Category Archives: Flourishing Factors

PIGs & HOGs: DnA 38th Wedding Anniversary 

We were both 29 when we stood in the cool sunshine at the Fremont Older Preserve, near Cupertino California, and spoke our wedding vows.  

Thirty-eight sun-circlings have passed since that April 27 in 1985, and we have managed to stay together. We’re enjoying our partnership as much as ever (most of the time😜). Along the way, we lived in separate houses for about four years while we fine-tuned our dance together. Naturally enough, there’s ongoing choreographing. That turned out to be a useful strategy, reflected in three acronyms we use to describe our “relationshipping:” 

PIGs: Partners In Growth.

HOGs: Happy Optimistic Geezers (Originally Happy Old Geezers. We think there’s a more apt phrase, and welcome any suggestions. 

DnA ((Simply Dave n Andrea)

We moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, in 1993, hence the porcine acronyms. 

Old Dog’s Ditty

Old Dog’s Ditty (Bare bones version)
Old dog’s on the deck: Dave with Daimin on the furry one’s last day above ground, September 15, 2008.

I wrote this song back in Hawaii for our friends’ old dog Vember (born in November), who was on his last legs back in the late 1980’s. A couple decades later, I started thinking of myself and all of us aging humans as somewhat like old dogs. This came to me after looking in the mirror and actually noticing all the wrinkles, spots, sags and such. Then it came to me that with most of our beloved pets, we still love them even if they start slowing down, having accidents, and otherwise losing their youthful exuberance. So I started calling myself “Old Dog Dave” when I need a little consolation for the various aches, pains, and other downhill sliding. It usually makes me smile.

Here’s a link to the chords and lyrics, in case you want to sing and/or play along. It follows the “3 chords and the truth” formula for a folk song. I tried to paste those here, but it goofed up the location of the chords.

This showed up today in the New Yorker daily newsletter I get for free. I like the cartoons.

Planting Maples at the 4H

In the afternoon shade on a delightful autumn day, we three Fournets conspired to finally plant a couple of volunteer maple trees we’d been watering in pots for a while. Andrea had transplanted them into pots to save them from the deer and the weed whacker, or somesuch. She knows that origin story better than I. In any case, we’ve had good luck with trees that got started on their own, , and then moving them to pots for a while, and eventually to their very own place in the sun. We planted a Montezuma cypress we’d gotten from cousin Stephen Fournet during Adele’s last visit. Good fun, and satisfying to watch them grow as the earth turns, and as we slowly get shorter over the years. We call our place the 4H: Heartland Hospitality Haven and Home. Hope to show you around some day.

Following Fears

I woke up last Friday wondering about an expression my friend Glenn shared with me, “follow your fears.” It dawned on me that when I think about drawing, I feel uneasy. I actually enjoy doodling, but there’s something in me that gets butterflies when I sit down to sketch. A bit later, during our morning ritual with my wife Andrea, I  sketched this cartoon instead of using words to express what I was appreciating. We each write appreciated things down on one side of a 3×5 card cut in half, keep them in a bin, and read the ones from this year and last year (from a separate bin) aloud after we meditate. It’s one of our healthier habits.

Critters Wondering Cartoon

I drew it in my journal while she was appreciating on her side of the card. After we read aloud our cards, she added a few strokes to make the possum look less like a big rat. I added the pill bug later (a “bug” that is actually a terrestrial crustacean!) .

That’s the actual lamp in our “Buddha Room” where we practice awareness and appreciation. That cartoon, and this post, which could be polished up in numerous ways, are a bit out of my comfort zone. I do relate with these animal allies and their musings. I’m glad I drew what came to me. May we all experiment with befriending our fears, maybe starting with their cousins anxiety, ambiguity, and ambivalence.

Time ease?

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.” — Henry David Thoreau in Walden

Time is but a stream I am a-drowning in.” — David Christopher Fournet in Swimming Upstream and Swatted by Grizzlies

person holding hour glass

I figure I have a throng of company in feeling  time scarcity and/or  project profusion, which I reckon are different sides of the same clock. I do manage to have periods in which I’m at ease with this dance. I’d like to know what you do (or not do) to promote ease and flow with time and tasks. I’m willing to experiment and report my results.

Death as a Punctuation Mark

Plants at E window

I was just doing some stretching and moving in our family room, looking out of the picture window past our house plants gathered there for the morning sun. As I stretched, I spontaneously said aloud, “Tally (my recently deceased uncle Howard), if you can hear me, I want to tell you that I really appreciate the way you always greeted me with warmth and enthusiasm. I’m also grateful for the friendship you and my dad shared, and how much you both acknowledged that, before and after he died. I’m also thankful for the times you, aunt Betty, and various combinations of your kids took I and my brother Tommy along with y’all on adventures—to the camp on the bayou, to Whiskey Chitto Creek, and to Fatima high school football games when I was still too young to play.”

I don’t know if Tally lives on after death, or, if he does, if he could or would listen to my words. All the same, I felt a stirring in my heart as I spoke them, some moisture in my eyes, even as I do now as I type this—smiles, tears, and some other unnamable ingredients in the emotional gumbo, sweet with a bite.

A friend of mine reported the other day at our early morning mindful men’s meeting that it was a two-funeral day for him. He also shared that such times actually give him opportunity to feel more connected to the departed ones, and also to other living people. I also often find that true. In our discussion, I mentioned that sometimes I look at death as a punctuation mark. As I think more about that, I realize that death often brings more like an assorted collection of punctuation marks for me.

When someone dies, something certainly seems to change. I’m not sure what exactly. Is death a comma (not “coma” as I just read in reviewing)? Does life, does awareness continue on in some way? Or is it more like a period, the end of consciousness, a turning off of the computer for good? I wonder. I’ve had no experiences so far that suggest that I’ll be aware after I die. At the same time, I’m open to whatever adventures might arise. Oh yeah, and I do talk to people who’ve died, expressing gratitude and sometimes asking questions even. It helps me here and now, even without faith or confidence that I’m connecting.

Meanwhile, I figure that the kind of person I’d be after I die would be much like or the same as the character I am now. So, it makes sense to me to “live like you were dying,” as Tim McGraw’s song puts it. A key ingredient for me in that is savoring the flow of experiences moment by moment. I even remember to do that sometimes. I think of it as fruit there for the picking. Telling others how they brighten my life also tends to bring smiles inside and out. I probably remember to do that less than the savoring part. Opportunity! Thankfully, I told uncle Tally more than once how I valued him, including the time he shared similar sentiments with my father the afternoon my pop took his last breath.,!?