Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The sentinels

OK, to get into the proper mindset here, you'll need to channel Oscar the Grouch, singing his furry, green little heart out: " 'cause I loooovvvvvve trash!" That gives you a snapshot of my morning.

I know because you mostly all know and mostly all adore me, you thought you'd get a certain level of ... depth ... or thoughtfulness? with this blog. Important, worldly thoughts from the East Coast? No, no, you sure don't. You get Oscar the Grouch singing about trash. But that's how I started my day, so it seemed appropriate.

Let me explain: We have five trash barrels that live along the side of our building, and I'm pretty sure only I and the family above use them. Guess who generates more trash? But, in good neighborly spirit, we're all supposed to rotate taking the trash out ... except among the five units, I think we're the only ones using, so you can see how the rotation might not exactly be even. But that's a side note. From time to time, we have random trash that accumulates, that everyone refuses to deal with in a perfectly unspoken way. This would be things like: bags of leaves (two of which were from last year, swear to god), some ancient hockey sticks that arrived one day, a recycling bin that's been filled with so much crap (recycling, sure, plus leaves and dirt and branches and trash ... I don't get it either), you know, fun things like that. So this morning was the breaking point -- no more! I was going to deal with all the stupid trash piles myself before another winter came and they were all snowed under for another year. Hence, the trash song. It was kind of rejuvenating, really. Rubber gloves and all.

And, I want to reassure you that I was out and showered and running errands and then back home, all before 10 a.m. Yes. And I made some exciting forays into procuring business cards for myself, for the freelance/new world of it all. Kind of a key tool. Vista Print offers some free/cheap options, although I see how costs start to slide in (nicer paper! glossy finish! back of the card!), but it's something I've been meaning to do for a few months. I'm leaning toward a simple, but powerful design - red card, white printing, minimalist. But -- to do gloss?? Another version I like has a black or maybe dark brown background with a little spring-green and white design in the corner, and a line sweeping across the page. It's cool. I'm sure there's some way to get the images in here, but I'm a little tapped out on the learning-new-technology front just now.

Also, got in 8 miles in Pepper, bringing me to 272, with another 42 miles, I think, from others. We're in the 300s! The temps look to stay cooperative for the next 10 days (as far out as predicts), but seeing no lows in 20s and highs staying in 40s/50s -- that's rowing weather! Tomorrow promises no wind, so I'm going for a repeat of my 10-miler in the morning. The water was nice and flat today, the sky grey and the air misty; if temps had been colder it would've classified as raw. But the world from the river looked softer and duller, all the edges blurred by grey variants. I hit a few spots of liquid glass that were gorgeous, and the wind and rippley water only reared their ugly heads once or twice. I paused on the way back in front of Harvard's boathouse, and realized looking at the trees lining the river that all the leaves are gone in this stretch. The long, unbroken line of trees reach upward with only brown spikyness, faded grey-brown sentinels for the coming winter.

I've been trying to come up with an analogy for the way it feels when you nail the catch (when the blade of the oar drops into the water) just right. Such a simple motion, so hard to get right -- it's all about the speed of the catch and timing -- the nanosecond when your blade drops vs when your seat stops moving (blade should be in the water first, and we're talking just nth fractional seconds). But when you get it just right, it feels RIGHT. The best thing I've come up with is the taffy-pulling machine. You know what I'm talking about? Those simple-looking contraptions that work the taffy, its mechanical arms repeatedly, rhythmically stretching and pulling the taffy. There's just something about watching it that's mesmerizing, satisfying. Nailing the catch just right is entirely different, but the feel is somehow similar.

As I rowed along, my thought for pondering was what stops or pauses me from following potential career sparks. Sometimes a something comes along, and it's just easy to chase it for excitement. Other times, something comes along, and the interest and excitement is there, but sometimes fear or reluctance as well. And, it's true for life in general, of course. Those things that scare us on some deep, subliminal level, what are they about? Is it an instinct whispering that something isn't right? Or the sheer rightness of a thing that scares us away? Been trying to do some excavating into my prehistoric, nonthinking mind and habits. I didn't emerge from the row with the answers, so you'll have to stay posted for full enlightenment.

And, why can spellcheckers never fix my constant typo in "course"? Mysteries for the ages.

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