Behold this Monument to my Effort

It’s a dance they have us do, by law, in fact. One of the two steps is more imperative, by which I mean enforced, so you can wind up a ways off in one direction if you let them let you slide. One step, the truly necessary one, comes like clockwork, can be counted upon. There is a right time. The second step is something we’re told to ask to be asked to do. I tend to avoid bothering, which is why I’m way over here, having stepped so many times this way without ever stepping back.

When, on a whim, under the weight of neglected responsibility I do at last ask, they insist upon immediately performing each missed step in succession, under scrutiny, with additional attention paid to form. They even get in my way, sending obstacles, competing vectors, angle-defying lines. I do it, though. I triumph. The increased difficulty contributes to the accomplishment. It may not be perfect, but it meets every criterion, of which there are many, many of which are spitefully imposed. I do the dance that they insisted I do while exerting every effort to prevent me from doing it.

Thankfully, because of the assumption of my entertaining failure, my unexpectedly adequate performance is documented in somewhat thorough detail. This record is shuffled and filed, but thankfully I have secured and will continue to bask in the glory of a facsimile, a testament to my neglected yet persevering ability to do each part of an involuntary physical expression.

Connor’s Kipper Snacks

sketch of grandfather and grandson eating herring

His was a loving scowl, a knowing joke, almost constantly crabby, otherwise, endearingly, singing. A voice, a tone, tuned to resonate in your bones, that warm feeling without the stasis. Even the breaths were suspenseful. Always a head of hair. Craning limbs with impossible joints and reach could easily catch anyone trying to run past, chasing dachshund, brother, dinner. In his orbit you had no choice, didn’t want one.  A giver of gifts, a gatherer, an insistent snorer. Just barely at home here, apparent in a belonging somewhere kinder, slower, fuller of riches. Attended, tended to, though subjected to some cruel fates, as a general rule his generosity was returned. Never alone no matter how much he seemed it. He had this thing with herring.

this is fun, maybe the angry street machines want to play too

sketch of greyhound dog running in snow on basketball court

I think he wants me to run, but I’ve never seen him so far away from me, especially not here, and there are so many more interesting things to use my senses and muscles for. Besides, we’ve been over here, I’ve been back and forth, we’ve walked that way and then back this way. This area is soft but it is also familiar. I need newness.

I believe I’ve earned something. I’ve done everything you asked, or at least everything I can remember you asking. Was there something else you wanted me to do? Within reason. Can we go over there? I’m going to go over there. I see you here, I don’t know what you’re doing, I’ve never seen you do that before, but here has grown tiresome. I’m going there. There is so much promise there. I know my way, I’ve been over there before, never without you, but you’re coming too. No? That’s ok, I’m going, you’ll catch up.

Everything ahead is so rich, it’s going to be so great and fulfilling. I am sure that if I turn left where we usually turn right, I will find what I have always been looking for. I’ve been waiting for you to take me left but we almost never go left. We go left so rarely, I can’t remember if it was everything I hoped it would be.

It’s weird that there are these big sinky piles everywhere covering up all the good stuff. There’s still some good stuff not covered, and maybe I can get through some parts of the piles, but I’d rather not bother. I don’t trust the piles. There are so many piles and I have no idea where they came from. I wish the piles weren’t here, and I don’t at all like whatever that big noise is. I’m not sure why all of a sudden I feel threatened, but I do.

I’ll wait right by the gate, but only if you don’t run at me. Please don’t run at me. I won’t know what to do, and it might make me run too. It’s honestly so weird to be this far away from you.

a flowing land

Up on tippy toes to keep her feet from being covered in cold, she is my holiday. This is not a sunbathing kind of beach trip, this is a gift timely and rare. An exemption for the sake of my family, an excuse to hole up in this new tent. She and I biked away from a room full of love, temporarily traded coasts, and made space for a few days of being something new together. We hiked and drove on the edges of cliffs, our eyes lifted to see forgotten stars or sharp streams of light slicing through thick treetops or deer. And whales.

We stayed briefly in varying degrees of luxury, all exceedingly grand, none holding a monopoly on beauty. Our longest rest kept us in a city that eccentrically insists on its hyphenated name and more than lives up to its 4.5 star average Yelp review. We were surrounded by qualities, well fed, and otherwise too in awe to be more than mostly unfazed by things like celebrity sightings and housekeeping employees who’ve forgotten to knock.

We bookended the week with another heaping pile of open hearts, the ones we want to have surrounding us on the borders, tucking us in at the edges, seeping in to our own, showing us what it all means, feeling everything together, conceding new ground to let us return the gesture. Celebration begets celebration, and thankfully has very little to do with us aside from how blessed we feel to take part in it.

 

A couple months later, we’ve yet to see the sweetness wane.

is it worth it? let me work it

Believe it or not, before this rain was snow, and two Mile High City boys managed to get a Zip Car stuck in the slippery ditch of full of it on a dark country road. As the driver, I take full responsibility for having missed the highway entrance and then proceeding to push my 3 point turn to the limit. I also admit fault in being escorted off the Syracuse fair grounds for not having secured proper press credentials before taking snapshots of farming equipment.

Fortunately, we were already on our way out, hoping to make the five hour drive in order to return the rental back in time. We managed to visit booths and mount machinery presented by proud farmers and manufacturers’ representatives who were more than happy to tell us about their jobs and the greater context of the industry.

We had seen all the tractors, steel and plastic, that we cared to see, and honestly had no idea that we had entered a so-called restricted area in our effort to find our way back to the parking lot. Whoever she was, the woman who booted us took her job very seriously and had very little sympathy for my pleas of ignorance and claims that the expo’s website had lead me to believe I would be welcome without a press pass.

The show was over anyway, and we truly were lost, so Matt and I did not argue when we were loaded into a parking-lot-bound gator. We were glad to be on our way back home, but not so rushed that we didn’t have time to stop for a bite. It was after that bite that we wound up in the ditch, but within minutes a friendly gentlemen stopped to help. He turned out to be a railroad worker with a reflective vest, and he began to direct traffic around the protruding rear end of our borrowed vehicle.  The guy on whose land we were stuck had the tow strap, while a man on his way home from work offered to tether it to his truck. A few people helped push while someone with more recent practice driving in the snow pulsed the accelerator to free the wheel.

If you’d like to hear more about the actual event around which these silly things occurred, you’re gonna have to head over to Kickstarter and pledge a few bucks to support Day Job Magazine! There are going to be a ton of articles and photos that I cannot wait to see myself, and among which I am honored to be included.

Please do check it out! You’ve only got 2 more days to get on board!

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