Remembering The Best Part of Ourselves

September 11, 2019

A Soft Voice In A Noisy World

Photo by Karl Robb

Today, 9-11, marks an historic and tragic event that not only shook America but the entire World. The attacks of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA impacted the World, changing everyone’s lives. This day will forever commemorate the lives lost that tragic day and the heroism of the men and women who met the challenge of saving lives while risking their own. For a very brief period, I saw something that I had never truly witnessed, experienced, and appreciated.

On the frenzied morning of the fall of the Twin Towers, my wife and I were stranded in Atlanta where rental cars were nearly unattainable. Planes were grounded and we needed to get back to the DC area. The country seemed under attack and we were acutely alert, vigilant, and nearly paranoid–but, something beautiful rose out of the fear and chaos.

For about three…

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Timing

August 20, 2019

*

“So much of life is in the timing.

We sit and wait for the light to grow and warm our mornings.

We stand and wait to watch the light drain from our evening sky.

And in between these magic hours, we move through our day and hope to find a moment of meaning, of wonder, of grace, of substance. 

We wait and we wait and we wait.

Timing is everything.”

-G-

No grace, #JustIdaho.

Bookends

March 12, 2019

The bookends of my North Idaho Sunday.

Sunrise over Lake Pend Oreille, sunset over Lake Coeur d’ Alene.

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A bit of good timing, some persistence and good lighting– but mostly…#JustIdaho.

 

Expression Choices

February 14, 2019

A Soft Voice In A Noisy World

Expression and making our voice heard is hard enough but if you throw in a neurological wrench like Parkinson’s disease, a whole host of challenges can arise. Some of us speak softly while others may find it difficult to form words or sentences. Our words are often judged be it vocabulary or elocution. But, real expression goes beyond the boundary of words as the transcendence of understanding relates to us through the mediums of photography, oils, pencil, music, film, video, and a host of other outlets.

How we interact with the world is only limited by our imagination. Through the medium of painting, viewers and appreciators experience the work at a gallery or museum, but this is limited access. Paintings gather deep and powerful feelings and yet limit a very particular sector of the overall population. Whether you are a viewer or creator of art, our understanding of the medium…

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Fences

February 10, 2019

Living on the edge of a changing prairie, I connect to this piece.
I curse the pace of this seemingly unneeded expansion. So I tend to photograph them before they are gone…

Dancing Echoes

Bleak
Erosion fences
Replace beautiful trees
In the name of
Progress

In response to Patrick Jennings Pic and a Word Challenge #173: Fences

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Empty Cup

February 6, 2019

Another wonderful post of written and unwritten words from Robert Okaji…

O at the Edges

I wrote this last year, a week after my father died.

Empty Cup

I set down my cup, pour
tea and think this day, too,
may never end.

With what do we quantify love? How does grief measure us? Nine days ago I wrote “My father is dying and I’m sipping a beer.” More words followed, but I did not write them, choosing instead to let them gather where they would – among the darkening fringe at light’s edge, in that space between the shakuhachi’s notes, in the fragrance of spices toasting in the skillet. In unwept tears. Everywhere. Nowhere.

Seven days ago I wrote “My father is dead.” Again, I chose to let the unwritten words gather and linger, allowing them to spread in their own time, attaching themselves to one another, long chains of emptiness dragging through the days.

If experience reflects truth, sorrow’s scroll will unravel slowly…

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Vanishing

February 2, 2019

Powerful and achingly written…

Dancing Echoes

Vanishing
Each day
Little by little
Memories evanesce into darkness
Alzheimer’s

Who knows when the fog descended, your intelligence
It hid your secret, until you were at the point of no return

But the storm of your last six weeks could not deny the plaques and tangles,
The snarled mat of mind disintegration, consuming consciousness

I was the one had to take your car keys, the doctors would not help
I was the one that had to hide your guns, the police would not help

Their fear of lawsuit left them impotent
So each day I would check on you, alone

Not knowing if the wind would be coming out of the north or south.
Not knowing what lay behind the closed door in the darkened room

Then came the day that would last forever, what would be the eye of this storm.
Your relentless desperation for a gun, wanting…

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Every Wind (with recording)

January 30, 2019

Achingly beautiful work from Robert Okaji…perfectly paired with a Satie tune. I love this.

O at the Edges


Every Wind

Every wind loses itself,
no matter where

it starts. I want
a little piece of you.

No.

I want your atmosphere
bundled in a small rice paper packet
and labeled with strings of new rain
and stepping stones.

I want
the grace of silence
blowing in through the cracked
window, disturbing only
the shadows.

Everywhere I go, bits of me linger,
searching for you.

Grief ages one thread at a time,

lurking like an odor
among the lost
things,

or your breath,
still out there,

drifting.

* * *

Music: “Gymnopedie No. 1” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

“Every Wind” first appeared in The Lake in July 2016, and is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for order now via Amazon.com and Finishing Line Press.

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Tree

December 20, 2018

“I have this thing with trees…”

O at the Edges

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Tree

where you go
the wind follows
as if no

choice remains but
that of sun
and oak an

attraction such that
limbs curve to
light a certainty

which cautions us
to intrude lest
we lose all

sight and sense
of beauty you
are this tree

A Walk Through the Live Oaks

Written in the 80s, “Tree” first appeared here in December 2014.

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Challenge Yourself

December 9, 2018

My Friend Gene Is Rather Extraordinary…

Gene Gurkoff is the founder of Charity Miles (CharityMiles.org) and shared his idea for a monthly self-challenge. I think it’s a great idea.

“This morning, after I finished my run, I joined the local pickup ice hockey game in my neighborhood.

I’ve never played ice hockey before. I can probably count the number of times I’ve ice skated on one hand. (Luckily the rink had skates and a stick for me.)

I was pretty nervous as I put my rental skates on and saw the other guys playing. They all knew what they were doing. As I learned later, a few of them played in college.

I only grew more nervous as I waited my turn in the pickup rotation. These guys were fast, graceful and powerful. Each time they slammed into the boards, my chest grew tighter.

As one guy would signal that he was ready to take a break, another guy would step over the boards to take his place.

They all did that so easily. One leg over, then the other. Like you see on TV.

When it was my turn to take the ice, I hoisted myself over the boards on my stomach like a beached whale.

Then I took two steps on my skates, fell up into the air like a taco, and landed flat on my butt. Just like you’d see in the movies.

I was mortified. And I felt terrible about crashing (literally) their pickup game.

Fortunately, the guys were all very friendly. One of them picked me up. Asked if I was okay, and told me not to worry about it.

Then I got my skates under me, and just played.

Not well. But I played.

I made a few good defensive stops and some good passes. I even had 2 assists. And I almost scored a goal.

It was so much fun! I’m going to try to play every weekend this winter 🙂

Every Saturday last winter, I’d walk past these guys playing hockey. I’d think to myself: That looks like fun. I should try that.

But I never did. Because I was too comfortable in my running routine. And, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I was also scared.

So this week, I decided: F that! (Pardon my french.)

What’s the worst that can happen?

(Aren’t I always spouting off about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone.)

So this morning, I woke up a bit earlier, got in my run, and headed out to the rink.

I’m so glad I did. And I hope you’ll all join me by doing something new, exciting and maybe even a little bit scary too!

Sincerely,

Gene

P.S. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But as I turn 40 this month, I’m determined to test the hell out of that theory.

My “resolution” for my 40th year is to try something new every month.

A new sport, a new food, a new book, a new workout, a new hobby.

Something new. Every month.

I’m looking for ideas…”