figuring it out


“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”–Anatole France

I’ve buried two beloved pets in my life. It’s one of the least pleasant parts of living in this world. I buried Callie, my first dog, 15 years ago. A piece of me was buried when I lay her into the ground. Sorry for being so morose.

When Elin and I let our vet inject our cat Lycklig with the drug that would soon stop her heart it brought back in nightmarish fashion the same experience I had with Callie,  my sweet chocolate Labrador with whom I enjoyed years of three-hour walks and long runs and snuggling on the couch in violation of house rules. In that life, when I would come home from work, Callie came to me wagging her entire 90 lb. body and whining with joy. Sometimes she got so excited she peed.

figuring it out


“To some degree we all find life difficult, perplexing, and oppressive. Even when it goes well, as it may for a time, we worry that it probably won’t keep on that way.” – Joko Beck

We have a cat named “Worry.” He is the apple of my eye. Most cats meow. Worry chirps. Sometimes he moves his mouth and there is a delay in the sounds he makes, almost as if he is a feline ventriloquist. As a kitten, he fell off a lumber pile onto his head. Ever since he has been prone to stop and just cry out. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night. It’s as if he is saying, “Hey, I’m here. Where is everybody?”

Elin and I chuckle alot about the irony of his name because most of the time he is one chill dude.

In humans, worry can be malignant. We are among the only beings who can envision the future and thus fear all the things that might happen. We fill our heads with worst-case scenarios, “what-ifs” that the science says are no more likely than positive outcomes. Yet our brains are hardwired to anticipate possibly harmful outcomes. It goes back to our days fighting sabre-toothed tigers.

figuring it out

standing at the bridge waiting to lead across

I am confident that, in the end, common sense and justice will prevail. I’m an optimist, brought up on the belief that if you wait to the end of the story, you get to see the good people live happily ever after.

–Cat Stevens

I have been trying to write this essay for weeks. It started out as a hopeful end of the year review. Then I was going to write about how 2016 felt like a sucker punch year, starting with such promise then dishing an unexpected uppercut: With the surprising–and troubling–election, the deaths of beloved musicians like David Bowie and Prince among other celebrities, and a seemingly chaotic world with shootings live on Facebook.

With so many sad and tragic things, how could anyone be hopeful for a better 2017?

figuring it out

if it weren’t for that one time

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” Thomas Jefferson

I almost didn’t run. It was cold-gray outside. A kind of sudden winter day that callously forgot to allow for the acclimation to fall’s passing. I awoke sluggish and felt the weight of things to do. A lot of problems to solve–business and personal stuff. It would be far easier to skip the run, I thought. Just dive in.  Begin knocking off all the tasks facing me. My to do list I knew would take all day to accomplish. It made me think about quitting and simply going back to bed.  Try again tomorrow.

figuring it out

the place where the light enters

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

There are four jagged marks on my abdomen; One runs north from my belly button about three inches as a deep purplish bumpy ribbon, like something is slithering just beneath the surface of the skin. Three others, little, red, uneven potholes, are to the far right and left. I have yet another where the middle finger of my left hand used to reside.