Regardless of the difficulties life can bring to our doorstep on any given day, it remains true that there are tender moments that bring perspective, grace, meaning and humanity.

Last week I was in Lancaster and stopped for a quick breakfast. There was an older man sitting at a table near me eating coffee and a muffin. Sitting on his table, directly in front of him, was a picture of an older woman with a cat. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. Of course I don’t know the story, but I presume she had died and he still wanted to look at her across the breakfast table.

Most of the late afternoons last week consisted of me sitting in front of a warm fire on a chilly day and reading a book with a glass of whisky on the table beside. That was at Black Dog Ridge.  That was damned nice.

On the weekend, morning and early afternoons were spent outside moving 2 tons of wood from one side of my yard to the other. The excavator is coming next weekend and I had to move all the hemlock boards, along with lots of other wood and construction materials, so it would be out of the way. And the hemlock boards have to be stacked with spacers to allow airflow. Hemlock is fine with rain, but not if the boards are stacked directly on top of one another. Then they will mold and begin to rot. Hemlock is also resistant to a certain kind of hornet that likes to bore into wood in these parts. That is why it was chosen for the outside siding. All of this I learned from Kenny—who has a vast knowledge of trees and timber. 

Hemlock is also dense and heavy as hell when wet. That I learned on my own.

But that huge pile of 1” x 14” x 10’ hemlock boards was not going to move itself. So it’s done now. And my body is appropriately exhausted from a full day’s worth of hard labor. I hear it must be good for me. Perhaps. But for now it’s Tylenol, whisky, and a good book by the fire. 

I put on my hoodie this morning to walk the dog around 5:00am in Columbus. Just that gesture has potential implications. It’s a social stigma and who knows what misguided social justice crusader might be out there with a gun patrolling his neighborhood. 

Alas, I am white, so I was fine. 

On Saturday morning I read an excellent article in NY Times about child labor practices in the US. Then, a few days later, a follow-up article in which the Biden administration indicated they would begin an investigation into the situation. Is this what it takes for our state and federal agencies to do their jobs? We need journalists to point out these travesties before someone who is paid to prevent this abuse wakes up and does their job?

This is one of the main reasons I am a paid subscriber of NY Times and Guardian. They have good journalist who do important work for our society–and they must be paid for their efforts.

94 mass shootings so far in US this year. This is day 58 for the year.  I wonder how many in the rest of the world? I could not easily find that data. 

All the stupid murders—mostly by angry, insecure, white men. Often, in retrospect, after another shooting, we find the red flags were waving high, yet no one took any action. The assailant simply went to any number of stores selling guns and ammo, stocked up, and went on a rampage.

We choose to allow this behavior. Day after day. Year after year. We choose to not burn the country down in protest. 

By allowing assault rifles and ammunition and other firearms to be sold to anyone over 18 with nary a question asked. So we live with it. And die with it. We are a seriously tarnished country because of our ignorance and greed and the irony is we are even too stupid to realize what bumbling, menacing, dangerous idiots we actually are. As a collective society we choose anger and mean-spiritedness over love and compassion. We are so evenly split on these major issues that I suppose we are close to 50/50. Insecurity and anger and ignorance against informed enlightened and compassionate. 

Because of our electoral college, the slight minority actually has the upper hand in presidential elections and thus federal courts including the Supreme Court. So progressiveness feels like it’s losing to regression.

Not sure why I always end up railing on this topic. Nothing changes. But I guess it just makes me sad and angry.

On the cusp of entering my 7th decade. Who would’ve thunk it? But it’s cool. I’ve long felt that my life has been blessed and I’ve collected more than my share of experiences. So each day now is a bonus I think. If all goes according to plan, I will turn 60 next Tuesday, somewhere over the Atlantic, en route to Edinburgh. There I will meet my nephew and we will drive to Glasgow to meet Sjoerd and begin our 5-day discovery around that small country. 

Now it’s 5:30am and I am in the lobby of the AC Marriott in Worcester. I’ve been up since 3:30. Read the papers and a chapter from my current book, exercised, showered, packed, and now down to finish this post. Soon to the office to start the work day.

My flight leaves BOS at 7:30 and gets in at 10:00. Then the drive home will get me in to bed around midnight or so. Will be a long haul after a full day of meetings and then the airport experience and flight. But then off to more fun things after a shorter day tomorrow.

Brittany and I took Marti on a good hike around Hocking Hills on Sunday before meeting the babysitter who is watching her this week. Leaving the Jungle Fox is always a little hard. I worry she will be confused and anxious without us, although she is almost certainly just fine. This sitter is great and clearly loves Marti. Brittany and Carla will fetch The Fox from Wendy tomorrow and the family will be re-united.

Saturday the pub crawl and family dinner on Sunday before the quick trip over to the old country. 

No other news of note.

Humbly Submitted. 

2 thoughts on “Decades

  1. I love reading your blog Rob! Especially since I had foot surgery last week and and immobile on crutches and can’t work until April 9th (or drive for that matter since it’s my right foot). Your photos are gorgeous!! Happy Birthday and enjoy your special trip!


    1. Hi Julie – Brittany told me you had surgery. Too bad you will miss our pub crawl! I hope you are feeling better. Thank you so much for the kind words. It’s always hard to find time to write when working so much, but I do enjoy it. Hopefully we can all get together when you are up and around again! Take good care and see you soon!


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