Showing posts from October, 2021

Day 488, October 26, 2021

Slow Day Some weeks seem particularly long,  like a dream that you are waiting to end.  I once imagined an amplifier  that I played in a showroom in New York,  and when I finally managed to buy one,  it was much larger than I remembered,  much larger than I imagined.  I remember a refreshing coolness to the air,  the crisp draw of large piles of dry leaves,  the wormy dampness within.  I am already bundling up with a had and gloves.  It might be a long winter.  I really should rearrange my living room,  then my back would not hurt so much.  When I was little, no televisions were this big.  This morning, instead of writing fiction,  I wrote to my doctor.  I am looking forward to the first snow.  I want to travel somewhere and sleep in hotel sheets. Some weeks are just waiting to end.

Day 487, October 25, 2021

What the Future Will Bring Some days seem more apocalyptic than others. I make it to this point in the evening and wonder what it is I am documenting. I’ve been dealing with some ornery and bracing health issues, that my doctor now thinks is now narrowed down to shingles. This morning I peed in two cups and gave blood again. Students are struggling in some pretty profound ways. Plus, it was rainy and cold. I feel a little like Kirstie Alley’s character in Cheers , who says she is not going to complain (I’ve tried to make this blog about not complaining), and then whines intolerably. Even my fire in the wood stove was slow to start, breaking my streak of effortless warm evenings. But the fire has caught now, and in a few minutes I’ll have to get up to turn down the damper. I’m home and sitting in a comfy chair, I can almost close my eyes as I sit here and feel the day ease away. When I was a child, all along one wall of my bedroom, at the top edge where the wall met the ceiling, I had a

Day 483, October 21, 2021

Adjustments I visited a my chiropractor for the first time since 2008 today. He acted as if I was an old friend, and asked if I was still teaching, a note perhaps, typed into my file. He had a new articulating bed, that bent and adjusted in more directions than a dentist’s chair, and he also employed electronic stimulation by way of adhesive patches, that was new. But he still used a metal adjustment tool that looked something like a StarTrek hypospray, and to adjust my neck, he did an old fashioned crack.  After my session he asked if I felt better.  To be honest, I felt a little like after I attended a healing service as a child with a priest who had a miraculous touch. After being pushed on my forehead and lying back into the arms of an assistant, and resting on the cool marble floor of the cathedral, as I rose, a woman asked, “Do you feel better?” I am reminded how rarely that we center our thoughts on ourselves and our bodies. Even exercising, our thoughts are often elsewhere, or

Day 481, October 19, 2021

Cracked Muffins My refrigerator forgets to make ice for a week at a time,  and then,  one day,  it is like a miracle and there is ice again.  The oven runs a little cool.  Muffins do not get a cracked top,  and potato slices only bake a nice crisp if I forget about them  and leave them in for too long.  Every morning I wake up and decide  it is too dark,  too cold,  I am too sore to ride,  and then some point when I’m in the shower,  I change my mind and think  maybe I could do it.  Then while brushing my teeth I consider the layers I will need.  Depending on any particular week,  the trash does not get picked up,  and instead sits and festers at the end of the driveway,  lures in the curious wildlife,  dog urine,  a fine layer of frost.  When the wind blows,  you can hear the tin cans,  glass bottles,  and pie tins.  Sometimes I forget fresh chicken-warm eggs  in my pocket,  and I take them to work with me,  hang them in my jacket behind the office door  for the entire day.  Then ride

Day 480, October 18, 2021

Remember How to Build a Fire? The wood is damp from a wet summer and a wet fall.  The weevils scurry in prehistoric directions  as I select one log over another.  A drier piece of oak over the section of maple  that has already gone soft.  Building a fire is like building a memory,  several childhoods ago,  a little cottage by the bluff,  a cat that tipped over forgotten glasses of water,  and a dog that wore socks.  There was a feral rooster that liked to perch  outside the bedroom window.  All the cast iron rusted,  because I didn’t know better,  and all my dishes came from the Fingerhut catalog.  I had scars on my wrists from the hungry hot mouth of the stove.  I did not know then,  how long scars can last,  that one might wear them into old age,  and that one could be bothered to don the fire gloves  for such routine things.  The season has turned a corner,  and the air is crisp and ripe,  ready to be plucked from the church yard  and tasted like a pomegranate.  Delightful temptati

Day 476, October 14, 2021

Cadence I imagine that I will write a review of my bicycle and that it will become a resource for when people search online to shop for an e-bike from 2018. I pretend that I’ll write about how I rode it first without any changes, because I wanted to learn how it felt, how it handled, and despite concerns I read about online, I liked the feel, and mostly felt comfortable. But then I had a crick in my neck, a crick in my back, and then things began to hurt, so I finally broke down and bought a suspension seat post, and my first ride with the new post, the pain is gone. The saddle was comfortable again. I am unclear if that is the power of suggestion, or the effect of elastomer seat mounts. I would write about how riding an e-bike it like going for a long walk every day, at the start of the day and at the end. Sometimes, I lose myself in my thoughts and I realize I have ridden past the beaver swamp area, where I always look to see if I can catch a beaver, but never do. Or like today, I sa

Day 467, October 5, 2021

Active Imagination Silent dancing on table tops,  down hallways,  a set of marble steps.  Like Fred Astaire, John Travolta,  Savion Glover,  in my imagination,  which is like singing like Jim Morrison,  Ben Harper, Freddie Mercury,  but in my imagination,  where-in I can throw a football like Tom Brady,  Doug Flutie, or Colin Kapernick.  It is an active imagination.  All the lives I long to live,  the passions to endure,  the endless travel.  It is wearying,  and I yearn for a more sedentary and mundane existence.  One where I come home and change into my pajama pants,  start a fire in the wood stove,  and cook dinner.  Oh, what it would be,  I imagine,  to live the life of a mediocre man,  existing, waiting,  slowly becoming nothing.

Day 466, October 4, 2021

Turning Point On a nicer day than today, I can look out my office window, and particularly when classes let out, throngs of students are moving down North Pleasant Street, and more so than any other year, there seems to be a proliferation of electric modes of transportation. There are now ebike rental stations distributed across campus, but also a proliferation of personal electric scooters, skateboards, and various other kinds of magical locomotion. It feels like a possible turning point. Riding an ebike through rural Western Massachusetts, there are stretches where there are no cars, or perhaps only the occasional Prius or Volt, and then an older pickup grunts by, or an older Toyota (a surprising number of old Toyotas are on the road in need of a tuneup) that sounds off and smells terrible, drives by. One can begin to imagine that in our lifetimes we will see the demise of the internal combustion engine on our roads. Like the end of leaded gas or the advent of cell phones, this will