Sunday, July 1, 2012

the virtues of nothing accomplishments

Even middles have beginnings; fresh starts come with a past.

July Fourth is less about the birth of our country and more a signpost in life that the middle of summer has begun.  Memorial Day has passed us by, leaving a wake of thirsty flowers and hypnotic buzzing in our gardens and minds.  The heat is becoming unbearable and we talk about it incessantly even as we try and escape it.
Labor Day is months away and the cool October breeze has not yet been disturbed on the icy tundra to the north.  Summer is here.

The week started in Knoxville with Scott’s grandmother’s funeral.  While we were there my little dog Nog injured his back and his back two legs became paralyzed.  (He’s doing much better thank you and we hope he’ll be back to his old self in a few more weeks).  And Clifton died.

I had just been in Wilmington opening up one of our new stores.  I do that often as I seem to possess that knack of telling people what they need to do without consequence to my own behavior, in other words, I enjoy training.

After posting on FB about how much fun I was having in North Carolina (despite the calls by a local preacher to corral and cage all the homosexuals, which he surely failed to understand is simply another sub culture in our community), Clifton sent me an email declaring his residence in said town and declared the need to get together and hang out.

I hadn’t spoken to Clifton in almost twenty years.  The last time I saw him was through a glory hole in the wall of a video booth in a bath house.  But there was a bond between us.  A connection established from the moment he bought me that first beer, to the afternoon we spent tripping on acid and onward to the clubs we danced in as go-go boys in the early nineties.  But the one thing we never did was go on that trip to the beach.

Now, almost immediately he and I realized we were better served as friends than lovers, so let’s just take all thoughts of romantic interlude out of the picture.  But way back then, I was involved with someone and it was in the first couple of weeks that Clifton and I knew each other and I’ll admit a bit of a boy crush was bubbling between us.  He asked me to go spend an afternoon with him in Pensacola, a long drive but we were planning to get started early.  I agreed, but when he came to pick me up at our house, I had guilted myself into many reasons why I should not be going off with him.  And so we parted ways, for a time.
In Wilmington he took me to the beach and we sat and stared at the ocean.  We spoke of our health and failing bodies, laughed about the young boys surfing and how lecherous we had become in our old age.  Mostly I think we realized how little we had in common except some quiet moments neither of us wanted to talk about from the folly of our youth.
At the end of the day I thanked him for taking me to the beach, laughing that we finally had that ‘date’ all these years later.  We promised to keep in touch.  A couple of weeks passed, a few like buttons were hit on FB and then he was dead.

All those events and things between us.  The time we spent together and ideoligies we agreed on and we could barely scrape up a conversation between us.  All that angst and youthful desire that had consumed us as children, where had it gone? 

But I'll tell you something.  Somehow it was reassuring to simply sit in the presence of someone who understood and just enjoy the sky above.

I’ve avoided running and the gym all week long.  I’ve had extra time to read and I noticed my garden has been neglected in the back yard.  I worked with my plants, tried to figure out why there were no hummingbirds around the house this year.  I deleted 786 emails.
I received a rejection letter from a publisher.  I found and wrote down ten things to do every morning, twelve things to do every week, thirteen secrets to success in the gym, and the five things everyone does to make their life feel fuller.  Mostly I did nothing except cook and clean and think.  And act guilty that I had avoided the lists and to do’s I had been carefully committed to for the past few weeks.

I moaned about being the last person around, left to count the bodies around me.  Failure loomed as I pushed aside the jobs and tasks I had decided would bring me success.  Then I realized I had started writing again.  And in the comments section of my long neglected blog another old friend reached out to me from my past.  What was the universe trying to teach me?

Was it saying that life goes on, with or without my participation?  Or was I simply being reminded that even in the absence of activity, accomplishments can be found?

Very well then, my lesson is learned!  I intend to start my life again.  Less busy, but fuller!

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