Author Archives: John Swinburn

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes

Substitution

I cancelled a massage this morning (my first one in many, many years) because the closing on my house was scheduled for today. At this very moment, my neck, back, shoulders, and the back of my head are in dire, … Continue reading

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There is a Season

It won’t be long now. Just a matter of weeks. Maybe a month, at most. Once the house-warming activities and events are behind us—once the visits to see the new place have all been made—and once I have finished unpacking … Continue reading

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Disjointed

Anguish. Inconceivably painful, debilitating, powerless anguish. It is the never-ending emotion facing the families and friends of the children killed in mass-shootings. Mass-shootings that have become so common that the public seems hardened to them; accepting of them. Anguish once … Continue reading

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Beyond

Another early morning. I woke a bit before 4, but opted to stay in bed until the clock struck four. My office is very dark, except for the light from my notebook computer’s screen. I need a night light in … Continue reading

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The Good Life

Time speeds by early in the morning. I awoke before 4:30 and, as I begin to write this post, suddenly it is 5:45. My time spent revising an informational letter to the buyer of my old house took much longer … Continue reading

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Unknown Revelations

Last night’s ferocious rainstorms, punctuated with brilliant flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder that shook the rafters and rattled the walls, brought dramatically cooler temperatures. I love violent rainstorms, but when they grow into beasts that spawn tornadoes, my … Continue reading

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A New Place

Belatedly, after two full days in the new house, I baptized the new tile shower this morning. My intent was to finally wash off the sweat and grime before I went to bed last night (the sheets were already in … Continue reading

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At Hand

The first full day in the new house unfolded in an almost orchestrated way, as if designed to reinforce a message delivered the day before: friends know the right time to appear, delivering comfort and brushing away stress. The two … Continue reading

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Back to the Wars

Exhaustion. It can arise from too much physical exertion or too much emotional stress. It can emerge from the realization that abstract wishes and dreams may not lead to concrete experiences. I blame this morning’s exhaustion on an amalgamation of … Continue reading

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Change

Almost hidden beneath layer upon layer of more mundane recollections is my memory of a  childhood fascination with volcanoes. Though the details are long gone, I recall receiving a treasured gift—from my parents, I think—of a book about all sorts … Continue reading

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Another Time

The exhaustion of readying for a move has taken its toll on our television habits. Rather than seeking out series that will keep our attention for multiple evenings, we have attempted to find brief injections of entertainment that require no … Continue reading

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Fossils

Many, maybe most, of my clothes will be discarded today. Discarded is not the right word; donated is more appropriate. They are too small for me now. Or, rather, I am too big for them. I have allowed myself to … Continue reading

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Falling

Last night, on the recommendation of a friend, I watched an educational, interesting, insightful, and disturbing 2014 documentary film. Watching Cowspiracy helped to reignite my growing interest in exploring a plant-based diet. It also helped amplify my skepticism of the … Continue reading

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Remove Things Every Day

The human mind is too complex—too unpredictable—to be reliably molded into a state of perpetual satisfaction. Religions have attempted to manipulate the minds of the masses for millennia. Simultaneously, psychologists and their predecessors have tried to harness the power of … Continue reading

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Do Not Watch Them Make Sausage

A distant friend, Tara—formerly a Californian but now a Coloradan—unknowingly introduced me to Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi by quoting him in the header of her now-dormant blog. The header included these words: You are Perfect as you are and you could use … Continue reading

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Blah

Too many things on my mind have the potential of turning a blog post into an unpleasant diatribe. Two hours of writing this morning proved that. So I will turn my attention to packing. Maybe doing what caused my mood … Continue reading

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Everything is All Right

I feel the stress. It is of course a mental, emotional sensation, but it also is physical. Repeatedly, I am reminded that I have experienced several of life’s major stressors—death of a loved one, the emergence of a romantic relationship, … Continue reading

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Full-Throttle

Except for the pressure of time, I would spend the morning cooking. I am in the mood to make a rich, spicy lamb stew; something reminiscent of the sort of meal one might find in coastal north Africa. Though I … Continue reading

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Tightly-Wound

Somewhere—perhaps in the deepest, distant reaches of places no one else wants to go—is an isolation so spectacularly alone and so excruciatingly desolate it makes me sob in reverence. I have seen such a place, but only in passing. I … Continue reading

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Splendid

Ah, what a splendid day! Thanks to the generosity of my girlfriend’s ex-husband (who lent us his pickup) and my late wife’s sister (who provided both physical labor and an SUV she loaded with “stuff”), we got a tremendous amount … Continue reading

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A Complex Wave of Emotions

The day started like most other days, albeit a tad later than most. By the time I had taken my morning regiment of what seems like one hundred pills (but is far less), it was around 5:30. Before I made … Continue reading

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Burnished with Experience

Suddenly, yesterday, it hit me: the urgency of reducing the volume of food stored in two refrigerators and two freezers. When the time comes to move, just a week and a half hence, that volume must be considerably less. In … Continue reading

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Metaphors and Similes, the Ghosts of Language Lost, Live Like Gypsies

J’ai une âme solitaire. I listen to what I presume is an artificial voice—sounding like a woman’s voice—speak that French phrase. Google Translate is the source of the voice. The sound of her voice is matter-of-fact; inappropriately so, given the … Continue reading

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While We Have It

A visit to my doctor’s office yesterday led, circuitously, to an x-ray of my right knee. The x-ray revealed that I am a degenerate. “Degenerative joint disease is seen with some osteophyte in the medial compartment and superior patella.” It … Continue reading

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Dissonance

Temperatures should hover between the upper sixties and the lower-to-mid-seventies through Friday. In spite of the rain and accompanying high humidity, this feels close to ideal to me. If money (or the insufficiency thereof) posed no limits on me, I … Continue reading

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