Never gonna give it up

by Lorin Michel Sunday, May 22, 2016 10:46 PM

There are some days that give meaning to life, that make you glad to be alive in this time, in this moment. They don’t occur often. Sometimes these moments involve a changing event, like the birth of a child, the acquiring of a puppy, a marriage. More often, these moments are attached to nothing but the universe. It’s a feeling, and it happens without warning. You’re driving along with the top out and the windows down, the music blasting. The road is a series of curves, long and winding, easy. You downshift and then you upshift, moving up toward the sky. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the trees impossibly green. 

And it hits you. This is joy. Unencumbered, unemotional. It simply is life defined. At its most pure. There is no one that’s responsible. Your joy isn’t contingent on another person being involved. There isn’t a situation that needs to develop. There isn’t a relationship that needs to start. It is already there. You are the person that’s involved; you are the situation. You are the relationship. And you’re here. 

I know. I’m being cryptic. I don’t mean to be. Our friend Tammy was here this weekend. She came in yesterday morning and we did nothing but hang out and enjoy. We went to this fabulous Mexican restaurant yesterday afternoon and had table-made fresh salsa and appetizers. We had dinner on the deck last night with a fire in the fireplace. It was cool, not cold, and the fire was more for ambiance than heat. It was lovely. We had wine, we talked; we laughed.

This morning, we decided to head up to Mount Lemmon for breakfast. Kevin asked Tammy if she’d like to go on the motorcycle. She grinned. I said I’d follow in the Porsche. I showed Tammy how to get up on the bike (it takes a bit of a contortionist move to do so); I helped her hook up the strap on her helmet. Off they went. I pulled the Porsche out of the garage and followed. 

It was a beautiful morning, just after 9. The sky was clear, the temperature was hovering in the upper 70s. I put both windows down; the roof still out. I grabbed my Patriots baseball hat, popped a CD into the stereo since I don’t have satellite in this car.

We climbed and climbed and climbed. I watched the bike in front of me, carrying my husband and my good friend. To either side, the green of the desert. The cactus gave way to trees which gave way to pine. Up we went, until it seemed we had entered into a forest. The temperature had dropped at least 20 degrees. The air coming in through the open windows was cool. The pine trees were dense. The greenery was heavy. The rock formations glowed. I felt complete, whole. Overjoyed. I rounded a corner and the green completely obscured any other view. Through my Maui Jim’s, the colors came alive. Deeper blues, richer greens, clearer air. I breathed it all in, I watched it all.

And it occurred to me, this is what life is all about. The clarify of beauty. The reality of nothing special and yet everything … special. 

Several weeks ago, I wrote about listening to Al Jarreau in the Porsche. I thought of his music today, of the purity of it, of how it has always made me feel. Happy and in the moment. I thought about one song: Never gonna give it up.

I'll never give it up, never gonna give it up, even when this life is over
Never give it up, never gonna give it up, even when this life is over
Never give it up, never gonna give it up, even when this life is over
I'll be content in time

I’ll never give up this feeling, this moment, this complete purity. Not now, not ever. It’s what living it out loud is all about.

The bewildering case of the 52” table saw and why we absolutely, positively cannot live without one

by Lorin Michel Saturday, August 30, 2014 10:42 PM

The road to Catalina starts out as six lanes, narrows to four and then becomes a two lane highway. It winds north of the city, into an area that has become the definition of a bedroom community. There are beautiful homes that all look mostly alike, with slight variances in color from desert tan to light terra cotta. They are neatly arranged on equally neat and small pieces of land, landscaped with sparse saguaros, plentiful ocotillos and chollas, mesquite trees and birds of paradise. During the summer, there is rarely any life outside, save the hawks circling above, as everyone stays inside where temperature controlled central air conditioning leads to a false sense of comfort. Kids play basketball and tennis on their Wii for exercise. Even the dogs are inside. It was into this community that we drove this morning in search of a table saw that the husband unit found on Craig’s List and decided that we needed.

We have a table saw, I pointed out. It’s a piece of crap, he said.

But you’ve used it to build some lovely pieces of furniture, I said. I referenced the entertainment center, the credenza in the bedroom, the bed frame in the guest room that was once a queen size loft bed for Justin, complete with a curved staircase rather than a ladder. It’s been perfectly fine up until now.

It’s a piece of crap, he reiterated.

I had gone along begrudgingly. It’s Saturday and I’m not big on just hanging back in the house alone because that might mean I’d have to do something like clean and while I desperately need to dust, I wasn’t in the mood. I also wasn’t particularly in the mood to buy a table saw when we already have one. But it’s a long weekend. There are plenty of days left.

We made our way north to Oracle and continued on into Catalina. Civilization got more and more sparse. There were few homes and no shopping to speak of. There was a place called the Catalina Marina, which made us both laugh. It’s in the middle of the desert. There wasn’t so much as a puddle visible, but it was a boat place. There was a Mexican restaurant called Lulus, and a barbecue place called Bubb Grub.

We should ride out here some day, when your back is feeling better, I mentioned, meaning on the motorcycle. He nodded.

It’s supposed to be 16 miles and then we’re supposed to continue on Saddlebrooke, he said as we meandered through the nothingness. Because of all the rain we’ve had, the desert is remarkably green. If lush could be used to describe what can be a desolate landscape, I would say lush. To the east, the Santa Catalina Mountains reached high into the blue of the sky, the jutted, craggy rocks stark. Below them, on the hills, more greenery. It was striking. Beautiful.

As the road split, there was a sign for Oracle. We had passed a turn for something called Saddlebrook Boulevard about four miles earlier but the directions said to continue on. We decided the directions were wrong and turned around, made our way to Saddlebrook and turned. As we climbed a hill and began to descend into a valley, a sea of houses met us. Entrance ways into communities beckoned, stucco walls with metal sculptures and the names of each development. We turned on Desert Bluff and found ourselves in the middle of a neighborhood. We quickly found the house. The owner of the saw was in his garage. Even I knew immediately that whatever saw he had, the 52” that we had come to look at, was going to be in remarkable shape, pristine.

The man, Jim, had just about every kind of tool imaginable, all well cared for, clean, in neat order. He was a wood worker who, in the past, had built furniture, but he had recently turned his efforts to making classical guitars and wooden clocks. A table saw was no longer needed.

OK. You need a new table saw, I whispered and my husband started to laugh.

And that’s how we came to own a new used table saw that I was pretty sure we didn’t need but now understand why we absolutely, positively cannot live with out.

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