a little at a time, one half hour in the morning and one half hour in the afternoon.

I’m clearing grass from between the flagstones on the  patio, fifteen minutes each day.

I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle, a little at a time, fifteen minutes several times a day.

I’m meditating in  small amounts, morning and evening, praying too.

I can interact with my grandchildren at breakfast and after school in moments.

I call my wife at the beach once a day; or  I call from the beach.

I’m losing weight, a little at a time, fourteen pounds now, in a month and a half, by eating smaller portions.

I’m reading several books, a little at  a time with each, each awaiting more  time to finish them.

I’m writing these  blogs in  small doses, for both me and my readers. If they get too big, I edit them down or break  them  up.

But, I love you a lot, all the time, for ever. A little at a time doesn’t work for me. You are constantly  on my mind and in my heart. 

– Small town boy

“For precept must be on precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isaiah 28:10