Every time I go into the restroom at work I bump into the rubber doorstop on the floor. And every time that happens I am immediately afraid that I've bumped someone's face. In my mind, I go through a scenario where the other person clutches his face while I scramble to the sink and
wet a paper towel. Outwardly I am very concerned and expound my deepest apologies. I am very reverently sorry for the pain I've caused. Inwardly I find the situation comical. "What a funny thing to happen. The jerk shouldn't have stood so close to the damn door.", I say to myself. Meanwhile, he writhes in pain, making sure that I am fully aware of the pain I've caused. He is civil, though. He puts the towel to his face, lightly touching his mouth with it, and checks out of the side of his eyes for signs of blood. Sometimes he makes a joke. Sometimes he yelps "Oh wow!". Inwardly he finds the situation interesting. "Why does this have to happen to me? what a damned idiot he is. I can tell he's laughing. The jerk! It is kind of funny though.", he says to himself. We part ways after our ritual. I am not convincingly sorry and he is not convincingly calm or hurt.
Every time I hear the phrase "punch ‘em right out" I am reminded of a former helicopter pilot who sometimes described his exploits in Vietnam to me and the guys. “I’d duck behind a hill when I got a fix on the tank, pop up just as they were coming, slam a TOW into them and punch ‘em right out." Another time he told us that he found almost as much pleasure throttling his 2402 around curves as he did when he was "flying low and killing people." He said that with a gleam in his eye. But he lowered his head in a slightly reverent gesture (to make sure we didn't think he was a complete monster) and cracked a wide grin - just kidding, ha.
When the Vietnam war was just becoming a well cooked conflict, my sisters, my brother, and I, quite unaware of our empathetic connection with the helicopter pilots in the world, declared war on flies. At least they knew we were killing them for a reason. We reasoned that if we killed enough of them that the other flies would soon get the message not to bother us. We were delighted by the thought that there were flies flying back to where flies come from on wounded wings saying "Fellow flies, beware of the Lewis’ yard. The people there will kill you dead. They are terrors."
After millions of earnest swats we got tired of our work. It seemed that the wounded flies were not admonishing their comrades to stay away from us but, instead, were wobbling hac.k to where flies come from, boasting of their wounds, and saying, "Fellow flies, there's a real war out there. Go fight for the glory of flydom." It seemed that the flies got even worse as that California summer dragged on. We gave up killing flies. I don't think they've ever forgotten about our war
I was born with an awareness of a mission I had to accomplish in this life. Is that too pretentious for the introduction to an autobiographical work? Or what about this? The breeze lapped against the window pane and the delicate scent of honeysuckle was in the air. These were my first impressions as a child. Who remembers honeysuckle and gentle breezes these days?
I am always suspicious of such impressions and awareness. I suppose that people who write such things really were born and lived (at least for the first parts of their lives) on a farm, someplace isolated from the rest of humanity, where there are such things as delicately scented
breeze and time to be aware of missions.
My first, very dream-like impressions of anything was of some deep voice yelling in my ear, I was awakened from a silent world into one that is noisy and rushed. I didn't want to stay. It may be that this is the mission I was aware of! Somehow I got over this trauma and lived to experience all of my other "first impressions".
These were of automobiles and traffic - English Boy scouts on the back of a flatbed truck bumping along some awful English road. I remember getting up before the sun, being dressed in a silent hurry, (the house wasn't ours - it was more modern than our own) standing in a thick fog, and being overwhelmed by a huge creaking machine that loomed from the gray sea around us. We were off to a fair. I remember it well because I thought I'd see Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum there.
My first impressions were of airplanes, ferries, and hotels. My first words, after "Mommy" and "Daddy" (which I couldn't help but to say because my parents kept drilling them into me every few minutes with "Say Daddy. Say Mommy“) were "car" and "boots". I don't remember "goo—goo." At least I hope l never said such a thing around other people. I certainly didn't want to be anything but intelligible to my older sister. We communicated much better then than we do now. If she didn't understand my blurbs I'd poke her in her eyes. Those should also be included in a catalogue of any first impressions I may have had - huge brown and white discs surrounded by smiling teeth. I was afraid of her at first.
Most people will admit to being fascinated by the little voices in the radio speakers. I, however, was always amazed at the little people on the television. The first shows I can remember with any clarity were those of Torchy The Battery Boy, one of Lucy flying in an airliner with a cheese baby, and one where soldiers were parading somewhere. I distinctly recall my mother telling us that my father was one of them before he got into the Air Force.
And then there were "corners of corruption". That is a phrase I thought of on the way to work this morning, some twenty years later. My father and I saw an early model Mustang that was reasonably well preserved. It did need some work to bring it to mint condition, but I was impressed by its honest deterioration. It made me think of how the polished cars on the road were really dirty under the hood and in all the places that the owners can't get to. I thought about how shiny, new buildings are really lots of dirt that have been covered by carefully constructed concrete and glass (different kinds of dirt), and the evolution from dirt to shiny building, to dirty building, to a lot of dirt again, that almost everything experiences on this earth.
My first awareness of the corruptive reality of life was a long time ago. The first objects I called my own (pajamas and other clothes were on loan) were two toys. One was a little stuffed white dog with hundreds of "ten little indians" all over it, which I always assumed was given to me at birth. The other was a plastic model of a B-58 delta-winged bomber with ejectable bomb/reconnaissance pod, electable crew, and moving wheels. I was a very impressive 3 year old pilot who maneuvered my craft with great precision, cunning, and with astounding speed. One morning the bomb was released by the navigator on the "Laundry River". I couldn't get to it in time and watched helplessly as it was swallowed by the drainage gutter and disappeared into sudsy oblivion. The wheels and crew were lost a little while later and I was left with only a durable semblance of the aircraft I once knew. My dog (which I can't remember ever being washed) was stolen four years later by a friend when we then lived halfway across the world from the final resting place of the bomber's gallant crew.
So, the world is corrupt. New things become old. Corruption pervades, generating itself and all of us. There are higher things like love and art and aesthetic pursuits that we all strive for... but love often yields to the inevitability of routine and financial obligations, art is created from horsehair and feathers, and aesthetic pursuits are only patterns that emanate from the convolutions of the gray matter in our heads. We are enmeshed in the fine and the rough webs of the world as this fusion of universal experience takes its course towards God and perfection. The reflections of life - our impressions, awareness, memory, and missions - are part of this enigmatic gestalt of creation.
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!