Dream Interpretation: “Reality TV” Dream

In Jungian dream analysis, there are two types of dreams which were actually defined by Freud I believe: The objective dream and the subjective dream.

An objective dream Is one in which we are surrounded by friends and family and places we know which occur roughly in the time we live in our day to day lives.

A subjective dream, however, is more symbolic, metaphorical, and even fantastical in its content. You may not know the places or people you encounter, and if you do they maybe deceased or at an age that is not true to real life.

You may encounter some very strange things that don’t exist in real life (once I met a bipedal, human-sized, female cat-person who scratched me to tears!). In a subjective dream, all the elements of the dream may be interpreted as an aspect or reflection of your own consciousness, including the “dream ego” or you as a dream participant.

Complicating matters, objective and subjective elements may be mixed in a dream.

The important things with dream interpretation is to write them down asap, including the context of your conscious life at the time as well as the dream itself. It’s important that the symbolism and metaphors used in the interpretation are meaningful to you, not some random dream book or website. Our personal unconscious and it’s unique contents are key to interpretation.

Anyway, this whole area of Jungian psychoanalysis goes way deeper than that, but suffice it to be said that, in my experience, the unconscious will usually respond to you in the language of dreams if you set your intentions before sleeping – which is pretty wild if you ask me. It’s an area we are not accustomed to thinking about in the Western world anymore, but has existed as long as humankind has

It’s dream recall that is a bitch. Even though my recall is often not very good, I can usually gain some perspective from its commentary to meditate on once I’ve written it all down.

With that said, here’s an example of how I deconstruct or “amplify” one of my typical dreams. This particular dream occurred last night.

Sleep Preparation:

I went to bed with the intention of dreaming, and asking my “Self” to comment on my circumstances. I was in the state of depressive FOMO when I went to bed, feeling lonely, bored, and frustrated on a Saturday night for reasons previously stated in my recent blog posts.

The Dreams:

First I had another “compensatory” sexual dream. It was quick and right to the point – the point between the legs of my former female boss. When I awoke, peed, and went back to bed I had the following subjective dream:

I was in a large venue where a some kind of reality TV competition seemed to be taking place. I found myself walking precariously through the crowd and the sharply inclined seats trying to make progress to somewhere for reasons I don’t remember.

Along the outer walls of the venue was some sort of catwalk, raised concourse or mezzanine area with people mulling about.

At one point, when I was back on the the main floor toward the back of the venue, a dog was lifted from the crowd by his collar with a precarious-looking “hook”, like a giant crane-game. I remember wondering if they were kicking the dog out. Was he not supposed to be there?

I feared the dog would fall and the whole crowd looked on with trepidation. But the dog was raised and moved to the upper platform safely, but not gracefully (he wriggled off the hook just as soon as he was over the platform and fell the few feet below).

At one point when I was wandering around looking in corners where wires, boxes and other supplies were stacked (I think I was wirking there?) a great deluge of water started pouring out of the “control room“, which was an elevated office on one side of the concourse.

I feared that somehow I was responsible and would be in trouble. Did I make a mistake that led to this flood? I ran up to the control room door (behind the office, opposite the crowd) but it was locked. A male figure with dark curly hair and a beard (typical “roadie” looking guy) successfully picked the lock with some strange apparatus (now that I think of it, I saw something similar online recently – see how consciousness bleeds it all together?) and unlocked the door. I remember feeling surprised he did it.

End of dream.

Amplification:

So the “reality tv” venue seems to suggest a “game of life” scenario to me. Perhaps a nod to my conscious reality; I’m “crowded” by other people and am forced to navigate my way through them, being very careful not to step on anybody as I move about (that seems on point with my personality).

The dog who was “uplifted” from the crowd was perhaps a representation of my instinctual, sexual aspect, wriggling to get “off-the-hook” as soon as he could. The fact that the process was precarious and sort of unpleasant seems pertinent somehow; successfully “uplifted” but ultimately in an awkward fashion.

The “control room”, located in the top elevation (above the concourse), was maybe symbolic of my brain, i’e. the control room of the body. Its “flooding” was perhaps a nod to overstimulation, and the water (typically interpreted as the unconscious in dreams) was in danger of ruining any hopes of control – which, if you’ve read my last few posts, rings true; I’m repressing certain aspects of my personality and instincts (e.g. sexuality) by necessity.

The lock to the control room was “picked”by my male shadow aspect (same-sex figures in subjective dreams are typically interpreted as shadow figures – or figures representing all of what we wish not to be), which I find to be a fascinating clue. The “key” to the “control room” isn’t used, but by the shadow picking the “lock”, i.e. bypassing the normal mode of entry. Hmmmm.

So how does one allow the shadow to “pick the lock” to regain access to the “control room” of the brain? Meditating? Shadow work?

I’m looking forward to your comments.

Credits: Featured photo by marcello iaconetti on Scopio. Abstract Photo by Aislyn Hedenberg on Scopio.“Control Room” photo by Spencer Nel on Scopio. “Crane Game” photo by Suparerg Suksai on Scopio (b&w filter added by author).

Dear Diary: 6-14-22 “Eruption”

I started a fight with my wife when we laid down to sleep Saturday night. This is a moment in the day when I tend to unload whatever i’ve been mulling about throughout the day.

As I lay there I said, “I don’t know what i’m doing here anymore. Everything feels so pointless and I feel f’n irrelevant.”

“What? Why? Because you’re not getting laid?” She asked sarcastically. “Jesus, get over yourself.”

What happened next i’m not entirely sure. I complexed-out and let her have it.

What I remember was exploding. A litany of conscious complaints fueled by unconscious repression gushed out of me like an eruption of Mt.Vesuvius. I called her every name I could snag with my soured, sulfurous tongue and any sensitivities about the “c” word were abandoned.

I ended my expletive-laden tirade by whipping throw-pillows at her head from the bedroom doorway with all the force I could muster (so that’s what those damn things are for!). Then I marched off to sleep in the guest room, muttering something about imminent divorce while I tore-back the too-tightly-tucked comforter that couldn’t hope to do its f’n job that night.

She was partly right, of course. I was having a tantrum – because it’s been two fucking years since my wife has touched me (well, truth be told she never initiated and it took me thirty years to figure out why) but we never really made a plan for dealing with the aftermath.

It’s easy for her,, of course – she’s asexual. There’s nothing for her to do but not have the sex she never wanted in the first place. All the concessions so far have been mine (no sex, no outside lovers, & don’t be a dick about it, ok?) and I just haven’t been able to maintain any peace with that deal for very long. .

So she found out the hard way (and what I privately suspected) that there’s a dike of pressurized lava simmering just below my seemingly calm, metamorphic surface.

What once may have fueled my passions had become unstable, noxious, and explosive territory where it would have been wise to tread lightly.

But she did not tread lightly. In fact, she stomped right on the soft spot with both crampons and dared it to react – leaving a smoldering caldera in her wake.

She was only partly right about why I exploded. It’s not just the lack of intimacy which has raised my temperature as of late. My feelings of irrelevancy and meaninglessness actually extend further than the marital bed.

For example, I sold twenty years of my very reliable, trouble-free labor to a company that didn’t give a second thought to off-loading me onto another company and, for the time being, leaving me feeling very vulnerable without f’n health insurance The transfer of responsibilities from one company to another has been a f’n disaster so far.

“Don’t worry! Nothing is going to change!” they said.

But “corporate citizens” really couldn ‘t care less. I’m just a f’n rounding error to a couple billionaire brothers’ bottom line on one side and a global commercial real estate powerhouse on the other. That’s how I feel right now, anyway.

Add world-weariness, aging, retirement worries and the f’n daily news to that mixture and you have a recipe for disaster. No wonder people are popping off all over the place.

But I can see the danger. Many men can’t and end up in the system or worse. I have no intention of hurting anybody – but I also know that’s not really how complexes of the personal unconscious work. They sneak up on you if you don’t find a way to integrate all that….um, passion. And so I blog….

Anyway, by the following night my wife and I decided, without uttering a single word, just to ignore the whole episode – as if it never happened. We haven’t spoken about it since. We dropped right back into our usual routine without missing a f’n beat, perhaps realizing adding divorce on top of everything else might be even uglier.

When my wife asked me what I was writing just now, I told her.

“I need a way to express what i’m feeling about my little outburst the other night – since we don’t want to talk about our feelings or anything else of relevance,” I added with a smirk.

Her response?

“Why is my kayak the only one turned right-side up? It’s probably full of rain.”

And off she went…

Photo 1 by Richard Esplana on Scopio

Photo 2 by Roberto Destarac on Scopio

Dear Diary: 6-9-22 “The New Normal”

It’s officially been two years now since I discovered my wife’s asexuality and as long since i’ve enjoyed any physical intimacy with her whatsoever, with the exception of an occasional hug or peck that I can count on one hand. While that’s hardly a long time for some people, to me it feels like an eternity.

During those twenty-four months i’ve gone through the stages of grief: I’ve doubted my conclusions, figuring there might still be a chance thing could go back to “normal” or that I was projecting my conclusions of asexuality onto her despite her repeated agreements (the denial stage), when the reality sank-in, I whined and pouted that my physical needs weren’t being met (the anger stage), then I tried to find an acceptable way to get those needs met by her or somebody else (the bargaining stage), failing all that, I contemplated my options – divorce, suicide, or continuing a life devoid of any physical joy (the depression stage), and finally I just leaned into it and went about my life as usual, realizing there wasn’t anything I could do to change the new reality, only how I responded to it (the acceptance stage).

I imagine it’s like giving up an addiction, where the ever-present reflex still exists inside your brain, but you have to learn to ignore it or quiet it until you can distract yourself with something else. I remember reading AA’s John Bradshaw and how he used to say that being a recovering addict is like being a one-legged ice-skater; you’ll never grow that damn leg back but you can learn to dance and shake your ass all over again with that one leg.

This led me to thoughts of how I’ve related to sexuality throughout my entire life. Looking back I figured sex was my drug of choice throughout the 80s and beyond; although I did plenty of drinking and drugs along the way, the goal was always to get laid, to satisfy that tactile ache no matter what.

While alcoholism and drug addiction was present in my family of origin, they weren’t a problem for me; I could easily set those things aside to pursue my real goal. But eventually I realized my addiction was just as dysfunctional as my family’s; it became self-destructive and unmanageable – so I settled my ass down, got married, and had a family.

Thirty-one years later, a year after discovering my wife’s asexuality, I noticed that a funny thing happened. Instead of me increasing my wife’s sexuality (as i’d attempted for decades), mine decreased…precipitously, as if synchrony were the rule of relational harmony.

Part of that, i’m sure, was just the aging process but the drop-off was fast and steep. Masturbation isn’t even a passing thought anymore. I even found myself becoming annoyed by the ubiquitous presence of sexuality in the media, something i’d heretofore enjoyed, ignored or had taken for granted. I’d become a de-facto asexual myself, an over-aged incel.

Then I noticed something else. My passions hadn’t totally disappeared after-all; they just went underground. I’ve had a series of compensatory sexual dreams and occasionally angry or violent dreams about my wife, the latest in which I accused her about having an affair with my late best friend.

If I were totally ignorant about the machinations of the unconscious, I might have let these dreams swing me from one emotional extreme to the other, projecting them outwards and causing problems for everybody involved. But because i’ve studied Jung in the last several years, I see them for what they are; my psyche trying to find a balance in its new reality.

In my conscious life, I get mad at myself when I find i’m flirting with someone, however innocuous and harmless the attempt – online or off. Sometimes i’m just being overly nice. When I catch it, I shut it down and shut it out because it just doesn’t add to my peace or theirs.

On the upside, I’ve also noticed that this experience has helped me along with my Anima development (i.e. the contra-sexual aspect of males in the paradigm of Eve the mother, Helen the lover, Mary the friend, and finally Sophia the vessel of wisdom).

I’m much more apt these days to view a woman as a friend or acquaintance rather than a potential pursuit or a source of aesthetic pleasure. In fact, I find myself wincing at the exhibitionism and self-exploitation I find on social platforms like Tik-Tok. Also i’m more open and sensitive to the earned wisdom of older females in a way I wasn’t before.

I do, however, find that i’m feeing less creative these days – thus the lack of updates here on WordPress and a lack of musical projects at home. There’s an essence to romance that seems to attract the muses and mine have fallen silent. It’s not only the lack of intimacy, but other stressors as well; work stress, news stress, and general world-weary anxiety.

All this is not to say that I don’t lapse into self-pity from time to time, but it’s much more infrequent, brief and less overbearing when it happens. I still think of divorce from time to time but I haven’t been able to bring myself to it. A good roommate is hard to find, after all.

Sunday Morning Vignette

The morning breeze is cool against my hands while bumbling thumbs reach for the next letter on the tiny GUI keybord. A tall glass of flavored coffee cools in my “Big Al” mug, a memento from the house of my dead best friend. A cigarette smolders in the ashtray he used to keep next to his easy chair.

Jett lays crouched below my left knee on the concrete drive, conserving the latent heat in her mostly black fur, while we listen to the cacophony of birdsong emanating from behind us.

A crow caws from somewhere near, northeast of us, a response to birds of a feather much further west among the wetted, deciduous woods.

The morning light bleeds through a gauze of water vapor, making the sky disappear on the horizon in a delicate violet gradient, contrasting heavily with the vibrant greens of dense lawns and leafy trees, presaging a chance for more rain.

In the face of “Double-Down” mass-psychosis, we can’t afford to look away anymore

I wake up every morning lately infuriated and with an impulse to fight; to physically fight would-be fascists, authoritarians, and theocrats, knowing they they are encroaching on the founding ideals of this country, and just basic fucking humanity, with the same inevitability and danger the climate disaster is now threatening our physical existence, both born from the same selfishness, neglect, belligerence and shortsightedness.

And it’s not in my nature, or at least not in the nature of the persona i’ve cultivated (by neglect, perhaps) these so many years, to rise in anger, ready to forcibly confront my enemies (I haven’t been in a physical fight for forty years ), but I can feel that palpable anger rising in me and out toward my limbs every morning when I reflect on the assaults on common decency we endure every day.

But unlike my enemies, I hope, whose base emotions have been easily “captured” by the repetitive lies of their self-proclaimed “winners”, I’m conscious of this store of repressed anger within me; it’s passion, it’s drive toward destruction which I have to believe can be guided toward righteous ends.

This so-called period of “great transition” that we’re in, this perpetual churning and roiling of history, has once again brought to the surface the worst impulses of humankind, forcing good people to instinctively look away, repulsed by its very existence.

But that cultural shadow, that dark, frightening, unconscious thing we dare not look in the face, demands satisfaction. It has “doubled-down” on idiocy and cruelty and its psychotic gravitational spin is now moving so fast we’re in danger of being flung into the void by its wake. We can either cling to the vain hope we survive it’s inevitable violence, or we can lean-in, integrate its message to us, and steer it toward sanity while acknowledging that violence is a part of us as well.

Because the arc of history has bent towards injustice it must be challenged directly, not in the halls of so-called justice, nor with the imagined sanctity of the law itself (all of which are adeptly controlled by the most cynical pricks our country has ever produced) but in the streets outside their homes where they cannot hide behind the opaque robes of demonstrable public liars.

I admit, like my enemies, I revel in their astonishment; the jarring realization that their gated, insular bureaucracies will no longer protect them or their isolated and detached pronouncements for “the common good”. If we should “eat cake”, let them eat its digested remains.

When the machinators of public life and the commonwealth no longer function to serve the same, they should be discarded with prejudice in search of a “more perfect union”.

Our “founders”, who’s reputations are so often abused for much lesser ends than they deserve, discarded the overbearing yoke of The Crown and The Church at the risk of their own bodies. If we truly believe that we can be more than we are now (and we can’t sink much lower in regards to our founding aspirations) then we should risk no less.

My like-minded friends will no doubt make the argument that if we risk such direct confrontation then we “fall into their trap” and “we become them” – violent scoundrels and double-downers-of-dumb, ready to sink this experiment in Democracy.

But I say “we are them”, and we should risk our lives for our countrymen’s sake as much as our own. Rationality cannot defeat irrationality, as so often demonstrated in recent years, but we can acknowledge it, integrate it, and move forward with the understanding that the impulse toward authoritarianism must be destroyed by any means necessary in order to save a more important, more humane ideal.

Photo by   Jason Segarra  on  Scopio

Staycation’s End; a review

So i’m wondering what I busied myself with this week of staycation now that it’s gone. Perhaps my camera-roll will give me some clues.

April 30: Ah yes, mowing season has arrived again so I pulled the mower out of the shed and inspected the blade with the intention of sharpening it. It’s toast; bent beyond repair. I picked up a new blade, installed it, filled it with gas (thankfully i’d emptied it completely in the fall, including the carburetor cup) and it fired right up.

When I pulled out the mower I noticed the hand-truck we bought at a garage sale last year, sitting in the corner of the shed, weathered and worn. It desperately needed a fresh coat of paint. On it.

I also received the order for my Ford Explorer’s crossbars in the mail the day before, so I installed those. I’ve been thinking about ordering kayak racks for a couple years now, but it was only at my mother’s insistence that I choose a birthday gift that I finally decided to do it. We used a small trailer to haul our kayaks up until now, but it can be awkward finding a parking spot. Hardly worth it if we’re only hauling one or two.

Crossbars installed Saturday, April 30. J-Hooks for the kayaks yet to come.

Seems I wrote the Stornello poem “Flying Solo” on April 30th as well. It was inspired by another blogger’s series on poetic forms. I just now looked up a more thorough definition of Stornello and it’s described as “an improvised Tuscan folk song”. Mine’s about improvising my vacation on the fly. Maybe i’ll add music, traipse up and down the street, and annoy the neighbors with it.

That evening I “attended” a kirtan on Zoom, hosted by Chris McCall, an acquaintance whose albums I reviewed back in my local-music daze. She’s a voice instructor now. There were only four of us in attendance, two of whom were the musicians. As serendipity would have it, the only other attendee was my Communications professor from thirty years ago, Wallace Smith, who is now an instructor in Esoteric Healing. Turns out he only lives a few miles from me. Maybe i’ll dig deeper into into his ineffable practice in the coming months.

My camera roll indicates that I wrote the blog-post about “Bob’s House” next. Funny the things that inspire posts. At the time it seemed like a good idea. It turned into a tortured attempt at a vignette. Some things come easy, some don’t, and some should be left in the draft folder to die.

I whipped-off a couple of angrier poems throughout the week, here and here and a few memes along the way, usually in response to someone’s Facebook posts, so the context may be lacking:

Tuesday, May 3rd: Monday came and went without hardly any digital evidence, but Tuesday was my 57th {{{{gasp}}}} birthday and my daughter took me to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, The University Of Michigan Art Museum, and finally to a craft-beer joint for some lunch. It was a wonderful distraction on an otherwise rainy, nasty day.

Also, my sister sent me this reminder that I will always be her “little brother”, lmao:

Wednesday, May 4th: The collapsible J-hooks I ordered arrived, so I spent the day installing them, adjusting them, and coming up with a scheme to mount the kayak without scratching the hell out of my car. I installed grommets on a moving blanket so I could hang them from the racks and cover my doors. Worked perfectly.

Not much happened on Thursday May 5th. I visited my “surrogate mother” in the hospital. She’s picked up some bacteria from a tick bite and it turned into into cellulitis on her leg. Her home was a respite from the chaos of my childhood, and her boys were my best friends. I also did my usual “tv night” with my brother. We watched another episode of “Dexter”.

On Friday, May 6th I got it in my head to track down the ingredients for a drink I had in New Orleans in 2018 called “Camille’s Ruby Isle”. Camille was a mixologist on Bourbon Street and a good friend of our host. I had such fond memories of the drink I wanted to attempt to recreate it.

I managed to find the Hibiscus tea and a small basil plant at a local specialty grocer. I picked up a single lemon and the very expensive bottle of Hendrick’s Gin from our corner grocer. I even found the ice-ball molds at a local shop that specializes in fancy cookware and kitchen gadgets.

But finding the Quinquina locally was a challenge. I had to settle for an alternative selection from Total Wine & More (btw, have you ever seen one of these places? It’s like a home-depot for alcoholics, ha ha). Huge selection, but alas, only a single version of a Quinquina. My wife’s best friend gifted me two bottles for my bday. Ironically, I never got around to making the drink because it was almost bedtime by the time we got back from dinner. I did, however, sample the Hibiscus tea with a slice of lemon earlier in the day. Fresh!

On Saturday, May 7th plans were already made to celebrate my wife’s neice’s graduation from Central Michigan University so we hit the road. Took a couple hours there and a couple hours back to meet for just dinner, but it was good to see her and the rest of the immediate family who also came out for the occasion.

The happy graduate gives a thumbs-up

Finally, today I visited my wife at her Farmer’s Market booth in Holly, MI and it turned out several of her friends did too.

So that’s it, the extent of my staycation. It’s back to work tomorrow as usual. I decided to make an attempt at that drink after all, to put the last bit of buffer between me and my job. Not as good as I remembered it, but then I enjoyed the last one on an actual vacation. Cheers.

Featured Image by Antony Robinson on Scopio

Haibun Poem: Too Late

‘The haibun is the combination of two poems: a prose poem and haiku. The form was popularized by the 17th century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho.’ – Brad Osborne

As is often the case these days, I’ve taken inspiration from Brad Osborne’s “Whittled Words” series to create another poem. You can read more of Brad’s work here.

The content was inspired by some doom-scrolling I did last night, an article that describes the inescapable fate we’ve chosen, collectively, in ignorance.

Haibun Poem: Too Late

It was 143°F in central India this week, and the temps are on the rise. “Climate Change” doesn’t begin to describe what humanity will face in the coming years; severe drought, crop failure, ecological collapse, inescapable heat, perpetual pandemics, mass-migration and death on a scale the world has never known.

Think unthinkable

Beyond our comprehension

No one will save us

Poem: Nailed It

They’ve nailed themselves upon their own cross / hoisted on their own petard

They pile-up on pride and self-righteousness/ the message of love they discard

They fancy themselves protectors of life/ until it’s found in their back yard

they’ll shoot it, ignore it, or shush it away / or beat it until it is scarred

They pray to a God, but worship Mammon/ and usury by the charge card

The tables they’ll turn will all be on you/ for doubting their latest canard

They’ll fashion a mob to drive the point home / or bring it straight to the school yard

Then shout in your face that, “You’re the disgrace!” / volume and fear their Trump cards

Photo by Abhishek Yadav on Scopio

Vignette: Bob’s House

I was taking the dogs for the “long walk” this Sunday morning which takes us south down the block, west up the main road, north into the westernmost edge of our neighborhood, then east winding through the quiet streets of small, suburban ranch homes. The whole trip is about three-quarters of a mile I’d guess.

There’s a certain house along the way that stands out from the others, not structurally of course, as they’re all versions of maybe three similar floor plans offered in the mid 1950s, but different in that it harkens back to a time before our village became the upscale hamlet it’s since become. The house occupies the corner of two streets where the dogs and I turn back toward home.

The neighborhood the way it looked in the 1950s

I know it as “Bob’s House”. Bob’s a longtime local “townie” like myself, maybe ten years my senior, who paints houses for a living. Occasionally i’d see him while I walked the dogs, puttering around in his paint-stained clothes having just arrived home from a day’s labor. I’m pretty sure it’s the house he grew up in.

What immediately caught my eye on this early spring morning, though, were the freshly painted metal awnings that adorned every window and the entire width of the front porch; bright, fire-engine red with a white accent on the scalloped bottom edges. You don’t see those so much anymore. Beautiful, in a retro sort of way.

That bright primary color evoked in me a “Pleasant Valley Sunday” kind of vibe, if you’re old enough to remember that song popularized by The Monkees in 1967, wryly criticizing the trappings of early suburban life in America to a tune you’d happily whistle along to, obliviously, while strolling down the sidewalk.

🎶Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status-symbol land
🎶

Bob’s House was barely a decade old when they sang about “status-symbol land”, but now, some fifty-five years later, it seems more like a memorial to those nascent materialistic aspirations of a post-WWII, working-class suburb.

Unlike some of its neighbors, the house still bore the original unpainted concrete-colored brick and the aforementioned red & white awnings. It added a welcome splash of personality and nostalgia, I thought, to an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood.

And while you’d be hard-pressed to find anything more garish than a “Welcome Friends” flag hanging at the entryway of his neighbor’s homes, Bob’s house boasts a more eclectic, some might say eccentric display that I find a charming distraction, the last vestige of “local color” in a increasingly homogenized area.

The most conspicuous example of this is on Bob’s front porch where a full-sized statue of black-bear stands on its hind legs, perhaps a warning to would-be solicitors. A wreath of vine and plastic flowers hangs around the his neck. Perched on his head, a rainbow-iguana plushie helps stand guard.

To the right on his porch stand two identical antique tables, one turned upside-down upon the other. Inexplicably, a bowling ball lies beneath.

Dangling from the front-porch awning are various hand-crafted wind chimes and a small bird house. Further right, under a front window awning, are a rusting antique bicycle, a “fishing boy” statue, an American flag, and two wagons, again one turned upside-down upon another that’s rusted.

Circling the central tree in Bob’s front yard are several “Gazing Orbs” of various colors perched on plaster pedestals, their mirrored glass reflecting a distorted image of their sedate surroundings. Near them, a diminutive lion guards what appears to be another bowling ball.

Affixed to the tree itself are the elements of a “face” and what looks like a makeshift roadside memorial cross with faded plastic flowers and the words “Faith” sculpted from scrap, nailed to a small chunk of wood.

As the dogs and I turned east toward home, I noticed Bob’s classic Ice-Green & White Edsel Ford parked in the wood-sided, one-car garage beside his home. The car still sits unrestored with its trunk open, a large “Wishing Well” planter is perched precariously inside; maybe a springtime project destined to join the other exhibits in his yard.

A classic Ice-Green & White Ford Edsel in its heyday

Along the far-side of the weathered chain-link fence in his backyard sit a stack of aluminum extension ladders amongst a pile of weathered scraps of plywood, the tools of Bob’s trade already revealing weeds between the rungs. Soon, I imagined, they’d be put back to work.

A child’s play structure sits closer to the house, probably so Bob could keep an eye on his niblings while he puttered about the yard or garage. They likely don’t visit as often as he’d like, or maybe they’d just grown-up and abandoned it. I can’t remember the last time i’d seen them.

Conspicuously absent was Bob’s chocolate-brown pit-bull, Lady. The first time we’d encountered her on a walk she charged up to us unrestrained. It freaked-out both me and the dogs until we quickly surmised she just wanted to play. After a round of sniffing, circling, and “marking”, both me and the dogs relaxed. She’s really a sweetheart. I hope she’s ok.

As we made our way toward home once again I thought about how much I appreciated the nostalgia Bob’s house brought out in me. While so much has changed in my hometown in the fifty-seven years I’ve lived here, it’s comforting to find a corner where time has seemingly taken a pause.