My Clock

 

 

“Michael, you are going to have to look after Mom and Dad.  Gather your things.”  The SWMBO said in her most endearing voice.

She was referring to the ‘Octogenarians’; the Wicked Witch of the West (Mario) and he who does not/cannot/will not listen (John).

“Yes, dear.  How long will I be staying…just to be sure how many of “my things” I will need to gather?”  I said over my shoulder as I made some futile adjustments to my clock.  It is a two hundred year old case, mostly, with a great number of original workings; the balance found on “Stealitback.com” and canabalised parts from more contemporary clocks.  It runs 2 minutes, 38 seconds slow in any given 24 hour period; as close as I will ever get.

 Between 2100 and 2130 every night I Wind the clock and the chimes and set it just short of 3 minutes fast, every night that I’m home.  “How long do you think I’ll be there?”  I said a bit louder.

“Johnnie will be coming down to help out after his trip to Hawaii, he is going to need to get his things together; close the house, take care of his mail, visit the cousins…oh six to eight weeks.”

“They are your parents; you, John, and Chris…is Chris coming down to ‘help out’?”

“Johnnie’s doing all he can, Chris is just too busy and you know I have to hold down my department.  And you, you’re not doing anything…you’re retired.”  The SWMBO walked from the kitchen to the living room, TV remote in her hand, “Pack for a week, I’ll relieve you after that.”

 “Gotcha.  Hon, please remember to wind the clock.”

 Nine days later I received a rare call from the SWMBO, it was 1000, “Yes, luv?”  With the SWMBO it was always best to ask what she wanted first; the conversation was going to get there soon enough.

“I’m having a miserable day, everyone knows how hard it is on me, Mom having cancer, and with the chemo side effects, everyone thinks I should be with her.  Well, at least I’ll beat the traffic.  Make sure you have finished their back yard.”

“Its been three years since a self respecting rake would be caught dead in that forest. How do you expect me to have it cleaned up.  Did you forget I’m feeding your mother and father, arguing with both about any PT and carrying her up the stairs to bed.  You do know that she can walk up stairs perfectly well and all of this is just to torment me, don’t you?”

“Whatever, I’ll be there soon”

Not long after the garage door open, I was certain it was to the sound of trumpets sounding.

“Hello, Mom.  How are you doing?”  The SWMBO yelled out to the living room not looking for a response; from the corner of the couch a small, frail looking figure with very thin silver hair mumbled…something.

“I was going to talk to him about that right now, don’t worry.”  The SWMBO’s superhuman powers were astonishing (and not a trifle scary).

“I know you wanted to take your little fishing trip, after the chemo and all…”

“That won’t be for three or four months and I am taking “my little fishing trip”…and?”

“We’ve talked about that, and you’re spasms…you need to use your cane so much now…and your voice…well we, Mom, Johnnie and I feel you would not be safe, wading in streams, you could fall…and…and drown; we really can’t let you do that.

“Oh when you get to the house, the lawn is a mess; take care of that, walk Duchess and QVC has a Quacker Factory program at 6:00pm, I’ll need to be home for that.”

“Gotcha, back in five hours.”

“Oh, Michael, Johnnie’s been delayed another week.  Love ya.”

The garage door at the house squeaked a bit, I’ll need to lubricate that.  I walked through the door from the garage into the living room, my 18 year old puppy, the cats Poe and Callie were all asleep on the couch; Alix would be stretched out to capture the sliver of sunlight that escaped the blinds in the office at this hour.

The house was quiet, save Callie’s snore and the silence was ripping a hole in an already injured heart.

There was no ticking as the pendulum would have swung, back and forth; the dark wall clock, with the two  hundred year old case, mostly, was quiet.

The clock hadn’t been wound.

I took the ten minutes to properly set the time, wound the clock, set the pendulum in motion.  I watched the slow movements of the hands now set almost three minutes ahead.  Content that the world was right again, I shut and locked the case.

Image

“Duchess, baby”  I said as I scratched her ears and kissed her head, “Let’s go for a walk and I’ll leave the leash on so you’re not committed to chasing the rabbits.  And then treats…before I mow the lawn.

 

 

peace out, pilgrims

 

 

There’s Not A Lot Here folks

“The sun was in my eyes.  There were no fish in the sea.  They told me I should have been there yesterday/tomorrow…they were/will be really bitin’ then.  Wrong bait, I forgot to peel the shrimp (palm slap to forehead).”  The SWMBO has heard them all.  Excuses, reasons, justifications for not for filling someone else’s expectations…of success.

Every day that the sun was in my eyes, I enjoyed an incredible day, resplendent with golden light reflected as like on a shattered mirror, dancing over the bay; breezes that captured my line and bent it like a bow that pulled it gently back to shore.  Barefoot I stood on the shore, left foot planted in the cool, wet sand, the right in sun baked white powder, rod in hand I executed the wide arc of a cast…not the best, but the bait was out there.  In the ocean.

That day and every day I walked, drove or in any way ambulated to a body of water with the intention of getting a line wet…was a splendiferous day of fishing.  It may not have been a successful day of catching.  Fishing and catching are not mutually exclusive nor are they mutually inclusive.

Everyone has a bucket list, I guess and yes mine does have something about fishing/catching on it.  I want to be standing in a pristine mountain stream that flows with such force that maintaining balance (staying upright) has to be calculated in the cast.  I want the fly rod to be the most familiar tool I’ve ever held; because I made it, shaped the cork of the handle, wrapped ever strand of thread holding stainless steel guides in place; meticulously applied each layer of varnish.  I will carefully tie the newt that I will offer up to a 5 pound golden trout.

The thing about my bucket list, I haven’t listed sharing with anyone else.  Who could judge, who would I allow, to judge my good day of fishing.

I’m no where near the sea and a pristine stream, in Georgia(?); fishing is for another day…writing however…well, that’s a different kettle of fish.  Yes, that’s on the bucket list as well.

I am beginning to forget to have fun and in all honesty; there is no one that can really judge what is fun, for me…it might just have been a day the sun got in my eyes (he said with just a hint of a grin).

   

Monday

Monday, the first day of my week.

Have you ever loved someone strongly/deeply and just as strongly really looked forward to their going to work/visit/vacaion…away.

Backstory.

When, 19 years ago (the SWMBO, 39 and me, 50) I married the SWMBO we were different people.

She had grown up with, and over the years closer to, her family (mom, dad, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, neices and Great-Grandpa/Grandma built a house, when Greandpa married, GGPa and GGMa, built him a house, next door (GGP and GGM could watch kids, train new wife) and everyone was happy.

When the time came, her Dad and Mom married, GP and GM built them a house, two blocks away (GGP and GGM had several children as did GGP and GGM’s brothers) and we had a village, a cohesive clan (an anthropologist’s dream).

I, I came from a rather dissimilar background. Leaving home at sixteen seemed quite all right, for all (my single greatest accomplishment in this life; I graduated from High School with my starting class). Ileft home, I didn’t leave town.

I enlisted at eighteen, I was Honorably Discharged at twenty-four, a father at twenty-five and I left home at twenty-eight. My son (not my, singular, accomplishment…rather the greatest gift the world has received in a very long time) and his mother thought that I ran away to “become” a hippie.

(A touch more backstory) In my early youth, I could be found in many “underground” establishments, coffeehouses, home of the beatniks, full of smoke (take your pick), many percussion instruments and questionable poetry. They were the “non-conservatists”. I later discovered the definition of the enemy, the “conservatists”: A conservatist is any individual that refuses to conform to the present standards of non-conservatism.

I never sought ‘hippiedom’, it was a convienient title that was besowed upon me. I was hoping to practice a ‘counter-cultureal’ movement…it wasn’t there. Peace, Love and Brotherhood, sadly replaced with Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll.

I encountered kids persueing the dream, an ideal they would never find with their ‘establishment’ (conservative) family, they would never understand. They would never understand.

And like a man glancing in a window, capturing a snapshot of the life on the other side, I saw others, older, with longer hair, brighter shirts of many patterns, head bands and beads, extending theirs hands, not to embrace but for the gelt…always the gelt.

Titles change, decades pass, the definitions are the same.

The SWMBO is upset that I have choosen to grow my hair long, once more. “You want to look like a ‘hippie’ again, don’t you. I want you to get a hair cut.” It’s winter and the hair keeps my ears arm…and to be honest, I ike the way I look with long hair.

“I’m planning a fishing trip, Cyd, fly fishing near Daloneagha…a few days, in March.”

“Good, we can visit Steve and Pat then go down to Daytona for the flea market…we haven’t been there in years…down on Friday, back on Sunday morning…it’ll be fun”

“Steve lives in ST. Augustine, way South, not North…I want to go alone and I don’t want to ‘shop’.” That conversation was five days ago, she hasn’t spoken to me since.

I love to fish, the SWMBO hates water, standing still by a body of water I have found oh so many things…Peace…in comes in many forms; silence, the lapping of waves, great and small, life all around, solitude…I have to laugh, solitude; if I’m lucky that will last for the briefest of time, a nano second in contemporary speach.

When you fish you watch the tip of your pole, the epicenter of your world, feel the flow of the river, the ocean ‘s tides, the way water always moves; watch the way light catches your line before it is lost in the flow. Connected in this way to a stream, river, lake or ocean no two alike, color, reflections of sun, stars or moon…all different and you’re connected and connected to everything around, above and below it.

I don’t always fish to catch, fish that is, I fish to get connected, to belong; the fish are a bonus.

At age sixty I was told I had cancer (I’m good, in remission), I went fishing, I need some Peace and I found the Holy Trinity. Only from a place of Peace do some things make sense. I like definitions and the thing I most enjoy really defies definition: Peace, but there were components of that elusive Peace that allowed me to understand what Love and Brotherhood really are.

Peace was found in solitude, being;  but not alone. I had looked in the Bible, The Koran, The Torah the teachings of Lord Buddha, interpretations of Kafka, in my youth and didn’t know what I was really looking for. I found it…in every one of those literary treasures.

The eleventh commandment sums it up nicely: Luke 13:34 I give you a new commandment, that you Love one another. (Jesus goes on to explain this further) Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” He broke bread with tax collecters and the one that would betray Him, He cured the deaf, the blind, the afflicted and the lame without checking their voter registraion or sexual orientation; He died for everyone.

Most people have access to a Bible and can check the reference, please do, please do. Then go fishing, or walk or watch the moon and the stars at night; do or go whatever or where ever you find Peace and just Love the brother or sister that’s holding the rod or filling the shoes that are walking as Jesus loved you, as Allah embraces you, El has taught you and all the teachings have lead you.

And smile.

Peace out. mw