Monday, July 28, 2003

It’s looking like rain out there, so I stay inside and wait for the drops. Someone more industrious than I am is out there mowing. I can hear the ever-present hum over the MP3 sounds of Wishbone Ash. The bloom is off the rose of this lawn-mowing gig. Sure, I like it, but it’s stepped back down to level of a mere job. Still… I gotta jump start my day and get out there and mow. Three lawns, gleaming green and growing crazy wild, await the slaying scythe of my mower’s combustion-fueled wrath. It’s after 11 a.m. Oh, the joys of self-employment.

I woke up to rain this morning as Esther and I went to the YMCA for aerobics class. Each time I go I feel great afterwards, enjoy the company of my fellow health freaks, and vow to never miss a class again. Then I stay up until midnight of a Tuesday or Thursday and the resolution is forgotten. Regardless of my absentee status at the YMCA as of late, I am more fit now than I have been in a long time. Mowing lawns every day does wonders for the physique. I got thru-hiker legs again, muscles toned, defined ropes of strength. I also want to start lifting weights, but find it to be so boring, and I don’t want to be a muscle-bound goon. My base physique, wide shoulders, tree trunk legs, could easily be transformed to Hulk proportions.

Buddha said torture is wishing to be someone else, someplace else. I find contentment in the here and now. I am happy with my self-image now. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, which can be achieved after quelling that jaw-clenching attention-deficit-disorder anticipation. Life is good. Life is great. God is Buddha is Krishna is Krispy Kreme cumulus clouds…Where was I? Oh, yeah. Now. Whilst mowing a lawn the other day I had this vision of myself as I wanted myself to be, free of desire, quenching my thirst with water, hunger with simple, healthful repasts, entertaining myself with books and baseball and live music. Hey, wait, that’s kind of my situation right now. I’ve achieved the simple life I desired for so long. Simple, yes, but busy. Why do you think I’ve been able to excuse not keeping a journal all summer?

Writing about writing, my plate this week includes an article about the Johnson family reunion in N. Minnesota, a return to regular blogging, a page of writing upon waking up each morning, possibly a short story about a man who escapes pontoon boat hell, and an encounter with a misfit hermit organ player… Lots to do… the smell of gasoline exhaust… memories of drum and bugle corps… free radicals in the remembering… reminders of impending labor.

This weekend I finished editing a draft copy of the Ice Age Trail Companion Guide, the first ever guide of its kind for that illustrious and beloved trail. Taking a virtual tour of the trail, checking place names and directions with the DeLorme Atlas, has got me filled with a desire to go out and hike the darn thing. Esther concurs, says she wants to quit work at the end of February and hike the 1,000-mile IAT as a prequel shakedown for our trek along the 2,500+ Pacific Crest Trail. I think right now she’s more excited about the quitting work part than the hiking part, though she does have a yen for trail. Trail gives her meaning, purpose, vision, peace, endorphins… Me too. Gotta be in major save mode if we’re gonna pull that off next year. Now…. Now… Now…. Ohmmm…. That sound that uses the whole mouth. Holy significance attached to such all-consuming vibration utility. Can’t live for future adventures, can’t dwell on memories, must live in the moment. Ohmmmm.

Right now… birds are chirping, commiserating, socializing, on the roof, the window sill, the chain link fence across the alley. Bass Explosion MP3 resounding out of speakers on either side of the monitor, surprisingly good sound for such a small package, I use computer almost exclusively for my own music collection because boom box CD player’s fritzing out. I’ve been listening to more radio this summer than anything else, and National public radio at that because I’m so sick of format radio and am a liberal intellectual elitist at heart.

Cloudy, leaden, gray skies like the frosted beard of a hoary old man. But it won’t rain. The cold front finally won, breeze through the north window tells me. The war is ovah. No More Tears. Ozzy cheeseball. But is the grass dry enough it won’t clump? I wear black cotton shorts with a small hole in the butt, white cotton socks, a Beloit Snappers t-shirt (the old one), caught by wife at a game in 2002. The rashes (from my allergies to grass) are healing, but topside of my hands remain pink and wrinkled like a callus, like a reverse stigmata. But, oh, thank God, appearances be damned, the itching’s abated. I ain’t wearing them durn leather gloves again. Docile dead cow epidermis revenge. Benadryl cream diphenhydramine lab coat research to the rescue.

Up and about, green-stained tennis shoes Everlast high tops laced up laces too long, bedraggled and frayed, tucked in, felt against the protruding ankle bone, out to the world, the bank, the easy gray no sunscreen required skies, and little girls walk by with big black German Shepherd drug dog mixing, keeping fast pace at panting pooch’s strained insistence. Noon almost, 11:51, no, 11:52. That enough now for you, enough summer time dharma? Karma? Wallakazoo?

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