It’s a short list

The things that make me feel optimistic

Reaching the mountain summit and taking in the view on a clear day

Leisurely driving with open blue-sky, a few puffy clouds and sunshine

Sharing a really substantial conversation in a cozy atmosphere restaurant – with wine

Working (hard) in my yard and finishing the task satisfactorily

Kayaking on a slow-moving river

Holidays

Spring season

Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List-Making

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Too much emphasis on appearance

I understand that we, in modern society, have to cover our naked flesh, therefore, the commercial deluge of every variety, color, texture and creative accessory that can possibly be drape, shod, slip on or pour ourselves into, has canvased not only (probably) hundreds of square miles of store space, storage, warehouse, closet space but occupies our air-space in the form of commercials – online, TV, radio – and chatter about clothes (purses, shoes, scarves, etc) and…AND, we have to be judged by/on what we wear. Apparently how and with what we cover our flesh says something about our character. Really?

How ’bout this? It’s affordable, comfortable and it does the job, namely, hiding my nakedness.

Or: My clothes state that I don’t care what you think of my clothes.

To be completely honest, I rarely (and I mean almost never) notice what someone is wearing. I could step away from someone after a ten minute conversation, immediately be quizzed about what they  had on and I couldn’t tell you.

This will blow your mind: about the middle of the day, if someone asked me to describe what I had on (either garment or color), I would have to pause and think. I might even have to look.

None of this means that I dress in the dark after picking up my clothes off the floor or from under the bed and start my day with complete disregard for what I am wearing (unless it’s a stay at home day, then all the above is true). It means that my limited wardrobe consist (mainly) of everyday clothes that are comfortable, simple and serve the purpose. On the rare occasion that I go to an “event” that, if it’s not required, it’s usually socially acceptable to ‘dress up’ a little I will go the extra mile and wear a nice sweater with my jeans.

Does all of this define my character or personality or give insight to my political leanings or depth of intellect or compassion, or tell you about my religious beliefs or give clues to what I fear or hope?

I think the only thing some clothes/accessories reveal about anyone is how hard they try to be contemporary, fashionable or a trendsetter. It tells us about their fears.

Discover Challenge: Outer Layers

Authentic isn’t Social media

This challenge topic is related to my Daily Prompt entry Urgency is all Relative. I breezed through Erica’s entry but I did not pay much attention to the noted articles and books. I read the post for the ‘gist’ of this challenge but I already had a couple of ideas to write about.

Nothing about “social media” is authentic. It’s all an artificial atmosphere created (by those who create such things as Facebook) to make money. It morphs into other things beyond – and I might be generous here – the simple and ‘innocent’ design of creating an immediate and artistic way to communicate to groups of people, as all things unleashed to the general public tend to do. If you want to be authentic, ask a friend to meet for lunch and have a conversation – face-to-face – without once looking at your smart phone. Try it.

The other thought I had about authenticity is that people sometimes confuse being “authentic” with the license to be rude. For example, when someone dresses in a way that is, lets call it “attention grabbing” and then they notice people looking twice, staring or otherwise doing exactly what was intended by the outfit, these same people become angry and act out. If you don’t want people ‘gawking’, don’t dress or act in a way that demands attention. If you dress the way you do because you like it, it’s “you”, then it won’t really matter who looks and what they think. That’s being authentic. I wear jeans, T-shirts and my hair really (really) short because it’s my preference – I’m being authentic – and I get looks but I don’t care. People can like or not like how I look, it’s not about them, it’s about me being me. By the same tolken I am not offended by being (accidentally) called “Sir” or when asked why I have my hair short shaved.

That’s my brief post. If I decide that, after puzzling over the topic more, I want to elaborate – I’ll ‘edit’.

BTW: I have no idea what is meant by “radical authenticity” so I didn’t address it.

Discover Challenge: authenticity

Urgency is all relative

Autumn has arrived so quickly.

When we have ‘big plans’ for something like a wedding or a long-anticipated extended trip there are the mixed emotions of ‘can’t wait’ and the dread that we won’t get ‘everything done’ in time. The event seems so distant into the future that we feel we have the luxury of time but daily life gets in the way of necessary preparations and appointments then, before we know it, the time has arrived.

I’m in the middle of those emotions. Everyday I feel the urgency of being prepared for my thru-hike combined with the necessary things that need to be done on a daily basis. The more ‘training’ I do, i.e. hiking, weight-lifting, aerobics – not to mention acquiring, not only equipment, but the “right” or “best” equipment, the better prepared I will be for my hike but work and daily life doesn’t allow me to use as much of my time as I’d like for what seems (or feels) necessary to me.

My solution: everything in moderation. We can only do so much in the time we have. I need to work so that’s a forty-hour hunk of my week. I have to sit and pay bills, go to appointments, winterize, fulfill obligations of life and throw a little bit of relaxing (or otherwise ‘fun’) in there to break up the monotony. I have to realize that I might not be as prepared for my hike as I would like and that’s okay. Many people successfully thru-hike on sheer determination.

While urgency has it’s place (like initiating CPR) most things are not as urgent as we may feel or believe. We increase our own anxiety by giving in to a fear that really is not as extreme or maybe even warranted. If we had to explain it, if we had to justify our fear or convey the sense of urgency, we probably couldn’t do it without coming off as a little ‘out-of-control’ or emotionally unbalanced; disproportionate pragmatism verses hysteria. Best we keep our heads cool and take life an hour at a time – eventually we will get where we want to be, with or without comprehensive preparedness, and all that fuss will just seem like wasted energy.

Daily Prompt: urgent

one tonic for the news virus

It’s everywhere! TV, radio, newspapers, conversations in public places. It’s like the atmosphere after 9-11; shock, fear, anger.

I drove north on 93 in the brilliant sunlight with a clear blue sky. A wonderful feature of the highway is the wide-open space. I wanted to see the foliage before it’s gone but I had made no arrangements to go to a specific destination or hike. I just left the house and headed north to the white mountains.

Not surprisingly the further north I got, the more color the trees displayed. I knew I had made the right decision, even if I don’t DO anything today, I’ll have taken the day to witness one of New England’s glorious autumns.

After making a stop in Lincoln for a ‘break’ and a coffee I decided I’d stop at the flume and take the dogs for a walk along the ‘bike path’. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see vistas of color but I’d be walking underneath a vibrant canopy and getting some exercise. Shortly after you get on the path there is a ‘detour’ to take a trail to Mt. Pemigewasette and I noted with a pleasant surprise it was only 1.5 miles to the peak. Since it was only 11:40 a.m. I knew that, even if I am out of shape and huff-puff up the trail, I’d have plenty of daylight to make it up and back. So there I went.

I plugged in my ear-bud, just one, and listened to a sleepy little audio book. I could listen to the reader, not story – because it isn’t really a story it’s more of a circuitous, non-stop character development, just go on and on about these characters in the book. It was enough of a ‘distraction’ to keep my mind focused on it but not so involved that I would begin to ‘feel’ any emotions (like one does when involved with a very good story: excitement, anticipation, disbelief) as I plodded along,..up…up…up.

The two ‘kids’ and I finally reached the peak, a granite overlook with a 180 degree view of the quilted mountainsides. The wind was blowing but I had worked up a sweat so it felt refreshing. The three of us stood there gazing over the cliff and soon a lone man and his tiny dog appeared. We chatted a bit, chuckled at the dogs meeting each other and spoke of the opportunity we both decided to take this day to head to the mountains. We both agreed, even with a good camera, you just can’t capture the beauty of the foliage in the same breath-taking way you see it with your own eyes. Eventually he sat with his smart phone and I put on my hoodie and lied back on the slightly warmer granite rock, closed my eyes, listened to the wind blow and let the sun do it’s job on me. I smiled.

Not long after I had two cold, wet noses poking me in the face and neck, snuffling and snorting. I guess they were bored. We headed back down; they played games with each other in their excitement and I was half plugged back in, watching every step down I took (leaves are slippery).

We reached the car and we all drank some water and headed home. I felt positively grateful. I spent my south-bound time leaning toward the steering wheel with my head swiveling back and forth just trying to absorb all the blazing color before my trip was done.

I felt quiet and reflective (subdued?) and let nature’s energy carry me toward more positivity than I’d been feeling in a long while. It was the best medicine for the toxic illness I was starting to feel.

Daily Prompt: subdued

 

The subtlety of ‘daring’.

Stream of Consciousness:

It’s so subtle, daring…to be yourself, to speak up, to express your opinions, to smile for no outwardly discernible reason, to chuckle out-loud when you read something funny, to openly observe a stranger’s child entertaining themselves and remember what freedom of spirit was like and unaware of judgment, to dress in something comfortable and not at all stylish, to tune-out the negative conversations around you and drift into a happier world of your imagination, to know each day that the world can and might get much worse but live like it won’t, to be aware that you never know when you won’t be here anymore and disregard the criticism of ‘being morbid’, to wonder what someone else’s hidden life might be like, to show compassion when other’s feel disgust, to turn your face up toward the warmth of the sun and smile and not care what someone might think, to buy a bottle of wine in the morning, to drive under the speed limit, to listen to non-contemporary music/radio with your windows down at a stop light, to walk along the sidewalk and not move out of someone else’s way, to stop coloring your hair, to eat out…alone, to exist completely comfortable with yourself and who you are, for whatever reason, and let the world turn into what it will and know that it doesn’t matter because you can only be who you are.

Daily Prompt: Daring