Wow,
This day,
When anatomical terms became shaming,
Literally,
Endomorphic, equated by a virtual learning student
One who could not show a face on camera
Or even speak to my colleague directly, but felt empowered
To zoom, zoom, zoom-a-zoom with the principal,
To call the term a form of “fat shaming,”

But that’s not the, “wow,”
For this day started with an impactful bike ride
When the “YouTube” brought some philosophy in the form of gratitude
My day proceeded to be full of awareness,
I’m boycotting “being mindful” because I don’t like the way it’s being used,
However, I was aware of a lot,
My role as a teacher, my new found ability to shut up, the taste of chili at lunch,
Man, I was aware of it all.

Yet, it was the fifteen minutes before I sat to write that brought the, “wow,”
Courtesy of my boy, I don’t really know him, Wim Hof.
I’ve gotten back to training my breathing, again,
This was the second time this week for Wim.
The first was refreshing and accompanied with some serious hot Flashes during the breath holding.
Tonight, though, was better, the flashes came with some weird feeling in my joints
And when the third round was over…
Kaleidoscopes!
Something released in my brain, a flood of colors zoomed into view.
Purple was the most vibrant, changing shapes,
Going Dali and sliding around like 8-D music recordings.

I kept my eyes closed until the last of the purple was gone,
When my joints were absolutely relaxed,
As my body temperature returned to that of a cool Autumn’s day.

Wow.

photo of lightning
Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

I used to have summer themes,
Usually, I would look back at the end of summer
And piece together the memories and find a musical theme,
There was a Red Hot Chili Pepper summer,
A Jack Johnson summer, and whatever Bonnaroo birthed.

Back in the day, there were summers defined by jobs,
Loch Ness, the wheelwright, RJP.

One important summer was defined by marriage,
The best one, for sure.

The past few years have been memorable,
But the thematic energy has been gone,
More coasting, practical, bound to calendar watching
As the days until school starts again
Dominated my way.

Not this one, I’m a mess of energy that is threatening
To change my very sloth-like existence.
It’s not nervousness, it’s more of a positive anxiousness,
A wanting to make changes,
To apply some behavior obstacles that I’ve got to jump over,
Around, or through
To get past whatever it is that has my passions stoked.

Two characters, Shivas and Master Fwap,
They are talking to me,
Rekindling my energy for the unexplained and the enlightened,
Spiritual places that keep pushing my imagination forward.

An article posited diminishing personal returns
For those in their fifth decades and I say, “eff that,”
While another talked about the way bartenders judge
People who order mixed drinks in peculiar ways.
I’m sort of calling shenanigans on both,
I can do everything I could do before and
I’ll drink what I want, how I want it.
So bartenders, if you are going to judge,
There go your tips.

Friends talk about swill, the bad beer of baseball banquets and
All I can think about is how much I prefer
Darker, meaner beers,
How I’m not likely to sacrifice taste when I go out,
Unless I’m downing them at the beach where some mass product
Will be just fine.
Yet as I read, a man my age should be drinking water,
Ah, the fifties are a challenge.

Bring it.

YouTube talks of minimalism,
I’m getting rid of stuff,
Simplifying my life,
Focusing on breathing,
Doing away with hot water,
Going neat in a nod to the bartenders,
And swinging a kettlebell in as many planes
As I can figure out,
Big sky point to Mrs. Alexander.
Simple ways, a move towards nothingness…

So what of this energy? What is the theme?
Is it Phish? I can’t stop listening to them.
Is it exercise? I can’t stop working out.
Is it writing? I can’t stop the poems.
Is it the adult beverages? I’m enjoying Widow Jane,
She brings an interesting level of consciousness.
Besides, if my ninety-seven-year-old grandmother
Can send her nurse out for a bottle of rum,
Why can’t I have a taste? Family traditions and all…

I think
It’s all of it, wrapped up in a neat little theme of

Me. Egocentric I know, but

I’m doing what I do,
Enjoying what I’m doing,
Aware, sensitive to what I can learn, callous to the anchors,
Ready to get deep,
Ready to be free,
Ready for some sweat, and
Open to it all.

Except for the status quo and warm swill.

“I did what I had to do,” said Rory’s brother.

“That’s lame. You owe us better,” said Rory.

1998 was a long time ago, but for Rory there was a freshness to that date. Having his brother before him only made the years seem like a blister that would not heal. His brother stood there as if he had been preserved in formaldehyde. He was short, powerfully built, and rocking the most casual of attire.

“Still don’t like vegetables,” asked Rory’s brother. Strands of squash and zucchini were left untouched on Rory’s plate.

“Really? Small talk is all you’ve got?”

“Okay, Rory, I was a penis because of what I did, but you’ve got to know I was in no place to be a mental gladiator. My way was the best thing for everyone.”

Rory was confused. During his journey, he had not known what to expect, but he had done well with each weird happening. Meeting his brother, however, had shaken him like a kid getting rid of lines on an Etch-a-Sketch. “You can’t just walk in here, or whatever you did, hang with my goat, and think I’m not going to be angry with you. Right, Allen?

“Right,” said Allen.

“Fellas, I was in the dungeon. I’ll never share what happened, but you know some of the story. Anyway, with everything that was going on, I couldn’t handle things anymore. In that last moment, I was catapulted into a different place. I was at peace.”

“Where’d you go?” asked Allen.

“To a dead man’s party.”

“Was Oingo Boingo there?” asked Rory.

“Are they dead?” countered Rory’s brother. “It was weird, a calm like I never knew here. I got to talk with Jupiter Elicius who explained to me the topography of the new land. There are no highs or lows, just a steadiness of life.”

“You mean death,” said Allen.

“No, not at all. Where I am is mellow and vibrant, slow and fast. It’s perfectly in balance.”

“It’s Heaven,” said the bearded goat.

All three of them looked to the goat with surprise because the goat had never spoken in public.

“If that’s what you believe,” said Rory’s brother, “Jupiter calls it Home.”

“He also calls it Heaven,” said the bearded goat, “And he also goes by God. Sometimes, I call him, Dad.”

“Interesting,” said Rory. “Allen, remember that time we were playing York Intermediate and Tim Mac stole second base. There was an umpire who only had one arm and he never said ‘safe’ or ‘out,’ he just when “AAAAHHH.”

“Oh yeah, Tim slid in and the umpire made that call and Tim thought he was out, but he was really safe.”

“Right. Separated by a different language. Babel…”

The bearded goat looked at Rory’s brother and smiled. Rory’s brother looked to Allen and smiled. He leaned to Rory and gave him a hug. An energy passed between them that gave Rory hope.

His brother whispered in his ear, “Go home. Everything is fine.”

“How come you are with me?” asked Rory.

The bearded goat took some time to answer, “I told you part of it was the way you treated the goat at the animal rescue. Given your personality, a piranha would have been a better choice, but we couldn’t figure out how to get you in the water for such a long journey.”

“So I get a goat, the greatest-of-all-time…”

“That’s true,” said the goat. “It’s this way because you know that goats are useful. All of the others goats and I discussed your situation and took great care to follow Parliamentary procedure in deciding who would be the proper goat for you. It was down to me, the koan speaking goat with the black stripe around his waste, and the blonde female goat from Croaker whose true connection to you flamed out early in the discussion. We kept her on to satisfy the Title IX requirements.”

“Interesting, two spirits and a desire. I have to say, I’m pessimistic about what is going on, but the idea that a goat can lead a spiritual awakening is something else. I am confused and excited.”

“You have not made it easy, Rory. Your polar skipping beliefs from Taoism, to Buddhism, to science, to social sciences, and finally home to Christianity have made putting our plan on paper nearly impossible. We decided to wing it this time and see where your spirit led us. In that way, we believe we can help you make the best decisions for your future.”

Rory thought about all he had been through over the last few months. There was a restlessness that was pushing him along. Each new experience redirected his focus. He had started out as a self-centered hermit. Then he became enamored with saving the world. Now his focus was becoming personal again, but this time he was awake to greater possibilities. He was presencing and things were starting to crystallize.

“I’m beginning to understand. You guys represent different facets of my spiritual journey. Since you are with me, you must have the greatest prestige.”

The goat interrupted, “Not prestige. I represent your deepest belief, your deepest value.”

“Does that mean you are the Prodigal Son?”

“If you believe so. I like to think the purple one, Prince and Lenny Kravitz as prodigies. At least in a guitar sense. I’m a goat who you channel to fulfill your spiritual destiny. Keep an open mind, heart, and your spirit will find the closure it seeks.”

Finally Rory and the bearded goat cleared the desert and found Faith and Allen still hitting Pinnacles into the driving range.

Allen yelled out, “Hurry up, player. We’re going for tacos at that burrito joint. Remember the one we went to last time?”

“I do. Chuy’s.”

They piled into the limo and Faith hit the radio. “Are You Gonna Go My Way” was blasting. Rory looked to the goat who was pawing at his beard. Rory could have sworn the goat was smiling.