There were terrible fires in the mountain in June burning down memories along with homes. Flames shot high up off of the ridges at night while during the day oily black plumes of smoke boiled high into the dazzling azure skies. A pair of red cardinals appeared, a mother and juvenile. Birds sing to declare their territory and these two lit on every blue spruce and pine tree in sight announcing their arrival with loud slurring whistles that here was their new home. I didn’t think they would survive the impossible heat, but this is September and they come early to eat berries off of the milkweed growing wild on the fence. Now that the fires have burned all the brush away there are the flash floods leaving behind murky tracks of ash. The water simply being there is so incredible sometimes I stop by the river to throw pebbles in.

Last night Number Two Son received a letter for his scholarship. Proud seems so inadequate when it comes to describing how it feels. It was amazing to watch him receive it and to his credit he has earned it largely in his own. My disability began when he was in fourth grade and he has never missed making the honor roll.

Five years ago began a long recovery process from a devastating illness. Even walking to the corner was a challenge, today I walk three miles a day and work out at the gym. In July there was some PT for my legs and hopefully there won’t be any more. Last week I had a check up. My resting heart rate is 72 and the doctor would like to trade cholesterol levels with me. All the tests so far have been normal. Next Monday is the last test an MRI. They are still frightening.

Just a few years ago it was relearning how to use simple things like a can opener and remembering to not throw it away with the can. Last month I told my family I was ready to take over the last of my previous duties, the laundry. It’s been challenging and chaotic with wrong socks in the wrong drawers and the wrong pair of pants hanging in the wrong closet, but it’s been okay.

The air is less humid and you can tell that fall is getting near. I dry some of the laundry on the clothesline and discovered a piece of kibble in the back pocket of my jeans while I was at the grocery store today. It’s not the same kibble that our dogs eat. It’s probably from the neighbor’s back yard because they feed their dog outside. I had found a couple of pieces on top of the wall last week and thought my neighbor was being silly again. Sometimes he does funny little things like that.

There’s a little ground squirrel living under the shed in the side yard. In the mornings her and her little ones scamper across the roof and raise a ruckus with the woodpeckers. I stood there in front of late summer blackberries in the produce section for a while considering all of this then a smile spread across my face. She’s probably storing food up for the winter.

Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
- Psalm 63:7 (NIV)


The morning started out simple enough. It was borgette time and that means a little bit of scrambling is in order as I go through the routine of rousing her from bed, making breakfast picking out an outfit, making sure she has least made a token effort to wash her face and hands and brush her teeth, pack a lunch, make sure her vast array of school supplies is stashed away somewhere in her backpack and all of the other assorted goodies that go hand in hand getting a kid ready for school. She knows that today is the first in what hopefully be a long and fruitful experiment with piano lessons. She seems kinda nervous

We leave the house and get in the car to make the journey to school. It’s a short one – 15 minutes or so but sometimes I think we get more accomplished in that short time frame than in the hours spent at home. Maybe because that’s because there are no distractions, no television, no neighborhood kids, no toys, no games, only the thoughts that come to mind while we’re driving. Maybe because it’s because the car lends us a certain air of privacy, where she can talk without being overheard by anybody else, a captive audience of one where she’s free to speak her mind without too many judgments being cast her way.

Borgette: “Dad, why do I have to take piano lessons?”

Me: (thinks to himself “Good Question.”) “Well honey, maybe because they’ll be fun and you’ll learn something.”

Borgette: "Yeah but, I tried before. Mom tried teaching me and we both got frustrated because I couldn’t do it.”

Let it be said that her mom, my ex, is quite the accomplished musician, Besides being a student of classical guitar, she has been known to belt out a tune or two on the piano.

Me: “Well, sometimes Moms and Dads don’t make the best teachers. Remember when I tried to teach you golf. The same thing happened. We both got frustrated.”

A moment of silence ensues…

Borgette: “I’d still rather just play soccer.”

Me: “I know honey, I know.”

This is followed by another moment of silence…

Borgette: ”Dad, why do some songs get stuck in your head?”

Me: (thinks to himself, “Another good question!”) “Jeez honey, I don’t know. I think it depends on the mood your in or what you might have listened to lately. There could be a lot of reasons. What songs get stuck in your head?”

Borgette: “Mostly Beatles songs.” I like Bungalow Bill and the na- na- na- nanananah part of Hey Jude.”

Me: (smiles inwardly and offers up a silent thanks to whatever power or powers that inspired The Beatles.) "Well honey, wouldn’t you like to play those songs too instead of just having them stuck in your head?” Maybe you can write some more of your own songs someday that will be stuck in somebody else’s head.”

Borgette: “THAT would be cool!”

And so the story ends. We pull up to her school. She smiles and we both wish each other a great day. Hopefully she has found some sort of inspiration or that her fear of taking piano lessons is allayed, if just for a little while.

As I said earlier, the day started out simple enough, let’s hope that it ends that way…

I have a cold today. I had spent thirty minutes trying to make a nosebleed stop. This one was in the category of 'Old Faithfuls'. I walked through the lobby, and people patted me like a cute rabbit in a small cage and asked me Are you okay? expecting the answer. I nodded, dripping blood, and I walked away. Satisfied, they turned back to their ambient conversations. Some people in the lobby told me to wipe the blood up, because I was making a mess. I told them through one nostril that I would come back later and clean it up. They nodded. Reparte.

The white porcelain sink had a single drop of blood in it, so perfect a splatter that I wished to lick it off the basin and onto film. Why photography, he had asked, and we all looked at each other and smiled downwards towards the table with the usual wry smile of reluctance and dormant talkativeness. I keep that dormant throughout my day, and so I nod. Sometimes people don't see the most obvious things in front of them. None of us are mind readers, yes.

I say Hi with a mouth-smile, because I haven't learned elsewise; Too deep, and my muscles hurt, especially around my heart, and I'm afraid that if I smile too hard and too mouthfully the muscles around my heart will stop, taking me with it as it slows down, a self-induced post-birth abortion that nobody agrees with, without carnivorous coat-hangers or firm white pills that slip down like snakes, but worse.

I want out or in. Something firm, something black or white or yellow or red. Not gray. Gray is not between black and white; It's between green and red, blue and yellow. Gray is the color of despair. Gray is the color of uncertainity and forced movement. Gray is the color of the elbows on a dead person after an unexpected heart attack in the middle of Boston Commons on a beautiful clear perfect autumn day.

Gray is the color of shadows on black asphalt.

Years keep on ticking,
But we never give up thinking,
You are dear to everyone's heart,
Adam Purcell, rest in peace.

/me misses Hermetic
Carolyn wanted HBO and Starz so I ordered digital cable last week. I tried several times to align the directv dish that Craig had given me but I never had any luck .. so, digital cable.

The tech was supposed to come between 10 and 12 this morning. I left for work at 9:00 and got in about 9:15, and my phone rings. Oh, geez, I think to myself, I just know that the tech is already on the way. Sure enough, the tech will be at the house in 10 minutes. Carolyn is at home getting ready to head out of town to handle some business as her stepfather passed away monday. I call her on the phone and tell her, and she starts spewing a list of things she has to do instead of help the tech. Angry, I hang up the phone and walk out to my car and start to drive back home.

I am pretty annoyed by now and am pushing the WRX faster than usual. I always drive fast when I'm pissed off. I'm on the highway and probably going 90 in the 65 MPH zone. Following evilkalla's law of inverse luck I immediately blow by a state trooper on the other side of the highway and I see him hit the brakes.

I didn't even bother driving any farther, I just parked it and waited on him to catch up. He parks it and walks up and lo and behold it's this friend of mine from the gym.

"Dude, why are you driving so fast?"

"Um, my girlfriend really needs me at home"

"You were going 85 in a 65, that's way too fast"

"Yeah, I know I shouldn't be speeding."

"Just slow down, ok?"

He got in his car and left. This year's gym membership has already paid for itself.

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