Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Observations On Another Day

What constitutes a perfect day? Individually we all have our criteria. Mine, and I suspect your does too, varies with the day, the climate, responsibilities, needed accomplishments and especially what we choose to observe about the day.

In this post I choose to concentrate on observations.

With a cup of coffee in hand, I chose to walk the Buddha garden yesterday morning around 5:30. The rising sun filtered through the tall Oaks, Maples and a Shaggy Bark Hickory splashing its rays on the potted flowers and arbors of miniature Wisteria and Trumpet vine.

There is a ridge maybe a mile away to the East that holds back the bright light to my little indentation of a valley so the treetops are the first to reflect the brilliance of the morning and then the light shinnies down the tree to the flora and fauna below. You can see its molasses movement if you stand and watch.

There was a cacophony of tweets, chirps, caws, coos and warbles as the flying kingdom burst into active life. The Mourning Doves cooing filtered in and out of the symphonic melodies of the songbirds. Finches Wrens, Robins, Jays and Blue Birds took their turns as nature conducted the score for anyone who would listen.

There is always an anomaly: the Mocking Bird. He or she decanted every song they’d ever heard and mixed them up into a chirping loop of tunes that praised the morning light. I was ecstatic.

Late morning to late afternoon will filled variegated sunshine. Soft Westerly breezes with occasional puffs rustled the leaves. A cool front was approaching. The high cirrus clouds gave way to the pillowed cumulous that passed reluctantly. They give context and form to the landscape and proved that shadows do create the mottled contours of a magnificent day.

As I sat on an elevated porch overlooking a meadow far below and gazing at a blue dream of sky, I heard the snap of a twig or branch about thirty feet below me. I stepped slowly to the railing. There clothed in her golden russet brown of summer was a doe munching on Sumac leaves. We shared eye contact and Shakespeare’s line came to mind; “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” She apparently was comfortable with my intrusion for she shortly bedded down for an afternoon rest in the bramble and bushes.

The evening was a culmination of the day. Golden light festooned the gardens; zephyrs tweaked the quaking Birch leaves and the throng of the flying ones again sang for their supper. I have several feeders around the house and the birds flit in and out, choose their prize seed and dart to a nearby tree to enjoy the feast. When twilight approached the songs became vespers until the sunset across the valley and it was momentarily silent.

Not to be outdone and seemingly happy that the warmth of the day had abated, the Crickets, Katydids, Grasshoppers and the Bull Frogs from a meadow pond took over the night sounds. Their sounds advertise their whereabouts for a mate. It’s loud. It’s wonderful and it attunes you to the nature you are.

It was a perfect day for me. I hope yours was too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Recent Thoughts

Considerations on modern mercantile ethics.

I think what is missing today is courtesy. We customers have become a commodity. We have become a profit center for the numerous professions. Medicine in particular and their adjudicators the insurance industry has abandoned a common wellness for the whole of life.

I believe we are all ONE, but in that great oneness is a profound diversity of individual choice and the singular ability to ignore the oneness for the aggrandizement of self.

We are all a part of All That Is, but we have a choice to participate in the All. There is no right or wrong to the choice; it is only a choice.

Medicine, media, law and religions need to forgo the exorbitant profit margin and return to their founding ethics of service. There is nothing wrong with a reasonable profit. There is everything wrong with greed. It is my observation that once profit is the only motivator then courtesy, compassion and common good go by the wayside

Monday, June 28, 2010

The BP Spew

The gulf oil spew is beyond a tragedy and an environmental catastrophe. It is a global devastation. The spewing oil is an overt message to humanity from the innate sentientness of Gaia, Mother Earth. The message is: “take what you need for you have stewardship over the earth, but take precautions that what you take will not harm the life and habitat of species that coincide with the nature's gift or all will suffer. Stewardship should be benevolent. Wanton accumulation is not.

Humankind has been continuously neglectful of the environment for decades. The modern era of science, the modern era of technology and the modern era of greed have advanced us into an era of arrogance and self-indulgence.

We think we are the only intelligent beings on the planet. We may have awareness and conscious reasoning, but there are other sentient species here that must endure our egotistical disregard of nature and they must suffer our haughty and conceited passion for accumulated wealth.

BP is not the singular cause. We are! We the users of planetary resources who care not for the planet, but only that we have enough for the immediate pleasures of life.

If we don’t start to work together for an environmental conservation and balance on our planet we will have no planet to balance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Extraordinary People

Johnny Miller died two years ago around this time. He was 102. He was one of those men who feared nothing and did everything. He taught himself to fly in a World War One surplus Jenny. He did so by reading a book. Extraordinary!

He was born just two years after the Wright Brothers flew their historic flight.

Miller had an extraordinary life in aviation. He was proficient in Gyroplanes and many other aircraft culminating as a captain for Eastern Airlines flying jets. He made and broke records.

Even though he reached the century mark four years ago, Johnny Miller stayed as active as he could. A few years ago, when I was interviewing him for a documentary called "Gyroplane Refrain," I offered to help him bring his Bonanza out of a hanger, but he said, “No, I’ll do it” and then at nearly one hundred he flew it to two perfect touch and go's.

I marveled then at his youthful spirit and I wondered what makes some of us old at fifty and some of us young beyond ninety.

Health, I’m sure, has a lot to do with it, and I suspect the inner attributes of a youthful demeanor: enthusiasm, attitude and the joy of adventure are part of it and perhaps pride in still being able to make perfect landings.

It was Longfellow who wrote:

“…Age is an opportunity no less than youth itself, though in another dress. And as the evening twilight fades away, the sky is fitted with stars, invisible by day”.

Reportedly Johnny Miller's last words were: "I guess my flying days are over." No, Johnny, I think they have just begun. Your spiritual flight has

made the Eternal Light much brighter. Requiescat In Pace.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer long ago

It’s very early summer, just three days into the season. The humidity is up where I live now and so is the temperature. Perhaps it is a harbinger of the coming hot August days, but today my mind wanders to this time of year, this kind of summer, when I was a child.

Like now, school would be just out or almost out for the summer and endless days of play were in the offing. I’ll keep these thoughts to my 12th year. I had just completed the 6th grade. Summer would be spent camping with the Boy Scouts, playing ball in vacant lots, catching fireflies at dusk, staying up late, sleeping in and playing numerous outdoor games with neighborhood friends and playmates.

In July, were two weeks of my Dad’s vacation. We spent it in a sparse housekeeping cabin on a lake in the Adirondacks. It was a one-bedroom cabin and I’d sleep on a porch cot in my sleeping bag piled with several blankets. It gets cold in the mountains even in summer.

I loved the sounds of night listening from the screened porch feeling safe, but I especially loved the waking light and sounds and smells of morning; fresh cold air from out under the covers, chirping birds, scampering chipmunks and squirrels leaving trails in the lawn dew.

I learned a number of things during those summers’ weeks especially a profound appreciation of nature. My folks took the same cabin around the same time for a few years. The man and woman who owned the cabin lived in a main house on the premises. I became friends with the man. He was older than my parents and his kids had moved away. He was a strong, rugged and kindly man with a perennial smile that didn’t show teeth, just his heart. He knew how to do everything: plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, fix a car, repair a canoe, or fix a boat motor.

I’d watch him in his workshop and he’d ask me to help. Sometimes he’d have to run an errand or two into town and I’d go with him in his old pick-up truck; somehow we’d always stopped for ice cream. Occasionally we’d head out to some dirt back road to cut fresh fir branches to weave into a wire mesh lean-to ceiling. Guests would sit in the lean-to at night, smell the balsam and watch logs crackling in the fireplace and listen to loons calling to each other in the lake distance.

I learned all the old camp songs sitting around that lean-to. There were old Irish melodies, college songs, and a few bawdy rhymes that my Mother probably wished I hadn’t heard at that age.

But back to my older friend. One day he handed me a single shot twenty-two rifle and taught me how to safely handle it and what a responsibility it was to have in my possession. He said take the trail and go to a small pond about a half-mile away and do some plinking. He gave me a couple of soda cans to take with me. He must have asked my parents permission before he handed me the rifle because they said it was OK and to be careful.

My Dad didn’t have a gun in the house so this was my first experience with a real firearm except that I had a BB gun and the same rules applied.

I didn’t learn responsibility that day. My parents always talked about its importance. I learned trust and what a powerful gift it is. I will never forget that man and what he taught me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


There are many things we don’t understand, and then there are some things that belie common sense and common decency. Why, for instance, do we seem to have an endless need to be voyeurs into other people lives, and sometimes even after they are dead?

All too often the tabloids get a hold of a sordid story and publish the alleged assignations and private life of some celebrity. Love affairs, romantic trysts, who loved whom. Who cares! Voyeur is a French name for a Peeping Tom. Can writing about it or reading about it in tabloid or book be less perverse than peeping?

It is the memory of personal good and public grace by the icons of society that should be remembered, not their private choices that may be altered by gossip or greed.

Do we see ourselves as better by peering into the prurient human failings of those whom we celebrate? Let the sins or faults, endemic to all of us, be forever buried in the landfill of our thoughts and let us remember only the good someone does for that will honor life, not defile it.

May the judgment of personal choices be only aware by the eternal Source of unconditional love and not vilified by those who are rudely nosy.

The biblical admonition of “judge not…” is still valid today.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Most countries of the world abhor the practice of commercial whaling. Iceland, Norway and Japan still hunt and kill whales despite a world view that it is barbaric, cruel and not necessary. It may be ending soon for Iceland. Germany has made a condition for Iceland to stop whaling if it wants to join the European Union and get much needed economic help.

The Japanese were recently caught in a bribery scandal with the international Whaling Commission. They now have a major public relations problem.

For a small moment in time back in 1988 the world linked and worked together for a common purpose to free two ice trapped baby gray whales in Point Barrow, Alaska.

To rescue the young of another species, governments, at that time, put aside mistrust, environmentalists and oil workers suspended argument to labor together for a common good and Eskimos did everything they could to save what they normally hunt.

It worked the whales were saved.

Two little gray whales helped us learn that the essence of life is cooperation not competition, compassion not conflict and saving to be saved.

It is amazing what other species can teach us if we but open our eyes and hearts.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Some thoughts on laughter.

The world is filled with serious things: worries, illness, tragedy, heartache and we have to deal with these things as best we can.

Laughter may be the only way to process the events, actions, and feelings we can't understand. Laughter does not make light of the serious, nor does it minimize our responsibility to act positively. Laughter does allow us to look at life's vicissitudes out of the realm of fear. You can't be afraid when you're laughing.

It is also one of the few cross cultural emotions that everyone can understand. You can't laugh in a different language even if you wanted to.

Laughter to me is the great healer and it is an empowering gift to those who want instant access to the divine within in order to better understand existence, experience and life. Laughter is a positive conduit through which the intellect slips behind the illusion of the ego and into the knowing dimensions of awareness.

Laugh my friends. Joke about the overly serious. Find the humor in all things; a sense of humor is one of the greatest gifts we've all received from the All That Is.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Fathers Day - this Sunday.

When I became a father. I cried. It was a little embarrassing. I became known as the crying newsman at the hospital in the town where I worked. When my next child was born, a line of nurses waited for me to cry. I didn't then, for by that time I was used to the joy and the fun of being a Dad.

Through the years my eyes had tears of joy as I watched my three sons grow and unfold with enthusiasm and become seekers of truths, theirs and the Universes.

In dictionary the word "Father" is between two appropriate words. "Fathead" and "Fathom

I don't know of any Father that hasn't been a fathead once or twice in rearing children.

"Fathom", as a noun, is a measure of length, the span of two arms outstretched. The beginning of a hug and a hug is perhaps the nicest gift a father can receive and give, for it acknowledges another FATHER in our children as our children.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Far Right

I watched part of the Chris Mathews report on the far right in America last night on MSNBC. I saw enough and I’ve read enough elsewhere about the far right movement in our country to comment on what I see as a disturbing trend in America.

I was shocked and disappointed at what I saw. The right, whatever that may mean through the individuals speaking on the program, both local and celebrity, as they stated their goal of “taking back America.” I felt that both Rand Paul and Dick Army and Sara Palin were opportunists cashing in on the festering resentment of an organized few.

My question is from what or whom are they taking the country back? It seems to me that the majority of Americans elected Mr. Obama to enact change or at least champion the cause of change for the next four years.

The far right's overall complaint is the size of big government. OK, I understand that and at times agree that Washington is too fat and too involved in our lives and that should be changed with votes, not vitriol.

I fear that the proletariat populace of the right wants to take back the government from first, a black man who is President. That reason alone is prejudicial and abhorrent. The second reason is to appease their financial anger stemming from a systemic global economic recession that has taken wealth from every citizen.

The economic downturn is not the fault of the President, but it may be a fault of congress for staying in bed with the Wall Street lobbyists for such a long time. It is basically the result of innate greed and dispassion from high tower financial offices and a lazy congress that let Wall Street roam freely in the lobby garden of gifts, perks and privilege. That needs to be changed.

If the right wants to take back something to appease their anger, then take back partisanship, inaction, discourtesy and privilege in Washington and demand a governmental that returns to honor, integrity and ethics in their thought, word and deed then we will have a discussion base from which debate can flourish and direction honed for the operational process of our country.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You

Thank you Topher08 for your comment reminder yesterday of just “being.”

I have experienced in my travels and joys and in my stillness and sadness that “being” is an advanced state of spiritual awareness and that it is not as hard to get there as one might think. It's not easy for it requires a mind change. It's not hard for it is a simple matter of choice. That dichotomy is the paradox of being.

What’s interesting, first of all, is that we call ourselves human “beings.” We do not call ourselves human “becomings,” yet that is what most of us choose to recognize from adolescence and beyond. We all seem to want to become something, because that is what our parents, our society, our government, our religions and our minds have been conditioned to believe.

My experience has led me to embrace the “now" of the moment rather than the “hope” of becoming or better put, embrace the “being” rather than the hope of becoming something. To me hope or want, or even desire and need suggest a lack of thought completion. My vision sees a completed result not the limiting process of continuous want.

It is a very fine line; a very fine thought projection between the two. I do believe that our natural state as a global society, a collective gestalt, is abundance, but human kind predominantly chooses lack as our Modus Operandi. Perhaps that will change in the near future. Indeed it must change for all of us to move into a changing and challenging heightened energy called transformation.

How do I see that in the everyday observations of life? By simplifying the seeing. By embracing the empirical joy of the moment I feel the experience, whether it is watching children play or feeling sunlight on my back. Try this: the next time you take a drink of water feel its energy, acknowledge its gift, thank its life that gives you yours. Water will never be the same again for you.

Move your thoughts out of the proverbial box. It's amazing what you will see and feel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Observations On A Day

What did I learn today?

This morning was a dry-out time from two days of heavy rain. I watched the grasses take a deep breath and push the lingering and clinging drops from the tips of their blades.

The flowers too said, “enough,” no more can we take. Shower after heavy shower peppered their blossoms till pieces and petals decorated the surrounding ground. A nearby plum tree lost hundreds of fledging plums pelted off their stems from the rain. I will miss their purple sweetness come fall.

I learned that if you follow directions explicitly, you would be successful in reconfiguring a computer application to work. It’s probably the first time that’s happened for me. I use to think that if I just did this, then that would happen. It didn’t! Somebody wrote the directions for a reason. Why did it take me some sixty-five plus years to get it?

Later in the day, after school was out, I watched some neighborhood children play on the street and on my lawn. There were three boys and a little girl. The oldest of the boys was eleven, the other boys were nine and eight and the girl was around six or seven. You wouldn’t know it. She was in on the play as aggressively as the boys, wrestling, chasing, tackling and laughing as much as anyone.

Watching that, I was also talking with my wife about the feminine component in play and work and how it has changed in fifty years. I acknowledged that each of us to be complete must honor in the other their attributes and genetics. As a man, I must acknowledge the feminine within me and women must acknowledge the masculine within themselves and when that happens we have a whole new understanding between the sexes; an equality that has been missing for generations.

Then, as the children moved away to other lawns and play and as a complete surprise, the clouds moved aside and for just a moment my porch was lit with the power of a klieg light 93-million miles away.

There I was bathed in a western setting golden bright of exploding hydrogen and helium and the penetrating warmth of fusion so far away.

Neighbors walked by and pleasantries were exchanged.

Shortly the Sun set and I moved inside. My classes for the day were done. I had a lot the think about.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day in America.

There was a time in our history when our flag was empty of experience. It had the symbolism of a new united people and the expectation of greatness, but we were a young country and it had little collective history. It did have something powerful. A dream.

The United States wasn’t even a year old when Continental Congress adopted the flag design on June 14th, 1777, but now, centuries later, our flag is much more than our experience and it is much more than the red and white clothe stripes and symbolic stars in a sea of blue.

It’s everything that’s ever happened to this country and everything we’ve ever done. It’s victory and defeat. It’s protests and pageantry. It’s honor with humility and shame with remorse. It’s living and dying for principal.

Our flag is now the collective body and history of our nation. It’s not only the rights we are guaranteed, but it’s also the personal rights we embrace and grant to others through courtesy and compassion and our national character.

Above all the stars and stripes is a waving symbol for the entire world to see of courage, liberty, and our belief in the God we trust.

There is no official meaning to our flag’s colors even though orators and congress have made many fine suggestions.

I think the red is for the honored blood spent and spilled in the creation of the United States of America and our continued fight for freedom and liberty for all. The white is for the light of the divine we hope to embrace as a nation in our collective decisions and actions. Blue has long been seen as trustworthy, dependable and committed. The stars, though symbolic of our collective state governments, are also seen as mystery and imagination.

In the allegiance we have pledged to this republic, the flag is above all. US.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Storms again

Storms moved through my space yesterday and the day before and what a lesson it was in possible life changes. I had a wise friend who once suggested that weather is local and climate is global. I think he was right. This was weather. It was local and an inward lesson for me.

At one moment it was a humid calm within my home environs. The air was heavy, saturated with moisture, ready to release its liquid gift as soon as it cooled enough for temperature to squeeze the water from the air in the form of rain or fog. In the next moment the wind was blowing, howling, swirling, gusting and galloping across the landscape as Attila the Hun did in ancient times on his violent march through Gaul.

My weather was not as cruel or dispassionate as Attila, but it was momentarily fierce. It ripped limbs, leaves and detritus from the sanctity of brush, bramble and branches.

I watched the frontal passage as detached as I could. I tried not to think about the three 90 foot tall pines near my home either one of which could crush my house. They, as usual, weathered the cyclonic pushes with weaving and swaying grace. It was a magnificent sight to see them as strong winds pushed them one way and physics and Newton balanced them in the opposite direction. It was a dichotomy of their usual standing grace.

We humans are a lot like my tall pines. Winds of all kinds push into our lives and station and we sway this way and that; usually moving back to stability of self. There are political winds, social winds, family winds, friendly winds and spiritual winds that move us from concertized thought and dogma to the potentials of enlightenment depending on our choices.

Nature is a great teacher for she reminds us of our vulnerability and our instability in an ever-changing moment. Each moment is as it should be. Joy comes from discernible choice.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Commentary. The dictionary defines one of its meanings as…”a systematic series of explanations or interpretations (as of a writing).”

That’s what I do.

I interpret events, observations, experiences, memories and wonderments. Anyone can do it. I choose to do it on a daily (M-F) basis because I think it’s important. I think it’s needed in today’s convoluted desultory existence. I enjoy the process of combining thinking, interpretation and finding a way to put the two together into a reasonable thought.

What happens for me is a synapse connection between my heart, my intellect and my spirit and the result is often surprising to me as I re-read or tweak the verbal results of a post.

Nothing that I write should be construed as absolute. Everything that I write is a potential in the realm of understanding and a factual happening open to a valid alternative thought.

Insightful Commentary is a gift of age and experience. Attacking commentary is a result of unreasonable rage or political illusion. In the former the elder processes an event as it factually blends with history and as it accommodates the desire and practice of a universal principle of unconditional understanding.

The later is an emotional ego oriented argument that accommodates the partisan beliefs of irrational reasoning.

Now if that sentence isn’t a prejudice thought nothing is.

See, it happens and I love it. More commentary to come.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In Nature...

It is a rainy day today. The aroma of soft rain on dense foliage reminded me of a watery hike I took a few years ago. It was a solitary hike up a steep well-marked mountain trail. It wasn't just hard walking, it was climbing and clinging and grabbing as I ascended a difficult path.

It was an intermittent misty and rainy day with a cool ambiance that more refreshed than chilled. Fog drifted up the climbing ledges in gossamer wafts of white and gray as the rain coated and washed the ascending trail into a slippery challange. Granite boulders, some the size of houses, blocked the path as I crawled, slid, scooted and climbed through rocky cuts with tiny cave like openings.

I loved the purity of the climb. The rain kept all other hikers, but one, from the slippery rocks and pine needle puddles and so it was just nature and me. It was pristine and primal with occasional surprising vistas from the cliffs to the lake below each bursting through grottos of granite and conifer sculptures.

It was renewing and inspiring and an experience filled with a fragrant ceremony. The eastern mountain laurel was in full bloom. Each pink and white blossom celebrated, not only the mist of the day, but the seeming appreciation of just being the beauty it was.

I met a weasel who fleetingly acknowledged my encroachment upon his home and path and a tiny finch who stayed much longer than expected singing on a branch not more than two feet away from my still and silent watch.

It was a glorious day.

When I got home and read the newspaper headlines I wondered what are we doing to ourselves?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rag Head

There is a republican State Senator in South Carolina. His name is not important for I do not want to give his persona any power by a naming.

He called a fellow republican, a candidate for Governor a rag head. She is a woman who was born in Lebanon and was raised as a Sikh from India American parents and converted to Christianity.

She is in a Republican primary race running for the governorship of South Carolina. The state Senator, who supports one of her opponents, said in a public arena on an internet radio program and then afterwards defended his statement to a questioning media.

"We've got a rag head in Washington, we don't need a rag head in the Statehouse,"

Once again there is no boundary to ignorance.

I originally wanted to tar and feather this man for what he said, but then I felt that my imaginary action would be no better than his insane prejudice. Instead I acknowledge this man’s right to say anything that he chooses, but I also hope he acknowledges that he is totally responsible for the power and consequence of his words.

Personally I don’t like them. I don’t agree with them. His statement is repugnant, ignorant, crude, rude and disrespectful of our highest office as well as personally insulting to the President and to the woman who is running for state office. There is another very important insult. It is to the sanctity of the divine that is within him and in all of us. He may not know it yet on an inner level, but he diminishes himself and all of us with his demeaning words.

Monday, June 7, 2010


The "D" in D-day actually meant nothing. Just a letter designator for the invasion of France during World War Two. In so many ways it could have stood for death. Ten thousand combat casualties, 1500 Americans killed in Action. 27 hundred Britons, 500 Canadians.

The anniversary of D-day was yesterday. June 6th, 1944.

Ten years ago I did a remembrance documentary of D-day. I was the reporter on a visit to the beaches of Normandy. We took several GI's from the New York, New Jersey region back to remember that day. It was, for me, one of the most profound stories I've ever covered.

The documentary was entitled, "Lest We Forget" and the following poem was a result of the experience.

It was the day and the month the warriors returned
To the place where many died, the dawn the beaches burned.
The hard of then, now softened by the passage of the years.
It freed again the feelings that surfaced with the tears.

The mind and step would falter returning to the scene
The body now is different. The beaches now pristine.
So many came to witness the warriors return
And wondered if their courage was something they could learn.

Valor comes in time of need, for courage is within
When tyranny oppresses it rises once again.
Old warriors we thank you, for life and limb you gave
To hold the sacred honor of the free and the brave.

You came from planes and gliders and from the ships at sea
And moved across the beaches to free French Normandy.
You now return to see the place of many battle fears
The combat dead all hold you and wipe away your tears.

The world now rejoices in thanks for how you fought
It weeps for the lives that lost and too for lessons taught
If there be a legacy besides long rows of white
Let it be a world call, never the need to fight.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Vietnam Kid

I often come to this point in the day before I choose what to post and I have nothing in mind. So what I do is let my conscious mind go blank and see what results.


Above my desk is an old photo I took while covering the war in Vietnam in 1968. It is of a little Amer-Asian boy standing behind barbed wire looking off into the distance. He was probably around three or four years of age.

I took the photo while doing a story near Phu Bai in Vietnam. Here’s what some Internet folks remember about Phu Bai. I don’t recall all the statistics.

“Phu Bai was a village in Vietnam that was the location of a large military base.

Phu Bai was the location of Camp Hochmuth. Major General Bruno A. Hochmuth, was a Marine killed in combat just north of Hue.

In 1968 it was the location of PCV HQ, Provisional Corps Vietnam. It later became the HQ of XXIV Corps which was responsible for all of the units in the northern 2 provinces of I Corps Tactical Zone.”

Not too far away, a short jaunt by helicopter, was a small town called Thuy Phu, where this little boy lived. I went to his tiny village to do a story on a project the Marines had initiated.

That night there was chaos and killing in the village.

I don’t know what happened to him. A Marine Captain told the Vietcong attacked the village and killed a number of people. I was not able to get back to the village.

If he is alive today he would be about forty-five or forty-six; the same age as my oldest son. Perhaps that why I took the picture way back then.

I suppose there is a reason I’ve kept the photo displayed on my wall for all these years. I don’t know what it is, except profound sadness and an acknowledgement of the cruelty and futility of war.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Lower Meadow

I mowed the lower meadow yesterday. It was finally dry enough for the mower not to cut ruts in the earth or get stuck in slick surface water just beneath the grasses. It's been more than three weeks since my last mow so the grasses were high.

It seems to me that species work together to protect each other and their territory. The grasses can't protect themselves from the cut, but their sentient field friends and neighbors can molest the intruder and did. The deer flies were out in abundance and attacked me like a squadron of dive bombers.

The long time between mows allowed the meadow grasses and what I thought were weeds to grow to over ten inches and lo and behold the field was filled with wild flowers.

There were daises, buttercups, lavender, Lilly’s of the Valley, Bluets, Forget-me-nots, and some bright blue flowers I can’t name; the meadow was speckled with brilliant color. Some flowers were tall, some were short, and there were broad leaves, thin leaves and all shapes and sizes in-between. I felt sadness as my mower powered over them. This was the second time in many years that they were allowed to grow to their fullness and flower.

As I circled the acreage cutting the field into a lawn again, I wondered how often that happens to people, especially young people who are cut off by the blade of parents opinion, teachers counsel, group mores, social conditions, religious dogma and other condemnations before their individuality can flower into full creative potential.

A myriad of authorities often inhibit, if not restrict, the young from choosing a different path. A path of joy, heart, and contradictory fulfillment.

How many great discoveries have we cut in the bud by saying we don’t do it that way, or we’ve never done it that way or that’s not the way it’s done. How many creative geniuses have we stifled because Dad or Mom went to that school and so should you or you’ll make more money doing this than that.

How many hearts have we broken or bent in saying, “you must, you should, you’d better."

Perhaps we should think more of letting the unending field of individual choice and its innate creativity blossom into greatness.

I won't have to deal with these philosophical questions next week. The grass will just be short and green when I mow again. Maybe it's time to let the meadow be itself.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Plastic Illusions

I have been on a nature observance kick for the last two posts.

Last evening I sat by a plastic lavender plant displayed in a decorative pot on a sitting porch. I sat close by and watched a little bee, the kind we use to call sweat bees when I was a youngster.

This little bee went from plastic flower to plastic flower looking for the sweet nectar and probably wondering where it was. The little fellow was confused by the appearance of the fake flower. As I watched it, it was an exercise in futility. The plant looked like a real lavender plant so the confusion is justified from the perspective of the insect.

The bee was persistent, but not satisfied and eventually left.

I wondered about humankind’s infatuation with plastic things and with false things that seemingly give us emotional comfort and visual pleasure. The eye, as magicians know, can always be deluded with slight of hand illusions and with the perfection of human creativity art can form ingenious false images.

There are many areas of my home decorated with fake ferns, false figs and flowering figments of reality.

I don’t look at them as real, but as decoration. The tiny bee lacked that intellectual discernment and through instinct continuously sought reality in plastic.

I think we humans continuously seek reality in the density of form when in fact true reality is expressed only from and in a spiritual perspective. I wonder when we will not be satisfied and acknowledge the false and go for the real?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eternity in a Flower

Did you know you could see the vastness of the universe in a single flower? The mystery of wonder is deep within each blossom. The magic of creation is in every petal, every color and every fragrance.

There is only one trick to seeing it all. Time! So many of us rush by a flower’s beauty or a garden’s grace and fail to see the simple connection of awe.

The next moment you see a flowering plant or flower garden take the time to look and see and wonder at the creativity of All That Is. Magnificence will come to mind.

There is a corresponding awareness in the universe itself. Look at some of the phenomenal photographs from the Hubble telescope and tell me you do not see a budding flower in the swirling galaxies of space. There is an unscented fragrance to its visible form. There are colorful plumes in its unfolding beauty. There is mystery in our not knowing what’s happening light years away and there is magic in our wonder.

There are so many connections in our daily lives that lead us to wonder, but we pass them by without a thought. All it takes is a moment, a pause, in the illusion of time to connect to the grace of eternity, the NOW.


© 1995 Rolland G. Smith

I saw a rose before its bloom with a bush of thorn.

Invisible, yet crimson bright, hopeful to adorn.

A table vase or lover’s heart with grace upon a morn.

Until red bud unfurls forth in aromatic rose,

Few will see the flower there ready to compose

A blossomed step of prickling points and barbs sharp juxtapose.

But as the warmth of spring resumes and the cosmic colors flow,

The scarlet of the silent stalk begins its sanguine grow

And dabs the bush in beauty with red roses in tableau.

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