It is 1:35 a.m., and here I am, wide awake. Attila has been working long, long hours for the last few weeks. He leaves before 6:00 a.m. and arrives home after 6:00 p.m. When he arrives home he is exhausted, and “peopled out”, after having dealt with other people, and the demands of careful, cheerful communication, all day long.

We eat, we chat for about a half an hour, Attila has a hot bath, we watch a program on Netflix for about a half hour, and then Attila begins to nod off. So off to bed he goes for his well earned rest.

And me? I am not peopled out, having had no contact with a live human between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. I have occupied my time wisely for those twelve hours, and enjoy the brief contact with Attila.

From time to time though, the alone part of my life becomes overwhelming. Tonight is one of those times, a time when too-much-alone follows me like a shadow.

When I lived in the city the too-much-alone could be alleviated by walk-abouts. I would walk, for miles and miles and miles, observing people, occasionally speaking with a friendly soul along the way. I was a part of the crowd, a piece of the human mosaic, without having to fit in, wear the right uniform of clothing, speak the correct words, wear the correct smile, compete for attention, elbow my way to the front of things. I could belong because I was there, like a star in the night sky, a grain of sand on a sunny beach, a stalk of grass in a windy wave… And that was always enough for me, that kind of belonging. It seemed to be enough for the people with whom I shared the experience.

That feeling of connection with humanity has all but ceased to exist in my day-to-day life. Where we live the tribal mores and pretenses of the affluent are very strong; there are no organic human spaces, there is no live and let live energy, no human mosaic, no tolerance, no spark of recognition, no joy in diversity… no society of the genuine.

I miss the face-to-face in my day-to-day.

I guess I am still awake because a part of me is not yet willing to give up the day-to-day, without a little more seeking of the face-to-face.

And since there is no available face-to-face in my world at the moment, it seems I will be awake until exhaustion ends the search.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:35 AM EDT Thursday 12 June 2014
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 18.0°C
Dewpoint: 17.0°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SE 17 km/h


“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
1844 – 1900


I am a lover of beautiful visual patterns and borders. My Grandmother’s children’s books were illustrated with warmth and affection, the images surrounded by ever varying and beautiful borders. To this day my eyes will rest contented on such an image, and always stop to investigate an interesting border.

So, it is little wonder that patterns and borders will appear in my dreams. They take many forms. Sometimes I dream of visual patterns, landscape details, well formed game pieces, even things like clusters of cherries hanging full and red on trees. Sometimes I dream of conceptual patterns, numbers, personality traits, events. I seldom remember my dreams, and only know that they exist when I am awakened as they are occurring.

Both Attila and I had a restless night last night, waking frequently. My dreams were of patterns disturbed, in need of care and attention. The sudden and dramatic return of winter may have been the cause of our interrupted night’s sleep, who knows. It will all be forgotten soon enough.

The sun is sneaking into the house through the blinds this morning. It is cold out there, but if the weather people are correct, the temperature will rise to above freezing today. I hope it does! Under such conditions in March the sun is strong enough to melt snow.

This week we are celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary. This spring we will celebrate having lived together for twenty years. Time slips quietly along, flowing towards the place where we began our journey, the unknown where we all came from, and where we are all going.

Attila and I have a wonderful life, in our time and place. We count ourselves lucky. Our small complaints are just that, small complaints. Even cabin fever is a minor ailment when put into the context of the wider world.

We are grateful for what we are experiencing in our lives right now. It is precious. Our vision of the world includes an active acknowledgement of the existence of evil. “Lest we forget” is a part of our everyday life. We do not forget. We do not obsess. We do not hate. We judge only the acting out of the small or mean of spirit; and even then we are conscious that people need to maintain their personal dignity to grow. When it is appropriate to remember, to acknowledge, and honour what is horrendous in the world, we remember, acknowledge and honour it, in our own way. Today I am thinking of others, and how their experiences fit into the world as I know it.

I read this article about someone, Sonia Reich, who witnessed the worst our species has to offer the world, with great interest. The article deals with the issue of people who have experienced extremely traumatic events, and how it affects their lives. The article is based on an extreme example, extreme in several ways. The trauma was extreme in that it was jarringly horrendous, life threatening, people believed they might die at any moment, and it was true, they might have, most did. The trauma was also extreme in another sense, it was extreme in that it was systemic, widespread, it encompassed their known universe and was supported by the social institutions under which they lived. It was extreme also in the way that seemingly “good” people pretended that the traumatic events were not happening at the time, a stance that was maintained after the events and threats to personal safety were long past. Another way that this was extreme is in the fact that the survivors escaped to a world where almost all traces of the experience disappeared from their day-to-day lives. They came out of the experience to exist in a world that did not have the respect, tolerance, or patience to integrate what the traumatized people had seen and known into their lives. Their day-to-day lives did not offer any real opportunities for “healing,” the “safe” environment offered no way to acknowledge and honour the existence of human depravity. They spent the remainder of their lives “protecting” their families from their experiences, from themselves. They carried our collective burden.

What strikes me as salient is that these individuals were forced to face overwhelming social issues as their own issues; when in reality the issues were and are systemic, and that need to be addressed by our whole society. These individuals bear the burden of our collective denial.

Of course, there are exceptions. There are movies and books and societies that take up these issues and bring them to our attention. That seems right and proper. But it isn’t enough, not nearly enough. What we need is to demonstrate, in our day-to-day lives, compassion, tolerance and respect for other people’s experiences. We need to leave behind our collective denial and openly listen to, accept, and integrate reality into our social dealings, on a day-to-day basis.

The day beckons! The tire rim for the car will be repaired today. I will run a few errands in the town while I am there. The sunshine will bring joy with it. I will respond appropriately!

Worldly Distractions


-12 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -11.8°C
Dewpoint: -14.9°C
Humidity: 78 %
Wind: NW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -19


“The highest result of education is tolerance.”
Helen Keller
1880 – 1968