Thursday, March 15, 2012

Simple Pleasures


Simple Pleasures

A cup of hot decaf coffee in the evening as the sun is setting and a spring chill is coming on. I sit on the front steps watching the world go by with the dog by my side smelling the world go by. The coffee is dark and black and it tastes like warmth.

An afternoon run up to the stand-pipe for one of the great views of our city. I chug up the hill watching that round brick building come closer and closer. Then I'm up, jogging slowly around the top of the hill looking out at the Carrier Dome, MONY Plaza, the State Tower Building, and Onondaga Lake (which Hayden Carruth rightly called the Oldest Killed Lake in North America). Coming down the hill I forget that I'm running because I'm still carrying the vision of the city under all that blue sky and sunshine.

A gentle series of kisses from my wife, our eyes closed, our lips just touching. One and two and three and more. I feel myself let go of everything else in the world. There is nothing but her and me and love.

The cat standing on my shoulders. Odd, I know, but delightfully so.

The right song to listen to. Today it was "Rhapsody in Blue" which I have only just discovered this year and which, it seems to me, is as beautiful a piece as I have ever needed to hear. I think I've listened to it four times today. The piano hurts, it sounds so good.

A good piece of chocolate. Dark and just the right amount of bitter (a lot like the coffee). One piece sits in my mouth for minutes slowly melting. The taste of it lingers in my mind for hours.

My daughters' smiles. The movement of their hair as they run. Their faces as they sleep. The sounds of their voices. And, oh, the joyous sound of their laughter. Their very breathing in and out.

The feel of my heart beating in my chest. Thump. Thump. Thump. Steady and strong, slow and sure. It is my father's heart. My grandfather's heart. A muscle stronger than any other in me. It is the heart that will carry me for 99 years and then some. I want to write poetry about my heart.

Poetry. The idea that Thursday will see the delivery of Mark Strand's new book to my house. The fact that I just thought of that Hayden Carruth poem up above and that the mention of Carruth makes me think of that great "Letter to Hayden" poem by Bridget Meeds and that makes me think of Carruth's poem about Raymond Carver which makes me think of Carver's book A New Path to the Waterfall which gets me thinking of Strand's "Elegy for my Father" and on and on.

Writing poetry as I did Wednesday morning when I wrote a prose poem about the shift to Daylight Savings Time and knew even in its roughest first-draft form that it was good.

Writing these 750-word entries nightly, knowing that something will come, something good, something that will make my life better.

A friend stopping by while I wait for my daughter at Hebrew School and asking me if I would like to do a run that I'm probably not capable of but am considering trying just because he asked.

The fact that Aaron Sorkin will give the Syracuse University graduation speech and I will find a way to be in attendance.

That my parents have moved back into town and have let me help them with their move just as I'm letting them help with the kids.

Having a brother who says yes to what ever it is I ask him even before he can imagine what it is I'm asking.

The simple pleasures of my life far outweigh the troubles and as I was writing today at school I realized that complaining doesn't carry me forward. I will still complain, I don't see a way around all of that yet, but there is so much pleasure in my life right now. There has been for a long time and there ever shall be. In a few weeks I will go out west to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon with my best friend for a week of hiking and running and soaking in the wonders of those places. I am married to a wondrous woman whose mysteries continue to unfold like petals though I have known her for two decades. My children charm me and everyone they meet. They are the wonders of my world. And I, when I think about it just right, am becoming the man I have always wanted to be.

Simple pleasures with every breath, every beat of my heart, everything I lay my eyes upon. This is a good life. Breathe it in. And, of course, write on.