When God Winks

I am currently reading two books: “Book of Shadows” by James Reese and “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro.
I always have several in the backpack.
The count was three as of earlier this evening before I finished
When God Winks” by SQuire Rushnell, a belated birthday gift from my sister
(actually, wicked belated :mrgreen: ).
WGW is a book that explores the deeper meaning of coincidence in our lives.

God Wink
; a personal signal or message, directly from a higher power, usually, but not always, in the form of a coincidence

My sister bought it for me simply because she and I are intensely familiar with God Winks.
There’s this.
Or this.
Or this.

The book goes on to explain that these instances of coincidence (or serendipity, if you like that better) are signposts from the heavens that we’re on the right track; cosmic signals that we are not alone.
I’ve had many “winks” in my lifetime.

A few years after I began writing, I entered a contest at Writer’s Digest.
Ten people could win $100 in WD writing books and a year’s subscription to Writer’s Market, a WD site that helps find a home for that oh, so lonely priceless manuscript.

Months passed and I forgot all about the contest BUT I was still writing.
I remember sitting at the computer one day and staring at the damned blinking cursor thinking, “What the hell am I doing? I can’t write. This is stupid.”
Feeling disgusted and totally unoriginal, I closed Word and checked my email.
Spam.
Spam.
Spam.
Word of the Day.
Spam.
Writer’s Digest.
Writer’s Digest?
Hmmm.
I opened the email and started yelling.
I won.
Ask my wife. I NEVER WIN ANYTHING. Truth.
A wink to be sure.
And hey, I’m still writing, right?
Now I pass the pen to you guys. I love coincidence and I love winks.
Tell me about one.
Come on, now. You have at least one if you really think about it.
If you haven’t, you’re not looking hard enough. 😉

MMM

 

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5 Miles to Vandmere

I’m sitting cross-legged on a mysterious and deserted beach with nothing but the sound of the incoming tide.
The ocean is dark, brooding and occasionally offers up a glimpse of a dying whitecap. There’s a slight breeze but for the life of me I can’t tell if it’s warm or cool, it just is.
The full moon is partially blocked by the numerous passing clouds but there are intermittent flashes of light, possible thunderstorms that illuminate the wide expanse of beach before me.
I can almost see the curvature of the earth near the horizon.
The sky begins changing day to night, night to day and the passage of 24 hours is not unlike the second hand of some diabolical and uncontrollable timepiece.

The wind begins to scream and I realize that I’m slowly beginning to disappear, grain of sand by grain of sand. I am but a slight aberration in the ground below me.
The image of a weather-beaten sphinx flitters around my dreaming subconscious mind.
It’s then that I see the shadow of a street sign of sorts in the water, roughly 10 feet from the shore. I squint hard trying to see it during the brief intervals of light.

It says “5 miles to Vandmere”, a place I’ve never heard of before.

According to Google, it doesn’t exist; and by the end of my strangely epic dream,
nor do I.
Maybe it’s a place I’m just not supposed to find.
I’m open to any interpretations.
One freaky ass dream, folks.
Should you see any signs for “Vandmere” email me a picture and send directions.
Maybe I should check it out . . .

~m

Imagine

Walking to South Station tonight, I noticed the elaborate and somewhat intricate weaving of people on the streets of Boston.
Sometimes my walk seems perfectly timed as I pass pedestrians in an orchestrated sort of dance, just missing bumping into someone while neon pedestrian lights go white and I walk across the streets unscathed.

Chance?

Maybe . . .

Something happened last night that I have no reasonable explanation for.
It’s quite simple but it went something like this:

I began thinking about this particular song and went to YouTube to see if I could at least find the video, which I did.
As I listened, I thought of one special person that I had to send this song to.
There was a reason for this intense feeling but it’s a long story, and not for tonight.
I thought about opening my ITunes and buying the song and sending it on but decided it was too damn late to start futzing around with my Nano.
But I did check my Gmail and was surprised to see an an email from a dear friend of mine and in the title it said, “Here you go ~m”.
Curious, I opened the email to find the song I’d just been listening to attached to the email in an ITunes format.
Goosebumps, blessed goosebumps.
There was no logical reason for me to receive this email but there it was. Go figure.
It was an ultra-heavy dose of serendipity, possibly chance but I smiled as I dragged the tune into my ITunes folder.
The story gets more interesting though.
I sent the song sailing over the waves of the internet to a soul that I knew it would appreciate it.
Turns out the song was desperately needed and right on time.
The chain of events that made this happen made me realize that many stories have already been written.
And I felt so blessed and happy to be included in this one.
For Lent (yes, it’s Lent for us Catlicks), I have given up nothing but I have vowed to get on my knees on a nightly basis and pray.
My prayers tonight go out for my friend Gerry and his nephew, Brandon.
Have a serene weekend, folks . . .
See all of you next week.

~m

ps. the candle in the post is for Brandon.
Today
was his birthday. Sleep in sweet peace, young man
and to the special lady that has sees the Southern Cross at night

Reeling in the years

I’m laughing right now which is odd for me . . . somewhat.
The reason is quite simple — it’s been 30+ years since the release of this album and this is the first time I’ve listened to it in its entirety; my bad.
I’d love to tell you what the album is but that wouldn’t have you guessing, now would it?

I’ll give you 8 hints though.
Let’s see who can guess the album and the artist . . .

*The band’s name was derived from two blues artists

*I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore

*Piggy

*Analog synth up the ass

*Alan Parsons definitely listened

*Slight existential motif

*A song in 7/4 meter put this band on the charts

*Time

There ya go.

One guess per visitor.
Winner gets a burned copy of the album signed by yours truly. {exciting, eh?}
Name the band and the album. First correct answer wins!!!!
And begin . .

~m

Heartbreak Hill

When I was younger I spent most of my summer at a place we called ‘the Camp’, a bare bones — no frills house set on a hill deep in the woods of Boylston, Mass.

From the front porch you could see the ripples of the pond below sparkling in the summer sun; it was a pond we swam in, boated in and fished in (all we ever caught were kivers, pickerels and hornpout, hate them, they always swallowed the hooks).

I remember so many damn things about the place.
There was the musty funk that greeted you on that first visit after the eternal New England winter and there was the exposed wooden beams where my mother would hang wicker baskets and ‘past their prime’ life preservers that had changed from a vibrant orange to a washed out Abercrombie & Fitch melon color.
The old upright piano with real ivory keys and the authentic outhouse with a crescent moon cut lovingly into the door added to the ancient décor of the place. (and we used it)

On the screened-in front porch my twin sister and I slept on military style cots covered with the softest and warmest blankets known to man.
At night, the hundreds of bullfrogs on the pond would serenade us to sleep, their throaty calls drifting up the hill on the invisible fingers of the warm, summer wind.

My sister and I would talk of our secret dreams and hopes, the adolescent ramblings of curious children.
Some nights we even had the same dreams. Maybe that’s how it is with twins.

Most weekends were filled with a gathering of family and friends for an all day cook-out followed by a bonfire in the backyard, my personal signal to take out my guitar and sing a few songs.
I remember learning “Little Green Apples”, by Roger Miller to appease the crowd.
It was such a care free and wonderful time in my life that all but disappeared when the place got sold due to extenuating circumstances beyond my control.

Before it was put on the market I happened to be picking apples with the Pamela and the girls at an orchard that was a stone’s throw away from the place.
We left the orchard and took the turn towards the Camp.
They all knew where I was going.
And I just had to see it one last time.

Walking up the hill I caught a glimpse of the long dormant camp on the hill and my heart did a quick stutter-step and it surprised me.
There were so many sentimental moments locked deep inside this innocuous structure that it frightened me, the sacred ghosts of the past welcoming me back in a way I hadn’t expected.

The mind is a funny thing because the only thing I could think at the time was that my mother and father were so happy and healthy here – this was hallowed ground as far as I was concerned for a multitude of reasons.
I got out of the car and took it all in, every fiber of my being moving back in time towards the warm summers of my yesterdays.

It’s all still here, I thought, swallowing hard.

I was silent as I walked around the perimeter of the Camp soaking in all the weeping details; the chipping paint and overgrown weeds intensifying the loneliness and heartbreak of a place I could no longer call my own.

A part of me wanted to somehow embrace the little boy still inside me but I realized I’d grown far too old and jaded in my ways for that simple courtesy.

I asked Pamela to walk down the hill with the girls.
I couldn’t do this with my girls watching.

I stood on the porch where I’d spent so many star-filled nights dreaming about my up and coming wonderful life and I wept; I wept for a life that had turned out quite differently than I’d expected.
I’d lost so very much but then I thought about how much I actually gained.

What surprised me was that there were possibly more happy tears than sad ones.

The Camp was unexpectedly giving me back a precious gift.

I know that now.

I walked down the hill to the car and gave one more glance up the hill where I saw my mother flitting about watering her flowers in the sun and my father turning burgers on the decaying charcoal grill that he always talked about replacing.

He was drinking a can of Bud and laughing it up with old friends, just like old times.
And they were good.

As the billows of smoke from the grill moved past the front of the Camp, I could almost see the silhouette of a little boy on the porch waving goodbye.
In my heart, the Camp will always be there for me.
I only need to close my eyes and remember.

~m