The Mortality Clause

mortality-rates“Never forget the ones who are left behind; in this way they will never be truly gone.” -Theodicus

Death is such a touchy subject, isn’t it? We are born with such promise, with the entirety of our lives stretching out before us in a line that seems endless. But it’s not. In fact, at the moment of conception, even, we are beginning the ironic journey of living and dying at the same time. I look in the mirror at these gray hairs and realize that I’m 37 years old, that for over 37 years I’ve been slowly dying, and that I’ll be lucky to see 37 more years pass while I’m still on this earth. I also realize how fortunate I am that death is there, at the end of the hopefully long journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I am afraid of death, but not the idea of it. When actual death comes for me I will probably be anxious and afraid. We always fear the unknown, and I have no idea what waits for me on the other side of that abyss. The Bible says that there is nothing after death, that our bodies decay and that our spirits go back to our creator, which sounds peaceful of course. And it’s what is brought up the most by ministers at funeral services to soothe those who remain. He always says that our souls will meet theirs again in the great by and by. But we are more than our souls. We are also these bodies that the souls inhabit. If we believe in this after image, will we even recognize ourselves or others then? Yes, death itself scares the bejeezus out of me. Because of its uncertainty. Continue reading “The Mortality Clause”

Water Cooler Musings: On Co-Dependency

codependencyI’ve often asked myself why so many people stay in destructive relationships where they aren’t appreciated or treated as equals, and where they’re often either ignored or taken for granted in some way, shape, or form. And the answer comes back loudly and clearly: because they’re afraid to be alone. So many people will accept so much less than they should because they don’t think they’re worthy of anything else and they can’t face the thought of being by themselves. That was the topic of discussion around the water cooler this week.

Tracy: My sister was with this guy for two years who treated her like shit. He was always talking about how she had to gain weight, how thin she always looked, and how he liked a little meat on his women. It gave her a complex.

Me: No wonder. How did she survive two years with him?

Tracy: He wasn’t like that at first, or at least he didn’t seem like it. I think it came out later.

Yeah, later, when he got more comfortable speaking his mind, or when he figured she was so into him that she would do what he wanted anyway. And for the most part he was right because she didn’t say anything against him when he started railing against her weight and how much food she “should be eating.” As I listened to Tracy talk about this guy, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loathing toward someone who could treat a woman that way. Then we got down to the source of it all.

Me: Why do you think she put up with it after he started showing his true colors?

Tracy: Well, I think it’s because he looked good, and because she just never was alone, I guess. Not since first year of high school when she got her first boyfriend. That was… eight years ago.

Me: And how many relationships has she been in since?

Tracy: A ton. I lost count after six, and this guy counted as six. But she’s never been alone. She’s with another guy now who I think is better.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? She can’t stand the empty feeling of not having someone in her life, of doing anything by herself because she’s never learned how to do it. For her entire adult life she’s been in one destructive relationship after another simply because she can’t NOT be in a relationship. For her own sanity. And that’s sad, but she’s not the only one. Continue reading “Water Cooler Musings: On Co-Dependency”

Utica: My Photographic Journey

This is the historic Stanley Theater right downtown on Genesee Street. I saw Jason Mraz here two years ago, and it was fantastic. The theater was renovated and enlarged a few years before that.
Tones of home. This church is right next to the Utica Public Library, and I think it’s ironic that the sign is in English when the church is predominantly a Spanish-speaking one.
This statue graces the newly constructed traffic circle downtown. I love the smaller statues that make it up.
I imagine this candlelight park lit up at night with the light of a thousand candles scattered throughout. It stands beside the Planned Parenthood clinic.

Continue reading “Utica: My Photographic Journey”


The song has no words It’s fragile like ice Melting in the sun Lyrically bereft Haunting in its melody Rife with contradiction Tangled up in blue All jazz riffs and vibe Tickling the ivories Intensely personal While the people move Caught up in its bliss Heavy with desire Drunk on emotion Cool in the evening … Continue reading Melodic

In the Morning Hour

stock-footage-flock-of-birds-fly-around-dilapidated-barn-surrounded-in-golden-mistA mist hangs over the valley, sticking dew-like to the leaves on the old maple tree out behind the coffee-colored barn. Eerily it dominates the space as nothing else is stirring in the cool breeze that accompanies the overwhelming moisture. A gray house stands sentinel over the property, approximately 20 paces to the south of the old barn, with all of its shades closed, shutting out the muted morning light. Across the cobblestone road there is a rusted cistern that sits isolated from everything else, like a middle child who often gets forgotten in the hustle and bustle of family life. Water swirls around its basin in a clockwise fashion, indicating its position in the northern hemisphere, and its slow gurgle is the only sound that can be heard in the area.

In one of the small rooms upstairs in the gray house there are old-fashioned bunk beds, upon which lie two children, dead to the world. The younger one snores loudly in a syncopated rhythm from her perch in the top bunk, covers pulled up under her chin just as they had been when her mother tucked her in late the night before. She dreams classically of fluffy, white sheep sliding over and under a perfect picket fence in pursuit of one another, and there is a smile on her lips. Her older sister tosses and turns in her sleep, plagued by nightmares that luckily don’t impinge upon her waking hours, complements of an overactive imagination that serves her well at playtime. They share a bedroom out of necessity, but they are also best friends, a happy coincidence.

Outside the mist begins to clear, no longer obscuring the sun that has risen in the eastern sky, as it slides off against the backdrop of the multi-colored horizon. Continue reading “In the Morning Hour”

A Little Resolve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the time of year when people all over the world come up with their own personal resolutions, well-meaning as they are, meant to help them change things in their lives that are unsatisfactory to them for whatever reasons. Some of the most popular resolutions deal with body image, with emotional issues, and with organization, which all make sense because those are the same issues that a majority of human beings struggle with. But too many people take too much time focusing on the resolutions, on creating their list and making sure it’s numbered properly, that they lose sight of the other half of the equation: implementation of the plan.

Resolution: A decision or determination.

Implementation: The act of putting into effect.

It’s ironic that so many people resolve to be more organized, and implementing those resolutions is one of the biggest organizational tasks that can be undertaken. That’s precisely why usually even with such big hopes most people crash and burn when it comes to carrying out those gargantuan tasks they’ve set forth for themselves. Think about the resolutions you yourself have made over the years, and let me know how many of them were successful. Even thinking about my own, it’s difficult to pinpoint the ones that haven’t fizzled after a few days of fervent resolve. And that’s because life often gets in the way.

I know, it’s funny to hear that. After all, these resolutions ARE the epitome of the new life we’re trying to create for ourselves. How can life possibly get in the way of our heaven sent plans? The answer is so easy it might just astound you. We spend so much time those first few days focusing so much on our “new” life that we forget we have one that is waiting in the shadows for us to falter, and then swoops back in to reclaim us as its own. It’s really subtle at first, too. For example, one of my resolutions last year was to exercise more, and to that end I began a custom-made regimen on Wii Fit. It lasted all of two weeks (my personal record). Then life intervened. Continue reading “A Little Resolve”