Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here I Love You

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

Pablo Neruda, 1959.

Camp Quinebarge

This is reposted from my website circa 1997.

Camp Quinebarge in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Located on Lake Kanatsatka in the Lakes Region, Camp Q is home for many young people for seven weeks each summer. While at Camp Quinebarge, the campers, and the counselors, instructors, and administrators, find a rich and rewarding experience. During the Summer of 1996, I had the pleasure of teaching Primitive Ceramics, for about four hours each day. I found the opportunity to influence and touch so many lives to be worth the effort, and often I wish I could do it often, in favor of what I am typically doing.

In some unique way this experience reinforced my fundamental belief that teaching art involves the cultivation of a way of doing and being that ultimately reaches back through history at least to the point where humanity first discovered that the dirt under the cook fire had fused together to form a bowl., and reaches inward towards a heart that yearns to speak.

Discovering that it's fairly easy to form a simple vessel with your hands and the earth and wood that's readily available, enables us to draw on this vast history when creating Art. And it allows us to understand and give a form to our existence, our emotions, one in which we are confident, self-reliant, and can have at least a smattering of pride.

We discovered in that earth and fire that it was possible to have a great deal of fun and to make friends with ourselves, with each other, and with the earth that stood before us. We learned about the clay, about history and myth surrounding it, about an ancient tradition of making art. And after that we all went for a swim.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

... Back on the Road

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't been riding my bike all that much. Some things have changed ... My job, for example. I have a somewhat nasty 12 mile bike ride to get to work plus a 45 minute train ride -- meaning 3-4 hours of commute everyday ... If I drive it's only 35 minutes.

My bike bag has been gone. For quite awhile. Which means a backpack (umm ... no), or the crap bag made by timbuktu&trade (again no). Or not being able to carry anything on my road bike. Despite having a couple of mountain bikes ... as soon as I had a decent messenger bag I took the racks off my bikes and gave them away. They never were all that good at carrying my stuff -- a computer, a stack of groceries, and so on.

SO today I bought a new Chrome Citizen, just like my old one. It has some new features, like the insertable laptop cozy, keyring loop, light attachment point, and new phone and Ipod carrier. Generally it's the same awesome bag, but strictly for righties (left shoulder?) ... never mind us goofy footed bastards. I bought one anyway, figuring it would be good to try it on the dark side. It could take awhile to grab my bag, swing it on, clip the buckle, stick my left foot in and cowboy it all up on to my steed, but I'll get the hang of it. C'est le vie.

Yesterday, at the gym ... I was doing the fly with like a 12 on the weight scale markings and I surprised something in my chest and it responded with a popping sound and some pain ... And I noticed the weather outside was suprisingly good. Like 70 degrees, sun, slight breeze, you know ... the barefoot me in shorts everywhere weather. Pass me a whine cooler. Winter, it seems, is fading. And so is weight lifting. I tried to row a thousand meters on the machine in my typical 5 minutes ... and I looked outside again. I went down stairs and got into the hot tub.

SO today I rolled my road bike out of it's winter hiding place. Added new stuff to it's bike bag, watered up the drinking bottle. Put my bike bag stuff in the new bike bag. Called up my bike riding buddy. "I think it's time for a ride," I said stupidly.

We rode 13 miles, and stopped for sushi in the middle. We rode back in the dark ... and it was really dark. Not too bad for the first ride in a while. A good start to the Spring.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Dating Lesson

I guess I am dating ... It's more than a bit stressful, actually. It kind of snuck up on me, dating. Previously, I always liked to try to find a dating loophole (think Elaine in Seinfeld). The problem with dating loopholes, is they aren't actually dates. If I go out with friends to blah blah blah, or visit someone I like at blah, blah, blah, or casually lunch with so and so at work it's not really a date. So, no pressure. And no romance, and no reward, and no second date. If I don't admit they are dates, the likelihood of failure drops substantially, but so does the likelihood of success. No date, no prizes. Sure, I like you. I am pretty busy. Yes, (maybe) we can be friends. If it's not a date, then actually, I don't want to that much.

The problem with dating is that it's dating. There's a bunch of pressure to be Mr. Right, to be smart, to know how to behave, and to know what's the cool thing to do. I was at the grocery store tonight and this woman was retelling a horrible first date story, and it's brutal. The guy, that guy, didn't stand a chance, but not because of the woman, he didn't listen, basically wasn't dialed in at all, and didn't even know how to pay for dinner politely (I mean without being inadvertently insulting). He missed at every opportunity to succeed.

It's hard to be the guy though. I am supposed to know where to go, what's cool to do, and when and if I should offer to pay for everything. So I feel a little bit for that guy. But not that much. He obviously didn't catch the subtle clues, do his homework, or really appreciate his predicament. I am not sure I did any better on any of my efforts last week. I had one date -- that wasn't actually a date. I met one woman at a funeral and managed to figure out how to go to where she works and try to ... well I don't know ... get a date (I have been reduced to stalking). Another person didn't show actually, and the third, well it went better than that guy. At least I knew how to pay for everything. And to give my date some credit, she wasn't too hard on me for having absolutely no idea what I am doing.

Aside from last week, I think the last real date I went on was in 2001 ... So, maybe I am a bit rusty. I'm 51. I was married for ten years, had a couple of romances in college ... have had all of about a dozen real dates in my life, if you count the prom, so maybe I never was all that good at it. In addition to being dialed in to a substantial career, having two kids in college, being a ambitious photographer and wilderness adventurer, I am supposed to know where the great place to eat is, have reservations, and know where the good place for Margaritas, despite real indicators that my date isn't going all that well, and do it without a kayak, hiking, riding a bike, being able to eat raw fish (or use any other superpowers).

I am supposed to do all this, even though I never really cared all that much for dating. I like sex (go figure), girlfriends, love, partnership, marriage, family, and to be committed to these things. But dating, not so much. Being on the spot, hair combed, clean shirt, best behavior, funny, charming, smart, with a plan, and a back up plan. I am not sure I am up to the job. It's pretty clear that I need to sharpen up my game. After having heard the review of that guy, I am sure I am in a lot better shape than he is, my date actually might want to go out again. Imagine what he feels like.