Look, A Sunder

It is not only possible, but advisable, to begin each day with at least a modest appreciation for awaking from sleep. Acknowledging that good fortune (and it is good fortune) can trigger an ability to withstand the slings and arrows of wandering among the living and the living dead. The living will be at least moderately pleasant and the living dead will be tolerable. At least the latter may cause forgivable fantasies of doing unthinkably bad things to creatures some folks mistake for people.


Some uplifting, soul-stroking poetry would be in order this morning. Something that would cause readers and/or listeners to tear-up and consider their beautiful smallness in this enormously complex and dangerous world. But, instead, I’m writing depressing, soul-crushing prose that promises to cause avalanches and earthquakes and tornadoes and monstrously devastating hurricanes; all this during horrible ice storms and devastating droughts.  My poetry gadget is out of whack. That’s a sucky way to start the beginning of a week filled with obligations and consternations.


Awake since 4:30, I arose alert and alive and ready to jump into the day. After having been awake and writing for a while, I feel worn and tired and lethargic. I want to sleep, but it’s almost 7 now and the world is calling on me to behave as if I were awake. I keep falling asleep at the keyboard, a sure sign that I have a bad case of narcolepsy. The cure doesn’t exist, but a number of treatment options exist.

As I write my words here, I wonder how many people might stumble upon this blog and mistakenly believe every word I’ve written. Or believe my  descriptions of life or my experiences are one hundred percent accurate. Or overlook the that that I get my kicks in ways many people would find offensive in the extreme. Such is life.


My IC and I both wish to initiate a healthier lifestyle; better food choices, more exercise, and a few related things. One of the prospective behavioral changes involves cutting back on snacks and “junk” foods and cutting back on (or cutting out) alcohol for a time while our bodies get reacquainted with the “Mediterranean diet” or “Mediterranean lifestyle” or whatever it is that make us feel and look great.

The personality I’ve worked so hard to develop all these almost countless years is considering rebellion, though, because I’ve been trying to force it to accommodate my own self-imposed deadline. That deadline can be arbitrary and selected without any thought being given to whether the date is “ordered” properly in my very anal way of living certain aspects of my life. For example, I need to start new “improvement” projects, whether of a  personal nature or involving major change in the physical environment. So, my next self-improvement engagement will commence on August 1. In the interim, I will be just as wanton and reckless as usual. But on that date and moving forward for an undetermined but necessary timeframe, I will adjust myself with an eye toward meeting as as-yet-undefined objective.  Clear? August 1. Wait for it.


My day will again be split asunder by my obligations to the church. Minor obligations, but obligations, nonetheless. It is unfair of me to even consider being surly in the face of willingly-accepted obligations. It is not right for me to feel even the slightest resentment of doing what I’m doing. The difference between right and wrong can be as simple as curing an errant thought.


Shutting off the pipeline of grief becomes possible after awhile. It’s simply a matter of twisting oneself a little, like turning a faucet handle. And then the flow of grief stops or, at worst, drops to a trickle. Grief becomes tolerable and a return to a normal life becomes both appealing and achievable. But the washer that keeps the faucet handle supple and productive becomes rigid after a while; some days, when it’s turned a bit, the leak that may or may not have existed before becomes apparent. That’s the time to tend to it; replace the washer with freshly-minted memories. Grief never dies.


It is too easy to devote oneself to making changes in oneself to ensure a proper “fit” in a relationship. That is easy because it doesn’t involve persuasion; it involves internalization and enforcement of external expectations. Persuasion is much harder, but more likely to be permanent and gratefully accepted. Persuasion encounters reasons to reject making changes in oneself and, instead, insist on someone else making the changes. But it’s possible that no change is necessary. It’s possible that the perfect “fit” already exists. It’s possible one’s partner is perfect, thus acknowledging to oneself of one’s responsibility to correct the imperfections and make necessary change. The possibility exists that both partners in a relationship need only acknowledge their perfection to one another, thus bypassing any need for assessment.

Give and take, in bite-sized pieces, results in almost imperceptible changes that bring about near-perfection. That’s the way to look at the world of wonderful adjustments; not as defeats in a war-time battle, but as the spoils of a beautiful peace.


Last night, after a day that involved a last lunch stop at SqzBx Pizza and Brewery in Hot Springs, we watched The Dig, a historical fiction novel of the same name, which ostensibly “which reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo.” Sutton Hoo, for anyone who, like me, has been so incredibly sheltered to have never before heard of it, was called “one of the most important archaeological discoveries of all time” by Sue Brunning, Curator of the Early Medieval European Insular Collections at the British Museum. The role of Basil Brown, the archeologist who found it and started the dig, was largely dismissed and ignored until many years after the 1939 find. At any rate, the film: It lasts about an hour and a half. Both audiences and critics have found it to be a decent film, if a bit slow going. I agree. Its overall rating by Rotten Tomatoes is 87%, with the audience at 78%. Watch it if you like. I cannot force you to watch it nor prevent you from doing it. You’re on your own.


The mind that occupies my skull is experiencing technical difficulties this morning. It is bouncing aimlessly off walls, some of which do not even exist. My mind sends signals to the universe, only to have the universe reject them as undeliverable. I try to leave a message and the recording says the box is full, as if my fifteen second message is too long to fit into the storage device that holds more than twenty-four billions messages, many of which last seven to twenty minutes. You may have guessed; none of this is true. Why should it be?


The first person who comments about this post will be eligible to receive enormously meaningful rewards from me. The rest will be pictured naked on billboards spread all around downtown Hot Springs.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to Look, A Sunder

  1. Thanks, Debbie. IC and I plan to be around for a long, long time to come!

  2. Oh, all right. Darn! I was just getting ready to ask you to send me a photo. 😉

  3. jmangi1 says:

    Please!!! NO BILLBOARDS!! LOL

  4. Debbie Kirilov says:

    Grief never dies. Impactful words! It lessens and becomes manageable, but never dies. I like the intent to get healthy. The world needs you and IC around much longer.

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