Taking Flight

Some baby birds jump, others are pushed.  The ensuing moments involve either falling, flying, or most likely a bit of both.  Regardless of individual baby bird trajectory the outcome is two fold; a new adventure, and an empty nest.  We’ve likely all found one, an empty nest.  Pruning a tree or shrub, or walking through the woods, we spy it.  An abandoned nursery.  Quaint.  A little bird home that served its purpose and now sits vacant, slowly succumbing to the ravages of the time and the elements.  How different it feels when it is our own nest that becomes empty.

Today my youngest graduated from high school.  Like his brother before him he is taking flight.  Adult life beckons and shines with opportunities and possibilities, the denouement of which I will hopefully not witness.  Funny how we nurture and coax, guide, and when wisdom prevails know how to remain silent in the run up to this taking of flight.  Funny because we pour ourselves whole heartedly into the shaping of a story, the final chapters of which we release unfinished to the wind.   It’s a beautiful, heart wrenching, bittersweet reality.

Go in peace my sons.  Fly high and free.  From here the journey is yours to define. That said, please know as you make your way that you have always been, and will always be loved beyond measure.


Early on the future seemed eternal.  Summers held the world in endless, sun drenched glory.  Possibilities fell like autumn leaves on a windy day, dancing and beckoning in the brilliant blue sky.  Winter came on like a white Christmas coupled with anticipation of the new year to come.  We were forever young.  Untouchable. Unbreakable.

Along the way we unknowingly passed a milestone.  It laid at the side of the path covered in moss and shrouded in vines.  Something had changed, not for better or worse, but for the fact that life can be no other way.  The time had come to leave the world of endless summers behind, whether reluctantly, or otherwise.  

With each milestone passed, the world has changed little, yet looks very different as we ramble on.  The paths we walk began from an infinite number of starting points and scatter hither and yon on the wind of randomness.  Free will plays its part, but is no match for the unseen forces that command the unexpected taking of one path over another.

With many mile markers behind us we may now find the same autumn leaves to be the clear and present harbinger of coming winter.  Each year has it’s four seasons and they are not shy about the play they are acting in honor of the cycle of life.  As we journey from year to year that cycle becomes ever clearer in our own reflections.  

Milestones passed mean we leave some things behind, and if we are lucky, take new treasures with us.  Though some would beg to differ, there is no more true beauty in youth than in old age; for not all that is beautiful manifests in a looking glass.  In passing the stones, walking the road, we make trades of old thoughts that no longer serve us for new ones we can carry as a guiding light.  A light that becomes ever more comforting as true winter approaches.  We have no choice but to continue the journey.  Knowing the way is not an option.  Knowing ourselves is.


Keys, where the hell are my keys? The door shows no sign of sympathy. My pockets shrug as I grope desperately. Nothing! A dark porch, a locked door, and no fucking keys. Inside my home, on a wooden end table in the living room sits a bowl of keys. Keys to all sorts of locks, doors, ignitions, secrets. Yet, standing here in the dark, on a cold late winter night, alone, none of those keys are within my grasp.

Break a window, I think. Sleep in the car, call an Uber, go to a motel, or face the truth. Locked out of my own life, by my own mind, or lack of its presence. I sit on the stoop, head in hands reviewing the events that have lead to this moment.

Birth, yeah I don’t remember that, but based on research I’m sure it sucked. Childhood, silver fork in my mouth. The good fortune commingled with the reality of human roulette. Relative safety assured, emotional security compromised. Blame is easy, responsibility is a hard-won badge, that doesn’t find its way to many a sash. All the accusations in the world won’t unlock this god damned door, even if they have basis in truth.

How has humanity continued to flourish in this world? Programming is the only answer. Biological imperative. We’ve all felt it, and in moments of bliss, or terror, acted on it. When in our prime we perceive ourselves as having so little to lose. Unbridled passion, lust, imperative win the day, and life is created anew.

Aging reveals new perspective. The misery of yesteryear has lead to the creature comforts of today and yet still misery abounds. Where is the key? The key to happiness, contentment, calm, joy? Based on experience we understand that it is not secured by amenity or safety. Perhaps it is found in acceptance of the true essence of existence. The act of living in which joy plays a part, but is not a given. The reality in which comfort is fleeting, and to be gratefully appreciated as it passes through. Perhaps that is the key.

Father and Son

My father and I have by no means seen things eye to eye throughout the years. One could even go as far as to say we had a rocky start, that lasted half a lifetime. That second half of a lifetime is however better than many people live to see. My father and I are of the same threads yet woven into different cloths. For that reason, we shared distance for many years. The beauty of that, as with any epic tale is that somehow we closed the space between us, we reached common ground, and became friends. We overcame.

My father, unlike many people older than us who are set in their ways, proved to be adept at psychological evolution. He has continued to grow and change through his many years. That alone is unusual, and praise worthy. I too, eventually began the process of maturation, albeit later than most. I then came to see that I too, needed to change my perspective on our relationship. We have been able to meet in the middle. We’ve come to love and appreciate one another deeply and fully.

It took a long time for me to take a hammer to the pedestal I had placed him on, to allow him to be human. Viewing our relationship from this equalized perspective did wonders. My father has become my mentor, my advisor, my confidant…my rock. When times are difficult he is there to listen, support, and offer sage advice. When times are good he is there to celebrate with me.

Not all sons have challenging beginnings with their parents. Sadly, many sons never find their way to reconciliation and fulfilling relationships with those who brought them into this world. I consider myself lucky to have journeyed this lifetime with the man I call Pops. The man who carried the torch of principal and honor. The man who showed me what it means to be a man. The man I love, and whom I am proud and grateful to know as my father.

Sledding In the Dark

Long hair in a half up pony. 17º chill in the air. A turn of the key locks the black ’96 Land Cruiser, a trusted companion. Boots crunching in the snow I walk my Flexible Flyer runner sled, a gift on my 5th birthday, maybe the greatest I’ve ever received across the park. It’s been dark for over an hour and the crowd that played on the hill while I worked through the day is thinning. They’ve done the good deed of packing the snow to make for fast runnings.

A small group of college-ish types take turns pushing each other down the hill in a white plastic laundry basket. Making the best of what they have to celebrate this frosty winter gift. This night they have companionship, camaraderie, and a memory that will replay each time the have to wash their clothes. Nice! Parents stand at the top of the hill as their children ride plastic toboggans, saucers, sheets of cardboard, etc.. “One more son, my toes are frozen. Time to go.”

As I walk by I sense accessing eyes. A few years ago I came to this same place with my boys. Now they are grown and off on their own adventures. My former snow play partners have girlfriends and/or social engagements, and so I revel in this winter sport opportunity alone.

I find my way to the highest point on the hill and set the sled to run. If I aim just so I can hit a bridge that offers safe passage across the creek at the bottom of the slope. If I miss it’s a three foot drop over a limestone ledge into a partially frozen stream riddled with sharp rocks. Holding my old friend by the left handle and the right rail I push off in a sprint and dive on.

Many Winters

Many winters I have seen. Each brings a closing and hints at latent possibilities. Opportunities that come in the form of dreams on long winter nights. The passing of time offers a continuous deepening of acquaintance with the ever more familiar way of things. Things change, they repeat, they evolve, and yet somehow seem the same. Looking deeper, we find that that sameness may offer new insight into the workings of old patterns.

Many winters I have seen, each is made different by having survived the last. Though they’ve varied in subtle ways, they are all winter. A time of reflection. Each with something to offer, to teach, to give. A time of dormancy and death, an opportunity for rebirth. In the words of Robert Frost, “I have miles to go before I sleep.” May the opportunity to dream of new beginnings and rebirth, change of heart, and change of mind mark our journeys until that cold December when we find we have seen too many winters.

These Days

These days Autumn may show it’s flush late, but it will still arrive. Daunting isolation looms over us casting its deep shadow, but all waves eventually crest and release to the shore. Society may seem irrevocably divided, but given time most wounds heal. Hope may seem fleeting, yet according to legend, it springs eternal.

These days are rife with disquiet. Hence, feeling “not ok” is ok. That said, history shows us that all the darkest moments of mankind set the stage for the uncommon brightness revealed in the eventuality of the new day. It is through struggle that we find purpose, meaning, and often personal rebirth. A renewed energy to live, love, give and receive.

May your mind make time to see the world of color this Autumn brings. May your heart be full of acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness. May your wellspring of hope overflow in response to the challenges we all face together in these days.

The Circle

Hate is born of pain.

Pain is born of injury.

Injury has two mothers. They are Randomness and Cruelty. One unavoidable, the other unconscionable.

The wheel will continue to turn until the circle is broken.

In the meantime, perhaps it may be helpful to recognize that while the hateful welcome war, what they unknowingly hunger for is redemption.

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