If I Might Be This

I am slowly beginning to age,

a sort of catching up

where my youth did seem resilient

to a process of slowing down.

~

And yet am I ready

would be the question we might all wish

an answer

to find some distant resolution.

~

See the life of the average man,

always pining for more,

or perhaps never in a hurry

to help define their meaning.

~

I have a wonder in my life

a spirit being whose truth I rather

thrive upon to be near,

to every sunrise lets a setting moon.

~

If once I might have known peace

to feel in every fiber of my being,

would then I have found any relief,

to accommodate the peril of my mind.

~

Some might suggest the deepest chasm

of our psyche

is found a natural path to exile,

yet further away would be such a loss.

~

So words do land upon a state of mind,

a rational being might suggest

otherwise

to remain a fixture in their silent time.

~

I wonder about now in my forever quest

to know only ahead the hours before.


© Thom Amundsen 3/2021

Taking Walks

When once I chose to ruminate

today I will stroll,

a will to know

to see to wonder.

In winter and in summer

we might spring forward with a passion

rather than

fall upon our sword.

There is a certain beauty in that,

to know suddenly the benefit of

a spatial fascination.

Might be the wood?

Perhaps a city street

teeming with populace

while you and I share observation

hands held, our world alive.


©️Thom Amundsen 3/2021

A Certainty is Rage

When at wit’s end this identity does unravel,

the spirit, the mind, that epicenter of our brain

begins to take its own journey

while the body will always forever remain.

Hard to know where the mind goes

when stuck in idle unable to let go.

~

There is a response to fear and anxiety

a shutting down of the factory,

all working parts forcibly placed on leave

in order to comprehend the nature of this pain.

Watching the year end,

yet knowing our lives are not over,

we are meant to go forward

an unprecedented commitment lay ahead.

~

I once told a kid, a student, a young man,

while crying in my classroom,

‘this is a brief moment in your life’

when he wailed about losing

a privilege to walk with his peers

with their heads held up high

and a diploma in hand.

~

I looked him in the eye

and said those dark moments will not

ever defeat him, he will move forward,

and make a life of his own.

~

I told him with a passion, a compassionate plea,

do not give up, you must please set yourself free.


© Thom Amundsen 12/2020

In Darkness There is a Blue

Trying to find that color,

searching since a child,

I remember gatherings

with friends my age and teenage elders,

those we all wished to emulate,

sitting amongst ourselves,

laughs, giggles, smiles,

seduction,

every aspect of the human condition,

would enhance this sensation,

our sensory being.

~

I could lay in the middle of a field

soft whisper of midnight breeze

look at the sky, the miles of sky

stars and occasional glints of light,

a shooting star where a wish is missed

so then in that singular moment

a self-critical adamant fear

begins to sweep through the forest

the moment gone now,

left feeling cold in a farmer’s field.

~

Twenty years later, or even more now,

decades of afterthought,

the what-ifs, whens, why nots, the who …

we all want to care about something,

and yet,

lost as I could with every search of word,

would it matter at all,

if one day,

the words just failed to appear.

~

I wonder the beauty of a blue horizon,

is it a state of mind or some intricate light show.


© Thom Amundsen 10/2020

The Story of Mak (or Man’s Best Friend)

The year 2020 started off with a bang for me. I was suddenly about to be found swirling in a myriad of life choices, decisions, adjustments and COVID 19. To begin the year, my marriage of 30 years had fallen apart, and I was forced to look at myself in the mirror and take responsibility for my own share of grief and distance in a collaboration that had been failing for years. When I reflect upon our time together there is no question the rock my wife provided me in the midst of years of turmoil with a variety of addictions that helped unravel my world. I am fortunate on many different levels for her support not only in straightening out my own life, in her patience, and as well, our opportunity to share in the wealth of raising two wonderful children.

So the reader might ask, what does any of this have to do with a dog? One common denominator in our marriage was that we always had a dog. We had a cat for a lot of years as well, but that was a different story. We raised three Golden Retrievers from puppies over three decades, the last moving on with her true companion, my spouse. When we split there was no question she would travel on her journey with the companionship of the dog, albeit hers was an ownership I would never argue, given the nature of our circumstance. I began the first month of a separation without a dog and living in a home we had shared together raising our children and dogs for twenty years. There is no question the nights were long with memory and confusion. The one piece missing for me all the time was an animal, a dog to come and lay near me whether I was overwhelmed with tears, or simply wanting a companion to hang out with. The silence was deafening.

Then one day my daughter suggested I take her dog for a few days. She said she couldn’t stand to see me so alone without a dog after seeing us grow as  a dog family all these years. To be clear, I would have plenty of opportunity to see our present dog when time permitted, but being in the early throes of a separation it had been hard to imagine those times. So I gave my daughter an emphatic ‘yes’ and she brought her dog – a golden retriever – over that evening. My world changed in an instant and three days later as I was readying her return to my daughter, I had already begun scanning pages for rescue dogs. I knew I would get a dog eventually, I just didn’t know when I would be ready.

The answer to that question arrived one day in the story of Mak, a Bernese Mountain dog basically given to me out of the kindness of a colleague’s heart. It was immediate love.IMG_0313 Well, the first night Mak chose to lay twenty yards away from me all night, basically just keeping an eye on me, a complete stranger. That first night was a sleepless night for me, not knowing whether this dog would ever acclimate himself with me. Within 48 hours we were pretty inseparable, and that to me is the essence of seeing a man with his dog. This week I am on our last leg of a journey up to the north shore, morning looking at the vast waters of Lake Superior and then later on mini-hikes throughout the day. Mak is such a mellow dog, I was able to let go of the leash and just have him toddle along with me on the path, in fact many times he would take control of the walk by laying down in the middle of the path and giving me a look like, ‘there is no way you are making me keep up your pace’ – break time. Let me tell you it is a rather daunting ask to force a 120 pound animal to move forward until they are good and ready. The hikes were filled with smiles and laughs that serve as a preview for many walks in the future.

He is no question a hiker with a prowess, but right now around 16 months of big baby, so we will take our time readying ourselves for an all day hike – someday maybe, quite a feat, more for me than the dog, but he will push me forward. The last couple of days have been spent just watching the rain outside our window as the churned waves that would crash along the shoreline and then drift out to sea with shadows of mid-day sunlight moving them like surface shadows in a breeze. The magic of the lake was certainly not lost upon either of us throughout our hours together. Tomorrow we will return home.

IMG_0315I have found myself in recent weeks understanding more and more how special this animal is in my life. If I am having a bad morning, I only turn to see Mak’s doe-like eyes waiting for my glance and when we do connect his tail takes off. When in a lighter moment Mak wants to play he will plant his two front paws onto the carpet or wood floor or the grass outside and stretch his body all the way to his back paws and then land squarely on his butt and give me a look like, ‘c’mon man, let’s go!’ There really is something rather special in the affinity a man can feel with his dog. I’m writing this and if I look across the room, I will find Mak in a comfortable posture sleeping the night away. The moment I move a muscle his eyes will be upon me checking my next move. I can only be grateful to have this big guy by my side as we venture into this extraordinary time with COVID 19 starting our year with a pandemic, and now the remarkable early stages of social justice being finally recognized as a purposeful focus in our society. I can only imagine how torn I might be having to face the perils of a pandemic alone, how lost I might feel not having anyone to talk to about my feelings towards social unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s incredulous death. To Mak, it is simply another day, but one that will be spent giving me the confidence to know we both appreciate one another unconditionally.

So having met the end of Pink Floyd’s Animals, the twilight out my window as Lake Superior slaps the rocks nearby with a gentle breeze, it is time to retire for the night. I see his tail wagging as he caught my glance, knowing something is up. Ah, the sweet peace of a man and his dog as we venture forth in these our early days of summer.

IMG_0310


© Thom Amundsen 6/2020

summer on Lake Superior with Mak

A Week Later

I wonder about perception,

how well it matches up inside,

the image we carry of ourselves,

the identity screaming always for balance

against the odds,

despite our own misgivings.

 

Last week I was high,

a natural phenomena

that took me places,

I didn’t have to anticipate,

just lived inside

this possibility.

 

This morning I stared out the window

barely able to move,

I wanted to question whether I should

with the many voices

clamoring in the back of mind,

yes, well, in any rate, you could.

 

I did,

here now begins a day,

a bit overcast,

accentuating a sort of morose

atmosphere

to balance the mood.

 

Sometimes I wonder

to myself

where this all began.

I know I shared it with you

one time,

so many peaks and valleys ago.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

a different life

Recently,

inside a fantasy

I was given something

not ever would I imagine.

 

Life doesn’t hold a

twist upon what we believe,

or chance

state of mind

might bury itself for years.

 

An orderly intimacy

drawn on paperwork eons ago,

the masters of a philosophy

in matrimony

created this our lives,

borne out of some necessity

let ourselves know love,

give our lives a moral code.

 

Raise children,

esteem values,

if in the midst of our growth,

if there is a mental breakdown,

an inability –

separate paths

seem distant in the wind.

 

A rain storm may have occasion

led to a questionable civility,

then it happens,

in the quiet of our own solace,

we do realize

yet seldom act upon,

a desire to return ourselves

to some identity forgotten

decades ago.

 

Though be thankful,

we have a grateful energy always

travels with our memory,

for we would not be the person we are today,

the longest path

is the one

where wisdom winds

upon the mind.


© Thom Amundsen 5/2020

A Giving Value

Its been awhile

since a recommended analysis

would take me,

move me,

ask me to respond to life

and resonate.

 

While the world

continues to cycle

a round

a mechanical need

to survive

the crossing winds,

seems logical

we might all

seek the same

peace and solace.

 

Yet, it’s been awhile

since peace of mind

seemed relevant

to my own thoughts …

rewind,

the constant

pouring truth

having to comprehend,

what it might be

our own personality

subjects actions,

always a challenge.

 

Stand on the precipice

see the miles of opportuinity

if in flight

we fall rapidly,

but the observation,

distant eternity.

 

Step away and enjoy the view

that part of you, gives value too.


© Scott F Savage 3/2020

Moments in a Blizzard

Windswept sky designs landmark,

the world is being blanketed by that force

greater than our own,

a magical parade of Nature’s wrath,

in the simplest manner of beauty.

 

Oh her strength apparent

inside the wonder of it all,

the winter storm,

a blizzard upon our discontent,

perhaps we might fly away.

 

Lost inside this forever cycle

our lives are equally drawn

by a static probability

of scant survival in the throes

of a woeful condition.

 

Step inside the winds,

that bury this frozen memory,

covering up our sorrows

so there might be a new desire,

a passion to understand.

 

A realization,

recognizing there is an after-life

to the sparkle – once

no longer remains

inside a youthful dream.

 

There inside the wealth of our

humanity

exists a welcome change,

that ever resilient testimony,

suggests we are all ready,

 

already walking again,

this might provocative winds allow.

 


© Thom Amundsen 1/2020