I have forgotten everything I once knew about advent. I know there are candles and a wreath and pink and purple are the important colors in the weeks leading up to Christmas, but I’ve forgotten what those symbols mean—the greater significance of the season. These externalities are more ritual, stair steps to cue me. I must get to my candy making, and tree cutting, and Christmas-Eve crab wrangling. The house will get scoured so that it can be filled with people. Presents will get bought, and my wallet will grow thin and the days will grow short.
The darkness will set in.
The building was beige. The logo out front spoke with an architectural-fortitude, blocky and blue. It conveyed trust and solidity. The orderly cubicles contained the worker bees, every one of us in our allotment of the honeycomb. Directors had a double wide because they were special, but not too special. Vice Presidents and above were in an office. The meticulous grounds spoke with a forced fecundity rivaled only by the finest PGA golf courses and the poppies of Oz. There were lots of khaki pants, blue button-down shirts, and an army of gardeners scurrying about their business.
This was Silicon Valley.
It is the end of summer. I am away from the press of Silicon Valley on vacation in Alaska by myself. I am far from home — a distance that allows for my own thoughts, a distance that drains my mind of my daily myriad of shortfalls: should do, should be, should have. All those back breaking, mind electrifying shoulds. The get shit dones of life that are impacted by gridlock, overflowing email, and late-night Facebooking. These are in the rearview mirror, for now. Hour by hour the Boschian energy that has been sliming me back home is slipping away. A slice of the Inside Passage is framed perfectly through the oversized picture window in front of me. The enormity of nature is working its medicine.
Welcome to the blog that confronts big challenges but doesn’t promise any answers. May these words be a chain of connection in a disconnected world. Because everything is personal, and we are far from alone. Hope. Honesty. Resilience.
Originally published in The Huffington Post, September 20, 2016 The intuitive angel card reader told me to stay out of Target. Fortunately, I already knew this for myself. She was saying it because of the crowds and her meaning wasn’t limited specifically to Target but extended to all frenetic, modern superstores. She was saying it because she said, “you pick up the energy of other people like Pig Pen collects dust.” I know that about myself too. I just don’t know how to control the hitchhiking energy and I am not good at clearing it. For me, it is not only the crowds in Target that are disconcerting, but the smells. It is the sickly scent of the popcorn and sodas and dogs and whatever else they have going on masquerading as food. It is the electronics and furniture and household items and the toys. Next time you are at a Target check it out. Wander around. Inhale good and long and focus on the smells. It smells like crazy. It is doubly creepy because there …
Originally Published in The Huffington Post on August 8, 2016. It is near the end of July, 2016, and we are gathering for my father’s birthday. It’s been a good day at work, and I look forward to some family time with my brother Brian who is flying to San Francisco from Perth, Western Australia tonight. He comes this time of year as much as he can. It is comforting for us all to be together, enjoying each other and remembering my dad in a happy way, when our family was still whole. I hum as I walk to my car and turn on my Dixie Chicks CD and pull out of the parking garage. On the street, the auto dealerships all fly American flags. One after the other, I drive past these flags. All of them are at half mast. Driving by them is like being in a small funeral procession. It has been this way in and out of work for more than a month. This time, it is for the Nice, France …