job · penguins · people

About Rainbows You Can’t See

I had a great conversation with a mother and daughter outside the Penguin Encounter during a Magellanic feeding. The mother, maybe fifty-something, had lavender-died hair, and the daughter had tattoos of birds flying up past her collarbone and onto her neck. I invited them back to see the penguins at the PE because they were such good convo, and because they talked about having volunteered at the Portland Aquarium in younger years. I love zoo fans, and fans of animals who exhibit their love of winged and other things in permanence on their person.
Later, I received a phone call from the PE gift shop.
“Hello–um–there’s a man here whose daughter is doing a project on penguins. Can someone come see them and answer some questions?”
“I’ll be right out.”
I dig on this stuff.
“Hello. I’m Thom.”
“Dave. I’m a science teacher up in Temecula. Can you answer some questions for my daughter? She’s doing a project. This is her second year in a row talking about penguins.”
“I’m your guy.”
I meet Christina, who is six and has a shirt exclaiming ‘Big Sister.’ ‘Little Sister’ had a likewise shirt and was holding Science Dave’s hand.
“Hello, Christina. Nice to meet you.” (Science Dave walks away with ‘Little Sis’, and I’m left with Mom and Christina).
Christina is shy, and I used to be, too.
“I hear you’re doing a project, Christina? What about?”
“Emper penguins.”
“You came to the right place. Only three zoos have them, and you’d have to fly in a plane to see the all the others. What’re your questions?”
And I sat down on the bench between Christina and her mother, and although Christina made up the questions, Mom had to whisper to her daughter what she wanted to ask.
SMART questions. Kids are incredible.
“Why, Thom, do Emperors have yellow on them?”
I look to Mom briefly.
“How old are you again, Christina?”
“Do you know the rainbow, Christina?”
And she recites the cascading colors, red through to violet.
“Guess what–penguins don’t see very well the top of the rainbow, but they see things we don’t. They see things beyond violet. They see ULTRA-violet. And every yellow feather on an Emperor, every little white fleck on a Gentoo’s head, every Macaroni crest have all this UV glitter and it’s how they see each other and make friends.”
This is all uber-scientific and beyond a six-year old, but Mom types notes into her cell-phone anyway.
“Do you like unicorns, Christina?”
She smiles, “Yes.”
“Well, penguins are unicorns in a way. They see glitter, and they sparkle. We just can’t always see it, but they’re pretty special. Can I get a high-five?”
And Christina slaps my hand.
“Good luck on your project, Friend. You asked really good questions.”
She smiles, probably relieved that she’s done having talked to a stanger who smells of fish and who has ten keys jangling off his belt-loop.
But this kinduv stuff makes my day. Christina, tattooed girl, and lavender-haired Mom: thank you for loving the animals and for showing interest beyond the norm. You make my life.

politics · Uncategorized

Let Us Not Talk Falsely

At a recent blogger conference, the conversation inevitably turned to the current geopolitical situation, enough to suddenly train everyone’s tines face-up at the table. There were terse and worried words laced with an otherwise and nervous humor. A friend quoted, ‘Humor is the anesthesia before one begins to operate.’ And operation—it does seem necessary each successive day one opens up a social media feed, else turns on the TV.

The German expatriate Bertolt Brecht was graver in his summary of things back in 1936, and when he was less about anesthetic humor than he was of bile. From his self-imposed exile in Denmark, where Brecht fled Germany’s rising fascism, he penned a three-part poem, ‘To Those Born Later’. He wrote: “What kinds of times are they, when/ A talk about trees is almost a crime/ Because it implies silence about so many horrors?” This was simultaneously a lament and an urge to action.

Perhaps it’s what the thief, too, of Dylan’s ‘All Along the Watchtower’ meant when he said: “So let us not talk falsely now/ The hour is getting late.” He said this to the joker, who just wanted a way out.

Is the hour getting late? And why would even the thief say so?

Progress is at peril currently. So many years fought clawing for equality, only to be disrupted by a single election cycle with an ideological wrench meant to stop the gears.

Climate change is hastening. It used to be that, “Is there life on Mars?’ was rhetorical whimsy; now leading scientists are asking, “Can there be life on Mars?” Stephen Hawking himself wonders aloud if the next great exodus need be next-planet bound.

LGTBQ rights seemed guaranteed, thirty-five years after Stonewall, and when the White House itself lit up in explosive rainbow colors following the Supreme Court verdict to uphold and normalize same-sex marriage. Now new stonewalls, both literal and figurative, are on the build.

‘Your tired, your poor, the tempest-tossed’ are specific words chiseled into the copper and steel Lady who welcomes all into Ellis Island, who simultaneously guards against what used to be only-overseas tyranny. Executive Orders from within are eroding her pedestal with the merest scratch of a pen.

A woman’s right to choose is being hastily dismantled frame-by-frame through White House photo ops, which feature suited men only, all smirking.

Ferguson is sidestepped by rhetorically-dismissive rallies of ‘All Lives Matter’, campaigners with one hand on a picket sign, the other a cold dead one clutching the handle of a gun.

The new Dept. of Education misspells its first victories while heralding privatization of a publically secured right.

Democracy is questioned as Election Night numbers create a sudden and new math.

Let us not talk falsely now, let us not talk of trees.

It’s important to know that regress has its speed bump in the vanguards of progress. History is not always just about figureheads, but also about people’s movements. Advocates, many times anonymous, are the actual element of change; progress is either raised or restored when collective voices rise to defeat a fast-seeming decline.

In which case, humor sometimes does act as anesthesia; a talk of trees is an almost crime, but not exactly one; change operates with forbearance and community and the need to exactly resist.

Raise progress.


First Sleep, Second

Night became fashionable when wax candles were first installed in glass globes down Parisian avenues, the Rue Montmartre and otherwise cobbled pathways advertising all-night coffeehouses and dawn-to-dusk conversation. In marrying the crepuscular hours, forgetting there are necessary winks and wake-ups when caffeine is the unnecessary late night vehicle, Paris destroyed the natural circadian model. It is the City of Light, after all, though we in part need the dark. Someone, please, blow out the candles.

There used to be first-sleep, and second-sleep. It’s well-documented in both anthropology and literature. Though modern science extols the virtue of eight-hours’ sleep, what’s been forgotten is that said eight hours could—and perhaps should—occur in small blocks. Waking up does not necessitate insomnia, though modernity tricks us into being anxious when suddenly we find ourselves staring at the ceiling fan come 2 a.m. Waking up is normal in the middle of the night, we’ve just forgotten that this is natural and actually exists to alleviate the anxiety the idea of insomnia otherwise foments.

Wake up, wake up. Enjoy the dark.

First sleep lasts until the blankness of your inner eyelids matches the slate of the pre-Aurora sky. Waking up in the dark means there’s no jarring difference between being awake and asleep.

Historically, this is when people stretched and walked around, pupils not having to re-adjust to any change in light. It’s when some people stayed in bed and prayed, others choosing to visit their neighbors. It’s when familiars to the dark took to their tobacco or to their bedfellows, when stars shine their finest.

Cayde has been excited sometimes about the comet-storms that generally come at inconvenient hours, early morning before the coffee has yet to percolate, but well after the late-night news. I’ve told Cayde he needs to stay in bed. What he’s missed. The night sky happens when everyone urges sleep.

Don’t sleep at 2 a.m. That’s when all the quiet noisily happens.

I used to fall upwards in the one-digit hours, awake and velcroed to the ceiling. Perspective. It used to be that I’d lie awake and hear the claxons of nocturnal birds near-taunting me, feathered things in the tree outside with calls that imitated the alarm soon to come.

I wake up now, always 2 a.m., and lie in bed thinking. Finn joins us on the mattress roundabout the same hour, he the perfect example of first, second sleep. I fold my hands behind my head, and write stories, head perfectly buzzing. I am calm in not sleeping. It’s natural; I hear the birds outside, and never worry about being too tired in the morning. The opposite holds true.

Being awake at 2 a.m. means being more awake at 6. And when the alarm goes off, mechanical birds with mechanical klaxons, there is the thought that being in the dark first, and before the light, informs everything.
Blow out your candles.

Dad 2.0 · people

Dad 2.0; Vignette Four

I was first to sit in the Main Room in wait of Mike Cruse’s reading. There was a host of tables to choose from, and my usual modus op would’ve had me select the back table, to the left. I don’t know why so GPS-specific.

Well—back table, because I’ve always been part of the assorted bustle in the ‘Peanut Gallery’; to the left may be an accident of ideology. I always default to the left. Perhaps wish I were left-handed like DaVinci, Escher, or Michelangelo. Or at least Macca, with his restrung bass. This way, I could pretend to be in a league of creative elites by manner of genetic predisposition.

Being the first to select a seat in the conference hall, though, I chose middle-middle. The experiment: ‘Who’s gonna sit with me, when people file in?’

At the SanFran Summit, at LucasFilm, I sat in a recessed corner with my guac and chips. Kevin McKeever sat his tray across from me as rescue, and, swinging a leg over the cafeteria bench, said: “What—you didn’t make any fucking friends today?”

Others joined—old DadCentric folk—and I was relieved. I’m generally a nervous wreck; I only recently learned how to speak.

At the middle table in the Hyatt, during the quiet of an empty conference room, I cracked open my laptop and set my phone at right angle to it. I am OCD and believe in setting up a station accordingly—the things we do to make ourselves comfortable when cornered with openness. I typed maybe two sentences before a tidal wave of swag bags and backpacks were heaped on the table next to me.

“Hey, Jay!”

“Thom—how are you?!”

Jay Sokol. I hadn’t expected to see him. With all the busy thread-making in preparation for the conference, Jay had posted:

‘Might not make it. MIL just passed.’

I, guiltily, had not garnered a response.

‘Goddammit’, we sometimes say, and to ourselves without touching a keyboard to reach out.

I like Jay. He exudes kindness and has been present at every Dad event I’ve been present for. Always a disarming presence, always with a half-smile—gracious and effusively polite. He’s met my kid—the younger one—and I was able to tour the Sokol family at SeaWorld to show them penguins.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Jay—I really am.” I lost my MIL before she actually became one, dead from a failed brain surgery while my wife and I were planning our wedding.

Jay looks almost wan, wisened, or maybe just tired. But he wears his gentle smile and dismisses my apologies. We talk, and I close my laptop.

“You know what, Thom?” he says. “I have a hard time looking at the internet sometimes.”

We all do, unless we force ourselves to, like some pried-eyed Burgessian Alex, seizing on the current news.

“And I only met your son for a few minutes, but sometimes I look for him, and he makes me feel better.”

My son, the unicorn—Findlay of the red hair and extra chromosome—he does make everyone feel better, especially me. But my heart grows three sizes hearing Jay say as much, without him knowing I’ve been through similar loss, and that I have similar gain in the fact of Findlay just being Findlay.

I am sensitive to loss, but also to gain—I remember Jay’s kid chasing a duck-butted penguin on the grass at my work—and I’m thankful that, in an empty conference room, Jay surprised me by filling the seat to my RIGHT.

Thanks, Dude of the House; thanks Mr. Sokol. Thanks for sitting next to me.

Cayden · family · home · job · parenting · penguins · Uncategorized

Satori With Shoes On

Cayde wanted to stay home today, and he was specific: WITH DADDY. I walked in on him in the bathroom, lingering over the toilet bowl with a pained expression on his face. He has learned the art of play-acting, and he employs it when he can. Mommy and Daddy are smart though. We cross our arms, and gently call him out when we know, exactly, that he’s not telling the truth.

When he did have the flu, a few weeks back, he was surprised at himself vomiting.

“Why does my throat burn?” he asked.

I explained bile, stomach acid. We all have languages of love, and Cayde and I talk science on the daily. It’s how we sometimes connect.

“Does this mean I’ll have a hole burn through my neck?” he panickedly asked, the fact of ‘acid’ widening his eyes.

“No, no, no. Calm down, Kid. You’re fine. The body’s good at keeping everything in.”
From this exchange, I learned my kid has been faking it all the times he might’ve said, ‘Daddy, I barfed.’

No, Cayde. No you didn’t barf all those times you said you did.

But I forgive you for fibbing.

I dress him for school and he keeps flopping on the bed, play-acting and pretending himself inconsolable.

“Jeezus, Cayde, I CAN’T stay home. And if Mama’s gonna stay home with you, she’s gotta go to school first. She’ll need a sub. Tie your shoes. You HAVE to be there for the morning, THEN Mama can take you home if that’s how it has to be. Please. GET DRESSED.”

I dress Finn, too, in the meanwhile. We like to put him in a neckerchief. People ask if he’s a ‘cowboy’ or conductor’. My neighbor asks this, actually, as we put Finn in the van, today.

“No—it’s just his flare,” we say referring to the double-knotted gingham round his neck. .
The neckerchief is just cute, and frankly it catches the drool.

At work, I’m in between buildings, the Penguin Encounter and the Avian Center. There’s been re-structure recently. I’ve taken care of all manners of feathered things in my career, and now I get to ferry between both places, prepping diets, throwing grain to waterfowl and feeding otherwise penguins beaks with fish. I love it.
But I get stuck today trying to figure out my shift. It’s new to me, although I’ve worked the gamut at SW. I employ hands to help me, I get caught up, and then draw my finger down a prescribed shift sheet in search of the next task.
“Ok—looks like I hafta do med inventory.”
Soldierly, I walk back to the PE and start opening cabinets and eyeing prescription bottles. I write things down. We need this, we need that. A tour files into the building. I smile and wave, ‘Hello.” A little girl starts crying—a terrified cry—and I look up confusedly.
“Hey, could you close that cabinet?” I’m asked.

No one has told me this is a ‘Make-a-Wish Tour.’

I put everything away, quick.

This three year-old girl is crying crying crying.

She has terminal brain cancer. In her mind, where there is no suspension of disbelief, she thought she was walking into a building where she was just going to (and did) meet penguins. She then saw an open cabinet with all those amber bottles lined up, things we dispense to analgesically treat our aged birds.

We’re good at what we do. We’re excellent at what we do, and our new scientific and revolutionary endeavor comes down to the most basic thing: comfort. Our birds live three times longer than they would otherwise. They are comfortable and happy and they are well. They tell us by still laying eggs and singing to us in the doorways. To be a zookeeper is not have our song be defined by the jangling of keys, but to be defined—more accurately—by how we shout, ‘Good night, Kids!’ every night we close the door, and while we look forward to seeing them tomorrow.

This girl: she cried and cried. She thought the bottles were for her.

I tell my boss I’m gonna take a long lunch.

Sometimes I drive home during a lunch break, to terra firma, to my house—only to look around for a few minutes, just to remind myself of my wife and kids—before getting back in the car, driving back to work, and roughing it through the closing hours of my shift.

I call my boss once back home. I ask: “Do you think you can cover the rest of my shift? I need to stay home.”

Turns out the tour went great. I mean, penguins. C’mon.

This girl, her frightened cries—it sincerely haunted me. Finn had his chest cranked open when he was three months old. Doctors fixed his heart, and Finn took his medicine smilingly. He’s alive and is four and is the light of my life.

“I’m ok. It’s ok,” I say as assurance to my boss while I speak on the phone. I am far from unwell, though I’m in tears. I’m uniquely strong; I can handle this. I just need respite for a minute.

“Take care of your family, take care of yourself,” she decides and I hear a guarded smile through the receiver.

You see, I figured something out on the drive back home, and before calling work:

Cayde, who is encyclopedic and sensitive and much too ME, I guess, realized before I did today, that Jan. 30 is my Grandma’s birthday. (She died of cancer a couple of years ago). He wanted to stay home with me today because he wanted to console me, wanted me to console him. It’s why he was play-acting sick

.And I, accidentally, ruined a cancer-stricken girl’s day, by holding a cabinet door open and accidentally exposing her to things that she thought would maybe make her sick again, at least sick to her stomach. And we all need to be comfortable before we go. God, I really fucked that one up, even if by accident.

I know it’s not my fault. Everyone has said so, and I trust them. It hurt, though. A LOT. And it hurt me when I put my kids’ shoes on this morning, saying you HAFTA go to school, and when I couldn’t stay back with him.

Sometimes life is the better school, which you don’t need shoes for.

I’ll go back to work tomorrow, certainly, but life punched me in the eye today and it made tears.

Dad 2.0 · people

Dad 2.0; Vignette Three

‘I am Not a Rock’ was a panel name, which seemed also a misnomer of sorts. We are like rocks in that we can erode under parenting’s constant barrage of weather.

But, then again—and unlike rocks—we have ways of rejuvenating. We can re-sprout flowers through concrete; we can breathe and rediscover sunlight.

I caught the tail end of the panel where Scotty Schrier was showing the audience mental hacks.

“Put a phencil in your mouf,” Scotty said, demonstrating proper method, wherein you clamp a writing instrument in your teeth, forcing your lips to part.

“This engages the same muscles,” Scotty explains, “As smiling.”

Hold the pencil long enough in your teeth—you may be demonstrating the strangest of Duchenne grins, bordering on grimace—but the engagement of the smiling muscles unlocks your body’s memory of what it’s like to be happy. The brain releases serotonin as reward.

Another hack: Scotty begins by asking everyone who has self-esteem issues. The majority of people in the room raise their hands while hunkered in their chairs.

“Everyone stand up,” Scotty implores.

Everyone obliges.

“Now strike a superhero pose. Any superhero pose, though Superman is the probably the most popular.”

Unwittingly, I’m already in Superman pose, though I’m more of a reedy and bespectacled Clark Kent with a typewriter.

“You hold that pose in front of a mirror for three minutes a day, several times a day,” Scotty says, “And you will start believing yourself to be that superhero.”

I’m recently fond of saying, ‘A dad needs to be a superhero for his kid, so that the kid will become more of one.’

At this moment, I’m lucky to be standing behind Greg Washington. He has a left fist cocked to his ear, his head turned upward and to the right. He looks triumphant, his right fist punched skyward, his calves coiled and engaged. He actually readjusts his pose several times to perfect his superhero-dom, to be invulnerable.

Which is to say, I guess we are rocks, after all.

Dad 2.0 · mental health · Uncategorized

Dad 2.0; Vignette Two

“So—yes—you’re doing better?”

And from a person I’m so used to hearing emit a staticky vocal fry on YouTube, Jessi is absolutely crystal.

“My husband says he doesn’t recognize me,” she beams.

She has dark brown eyes and as-dark hair, and whereas she usually poses for photographs with an open-mouthed smile, she this time just smiles. (Still, there’s hint of the prankster).

Jessi and me—we’ve both had one hell of a year.

“My wife says the same thing. I wasn’t THIS person,” I say, tapping my chest, “Two weeks ago, if not two days ago. It just keeps getting better.”

The foyer scene is nice, everyone lounging before the next lunge into something. Panel in the Rhodes Room, impromptu podcast in 612, drinks at Drift.

At some point during the conversation, I turn over Jessi’s forearms to look at her black-inked tattoos. I’m getting one soon, monochromatic as well.

David Vienna pipes up: “I’ve been counting quills since I got here,” which is like counting de-feathered crows. He points to his quill buried in a field of orange, than Jessi’s quill isolate of color.

“We’re all writers—everyone’s got the quill.”

(Which is a good designation of devotion. For example, I know I’m at a good restaurant when both the front of the house and back sport knife tattoos. Not of the Rambo persuasion, with serrated edges and castaway skulls illustrated bloodily on down the bicep; but I mean a photorealistic representation of a nice Shun, or a Westhof, on the posterior flexors).

I’m getting a nautilus eventually, in illustration of the Golden Mean.

Mike Cruse just got a good quill this past year with an unfurled banner reading: ‘Your move, Chief.” The quote is from ‘Good Will Hunting’, Robin Williams’ Sean saying to Will, “You’re terrified of what you might say…Your move, Chief.”

The quill can be used to face off desperation, terror. It can either simply excise the demons, else sublimate them into winged things with shrinking horns.

It can have you write in the present tense to escape being presently tense.

The pen might not always be mightier than the sword. Since I spoke about knives earlier, which are relative to swords, Elliot Smith (of the ‘Good Will Hunting’ soundtrack) carved the word ‘NOW’ into his forearm before composing ‘Everything Means Nothing to Me’, a song he fairly lilted even while blood dripped on the piano keys. He turned a knife on himself eventually to forever end his quilling.

BUT, since I will not end this sadly—this post or anything—for me all these feathers and ink nibs immortalized in mortal skin hint at a craft that is meanwhile changing us while we change it. Try NOT to become something different at every turn in a sentence. A period never means full stop, ever.

Dad 2.0 · people

Dad 2.0 Summit; Vignette One

The elevator is full, and why it is we don’t take the stairs when going up just two floors is beyond me. Still, where elevators tend to be uncomfortable and anxious rides—people with attaches looking decidedly forward, else up at the meter—we break the mold by facing all different directions at once, smiling. A few hotel patrons huddle in the back with as yet unpacked suitcases, glancing curiously at our motley assortment of lanyarded folk: there are ukuleles, white teeth, pint glasses, and resident weirdness.
I glance to my elevator car neighbor, Aaron Canwell, with his gigantic and cobwebby beard, bald pate, and uke on point.
“You know,” I say, “The fact of your beard and your ukulele DOES make this elevator ride a bit more surreal.”
As if this were the cue, he breaks into song, “We’re ri-ding on the elevator, we’re go-ing up.” He skiffles on his instrument as the doors slide open. Everyone makes the feint forwards, until we realize we’re on the wrong floor. We collectively shoulder back.
“We-re on the wrong flo-or,” Aaron sings, while the doors slide shut. He hums for the duration of the next ascent, before dropping into a minor chord when the car doors open at the correct place. Everyone laughs.
“Well done, my friend,” I say. “When you’ve nothing major to say, drop into minor key.”
And we tumble out as band of giddy brothers with the mighty, mighty ukulele as grand marshall.

Down syndrome · job · penguins · people

Palomino Penguins and the Extra Chromosome

I was feeding the penguins yesterday—the Magellanics who live outside and receive San Diego sun—and Yoshi was giving me issue.
Yoshi has patchy feathering, which is fine and normal. Some of us have alopecia, some of us get bald spots.
I call Yoshi my ‘palomino penguin.’ She is by accident spotted, and she’s like a gorgeous horse, but with a fussy appetite.
The gulls were posed in vultrine fashion, eyeing my bucket and looking for any ANY dropped fish.
Yoshi—she is a unicorn, something special.
I fed her a fish, apparently the WRONG one, because she flung it over her shoulder in distaste.
A gull swooped in, grabbed the fish off the rockwork, and then, like, nineteen gulls swept in, feathers all stupid and fighting over the scraps.
“Dammit, Yoshi,” I patted her on the head and shook her bill, “You let the terrorists WIN!”
There were a few guests watching as I fed the birds, and I said, “Hello.”
I caught eyes with a gentleman who was there with his wife and son? Grandson?
The kid had an earbud with a trailing cord, thick specs, and a red baseball cap.
The kid also had an extra chromosome.
I shouted from my perch while feeding beaks, “Hello, Sir!” And, pointing, “I, too, have an angel.”
This while the seagulls fought displaying their feathers.

death · job

Don’t Fear Falling Happy

deadbeeHere’s what I know.
Bees hatched in winter live longer than bees hatched in summer.
It’s a strange tid-bit of science that has certain traction in the apiarist world, just often without explanation.
So, why?
(I tell my kid, you have to always ask ‘why?’)
Facts mean nothing without background explanation. You must always ask the ‘what for’ ahead of giving facts credence, before you make them law.
Here’s the thing about bees:
They work. You’ve heard the term, ‘worker bees.’ Bees work tirelessly, going from flower to flower, reporting back to the hive with legs draggedly hung with pollen. I’ve never heard of a tired bee.
Here’s what bees do not have that we do:
If we go to a gym and work out our muscles, essentially destroying fibre in the process, our bodies have ways of re-correcting. Our muscles become stronger in the re-build.
Bees don’t have this mechanism. Their muscles waste away without chance of a 2.0. They waste protein when dancing from bud to bud, collecting pollen on their hairy legs, and with the hive on their mind. Eventually, and after so much work, bees just collapse without any re-build.
It’s why you find bees inexplicably dead on the sidewalk.
Summer bees are busy in the readily available sun; winter bees hang back in the hive when the sun is not available.
With more kilometers in their metric, summer bees, busier ones, die earlier, having wasted their wings and legs far earlier than the winter hatchlings that hide in their hive.
Life gets measured, then, by distance and by effort, and not days. Think about that.
A friend of mine died in his sleep a few weeks ago. He’d worked forty years at my company, then died in the middle of the night, his heart stopped.
My boss tells me—and she has plans on retiring to No. Carolina to enjoy her sunset years—“I don’t wanna work, just to die. I want an afterwards.”
Yeah—you don’t want to be the bee on the sidewalk, the dumb fuzzy corpse without explanation, the thing that expired having just worked too hard.
I think of all those Japanese gentlemen who collapse in their cubicles, working so hard that they’re found head down on paperwork, bangs splayed, lungs quit.
The way of the bee is not the way to go.
Borrow a few letters from ‘labor’. Add a few consonants.
Marie-Henri Beyle, pseudonym ‘Stendahl’, went to Florence in 1817. He saw Giotto’s frescoes, their tempura fade, and got dizzy. He fainted.
He wrote later about his case of the ‘nerves.’ He said: ‘Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.’
Blood gone from the brain because the beauty was too much.

But fainting from beauty is much better than being an exhausted shell of something, and why it’s best to not work till you die; be a St. Teresa quilled with ecstasy instead. A statue, a thing stopped in its vibrant recognition of absolute absoluteness. Don’t fear falling happy.