Embrace

“Embrace your blessings,” I said, “and get off your pity potty.”

She wiped at the tears coursing down her cheeks as anger flashed in her eyes. She didn’t want to be reminded that she was wallowing in self-pity.

I had little hope of changing her lifetime pattern of doing nothing to change her situation while feeling sorry for herself about being in the situation. I . . .

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Gravel

I hid from the storm in a covered shelter with a concrete picnic table. It did no good. The wind blew sheets of water under my roof. Water ran down the mountain. It carried gravel from the trail with it, fast moving rocks and sticks obeying the laws of gravity while I tried to stay out of the way.

I tried to distract myself with pleasant thoughts. Happy times at picnic tables, lists of gravel-voiced singers like Dr. J and Tom Waits, rain storms I had enjoyed while safely ensconced in my warm home, . . .

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Laundry

After Teema joined the time-travel club she learned about books. They were her favorite part of the past. She loved the big buildings with nothing in them but books. The thrill of walking in a place with so much paper, paper you could touch and feel without being arrested for having an endangered resource—that’s what got her excited.

Teema liked to walk the aisles on the “library” buildings and look at the names on the books. They talked about indecipherable topics: pets, laundry, romance, jokes. Humans jostled in the narrow aisles (they couldn’t sense her there, of course) and piled books in their arms to carry away . . .

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Worms

What’s your irrational fear? If you don’t have one yet, maybe you could share my friend’s fear of worms. Even dead ones littering the sidewalk after a heavy rain are more than she can manage. If you want to bring the world to a screaming halt, show her a worm.

I’ve always like worms, myself. Little wiggly toys in the earth. My uncle Bill had a big box for growing worms in the attic of his theater near the source of the Rio Grande up in the Colorado mountains when I was a kid, and it was the most interesting thing in the theater, even better than the concession stand. . . .

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Autumn

The chilly autumn air made me shiver as I stretched outside my door. I would have stretched inside if I’d known it was this cool, but a few minutes of jogging would make my sweats feel too hot. Enjoy the goose bumps, I told myself.

I started slow while on the pavement, and when I reached the packed sand of the beach I sped up to a pace that I would maintain for several miles.

The sun’s position at this hour was not quite above the horizon, its light no match for the smog and moisture in the air. I could see, but barely. . .

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One idea

All it takes is one well-expressed idea to change the world. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and things changed completely. Paine wrote “Common Sense” and again things changed completely. Modern examples might include Friedan’s “Feminine Mystic” or King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Time will tell if Al Gore’s recent “An Inconvenient Truth” is going to change the world. A war followed the publication of the Declaration of Independence and Common Sense. A revolution, though not an all-out war, followed the Feminine Mystic and I Have a Dream. Is a revolutionary change going to . . .

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Modern

Gerald was the kind of guy who wouldn’t look funny saying, “he was the very model of a modern major general,” or other rhythmic lines from Gilbert and Sullivan. He wore a vest and a bow tie. Every day. He wore starched shirts with the sleeves always buttoned, never rolled up.

He was the first of my new neighbors to say hello. I admit my first impression was that he would be a bit fussy about just about everything, but he turned out to be a very down-to-earth guy. Okay, maybe a bit fussy about his lawn. But he . . .

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Cops on Poop Patrol

Everybody longs for something. I long for cops on poop patrol. The city where I live could rake in thousands of bucks a month if the cops hit the arroyos where the walking trails are every morning and evening and issued tickets to every person walking a dog without a plastic bag in hand for scooping the poop.

There are big signs saying that it is illegal to fail to clean up after your dog. The signs are right above mounds of doggie doo. It’s like walking in a mine field trying to get up the trail without doo on the shoe.

There are TV commercials urging people to keep the river pure by cleaning up the poop that washes right down the arroyos into the river each time . . .

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Fallen Heroes

Ann Richards died. She was one of the few bright spots in the good-ol-boy-morass of Texas politics and a particular heroine of mine. It’s sad news.

She deserves lasting fame simply for uttering, “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in high heels.” A concise expression of the whole feminist movement, a short sentence laden with meaning and power. She was an inspiration and a . . .

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Murky Dreams

It was one of those murky dreams that you can’t quite recall in the light of morning. It made me feel good, but it was an illusive feeling. The dream related to things my father liked. I think it was songs he liked, but it may have been something else.

I was with someone, perhaps a childhood friend, who said or sang snippets of things that created such warm feelings about my father. Unlike nightmares, which are all too vivid on waking, this is a scattered and . . .

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