Sunday, May 31, 2009

The End of May

May gets short shrift from poets and writers.  April seems to be a favorite, and I don't know why. Anyway, it's 9:20pm on May 31 and I want to call attention to a month that will soon be buried in the history books. This was a great May! Lots of rain. Beautiful, sunny days. That quality of light which causes every color to explode. No humidity yet. The days are still getting longer. No worries, mate.
May is a month I could travel with. Say...Montana. Variable weather. Clear skies that stretch to Forever. Chance of freak snow storms. Freak snow storms!! How about driving through the mountains northwest of Madrid in mid-April (forget May) at midnight!! The guardia were shunting cars and trucks off the motorway but we didn't understand the situation and kept on truckin until the blizzard hit. Picture that sequence in Stargate:SG-1 or any space movie where they switch into hyperdrive and the stars look like light sticks swishing past. That was us. I was sure we were dead. Even after I was tucked comfortably into my bed at Hotel Plaza Mayor in Madrid.
Yep, April is the cruellest month. May, however, is a song-bird's dream. A tiger cub's first wish. A dolphin's playground. So, let's hear it for May. If you're planning a trip, start in May. Unless you're south of the equator. Do the math+

Saturday, May 9, 2009


There is a novel--a great novel--by Thomas Mann, "The Magic Mountain". The main character has a habit of 'taking stock' of his life every year on his birthday. He reviews the past year and tries to put his life into some sort of perspective. I'm trying the same thing--but I'm trying to put an entire life into perspective. "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there" and I'd like some clarity, some understanding. 

I'm almost 62. 
   I was too healthy for the life I'd led. Skiing, coaching lacrosse at the high school level, walking or jogging daily...until a size tick bit me on the ankle and I ignored the tell-tale circular rash. Lost about 40 lbs and my sex drive. Shivered and sweated. Finally found a doctor who told me I was "lucky to be alive"...began treating me. Too late. Damage done. Nerve endings fried, joints and spine effected. I found out I had a spinal birth defect!! At age 59.
Anyway, things have changed and I'm going downhill at a steady clip. Walking is difficult and I'm cranky and selfish all the time (that's not much of a change...ask Pam). So, I'd like to review the trip. I'd like to see if there's something back there that might be useful to me or you as we bravely put one foot in front of the other moving uncertainly through this strange land.