Saturday, December 26, 2015


The horrifying symptoms of my latest health scare have abated.

Last night, in physical comfort, I watched a movie until I was sleepy, and then, I slept.  I woke at 3 am, got a drink of water, watched the full moon for a few moments, and then slept some more.  And this morning, I showered, made coffee and read the news.  Somewhere around 10am it occurred to me that normal was back in my life.

Lately, when the pain recedes and the fear dies down, I find myself doing normal things, like making coffee, or looking at the moon.  Or making the bed or doing laundry.  These things are so precious now.  My title today is "Normal" but maybe it should be "Precious."

These days the moments of doing something common, pain free, are cast in sharp relief, because of past pain.  With attention, each moment, every moment, is crisp and new and disclosive.

Today I went to a record store and bought some Sarah Vaughn and Dizzy Gillespie.  The store is in an old house.  The wood floor is made of dark, old planks and it creaks when I walk on it.  The vinyl LP's are in cardboard covers with paper sleeves inside.  When you remove them, they are shiny black.  In the middle, on the labels, it says "Columbia" or "Mercury" or "ASCAP."  They have their own smell, and indeed, the entire House of Records here in Eugene, Oregon smells of memory and music and vinyl and the joy of attention.

At home, I put some Dizzy Gillespie on the turntable and I begin to make Chili.  The wall heater hums, taking the chill out of my studio, onions and cumin fill the house with cheerful smells and Dizzy resonates.  They are all melded in a seamless experience.  A timeless experience.  It could be 1947 and I could be making chili in a studio apartment in Eugene, Oregon, listening to jazz.  Or it could be 2067 and I could be doing the same thing.

Each moment crisp and new and showy.

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