In answer to a posted question; What is food for the soul? To start with, I would say, still waters run deep. The Soul’s food complexity is hidden underneath the simplicity of its reality. It establishes a connection between you and the “food “. Which takes form by building a bridge between a cultural or personal memory and the now of you. This isn’t an either or situation because it is not uncommon for one element to be a part of the other. Therefore the “food” often contains both, personal and cultural as well as a specific and universal components. It’s main feature is to transport you sensorily to a different time. While we are often carried into history past, the journey can give insights into what is missing in the present, as well as what should be continued now and in the future. Equally, it reveals what needs to be left behind, because what was, may not be what is, or what will ever be. Those who for forget or ignore Soul Food which contain all three stages of time; past, present, future, are sometimes blessed. Unfortunately they are often domed to repeat what was previously shallowed. Food for the Soul can give you a sense of belonging and roots. On the hand, it can be a chain dragging you down a rabbit hole. It is good to eat, but Choose your diet carefully. Forgive my lack of platitudes and inspirations, I find a discussion of Soul Food to deep for such things.
Sometimes, with people who like dogs, and every once in awhile even when they don’t; a special bond develops. This relationship can happen at any age, but it seems to me that it is most common with children and when your children have moved on. There are many movies and shows about the love of kid and dog, not so much I think about ARP readers love for their dog. They have more in common than you might think. In both cases, there is more of a parity between person and dog. The value equation is more even. There is a shared sense of vulnerability even when one party appears fearless. In the case of an old dog you commensurate about younger days before the vicissitudes of time exacted its present toll. A puppy or kitten represents innocence and bring maternal & paternal instincts out in the person. I remember my Dad once telling me a story about a kitten. He had been a WWII Marine and the story went like this, they were taking an island (Marines don’t try, they do) in the middle of the chaos, blood and fear there was this damn kitten whose mom had been killed. He tucked the kitten inside his shirt and they made it through the battle. My Dad said the kitten was adopted and loved by the whole unit. We thought as long as that kitten lived part of the world we once believed in was still intact. In a world without innocence you are not protecting, just killing. He said it was special to them, but a common story. Any relationship has three main factors; Party A and their present & past baggage, Party B and their present & past baggage, but what makes that special bond is that something more the happens when A & B interact. When Zane ( not a real dog, a chihuahua I called Zanyiac) & my wife took up residence together the knot was tied. Zane had her the first time he growled at me when I tried to wake her up. Zane was protector of her sleep and he was her hero. She quickly forgot that she, like me, didn’t like little dogs. He was an annoying little dog to anyone but the immediate family. He was noted for his long flowing black tail and a massive overbite. He was well past puppyhood, but still had a youthful disposition. I called him bat dog cuz he looked like a bat. Zane was fearless and would get himself in awkward situations. You always knew he would be okay, he was on’ry and mischievous. A Dennis the Menace to those of a certain age. This episode, the last, took an ugly turn.
My wife had a front row seat to watch the climactic scene. Zane had manage to get his small body through the fence into the neighbor’s yard in an effort to introduce himself to four real dogs. He was not welcome. I bear no animosity, at least not much, Zane was perceived to be an intruder and as such the real dogs were well within their “stand your grounds rights” to hold him within their powerful jaws and crush the life out of him and parade him around like a carnival prize. By anthropomorphizing the event I am not trying to take a cheap shot at my neighbor dogs, it is an effort to see through my wife’s eyes. We project our feelings and perception of the world onto our pets. That is what we do, especially so with dogs and generally the stronger the bond the more we do it. It’s not a one way street, dogs special gift is their ability to identify with people. I am guessing dogs project on to humans dog characteristic. I imagine they consider us limited. There is a whole world of smells we simply don’t seem to get. So much info to be had with a sniff, I imagine dogs laugh at us thinking no wonder they spend so much money on communication equipment. Enough commentary back to the episode, consider this a commercial break.
My wife watched and listened helplessly behind a locked privacy fence, when she wasn’t at the front door pounding, pleading for someone to answer. No one was home. I would say I came running and leaped the fence like a Marine negotiating a wall running toward danger; but literary license only goes so far. I made running like movements, which actually kind of surprised me and somehow waddle over the fence, feeling some of the vulnerability of Zane. I was carried forward by the knowledge Zane never let fear stop him, even when discretion was a far better option. I did not know these dogs personally and wasn’t sure about invading their territory without introduction in the middle of a frenzy. They had release Zane into the mud, two of the predators circling Zane, I moved toward him trying hard to remain calm while being bombarded by a complexity of sound and emotion. My wife emitting the sounds of true horror, the real dogs somewhere between a bark and growl, on point. Then there was the sounds of the Zanes’ squeaking still ringing in my ears and the deafening silence of their absence, and no apparent signs of life. I received the luck that was withheld from Zane, without incident I walked over and cradled their prized kill and my wife’s heart in my arms and walked backed to the fence. It was not a high fence and I was able to coax my wife close and reach Zane over to her. The spectacle that greeted me when I manage with increased difficult to get back over the fence left me without words. The only way I could describe it was to reference a scene from Tombstone, one of my favorite movies. Wyatt is in the street covered in his brothers blood after he just died. There is no consoling a pain that is solitary. His world view had been rip violently, unimaginable apart. Covered in Zane’s blood she staggered into the street. My daughter and daughter in-law came quickly. My daughter in-law is an emergency Vet Tech and confirmed he was dead. The moment having passed my daughter hugged and cried with my wife with a closeness I had not seen before. The house feels different now, the youthful energy and hope is gone. When you start getting older it gets easy to mark off things you can’t or don’t do anymore. Sometimes it is hard not to let hope and faith be among them.
In the time, this too shall not really pass, as much as fade.
Pic from Newsweek
The spire falls in the island garden
Gethsemane’s woe will not pass by
Solemn hymns and rejoicing voices
Heads turned toward the falling skies
Beneath our feet hope is trampled
Scattered in the blood and ash
Rise oh lord and free me
Break these mournful chains at last
His burning house, the cross remaining
Darken skies and curtain torn
Amidst the death and destruction
We find our pitiful souls reborn
This not a traditional tribute. It is in a style that will be unfamiliar to most. A word about the title, “I am not asking for a “moment of silence”. It is not a plea for please, rather it is an explanation of a state and a suggestion for your consideration. There are societal norms that deserve respect, but that is not my concern now. Do not do it for him, his wife or me, but for your own enrichment and understanding.
He was extraordinary in his humility
road pic by Will & Wade
. Well-Founded confidence based in reality and faith is essential for true rather than false humility. The key is not to expand borders, know your limits. This type of confidence allows you to respect others. Respect for others and something bigger than you is the foundation of real humility. People who are weak in spirit and needy should not apply. My friend’s ability to humbly influence was enhanced because he never needed my approval or yours. My friend understood that approvals’ presence or absence said more about you than him. He was a man of faith. I have heard it said “Pray as if your prayer was already answered,” I think the key is to act as if it was answered. To my friend, faith was not about acting or saying the right words; it permeated and was inseparable from the reality of living. This is my understanding of many long conversations and observations that was my good fortune to experience with him. He said I talked like a Yankee, fast and with many words. He verbalized far less and communicated most loudly with the silence between the spoken words. I talked and he taught me how to listen.
My friend never seemed lost. He always knew where North was, but preferred the South. The four cardinal points I would use to describe my friend in reverse order of importance are “Simple, Profound, Positive and Love.
One of the many topics we explored, perhaps, because of our increasing age; was the varying degrees of inevitable decay that accompany the continuation of life in humans and dogs alike. The ultimate culmination of this process returns us to dust. In short, we discussed death. A minor, and yet slightly more relevant point than you might think at first glance, was my dislike for the euphemistic term “passed”. Perhaps the use of such terms to soften the blow of permanent absence for children has merit, but surely there comes a time to put away childish ways. Listening to my friend of relatively few words, it was brought to my attention rather obliquely, a different perspective on passing. Leading a person more by actions than words allows them to think it was their idea. Walking more than talking carries a determinative weight that is lacking in the telling. There is wisdom in the expression “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” I would pair it with the following expression, “trying to push a horse to water or telling him where the water is located is a fool’s errand “. It is possible I made that expression up, not the fool’s errand part, but the rest. The point I believe remains valid. To me and many who remain in our present stage of the living process dead is dead. But to my friend, it is a passing to the next stage. I know he is in a better place. His confidence in this knowledge was core to his ability to accomplish what many aspired to find but few accomplish, seeing the simple in the complex. Building his treasures in things that are safe from thieves, moths, and rust; his positive attitude had a most resilient nature. The precursor to and the result of these qualities was love. It would not be a stretch to say love is simultaneously both the Alpha and Omega. Love, Silence, and Passing represent the ending of what was known and the beginning of what is yet to be experienced. It is popular and important to tell someone you loved them. However, its depth is transmitted in the silence of a look, a smile, or tear.
Einstein changed the world by boiling so much down to the simple equation E=MC^2. It is the ability to find the simple in the complex the separates the genius from the rest of us. It is no less true in life. My friend was a musician and spent his life making beautiful sounds, but even in that, he understood the importance of silence. I always think of him as the space between the notes. Having no musical talent myself, I am informed they are called rests. They give meaning to what is played. In their silence you are not tossed into dead air; no, not the sound of nothing, but instead the fullness of the moment. Reflecting the joy of what was and pregnant with anticipation of what will be. I remember telling my friend I am not sure we have much in common; I am completely devoid of musical ability all I know how to do is listen. He said, “Sounds good to me, when I play, you listen, and you like to talk and I’ll listen”. There was simply no barrier to friendship. He was able to see through the confusion of today’s world and find contentment in the moment. He had no time for tomorrow’s worries or yesterday’s mistakes.
He was known for his positive attitude. His constant refrain when asked how he was doing was “Simply Wonderful”. Personally, I don’t think it was an attitude as much as a deep-seated belief. It was not conscious; it was fundamental to who he was. You don’t ask if a fire is hot, it is its nature.
Love as many traits: it can be unrequited, lost, puppy and inwardly intense; often loud and exciting in its expression. My friend saw its encouraging, quiet qualities as most important. He preferred being the eye rather than the storm. The place where someone could rest, lay down their burdens and collect themselves safe from the chaos of life. His love like still waters ran deep and encompassed him as thoroughly as ambition and greed consume others. My religion calls me to be in the world but not of it. My friend taught me this is not achieved by the rejection of society or even judging it. No, it is about the importance you place on its values. I should say the lack of importance you place on its values.
Matthew 6:25-26 25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
More than a bible verse to my friend, it guided his life. This kind of lifestyle left little room for planning. He was easy to walk with, but hard to follow. His way is for the few not the many. I will not try to tell what my friend meant to me; he knew. Besides, it is best understood in the silence of the space between the notes.
Transcends time & space, noise & confusion
still heard in the silence & calms my soul
A Memoir of an Aging Chiefs Fan in Prime Time
It is Christmas Eve day, I am having coffee and recovering from another primetime loss. Nobody loses in a more entertaining fashion than our Chiefs. My first thought is thanks “Me Too” for the loss of Kareem Hunt. Those disputes should either be limited to politics, entertainment, (football is a religion in KC) the corporate world or at the very least the off season. It is not my desire to offend anyone. Let it be known I would have been perfectly fine with having a circle of women kick the crap out of him after the season. It also occurs to me letting some of the biggest, strongest guys hit him is not inappropriate. Just take the money. In all seriousness, I understand it is a business, even in college, but I do think there something to be said that the field is the one place in life when nothing matters except what you do there. Simplistic, yes. Naïve and unworkable undoubtedly. I just remember thinking that on the field was the one place when everyone is truly equal. Not in ability cuz I didn’t have any.
Sorry for the rant. What I really wanted to talk about is my reaction to the game. I quit smoking, two years ago, I have greatly limited my consumption of alcoholic, and Marijuana is still against the law in Missouri. I am not sure if those were contributing factors to what happened or not. I released my inner pig. I did not passively snack on sausage and cheese, I devoured it. I then promptly moved on to cookies, chocolate & almond covered pretzels, eclairs and swallowed with an aggression suited only for competitive sports. It was ugly, it was a case of piggy gone wild. Visible bloated and miserable I wondered if solace could be found in one more bite.
Turns out I want to feel close to someone. Human touch. It is not that I am under-going the sudden change of emotional fortunes of younger days; instead I am to fading away with time. I still love and want to be love. I want to hope and laugh. I want to rise and smile with the light of the day.
To be open is not without risk. You might think after revealing yourself in pain and fear there would be a type of immunity develop. There is, but it is not all-inclusive. The vulnerability lies in thinking your efforts will elicit a specific response. That your depth of feeling will be recognized and appreciated. You work long and give it much thought to make it worthy of what you believe is a special relationship. When it is politely dismissed, there is an emptiness that ensues born of confusion and embarrassment. Think I’ll eat a worm.
(Dedicated to Dr. Robert Williams)
I took a drive with a longtime friend to a place called before. Pryor to titles, and the personal accomplishments that put each of us in our proper place. When a child’s eyes still saw heroes in the form of Grandpa and Dad. Walking the land, turning over rocks, and a dropping a branch line in the creek was both classroom and playground. After lingering awhile in the shadows of by gone years; the setting sun made it clear departure time was near. Like pigs called to the trough we were off to the virgin watering hole, which somehow survived the ravages of change with its innocence intact. Fresh paint could not diminish the smell of grease that activated our salivary glands in preparation for this guilt-free feast. Wiping our chins with stained napkins, the call from the counter,”two vanilla shakes” signaled it was time to go. Inhaling the smoke from the gravel lot, it dawns on me, I share some core values with this unlikely friend. Continue reading “An Unlikely Frienduk”
(Dedicated to Dr. Robert Williams)
I took a drive with a longtime friend to a place called before. Pryor to letters, titles, and the personal accomplishments that put each of us in our proper place. When a child’s eyes still saw heroes in the form of Grandpa and Dad. Walking the land, turning over rocks, and a dropping a branch line in the creek was both classroom and playground. After lingering awhile in the shadows of the past, the setting sun made it clear our departure time was near. Like pigs called to the trough we were off to the virgin watering hole, which somehow survived the ravages of change with its innocence intact. Fresh paint could not diminish the smell of grease that activated our salivary glands in preparation for this guilt-free feast. Wiping our chins with stained napkins, the call from the counter,”two vanilla shakes” signaled it was time to go. Inhaling the smoke from the gravel lot, it dawns on me, I share some core values with this unlikely friend. Continue reading “An Unlikely Friend”
I am trying something different. We played around with photography, never got far. Lack of money and knowledge lead me to just use my phone. Hopefully using pictures and a few words I can convey some aspects of life that affect many of us.
It is easy to get separated.
I understand finding your own way, but how did we get so far removed from each other? Is this your idea of finding the light?