I remember a line spoken by a character in Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections that says, roughly, “I can’t wait to go to bed at night so I can wake up in the morning and have coffee.” I may not have the words exactly right, but I agree with the sentiment. In contrast, Henry Thoreau said that water is the only drink for the wise man. I have been at war with these two sentiments my whole life. (And if you throw beer into the mix, you have a three-way smackdown) I have tried at various times in my life to give up coffee, using tea instead as my morning fix. I love good tea, but nothing beats the thrill of coffee. Judith Warner, a columnist for The New York Times and a much more eloquent writer than me, wrote a great blog post on the joys of coffee. I wonder what humans did before coffee. How awake could I become without coffee? But these are idle thoughts. With two small children and a demanding job, I’d decompose into a puddle of goo without my coffee. Someday I might be free of the brown, bitter beast, but for the time being, I’ll look upon my morning coffee as a joy rather than a shackle.
Sorry to go all all Tanzan on you like that, but sometimes a guy just needs to get away. Where did I go, you may ask? The easy, but untruthful answer would be to say something like “I was swimming in Walden Pond,” or “I was busy becoming a Buddhist, Rastafarian, Gospel-of-Thomas Christian.” (This might actually be true, since that’s about what I am) But the real answer is that for the longest time I just didn’t have anything to say. Frankly, I don’t know how these professional bloggers do it. Something new every day? My mind doesn’t work that way, I guess. But for the longest time, there was something missing in my life, and I realized it was creative expression. So I’m going to try a new tact, and perhaps be a little more experimental with this blog. Maybe I’ll throw in some poetry or a few more photographs. We shall see. I’m working on a few things right now that I’ll hopefully be able to share with you shortly. As I look out my window right now, I see snowflakes swirling down from the sky. It’s mid-March, and somehow these snowflakes seem unfair. This has been a cruel winter. I can’t afford to heat my tiny house, the front end of my ancient Accord is making scary noises, and my feet are always cold no matter how many pairs of Smartwools I put on. But I have my health, my family, my Buddha nature, and now, once again, I have my blog. Henry’s back from the woods.
When I started this little experiment, I made a vow to myself that I would never write the common “here’s what I did today” blog posts that seem to dominate so much of the blogosphere, unless, like some modern-day Aesop, I had some moral behind them. I’ve tried, sometimes not as eloquently as I would have liked, to use elements of my own daily existence to illustrate universal truths. Of course, these will always be my truths, not yours. You may agree or disagree. Whenever I start to criticize myself about my lack of clarity or spellbinding prose, I can always fall back on the excuse that it’s just a blog, not a PhD thesis. I’m sending these thoughts out to you there in the ether. Hopefully they will be useful to you. Although I don’t get many comments on my posts (and that’s OK) I do look at how many people, approximately, are reading my feed. Today I broke all records with 22. So, thank you, whoever you are. I’ll keep writing if you’ll keep reading.
All the answers to life’s questions can be found in Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. At least that’s my belief. We live in a complex, at times troubling world where it’s almost impossible to take to the woods and build your own cabin, like Thoreau did. Maybe this blog will be my virtual cabin. Instead of long-winded explanations about who I am and why I started this blog, I will hopefully just let the words speak for themselves. But I do hope that this blog will be categorized by just a few things. Good writing, utter lack of cynicism or sarcasm, and short posts on a wide variety of subjects. I hope you’ll enjoy this, and come back often. I’m sure it will take me awhile to understand this new world that I’ve created, but please have patience with me as I feel my way. Peace and happiness to you. As Henry said, “Surely joy is the condition of life.”