Sunday, January 17, 2021

Some things Get Better with Age... Others Get Bigger

I snapped this picture on my way to the fourth floor. A few years ago I posted pictures of Central American landscapes with sweeping narratives of "partnerships with indigenous peoples." Today, all I've got is a selfie of... well, me.

My nose is getting bigger.

That's my thought of the day. I've no scriptures to tie to it (although it would be easy to literally tie something to it, due to its copious size), and no Thoreau quotes to make me sound smarter. Even so, it is not so insignificant an observation. 

My Pappy, my Papaw, and my Poppa. The three generations of Shepherd men before me: James, Harry, and Tom. My dear son, Caleb, I must let you know that as you age your nose will grow. That picture of my Poppa is one of my favorites. I've been letting my hair grow since leaving my role as pastor. Just this week I learned the story behind this picture. He let his hair grow after serving his tour of duty in Viet Nam.

Oh the stories to be told of these four generations of Shepherd men. Five really, Caleb has already scaled mountains (quite literally) of his own. And so yes... my nose is growing. I've damn well earned it.


Not Until We Are Lost...

 ... do we begin to understand ourselves.
 -Henry David Thoreau

There was a dirt pile to the east of our above ground, twenty-four foot  round, Coleco above-ground swimming pool. I'd carved Lombard Street style Hot-Wheel paths from the top to the bottom and I'd sit at the top with my canine brother, Duke the German Shepherd mix as we'd survey our universe and feel that the world was very much managed.

I had the love of my parents, the sun rose and fell, and the dust would swirl while Hot-Wheel cars were powered by forever moving hands. Baloney sandwiches and Coca-Cola bisected the day and the evening would present pork chops on the grill. 

I remember fifth grade and the election of Ronald Reagan. I remember that was the first time that I questioned the safety of my world. His speeches captivated me even at a young age. I remember hearing his "shining city on a hill," and his concept that peace is available at any time, all you have to do is lay down your arms and surrender to your enemy. 

I remember the fall of the Berlin wall after he proclaimed, "Gorbechev... tear down this wall," that was realized under George H.W. Bush. I remember the challenger explosion before that. I remember the "slip the surly bonds of earth a kiss the face of God" quote that brought tears to a nation.

I remember parachute pants and Cabbage Patch Dolls and Max Headroom. Coca-Cola beat Pepsi and Pepsi set Michael Jackson on fire. Penny Racers and pencil toppers, paper frogs and thirty-five cents ice-creams. The future was unknown, but it didn't matter. I lived in the moment and the moment was good.

Recently I have rediscovered the moment. My hands now power a full size car and Coca-Cola has given way to a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, but the canine friend is still a constant, I'd not have made it through the past year without her. Things I love now are simple, like the sound of bathwater or the heat kicking on. 

And the truth is, these days are better. Still looking onward, but more intentionally living in the now.