The death of spring explodes so much beauty. These warm days we've been having are so cruel, and make sitting in the office seem like such a poor substitute for breathing in the crisp October air. I am grateful I can see a corner of this brilliant blue sky from my window. It will have to be enough for today, though I wonder how much longer until my own leaves begin to fade and fall.
Is it possible to capture this beauty through some form of art? Photographs come closest, but can't fully capture how it feels to my soul to gaze upon the bright yellow tree which was still green and fresh when I cut myself trying to impress a woman with my climbing skills. What seemed like a tiny cut has become a lasting reminder of that moment. Will it ever fade?
If I was a sports team, this would be called a rebuilding year. I'm still trying to sort out just who I am, and what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. I have some of the answers, but not all of them. I think, in general, I'm doing better than the Washington Redskins.
If I was their coach, I'd likely tell them to enjoy the game for the rest of the season, and don't worry so much about the results. What does it mean to play football? Having never played anything but flag football, I don't know the answer.
I'd have to take the same advice for myself. This has been a year in which I haven't always known what I've been doing. I'm still there, wondering how to be a single man after being in relationships for a full decade non-stop. I feel like I'm in high school, and my writing reflects that. So do my nascent efforts at song-writing.
You know what? So what. I'm still learning how to be human. Still learning what it means to be capable of so much perception, still learning how to interact with others, still learning how to control the torrents of emotions inside of me. It's not every year that you're faced with so many upheavals.
My goal is to feel alive. To experience this life to the fullest extent that I can without hurting anyone. At least, that's my takeaway when the world is exploding with vibrance all around me.
Yet, the dread fades if I can just take simple steps to remind myself that the universe has plenty of positive energy to tap into, if you just know it's there. Even if you can't feel it, even if you feel this need to be a skeptic.
On Saturday, I strolled my son about a mile in the double-stroller to pick up a box of LP's that I found on Freecycle. In the past month, I've picked up a utility cart, four boxes of video-tapes, some desperately needed knick-knacks, and some toys for the kids. But, I think in the grand scheme of things, there's one thing that will stand out as the most important thing I could have found.
A copy of "Out of the Blue" by the Electric Light Orchestra.
I am not an expert on ELO, by any means. My annoying punk-rock self dismissed anything from the 70's as not worthy of listening to, and plenty worthy of disdain. But, I first fell in love with this song when it was used in a brilliant episode of Doctor Who. I'd all but forgotten about it, but then the song was handed to me again by the universe.
If you watch the clip, or listen to it, check out the bit of dialogue included from the episode. Sort of fits my life right now, which hasn't turned out the way I expected, but turned out the way it was always going to. But, you know, there's always the hope of a blue sky, always the hope that the next day will be just a little bit better than the one that came before. There are always sonic ladders from which we can climb the depths of Monday dread.
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Today I took the kids to the Fall Fiber Festival up in Orange County at Montpelier. Increasingly I want to take them to agricultural events in the area, prompted by a recent story I wrote for Charlottesville Tomorrow and the Daily Progress on ways to promote local farming. I was amazed at all the different things you could do with well.
Tonight I was talking with someone about all the different types of products that can be made with animal hair, and she told me about this woman on the downtown mall that spins dog hair, which got us to wondering - would there be a market for people who wanted to create things using the hair of their pets so they would always have a useful keepsake.
But is that idea just too creepy? Right now, my dog is covered in fur. On Monday, he will be taken to Creatures Great and Small on Berkmar to get his twice-yearly shavedown. The transformation will create a totally different version of Billy. He will see squirrels again, making walks with both him and the two kids much more challenging.
I love my dog. I've toyed with the idea of finding him a new home so I could have one less stressor, but friends always remind me that he's family, and it would devastate him to be somewhere else. So, I definitely will be with him for the rest of his life.
But, would I want a quilt made from his hair? Would you want from your dog, especially if you have a breed that produces long hair? And, if so, could someone make a living doing that sort of work?