The importance of planning time off

Mackinac Bridge

Oh, sure, I said, I can keep the balls in the air and juggle projects and regular stuff while traveling 1,000 miles to visit family and old friends. No prob.

Well, maybe prob.

The routine will resume shortly. Next time, I’ll work ahead so nobody notices the man behind the curtain is missing.

At least that’s the plan. You know about me and plans.


Abide the whispers

abide the whispers

You can only hear the whispers if you get up before the hums and rumbles and buzzers awake, before the politicians and other salesmen start shouting. You can only hear what the whispers mean if you sit absolutely still and wait for the silence so deep that the whispers are the only sound. And even then, you have to listen hard and listen well.

Most people don’t have the patience to listen for the whispers most of the time – not even those who know when and where and how to hear them – and many who know the when and the where and the how don’t abide when they do – and so the disruption and distraction and discord continue.

But hear, listen and aborb the meaning, and experience peace of mind and soul, if only for a little while, and it will provide fuel for longer than you can imagine.

2 reflections near water

o-falls west side beach

Home. Around dawn.

The sound of traffic mingled with bird song is familiar and therefore comforting in the morning reverie. It’s fascinating how even the sound of machines rushing along at 70 mph can create a soothing rhythm — a white noise for contemplation.

A wooded bluff overlooks the highway overlooks our home overlooks a woods by the bay — it all comes together to make a place.

A park by the river. Later in the day.

The girls’ screams didn’t even register in my consciousness until the boat roared by, trailing an inner tube on a long rope. Here, farther from the highway, the wind and the birds can rustle and sing with only the occasional boat motor to interrupt. A conversation in shouts continues over the rumble of a passing JetSk — err, that is to say, a passing personal watercraft.

The beach is empty today. There’s just some other guy who also brought his lunch here, somewhere behind me.

I never made it up on water skis, the one time I tried, years ago. Maybe if I’d made more than a half-dozen attempts — but as I recall that day, others were waiting in line. Maybe water skiing is hard on the legs (mine were awfully spindly then), and maybe that’s why the girls chose to ride an inner tube this afternoon. The feeling of bouncing over the waves while sailing on your belly faster than anyone can swim must be fun if not exhilarating.

Riding the 2-Minute Hate

2-minute hate

It was called the Two-Minute Hate. In George Orwell’s sadly prophetic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the populace would gather before their telescreens and scream and rage at images of the enemies of the state for two minutes a day, then move on.

Twitter has become our real-life Two-Minute Hate – if only it were only two minutes a day. Turn on the telescreen and we can discover so many reasons to be angry at someone else. Pour out the rage, cleanse ourselves and move on, having passed our hatred on to someone else.

What if, instead of a telescreen, people looked in a mirror? What sort of cleansing would happen then? Would they see someone to hate and pour out all their anger and hate in that direction? Or would they, having lived the life they’re looking at, have a sense of understanding?

Zen and the art of making deadline

zen and deadlines

I work best when I lose track of the time, but I work on deadline, so I have to keep track of time. To meet deadlines effectively, I have to get into that zone where I lose track of the passage of time but somehow still keep an eye on the clock.

There’s an analogy to the old concept that when you give of yourself you get back more in return, but it doesn’t work if you give of yourself BECAUSE you want to receive that payback. You can’t give in hopes of getting something out of it, but if you give selflessly you will, in fact, receive something back.

A similar concept is at play in forgetting about time in order to make deadline. I would say it’s a zen thing, but I really don’t fully understand what zen is.