Threading the needle

Picture I took near my home, Fall 2019

This is a post-script disguised as a preface. Originally, I was going to title this post ‘Wurdz n stuf’. It was going to be very different from what this is. Except for the title, I’m leaving the post as written. I’ll write ‘Wurdz n stuf’ another day. I guess my head wanted to go in a different direction, so I let it. It’s my mind so…look, squirrel!

Words have great power
never underestimate
the effect they have

I have achieved two goals so far:

The first – I have written my first poem of NaPoWriMo. 29 to go.

The second – I have stated the blatantly obvious! Call me…Captain!

My optimistic, and make the best of a sub-optimal (I love that word, thanks Adam) situation, self has been stressed, not to the breaking point but tattered on the edges. We have all been jammed into the uncomfortable position of trying to do what’s right and trying to do what’s right. Uh oh…now were going sideways!

Fence sitting

how do i decide what's right  
when this right 
and that right
are both right
and neither right
is more right 
than the other right
is it right to knowingly do harm to my family
while potentially doing right for my community
is it right to calculate the risks
or is it right to do as I'm told 
i must choose which right 
is the right right
knowing that neither right 
is right 
or wrong    
                                                                                                                  

Well, that’s #2. It just happened without my internal editor’s input. It’s close enough to midnight that I may just count that as a day 2 poem if my brain quits on me tomorrow.

I don’t like being told what to do, never have, never will. That’s my nature. It’s not that I won’t, it’s just that I prefer to arrive at the decision myself. Am I stubborn and/or selfish? Yes to both. They’re not my favorite traits, but they are traits that make me (and you) human. I try to minimize their influence on my decision making, but they can be hard to shake at times. They also serve as a distant early warning system when I recognize their influence. I’m battling them now.

Do I heed the warnings and hide in my home, only venturing out to visit the places where EVERYBODY is going and the risk is greatest? Do I let my exemption applied for, nonessential business remain closed for who knows for how long, as the expenses grow and the cash register remains silent? Will the government help me or offer a slow death with more debt and low interest loans? Will I recover or go bankrupt? Will my sacrifice help everyone, or just hurt me and mine?

Do I fight for myself and my family, get the exemption, use safe practices and conduct business to generate enough income to pay my creditors and survive to fight in the next uncertain year? Will doing this expose me and mine to a greater threat of getting ill? Will I recover or die? Will my fight help anyone, or just hurt me and mine?

I’m trying to thread the needle because both choices suck. I’m trying to stay optimistic because the alternative sucks. I want to do the right thing and be part of the solution but I can’t give up without a fight because, you guessed it, that sucks.

I will do the right thing, even if it’s hard.

One

That’s it! I’ve been trying to find an image of what the average human face looks like for almost an hour now. You know, an image that takes the facial characteristics of all ages, ethnicity, gender, etc, blends them together and gives the result, an every person, so to speak. I know (I think) that it exists, because I know (I think) that I’ve seen one.

I found average, typical images for women, men, Asian, European, pick a country, any country, but not an average HUMAN face!

My difficulty may speak more toward my incompetence or impatience in my search, I admit that. Therefor, I’ll invite you to do your own search and if you find it, please send it my way.

The reason for my search and ultimate failure may be what the following is speaking to. I wrote this specifically for a person who is young enough to not get it and old enough to straighten up and fly right. Who he chooses to be in the next few years will make a difference in his remaining years.

I think that if we are honest with ourselves, we will all acknowledge that we have had to learn some hard lessons over the years on our journey to the intelligent, enlightened, thoughtful, understanding people we have become. We must also acknowledge that we are still that average human struggling with the learned and instinctual biases that are part of who we are.

One

we are all the same
you and me
her and him
they
it matters not a whit
the color of our skin
the language that we speak
the faith that we hold
who it is we choose to love
we are all the same

we all struggle every day
to see
to be
good
but it's hard
when we feel alone
when we're misunderstood
when we can't find the words to say
or the courage to say them when we do
we all struggle every day

we must always remember
the pain we feel
the pain they feel
is the same
how you think about others
is how you think about yourself
the color of your blood
is the color of their blood
we are all the same
you must always remember

02/27/20 Tim Blodgett

I must find the courage to, in essence, speak out of turn and stick my nose where it doesn’t really belong, and give this to the person I wrote this for. It may be the ultimate display of hubris to think I may change the trajectory of that young person with a poem, but I believe there’s more beneath his story’s cover. I will do it. If I don’t, I will have failed to do what I believe is the right thing.

Thanksgiving on my mind

For most of last week I was thinking about Thanksgiving. I had a column that was due on 10/28 for a local paper. They wanted a sportsman’s point of view on hunting traditions and how they tie to Thanksgiving traditions for their upcoming holiday magazine. I said to myself, “Self, this is gonna be a cinch!”, and then told the editor that I would have the column ready by the deadline. It turned out to be much more difficult than I expected.

They wanted the column and a picture to fit on a single page, so the word count was only 750 words. Simple…not! It’s hard to propose, support and conclude a comparison in so few words. I must have made at least eight false starts, dead ending after a few hundred words. I was frustrated because I couldn’t steer the story in the direction that I wanted it to go. Then it hit me, I was trying to force it! When I finally got that through my thick skull, I threw out everything that I’d written up to that point, started fresh, and let the story follow it’s own course. It’s been submitted, enthusiastically approved and will be in Saratoga Today‘s ‘Simply Saratoga’ holiday edition.

Now that I can think about what I want to, I’m still thinking about Thanksgiving. Specifically, I’m thinking about a movie that is one of my favorites. The movie is ‘Pieces of April‘. It’s funny and tragic and powerful in a very human way. I don’t have an extensive list of must see movies. The few that are on my list span a very wide spectrum. ‘Pieces of April’ is a top contender. Please see the movie.

Since we’re on the topic, what is your favorite Thanksgiving movie, if you have one that is. I’m always looking for a good flick.

PS. I read a post on Ebony and Crows that set me on my heels. It was candid and raw and took a lot of bravery on her part to post. I think we have all looked in the mirror and not liked the reflection. It’s easy not to look into mirrors. It’s not easy to change the reflection in the mirror, but we can, just as she is doing.