October 8, 2007

Shufflin' Along

Living room science fiction, family albums, art, and cook books. 2007.

There. It’s out. Right there on the floor. Kathump. I believe I have taken much and not given back enough. I believe in balance. The yin and yang.

I don’t really have to have a job. Yet if I want some degree of comfort in my life, I work. I also find that if I make some use of my talents plus giving a little something back, I feel whole. Complete.

After the years of chaos, in the beginning the feeling of balance was a new thing.

At first, it was exciting. A bit startling even. I found myself helping a college professor friend clean out a drainage ditch in the Tijuana Slough to begin to bring back the tidal flow’s filtering action. Banish those tires and cans. Take those shopping carts out of the mud. Bandage the blisters. Answer questions when I didn’t even quite know why I was there or understand what I was doing. By the time this bit of land was turned into a State Park, I was far, far away and as mad as a hatter.

But I had caught the volunteer bug. I learned that what I did made a difference. One small action could lead to something far bigger. The idealism of the 1960’s worked. Even when I was bonkers, I was out there helping save old houses, old cemeteries, old any old thing that helped create a better city or our memory of the city alive. When I recovered from being crazy, homeless, and nonfunctional, I began to help the homeless, help drunks in need, and help where my heart was. After my friend Dale Craig died from an AIDS related disease, I, then G, worked with the AIDS Quilt for years. When the Quilt folded, we went back to the old stuff.

After our Historical Society went through a number of archivists and archival thought processes, we slowly faded away from them back into volunteer nothingness. My nothingness coincided with another long baseball season, so I did more nothingness about getting back to the act of giving back for another long year.

Baseball is gone now. I’ve been feeling unfinished. My days have been spent, besides doing the basic stuff of staying healthy, with words of any sort. I’m following my heart this time. I’m older too…and less able to shuffle with a shovel now, but perhaps I can still shuffle with books.

Me: Got G’s cold and it is working its way down into my chest, darn it.

G: With a common cold. Still fractionally more here than I.

Duck: Napping and we didn’t wake him.

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