Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gobble, Gobble

I will not be traveling this year for the day of the turkey. It is the first time in my life that I will be on my own and not with family. A fish out of water, if you will.

It was just not possible this year, sadly, airfares being what they were, even in August. In a way I am relieved that I won't have to go through the madness at any airports, but my feelings of melancholy and aloneness are only reinforced. Which I have been feeling a lot of lately anyway.

There have been too many hours at work, not enough sleep, not enough of anything, except stress and sadness.

All I can say is that it's time to dust off the "Manual of Change" once again.
That is, once I get some rest.

At any rate, I say Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Flaxey Takes the Train

I took the train to Chinatown with members of my Urban Family on Saturday.
I know, the train in LOS ANGELES??? Yes, indeed. It was fun and Union Station is so architecturally romantic and makes me long for simple days of wearing traveling clothes, a hat and gloves and hearing the "All Aboard!"

As I stood holding on to the rail, a man boarded and sat next to my friends. He had either a harelip or was in a knife fight and basically looked the hunch back from the Disney movie. As one often does you don't make eye contact and if you accidentally do, you smile politely and then look away. This occurred and that was that.

He listened to the four of us talk and joke and was amused by our stories as well. And as this was occurring, I watched him and thought to myself, how very sad this man probably is. I observed his clothes and the plastic bag he was carrying, his coat and his hair. I thought about his life, getting on this train because he has to get to work downtown somewhere, probably to clean up after others; that this is the only kind of job he can get because of his appearance and education. His economic situation will never change for these same reasons. He wasn't wearing a wedding ring, and if he was married he probably couldn't afford one anyway.
I don't think that man on the train ever had someone to love him. You could just see it on his face.

All of this made me sad for him. I thought how hard everyone struggles for every little thing they have. How all anyone really wants is to love and be loved. Which is really simple but so difficult to experience.

It made me grateful right then and there, that I, not only had three people there on that train who loved me, but so many others too and that I love deeply in return.

Doses of perspective always come along when you need them most, don't they?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Big Hat, No Cattle

When I learned this phrase and its meaning, I was enthralled. I knew it applied somehow and that it had brilliance in its many, many meanings. So, I saved it and tonight it struck me.

It is also known as 'all talk and no action'. But I like the cowpoke imagery better. It's more romantic and seems to imply a slightly more innocent and comedic tone.

I know these people. I am often times frustrated by them. Sometimes they make me cry. Truly, as in tears rolling down the face.

These are the ones that we hang on to and hope will change and give us what we want, but never do. They know the right words to say that make us believe they have the cattle; that their intentions are sound and true. With these words we are lured into trusting them and even count on them to produce those cattle when we show up on auction day at the county fair.

We believe them when they say we can lean on them in times of trouble.
We believe them when they say that they will show up on time.
We believe them when they say they care.
We believe them when they offer to help lift the heavy bales and clean up the barn.

Except when we've borrowed the F150 to get to the fairgrounds and then plodded through the dirt we find that the cattle are nowhere to be found and all that is left is the stench of manure wafting through the air.

I think they are afraid. Afterall, cattle can be scary.
It's a big responsibility to raise a herd and then be able to show them at fair.
An imperfect cow will cost you the blue ribbon.

But that's just it, nothing is perfect, nothing.
And frankly, every cow deserves a fighting chance.

What we're talking about is the integrity of words into action. It's so simple and can be so frightening. There is risk involved when we stop just talking about doing something and instead actually do it.

It's scary to tell someone that you love them. You risk rejection.
It's scary to quit your job and follow a dream. You risk a livelihood.
It's scary to allow others to help you out. It's scary to be the one to help.
Both require commitment. Sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes both.

But we have to shut up and stop spewing niceties and lies at people.
Stop saying you're fine when you're not. Stop spinning the truth because it makes a better story. Stop telling someone that you'll do something you'll never do. Stop going through the motions.

Take the big hat off of your head, and then even though it might take all night, head out to pasture and round up those cattle and bring 'em down to the 4-H building.

The rest of us are waiting with peach pie and cotton candy.

You don't want to miss that do you?