Sunday’s Theme Music

So…

Contrary to world expectations, I’ve been, um, feeling good? How else can it be put, but I’ve been experiencing a rising sense of hope and optimism. It permeates everything I’m doing and thinking.

Rationally, I can’t account for it. I can say that I’m less stressed because I’m not out there socializing and fighting traffic. I can attribute it to kind weather gods; May, June, and July have been pleasantly mild for the most part, keeping anxieties about wildfires and smoke tamped.

But then there’s COVID-19 and what it’s doing to the world. And there was the death of a sweet, shy cousin, too young, just fifty-one, dead from cancer, leaving two sons behind, succumbing to the disease after a four year struggle. In my mind, she remains bright-eyed and smiling with an impish impulse.

And there was Dad, being rushed to the hospital mid-week, Dad who is rarely sick but has a full metal jacket of stents (installed a few years ago) and moderate CPOD. He is almost eighty-eight, though, so there’s always expectations and worries. We are talking about the life train. It always pulls in at the same final stop.

Writing, though, has been a wonderful escape, of course, taking me on an unexpected ride as the characters evolve and the story goes in directions that I didn’t expect. That’s always a pleasure, innit? A good writing day can propel you over many obstacles.

So…

Feeling good. Optimistic, hopeful, even joyous.

Against this backdrop, I’m hearing “Bell Bottom Blues” by Eric Clapton (1971). Two aspects of the song stay on a loop in my head: “I don’t want to fade away,” and “I don’t want to lose this feeling.”

No, I don’t want to lose this feeling. It’s too good. I wish I could package it and share for free with everyone in the world. Others should know these sensations. They’re powerful stimulants.

Enough of my babbling. Here’s the music, a later live acoustic version that I think does more justice to the song.

A Life

She’d wrestled and cried

and purred and loved,

and was loved

and bit and clawed

(mostly in play)

(mostly)

and then gave a sigh and closed her eyes

just for a moment

just to rest

(just for a moment)

before giving up the fight to live

started seventeen years ago.

Memorial Day

With 97,000 plus deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the United States in 2020 and states starting to re-open, I believe we’ll probably start seeing a new meme about ‘Memorial Day’ as we’ll certainly cross 100,000 deaths before Memorial Day.

Which prompts me to recall Trump’s February 26 comment. “You have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

Today, three months later, we’re at 1,637,593 cases in the United States, which is a long way from zero.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Trump’s comments about people dying were infuriating to hear. He couldn’t do anything about it. So powerless, isn’t he?

Yeah, infuriating. Watching him, thinking about that, and remembering children in cages, and the way he seems to think — certainly the way he acts in general — an old Foreigner song, “Cold As Ice” (1977), came into my mental music stream.

Not like the COVID-19 deaths (or the children in cages) is the first time he’s demonstrated a lack of empathy. Remember his call to the family of the U.S. soldier killed? “He knew what he was getting into.” Jesus wept. There’s also the lack of caring demonstrated in dealing with Puerto Rico and their issues. Unless it’s about him (and his numbers) or, lordy, the economy, he just doesn’t give a shit, demonstrating nothing but contempt, anger, and hatred as far as emotions go.

Yep, cold as ice. He’s willing to sacrifice anything to make himself look good.

The Surviving Dream

I was out with others. We were in endless stores but outside, in rolling, emerald green hills bathed in sunshine. I was happy but I was aware that it was a dire situation. Everyone was aware. What measures did we need to take? How could we survive?

Then, boom, all were dead.

Then I was getting back up. I was aware it was a dire situation. What measures did we need to take? Okay, I’d just died, so what we’d done didn’t work. We needed to do something else. Then, boom, something was coming, and we all died.

I was back after a second, in the same situation, trying to figure out what to do, then it all happened again.

I spoke with others. How can we stop this cycle? Others were certain that it couldn’t be stopped, they saw no way that it could. But a man in uniform stepped forward.

He was dressed like a WWII Nazi officer, grey uniform and hat, black epaulets, knee-high shiny black boots, in a movie. “Actually, it can be stopped,” he said. “You just need the right place to hide and the perfect timing.”

Before I could question him more, he said, “Ah, here it comes again.”

I saw something coming, or more correctly, looking down and across the stores on the grassy hills, I saw its effects on the people and world. I warned others that it was coming as I took cover with a cat. I died.

Born again after that, I joked with the cat, “Well, that didn’t work. Did you die, too?” The cat didn’t answer. Then, knowing the cycle was short, I began hunting for the next place to hide. This time, I seemed more aware of the threat coming toward me. It rippled through the people and fields like a light breeze blowing through a rows of wheat. Watching it come up, I timed my move and stepped aside.

I’m not certain if I died or not. There wasn’t a moment of awareness of dying, but I was again considering the situation, the German officer beside me. “No, it’s not that easy,” he said in a jocular voice.

I was dubious of him. “I think you’re trying to distract me. Who are you? Why are you even here?” I had the sense that he was there for misdirection. He was there to stop me from seeing and thinking.

An event was coming again. Picking up my cat, I turned my back and hunkered down under a table.

The dream ended.

Mask Up

Sharing a story. Yeah, anecdotal, about a bus driver, a coughing passenger, and a COVID-19 death. The bus driver is the death in this tale. He was fifty years old.

Wear masks, people. Wear masks. They can save you. I was out yesterday, had to make a supply run. While I was masked and gloved and practiced social distancing. We’d ordered online, and the purchases were delivered to the car’s trunk. While sitting there, I watched the scene. First, I was dismayed by how many were out, looking as if it’s business as usual. Social distancing? What’s that? Counted twenty-seven people as I sat there, awaiting my delivery. Counted five with masks. One with gloves and masks.

When a twentyish employee brought the order out, she wasn’t wearing a mask or gloves. Her arms were bare. I cringed with speculation about her condition.

Oregon — my state (yes, I bought it a number of years ago, so it’s my state — still have the warranty) has over eight hundred cases. Jackson County, where my experience took place, has almost thirty.

First case in Oregon was announced Feb. 29. My wife and I took measures after the possibility of the first case emerged in our area, March 14. Since then, more evidence of the value of masks has emerged as data has rolled in, showing how poorly people are responding to social distancing. My county got a C. I could see why when I was on my supply run yesterday.

Lot of folks were out. Not as heavy as a normal day, no. But less people would’ve been out if Oregon U. were playing a football game.

Yes, I know, some are essential. Thank you to all of them. To the rest, think about why you’re out. Sometimes, we have a need. But if you’re out, take precautions, for your sake, my sake, all of our sake.

The groceries are in the car’s trunk (boot, if you need a translation). There’s nothing perishable. They’ll stay in the trunk for three days. After that, I’ll fetch and clean them, and clean the car. We bought them for the long term, deciding to stock up now rather than waiting for when there are more cases in our area.

Changed clothes in the garage when I returned home, too. Yeah, given all the vectors possible for transmitting something to us (my wife and me), we’ll probably contract it, if we haven’t already. We’re trying to buy time for the world to come up with the resources and vaccines to combat this thing. We’re also trying to keep from spreading the thing.

Hope you’re all doing well at there. Take care. Wear masks. That is all.

A Randy Dream

First, my buddy was there, Randy. Randy died years ago, colon cancer, just before his sixtieth birthday. He was two months older than me.

Suddenly, in my dream, he was still the hale and hardy southern boy I’d always known, a man without an ounce of remorse, but charming and polite, a rogue right out of a Faulkner novel. He was always an entertaining and generous man.

So he was in my dream, coming along as he did, naked, as he was, which was startling. Part of my conscious mind intruded, hollering, “Time out! Why is Randy, who is dead, naked in my dream?” Dream me just ordered, “Go with it, dude.”

Still, it was non-plussing to be visiting Randy at his house. Naked, he was talking and entertaining me, talkin’ about sports and music, while providing beer and hot wings.

Okay.

Sometime during the dream flow, the house spun, or I left, or Randy left. Maybe it’s just a dream gap. However and whenever, I was now out in a woods, on a hill, by a cave. I’d been walking and was sweating, so I stopped to drink some water.

I’d noticed the cave. Weeds and brambles were growing around the entrance. The entrance’s squared-off appearance made me wonder what was within, and enticed me to explore. Searching for what might be within the cave — is it a cave or an old mine? What makes me think it’s an old mine? — I entertained entering it but hesitated. One, it looked dark. Two, I didn’t have a light. Three, there might be animals within in. Four, it might collapse.

But it looked sturdy, tall, and wide. The entrance seemed to be reinforced with cut granite. Beginning to think that it was part of a train tunnel, or for cars, I looked for railroad tracks, a road, or some vestiges that could be evidence of its previous use.

While this is all happening, I’m suddenly aware a man is there. White guy, not particularly old in appearance, but still with a balding gray head and a tidy gray goatee. I thought he was was wearing a toga but then he seemed to be in a suit but without a tie. I think he was barefoot. I also wondered if he’d come out of the tunnel, but he was behind me, so I thought, no, that can’t be right. Was he there before?

I then saw a pile of railroad ties to one side, prompting, aha, this probably was built as a train tunnel. Thinking that encouraged me to want to explore the tunnel because a tunnel is safer than a cave, was the reasoning, partly because it’ll be open on the other end and lead somewhere.

The man and I hadn’t addressed one another. In fact, I had the impression that he didn’t want to be disturbed. Just something about his demeanor.

Now, though, he was approaching me. I turned polite, expectant attention his way. He was holding a gray mortar and pestle. As I took him in with some wariness, I had the impression that he was offering that to me.

Which he was. “Here, this is for you.”

“What is it?” It looked like off-white shavings. I was suspicious.

“Medicine.”

“Medicine for what?”

“For everything. It’ll cure everything. Take as much as you want.”

“Okay, don’t mind if I do.” I reached in and took with my fingertips, then pushed it into my mouth.

Randy showed up and said, “I’ll take some of that.” He then helped himself as the man shrugged and said, “Help yourself, there’s plenty here.”

The dream ended.

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