Change is Like a Cup of Coffee
Change is a funny thing. Some of us crave it. Others of us are so terrified of it, we’d rather be frozen in place, even if the place we’re stuck in is objectively shit. But what molds one person into being a risk-taking change seeker is the same thing that causes someone else to live their lives in a sad little bubble of their own making.
Think about it. Half of us rock the boat as little as possible to stave it off as long as we can, while the other half of us rock the boat as hard as possible on the off chance that death will come scraping his sickle at our front doors tomorrow. But are any of us - no matter the camp we fall in - really living in the meantime?
Angela laughed at herself.
“Are we really living, man?”
Is this what she’d been reduced to? Recording voice memos of hippie platitudes into her iPhone while staring at the ceiling at 2 AM? She’d never get to a Ted Talk stage at this rate.
But it’s true, what Heraclitus said, she thought.
“The only constant in life is change.”
So why was she trying so hard to control it? She, more so than most, should recognize that this was an exercise in futility. It was her job to coach other people on their lives.
“Live in the radical now,” she’d say. “Live as if death does not exist, measuring life in feelings, not minutes. Not time to fill, or use, or waste. Just time to live.”
The problem with that, she was discovering, is that time moved much more slowly in the woods, and the quiet here had settled over everything, resting on her chest like a heavy stone. She missed the whir of sirens and angry car horns. Cricket chirping at night was Musetta’s Waltz, but the city was Purple Haze. She missed the rock and roll.
As she drifted off to an uneasy sleep, she dreamt of a long corridor with a bright red door at the end.
“Angela...” it whispered.
She walked toward it but didn’t seem to get any closer no matter how many steps she took. It was like walking on the moving pathway in the airport, but in the wrong direction. She gazed down at her feet and noticed that she was not standing on a floor at all. Rather, she was in the sky, gazing down upon her new cabin in the woods.
“Huh,” was all she said before taking her next step, which sent her falling through the air and straight toward the forest floor. She tried to scream, but her voice caught in her throat. Just before she hit the ground, she woke with a start. A particularly loud songbird cooed outside her window.
“Moving here was a mistake,” Angela told her mother over Zoom. “People buy second houses in upstate New York because it’s nice to be here on weekends, not live here permanently. I know I wanted peace and quiet, but all I have is the silence.”
“It’s only been three months, honey. Give it time. Use this challenge as inspiration for your next seminar.”
Angela rolled her eyes. “Easier said than done. I’m not sure I’ve learned anything other than I’ve made a complete mess of my life.”
“Some people would be quite happy to be in that ‘mess’ of yours, Angie. A home in a beautiful place and a stable job that helps change people’s lives. What would you tell a client in your position?”
“Hhnn..” Angela sighed deeply before responding, “It’s all about perspective.”
“There you go,” her mother said, with her soft smile.
“But I feel like a fraud.”
“Explore that feeling then, darling. See what it’s trying to tell you.”
Having a therapist for a mother often exhausted Angela, even if she was right…which, most times, she was.
“Okay,” she said, “I love you.” Then she clicked the red x in the corner and watched the little square containing her mother’s encouraging face disappear from view.
She’d chosen to be a life coach because she was good at ticking boxes off lists. Knew what was expected and how to get there. She loved a good five-year plan. Therapy was about emotions, but life coaching was about concrete results. And that’s the way she’d liked it. At least, until now.
“I’ve got news – we’ve maxed out at 500 attendees since the feedback was so great from your last program. It practically sold itself, Ang. Have you thought of the title yet? We need to get it to the designer by end of day so he can mock up the programs and signage.”
Angela’s heart pounded in her chest. She gazed out the window, attempting to steady herself with the serene naturescape outside her door, but it only made her anxiety worse. She felt isolated. Trapped. The backs of her knees sweat.
She glanced at her empty mug.
“Sorry, Joy. Um, I think change is like a cup of coffee. I…” Angela would have continued to try to talk out of her ass, but her manager interrupted.
“Change. Is. Like. A. Cup. Of. Coffee.” Joy said, repeating the words with aplomb.
“Of course! I’ll let Mary Rose know and she’ll send you the renderings by Friday. One month until you impart all that fresh air wisdom to us high strung city folk. Chat soon!”
That little sound of that call ending was the sweetest thing she’d heard all day, maybe since she’d moved out here altogether. Sure, it looked romantic and amazing online when people sold all their stuff and traveled the world or moved to tiny houses. But now that she’d done it – and her 2500 square foot A-frame in the Hudson Valley was far from roughing it – she realized how stupid she’d been. Of course it looked great on the Internet. Nothing there is real. It’s all stories and curations and outright lies. She’d done all this – uprooted her life – just because she felt stuck and decided she needed a change.
“It will be good for the business,” she’d said to Joy. “If I want my clients to be brave, I need to lead by example.”
She should have just gotten bangs like a normal person.
That evening, Angela wrapped herself in her favorite oversized sweater and went for a walk along the creek that ran through her backyard. It led to a river somewhere, perhaps a big one like the Hudson itself, but she hadn’t given it much thought until now.
“Change is like a river, maybe…winding, unpredictable, raging one minute and quietly gurgling the next. I could have made that work. But change is like a cup of coffee? My ability to completely screw myself apparently knows no bounds.”
She continued berating herself for some time, until she looked up and realized she hadn’t a clue where she’d wandered. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she wasn’t paying attention to where she was walking, and now, she was in the middle of the woods as the sun was beginning to set.
She placed her hand on a nearby tree for support. “Take a deep breath,” she told herself, before looking in all directions for something, anything she’d recognized. In truth, she hadn’t spent as much time learning about her new home or the wilderness lifestyle as she should have by now. She felt like a New York City skyscraper in a field of trees. Exposed and out-of-place. In the not-so-far-off distance, she swore she heard branches cracking.
“Hello?!” Angela called into the space around her, growing darker with each passing minute.
And then, a shuffling of bushes behind her.
Angela did not turn around to find out the source of the noise. She ran as fast as her new Chelsea boots allowed, not knowing where she was going accept forward. No time to second-guess or equivocate, her focus was singular.
When the blister on her heel and the stich in her side became too unbearable, she collapsed to the ground and stared at the dirt, panting on all fours. Eventually, she caught her breath and turned over to lean against a tree. This time, in the not-so-far-off distance, she saw the star pendant light she’d hung at her front door. It shone like a beacon for her and she began to laugh.
Angela laughed and laughed until she lost her breath again, and then laughed some more at the thought of the sight of herself.
“If anyone walked by right now, they’d probably think I’d completely lost my mind. Hell…maybe I have.”
And then she sat with these feelings for a while, just like her mother urged her to do. By the time she made her way inside, she was eager for something warm. She put a pot of coffee on and as she waited for it to brew, she realized for the first time that feeling lost didn’t feel so bad. In fact, it made her feel alive.
“Who knows what will happen next?” she asked to an empty kitchen.
“Four months ago, I decided to leave the city behind for the Hudson Valley. I thought I was seeking a lot of things…peace, space and, above all, change. But when I got there, nothing was as I’d imagined. It was lonely, there were spiders and the WiFi was spotty. I struggled to find the inspiration I’d sought and felt more stuck than when I’d left. I missed the city, my friends, and my bagel guy – especially my bagel guy.”
Quiet laughter rolled through the crowd.
“Until one night, I wandered into the woods and quite literally got lost. A harrowing run from a bear (that was in hindsight was much more likely to be a confused squirrel or someone’s lost dog) made me feel terrified, but giddy. It made me feel free, but focused. And then, it hit me. That’s how change should make you feel. Because change is like a cup of coffee. It wakes you up. The question is, what will you do now that you’re no longer sleeping?”
Angela turned to the screen behind her, pressing the clicker to reveal a pensive photo of herself sipping coffee amidst a forest of tall pine trees.
Some say fall is the season of death
When decaying leaves fashion trees into skeletons
And seemingly endless summer nights
Are brought to their knees by a cool breeze
And just a little bit of twilight
But I never feel more alive than I do in autumn
Crimson and gold foliage like flames
I rise from their ash and am created anew
The crisp air caresses my fingers
Nudging them to curl around a ballpoint pen
And press against the page
Like smooth honey drizzled on bread
I hunger for it
Some say fall is the season of death
Of ghost stories and the macabre
But every spirit that roams betwixt cemetery gates
Gives hope that there is more to this world
Than flesh and bones
The leaves fall only to grow again.
A storm blows through town, hail smashing so hard against the windows I think the glass might break. I imagine trying to rid the shards from the crevices of my keyboard, only to miss tiny pieces next to the exclamation point. I cut myself each time I disingenuously type “Thanks!”
The power flickers on and off for some time until it’s lost completely. Wind smashes branches against the back porch and I am forced to retreat to the basement to take a call while sitting atop the washing machine.
“I’m sorry, it’s hard to hear. I’m concerned a tornado is coming.” I tell my VP.
“But you can still join the meeting in 15, right?”
I pause, briefly thinking about how my last words might be “deep-dive,” but ultimately tell her yes and add “No problem!”
I hang up and frown deeply, scanning the room to make sure my dog isn’t drinking the dirty water that’s been steadily pooling on the concrete floor. If my life had a narrator, I have no doubt she would interrupt to say, “But it was a problem. One of many.”
When all is said and done, however, I am not carried away to Oz and live through the meeting as planned. Synergy, double-clicks and circle-backs, oh my!
I wonder if it would’ve been better to be carried away on a gale. At least in Oz, heartless and brainless people know their shortcomings and ask for help.
Outside, my husband paces around the yard. Large limbs from our maple trees are strewn about. Grape-size balls of ice lay piled at my doorstep. But the cars are safe. The roof is safe. We are safe.
I am relieved but see the coming weekend – those precious jargon-free 48 hours – fade away before my eyes. We’ll be cleaning up for the next two days straight, and I tell myself to be grateful to have a yard at all, to have a house still standing. It will take more effort to believe it.
I am about to go back inside to check email when my husband calls out. He’s found a small bird on the ground, writhing in the wet grass. I imagine she’s trying to fly, to flee – but her wing is injured and bloodied. My husband rushes to the basement to gather towels and a box before gingerly placing her inside of it.
We stare as the shiny black bird trembles despite being nestled among soft terry cloth, and I feel sorry for being able to see her vibrant yellow and orange feather tips this closely, so I cover the top of the box with a dish rag to give her privacy and rest.
The nearest wildlife rescue is 40 minutes away. The roads are flooded, and trees have fallen blocking routes all over town. But still, we go.
During the drive, I can’t help but wonder what she must be feeling. Is she relieved to be out of the storm? Is she scared of the dark? I don’t actually know if she is she, but I go off my gut – we have a connection, her and I. Both of us feeling trapped and broken today.
My husband and I complain about the traffic and run over potholes. Life goes on as usual as we make our way. At times, I question if this was really worth the drive and feel guilty.
“We’re doing something good,” my husband says, laying his hand on my wrist.
I nod and peek under the rag. I am startled to see her tiny face so close to mine, staring up at me.
“Oh hello!” I exclaim nervously, before dropping my volume and adding a syrupiness to my tone.
“It’s going to be okay sweet thing.” I say, not knowing, but hoping it was true.
When we drop her off at the animal rescue, a man with kind eyes says that she’s a special type of bird – one of their favorites.
“They’re called Cedar Waxwings, and this one is just a fledgling.”
“Just a baby...” I think to myself, sullenly.
“So what happens next?” I ask. He hands me a piece of paper with an ID number we can use to track her progress.
“We’ll see to the injuries and put it with a group of other Cedar Waxwings. They like to pair up and then we can release them back into the wild.”
Later, I research that male and female Waxwings touch their bills together like a kiss when they a fond of one another. The males also give the females gifts while courting, like fruit or flower petals. I am struck by how lovely this is; how similar it is to what people do. I hope our girl gets a gift one day.
A few days later, I mention the storm on another work call, though I keep the details of the rescue to myself. I don’t want to appear self-congratulatory. My boss responds by stating how much she hates small talk. I always thought weather was a safe topic, but I decide to speak only when spoken to from now on.
My husband calls to check in with the animal rescue. I am too nervous to do it myself because I have millennial anxiety about talking to strangers on the phone. I didn’t think to be nervous for any other reason.
“I have bad news” he says, as I step into his office. “Our Cedar Waxwing has died in her sleep.”
“After all that, she died anyway,” I mutter, half to myself and half to him.
“We did a good thing,” he reminds me.
I learned that Cedar Waxwings are typically strong and steady in flight. Females weave twigs, cattail down and blossoms to build their nests, which can take more than 2,500 trips. I think about our Waxwing’s mother, confidently crafting a nest to shelter her brood, just to have it thrown to the ground by an unexpected storm.
You can do everything right, and still, the world knocks you down and boxes you in.
August 25, 2021
The Day the World Went Dark
I always imagined writing by candlelight to be more romantic - the stuff of Jane Austen novels or Brugghen’s paintings. But the reality is much more tedious and grim. As I sit with my journal fanned out in front of me, the flame flickers in the lenses of my glasses, and I’m reminded that their blue light coating is now completely useless. I squint one eye to see the letters more clearly on the page, and wonder how long something like this can last. I feel mostly numb. After the COVID pandemic, apocalyptic events have lost their novelty. Plus, we knew this one was coming, even if it did arrive six months ahead of schedule.
I remember the first time I saw a commercial that featured actors with masks on, and the first time I saw ads online for “fashionable” face coverings with embellishments and accessories. It was in those moments that I felt something stir in the pit of my stomach. I pictured every world-ending movie I’d ever seen (Cotagion, 28 Days Later, World War Z, The Road...I could go on) and remembered thinking it was so strange that the people in them seemed to simply adjust to the world as it crumbled around them. So to say it was unnerving at first to see COVID normalized in media is an understatement.
Eventually though, I joined the ranks of movie characters, moving through a new way of life with a regularity that still scares me if I think too long about it. Roving packs of bandits and hardcore survivalists don’t seem like just the stuff of films anymore, what with throwdown fights over toilet paper and folks going to the grocery store in hazmat suits being an everyday reality just a few short months ago. I hate the phrase “the new normal,” but maybe it’s become so ubiquitous for a reason. And this is the only explanation I have for why I feel so empty now. Nearly everything has lost its shock value to me at this point.
Depending on how long this blackout lasts, I’m sure a new kind of panic will set in. But for now, I will enjoy the quiet.
August 26, 2021
The Day After Darkness Fell
When the world’s power went out, it sounded like when your electricty gets cut in a storm, but amplified a million times over. It made such a loud whir it created its own wind that blew through town, as if the nearby buildings had all collapsed at once. But the night didn’t suddenly become silent as you might have imagined. Instead, there were car screeches and crashes in the distance as traffic and street lights blinked out. Police and ambulance sirens howling as they sped to help the injurred and tried to stop looting. The woosh of airplanes nosediving in the sky as their pilots tried desperately to relight engines. And, of course, there was screaming. People stranded in the streets, enveloped by a darkness so total, many wondered if they’d suddenly gone blind before thinking to look up toward the sky. Thankfully, the stars still burned.
After some hours, the noises of chaos died down, and we settled into a kind of quiet that felt like being beneath a heavy blanket. Eerie at first, it sent goosebumps along the nape of my neck. But eventually, I felt held by it. Like I could take a deeper breath than any I’d had in the past two years. There’s something profound about only being able to hear cicadas and tree leaves rustling in the night. As I laid staring at the ceiling, I imagined travelling back to a simpler time and smiled before dozing off.
The fantasy and calm would be short-lived.
August 27, 2021
The Day the President Spoke
And on the third day, the lord God said let them find their battery powered radios, and they did. Since the darkness came, Dan and I have been searching desperately for our camping radio in the heat of our old attic and, at last, we found it nestled in a box between two ratty sleeping bags, a hand-drawn version of our wedding seating chart and a pile of old Stephen King novels.
When we switched it on, the static startled us after so much quiet. “REMEMBER ME? TECHNOLOGY?!” it seemed to shout, putting us both on edge. I did indeed remember, but with varying levels of fondness as we listened from one hour to the next.
“This is WHYY in Philadelphia, reporting to you on Friday, August 27, the third day of the global blackout. In the next half hour, President Biden will give a speech from a secure location within the White House. Until then, more from NASA’s leading solar physicist...”
A woman with a soothing pubic radio voice explained that within the last decade, U.S. solar physicists had indentified the features most useful for predicting solar flares. They then fed their data into a machine so that it could learn to identify those same features. This is how we came to know a major blackout-inducing solar flare was on the horizon in the first place. The problem, she said, was that they had only been able to get information from the solar surface. It was like trying to predict Earth’s weather from temperature alone, without considering things like wind and cloud cover. They hadn’t yet gotten to the next step, which would be to incorporate data from the sun’s atmosphere, and this explained why their estimated timing for the flare was so off-base.
As I listened, I seethed inside thinking about how we’d procastinated on buying a generator for this exact moment. Instead, we’d bought countless throw pillows and rugs and wallpapers as we got bored with the house. We’d wanted a change, but obviously nothing this dramatic. In any event, it was too dangerous to venture out to find a generator now.
I was lost in these thoughts of self-pity when the cooing of the soft-spoken scientist was abruptly cut off.
“I’m sorry doctor, but it sounds like the President is about to address the nation. Let’s listen in.”
“My fellow Americans, these are unprecedented times ...challenging and dangerous times, it’s true. But America has always been known for its resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, and there is nothing we can’t do if we work together...”
The rest of the speech was filled with similar platitudes meant to calm fears and engender unity, but if these past few years have proven anything, it’s that we’re not great at coming together for the common good. We can’t even all agree that Ted Lasso is good anymore now that we have a season two. And as for plans to restore power and repair growing damage to the nation’s cities, the speech was skimpy on the details. That said, the administration will have plenty of time to work through the minutiae.
In 2019, a massive power outage crippled Venezuela. Armed biker gangs roamed the streets, terrorizing citizens with guns. Many people - including babies - died from conditions normally easily treated because hospitals didn’t have backup generators or they simply failed. There was also no way for many to get water since pumps were shut down, and families were forced to walk for miles to find natural sources.
That was just one country, for five days. And according to President Biden, we have to be prepared for the global blackout to last for the next two years.
September 3, 2021
The Day I Put Things Off
I haven’t had the strength to do much in the last week, let alone write. I’m not talking about physical strength. We’re lucky - we happened to stock up at Costco the day before the blackout so we’ve been eating fine, and because we get city water as opposed to using a well, it’s still flowing...for now.
What I’m talking about is mental fortitude. Will.
Do you ever wonder why we do things we know we will later regret? Why we put things off even when we know the longer we do, the worse it is?
Today, I had a pounding headache, and for some reason, I just sat with it and suffered. I knew perfectly well where the Ibuprofen was - just mere steps away - and yet, I did not get up. I knew it would make me feel better, but I sat still. An immovable object sunk into the soft gray down of my favorite arm chair, like a rock with fingers that periodically squeezed the bridge of my nose. And worse still, I complained to anyone who would listen. Though given the circumstances, that was just my dog, my husband and my empty living room.
Before bed, I finally relented. I shuffled to the bathroom and swallowed three pills down dry. I know you’re only supposed to take one, but I always take three.
My pain is worse than most, I’ve convinced myself.
October 3, 2021
The Day I Thought of the End of Days
The gas pumps are dry. Without gas, food supply chains will begin to crumble more quickly now. It has been bad enough without computers to figure out where food is needed most or refrigeration to preserve what we’ve got. But without gas, food gets only as far as you can carry.
According to the radio, some people are convinced this is all part of a planned culling of the Earth’s population by the “deep state” so we can try to reverse the environmental damage man has caused. We’re overpopulated, impoverished and toxically partisan - only something cataclysmic could change humanity’s trajectory, weed out the weak and force us to work together.
Of course, there are others who say this can be nothing other than a divine reckoning, though the jury is out on exactly who is perpetrating this reckoning and what their intentions are.
The Christians think it’s time to weed out all the sinners and non-believers. They see the blackout as a sign that the Lord cannot and will no longer be an idle spectator while the war on Christmas rages on and welfare queens ask for abortions on demand. Those who have held true to their faith in Christ and lived by the lessons put forth in the Bible, are the only humans who shall be rewarded with eternal salvation.
Meanwhile, the Jews think that this is the beginning of end of the physical world for everyone, regardless of their moral track record. Per the Talmud, life as we know it will end and we will no longer have any physical needs. The Earth will be returned to the nothingness from whence it came, and souls will delight in the divine glory that remains. Now, whose souls get to do the delighting largely depends on the interpretation of sacred texts, but I’d wager that gentiles have about a 50-50 chance of getting in on olam ha-ba, the “world to come.”
The jury is still out on the Muslims, though. So far it seems the consensus calls for a flexible interpretation of the Quran. You see, a Muslim apocalypse starts with the entire world being engulfed by dukhan or smoke. The smoke obscures all things, much like the darkness of a blackout, so some are saying this is simply a case of “to-may-to, to-mah-to.” In any event, the end result is much the same as the Christians, as ironic as some of them may find that. Cue separating the saints from the sinners, righteous judgement and so on, and so forth.
As for me, I don’t know if this is divine intervention or the course of nature or simply meaningless. I’ve never been into organized religion. After a short stint in Sunday school, my brother refused to make his confirmation and I got to ride his coat-tails. No more fire and brimstone catechism for either of us. Since then, I’ve only ever felt a belief in “something else” when I watched an episode of Ghost Hunters or prayed as a last ditch effort.
“Please God, don’t let me get fired.”
“Please God, let me lose 10 lbs.”
“Please God, save the Phillies bullpen.”
December 10, 2021
The Day the Cold Came
It’s beginning to feel like winter. Global warming kept the temperatures mild through a Thanksgiving where most of us asked if there was anything left worth being thankful for. Being alive and having shelter are as good as it gets right now. There was certainly no feasting to be had, and our stomachs growled so loudly through the night it was hard to sleep through the pain and the noise.
As more nights begin to dip below freezing and we’re without a wood burning fireplace to keep warm, it’s been about layers, blankets and body heat. I feel desperately sad for our dog, who doesn’t understand what’s going on. I feel sad for my husband who feels helpless in the face of all this. And I feel sad for myself because I can’t find the strength to do much else besides feel sad, creating a neverending cycle of wallowing.
Worst of all, today’s the first time we’ve seen snowfall.
If it were any other December, this would prompt rushing to the window to celebrate the official arrival of the holiday season. I can remember so many of these days before, sitting on the sill with tea warming my hands, watching snowflakes drift gently to the ground. One of my favorite things to do was step out onto our back porch and just listen to the stillness of the world. The snow muffles all sounds and at a different time, I would have said it was magical. I would have marveled at the natural world around me and reflected on all that I’m grateful for.
But now, with the world already silenced, even the snow seems tainted. I am reminded of dirt tossed atop a coffin and shutter, though not from the cold.
February, 16, 2021
The Day I Stopped Writing
There’s an old story the Irish tell about Three Castles Head in the West of Cork. They’re not really castles themselves, but three towers that make up the whole of what is known as Dunlough Castle, one of the oldest in southern Ireland. If you stand atop the cliffs upon which the towers sit, you can look out across the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and see rugged hills along the rest of the Irish coast in the distance, along with a single, solitary light flashing atop the Mizen Head lighthouse.
The towers were at one time connected by a wall from the western cliffs to the shores of a manmade lake, though most of it has fallen now. Locals and visitors alike say that when you sit among the ruins, the feeling is unlike any other castle grounds in Ireland, perhaps best described as a certain eeriness, something indiscriminately amiss. Some say it’s because the towers look to continue well underground and into the sea, where access to the otherworld resides, the home for the spirits of the dead. Others say the place’s history is to blame. Once the home to many lords and ladies of the O‘Donohue family who all died by suicide or murder, the death, despair and sea mist have made this site a “thin place” where the veil between this world and the eternal world is like gauze blowing in the wind, where you walk among the melancholy energies of all those who met their tragic ends there.
There is one claim, though, that I’ve become fascinated with over these last few days as I’ve pored over the old Celtic mythology books my father left me. Legend has it that there is a spectre of a woman in a flowing white gown who appears to visitors whose deaths are imminent. Should you see “the lady of the lake” during your time at Three Castles Head, you are destined to die in mere hours. Of course, the Celts are big on their superstitions, so the tale’s existence in and of itself was not all that surprising to me. It’s moreso about what this ghost’s purpose is. If she foretells of your fast-approaching death, is she doing you a kindness so that you might use the time you have left to get your affairs in order and say your goodbyes? Or is she unaware of what her presence signifies? Perhaps a mere victim herself, thrust from one side of the veil to the other in moments of shifting energies by the living who walk there?
Or maybe, she is just a stealer of souls.
According to Celtic lore, Sluaghs (which roughly translates to ‘hosts’ in Irish Gaelic) are the spirits of the restless dead - spirits so evil they have even been banned from hell - and now they roam the Earth looking for those who will soon die so they can steal and devour their souls. Sluaghs are often said to target the weak, preying on those who are sick or dying, but they’ve also been known to stalk those who are healthy of body but sick of mind, those with the most sorrowful hearts. The only surefire way to avoid them is to avoid the outside world altogether, to keep your windows and doors shut tight and stay inside after dark.
It snowed again today. The sun crept beneath the horizon in the afternoon, having done so earlier and earlier over the past week with such a swiftness that it left me feeling hollow. And as the darkness began to mingle with the silence, I found myself questioning if I really wished to see what the coming months would bring. It seemed to me that the world had already been ravaged by so much devastion, destruction and violence before the power grids had failed that it may not be worth saving. That we - humanity - may be meeting our deserved end. Why cling to a lost and battered ship when there is no lighthouse to guide us home again?
Tonight before bed, I plan to crack the window open...just a little.
Summer Stream of Consciousness
Sometimes I think summer might be the saddest season
I know you’ll think I’m crazy for saying so
But it’s too good, too perfect, too true
That’s why it’s gone before you realize what you had
Like sand cupped in your hands
It quickly spills through the crevices between your fingers
And when night comes the breeze smells too fine
Of memories, of firsts and lasts
And all the times in between that you thought would go on forever
The cicadas sing too sweetly
Like the soundtrack to your favorite movie
And it makes you think that your life deserves a score too
Because in summer everything feels that much more alive
And important and real
But the trick is that in feeling the hum of your insides
When you drive with the windows down
Or the gentle careess of grass behind your knees
When you lay in the park at sunset
You eventually realize that life ends in a period and not an ellipsis
That one day you will feel nothing at all and that
Time is the cruelest season
When all you want is an Infinite summer night
He collects stamps because that’s the closest he’ll ever get to traveling the world, these little pieces of paper that have crossed oceans and traversed mountains while he’s stuck walking along the same cracked streets, sun to moon. His mother once crossed an ocean to get here, from a place he’ll never see, home to cousins he’ll never meet. Thailand exists only as an idea, a space in his mind where everything tastes of sweet rambutan instead of the salt of his sweat. He was warned, though – they call it the American dream, and everyone knows dreams aren’t real.
The older I get, the more I realize it’s all a great strange dream
Just like Keuorac said
Sometimes I try desperately to read between the lines
Interpret every person, place and thing as a symbol of something larger
Searching for a pattern or direction that will make it all make sense
When the truth may very well be
That there is n o t r u t h a t a l l
No grand plan where the pieces fit together just so
Life is a great strange dream
Like the one you have after eating street meat
You walk on the ceiling and see your long dead dog
And wonder if the buzzing in your ears is a swarm of jolly bumble bees
or just your alarm clock
Adam's apple was more than sweet
It was juicy
Tasting of nakedness and existential questions
Adam's apple was more than ripe
It was crisp
Crunching so loudly between his teeth he wondered what bones were made of
Adam's apple was more than his
It was hers
Gifted simply to nourish him.
It was not she who was deceived
Adam who was told to scorn knowledge of the world
Instead of invite it
Adam who was told to rule over others
Instead of coexist
Adam who took his advice from the sky
Instead of from the ground, where he was firmly planted
Among a garden full of other fruit to try
Before god came along
Saudade at the Sea
An ocean breeze blows things away to be forgotten
The sand buries trinkets lost to those who loved them
The tides wear the shiniest piece of glass dull
On a good day, the salt fills the air with possibility
But it’s only a moment or two
Before I am nostalgic for things I’ve never done
And will never do
Because money and time aren’t endless
And one day I’ll be less than a memory
A mark in the sand, there one minute
And gone the next
I watch the sunset in the distance
Listen to a crashing wave and think
There are so many people I haven’t met
And more still I will never know
Eventually there will be no trace left
No way to tell I was here at all
But I foolishly hope the wind remembers
And whispers my name to the fishermen at dawn
But if I must go
I would not like to die at all
I relish grand adventures, but
I try to plan for obstacles and elements
And there are no maps for the hereafter
But if I must go to the next place
I want to do so with eyes open
I do not wish to drift off in a dream
Not quite sure where one world ends
And the next begins
I want to take it all in
The sun’s light so bright
It creates a kaleidoscope of rainbow hues
That shine before my pupils
The wind so strong
It shakes the leaves of one thousand year old trees
And the forest mimics an ocean swell
The earth so soft and warm
It is a gift to be buried beneath it
To be wrapped in an infinite embrace
I would not like to die at all
But if I must go to the next place
I want to take it all in