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October 23rd, 2007

every one a winner


Choose your duck, win a prize, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

I loved the feeling last night when the first Autumn cold front chilled the house into a quilt-desiring crispness. The high winds Sunday morning, which aided and abetted some kite flying, proved to be the herald of a wonderful first Autumn chill. Although Sunday, when we went to see the robot dinosaurs, things were pleasantly warm, Monday brought a rain storm. Monday night brought the delightful chill.

As my on-line Scrabble average threatens to slip once more below .500, I am attracted to the idea of games of chance. Choose your duck, win a prize. So many things in life have an apppealing midway randomness about them.

I run the name gurdonark through the artist search engine at last.fm, to see who listens to my music. Inevitably, I find people I do not know, who are generally 20something and from Germany or Poland.
I take some comfort in the listening habits of random strangers.

My wife mentioned that she'd like to visit Norway someday, to see the fjords. I spent a moment yesterday looking at little rental cabins near Bergen. If time and circumstances permit, that might be a nice vacation. Our more immediate vacation is to be to a warmer climate in January. I read the numerous travel advisories about Mexico, and the less disquieting ones about Costa Rica. Soon we'll choose a time and place to travel.

I cannot believe that November is less than ten days away. I love Autumn, with its season-passing random bursts of weather. When I lived in Calfornia, my favorite Fall site was the day after Thanksgiving, when the Descanso Gardens gingko tree shed its golden leaves all at once. I always thought of exotic places and Tolkien's mallorns. In Texas it is time to plant pansies, and to watch hawks sitting on telephone poles.

If you could live a week


Monarch, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

I heard the expression lately to the effect that if one could live a week among the very poor, then one would realize that all of one's problems are not really problems. I don't take this expression as a literal injunction, as experiencing problems is part of who we are--we tell our stories best if they have the grit of grievance to add to the plot. Yet there's an idea there that's worth repeating.

I like that the internet lets us find people we lose. Today I set out to find an old friend from law school. We had last spoken some eight or ten years ago. We lost touch less thrhough any action or design than through the customary inaction that infects people like anti-biotic-resistant pathogens. Sometimes we need the slender sulfa of rememberance. This fellow named Google helps in such times.

I did a search for my friend's spouse, who, being one of those local-media types, tends to be easy to locate. I located him, but also located some sad news. He was writing a series of columns about his own battle with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I'd never known him well, and do not believe we are very similar people.
I admired, though, the way he wrote what he wrote, trying to give a voice to what could easily be something merely experienced in silence near a whispered murmur by a gossip or two.

I realized that I could live a week in that particular family's trauma and
then realize how little I have to be sad about in my own life. I thought about my friend, having to be supportive and brave. I know those are hard tasks to perform.

Tonight I had a spot of bad news about arelative in another city. I'll omit the details here for now. But I could certainly live a week with better news.

Real living involves so many challenges that I'm reminded that one need not manufacture new emotional crises to bear. Tonight, the news is full of houses burning in California.