Monday, September 29, 2014

A Lecture and Fall

I've been traveling for the past few days in upstate New York, just south and east of the Syracuse area. Fall has begun. The oranges, reds and yellows are bursting in an explosion of color festooning the Oaks, Maples and Birches in a decoration of splendor. It's always a surprise to see what colors hide just below the green. When chlorophyl departs color appears.

Orange is the predominant color of early fall. Pumpkins are the harbingers; then come the leaves and berries until all color melts into the dullness of crunchy brown and tan.

I grew up in this region and I had forgotten just how beautiful and varied the terrain can be. The descriptive phrases of "hill and dale" and "pleasant valleys" are scenically accurate.

I'm visiting Cazenovia College, meeting with students and faculty and giving a lecture on Politics and Poetry -Telling the News and Sharing the Inside Stories. I enjoy these kinds of conversations for it encourages me to reflect on my career and synthesize the experiences into current times.

I plan on telling the students, "you are young and intelligent. You came into this world with a special power to heal its ills. You can collectively change the course of human events. Change the misuse of our environment, change the way governments become their narrow image instead of honoring their global essence. You can change the general malaise of dong nothing to positive action that brings quantum results in the twinkling of an eye."

I believe the young of today can do it. I believe they were born to do it.

I won't post tomorrow because of traveling, but I'll be back again on Wednesday. Thanks for tuning in.

Friday, September 26, 2014

John Slattery

A former colleague of mine died the other day. He was only in his early sixties. His name is John Slattery. He was a fine reporter, a gentlemen in both his professional and personal life, a man of integrity, ethics and laughter. All of us who worked with him over the years are saddened. Our collective thoughts go to his family.

For me it is that time of life when you start losing your friends and associates. It is an unfortunate condition of aging. I was talking to another friend about John's passing and we both vowed to talk more and personally connect when we can. 

Having long time friendships is like having a garden of flowers that come back year after year and are powerful and soothing. But friendships, like flowers need the watering of connection. A lot of us forget that as we get older, but a passing is a profound reminder.

We knew him as “Slats." A decent and good man. He was kind, courageous and a talented colleague. John Slattery will be missed.

We come into the world, share our talents, we struggle, we succeed, we live a little, laugh a little and then we are called home.

Take notes John. When we get there we will need your reportorial skills. Say hello to those we knew at “The Deuce.”

I know a truth that life continues and someday hence we will meet again for only the body dies.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Roadside Wisdom

I was working on what I thought was a profound blog for this morning, when my wife reminded me last night that it was garbage night. Meaning, I have to get the garbage can down to the street for pick-up in the early morning.

It reminded me of an experience I had many years ago. I was heading to a mountain weekend cabin we were lucky enough to have away from the big city of New York and its environs.

I would sometime go there alone after work on a late Friday. One time, I stopped at a roadside tavern to buy a six-pack of beer.

I walked into the bar and one guy was sitting there at the bar. I ordered a six-pack and a short draft from the bartender.

The guy at the bar says to me, I know who you are. I said, “thanks for the recognition and what do you do.”

He said, “I have as interesting a job as you do.” I said, “What’s that.”

“I’m a garbage collector,” he said.

I thought for a moment, “garbage collector … news anchor”. There are some similarities. I let it go. I’m glad I did.

Then he said, “I see more wonders of nature off the back of a garbage truck that most people see in a lifetime.”

It taught me that wisdom comes when you least expect it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


In the news yesterday:

The Wall Street Journal reports: "Moves by Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to put some smartphone data out of the reach of police and the courts are raising alarms inside U.S. law-enforcement agencies, current and former officials say."

I am all for law and order. I am not for intrusion by bureaucratic enforcement agencies to glean, by order or voyeur interest, my private life and travels.

Bravo Google and Apple!  There is already too much NSA and Home Security involvement in our lives. I understand there is a criminal element that interests the government. Find another way with them and keep out of our citizen sacred right to privacy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Hitler of Today

I hope you had the chance to see 60-minutes this past Sunday. They did a magnificent job of explaining the ISIS plague and the demigod who runs it. Plague and demigod are my words not those of the CBS report.

If ever anyone needed a reason for concern about the ISIS threat all you had to do is watch the report. A short video clip used by CBS was taken from a longer and very violent video sent by ISIS over the Internet to frighten civilized society and recruit the misfits of the world.

I was appalled at the ISIS cruelty. I was angered that human beings could murder innocents in the name of Islam. These pieces of scum know not what Islam is nor do they obey any of its tenants.

A video of their self-proclaimed leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his black robe, turban and beard reflects the blackness of his heart and that of his organization. Mass murders and rapes are commonplace and sanctioned.

In 2009 Al-Baghdadi was incarcerated in an American detention camp near the Kuwaiti border. When he was released he reportedly told U.S. Army reservists from Long Island, “I’ll see you guys in New York.”

There are many reasons to fight and stop this human cancer. It is not a reason to fear or to relinquish more of our sacred freedoms. The world has always dealt with its tyrants and al-Baghdadi and ISIS will go the way of Hitler and the Nazis.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Nature's Art

Nature’s Art
©2014 Rolland G. Smith

True nature has her time and look
If we but pause from busy’s book.
We know it’s not her time of cold
Yet soon she’ll make her presence bold.

Leaf’s color now will set the space
For all of us to see and trace
The wonder of her art and craft
And knowing that it cannot last.

There is a canvas all around
On Mountain peak and sandy sound.
So look within and find your art

Then you and Nature will not part.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Wandering Thoughts

On such a beautiful pre-fall Friday morning, my thoughts lean toward perceptions.

Concretized perceptions limit the perceived wonder of life and cloud the light of living.

We need to listen to our hearts for it is the only organ in the body attuned to the divine. You can never go wrong if you follow your heart, your bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say.

Listen to your heart. Feel its divine onomatopoeic cadence. Infuse into your heart a verbal rhythm of love. In the truth of these words you have the mantra of miracles and the interconnection to the realms of spirit.

If we see others only as a separate physical being struggling to live then we limit our perceptions. If we choose to see the divinity within each human being as an expression of the continuing divine unfoldment then we are  limitless.

To me the joy of earthly existence is to recreate ourselves every moment in the grandest vision we can image for ourselves and to learn that different is not lesser and "the other" is not separate from the self.

If we accept the premise that our spirits are divine then it follows there is divinity in all others. We are all one with THE ONE and therefore one with each other.

The miracle of life, however, is not the Oneness. It is the diversity within the Oneness. An ego-focused existence confuses different with diversity. Living, by choosing to see others as different, inhibits the ability to express the divine within us for we empower only the ego that believes we are separate.

Isn’t it marvelous how the mind can wander in wonder?
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