Friday, October 26, 2012

Night Passage

     The plan was to travel to Cloud this weekend. We set out driving on Friday night, after work. However late we leave, however late we arrive, our short passage of time there will commence with sweet sleep, and we will awaken there, in that wide and deep space.
     But last weekend, the boats came out onto the hard. And the women planned a halloween party for this weekend, and so we had to stay. It's been our community, after all, through langorous, hot evenings, after cooling afternoons on the lake. It's the most natural of connections we share with these folks, nothing uniting us but the water, the boats, and yet, we come there with all the everything we are, and with no pretense, as none of it is the reason we are there. And so we laugh, and eat, and repair our boats, and go to and from out lives, and we know one another as witnesses from the fringe, where there's no question but to be ourselves.
     And so some of the guys decided to play, and I - not wanting to go at all at first, so hungering for Cloud - bought my sax along, and there were KB, and Chris, and Vaughn on the bass this time. Phil came with drums, and with a friend, Neil, and it all flowed kinda nice and unexpected, surprising us as music always does, at how good and pure it is, how easily emotion becomes sound, that sweeps out into the heart and the feet of our listeners, then comes back at us, not just us anymore, but more.
     Ponczka and I pulled away early, both of us full of the wine and the easy flirting, and the summer music even though it's deep into fall. It's a good night for driving, even though we overstayed the party, and won't get there til five or six at the earliest. It's still the plan, for awhile, until something settles inside. No need to rush. This is home too. The still though noisy night will embrace us here as on the open highway. No need for the speed.
     I pack the last things anyway. Ponczka makes her way up the stairs, leaving me with my fifteen minutes. Minutes here, comtemplating it all, this night passage, whether moving or not, wherever we find ourselves, inside whatever melody, or Halloween pretense, or restaurant along the highway. Sweet night passage. Sweet, sweet life.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hidden Questions

I've been stuck. Haven't posted here in weeks now, and feeling some dissatisfaction around that.
It's not for lack of things to write about, or lack of thoughts about matters personal, public and political. It's just that...well, I haven't felt compelled, nor clear, nor focused enough to lay the words down, to process and work through the thoughts, which has really been, apart from the sharing and interaction that results, the single most satisfying aspect of blogging.

But this is characteristic of me. It's a personal trait that has both enhanced and limited my travel through life, this tendency to shift and lose focus, to drop, lose or abandon, any pattern, any habit, or routine. I've never been a steady person. I've never managed to choose a particular path and simply stay with it. Before long, I start wondering what would happen, what would I find, simply from travelling in a diffrent direction, or along a different route. Because...there's the allure that draws me toward newness, and the unanticipated, the different and the unknown. There's an energy that's triggered, merely by the possibiity of transcending the known. It is stimulating, and enticing. It has rarely failed to draw me off, at least to the borderlands of the familiar, where I can look out toward the beckoning other.

Of course this is nothing new, nor peculiar to me. That in itself doesn't make it any easier to comprehend, to manage, to come to terms with. And so, I struggle.

From these words, it might seem that I think myself some wild child, a drifter, explorer, some restless embodiment of creative yearning. But that's not the case. Yes, I like to think myself inquisitive, curious, daring to a degree, eager to embrace what may alter and stretch me. But, at the same time, I can't deny being a plodder, an introvert, one drawn to the safety of norms. I have a strongly addictive side, as well, a side virtually defined by routine, habit,  by aggressive fealty to "the known". That part of me is as strong, as resistant to efforts to purge it, as any other. It is as much me as the creative genie I like to think of myself as embodying.

This line of thinking is recalling William Irwin Thompson to mind. He is a cultural philosopher, whose books impressed me deeply thirty years ago. He presented a compelling argument for how apparent opposites work together to achieve what they mutually aspire to. The example of this which struck me most was how the wild and raving prophet in the desert, and the staid and studious priest in his temple, while outwardly in constant opposition, actually work together to promote the spiritual realm. That always stayed with me, and I guess I see both prophet and priest tugging at my spirit, and only hope that they are shepherding me in the direction of growth and wisdom.

And what has any of this to do with blogging, and with being stuck as I am? I'm not sure. But I sense that it has something to do with seeking some better balance, between this writing and the novel I started but haven't pursued, between my passion for my youth work and the growing need to be doing something different, between my comforts with what is, what I already have, and my desire to have yet another transformative life shift that takes me to where I can not even imagine.

This is, hopefully, a fruitful tension between freedom and duty that I'm feeling. This tension presses my dreams right up against my practical realities. It juxtaposes wild ambition with radical acceptance, impatient hunger with timeless gratitude. I both worry about how it will come out, and thrill at the possibilities. I experience both fear and certainty about the steps I take, both the knowing and the blind ones. I want the soothing night to last forever, and yet I'm eager for the revealing light of dawn. I love this big question I've been living inside of, not even knowing what the question is. And yet...?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Them Blues, Them Blues, Them Post-Debate Blues

     I'm recovering from last night's first Presidential Debate. And yes, I have to agree, Romney was the winner. He presented his arguments far more clearly than Obama, attacked successfully, while hardly needing to mount a defense, and he appeared more focused, comfortable and confident. One of the frustratings thing is that Obama left so much of his best ammunition un-spent. He didn't, as they say in sports, leave it all in the arena. For an excellent summary of the President's missed opportunity, see the following article by Michael Grunwald: .

     During the post-convention period, I had been feeling more and more confident of Obama's eventual victory. I'd been eagerly looking forward to last night, figuring that all Obama needed to do was to present a strong case for what he's already accomplished and a projection of where we are headed, and his re-election would be all but assured. Frankly, I expected him to destroy Romney. Instead, the President took assault after assualt, sometimes making no response at all to Romney's charges - such as that he'd wasted billions in subsidies to failed "green" energy companies.

     It's kind of ironic that, according to Gallup's daily polling on Presidential Job Approval, Obama just reached his highest rating of the last year, at 54% positive. I don't see how that can possibly stand up, after his passive acceptance of the mis-characterization of his record that Romney put forward last night. I'm reminded of that period of time during the Reagan administration, when progressives were so cowed, that all it took was the word "liberal" to send them scurrying for cover.

     Thank goodness there are two debates to go. Last night's result has to shake Obama out of his lethargy, and I'm trusting that it will.