The osprey was too far away to get a good picture. Like so much in life, most of the time I only dimly see the outline of something big. Sometimes there is a flash of clarity, but it usually lasts a nanosecond and is gone.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. I am going to the Noon service at the marvelous old Episcopal church downtown where Buck and I are members. I call it the “planetarium church” because of its star-dotted, sky-painted dome.

The last time I went to Ash Wednesday services there was a stainglass window shattering storm. Lights flickered and lightning slashed across wooden pews. I got rained on going from car to nave and shivered throughout the service. It is a majestic, grim service. Very satisfying. I can hardly wait.

I have been trying to remember what I did with my time in the pre-blog era.

I have deactivated my Facebook and Linked-In accounts.

I have stopped sleeping with my Android phone beside my pillow.

I have made draconian cuts in non-essential e-mail or e-mail that isn’t from someone I actually know or need to communicate with for business purposes.

I no longer multi-task.

I have begun to use a head-set to block out house noises and lock in delicious music while I write during dedicated time.

I have discovered a remarkable writing tool, Scrivener, which until recently was only availble for those lucky, savvy beings who use a Macintosh operating system.

I read a wise book by Leo Babauta, Focus. It has provided me with many useful tools at the precise moment I was ready to use them.

It was strange at first, and more than a little disconcerting, but I am getting comfortable with being alone in my own head again. Not to exclude Buck, Maggie, and you guys, my longtime virtual friends. What I am trying to say is that I have essentially stopped going down the rabbit hole of the Internet, dragged by my curious nose which picks up the scent of something even mildly interesting.

This is Fat Tuesday. I feel lush, round and grateful.

Tomorrow begins the traditional 40 days of Lent: not the time to give up sex or chocolate or wine or beef, but to give up something that hinders us from connecting with God. I want to qualify that remark, to be sure it includes everyone in the widest conception of God, even my dear friends who energetically believe in non-God.

Self-examination is the mother’s milk of writers and those of us who fancy ourselves to live on such a rarified cloud. We have brief times of normal life between long periods of discernment.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that Lent is my favorite time of year. I read somewhere that Lent offers us an opportunity to create space for grace.

Maybe it’s because the ashes remind me that its time to be getting on with whatever I am doing. And to get out of my own way.

And to be present every possible moment with that man, that love of my life; to remember that my ego won’t keep me warm at night or stroke my hair.

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