Friday, December 27, 2019

Year-End Takeaway Ramble

Here I am at year’s end looking for good news. The best news is that it’s just about over. My main takeaway is to take it away. I’m ready to gather 2019 in a Hefty bag and dump it in the non-recyclable bin.

Too many bodily insults, noxious inhalations of Trump-speak, rain forests torched, rising seas, dictators installed, populations displaced and borders slammed shut.

And yet, as always, it is a mixed bag……the grasshopper sparrow is making a comeback and the Galapagos tortoise isn’t extinct after all. In fact science has discovered 71 new species even as 3,000 are now on the endangered list……along with Objective Truth which has endured a nasty time of it. In spite of 80,000 deliberately set fires in the Amazon forest our planet is twice a green as it was two decade ago. And that doesn’t include my banzai plant which I’d nursed with a grow-light for 18 months till it finally committed suicide.

Then there is eggplant parmigiana, Everything Bagels and a new flavor ice cream call Black Cherry Root Beer Float. But first place goes to the discovery of Sherpa blankets, light, warm and fleecy-fuzzy to greatly enhance my sleep which I regard as one of those inalienable rights.

Yesterday I received a cane from my healthcare provider. Give me a top hat and I’m indistinguishable from Fred Astaire except I can’t sing or dance. Ginger is nowhere in sight. Mine is a quad cane spanning twelve inches across to keep me earth-bound.

Fifty years ago Marshall McLuhan warned about the pervasive impact of technology and how unaware we are of it. In fact most act as if living in the previous media age which is now revealed because it is virtually dead. So it is that fish have no idea they live in water. Today we can barely swim through lunch without reaching for our mobile device for late-breaking news or to check the name of some obscure movie or sports figure. We live in a glut of data and info still trying to sort out what’s important from what never happened to begin with.

Calendar time says to say goodbye and then hello. At this age I’m eager for more hellos. More years of juice to squeeze. More days of wonder and ponder. I hope not to leave this realm with such discord. How a gullible class has chosen guns and gospel over government, their grievances inflamed by that odious, hollow man. These are the folks whose fathers and grandfathers survived as beneficiaries of New Deal programs …. rural electrification, job-creation and Social Security. Somewhere along the way they became the congregation of the lost.

Peggy, literally 98.6 is still in her prime; she became a year younger through some mysterious alchemy. She published two novels in 2019 and adds oxygen to the air with her daily poems.  

Time is what I’ve grown to cherish, to halt the hours. Age helps with that. To in-dwell. Rejoice, we are here with our brothers and sisters to keep our orb spinning in good health. Amazing how old-age has arrived at exactly the year of my aging. Last year I was still 39. I’m now aligned with the leap. I can't come to the phone right now. I’m communing with the last leaf on the coral tree outside the window clinging to a memory of summer. The two of us.

As Robert Bly put it in his poem, Wanting To Steal Time,………….Every noon as the clock hands arrive at twelve, / I want to tie the two arms together, / And walk out of the bank carrying time in bags.


  1. Norm, I think you and Peggy are amazing!!!

  2. commenting so you don't remove me from the list to say how wonderful each of your blogs are

  3. I got to spend some time with Robert Bly back in 1980. He was a good man. So are you.

  4. Peggy and I met at a Robert Bly poetry reading...complete with his dulcimer.