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Cecil Lawson
17 March 2011 @ 08:47 pm

Today was the first truly spring-like day; everything before was a prelude.  The sun's warmth was penetrating, and it lingered until nearly sunset.  I was able to sit on the back deck this afternoon and on the front porch this evening. 

All around the birds were singing, trading solos in their ensemble play.  I walked by two different ponds tdoay, and in both there was splashing and plopping aplenty, either frogs or newly awakened fishes.  The first little purple irises were blooming just up the road.  Children ran and played at the neighbor's houses. 

The sky remained veiled in light clouds all throughout the day, but the largest bank eventually pushed through by mid-afternoon, leaving a bright and hazy dome above. 

Cecil Lawson
16 March 2011 @ 10:37 pm

Waxing moon in a clear sky; neighbor's dog out barking at us; near-spring chill; idling semi-truck off-loading propane at the storage facility; longer, slower chirps from peepers.
Cecil Lawson
15 March 2011 @ 10:33 pm

For my non-Facebook-using friends and compatriots - recent status scribbles:

Night impressions: cool east wind continues to blow; frog's chirps are long and slow; Max stops and scans the field, the silence, the dim emptiness beyond; cold Kentucky rain stings my eyes and lips and makes Max pull harder to home; a single jet descending west visible in the high, thin clouds.


A chilly night's walk: neighbor's voices as we walk out the door; a stiff northeastern breeze; a too-thin jacket makes goosebumps, numb fingers, and faster steps; dim shadows under a half-moon; startled bird flutters from a tree; deafening echelons of pond-side peepers; high thin clouds edging from the west; letting the oblivous traffic pass by; the welcome road home.


The night filtered through my foggy mind: half moon's light reflected off a distant barn's roof; each step a crunch and pop on a gravel road; three boisterous teenagers walking home; frogs chirping to some secret rhythm; security lights flickering at the propane storage facility; a rabbit bounds behind the house.


As midnight approaches: cold air numbs my fingers through wool gloves; first clear evening in days, with the silver crook of the moon beginning to dip low in the west; a medical helicopter rushes across the sky; the house is still without Max tonight.


walk this evening: cheeks pelted with sharp sleet and snow; wind chimes clanging in the blustery western breeze; a quick peek at the thumbnail moon hiding behind rushing clouds; Max with his haircut axious to get back home. A thought: even as people are snug and warm in their homes, the cold winds still blows.


Tonight in Preston: mild breezes send an empty pop can skittering down the road; the briefest glimpse of a sliver of moon through thin, billowy clouds; the lights of Mt. Sterling reflected off the clouds in the west; wet wool socks from stumbling through a puddle in the dark; every pond encircled with singing peepers.


The night: choruses of peepers, and the rain smells fresh, like spring.


Night in Preston: stiff breeze from the east, clouds moving in from the south; more peepers chirping; a cacophony of coyote howls and yips from behind the house; a chainsaw running from toward Blevins Valley; steady traffic.


Tonight in Preston: a few cars; a blustery north wind; and I counted two lone peepers braving the cold while their siblings burrowed back down in the mud.


Impressions of the night: choruses of peepers; the temperature is dropping, making the wind and rain raw; the house is popping and cracking with the change in temperature; the smell of wet dog next to me.

Cecil Lawson
15 March 2011 @ 09:45 pm
Gusts of southwestern wind; puddles to dodge again in the dark; rushing creek by the road; a billion croaking frogs; dogs barking and baying by the old railroad track; metal and wood windchimes that no one else hears; wishing I had Max's nose for five minutes; blue backlit sky.
Cecil Lawson
15 March 2011 @ 07:15 pm

Spring is slow in coming. This is not to say that winter is lingering longer than it should; the last two times it snowed, it melted quickly. All of the usual signs of spring are also here: peepers and robins, gnats and flies, tulips pushing through the ground and trees budding. The only thing slow to change is the temperature. By mid-March in Kentucky we usually have somewhat milder temperatures, at least in my memory. We’ve have a couple of days where the temperature has gotten above 60 degrees, but for the most part it has stayed in the upper 40s. There’s also been a lot of rain for March, in a couple of instances leading to local flooding. It had made it hard to get outdoors much, apart from wearing hip waders. 

If anything was going on with my kidney stone, I would have let you know. I did have to make another trip to the ER last Thursday to get some relief from an attack of pain. They give me an injection of a strong muscle relaxant that they usually give to post-surgery patients, and the colic clears up in a few minutes. I found out that I have kidney stones created by too much uric acid in my body, and that it can be treated with some medicine and changes in my diet (essentially, drink mostly water and eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat); I’ve lost 12 pounds so far. Apart from that, I have to wait another week to see my doctor; he’s been on vacation for almost three weeks. 

It has become fairly obvious to me that there is a trade-off between keeping up with Facebook and maintaining a blog. I’ve tried to straddle the divide, but this blog has suffered. It seems more convenient to update the status feed at Facebook than to take the time to write a cogent blog entry. However, I’ve decided to the tip the balance back in favor of this blog. Writing for me is not about convenience; it is about slowing down and taking my time to write something worth saying. I don’t think my outward life is exciting or interesting enough to share with others. Most recently, I’ve been practicing a haiku-like writing after my late walk with Max, gathering scattered impressions of the night and letting them take shape in a status update. I’ll keep doing that, but I’m going to cross-post it from this blog. I needn't give everything to Facebook.

Cecil Lawson
07 March 2011 @ 10:47 am

 I’ve never been afraid of getting older.  I always figured that the next year would give the opportunities I needed to undo any mistakes I’ve made and to work more achieving the things I’ve wanted to achieve.  I decided many years ago that I would never have a mid-life crisis, that I would never leave anything undone, if it was within my power. 


Life always throws you curve balls, and I’ve had my share of ups and downs over the past several years.  I’ve persevered, with help from above and from my own stubbornness.  We come into the world a rough piece of stone, stumbling and bumbling along; the travels and trials of life polish us down until we finally learn to roll smoothly. Many things that I thought were so important at ages 20 and 30 no longer seem so relevant. 


As I turn 40 today, I don’t see the road ahead as a downhill run, but as an unexplored frontier.  I have always chosen the road less traveled, and I look forward to what surprises lie around the bend. 

Cecil Lawson
03 March 2011 @ 11:06 pm

          For some reason, I find it easy to write just at the edge of sleep.  Perhaps because the ego is ready to lay down its defenses, the words flow more smoothly from wherever it is they come.  This is a mysterious land, the space between waking and sleep, where the most profound mixes easily with the most ordinary,  and in fact there is no difference between them.  The body is descending, the intellect gives up its demands for logic and coherence, and that creative part of our guts cuts loose, whether in the form of tumbledown phrases or dream images.  I’ve often dreamed of holding a book in my hands, some gigantic tome, and the very words dance off of the page and fly into the air, in beautiful spiraling choreography.  It is a song come to life, without will, without struggle – just open the book.

Cecil Lawson
01 March 2011 @ 03:47 pm

 It’s been an exciting several days in my corner of Kentucky, because spring is finally making its appearance.  There have been a few warm days in past weeks, but there has been a visible qualitative change in the entire region. 


These changes began a couple of weeks ago.  Canadian geese began appearing in large numbers overhead and were congregating in ponds and wetlands, gathering for their northward migration.  I also noticed that robins began appearing in the backyard, after a long winter hiding out in the woods.  It was also the mating season of skunks, as was made visible by the number of road kill, no doubt caused by hormones and resultant careless behavior. 


Last week I began noticing the red-winged black birds in the trees, making their trills and whistles over the winter-exhausted landscape.  Killdeers are usually busy and loud for most of the winter, but they had been relatively quiet for several months; they burst forth into their panicked squeals along the ground. 


The final piece of the pre-spring puzzle made its appearance a couple of days ago – the peepers.  These little frogs wake up from hibernation when the light and temperature are just right.  I’ve always remembered them croaking and singing a little later in March, say the second or third week.  I also noticed beside a local pond a small patch of plant growth that I can’t identify with the beginnings of tiny blooms. 


It was 25° this morning, and there was a pretty heavy frost on the ground, but the peepers were still singing (albeit slowly) in the ponds before sunrise.  There may yet be cold days and nights, but the long winter is slowly receding behind us. 


I write this as encouragement for all of my friends and readers to the north. 


Cecil Lawson
26 February 2011 @ 08:25 pm

When I’m driving these days, it never ceases to amaze me in how big of a hurry most other people seem to be.  No matter the time of day or night, it is inevitable that someone will be driving close to my bumper and pass me at first opportunity. I drive the speed limit, so this sort of behavior seems uncalled for.  People pull out in front of others at intersections without regard for who got there first.  They drive behind you with either high-beams on at night, or they use those god-awful high-intensity halogen headlights.


Yet, it continues with impunity.  No matter how many police officers hand out tickets to speeders, no matter how many times local TV stations and newspapers talk about defensive driving, the recklessness continues. 


There exists a silent populist conspiracy directed against speed limits, the rules of the road, and common courtesy.  A certain class of people, a majority, in fact, sits inside of hermetically sealed car interiors, often behind tinted glass and jacked up on lift kits and nineteen-inch wheels, wrapped up with their plans and schemes and discussing them over a cell phone held to the ear by a shoulder, and directed to their destinations by satellite-guided maps. 


These people do not care about you, if you follow the rules of the road.  You are simply an impediment to their travel, a bump in the road from their point A to point B, and the sooner they can get around you, the better to be done with you. 


I think that this is part of a larger cultural change in this country, a dangerous deepening of narcissism in the last thirty or so years.  The idea that other people exist and have separate agendas and motivations is something of a mystery to the narcissist; the world is, for the most party, simply an extension of their consciousness and perception.  It is not a full-fledged philosophical solipsism (the idea that one’s consciousness is the only thing that exists), but rather a frustrating inability to put himself or herself in another person’s place, even briefly.  This is the kind of empathy necessary for both social etiquette and common courtesy. 


This condition can be easily observed at a grocery store or in any large city.  Watch carefully as others walk down the aisle with their grocery cart; in most cases, they are wholly focused on their grocery list, the products on the shelf, or a conversation on their cell phones.  These people will often stand there, wholly unaware that others need to get around them or pass by them, or they bumble along into the path of others. 


The problem is, this mode of behavior has become so pervasive and acceptable that it is difficult to point it out as something troublesome.  No one wants to be accused of being narcissistic, and it always seem to be the other person who is responsible.  I fear that one day, voices like mine will be drowned out in the distracted din.


Be careful out there. 

Cecil Lawson
21 February 2011 @ 07:42 pm

I haven’t been writing on this blog for several days because I’ve been dealing with a kidney stone.  Actually two kidney stones, one in the tube leading from my left kidney to the bladder, the other still in my right kidney. 


I had a terrible bout of lower abdominal pain this past Wednesday morning, which led me to take a trip to the emergency room.  Now I have a urologist looking into the case.  After several CAT scans and x-rays and , we’ve been following the progress of this stone down my left ureter. 


I haven’t had much pain since Wednesday, apart from a forty-five minute episode this morning as I drove to the doctor’s office.  However, it lifted, and it hasn’t bothered me the rest of the day. 


To top it all off, the transmission went out in my car yesterday.  But my mom and dad are coordinating with me for rides, so that’s worked out. 


I’ll keep you abreast of any further developments.