Tomorrow and tomorrow. There is a reason I do my best to keep in shape. Or at least I think there is. But for this disabled body, ‘shape’ is a tall order. I do my damnedest to keep from the worst of crippledom, let us say. Attempts to keep up the stamina, balance, muscle strength and general pain control necessary to have a life. And when I say there is a reason, excluding general fear of death, what comes to mind? This is worth asking, in view of the gravity of the question. A wintry question. The sort that arises in the dark, dormant season. And the answer? It arises.

I’ve had this feeling for months. Without the routine of a job or the frenzied transitions that accompanied much of 2013, I have the luxury…some would say the burden…of finding my own purpose. And how does one find such a thing?

One stumbles around. Which explains how I stumbled into my current column with our suburban weekly. Total freedom, by the way. Deadlines? Easy enough. And what has come of the experience? More engagement with the general public than I am used to, and which adds up to something between educational and maddening.

I really could not wade into the readers’ comments on High-Speed Rail in California. Still, reading the pessimistic responses, I could see that despite my superficial gloom, there lurks a spirited commitment to the future. In a couple of columns I suggested that any number of infrastructure projects in the Golden State had been ill-conceived and mismanaged – yet went on to thrive. so there.

In other words, don’t try arguing such things.  There is no telling people that our regional subway system (BART) retains fundamental design flaws…some of them more serious and threatening than most know…and yet it has transformed the Bay Area. I am a classic American in this regard, an unstoppable belief in the future…mixed with a dose of maturity. I know that the future takes sacrifices. There is a cost. What the hell. I am all for paying.

Having written a column on guns and improved oversight of firearms, I expected every loony in town to come out in support of the National Rifle Association. So far, this hasn’t happened. Perhaps because my article was mild in tone, fairly modest in its assertions.

Still, there was one amusing comment. In my piece I had quoted a local gun-rights advocate who publicly observed that it was ‘fun to shoot automatic weapons.’ My column went on to suggest that machine guns weren’t so much fun if you have ever put them to serious use, such as in military combat or law enforcement. Oh no, one correspondent assured me, they are great fun…adding that he was a combat vet himself.

Raising serious questions about the maturity and groundedness of many around us. But this is not a surprise. Meanwhile, keep those cards and letters flowing in…electronically. I read every one.

Mostly, I read the tea leaves. They keep flowing in too, every day. And the trick – perhaps the only trick – is to keep making tea.

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