Archives for the month of: October, 2015

Friday could not come soon enough, although peculiarly, and as anxious as I’ve been in the office, it’s never been actually straight up bad, and often quite a bit less bothersome than I seemed to have set myself up to expect. I’d say it’s weird, but the truth is simply that we are each having our own experience, each possessing free will, each making different assumptions, and communicating from ever so slightly different dictionaries than each other moment-to-moment – and to make things just that much more fun, if we’re all seeking growth, and investing in what we want of the future, we show up each day as a very slightly completely different person than we were the day before – and don’t really realize it, and it doesn’t necessarily show to anyone else, either. How odd. The week ended rather suddenly and without much fuss.

As I left the building, peering into sodden gray skies likely to drip a few drops on me as I walked home, I recalled a team-mate commenting that the park bridge is open again, and that I would be able to “take the shortcut through the park” (it’s not a shortcut – it’s a longer walk, but more scenic, and definitely feels shorter). I took a deep breath, and walked on.

I pause at the top of the hill, excited to cross the new bridge. Is it silly to be excited about something so mundane?

I pause at the top of the hill, excited to cross the new bridge. Is it silly to be excited about something so mundane?

I take my time approaching the bridge, savoring the experience of the excitement and anticipation, and filling my senses with the prolonged yearning I had been experiencing in the background every day, waiting to resume my pleasant walks through the park each day. I make a point of lingering in this positive moment, and really feeling the joy of it.

As with much of Oregon these days, the bridge is higher.

As with much of Oregon these days, the bridge is higher.

I approach the bridge, eager to see the changes. The bridge has been elevated, which is a very good thing since many prior years the creek rose enough to swamp the bridge and make it impassable. I will be walking over this bridge all winter. I notice the very sturdy sides and rails, the closely spaced deck, and that the deck is not actually wood – some sort of durable plastic or composite material, it seems to shed water, and is not slick to walk upon even in the rain. Nice.

I cross the bridge; it feels like a moment.

I cross the bridge; it feels like a moment with significance.

I walk over the bridge, stand awhile in the center watching the water flow by sluggishly. This is not a fast-moving creek; there are many snags and places where nutria or beavers have felled trees and dammed the flow. I hear frogs peeping, and ducks quacking. I find myself wondering why “quacking” exactly? I don’t hear ‘quack’… I hear something more like… ‘gronk’. lol I walk over the bridge and startle a very auburn squirrel who was preparing to cross in the other direction. I reach the intersection of paths that decides whether this is a ‘short cut’ or not – turning right, and it shaves about 7 minutes off my walk, compared to taking the main road, but if I turn left (my preference) it takes me wandering through the park for about the same distance as the walk already was – definitely not a shortcut in miles, but how do I communicate that it feels like a shortcut… to my sanity?

Of course I turn left.

Of course I turn left…just up there…

Where does the path lead? Through the park, and into the evening, relaxed at home, and comfortable – and not even a little bit mad about seeing every square foot of sidewalk along the front of my building entirely inaccessible (having been torn out, replaced, and recently finished, it is not available for foot traffic yet). Nope, doesn’t matter. I carefully pick my way through the mud to the mailbox, and then back to the apartment, and taking my muddy shoes off before I step onto the carpet. I’m home.

I don’t know how or why it would make so much difference just to lose the walk through the park, but getting it back definitely made my evening, tonight. Dinner is cooking, and it seems a fine evening for something fun – a favorite animation, perhaps, or some game time? A movie? Fun and games matter too. It’s Friday night, and I’m taking care of me. It’s enough. 🙂

I’d like this to be a lovely bit of prose, whimsical and poetic, about autumn and about evening. It isn’t at all. I’m not sure what it is yet, other than distracted and interrupted…but it is autumn, it is evening, and I am distracted and interrupted by the noise and conversation of the concrete finishing crew working immediately outside my front door at this very minute, shortly before 6:00 pm.

I dislike how near to the world, exposed, and vulnerable I feel with the workers so incredibly close that I can clearly hear their conversation and see their movement through the front blinds. I feel less safe, and less private. I know that I am adequately safe, and adequately private in my day-to-day experience. I know that when the work is finished this will once again be a quiet home. Right now? Right now this is nothing that can be described as quiet and I am annoyed to have to pay rent – when I feel, fairly often, that the most important thing to be paying for with the rent is the fucking privacy and quiet. Well, if nothing else, I have learned how very much I need my home to be a quiet place – surely the knowledge will stop me from buying a place that isn’t. (I can hope.)

A leisurely shower, dinner in the oven, unhurried yoga, a few minutes writing… it is a thoroughly pleasant evening when I am able to forget, however briefly, about the noisy workmen, or at least refrain from becoming emotionally invested in moments of annoyance or resentment. It’s worth maintaining perspective; the work being done benefits the entire community, and matters to me as well. The workmen are aware of me, and there has been sufficient communication that they are – when they think to be – making efforts to minimize how disrupting this is for me (and for my neighbors). They are quite a polite and considerate construction crew, generally – it’s still work, there are still verbs – and communication – involved. No way around it, some of this shit is disruptive; it’s not a personal attack. 🙂

A lovely autumn evening; little annoyances don't have to matter. I let them fall like leaves.

A lovely autumn evening; little annoyances don’t have to matter. I let them fall like leaves.

So here I am now. Relaxed. Content. Taking time for me, making room in my heart for awareness, perspective, and compassion, and generally enjoying my evening in spite of the noise, in spite of the disruptions, in spite of the shadows just behind the window blinds. It’s a pleasant evening, and there’s really nothing ‘extra’ that I need right now. This is enough. 🙂


I am cooking dinner. I will treat myself gently tonight. My appointments with my therapist are not about ‘easy’. Today’s visit was… productive. I’m tired. I have a terrible headache. I am… thought-provoked. (There’s surely a less awkward word for that…) It’s okay; I’ve the quiet in which to relax, thoughtful or fretful, and the time left in the solitary evening to consider what I need from all this, as I sort things out and let other things sink in. Wednesday evenings are good for meditation, for long soaks in hot baths, for favorite music or interesting documentaries, and for taking care of this fragile vessel as well as I can.

It doesn’t really matter much what specifically I am working on just at the moment; very little of it feels ‘easy’, some of it doesn’t even feel worthwhile until long past when it is completely behind me… every bit of it matters, and there are verbs involved. Right now the verb is ‘cooking’. I wonder quietly if there will ever be a time that I don’t rely on reminders, ‘to do’ lists, alarms, and cheat sheets? Quite possibly not. I feel a moment of surprise that this does not distress me, and frustrated that I can’t quite recall with certainty whether it ever did.

It’s a quiet evening, suitable to taking care of me. I’ll have a healthy bite of dinner, a leisurely shower, and relax over a book… perhaps. I find myself rethinking that almost immediately; I need to let my brain rest, too. I consider an evening of music, and feel vaguely irritated. Just stillness, then? Sure. Dinner, a shower – and then chill time, sitting quietly with a cup of tea, probably chamomile, or maybe a hot cider… It’s the stillness itself that matters most.


This is primarily a ‘well, obviously’ sort of parable, I’ll warn you now; there is no new information here, you already know this. It is a cautionary tale, a reminder, and a warning – like any good parable, a teachable moment being snuck into the day by way of storytelling. 🙂 This one is also ‘work related’, and very specific in that context. This is The Parable of the Wheelwright.

A beautiful morning for a journey.

A beautiful morning for a journey.

A man of vision preparing for a long journey comes to a famously skilled wheelwright to order a covered wagon for his great journey. He has a vision, and shares his needs clearly and simply. The wheelwright takes his order, and asks questions about finishing details like color, and fabric, the size of this feature or that one, and the extras her new customer may want. It is a reasonable order. The wheelwright is a busy one, serving multiple customers in the community. She provides the man with a receipt for his order, and advises that his wagon will be done in one month – four weeks from that day.

The wheelwright is skilled and orderly, and lays out the work for the new wagon so that each detail will fit the others, and the work will be assembled smoothly, efficiently, and be ready when the man comes for his wagon in four weeks; this is done in such a way that all her customers will each receive their orders on time, completed with the great skill for which she is known. The work commences in the ordinary way. The wheelwright loves her work.

Before the end of the first week, the man of vision returns to the wheelwright agitated, and eager to get started on his journey. His wagon is not ready, and will not be ready for 3 more weeks – as agreed to. “Can I just get a wheel today?” he asks excitedly. The wheelwright observes that a wheel is not a wagon, and will not serve his purpose well, but the man insists he must have a wheel that very day, well-made and able to be affixed to a wagon. The wheelwright does have a wheel ready… made for a different wagon altogether, for another customer, but she is reluctant to give it to the man – it’s not made for his wagon at all, and giving him this wheel now, it may not fit his wagon when it is ready. The man insists, and takes the wheel that she has made, over her objections – he is sure it will be just fine, and departs contented.

Nearing the end of the second week, the man returns. He eagerly requests another wheel. He inquires if perhaps he could also have the canvas wagon cover as well. The wheelwright explains that a wheel is not a wagon, and that having just two wheels would not serve his purpose well. She points out that a canvas cover made for another wagon may not fit the wagon she makes for him. He is unconcerned and urgently wants what he wants, and insists on having a second wheel and the canvas cover that very day. The wheelwright explains that while she does have a wheel and a canvas cover on hand that she could give him, they were made for other wagons – and that taking these items from other jobs will put her behind on her work on those jobs (which have due dates much sooner than his wagon) which will delay completion of his wagon – which will not be ready now, until 6 weeks. The man is annoyed that his wagon is delayed, but insistent on having the second wheel and a canvas cover that very day.

At the end of four weeks, the man returns for his wagon – which is not ready. The wheelwright reminds him of the two wheels and the canvas cover which he received ahead of schedule, and how these choices delayed completion of his wagon. The man seems surprised that these actions would change the outcome of his original order, but agrees to return in two weeks for his wagon. Over the next two weeks, he sends several small changes to the wheelwright by messenger, requesting different fabric for the canvas cover, and a different style of spoke for the wheels.

When the man returns in two weeks for his wagon. He is surprised to see other customers waiting at the counter, angry that their orders are not ready on time. The man’s requests had delayed other jobs than his. The wheelwright did not seem to be enjoying her job anymore; she felt as if she could not work efficiently or skillfully with the frequent interruptions and changes, but the man only sees his own vision, and does not see the unhappiness of the wheelwright. When his turn at the counter came, he requests his wagon. It stands on blocks, with only two wheels and no cover, and he is angry and disappointed. The wheelwright reminds him he has taken two wheels ahead of schedule, and the canvas cover – and that if he will bring them in, she’ll attach them to the wagon.

When he returns with the wheels and the canvas cover, the wheelwright attaches them to the wagon. It doesn’t stand level; the wheels are three different sizes. Only two of the wheels have the sort of spokes the man requested, and the canvas cover is a very different fabric than he had decided on after the work was started. The wagon appears quite poorly made, and insufficient for the man’s great journey. The man is angry, and disappointed, and taking receipt of his wobbly wagon he departs grumbling about the poor workmanship and wondering how this wheelwright ever came by a reputation for being extraordinarily skilled, concerned that his journey would now be a failure ‘due the lack of skill of that damned wheelwright’. The wheelwright watches the man leave and considers taking up some other work altogether, finding the making of wagons frustrating and unsatisfying.

The very same week as the man of vision submitted his order for a wagon to the famously skilled wheelwright, another man had submitted his order to a wheelwright who had only recently set up shop in the community. This other man submitted his order with great care, having never ordered a wagon but certain of his needs on his upcoming journey. He listened with care to the recommendations of the wheelwright, and departed on her promise to have the work finished in four weeks. In four weeks he returned to take receipt of his wagon, and it was ready. Other customers had arrived ahead of him, and were receiving their wagons with great satisfaction, each wagon completed and beautiful. When his turn came, he received his wagon as well, completed, beautiful, standing level, and looking precisely as he had requested in every detail. Even the interior was well-finished, with handcrafted comfortable seats and cushions, and little details to make the experience of using his wagon extra nice. He was delighted with the perfect beautiful wagon and left with it exclaiming to all he passed that indeed she was a brilliantly skilled wheelwright… including to his friend, a man of vision, who would submit an order for a wagon the very next day.

I enjoy a good change of perspective.

I enjoy a good change of perspective.

Is this one a tad over obvious? Ah, but here’s the thing… the punchline… the plot twist; the wheelwright could have said ‘no’.

There’s a lot to learning about taking care of me. It’s a nice evening for it.

I am enjoying a gentle quiet evening. There is soft music playing, an old favorite. It is Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nacht Musik”. I am thinking over what I will make for Thanksgiving Dinner. I find myself thinking of all that I am grateful for; there’s no point saving that endeavor for just one day a year. I relaxed awhile reading, and I will likely to return to that some time soon. Reading seems just about the perfect ‘quiet evening activity’… and there are so many books to read.

An autumn evening, a horizon, a quiet moment.

An autumn evening, a horizon, a quiet moment.

I take time to make a coffee – decaf – and enjoy the warmth of the mug in my hands, and the scent of fresh coffee. I can’t type and hold the mug at the same time. I sit for some time holding the mug and feeling its warmth spread through my flesh, before sipping it a few times and setting it aside.

Another way of looking at autumn.

Another way of looking at autumn.

It’s quite a lovely evening. It doesn’t seem to matter much that I am in pain. I make a point of taking care of myself just a bit better than I used to. This fragile vessel is chipped and glued back together, but quite useful, generally. I am sufficiently comfortable to enjoy the evening. Tired. I’ve been tired for days, and I find myself wondering if I am always so completely wiped out after some challenge or another, needing days of chill time and extra sleep to get on with things? I remember something important. I remember that making connections between events in a series, trending things happening in my experience of life, and determining a root cause for life is not relevant, necessary, or important [to me]. It’s actually a fairly significant waste of [my] time that tends to create an emotional investment in some constructed narrative that sounds plausible enough, but isn’t actually in any fashion real.  Instead I take a deep breath, and another, and recognize simply that I am tired. I’m okay with that – it’s simpler to simply be.

I look at the clock. It is quite early. I smile, thinking pleasant thoughts as the evening winds down. I don’t need more than this quiet moment.