Friday, October 20, 2017

Autumn Cometh

I don’t know if you've noticed the torch of autumn as yet. It depends on where you live and whether your environment and sensibilities present and choose to see the glory of nature manifest into a fleeting brilliance of color.

My house is high on a ridge between a river and a tributary creek. I am probably a thousand yards from the river and several hundred feet from the stream. The ridge is about three hundred feet above the river and maybe a hundred feet above the creek as it too flows to the river. It is an extraordinary place to be.

I mention this because toward the river, which is west of my home and down the slope there is a line of river trees that have turned a seasonal golden yellow. When the sun sets over the far ridge, the yellows festoon their color into a curtain of gold. It is magnificent.

During the summer, when I look in that same direction at sunset, it is a variegated curtain of green. Light green, dark green, and all the bright greens you can think of only until the sunsets over the far ridge.

In a very short time, it changes; autumn does that. In the next week, the yellows will be gone, and the river will be in full view through the lace of branches and trunks for the leaf scrim will have dropped collectively to the ground.

I think the season’s change is a profound lesson for humankind. To me both autumn and spring are sacred. In these two opposing seasons, we see the seeming death and life of nature.

The trees, grasses, and flowers pass. The insects and some mammals disappear and essentially hibernate until the warmth of spring encourage the return to active life. The trees especially are the harbingers of endings and the heralds of new growth.

The human condition is similar to the cycle of tree life. Like the trees when we pass we don’t die. The body passes, but the spirit, the sap of life, survives. We meld, we blend, and we hibernate into the root cosmos until divine guidance gives us another opportunity to return and grow bigger and better and more fully in the appreciation of All That Is.

I acknowledge that this concept may be both inimical and foreign to some beliefs systems. It doesn’t diminish any dogma, nor does it augment mine. It is a thought that works for me until another comes around that's better.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Michele Marsh

I am saddened when the passage of a friend inflicts pain on my memory.  I don't know if I will do this correctly as my mind is still trying to process the physical loss of my friend and colleague Michele Marsh.

Michele died two days ago of breast cancer at her home in Connecticut. She was my co-anchor for several years when we both worked at WCBS-TV in New York back in the 1980’s.

Most people don’t know that Michele was a deeply spiritual person. She investigated connections with loved ones who had passed on to the other side. Her brother for one and then her Mother. She kept that interest through the years as we both shared the crossings of loved ones.

She came into all of our lives, and by just being who she was influenced us in ways we may never know. Her presence was always positive. Her demeanor was always kind. Her talent was always present and presentable. Her fears of not being the best that she could be were always latent in her determination of perfection on the air.

If there is a channel or network up there, over there, somewhere in the ethereal broadcasts of the Cosmos. Michele is the new anchor and with the accelerate grace of omniscient knowing.

Even though we didn’t hang together in recent years, I will miss her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trump's Claims

President Trump is claiming credit for many things these days.

Here is a fictious tweet unearthed eons ago allegedly attributed to him.

It was found as a petroglyph in the archaic remains of Trump Plaza in an area once known as New York City.

…And on the seventh day, I rested.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our Hero Dead

With President Trump not acknowledging, until yesterday, the deaths and then the returning bodies of American warriors returning from harm’s way; it is an affront to life. Mr. Trump failed to acknowledge that once a warrior is dead, politics end and honor begins.

The dignity of bringing him or her home with ceremony and solemnity and saying a warrior's name in public is important to the validity of service, not only to the family but also to the social and patriotic permanence to our society.

Heroes are honored, not hidden. We may not like this insert into Niger’s conflict or in any declared skirmish, but our government sent these young men and women into harm's way, and they should be honored publically and appropriately.

Politics be hanged, for these are our war dead. These warriors served by choice and honor. They died by circumstance and the hatred of another. Let us acknowledge their remains with images and names and bugle calls in public. Do not let them come home to be buried in silence and tears!

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Hike

I spent Saturday in the Catskill woods with two friends, both experts, and historians on the life and writings of American naturalist and essay writer John Burroughs.

The three of us hiked up Woodland Valley following the same bark road path that Burroughs’s did in his essay about climbing Slide Mountain in 1885.

Even though I am lame today from the exercise, it was a moving and rewarding experience for me as I recounted Burroughs’s essay.

“What a forest solitude our obstructed and dilapidated wood-road led us through! Five miles of primitive woods before we came to the forks, three miles before we came to the "burnt shanty," a name merely,-no shanty there now for twenty-five years past. The ravages of the barkpeelers were still visible, now in a space thickly strewn with the soft and decayed trunks of hemlock-trees, and overgrown with wild cherry, then in huge mossy logs scattered through the beech and maple woods. Some of these logs were so soft and mossy that one could sit or recline upon them as upon a sofa.”

Our destination was to hike to the remains of burnt shanty.

Our guide Paul Misko easily found it for he has been here many times before, in fact, he probably knows more about Burroughs, Woodland Valley, and the Catskills than anyone alive today.

With apologies to Burroughs, our little hike was a fraction of what he did with his companions so many years ago. But for me, it was a reliving of his trek and tale. The golden and crimson hues of fall were framed by the fading green leaves of summer. A variegated sunlight lit our path up valley. Trees five times older than me still stood sentry to the valley’s beauty as a timeless creek pushed its way to the lower valley below. Ash trees over a hundred feet tall. A rare black Maple, the forest floor festooned with Lycopodium Lucidulum or Shining Club Moss. It was wonderful.

My thanks to Paul Misko and Patrick McDonough for watching over the old guy and especially sharing their knowledge of Burroughs the man and his writings.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Trump free day

I wonder what it would be like? An entire day, a full twenty-four hours where the word Trump is not written, spoken, uttered or given breath.

I mean no disrespect to the office of the President, but his name is on every channel, tweet, column, and conversation. I hear his name at the lunch counter, the post office, and even the dump.

Today, when you tune in or pick up a newspaper Trump is all over the place. For some, his name and anything he does is negative. For others, it’s approval and positive. That’s politics.

I’m thinking of my sanity and for one brief day when I don’t have to hear or read about name-calling, sand-box bravado, executive order this or that, canceling treaties, agreements or firing someone.

I can’t think of any other President, except Nixon during his Watergate Crisis where Nixon’s name and actions dominated the news. Back then, we didn’t have the 600 channel universe that we have today, so today “Trump” is much more pervasive.

Please, just one day.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall has arrived

Fall has arrived with a coolness of the underside of a pillow. It’s wonderful.

The summer zephyrs have changed to cool breezes.
The green leaves are withering into browns, golds, oranges, and crimsons.

Some see fall as a descending into blandness as we lose the vibrancy of summer growth. Others see it as a curtain rising on a passion play of rebirth just beneath the ground and bark.

I see all seasons as the glorious example of life. Spring – birth and renewal, summer – growth and learning, fall – the harvesting of experience and winter – the letting go and completion.

The brilliance of fall and the dormancy of winter always portend the rebirth of spring. I think so in life too.

Fall is my favorite. As it explodes with color, it reminds me of the Divine and the mortal illusion that time is forever. The only thing that’s forever – is love.
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