A next time sometime past time

a next time sometime past time

The old man sits, head bent, eyes closed, in his familiar comfortable chair, pen poised above paper bound, blank and waiting.

Suddenly his eyes drift open and his hand begins to scrawl across the page: “I remember this – this is how it was – this is why it is the way it is now – this is what I recall and when and where.”

He scrawls, alive, bringing the past and the memories and the what-is-it to life. And scrawls and scrawls.

And just as suddenly, the words have been written and the images and the thoughts are spent. Hand poised over paper, just in case, his eyes flutter and his head sags forward, and he snoozes, waiting for the next burst of energy and thought and yesterday and tomorrow and dreams of a next time sometime past time.

Here comes a living soul, and another, and another, flying past his house on a mission from here to there, thousands a day on millions of missions – and somehow it all comes together.

… This is why I rise before I’m ready: to write on these pages. The words may be nonsense, but it comforts me to extract them from bleary blurs and to ramble across the page – and maybe the nonsense means something after all. If I’d slept another hour, the pages would still be blank, wouldn’t they? And then they would be saying something else entirely.


A field now lost to time

a field now lost to time

The sun was a white burst without shape in the sky, and crickets sang all around, and the green of the plants was pale, and bees and bugs hummed away minding their own business all about. A path led from one street to the church parking lot and to the other street a block away – not an alley or any straight path built by man, just a path worn by child feet meandering from here to there looking for beetles or bottle caps or any other such wonder as might be found.

It was the times when the only agenda was to discover what’s out there, to explore what there was to explore, and if nothing came of today’s exploration, no matter, because there would be more exploration and more discovery tomorrow. No greater good because this was as great as could be. And it WAS good – or not – I don’t recall judgments being made.

The field is gone now. What would you expect? It’s 60 years later. Those who were once 5 years old and exploring have blazed through careers to retirement, and those who were 35 and moms are loving their great-grandchildren or they are gone, and those who were 65 and retiring are long ago at rest, and this generation of bees and bugs is somewhere else.

Somewhere else, then, a little girl or boy runs across a field alive with crickets and buzzing noises and marvels at a butterfly in wonder, and discoveries are made all over again in a circle old as time – although, time never ages, does it? And 60 years from now, will the child’s field be paved over and forgotten? Or will she, sitting with her pen and/or tablet, describe a memory with words that echo through the centuries and touch a heart that sees the pale green field, and a child running, all over again?

My field was alongside a Methodist church, and the town was Little Falls, New Jersey, but the reader sees it with different eyes and recollections, so it could be anywhere that crickets sing and beetles leap and bees hum about, a green oasis from the mad covering we called civilization.

Second quarter + one month report

book shelf

I saw a quote recently that said nothing ever goes as planned – you wind up where you are by accident no matter what your big plans are. It’s a variation of the proverbial John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

And so, as I review my announced plans for 2017 for this month-late update, I don’t feel terribly bad about saying, well, Life happened. Continue reading →

Fleas, monkeys, and the box

fleas, monkeys and the box

Zig Ziglar told the story of how to train a flea. If you put a bunch of fleas in a glass jar with a lid on it, Zig said, the little critters will jump as high as they can, which usually involves banging against the lid.

Naturally banging against the lid is not a pleasant experience, so the fleas eventually will jump only as high as they can without slamming the ceiling. After a while you can remove the lid but the fleas will not escape the jar, because they have learned from experience not to jump as high as they can. Continue reading →

Our incredible shrinking electronics

dreamstime_xl_9150573 box vert

I used to talk about all of the incredible improvements in technology my dad had seen since he was a boy. And this was in the 1970s, when he was in his fifties. Now that he’s in his nineties, and I’m in my sixties, I marvel at what I’ve seen myself.

What a marvelous invention is the smartphone, for example. When I first broke into the real world and became a radio news guy, I was commissioned a cassette tape recorder that weighed about 10 pounds that I slung over my shoulder and plugged a microphone into – and that had replaced a reel-to-reel tape recorder that earlier news guys used and probably weighed 35 pounds. Continue reading →

First-quarter report to the readers

Author and Atomic Duck

A few days after the first of the year, I posted “My 5 goals for 2017.” How’s that going for me, three months into this latest 12-month adventure? Continue reading →

Every one of us has all we need


As you may suspect if you are aware of my life circumstances (and I have not kept it secret), there are moments when I feel a tad out of my comfort zone. I felt one of those moments coming on as I walked out into an unusually not-cold morning.

I poked a button or two to call up some random music, and as often happens, the very first words I heard were what I needed to hear.

Every one of us has all we need:

Sky of blue, sea of green …

Never mind the next line (and if you are not familiar with the song, all the better). This is wisdom. When life tosses you a curve ball, remember that you have been equipped with all you need to knock it out of the park.

You have all you need. Take inventory, decide what you want to do, and go do it.

It really is that simple: Every one of us has all we need.