ANOTHER SUMMER…

Another summer has gone. This wasn’t a particularly good one for me. My neck of the woods was strangled by smoke from forest fires all around the province and while we weren’t affected by the fires proper the smoke from all of them seemed to gather in our valley. On the air quality index, (1 being low health risk to 10 being high risk) we had more days in the ‘+ very high’ category than I care to remember. At one point we had a reading of +49. The air was virtually unbreathable, meaning that at my age and with my health status a mask was in order.

I know where this summer went. It’s the other 69 I’m wondering about.

I remember during my youth those hot summer days and warm summer nights seemed to go on forever but I didn’t really think about it at the time. I lived in the moment. Whether it was a road trip to California or a European summer with time spent on the Riviera and Monte Carlo or simple days at the local lake I didn’t give much thought to how precious those times were.

70 summers. It seems like a lot until you really think about it. It’s then that you realize how quickly those seasons have passed. Some family, friends, and acquaintances that shared those times with me have also passed. It’s life, I guess.

If I am to be philosophical about all of this I suppose I should be thankful that I have 70 summers to remember. Many people will never have that opportunity.

If I were the village elder I would be telling my children to cherish the moment for soon it will be gone. Create fond memories and appreciate the world around you. Listen to the birdsong, feel the warm winds upon you and value the essence that lives within you.

Time is fleeting and unless you reach out and grab those moments they will fly by faster than the crimson leaves on the brisk autumn winds.

Mike Grant, author: White Wolf Moon/Barking at Yesterday’s Moon

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WHERE DID I GO?

I realize I haven’t been posting much recently…in fact I haven’t been on-line that much over the past three weeks. It all started with me asking the question “Where did I go?” and subsequently trying to come up with the answer. This started me on a bit of a self-awareness journey through time.

I remember the Sixties which (according to current wisdom) means I wasn’t there…but I was. Mostly I remember my attitudes from back then. My group was a part of what most refer to as the hippie generation but we were all experiencing our last throes of teendom or in our early twenties. We still hung onto a bit of the fifties attitude and this “love and peace” philosophy came along at a perfect time for us.

We had seen the other side and while kids thirteen and up were quick to embrace hippiedom…grow their hair, do a little weed, and live the “free” life…we could understand how this movement came about and we appreciated what it all meant. We also knew that nothing was free.

We all had to work because someone had to pay for the freedom we experienced living together in an old house or our weekend romps up at the old cabin on a property owned by the grandparents of one of the guys. It was an idyllic if somewhat brief existence that taught each of us a lot about life and the people that share that life. We had differences but they only served to make us appreciate the commonalities which far outnumbered them.

When it was all over and each of us moved on to more traditional lifestyles (mortgages, kids, pets, etc.) we found inner conflict waiting in the wings.

Yes I still had the same job but everything else had changed. It was difficult maintaining the outlook on life to which I had become accustomed and soon it sank into the murkiness along with the tie-dye shirts, granny glasses, and torn-out jeans. Okay I still wear torn-out jeans but now it’s a choice.

Over the past few years I’ve found myself becoming the grouchy old man that used to live next door and I don’t like it. I’ve been told this comes with age but I don’t buy into that. Somewhere in my 67 year-old body is that guy who used to puff his pipe, sip wine, play guitar, and read for hours beside the pond at the bottom of a clearing.

Three weeks ago I set out to find him and eventually I did. In doing so I realized why he went away.

As noble as it is I feel that we perhaps spend too much time thinking about other people and not enough time thinking about ourselves. What I do…what I enjoy doing…isn’t necessarily what other people see as important. I have long had the philosophy that you don’t have to support what I do…just don’t keep me from doing it and we’ll get along fine. The same goes for the philosophy itself…you don’t have to agree with me just don’t try to change me but it seems a lot of people don’t understand the concept. You have your own beliefs and ideals and far be it for me to try to change them. I respect the differences we may have and I only ask the same in return.

It’s also important to not let this “think about yourself” become the end all yet many people have and thus the “entitled” generation was born. We are all part of this thing called life and like it or not our paths will cross at some point. How we handle relationships with others is based a lot on how we feel about ourselves. If we are comfortable with all that we are both physically and mentally then we can more readily accept what other people have to offer. Sometimes it’s enriching and sometimes it’s not but it’s all a learning experience if you’re open to it.

So where have these rambling thoughts taken me? To my backyard on my recently built deck with a couple of books on the table, guitar on my lap, and a bottle of Baroness Von Hinder-Faarten 1986 by my side. The pond at the bottom of the clearing has become an oscillating sprinkler but that’s fine. With my renewed old outlook on life I’m far more flexible than the me I had become.

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