Another morning trying to catch up to the rhythm of the days, after being set back an hour. An extra cup of coffee doesn’t make up for the lag – my body still wanting to sleep. It feels like trying to rouse myself for a ridiculously early flight – every morning.

There’s something “off” that a run can’t fix.

I move from warrior one to warrior two and my shoulders scream. This pain that seems to come and go without a clear cause. I’ve resorted to a bed of nails. Or at least the contemporary plastic version.

I sleep into the pain and wake softer. I know there are a lot of physiological explanations for the practice, but I believe there is a healing aspect in the act of surrender alone.

This morning I was listening to a podcast article about birdbrains. About the human cerebral cortex. And I wondered at what point the human brain evolved to make life more difficult than it need be.

Obviously there are/were aspects of life where our survival required a competition for resources. And aspects that require cooperation. We are greedy creatures, to our own detriment. History has shown that. Two siblings fighting over the size of a cookie show us that.

I have no desire to be a sociologist. Or play one. People are inscrutable. And we are all fiction writers from single perspectives.

“Nice guys finish last”. Okay, then. Who finishes “first”? And what are they getting to first, exactly?

There are days I feel broken. Worn so thin that I crumbled like an old rubber band someone dug out of the bottom of a junk drawer.

I always assumed the Beckett quote, “You must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” was from Waiting for Godot. I figured it was the clown with the bladder issues. Maybe the existential truth in this utterance requires no context at all. It is every story ever written.

This morning we were out of the house an hour later than usual. We caught the first blush of sunrise and passed four men out on their own morning run. We passed them twice actually, and the second time there was enough light to catch one of them smiling. He said, “God morgen!” a second time, and with such enthusiasm that my first thought was that he can’t possibly be Norwegian.

My second? That the other men in his company were psychiatric nurses from the nearby assisted living center.

I’m quite serious. This kind of extroverted greeting of a stranger is anti-social behavior in this region. And I began to brood on this, and then on my still-peculating fears for what is happening in my homeland. The hostility. The splintering of culture, the splintering of sub-cultures.

I keep thinking of colony collapse disorder. Adults losing the ability to navigate in the world.

This morning, counting on the exhalations: 1, 2, 3, 4. Relax the shoulders… I stopped to tie my laced that had worked loose, and I thought of Beckett and of recognizing the universal condition of human beings without cultural context.

Yes.

But there is also this:

“God morning!”
An unrestrained smile.

Context is always an understanding –
and always a speculation.

First thought is already
a rationalization
of the past.

I’ve been in one place for a long time now. In some ways.
But the terrain keeps changing. I am continually reassessing, reorienting-

Gearing up – or down. I didn’t expect it to feel like this at this point.

It’s not that I expected smooth sailing, but at least a clear direction.
I figured I would have interpreted the signs,
– have plot a course
and taken each obstacle as it appeared
for what it was.

But nothing is ever
what it was.

It is becoming and un-becoming
and shimmering – always –
a mirage.

Nothing will ever be.
Let it change. No. Watch
it change.