Monday, September 5, 2022

         I am constantly being touched, and I hope today I can be truly aware of it. For instance, air is continuously pressing lightly upon me, almost as though it’s encouraging me to wake up and stay alert to the beauties of my life. It has a light, brushing touch, which could be comforting to think of as I move through the day. Also, the small and large sounds of everyday life are always reaching out to touch me in a friendly way. As I’m writing, the dishwasher is making its soft, swishing music, sort of caressing the kitchen and the living room and me at my desk. The ticking of our pendulum clock is quietly tapping me to say hello, and even the tinnitus in my ears is just a gentle nudging, as though its sound is putting its hand out to stay in touch. And then – maybe best of all – there are thoughts inside me that are always stroking and tickling me with their various messages. But no – the very best of all is the touch of my wife’s hand as she passes me in the hall, helping me appreciate how two old people can come together – and touch – so beautifully. 

(about Bobby L., 37, Blessings, CT) 

One day he noticed the softest meetings 
between things - the way water from the 
faucet embraced the bowls and plates 
he was washing, the way the cream seemed 
to cuddle his coffee.  It was like all 
parts of life were soothingly stroking 
each other, staying in touch to be of 
assistance. Winds grazed across homes 
with sensitivity, sunshine swept 
understandingly through trees, and 
his thoughts kissed his life as they 
followed each other in friendship. 



Saturday, September 3, 2022

“… a state of mind liable to melt into a minuet with other states of mind, and to find itself bowing, smiling, and giving place with polite facility.” — George Eliot, in Middlemarch

         These words of George Eliot exactly describe the dance my own ideas seem to do. My mind is like an old English ballroom where ideas warmly move among each other in a strange kind of sociability and easiness. Thoughts of delight glide beside thoughts of fear, and beliefs that bad times are looming hold hands with beliefs that a bright sky is always overhead if I would only look up. What’s especially interesting about this is that my thoughts can be so cordial to each other, like English lords and ladies letting their friendliness guide the flow of the dance. Perhaps if I would simply stand back and watch them, the thoughts that move through my mind might seem as graceful as the movements of eminent manor house guests. If I stopped trying to always rule and regulate them, and gave up getting in fights with them, I might be able to enjoy the pleasant movements of my thoughts, their stylish steps and swings.    

(said by Byron S., age 82)

"I don't know how to dance, but my words 
seem to dance effortlessly whenever I speak. 
They're instinctive dancers, these 
undomesticated words of mine 
that twirl and whirl, thousands 
each day, dancing around on their own 
inside me and then outside when I 
set them loose by speaking. And isn't it 
interesting that words live by their own laws,
though we like to think we command them? 
The store where I work is a wonderland 
of waltzing words when customers are there. 
They release their words and the words 
start frisking and frolicking around
and finding their own style of life, 
and I sometimes stand and listen and stare."

a scene from our walk at Bluff Point State Park (Groton, CT) this morning



Thursday, September 1, 2022

         After losing my keys yesterday and then finding them fairly quickly, I started thinking about how frequently I find things – sometimes surprising things in surprising places. I once found a dozen silver dollars on an old blanket on the beach. There they sat, bright and unblemished in the sunlight, with scarcely a person to be seen anywhere, as if the sand was doing sentry duty for someone. I stared at them for a moment and then moved on, feeling lucky to have found them and then left them there. Likewise, I feel lucky, when I’m writing, to almost always find useful and sometimes startling words awaiting me in my computer’s thesaurus. It’s as though thousands upon thousands of words are standing by to bring stylishness to my writing, poised to present themselves inside my sentences with their glow and gracefulness. I’ve sometimes found a word that, by itself, instantly added finesse to an otherwise plain paragraph. It’s true for thoughts, too, for they can be found in unforeseen ways and places, as though they are hidden riches that ascend to the surface occasionally. For no reason that I can understand, thoughts unceasingly arise inside me, some with an enticing shine, and, to my satisfaction, I get to sort through them and select the brightest and best for my writing. It’s like finding diamonds day after day, which has been a pleasing project in these adventuresome and discovery-laden retirement years.   

(about Braelynn J., 52, Blessings, CT)

She’s always losing her fears, 
letting them slip away 
when she isn’t watching them. 
Even though some of them seem huge to her, 
they’re harmless little fears,
and they have an easy way of disappearing
while the sun is shining 
or when she’s lost in satisfaction. 
Some days, for sure, she can find no fears anywhere,
search as she might. 
Her long life always seemed made of fears, 
and it confuses her to be bereft of them. 
On those days, 
a soft light of confidence shines everywhere,
especially inside her, 
and she starts to suspect 
that fears are afraid of light.