Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From low to high

I recently drove across this vast country from Phoenix and beyond to upstate New York. It took 24-days of leisure travel to get to Southern California and five days of Interstate highway travel to get home. I reveled in the opportunity to see our land from the back roads to the Interstate highways of America as I headed West and then returned to the East.

This weekend I will take basically the same route only at 35-thousand feet. I am privileged to head back to Arizona and Sedona for a poetic presentation. I have flown this path many times and my memory is clear.

As I look out the airplane window I will see the circles and squares of farmland green and growth. I will see the winding rivers of opportunity past and present and the waters flowing to the future.

The clouds too will be a reminder of negative and dispassionate thought that could obscure the greatness of our future if we let it. I always think of 9/11, as I have on every flight I’ve taken since that terrible day, and how we must as a nation remain vigilant and strong.

When I look at the flat plains of the midwest and the Rocky Mountains I will think of the song “America” and the words “purple mountains majesties above the fruited plain”. They really are purple from a distance and from above.

There is a grandure and grace about this land and people. It’s just sometimes hard to see when you’re on the busy ground of life. The reminder in high flight is wonderful as it was at 70 MPH on the ground.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I am not a fool.

I know that good friends respect the beliefs of the other. I know that good friends can share their camaraderie and their political constructs. I know too that good friends can disagree with the other’s political policies with an equally valid political passion and each has the constitutional right of their belief and they remain friends.

I received the following from a very good friend. He labeled it a “profound” quote.

It is not profound. It is profane.

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the presidency. It will be easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to an electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails us. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.” -- Author Unknown

I don’t agree with this statement and I find it offensive, not only to me, but the Presidency of the United States. The President of the United States is not a fool - only the name caller is. The fact it is not signed is an indication to me that it was constructed by a political action committee whose aims were and are degrading the President and promoting nefarious political aggrandizements.

This anti-Obama, anti-American, anti-democracy rhetoric is unadulterated crap.

I voted for Mr. Obama. In the past I have voted for Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush because I thought they were the best person for the job at the time. I also voted for Mr. Clinton for the same reason.

I voted for Mr. Obama, this time, because I believed it was necessary for political change.

The “Author Unknown” labels me “a fool” and so does my friend, by association. My friend is wrong. I am not a fool, nor is anyone else who voted in the past election.

What I am and what the majority of American voters are, via the Electoral College system, are patriotic Americans exercising our franchise via an individual vote by which we choose the best person for the job. Majority rules.

It’s called DEMOCRACY.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Finally Home

To those of you who know and remember that for the last few months I have been blogging on the road, I arrived home late last night after 8,330.8 logged miles on this driving trip. It was quite an experience and a cherished one.

Some random observations.

All across America people are upset with a political congress and would like to replace all of them. This observation has nothing to do with the Health Care bill or the Tea-Party coalition. It has to do with a lack of courtesy and partisan vitriol. I know, I asked.

The roads are smooth in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and parts of Missouri.

The roads need attention and repair in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. New York has some problems with road surface too.

Semi-Tractor Trailer trucks should not try to pass another truck on a steep hill or any road with 3% inclines. I counted 18 attempts that backed up car traffic for a quarter of a mile. It is discourteous and dangerous and causes frustrated drivers to take unnecessary chances.

If I criticize the truck passing, I must also compliment the truckers for their safety and courtesy for stopped vehicles along the road. They would pull out and give space to stopped vehicles or to police. Bravo!

And “NO”, they don’t always eat at the best places.

Could America invent or develop a nutritious restaurant at the interchanges besides the usual fast and greasy food eateries?

The lowest price for a hotel/motel bed and breakfast across America was $32.95 and the highest was $139.00 in the hinterland. Why the difference in cost? Both offer a clean bed, a shower, breakfast and Internet access. Marketing I guess.

One state’s speed limit is 75 and another 70 and then another 65. The roads are the same. Why the difference? They are all part of the federal interstate system and I am not talking about going through cities where the speed limit should be less.

Many thanks to all of you for tuning in to this adventure. I may have more observations as I think of them. In the meantime the old eclectic footnotes and commentary returns tomorrow.

Did I mention a lot of people want to replace individuals in Congress with people who can get along? Somebody better tell Congress to make nice nice.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bigots and Zealots

Personal note to:

Dear 掉了,

You are never lost. It takes some longer to remember than others, but in the end all will remember.


Friday Post:

I listened and watched yesterday as various media outlets reported the story of vitriolic voicemails, emails and letters threatening some of our Representatives and Senators for the way they voted on the Health Care Bill.

Some of our Congressman received threats of harm and even death threats for their action.
The threats were delivered with foul, uneducated language.

These threatening imbeciles are not intelligent citizens of America. They do not believe in the noble principles of this country. They hide behind their garbage cans stored in the shadows of ignorance.

They are anarchists, perverts, and bigoted souls cloaked in a dogma they do not understand and in a flag that does not belong to them.

The great Justice Learned Hand once said in essence that the spirit of America is tolerance for all shades of opinion, persecution of none.

A democracy does not tolerate bigotry and bullies. It embraces shared conversation, intelligent discourse, the rule of law, and a desire for the greater good, not a partisan gloat.

When all of us breathe our last breath, whether we are either a pauper or rich, there is no treasure stored in the other realms for anger, hatred, and prejudice or bigotry.

The only treasure ever stored in the place beyond here is for service, kindness, forgiveness and unconditional love.

I guess that means I have to forgive these unenlightened bigoted souls!

Damn that's hard.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Flowers, Cactus and History

Notes from traveling across country.

Yesterday my journey eastward took me from Chandler, Arizona thru Payson, AZ and then onto Albuquerque, NM. What a magnificent path through the Tonto National Forrest.

Its elongated inclines from seemingly level desert to five thousand feet changed minute to minute. The visual frames from one climate to another, in moments, were magnificent.

Gigantic patches of Saguaro Cactus, stood tall and sprawling. Their community climbed steep crags of boulder mountainsides and then festooned the open ridgeline with their recognized u-shape fingers of upward growth and elegance.

The recent area rain caused a verdant hue of grasses all the way to the top. Beautiful.

Other cactus patches of Saguaro, Prickly Pear, Stag Horn and Ocotillo lingered along the roadside to augment and honor the brief life of yellow flowering Brittle Bush, Desert Coral, Indian paintbrush, and fuschia flowered barrel cactus. Tiny lavender flowers bordered the edges of the road rejoicing in their brief colorful spender of seasonal moisture.

Albuquerque was my destination for the night. If you can spell it you can live there. It is a spreading city of mercantile and homestead lights nestled at the base of protruding mountains and it is the largest city in New Mexico.

Wikipedia (whom you cannot always trust) offers a number of derivations of the name, but this one I like.

“Western folklore traces the name Albuquerque to the Arabic 'Al-Barquq', meaning "the plum", and the derivative Galician word 'albaricoque', the "apricot". The apricot was brought to New Mexico by Spanish settlers, possibly as early as 1743.

As the story goes, the settlement of La Ciudad de Albaricoque was established near an apricot tree. As frontiersmen were unable to correctly pronounce the Spanish (Galician) word, they warped it to "Albuquerque.”

Tomorrow travels continue eastward. More Later.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heading Home

Homeward Spring
© 2010 Rolland G. Smith

“The time has come the Walrus said
To talk of many things.”
Of heading home where oven’s bread
Is like the Eastern spring.

For me, my roam, and time away,
And journey cross the plain,
Was more for warmth, but I can’t stay
Where heat’s a daily gain.

So now I head to Eastern shore
To see the Tulip’s spring.
Remembering the sound and more
Of peepers birthing ring.

Spring comes with joy to those of us
Who honor species far.
Each prides their place with knowing trust
Despite a winter’s scar.

This is a time to be aware
Of powered place and phrase.
Each spring’s a grace and lasting prayer;
A loving light ablaze.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fess Parker

One of my childhood heroes has passed to the great other side.

Fess Parker died last week and I just read about it today.

There are not too many of us alive today who admired, emulated and wished his character was our friend.

Fess Parker was Davy Crockett, (A man of the wild frontier, as the song goes). He was the star of a 1954 series that lasted for several years. He went on the become Daniel Boone, another series that lasted six years.

Mr. Parker was a smart guy. He used his celebrity to market products rather than himself and he became a celebrated businessman in real estate, vineyards and a resort owner.

He had an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in drama for the University of Southern California. Television quickly moved him from obscurity to celebrity in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

I had a lot of TV heroes when my parents finally got television in the early 1950’s; Fess, Hoppy, Roy, Captain Video, Uncle Milty and Bishop Sheen.

As I grew older my television heroes changed. They went to Walter Cronkite, JFK, Gardner McKay, David Jansen, and Robert Frost.

My heroes changed again within a few years as I experienced life and living with my own family and greater mature responsibilities. In fact, my heroes changed more rapidly and more often as I got and get older.

My heroes today are anyone who puts service over self; Anyone who acknowledges the truth of spirit over dogma; Anyone who can laugh at the alleged seriousness of life and anyone who can dislike disagreeable and disastrous choices in others, but can still love unconditionally.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Watermelon seeds!

I had a conversation recently about reincarnation. Someone asked what happens to the personality from one life when you come into another?

I’m sure the religions that embrace the reincarnation concept could and would explain it differently based upon their dogma, but unless you were brought up in those cultures it is a difficult discernment.

In trying to understand the concept of multiple lifetimes and how one retains the divine essence of their spiritual being while embedded with personality after personality of multiple lifetimes, I use a metaphor.

Let’s say that the spirit is a watermelon seed. The totality of one’s eternal being is contained within the seed as it exists in the realm of omniscience and unconditional love.

The seed spirit seeks expression in the denser world of form in order to experience life and love and growth in an environment of choice and consequence.

So the seed spirit transitions once again from life there to life here and it begins to grow until the fruit of its maturity is a beautiful life as an oval green watermelon.

The spirit, which has experienced multiple personalities as other forms, inhabits and energizes life as a new watermelon. Inside that life-spirit are hundreds of seeds each a personality remnant from previous incarnations. The personality didn’t go away. It is contained with the spirit whole.

We each are a collective of all our lifetimes.

Spirit Diver © 1995
I saw my soul, before its birth,
upon an image deep in space
and dove, from high, down to the earth
to breathe again the breath of race.
Through a tunnel I did steal
into a womb of warmth and love.
A strange forgetting I did feel
while on the passage from above.
My leap was silent till my cry —
awakening in birthing strife.
That must be when I said good-bye
and died into the new of life.
When I awoke with earthly breath
and density to comprehend,
I knew that birth is like a death,
each is the same, there is no end.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Omnipresence of Change

I received a note from a reader in Japan the other day and it reminded me of the dynamics of change.

I remember as a kid growing up during World War two and reciting hateful rhymes against the Japanese and in particular Emperor Hirohito.

We were at war and our fathers and uncles were in harm's way. It was our child’s way of reflecting our parent’s feelings and dealing with the adult frustration and anger that filtered down to us kids.

The Japs, as we called them then, were the enemy. Today they are the Japanese and we are demonstrable friends and fierce competitors.

Emperor Hirohito was 88 when he died in 1989. For 62 years he ruled from the chrysanthemum throne and he became the longest reigning monarch of the world's oldest imperial line. He saw his homeland go from a super military power, to crushing defeat, to a world economic power achieving in business what it could not do in war.

Hirohito saw his life go from being considered and treated as a living god, to a position largely ceremonial, as is the case today with his son.

Isn’t it interesting nearly every country with which we’ve been at war is now our friend. England, Spain, France, Germany, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Irish...

I’m not sure if I’m ready to let go of the Irish influence and the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day.

OK, I’m sure. I’m not ready to let go.

I had a great time with friends who are purebred Irish. His father came from Ireland and she is as pure Irish as name and history will attest.

We enjoyed a corn beef and cabbage dinner and ended up the day watching a PBS special about Ireland with some of the old Irish entertainers that I remember from my childhood. Pat O’Brian, Carmel Quinn, Crosby crooning Celtic melodies and so many more.

Western civilization is indebted to the Irish for saving literature and much of our recorded history and culture. If you haven’t read the book, “How The Irish Saved Civilization”, you should. Thomas Cahill wrote it.

I mentioned in my previous post that I spent some poetic time in Ireland. Here is another musing from that experience. This one is a sonnet.

Ireland of My Youth
© 2006 Rolland G. Smith

I came to find the Ireland of my youth
When songs of troubled tunes and ballads sad
Were sung by family friends who knew the truth
Of dispassion’s glance and famine’s long bad.
Some tunes were lively songs of memories old
And others brought a tear from thoughts within.
But each was sung with strength of heart and soul
As gathered guests recalled their origin.
Now here I am today on Patrick’s Isle
To see anew the Irish spirit bold
And still the songs are sung in Celtic style
With tenor’s pipes in singing rhythmic brogue.
The Ireland of my youth, I knew from song
But here, now aged, I know where I belong.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The Irish Connection is a good one within my family and very good friends.

Saint Patrick’s Day is today. It is the day supposedly everyone is Irish. It rings true to me since there is a predominance of Irish blood that runs through my veins or should I say, “me veins”.

A number of my Celtic ancestors came from the old sod during the potato famine of the mid eighteen hundreds and established roots in Canada and the New England states.

I don’t know much about those folks or their needed escape from famine and oppression, but I do know the stories of mirth and woe from songs that my Mother would play on the piano and the family would sing when I was young.

A few years ago I spent a few week in Ireland, not as a tourist for I had done that on other travels, but as a resident in one place so I could experience the Irish life. The result was expressed in poetry. Here is one expression.

© 2006 Rolland G. Smith

Much pain was felt before the joy
As history will attest.
Old Ireland’s memory does employ
A hunger all detest.

But now the Irish share their mirth
With Emerald green and mist.
T’was not the land of “me own birth,”
But tis a land I’ve kissed.

I’ve come to see and be as one
With the Irish spirit.
It’s there I know, it’s halcyon
Listen and you’ll hear it.

It comes from harps and leprechauns
And pipsiewaggins too.
It comes from tunes from vagabonds;
The gypsies traveling through.

I smell the peat smoke wafting pass
The green grass scented air.
Reminding me of Erin’s past
And Celtic colleens fair.

The rainy mist has finally gone
And I can see the sun.
With feathers dried and birds in song
The damp is finally done.

Though fair, this day, a chilly one
Set high along the coast.
The cragged rocks today’s dolmen
Is nature’s mark to toast.

But in this land forever green
The mist is part of her.
Tis here that I have keenly seen
The sun to rain defer.

Happy Saint Patrick’s day to all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Power of Thought

There are some people who believe the thoughts we have for others are seen physically in our body language and sent ethereally through an unseen energy. It's been called many things: prayer, light, vibration, and even the force.

Assume for a moment that our thoughts are a personal energy that we can send to someone, even to the world's leaders, the Kings and Princes, the Dictators, Presidents and Premiers and Prime Ministers all over the world.

The men and women who govern different countries are constantly being criticized or cursed by their citizens and others for one reason or another. We are all quick to criticize, but slow to praise, to encourage, thus the leadership of the world is mostly bombarded by negative and harmful thoughts.

To help our struggling world, perhaps if we send our best thoughts to these fallible men and women it will inspire them to seek the greater good through the medium of compromise.

If it works, if a little piece of our hearts, our positive energy, our Chi, could indeed be felt by these leaders, then we have everything to gain in the process. It might even encourage global agreement on contentious issues.

Think about it!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I am certain that each of us in our own way constantly searches for ways to express the divine within us. We do so through the gifts and talents we exhibit in life.

If we believe that The All-ness known by many names created us then it follows that the breath of love, the spark of life is inherent within our being and seeks expression.

Some people find divinity in individual appreciation of natural beauty, such as a sunset, a flower, or a pastoral scene. Others find the divine in creating works of art through form and music. People manifest their creativity in sculpture, photography, painting, textile, jewelry, sound and other mixed media and fine craft.

Divinity is expressed in infinite ways through talents that blossom in everyone through their choices. I remember a woman once telling me she had no talent, yet she was a nurturing Mother of five children and kept a peaceful, productive and loving household. That’s talent.

People who conceptualize are using a personal talent, scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians. So do gardeners, pilots, and street sweepers. They are all using talents that were uncovered and honed by their life choices. Each in their own way inspires awe and appreciation when the diligent practice of skill lets others benefit from a discovery, a flower garden, a safe landing or a clean street.

Appreciation of both simple and complex skills should mitigate the illusion of superiority in any individual, race or religion. In the realm of appreciation there is no difference between a great work of art that engenders awe and the healthful and scenic benefit of a clean street.

Isn’t the divine magnificent?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nova Albion

Since I’m here in Nova Albion for a few more weeks before driving back across country to the east, it is interesting to note some of its history.

Back in the middle 1930's, Beryle Shinn, a San Francisco store clerk was picnicking on the beach north of the Golden Gate Bridge. He found a corroded brass plate measuring five by seven inches. There was some old writing scratched on it.

Shinn sent the piece of brass to Dr. Herbert Bolton at the University of California. He carefully cleaned it and read it. It was dated June 17, 1579. In old Elizabethan English it read in part: " the name of her majesty Queen Elizabeth of England and her successors forever I take possession of this kingdom now named by me and to be known unto all men as Nova Albion." It was signed Francis Drake.

Historical accounts of Drake's travels put him in what is now California in 1579. Drake reported he landed near "white banks and cliffs". There were no landmarks like that near where the brass plate was found.

Scientific and scholarly analysis eventually authenticated the plate as real except where were the "white banks and cliffs".

Enter William Caldeira. He convinced authorities he was telling the truth. He said he found the plate four years earlier at Laguna Beach, thought it was Chinese writing, kept it for awhile and eventually cleaning out his car, threw it away near where Beryle Shinn found it.

The place where Caldeira found the brass plate is called Drakes Bay. It has white banks and cliffs.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A man I respect said to me that every empire collapses under its own weight.

I remembered the phrase “History is prologue” that John F. Kennedy wrote so many years ago.

So I thought about that and did some research and came up with a number of collapsed empires besides the Aztec, Inca, Roman and Greek empires of old.

The realms of Akkad, Assyria, Babylon, Hatti, and Ur represent human civilization's first experiments in empire building. Each in their own way…
gave birth to the political, judicial, religious, and military systems that would influence the administration of subsequent empires;
steered earlier societies on a course that would eventually lead to our modern world's intricate system of nations, states, and countries; and
played key roles in episodes in ancient history, such as the Babylonian captivity, the Trojan and Peloponnesian wars, and the eventual rise of the Greek and Roman empires.
Then I thought about the American empire of today and where we stand early into our third century.

We, as America and Americans, have a distinct possibility, in the next few hundred years of collapsing under our own weight. Greed and selfishness and the inability to compromise for the greater good will bring us down.

The partisanship of our elected members of congress is a contributing case in point. These trusted and elevated members of our society, whom we send to represent us, are attached to personal and political power and not attuned to the gift of service.

Their health care is different from the average citizen because they voted themselves to be special. Their retirement package is different from ours and extravagant. Congress and other Federal authorities should be required to live under the same rules and entitlements as their constituents do. How else can a controlling authority identify with the needs of a nation?

I think then the bickering would stop and common sense prevail.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reading and Talking

Have you ever watched someone reading a newspaper? They seem to have un-connected thoughts sandwiched between limited conversation and editorial comment on what they just read.

The rattle and crinkle the of paper as the page is turned encourages a glance at the advertisements, which in turn disconnects from the flow of information.

It’s a lot like watching a television newscast. You have to watch TV news consecutively, not concurrently and that can lead to a mental disconnect.

Reading a book is different. The concentration is different. It’s focused, generally un-interrupted and confined to the mind of the reader.

I like watching people read a book. Their minds are entrapped in the excitement of the story. If you could see their mental aura it would be dancing like a Broadway marquee. There are little or no interruptions accept for the page turning and occasional “gaze” into the distance to mentally digest a special phrase or a surprise element the author has placed in a strategic chapter of the book.

Words often transcend their meaning. Within the profound phrases and paragraphs of truth or fictional empathetic excitement there is energy to each word or phrase. It is beyond the sequential and descriptive placement of words into a thought of understanding. Therein lies the skill of the author.

When the voice is activated, however, there is a new awareness, a new understanding.

Many of the native peoples of the world had no written language. They understood the power of repetition and memory and passed their history from generation to generation on the medium of the breath.


The voice gives a meaning above, below and within the words as it is spoken. The voice contributes to words with nuance, spirit, emotion, humor and reverence. Modern story telling has forgotten pauses, it has forgotten how to use silence in understanding the inherent drama of the story and it has lost the peaceful utterance of calm dialogue.

I am tired of watching shouting matches on television programs disguised as news programs. Shouting is a misuse of the voice in the alleged dissemination of information.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I remember

Things I remember on a rainy thoughtful morning:

Having school clothes and play clothes.

Having to get up from the chair to change the television channel.

The Fuller Brush man.

Green stamps.

Five and Dime stores.


Three channel televisions.

When summer seemed endless.

78 rpm and 45 rpm records.

When penny candy was a penny.

When movies began with cartoons and a serial.

You could repair your own car.

Teachers had the authority of parents.

Most houses didn’t have garages.

Space travel was science fiction.

Men wore hats everywhere.

Pennies were steel.

The washing machine had rollers on top.

Each house had a clothesline.

Air conditioning was open windows and doors in the summer.

Alaska and Hawaii were territories.

People dressed up to travel.

You walked or rode your bike to school.

One gear bikes with big tires.

Each house had a coal bin.

Doctors made house calls.

You picked up the phone and an operator said, “number please”.

Route 66 was the main road across America.

The refrigerator was called an icebox.

Lawns were mowed with push mowers.

Camping in a Baker tent.

Paint was lead based and nobody knew it was harmful.

My Mother would say, “Think of all the starving kids in China”.

Al Jolson, Orson Wells, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Lowell Thomas.

Leftovers were always eaten.

Outhouses at my uncle’s farm.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Carrizo Wash

I’m not far from the Anza Borrego desert in California. It is the largest state park in California and the second largest within the continental United States after Adirondack Park in New York.

The park is named after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and the Spanish word borrego, for bighorn sheep.

Eons ago the desert floor was an ancient seabed and it is to this day festooned with tiny seashells. I was amazed at this when I visited the area and camped to experience the wonder of sunrise and the hot breath of the desert when no one else was around.

It was a poetic inspiration for me and the result was a poem entitled, “Carrizo Wash”.

A desert vast to see and feel
What is true and what is real.
But streaks and scratches on the land,
Did tear the nature from the sand.

It’s tracks of cars — tire scarred,
Old bed of sea now wheel marred.
Barren dry, yet full of life,
Eroded by the weather’s knife.

Granite grays and sandy stone
Black basalt and sun-bleached bone.
Sages grow in pale hue
And green and cream rendezvous.

Fossil dunes from tranquil past
Beneath a sea that didn’t last.
This solitude with crusts of shell,
What ancient day felt your knell?

Thou sacred sweep, what is worse:
No ocean cover or man’s traverse?
Intruding sounds in paradise
Make this silent place die twice.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Morphic Fields

One interesting thing about the western part of America are the surface grates in the open range cross roads. It prevents free-range cattle from wandering onto busy highways or private property.

The cattle will not step onto the grate for fear of getting their hoofs caught in the small open spaces between the iron bars.

I had dinner once with Rupert Sheldrake the British biochemist, plant psychologist and prolific author. He was telling me about “morphic resonance and morphic fields” a theory whereby plants and animals and even humans inherit the habits of their species as instincts.

One example, through his research, was the surface cattle grates of western roads. Sheldrake discovered that because of a shared instinct passed from generation to generation the cattle will not walk over what even looks like a grate. In an experiment they painted a grate on the roadway and cattle would not cross it.

Fascinating stuff. Check out his website:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Eastern Winter

Whenever nature explodes in an aberrational fury as it has in the east recently, we quickly reestablish awe for her power and acknowledge our respect, not only for her seemingly indiscriminate manifestation of the elements, but for a force we cannot control or appreciate.

In nature’s harshness, there is poetic beauty.

O’ Eastern states in winters grasp
Delighting all who choose to know
What beauty comes from steady cold
And sifted, blizzard driven snow.

Drifted, diamond dunes of white
Cover street and tree and trail
With crystal sparks from nature's heart,
A blanket ode to season frail.

Long shadows cast by breaking dawn
Create the grays upon the bright
From standing buildings tall and straight
Peeking, poking through the white.

Cold, early hurried people trudge,
With crunchy steps on blowing way,
Their rhythmic puffs of huffing breath
Will vanish with the warmth - someday.

In all things, we can find beauty, if we look for it. The looking, however, must not diminish our compassion for those who cannot see it until their weather becomes a gentle climate. Hold on, spring is coming.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Ann

Today is a very special day. On this day many years ago a spirit entered into form and began a mortal life with the name of Ann.

Some twenty plus years later I was fortunate to meet, fall in love and marry this kind and gentle soul. As I publically wish her a very happy birthday today, I also thank the energy of love that brought us together and manifested itself through our children and shared experiences.

It is not always easy to live with me. I know I’ve endured me for decades. Ann has done so too with patience, humor, respect and tolerance; there might have been a few expletives tossed in here and there, but me being of flawless character and mind I choose to ignore those imaginary moments. :-)

As I honor her today with this birthday post, please join me in a collective wish of happiness and congratulations.

Happy Birthday Ann!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tough Times and Choices

I heard the other day of a sadness from an adult child of very good friends, friends who go back nearly 40-years. Our kids were raised together in a bedroom community near a big city. With that criterion I do have an emotional attachment to a positive outcome since their kids are my kids too.

The issue, as I am told, is about “falling out of love” with a spouse of twelve plus years and young children are involved.

Divorce is a possibility!

I’m not a counselor of any kind, especially marriage, but I am one who chooses to see the inner picture of life without the emotional constrictions of ego, expectation, worry or the fear of change.

The daily creative opportunities that choice brings us are both profound and painful and we often choose the easy way out by listening only to ourselves, rather than integrating the “other” into the oneness of who and what we are.

Commitment is an important component into sustaining a loving relationship; next comes COMMUNICATION. Without the communication of shared conversation and mutual respect on the mundane and profound issues of family life, love cannot exist beyond the physical. Initially the physical is important, but it diminishes unless spontaneity, romance and innovation keeps it fresh.

No marriage, no relationship will sustain itself unless each partner is willing to be in the shoes of the other and to ask three questions each day with humility and without argument until it is time for the other to ask the same questions:

Question one: “Should the relationship continue?”

Depending on the answer to that profound question…

“What is it that you think I do or don’t do that is helpful and harmful to this shared relationship?”

“What is it that we can do together to repair feelings and actions so that our initial commitment is held sacred?”

Aside from failure to communicate, I think that one of the biggest detriments in sustaining today’s family relationships is the “busy-ness” of 21st century life. Making a living needs attention, oftentimes too much,but necessary. Children have needs, as we adults perceive them, and they can be a drain on family time unless their needs and joys are shared by both parents. We often encourage our children to participate in too many activities that separate us rather than bring us together as a family. Spouses and children live together, but often don’t interact and laugh together because we are too busy. Interests are separate, but not shared. Shared activity is the glue of family continuity.

I don’t know where these good young people will end up. I hope it is together. If each decides that their family unit is worthy of continuing then they each must do so with respect, with tolerance, and with appreciation of the other’s needs and interests.

If any marriage is to succeed it needs attention and communication. It does not demand, nor demean. It neither constricts nor controls. It honors each in the separateness of our oneness.

It is never perfect!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Desert Observations

Observations living in the desert.

Technology and the ingenuity of humankind have transformed a scrub and cactus desert into a comfortable and expensive paradise.

Palm Springs and Palm Desert, California and all the communities in between and surrounding these two cities are tailored, manicured mercantile cities with a pristine climate. They are filled with golf courses, boutique shops, artist’s lairs, restaurants, gas stations, beauty parlors, car dealers; low-rise office buildings fill in the blank spaces.

A city's character, however, comes from its people. Here they skew older, wealthy and conservative. There is nothing wrong with being conservative as there is nothing wrong with being liberal, but there is something wrong when the mind is closed to listening to alternative considerations; that’s not only just here, it is everywhere in the world.

Thinking about considerations that may change our minds and hearts are amongst the most difficult choices we will ever make. It means being open to blind possibilities and unknown challenges and be willing to think about the altruistic greater good. Change is the only constant in our lives. Change can be small or large, but it is constant.

Back to desert observations:

I love nature. I like standing silent in an eastern forest or sitting next to a brook and just listening. The western desert has different sounds. You can hear the heat and cactus breathe if you open your inner ear.

An Eastern forest has its leaf rustle of deciduous trees. A palm-speckled desert has a unique sound too. The palms don’t rustle; they clap their fronds in a desert breeze as if applauding the profound performance of All That Is.

It’s beautiful.

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