the cliff hanger

Falling a couple of hundred feet at high speed: some people think it’s fun. All kinds of falling appeals to certain people: sky diving, bungee jumping, roller coasters and amusement park rides that hurtle you straight down as fast as the laws of physics allow.

I don’t like falling down. I don’t even like looking down. When I’m looking for fun I go out and listen to music, feet firmly attached to the earth. Or I get even closer to the ground and plant something in my garden. Exercise must be earthbound . . .

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A Great Day

I thought I was having a great day. I brought home a new painting, a bright whimsical scene with multicolored houses and lollipop-shaped trees. It cheered up my wall. Then the phone calls started. Upset family, depressed friends, friends in pain at the hospital, full moon outside the doors and agony under the roofs.

I selfishly wanted to enjoy my small stab of joy when I looked at the charming innocence of the painting and forget the needs of all these people who pulled me from the imaginary utopia of my perfect moment.

Could I do it? Would . . .

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The Season

Schools starts early so swimming season is over. The weather is not a factor. All the underpaid and sunburned life guards have to go to school, therefore, no more swimming.

The life we live moves farther and farther away from the reality of earth, sun, wind, and sky every year. Is it any wonder that we forget how and why our actions affect the earth that we are a part of, made of, live on, live by the grace of?

Unless you notice it on your electronic calendar, do you know when there’s a full moon? Have you been outside before dawn to . . .

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Mind Games

I didn’t much believe in God, but I needed somewhere safe to rest my mind, so I thought about Nancy a lot. Instead of praying, I envisioned running into her and getting some sort of affirmation, kind words, a hug. It got me through long years of hard times when my real life was full of condemnation, shame, and abuse.

For a long time I figured this was because I loved her and she loved me back in a nonjudgemental way. Now I realize that she dwelt in my mind because she was safe, she accepted me for who I was, just like God is supposed to do.

I wonder how much of what we think is actually nothing more than a search for a safe place to rest our thoughts . . .

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Ruin My Day

All those wisdom gurus give sage advice about not sweating the small stuff. But it’s always the small stuff that ruins my day. For example, if I go outside on a Saturday morning thinking I’ll find the Sunday paper waiting on my sidewalk, and it isn’t there (duh), I am foolishly disappointed. The silly thing is, I’m not worried that I can’t keep my days straight. I’m upset because I wanted to read the Sunday paper.

It broke my heart the other night when Ben and Jerry’s was temporarily out of “my” flavor and I had to choose a substitute ice cream. . .

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This Pen Don’t Write

It scrbbles.
It spells wrong.
It skips. Important stuff.
It tells. It’s supposed to show.
It assumes stuff–stuff like you should know what I mean.
It forgets the sensory details.
This is a damn lousy pen.
This pen don’t write.

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Black fingerprint ink covered my fingers. I suppose it made sense that I was arrested. I looked guilty, I mean, I could see why the cops assumed I was guilty.

I was standing over Rodrigo’s body with a gun in my hand when they ran behind the stage. The gunfire brought the music from the stage to a stop. The quiet was eerie after the pounding of the music for the last two hours. I could hear the two cops breathing hard as they ran up to me with guns drawn and slapped handcuffs on my wrists.

Why did I pick up the gun? All I could think about was Rodrigo being hurt, I couldn’t believe it. I guess I thought if I picked up the gun it would all make sense: this gun hurt Rodrigo. I’ve done plenty of stupid things in . . .

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Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth? she asked. Her eyes were lit with eagerness. You’d think I’d offered her ice cream. I say we should give Al Gore do-overs! she enthused. He’s what we need in 2008.

Maybe, I said, but I was thinking Hillary and Barak would be the perfect ticket. Except for the slight problem that nobody would vote for a woman and an African American man.

Oh, I would. . .

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Urban Safari

Early that day the squawk of a mother quail brought me to my window. I saw the mother and about 12 tiny quail following behind her. Later in the arroyo behind the house–the place the neighbor calls “the wildlife preserve”–I spotted a roadrunner, several rabbits and some small furry thing that might be either a prairie dog or a ground squirrel.

Who needs a zoo when you have all this outside your door? It’s a true urban safari just to walk out the front gate and wander down the street. In this urban jungle, the troublesome beasts are the house pets. The dogs. The untrained dogs who lunge at you on the trails. The untrained owners who leave long trails of dog poop for others to step in are a menace, too. There’s one dog owner who . . .

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The Mosh Pit

I dived into the mosh pit head first, my arms a wedge cutting through a forest of forms, my body a battering ram. I moved to the front of the mass of sweaty humanity and stood gazing in wonder at my idol.

I was so close to her I could see the sweat on her forehead. She was as hot as the rest of us, despite the two fans on either side of the stage that lifted her hair a bit when she turned to catch the breeze. She was hot for the music as well, and I could see the emotion in her eyes, hear the meaning in her voice, touch the passion in her soul. . . .

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