Here is a letter to Jim published with his agreement. It serves as an introduction to Scratch a Cynic, Jim’s most recent post and it signals the teaching relationship that exists between us. Such relationships stretch both parties and I’m not sorry about that.
Scratch a Cynic takes Jim out of the garden, and off the beach, to reflect on the raw realities he lived within, day in day out in an American Police Station – for years. I can just about join him with the harshness, although it scares me, and I can understand more deeply why the conscious appreciation of garden and beach have been so significant to him. (Ones senses must be rubbed red raw in the law enforcement world he describes, breathing in the sound of ocean waves a balm.) Soon after his retirement we talked about the intensity of his War Zone work life and I remarked that, you are as one who has returned from the battle field, and your boots are still smoking! Gladly his boots are cool enough to reflect on now.
It’s finally came to me to re-read your Scratch a Cynic piece and I’ve decided to publish it. But before I do that I want to thank you for your patience in sticking with me; for listening to my difficulties with the piece, my teaching/remarks about it and still keeping on going. You might have quit and I’m so grateful that you haven’t.
Thinking about you in particular, and the other two as well, I can see how in different ways you have come out of the War Zone of your lives, and thankfully reasonably unscathed. But in a war zone you have been, undoubtedly. Over the past few years I’ve know you, and the others, the residue of excitement, buzz (and disappointments and dented self esteem) have settled and bodies and minds have renewed, and recovered! This achieved largely by going about your daily rounds in garden, farm, beach and textile heaven – dwelling at the shady end of the garden of life as I have put it in a yet-to-be-published article.
Yes, there has been more than garden and beach of course however your (Jim’s) beating of the drum has been a little slower (not much though by all accounts) and what you do now has been less war zone like. Perhaps the emergency nature of events that come up now can be related to more as a movie you visited. Rather than as being trapped in a movie theater, you only dimly knew you were trapped in.
Your article shows that however locked in you, or anybody in similar circumstances have become there is a capacity to reflect on ones actions/thoughts/feelings and to do things differently. Perhaps that’s all part of the gift that comes with the human being package. I don’t know. Anyway thanks once again for your reflections, and your willingness to stick with me as I reflect on myself. Yes, sometimes I’m difficult.