An Iota. — Ricardo Sexton

Quote

‘Imagine’ – JL died. Popularity passes The world’s lyrics fizzes night into day The Word reside in His sincerity masses JC: — “My words will never pass away” So, under any circumstance or expense Trade your “sight” and do not confuse: – Having the right with being right ‘or’ Being educated with having intelligence Lobbyist […]

via An Iota. — Ricardo Sexton

Jurassic-sized Anxiety

I went and saw the movie “Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom” today and I’ll discuss it in a minute but first I need to talk about something else first. I’ve had driving anxiety my whole life. I just can’t seem to relax when I’m driving. I’m always waiting for something bad to happen. For some reason today it was worse than ever. Maybe it was exacerbated by my grief, it was the first movie I’ve gone to since my mom died. All I know is that my anxiety was my alarm clock this morning and woke me up way too early with its racing heart and thoughts. I found myself trying to rationalize not going today by telling myself that the movie will still be there on Monday. I was committed to the idea of going today. So I pushed through it and got in my car. The 15-minute drive there was horrible. I thought my heart was going to beat a hole through my chest it was racing so hard. My fight or flight sense was kicked into overdrive and kept telling me to turn around and go home. It was hard to fight against what felt like my most basic instincts and not go back home. I have been looking forward to seeing the movie on the big screen for months, and that is what helped me push through and make it to the theater. I wish I could be like everyone else around me who just jumps into their car and goes without any hesitation but that’s not me. Anyway, onto the main attraction.

“Jurassic World: Lost Kingdom” overall wasn’t what I expected at all. It felt like an effort to take the story in an entirely new direction and I’m not sure if I like that or not. It just felt like it was lacking the wonder and imagination the first films possessed. It had a sadder tone to it that made me somewhat uncomfortable. It raised some interesting questions though and the ending definitely leaves a door wide open for another film in the franchise, which will be unlike anything we’ve seen before.  My biggest complaint about the film though is the lack of John Williams’ brilliant theme song that has been in all the films. There was one moment where I heard it hinted at but that was it. Maybe that’s one reason why I didn’t feel the same way about this one. Sorry for the vagueness of this but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

Heading to the Kingdom Tomorrow

Dinosaurs. Growing up I had a passing interest in them during grade school but that was about it. I had a few fossils that I thought were really interesting, the idea that they were the remains of creatures that lived millions of years ago excited my nerdy brain. And then in my early 20s all that changed. And it changed because of Stephen Spielberg’s movie “Jurassic Park.” All of a sudden dinosaurs were living, breathing, and moving creatures. I knew they were a combination of computer-generated images and puppets but the skill of the artists took my breath away. They looked as though they could walk right off the screen and into the real world. Even today, that scene where the characters are in jeeps rolling through fields and come to the herd of brontosauruses gives me goosebumps. As does the scene at the end where the larger than life T-Rex roars as the park banner floats gently to the floor.  “Jurassic Park” captured my imagination more than “Star Wars” ever could. The idea of a park where tourists could go and see real dinosaurs just gives me such a thrill. The dinosaurs in every installment have been so incredibly done. Usually, the storyline is very important to me but with this series, I go for the dinosaurs. I remember going to see the last movie and relishing the feeling like I did during the first film. I’m not sure how I feel about the velociraptors behaving like trained dogs but I can overlook that. And now we have a brand new story, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and I can’t wait to see that. Computer graphics have advanced even more since the last film and I’m anxious to see what new technologies they have developed to make the dinosaurs look even more lifelike. I’m probably going to go see it tomorrow and I’m already preparing myself for the goosebumps I’m going to have the moment composer John Williams’ timeless score begins to play. I just hope the powers behind the film haven’t rushed the creation of it just to cash in on the success of the last film. I’ll let you know what I thought of it tomorrow.

Ready Player One

Since my mother passed away a couple of weeks ago, the house has been so quiet. At first I listened to music while I was cleaning up or cooking but that didn’t work to quiet the restlessness after a few days. Then, I watched this show on PBS called, “The Great American Read.” It is a contest of sorts to determine which of 100 books is America’s favorite. One of the books mentioned was, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. The short version of the story is it is about a teenage boy named Wade who is on a quest to find something in a vast virtual universe. I had bought the book for my Kindle months ago but had never started it, not even after seeing the commercials for the motion picture version. Seeing it on this list however, peaked my interest, so I also decided to buy the Audible version of it. Seeing that it was narrated by actor Wil Wheaton excited me. I have been a fan of his since he played Wesley Crusher on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and he is one of the people who has made being a nerd “cool.” What’s odd though is that I’ve never really been able to get into audiobooks in the past, they usually put me to sleep. But this one, I’ve been hooked since chapter one. The focus on the 1980s is what drew me in since that’s when I grew up. I’m almost halfway through and I only started it a few days ago because it is just so good! It is predictable at times but there is such wit and cleverness that it makes up for it. Mr. Cline definitely did his homework when writing it. And Wil Wheaton’s narration captures the mood of the book perfectly. I really can’t wait to see what direction the story goes in and how it ends.

Swimming Down

“…the moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down.”

-It’s Quiet Uptown from “Hamilton: An American Musical”

It’s been two weeks since my mom passed away and for the first time today I felt like giving into the grief and depression that’s been burbling under the surface of my consciousness. It was so strange, in the quiet moments, I almost felt like something kept brushing against my feet threatening to grab my ankles and pull me under. It must sound insane and that’s how it felt. I have been treading water since my mom left us just waiting to drown in the grief I thought I’d feel. But it hasn’t happened yet and I’m puzzled by that. And yet, I can’t stop fighting the urge to sink. My arms won’t stop paddling to keep my head up. Why am I so afraid to really let myself feel my mom’s loss? That’s what I find myself asking myself. And yet I know the answer. I’m afraid if I let myself feel it I’ll get lost in it. I’ll lose myself in the power of it all. Then I have to remind myself that it has only been two weeks and I have the rest of my life to grieve. I don’t have to feel it all at once. I will grieve in my own time and my own space.

Historical Excavation

There’s a spot in the woods up the way from my sister’s old house. From the dirt road it looks like the surrounding forest but walk in about fifteen feet and you start noticing stones in the ground. From underneath the dirt and leaves that cover the ground like a tattered quilt, an old foundation materializes. Who knows how long it has been here. Long enough for the wooden structure to have melted into the forest floor. What remains must be hunted for. My nephew and I have our weapons of choice: shovels. We scrape away the soggy leaves and uncover the damp earth underneath. We slop a pile of leaves off to one side to clear away a larger section. From the surface there is nothing noticeable, some rocks emerging like miniature mountains. My nephew picks a random spot and pulls up some dirt.  We eagerly look through it and find nothing. Repeating this process three more times our excitement begins to fade as we continue to find nothing. Sitting on a nearby stump we wonder if my sister’s husband has sent us on some goose chase to keep us out from underfoot. My nephew wants to go back home. I don’t. I stand up and kick some of the dirt in the last hole we dug and notice something. A glimpse of something whiter than the surrounding brownish black. I crouch down and he comes over and we start clearing away the filth. A face appears and a shoulder and an arm. It’s the head and torso of an old china doll. Who knows long how long she has slumbered here. Suffocated by what had buried her. It is like we have resurrected her from the dead. We find a nearby stream and cleanse her like a Baptism. The sun is sinking behind the trees and I decide we must go home. As we look at each other, and share the same expression, we both know we will be back here tomorrow to see what other treasures lurk beneath our feet.

My Confession

I have a confession to make. Before my mom went into the hospital, I was tired. Tired of being her caregiver. Tired of not having a life of my own. Tired of feeling like life was passing me by while everyone else got to move along with the traffic of their lives. I was her caregiver full time for twelve years and part-time for eight years before that. Twenty years I spent helping her out while putting my hopes and dreams on hold. While she was in the hospital and her condition was declining I hate to admit that part of me felt like a horse at the starting gate of a race. Chomping at the bit of what was to come. Those feelings made me feel so incredibly guilty but there they were. I was ready to move forward with my life and enthusiastic about what would happen after the inevitable happened.

Then my mom passed and the racing gate burst opened and nothing happened. I couldn’t move. The days just crept by and I didn’t want to move or do anything without my mom. My identity had become so intertwined with hers that I just don’t know who I am now. It’s a strange feeling, to say the least, to be in my mid-40s and have no clue who I am. It is so strange seeing things that were my mom’s leave the house. Last Wednesday her oxygen compressor that whined and wheezed 24/7 was picked up by the company and I had the most dreadful feeling that it couldn’t go because she needed it to breathe. Then the realization hit and the dam cracked, but didn’t completely break, and I cried. I put the tubing that came with the machine, in the trash and I walked back to the house shaking so hard I could hardly take a step. I feel the pull of her still and I need to break away from that. I need to move toward a future without her but I don’t know how to. I try to take steps and feel this gravitational pull backwards to a past that no long exists. I keep listening to a song called “Never Lookin Back” by the husband and wife duo of Pear. There’s a line in the chorus, “….no future in the rearview mirror” that is resonating a great deal with me these days. I can’t keep being pulled back by the past. I need to move forward towards a future of my own. I’m just not sure how to do that at the moment, but taking one baby step at a time I know I can. It’s just going to be the hardest journey I will ever make in my life.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley Aaron Burden

My mother’s favorite flower was Lily of the Valley. The small white blooms hold so much fragrance they’ve always seemed otherworldly to me. On our property we’ve had a few plants here and there but nothing like we had at our last house. At the last house we lived in, we had a whole bed of them that bloomed every spring and filled the air around our house with sweetness. On Tuesday night, the one week anniversary of my mom’s death, I was walking my dog out in front of the house when a smell hit my nose. I shined the flashlight along the ground and there they were, more Lily of the Valley than I have ever seen here. A little grove of them all blooming in the nighttime. My knees buckled and I found myself sitting there looking at them with tears streaming down my face. My dog, who unfortunately is becoming all too used to my random sobbing, came over and started licking my face and pressing himself against me to comfort me. I ran a shaking finger along one leaf and swear I felt my mom there with me at that moment. Of course, I couldn’t see her but in my heart I know she was there. After a while I stood back up and went back into the house and went to bed and, for the first time since she passed away, I felt comforted knowing that there was some part of her watching over me.

Spring Showtime

Weeks of preparation have led to this day

Shivering nervously on the ends of branches

Divinely designed green skirts flutter in

The warmly growing breeze.

Each seed wakened recently

Out of a winter’s slumber.

Birdsong like the warming

Of an orchestra

Signals that it is time.

They let go.

Spiraling to the ground

In the hundreds.

Raining down in sheets of green.

Another reminder that nature

Is, at its root, pure magic.