Golden Hours

October 18, 2017 § Leave a comment

It’s a photography term, meaning the hour just after sunrise or before sunset, where the light across the landscape turns everything varying shades of gold.

There’s a medical definition for it, too:

  1. the first hour after the occurrence of a traumatic injury, considered the most critical for successful emergency treatment.

I caught the golden hour (in the photographic sense) this morning. Normally, I’m in the shower at that time, waiting for the hot spray to restore the blood flow to my brain. This morning, I woke an hour before the alarm and couldn’t get back to sleep, so … golden hour.

There’s construction across the street from the office, a steel skeleton of a building at this point; its silver bones gleamed pink gold. Passing cars winked bright orange flashes as their windows caught the rising sun. Every pale curb and post glowed rosy.

For a moment, the only sound was the soft gurgle of the coffeemaker as I watched the world dance in the dawn of the new day.

Nothing deep, today. Just a reminder that every new day is filled with golden hours.


 (Photo Credit: Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=267594)

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Season of the Moon

October 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

It’s colder here. After summer temperatures lingered into last weekend, autumn has finally arrived. I woke up chilled beneath two blankets, and had to warm the bathroom with the space heater before I was willing to crawl out of my robe.

Time for long pants and thick socks and extra blankets on the bed. Cuddling close, stealing warmth from others and giving it in return. Chilly hands and ghostly breath.

Last year about this time, I said that I’m a summer creature. Not myself in any other season. I had no idea then how true that was. No idea that even in summer, this year, I would not be myself.

Now the year shows its gray. The path ahead is shorter than the path behind. But it still has teeth and claws, and strength enough to do more damage. I don’t expect it to go quietly into the lengthening night.

The sun will spend fewer hours in the sky from here on out. It’s the moon’s turn to dominate, and the stars. I’m strangely comfortable with that, this year. I welcome it.

Right now, the clouds have cleared. The sun shines bright and strong, even though there’s still a chill in the air. But summer’s childish play is over. Autumn’s toil begins: mulch the leaves, stack wood for the fires, get out the down blankets and the thick sweaters.

Do the work needed. Keep doing it.

Time to welcome the moon.


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In the Mines

October 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Getting this in just under the wire, as a reminder for you and for myself. 

Mines run deep and dark, and it only takes one fall for your lamp to break, and you are lost. 

Don’t despair; know the exit is waiting to be found, and keep moving. 

Voices call for you. Maybe they’re your friends’ voices, maybe they’re strangers. But listen, and crawl toward them. 

It may be a long crawl. You may be cut and bleeding and raw. But the voices are calling you back to the surface. 

Follow them into the light. 

Brick by Brick

October 7, 2017 § 2 Comments

I’m seriously considered tearing it all down. Deleting my Facebook account. Nuking Twitter. Flushing old blogs, and maybe this one, too.

Pulling up the drawbridges and building the walls higher.

This year has its boot firmly to the back of my neck, pushing my face deeper into the stinking mud. It will not let up.

It’s time for hermitage. Withdrawal and reclusion, and good luck to you brave souls stuck out in this bastard world.

Be patient. Be kind. But take care of your needs first.


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Farewell, Dear Phouka

September 13, 2017 § 7 Comments

What’s left of Hurricane Irma lingers over southern Ohio, weeping her gray tears. It’s fitting weather; just past midnight, I learned that my friend Bardi had died.

I laid awake for another hour or so, walking the dark paths one walks when discovering such news late at night. Remembering Bardi, reflecting on his life and his death. Sad and angry by turns, and wondering if I’m on the same path. He got laid off and lost his health insurance and got sick and couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, and it killed him.

If I lose my job, that could easily be me. It could be you.

Bardi’s family is planning a wake in true Irish style, as well they should. His son said anyone who attempts to make it maudlin will be shown the door. In that vein, I’ll keep this small remembrance on the sunny side of the lane.

I won’t claim to know him well, but I knew him a while. We met in the mid-90s, when we both joined in a Star Trek fan club. We met again, years later, drawn together by NaNoWriMo and Firefly and a mutual love of Irish music. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t remember him at first, but he remembered me.

I knew him by a few names — Timothy J. P. O’Riley and Taedgh O’Riley — but I and most who knew him called him Bardi. Short for Bardiphouka, his nom de net.

The thing I think of first when I think of Bardi is his writing. He could write a 50,000-word novel for NaNoWriMo easily, and often wrote double the word count. I think one  year, he wrote two novels in that month.

Every April, he did APAD — A Poem A Day — on his blog. Once, he told me he had a fan club in France, and they bought him an iPad in appreciation for his poetry. An iPad for APAD.

He also wrote songs and made music. I remember sitting in his den as he played a song he wrote for my friend Annie, plucking it out on an acoustic guitar, singing. He was particularly proud of a song he wrote called “Topper Takes a Toe.” (I think that’s the name of it; regrettably, I never got the chance to hear it.)

Bardi was that rare kind of individual you simply can’t capture in a nutshell. Quiet, kind, an eternal romantic. A gentleman in an age where gentlemen are scarce. He loved unusual hats and unusual turns of phrase. He liked to make people laugh. He gave because he enjoyed giving.

For my 50th birthday this year, Bardi posted this on Facebook:

Today is Random Acts of Kindness day. Also Dave Borcherding’s birthday. Which in a way was a random act of kindness to all who have come to know him.

It was possibly the nicest thing anyone said about me on my birthday.

2017 has been a bastard of a year, to the point that I’m constantly bracing for the next loss. Nevertheless, losing Bardi was one I didn’t see coming, and it’s been one hell of a gut punch.

Goodbye, my friend. I hope you’re dancing a jig with a beautiful lass on Fiddler’s Green. I didn’t see you nearly enough, and I am the poorer for that. And the world is poorer for no longer having you in it.

 


Bardi with our friend Brooke, New Year’s Eve 2012. (Photo Credit: Steve Blanzaco)

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Beneath Stillness

August 26, 2017 § Leave a comment

The waters seem lifeless, with an unmoving surface the color of an olive's skin. No breeze, and only the occasional drone of a fat horsefly.

Maybe a frog's chirrup, a time or two.

A skipped stone makes waves, but the stone sinks and the ripples fade. Did it feel the flat pebble's staccato kisses? Does it feel the wasp sipping from its surface? Does it feel the heat of the noonday sun, or the chill caress of moon's silver light?

Perhaps this hole in the earth feels not, and holds no life; nothing swims or wriggles and crawls beneath its apathetic face. Maybe it's nothing more than a reservoir of the clouds' tears, tinted by sour mud and algae.

Or perhaps the depths roil; passionate creatures twist and dance together, or hunt and devour each other, or race for the sheer joy of speed and competition. Perhaps treasure waits to be found, or ancient mines tick toward detonation.

Perhaps here be monsters.

The water may settle and clear, in time. Until then, what lies beneath the stillness can only be guessed.

Passing the Devil

August 10, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’m an atheist, and I don’t believe in the supernatural. No afterlife, no ghosts, no gods or devils, heavens or hells. I trust science, and so far, science has found no evidence that there’s something after death. Just darkness and silence.

And yet sometimes — sometimes — something happens that makes me wonder, just for a moment, if maybe there is an undiscovered country. « Read the rest of this entry »