Shifting Sands

Dealing with change is a major challenge for me.  Continuing to move forward when routines and schedules are in flux may be my biggest weakness.  While processing a period of change, imagery of a flowing river carrying particles toward its terminus came to mind.  All the gathered bits of earth travel along, like sand flowing in an hourglass, and are eventually deposited to create something new at the delta.


Mississippi River Delta.  Credit: Nasa Images

A eureka moment happened when it occurred to me that delta is also the symbol used to represent change in an equation.  The recognition of multiple meanings for words like ‘delta’ and ‘current’ was intriguing.  Sand represented both the passage of time and parts of my routines that were changing.  New land is created at the terminus of a river, just like the grains of my life were shifting to eventually create new routines.

Writing this poem helped me get through that time of change.  I realized change occurs with breakdown of status quo but also creates something new and fertile.

Let’s take a ride on the river together.

River. Delta.


Exercise and fitness are a huge part of my life.  The health benefits are great, but the resulting quality time with my wife and friends is even more valuable.

I became serious about improving my physical health in 2014 and am now in the best shape of my life.  Working with a personal trainer has been a key to my success.  It was an incredible stroke of luck to find someone who has helped me grow in strength and ability beyond anything ever imagined possible.  Also, much more than strength and ability grew.  The guy who started off as my trainer has become one of my best friends.  Nothing could have been better – health and muscle gains all while hanging out with my buddy.

My workout routine became an obsession.  Just working out with a trainer was not enough.  At one point I was in the gym seven days a week, and if a workout was missed, it made me cranky.  Continuing at that level of demand on my body was not sustainable.  Still, I pushed forward until the inevitable happened.  A few minor injuries and setbacks occurred, and my body needed rest.

I began to fear all of my gains would be lost.  Backing off on the intensity of the routine would certainly mean a loss of what I had worked so hard to achieve.  Those feelings were channeled into this poem, and that seemed to be the end of the story.  But something deeper existed in the meaning.  It was not just the loss of muscle and physical strength I feared.

A priceless friendship had grown from what started as a trainer-client relationship, and although it sounds ridiculous to state it now, a threat to sustaining the insane gym routine translated into a threat to the friendship.  My narrow mind was equating one with the other.  I was selling my friend and the friendship short.

In no way was this conclusion reached on my own.  That was achieved by talking about what was in my head with my trainer friend – a continuing key to my personal success both in and out of the gym.

I have changed my workout routine, finding new ways to stay active, being smarter about time in the gym and resting.  Nothing has been lost and the truly important thing has continued to grow – the prized friendship is worth more than ever before.



This poem came about as a series of contrasts.  It was written in a period of time where my routine was all out of whack, yet the drudgery of everyday life was still in place.  I felt detached from the world, but at the same time, my surroundings were in control.


Photo by Azrul Aziz on Unsplash

During the drive to work one morning, everything around me felt like it was moving slower than normal.  The cars merging into traffic seemed to be moving in an odd fluid-like manner – a bizarre viscous flow.  I was moving at normal speed, but everything around me was not.  A thought went through my head that I was driving in a zombie universe.  That idea remained for a couple of days, becoming a driving force of this poem, as the contrasts continued.

I was writing a great deal at the time while also struggling to decide what to do with all the output.  So many ideas were coming that at some points I had four or five poems being composed at once.  Combining with the increase in output was a recurring thought that all of the writing needed to be destroyed.

Soon after writing this, the normal routine of my life returned and the chaos in my head began to calm.  Obviously, I chose not to destroy all of my writing since you are reading this.  My editor thinks this poem is rather weird, but I hope it stimulates your brain rather than making you want to eat some.

Zombie Universe