Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Eye

In the Storm I stand, on shifting sand,
While heaven's light steadily loses the battle
with the tempest raging, surrounding, resounding,
uncaging from its binds.
Chaos whips my skin from all directions
in the form of dejection, disappointment,
rejections and pain.  It finds
a crack in the armor that's formed,
so diminutive as to exist in abstract.
This is what the demeanor attracts, that appears not affected
by the day after day after day of challenge,
of push, of stress, of blame, of lies intended to shame.
Those outside behind a wall, stare in awe, unaware of the flaw,
as emotion seeps through the fissure forming,
yet I stand non-conforming to the buffets of fear, of doubt, of strain.
The pain acts as mortar to fill the gap, and strengthen that
which is holding me firm
In the storm I stand, no shield, no spear, for the battle is not waged
against the winds and debris and lightening and rain.
I don't hold the storm in disdain.  It is my companion, my shaper, my whetstone.
I welcome its coming, for knowing nothing else I let it surround me, go through me,
around me.
I lean in when I must, bending forward with each gust,
holding ground that is at once mine and not.  What I've got
is the knowledge that the Storm will not last.  It hasn't before, not in any past.
It simply rages until its energy is spent.
This event is my life, and I'm honed and strengthened,
ready to offer to any who would love and trust,
this simple fact that I must be the one who,
on the shifting sand,
in the Storm I stand.
It is Life.
It is Destiny.
It is Me.

cd - 102716  10:34 p.m

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Contemplation on the Step

If I've learned anything from my maternal Grandmother, the value of the step is quite possibly the strongest lesson.  I should explain.

I would go to her house (she lived next door, which meant a soybean field away), and find her just sitting on her step.  That's it, just sitting.  When I asked her what she was doing, she said, "Just enjoying the outdoors".  For many of us "enjoying the outdoors" means actively doing something: swimming, hiking, playing sportsball, fishing (ok, you don't do much action fishing, but you get my drift).  For her, it meant just being with nature.  Listening to the sounds of the breeze through the trees, feeling the sun on her face, smelling the flowers growing and the turned soil.  Enjoying.

I'm 56 now, and through the years I've come to understand what she truly meant.  I have a step, and from time to time, why I need to clear the mechanism, I just go out there and sit.  I don't think about anything...  I just sit and experience the effect of everything around me on all of my senses.  Now, I prefer to do this at night, particularly when the moon is bright and the sky is clear.  My touchstones are the moon and stars (since I can't actually be at the point of the Cape at night...thanks, Government), and I know if I just sit and allow my senses to be filled with the night sounds, sights, smells, touch of air on my skin, I will be cleansed.  The only rule is to empty my mind, and not think. I can feel the rhythms of the earth and hear the songs of the sky if I sit there long enough.

I won't tell you I come away with the answers to all my questions and concerns and worries.  But what does happen is I come away with a clean slate, where I can write my own solutions, or realize the worries are trivial and don't serve any purpose other than to upset my world.  I don't really have a "religion", although I've been down that road.  I can, however, claim spirituality...  and I never feel closer to my spiritual self than when I'm out there on my step...  just enjoying the outdoors.

cd - 102016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Passing of The Leader of the Band

I was ten when I met him.  But let's get there in a moment.

I was born here, but from the time I was around two all the way through my ninth year, I lived about 70 or so miles away.  At the age of seven (I think) I was introduced to a piano, basically because my asthmatic self couldn't always join in recess or play sports... at least not on a regular basis.  So, a funny thing happened on the way to filling the time...  I fell in love with music.  A couple years after that I was eligible to join the school band and wanted to play the sax.  My mother played when she was young, you see, and still had the instrument.  It was a win-win.  However, my teeth were in a sad transitional state, and the music director at that school suggested I not play a wind instrument until that resolved.  Dad played the drums, drumsticks were relatively inexpensive, so drums it was.

In the summer of 1970 we moved back "home"...   back here. In the Fall, I was ten years old, the new kid in school, and I wanted to play the sax now.  That's when I met him.  He taught the younger kids basic instrumentation, and I learned the sax under his tutelage along with a few other kids my age.  At the same time, I met this kid my age and, as ten-year-olds will, we became friends...  best friends.   And, the man was his Dad.  Over the course of the next eight years of my life, I spent a lot of time in their home.  Sleep-overs in the younger years, visiting in the "got my license and a car" years.  Bill and I were pretty much inseparable, and I had the opportunity to get to know his parents as a result.  Mr. and Mrs Bame.  Never "Dave and Norma" for that wouldn't suit at all.  I have a hard time even at this age forming their first names in my mouth without feeling disrespectful.  I watched Mr. Bame build kites out of sticks and newspaper, saw him reading books in his favorite chair, had the privilege of hearing him laugh from time to time, and yes, witnessed him being Dad to my best friend and his siblings.

When I reached high school, I finally had Mr. Bame as our band director.  I learned to love playing the sax and thought I was passably fair, and really couldn't wait to have him lead.  He did so for one year before he retired.  Everyone was sad, some upset.  But I knew I'd continue to see him from time to time when I came over and spent time with my friend, picked him up so we could go cruisin' with the rest of our generation (circles...  lots of circles).  I watched him create, and even helped build a few, the most beautiful wind chimes you will ever hear, made from metal electrical conduit and fishing line.  Each length cut precisely to emit the exact note, and placed so that no two chimes would be struck by the clapper that weren't perfectly harmonized.  It was a means for additional income...    It was art.

Bill and I attended college together, at least for a couple of years, as roommates.  He was best man at my wedding at St. Peter's.  I attended his wedding in a Baltimore Synagogue.  I saw less and less of Mr. Bame as Bill and I left our homes and started families.  I confess guilt over not at least going to visit from time to time.  I can claim "life" but that's really no excuse.  Bill's brother Paul moved away first, and farthest at the time.  His sister Carol (my "other" little sister) is still here.  I think without her I would have no contact with Mr. and Mrs. Bame, even indirectly.

Mr. Bame has passed.  And while it was expected, when I got the news by throat tightened...  much as it has now while I write this.  There's a tear in the corner of my eye.  A significant part of my childhood is gone.  The Leader of the Band has laid down his baton and will direct no more.  And I believe the world is a sadder place for it.

Thank you, Mr. Bame.  Thank you for taking the time to set me on a path.  Thank you for producing my best friend, his brilliant brother, and his sister whom I've come to love as my own.  Thank you for leading all of us, generations, class after class of music makers, music lovers.  Thank you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A lunar tale

Silent, she stands, hiding in plain sight 
Reflecting into night 
The light of day, filtered with Solitude, 
Tempered by time and disappointment.
"It's fine", but it's not. 
The battles fought take toll on her heart 
Till she shelters close 
Not morose, but safe with her faith 
So misunderstood.  All will be good 
With time, you'll see.
The walls will grow strong against all but the song
That haunts and fills all the holes in her soul. What now?

Vocal, he reclines, pulling into his mind 
Unaware of the world
Revolving about while he shouts
Without sound; for he's found the counter 
To his voice, no choice. 
His soul reaches out far into the night 
The flight is long yet close at hand,
For silent she stands, walls tight against the night save for the passage that allows his song to invade, connections made.
All the while far above, the messenger, with love watches over the distance as though a blink,
As they sink into ancient embrace, her silently standing, him vocally reclined. 

Hush.  Allow.   Be.

cd - 062116

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Rumors of Spring

A deep blue field of crisp vast sky, textured with the bump of an alabaster half-moon.
The sway of skeletal branches, accentuated with the green of newborn growth.
The touch of Winter's last cold breath tempered by a warm kiss of the strengthening sun of Spring.
Scattered birdsong, punctuated with moments of silence as the full choir has not yet arrived to join in.
Gentle stirrings from deep within of life awakening, new possibilities, promises of opportunities whispering in the soul.

cd - 032916