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1000 words

In to the Wind

August 14, 2013
By Mike Gilchrist , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Every human being is an amalgamation of good and bad. Regrets, second thoughts and second guessing are all part of the human condition. One thing I have learned in life is you can not change the past. You can live for the moment, set your sights on where you want to be, and make it happen.

Inside of me there is a good man. Inside of me there is an evil man. It is however the good man that usually gets me in trouble.

The good man waits his turn. The good man takes no for an answer and doesn't argue. The good man accepts political correctness and social civility to the point of insensibility. The good man throttles his thoughts and muffles his responses so as to not upset the apple cart.

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The bad man scares me. He looks at others with distain when they overstep their competency or intelligence. He sees the worst when he should be dwelling on the best.

But, it is the good man who has caused me the most regret.

And when I look back at the things I regret there are many. Like the jobs I wanted and didn't go after. Like not having stood up to self important underachiever bullies who campaigned against me, even when their campaign only contained a fragment of truth. Or that I didn't clear up the misunderstanding they created.

I am of the opinion that a person's reputation should stand on their accomplishments, and not some ancient history some self important underachiever might dig up. Next time I believe I will stand up for what I believe, extol my own virtues, and confront the bully.

I regret having not talked to certain interesting people I've encountered. The good man kept me in my place. The good man was leading, cautious, and in many regards-mistaken.

I have learned that people are about as happy as they've a mind to be. I have also learned that I am ultimately responsible for my own happiness. And as any good parent and spouse will attest, feel responsible, in part, for the happiness of those I love. Life goes on. Life morphs into whatever you take the time to make of it; hard knocks and small.

I think I finally figured out why exactly I moved way out here in the country. Nature is way cheaper than therapy.

Just as a reality check, I showed a picture to some friends I took of a few dozen bluebirds in one place here recently. The fact of the matter is they are everywhere. I believe there to be hundreds of them. I'm not certain what to make of this, but would enjoy hearing your thoughts. I have rescued six of them from my chimney recently. The dominant bird song, all day long, is that of the bluebird.

The longest 5 seconds of my day is now waiting to click the "skip ad" button when trying to watch a YouTube video.

Is there anybody else besides me who tries to get a short list of things accomplished before the microwave dings?

I start feeling really old when I'm filling out one of those online forms, and it asks for your birthday. You have to scroll down to find your year of birth, past the years your kids were born, high school, grade school and all the way back to the last century. My year is WAY down that list.

Don't you just hate it when you run the vacuum cleaner over that piece of string or that stray piece of dog food a hundred times and it still won't pick it up? I remember when Kirby was king. Now it's Dyson. You know what? They all suck.

On careful examination, I'm thinking perhaps that vacuuming "exercise in futility" is an apt metaphor for my life. Well, at least certain things in my life. "Practice makes perfect," they say. No amount of practice seems to pick up that piece of string. If it had an intellect, I'm sure it would be laughing at the folly of this determined man dragging the vacuum over and back, over and back.

I could go on and on about the etiquette of vacuuming. I have been well trained. I know when I am requested to run the vacuum I had better empty the canister when I'm done. And, I can't just open it and dump it in the trash can. It must be emptied into a plastic bag and then disposed of. If I don't do it just right, I suffer the wrath of she who cooks.

While lying prostrate on the ground, it is easy to lose oneself in the timidity which is the realization of how small we really are. The seven bright streaks of light that trailed across the sky, told of comet tails and bits of dust. An Iridium flare, and three different manmade orbiters punctuated the sky in slow motion movements of light. Just above the horizon, Orion lay in the blackness at the same angle as his observer. The Pleiades have become a blurry jumble through clouding eyes. The Perseid meteor shower gave up just a few shooting stars across these chilly August skies.

I have learned it is fortunate for us our conscience clears as our memories fade.

Until next time-

You can read past columns by visiting and clicking on the "Local Columns" button.

In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2005 - 2013 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342.



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