Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I love being in the city.  Any city.  Each has it's own unique character.  The people, the noise, the culture, the food, the adventure.  Cities breathe on their own and excitement streams through the streets.  Anything I can imagine at any hour of the day is at my fingertips. The ebb and flow; the darkness and light. Cityscape.

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things". ~Robert Brault

For me, that means to seize every opportunity. Be true to myself in all that I do, which means be open, honest and willing.  Every minute has the potential to be a "big moment". At this point in time, happiness comes from being with the people that encircle me in this city.

As I stroll, I hear the countless footsteps of the pedestrians surrounding me. Like a swirling sea, the throng seems to pick me up and carry me down the gritty sidewalk with purpose. The countless sounds, the life blood of the city, pulse in my ears. Car horns, tires screeching, the voices of people filled with laughter, chatter, shouting and whispers join with the shrill sound of the policeman's whistle as he guides us across the street and on our way to various destinations.

I stop at a small cafe' for coffee and select a table outside where I can watch the madness. I revel in it; the hustle and bustle. I can choose to be part of the act or completely separate from it. I order my favorite, Americano with cinnamon powder.  Time to people watch.  I open my laptop and button up my coat a little further against the chill in the autumn air. The sun is shining brightly, which warms my face, and I adjust my sunglasses. There is not a cloud in the sky, which is bright blue peeking out from atop the sky scrapers.

Sipping my coffee, my gaze surveys the scene. I could sit here and simply watch people all day.  The characters come to life in my mind as I speculate on what makes them tick. A young mother pushing a stroller, the homeless man begging for change while well dressed bankers hurry past on their way to be important in their jobs. A beautiful couple walks by slowly holding hands, not speaking but occasionally glancing lovingly at the other. The vast difference between the faces of the crowd fascinate me.  Human nature on display in the natural flow of their day. I find serenity here, as easily as I might on a quiet beach or mountain trail. I am one in a million and that allows me freedom.  Freedom to write.  Freedom to be me.

Happiness and tranquility are mine for the taking, if I choose to find them.  And today I'm finding them in the cityscape.

Peace, out

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Visit

The highway stretches endlessly in front of me. The trees, stripped of their leaves, appear ominous and sculpture-like against the gray overcast sky. Thanksgiving is in two weeks and winter is approaching. Winter is my least favorite of the four seasons. I prefer the heat.  I'm much happier with the sun shining on my face from a bright blue sky with water droplets glistening on my skin after a swim.  Less clothing, more hours of daylight and more time to be outside indulging in my habitual biking and running.

The miles pass slowly, seemingly in time with the gloomy horizon. 

This trip is a pivotal one for our family. We are on our way north from Indianapolis to Livonia, Michigan for a college visit.  Both kids are along for the ride and laughter fills the car.

My daughter is a senior in high school and will graduate in May. I have admittedly been in denial about the fact that she is growing up. (Thus aging me!) As the hours tick by in the five hour drive,  my thoughts drift back to my own college visits when I was 18.  (I will keep the number of years that have evaporated since then a relative mystery.)  Needless to say it was just slightly longer than 18 years. As often is the case with my creative mind, I linger over thoughts and dreams from that part of my life.  I reminisce various life choices I have made and indulge in daydreams of  how my life might look had I done some things differently. I am thankful I possess an active imagination, as it serves a purpose in my writing endeavors.  A small dabble in fantasy.  After some time I snap back to reality and take some time to appreciate the way things turned out.  I look in the rear view mirror at the two faces that are perfect illustrations of my choices. Nick and Kendall.  Gratitude envelopes me in its embrace.

The obligatory selfie. More laughter erupts.

The kids are living testament to the fact that I wouldn't want to go back and alter my past, even if I could. And to lament my past  is something I can't afford to do.  Even in day dreams. No regrets! The decisions made are rooted in who I am today and I wouldn't change that. My feet are firmly planted in the now and it's my moves from here on out that will alter my future.  

The visit went extremely well, and put all of us at ease.

The college was picturesque and rather small.  It would not have been a school I would have chosen, but my dear daughter does not thrive in crowds or big cities like her Momma. Where I am at peace amongst the hustle and bustle she is content with a slower paced environment. She loved the school. It was a long drive, so she would be far enough away to gain independence yet close enough for me to visit. Not too often.  (Easy for me to say now, but Michigan boasts beautiful scenery for bike rides. Just saying...)

The next several months will be a whirlwind time spent with Kendall.  She will turn 18, graduate from high school, languish in the last summer before venturing off to college and into adulthood.  Bittersweet.  Yet I will walk with her through this journey with love and friendship.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Daughter Writes

by: Kendall E.  Atkins, age 17

When I was young
I was so open
I was so naive
to everything
I couldn't see
what the world really held
in its palm of agony

Now that I'm older
Now that I've seen
what this world really is
How this world
treats its visitors
with cruel and unjust hospitality

What has it become?
Our world today?
Why are our minds so full of hatred?
Our minds have been tainted
blinded by our actions
to become society's image
of perfection

Can't you see that this world is changing?
That it's not what it used to be?
Falling apart at the seams
this world is breaking
Can't you see where I stand?
We're falling apart
this will be our end

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Illusion of Perfection

Several weeks ago, months perhaps, I met with a young woman whom I mentor.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was bright in a sky of cobalt blue, and the air was cool.  We found a table outside and chatted over coffee.  I was glad to see her, as it had been awhile since we had met face to face.  She looked beautiful, yet there was sadness in her eyes.

I asked her what had been going on in her life.  She began rumination of my question, started to speak but soon stopped. With apparent trepidation she expressed she had difficultly discussing herself, her problems and her life because she held me in high esteem.  She imagined I was perfect.  She said that she wasn't sure I would understand her and she had been struggling with speaking to me honestly about it. I was given pause. Me...perfect?  I almost laughed at how ridiculous that idea was, until I saw she was dead serious.

How could I help this girl if she had no idea of who I really am?

So I opened up to her.  Showed her my true colors by touching on some of my own struggles.  As it dawned on her that I was certainly not "perfect", she relaxed, smiled and laughed.  It brought us profoundly closer. It turned out to be the most insightful meeting I've ever had.

It filled me with hope, as if tattooed on my wrist. Which, as you may be aware, is. Hope eternal.

Perfection.  The elusive status that we all seem to desire, even when we know it is impossible to attain.  We are human after all,  which means we are perfectly imperfect. However...that doesn't stop us from pretending. Myself included. It seemed I was getting rather good at acting.

During my later review of our conversation, it dawned on me I am guilty of keeping my skeletons, my flaws, my weaknesses, etc. closely guarded.  My logic (loosely termed) could be; if I keep everything outwardly pretty then no one will know my secret demons.  But they exist.  No one, especially me, is perfect.  I suddenly realized I'm not doing myself or others any good by not being true to myself.  In fact, I am creating my own turmoil. That is not the way I want to live my life.

To thine own self be true.

The mentor became the student. And isn't that the way it should be? Learn from each other. Something clicked that day.  A new journey had begun.

I am not perfect, but I have learned to embrace that and am falling in love....with me.

Peace, xoxo