Poem: In Session


Life is in session

she said to me

while her husband is laboring

to breathe

in some ICU

None of get out of this alive

Our neighbor upstairs

sure didn’t

He is gone

missing

just like the person who hit him

when he crossed the street

The movers made more noise

than he did

when they hauled his

stuff away

And blew smoke

in my windows

reminding me

Life is in session

 

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The Crazy Man?


I readily admit a feeling of doom and gloom, not just because of yesterday…but life in general has been seeming blah. I’ve been working over-time to keep my spirits up, and during my meditation this morning, my old thoughts crept in. Those dark and bleak thoughts where I convince myself that I don’t know how to be positive for very long, that life always seems to put stuff in my path to make me feel low or lost.

Luckily, I don’t stay in this place very long these days…but it stinks that I go there at all. It seems like a shadow that follows me, on sunny days as well as rainy. It lurks just around the corner, like the crazy man smoking the cigarette by the lamp-post–the one that is a bit scary and mysterious all at the same time.

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But happily some good things are happening to get me out of this slump I’m in, thank goodness. By luck, an old and dear friend is visiting. We all know there is nothing like friends to cheer us. Being surrounded by love and those that accept us for who we are without trying to change us is so important as times like these, especially when we are at odds with ourself and questioning our sense of self. For someone to take time away from work and to pay to visit really means a lot to me.

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The other good news (although slightly bittersweet) is that my old home will finally close on Monday. It has dragged on for over a year and I’m really ready to be done with it all. In the end, it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked, and I was probably a sucker. Sometimes I am nicer than I should be and folks take advantage of my good nature. That was the case here. But hopefully I will gain some Mitzvah in the book of heaven? Or I am creating good Karma or at the very least the whole darn thing will be over once and for all.

I will miss that house and all its beautiful memories. This apartment can never compare in many ways: the gardens, the peace, the lake, the woods, the birds, the sunsets…. But its time has passed. And I am so grateful to be here with my Mom.

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And I’m so blessed for the friends I have now, who accept me, even when I disagree and speak my mind. They seem to understand my moods, my faults and how I can be different. I am lucky that I can call on them to vent, to cry or to be silent for they will always listen and not judge me.

So even if the world may change in a way I might not like or agree with, my tiny world will stay the same as long as I have those near and dear to me close by. And we will continue to keep our world filled with love, kindness, empathy and compassion for each other at least–and there’s usually some left over for others that may need it too.

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Image

Fighting Litter


 

Every year around Earth Day, my town does a cool thing: they provide these blue bags for residents to collect litter on the side of the road. But better than that, after it’s filled up with garbage, you can simply leave it and the town will pick it up. They do this for 2 or so weeks. The rest of the year, you’re on your own if you want to be a good Samaritan–and mind you, many of us are in my neighborhood. But those of us that are, are then left to bring the bags to the recycling center.

Today, when I filled two of these bags, which I did on my own (you can collect with a group), I was awash with a mix of emotions. It ranged from anger, pride, disgust, annoyance, dismay, hope and sadness.

Fifty years ago, when I was a teenager, I participated in the very first Earth Day. Back then I was a kid and it was a fun thing to do, but I had no real sense of the long-term impact of what I might be doing. Although I was a person that did have certain leanings, even then, I can’t say that I felt the same passion about the planet that I do today. But the seed was planted.

As I walked outside on this lovely New England today, I reflected on how much hasn’t changed in these 50 years. That we still have to go around and pick up after other people who continue to toss their garbage outside as they drive along. I guess I was kind of dumbfounded. I did a survey of what I picked up and here were the top findings:

1. Soda cans

2. Alcohol bottles

3. Fast food garbage: bags, plasticware, boxes etc.

4. Cigarette boxes/cigarette butts

5. Coffee styrofoam cups or plastic cups

6. Candy wrappers

7. Plastic bags

I found this rather interesting. It’s tempting to make a judgement here, but I won’t. You all can make your own. I personally keep a garbage bag in my car. I’m not sure I can understand what possesses someone to toss something out the window? Why, if you are eating fast food, you can’t simply wait until you get where you are going to dispose of your waste there?

Remember the days where there was a deposit on bottles? Then people didn’t just toss them! They would go around TRYING to find them so they could make a buck! Maybe these coffee places should make more of an effort to make everything recyclable if their some¬†clientele may just throw stuff out their windows? Like those recyclable peanuts they use to wrap things–could this same material be used for iced coffee?

But what it comes down to is a change in attitude. I do see it in the grocery store. Thirty years ago I was the only one bringing in my own bags–now I see lots of folks doing it AND the stores promoting it! Some even give you a discount if you have them! Maybe coffee shops could do this by telling you to bring your own drinking cup and get a discount? Or you could get a card that would get stamped every time you had your own cup. Eatable candy wrappers? Deposits back on bottles? Come on people, this is America! We have to be smart enough to figure out how to make this better!

When a bagger in the grocery store still rolls their eyes at me when they have to pack my bags (which is rare now), I tell them (because they are usually young), hey I’m doing this for you! The less garbage we all produce, the longer this earth will be here for you. Does it sink in? Maybe not. But it makes me feel better to say it.