Equinox

Quarter after eight. I’m preparing to go to the store, primarily to buy Snapples. I’ve been getting away from soda, out of boredom with the same old stuff…

I observed a few fallen leaves on the street. The blocked gutter at Fremont created a little pond, as usual. I heard more bird life than is typical; wonder where they’ve been all summer. There were lost coins on the pavement, and even a discarded Bandaid. In the market, Michelle was wearing a pink sweatshirt over her blouse; yesterday it was Snoopy and Woodstock. She is always kind to me. I saw Derek on my way back, and we exchanged a hello, nothing more. The vehicles were missing from his driveway, which seemed strange. I’m counting down the minutes to Aesop’s breakfast, as he begins to lose patience.

Nine forty. The damp street, as I plodded along, called to mind countless times I’d gone to church by a hop, skip, and a jump. I reminded myself that it’s been the same old me for the past three years. And yet, the self can be a vessel for big changes. And no one may ever be expected to stay the same forever. People grow and progress with the passing of time, and the natural world we know is changing too. There’s no revoking it. The universe that began as a mere point of light and exploded into diversity keeps expanding like a balloon, and everything in it gets farther and farther apart… I encountered only four people at nine o’clock this morning. Overhanging tree limbs dripped water on my head here and there. I’m ready for the fall season. 

Before the Birds

Wee hours of Monday. Since Friday night, the weekend was rather out of joint. I hope for a good Monday. I’m enjoying Sense and Sensibility for its realism pertaining to psychology and human interaction. Jane Austen makes me think of Kate, even though that happened long ago, when I still drank a great deal. My past seems a continuous whole to me now, not bifurcated into drinking or not drinking. Funny how I had to cut my brother loose. Everyone considered, his voice was the most poisonous.

Four forty. Aesop stayed in bed while I got up to write this… Now we’re both up. Today I’m going to place a couple of books in the book share on Fremont Avenue. I have too many books, and duplicates of books. This morning it’ll be two volumes of Jane Austen that I don’t need. Her stuff is always a favorite with the general public. I find it often prescient of the tenets of cognitive therapy, especially gray thinking and overcoming arbitrary inference. The latter is also known as jumping to conclusions. Seems to me that I put a book in the little birdhouse recently, but I don’t even remember what it was. I should make a regular habit of donating books, because I know I’m only going to buy more. I catch the first glimmer of the predawn gray sky, if it isn’t my imagination. The sun rises officially at six thirty. It feels chilly in here with the windows open…

Five forty. I have no other big plans for today. The high temperature is forecast to be 85 degrees. The sky lights up, a greenish glow in the east. One purple cloud. It’s good to be out of the murderous heat we experienced for a few weeks. All the food I purchased Friday is now gone. That’s an excuse to go to Grocery Outlet again. Generally I feel that I am releasing the past, even my education— except for what I can use. As already observed, no one else believes in Freud anymore. And even cognitive therapy is gathering dust. What’s to be the next big trend in how we interpret the world? Will it be intelligent or instead a ridiculous joke?

Lunes Loco

Quarter of seven.

I must be crazy, because I just ordered myself a Dell laptop for under $400. Do I deserve to have a laptop? No, I think I’ve just gone off the deep end. But then I remind myself of the pandemic and crazy times, and how everything is in turmoil. Indeed, life has been nutty since my refrigerator burst into flame a year ago last March. Meanwhile, I haven’t been hurting for money in all this time. I see many blessings in disguise, ambiguities with benefits. I don’t understand this fairytale existence. It is so much like something from the Brothers Grimm, for example “The Star Money.” Rather than try to make rational sense of it, I ought to give in to this Romantic mystery. Let the waves take me for a ride. Make peace with Carl Jung and roll with it… The caffeine from the Coke gave me a sleepless night, so I won’t do that again today.

Eight thirty. I catch myself trying to be perfect again, as if a mistake meant sudden death. I need to relax. I don’t know what’s bothering me. I feel like the stakes are very high.

Nine fifty. I figured out what’s been bugging me: it’s Vicki. Thursday she will find out if her tumor is malignant. I have a lot of feelings about her, both good and bad. But either way, she’s been a part of my daily life for about 12 years. Even casual acquaintances get under your skin after 12 years… I did my errand at the bank: people were friendly and it went smoothly. Next I stopped at Grocery Outlet and bought three items. The cashier was very nice. I sweated like a pig on my way home. The entire trip took me about 55 minutes. Now, Aesop’s been fed and we’re relaxing for a while. I’m glad I was able to do some thinking on my walk and get to the bottom of my feelings.

Kourt Drive Houses

Nine fifty. Just back from the pharmacy. I took Kourt Drive to and Silver Lane from. Saw a big blue GMC truck for sale at $5500, but I don’t have that. The sun was already hot. Made the top of my head sweat. I remember thinking of how far it was to the horizon, where I saw a shimmering mirage, and then being surprised when I had closed the gap. Kourt Drive is a fascinating street, particularly on the north side. Some of the houses are beautiful, like something out of old movies. So well kept and clean, with tidy yards. They may be 70 or 80 years old, but they stand there to baffle the day, immaculate houses that time forgot. They make the blue sky seem prehistoric, something in old photographs, a permanent ghost. Walking by is to step out of a time machine and feel as if in someone else’s dream. You participate in the mind of Vishnu, who slumbers this world into existence. It is definitely a throwback to more romantic times… Finally as I neared my own home, I encountered Lenore mowing her lawn. She was wearing a gray Queen T-shirt. She stopped and I told her I was sorry for her loss. Then I went inside and fed Aesop his breakfast right on time.

Pastoral: Distanced

Eleven thirty. My color impression of the day is sea green fading to slate green. There’s a lot of green on gray. Now the sun is trying to come out, though it is not very orange; more pale yellow on the cement of my back patio. When was the last time I saw the moon? Just now the sky appears sonic blue as the clouds part a little. I don’t hear many sounds except for the refrigerator hum. Hardly any signs of life out there, and the extant ones are “distanced.” Finally the sunlight goes peach on the ground. My dog sprawls on the carpet, probably bored, but this is better than stressed out. The silence and vapidity of the scene are like a blank screen for a new beginning. Open at Page One. A new leaf is turned over, ready for adventures. Acorns bounce off the roof at intervals while the white clouds evaporate, leaving the sun to dominate mutely. So much seen and not heard. You who have ears… The patio walkway is lemon and cracked. The magnolia stands waxy avocado green. Inside, all these unopened boxes of unwanted junk collect dust. Someday… Somewhere northwest, a car groans like a dinosaur. If it were nighttime, the lizard would be real. No sunshine to prove it otherwise. A slammed door up the street. Still, every sound is spaced by at least six feet…

Monday Morning

Six thirty five.

Green dawn gives way to a blue day. I just ate my last Hot Pocket. Need to get wet dog food this morning. I feel like one more nap. I want to open all the floodgates of my soul and merely be.

Nine twenty five. Slept in. The sunshine is fresh and gorgeous like a big navel orange. I don’t feel haunted by any particular past— nor future. Attitude of equanimity towards music on the horizon. The Fates are deaf but not mute. Apollo’s lyre refuses to sing, or its seven strings may be out of tune. Speech is silvern, golden is silence. Quarter of ten is rather late for me. I still have to get Aesop’s food. Melodies unheard are sweeter. A soundless symphony waits outside my door…

Ten twenty. Just back from the store. Stopped for a second to chat with Derek. Three year old Natalie said hi to me. Now, Aesop is getting amped for his breakfast of turkey and pea canned stew… Done. His breakfast is the one ritual we keep the same every day. The swallows still haven’t left my chimney. They whoosh and chitter now and then. Apex just picked up my garbage. I watched as the mechanical arm on the blue and green truck reached out and grasped my roll can, lifted and tilted it over the bed, shaking it a little. Music: “I Can’t Dance” by Genesis. Another day living the dream. And the cranberry ginger ale is ace.

Church

Wee hours.

It was good to go to church yesterday evening. Pastor asked me to read the lesson from the Old Testament for the service. It was a passage from Jeremiah, and it contained the word “prophesied” at least twice, and the proper noun Hananiah once. I don’t remember the argument of the passage. It was also hard for me to concentrate on the sermon. It began with the familiar old road sign, “The wages of sin is death,” written by the apostle Paul, and ended with the flip side, “But God’s gift is eternal life.” The whole sermon elaborated on and arrived at the latter, almost like premises to a conclusion.

My journey to the church went 90 degree hot. The sun was on my back most of the way, and there weren’t many shady spots on the sidewalk. Somebody had scribbled religious messages in white chalk on the concrete pavement. One house on my left belonged to a beekeeper, so I stepped off into the bike lane as I passed it. I arrived first in the church parking lot. A few minutes later, Eduardo and Tori showed up in a white economy car. He had a key to the church presumably because he’s been using the church pianos for practice. Their wedding anniversary is next month. We entered the gate and the church lobby and on into the sanctuary, then Pastor arrived, soon pursued by the four other singers. We were rolling a little after six thirty. Pastor had brought his six foot stick from Home Depot. We didn’t blame him for not bothering with his robe, and we opened the stained glass windows. Into the service, we lowered our masks to do the singing, and Pastor didn’t wear his throughout.

The trek home was cooler and shadier, of course, and I was heading west into the setting sun. I got home at around eight o’clock and immediately crashed out with Aesop for two hours. He was too tired to give me a hard time for leaving him alone.

Vendredi

Nine fifty. There’s just a light rain shower going on, not enough for me to bother with an umbrella. I wore my black rain jacket and put up the hood, making visibility difficult. The June morning has a curious blue glow. Maybe the glow comes from me. A guy on a cruiser bicycle passed on my left, looking a bit wobbly. I made extra room for him on the sidewalk. Going by Randy’s car lot, I smelled perfume or something else sweet, so I turned to look for a presence: no one. Presently I entered the store. Michelle asked me how it was going, as usual. Cathy was helping her cashier because it’s Friday and business is a little heavier. I spent not much over five dollars on cottage cheese and a huge ginger ale. Thankfully they are taking bottle returns again. Cathy had on a mask and gloves. It’s weird to see someone smile through a mask. The only indicator is the wrinkling of the eyes. An older male customer was buying lottery tickets. He quipped to another guy, “It only pays if you play!”

About a year ago I asked Cathy if she was available, and she left me dangling. Now I suppose she remembers that, but neither of us alludes to the question. At least she behaves quite normally when she sees me. Her face, when unmasked, reminds me of two other women I’ve known, especially a coworker I was attracted to. Her hair is dark brown, often carried in a ponytail or a braid. She has dark eyes. She looks to be in her late thirties. Otherwise I know nothing about Cathy. She just seems like a nice, wholesome person. I like her.

Bi Mart Accomplished

Eight thirty. Killing time before I go to the store. Maybe I’ll go to Bi Mart first. The prospect makes me nervous because of their attitude toward COVID.

Quarter of ten. Bi Mart went better than I anticipated. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I brought home a new furnace filter and my gabapentin. I like the month of June. Going to the places on Silver Lane usually reminds me of Kate and the times when I used to drink beer. What a world of fantasy I lived in! Nothing remains of that today. And it’s getting harder and harder to remember what it was like. Aesop is whining to me for his morning meal… I replaced the filter and turned the heat on. It looks like it might rain. Shawn at the pharmacy was nice as always. They all know me there. I saw signs that said, “We ❤️ Social Distancing” and one that listed products they were out of. I left the house at eight forty five and came back at nine thirty. I confess that I miss my drinking days a little, but I think I’m much healthier now. It’s easier to use my head when I’m not busy rationalizing alcohol abuse. On the walk home, I thought of my brother and his antipathy for me. But you know, it’s worth it to be who I am rather than someone distorted by unrealistic expectations from a family that doesn’t care anyway.

Saturday Morning

Ten fifty.

Business was a little slow this morning, so I got a chance to visit with the salon girls for a bit. We talked about the scheduled protests that are held Downtown, and how I’d have to take a taxi to go participate. Evidently Oregon Taxi is up and running now. Angela was the most loquacious with me regarding the protests. She said her kids took part in the first demonstration, last Sunday night. Next I moved on to the store for burritos and a big ginger ale. As I was standing at the register, a shower started outside. I was caught in the rain for my walk home, though the sun was trying to shine simultaneously. Still, right now, it alternates between showers and sun. Michelle calls this weather “bipolar.” I noticed that they replaced the glass in the front door. I am considering a journey to Bi Mart this afternoon, but it depends on the weather. The ants in my kitchen come and go. At some point I plan to pick up my collection of empty bottles and put them away in the garage. I’ve procrastinated it for a long time. The sky has grown dark, menacing more rain, and the wind is rather fierce. It stirs my maple and magnolia as the rain pours down.