About robertedahl

Husband, Father, Brother, Friend, Jogger (40,000 miles and I've stopped counting), Cyclist, Kayaker, Hiker, Camper

Wishing, a Prelude to Wisdom

On a bad day, confronted by a supercilious, condescending, misguided “do-gooder,” who took his impression and assumption for fact and accused a dog walker of undue anger in relating to his dog, the dog walker was, in fact, using his voice to let the dog know his displeasure. The man, stopping his vehicle, then decided to psychoanalyze the dog walker in the parking lot of a local grocery store. The dog walker who had been frustrated by the behavior of the dog and the dog’s misguided desire to run out into traffic, really did become angry when erroneously called out by the pompous passerby, which, of course, played right into the hands of the uppity driver of the late-model Range Rover with, making the encounter that much more irritating, a peace sign inscribed on the plastic frame around the customized license plate which spelled out “PEACE.” The driver, anything but a peacemaker, obviously enjoyed his “Gotcha” encounter. The dog walker, anger growing, turned on his heels and walked away with the dog in tow.

The dog walker carried that experience with him for a day and then read vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit in a meditation. Gleaned perhaps from the Oracle of Delphi, Carl Jung had etched it above his door and followed it with a quote from the Psalms. The writer of the meditation paraphrased it as “…in the long run, whether you call on [God] or don’t call on [God], God will be present with you.” Jung had added, “Awe of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom,” Psalms 11.10.

The dog walker wished in the subjunctive tone, otherwise known as hindsight, that if he were able to relive the situation, he would have called upon the presence of God as something other than a swear word.

He thought to himself, Ah, the subjunctive, wishful thinking, golf’s “mulligan.” If we thought more in the little used subjunctive, the “if it were” instead of the finality of “it was,” then the next time that subjunctive might just become the objective indicative or the non-reactionary imperative or, at the very least, a legitimate interrogative, as in, “What’s happening here?” and I might have seen the face of Jesus in that passerby. And that would have been wise and beneficial for the passerby, me and the rambunctious Chocolate Lab. Now, about that irritating proclamation in capital letters on the license plate on a Range Rover of all things…. Wouldn’t it (he thought in the interrogative) be better suited to an old, beat up Volkswagen camper?

A Hospitable Place

There is space here.
There is a place with
space here. You can
breathe freely, come
and go, sit for
awhile or stand and
stretch like my
Chocolate Lab does
first thing in the
morning after a sound
sleep eager to get out
into the cold, brisk
day and then prance
back in for something
to eat. It is a joy
to watch her in her
safe space. She had
it rough for about
six years but she
is safe now and you
can see it in her
eyes as she sits
and waits for a
treat and hear it
in her soft snores
while she sleeps
contentedly in
the big chair
in the spacious
great room. It
is that kind of
space and we
all need to be
free in that kind
of space, a place
for you, me and
Thee. It is called
Le Coeur as in
courage or, if you
prefer, simply —
the heart.

Calling Madame Secretary

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, in a recent interview,
described fascism as “a bully with an army.” She stopped short of
calling, the person she labels as the most undemocratic US president
ever, Donald J. Trump a fascist. She said if he calls a national
emergency at the southern border she may have to reconsider that.
Calling Madame Secretary.

“I Wonder” Land

We’re overloaded on fascist rants, the Pulitzer winner said.
Really? It’s only 8:30 and I’m headed to bed.

Nothing of importance is getting done in the land.
I’ve always wanted to be Alice in Wonderland.

I look at the president and think of the Cheshire Cat
And want to cover his orange hair with the Mad Hatter’s hat.

I now have my wish to put this down in verse
While gazing at a parallel universe.

And why am I wondering about any of this?
Climate change is going to bury all of us.

So I think after I rise
And get a pie thrown in my eyes

To Laurel and Hardy I will bow.
With the Three Stooges start a row.

With the Marx Brothers recite the tau
While riding the roller coaster Dow.

Please tell me this is all a bad dream.
Dr. Strangelove’s flying on a moon beam.

The paper moon jumped over the cow.
Lipstick on the snout of a sow.

Say goodnight, Gracie.
Goodnight, Jim Bob.

A Sentence Completion Quiz

In this case, it requires distance. 
Normally, it would require presence.
At least it would feel more substantial
because the person would be there
to hear the necessary words:

Please forgive me. 
I forgive you. 
I love you.

However, in this case, the distance 
of years and absence of substance 
because of death become the effectual 
and necessary combination to say those 
same words. 

Why? Too many triggers — 
reminders (expected and assuredly delivered) 

so instead of having 
				to fight those battles 
         weave around those obstacles 
            step with tippy-toes through 
                               those mine fields, 
one can 
            begin to see 

(perhaps, even in one’s life and one’s 
responses to life, some of the good 
things that had gotten through and 
mirrored and sometimes that thing 
or those things pop out and give 
us the Ah, ha! moment) 

the good and then appreciate and, 

in blessed absentia and because it 
is in absentia, it is for the speaker, 
the one who has the substance and 
stands or sits right here and  says:

Please forgive me.
I forgive you. 
I love you.  

And, perhaps, then to another or others
of substance, 

“I have a new appreciation for…(fill 
in the blank).”


I Keep Thinking

I keep thinking there is something to be learned here that
will serve us all well in the future (Maybe that’s just my
late mother’s practicality showing through.) — something
like, we should figure out what started going wrong in the
70’s which culminated in the election of 2016.

That probably would be a good thing for professors of
economic, social and political science to do, but in
the mean time, more and more, I just sit like I did
in sixth grade watching my classmate Frank play pocket
pool while explaining for the umpteenth time how the
dog ate his homework and then hearing the teacher shout,
“Frank, get your hands out of your pants and keep them
out,” when contemplating whatever news comes out of this
White House.

The White House is a lot like Frank who lived the
classic definition of insanity. Frank, apologizing,
took his hands out of his pockets pledging never to
put them back just to return them to his pockets
over and over and over.

To Frank’s credit, it probably was just a fear reaction
giving him momentary comfort, a reaction which, hopefully,
went away in time.

Unfortunately, for the White House, and therefore for us,
there is no pledge to change. The craziness just goes on
and on and on. And maybe that’s the new definition of
insanity — never having to pledge doing something
different and never having to say you are sorry while
doing the same thing over and over and over even though
most of us know what is happening over and over and
over is insane and driving us insane.

And so, in that, perhaps we are not so unlike Inspector
Clouseau’s captain.

A Stumbling, Bumbling, Uncomfortable, Awkward, Hypothetical Conversation by a White Guy

We are suffering apart but at least
you have community in that suffering.
Community suffering is something that
we really don’t know and therefore we

don’t even know how to acknowledge
suffering and so we suffer silently
without really knowing what it is
because we are all in denial — unlike

you standing on the street corner under
the light of Michigan and 111th, sharing
a bottle in a plain paper bag, while we
sit at home watching sports and then you

get it on Saturday night at the jive joint
as they call it on NPR radio on Saturday
night or you visit one-of-a-kind mom and
pop restaurants with roast beef or meat-

loaf specials and we visit upscale bistros
nodding causally at casual acquaintances
as they pass, while you, together, cautiously
enter the mean streets looking out for Mr.

Charley in a blue suit and we just get up
and go home to have an early evening in
preparation for our orderly community
gathering on a Sunday morning but, in real-

ity, is simply, in fact, a place of ethnic
justification, while we near unconsciously,
ceremoniously and perfunctorily pass a
plate of wafers and tiny cups of grape

juice while listening to nice music and
then go home and have the minister for
lunch because he started stepping on our
toes and we don’t pay him for that and

maybe you do that, too, so that’s, at least,
something we have in common and, of course,
I’m generalizing and stereotyping and probably
glamorizing your black suffering like we

whites do with Indians, but, seriously, given
things as they are, I don’t know what else to
do, and so I hope I, at least, got a little
something right and maybe I should just shut

up and listen. Sorry about the white privilege.

A Stone Rolled Along

A Stone rolled along
and bumped
into the Trump stump
speech saying, “You
need to pick
a campaign shtick
to wave around
at your rallies,
like a whip
whipping the
into shape
so you can
get elected
That campaign
is now making
the nation sick
with pseudo-psycho-
and temperatures
rising over
whether or not
to build that
border wall,
which is just
a shtick
making our nation
with pseudo-psycho-dis-ease,
some calling, “Sanity, please!”
while the pseudo-president shouts,
“This is a national emergency!”
and president Laura
says, “I love the drama
leading to trauma,
because it makes
more money for Rush,
Fox, and me,
the pseudo-news