the next day

The sun was brilliant, and yet the air was still crisp and cold enough to show my breath as I pedaled slowly along the asphalt path.   In your face, the wind chills and bites.  Not harshly enough, and I laugh and shiver until I turn and the warm sun on my back teases of warmer days yet to come.

The pond I circle is frozen and the geese walk atop the ice, and bask in the warmth.  How is that possible I wonder, but the world is full of wonders.  Perhaps each day is one.

How do we spend our days, I ponder?  Each day is twenty-four hours  for every man,  fourteen hundred forty minutes, or eighty-six thousand four hundred seconds so egalitarianly provided to all.

Once through this, how will I spend mine, this precious coin that runs through my fingers, tic, tic, tic  never to be found or sold again.  I don’t really know, just yet.  But I think things are going to change.


fatherhood

My kids call them “Pearls of Wisdom”, and say they are more prevalent following champagne or  fine red wine.  But a young gentleman from India sent notice that he had just had a son.   Here is what I sent him.

 

Great news!

Remember, that as a father…..

From you he will learn strength, and whether to exploit the weak or lift them up.

From you he will learn how to treat and value women, in how you treat your wife.

From you he will learn respect and kindness and if they matter at all.

From you he will learn the value of hard work, or the lack of effort.

I am sure you will teach him well.

May these upcoming years be filled with laughter and joy.

 

I know it is cheesy, most “Pearls of Wisdom” are, but at least I didn’t quote Churchill to him!


i can’t hear you right now

I’ve told some of you, or perhaps you heard through the rumor mill.  Some I told, knowing that they would serve that purpose.  Now when you see me,  and engage me about it, I am touched.   But when tell you me of your own medical issues, or of the friend who succeeded beyond all hope, or failed beyond all measure, I can’t hear you.

I haven’t the time or heart to hear it.  My cup is full, overflowing with my own concerns.  Hard and cruel?  Perhaps so.   I hold a thin thread that I follow on this adventure, and  I won’t lose it, or let go to hear you.  Maybe later, perhaps when I am normal, or it doesn’t matter.

So what to say?  I don’t know, it kills me anyway to accept pity, to confess weakness. I am a man after all.  So lets talk normally, yea the Browns still stink and if you must tell me then here’s some with how I rate them:

Oh, sucks to be you, but fight through it.  ( Not bad, manly no pity )

I’m so sorry.  ( You should be happy it isn’t you )

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers ( that works )

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you ( not scientifically tested, but OK )

Good luck ( yeah, I could use a bit of that lately )

Let me know if I can help ( OK — I may have to take you up on that.   Do you know an eight letter word with only one vowel? )   Leave a comment with the answer if you can find it without the internet, or have read John Hershey’s  “The Child Buyer”.

Oh, and that remedy you heard about on cable tv that is gonna save me, send me an email. I’ll get back to ya.

 

 

 


needles

I can understand why a person could become a hypochondriac. During procedures, you are the focus of attention, Mr W_ are you OK, how does that feel, where does it hurt.  These small interactions are like flirtations that make us long for more attention.  The cost, however is too high for my tastes.

I have always hated needles.  Not feared them, hated them.  Although I hate them, I embrace them.  I have given over 5 gallons of blood, but never watched a single needle penetrate my skin. I avert my gaze each and every time.  It violates me, voiding boundaries between the outside world and me, the sacred separation between self and chaos.

Sharon makes me comfortable and smiles warmly at me, only twelve samples, three from each of 4 different nodules.  Don’t show me the needles, I don’t want to view them in any way before, and afterwards, I will look at one.   She smiles and agrees.  The doctor will be in shortly to do the procedure, the needles are off to the side covered.

The doctor arrives, and greets me.  We will give you Novocaine and it won’t hurt at all, you will just feel pressure. Any questions?  I blurt out,  “You haven’t washed your hands”.

He smiles,  “They are clean, and I wear gloves.”

I repeat, “Please wash your hands”.   I can’t control much, but by the heavens above he will wash his hands or I will hold him under the sink myself.  He washes his hands, and we start.

We don’t start, he starts, and I sit still and play pin cushion.  The Novocaine pinches a bit, but he is right, I feel the pressure, little more.  I close my eyes while he talks to me, controling my breathing and with my right hand clench my belt loop.

“Last one, the big one” he tells me.  He pushes harder and grunts under his breath and says “this one’s harder than a baseball”.

I don’t think I wanted to know that. It isn’t reassuring me.  For some reason the Novocaine didn’t make it in this one, and it feels sharp, it hurts like hell.   I regulate my breathing and squeeze the belt loop harder.

“Does that hurt?”

I am done with needles, no more shots.  I tell him it is fine.  Sharon with her black pony tail places her hand on my arm and it comforts me.  He continues, I don’t move or flinch. Take that cancer, feel that, I think to myself and then we are finished.

I sit up, look at the box with the used needles shake my head and return to work.


a thousand little places

Did you know that Chicago can be a cycling Mecca?  One fine day Chris T and I followed one of his routes from the burbs to the lake shore.    Through wood and path and town, ‘cross burb and hood we rode.  Each flavored by a  different style and time, painting the hopes and dreams of those who built it and those who reside there now.

Near Frank Loyd Wright’s office is this house of prairie architecture style.   FLW may have influenced or designed it.   Wonder if this was the house that FLW designed before he  dashed off to Europe for the summer with the owner’s wife.   Does that get you a discount?  Probably bad for repeat business though.

Ever notice, how, easy, it is to, overuse commas.  I do.  Grammar police, please be kind.


glorious days

The sun shone brightly today,  and it was only a three layer day, UnderArmour liner against the skin, fleece, and windbreaker for bicycle riding.  Yesterday it snowed and was a five layer day, amazing how you can sweat riding a bicycle outside in the blowing snow and wind.

My Gary Fisher 29er and I braved the wet paths ( but not the fragile single track that cannot be ridden wet ) and sloshed our way around the natural prairie near Naperville.  The sun, the solitude ( few ride in the winter following snow in the slop and slush ), the promise of the prairie — waiting to be reborn in spring, and the joy of movement combine to lift my spirits.

Yesterday in the snow, I rode past a humane society building ( homeless pet shelter ) and thought I would stop in and walk a dog or help.  No, fill out forms, and take a course, and come on schedule.   There is no spontaneity, are we all worker ants who fulfill our single  duty, or robots cast to play our role by some secret marketer on high?    Alas poor dogs, I will return, when I muster my courage to brave the system!

What about you, what do you do when spirits are low?

Me, I climb on my bike, and let the miles pass under me as I glide like a bird, savoring the
joy of movement.  Or I retreat to my most trusted of companions, books, and re-read
about Marius and Cosette, Aragorn, Hari Seldon and Winston Churchill and let them inspire me.

Or, as a last resort ( keep this secret ) I jump in the shower and sing loudly from my favorite
tunes.  Works every time!

Enlighten me, for where there is life, there is hope, and where hope is, we can Live, and Love, and Laugh.


Joy of Motion

On a blustery day, what better way to celebrate than a ride into the city!

The gulls have nothing on me, as I glide across the walkway, as long as the waves don’t reach out to claim me.


Figures of speech

Have you ever lived a figure of speech,

one of those cliches we so often hear spoken?

Here is one that happened to me.

 

 

The rugby ball came out of the pile, a beautiful spiral

from scrum-half to fly-half and like ripples from a

stone cast into a pond the defenders came quickly

after it, each with the proper angle seeking to take

the white treasure away by brute force before we

dashed forward with it.

 

 

With an effortless flick of the wrists,  the fly-half

passed the ball my way as the first wave of defenders

sent him tumbling to the ground.  The ball hung

motionless before me, shining in the sun with the

dew glistening along the laces.  I charged forward

and took the ball in stride and cut to my right back

toward the pursuing pack and goal line, determined

to measure their will against mine.

 

 

They met me like a tidal wave, lifting me and

smashing me back into the ground with a

resounding whoosh as the air left me and the ball

tumbled merrily away.

 

 

Scrambling to my feet as defender now, I wiped

something from my cheek, then laughed as I ran

back into the fray, they had knocked the snot out

of me.