Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year of Pegasus

Photo by manganite on flickr

I have been contemplating a Merry Christmas and now a New Year's post for a few weeks now. I missed Christmas - I made a video of the dog in sleigh bells, but had soundtrack/editing issues. Oh well. Having missed that one, I was determined not to miss the new year/new decade post, but I've been drawing blanks for a topic.

It seems that I have been drawing blanks all year with regard to this blog. I have a wire basket in my office overflowing with scraps of paper and Post-It notes with thoughts and ideas written on them. I have a couple of those brown kraft paper notebooks that Moleskine makes - full of jots and scribbles. I can't even find them - that office is a mess. Found them...

...China master-disciple relationship...Asset underutilized corporate-speak...Manual labor hard work...Tanda music wrong woman timing...Sentient being planet sustainably support 2 billon not 6b surely not 9b...10/22 people who are uncomfortable with close embrace deserve to have tango in their lives too...Dog name Bexar (for a friend...pronounced Bear in these parts...for a tiny shitzoo...then I told her she should name him Genghis Khan, in keeping with his Chinese heritage...). ..Hotel California in Georgia story...Climb On products...Chris Belknap design earth synergy...Parallels between architecture & tango...Going through life going through the motions would rather be bothered not blind after all the true meaning of life is nothing/ness...Book Too Big to Fail nature of capitalism maximize profits hurt the system hurt society hurt the individual...Exploiting other people's weaknesses...NPR feudal system in Pakistan no stigma re: corruption evolution of corruption in Afghanistan....China in 1 year 7000 miles of high speed rail US only 700 Chinese gov't able to form policy and quickly effect it...Hippie deluxe...

So it's not so much that I'm drawing a blank for posts. But blank on what to actually take the time to post. Blank 'cuz I've been busy. Blank 'cuz I have other and higher priorities. Blank 'cuz I'm in love. Feeling overwhelmed. Feelings of missing tango and tango friends. Festivals passing me by. Struggling with that. Trying to get my head around that. I suppose it's a good thing to feel overwhelmed. I was feeling severely underwhelmed that last year in Aspen - the first year of this blog.

Blank because of my perceived negativity in my posts? She says I sometimes come across as preaching and/or pontificating. I have recognized for some time that I bitch and moan and rant a lot. This was actually by design to some degree. I wanted to always "speak my mind" in this blog. Stuff bothers me. Stuff pisses me off. But I also see the beauty in it all every day. I tear up when the sandhill cranes honk and wheel in flight overhead. I think we are pretty much fucking things up. But I am hopeful. I think we are pretty much oblivious to our impacts and effects on the world around us, to ourselves, the society of man and to our children and their children. But I remain hopeful. I am trying to be more active and do something about it. But I have yet to make it to my first county commissioner's meeting. I have written to my reps in Congress. They reply. I am working on doing some sustainable, low-key, low-impact development. We shall see. I feel pretty certain that this is a "great correction", lasting two or three more decades, and not "recovering" in two or three years. But I am hopeful. Because I believe that a sustainable, cash based world economy is good for humankind. Hopeful ranting. Joyful preaching. Happy pontificating. I do often rant with a smile on my face.

Resolutions. I thought about that as a topic, but it's so trite and hackneyed. Part of the overwhelm-ed-ness is being more disorganized than I ever have. That comes from having my house of cards blown into the wind back in Aspen. The cards are now all settled here. I just need to pull them all together and tuck them away in their box. Need to lose a few pounds. Eat better. Cure the addiction to sugar. More exercise. More photography. More writing. More tango. Hackneyed. The year behind. The year ahead. Goals and aspirations. Overdone.

It struck me this morning that this one is also the end of the first decade of the new millennium. It seems like only yesterday that it was Y2k, the year 2000. An entire decade flashes before your eyes. Wow. What a ride. SweetiePieHoneyBunch and I were sitting in bed this morning, watching the sunrise, drinking coffee (Bailey's for her, mocha for me), talking about what I could write about. She's my muse, as women are in men's lives. She doesn't realize it. I don't think I realized it until I just now wrote it.

I'll tell a little story. It was our second date. I was living at my brother's place having just moved back from Georgia - he was off in Florida on business. Bacon wrapped shrimp were sizzling and smelling delicious on the grill, and I was running around trying to get dinner cooked for her - for us. She had just come from a gig and had her guitar in the car. She asked if I would like to hear a song. Of course.
As she tells the story now, she expected that I would just keep on cooking in the kitchen while she sang a song in the living room. I turned down the burners, topped off our pinot noir, and moved a comfy chair in front of the fireplace for me to sit in. I pulled up a chair with no arms for her to sit in - right in front of me.

Apparently the "no arms" made a big impression with her. It was without thought on my part - obviously guitar players sit in chairs with no arms. We sat directly facing each other - I was intently attentive. This was a first for me. A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice playing beautiful music on a beautiful guitar on a beautiful night in front of a beautiful fire. I was compelled to listen, compelled to a heightened level of attention. Every note, every word, every nuance, every little grace about her.

I cried. Hey, it was a beautiful song. I think I won her heart right there. She was touched by my tears. Tears of joy you might say. I do cry at beauty fairly often. Then I started chuckling, then laughing, growing into a full blown guffaw. She was taken aback, thinking I was laughing at her or about her, or something. She didn't know me - remember, it was only our second date. She asked what I was laughing at. I said "I'm just so happy that you're good, and I don't have to fake it." Faking it would have been "oh yeah honey, that was real good, now put that guitar away and let's eat..."

We savored those moments after the song, savoring the wine, savoring each other. I finished cooking, we ate, and ended up falling asleep lying in each other's arms in front of the fire. Not a bad second date.

But I digress.

So, we were sitting in bed this morning talking, as we do every morning. The image of Pegasus had come into my mind earlier. I asked her about Pegasus - she has a song called "Child of the Big Sky" with a strong Pegasus reference, so I figger'd she had done some research. I cry every time she sings that one, too. We google'd it, then wiki'd it, allowing the laptop into the bed for a moment. Somehow Pegasus and his birth of Poseidon and Medusa, somehow this winged horse whose hoofs strike the Earth and make springs well up, somehow this bearer of lightning bolts, somehow this glorious beast/myth/image represents this time for me. This day. This moment. This spot on the earth. The coming year. The coming decade. The coming years of my life. The coming years for all of our lives on this Earth. Hope. Beauty. Struggle. Love. Enlightenment.

Somehow this Pegasus represents what I want to write about. Not Pegasus himself, but the imagery, the mythology, the feeling. Something. Can this Pegasus save us from ourselves? Does he hold the lightning bolt in his quiver that will strike the Earth and wake us up from our materialistic oblivion? Hmm. I dunno.

We got to talking about security or perceived security. The want of people who avoid risk in favor of "security". Security in the form of a 30 year fixed mortgage, a 401k, diversified investments, a white picket fence, a gold watch. Security in the form of the conformism. The Conforming American Dream. Events of the past two years, of the past decade, have made anyone with any sense wonder about wisdom of the Conforming American Dream. The CAD evolved over the past hundred years or so into something unsustainable, unhealthy I believe - environmentally, socially, culturally, emotionally. I won't go there. You get my drift.

We talked about the metaphors of this life - like driving through a National Park and never getting out of the car. I don't know where I'm going with this. I like that about writing extemporaneously - something will be born of the words, of the flow. Something. Hopefully.

We were thinking of a close friend, retiring this year, doing all the right things. Conforming. Good job. Secure financially. Secure in a long marriage. Nice house in a nice suburb. Kids grown and gone and doing well. But at what cost? The cost of lost life experiences? The cost of a love affair on a beach for two weeks in the Cayman Islands? Lost writing or painting or making music? Lost love? Lost self? The cost of other dreams set aside? Not too late for a course correction. Not too late to recoup any losses - perceived or otherwise.

At the end of my first marriage, when I decided to walk away from conformity forever, I felt like I had lost my "self", my soul. Twenty years of doing what I thought was expected of me, doing what I thought was mandatory of me, doing the corporate thing - raises, promotions, increasing responsibilities, bigger house, better car, more and better "stuff". Twenty years of that, when my heart wasn't in it, was too much for a man to bear. I hid my depression by crying in the shower each night, after coming home late from work. It stripped me to my core. Perhaps I had to lose my "self" in order to find myself.

And here it comes, finally it gels. Sweet. This decade for me has been one of "self". I had to find my self. By myself. Find him and know him. Knowing versus knowledge. Knowing him, and loving him. I had to figure out how to love myself before I could find love. Writing this, I can't see through the tears right now, damn them. I had to love myself and find love before I could love this life. A good life. A life with just enough of everything. Enough love, laughter, beauty, kindness, cash, food, water, wood to build a workshop or a warm fire in the woods, whatever. Enough. Not more. Not better. Not increasing responsibility. Not a better title. Not more recognition. Enough. Just enough.

My Facebook profile says something about "I've been pondering self-actualization these days...", from Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Food/Water/Shelter/Self Esteem/Love/Self-Actualization or something along those lines. I am thankful that I am coming into these years of self-actualization, with the other "needs" largely met. For my second half-century on this planet. For the coming decades. Content. Happy. Hopeful. Full of love. Another year older. Another year wiser. My daughter called last night for advice on selecting a wine to go with seafood gumbo. That's a new one for me. I'm a dad, he realizes, 21 years after the fact.

In this coming year and decade, thrive my friends. Flourish. Bring yourself to your fullest potential as a human being, dad, citizen, spouse, friend, lover, son, brother, tango dancer. That's my plan.

Happy New Year.


Elizabeth said...

Excellent Alex.
Funny I was just thinking of that story, about the song and you crying. It cracks me up. I don't know why I just remembered it.
Anyway, the story is funny because of your honesty. The same honesty that shows up in your search for self. Have a great year, and if we are lucky we will see you.

The Unknown Tango Theologian said...

Well, Alex ... glad that you are back on track and finding meaning in life. I too was at a blank for Christmas. I wanted to do something with Christmas and tango, but nothing meaningful (or at least not cheesy) came to mind. Please check out my Xmas story (fiction about tango and returning from Iraq to a tanguera fiance). Since we are fellow bloggers on tango in the Austin area, I'd appreciate being included in you tango blog list!