Category Archives: Uncategorized

Changes

 

I’ve grown up with him, at least the adult part.

He and I were both relatively new to our respective fields. His was medicine, mine law. Both of us were then in our mid-thirties. He had been recommended by a family member and has been my primary care doctor ever since.

Over 25 years now.

But the last few visits have begun to reflect some newer realities. Sixty plus years on both of us will do that. Appropriately added have been several additional layers of caution and consideration. What once took just a few minutes for a quick review and an “I’ll see you back here in a year,” has become an almost certain “let’s run that extra test just to be sure” and “you need to start this new regimen before I see you again in three months.”

My last visit even had me arguing against his latest recommendation, well-armed that I was with my extensive Google research. Yeah, that worked just about as well as you might expect. I picked up my new meds today.

I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s all good.

But it’s almost as if I’ve taken a step back now to watch this play out in real time. I mean, I know how it eventually ends but I still don’t want any spoilers.

For now, it’s interesting just to observe the process slowly unfolding, both physically and in his demeanor towards me.

I can still count myself among the very fortunate, and for that I remain forever grateful. Well, at least for the next three months anyway.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Patience And Fortitude

 

It’s altogether fitting that my dad spent so many years of his working life surrounded by lions.

No, he wasn’t a games keeper, or a hunter, or a performer. He was a New York City employee, a maintenance staffer for the New York Public Library in Manhattan. Part carpenter, part locksmith, part glazier, he could fix, repair, or replace anything broken that came his way.

These aren’t skills that were passed down to his youngest son, I can assure you.

But the lions. Oh the lions!

Patience and Fortitude.

The ones right there, in front of that world-famous, world-class library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Some Decembers, my dad even helped place the Christmas wreaths that adorned those magnificent beasts. Once, he was filmed and interviewed by a then-little known reporter for WABC-TV named Geraldo Rivera. Maybe not quite 15 minutes, but memorable nonetheless.

Patience and Fortitude.

He gave those two as much as they gave back to him.

And he gave us so much more.

What better legacy could such a quiet, gentle, persistent, and hard-working man pass on to his two sons than this?

Patience and Fortitude.

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Birthday Dad.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: My Own Photo

 

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Distance

 

Time is measured in distance, not in rhyme.

We gladly exchange one moment for the

next, stepping forward, stepping back

regretting rarely to set anchor. But

sentimentality, they say, is best

left to those who still know

how to cry.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Outlier

 

I’ve always been on the outside looking in, an outlier.

Seven years combined of college and law school, and nearly 35 years in practice – all but four years of that time in a Manhattan or Boston law firm – have yet to tilt the balance in any other direction.

At heart, I remain what I always have been: an introvert more comfortable behind a book or in front of a screen. Writing, editing, number crunching, preparing.

But while that alone time has no doubt atrophied several aspects of my social skills, it has also sharpened many thinking, writing, and organizational ones. One of the primary reasons for my early start each workday is for the amount of time freed up in the hours before I have to bear the barrage of phone calls and emails – and sometimes even business-related text messages. Those nearly always drain me. As does, to this day, even the most routine court appearance. I still have to remind myself that I once argued before the two highest Courts in Massachusetts and pretty much held my own both times.

The early morning start helps me to breathe and to focus and to organize for the day ahead.

Most people remain comfortable with the caricature of the New York City lawyer as an arrogant, overbearing, cut-them-off-at-the-knees, loudmouth shark. Well, I can tell you that some caricatures are, in fact, built upon solid foundations of reality so I won’t here try to argue against it. I’ve seen plenty of it first hand.

It’s just that this image doesn’t quite fit most of the lawyers that I actually know. There are many more outliers than one might ever guess. It may even be that we outliers outpace and outnumber the assumed normality. Outliers may well be very much in the mainstream these days.

Maybe we aren’t even outliers. Maybe it’s always been that way.

Well, it’s time for my morning reading. Please be sure to close the door behind you when you leave.

I need the quiet.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Draw

 

Putting pencil to paper, I draw a few black lines.

Mostly, I leave untouched the white empty space surrounding them. Lines should have room enough to grow, to move about the page.

Yet something has gone terribly wrong.

I wait for them to take shape. To form something worthy and honorable and altogether lovely. Anything at all.

But nothing happens.

Without the artist’s creativity, lines remain geometric points, the space between a barricade.

Today, I’ll sit back down and try to sketch out a little more.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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The Old House

 

The old house is still standing, the one from my childhood.

It’s much smaller than I remembered. Maybe because my eyes – and my belly – are so much bigger now. Too big for this old cape cod built for lazy summer days but later pressed into service for a year-round family. My favorite lookout spot, the dormers, are still firmly in place.

As I stand here, everything more easily comes into view. The uneven floors. The unfinished bedrooms. The mismatched doorknobs and broken countertops. The youthful energy that once bounced off of nearly every darkened corner of this place.

And every dream I ever dreamed was born here. Some many years ago forgotten. Some, by the grace of God, were buried here. In the back yard, along with the usual 1960’s assortment of small, lovable, non-cuddly creatures.

But what I better understand, looking back, is that it’s still altogether possible to cram infinite amounts of love and enchantment and wonder into an unforgivably finite space.

Even one that has always refused to hide its obsolescence and its poverty.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Mirror

 

That those around us are sometimes cruel is not surprising.

Maybe it should be, but it’s not.

There are times when we expect the worst from others, and times when we have no expectations at all.

Rarely are we disappointed.

But it’s not as if kindness and generosity ever appear spontaneously, on their own and without cost. We know better because, well, just because we do.

And part of what we know is that every act of humanity, at its heart, at its beginning, is grounded in fraud. Not necessarily a lie, mind you, but a fraud, a deception nonetheless.

Sometimes the protagonist, sometimes a bit player, we offer the world a mirror when it’s searching for a window. I am you, you are me. And we pretend to dance to the same rhythm. We hide until we are exposed. Until that mirror flips back around.

But that exposure, at long last, serves only to confirm our very worst fear – that we are, indeed, one and the same.

No, your selfishness, your hostility, even your cruelty can never take me by surprise.

Because when I stand before you, I know full well who I really am.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Layers

 

In winter, they say, the best way to protect against the cold is to dress in layers. Coat on top of sweater, sweater on top of shirt, shirt on top of whatever else is holding up or pressing down everything underneath. Arctic winds themselves stand little chance against those criss-crossed fabrics and warmth-inducing twills.

That writers so often choose to employ some metaphorical winter to refocus our imagination back onto end-time things just feels right. Winter, after all, can easily shut down chaos, and movement, and even our final breath.

Especially once spring has decided it no longer will follow.

But I think that we miss something altogether huge, altogether obvious, if we fail also to see that the very protections we layer in place over the years, layers designed to keep us from failure and rejection and pain, really only hasten winter’s sting while doing nothing to actually save us.

Sometimes, layers serve no purpose other than to hide us, one from the other. And maybe from ourselves.

Even in the dead of winter.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Distracted

 

Don’t be distracted by the sounds you are hearing. They aren’t meant for you. They aren’t calling your name.

Don’t be distracted by the visions swirling around in your head. They aren’t real. They were never meant to be.

Don’t be distracted by the love you are feeling. It’s temporary at best. And you’ll soon find yourself in a mess of trouble.

But most of all, don’t be distracted by any of my words here today. You’re much too smart for that. And so (I fear) am I.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Dog Talk

 

If my dog actually talked, instead of just saying the things that I think he says, he’d probably remind me to take the time to smell the world.

Not literally, of course. I’m talking metaphor here. My nose isn’t nearly as sensitive as his.

No, I think he’d tell me to take a few minutes every day to thoroughly inspect all the things around me. And to be happy while I do. To see if I can figure out why my neighbor arrived here first, at this tree, or this pile of leaves, or this rusty stop sign, or this obnoxious opinion.

Maybe then I can better understand the person next door, if I could only figure out his fears and his hopes and his excitement through whatever clues he leaves behind. Maybe then I’ll get along with him.

Or maybe I’ll just forget everything and enjoy the walk.

I think, really, he’d just tell me to stop being so concerned about tomorrow and settle down.

He’s a good dog.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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