Sacred Ground

 

Looking out through my backyard window this early summer morning – sitting at my kitchen table, sipping some warmed over Starbucks coffee from my favorite Boston souvenir travel mug – I unexpectedly began to understand something about my place here.

Like the space separating the trees that were seeded long before I was born and the saplings that were planted just last week, I am permanently wedged between generations.

I’ve never been one to overestimate the importance of my brief time here. There’ll surely be no lasting consequence to anything I will ever personally accomplish no matter how well played. And nothing that I will ever fail to do will exactly influence the historical record either.

But it’s as a connector, a bridge between the old and the new, where some lasting value fully reveals itself. That space, the fertile ground we occupy between generations, can easily sustain growth while generating new, indestructible wisdom – but only if we can first learn to absorb and synthesize whatever has come before us.

It’s not necessary that we understand all of it, or even that we derive any personal value from it. Our role is in the timing – knowing when to pass it on. Otherwise, the space we occupy is little more than some back burned ground where perplexed bystanders are content simply to stand around, ready only to snuff out every wildfire heading our way. But not every fire need be extinguished.

I believe there is much sacred ground between generations.

And that it’s our job to stand firmly within that space as we hand off humanity’s continually unfolding testimony from one occupier to the next.

Sacred ground.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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Just A Little More

 

Carry on they say.

As if nothing at all matters. As if all that happened began with one anxious dream.

But sometimes the ground beneath us trembles far too much. When every step guarantees a fall. It’s difficult to brace your legs while your mind is untethered, unsteady, unsure.

Just a little more they say.

A little more time, a little more effort. And surely, just a little more focus on others. It’s solid, practical, reasonable advice of course. And if I could absorb it, learn from it, embrace it, you know that I would.

As Jacob once wrestled, so too must I. And I will also find a way, even though I limp. Perhaps especially so.

But first today, let me sleep.

Just a little more.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Leaves

 

Drinking in the wet summer, the trees around my house are thriving.

Spring may now have come to a full stop, but preparation for what lies ahead continues. Each robust breath in concedes to a more labored breath out. And today’s peak greens will soon abandon themselves to tomorrow’s reds, and yellows, and the irresistible coming breach.

But the fall will always remain my favorite. Time enough to savor the beauty of the day, and wisdom enough to appreciate the comfort of the night. And even stripped of all cover, I can still find winter’s harsh indifference to be more amusing than frightening. Much like the trees around my house.

So today, I’ll just enjoy the endless rain. But I’m still going to keep an eye on those trees.

Peace

Copyright 2019

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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

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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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