The Real World

The transition from winter to summer occurred in the pre-dawn hours yesterday. Or so it seemed. Various seasons, rarely appropriate to the calendar, have come and gone during the past month or so. Frigid periods took place, followed by days of summer-like heat that accompanied massive pollen-drops from trees anxious to lighten their load. Whether the bizarre transitions confused the forest fauna or not, I am confident the flora are beyond confused; befuddled and mentally unstable surely describe both leaves and lichens these past few weeks. I envision bushes—huddled together to conserve heat—reeling in surprise as the polar vortex morphs into an up-close-and-personal visit from the sun…or an encounter with the bowels of a volcano. If there’s any good to this manic climatic dance, it may be that chiggers might not survive the see-saw temperatures. I am afraid chiggers can survive nuclear holocaust, though, so the “silver lining” may simply be smoke from bitterly cold grass fires.


Yesterday was a busy one for me. Today similarly will be a full one. My cell phone rang rather early; a call from the Realtor’s office, asking whether a viewing today (Saturday) at 9:30 could be arranged. I answered in the affirmative, of course. And then another call, asking for a viewing yesterday (Friday) at 12:30. And then another call, asking for a second viewing by the 12:30 visitor. This happened as I prepared to go to the Democratic Club picnic yesterday afternoon, after which I would go to the UUVC services auction last night. And mi novia and I went to lunch before she and a friend left for an overnight trip to Little Rock for a Maya Angelou birthday celebration which included a concert performance by Ruthie Foster, a favorite blues singer. I did not eat at the picnic. Last night, as I left the auction, I had a boiled shrimp. I needed a little something for sustenance, after spending a small fortune on winning bids on several auction items. I got home a little after 9. My Realtor contacted me just before 10, telling me I have an offer. For the next couple of hours, I mulled over the offer; I decided to wait to give it serious consideration until I learn whether the first visit today might bear fruit. I got to bed just after midnight. I woke at 2:30. I tried to sleep again. Maybe I did, but not much. I got up at 5:11. It’s 6:25 as I write this. In about an hour and a half, the buyer of my refrigerator is supposed to come get the heavy beast. Then, an hour and a half later, I need to vacate the premises for another viewing of the house. We’ll see. And I have to go to church to pick up one of my auction wins; I walked out last night without it. And I committed to contribute $50 for a group purchase on behalf of the church…but I forgot to give my $50 to the person who headed up the effort. My head is not screwed on tight.


A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.

~ Aesop ~


“If I had it to do all over again, would I?” That question is incredibly common, but utterly fruitless and stress-inducing. It labels past actions as probable mistakes, rather than opportunities to learn from experience. Yet, still, I find myself asking the questions that have no answer.  Would I choose the same course of education? The same type of work? The same places to live? The same relationships? If I could relive my youth, would I spent it in more productive pursuits?  Who the hell knows?! What is done is done. History cannot be revised to suit the present…or any moment. Maybe I am alone in asking myself these absurd questions that have no answer except the one we manufacturer in our minds; we have no way of knowing “what if…”


The sky this morning is blue; a slight bit hazy, but blue. I will wander out, later, to see what I can see. I will refuse to let tension and stress make this day any more tiring than it should be. I’ll see how that refusal works in the real world.

About John Swinburn

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