Cornerstone Content,  Writing

I’m Going Through Changes

Day breaks, the lost girl inside wakes, the birds sing, the wind blows through the trees, and the angels sigh. My mornings in Vermont begin early with the rising sun, my days often occupied with my own pursuits of untamed introspection as I try to unravel the mysteries of life, followed by early nightfall to hang the stars and moon upon, and until I see another day as the sun rises, I am feathered by the moonlight. The promise of another day on the horizon guarantees that the days ahead will never change for me at all.

Introspection is my muse, my preoccupation, my heartbreak. I awoke on this cold December morning remembering my fathers’ words as he read me nursery rhymes when I was a small child, “one for sorrow, two for joy, three for girls, four for boys, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.” I remember all the books he used to read to me, chosen at random in the beginning, and as I grew, I began to make my own selections. Winter is a curious season in which life slows down, and I tend to stay inside most of the time, which in turn gives me a lot of time to think and reflect upon the year.

It was in June of this year, 2020, that I wrote A Little Ghost For The Offering, which came to fruition during a series of brief almost fleeting moments of clarity before a handful of traumatic events became so insurmountable that my only solution was to vanish. The article set a precedent, a personal standard of writing I should expect as a derivative of my abilities, and nothing less. It was this article that also became the catalyst to the beginning of my new relationship with Amelia, and when I decided that my relationship with Angie had finally run its course, I drove to Boston, picked up Amelia, and then together we traveled to Maine for a much-needed vacation.

These are the days I will remember for all my life; the morning sunrise delivers the promise of a brand new day in which several minutes will be inevitably spent dreaming of distant memories lost and out of time, the echoes of angels that interrupt the silence, curious as to how the years went by in a blur leaving behind snapshots of moments froze in time. My father’s words whispered in my ear as he tucked me in at night now so inaudible that they seem distant and faded. I woke this morning, not sure if I was still in a dream, as it has been my lifelong experience that the good times never stay, coupled with cheap thrills that eventually fade and lose their luster. Children grow older, friends drift away, and every time I stand before the looking glass, I realize that I’m going through changes and that I’m growing older, too.

I still remember being small, and sitting on my fathers’ knee in the kitchen in front of the refrigerator of my childhood home, and how he would always promise me that I would live a wonderful life. And as the years went by, I watched my father struggle to provide me with only the best things that life had to offer. He spoke of hardships in his own life, not only as a testament to his own personal resilience but as an ominous warning if by some chance his teachings would spare me from misadventure. If someone were to ask me what changed in 2020, the honest legitimate answer would be everything.

I have come to the conclusion after a lifetime of observation, that most things in life will not last forever, and oftentimes what we desire and covet is that which we truly do not need. I held onto the past for far too long in search of deeper understanding, yet it still remains impossible for me to definitively express in words how I truly feel. There have been times in my life when I have been too hard on myself, as I try to find not only the answers to questions but perhaps, more importantly, my purpose in life. These are the questions without answers, and if I had to give everything to find them, I wonder just how far I would go. Lately, I’ve lost sight of my purpose. When I was eight years old, I thought that my purpose was to be a prolific writer who would one day have the ability to change the world. At age eighteen I thought that my purpose was to help people, so I became a Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician. Then at age thirty-eight, I realized that my purpose lies beyond the realm of traditional employment, and I began to chase my passion for creativity.

Today, I have finally decided to devote my life to writing, photography, and love, and in doing so, will show Amelia the love that she deserves and the beauty that she possesses. I had to leave behind everything I once knew so well, and start over again somewhere completely new. My dreaming tree has died, I became a stranger to myself and my own life, there was absolutely nothing left for me in New York. One fateful day in 2020, I left and I probably won’t be back. I took an enormous risk, threw my future to chance, and in the end, it became the single greatest decision of my life.

This piece was inspired by a letter penned by Arthur Sterling Covert, my father’s best friend, and a forever friend of my family. The letter was written on September 26, 1987, available on my blog under the title I Have A Simple Filing System. After reading it, I realized that I need to be far more articulate in my writing, so as to avoid falling into a slump of ignorance, or as Carl Sagan once said, “The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bytes (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”

Another piece, which deserves an honorable mention is titled Names From The Past, which in closing, mentions me as a photographer, and was written in October 1986.

Schism | The Curse Of Brevity | Belong | A Little Ghost For The Offering | It Came Without Warning | Somewhere I Feel Free | I Used To Worry About Rain | The Fear I Cannot Hide | What is the Biggest Pitfall of a Romantic Relationship with an INFJ? | 5 Things I’d Tell My Younger INFJ Self | The Ebb and Flow of Friendship | Generation Gap


  • Oyeyipo Oladele

    Nice piece for everyone’s consumption. Its true that 20kids cannot play together for 20 consecutive years. Thanks for sharing this good post Tom.

  • Timothy

    I enjoyed your episode here. I love how your dad promised you a wonderful life. And it came to pass. Keep enjoying your life Bro

  • katty

    “I have come to the conclusion after a lifetime of observation, that most things in life will not last forever, and oftentimes what we desire and covet is that which we truly do not need.”

    This is a simple truth. I just love this piece!

  • Alex

    We all are as it is one of few things that is constant. If you wanna change go ahead as long as it is for the better then go ahead. Just be careful what you change into? Not all change means good.

  • Maury Cheskes

    This piece is a great combination of memories, creative writing and beautiful imagery. I think you should play around with prose and poetry more often, Tom. The mix of it with pictures creates a really powerful essence for the viewer. I definitely got a good understanding of your childhood, your love for father and your artistic drives and inspirations.

  • Jenny A.

    I do think the unfortunate circumstances going around on our environment during 2020 had some indirect way of affecting our moods and thought processes. Don’t you think? Although I think for your case your introspection has led you to a road you perhaps were always meant to arrive on. Who knows? The fun is in the journey, I’d like to believe. 🙂 Interesting piece!

  • Jake T.

    “Introspection is my muse, my preoccupation, my heartbreak.” Haha, wonderfully said and I can relate. Sometimes I find myself thinking of one thing and I get spiral down to heartbreak because I unfortunately recalled some unfortunate incidents in the past. Most of the time, I find introspection a good thing. Other times I have to remind myself not to revisit something I’ve supposedly learned from or gone over already. But we can’t help it, don’t you agree? We are but only humans…filled with emotions…

  • Neil Patrick

    Funny enough this post gave me an idea to journal out when I’m feeling sentimental or introspective. You can look at it one year after and see again how much has changed from the day you reflected on the changes of that time. Reminds you life is ever changing and constantly moving forward, regardless if we want it to or not.

  • Marlapaige

    “One fateful day in 2020, I left and I probably won’t be back. I took an enormous risk, threw my future to chance, and in the end, it became the single greatest decision of my life.”

    Wow. This spoke volumes to me, in ways you could never imagine. For me, it was April 2021. But the reverberating sound of a gong hitting my spirit remains. Thank you.

    • Thomas Slatin

      In July 2020, I left an almost 20 year relationship with my girlfriend as our relationship became too toxic for me to handle. In September of that year, I met someone whom I had originally met on Twitter. We took a trip to Maine on a whim, then I bought my house with the cash I had saved for years. She moved in on day 1, and several months later, we married on the property. Her name is Amelia Phoenix Desertsong, and I am proud to call her my wife!

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