Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning


September 2012

The Ponds

Ever feel like Eeyore? Sometimes when I do I read this poem:

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them —

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided —
and that one wears an orange blight —
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away —
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled —
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing —
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

~ Mary Oliver ~

This Is It

Last night I got unfortunate news about a business venture I/we had been pursuing.  It appears we may no longer be pursuing it.  This is beginning to feel like a recurring theme (especially in the month of September – what IS it about September???) and not one I had expected as a frequent career refrain in my life.  At least not at this stage.

As I digested the news I sat, ate ramen and tuned on Bravo to watch someone else’s life for a moment.  I paused to note the irony of eating ramen at a time of business disappointment and hoped it was not indicative of life to come.  But things are harder than I had anticipated they would be.  That is the biggest realization.  It’s a high risk, high stakes game I have chosen to pursue.  That of early fragile ventures that are high one day and gone the next.  I knew that going in.  Could it be I really was hoping for good karma?

I am reluctant to post this.  But am reflective just the same.  What does it all mean?  Should I have made different choices?  Was the more stable path the right one or is it better than I followed my instincts?  I was not at a basic level comfortable in the Land of Big Company – I felt like a fish out of water every time I tried it and opted to attach myself to people instead.  Am I a believer in everything happens for a reason?  Of course but I think maybe we all think that phrase implies a future reason and the joke is on us – of course things happen for a reason but the reason is behind us.  Businesses fail for a reason – they run out of cash.  Relationships break up for a reason – because people don’t always get along.  Is that pessimistic or realistic?

Thinking thinking thinking.

A long time ago at a point of struggle, I got really good advice from a friend.  We were just selling a business and our next moves were not obvious.  My friend was (is) a high powered, alpha male type who eats raw eggs for breakfast and doesn’t appear to have patience for many things…but he told me what he does at moments of struggle and irritation – he breathes.  He just breathes.  His screensaver even says “Breathe” which if you knew the guy would surprise you.  There is not one ounce of hokey or kumbaya in him.  You might think it would say “Kill!” or some irritatingly optimistic phrase like “Crushin’ It!” but no.  It just said “breathe” and I am glad he shared that with me.

So late last night I didn’t feel great but that was OK.  A minor setback…maybe major.  I don’t know.  But I went to look at the kids in bed and slowly finished packing their lunches. I watched the end of a documentary about a wonderful man whose life goal was to make the best sushi in the world. I read this blog post about eating dinner in gazebos and the beauty of mussels and that was simple and good.  And I thought about one phrase that keeps popping into my head these days at the wise old age of forty.  This Is It.  And that is all I know.

Family Vacation – a list

Great vacation week. Included:

mountains, water slides, a hike, a lonely lake, a root beer float, a couple of runs, family, hot tubbing, shimmy shaking baby and a no floaty swimming four year old, reading, noting, ferry boat riding, wedding place remembering, a day with no kids while they were in camp! cooking, a pie, chickens, tempura green beans, sit ups and push ups, a past 6am wake up for all, apple cider donuts, high falls gorge, an Oreo stacking contest, massages and hot coffee on a high porch overlooking tall mountains. And more. Grateful.

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