Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Robert Frost

I thought of poet Robert Frost today as I watched a snow squall move through my wooded land. I too watched the woods fill up with snow as he did in a vision so many years ago and penned his famous poem.

 Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
He lives in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.


If you live in the Northeast, you know that heavy snow fills the woods quickly. Its “sweep of easy wind and downy flake” not only coat the ground and branches in a pristine of en-whiten-meant, but its beauty fills the human soul with the light of spirit.

When Frost says “the woods are lovely, dark and deep,” I think he’s referring to the darkness of an unknowing soul who has a spiritual revelation in a heavy white snowstorm, and the experience becomes an epiphany of wonder.

“Miles to go before I sleep,” is I’ve got a lot to think about before I die. So Do we all.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Just askin"

Isn’t it time we repudiate those who have not been elected nationally but yield immense power that deludes the common man-woman, dilutes common sense, and dismisses compromise for the greater good?

Names you all know:

Mitch McConnel
Sean Hannity
Rush Limbaugh
Laura Ingraham

These are people in state elected political power as in the case of Mitch McConnel and non-elected people functioning as media priests who encourage, incite and influence policy by the force of their paid position on a media outlet.

In my career experience, America has gone from a balanced informational system of news delivery to one of contrarian diatribes and factless opinion.

I love debates. I like compelling arguments, dissent and eloquent conclusions where both sides present to a discerning public. The one-sided views of so few, that influence so many; does not serve the grace of democracy.



Monday, February 11, 2019

Language disappearing

Several years ago the Associated Press reported that out of 6-thousand world languages, 2-thousand 500 languages are in danger of extinction. The report added that 200 languages have become extinct in the last three generations, and another 199 languages have fewer than ten speakers left.

That fact saddens me. To understand our collective cultural future, we must know our linguistic past. When a language becomes extinct so does the history and endemic knowledge of that culture.

I am also saddened that the English language we use today in everyday communication has become so perverted that at times I cannot understand what someone is saying.

Ask nearly any student, high school or college, to diagram the parts of speech or describe a simple declarative sentence, and you will get a blank look.

What happened?

We have dumbed down the elegance of speech into prattle, syllable elimination and a rhythmic beat seemingly conveying a quasi-poetic ablution of how one feels.

Language is the grace of society. It is the elegance of sophisticated communication and clear conversation. It is the archive of great literature. It is the essence of understanding and subsequently the path to peace, creativity, and harmony.

We need precise language. We need people who love it, embrace it, share it with eloquence and who will not abandon it too colloquial poppycock.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Arctic Cold

THE COLD

It’s morning. Temperature is 2 degrees below zero. I have a fire going and feeling safe.

A few years ago I posted the following after a fridged few days. It seems more appropriate even now. To wit:

The warmth of a long-ago sun spreads into my room as a log fire dissolves its way to ash giving back the heat and light of many seasons' growth. Fluid flames dance in a flickering grace of form and orange light. Heat is the result. Light a soft byproduct.

A few feet away is the cold. It is a stinging cold with only a window glass to hold it back. It’s double glass, a bulwark of silica that another temperature and time turned into a transparent glazing of clarity and protection.

I grew up in old houses with single panes of flawed glass. Frost would decorate the panes into a translucent crystal of art, but not now. Modern homes are too tight for nature’s cryogenic beauty to seep in and paint the panes with a cameo of cold. Too bad! How many kids today miss the vision of feathered frost on the inside of a windowpane where they can scratch their design into the thin sheet of ice crystals.

Just beyond my outer pane is an astringent cold that if you stepped outside without protection, it would burn with negative degrees, blister the skin, blink the eyes to tears and tighten the inner nose when a breath is necessary. It’s an arctic tight; the tightness of breath.

The cold on the other side of the glass sets a tension between inside and outside. It cannot penetrate the timid barrier of wood and double panes, but it tries to. It is the knowing fierceness of potential danger and a fire keeps me in the fort of comfort.

Damn, it's cold!


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Wilber Ross

I am morally disturbed at the insensitivity of Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross. He is a self-made millionaire with the alleged wisdom to oversee the mercantile agenda of our nation.

It seems to me that would include the welfare of federal employees.

If you have not seen his remarks by now, you should because his ethic is endemic of the ignorance of the haves to the have-nots. He tried to walk it back to the press after somebody got to him, but it didn’t work.

It’s a “let them eat cake” instead of a bread scenario from Marie Antionette.

The charade going on in Washington is ludicrous. The elite has no idea what it is to live from paycheck to paycheck. If they did, the shut-down farce would not exist. This is why we need citizen legislators rather than career politicians in Washington.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The responsibility of abundance

I had a simple fish chowder last night, and it was filling and fine.

I thought of those throughout the world who have little or nothing to eat and where starvation is a constant worry. Too many count the grains of rice for the pot to feed a family and deal with the ache of hunger as the body eats itself in a wrenching dichotomy to stay alive.

My simple meal was to millions of souls around the world, a feast.

I went to the doctor the other day for a routine check-up. There too I thought of the ease with which I got an appointment and the pharmacy choices I could go to fill a prescription. There are so many millions in the world who have no access to even simple medical treatments let alone to modern medicines to cure or ease a pain.

To get the same medical expertise, most of the world would have to walk for days or suffer in place.

I have a nice home — good neighbors. I have heat, electricity, and freedom from fear. I know millions love their families as I do mine, but who have no permanent home without the hostile and real intrusion of terror and war.

With all these realizations, there comes a moment when I must ask the question, “Why me?” “Why do I have so much and so many have so little?”

I don’t know the full answer, and I suspect I never will until I get to the other side. I do know there are responsibilities that go with abundance.

Giving from substance.

Compassion and aid to those who suffer.

Tolerance of other’s beliefs.

Awareness of need.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The New Congress

Vision is the process by which we construct the future. It is the substance of creation and the positive possibilities of what we can be. From the daily diatribes out of Washington, I do not hear the visionary words that engender the structure of common hope on the foundation of realistic wonder.

From the new Congress, I want to hear reinforcements of American ideals and the legislative action to sustain them. I want all branches of our government to paint me a picture of a sustainable future and color it with ideas and the fragrance of action. I want the genesis of solutions on immigration, health care, ongoing wars, affordable housing, and the litany of other issues entrained in our common society.

Mostly what I glean from ongoing debate is the darkness of past thought, the detritus of false words and the uselessness of egoic pride.

When Alexander the Great became ruler of the world, he came upon a philosopher who was lying upon his back in a meadow and mediating. Having become powerful and wealthy, Alexander became a patron of the arts and intellectuals. He stood before the philosopher and said,  "I am a patron of culture and will gladly underwrite any project you may select; name your wish."

The Philosopher thought for a moment and said: "You may do one thing for me, your Highness. Please step aside; you are standing between me and the sun".

Our Congress and our President must step aside from blocking the lights of compromise, compassion and courtesy and lead us to our grandest vision of ourselves.

 
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