Break for freedom – Day 21 (Three weeks)

Day 21 – Thursday, August 31, 2017  (Three weeks)

Today marks three weeks since I started morning solo walks, walks without my dog, without a walking stick, without music, without pepper spray, without sunglasses, without anything that served to make me feel safer in a world known to be dangerous. Victims of criminal violence (and that includes rape, for those of you who haven’t fully digested that reality) have their It-can’t-happen-to-me-syndrome destroyed. Not damaged, not hurt, not hobbled – destroyed, permanently. So, in some cases, taking part in life again can be a steep climb, like climbing Everest without a supplemental oxygen supply.

I can’t tell someone facing a personal Mount Everest what to do, or how to do it. I can tell them the weaponry I use in my fight. First, I believe the following observations are facts. Because it feels impossible does not mean it is impossible, it means that’s how it feels, two different things. Both valid, easy to blend. Same thing with hope. Feeling hopeless does not mean there is no hope.  And then there is a sentence I call the fear tool, It’s okay to be afraid, don’t let it scare you. In other words, go through the fear, allow the experience. It feels lethal, but it’s not.

My emotional experience is not the definition of the experience itself, it is the definition of my response to it. Most of the time I keep this reality in view.

7:27 a.m. – Back from the walk. I am learning daily walks are like daily runs. Each has its own personality. Back when I ran marathons slowly (I thought it was neighborly of me to let so many thousands finish ahead of me.) I’d run six days a week – five days in the mid teens, and then one push to 20, 21 miles.

I don’t know if it was because I knew today marks three weeks since they began, or because it is August 31 and I’ve made it through another August alive, who knows. Whatever the reason, I pushed the pace straight through this morning’s walk, without let up. I have one of those pedometers that tells you the number of strides per minute. I’m normally around 100.8 strides a minute, and today I was at 104.7 strides.

Remember to live.

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For my father, Sanford Kahrmann.

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Don’t mistake patience for… you know

My friend Dane told me more than once  I had too much patience with people. On one occasion he was referring to my knuckle-headed attempt to give a problematic roommate of mine one more chance. Recently, it seems,  a seemingly remarkable person   visited and vanished. Thing is, I understood some of what my old roommate struggle and have some understanding of transience.  That said, having patience doesn’t mean your absent the feeling of anger towards a roommate or disappointment and anger when transience destroys.

There is a saying that goes, Don’t mistake niceness for weakness. Another accurate one could be, Don’t mistake patience for weakness.

Those who know me well know it would be a mistake to experience my niceness or patience as signals that I’m unwilling or unable to right-size or step into someone when need be. I have little patience for cruelty, for heartlessness, for bullies. Not surprisingly, this brings me to the heartless, spineless, racist bully currently occupying the White House.

This self-absorbed white nationalist visits stagggered-by-Hurricane-Harvey Texas, doesn’t thank first responders, doesn’t offer condolences to those going through living hell, doesn’t mention those who have died so far, and visits none of the flood victims. Instead, his White House sends out a press release with a link to buy a white cap with USA and 45 on it like the one racist was wearing.  Not a surprise the hat was white.

My old roommate would be more than welcome to my life, so would the recent visitor. Both would be welcome in my admittedly modest home. And, yes,  it is true,  I’d welcome Trump into my home, but only because I’d like to kick his ass privately, and more than once.

Just sayin’.

************

For A.M.C.

Songs of the street: The Only Living Boy in New York

Like a favorite childhood friend walking into the room out of the blue, a song I had not heard in years came on with, “Tom, get your plane right on time, I know your part’ll go fine…” In the blink of an eye I am back in the comforting embrace of Simon and Garfunkel’s, “The Only Living Boy in New York.”  Moments later, I’m breathing in, “Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where,” a not inaccurate description of life for a homeless kid on the street. Songs can make for some mighty fine companions.

There is a large aloneness to manage when you’re on the street, doesn’t matter your age. True, when you’re a teen and almost every other teen you see on the planet has a family they live with, you’ve an additional sharp edge to manage; the only living boy in New York.

The background chorus of the song, tear-producing for me in this recent listen, is the sound of angels. Simon and Garfunkel recorded multiple tracks in an echo chamber.

The song was a refuge when I was cold, or hungry, or a walking stench from not having bathed in a few days. It was a refuge when I knew I was going to break night because there was no place to go.

When the song came on it would fill  me up and carry me its entire length, breaking into sweet-shuffle strides when the chorus played, sending miracle-chills through this dancer’s spine. Life!

For the length of the song, I was a free.

Amatory movement

She

turns words

loose in me

gentle soft travelers

sent across all of her

being in deep amatory

movement wandering

her sweet configurations

in velvet darkness

feather tasting

undulating shapes

I’d believe

unreal if

I wasn’t

awake.

 

************

for a dream

Break for freedom – Day 16 (A writing pause)

Day 16  – Saturday August 26, 2017 (A writing pause)

9:26 a.m. – I home from my walk about two hours ago. It was a peaceful affair, sweatshirt weather, it was 45 degrees this morning early. I completed the entire walk in comfort. I am going to, for now, pause the daily briefs about the walks. No doubt I will be back reporting on how they are going, or how a specific one stands out, and why.

I will, you have my word, report if I take a single day off from walking, and what led me to do so. No doubt I will at some point, but all of me knows, now is not the time.

************

For Charley