Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hold On Tight To Your Dream

"Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind" ~ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards - "Ruby Tuesday"
Author J. K. Rowling is quoted as saying, "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." This is profound insight from one of the most prolific and imaginative authors of our time. When I first read this while preparing for this chapter my first thought was she must be downplaying the power of dreams. When I reread the quotation I hoped she was allowing for dreams, perhaps just not the overly obsessive fixation on these to the extent that one would become catatonic and forget to keep moving.

Often as parents we are confronted with obstacles borne from our children's struggles. One doesn't have to be a parent of an addict to know this. Our children are our greatest treasures, the most significant gifts of our lives. As parents of addicts these obstacles can seem to move with us, a constant in-your-face reminder of the what might have beens before The Addiction planted itself firmly in the path of our babies' maturation.

It's like a hedgerow on rails, or more like an army defending its boundaries.

It can be disheartening at best, at worst, a relentlessly deflating dream crusher.

Our sons and daughters may in some subconscious way wish to be the absolute focus of our lives. We know, of course, it is The Addiction driving the need as it does with so many of our children's priorities. What they don't always realize is much of our attention is, and has been for months, years, or decades devoted to their disease. They just don't always see it  - except for those brief moment of clarity when The Addiction temporarily loses it grip on our babies.

What we don't see, always, is the loosening of our hold on our dreams, our hopes and wishes for ourselves. When we let go of our dreams to devote more than is necessary to fixing our children, rather than what is needed to show them our undying, unequivocal love for them, The Addiction has won, and our children get the message they are incapable - of anything.

When we hold on tight to our dreams and pursue those aspirations we may have put aside to concentrate on perhaps literally saving our children we become sherpas to our children's journeys. When we go for it, when we dig deep and look inside ourselves for those talents, drives and passions we have denied ourselves our lives open to extraordinary possibilities. It's modeling on a grand scale, a lighthouse beacon nobody can be blind to.

Write down what you have been denying yourself for too long. Find a book to set your course (mine was The Artists Way by Julia Cameron), try something you said you could NEVER  - an awful word to purge from our vocabularies - accomplish (mine was the marathon).  Take a pathway the Great Creator, the Universe is beckoning you to try. This may be the greatest adventure of your life. You will awaken a spirit within, continuing that journey to becoming that complete, REAL human being we all strive to be.

And ya' know what? It might just be fun!

"Things are only impossible until they're not." ~ Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard - Star Trek, The Next Generation
"When you get so down that you can't get up... When you're so downhearted and misunderstood ... Hold on tight to your dream." ~ Jeff Lynn - "Hold On Tight To Your Dream"

. . . keep coming back 


Monday, July 31, 2017

El Capitan of Our Children's Recoveries

"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory." ~ Ed Viesturs, No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks 
We are all on various stages of recovery, from the tar pits, cloud forests and primordial stews of our initial crawl out of ours and our loved ones' vortices, to views from peaks and plateaus of what our lives can be if we continue to SEEK and SEE our own true REAL. Our children too are traveling their own pathways, winding in and out of THE ADDICTION'S grasp, battling with it and their personal demons of self doubt, negativity and isolation.

For our children in recovery, for those who have come to the realization they cannot and will not continue to live lives dictated by THE ADDICTION, their journey may seem almost complete. They are, it would seem, on a path to those vistas we have hoped and prayed they would enjoy someday.

It's a nice thought to believe they're on their way. While I like to think of a parent's journey as one with many uphills, down hills, twists and turns with breathtaking flora and fauna along the way (kind of like a marathon), our children's recovery, once begun, is a shock to them.
"OK, I've made my decision to take back my life, so now what the hell do I do?"
I'm not a trail runner, rock or mountain climber. I do not have the inner ear, or maybe even the cojones for either. So when I was searching for ideas for this chapter I had to research the whole climbing experience from the top down. It was then I happened upon the quotation above:
"Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory."
"That's it!" I thought. This encapsulates the journey of the recovering addict, or at least what I have seen from a parent's perspective.

Finally getting to that peak exhilaration of life out of the vortex' pull must be to the addict like the adrenaline rush of the mountain climber as he or she ascends to the top of a chosen summit.

But what goes up, must come down, the challenge isn't finished until it's finished. The mountain climber looks down, says, "OK, here I go," and begins the descent. There's no chopper awaiting to whisk him off the precipice, no wings to become grounded, safe and secure from et montem istum to terra firma.

It's daunting, terrifying. Looking down to the relief of solid ground and the steps, possible missteps, slips and unsecured finger and toe holds to get there, it's no wonder many of our children in recovery go clean, then stall, remain stagnant, and pause.

Sometimes they pause for a long time.

Moving down that mountain requires baby steps, a skill their recently drug-ravaged brains don't yet possess in their grey-matter arsenal. We can help with words of encouragement or even by offering a temporary place for encampment on the peak. But temporary is a relative term and can become just another roadblock on the pathway. It's just not safe up there, forever.

There's a storm coming for sure. Get off that mountain - NOW!

Have you seen the movie Everest?

We can step in by asking where they want to be in a year or six months and how they're going to get there. They know, they already have a plan in their heads on how to get down off that mountain peak. They're either waiting for that chopper that's never coming (parent rescue) or are convinced the descent must be immediate, a dangerous impossibility. The baby steps are the oxygen tanks they'll need along the way and the bivouacs for much needed respites on their journey.

They prepared their way during the ascent. It's all there awaiting them, the oxygen canisters, the outcroppings on the vertical cliffs.

It's just that first step that's a doozy, the commitment to value themselves above THE ADDICTION. What they don't realize is that once they begin the descent there's no turning back, and each step will build on the next in a cascade of increasing self worth and self love.

Now, where was that last toe hold?

. . . keep coming back

"Rob, you've gotta get moving. You've gotta come on down." ~ Jan Arnold to husband Rob Hall  - Everest The Movie


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Our Persian Flaws

"Perfection itself is imperfection." ~ Vladimir Horowitz
"Now I ain't saying that I'm perfect, 'cause I'm not. And I ain't gonna never be. None of us are. ~ Wood Harris as Julius Campbell in Remember the Titans
We parents of addicts and recovering addicts are not perfect - none of us. That my friends is a certainty, one of just a few certainties in life that can be counted on to to be testable, provable and repeatable. We have used the scientific method numerous times to test this hypothesis and proven it to be true and without knowing it, have countless time ignored the lab results (life) and pursued more testing to disprove the reality.

We have repeatedly attempted by striving for some sort of state of parental perfection to turn the momentum of oncoming Addiction tsunami.

Look where that got us.

Do you remember the muck and slime of the cloud forest?

Too many times we have pushed ourselves hard to attain some level of perfection as if this might avert continuation of our sons' and daughters' dance with The Addiction. We compared our parenting with others' methods as if there was a correlation between our best efforts as parents and our children's dive into their vortex.

How arrogant we were to think that we might ever become some sort of perfect human beings and by somehow accomplishing this impossibility, control and cure the disease of addiction.

The Persians had it right.

Centuries ago Persian rug makers became known for their beautifully intricate carpets which chronicled their lives, trials and tribulations. Even today this tradition, passed along through countless generations to retain a certain perfection in the weaving and dying processes, produces the beautiful wool masterpieces we can find in upscale boutiques and the most revered museums.

With all the intricacy of these seemingly flawless works of art the Persians believed only God or a higher power was perfect in all aspects. For this reason they would intentionally place flaws into the carpet as they wove.

These carpets would often take years to complete and would require the efforts of many community members. Only the rug makers, or those well versed in the process would know where the flaws resided, how many existed or if, in the minds of the creators, the mistakes diminished or amplified the beauty of their creation.

As far as I am concerned, these Persian Flaws, even unseen, become the true heroes of these carpets. The flaws represent a sense of the makers' awe of everything the Great Creator has bestowed upon all of us and a deep humility even in the face of their seeming perfect creations.

Why then do we believe we have the ability to weave perfection into our lives as we stumble through our own life recovery, or we can through some sort of flawless lifestyle lead our children out of their morass.

Just like the Persian rugs it is our imperfections that make us the beautiful human beings the Great Creator meant for us to be. It is through our imperfections that our true humanity shows through. We know the imperfections are there. Unlike the rug makers we do strive to become better human beings by making small, almost unnoticeable changes to better ourselves, yet many of those imperfections will remain. Couples fall in love with the little flaws in their mate's makeup. Our children struggling with their own feelings of low self worth look to us as beacons of hope for their eventual recovery as we live our lives to the fullest. The last image they need to see is one of some smug, arrogant self-proclaimed perfect being leading the way.

They do not need to see an unattainable goal as their recovery endgame.

They see us, with all our imperfections, living the best possible lives we can, striving to become REAL, and perhaps, never quite getting there.

As we progress along our recovery journeys we know our flaws are there. Surely, some we need to expunge, those knots in our lives that simply get in the way of living, those noticeable recurring, twisted life threads everyone, including us (eventually) can see. Yet as we continue our pilgrimage toward becoming the truest most REAL humans, parents, friends and lovers we can be, remember perfection is best left for the gods and their creations. The quest is the thing. As our children struggle they will notice our journey too includes encounters with our deepest demons. They will see us stubbornly persist, reaching plateaus even we thought unattainable.

They know our imperfections are there. Hell, they've know us all their lives. We can become an inspiration rather than self-righteous preachers of recovery. We are beautiful, flawed Human Beings. They'll see that in us, smile, or even laugh at our expense. And that's OK.

Perhaps then, they will give themselves a chance to feel the same about themselves, breathe, and take those next trepidatious steps toward their own, REAL lives.

Our flaws, like those in the Persian rugs, make us better human beings, more REAL - better, brighter beacons of hope.

So what shall we weave today?

. . . keep coming back

"Lighten up, Francis." ~ Platoon Leader Sgt. Hulka to Psycho, Stripes 1981


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Joy Trail Found

"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience." ~ Emily Dickinson
By now many of you know I am a marathoner. It's something I am proud of as part of my recovery journey. For me, running and training for a goal race is fun and I will continue this as long as it remains enjoyable and as long as my arms and legs remain attached to the rest of my body.

So far, so good.

In February of 2017, I wrote about The Joy Trail. Today I wish to share my story of a joy trail found.

We're in between official training from our last marathon to the next. For most of us who run together our marathon training will resume in late June and finish anywhere from October through December depending on the race chosen. I selected the Memphis St. Jude marathon last year, an early December date involving a long, grueling 5 months of training that I believe left many of us overtrained, but that's not important - again, as I will from time time, I digress. This year wifey and I have chosen a race midway through the summer/fall marathon season, the November 4 Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis. It will be fun and certainly less hilly than the Cincinnati Flying Pig marathon I completed in May!

During this down time some of us continue to run, less often for most of us, less miles and certainly the runs are done less vigorously. We do this because it is fun for us and quite frankly for me at least, I don't want to show up at the marathon training kickoff meeting looking like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and I surely don't want my body to forget how to run long distances.

I can't imagine starting the marathon training journey all over again, wondering if I'm up for a long Saturday morning run. Now THAT would NOT be fun!

Running alone is okay but running with people who I've come to know and love through this marathon training thing is the best. Our training team has gotten through a lot and supported each other in victories and defeats, tears and jubilations. We are a tight-knit group of very slow but determined runners. Completing 26.2 miles has that effect on people.

A few weeks ago I began to send emails out to my fellow Lanterne Rouge teammates to schedule Saturday morning runs - if you're not a fan of cycling and don't know what Lanterne Rouge means Google it if you want a chuckle. This is totally out of my comfort zone but as with most everything I have done as part of my journey to burst through my inhibitions and past tendencies, these emails have been a blast. Plus, I've been able to do these Saturday runs with other crazy marathoners!

These are smaller group runs since many of our teammates stay close to home for their maintenance runs, don't necessarily want to start early in the morning as we do when in full-bore training, and many are on vacation.

On a recent 6 miler on Memorial Day morning I and a fellow Lanterne Rouger were completing mile 4 of a 6 mile loop when we approached a group of three walkers on the trail. As I do on these trails I made eye contact with one of the three  - the youngest in this case -  and said hello. My running partner and I were at that very moment signaled by our Garmin watches to begin a one-minute walk interval which we do when training, so we of course began talking to the three - or one of the three to be more precise.

I quickly ascertained the younger man was of Middle Eastern descent and asked the terribly politically incorrect question because that's who I am:

"Where are you from?"

"Iran," he answered. "These are my parents. They just came from Iran to visit me."

"Wow," I said. "Welcome."

"Yes, welcome," said my running partner.

Both of our messages were quickly translated from son to mother and father. Broad smiles followed.

And this would be the extent of our contact with three people from the other side of the world, from totally distinct cultures and ideologies. Our Garmins were chirping at us to resume running.

We explained the lunacy of interval training and bid a fond goodbye to our new-found friends - or so we thought.

As the two of us transitioned to running, we were astonished to see mother and son following stride for stride. We talked about the world, about how David, the son, had lived in numerous countries and states and cities and found our little Midwestern city his favorite. As if we were on a satellite feed we would say something to mom, would wait for David to translate to Farsi and then, receive her response translated to English. These two actually pushed us beyond our planned pace but that was just fine, The magic of this moment surpassed any maintenance training goals we might have had for that day.

At mile 6 we explained we needed to stop, parted company and turned to walk the half-mile to our cars. As we approached the parking lot we passed dad who flashed us a huge smile, something everybody everywhere does in the same way.

We left the park that day buoyed by this magical training run. I added this to the many "reasons why I run" and we agreed, if the world only operated the way this encounter of cultures transpired over the mile and half at this little park in St. Louis Missouri, we would all be better for it.

Privately, I also truly believe both of us were grateful to have allowed this miracle mile and one-half to transpire. On that day we ignored our shared tendency to fixate on the task at hand (training) and let go to let the moment happen. Miracles are happening all around us. They're happening at our workplace, the grocery, the cafe, at home - everywhere.

Take the time, the next time a miracle approaches, or you literally run into it, to recognize it, stop what you're doing and embrace the opportunity.

It' may only be less than a mile and a half out of your way.

. . . keep coming back

"If you smile at me I will understand, 'cause that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language." ~ Wooden Ships, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Paul Kantner

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

JuSt fOr FUn ... uNOfficially, SuMMeR, Though Not Yet Summer, Haiku

"The Earth has its music for those who will listen."  ~ George Santayana

Memorial Day
In multiple shades of tan
Khakis now allowed

When the rains subside
Chamber of Commerce days rule
Late spring in Midwest

The cooling breezes
Deceptive blue skies abound
The fooling low temps

Flowers reveling
Lawns lush, so clueless to the
Summer's heat approach

Peace in pre-summer
Belies its trues treachery
Storms will soon follow

Bluest azure skies
The Great Creator Beckons
Come to me, my loves

Your pathway awaits
Nature's best season welcomes
Take that chance and FLY!

. . . keep coming back

"Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


Monday, May 22, 2017

The Fable of THE FEAR

"There's one thing that humans do better than any species we've met. When we're faced with a common threat, we put our differences aside and try to cooperate." Jonathan Archer, Star Trek, Enterprise, "United"
"So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inauguration Speech, March 4 1933
They knew it was coming. They saw it looming, or perhaps as so many would later admit, they should have. The town would soon be besieged, their peaceful existence would become a nightmare of darkness they had witnessed occur in so many neighboring communities.

Some had already been touched or besieged by the affliction. THE FEAR would soon overtake the seemingly tiny little hamlet. Although not an insignificant dot on the map - the town was actually a small city - it was large enough to be a target of the attack yet small enough that word would spread quickly as more and more of the population would be afflicted.

One by one the townspeople began to isolate. They isolated from each other, they isolated from the neighboring towns and villages and even began to withdraw from themselves, from their lives. They had been existing in a state of fear for so long many of them had forgotten what they were afraid of, exactly. They knew it was something terrible. It had to be.

It had all begun with a plague, or a similar menace. At first it afflicted the young adults, in equal measure among the boys and girls. There had been rumors about some of the youth coming back from traveling far off to unknown lands to experience something different from what they had known in their little city, only to be racked upon their return by something nobody in the town could explain.

They had been warned about venturing out to experience experiences, live lives and face their worst fears and demons the elders had told them would destroy them.

Others said it began with THEM, a group of outsiders bringing with them the NEW. They seemed to look different, talk differently, even dress differently. They tried to fit in and when the NEW realized the town was too full of THE FEAR the NEW became fearful. The NEW isolated from the townspeople who had already begun to retrench after noticing the effect the NEW was having on the youth. The youth were changing. The youth and even some of the elders were drifting away from everything the community held true and dear.

But it wasn't the NEW, it wasn't even the needs of youth to experience, to live life and sometimes in doing so to stumble desperately and despairingly into hellish vortices sometimes impossible to escape.

It wasn't actually any one thing that contributed to the crumbling of the town's culture and cohesion but once the divide began, THE FEAR saw an opportunity to pounce.

Many of them had forgotten what they were afraid of, exactly.

Now those who were directly affected saw the other townspeople moving away from them, friends would reach out but would soon grow tired of the drama THE FEAR brought with it. The families struck down were the first to feel the brunt of the effects of THE FEAR.

The rest of the city dwellers were committed to fighting the scourge. They decided they would begin an attack of everything unknown, anything odd and mostly things that would threaten what they would consider important to their values.

Even though many of them had forgotten what they were afraid of, exactly.

So they fought what they were perceiving. They began by increasing the commitment to isolation. They built walls - walls around the town, around their homes, businesses, schools. These were the walls of brick and mortar and of thought and mind and soul. And as the walls continued to rise these constructs fed THE FEAR.

Soon, on the coattails of all this, THE ANGER entered the small city and that moment, as many of the townspeople would later remember, marked the point of no return - or so they thought.

All the isolation led to disconnectedness, division, further divides and distrust among the dwellers. A dark cloud settled above the city and refused to leave. The sun never shone, the moon no longer blanketed the town with its ethereal comfort. Ideas were forgotten, imagination gave way to constant dread and consternation. The safe way became the only way - the status quo, maintaining one's current station was the only goal.

THE FEAR was winning. The townspeople became united in self interest.

This continued for months until one day one of the children of the small city began to cry. Nobody had cried since even before the dark cloud's arrival, nobody dared to. Crying meant that you cared. Crying would signal discontent regarding the current state of affairs. This would be anarchic and rebellious. Crying would signal a desire for something different than the current existence was allowing. Crying would signal a profound longing for something NEW.

Then, the crying of the child stopped. There was a silence upon the silence forced upon the city for many months, perhaps even years. This silence was one of those deafening stillnesses portending a momentous change. The wind even seemed to take a breath. The air stopped, chilled a bit. A small sliver of sunlight seemed to pierce the seemingly never-ending cloud canopy. Everyone in the town listened for what they knew would be a sign of a worsening of the darkness. They listened, and from the tallest bell tower in the town's center, they heard the words of the small child whose crying had stopped just hours before.

"I can't live like this anymore!" she called out in a low yet piercing voice that projected throughout the town.

The sight of this young soul and her courageous outpouring of a truth nobody had dared to voice began to have an effect on the people of the small city. Some too, began to cry. Some buckled in their tracks, both exhausted and relieved that someone had finally given voice to a truth most were afraid to even think about. Some smiled for the first time in many months, perhaps even years. The people of the town began to emerge from their homes, from their isolation. They began to wander, to enjoy the town's sites, the parks, beautiful still though in disrepair after the long neglect. Almost mindlessly they began to see each other for the first time in anyone's recent recollection. The NEW apprehensively peered out from their homes and saw the townspeople beckoning to join them.

You see, many of them had forgotten what they had been afraid of, exactly.

On that day there was a joining of souls for the soul purpose of living life, experiencing what is out there to be experienced, not to be avoided. The cloud lifted, and THE FEAR, with nobody engaged in devoting energy to hate, prejudice and intolerance, THE FEAR left the town.

Slowly, with not a little trepidation, the townspeople began to embrace THE NEW and a new life devoted to learning and yearning for the adventures that living life to its fullest brings. They began to trust that without depending on THE FEAR to control their lives they could survive, missteps and all. They took plunges into the unknown, leapt into new ventures and adventures, took chances, smiled, laughed and cried. They experienced victories, defeats, setbacks and breakthroughs.

They trusted in life and in each other, yet they knew THE FEAR could re-emerge at any time if they did not remain vigilant in their desire for joy, life and happiness.

In the town square stands to this day a statue commemorating the little girl who had the courage to cry out and declare she wanted more from life than any dark energy would allow. The Statue of the Crying Girl with the one tear descending her left cheek stands as a reminder for the townspeople to remain steadfast in their pursuit of both life's joys and desperations.

And with its new-found courage and commitment to embracing THE NEW, the unknown and unfamiliar, the small city never again witnessed THE FEAR enveloping their lives. The dark cloud never settled above the city and refused to leave. The daytime sun always shone with its comforting warmth and the nighttime moon forever blanketed the town with its ethereal, loving comfort.

. . . keep coming back

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." ~ Madame Marie Curie 
"Although we have been made to believe that if we let go we will end up with nothing, life reveals just the opposite: that letting go is the real path to freedom." ~ Sogyal Rinpoche

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes

"The Jews taught me this great word. "Schmuck." I was a schmuck, and now I'm not a schmuck." ~ Bill Murray as Frank Cross in Scrooged
We all change as we progress through what we believe to be a linear timeline, as we experience our lives on this wonderful blue ball circling a bright yellow dwarf star year after year. It doesn't require an astrophysicist to measure these transformations, nor does it require catastrophic life events to trigger them. Many of us progress from uptight to laid back, conservative to liberal and back, critical to accepting, closed minded to politically correct without any massive roadblocks thrown our way such as deaths in the family or other tragedies like addiction.

It's the maturation process that comes with living life. It is a natural progression we all endure in different ways base on life lessons learned or ignored. Normally this is a slow progression played out over decades.

Those of us who have experienced the blight of addiction in our lives and our families have learned this progression must be accelerated.

Keep moving, or die.

Like many of you I was a rager. Many people who know me now find this hard to believe. I fought The Addiction toe to toe, broadsword to broadsword until exhaustion would curtail the battle so the war could be continued at another time. Not realizing my energy expended to end the rule of The Addiction in my son's life only intensified its power over him I battled in our home and even on the streets in plain view of terrified onlookers. I disposed of paraphernalia and pot, physically forced drug tests on my addict son and engaged The Addiction in order to fix my son, all the while not knowing our baby was crying inside, overtaken by the vortex.

For the longest time I didn't know I had to change to live, even when this realization was placed directly ahead of me on my journey, I had no idea I was traveling on a pathway deeper and deeper into the abyss.  I chose to ignore this. The signposts were invisible in the fog and cloud forest of my creation. I was pushing my wife, my family, my life, away. I was so angry at my son for upsetting the family applecart and hurling it over the precipice, I began to fight everyone who might help me find a way out. I resisted every offer of assistance ignoring angels sent by the Universe. Fortunately for me, for all of us, The Universe doesn't give up easily. The Great Creator smiles on us as we struggle, knowing our time will come.

I had nowhere else to go. I gave up, stopped fighting The Addiction on its own terms and like the first collection of cells that crawled out of the primordial soup countless millennia ago I began a journey for which I had no direction, no goal. I just knew there was life out there for me if I only trusted what I couldn't understand.

Move or die.

Trust the unknown. Follow the signposts, believe in and listen to the angels you find along the way. Don't be afraid to accept the gifts that are there for the taking if you can only believe you are never alone in your journey. Accept that you can change. The transformation that awaits you is nothing short of a miracle. Actually, it IS a miracle.

It's a lot more fun than being a schmuck. Believe me, I know.

. . . keep coming back

"For that one fraction of a second you were open to options you had never considered. That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping the stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknowable possibilities of existence."  ~ Q, to Picard, Star Trek The Next Generation, "All Good Things, Part II"
"The louder our world today is, the deeper God seems to remain in silence. Silence is the language of eternity. Noise passes." ~ Gertrud Von Le Fort