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Saying Good-bye to Arizona, Nevada & California

July 16th, 2018 No comments

I once drove nine hours straight to the Grand Canyon from San Diego. I was with my X-wife. We ended up on the I-40 driving into the darkness of the night before we arrived at our destination. It was a magical time; 2 free spirits bound by nothing exploring the unknown in a country that we knew relatively nothing about.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a spectacular place and truly a wonder to behold. I’ve heard the North Rim is vastly more beautiful, more rugged and harder to get to but at the time we had to settle for the southern portion of the Grand Canyon. Arizona certainly is a beautiful and hot place and I will miss it.

Las Vegas, Nevada….Reno, Nevada…it’s much the same. Desert life. The warm sun. Seemingly tropical days surrounded by fine food, luxury and some of the strangest people that may walk this earth.

And then there’s Cali. A country on it’s own really but a state according to the constitution. 30% or more of the U.S. military hails from this state and there are more problems there than you or I can imagine. But there is also much beauty and you only have to get in a car and drive to discover places like King’s Canyon National Forest, Borrego Springs, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Mt. Laguna and Julian to name just a few and not really scratch the surface at all.

I once made my life in these 3 states and I made it there with my own nuclear/immediate family. I try to think about it for a moment and wonder if it makes me feel sad that it’s kind of gone. But then I realize that there are so many happy memories in all 3 of these states over the course of several years and I cannot help but rejoice somewhat in the success of my life. Even if the word ‘failure’ sneakily creeps into my mind I still also hear ‘success’.

Yet I have to stop writing now because I am tired even if there is so much more to say. Like what about that time I woke up at 3:30am and drove straight to Texas from Canada? Would I do that again and see the craziness that is the state of Arkansas? That little washroom in that run down gas station where I thought most certainly I would be killed.

But no, here I am writing. Still expressing my thoughts on a forum. And I get to sarcastically mutter to myself “What do I have to do now to get ready for tomorrow because tomorrow is another work day?”

And then with my last thought, usually the one I have before I go to bed (I see her face) and I think to myself “I wonder what my daughter is doing?” And then I fall asleep (never to be heard from again) and we get to do this over again whether the sun is shining or whether it is not.

So if I had a glass to raise right now, I would tip it to the sky and say thank-you to all 3 of these states. Those were days well-lived and I will cherish them forever.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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A Place Called Julian, California

July 12th, 2018 No comments

It’s an unincorporated mountain town in the northeast corner of San Diego. It’s known for its apple pie, small eateries, trinket stores and B & B’s. During the day if you are lucky, a horse and carriage will go by down the street at a slow pace. You can hear the clip clop of the horse’s hooves on the pavement.

As you have lunch on the patio with a deadening glare from the sun and a mountain breeze you can hear the single bark of a brave dog that echoes through the trees and hillside. A white smoke rises up and hovers above the trees and you wonder why you ever have to leave this moment and forge on for the rest of the day and into tomorrow.

You look at the person or people across from you as you eat lunch; you look into their eyes and you wonder if they love you – if they ever loved you. You wonder if you are acceptable of if you are to be accepted. Or have too many things been said, too many feelings slighted or unnoticed. Too many unkind deeds done.

And then maybe you realize that with every single waking breath you are one of the lucky ones and always will be. You have been given and granted aptitudes that fall into the hands of the very few.

And I just sit there at the table with my food in intellectual paralysis imagining the white smoke above the trees and the single bark of the dog that I will never see.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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Driving The Streets of Downtown Brantford, Ontario

July 8th, 2018 No comments

I’m in my car, driving, and I’m on the streets of downtown Brantford. I look over to the adjacent sidewalk and there is a middle-aged man walking. He is mildly unshaven. He looks confused and disheveled and he is reasonably overweight. As I’m waiting at the traffic light I see him wander toward the back of a rickety building that has a wooden staircase up to a back facing apartment. He walks by the wooden staircase and keeps on walking toward some beaten down shrubbery and bushes. The traffic light turns and I get to go on my marry way in my car.

I think for a moment “I wonder what his life must be like and he does not look well”. I shake my head “This is not right and life is not fair”.

My eyes water a little bit and I think in my head “I am lucky…”

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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I Think It’s The Innocence

June 9th, 2018 No comments

It must be our children’s beautiful smiles and warm eyes that melt our hearts. Yes, we remain protective but I think it sort of drops our guard a little bit. I know when I think of my daughter’s beautiful smile and big blue eyes it softens me and makes me feel like more of a human being than anything else. In this way, I think it’s the innocence that does it to us.

As we age and become older we somehow turn into these well-trained lying machines. At any cost, we learn to shield our feelings and never reveal who we really or actually are. No self-disclosure, no trust; just a zero-sum game where we slowly try to whittle or break each other down into a submissive position. That’s right, this ultimately means no sharing as well.

Unfortunately, as my thoughts unwind here, I see a sadistic world. Perhaps my perception is convoluted and I don’t see the world as it really is but for some reason(s) this is my sentiment. Maybe life experience has dealt me this hand and left me with this perception?! In a way, it doesn’t really matter – I am one in a sea of billions and my contribution is limited and may never be felt.

But I resolve to move forward believing that this life is one worth living.
I don’t know what is around the next corner and I see the importance of trying to be optimistic.
I look for the innocence; it softens me.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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Forgiving

June 2nd, 2018 No comments

Forgiving is a tough one. We want so much to get back at the other person or parties and to declare that we are the winner and they are the loser. Win, win, win. We want so much to believe that we emerged victorious and on top and that no one else got the better of us.

But forgiving someone else? How do we do that?

I would suggest you start by focusing on the memory or image or words that hurt so much. Focus on that memory or image or words very intensely and try to cry through it. Cry as much as you, say as many derogatory things as you like (scream too), and feel the pain vibrate out through your stomach. It will likely feel unpleasant but it shouldn’t last too long and you will feel a sense of relief wash over you.

The painful memories may revisit you. If they do, let them build up a little bit until you feel a reasonable amount of internal tension. Acknowledge how the other person or parties wronged or slighted you, cry, let go and reach for forgiveness.

Aren’t you sick of being angry? I know I am. And I don’t discount how useful anger can be for propelling us forward. But forgiveness, sadness and being tearful can feel good. It can heal if only temporarily.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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It’s All In My Head

May 1st, 2018 No comments

Her chin is held high and her feelings are steel. She wanders the restaurant over and over again taking orders for food and drink. She never once complains and she casts her pity toward me. I down another drink because I think in my head that I can hold my own and this poisonous soup will not kill me.

Her smile isn’t for me. She smiles through me and she already has someone and she is happy and secure. She has everything and every move she makes is the act of a magician aggrandizing her position in the most graceful way possible.

And I snap out of it and realize that it’s all in my head and she is actually a kind person that just wants to live her life like everyone else. I am a fool stuck inside of my own head and there’s nothing that my glassy eyes can say. So I go home to lay in the bed that is my coffin (remember Tuesday’s with Morrie?!) I wonder if before I fall asleep a new original thought will enter my head or will it resurface in the morning? The corners of my eyes are sore; both sides of my jaw stiff. I feel like a mechanized machine that is in desperate need of lubrication.

And I come to terms with the fact that it is all in my head and her smile isn’t for me.

My love is eternal. My feelings are real. My eyes are glass.
If only this story could end so our suffering could stop and we could live in peace.

It’s all my head. Is it?

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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The Invincibility Of My Soul

April 14th, 2018 No comments

Two days ago I was in my car in the early morning on my way to work. As usual, I had a Matt Good CD in the player and his music caught the edge of my soul and etched new words into my head. As I listened to his music the only voice I heard was “The Invincibility of my Soul”.

Then I thought about it for a moment and wondered “What do those words actually mean?” Does it mean that no matter how hard people beat me down I will always rise against and find the new day with the brilliant light no matter how cloudy it is? Will I start again no matter how bad I feel about myself and how much I question my worth in a world that judges everything by status and the raging dollar?

I just don’t know how to make sense of all the words and all of the voices. All I do know is that I need to try and believe in myself and realize that what I am doing is important and it impacts people.

And there is something I want you to know. There is something I want my daughter to know. And that is; if I die and am gone tomorrow I want you to know that I loved you…I always loved you. My love burned for you the moment you could intuitively understand what it meant when our eyes came into line and made contact.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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Losing The One You Love

April 2nd, 2018 No comments

What can you say about it?
It’s hard to imagine what can hurt as much. There are some things that hurt more that most of us really don’t want to talk about.

I have lost many. In actual fact, losing has been a big part of my life. As much as I try and hold on and make efforts to repair I think I know in the back of my mind that I must try and let go. As painful as it is; to not think that I am a bad person for wanting for a moment to be selfish, I must try and let go only if it is momentary.

I can’t wrap my head around it any more than this because in my mind I don’t think there is much more to it.

I am strong against loss. It has been a big part of my life.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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Partying in California

March 11th, 2018 No comments

There’s no doubt about it, California is a great place to be, visit and live. It’s expensive though; money to be buried wherever you want it to be in a relatively short period of time. There’s mouth-watering eateries, wineries, amusement parks, recreation centers and pretty much anything else you can think of.

In my 20’s I spent a lot of time at the Hyatt off of La Jolla Village Drive on the border of UTC and La Jolla. Beers, gin and tonics, rum and cokes, the list goes on and on as we let the hours evaporate into the early hours of the morning. Playing pool inside the Hyatt beside the bar watching the comings and goings. People lighting up cigars and sharing casual jokes about God know’s what. Then there’s also “Club M” at the Grand Del Mar. I think I only went there one time and the rum and cokes were very expensive but I’d venture to guess that many people hook up there and share nights and mornings of hot passion; never to see each other again without a care in the world.

But what’s left after all of this is done and the last party is thrown? Tattered friendships, sparse communication and marriages left in shambles. Oh, the golden coast…it all seems so far away now. I once had a life there. I thought I had the world by the tail and we would live our dreams to a maximum. Part of it sickens me. To be so spoiled. To have so much.

God, I miss that place. I miss those times and hold onto my memories.
There have been so many visits over the last 5 years and every time I think about going back for one more I get a bit frightened or I fear that I will be disappointed because I’m older now and I’ve lost a fragment of my energy.

What else is there to say?
That I will try and remain hopeful and do my best to work hard every day and improve myself and believe that life is worth living.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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I Dreamt About You Last Night

February 25th, 2018 No comments

I woke up this morning from a dream of my daughter’s face swirling in my head. God, her face was beautiful and cute all at the same time. In my dream we somewhere in a San Diego community in a gravelly parking lot and she was playing and or fiddling with her stroller. I think she was 2 or 3 at the time. With some scorn I said “Justine, stop fiddling with your stroller”. I took the stroller away from her, folded it up and put it in the back of our SUV. I then went over to her and she asked “Daddy, why are you mad?” I asked back in response “Justine, are you being bad?” We then proceeded to laugh hysterically together as I gazed into her eyes and we held each other.

I awoke from the dream this morning with a feeling of happiness that I can’t describe.

But some days, still, I can’t escape the feeling and reality that she is gone and not really a part of my life anymore. Sure, I’ll see her in a month if everything goes smoothly but it doesn’t change the finality (if that is the right word here).

Sometimes, though, there is a feeling of relief that washes over me that she is with her mother in California. They have a good life there and maybe that is all that really matters. I still worry though; even after 5 and 1/2 years. She is my daughter.

It’d be great to hear from you,

Matthew R. Polkinghorne
289-208-2241

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