60. Defragmentedly


I should be billing insurance companies right now instead of slurping coffee, listening to Springsteen, and pondering the next blog nugget.But I don’t always do what I should despite five years in Catholic elementary school. Growing up between the hippies and the days of glitter rock may also have something to do with this phenomenon. Then there is the undeniable family order thing, third of four boys. Never do what your older brothers did.

Last night the air was cool and sweet here in central PA, so we had the windows open for the first time in months. A cricket orchestra played outside for my entertainment. At first I only noticed the vibrato of one tenor cricket’s chirrup, chirrup. I noticed that he dropped off every third or fourth chirrup,unlike the white noise machine in my waiting room that chirps like an electric metronome made in China. After a while I noticed that other higher pitched crickets were also giving it a shot. They were so high and faint, and there were many more of them out there. It’s too late for fireflies, but this cricket orchestra reminded me of aural fireflies alighting on my eardrums, pulsing to their own rhythms. Their sounds were just as intoxicating as the sight of a field of floating fireflies. I made a mental note: don’t forget these crickets; there’s something magical here. That’s how I fell asleep: awaiting the magic promise. No hallucinogens were in play.

It’s wonderful to live in the moment–worry free, regret free. And rare as Mongolian rain. So much competes for our attention that distressful tension is born. We fragment and pieces of our soul whirl out away from our cores.We need singular experiences to break out of this tension. Moments that are undivided, unfried, untangled…pure as a baby’s breath. Such experiences draw back the lost shards of our lives.

My friend Clark shares a lot of such moments with me. We went for a bike ride yesterday after a heavy rain. The simple motion of pedaling along country roads past open farmland is a pure experience. In a kinetic way it’s the Chinese metronome on wheels. We try not to mess it up with too much chatter. To start we pedaled past a waiting hawk as we turned onto Table Rock Road. The hawk was too immersed in watching for his next meal to even notice us. Cool. I like hawks a lot.

Along the rolling hills we saw five more hawks gliding across the fields and through the trees. Each hawk glide was a pure moment for me. Like exhaling colorfully, as Lauren likes to write in her blog. Good stuff comes up if you clear your mind of all the debris that life’s storm drains throw at you. You know what I mean. The noise, the stress, the expectations, the heightened sensibilties. Watching a hawk glide on rain cooled air in search of a mouse is none of the above. It’s basic.

Clark pestered me for a few years to join him hunting deer. I grew up in the D.C. suburbs and only ever hunted parking spaces at the mall. I was not familiar with guns or the whole hunter thing until he impressed such things on me over venison roast. I thought it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to be a deerslayer if I could fill my freezer with delicious venison. Last fall I pulled the trigger twice. My second bullet hit a big doe and I was in the venison zone at the tender age of 55. Simple, basic, untangled action in a cold December woods.

Crickets, deer, hawks, bike rides, and Clark–somehow they are alike in my recently defragmented mind.

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