|Sullygram...November 2017 newsletter
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|Author:||Thomas (Sully) Sullivan [ Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:59 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Sullygram...November 2017 newsletter|
Sometimes you just know life is coming at you as if outside forces are pulling the strings. When it happens around Halloween it’s especially spooky. Unconventional encounters are a daily thing in my life, but a cluster of chance meetings over the last two days of October seemed vaguely connected to playful Angels and Demons. Masks went on, masks came off. I still don’t get what made the end of that month suddenly break out in sly smiles and ironies – trick-or-treat? – but I went with the flow.
There was the “kid” (?) who came to the door late and alone on Halloween night, and I don’t know whether his gang-banger leathers were a costume or not. He looked at me as though I should recognize him, should reconnect with something foundational inside him that his fashion could not hide and that the world had forgotten. My Mars bars disappeared into his pocket, and his eyes went suddenly cold as if he had just changed his mind about something. Easy to imagine I was being cased (my porch light was off by that time), but I know it wasn’t that. Whatever I missed in that exchange is haunting me because I clearly had just failed something.
And before that there was the young woman I occasionally see at the rec center but had never spoken to. Disabled and somewhat of a wallflower, she seems to do nothing to encourage friendliness. Her hygiene is not the best. In fact, the way she dresses and her sullen manner strike me as intentionally off-putting. She is challenging the world in some way, demanding what she feels cheated out of or protecting herself from disappointment. I like her – not just because she is lonely and isolated, but because she hates herself. You have to like people who hate themselves. Otherwise the universe gets out of balance.
Anyway, the day before Halloween she had a witch’s hat on and I chided her. Don’t remember exactly what I said, but I think we both felt like we were in a conversation that had been waiting to happen. The next day I brought her a faux fur black cat that had caught my eye in a store. It was because it was our first anniversary, I told her. We’d known each other for one day. She laughed at that, but she looked like she wanted to cry. Maybe if she has enough Halloweens left before she decides she’s too old to dress up, she’ll let herself turn into a princess.
It was the trick-or-treat night traffic, however, that compounded the sense of karma for me at the end of October. All those parents you rarely see, and suddenly they are hovering behind their kids at your door like drop-ins in an old-time sitcom. A few parents lingered as their kids darted off to the next house, and it’s amazing how deep exchanges can go in the space of two or three minutes. Deeper still when one parent that I barely knew came back very late to continue the conversation in my living room. That one was a fitting unmasking because half a lifetime of regrets came pouring out.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to receive what people share. It connects the dots, undoes the myths we all have about each other, and gives me a chance to give something worthwhile to fellow human beings. Hardly less than that, it informs me about my own life.
Surprising how reassuring it is to see how alike we all are. How many songs do we leave on the dance floor – how many lives that we could’ve led do we miss? Second guessing where our lives could have gone is inevitable and usually just wishful thinking. But with the passage of time and the gaining of insight, the magic mirror clarifies and we see where we missed our chances. There was that key opportunity to take our career up a level. There was the true love whose exciting possibilities would have been worth the risks.
Easy to see in retrospect. Our doubts never materialized, our fears were trivial. We are still alive, perhaps thriving in every pedestrian sense; but we aimed too low, settled for too little. And when the page is turned, those iron bars that we thought were protecting us turn out to be our cage.
A jailbreak from that cage is always possible, but as long as there is a tomorrow, you have the opportunity to be proactive today by being true to your highest self. As long as I can remember, my life has contained at least one sanctuary where I could go to be me. It wasn’t until I discovered winter, however, that the sanctuary became an inspiration as much as an escape. Yeah, I know, winter is cold. I get that – hey, I’m so skinny dogs try to bury me! But you don’t have to just stand there in the snow, you know. You can do the funky chicken or fall on your “arse” or make snow angels. Srsly, the secret is to expend energy – enough energy to break into a sweat after a few minutes. You can’t be cold if your body is trying to throw off heat.
And it’s a fiction that the winter world is dead outside. The world is not dead. It is secretly healing. What’s that? You suffer from SADD? That’s sad. Because there’s more light outside bouncing off the snow than you can gather in a year of summers. All the gloom is inside.
Pass over that 10-minute threshold of stoking your boiler into the grand winter wonderland and magic fills your lungs, ignites your soul and dazzles your eyes! Infinite fields of diamonds explode off sunlit snow and you become aware of hot blood coursing through your veins. A fireplace is copacetic if it’s the afterglow of having come alive with everything evolution gave you; otherwise it’s just a way to re-heat a couch potato. I’m not a missionary for winter – the fewer people outside, the more I like it – but it’s a big world and I sincerely hope that my friends in snow country max out the coming season!
From my gallery of winter memories, a dazzling dozen photos to share with you: #1-12 all taken at Elm Creek or Crow-Hassan which are part of Three Rivers parks here in Mini-snowda…
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Thomas “Sully” Sullivan
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