Learned To Let Go

My uncle, Henry, always says waves are unpredictable, like my mother. Her disappearance as he explains it or her abandonment as I describe it, still remains a mystery.

“That’s really been on my mind a lot lately,” I said.

“Get some coffee Matt,” Uncle Henry began.

His voice was deep and rough, it’s the sound of the ocean during a storm. He slid the glass door open and the cool air made me shiver. We took our coffee mugs outside on the deck that overlooks the Mendocino Coast, and watched the early morning fog drift over the water as it pulled away from the shore. Bo, his dog, stayed curled up in his bed by the fireplace.

Continue reading “Learned To Let Go”

Orbiting The Question

A couple of things kept me from writing blog posts over the last few weeks. One is my DNA test. I had it done through Ancestry.com, after a lot of thought. Actually, what I really did was purchase the test then let it sit in a drawer for almost a year. And not because I forgot it. I just didn’t want to find out that my mom and stepfather were wrong.

When I was fifteen and feeling pretty smug about who I was, my folks broke the news that my biological cocktail wasn’t made in-house. They were in the middle of a nasty divorce, and I’m pretty sure my brother and I were being asked to choose sides. I chose my father’s side (and I use that term loosely) because we’d always been closer. He’d spent more time with me and accepted my emerging personality of follower and worshiper. It was many years later when I truly acknowledged the costs associated with that relationship. That is another story.

My mother did offer to name my biological father. She did offer a bridge over the chasm of reserve and divorce, but I was angry at the time and unwilling to allow a newcomer into my tiny circle of chaos. We left that subject behind us, like a condemned building, and never returned.

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Memory, dream or deja vu?

Memories come in so many different shapes, sizes and flavors. I’ve had a few extra recently. I’m not sure why. Could it be that I’m growing older? Even though I’m not that old, yet. I do plan on making plenty of memories still. And it’s not the first time that my memories have come in waves. I can’t anticipate them. Anything could set them off, the smell of bread baking, the view of my home from a hillside or the sound of a bus as it brakes at a stop. In their own way, I think memories recreate a new moment. Something between a dream and deja vu.

1-w Prog_FilesSome days memories roll over me like ocean waves. These are calm moments brought on by echoes of laughter that cross my face with a smile. Minutes may pass before I come up for air and realize that I am floating.

On occasion, I’m caught in a wave’s curl. In those intense moments my muscles tighten as I fight against the pull of violent events. Aware of my surroundings, I grasp for air. Minutes may pass before I’m thrown on the safety of the shore.






© Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Yesterday I bumped into my daughter’s mother-in-law on a sun-filled bay side path in San Francisco’s East Bay. She was taking our five month old grandson, Isaac, for a stroll, while I was walking with my dog, Kunie. Continue reading “Fleeting”