Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hearts for Sale

Going into Horton's tonight, I was almost intercepted by a heavy-set young woman storming toward the garbage to dump her drink.
I heard the young man driving the pick-up truck calling after her: "sorry, sorry, sorry."
Whatever he may have done to cause the problem and call for an apology was not what caught my attention.
It was his tone and the look on her face.
She had the power to make him miserable and intended to use it.
He was young and trim-looking with a late-model pick-up and this girl had him at her mercies.
By and large, the only way people gain that ownership of any us is that we hand it over. We make a bargain of some kind, and so often in the context of what is supposed to be love, comes the struggle for power. What is supposed to be a partnership too often becomes a contest for dominance, and the balance of power may shift from one to the other, with a consequent need for futher punishment for past indignities. We lose sight of why we got into the soup in the first place. That great old tune "Paradise by the dashboard Light" sums it up in the last few verses. "I would love you till the end of time. And now I'm prayin' for the end of time, cause if I gotta spend another minute with you...."
What happens to us? Why are we so determined to punish each other for our own choice of surrender?
I give you the power to hurt me in the belief that you will not.
It's an odd bargain in which the greatest minds of all time have still lost their way.
And having given that power, why is it so hard to take it back? We suffer as much torment from leaving as we do by staying. Crimes of passion are born from the fact that the higher mind cannot reason with the primal one.
While the energy poured into that turmoil may burn us, we feed on it at the same time.
I hand you a single rose, and as you take it, silvery strands wrap round your fingers and the contest of hearts and minds begins.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The quality of mercy

At what point is someone not held accountable for their own actions?
People are troubled, disadvantaged, handicapped, misunderstood, stressed, pressured..and still succeed.
Someone else gets turned down for a date and takes out a blind rage on those around him. Modern wisdom is to offer him understanding.
Under this, there are no criminals, only lost souls.
Forgiveness is an individual choice which should not be mandated by society.
There are those I care for enough to forgive eternally.
I would not expect the court of our society to show the same leniency.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Every second of every movement

We like to believe that our lives have order and plan, but so very much is just random sparks.
Yesterday a friend I hadn't heard from in over 15 years called me up. Thinking it was telemarketing, I immediately hung up. Luckily he was with someone I know very well, who placed the call again, and we connected. I joked at the time, but might there have been others?
Likely, in one form or another at some time or other.
When I look back over the life-changing moments, I see how fragile were those threads. I could have chosen not to make that hospital visit almost 33 years ago. I would have gone to the tavern with my cousin and formed some other relationship.
Reading want ads, 30 years ago, I might have started at the top of the page, instead of the bottom. I would have a different job, a different house, I might not have children....I would not know any of the people who now form part of my daily life. A voice I hear every day that is music in my ears would belong to a stranger living in a different reality.
Things so simple, so tiny...It's not just the path not taken, it's a single blade of grass that makes the difference.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


We like to believe that the mind is in charge, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The maze unending

Paths and choices.
What literature would we have otherwise?
As many times as we've heard the stories, we play our own in constant rewind. "If I'd hit the ball. If I hadn't picked up that package. If I'd chosen Jenny instead of Sue."
So many choices slide by actually unnoticed. We choose sometimes without even weighing.
It's the conscious choices that offer a vertigo all their own, beyond the outcomes good or bad. To feel as Caesar felt; looking across that river.
To make the statement that closes one door and opens another; to touch the hand that shouldn't be touched; to dive into the pool without knowing if there is a bottom... Then at least, you can look back and say: "Right there. That's where I won or lost, but it was my choice to make."

Thursday, March 5, 2009


There are not enough islands of time in the way I live today. One of the most satisfying things I can do is to simply sit and talk with someone who is as interested as I am in discussing anything at all without reservation.
The pace is too frantic. I get bulletins. It may be weeks before I get to complete my thought on something and find that I was misunderstood at the beginning. And as Nina Simone told us; there's nothing worse.
I find kindred souls who are as engaged as I am in rowing the boat, bailing out the water, and fighting off the sharks. It can take us a year to find that we both like lime punch; never mind actually getting time to share one. Conversations of truth and loyalty and love and longing take a back seat to a few quick words about the best way to kill a shark. Even cavemen fighting tigers found time to paint on the wall.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Just returned from my regular Sunday trip to Guelph. There's only 5 more to go. That's not a target, it's a diminishing pool.
The opportunity to share this time with my Daughter is a gift of time. We talk about everything, anything, invent words, listen to music. Lately it's been dance-pop, but I think we'll switch back to Wolfman Jack.
Just as I drove to Holland Landing every Sunday, or Brampton every weekday; that changed like a closing door, and the world was different.
There's things we all do everyday that we just assume will always go on, and then one day comes the end. People move to different corners of our lives, or disappear like a shining soap bubble.
We see the same coffee server or grocery clerk and depend on that touchstone until they change jobs, the store closes or they are hit by flying debris on the highway in one of the many random events that shape the world without regard.
We hug or kiss our most beloved and never know when that is the last lips we will ever touch. The open mouth sharing of vulnerability has a number, as something heads towards us in a world moving ever onward in a journey we will never understand.