chess, poetry, and noticing

Click for OptionsIt is a lazy Saturday morning. We managed to make it to chess club with about sixty seconds to spare.  I have the ephemeral Jonsi & Alex piece, Boy 1904, on repeat as I soak this space in.  A curious combination of the smell of cheap pizza and kids playing chess.  Smiles on many of their faces, and my youngest daughter looking like she's contemplating a great unknown.  Three thoughts on this day, as has become customary:

1.  I finished Anne Lamott's small collection of essays this week, Small Victories.  The most memorable thing I took away was her recitation of the step which occurs before any change can happen in our messy lives.  It's not the first step.  She called it step zero.  Basically: I've had enough of my own pain.  I shared that little piece of wisdom with some like minded friends last night who all nodded and laughed, as I had, in recognition of it's piercing affect. 

Click for Options2.  I stumbled on some otherwise unheralded poetry this week, and I was reminded of Thomas Merton's observations to his novitiates.  Don't worry about whether art is recognized as the goods by the experts.  The only question is this: does it move you? 

3.  Social media and the deep desire to be noticed.  A battle to be remarkable in a sea of spectacular depictions of the grand ordinariness of common life.  It reminded me of a run I had maybe a year or so ago around the time that I'd been able to personally articulate the need to be noticed for perhaps the first time.  And out of the blue came the oddest looking character I'd ever seen.  An old man coming down a long stretch of dusk road on a beach cruiser, no shirt, sporting dark sunglasses and a white beard.  Maybe God himself.  And he looked directly at me and raised his right hand, the way that Indians did in the cheesy shows I watched as a kid, before they said "how."  And I took it as a sign that the only one we need to be noticed by is always paying close attention to us.

I'll leave you with a piece from a couple of weeks ago.

the expedition

a small trip
for bananas and chicken noodle soup

wandering the isles
considering what else I might buy

when upon a meeting I stumble
between a nervous father, young son
and grandparents, I suspect

a camping trip!
meat, paper towels, the dad says
"and we have chocolate," from a squeaky voice, confidence in his declaration

in the parking lot, as I sit
in my stinky old diesel truck
the truck that embarrasses Gracie
when I pick her up from school

I spy the father open the trunk
of an old Buick
and next to the bags of provisions
sits the box of a brand new camping tent

and they depart
for some place of great mystery

time that will constitute
soul mortar for this and somehow every
father and child


  1. Thanks for Jonsi & Alex piece, Boy 1904, it was new to me. I have never gotten comfortable with ear buds except at home. My multi-tasking capacity is limited.

  2. I get the poem. I never went camping, unless cold baked beans and Vienna Sausages on a family trip from Alabama to Michigan counts. Five in the tribe made outings economy class!

  3. Hi! I, also, nod and laugh. That thought is the beginning of change.
    Really nice piece!


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