Instead of walking this morning, my brother and I drove to Round Rock to pick up a 2500 galloon rain barrel and an 1100 galloon retention barrel.  We unloaded the rain barrel at his house then delivered the retention barrel at an industrial site in north Temple.  It took most of the morning. Unloading the 380 pound rain barrel alone took effort, but it was something I couldn’t do two months ago. I miss being stronger, miss lifting weights, but I seem to be getting better.

Did ride the bike this afternoon for 37 minutes according to my fitbit.  Light hill work.

Listening to The Stones in Havana. Amazing old goats—just amazing.  I take a peek at the crowds, young faces moving with the music. The same Stones Alan Bloom declared almost appropriately dead in 1987, thank God—The Stones symptomatic of the culture’s decent into meaninglessness and moral decay.  Bloom died in 1992 from AIDS, according to Saul Bellow at least. The Stones on the other hand are playing in Havana.

I switch from the Havana goats, to the younger Mick singing “Emotional Rescue” on Spotify—yes, you could be mine…You climb into a car and don’t look back. A recurring memory. I watch the car pull away not realizing the metaphor.

I was talking to my new rheumatologist Monday.  She treated Melinda a little less than four years ago, I tell her.  For her arthritic hands.  Her hands got better, I told her, but her lungs didn’t. She died. My new doctor sunk a little. She didn’t remember Melinda, but when I said she was practicing in New Mexico, it rang a bell with her. We talked about the possible causes for my inflammation, possible treatments. My test two months ago indicated that I lost two pints of red blood. That doesn’t sound good, but I am getting better. I opted for another blood test next month, then we would go from there.

Somewhere in the soup of talk, she said that life comes with so much pain and hardship. You’re a doctor, I told her. It’s your line of work. The poet knows. He has no choice but to dip into the dark emotions of love, loss, and longing. But this is still a gift, the poet tells her. This very short life—full of laughter and tears. Still, a gift.

None of us survive this. The species won’t survive this, our penchant for preferring idiots and bullies—the earth will cease in a few moments. God blinks and existence is called into being during the interval only to cease just as quickly.

You climb into a car and don’t look back, but it doesn’t matter, don’t you see. It’s only a single scene in the story, and stories don’t really end anymore than they begin. That’s just the convention. Stories simply are.