Fragments and Figments

The weather can take at least partial credit for my cheery mood yesterday morning. The mood could have continued with unabated joy, had the temperature ever reached its forecast high. But the rising temperatures seemed to stall around 67°F around 3 p.m., which is a bit chilly for my taste. Especially in late May. It edged up a tad by 5:00 p.m. to 70°F; better, but not quite the perfection I was hoping to experience.

I feel confident I will wish for cool late May temperatures when the oppressive weather of July and August makes breathing just as difficult as it is uncomfortable. Such is life. I will adjust and cope as necessary. With good fortune, I’ll be able to wander off in search of more appealing weather, at least on occasion, when sweltering summer temperatures spring upon us, fangs exposed.


A few weeks ago, as I mused with my fingers about life, I wrote a couple of short sentences (an oxymoron when it comes to my writing) that stuck with me: “My thought process has to be my own. I have to reach a conclusion by myself; no one else to congratulate, no one else to blame.” The matter on my mind at the time was the  choice between a “place in the country” and hitting the road alone in an RV. I had not yet made up my mind between the two. Regardless of which direction I might choose, I thought at the time, the choice was exclusively mine to make. And it remains so. Choices always come with consequences. And making choices between two options is sometimes confounded by the emergence of a third choice—a choice that seemed improbable, at best, or even impossible. But, then, there it is, suddenly staring you in the face—like the unexpected gift of a new puppy or discovering all six winning numbers on the lottery ticket—rendering all other options irrelevant. Life is marked with surprise after surprise after surprise. It’s best to accept that reality, rather than try to manipulate or control them. Hmm. These last several sentences read like hidden messages from a mystic. They are nothing of the sort; they simply are ruminations that pop up from time to time when the morning air is right and the sun is properly positioned in the sky.


Just before I awoke this morning, I was in the midst of what may be the most bizarre dream I’ve ever had. It was so bizarre that I cannot even begin to adequately describe it. Let me say only this: it involved a series of impossible experiential puzzles in which visual clues transformed the presence of an object or a shape into something completely different. The only one I think I can describe in a way that MIGHT make sense is this:

At the top of a drawing of a rectangular box, a tiny fragment of the top line of the rectangle is missing from the rectangle. The missing fragment, just above the box, is bent into a meaningless shape. But looking carefully at the meaningless shape, it becomes apparent that, when viewed from a specific perspective in conjunction with the remainder of the rectangle, the whole rectangular drawing looks like a negative-space image of something completely different (for example, the top of the rectangle looks like an image of the entrance to stairs leading into a basemen). It’s too strange to attempt any more.

“You had to be there” is the only way to describe it, really. And that rectangular clue was one of literally dozens that appeared in the dream, all in a huge empty white field of space.


The desire for of an object of one’s passion grows exponentially greater when one gets just a taste of the object, only to have it snatched away. Think of a desire for salty caramel ice cream. The ice cream store clerk gives you a little taste, sending your taste buds into shuddering ecstasy. You ask for a bowl.

“I’m sorry, that taste was the very last little bit we had,” the clerk says to you. Your hunger for that specific flavor of ice cream spikes.

“You must have another container of the stuff in a different freezer,” you say to the clerk.

“No, I’m afraid not. I probably shouldn’t have let you taste it, knowing what I know about how powerfully addictive it is.”

“What?! You knew I could not have any, yet you gave me a taste?! That is cruel! It is beyond cruel! You are a monster!”

You jump over the counter, pushing the clerk aside. “Tell me where the other container is hidden! Tell me or I’ll strangle you!”

“Sir! We have no more,” the clerk replies, the fear in her voice almost palpable. “Please leave. I don’t want trouble.”

“If you didn’t want trouble, you shouldn’t have teased me that way. You shouldn’t have ratcheted up my craving for salty caramel ice cream!”

You reach into your satchel, pulling out a collapsible guillotine. “This,” you point to the blade as the device self-assembles at the push of a button, “is your punishment for torturing me like that!”

It goes downhill from there, of course. Like most ice cream stores, this one has an emergency call switch to summon the police in just such an emergency. And, naturally, the clerk used it. In an instant, a S.W.A.T. team rushes through the front door. They disable the guillotine, wrap flex-cuff disposable zip-tie handcuffs around your wrists, and haul you away to a prison cell. Outside your cell, you witness guards scooping salty caramel ice cream into bowls, serving all the other inmates…all the inmates but you!

And so it goes with desire. It is dramatically amplified when you can have just a taste of something powerfully addictive; but no more than a taste. This message is brought to you by Blue Bell CreameriesTM and the International Tactical Team Officers Association.


Eh. I think I’ll stop writing for a bit. Maybe I’ll come back later in the day to see if something meaningful has entered my mind. Something worthy of taking up the time of anyone stumbling upon this post (or the next one). Writing is an addiction, but it isn’t always a 24/7 addition. Sometimes, I need a little break to collect the millions of shards of broken mirrors that constitute my brain. I need time to sweep them into a dust bin, then melt the pieces of glass so I can begin anew with something stronger and more lasting. And so off I go to shower, shave, and begin the day again.

About John Swinburn

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