with apologies to carly simon

good old days

These are the good old days.

These are the days when the blood pumps so strong with the rhythm and the power and the glory of life, when what we share throbs with urgency and what’s inside needs to get out.

When we’re old and gray we would remember these days with fondness, but we’ll never be old and gray, our limbs will be strong and our lives will stay like this forever – that’s how powerful it feels.

And, stopping to rest near the end of days, this memory will sustain us …

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Doctor Who’s valedictory

Peter Capaldi crop

Submitted for your approval, the final words that Doctor Who uttered while in a body that resembled the actor Peter Capaldi. These nearly four months later, I’m still not convinced that truer words have ever been said:

“Oh, there it is: Silly old universe. The more I save it, the more it needs saving. It’s a treadmill! Yes, yes, I know they’ll get it all wrong without me …

Well, I suppose … one more lifetime won’t kill anyone. Well, except me.

You wait a moment, Doctor. Let’s get it right. I’ve got a few words to say to you. Basic stuff first:

Never be cruel. Never be cowardly. And never eat pears!

Remember: Hate is always foolish. Love is always wise.

Always try to be nice, and never fail to be kind.

Oh, and you mustn’t tell anyone your name. No one would understand it anyway, except – except – children. Children can hear it. Sometimes, if their hearts are in the right place and the stars are, too, children can hear your name. But nobody else. Nobody else. Ever.

Laugh hard! Run fast! Be kind!

Doctor … I let you go.”

(From “Twice Upon a Time,” written by Steven Moffat)

Breathe

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Breathe in.

Do you feel that, smell that, hear the sound of your lungs filling? Take it all in, all of that air filled with icicles or sunshine or cut grass and lilacs – fill every corner of your lungs – that’s it, breathe in, keep going, those miraculous balloons have a lot of space.

Now: All that is inside you, from every corner of your soul, let it go! Send it winging to its next destination. Share who you are and what you are and make the world a better place. You have so much to to offer us; you have an entire universe of life to share that never was before and never will be again once you’re gone.

Exhale!

Why you must do it now

Why you must do it now

Reading an essay about the legendary rebel Malcolm Reynolds, a thought occurs to me about war and rebellion and human nature.

“I must write about that,” I says to myself, I says, “after I finish reading.”

But when I finish reading, the insight eludes me like the plot of a memorable dream. I scan through the essay again, hoping the words will re-ignite my imagination, but the thought is gone.

Next time, I guess, I’ll leave pen and paper nearby.

But I always have pen and a pad in my shirt pocket.

Next time, I guess, I’ll stop and pull out the pen and paper.

Stop what you’re doing and memorialize that random thought, else it returns to wherever it came from.

What makes a watershed day

US Post Office Little Falls NJ

I still remember riding my bike past the post office on my way home Nov. 22, 1963.

Over the course of millenia, certain days have established themselves as watershed moments in history. Everything that came before that day is different than everything that came after – more or less. We wake up in one world and go to sleep in a different one.

Nov. 22, 1963, is one of those days. I was 10 years old, and it’s the second day of my life that I remember precisely right down to the date. It was a cold but sunny day, and Mrs. Kearns wasn’t in front of her fifth-grade class at Little Falls, New Jersey, School No. 1. We had a substitute teacher – a very old substitute teacher. She was very nice, but she was … old. We kind of spent the day yanking her chain.

Somewhere around 1:30, the principal, Mr. Laux, stepped into the classroom, which was very unusual. He looked very grim, and he told us that the president had been fatally shot that afternoon in Dallas, Texas.

That was when it became interesting that the substitute teacher was very old. After the news sank in, she started talking about another sunny day back when she was a little girl. She remembered walking past the train station in her hometown when a man started shouting over by the water tower by the tracks, where the steam engines were refilled with water.

The guy was shouting, “President McKinley has been shot!”

It has occurred to me that we are all walking, talking time machines. On Nov. 22, 1963, I encountered a time machine that took me back to a sunny day in September 1901 – and now that story has reached forward 116 years and into your head.

President John Kennedy was not the only historic man who died that November day in 1963. Aldous Huxley, the great philosopher and novelist who gave us “Brave New World,” died in Los Angeles at the age of 69. And C.S. Lewis, chronicler of Narnia and author of many other great fiction and nonfiction books, died in Oxford, England, one week before his 65th birthday.

Nov. 22, 1963, would be a momentous day even if all that happened were these three prominent deaths. But it became one of those watershed days – when the world turned course completely – because of something that happened that day that was not as sad.

You see, on Nov. 22, 1963, in the United Kingdom, a record album was released … called “With The Beatles.” It was reworked into “Meet The Beatles” for U.S. audiences, and it became the portal that introduced most Americans to those game-changing musicians.

All these incidents combined make the date a watershed. Before and after Nov. 22, 1963, are wholly different worlds.

The miracle of this instant

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One hundred years from now – perhaps even five years or (heaven forbid) one year from now, this beautiful furry beast will be gone.

But she is alive and well now, and beautiful now, and so I stroke her fur and hug her and know that this unique and special life is passing through, now, in this instant.

And she can only be fully known and appreciated now.

Right. Now.

So I stop everything and hug her.

Quiet speaks louder than words

quiet

Sometimes it’s best to sit in quiet – not even listening, or waiting for God or the universe to speak, just sitting quietly.

And, more often than not, from the quiet comes an answer.

Not “the” answer. Just “an” answer.

Someone wise once said, when you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

When you do know where you’re going, you’ll discover that many roads lead that way.

Pick one and head for your destination.