I’ve come to loathe autumn. It echoes the current stage of my own life a little too closely. Plus it’s plenty hard to just stay level, any season of this filthy year. I saw someone on social media asking (may not have the words quite right) “How you folks holding it together while the world’s burning?” I looked for something useful and short to say, came up empty. But now maybe this.

There’s the plague and the fascists and mass shooters and people killing babies for the greater glory of Palestine and Israel. Lies burn hot on every Internet screen and who’s got time to refute them all? Greed lights fires everywhere. Feaugh.

Also I have family issues that hurt and teach hard lessons. Long Covid in da house too.

And among my friends and contemporaries and relations, there’s a steady rumble of mortality: cancer diagnoses and dementia symptoms and heart trouble and more like that.

Anyhow, what happened was, last Saturday morning I had stuff to pick up and drop off at the local library. It’s across from the local farmers market. So I biked up there and hit both. Nobody else in the family was up to the trip, for a variety of reasons.

Brussels sprouts at Vancouver’s Riley Park farmers market

Cool, but I bought sprouts in a nice little bag, no stems.

I got Brussels sprouts and focaccia and apples. The market has a spot for musicians, last week’s a guy with a strong voice singing old songs everyone knows; didn’t pay much attention.

All this is good, right? This is the “15 minute city” model, I think. Yes, it was. I enjoyed it.

So I lugged the books and movies and fruits and vegetables back to the bike rack, knelt to unlock and stow. Then the minstrel started singing Wild World and I knew I was in trouble.

I’m placid generally; among the calmest percentiles of the population. I’m reasonable. I deal with shit. I do a good job of seeming balanced. None of which helped.

But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there…
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile

I leaned my head against the bike and wept hard, cheeks wet. Dunno where it came from. Everywhere I guess. Nobody else was unhooking their bike just then so maybe nobody noticed.

It’s a wild world, no shit. Hang on for dear life. Teach your children. Then wish ’em luck. They’re going to need it.

Brussels sprouts · A few minutes in the Instant Pot air fryer with a bit of olive oil and they come out slightly blackened and just great.

The lesson · You don’t have to keep it together. Losing it sometimes is OK.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: PJ (Oct 27 2023, at 22:20)

Toss a little balsalmic vinegar on 'em along with the olive oil. If you're feeling _really_ decadent, crumble some bacon bits on top.


From: Dave Pawson (Oct 28 2023, at 00:29)

Been there, done that Tim.

I sympathise.


From: Peter Black (Oct 28 2023, at 01:44)

It’s been a long time but I miss seeing you (from a distance) at re:Invent. I really don’t know you at all, but it feels like a hug would be in order right now.


From: Ted (Oct 28 2023, at 02:21)

<i>among my friends and contemporaries and relations, there’s a steady rumble of mortality</i>. With you there Tim (from a fellow ‘55er), and the rest.


From: Matthew Todd (Oct 28 2023, at 06:38)



From: Geoff Arnold (Oct 28 2023, at 06:58)

Hug. Just hug.


From: TiTiNoNero (Oct 29 2023, at 01:13)

That's very much what I also felt when my dad was about to pass away. We have limited time to indulge in our own feelings, we've gotta things to do. But when the right song kicks in, shedding some tears will let us relieve and feel better. We cannot hold the world on our shoulders, we can only manage a tiniest bit at a time. Loved you post, thanks!


From: hawkse (Oct 29 2023, at 11:51)

I can relate. Keeping it together gets harder by the day. We have all the knowledge to (re?)create paradise on earth and still, we can't seem to get our shit together.

It's ok to lose it. We all do at times. Thanks for posting and keeping it real here.


From: lasersailor (Oct 29 2023, at 20:46)

Here’s a ‘57er that’s right with you Tim. Lately, I’ve been listening to Neil Young singing “After the Gold Rush” way too often resulting in a few tears.


From: Staffan (Nov 03 2023, at 08:37)

Cross-Atlantic hug! Love your writing.


From: ron weaver (Nov 08 2023, at 07:07)

After reading the news this AM and being mildly reassured that the US just might have sanity, I went to read your blog that I occasionally access.  You nailed my sentiments to a T. As others commented you are not alone in this advancing age thing. I always say getting old is not for the faint of heart when someone asks how I am.


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