First things first. I accidentally hit the “post” button instead of the “save as draft” button a while ago, sending an utterly unfinished “new post” notice into a couple of dozen email boxes. My apologies to those who received a false notice. I will, eventually, finish and post it. In the interim, I’m posting this, which was my intent all along.


Last night, I joined a group of people (all from my church and mostly participants in our weekly trivia games) at the Beehive to listen to live music, have dinner, and celebrate the birthdays of a couple of folks around the table. Though the pub was crowded and noisy (especially with live music), the experience was great fun. I was happy to be there. One day soon I will write more about why it’s not entirely the medical marijuana that has lifted my mood in recent days.


I’ve written so often about the impact of context on experience that you might think I would grow tired of thinking about the subject. No, the more I think about the topic, the more intricately carved in my brain are the considerations I give to the matter. You might assume that my regular screeds involving spectra of emotions, experiences, etc., etc. would dissuade me from writing more about spectra in general. No. Same comment as above.

Just this morning, I was thinking about the relatively few concerts I have attended in my lifetime. I have enjoyed a few of them immensely: Leon Redbone, Leo Kottke, Leonard Cohen (there may be a “leo” connection?), Gordon Lightfoot, and a few others. But the crowds and traffic and noise of other concerts both blocked those experiences from memory and convinced me that I am not a fan of live concert music. But it suddenly occurred to me that the context of the event is crucial to enjoyment. The person(s) with whom one experiences the event is even more important than the performance itself.

I am going to a concert in a couple of months that I think would have enjoyed by myself (but I could never know because I would not have gone by myself). But as I anticipate going to the concert in the company of my concert companion, I grow ever more excited. It’s the context, even more than the experience itself, that will make the experience the delight I expect it to be. All because of who I will be with. The electricity of my concert companion’s anticipation transfers to me and makes me realize how exciting it will be.  My mind buzzes with anticipation as I start contemplating other live music that might stimulate my companion’s (and, therefore, my) excitement. What about Death Cab for Cutie? Or maybe…ach, stop it! The list could go on forever. We’ll play it a day at a time. But if I see an announcement for a Keb’ Mo’ concert within driving distance…


No sugar, carbs, booze, or strenuous exercise today. Those are my instructions to prepare for tomorrow’s P.E.T. scan. Though my oncologist explained it’s just a routine follow-up, the only other P.E.T. scan I recalled was just before my Thanksgiving 2018 lung cancer surgery. But a check of my records quickly confirmed that I’d had a follow-up P.E.T. scan just about a year ago. It seems I remain a little nervous about such stuff, after all. I thought I’d left that medical paranoia behind me; I guess not. Now, though, that I can confirm it is indeed routine, I feel the tension unwind. Of course: why worry about things you cannot change? It is what it is. Easy to say and believe; harder to let the aphorisms shape one’s emotional response to circumstance.  By 2:00 p.m.. tomorrow, though, I should know the results of the P.E.T. scan; I fully expect them to re-confirm the absence of cancer. I’ll post a celebratory comment on Tuesday. Assuming my expected celebratory news is delivered.


The morning sky is dull grey. Maybe it’s not the sky. Maybe the sky is hidden by thick, fictile fog. That’s it. The fog is so thick, like whipped cream, that it conceals the sky. That could be the way the world comes to an end. As we go busily about our days, wondering when the fog will lift, the sky above us could change from cerulean blue to an odd mixture of violet, purple, and black. The sun’s rays, unable to penetrate this new, darker sky, would simply bounce off the atmosphere. Buried in that dark sky might be millions of enormous spacecraft, sent to Earth to vaporize the planet before the planet contaminates the entire galaxy. Cheery thought, isn’t it?


My thoughts about selling my house and hitting the road are shrinking from their shining peaks. Other things are on my mind. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to take a leisurely drive to California to visit my sister? And there are so many places in the surrounding states I want to see.


My mind is wandering again. Too little sleep and too much occupying my mind. Maybe a nap later in the day will “cure” my state of mind. An actual nap.

About John Swinburn

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