I spoke to the administrator and to the head nurse yesterday. And I spoke to my wife. The participants in the two former conversations seemed more interested in talking to me. My wife said she wanted to get on her computer; she said she would call me later in the day. She did not. I asked her to be sure to let me know when she had a few minutes so I could send her an invitation to a Zoom conversation. Nope. From the two others, I received apologies and explanations. And confirmation about a medical issue that probably is impacting my wife’s mood; and is, now, being treated. I can only wait to see what today brings.


Work on painting the deck should be completed today, save for a few treated-lumber boards that will wait for several weeks to allow them to weather and dry. My hope to replace the spindles on the railing with welded grey (galvanized) hog wire was dashed when the preliminary quote came in: $4,000 to $4,500. So, I reluctantly will opt to paint the hideous spindles, covering the pealing brown paint with more paint; probably a charcoal, almost black, color. When remains to be seen.


When I logged onto my blog account this morning, I noticed that I had assigned a category to only one of my most recent thirteen posts. That tells me my thoughts are jumbled and out of focus. I cannot direct my attention to a single category or topic (or even four or five topics), so I give up on attempting to assign a category to my posts. I’m probably the only person who has any interest in selecting a category and seeing what I’ve written on the subject, so the assignment of categories is not especially important. But to see “uncategorized” is maddening to me, for some reason. Yet when I go to an “uncategorized” blog post and attempt to assign a category, often I find it impossible to pick one. My thoughts while writing it must have ricocheted off of a thousand fleeting ideas; picking categories to fit the post would be an exercise in unnecessary complexity.  I’ve never counted the number of times I’ve used each category, but I know I’ve used some of them very, very rarely. I checked, for example, to see how many posts are labeled “mythology.” Two. Two! It’s hardly worth the effort of assigning a category if that’s the extent of my writing that touches on the topic.  Perhaps I should erase all existing categories, replacing them with “madness” or “confusion.” That should cover them all.


I wonder, sometimes, whether other animals can hate the way humans can. We assume pet dogs love their loving masters, right? Can dogs loathe people who abuse them? Can dogs hate other dogs or cats or raccoons? I do not think we have universal agreements about the definitions of love and hate. Both are highly subjective, in my opinion, and highly personal. While I’m on the matter of love and hate, I wonder whether other animals can have feelings all along that spectrum. Can they “like” or “dislike” other creatures? Or is the emotional spectrum for animals more like a switch than a spectrum? On and off, versus varying degrees? Assuming there is an emotional spectrum, with love on one end and hate on the other, at what point does love become hate? Does it slide backward from love to like to dislike to hate? Perhaps love and hate, while antonyms on a linguistic scale, are not really related to one another in the way we tend to think. Maybe they emerge from different emotional roots in the brain. I’m sure someone has written at length about this, basing their writing on extensive, exhaustive research. Not I. I just think with my fingers and don’t bother to do my research. Especially not when I’m feeling lazy or depressed. I just ramble on, needlessly using up what must be a limited number of alphabet characters available to me in this lifetime.


Without warning, my eyes brim with tears and I take in an involuntary breath, making a loud sound that surprises me. It happens too often. I don’t know why it happens; my thoughts cannot explain it. I believe my emotions sometimes diverge from what I am thinking, as if I become two people. I wrote about something like that, but not really about that, recently. Perhaps my writing foreshadowed my experience, but in a way that veered away from what I had been thinking when I wrote it. There’s bound to be an explanation. I just don’t know what it is.

About John Swinburn

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