The following entries are a varied lot. Consisting of different thoughts on different subjects, and of different length and scope, they are short pieces that have yet to be placed into a larger more organized body of work.


Friday
Apr062012

letter to a cedar waxwing


After you flew into the window at work,
I brought you home.

You looked suprisingly soft and peaceful
when I scooped you up from the concrete
and cradled you in that old paper bag.

The way your neck and wings
fell and curled back made me
hesitate and try not to break
anything else.

It was a cool and sunny morning
and sometimes I wonder
what you were thinking
just before the end.

Maybe you were thinking the same thing I was.
I bet we'd be simpatico that way.


Monday
Mar122012

on volunteering

As a mostly inward-looking and philosophical personality, I think that people sometimes get the impression that I am uninterested in what goes on outside of my own private world. Sometimes people think that because I spend so much time by myself, reading and writing about topics that interest me, I must be insulated and self-absorbed.

Occasionally people will say…“You need to get out more.” Or they’ll say… “You think too much. Why do you have to analyze everything?” Or, my favorite… “Must be nice to be able to do what you want all the time. I wish I could be that selfish.”

Luckily, I’ve grown accustomed to these types of comments and misinterpretations over the years. At first I felt defensive, but now these accusations mostly tend to spark my curiosity. I think of them as clues to help me to understand the way other people think. Clues that help me to understand who I might be able to develop deeper relationships with and who I probably can’t.

Perhaps, from the outside, for a very social person, a quiet life of reflection might seem selfish. If someone is keeping mostly to himself, then he must be ignoring important social and political issues that affect us all. After all, how can we help other people when we spend time alone? How can thinking about oneself lead to thinking about other people?

But in the deepest sense, I think that this is exactly how it works. I think that when we think of ourselves, then we start to become aware of what is important for others as well. When we determine that in some ways, we are alike, and in other ways, we are different, then we begin to realize that it’s important to study each other before we can actually know how to help each other.

And perhaps most importantly, if we don’t take the time to understand ourselves, we will never find the places that will allow us to impact our communities the most.

For example, a few years ago, during a stressful time in my life, I started spending quite a lot of time exploring my local park system. When the weather was clear, I’d bring a book to a park and relax for an hour or two. After a few visits, I started bringing my camera and taking photos, which in turn, got me thinking about putting together an exhibition.

Then one day, I asked a good friend of mine if she would be willing to help me organize a charity event. Since I knew that she was an outgoing person with a big heart, I thought maybe we could team up and raise money to help preserve and protect our local park system. She agreed, and together we sold about a dozen of my photos and raised over a thousand dollars. Although it’s not a large amount of money, it sure felt good to give to a cause so close to my heart. And, it felt good to do it with such a great friend.

It’s hard to believe that exhibition was almost five years ago. I guess time flies when you spend most of your time working, reading, and writing.

A couple of months ago, I started volunteering for my local park system again. During a couple of chilly Saturday mornings, I’ve been helping to build hiking trails just north of town. Although trail building is very different from going for a walk with my camera, it still feels comfortable, and I’ve been enjoying the time outside with a few like-minded people.

Maybe there’s just something about being in the woods that makes me feel at ease and makes my eyes open wider. When I spend a few hours outside, beneath the trees, I tend to feel less of something and more of something else. And, that something else seems important and worth protecting. It's what I want to keep safe for of all of us.