Heart and Life

Life pounds away at heart and soul
Like an ocean strikes at stones
It smooths and shapes
Grinds and shifts
Changing and shifting
Smoothing and breaking
Every day, every second
Life shapes and moves
Some are the crushing storms
Others are gentle caresses
Yet each wave shapes and smooths
Thus the end we are the same
Yet changed by life

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The Flow of Time

Day after Day
We count them
One after another
Never giving thought
To how many we have left

Always looking forward
To the next day
Be it for work
Or for play

Never pausing to count
The day we are living
Right now
Right here

For each day that comes
Is unique and precious
Full of hurts and joys
Some joyous some not

The Paths We Take

A restless heart
A searching soul
The setting sun
The distant mountain
The things we see
The things we wonder
What is just beyond
Hidden by curve of world
Or trees of old
What wonders to be had
What lives could be lived
If only I step
Beyond this worn path

The heart no longer rests
In what was once home
The soul wanders far
Though the body remains at home
The paths I walk
Are far too worn
My heart does yearn
For the unknown
But do I have courage
To take the path
That are strange to me

Friday Thoughts: Simple Things

It’s the simple things that matter.

That is what many people say with smiling faces and perfect lives. And a lot of times I glare at them and say, “That’s easy for you to say. You have everything.”

But it is true.

Lately, on my commute home traffic has been snarled. A side road often gets me around the bottleneck. But I don’t take it to avoid traffic or because it is faster. I take it because it is one of the most beautiful scenic routes I have found. It is a winding dirt road with old trees lining either side. Their branches reach up and over, forming a tunnel of branches. Breaks in the trees allow light to pass through, providing a warm setting. With the right amount of cars kicking up dust, it becomes fog-like.

It is a beautiful drive and I love it.

And it is little more than a detour on a narrow farm road.

But it is a simple thing that makes me happy. In this world of negatives and depressing news, finding small things that makes one happy is rare indeed.

Friday Thoughts: Time

What a strange little thing. At the most basic level it is a term that represents the units used in measuring the passage of time. Whether it is seconds or centuries, it is measuring the passing of moments. Concrete concepts based on how the earth moves around the sun. But then you get into different, abstract ideas. Eons. Ages. Moments. All of them are familiar to us yet at the same time our concepts of them are slightly different.

But in a more practical sense, time is the march of days.

When I was younger, time seemed to last forever. Summer never ended and I would never grow up.

Now I am older, time seems to move in spurts. Some moments fly past, days ending almost as quickly as it began. Other days it crawls along like a dying slug. Maybe it is the side effect of being older now. Or I am just more aware of time.

Of course there are people who say “manage your time better and you’ll have more of it”. Which is true. Yet I find myself having to choose between things. To read or to watch television. Play a game or begin learning a new language. Spend time with family versus spending time to write.

Is this what life really about?

Choosing what to invest your time in? Exercise? Sleep? Relationships? Time is a commodity that everyone has and everyone has an equal amount. How we spend it helps determine where we end up in life. There are things that we can’t control in life: our starting point in society or the actions others take against us. But we can control how we react. Sometimes that means spending more time in tutoring or starting working early to get an edge in education. For others it means spending time in the hospital to deal with an illness. Or spending time after college at home to save on money. Life isn’t fair, no one starts at the same point, and things change.

But we can invest the time we are given however we want.

Friday Thoughts: What to Believe?

Christian? Atheist? Buddhist? Cat-lover? Llama hater?

What do you believe?

The world is beautiful? The end is coming? Elvis is still alive?

This question has been asked over the ages for different reasons and different intents. What god do you serve? What religion do you follow? Which king do you support? Who do you fight for, the peasants or the nobles?

But in more recent times the questions have been more “Do you believe there is police brutality?” or “Do you think the flag represents oppression?”

What if you don’t know what to believe?

If you don’t there is a wide range of “experts” on the web that will tell you the truth. And if you disagree then you become a bigot, moron, or “you’re what’s wrong with the world”. And in some cases, you can be called all three at once.

So.

What do you believe?

What do you believe?

There is a lot going on that I don’t fully grasp or have time to devote to the research it would require in order to find the answer. Because at this point, there is too many opinions and graphs being promoted that conflict with one another. All of which serves to stir up emotions without offering a solution. For me, thinking emotionally is fine and all but I often find myself easily manipulated when I think emotionally.

Because it sounds good.

Because it feels right.

Because that’s what everyone believes and if I don’t then I am a bigot or racist or blinde or an idiot or whatever the catchphrase is this week.

But that is the problem. It is based on feelings. Emotions that can change by the hour or even by the minute. Getting lead by the heart and the heart alone can get you into serious trouble. That is how people fall for the wrong person or stay in dangerous relationships. Because they are only listening to their emotions.

Logic, as hard and cold as it can be, serve as a balance to the knee-jerk as heartstrings are pulled by the news and opinions.

Of course, going completely ice-cold logic is an easy way to become ruthless and harmful to your fellow member of mankind. That is how you get people who worry only about the bottom dollar or the final product.

A prime example when logic and emotions are out of synch is the Japanese Internment of World War II.

Innocent men, women, and children were collected and shuttled off to the middle of no-where after Imperial Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States, causing our entry into World War II.

Why? Because the government feared a fifth column rising. For those who do not know, fifth columns refers to local population rising up and aiding a foreign power. A real possibility since Germany almost successfully raised a fifth column of their own. Was the jailing of citizens right? No. Was it a logical response to a real possibility? Yes. How was it able to pass? People were afraid and angry.

Revolutionists are also great examples of getting people to think emotionally. By getting the masses to react out of anger or fear you can get the Bolsheviks into power and establish the Soviet Union. Or the French Revolution where the streets ran with blood and heads. Why? Because of a few anger people were able to tell the population what to be anger and hurt about. To get them to stop thinking.

On the other hand, emotions can be great motivators. Hundreds of citizens got into their private boats and sailed to the French coast to pick up the surviving soldiers at Dunkirk. No one asked them. They weren’t equipped. They just went because it was the right thing to do. the English air power did what they could to protect them and they focused on getting troops out.

Much more recently, the Cajun Navy and regular Texans headed south to where Harvey had laid waste. No one said “I order you to do this” or demanded people hand over their time and resources. Nope, they just loaded their boats with supplies, plotted a course, and went. They did not show up as an extra pair of hands. They came prepared. Emotion rose up at the plight of the victims. Logic guided preparation and execution.

At the end, you have to rely on what you have seen and test what you are told. Check the sources, do a little research, and force that individual to prove to you that they are telling the truth.

Gray World

low clouds, fog hiding tops of skyscrapers

The wind howls down empty avenues
And rattles against empty windows
No sun to see
No blue sky to hold
Just the empty streets
Beneath the gray sky
The creak of metal
Of long abandoned cars
And the whistle of wind
Through broken glass

A light flickers on
A woman laughs while her dog barks
Children hurry to buses
And adults chug their coffee
Little by little, cars roar to life
And bikes click down the street
Voices fill the street
And people hurry to and fro

The heat of the cars and people
Burn back the heavy clouds
Drowning out the mournful wind
With laughter and talk
The gray clouds linger
But no longer the focus
As the people talk to one another
Sharing hopes, dreams, and life together