Oh To Be Naked In The Sun (A Holiday Story)

[NOTE: Revisit of last year’s Christmas-themed post. Enjoy!]

On Monday, a bright, textbook sky blue morning, I picked up Marie and her son, Loki, and we headed up to Weedon Island Preserve. We were going to be the only people around, given the sparse parking lot. I love that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but it’s too in the city and heavily trafficked. I’m trying to get my Henry David Thoreau on. I’m trying to loose the coil that is society for the next few hours.

I was led to reflect on Walden, one of the first books I read after deciding to cease living my old existence. My favorite chapter of the book, and I know you’ll think me strange, is The Bean-Field. His fastidiousness in accounting for developing his garden reminded me of how much I sought to control every value of my life as if it was a line item. It’s not that simple though; not every aspect of life can be quantified.

In the past few weeks I experienced a dynamic, negative shift in my professional aspirations as well as a negative shift in my personal relations, one in particular Marie witnessed herself this past Friday. We reached the lookout point and we got to the discussion of values, the who and whats in our life we’ve assigned priority to, and why. Revisiting the events of last Friday, it was evident that there was way too much expectation out of individuals on my end, as if I was going to find The Total Package upon every new relationship I build. The reality of it, as Marie succintly pointed out, is that will never exist in an individual or a thing, and the best way to keep Angst at bay is to carve out the part of the individual or thing you do value and hold on to that. Find contentment in what works, and acknowledge not everything is going to be fulfilling. It’s fatalistic, but easy to digest.

My focus returned to quality of living. I relaxed against the wooden bench, eased my spine, and felt the twists of Angst unfurl slowly. I tipped my white hat over my eyes and felt a long overdue relaxation. It was then that Marie mentioned she couldn’t find her camera. “Dammit, I just got comfortable.” I shifted slightly, ready to remove my pose. “We’ll double back. It’s got to be on the trail. You stay there.” Now that was nice of her. I heard the stroller and the whine of the boy dissipate towards the island, and I drifted away in a cat nap.

This, I realized, is the essence of being. My hands are not manipulating anything. The hard drive that is my brain has slowed its spinning to a dull loop. The breeze, perfect against my skin, the sun, warm enough to cause slight sweat. I felt cleansed. The act of Being is such a rare engagement. To detach, to be one with the sky and the water and the earth, reminds of the fickle nature of humanity. While cars zip around carrying frantic holiday celebrators to and from stores and to and from houses, fufilling social mandates of the season, I am here, Being. This is the best celebration I could possibly engage in, and a cherished gift.

I wrote myself a letter once I got home, and my plan is to read it on New Year’s Day. If I am lucky, I will Be on that day. I hope you will Be, too.

Merry Christmas.

Martial Arts Movies and Mega-Sandwiches. This is THE LIFE.

Smell that? I showered. Just for you!

Man, have I got this Week of Christmas thing down. The mood was definitely set with a hike through Weedon Island Preserve. Then I spent Christmas Eve prepping for Christmas Day Treat (taking myself to a movie I know I’ll enjoy, but most people in my life would never join me to watch. Last year was Django Unchained. This year, 47 Ronin.) The prep work included Sonny Chiba’s awesome face in Street Fighter and Return of Street Fighter, then Ip Man, with the intention to watch Ip Man 2 but Netflix was not cooperating, so I put in The Matrix (martial arts + Keanu Reeves).

As I sat there in the theatre, watching this PG-13 film interpretation of a famous Japanese play with, thankfully, Keanu Reeves getting treated like a dog the entire time, I had an urge to write. This is good; I haven’t had anything fresh on the mind with I Blew Up Juarez in the production hopper. My inner dialogue went like such: “I could write something like this. I could do something modern day, a la Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Ghost Dog.’ I can interpret the concepts of honor and loyalty in modern times. I could write a samurai story. I should write a 21st century samurai story.”

Something to look forward to in 2014.

Last Christmas I was admittingly lonely, but this year, my dance card was being filled for me. My supposedly 4G network downloaded messages of well wishes from all over and invites to Christmas dinners as I left the theatre. Instead of my after-movie single drink at the bar routine, I made my way north, and enjoyed a delightful evening with wonderful company. Once home, I engaged in a necessary conversation which confirmed my occupation of someone’s heart. Netflix rewarded the achievement with a functioning Ip Man 2.

The Day After, I decided to do something my brother and sister were really good at as kids; lay on the couch and watch TV from morning to bedtime. Other than the occassional dog duty, I lay on the chaise and watched all Season 5 of Misfits, then refreshed my memory with Season 3 of Absolutely Fabulous. It was interesting respite, but I was up and in the gym this morning, feeling guilty for indulging in sloth!

And because the Universe loves to emphasize a life well lived, these songs played back to back as I trotted on the treadmill:

Don’t Let No One Get You Down – War 

Rock and Roll Queen – The Subways 

Perfect Day – Lou Reed

This is the life! Looking forward to New Year’s Eve. Something tells me PJs, a bottle of Cava, and Disney movies should suffice…

The ULTIMATE After Christmas Blunt Sandwich*

image

Layers (from the top):

Sam’s homemade bread
Sam’s homemade butter
Tammy’s eggplant stuffing
Cranberry sauce slices
Mashed potatoes
Tony’s perfect turkey
Green bean casserole

*: blunt not necessary in order to enjoy, but it helps!

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