Measuring the Wind

Wind seems to have fled from my location. There is no wind. Not even a little. Where could it have gone? Will it ever return? How does one measure the absence of wind?


Early mornings have become cluttered with responsibilities, obligations I would rather slot into different times of the day but which seem to insist on interrupting pre-dawn serenity. Not so very long ago, I could get up, swallow a few pills, make coffee, and slide into my reflective morning routine. The addition of weighing myself, swallowing a much larger handful of pills, feeding the cat, herding the cat into a room to muffle its vocal yowls, stabbing my finger to measure blood sugar, taking and recording my blood pressure, and sometimes taking ten minutes or more to set up and use a nebulizer…those add-ons interfere with my desired simplicity. Some days, I want nothing more than to ignore those obligations and return to carefree mornings. I long for a simpler time. We all do, it seems. But complexity seems to be overtaking our lives. We face commitments that entangle us like heavily-fertilized kudzu. Few of these obligations are especially demanding, but collectively they hungrily devour our time, leaving us with little but memories of happy-go-lucky freedom.  Damn. Damn. Damn.


Probably my least favorite “volunteer” role was as an adjunct instructor at a community college, teaching a course in exposition management. When asked to teach, I felt obliged to agree. My job at the time, number two for an association of exposition managers, made it difficult to refuse; doing so would have reflected badly on my employer. So, I reluctantly accepted. I was given a syllabus to follow for the course, which as I recall involved three hours of my time, one night per week. The course was dull. I am sure my efforts to engage students in lively discussions were abysmal failures. The students, many of whom already had day jobs in the hospitality industry, were bored. The syllabus seemed overly simple. I would have rather been at home. I do not recall how long I taught the course; it wasn’t long, but it felt like a century. I have not thought about that experience in years; I think it came to mind this morning as a result of my online search for careers one might pursue after age 70. Among the several suggested options: adjunct instructor (which triggered the memory) in a field related to one’s career. I have absolutely no interest in teaching about association management (I probably would advise students to pursue something meaningful, instead). Other options suggested in one of the articles included “writer” and “artist.” I like to write. I occasionally dabble in art. But the idea of having an obligation to write on a subject that might be dull or to write on a deadline holds no appeal. And my artistic capabilities compare unfavorably to a four-year-old. So, this whimsical early morning exploration into a new career fizzled before I finished my first caffeine fix. It’s probably best—I am growing to appreciate naps, an activity not likely to be an acceptable accompaniment to launching a new career.


Time to release the cat from its TV-room prison. The beast has taken to sleeping on a soft blanket on a Stressless lounger in that room, but the moment I get up she insists on food, entertainment, and opportunities to yodel. So I’ve tried putting her in there and closing the door. But I hear her howling and yowling again, so the brief respite is over. I may become a hermit, if only for a month or two at a time.

About John Swinburn

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