Yas, Dahling

I’ve never been one to give much of a crap about what anyone thinks of me. I’ve got my reasons, but they’re all in the past, and I wanted to at least dedicate this week to moving forward in life and not rely on reminiscing quite so much.

From what I can tell, you will make friends and lose friends based on your clothes alone, and no, I’m not being sarcastic. I’ve been in bands that wanted me to dress a certain way, and when I refuse, it’s out the door with my sorry patoot. I’ve only ever been to one club swanky enough to require being looked up and down, thoroughly judged on outward appearances alone, and allowed entrance if I passed the test. I did because I’m a heckin babe when I want to be, and I made a friend while there. It’s only because I wore the right thing that I even got in to meet that friend.

But the rest of the time, I don’t care if people like the way I look or not. I wear tall, funny-looking socks to work every day #1: to differentiate from the other earth-toned, khaki-clad engineers and #2: to keep my own personal insanity. Funny enough, even when people see them, it’s rare that I get mocked, ridiculed, or the like. I always get a “nice socks” and a chuckle. I don’t care if it’s sarcasm. I will take a compliment however it comes.

There is only one style that I do require out of my friends, otherwise I will kick them to the curb. Their heart has to be clad in honesty and love, and if it is, I think they’re pretty chill cats. Sounds super cheesy, eh? Yup, that’s the way I roll.

You see, a heart that is clad in honesty and love is like a tree in autumn. It’s red with flecks of gold and makes you grin from ear to ear, even if you’re not prepared for it. Those people almost always have eyes that seem to glow, and a smirk, at the very least. The hardest part is that it’s the beautiful things that are the most vulnerable to harsh winds, chilling temperatures, and shaken branches, if you catch my drift. That’s why I try to surround myself with like-hearts, because they’re just as good at giving the love as they are at receiving it, and they require some adoration in order to keep their beauty from falling off and littering the ground. Sometimes, they’re stripped bare, and it takes an age and a half to regrow that confidence, allow it to mature, strengthen, and feed them, and watch the confidence turn back into honesty and love so it can be on display to lighten other’s hearts around them.

I love love, and I love honesty, because when those work together, they make some of the most beautiful people in the world. Here’s a fairly good representation of the hearts I’ve been describing. You literally cannot tell me it’s not stylish, and furthermore, gorgeous:

Blushing Tree

Fashionable

Place of Thinking

Place to Think.JPG

This weekend, I visited Flagstaff, AZ where I went to university. I spent time with good friends that still live in Flagstaff, and forewarned them I just wanted to relax because I’m a busybody nearly every other day of my life. It must have been difficult for them because usually when you have guests, you entertain them. I was specifically asking to not be entertained, simply to be with there with them.

My friend took me to a place I haven’t been to in years. It’s an overlook I like to call a cliff that has an extravagant view of an empty field and an urban trail. This was literally my back yard during my third year of university. I used to sit on the very tip of the precipice you can see towards the middle-left of the picture, and think. That’s where I listened to the entire album “Monsters in the Closet” by Mayday Parade when it was first released. It’s where I’d stand when I needed an adrenaline rush after hours of studying, and where I’d sit after a long day of engineering exams. I used to think about what I’d be doing after I finished school, what assignments I had due the following week that I could put off and sit there a bit longer, the beauty of the world (and women, to be frank), and imagine scenes from books I’m trying to write, using the landscape like it was something of my own invention. I once brought my brand new violin out there to practice (and I’m not sure it was the best decision I’ve ever made. No doubt I disturbed nature and someone else’s peace that day). My friend, Kellan, and I used to fly homemade remote control airplanes from the ledge that’s in the lower right part of the picture. He’d rev the motor as I gently threw the airplane off the edge, and it always soared beautifully. Even with the high winds, Kellan kept those planes as stable as a boulder on a hillside (I use that metaphor because there was always the risk of the boulder unceremoniously, yet catastrophically, crashing down the side the of the hill).

But one thing I thought about as I sat there on Saturday afternoon was the fact that I feel a longing to go back to that place my nostalgia remembers, but even if I went back, none of it would be the same. Even the landscape would have miniscule changes unobservable by the ordinary eye. That’s the beauty and downfall of memories. I am a completely different person than who I was last time I dangled my feet off of the 50-foot drop. The friends that surrounded me are completely different than they were last time we brought out a couple beers and a fifth of whiskey in the middle of the night and star gazed, dreaming about the future… The days After.

“I like to think nothing has changed,” is what I wrote when I posted the picture on social media. But it always does and it always has. Despite a few of my recent posts on here where I talk about enjoying the process of reminiscing with friends, I realized it’s not healthy to dwell on the past until your heart hurts with longing. Not too often, anyways. I guess there is also a time for that… But I’ve been steeping myself in nostalgia for the last couple weeks, and it’s no longer a good thing. If it weren’t for the fact that I lived back when that cliff was my thinking spot, I wouldn’t have the memory now. All the same, I need to remember to live now so that someday I can look back on now and think, “Man… I wish I could go back,” knowing in the back of my mind that’s not entirely true. I’m fully contented by reliving those places and moments and friends and heart breaks and reconciliations in my mind.

But you don’t ever fully go back. You live now and thank yourself later for living now.

Promise me that.

“God gave us memories so we could have roses in December.” – J. M. Barrie

The Mechanism

Coincidence

Here, inside the Mechanism, we all have our place. We are billions of data points, billions of simple machines, and together, we turn the gears inside the Pocket Watch. While one promotes Industry and causes great influx of revenue, another seeks to extricate himself of Currency. One works to feed the Mechanism, and the other to eat from It. One is the Gear, the other the Bearing, and still another, the Minute Hand.

We glide past one another in an oblivious, seemingly arbitrary motion. We are attuned only to those directly adjacent, and even then sometimes ignorant of existence beyond our own. Just beyond our own. Death and life cycles evermore around us. The world in its ephemeral Glory, shimmering.

Yet of all our ignorance… Of all our obliviousness… The most egregious Flaw… Simply by our existence within the same shared frame of reference… We are coincident to one another. And this, not by mere chance.

Coincidence

Spires

Spires in the Sky

In the beginning

There was a seed

Creator limning

Sotto Voce

 

There was reverie

For the burgeon

But the avarice

Struck the virgin

 

Scorned by the scapegrace

So she went mute

Melody discarnate

Dissonance scute

 

Crescendo the lie

Crescendo rue

But a greater song:

True Love construed

 

Singing “all for One”

And One for all

Dissonance undone

Harmony squall

 

Among disunion

In the design

Saplings in the din

‘Til rectified

 

Now they stand The Spires

Hold up the sky

Illustrating ire

Has been consigned

 

If all the trees spoke

Of only fire

They’d fear ash and smoke

Forsake their shire

 

Mighty

Buddy the Duckling

It was an absolutely spectacular day to be six years old. The sun was shining, a few fluffy clouds spotted the bright blue sky to give it a bit of texture, and there was a breeze that was just cool enough to raise the goosebumps on my arms. It was the kind of day that required a light spring jacket which would be uncomfortably hot about halfway through a bike ride. Coincidentally I did exactly that, after asking my mother’s permission, of course. I told her I was going to the park just across the street to play on the playground. I may have had every intention of swinging on the swingset or sliding down the dark-green, plastic slides that would charge me with static electricity. It made the hair on my head stand on end after simply thinking about taking a trip down the chute, the funny thoughts inside personified as the thin, blonde fibers whipped and bobbed in the wind, my little legs carryied me swiftly to the next fleeting whimsy.

But that’s not what I did. Instead, I looked both ways to cross the street, scurried across like my life depended on it, and saw my target: a flock of pigeons just asking to be spooked. I wove between the humongous maple trees that stood like Roman pillars, holding a canopy of light green between the cloud-spotted sky above, and me. Miniature clearings developed naturally between the trees, and in the middle of one of the clearings, the soon-to-be horrified fowl. The trees whirred past as I reached breakneck speed; I swore I was dragging knee as I turned sharply between them.

I always had dirt-and-grass stains on the knees of whatever pants I happened to wear. I was always kneeling to look at bugs, pretending to be an animal (usually a proud lion or stealthy tiger), or falling because I was woefully uncoordinated, and I usually was fighting an adversary that inevitably would knock me to the ground as I protected the princess’s honor. Usually something ginormous like a dragon or tyrannosaurus-rex, but they were still no match for me. I was fearless, intrepid even.

On that gorgeous day, I had no such intentions of scuffing my jeans (though I hardly needed any), but as fate would have it, I’d be nearly bloodied by nemesis.

As the trees swished past my face in a blur, I acquired my target: a flock ripe for the terrorizing. I lined the bike up, pedaled harder and faster than ever before and ever after that day, the birds bolting off the ground, one by one at first, and then all as one mass. But something was wrong. Nearly all of the birds flew away. My mission was nearly accomplished. The single, lone bird that refused to flee happened to be standing right in front of me.

I had no time to dodge. I had no time to bob and weave as I had done with the trees. I wasn’t a horrible kid, I had no intention of shooting to kill. I was just having a little fun. My mind raced faster than my bike (which was a wonder since I was already nearly as fast as a race car), but I didn’t have time to consider options and consequences. In one deplorable motion, I laid the bike down. It sounds so much calmer when I put it that way… In one catastrophic, decisive movement, I torpedoed into the ground, leaving a crater the size of the Grand Canyon in my wake. Sticks, leaves, dirt, and debris plumed into the sky in the shape of a mushroom cloud, and before I knew what happened, I was twisted on the ground. I’m pretty sure I lost a shoe. That was the day my helmet saved my life.

As I gathered my sprawled limbs, I patted myself down to make sure I hadn’t lost an ear or anything important like that. My bike continued on without me for a couple hundred feet, but my mind hadn’t turned to that yet. Still in the army-crawl position, I turned my head with a premature flinch, certain that all I left behind of the poor, aloof bird was a smoking pair of legs, still standing, bodiless, like the kind you’d see in the cartoons. As I slowly surveyed my crash site, my heart leapt; the victim turned to become the attacker, and frozen in place, I shut my eyes tight, muscles clenching as I braced for the onslaught.

A few seconds passed and I didn’t feel a peck or a body slam or any other sort of barrage as one would expect from a put-off bird. Instead, I heard the most adorable, petite chirp. I opened my eyes and let out a chuckle as, staring me directly in the face with something resembling sympathy, a little, golden duckling scanned me for injury. I supposed that was the intent, anyways.

I sat upright, noting the deep brown and green scuffs in my jeans, the right knee exposed and frayed threads holding the now-asunder denim. The duckling jumped up onto my lap and scurried beneath my jacket, shaking. I was now mother duck, and my jacket fold was my shielding wing. I giggled as it ran around me, prodding every once in awhile to decide what all of me was. I didn’t know if I should touch it or pet it or simply leave it alone. What I did know was that I wanted to go home and have my mother assess my injuries because I still ached.

So I made the trek to where my bike’s journey ended, stood it up, and made my way home. As I walked, I thought I’d hear the duckling’s voice grow more distant, but it seemed to stay at the same level as when I hit the ground. I turned around and looked down and at my heel was the little duckling. I didn’t want to hurt it or pick it up, so I tried shooing it by waving my hands halfheartedly, secretly hoping it wouldn’t listen to me.

The walk home was a slow one, I didn’t want to lose my new friend, especially since it had chosen to follow me, and what kind of mother duck would I be if I left the little soldier behind? We looked both was and started across the street. Something inside me felt awry since I was not able to hold the duckling’s hand or wing or whatever you hold on a duck to cross the street, but we had to continue on despite our flaws: such is life.

My house was the second on the left, and my new friend and I made it all the way there all by ourselves. I knocked on the side door, which I’m sure caught my mother off-guard, since I rarely even knocked the bathroom door when I needed to use the potty. She looked me up and down with a questioning look of, “What have you done this time,” and saw the duckling standing politely next to me, not making a peep so as to win over my mother’s heart.

“Can we keep him?” I implored. She laughed and stooped over, startling the little guy as he ran to put me between him and her, “I don’t see why not. What should we name him?” “Buddy!” I smiled and hugged her. I had always wanted a pet.

She gently scooped him up with the care of a real mother and grinned from ear to ear. Keeping him tight yet tenderly in her hands, we searched for a cardboard box to house him in, lined it with a soft towel, and placed two dishes on the bottom: one for water and one with grass (because every child knows ducklings eat grass). We kept his new house in the back room which was open to the elements, but closed in as part of the house so that if he tried to escape, he would never get too far.

In truth, I don’t remember how long we kept him. I remember putting on my same spring jacket and kneeling on the ground so he could be comforted under my wing, flipping a Frisbee upside down and filling it with water for his bird bath, and playing other games with him in the back yard. I won’t tell the story of what happened to him just yet because I’m having too much fun with this happy memory, but he was small and cute and golden the whole time I knew him, and he was my buddy.

Buddy the Duckling

We don’t have trees and parks like this in Arizona, and there’s something about huge cacti that is not nearly as whimsical as a maple tree. If you look directly behind the octagon of the “Stop” sign and a little to the left, you can see the clearing where I nearly ran over Buddy, and he followed me from there to the street crossing in the bottom right-hand corner of the picture. Two houses to the left is my childhood house where I lived fifteen years ago.

Place to Reminisce

I’ve been coming to the realization that I don’t talk much about my past, except for the stories I told in Made To Be Me and She Loves Me. Even more honestly, I haven’t told one of those stories in about a year, and the other one I’m not sure I’ve ever shared with any of my current friends. So, you readers know that much more about my past than most in my life.

Today, I feel like reminiscing, but I’m going back and forth as to whether I should share with you. I keep typing words and instantly deleting them. I even looked to my Google Photos archives to see what story I might have hidden in there, but my oldest photos are from January 2015. Real long time ago, right? To me, it feels like ages… I sometimes wonder how many memories I’m losing because I don’t retell the stories. Because I look back at two years ago and my eyes glaze over as if I’m remembering the time Buddy the duckling followed me home from the park (TRUE STORY!).

It makes me sad to think that I have never been any place with the same people long enough to kick back and think about “the days before the good ‘ol days.” Like the good ‘ol ‘ol days. But I have all of you, and that means the world that you know me, read my various writings with nonchalance, but still take pieces of me in, occasionally hitting the “follow” and “like” buttons because we had a moment together.

So, I’m going to share the two oldest photos from my archives (well, almost. The oldest photos I have are of my sister, me on my birthday in 2015, and my friends, Austin and Carly, but I don’t want to show faces).

Place to Reminisce

A cup of whiskey chai from Rendezvous in Flagstaff, AZ. This is now my all-time favorite beverage for any occasion or hour of the day, and one of my favorite places to hang out at in Flag. Because you just can’t go wrong mixing coffee and alcohol, am I right?!?

Place to Reminisce II

The view I had every day walking to class in Spring Semester 2015. The lovely Mt. Humphreys, snow-capped 8 months out of the year, and the epitome of symbolism when university students consider how they are trying to work their way to the top. This was our reminder that there is always one more mountain to climb, one more achievement or accolade to acquire for ever after graduation.

Coincidentally, I used to reminisce over a cup of whiskey chai (or any coffee, really) while adoring Mt. Humphreys as I considered what twisted set of circumstances brought me to Flagstaff, Arizona. THAT one is a doozy. Maybe I’ll share that with you sometime. Might even tell you about Buddy the duckling.ref = href=”

The Value of a Sand Dollar

Value of a Sea Dollar

I was wading through the shallows of the Pacific Ocean, searching for a souvenir to give to my mother. She likes it when I bring her rocks from all over the world.

As I scavenged, I remembered that the occasional sand dollar will pop up, if you are diligent and know where to look. I found some scraps and shards, but had difficulty finding one good, whole dollar. Just a bunch of sand half-dollars and quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies.

As the original objective was stones, I revamped my search, forsaking the thought of sand dollars for awhile. I looked for darker colors, since sand dollars are usually white, and rocks came in gray, black, orange, and every other color than white. Well… the interesting ones do, at least. Then, I came across this guy. If you didn’t already know, this is not a dirty sand dollar, but a live one.

Yep, this is a healthy, adolescent sand dollar. I didn’t know they were alive, yet didn’t know how else sand dollars could have been created or grown until I looked it up afterward. Something told me that this was not for taking home, but that’s not why I left it there.

As I held it in my hand, slowly killing it (it’s more than likely dead at this point, as I discarded it on the beach much too far from the water, and they can only live without water for a matter of minutes), I thought about how useless it is that I collect these things. Somehow, it’s never been enough to see one or find one, I always have to take it home with me.

Unlike the value of a paper dollar, which gains value as you hold it in your pocket and collect more, the value of a sand dollar depreciates, especially with the more you collect. Dead or alive, they contribute to the ocean where they’re from. To take them home is to take away from the ocean, and from the excitement someone else might get from finding it, too.

I’ll probably keep a dead one at some point because I’m a young man well set in my ways at this point in my life, but I want to make a resolution to do as I’ve done with this one – take a picture of it, and put it back where I discovered it, or better yet, hide it so the joy of finding it increases for another.

That picture will have far more worth, as a picture will also note my aging fingers, the length of my legs and distance to the ground, the smile of friends’ faces, should I hold it up with them in the background, and remember the shade of yellow-brown in the sand on that particular day. I hope to collect a pocketful of sand dollars this way, and that will be worth so much more than the paper dollars it takes to buy a plane ticket to go find them.

Shimmer in Blue

Shimmer in Blue

I was designed                               for a shimmer in blue                       for a merry sailor tune

for all of the things                                      that titillate you

I can see                                  the wide open sea                                  the salt air breeze

like a veil and ring                            like my bride to be

and so                        I ebb and flow                                    I ne’er let go

let the words sing                      into an ocean throe.

Now my heart throbs                       and floats and bobs                          as I ask the cob

why roots start growing                       where there’s a meal on the hob.

He looks at me with a tear in his eye         he says to me that he learned to fly

on a warm, summer day with a clear blue sky      but for every memory adventures bring

you never forget your first goodbye.