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GOOD AND EFFECTIVE
USE OF TIME

     I'd guard my moments better if I knew how. They slip and fall away from me moment by moment. I turn around and it's tomorrow...and then tomorrow again; and I've so little to speak to or lay claim as a good use of time. So I sometimes hold my breath, or at least slow my breathing, to draw down the ticking clock's pace. To slow the moments. Then I have a good use of time, at least a little better than before.

     But then I ask myself what's it matter either way? For bad or good use, time will slip away. Our deeds, efforts and actions will pass. The universe will cool. All will one day end. Why bother in the face of a universe without apparent purpose?

     But remember I can decide my purpose. I have decided my purpose. And I will live that purpose. To be a father. And to be good - where good is the pursuit of the well-being of thinking creatures. So I'll say no to the futile conclusion of nihilism. No, to a life without meaning or purpose. And no to death without having first lived a good life. And for this reason I strive to make good use of my time. I strive to live well. To be a good man. To overcome despair. And to make good and effective use of these moments as they come. Now, unto the end.

Notes from my muse

There’s a small bridge under Route 66 near Siberia where I would sometimes hide from the summer heat last year. It was a terrific place for writing about the desert, as I could peek out from the cool shade at the shimmering 115-degree inferno wastes. The rare car or truck on the Mother Road punctuated the silence from time-to-time as it rolled by overhead. I startled enormous lean jackrabbits sometimes, when they came bounding in from the heat, not expecting me. It was a good place to write, down there under that bridge. My own desert den and study. Just had to mind the rattlesnakes.

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A drawback to social media is the fact that whatever life we choose to curate and share is always only one part of the picture. The fact that we can so easily dilate or restrict the lens of sharing creates presentations of life of varying degrees shadow and light. Sometimes it simply makes sense to shut down the apparatus altogether in order to focus on the one life we really get to live.

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Small Truths are used to assemble a weak fortress of certitude around the soft, vulnerable underbelly of doubt. Gather enough of these, and holler the fact of our assertion loud enough, and few will draw near. Our ignorance will remain safe another day, and in plain sight for all to see.

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Since returning to America I’ve always stopped at the ghost town of Bagdad to remember the community and people who were once here. All that remains is this single salt cedar tree, surrounded by a ring of rocks. A mystery of this place was the fact that the dirt within the ring was always nicely raked, as if someone had just been by to run a metal rake along the inside, forming perfectly symmetrical concentric lines, reminiscent of the rake lines I remember in the gravel of Japanese temples. The lines were always here, year in and year out. So fresh I thought I’d just missed the person doing the raking. I imagined an old timer was behind this work. Someone very old, and who once lived in Bagdad - perhaps as a child - during the 1920s or 30s. Maybe they now live nearby, in Amboy or Ludlow? Coming out to care for the tree and the memories it enshrines. Stopping by again today, I find there are no rake lines in the sand. And the ground within the ring is cluttered with small stones, sticks and entropy. I wonder what happened to the ghost town caretaker? Are they gone? Is the town now truly dead?

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I’d borrow some moments if I could. No, I wouldn’t. Because I know that is not possible. And I’d be a fool if I even tried.

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Made it to the bridge. Very nice below. Like coming in from a storm. Now I can get to work...

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After a productive hour of philosophy beneath the bridge, I’ve hoofed it back to the bike for a cup of coffee. There’s a blast-furnace wind blowing, sucking all the water out of me. I’m gonna hide for a while in the shade of the ghost town ruins before hiking back to the bridge.

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The desert wind has grown gossipy as the sun goes down. So much to say.

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If my desert outing this week was a fishing trip then I’d say the catch wasn’t so good. Lots of heat. Lots of sweat. Some mild delirium. And a burned and sore body. However this wasn’t a fishing trip. And the catch from journeys like this may not appear for days, weeks, months or years. That’s what I call good fishing.

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The good use of time is compensation for no time left to live.

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Going to the summertime desert alone to think is like harvesting pistachios. One good jolt to the system and ideas fall everywhere on the ground.

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If you ever want to really appreciate and enjoy the experience of a crowded Walmart on a Saturday, just spent the day and night prior alone in a summertime desert ghost town.

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I will henceforth refer to the state, condition and experience of Going Alone as a “solitude.”

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ABOUT

Going Alone was begun by Kurt Bell in an effort to help others understand and manage  the recognition of the apparent indifference of the universe to our well being, happiness or even our existence, and to find ways to make a good life in spite of this fact.

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