Fallen Behind on My Things

I owe a lot of reads Here, and if I’m being respectful of myself as well, some additional writes and even more rewrites. I decided a rebrand was in order! They are fun to do now and then. I try not to go crazy with the limited themes my free WordPress Pass grants me, and I’m fairly certain that it rightly shows.

– HM

Compassion Fizzle

In a previous post, I waxed on and off about practicing compassion on a spider that had hitched a ride on the borrowed truck from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, and decided when it got to its destination that living on a truck was quite fine by it.

I did this compassion-practicing without once thinking to relocate the spider to a safer location. That might have qualified as compassion too, I don’t know. Probably, right?

Instead, one minute I am driving along through a rainstorm, wondering at the mysteries of the Universe, when all at once I drive through a big puddle, which wipes the front of the truck clean of most of its remaining dirt, and at least one of its passengers. Lesson learned? Hmm. Sure.

Would the Nova Scotian spider have felt any more displaced, placed upon a New Brunswick flower, tree, or bush, than it might have, hanging from the sideview mirror of a too-often-moving Nissan? I can’t say for certain, except to admit that I had not considered it until far-too-recently. An 8-legged life cut short, days before its time. And there I go again, with the anthropomorphisms and such.

Practice never, as far as I can tell, will ever lead to perfect – though with enough of an effort, I might still shed one or two of these certainly aging shells.


Now I stare at sky – myself stared at warmly by the setting sundown.

Enjoy yours,

Mike!

Travelling Companions

Objects in mirror are braver than they appear.

A spider (I know not what kind, except to call her the brave and crazy kind) built a home on the side-view mirror of my dad’s truck, which I have borrowed for the past month or two. She moved in while we were in Nova Scotia, and came with me – at highway speeds through various weather – all the way to New Brunswick. She’s likely logged 600 kilometres by now.

Her name (to me) is Windy, and she’s a kindred spirit – preferring the open road and rolling adventures to hanging out in the same spot, patiently-passively waiting for her income to come to her. She wants to see the world while she’s still in it – a part of it.

I’ve watched Windy learn to ball herself up when the turbulence gets bad. I’ve seen her duck in behind the mirror, when she needs to feel extra cozy and safe. I’ve seen her charge out into the raging air to secure the beams of her homestead, with no seeming concern for her own well-being – her home being her most important project. Damn the torpedos! She’s a hero among spiders. A legend.

I’ve often wondered where Windy’s gone, when I can’t see her there – if she’s fallen or been thoughtlessly left behind, while my mind is driving elsewhere… but she keeps popping up again, a little sturdier each time.

Once, she went accidentally(?) parasailing from with her web strand while I was driving for coffee. I was shocked at the alarm I felt, seeing her in (apparent) peril; I thought for sure she was a goner, but she’s far stronger than she looks.

I’ve surprised myself at how much I worry when I don’t see Windy safe and secure, at home in her mirror-web. I don’t know where she gets her food, and if she’s found love during our travels together (let me anthropomorphize just a little longer, please), but so far she has survived, and now – rather absurdly – has become a kind of family to me.

Eeek! a spider! Kill it!!

I remember this feeling from when I was younger. Creepy-crawly things are to be destroyed, and despised, and feared. Well, if Windy were of the venomous or destructive or invasive variety, I might consider squishing her quickly to be prudent, perhaps, though still unfortunate. Were she the size of a poodle, I’d give her a wiiiide berth and maybe call the authorities and professionals. If she were the size of this car, we’d all be in trouble.

But she’s not any of those things. I’m a titan to her, and she keeps the bugs that would bite me and eat our beloved plants and flowers at bay. Windy wouldn’t think of harming something so big as me – she’s a bit more sensible than that. And her life is as precious to her (implicitly) as mine is to me.

Can I avoid killing bugs when I walk and when I roll around in this world of all-scales? Of course not. I am an ant colony’s worst nightmare, when I’m tromping about, not paying attention. But that is not my intention, and intention means a great deal.

We live in a world of living beings, each with lives to live. I still eat meat, and I almost never need to. I am a colossal hypocrite. My footprint is far too large, and my road to redemption will likely take this full lifetime – maybe many more.

Perhaps one day, I will get to be a spider too, clinging tenaciously to my chosen home, trusting in the world around me to let me have a short life of my very own, in my very own, personal way.

Windy has decided to go wandering somewhere. I worry when I start up the truck that I might leave her behind, in this foreign land, but then of course nothing lasts forever. We will be travelling companions for a while, and then we’ll go our separate ways, in this world, or another.

Love the lives that live around you – whether very big or very small. How you love these things is how you grow your compassion, which starts as a seed – and its size knows no bounds.

xo

Oh dear, I stare at the page

Oh Dear, here I stare at the page – but this page is a screen, and this screen is a shield; the page is a wall between your world and mine.

Our minds can’t entwine, but only try to on-line.

Well, fine.

Can I convey the air here, to your skin over there? What about the gentle rush of this or that breeze? Might the pollen here make one in some other place sneeze?

Please.

My throat hurts – can you feel it too? What would you do, if you could now know what I thought that I knew?

It’s mostly all green here, and my shirt’s white and blue.

I wanted to talk, so my fingers went for a walk. Saying nothing with style, un-still all the while.

No story, just a head full of sorry – I have nothing to say.

It’s been just one of those days.


Might you make it up on your end, what I can’t conceive here? What do you do when you want to write, but there’s nothing coming out the other end of your thought-pipe? A drip, a drop. pit-pat – and that’s that.


Round 3: Can I drop rhyming mid-go? Is it a thing that’s ever done? Rhyming is like a magnet, and a bit too much fun.


Hold on, hold on – how many Earth Points is all of this typing going to cost? How much energy is expended when we press Publish on so much nonsense? Bits cost something. They get conveyed, they get stored, they get retrieved and replicated. This is not ever for free – not entirely. My practice might come at some impractical cost. What do we gain, for the unfortunate loss?


I’m about ready to delete this post, seeing as I haven’t started saying anything yet, but my need to just throw that bottle into the ocean is overpowering. The need to connect is without form, but still quite solid. I can feel it. It moves around in my hands but won’t melt away. I want to say something.

So many people just really want to say something. Anything, sometimes. Just to be heard. Just to hear themselves say something.

Plots and points and even poetries at times are just excuses to say something. That’s how it feels. I am here – are you there? This is what birds sound like to this particular human. Each one has a “name” – tee-twee-tooo-tiddle-dwee shouts her tiny name over and over again, for her neighbours to know.

Is it an otherwise instruction, or just a request to be heard? I might as well just type, MIKE IS HERE! MIKE IS HERE! I HOPE YOU ARE THERE TO HEAR THAT MIKE IS STILL HERE!


I wonder if I’m being dull. But that’s another story.

Open Letter to an Energy Company

To Ultramar, an energy company, June 24, 2020 –

Hello, this morning I pumped $20 of gas at The Ultramar in [REDACTED], and when I got to the cashier, discovered my account was dry. An unexpected payment had processed over night, I hadn’t checked. This happens sometimes to people.

I filled in a form at the cashier, asked them how many days I had to pay it back. I was told I had 24 hours, and then the police would be called.

I live down the street from that station, and have bought hundreds of dollars of products from there. I am not a criminal. I have an invoice submitted to a client and will have money by the weekend, at which point, so will Ultramar.

Apparently that isn’t sufficient for your company – I am being made to feel as though I’m on the run. Like I peeled out of the station without trying to pay. I offered to leave my truck there, but that’s not covered by your policy.

I then tried to call your general service number – 1-844 755-8733 – to speak to a Human, but it kept hanging up on me (no voicemail, no hold music). So talking to somebody with the power to stay my execution isn’t an option this morning. I also have work to do.

I know the person who is paid to read this is not to blame, and might not have any power to do anything about it. That in itself is sad. Where has customer service gone? I’m unable to talk to Ultramar about the $20 I owe it, and when I will be able to pay it back, because there is a policy, and now a lack of Humans manning the phones who might be able to explain to me why that policy is the way it is.

But there is the police force to take over my case, so all is well. Like they have nothing better to do.

Let me be clear to you, Ultramar. If you call the police on me because I have no money until the weekend, I will never set foot in an Ultramar again. I’ll write a blog post about it too, why not. I think that’s a fair trade. You will lose thousands of dollars of my business over my lifetime, but at least a policy that makes your former customers feel like criminals will be in place. I suppose that’s something.

Please call the station above and kindly tell them they will have their money by Saturday. If they need to call the police on me, I won’t hold it against them personally, but I will certainly no longer be a customer of yours. I have no cash for groceries right now, and I don’t need this.

Do better, please. Thank you.

And no, I won’t be checking the “be informed of Ultramar promotions” option today.

Peace,
Mike

While the Getting’s Good

For a moment I had an inkling to begin writing. Then I started.

I have so, so many things I’ve half-begun and partially drafted and barely scratched the surface of, and knowing when and how to go through it all so some of it might see the light of day is a struggle. Poor Mike.

What might I write to make my own day feel more complete? What might I share that could mean something to another somebody? How much time do I reserve to practice stringing words together, even when nothing seems to step forward from the rest, and present itself as Worthy of Even Doing?

Navel-gazing! Gosh darn it.

I tell myself I would write so many things if only I had a Proper Writing Retreat, away from all My Other Things.

It would take (in my imagination about this scenario) several days to unwind from the regular demands of the typical week.

I would be restless, and bored-eating my way through the cabin’s or cottage’s cupboards, at least for a while.

I would be driving here and there and everywhere else, supporting local coffee joints and gas bars for hundreds of kilometres in every direction, until I finally felt (probably by days five through eleven) that I had done enough moving to feel comfortable staying still for a time.

I would have lots of naps. I would call these “thinking breaks” sometimes, but those would also, at first, become naps. My imagination may wish my fingers to write a novel for it (well, for all of us), but my fingers will side with their body in first needing to fully shut down (except for the blood-pumping bits). And so the imagination would lose at first to the body that carries it around, because that thing needs to relax. The imagination will thank it later, but doesn’t yet know it (being more about imagining than understanding).

I am drawn in my mind to get through this restlessness and onto the other side, where quiet and calm can finally claim me, at least for a time. And if I had a Proper Writing Retreat, this is what I would (eventually) manage to do.

With this unwinding finally done, and with more than enough days left ahead to do with what I will, I might then correctly begin.

There would be a wall for sticky notes. Just like I imagine it happens with some writers who are actually working writers. I imagine there would be windows, for the requisite inspiration and connection to Nature. Outside of these, of course, would be more Nature than not.

I would have a thinking couch, for the naps and the thinking breaks, and it would be a comfy one. It would be long enough to be comfortable to lie down on, and if we’re being honest I would end up preferring it to the cabin’s bed for general sleeping purposes on at least half my evenings. There would be one or more hand-made blankets or shawls thrown over it – just the right amount for all occasions and temperatures.

I would have a table to work at, and also a porch. A screened veranda (peeling paint is quite fine) would permit work out in the open air, but still close to bathrooms and sinks and couches and books, and away from biting bugs, who might need their meal, but not more than I need my peace.

I am skipping all the process part, because of course in my imagination, the Proper Writing Retreat comes with more than enough space and time to figure that out properly. That’s what all the restlessness is for, in the beginning – moving around to release the body’s need to move around, so the mind can then move around, supported and encouraged by a body that has found some functional peace.

In that period of quieting the latter down, the former begins to spin in better ways. It takes control. It’s been waiting for this for too long, and it knows what to do.


Bonus Update: Some members of my household have requested that we play a Dungeons & Dragons game, and I won’t lie, I have been quietly, secretly waiting for this day for Quite Some Time. It occurs to me I might start writing about that, and so that’s what might happen.

Tonight, we are working on the main characters. Characters are the heart of any role-playing game, and starting with defining those is where I like to begin. How does a storyteller decide on a story, before first being introduced to its main protagonists, their characteristics, and their hopes and dreams?

More soon. I need ten minutes with no screens. The body continues to poke the mind, reminding it to please-kindly share our shared time. There is an outdoors to consider. There is wind and sound it needs to feel. Its fingers press Publish, its eyes already elsewhere, nowhere – it wants to regard a horizon until it’s full of horizon for now. The mind will appreciate it too. At times, they are more one than not.

On Wavering & Walking On

These days explode into a thousand viable options and all their assorted outcomes. A thousand? Well, maybe four or five. A thousand includes a number I’d never dare or dream to follow. Let’s keep the numbers workable.

Of the four or five choices I might be called on to make on a given day or month or moment, it is often the choice between the most familiar and then the next-most familiar that consumes my resources and keeps me from fully relaxing. The other options are mostly outliers and backups – there to give me that illusion of being free and unfettered, rampant upon a field of opportunities. But I am never fully any of those things.

Returning home from a Sunday drive, I was driven to eating the leftover potato chips from yesterday (a choice, though made mostly by circumstance and my stomach), and then to choose between several surfaces to lay myself down upon, most likely for a nap, most likely after attempting to get through a chapter in one of several things I’ve put myself on notice to read, and hopefully understand, and then accountably constructively comment upon. Making things go.

I chose to write in my blog, between the chips and the reading-induced nap which has yet to happen. I still am not sure what useful information I hope to convey to the Reader as I do so.

Moment-by-moment Life brings with it apparent choice. I choose (right?) to believe those choices are real – though I recognize that when one falls into steady routines (the unnecessary consumption of potato chips, just because they are there), then our habitual body will make choices for us, which is tantamount to being under another’s unconscious, though familiar, control.

What are the less comfortable options arrayed before me? Which of my competing selves should choose who or what deserves or requires or misses my presence and attention? Does my own Self deserve a recurring spot in that queue?

So much of what I seem to write comes from that place of not knowing my place in things. If you’re looking for responsibilities and opportunities to improve yourself, those things will vie for your attention at nearly every moment, and from a variety of directions.

We are either meant to be at Work all the time (and I use that term broadly, to mean What I’m Here For), or meant to put work aside fully on occasion, to enjoy some necessary and unstructured space and time. My Body (the Same One who ate the chips) says “lie down”, and my worried Mind then at once wonders where, or if I even should… and if so, for how long? It’s an ongoing conversation around and about the subject of who I am, and am meant to be.

There are days when I feel I take too many decisions to heart, and too all-at-once. If I’m being honest, putting off some decisions until more information comes in is a thing I still practice, because I’m not so good at it yet.

It’s a thing I feel I’ve only recently been aware of: this opportunity to watch a decision coming for a while, while the evidence presents itself in moments and means all its own. Faith that things will converge when the time is right (or at least, better) is won through practice and then observation. This I have practiced and observed.

All I have to share this Sunday is that I feel compelled to share something, this being Sunday. I went for a drive and now I am, I suppose, slightly drunk on sunshine and motion. The sound of the lawnmowers in the neighbourhood (a thing that exists still in parts of Canada, dear SpellCheck) remind me that there’s always, always, always Work to be done – on one’s home, family, career, community, and self.

In some sort of order.

One could call anything Work or work, but sometimes I imagine the true definition of it is choosing those options and avenues less familiar, when the familiar hasn’t sufficiently moved one forward quite fast enough.

I mention speed because I’m a prisoner of time – as are we all, so far as I know – and our mortality demands my rapid growth.

Growth comes from stepping into the unknown now and then.

Gains from ventures – a good loop.

#Dispatchery From a Semi-Productive State, Part I

I sent random notes from a small but performant iDevice to my smallest and slowest laptop, so that I might share these open-sourced and incomplete fiction scraps and other things from Here, to There (where you are), so they might someday find an unfallowing field.

Agenda
Status update
Demo!
Architecture decisions

WHITESPACE

When we have
gone all full
through with
this constantly
struggle

all Us at The Other
no longer known brother

We now and no longer
so thirsty enstrangled,
Unstrangling entangled,
a once furious thirst
now curious first –
that They, the once
so often wearily
mis-mangled,
had oh, so then
Begun to better be
and plant full roots

Still ajumble
And not so not-soonInstead again Entwingled, tangled
now entwined, untribed
but only oldest brothers,
Now
then from then until the end of then
We shall see the full hit of our combined inhibition,
released,
at once – at last –

—-

Re-Being Christian/Human

—-
Asleep at the cup –
He gave it all up

—-
24
—-
REDACTED notes

REDACTED requests

… and a course in communications.

Screen Terror [minor kind]

Lately I’ve been afraid to touch a screen with a word that might belie for a moment how I feel, or what I don’t probably know. I have never had much problem with opining upon the unwary before – but these curious days, I do.

I had to force my body to this seat and force this hand to these keys, so my words might come out tonight; so that I might look at them here, with you.

My wariness is about a thing which happened recently on YouTube, and then shared upon Facebook. The details are not relevant. Facebook for me has become something like LinkedIn; I am unsure the place and its people want me to be myself. I recognize this is not their problem.

Remember and recall: WordPress is Where I Come to Winge.

Can I Winge on LinkedIn? I have heard it is not recommended. I don’t even like logging in there, much less saying anything; It is a place I feel underdressed.

Can I winge on Facebook? Only if I hope to fill the frames of my family and fellows full of my winging. They have their own to do, no doubt, in any case.

Can I winge to these walls? Of course! That helps, a touch. It’s true!

Can I winge inwardly at myself, or else outwardly, at you?

Not something I wish to continue, or else ever do.

WordPress is for Winging!

So for now, I am through.

-M