Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Posts tagged ‘New Me’

Tracers 3

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Subterfuge. What a great word. I don’t know what it means and I’m too lazy to look it up but I think it means like undermining or disrupting or disturbing or undoing something but anyway I think that’s how I feel.
If it’s not a working description of an emotion it should be.

So the note from Old Me really left me kinda hanging. I’m not really sure if he meant our time had passed and I was to move on without him or he’ll be back tomorrow with the new opportunities for wonder and laughs and all that happy horse-hockey he’s hawking.
I guess it was sorta inconsiderate and selfish of New Me to just take off with all of Old Me’s digs and time and money and doing away with the dishwasher and the couch and all that.
But hey, I’m the New Me after all, and seem to have been born with a certain blind spot for some of those “lovely intangibles” he claimed to cherish so.
I mean, even when he was away there was still all his stuff here, so everywhere you looked you couldn’t help but be reminded of the Baron von Munchausen existence and desire to be one of everything and his endless and ever-growing list of “interests” or “hobbies” or “pursuits” or “callings” or whatever name you want to give to these evidentiary examples: bird books and binoculars, snowshoes and fishing gear, paintings and poetry, cameras and more cameras and guitars and more guitars and antique radios and more and more and more and more.

New Me tried. Made bold but brief attempts at replications of behaviors, going through motions, forced, acting, pretending- no, focused, driven, grounded- no, drifting, unmoored, grounded again but in a bad way.
It was only his ghost whispering in my ear that drove me to keep the plates spinning then-I know- let’s put cups and saucers on the plates!
The Tilt-A-Whirl again, only now made of china. Ceramic chaos.
And I roll with it and this suits the New Me now because I like cleaning a lot more than I like plate spinning.
In fact I never really liked plate spinning per se but, eh, it was a job, and with no formal education you take what you get, you know?
I liked being good at plate spinning. I like being good at a lot of things. Good things.
Like fatherhood and fishing and baking and chess and manners and kindness and charity and love.
And guitar. I’m a really great guitarist, or so I’ve been told many times by both the Old and the New Me, but I digress again and you know how that can be.

So, you know, being in a waking-, walking-, working coma for five months isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
You do a lot in a comatose state and when you come to it’s all done already and you’re a little startled but not displeased necessarily and you realize that Comatose Me was partly some kind of alter ego like comic book characters have like Bruce Wayne who is really Batman -ooh, hope I didn’t spoil anything for you there-and Comatose Me did a lot of things I wanted to do or intended to do or should have done or wished I had but just never did and right there is proof of the answer to the question why not?
Well, actually there are several good reasons—
Hold it! Let me cut you off right there Professor before we’re forced to listen to some crazy spiel- gosh that’s usually thought of as a Yiddish word I wonder if people know the word or I wonder if you can’t use Yiddish words in this weird world where people make a big deal out of the wrong things sometimes like- don’t get me started.

So I’m not sure how this is going to pan out between Old Me and New Me and the place Comatose Me has Shanghaied us all to.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad place.
It’s new and you know change is never easy for people they say though sometimes it is really, if you want it, like having a baby, say for instance, which is a BIG change but we want it so much we just make all the space and accommodations we need to in our lives and it seems like the best thing ever, but you know sometimes new things take a little getting used to and also too don’t forget these changes aren’t anything we planned for so that makes a difference too.
One thing that held on from Old Me was this compulsive drive to embrace the richness of life before me; these numbered and precious days in this world, my children, nature, wonder and art and discovery and growth and learning and love and laughter. Sunrises and comfy chairs and ethereal guests. Voices lifted in song. And good coffee.
I hear Van Gogh: “I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.”

I don’t know where it leads me some days and don’t care on others. There is a fading twilight shadow of a past behind me, and there is a glorious sunrise of a future before me.
A great wide world and a sense of unbounded time fill me with ambitions and motivations and dreams and desires while simultaneously I am awash in a patient and peaceful stillness, a calmness and oneness with my world.
It seems I feel for the first time in, well, perhaps the first time in my life as we know it that there is a sort of blank page, an unbroken trail, an empty stage. Space and time to contemplate and create, ponder and process, give and grow.

Old Me left behind a lot of little notepads. You know, those tiny spiral-bound memo pads that fit in a shirt pocket.
Flashes of ideas, spontaneous spillings-forth of the heartfelt and hope-filled, observations of the ordinary catapulted into the mind and heart of the poet.
Sentimental. Gibberish. Nonsense.
Then a few hastily scribbled lines-

So, there you have it.
There are no more “somedays” for us.
Mind this lesson.

And wise Old Me has humbled brash New Me into silence.


New Me
Mostly New Me.
Probably mostly New Me.

Tracers 2

———————–establishing connection————————–

I woke in the wee hours of the morning in the incredibly comfortable reading chair I have shared with four or five dogs over the past thirty-five years.
Old Me had left again.

We were having such a great time listening to the ancient cassette tapes he had amassed during his heyday and that of magnetic recording mediums. With each new song he’d say oh how this is a great one and then turn up the cobbled-together ’90’s gear until the bass shook the 115-year-old glass in the parlor-turned conservatory; a mesmerizing genuine vintage mix of true Victorian parlor with a Victrola and oak bannister and an oval portrait of great-great Aunt Edna (or is it Edith? I can never remember which sister it was) flocked wallpaper in gold tones, rich contrasting burgundies. Planted between the piano and the fireplace, a lacquered-wood and chrome menagerie of musical instruments from the diminutive ukulele to a full set of drums.

Under his spell he had walked me through the attic between the Christmas decorations and the stored coffee tables and bedframes, astonished at the changes made in his absence and riding the gravy train at this chance at resurrection from the place old selves go when they go. “There was a whole box of tapes… Here it is!”

I picked up the glasses and the ashtray and carried them to the kitchen and found he’d left a note.
A funny twinge struck me, as if I didn’t want to read the meager message jotted on less than a full page of my open journal.
What if it said he was going for good now?
That he could see I was done with all the things of the old skin, and the cassettes and coffee tables and carefully curated family heirlooms were merely clutter to me now, anchors, space-takers, white elephants, hangers-on, wood and plastic barnacles clinging to my bow, canting my course and slowing my speed.
That he guessed all the good that went along with the old skin is attached to old ways and old things as old skins often are, and you can’t teach an old skin new tricks.
Offloading furnishings and compulsively cleaning until all hours and filling every waking minute with more activity than the human body and mind should be able to withstand is the wave of the future and the way of this new skin.

Suddenly I feel a sense of loss.
The setting sun at the top of the cottonwoods and the poor Pewee the cat killed (talk about a zen epiphany) and smell of the wind and the internal knowledge that the last place I can view the sunset at this time of year is by the well cap which you know if you’ve watched the same sun set from the same well cap for going on thirty-six years now are all part of Old Me and I love him.
I didn’t mean to kick Old Me to the curb.

Kind of it was out of my hands in a cosmic existential sort of life thing and I didn’t have a lot of choice or control over the hurricane and could only warn the crew to don their lifejackets as the ship ran aground. I was unconscious for months afterwards, so it’s not like I planned it or anything, and when I came to there was my boat perfectly good but no crew. What else was I to do but hang around the galley and the officers’ lounge and my cabin?

But I digress which I do a lot more often lately. It’s like some magic recording engineer suddenly punches in a solo track in the midst of a peaceful passage of my life and we go with that for a while until it punches out.
And so back to the note Old Me left New Me, or New-er Me I guess I should say at this stage of the aging game, and I lost track of all the other diatribes and digressions that keep bouncing like ping pong balls all around in my head like when Mr. Moose dropped them on Captain Kangaroo.
(I won’t go into the names dissertation: Mr. Moose was a moose and Bunny Rabbit was a bunny rabbit but Captain Kangaroo was certainly not offspring of his namesake any more than Tarzan’s chimpanzee was a cheetah.)
Then after a few more circles like putting wet clothes in the dryer but not starting it or putting laundry and soap in the washer but not starting it or plugging in the vacuum cleaner but not starting it I finally returned my attention (or closer to the truth to say my meandering attention again inadvertently fell)(on/to) the note.

This time I willed myself to pick it up and read it without hesitation.
As soon as I’m done wiping down this kitchen counter and well there are only a few dishes in the sink so I may as well do them and oh would you look at this toilet then oh my goodness I didn’t realize it was two o’clock again and where is that note?

Now I miss his single-mindedness. His dogged and dutiful drag through the drudgery a la Walter Middy and all the while wishing for a New Me never realizing it would be his own death knell.

Where’s that note? It was on the table. Did I move it? Did I throw it away?
Did it ever actually exist in reality?
Oh! Duh! The note is written in this very journal.
I’ll flip back a few pages and be right back.

*************************************** three hours later*****************************************


Time is a ponderous dichotomy of simultaneous wins and losses.
Even as the winning ensues; the love and laughter, joy and wonder; the world turns ceaselessly.
And the potent potential of chance encounters and visitations of beauty and awe vanish like voices on the wind, as another day is lost forever.

So, yeah. I don’t quite know what to make of it. It’s a kinda pretty sort of poetic proverb-like thing I guess.
I think I was hoping for something more direct and personal, you know like “Hey, went for a walk, back in a bit.” or I was really expecting maybe a last goodbye, something like “Gosh we had some good times, eh? Between beers and tears, let’s choose beers next time.”
Or maybe even “Well I guess I know when I’m not wanted when you fall asleep right in front of me and right in the middle of that great song.” or even a simple “Vaya con Dios, mi amigo. Happy Trails.” or I dunno “Goodbye.” or “Drop dead.” even, something I could sink my teeth into or at least understand.
But no. He was always like that. Over-thinking under-educated brainiac maniac. (Is verbose right?)
I get some philosophical tripe about time. You know what?
I have the whole rest of my life so why would I concern myself with time?

What does all that mean anyway?
Just a minute, I need to go shut off the shower…

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