Friends Will Reach

I have had a few tough days. It is funny how quickly I can sometimes fall into what my mother would often call a low when her diabetes was out of balance. My lows aren’t the result of diabetes, not by any stretch. But I do have them, and I sometimes wish they didn’t exist at all. Of late, I’ve written about these moments directly rather than dancing around with a solemn poem, or a telling sonnet, or some way of making life seem more tenable with selective word choice.

Tonight I got a call from a friend. She said she’d read my stuff lately and she felt like she might want to check in on me. She’s pretty sharp, she knows patterns, she knows me very well. I was grateful on a number of accounts. One I was in a state of mind to take her call. We talked for some time, shared our stories of isolation with Covid, and the need to recognize that everyone is dealing with a similar energy, though as well, everyone handles it differently.

There are people I miss in my life. Dear friends I am no longer in touch with for a variety of reasons, none of which I can even explain to myself. That said, I have to understand that I need to look at these moments as an opportunity rather than a reason for tragedy. I worry about things far more than I would wish to admit.

Recently, my cousin’s husband was in a near death accident. He didn’t want to place himself in that position when he woke that morning. It just happened, and God let him live. I think about that sometimes, how we have a choice, and yet we don’t have a choice. I think the latter is far more healthy to live by rather than believing we are in control of our own destiny. I think as long as we continue to understand how certain truths work in our lives, life can become easier.

People we care about are getting sick and testing positive with Covid. We have questions about whether the increased testing is causing the alarming numbers to rise, but then at the same time, the illness that occurs with those afflicted is real and not overstated. So many circumstances in life today are filled with confusion, and there is only one thing we can do about it, act upon every measure we can to maintain our safety and that of all of those around us.

A friend showed me an act of kindness tonight that really did mean the world to me. My life is good, I cannot argue that – the last ten months have been filled with so much change and so much need for growth, I can’t help be grateful for the people I do know that without seeing directly still carry the same compassionate energy we all do when we are next to each other rather than spaced by social distancing. We can still be kind. We can still love no matter the distance in our hearts, in our world.

I think the essence of love is truly knowing there is a spiritual basis to how we live our lives. The more we hide behind the demons and the fear of own woe, the less chance we have to appreciate a soft snow that exists outside my window as I finish my words here.

I have Pachelbel playing in the background, and it is soothing to imagine where and when that song came into my life. I was just 20 years old and in a scene from ‘Ordinary People’ Timothy Hutton is humming it as he walks through a cemetery on his way home from school. He is exploring a new life, and has fallen in love. It was a poignant moment that is always with me, a sort of I can overcome this vulnerability if I just listen and think about that which I love.

I personally love when I feel there is a kind word for everyone in our lives.


© Thom Amundsen 11/2020

In This My Quiet

Is when then known only me

Some is the sacrifice

More often is penchant to grieve

Finding only solace

A genuine peace

Pressures are off

Too soon we would scoff

For know that day

Beautiful sunrise

Warm is energy late fall

While the morning mellows

Changing winds

Still elude this fellow

His smile

Forever held in eyes

Enough that

His soul

Would that he might

Would he still find

Her heart

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The Next Day

That’s really how it feels sometimes. One day, I’m on top of the world, and the next just scratching the surface, feeling the grit inside my frame of mind, unable to process what was once like hang gliding in the atmosphere one beautiful fall afternoon. Then something happens in our world that cannot be denied.

I often yearn for that balance in my life, rather than the peaks and valleys. Living with the rush of exhilaration that comes with a high and then trying to accept the low a few days later can be very wearing on anyone. The hardest part though is when people don’t understand or that me myself doesn’t want to, wishes not to fix the flaw. I’d rather stay inside the mire of a sadness that I just will not ever be able to escape. Though moments of hope do always exist in our lives.

Today, something historic happened. We elected our next president of the United States. Four years of hell just ended and a weak man spent the day on a golf course building his own case of denial. A gracious man accepted the nation’s choice to have him – Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris – to be our next leaders of this country.

I remember when I first saw the announcement, I was stunned. It felt finally there would be some normalcy in our country. We didn’t have to struggle with being fractured any longer. We had a chance to be loving again.

My only regret is that I am alone with this celebration. Today, I spent the day watching the news, and it was so uplifting so beautiful so hopeful that I couldn’t imagine anything else in my life for just that moment.

But then the fear came back, this seething manner that my mind just trails off to where nothing really matters, and I become caught up in my own woe. The interesting thing is that being able to write it now is so revealing and yet at the same time freeing. I know I will always struggle this way, but there are beautiful things out there in our world that will always continue to offer my satisfaction and confidence.

I’m riding a wave of happiness tonight, the right person was elected to office, and now as he said we begin to hear as a country. Will he or she both be perfect. NO. Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are as human as any one of us, though they have fought all their lives with principled ideals to finally stand where they do today.

So how do I measure my own life. I look at a man whom has lost his family and gained another over time whom he speaks of with love. His predecessor really does not have a clue, and will be carried out of the Whitehouse kicking and screaming, and i cannot wait to watch that day evolve before our eyes. That’s reality, that is our humanity.

For me, I have to continue to fight for this happiness I so yearn, a model of our society has the potential to help move my state of mind forward.


˙˙© Thom Amundsen 11/7/2020

There Are These Days

A couple of weeks ago my world went dark. I made horrific plans, mapped out the day, my valuables, important tokens of my life. I say this because it does happen to people, and now I feel a better grasp and that is more valuable than any guilt or shame over previous moments in my life.

I call it these days because they really come and go. The weather outside is beautiful, and during the summer I spent most of my time on my bicycle, and tonight I couldn’t get myself to move. It is funny how our lives become wrapped up in ourselves, and we forget about those around us. Now with Covid, we are more often than not forced to live only with ourselves. I have a dog now, he is a beautiful animal, and just comes and lays by me most of the time, or if he hears or senses anything emotional from me, he’ll come and check me out. A couple of weeks ago when I hit that low, he was someone I couldn’t leave behind without somebody to be there to care for him immediately.

I think when I get lost inside myself, I forget the world around me. I feel pretty valueless when I let this trapping take over my state of mind. I fortunately have a lot of people I can reach out to, but sometimes one or two might be far more important than everyone else. It doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t carry the same value, there are just easier words found with the few.

I began writing to an old friend recently. I wrote her a letter out of the blue, and it was overwhelming for her to hear my words 40 years later. I felt this certain energy when I wrote her, it just let my mind go and took off and I could see and hear my words as they were hitting the paper, and I just let them go. I’ve only been able to do that with one other person in my life and now she has disappeared much like my old friend, so I resort back to these pages. I hope someday I can put them together in some manner that lets at least me believe the words hold value.

Tonight I found myself watching TV, letting the hours slip by. I have a morning obligation that I have to contribute to rather than just show up. Sometimes it is easier to do that – show up – without really taking value in the effort or what others are receiving from me. What is the energy I bring to a room. I want my students to have fun, so we have a lot of laughs, but what if it means nothing to me anymore. Isn’t that really just hurting the kids? Oh, see how easy that was? I found another way to beat myself up.

The weirdest thing happened to me the night I was feeling my low. I was beside myself and I wrote a letter to a dear friend whom I cannot get a response, and I talked about some dark moments. I think deep in my mind, I was begging for a wellness check, and so shortly after I went to bed around midnight and my code for the entrance to my village gate rang on my phone. I couldn’t figure out why. I thought there might be a connection and so I stood out on my deck expecting the cops to pull up for a welfare check on my state of mind. But no one ever did. So now I guess somebody hit the wrong number. I really haven’t any idea, but I think God was sending me a message.

I think about where my state of mind goes so quickly when I am feeling down. It goes as deep as my fresh optimism goes high. I can never seem to find that common ground, that even keel, that ability to balance on the fence.

I think in the time of Covid, it really is difficult to feel hope without despair. I don’t like my job right now, it is not because of the kids, I love my students, I just don’t like having an administration that has their own struggles but doesn’t reveal with anyone because of their role. I think we are all struggling right now, and to add to it, a remarkably historic election week, and we are all on the edge.

I guess I have rambled here a bit tonight, but I really wanted to just talk about how easy it is to fall into a mania that gives suicide a platform when loneliness and sadness overtake our lives. It happened to me, and it does more often than not, I just am better hiding it than I used to. There are really only a couple of people in my life who know I walk around like this all the time. A couple of weekends ago, nothing mattered, and then I scared myself, so now tonight as I finish this up, I guess I am just recognizing another vulnerability in my own human condition that I cannot let become triggered – rather I need to accept it and move on.

I always find a way to come to terms ever so briefly with understanding mood. I just wish it could be consistent and forever.


© Thom Amundsen 11/2020

A Positive Trust

We walked alone inside a dream

there was always the moon in the sky

kept an eye on every internal scream

forever we were we might not deny.

 

I walked outside alone tonight,

looked up and there it was looming

awaiting someone romantic might

wish the beauty of life becoming.

 

The nature of the moon in a cool breeze

just lets us stand in silent appreciation,

she would know the same is in her ease

would she might remember such passion.

 

The human condition, walks a lone evening

always breathe could thrive our beginning.


© Thom Amundsen 10/2020

Stepping Inside

I found this enormous chasm,

walls beyond my reach,

a dank stream of sarcasm

flowing in between broken lives.

I have had a fear of this place,

a very long time,

ever since once in a moment,

I felt a silence in my mind.

Sorting through shuttered windows,

imagining teeming lives outside

while perception stand alone

enabling now the shrinking walls.

A certain tightness in this acrid air

give a visionary a repulsive response

to wondering just why, tell me how

we lost contact our wandering sky.

Discovering there really are limits,

vaporous form sans freedom emits.


© Thom Amundsen 10/2020

That Last Place

Months ago,

in an arid summer sun

I stood stunned

watching their feet play the edge,

up close, gravel and loose rock,

awesome picture for the den,

a wide expanse behind us all,

let’s us believe

there really is a top to the world.

~

Too far away,

too scared,

couldn’t make it anyway

I don’t know if it is the fear of crossing over,

or leaving behind feeling no longer wanted.

A speaker

could rationalize any reason

to want to disappear,

because it is them,

doesn’t have to be real.

~

Think about the time it would take,

versus all the hours to return,

how quickly the immediacy,

there isn’t enough time in a day to

ever understand

just why one choice over the other,

evinces that random inability to

cry.

~

I remember when I was a little boy,

something about a woman

everyone knew,

left all of them in confusion

though her words clearly made it real,

she spoke of no longer needing

the speaker,

to give audience to her own personal

demons,

the sad surrender.

~

I really don’t understand what it takes to recognize why,

I don’t know if I ever can.


© Thom Amundsen 10/22/2020