Categories
inspiration life memories motivation musings profiles reflections Uncategorized

Silver Sunsets


“The last shall be first.”
When the horses reached the quarter pole, just before turning for home, Silver Sunsets galloped contentedly, exactly where he wanted to be — in last place, thirty lengths out of the lead.

Casual bettors, who picked Silver Sunsets by his number or the way he looked in the post parade, are tearing up their tickets in disgust.  In thirty seconds, they will regret this act.   They will watch, in utter amazement, as Silver Sunsets begins a furious stretch run, weaving in and out of traffic, passing horses as if they were standing still, crossing the finish line in first place.

Silver Sunsets was a top-ranked thoroughbred during his two-year old and three-year old racing seasons.  I remember him now, twenty years later, because of the lessons he taught me.  Be yourself and; it is never too late to do your thing.

Categories
Essays inspiration life Making Changes motivation musings reflections

Droplets of Joy


What if you didn’t have to complain?

What would you choose to do if you were free to do anything you wanted to?

What if the word “boundary” was not in your vocabulary?

What if you dared to dream?

What if your dreams came true?

What if you listened to the symphony of your soul rather than the chatter of your mind?

What is peace?

What is love?

What is contentment?

What is harmony?

What if reality was sweet rather than harsh?

What if droplets of joy rained down every day and you learned how to collect them in the bucket of your heart?

What if happiness became your constant companion instead of a distant relative?

What would happen if you took the time to get to know your deepest, truest self?

Categories
Essays memories musings profiles reflections Uncategorized

Impressions of Sedona


Majestic and Magical Sedona

I turn left on the two-lane road leading to the town of Sedona.  The world outside transforms into something much different than the one I am accustomed to. 

Towering red-rock Mountains appear unexpectedly.  The striped hills are radically different from the ordinary-looking mesas overlooking the surrounding terrain.  For the first time, the advertisements promoting this area ring true.  I get the distinct impression there is something special here.  There is suddenly hope the three thousand mile plane ride and the hotel suite awaiting my wife and I will prove to be a wise investment after all.

Sedona is a spiritual spa for die-hard vacationers as well as world-weary travelers searching for a way to resurrect their lives from an assortment of disappointments and failures.  I am not here to seek advice from healers, psychic or life counselors.  I am here to discover the heart and soul of this city out of time without the help of a tour guide.

Sedona is amazingly clean.  There are no signs of litter in the streets or sidewalks, no unsightly garbage dumps to mar the town’s bright aura.  The buildings, homes and streets all look brand new.  Most of the architecture is a sort of southwest modern with earth tone colors alternating with pastels.  It seems as though a beautiful, uniquely designed church abides on every street corner.  No two homes look alike, yet no building seems out of place.  There is an underlying unity of design but not at the expense of individuality. 

The single-story adobe-style homes at street level and the larger mansions in the mountains have no bars on their yawning windows.  They all look expensive, probably worth hundreds of thousand dollars each upwards into the millions.  Incredibly, you don’t see gates in front of the winding driveways.  There are no traffic lights clogging the two-lane road running throughout the town.  Instead, they have what the locals call “round-a-bouts.”  Here, the visitor finds an honor system where vehicles yield to the one reaching the four-way intersection first.  Anyone who doesn’t obey the code is sure to be a tourist.

I spend most of my time here in art galleries and walking around slack jawed, agape at the rock formations, multi-colored mountains, and fiery sunsets.  I feel “buzzed” every waking moment.  Even shopping, which I normally hate, feels like an acid trip.  The town itself, I think, is one huge energy vortex.

Young people flock here as if drawn to the area by the magnetic power of the town’s famous energy vortexes.  Many of the transplants have fled small towns where they grew up throughout the west to taste big city life.  After living in places like Houston, Phoenix, and Santa Fe, they search for something else.  They find it in Sedona, where small city values couple with new vistas of financial and cultural opportunity. 

Everyone you meet here seems to be from somewhere else.  Heaven is likely to be quite similar, come to think of it.

Categories
inspiration life Making Changes motivation musings philosophy reflections Uncategorized

The Road Ahead


I have always wanted floodlights to illuminate the road ahead.

What I get, if I am lucky, is a little candle.  I must take care  to protect  the candle’s flame from the roaring winds that surround me.

To know what I am doing in life, I must first know myself.

To cultivate wisdom, I must read the book of life in my heart.

By cultivating harmony within, harmony will permeate every aspect of my life.

If I sincerely seek joy, peace, and love, these qualities will take root in my soul as surely as the sun rises every day.

Categories
fiction inspiration life musings reflections short stories

Something More Than Telewars


Grayson found it hard to breathe.  Sweat poured from his forehead, down his crimsoned cheeks, onto the stiff collar of his white shirt.

The cubicles surrounding Grayson in the sprawling call center buzzed with activity.

“This is Grayson Sellers speaking.  May I have your contract number please?”

“Habla Espanol?”

“I only speak English,” Grayson replied.

“Where are you from, Amigo?”

“We’re not supposed to disclose personal information.  Please describe your problem so that I can help you.”

“Don’t get excited, hombre.  I ‘m just being friendly.

“I appreciate that.  The problem is we have to complete a certain number of calls in an hour.  If we fall short, we have to have a good explanation.  Now, how can I help you?”

“Do you like your work?”

Grayson made no reply.  They hadn’t given him a script for a situation like this.

He peered over his cubicle walls in all directions for signs of his supervisor.  She was cruising three rows to the south in a bright pink dress and one-inch heels.  Despite the low heels, the sturdy woman easily topped six feet.  Her keen eyes scanned the room for the slightest hint of operator error.

“To be perfectly honest, I’m not crazy about working here, but the pay is great.”

“I’m a landscape architect—love my customers and they love me.  Business is booming like you wouldn’t believe.

“I’m happy for you.”  Can we please get to your insurance issue?”

He imagined the explanation for losing control of his temper and the call.  The customer was excessively friendly.

“Working indoors is not my gig,” the caller elaborated.

“I get panic attacks.”  The words tumbled out of Grayson’s mouth by themselves.

“I feel for you, Hermano.”

He heard heavy footsteps approaching.  The supervisor pulled up like an army tank reversing on its treads.  “You’re sweating, Sellers.  Do you have a fever?”

Grayson dabbed his forehead with a handkerchief.  “Just a little summer cold, Mrs. Wilson”

“Be sure to cover your mouth when you sneeze.”

A few rows away, an operator raised her voice.  Mrs. Wilson’s head turned like a turret.  She clanked away.

Another casualty of the telewars, Grayson thought.

“I could use another good man.  Why don’t you call me after your shift?”

“You don’t even know me.”

We’ll talk.  Then I’ll know you better.”

It was against the rules to use customer records for anything except work for the company.  There was a rule attached to almost everything he did inside these walls.

Against his better judgment, Grayson jotted down the name and phone number on his computer screen.

The call proceeded smoothly to completion.

That night, Grayson dreamed of a plant nursery in South Miami he had visited as a boy.  He played tag with his younger sister among acres of Royal Palm trees.  He wandered between rows of potted orchids blooming in beautiful pastel colors.  He inhaled the rich floral perfume.   The warm sun and a cool winter breeze kissed his cheeks.

Categories
humor life musings reflections

Chicken Necks


Why would anyone want to be in the same room as a chicken neck, much less eat one? Consider the shape of a chicken neck, for starters. Does it remind you of a piece of cow intestine, or a giant snail without the shell — or maybe a biceps muscle severed from the bone? Now imagine one of these succulent items simmering in a saucepan flanked by mushrooms, carrots and celery. Add pepper if you like. Hold the salt—it comes with.

In China, chicken necks are a delicacy. This, no doubt, is a direct result of the overabundance of Chinese people and a perennial shortage of food in the country to feed them. In addition to the Chinese, dogs and pigs enjoy chicken necks as a regular staple. Cats, on the other hand, are much too dignified to eat them.

Here’s a thought. It’s entirely possible chicken necks could become a popular dish in America. If the banks fail, we might all find ourselves homeless, grilling chicken necks on street corners surrounded by the few sticks of furniture left over from the foreclosure sale.

If you are wondering what chicken necks taste like, please ask someone else. If, however, we turned out to be the last two people on the planet due to a natural disaster, I might hazard a guess. In such a case, I would be in the unenviable position of the sole remaining authority on chicken necks. It would be my duty, out of human decency, to attempt some sort of an answer. After considerable thought, I’d say chicken necks probably taste like dark meat chicken—very stringy, dark meat chicken accented with a gristly texture. They might also taste a bit like stuffed derma, a Jewish folk dish I have only seen but never eaten. On second thought, stuffed derma probably tastes like ice cream cake compared to a fried or boiled chicken neck. I can’t really be sure of this because I never summoned the courage to ask what stuffed derma is made of. As far as the smell of chicken necks is concerned, let’s not even go there. We’ll just say that chicken necks don’t smell. They stink.

If you are the curious, adventurous, or self-loathing type, you may wake up one morning with an uncontrolable urge to experience the taste of a chicken neck. To these people I offer one final word of advice. Chicken necks may taste better in a strong chicken or meat broth. Remember, this is only an assumption. If you must try a chicken neck, you do so at your own risk. Please also note that a serving of chicken necks will provide you with a decent amount of vitamin A. The idea that they are a good source of vitamin C is, sadly, only a rumor.

Categories
musings reflections

Light In The Tunnel Of Youth


I heard his footsteps enter the kitchen. I sat at the breakfast table, afraid to glimpse the advancing Bengal tiger, my father.

I didn’t have the stomach to gaze into his piercing green eyes. My mind saw those eyes jumping from the bushy, long hair straggling down the back of my neck, to the rumpled, black T-shirt I had pulled on shortly after stumbling out of bed. Those X-Ray lamps of his would finally come to rest on the doodles and paint droppings on the blue jeans I had worn for most of the past year in art school.

The footsteps halted. I imagined the Bengal tiger crouching on all fours, sizing up its prey. Minutes passed. The silence became unbearable. There was nowhere to run. The tiger had me cornered. I turned in my seat, almost like a revolving door. I held my breath as well as the awkward position.

My father leaned on the kitchen counter dressed in a navy, pinstripe suit accented by a red silk tie and powder blue business shirt. His eyes focused not on me, but on his perfectly manicured nails, like a high-priced trial attorney adopting a nonchalant pose before tearing into a hostile witness. He looked up at me suddenly.

His eyes always darted back and forth when he was angry. My father’s gaze was rock steady on this day. I did not perceive him to be calm, however. His slack posture spoke to me of something else, something entirely new, and horribly unexpected. My legs grew numb, perhaps from the ridiculous position I sat frozen in.

“Please say something,” I managed to blurt out.
His face held no expression now, as if a gremlin somewhere inside his body had flipped off an electrical switch.

“When you finish art school,” he said, “my responsibility for you will be finished. You’ll be on your own. If you end up ‘nowheresville’, it will be your unhappiness, not mine.”

My father continued to regard me with that terrible, neutral expression. His keen eyes bore into mine. I was certain he could hear my heart beating double-time inside my chest.

“I have to go to work now,” he said, and marched with a purposeful stride out of the room.

I turned and stared vacantly out the kitchen window into the back yard. I saw myself as a teenager, smashing plastic golf balls across the lawn for hours with the rusty seven-iron my father had given me from an old set. I blinked. The memory vanished.

It took a full five minutes to convince my legs to lift me up from the table.

In the next few days, I realized my father had done me a favor by bluntly pointing out what the consequences of my actions were apt to be, at least as far as my relationship with him was concerned.

His words shed a cold, clear light on my attempted escape from the pain of growing from a boy into a man. This recollection may have made my father seem cruel, but he was never an unkind man. Perhaps he could have “gilded the lily” more in his advice to me while growing up, but not on this occasion. He did not speak to me with malice or hurtful intent. He spoke honestly and with deep concern, and his words altered my future indelibly for the better.

Categories
life musings

Random Inspirational Thoughts


What you believe to be your upper limit is only the cracked ceiling you have been staring at for too long. You can go higher—Guaranteed.

Surrendering to self-doubt is the same thing as making a deal with the devil. Instead, make a deal with your dream and soar.

God never says, “I hear ya’ knockin’ but you can’t come in.” Keep knocking.

If you want to be great, stop trying to fit in.

The greatest challenge is to enjoy the process of getting from here to there.

Don’t judge yourself by the bad things you’ve done. Focus on the good thing you are about to begin.

Get to know the genius inside you on a first name basis.

It is necessary to develop a tough mind as we mature, but not at the expense of a sensitive heart.

The secret to lasting happiness is a heart full of love connected to a mind full of positive thoughts.

Categories
inspiration musings philosophy poems reflections

The Beloved


I see a woman shopping in a shoe department
She is long and lean, quite beautiful
and unmindful of my lustful stare
She is like so many women
I desperately want to make love to

I am a fool, of course
because what I want can never be satisfied by any woman
Even the most beautiful woman in the world
cannot quench the flame that burns within me

I often forget
what I truly want
You, my beloved

Beyond the fantasies and small desires
conjured by the deceitful magician
Mind brandishes multi-colored shrouds
in a deft attempt to lure me away
from where You reside

Your palace is more luxurious, more enchanting
than any abode the world has to offer
Beyond words
Beyond imagination
Beyond the boundaries I call myself

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of You
a flawless diamond
perfection itself
too beautiful for these outer eyes to see
more precious thana hundred Spanish treasure ships
waiting to be discovered