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Forty seven is…

Valuing time over possessions.

Enjoying quiet wherever it may be found.

Practicing appreciation more than criticism.

Anticipating the new rather than fearing it.

Knowing enough to know how much you don’t know.

Recognizing who your true friends are.

Letting go of that which causes more pain than joy.

Trying things just because.

Experiencing the world for those who are no longer around to experience it.

Making peace with the past.

Guiding the young.

Comforting the old.

Feeding the strays.

Watching the seasons turn yet again.

Remembering seasons long past.

Choosing love.

Being grateful.

Hoping for the best.

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image from The Dark Crystal, designed by Brian Froud

I don’t get spooky. Not as a rule. I don’t see auras or ghosts, don’t worry too much about whether my chakras are aligned.

But I am and always have been highly empathetic, and that often makes me feel things that drift past most of the people around me. I feel emotional winds blow across the back of my neck, look around for the source, and find I’m the only one who noticed. …

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Sculpture by Alexander Milov

I’ve done it. I’ve given up.

I have done so because a few things have become clear to me.

The purpose of political debate has shifted. These exchanges are no longer for the purpose of persuasion. We, the huddled masses, have had enough taken from us that now we have nothing left but to chase the high of proclaiming our righteousness with the shiny megaphones provided to us by our immortal corporate owners. It makes us feel big when we make others feel small. That is all.

And if this is true…if no one will be persuaded one way or…

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illustration for Kafka’s The Metamorphosis

Whatever we become
From this moment on
Will not be what we were
Embrace that
Or live the rest of whatever is left
In regret
I tell myself
Every day
Only occasionally successfully

I still want to be
Want to see
All the things I was shown
The vast vistas of possibility
Not this eking
This daily plod
Like a brute beast
Where is the food?
Where is the sex?
Where are the threats?

But in many ways We are being brought back to the fundamentals Caring for loved ones Preparing meals Keeping clean Passing the moments One by deliberate…

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image by Wallpaperflare

Everything has its time
And then it ends
Blown away into the dust
Of memory
If that

Which is why
Perched in the highest levels of wisdom
Is finding happiness
In being a part of something wonderful
All the while knowing
That one day
It will cease to be

You may live to see its end
Or your own being may cease beforehand
Hard to say which is more difficult

I have watched many beautiful moments pass
Into the sunset
Never to return
I miss them
But am the better for having seen them
When they were in full flower

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photo by Edward Brown

We see what we need to see.

My whole life long, I have balanced the yang of my father’s misanthropy with the yin of my mother’s ability to see the good in everything. It’s a combination I credit with remaining alive for forty-six years, overactive empathy nodes weary but largely intact.

When I was nine years old, we moved from the modest Fort Worth suburb of River Oaks to three acres outside of Weatherford, Texas, a change which was more important than I could have realized at the time.

Viewed by outsiders, the Parker County seat might be seen as…

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On this day, with images of unmarked vans and faceless mercenaries radiating across my screen, it feels like some zero-day moment is coming. A BC/AD transition that historians will mark ever after.

Maybe it already happened. Maybe that’s what I felt on November 8, 2016. That seismic shift under my feet, the sickening lurch into an alternate universe. The wrong timeline. The abyss.

The workings of history do not operate so simply, of course. The wave that broke that day had built for decades. The pardoning of Nixon, the rise of Friedman and Rand, the Chicago School experiments in Latin…

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image by Alan Smithee

I don’t dream
Not as much as I used to
So when I do
It makes me think

This one was odd Hanging out with friends Driving around town We needed a place to crash So I took them to my grandmother’s house It was empty, my key worked We were there a few hours Until I saw a car pull up in the driveway And suddenly remembered My grandmother died over a year ago Her kids sold the house Someone else lives here now They came in And I had to spend an hour explaining myself Managed to talk…

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image by emubz

It amazes me now
How impressive it was to me
That drive to live beyond
The grave
The ordinary
The normal
Flowers watched, unfazed
Mountains couldn’t be bothered
They were wiser than I
Alone of all the planet’s inhabitants
Only man dares
Through struggle
Against odds
Sundering all around him
For a chance to write his name
In a ripple of water

A fight I once admired A folly I can never forget The blinkers Applied in youth Once removed Can never be replaced Without the wearer knowing The true world is so much bigger Than a man can ever…

Matthew Broyles

writer, musician, amateur historian, someone’s dad

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