Last year when I was also participating in NaBloPoMo, I found it hard to write something each day, but I managed. In part this was because I was writing in a different blog, a topical one, and the topic itself was a help. This year, I'm finding it a lot harder. A small factor in this is that we're no longer getting the local newspaper. I used to begin every day with it - I live in a small town, so the paper is about breakfast-size. It always gave me at least a fall-back topic.
So - I have to confess to choosing the wrong blog for the challenge this year.
One small thought tonight is that I shouldn't be impatient at all the Christmas carols already to be heard on TV shows and commercials. At least they are explicit Christmas songs. Last year I noticed nearly at the end of the season that there was little such music to be heard. Even though I'm a Buddhist, I kind of missed it. Many people had gotten themselves tangled up in the political correctness that requires keeping mum about divinities and such. So instead of a Silent Night it was a silent season. Comparatively. Wonder what will happen this year?
My aunt Ella died back in 1998, I think it was. She was the last member of my family in the town where they had lived for nearly three hundred years. Though in fact neither I nor my parents were born there and we never lived there ourselves, we visited often during my childhood. My dad kept a boat there at one point, and many weekends were spent there - in town getting food and provisions for the boat, on the docks, playing with other children or fishing, and out on the water.
I spent vacations with various aunts and uncles, and eventually I knew every street as though I'd been there all my life. My grandmother moved back in her last years, and I spent a lot of time with her, even lived with her for six months when I was in my 20's. It is a beautiful New England river town, and I felt so connected between my immediate family and my ancestors (some in every cemetery, as it were,) and my own experience. But in fact, all the younger generations moved away. Then a decade later Grandma died, followed one after the other by the aunts and uncles. My Aunt Ella was one of the dearest to me, and the last. When she died a light went out. The whole town which had been a living place in my mind, went dark, became flat and two dimensional - map-like, unmoving.
I had noticed this reaction before but never so clearly. I wonder if this is peculiar to me or is it an aspect of loss for everyone? Each person I know and care for is like a lamp, lighting up the world around them.
Tonight was the monthly Monlam Choga - a group of us get together and say a lot of prayers - a complex so-called seven limbed prayer intermixed with aspiration prayers. Tonight I found it easy to focus - and I was very aware of the special relationship involved in praying-with people. It's a connection that can completely bypass dislikes and differences of opinion - at least on good days.
My cold seems to be about over - a relief that it hasn't been worse. Today I slept late and did almost nothing all day - my major accomplishment was to put together an email offering some things I want to sell on consignment to a dealer.
It's been raining much of the day - and yet the leaves still aren't off the trees. This past weekend the guy who mows our lawn in the summer came by and raked up all the leaves - at least all that had fallen, and there were plenty - the backyard was completely covered. But within hours of the time he finished the next layer was accumulating. Oh well, we knew he'd have to come back for a second pass after all the trees were bare.
Meanwhile, the new house behind and to the right of ours slowly reveals itself. It began to appear clearly a week ago when we had the first brief snow, because the white made the roof lines of the house stand out. As the snow melted, the house faded back into the woods, but not for long. Now that more leaves have fallen, it's there for the rest of the winter, tall and dark. I don't know if it's finished enough for someone to move in, or whether there are any buyers interested. That little development was started at the dead worst time.
Writing yesterday's post, and getting all tangled up in researching the people and events referenced (I'm a little compulsive here) drew me into a swamp of nostalgia. I downloaded some music, songs that I had not listened to in at least a decade. (Amazing that one can now obtain individual songs in seconds, and for pennies.) I looked up people that I haven't seen in a quarter century (and found some of them.) Wallowed in sentimental memories. But then it was time to stop. All this leaves one question - I am very happy with my present, so what makes me miss what is long past? I guess it's simply that it's past and beyond retrieving.
I met somebody famous once - well, not famous when I met her - she was just about six hours from becoming famous. She was a small woman, almost a girl, and a year younger than I. She was shy, and had been standing in the front window of a luncheonette, pretending to read magazines, hoping to see someone she knew. As it happened, I was walking along the street with several people - one of whom was a friend of hers, and she came running out of the store to join us. A singer, she was about to perform before a very large audience, on her own, for the first time.
That evening she sang, one performer among many. Her voice was exquisitely beautiful - breath-stopping, concert-stopping. After that one set, she was known - famous - and for good. I was stunned by what she could do, and I just got up and left after her performance. I sat in the town square until about 5AM, until the next bus came, and boarded it and went home. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but I didn't want to be just part of the audience.
We had friends stop by this afternoon for tea - a pleasant visit. Then, late this afternoon I began sneezing and coughing, and felt totally exhausted. A cold? I haven't had one in a very long time. Broke out the echinacea - took a whopping dose and will soon take another. I hope it works.
We had dinner today with a friend at a very good restaurant in our area. The drive to the restaurant, the meal, and the company of our friend made the afternoon a lovely one. As we ate, we heard bits of conversation from the tables near us. None of us were actually listening but one phrase broke right through my focus on our own conversation - a man at the table behind me said quite clearly, "It's not easy being a prince!" My ears nearly rotated backwards in my head, but I couldn't catch any more.
As we were ordering dessert, the folks at that table finished and left the restaurant. I immediately told Marlene and our friend what I'd heard, wondering if I could possibly have gotten it right. They had missed the line about the difficulties of royal life, but Marlene had overheard the same man say something about how the Van Dykes were held in trust so he couldn't sell them. Van Dykes, plural. Yes, it's hard being a prince.
Before I retired, on workdays, one of my first thoughts as I sat down at my desk in the morning was, "What is it today that will keep me from the tasks I plan to do?" Because it was always something. Well today the guy that does work for us on the house found some unexpected free time and called to see if he could go to work on the mold in our basement. We'd discussed this only a day or so ago and I was really happy he could start so soon. As a result, I ended up spending most of the day trying to be useful, as he did an amazing job of cleaning out the whole place. He finished the job (and some little extras) in one go, but now my eyes are tired from the bleach fumes, and I'm soooo tired. However, being retired, I'll probably get to my selected tasks tomorrow without further 'distraction.'