Thursday, September 30, 2010


In a few weeks I will be heading to Kenya, Africa to join the CMMB, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, on how they minister to the medical needs of so many in so much need in what we call the third world. A half-hour program will result.

I wish we had never coined the phrase, "the third world." We may think we are separate in beingness of human, but we are not. We are separated by distance, culture, language, beliefs and by "stuff," but we cannot be separated by being. Whether we know it, or like it, or accept it, it matters not. We are one spiritually.

My friend, philosopher, metaphysician, composer, musician, author, and teacher Dr. Kenneth George Mills once said, (and I will paraphrase and trust I do him justice): When the Bible refers that all must return to the Father it means that the Father is the symbol of the "ONE." We all return eventually to the ONE, to the unity of being for we are all divine emanations of the sacred creative thought of being.

But back to my upcoming trip to Africa. I've been reading as much as I can on African history as well as its hopes and wishes for the future.

These days nobody is paying much attention to Africa and its many country troubles because we’ve got far more local issues with which to deal: the mid-term election, the economy and all of its problems.

All over Africa there are tribal histories of conflict and they continue. All over and more so in some of the burgeoning African countries there are political rivalries for power.

In the Congo there is ongoing trouble. People are being killed and displaced because of insurgent and rebel actions. The Congo you say, what’s that got to do with me? In subtle ways it has a lot to do with each of us.

We are a planet of divergent tribes on convergent paths. We meet in symbolic counsel every once in awhile at the United Nations in New York and try to work it out.

Part of the problem seems to be when we are not together trying to find pathways to the greater good, we seem to forget our humanitarian and spiritual connection and that we have the power to stop indiscriminate killing, ethnic cleansing, genocide and religious degradation. Never forget we have the individual and collective power to say “NO!”

There is a way to remember we are all part of each other. The next time you enjoy a candy bar think of this.

The chocolate may have come from Ghana, the peanuts from the Sudan, the corn syrup from Iowa, the sugar from Ecuador, the butter from Australia, the paper from Canada, the ink for printing from the Congo, the fruit from Israel, and if the candy bar is wrapped in tin foil, it probably came from Thailand and if it has coconut, it probably came from the Philippines.

Add to this all the people it took to bring those products to market for export, and you have millions of people all over the world who have in some way contributed to your enjoyment of a simple candy bar.

Simple people in the Congo, family people who only want to live in peace and raise their families, are being murdered. They are forced to leave their homes in an indiscriminate disruption that warring factions have constructed and we and the rest of the world are too busy with our troubles to pay attention.

I often wonder how much shame our karma can endure before…

You can fill in the ending.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Colors

The fall is beginning to be spectacular, but I fear it will end soon because of the hot summer. The colors started early and then the trees began to shed their garments and now there are brilliant patches of color, but nestled within many bare branches of winter.

Since I have been on a poetry kick the last few posts, I will continue with a newer version of:

Oak Sonnet

© 2010 Rolland G. Smith

The rusted Oaks still hold their foliage
While other trees have shed to silhouette!
Are leafy hoards, now dead, a sacrilege?
Or does the Oak hold leaves as amulet?
Soon Winter’s wind unlocks and leaves release
But still, we’ll not, know why, this is the way
For Oaks have always had a staying peace
That knowledge cannot change or castaway.
The Druids saw their Oaks as sacred trees
And to them prayed for guidance and support,
But that meant not they must release their leaves
To be the fall the way most trees abort.
The mighty Oaks and man are much the same.
When ready we release what we became.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Good Morning All,

I can't remember what I titled this poem a year or so go. I will look it up and restore its birth title, but for the moment it is, The Minds Eye.

I haven't looked at these words in some time and when I did last night for this morning's post I was delighted at its imagery and as well as its message. Poetry is like that for me. I let it go and when I visit it again in the future it seems new to me. What a gift for me.

I trust your day will be perfect and that this Sonnet will connect with your heart.

(A late add) I found the original title. It is "Universal Thought." I like the latest one better.

The Minds Eye
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

Would that we could see far beyond the eye
To where the mind oft goes to be alone.
Where mystery blends with thoughts that never die
And magic melts the ice of what’s unknown.
The miracle of mind is what’s not seen
Except when artist’s hands can clearly show
The Universe and time set in-between
The silence and the thought, a vast tableau.
What greater gift is there, but to create
And greet imagination at its core.
It is in bringing forth that we await
The simple knock of wonder at the door.
The mind is just the hook to hold the thought
Before we let it go and what it's wrought.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Again

Fall has arrived in both my mind and in my environs. The gold’s and oranges have emerged into a colorful display and then quickly let go of their brilliance in a singular moment of loss as they drop to the ground. A zephyr breeze is the usual pallbarer to their surface grave.

A week ago I had a clean green lawn. Today I have a mottled variegated patina of fluffy oak and maple leaves that festoon the ground canvas that used to be grass clear.

I live in an apple-growing region of New York State. I’ve already walked in an apple orchard and picked a succulent fruit to enjoy in its pristine freshness. There is nothing like it. The aroma of apples permeates the valleys and mountainsides of my region. If nothing else, it is the harbinger of fall.

Poetry is a perfect way to describe fall.

O fleeting, splendid bright, October’s dazzling light

Long hidden in the buds of birth below the green.

An ecstasy of eye’s ability to see

What nevermore and ever will again be seen.

Tiara wreaths of crimson reds and sienna.

Robes of rusted browns; ensigns tanned in saffron hue,

Waving standards of the oak, the birch and maple,

The ash and aspen, just before their leaf’s adieu.

Blowing in a pruning breeze, colors drop away,

Not to die but to decorate the frosted fall

And celebrate the shedding cloak of summer’s sheen

Before the dancing flakes of snow will white enthrall.

Colors are the chorus, the season’s change in sound.

Scarlet, a crispy snap, Jasmine’s much more frail;

Maroons rustle in the breath of a bouncing wind

And lingering greens help the harmonies prevail.

The leaves of fall, the garland crowns of wooded land

Attune to the life of man by the breaths we share.

The exhale of one, the inhale of the other,

A symbiotic natural grace within the air.

Keep thy palette bright, October, drop no more leaves

Least not until appreciation passes by

And then, the comfort of your flower quilt will warm

A winter day with thanks the way you beautify.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Medicine Man or Women?

I’m wondering what would happen if any of us were suddenly transported back in time to the environment of the early people.

In a singular moment we find ourselves within a tribe somewhere and logically being accepted. We have no fear of being killed as a demon. They have no fear of us and we are accepted into the tribe as an oracle, a prognosticator, a shaman, or a medicine man or women. All we have is the knowledge of what we know already.

What would you do?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sound and Color

Did you ever see a scene in nature that just blew you away? It could be a sunset, a gentle rain, a morning mist in a forest, the stars, a butterfly, a breath of fresh air or even a due drop that reflects its primatic enirons. If so, you are a fortunate soul, for you have seen the essence of joy as it is personified in the creative nature of life.

I saw such a scene the other day and marveled at how its intrinsic beauty and visual presence manifested into my heart and translated into the narcotic of appreciation. I think I now know how nature inspired the artistic masters of old to paint the scenes that they did. Awe is often a catalyst of creation.

My scene in nature was one of morning. It was one of soft rising light. It was one of mist and sound and the presence of life.

I wondered then how does a skilled painter portray sound? Could sound have a color? Look at the great and established classical imagery in the Louvre and elsewhere. Do you not hear the sound of a crackling fire in the portrait of Whistler’s Mother? Do you not hear the croak of frogs and the gurgle of water from Monet’s impressionistic gardens of Giveny? Can you not feel the yellow warmth of sunlight and hear the birds or crickets in the morning and evening images of modern artist - Kincade?

Sound is an integral part of all creative expression. In music is not the crotchet rest or the selective pauses between notes a singular moment of silent color; a color that the mind attaches to the sound. Wagner’s hardness is black to me. Puccini’s violins are pastel. Did not Louis Armstrong’s horn engender rainbow primaries of bright blues through the refracting tube of altered sound.

Listen with intention to Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto and tell me you do not hear color. It’s there in the pink trill of notes. It is there in the humming red and yellow melody of repetition and it is there in the pantone diversity of the pianist who interprets and guides the composition to flow through the red blood of the pianist hands .

Color is everywhere. It is in our dreams. Color is in our thoughts. Color is in the black of incarcerated thought held by fear. Its potential frees the soul into a cacophony of colorful light.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Boss

Throughout the years of our career employments or in what we call a profession we all meet many people who are our colleagues and who are our bosses and sometimes they become our friends.

I’ve come to the conclusion in my later years that it is not easy to be a boss. It’s not easy to assuage the wants, needs and emotions of people you try to manage and supervise and encourage them to give the best performance out of their innate and experiential abilities.

I’ve had some bosses who I thought were inadequate to the position. They were nice people, but were, in my mind and experience at the time, elevated to the Peter Principal precipice. The Peter principal is one that suggests people are often promoted to their level of incompetence.

We’ve all had that experience if we’ve worked more than one job.

The other day I had the pleasure of connecting and talking again to a man who was my boss nearly forty years ago. He’s older now and so am I, but the strength of his thought and reason has not changed. He was tough then, but he was fair and that to me is the quintessential quality of a great managerial leader.

I’m not going to give you his name because I don’t have his permission, but I am going to tell you what I think made him a great leader.

First of all it was his imagination and vision seeing the potential and the opportunity in something new while maintaining the ethic and dignity of an old and established profession.

Second it was his personal ability to write, observe and to know what was good reporting and a good story. He was and is an example for all who chose to see it. Some did not.

I thank my long time boss. I was successful because he was.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Coming Fall

Fall is here or at least its harbinger is.

One of the signs of fall in my region is the changing color of the White Tail Deer. In the spring and summer they are a creamy buff, almost orange, but when the temperatures start to dip and the calendar says September, the deer change to a dark brownish-gray. It is nature’s way to protect them from the coming cold. The darker hairs on the Odocoileus virginianus, the Latin name for the White Tail deer, grows with a more quilting in the hair to give them better warmth in the winter season.

Back in the 1930’s the White Tail deer population in North America was very low. It was probably around 300-thousand. A number of programs, along with seasonal hunting regulations, saw the population increase to the current estimate of 30-million across several states.

I often go walking in the woods this time of year. I see the heart shaped indented footprint of the White Tail in the mud or soft dirt. Their pellet droppings are evident everywhere as is the occasional antler rack left by the bucks on the forest floor. The racks don’t remain long for mice and ants will devour the calcium in short order.

There is another part of the coming fall that I like. There seems to be a human atavistic urging to gather wood, clean the fireplace, put outdoor things in a safe covered place, and mow the lawn or meadow for one last time.

I saw a flock of twelve wild turkeys pecking their way across my lower meadow the other day. They eat nuts and berries, insects, legumes and grasses. They also need water on a daily basis, so my little stream and pond is ideal for their survival. Eventually they will break up into small groups for the winter and then get together for mating in the spring.

It's interesting to note that these birds have great eyesight and can run up to 18 miles per hour and can fly up to 55 miles per hour when escaping predators.

The only reason we call them turkeys is that the early settlers in this land thought they looked like a bird that was captured in Africa and imported to Europe through ports in the country Turkey; hence the name. They are an entirely different species.

In this weekend's moderate sunshine and heat there was a collective swarming of ants and termites all along our short rural road. Nature seemed to time it perfectly. The swarms were simultaneous. Amazing.

I wonder what more profound things nature provides that we do not see in our blindness?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pentagon Buying books?

This information comes in part from two people on the internet and their various blogs. Jake Andrews and Mike Masnick.

To wit:

"The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is quite upset with a new book about the war in Afghanistan by an army reservist. Even though the Army approved the book, the DIA says that it did not approve the book and that it has too much confidential information.

In order to deal with that, the Pentagon has apparently agreed to buy up the 10,000 copies already printed in order to destroy them. A new version of the book, without the DIA-upsetting material will be printed later. Of course, this attempt at information destruction doesn't really seem to be working. The author has already talked about lots of stuff in the book, and review copies of the original book had already been sent to many press outlets."

The DIA, a government agency funded by our tax dollars is using tax dollars to buy up books that contains information about their questionable tactics in Afghanistan?

Good grief! What have we come too?

This is America where freedom of information is part of the First Amendment guarantees. It is the right of all. Is the next thing burning books that some government agency doesn’t like?

We allow this?

Where are our congressmen and women on this?

Where is the outrage from the public?

Where is the main stream media on this?

There was a time in our media conglomeration that this would have been front page news.

Friday, September 17, 2010

9/11 Friday

Last Saturday was the 9th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. On the first anniversary I wrote a series of commentaries that aired on a television special program in New York.

This week on this blog I am posting five of the commentaries in remembrance of those who died.

The Soul of New York City:

Some thoughts on where we are in this year of mourning.

The sound of our city resonates with the beats of our hearts. It is distinctive. It’s a soft, yet persistent din. A mechanical collective breath that says there is life, and love and pain here.

Ever since September 11th, the out-breath of our city has been a sorrowful sigh. Its sharp in-breaths acknowledge the continuing pain of emptiness and loss. But, as in all loss, there follows an expectation for the new of life, the cradle of wonder, and the young of hope, for life must go on.

It abounds in faces and actions of our people as they move above and below the cobbled cracks of our streets and sidewalks and it dwells in the quarried homes and window stacks of human life and light.

Life, after a terrible tragedy, is often seen in the whimpers of weak smiles and too in the annealed skin of hard hurts. But below all of the pain, all of the loss, all of the tears, there is a positive cry to our city, you can feel it and its sound is a soul that says, “I am exquisite.”

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Last Saturday was the 9th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. On the first anniversary I wrote a series of commentaries that aired on a television special program in New York.
This week on this blog I am posting five of the commentaries in remembrance and reflection.

This commentary is still valid for I heard this statement on the radio. A reporter was interviewing a person attending the 9th anniversary ceremony.

Quote: “ I learned everything I ever needed to know about Islam on 9/11.”

It is this type of ignorance that has kept the conflict between Islam and Christianity for centuries. The Prophet Mohammed never preached violence. Moslem extremists misinterpret the Koran just as fundamentalists Christians misinterpret the Bible. Both Mohammed and Christ taught love, tolerance and giving too few follow their admonitions of love one another.

Commentary Four:

Some thoughts today on the fear of those who are different.

A tragedy the magnitude of 9/11 can force a tolerant democracy into a society of contentious ideals and into a collection of non-compromising ideologues. Passionate certainties are always dangerous. If we find ourselves heading that way, we might want to rethink our stand for cemented thought always hardens into a shape that may not fit the future.

Our founding fathers demonstrated that all opinions are to be valued for their contribution to the whole, and maybe incorporated into the greater good, even though their singular intrinsic value may be suspect.

Shared ideals are the essence of collective growth, for they are not only the building blocks of freedom and liberty, they nurture hopes and wishes and encourage individuals to let go of demeaning ethnic profiling. When that is done the only thing left is reason.

Despite our internal penchant for prejudice, America is still the haven for the oppressed, for the dreamer, for the builder, the scholar, the poet, the artist, and the idealist, even the mystic, for all know this is the place where the manifestation of great thoughts can happen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Last Saturday was the 9th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. On the first anniversary I wrote a series of commentaries that aired on a television special program in New York.

This week on this blog I am posting five of the commentaries in remembrance and reflection.

Commentary three:

Some thoughts on understanding.

How do we begin to understand the deep desperation, the consuming hatred of the terrorists who viewed life with such little value and with so much darkness, they could not see a future beyond the deaths of thousands. What lesson did they hope to teach? It certainly is not one from the Koran. The true Islamic faith does not teach or preach terrorism.

There are no clean or clear answers to this question. There is only speculation with charges and accusations. Discernment is always difficult when tragedy is the precursor to reason. We must not forget that judgments grow from many seeds and if we plant the wrong seed, vengeance usurps justice and drags us to the level of the terrorist.

Some find comfort in God. Some look elsewhere. Some need to forgive, some need to blame and some need to hate. All need to heal and to rebuild from the empty holes in our hearts and at Ground Zero. And we still ask why and expect no answer we can understand.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/11 Tuesday

Three days ago it was the 9th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. On the first anniversary I wrote a series of commentaries that aired on a television special program in New York.

This week on this blog I am posting five of the commentaries in remembrance and reflection.

Commentary Two:

Like many of you, I visited Ground Zero a number of times over the past year. I passed the wall of shrines at Trinity Church where flowers, letters, and photos are set in sacred reverence on a wrought iron fence.

Each tribute a collective jolt and individual pain reminding us of what we lost.

We prayed and tried to rescue those we thought might be alive and trapped beneath the tombs of debris. We cried as each body was recovered and still we hoped.

As the time passed our prayers of hope gave way to the horror of the numbers dead and the knowing that no one could survive. All we could do was to stand in silence as the flag draped bodies passed from the pit into the broken hearts of their families and we ached for those who would have no body to mourn and to bury.

Our leaders carried the war on terrorism to where it seemingly began. The civilized world said no to the inhumanity of terror and vowed to destroy the organizations that promote and encourage it as a means to a religious end.

The war is far from over, only the first year is over. Like many of you I will visit Ground Zero again and again.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Two days ago it was the 9th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. On the first anniversary I wrote a series of commentaries that aired on a television special program in New York.

This week on this blog I am posting five of the commentaries in remembrance and reflection.

Commentary One:

When the jolting tragedy of terror grips our lives, as it did on 9/11, there is nothing we can do to change it, to stop it. It happened so fast, so unexpected all we could do is triage our injured and our thoughts.

Terrorists are carriers of terror; their infecting actions amplify our fears and quickly remind us of our vulnerability.

The tears of loss, still today one year later, and the relief that some loved ones are safe, parallel our conflict of understanding why some live and some die.

The stories of neighbor helping neighbor, confirm our desire for community.

The whole story of the World Trade Center attack is not only one of death and dying, living and survival, it is a story of hopes and wishes, shattered dreams and shock.

In times of such destruction, values change rapidly. Things no longer have value. The acquired stuff of daily living is no match for the loss of a life.

There is never a quick end to tragedy. We learned that.

No easy answers to the wailed questions of why and no relief when cries have run out of tears.

It is not possible to hold each hand of so many so hurting even a year later.

All we can do, in this human family, is to be aware and to care.

There is something powerful in that and it heals.

Friday, September 10, 2010

L'Shana Tova

Good Morning or Afternoon or Evening, whenever you are reading this post.

There are some positive signs in the Universe:

The Florida pastor cancels plans to burn the Qur’an.

Trump offers to buy the proposed NYC Islamic Center site.

The New York Imam willing to discuss moving the mosque.

US shifts approach to deporting illegal immigrants.

Iran to release detained US hiker.

Serbia backs a compromise UN resolution on Kosovo.

US Marines free a ship from Somali pirates.

I don’t know about you, but I think each of these possibilities, if completed, is a good sign for humanity.

L’Shana Tova.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Preacher's Plan

I’ve been thinking about the pastor in Florida who is making a name for himself by planning to publicly burn the Islamic holy book, The Koran.

What an idiot. Does he think he is acting to honor his God? Does he think his God needs him to place a judgement on a human religious belief? Does he think…sorry…I misspoke! He doesn’t think at all. All he does is believe in the righteousness of his action, for his own purposes, and that is the quintessential problem of all fanatic believers; they don’t think beyond the selfish action of their martyrdom.

It is fair and a given to say that all believers believe that their God is all knowing and all-powerful. So, given that accommodation does God need a pulpit instigator in Florida to burn some religious books in order to make a statement that the Koran is less of a belief or truth than the Bible? Or does God need an Imam to say go and die for Islam and kill innocents? Good grief!

Where do we get these people and how do we ever give them the power to be the authority in the adjudication of spiritual beliefs? These types are dogmatists in all beliefs and fantasy fanatics on the fringe of all religions.

It is time for we individuals, the loved emanations of the Divine, to take back our spiritual power of belief through the knowing of our own experience. We do not need the dogma of Church or Mosque or Temple to establish our personal sacredness before the heavenly throne of a loving presence. We can use those structures as holy places to pray, but we do not need them or evangelists to pray for our salvation. We do not need exhortations or the damnations of absolutists to frighten us into compliance of man-made beliefs. We only need ourselves and the temple within us.

Too often we are ready to accept a well-spoken Priest or Preacher or Imam or Rabbi who says it better than we can even though he or she is way off from what we instinctively know as truth.

Do not support these charlatans. Believe in yourself and the goodness you are. Believe in your power to transform, believe in your grace to love unconditionally, and your tolerance to accept all spiritual beliefs and then you will be true to the God of your choice. If that fits within your chosen belief system, wonderful. If not, THINK!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Woodsman's Saw

The afternoon was quiet in my rural neighborhood. The kids were back for their first day of school. The silence was noticeable. Actually I miss the kids presence, their bikes, their shouts; I miss the whole camaraderie of intermittent conversation.

The neighborhood kids, both boys and girls, don’t spend a long time with us older folks, but they do exchange energy by their presence and share their enthusiasm and their expectations about school. In short sentences they will often talk about their hopes and wishes for the coming school year.

There was sadness today for me. Not a major one, but an emotional loss nonetheless.

I have two very tall pines near my house. If a strong ill wind blew through the mid-Hudson valley of New York State, I could have some problems. These tall pines, over a hundred feet, could succumb to high force winds and topple. I would not want my home to be in the way of the wind or the trees.

I had a tree guy come in and top the trees. It truly was sad to see them altered, but not go. The trees still stand, but only half of what they once were. I don’t know if they will survive. I hope so, but I don’t know what future years will offer.

I looked out today at the clear space where long pine branches once reached and cones hung at their tips to eventually drop for posterity; The blue of clear sky was in their stead.

I felt sad, even though I had talked to the tree quite awhile before the topping took place. I wanted it to understand that another force of nature could pull its roots and strength into a path of destruction and I might be in the way of its might. My conscience could not allow for that possibility.

Then mostly gentle forces known as gusts and a few roving zephyrs moved through my region today as part of a high-pressure system.

The once tall pine that used to sway with a shushing sound with passing gusts barely moved. I hope the tree understands.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Moon Pine

My Granddaughter Alexa took this picture on one of her camping trips. I liked it and put some poetic words to the photo.

Moon Pine

© 2010 Rolland G. Smith

O’ let me see below the pine

To where your heart is ever free.

Between the boughs and needled leaves

I see your light that’s shared with me.

I am the Moon, a cratered orb,

That orbits Earth in cycled time.

Reminding all of humankind

You are a song, a dappled rhyme.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Beginning of Fall

I had not planned on writing an observation about nature today, but it happened nonetheless.

Some leaves in my area are already changing to their fall festival refinement. Every time I see this, I wonder about the fall in my own life and will I in my cooling climate refinement of nouns, verbs and connecting phrases of poetry be able to splash as much momentary color as nature.

Poet Robert Frost did!

I’ve always loved what Frost wrote about the fall. I know it’s not October, but it is still one of my favorite poems.

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost--
For the grapes' sake along the wall.

I hope you take the time to read his words slowly. Twice. Savor the cadence, taste the alternating couplets of his rhyme and then bask in the imagery of his eloquence.

And have a perfect Labor Day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hurricane Earl

Whenever nature explodes into an aberrational fury, 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 truly understand or appreciate.

Those who live in a hurricane's path know that it’s coming and they’d better get away.

It is difficult for the rest of us to empathetically put ourselves in the shoes of those who live and love in the paths of such potential destruction. It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel the knowing fear of nature’s force as you flee to seemingly safer ground and take with you the worries that all you left behind will be taken by an ill wind known well to so many.

In all things, we can find beauty, if we look for it. In all things we can find the lessons of life and the consequences of choice, but never when we are running for our lives. The looking and the infinite lessons whenever their realizations come must not diminish our compassion for those who cannot see it until their weather becomes a gentle climate.

My immediate suggestion is to use our collective power of dissipation and send the wind to calmer places. It can be done, if we believe it so. Join me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Turn the Page

“Time to turn the page.” I listened to President Obama the other night speaking to the American people that the combat phase of war in Iraq is over.

He said 50-thousand troops would remain in Iraq for support and training. 50-thousand of our sons and daughters; each one is authorized to carry a weapon; each one is vigilant and armed every time they move from place to place; each one is still in harms way from militant combatants who cannot see a peaceful future through their searing fire of hate.

There will be combat in Iraq. There will be American combat deaths despite the fact officially we are turning the page. Every soldier in Iraq knows it.

I am old enough to remember my childhood friends whose Fathers didn’t return from Europe or the South Pacific. I remember similar sorrow when families where torn apart by the war in Korea. Ditto Vietnam, ditto Iraq war one, ditto Iraq war two, and ditto Afghanistan. You would think we’d get tired of dittos and death.

Some wars are necessary. Some wars are contrived. All wars are draped in the silk of patriotism for how else can we justify the sacrifice of our children and treasure?

All leaders who encourage and promote war are participants in crimes against humanity. I did not say “guilty of,” I said “participants in” crimes against humanity for war is killing by nature. The archaic process of killing someone or a culture to lessen a threat or a movement or a belief is ludicrous.

The human race has been turning to new pages for a long time in order to put aside a bad taste or a bad time and to try again to embrace the innate harmony within us.

Turning to a new page does not mitigate our collective responsibility for actions past or present. It only soothes and hides it for a singular moment in the illusionary sequence of time.

Everything in the universe eventually will balance. Whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not it’s a law.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Some thoughts on giving.

The phenomenal soul of the giver is omnipresent despite the predominance of stories about the sordid and banal characteristics of life. We see that collective soul every time there is a clarion call for help and it echoes through the hearts of all.

I saw it yesterday while taping a few programs for CMMB. The Catholic Medical Mission Board. I learned about their programs and their trusted partners laboring in the common arena of need around the world.

It doesn't matter what kind of tragedy inflicts our global communities, by the thousands people come in need and others come in service to fill the need. When tragedy occurs through earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, when nature destroys, miles of material shows up, piles of goods are delivered, and so too are smiles with every donation of money and time. This is the spirit of American businesses in action manifesting into a harmony of help and confirming the axiom that I am my brother's keeper.

Individuals, corporations, and organizations overwhelmingly unselfishly volunteer and respond to the global ache of humankind where ever it's needed. Volunteers always validate that there is a friendship of strangers.

No one knows all the names of those in need in any situation. It doesn't matter, names are not important when you know someone is hurting. The human face is one in time of need. The community of American businesses and their products or in-kind donations along with individual money gifts allow an organization like CMMB to look upon the face of loss with abundance and compassion.

In the future I will have other posts about the legacy and largess of CMMB.

It was Thoreau who said, "What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen."
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