Monday, September 12, 2011

The World That Astounds Me

I’ve mentioned a couple of times in passing, that it was 10 years ago that we moved into this house. So there’re a lot of milestone reminders popping up these days, of all sorts.

In keeping with the theme of 10, it was also about 10 days ago, on the 2nd that I was standing on this deck that did not exist 10 years ago, BBQ-ing a steak for dinner.
BBQ is ways of life for us, all year long, but especially in the summer, so it was pretty much business as usual. 
As I wandered away from the grill, surveying my domain, as is my wont, between sizzles, I happened to look down on the little redwood deck by the side of the garage that was here when we bought the place. 
Now I have looked down on that deck on countless occasions, on dozens of summer nights throughout the years, smile at all of Z’s pretty flowers then usually return to tend the grill. 
But this night was different. On this night, I was immediately flooded with a memory of standing down there, 10 years before, to the very same day, also BBQ-ing a steak, but for the very first time, in this house.

It had been only 3 days since we had plunged head first into the murky waters of home ownership and believe me when I tell you, heads were still spinning and hearts were still pounding. 

I should also tell you that conjuring that image of the much younger, much handsomer (if that’s at all possible) me was not a particularly difficult task, because of a picture Z took that night to commemorate the occasion. However, while the photo’s been stuck on the fridge for lo these many years, the thought on that night, that this was indeed the exact date, was not.
Whatever the reason, because of the picture or beyond the picture, I was suddenly struck with the notion that somewhere in the vast slipstream of time, I was still there, at that moment, still cooking that steak, wondering what was to come in the days and years ahead...besides my water pressure tank, which was sorely needed.   
Needless to say, 9 days later there was a lot that came and a lot that changed…for all of us.  But everyone knows that; experienced it and dealt with in their own way. 
So this is not a discussion about any of that….

No, this is more of a metaphysical discussion, to which some will relate, and others will find trite and silly. 

But hey, sometimes, at least to me, there’s more safety to be found in things unknown, than in things familiar.

Anyway, as I stood there looking down onto the little deck where I had once positioned the old grill, I called on the memory of that time and envisioned the simplicity of the “me” back then. 

I stood there grilling that night, already trying to find a baseline in which I could find the new normal, at least in how it applied to us.

Z and I, after a lot of ups and downs, a lot of hoops to jump through and mountains to climb, had finally settled into a home of our own. 

Remnants of past ownership still showed themselves in the form of smelly carpets and floors, mildew growing on the side of the garage, a cockeyed, clothesline whirly-gig that shouted the 70’s if not the 60’s and a variety of doggie toys and balls that lay scattered about in various nooks and crannies. 

The lawn was a mixture of something green and something not so green, none of which would ever be mistaken for actual grass. 

Yet, there I stood, cooking tong in hand, not much different than the way I stand now, wearing much the same clothes…even listening to the same old Met game on the same old radio I’ve had since the 80’s.

More importantly, while I stood there that night, I recalled feeling for the very first time since the move, an absolute certainty, filled with contentment and peace that we had done the right thing. As if a benevolent spirit had flooded my being and filled it with a sense that everything was going to work out and be just fine. 

Of course, as I said, a week and a couple of days later that notion was rocked, for all of us. Yet, throughout that period of such uncertainty on both a personal and global scale, that feeling of solid ground firmly beneath my feet never left.  And maybe that's what the message was about.

I had been assured, and that was good enough for me.

So on this night, 10 years later, I stared deep into that now empty corner, saw the “me” of then,  and conveyed those reassuring sentiments back into the past, from the “me” of  now....
 “It's true…we made it…we’re here and we’re safe.  And you will be too....”
So…were those comforting feelings I received that night a gift from “future me,” 10 years hence, to “past me”? 

Are all those little voices we hear in our head from time to time, messages from our future “selves” looking back with amusement on our present “selves”?  

Is even more “future me” the voice I hear, telling me right now…“Whoa buddy, are you sure you want to be writing this crazy stuff for everyone to read…?”

I don’t know.  But it’s kind of cool to imagine that it is. 

I like the idea of me watching out for me.

Of warning "past me" ...

"Stay away from the's all a crock of...."

Don't I owe myself that much?

But, like I said…I don’t know.

But what I do know is, while I can’t control the world that surrounds me…I can control the world that astounds me.

And that’s good enough for me….

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