ALL OUR YESTERDAY’S

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

Whether or not it’s a tale told by an idiot or a slightly less stupid narrator, I doubt there’s an action anyone takes in their life (assuming they’ve made it to adulthood) which is not in some way shaped by past experience. What other point is there is “learning the hard way?”

Over the years, I’ve noticed that the hard way seems pretty much the only way. That’s the way my life has gone. If someone has found an easier, less bumpy path to learning how to live, would they please be kind enough to tell me?

72-Amherst-River_053

Is your life in shreds? Out of work? Homeless? Hiding from the repo guy? Other half dump you? Bank threatening foreclosure? Don’t take it personally. It’s a joke. Your debacle is life’s way of pointing out how little control you have over your fate.

No weeping. No one likes a cry-baby or wants to hear your sad story. Unless you turn it into a funny story. Then everyone will listen.

The first time my world went to pieces, I walked away from a dead marriage, gave everything to my ex and moved to another country. The joke was on me because I promptly married a guy infinitely worse. After that fell apart, I staggered — bloody, dazed and penniless — back to the USA. When I stopped feeling like I’d gone through a wood chipper, I married Garry, which I should done in the first place. Except he hadn’t asked.

All that seemingly pointless pain and suffering was not for nothing. Stories of hideous mistakes and calamitous outcomes are the stuff of terrific after-dinner conversation. A few drinks can transform them into hilarity. Misery and disaster fuels humor.

Funny movies are not about people having fun. They’re about people in trouble, with everything going wrong, lives in ruins. The difference between a comedy and a tragedy is that tragedies usually end with a pile of corpses. Comedies (usually) don’t. Otherwise, it’s just timing and style. Funny stories aren’t funny when they happen. Later they’re funny.

72-Marilyn-Amherst-May-GA_049A

Our personal traumas are collateral damage in the battle to survive. Mindful of whatever tragedy lurks just over your personal horizon, why not prepare some clever repartee? You can give it a test drive at the next get together with your pals. Something to look forward to.

So no matter how bad things are, not to worry. Black depression will ebb. That crushing weight on your chest will be replaced by a permanent sense of panic you will call “normal.”

Life trudges on. Everyone will point out: “Life doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” You have my permission to whack anyone who says it over the head with something hard and heavy.

SERENDIPITY PHOTO PROMPT 2015-7 – HANDS

SERENDIPITY PHOTO STORY PROMPT

WEDNESDAY – 2015 #7

Welcome, again, to Frisbee Wednesday. Today we celebrate … Hump Day, or Middle-Of-The-Week. On this day absolutely ordinary day, we write something about a picture. Or think about it doing it. My picture, your picture, someone else’s picture.

This week’s picture is …

72-Hands-Amherst-River_091

Please try to add your own ping back (links). If you aren’t sure how to do it, put your link in a comment. That works too.

Every Wednesday or until I throw in the towel, I’ll publish a picture and write something about it. If you find my subject and/or my photograph interesting, by all means, extrapolate. Any length is acceptable from a couple of sentences, to a chapter from your upcoming novel.

Please link back to this post so other people can find you. And me.

WHAT ARE a “STORY” AND “PICTURES”?

Story. Words. Poetry, prose, fact, or fiction. A couple of lines, a fanciful tale.

Pictures. Video if that’s your thing. Scanned pictures from your scrap-book. Weird pictures from the internet. Cartoons. Pictures of your family vacation and how the bear stole your food. Any picture plus text. Short or long, truth, fantasy, or fiction. Prose or poetry.

To get notices of these posts, you’ll have to subscribe to Serendipity. I’ll try to title posts so you can easily recognize them.

My effort for this week follows.


 HANDS

72-Hands-Amherst-River_090

Everyone talks about how expressive eyes are — windows to the soul, they say.

Hands are more telling. Just look at the callouses. You can see what work each person has done — or not done — during his or her life.

Hands can be nervous, all motion, darting about like birds. Some of us talk with our hands. Sing with them, pray with them, build with them. Eyes see and reflect, but hands work and play. And make love.

Hands can be folded when a body is at peace. I look for competent hands, hard hands, take charge hands. Knowing hands.

75-MyHand-NK_0001

Our destiny is written on our palms, they say. The paths we’ve walked are also there. Join hands to feel a life.

BICYCLES AND THE ZEN OF PHOTOGRAPHY – GARRY ARMSTRONG

72-Bicycle-Amherst-May-GA_024

As HEDley Lamarr once said, “My mind was a raging torrent,” as I saw the bicycle and the folks settled in front.  They were dipping their toes in the lake on a warm, sunny day.

Actually, I was thinking of a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Night of The Hunter”. There’s a shot through a cobweb of kids playing in a field. So, my inspiration came from Charles Laughton, the acclaimed actor in his his only directorial effort.

72-Bicycle-Amherst-May-GA_013

The bicycle, its spokes, the people, the lake and beyond offered many possible stories.

72-Bicycle-Amherst-May-GA_027

The images on images also reminded me of dream sequences. I was so inspired that I lay down on my stomach to get some of these shots. I would later regret that effort.

File this under my fountain of youth/Fellini picture shoots.

72-Bicycle-Amherst-May-GA_020

STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL OR MERELY STRANGE?

CEE’S ODD BALL PHOTO CHALLENGE: 2015 WEEK #21

Odd Ball Photos are those great photos that you take which really don’t seem to fit into a common category. We’ve all taken them and like them, because we just can’t hit delete and get rid of them. From the piney woods to the rest room of a local bookstore … odd balls all.

As seen in the ladies room ...

As seen in the rest room of the bookstore …

72-Potty-Amherst-River_050

72-Camera-bag-Amherst-River_055

72-Amherst-Smoke-Shop_06

MEMORIAL DAY 2015 – REMEMBERING

96-FLAGS-GAR-73

Memorial Day

Memorial Day (formerly Decoration Day) is observed on the last Monday of May. It commemorates the men and women who died in military service. In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials, and volunteers place American flags on each grave site at national cemeteries.

A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

72-Flags-Party_07

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

Harbor flag

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: STRONGHOLD IN BOSTON

Black & White Sunday: Stronghold

According to the Learner’s Dictionary STRONGHOLD is:
: an area where most people have the same beliefs, values, etc.: an area dominated by a particular group
The area/district/state is a Republican stronghold.
: a protected place where the members of a military group stay and can defend themselves against attacks
The rebels retreated to their mountain stronghold.
: an area where a particular type of uncommon animal can still be found
The last stronghold of the endangered deer.

This is Massachusetts’ Statehouse, from the back. It shows the tunnel that runs beneath it, originally designed to allow traffic to pass unimpeded. It has been closed for years, not unlike most of the minds within. This is a stronghold … of exactly what, you are free to decide for yourself.

72-BW-Statehouse-Boston_124

HANGING WITH OLD FRIENDS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Friendship is something you treasure more and more as the years go by and you realize the clock is ticking on your mortality. I used to have numerous friends during my working years. But when they finally turned the TV news camera off me, many of those friends disappeared.

72-Cherrie-Ron-Amherst-River_082

It goes with the territory. How many t’s in territory?

72-Ron-Cherrie-Amherst-May-GA_059A

In retirement, I have maybe a few real friends. I can count them on the fingers of one hand. That’s the way it was before I became a regional celebrity. I’ve never been a really sociable fella. People often confused my television persona with real “me.”

72-Cherrie-Garry-Amherst_02

I’m reserved in large gatherings. Always have been. Some of it is due to my hearing problems. Mostly, it’s because I’m shy. I hide behind what remains of my professional celebrity. I don’t laugh much except when I’m around our dogs. I’m always comfortable with our furry kids. I’ve found myself laughing a lot the past couple of days. Laughing with people. Very special people. Ron and Cherrie.

72-Cherrie-Marilyn-Amherst-May-GA_056

Cherrie and Marilyn are best friends. They’ve known each other forever. They make each other laugh through the darkest of times.

Ron is a quiet guy, much like me. We don’t talk a lot, but we share a lot when we are alone. About a variety of things. It’s comfortable being around Ron and Cherrie. Easy. We talk about the problems of the world, our crisis-filled lives, and movie trivia. We finish off each other’s sentences as our overloaded brains smoke like old wiring.

More than anything else, we bring out the best in each other. We remember the joy of laughter, of enjoying the moment. Silly stuff reigns.

72-Three-Amigos-Amherst-May-GA_003

Our visit with Ron and Cherrie will end in a few hours and then it’s back to reality. If only we could bottle the fun we’ve had, we could throw away most of our prescription meds.

Friendship. What a concept!