Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Starting over

 I

Awakened by his performing a great cover of “Starting over
I've heard the song before, but not in this way, I'm starting over

Settling in, back from our trip to the “pearl of Africa”, with only 
One house to reside in/worry about now that we're starting over

Twenty-eight year residence in the past, paperwork filings
Confirmed the closing, discharges, and details of starting over

Finished reading “The Ocean at the End of the Lane
And realized it is all about memories, water, and starting over

As we search for good things in our past to share, 
Isn't that what we end up doing? Starting over

Recollection of a specific instance, you "fill in the blank",
It changes us, recognized or not, and we're starting over


  II

Water is critical to life, we can't go many days without it
Thirst quenched, rehydrated, our body is starting over

Water can flow in a stream, river, and progressively
Larger bodies of water, each time it seems to be starting over

Can you stop the stream? Try, and you'll get left behind. 
Catch up, and you are really in a new place, starting over

Your body sweats expending effort in the catching up
Sweat may drench your clothes, weighing down starting over

Cold water, kept in a jug in the fridge is refreshing 
Hot or cold, water is life, enabling starting over

Don't live in the past, there is a happy place to be
When the sun rises tomorrow, and your life is starting over

Sherlock: remember the jar of Maraschino cherries next to the water jug
They remind us to celebrate the small moments starting over


Referential inspirations:

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Lessons from dust

Travel can be fraught with peril or challenges. One prepares with preparation, research, packing, and the hope that such will enable a successful journey whether for business or pleasure. One also asks for blessing from the almighty. Trepidation about the potential for peril brings to mind: “All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

While we ultimately go to one place, the modern airport is a mixer. Folks arriving, going to their destination; others arrive to transfer to their destination, or take the next step to their destination. Walking through this airport, I notice my shoes are still colored with the red road dust we picked up on our travels. Only 4% of the roads in Uganda are paved hence our accumulation of dust. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

How big is Uganda? As a native Rhode Islander, I always find it interesting to put things in perspective. How big is Uganda compared to RI? 100, yes, one more than 99, and not just a round number. 100 RIs would fit within Uganda. 11 Massachusetts would fit. So that may help explain how we spent 20 days there and really did not see it all, no matter how much dust we collected. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

Uganda is one of the poorest countries in Africa. The country has been struggling to properly utilize their resources. 60% of the population live on an average $1.25/day. When one finds out that there is also 40% unemployment, that helps to explain. Each community has a street market. Street vendors sell many of the same items; mattresses, food & produce, hand crafted wooden furniture, welded steel gates & doors. All of these are also cleaned daily to wipe away the dust. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

Uganda is referred to as the “pearl of Africa.” Interesting image. Oysters make pearls. I quote: “The formation of a natural pearl inside an oyster begins when a foreign substance slips into the oyster between the mantle and the shell, which irritates the mantle. It's kind of like the oyster getting a splinter. The oyster's natural reaction is to cover up that irritant by encapsulating the interloper, thereby protecting itself. The mantle covers the irritant with layers of the same nacre substance that is used to create the shell, and these concentric layers of nacre will eventually form a pearl”. To continue the analogy, the continent has provided Uganda with a varied landscape, from the savanna, across rivers and valleys to mountains. With resources (minerals in the ground), and wild animals (in natural environments). A speck of sand (or dust) can not create a pearl. That item can be expelled by the oyster. Dust however is accumulated by all visitors. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

One of the key resources available are the wildlife; giraffe, elephant, water buffalo, warthogs, chimpanzees, the mountain gorilla and a variety of antelope to name only a few. Viewing these majestic animals in their habitat is an amazing experience. They live off the land, or each other, that most of the time is pleasant and peaceful. They have life's basic needs to be busy about; food, shelter, caring for each other, and their young. Fortunate to be only a few feet away from a rather large alpha male silverback gorilla, we both took a deep breath, and listened to the jungle. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

Our travels, approximately 1800 miles over 20 days, provided me with a deeper understanding of how Uganda is “the pearl of Africa.” The people are so much like us. They desire similar things, a good home, opportunity for their children, they enjoy dancing, and singing, etc. Their opportunity by being born in Uganda rather than elsewhere presents a challenge for them. However, their spirit is good. They take things in due course. The sun will rise tomorrow. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

While traveling, I was surprised to find internet access much more prevalent than I expected. In a lull moment catching up on world news, an article in The Guardian caught my attention. It talked of the art curator who cleans Michelangelo’s David and who is quoted as saying about her work: “You know when you clean a bathroom, you clean and clean and think you’ve done a great job but then you spot some dust and wonder ‘where did that come from?’,” Cecilie Hollberg said on Monday. “This is what it’s like. Dust is everywhere.” “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

In summary, when you happen to travel, prepare & prepare, trust the process, look out for one another, there will be bumps in the road, this too shall pass, be watchful, the world around us is a wonderful thing. Be curious. Take some time to process it all. Approach life with the dust pan, gathering dust, and then moving to catch the next line, now smaller, then the next line, still smaller. Repeat and repeat. “All are from the dust, and all return to dust.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Advice from the curbside

 I


The Christmas tree carefully took time to put up, to decorate, and far less time to remove all the ornaments, strings of lights, and put the tree on the curb


Middle aged honey bees work from the top down secreting wax from their abdomens to build the combs of the hive. Yes, they don't need the curb 


The youthful bees fly all over to collect the pollen to make honey, they have the energy for that. Smarts come with time staying above the curb


Real estate appraisers take the measures of each room, and walls, inside and out, to make their assessment of the residences appeal from the curb


The Peregrine 1 moon shot will run out of fuel before it can power its landing on the moon. The team will maximize testing opportunities as it flies well out of sight of the curb


Recognition of the two circles overlapping, mingling, in ways I would uncover from the breadcrumbs of the table of their conversation while sitting there on the old stone curb


  II


Be prepared for whatever life throws at you, whether dressing for the changing weather, or patiently waiting your turn, applaud their effort when you stand on the curb 


Follow curiosity where it can take you, willingly explore with the eyes of a 3 year old, flop to make a snow angel, and step back to check it out from the curb


Be helpful and leave a rake in its proper place, definitely avoid stepping on the tines to try and pick it up, it can quickly leave you down and out on the curb


Balance is what you do when walking along the edge of a narrow surface, prioritize is what you do to accomplish goals so you won't be left behind on the curb


Mind the words you say but don't be afraid to say what you mean, to add value, to help someone, to share the lessons you acquired walking along the curb 


Ben advocated religiously for work, folks remember “Industry need not wish” and should know he continued that sentence with “and he who lives upon hope will die fasting” upon the curb


So Sherlock, continue your work, taking the measure of the times, building from the top down, and bottom up, sharing the content in context, with the folks along the curb