Staying Shut In

There was a time when I’d simply get up, shower, dress, have a bite to eat and then head outside for the day. Now, I stay inside as if waiting for something to happen, something that has never come.

As a kid I seemed to always have a notebook in hand, everyplace I went. Since I spent a lot of my time alone, I spent much of my time off in my mind, exploring my feelings and putting them on paper.

Many times this came out in the form of a free-verse poem. Slowly, I moved away from writing in verse, told wasn’t a masculine craft.

I went with this line of thought even though I knew soldiers and cowboys often communicated how they felt and saw their worlds in a poem.

It was nothing to put a couple of pencils and a note pad in a pack and head off to the woods. But that was in my younger days, a child and teen.

As I’ve aged, I’ve replaced those daily outings and adventures with work, worry and stagnation. And it is entirely my fault as I have done little to assuage the waste of precious daylight by remaining enclosed in a room in a house.

Nightly I talk with God, asking that He help me get outside, I tell Him I will do better at finding myself out in the air, wind rain, snow or sunshine. But daily – I fail to help myself.

Now the sun is waning, heading for the western horizon, and I sit in my living room and lament its passing. I have done nothing once again and I don’t know what it is in me that refuses to exercise my spirit even with a casual walk through my neighborhood.

Could it be my nagging fear of loneliness and how as an adult I misused it?

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Dad and the Devil

It fell to me to eulogize Dad after his passing. Aside from family that lived in Muskogee, none of his California family, other than me, came to Oklahoma for his funeral. 

The night before he was laid to rest, his wife and I sat up talking. Evidently Dad had not only invented an entirely new life for himself, but he did some creative redecorating when it came to his personal history.

In short he had done some lying and I was ashamed by this. It also made it doubly hard to talk him up as if he were a Saint, so I was forced to do what I do best in a bad situation, I improvised.

“You all know my Dad, he could spin a yarn with the best of them and he could talk you into doing jus’ about anything. There’s an old Irish saying: May you be dead and in heaven thirty minutes before the Devil knows you’re dead.”

“Well, I sure that’s what my Dad had in mind, but you know my Dad always had a hitch in his get-along and change in his plans. The way I figure it, Dad saw only one chance to talk with the Devil and he did.”

“So remember the next time you hear a distant thunderstorm, don’t worry—it’s jus’ the Devil complaining about the knot in his tail that Dad talked him into tying. And I thank you for being here today.”

It was the best I could do without having to tell a lie.