The kousa dogwood trees next to the backyard deck suffered poorly in last year’s drought.
But they survived and sprout leaves but no blooms.
I am left here, sitting on the chair my grandfather resided upon when playing the card game of Rook with family at his house outside Maryville, Tennessee, USA.
I am left here, as I always am, alone.
Alone with my thoughts.
The cat wanders around, wanting to go outside of this house-sized cage, back to the wooded neighbourhood she played in as a small feline huntress.
The sunroom clicks and pops as it always has, whether I’m in here writing or not, expanding and contracting with ambient temperature changes and solar radiation.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” a phrase from Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people, repeats itself briefly in my thoughts.
I am back here, alone with my thoughts, as I always will be, have been, and am.
I highly value my alone time but at the same time wish there was someone(s) with whom I could equally share thoughts.
Is it even possible?
[What is a better word than ‘even’?]
Is it ever possible?
We learn from our differences, do we not?
If I desire an equal, why do I also hear the phrase, “PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER“?
I am alone but not lonely, forever protected by my creativity, no matter how commonplace or phantasmagoric.
What do I mean when I say I want independence?
I want to continue to be a kind, loving person, as much as it is in my snobby sense of unique selfishness to be so.
I already think and write what I want, taught to use profanity judiciously as a gentleman.
A strong rain storm batters the metal roof of the sunroom, sending my body’s hearing centre into screaming loud noise mode until I turn off my hearing aids and turn them into earplugs.
There will always exist temporal, contemporary family/social issues that one such as me can think and write about — human history repeats itself continually.
From/for what am I seeking independence?
At this moment, I’m not sure, I don’t know, and am comfortable with the condition of uncertainty.
The rain storm passes by, leaving the pings and pops of water dripping off tree leaves and limbs.
What I seek, I seek alone, sometimes attributing my artistic inspiration to the dead (Covey/Marx) and sometimes to the living (friends/family).
I know I am not the only one who grows tired of me, just as others grow tired of themselves and their friends/family grow tired of them sometimes, too (some will fear it even when no one tires of them).
I recall the scene where Malcolm McDowell, playing Caligula, wants to know what a dying person (Sir John Gielgud?) sees of death, more concerned with sating his curiosity than in saving the man’s life, if I remember correctly.
A whole universe to explore yet today it is my internal landscape I want to remap, unsure if something has changed since my last visit, willing to destroy my mental stability to dig up a single flawed microscopic gem of a new idea.
As I always have, never satisfied with being nearly the same person in consecutive moments.
The costs are high but the rewards have always been higher.
Some call it losing my mind, I call it the greatest personal amusement ride I’ll ever know, drug-free, no amusement park fees or AR/VR headset costs necessary.
The dense patch of water vapour (rain storm) passes, exposing this section of Earth to direct view of our local star again.
So, if my mental independence is like today’s meditation session here in a place that already is paid for (but needs tens of thousands of dollars in renovation to bring it up to modern design standards), with a caretaker who has known me since I was 12 (a/k/a my wife), what am I still seeking?
No one else but me has the answer.
However, my friends and family offer solid advice.
I will always be alone, that never changes.
One day soon I will die.
I hate to think that I will die childless.
I hate to think I will never stand on Mars.
If I never quite have enough motivation to overcome the hate in either of those last two statements, how do I continue to live with myself without growing tired of hearing myself think repetitious wishful thinking?
That may be the key to what I mean by independence…