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Man has always made weaving’s. Why? We are part of one.

It was just a small spool of thread lying upon the bed in the morning. Two inches of the thread lay extended beyond the spool as if it were searching for a binding that needed stitching. The colored thread was red but not as deep as fire, but rather subdued in a way that mellowed my attention to its purpose.

It all got me thinking about that Abercrombie and Fitch woman, Jamie, I’d met up at Lake Bonaparte who worked in the upper spheres of their purchasing department. She stood tall, but not too much so, and held a strong image of elegance. We bantered and shared the this and that of our lives.

“You must have fun picking out patterns and materials; it feels real artsy.” A few seconds of images passed in mind. “I like patterns; love material. I do leather craft.”

“You work in leather craft?” I watched Jamie’s eyes shift left to view a memory she might have stored about the media.

“Yes. It’s been over ten years now. My wife and I have made about everything you can imagine to do with leather craft.” I was proud of our three shops and success. “I love material; you’re lucky to be working with the designs, material purchases and decisions for such a large outfit.”

Her nod gave way to question.”So, what do you think is the most important part of what I buy for Abercrombie and Fitch?”

The query was unexpected. “Maybe the thread is the most important.” It was an off-hand answer, the first that came to mind when thinking about a blouse, or jeans, or about anything that had sewed pieces.

Her eyes glowed as a full moon in the deep night, “Yes! That’s it completely! Without the best thread, the finest material is lost, so easily torn and soon cast aside. The bindings are what matters.”

Bindings are what matters….

It’s thirty or more years since I heard the words but they somehow still hover near.

The deepest blue waters of Lake Bonaparte glistened around our conversation that day. I can still see the sparkling sunlight dance off the water and spring around the dock as though magic was in the air. Even back then, Lake Bonaparte had become more than a lake to me. The lake was a thread in my life, something that held me together before that day, then, and would well into the future.

My thoughts drifted off that morning just as those past days up at Lake Bonaparte have fled from view. I stared back at the spool of thread on the bed and wondered where it might belong, where it might go should I pick it up.

In truth, that red spool of thread had reached out to me. It had magically asked for me to realize how the threads of my life came together to make me whole, to bring me peace.  But, I have to tell you, that peace hasn’t come easily as a soft wind in the most subtle morning light, not like the evening stars up at the Lake.

My life has never been a smorgasbord of hurrahs, no not that. The red thread had stretched out to me and asked what passed through me, what tied me together. That answer ran a thin line through my eyes to my heart, wrapped around my brain and tightened into a knot.

I was born lucky, white, in America, with a loving dad and mom and all the Christmas tree trimmings any kid could ask for. Still, while others skated free in my childhood I seemed sidelined with some things I can’t even write about now, not yet. Of course, life is a mix for all of us, full of ups and downs we have to turn around and make straight.  We’ve all had our hearts torn out by first loves that were never meant to last but to teach. We’ve all had friends who turned out to be enemies; victories that ended in the loss column. But having a sixth grade friend at a scout meeting ask me for help in a way I could not understand and then hang himself in his parents basement that same night hasn’t been perfect—and so much worse for him. It’s as if the memory of his smile funnels me down along side his pain, one I can’t imagine. Later, not much, my best friend drown before me within hearing distance but beyond site in a lake at Marlborough Vermont. I’ve written about this event before, and there are too many premonitions that led up to this happenstance to recall here now, but I’m not sure I’ve ever left those three days of waiting that it took to find Bobby’s body. Let’s face it: part of me is still in that water and I know it.* Is it a stretch to think we all have pain in life?

We all have to move on; we all have to stitch our lives together the best we can.

So, without a mirror but a cast aside spool of thread I came that morning to reckon what pieces me together, what keeps me balanced, on my feet, smiling, working in the garden and saying hello to those I never think of as strangers. I’ve dug down, tore it all up and realized why I say hello to plants, birds, the sun and the rain. I’m happy; basically, I’m happy.

But, why am I happy?

Though my wife and I have had a small amount of success in our lives, I’m certain no amount of wealth or holdings brings happiness.  A simple, pure joy is a different animal than a bank account. Life is the thread we cling to as we live and in those moments lies the bind of happiness. My wife will tell you there are plenty of mornings, afternoons or evenings I’m doing the happy dance. Sure, I may be blocking my wife’s TV view or arousing our dog, Shadow, to uncontrollable fits of barking but you know what: I’m still happy. I’m happy to see the morning, the rain, the fog, the cold, the lonely stars at night, the snake that slithers away as I call it, the post man who waves back and my work mates who nod as they go by.  I’m happy to hear the wind as it vibrates my ear drums and becomes an inseparable part of me.

I understand the immense hardships humanity has suffered through in the past and is currently having to endure. None of that is good, and, like you, I wish it could end. Still, I cling to the notion that if we are here for a purpose in life it’s to blossom as we can through it. The smallest seed can sprout thought the most solid rock; this is what we must do.

It all comes down to the threads of our lives and how we spool them together to carry with us. If you hurt, unwind that thread and re-spool. Bind yourself to a joy you have known no matter how small and plant that to grow inside you.

Many ask how they might be happy?

In a world of advice, I say know your world.

Know the people, places, animals, land and thoughts in your life as much as possible. Don’t walk though your time as though surrounded by unnamed mysteries: learn the name of the trees, plants, your neighbors, tools, clouds, birds and sights that fill your ears, eyes, mind and heart. Learn the way of everything you can. We are all surround by thousands of threads of life that want to bind with us. Make it happen. Then, the fabric of you will never be alone, and you will bind with the life around you, forever.

Franque23 loves you.

 

*https://franque23.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/the-dream-i-lived/

 


Frank sings the blues

Frank sings the blues

Death never leaks its plans to the press, but it always leaves a calling card. It’s completely unwanted, but people flirt with it all the time.

“Hello, Gerald.” Frank had the friendliest way of saying hello, and he did it all by voice inflection.

“Everything okay?” Of course, I knew it was. I called Frank at least once a month since he rented one of our places, but over the nine years I’d known him we’d both come to know we were friends. He’d played at my house for two parties, and we’d jammed at his place and mine. No one had a stronger blues voice than Frank*.

*http://blueslightning.com/

“Sure. I’m playing this weekend. We’re a lead off band on a big concert and the chickens are layin'”.

Frank loved those chickens-he had about twenty-five and had named them all. Pets and eggs; it’s all good. I can’t help but cheer-up when thinking about his Colonel Sander’s look, his beard and smile.

the man's eyes twinkles and his soul glowed.

The man’s eyes twinkled and his soul glowed.

Some say they’d like to die in their sleep while all too many times I’ve heard people say that at least a terminal diagnosis gives people a chance to say goodbye. Either way, death is never good company-it’s most like a monkey on the back of the living no matter how distracted we keep ourselves as we go about our business.

Fallen soldiers, friends, family, random shootings in schools, movie theaters and malls, all serve as constant reminders that death doesn’t block the sun or cast a shadow. It just comes to all of us in good time, and at the worst of times.

Frank  Whitenack was a friend of mine**-a good man who died too soon like so many. I’d met him nine years ago after he’d gone through a recent divorce. His two children, a son and daughter, were so young then, maybe three and six. Then, as now, I’m so thankful we could help this man.

Thing is, Frank had his ups and downs, but he never let that affect how he treated others, or fathered his children. His cell phone always answered, “Hello, this is Frank Whitenack of Blues lightning. Please leave a message, and if this is Jonathan or Andrea, your daddy loves you.”

Frank rolled the blues out on the porch of the house I'd raised my family in, and I know those ol' house timbers loved the tunes.

This picture is taken in front of the house where Dale and I raised our family. Frank loved that house as we had. He rolled the blues most Sundays out on the porch of the house -practice time- and I know those ol’ house timbers loved the vibes.

“I don’t care if I have to play for free-I’m gonna play my music.” He made this promise to me eight years ago, and kept it. One thing I loved about this man is how he self-actualized his dreams. He stayed focused, and worked to make them come true.

No one worked harder at getting out there or being seen and heard than Frank. He’d play during a blue moon to mice on mars if he could book the date, and all for the money his hat might collect. His voice  was always on target from the get-go, and slowly, over the years, he emerged as a classic blues guitarist. The money started to come in; his first and only album was just the start. A serve case of hydro eczema on my finger tips eventually kept me from making music with him but we’d agreed on a course: I’d write books; he’d make albums. It was fun sharing our progress with one another. And, as bad as being robbed of my finger-tips is after playing guitar for forty years, losing Frank is as painful today. I just have to deal.

Frank never smoked; he didn’t drink. He had diabetes he managed well, but sometime four days ago things got complicated and after his short hospital stay, I got the news. Isn’t it odd how so much is going on all the time in our world with work, family, fun, or not, bills and appointments, but still this all can turn empty in an instant? Hollow time. Heavy air. Done and past. Over.

We’d made plans. Oh yeah, we were gonna lay down a few originals soon-no later than by the first of the year-that was our promise to each other.  Death has slapped us in the face with an abrupt end to a friendship that neither of us saw coming. It’s tough, this thing called life. You know, flat out Frank was a diamond of a man, and never in the rough, but always well polished.

Missing, hurting, plans turned sour, I hope Franks’ passing is worse for us than it is for him. I like to think there’s a peace to be found in death for those who pass, that there’s a light to follow when it happens to us, and that Heaven is now enjoying the best blues it’s ever heard. If that can be true, Frank will find a way to make it so.

Peace my Friend-I’m thinking an A chord works best, here. It’s the key  the universe makes as it hums along, and you fit in so well…Me? Rust is what I feel. Just when the world needs a tune-up, you leave us. Dang it, and worse.

Death, you have a crappy calling card.

Gerald-franque23.

** Dave Van Ronk, a classic Blues singer, recorded, He was a friend of Mine, around 1964. Frank’s voice had the same perfect blues quality-he would’ve killed killed this cover, hands down…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=754sRFIHIrA

links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

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