Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A good and not so good weekend

I had a half and half weekend. It’s taken me a day to assuage my disappointment.

First, before the weekend, the Yankees lost to Houston. I was rooting for the Yankees in the playoffs, but after they lost, my adolescent passion for the Dodgers emerged and I can root for them in the series.

I was a faithful Dodger fan until the moved to California.

Saturday was a fine day. My son and his wife visited for the weekend but left early Sunday morning.

Then came the Sunday afternoon football games. I watched the Jets lose and then I watched the Giants lose. Being a fan of two local teams is almost more than anyone can take.

I’ll be better next weekend. The Giants have a by-week.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Our Nature

Another fall has arrived and once again the season provides numerous lessons of life and passage if we but choose to see them.

In human life we are born, grow, blossom and pass and hopefully we do it with the fulfillment and graceful intention of our spiritual purpose.

In nature, plants are born, albeit emerge, from a hibernation or seed. They grow, blossom and seemingly pass leaving their gifts of beauty and sustenance.

In general, we humans have decades before our passage. So does much of  the earthly flora, but they give the illusion of passage each fall and return in the spring so that we can remember that life never ends. We are eternal.

Take an early morning walk as the sun begins to rise.

Listen to your heart in the silence of your room.

Hear a child laugh and know that God is not discouraged with humanity.

Let go of a personal fear and begin to laugh.

In a mirror, stare into the center of your eye and ask, “Who am I?” and then listen to the answer.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Autumn Cometh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Michele Marsh

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trump's Claims

President Trump is claiming credit for many things these days.

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

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

…And on the seventh day, I rested.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Our Hero Dead

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

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

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

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


Monday, October 16, 2017

A Hike

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





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

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

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

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




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

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

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




Friday, October 13, 2017

A Trump free day

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

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

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

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

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

Please, just one day.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall has arrived

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Why Read!

When the television signal or internet goes out, what to do?

In many ways that’s sad and seemingly endemic to the western world. Our personal worlds are both dedicated and addicted to entertainment, information and any visual attraction via the screen whether it’s for games or a test pattern. It’s the light.

In all species light attracts. For a moth, it’s a bulb or a flame; the first one disturbs and excites and the second one, if too close, kills.

Fish are attracted to light. Small creatures investigate any light. Humans are drawn to the spiritual light of being, of awareness, of faith.

I have learned in life that there is an invisible light in books. Everyone should have at least two books in their personal library. One should be of fiction and the other non-fiction. The fiction one should preferably be a classic, but a pulp novel will do for when an author kindles sentences into a story, light emanates from the pyre of words and something is learned.

Even a dictionary or a thesaurus can be enlightening. Try just flipping through one, stopping here and there to read a page, see what you didn’t know and learned.

There is more light engendered in the judicious placement of words than can ever be projected on a screen. Your imagination can conjure more dramatic action than any piece of celluloid or digital agglutination.

Read!



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Christopher Columbus

A man with a mission and moral vacancy.

    Some, in the past, have tried to prove that Christopher Columbus was a Spaniard, others thought he might be a Greek, but serious scholars, through years of research, are firmly convinced he was an Italian. To be more specific, a Geonese, one who was born in or near Genoa, Italy.

    Columbus had little or no formal education and spoke a native dialect that was never a written language. When, later in life, he did learn to write it was not in Italian, but Castilian, then a dialect of Spanish, but is now the main spoken language of Spain.

    He worked in his father trade as a master weaver for awhile and even as a wine buyer for a little shop his father operated. In his early 20's he started to make trips to sea, to nearby lands, perhaps to buy the wool and wine for his father's shop.

     His brother was a mapmaker, and for a while, he learned a little of that trade too. Once, as a deckhand on a voyage to England, French pirates sunk his ship and he used an oar as a life raft and made his way to Portugal. That turned out to be a fortunate event, for Portugal at the time was a center for overseas exploration, and the young shipwrecked Columbus learned navigation and hydrography.

    Sixteen years later he set sail, and Columbus bumped into a new land unknown by him but peopled with tens of millions of tribes and advanced civilizations.

 It’s immoral and sad that his exploration eventually led to disease, slavery, and the extinction of vast empires. He condoned native peoples rape and pilliging. In Europe he is said to have condemned Jews and non-whites for not being Christian. These are the historic truths of man who is honored for discovering America. Discovery? I think not. Honored? Hense, today's controversy.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Intrinsic Nature of us

I send hugs and greetings to my friends in Vermont and elsewhere who embrace their nature with joy, wonder, and appreciation. I send profound respect to my friends all over the world who walk the talk and know that we are the nature we abuse.



I salute your passion, your dedication, and especially your appreciation of the “isness” of being in an environment of unimaginable beauty in its detail. So few of us take the time to look, to feel the consistency and comfort of nature’s grace and constant change.



Take clouds for example. In the last thunderstorm that rolled through your area, did you notice the roiling and darkened Cumulus Nimbus hammers that pounded your space? Did you look out and see their turbulence? Did you count the time in seconds between the lighting flash and the sound to know the approximate distance it was away? Or were you inside aware, but unobservant of what was going on in your immediate climate?



By our nature, we love the dichotomous aspect of nature's nature. We gravitate to our preferences. Wet here, dry there. Cold there, hot here, and all of it interchangeable and all of it seemingly cyclical even though most of us cannot remember the weather specifics from month to month let alone season to season.



Sure summer was hot, and winter was cold, but beyond that did we notice any differences from the year before and the year before that? Did the other beings of nature react or play differently? Was there more fruit on the tree this year than last? Did you burn more wood one year over the next?



If all of us want spiritual awareness in life, if we want refined attunement to our soul’s environment; to our nature, then we need to choose first to be aware of our climate, and then our weather will be second nature to our understanding.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Meditation Aborations

Killarney Lodge
©2017 Rolland G. Smith

There is a place on water's edge
Where mind and nature meet.
It's on a lake where land's hooked wedge
Have lodge and water greet.



Each lodge abounds with cabin's peace;
With silence silent through the night
Until, the dawn's new light's release
And morning's sounds are fresh and bright.

A mist evolves from water's heat
To fog the lake's dawn's peaceful claim,
But soon the sun will beam its treat
And shine the surface glass again.



All that I see is in my mind
From memories of my visit there,
But I would wish that all humankind
Could have this comfort everywhere.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Emergence

Hi Again,

I have been silent, and that is good. I have been ill in a minor way, and that is OK. It’s done, and I am well.

I have watched and listened and read about all the things happening in the world and extrapolated all of it into my life and wondered again, “why” am I here at this moment in the illusion of time. It took a while, but I have an answer.

I am here in these volatile times because I chose it so, we all did, somewhere, sometime in someplace and NOW I must participate with joy in the amalgam of synchronicity that presents itself in each moment of worry, of surprise, of wonder.

In my meditation, over that last couple of vacant writing weeks, I have discovered a door that was obscured before. It is only my door. No one else can see it. No one, but me, can open the door to the bliss of awareness that is embedded on the other side.

Every time I push it open a little more, I get pulled back with the headlines.

Pain here, pain there, people killed, people hurting, actions that are only labeled as inhumanity to man by man, the challenges of survival when nature extends her fury or political rhetoric once again becomes the bulwark obstructing diplomacy and in all of these opportunities there is the choice for all of us to be of service if…if…if we choose.

I’m not sure I want to get back into the daily grind of listening, reading and being in the human antics. But I think I have to.

More later…

Monday, September 11, 2017

Irma

The storm called Irma was more than the storm of the century. We don't know what else to call it. We have no comparisons. There are no detailed records past a hundred plus years ago. There is nobody alive to tell us what happened in the late 1880's and there are only some still pictures and limited video of what happened in the hurricane of 1938.

Years ago I used to write and record a radio feature for CBS stations around the country. It was called “Footnotes.” I wrote the following piece on the 1938 Hurricane.

This is Rolland Smith with a footnote on September 21, 1938.

After the hurricane missed Miami, there was little to worry about. The meteorologists in Washington were the best. They knew this storm would run itself down.
       
But they missed the obvious.

The North Atlantic was under a high-pressure plateau, and for the first time in 123 years, a hurricane was being squeezed toward New England.

By dawn, the storm was far worse than any ill wind. At two O'clock in the afternoon it demolished the Atlantic City Boardwalk, but Washington forecasters insisted the storm was rapidly blowing out to sea; a mistake that cost lives.

Later an eyewitness on Long Island said he saw a thick, high bank of fog rolling in fast from the ocean. But it wasn't fog, it was a 30-foot wall of water, and it hit the Island's south shore with such impact it registered on a seismograph in Alaska.

Thirty room mansions disappeared. Towns collapsed. Boats splintered. It was the same throughout New England. All told, 63 thousand lost their homes. Nearly 18-hundred were injured. 700 died.

The next morning communications were still down. New York and Boston Newspapers could not learn of the extent of the destruction. By the time they could put it together, it was old news.

America had suffered a disaster greater than the Chicago Fire or the San Francisco earthquake, but what most people knew was that Hitler seized Czechoslovakia that same day.

A PBS series called the American Experience has a documentary on the 1938 hurricane that is excellent. You can see it on line. Here’s the link:

www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/.../hurricane-path/


But back to Irma. Mankind needs to label and name things. It helps us remember past monumental events when the first-hand experience passes and we no longer have those who lived it to refresh our memories or to invoke the empathy of living through it.

Irma. It is a gentle sounding name, but now it has a history of fatal fury, violence, and destruction. A name dichotomy once again in the contrasts of what it sounds like compared to what it did. With Irma's fury and size perhaps we should have named the hurricane Thor, the thunder god of the sky from Norse mythology.

I continue to monitor my local media for Irma aftermath information. It is a shame that our culture encourages violence as a means of getting something you want. In times of devastation shortages of gasoline, water, and food brings out the worst in people, the survival instinct dominates reason and courtesy and fights, and threats abound. It also brings out the best in people, but those stories don’t always get told.

The other misconception is that government must help or can help immediately. Victims are interviewed with a myopic view of the big picture. They demand they accuse; they bad-mouth authority because they have no food, no power, no water. I would suspect that some of the complainers are the ones who did not heed warnings to prepare for the worst or evacuate when urged to do so by governmental authorities.

In life, our choices set the conditions for living. Some people forget that and look to blame rather than accept personal responsibility.

BUT, now is not the time of "I told you so." It is a time to help, to heal and to find unconditional compassion for those in need.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Schools in session

The School year has begun. A perspective on how things have changed in the last hundred and forty-five years.

RULES FOR TEACHERS 1872

1.  Teachers each day will fill lamps; trim the wicks and clean chimneys.

2.  Each morning teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.

3.  Make your pens carefully.  You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

4.  Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they attend church regularly.

5.  After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or any other good books.

6.  Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

7.  Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

8.  Any teacher who smokes uses liquor in any form frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.

9.  The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The End of Summer

Labor Day is the unofficial passing of summer. Even though we still have a few days of hot and humid weather before the linear summer of two thousand and seventeen is over for most of us.

Pencils and books replace endless days of play for school children and us adults now have the short glories of fall to prepare for the pregnancy of winter. There’s wood to get and things to bring in and mends to make.

As the summer seemingly passes and blends into the fall, there is a graceful tranquil moment for the new to begin emerging from a place invisible in the green months and long light of summer. That moment is the Labor Day holiday.

This calendar enchantment of change to the dawning time of splendid color, is neither a first nor last, for seasons are an annual birth in their own time, recasting their unique image year after year.

So swaddle the birth of change and nurture her gifts. Let us hold the memory of a placid and peaceful summer in our hearts of hope and let us be joyfully expectant of a crisp and brilliant fall.

Friday, September 1, 2017

OMG, the Internet is Out

Early yesterday morning my internet connection went out, and it was gone for almost twelve hours. I kept checking and called the cable company, several times, but they could not give me a time as to when it would be back on.

I decided to do whatever I would do if I had no internet in the first place. I made the bed; it surprised the hell out of the bed and me. It hadn’t seen a spread in many months.

I thought about throwing stuff out, as I am trying to down-size, but that didn’t last long.

And then I grabbed a book entitled “Spiritual Ecology,” and headed to the back deck which is about five stories high overlooking a three-acre meadow, a small pond and the surrounding woods below. I read essay, after essay, from the likes of Thich Nhat Hanh, Brian Swimme, and an interview with Sister Miriam MacGillis who is carrying on the work of my old friend Father Thomas Berry.

After reading for a while, I stopped to observe what was happening around me. In the upper reaches of the tall White Pines, I noticed the cones, which were green only a week ago, had turned brown, opened, spewed their seeds to grow or to be eaten and were preparing to drop to the forest below.

The same thing with the Maple tree’s bi-winged seeds. They too had turned fall brown and were sailing as confetti in zephyred puffs.

As I contemplated the beginning autumn inwardness, I realized once again, that I am part of the whole; not just the earthly whole, but the entire universe in its vastness of change and growth. I am thankful for the reminder and glad the internet was gone for the day.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Lone Star State

Whenever nature explodes into an aberrational fury, we quickly re-establish awe for her power and acknowledge our respect, not only for her seemingly indiscriminate manifestation of the elements but using a force we cannot truly understand or appreciate. Fifty plus inches of rain and catastrophic flooding is a continent record.

Those who live in a hurricane's path know that it’s coming and get away or prepare as best they can. Our friends, our common communities all over southern Texas understood the wind and its consequences but were surprised by the amount of water.

It is difficult for the rest of us to empathetically put ourselves in the shoes of those who live and love there. It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel the fear of nature’s force unless you’ve been there. Fleeing only allows you to take worry with you. All you left behind is gone; 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 just trying to survive.

Now is when we must come together as a nation. Politics be damned. Sniping and snipping be gone. Quid pro quos dropped. We need to instantly respond to need.

For Texans the joy of life and the infinite lessons it offers for growth will only come when the mind’s weather becomes a gentle climate.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Things have changed

I received in the mail the other day a high-end magazine touting the upcoming fall fashions.

On one page, there is a male model, a good looking fellow sporting and advertising his outer wardrobe: coat, pants, boots, hat, and scarf.

In my working time, I was fortunate to make a good salary, and I was able to buy nice clothes. Things have sure changed.

Here’s the list of what the model was wearing and the cost.

A Brunello Cucinelli coat: $4,495.
Coach wool pants: $395.
John Lobb leather boots: $1,815.
Albertus Swanepoel felt hat: $380.
Prada wool scarf: $690.

That totals to $7775.

The average salary of the American worker is $24,060 a year.

For comparison, the average yearly salary in India is $1600.
The average yearly salary in Mexico is $894.50.

Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?








Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

Of course there is no climate change,
The ignorant will say.
High heat and rain are never strange;
It’s all in nature’s play.

Some others say it’s not our fault
That arctic ice will melt.
Mankind cannot make nature halt
Despite big changes felt.

For me, it seems that ignorance
Is pandering to greed,
And Trump may beg the difference,
But change is now the seed.

And when it warms to melt the ice
And seas begin to rise,
And Texas floods and pays the price,
“Well, that’s a big surprise.”

When some exclaim with deep concern,
This storm is tragic news,
Then I will add we still can learn
We are what we abuse.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Last Friday's pardon

First of all, my prayers and sympathies travel to Texas. They are having a tough time with rain and flooding and survival. May the All That Is bless them and help them in their trials and troubles.

In the news business when anyone puts out a news/press release on a Friday night it’s usually bad news. Friday’s are traditionally dump times for negative information. A corporation announces poor earnings. A government agency reports rising crime statistics. Usually on a Friday evening and for the Saturday papers or television or cable news, the next morning, there is little readership and few watchers. Hence the release of negative news or news you hope people don’t see or hear, or read is released. Couple it with a major devastating hurricane and you've got a major cover-up attempt.

President Trump did just that last Friday. He pardoned, without going through the usual justice department pardon channels, former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio for ignoring a direct federal court order to stop discriminating against Latinos with no cause arrests.

First and foremost, Mr. Trump is ignoring the rule of law as the foundation of our republic. A federal judge ordered him to stop it.

 Constitutionally the President has the right to pardon; unfortunately, the Arpaio pardon validates Trump's position on Charlottesville and confirms his standing as a bigot.

I am for changing the way Washington works. I am for draining the proverbial swamp of ineffectual bureaucrats and pure partisan politicians. I AM NOT FOR ignoring the rule of law for political purposes. MR. PRESIDENT, IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE.

Friday, August 25, 2017

I read this...

I read this on OZY.com. yesterday.

"The world has gone dark, motionless. People aren’t allowed to leave their homes, turn on the lights, use a computer, light a flame or participate in any entertainment or work, and if they must speak, it should be done at the quietest level. This postapocalyptic-sounding martial law actually exists one day of the year in Bali, Indonesia, during Nyepi, a Hindu celebration for the Saka New Year.

Bali, with its more than 4 million residents of varying faiths and large tourist population, is the only place in the world that celebrates this Day of Silence. The motorbikes aren’t running, every business shutters its doors, television stations stop broadcasting and even the airport closes. It’s a day when nature and humanity recharge, while expelling bad spirits. You may be celebrating Earth Day, but what we ought to consider celebrating across our planet — and for the planet — is Nyepi."

And then I read this from Plough Publishing. It is from an essay by Philip Britts. An undiscovered farmer-poet of the British Isles: Philip Britts (1917–1949) was a soft-spoken West Country farmer, poet, activist, and mystic.

"We have many opportunities to sense the power of God in nature. When the great thunderstorms roll up, and the lightning splits the sky above us, with thunder like the crack of doom, when flash follows flash, and explosion follows explosion, each one mightier than the last, and the wind rises with increasing violence—in our hearts is the whisper, "How much fiercer will it get, how much stronger can it get; is there a limit to this awful display of power?" And we do not know if there is a limit, but we know we are utterly helpless to stop or change it."


http://www.plough.com/en/topics/justice/environment/the-force-behind-nature?source=pw082417

I like this guy Britts. How powerful his storms without and the storms within. He’s talking about God and at least applying a weather identification because of its power to manifest the All That Is. For me, that is a simplification to the un-simplifiable, but I like his structure of words and their collective meaning.

But then, on the OZY story from Indonesia, I love the silence of respect, the nothing but gentle and necessary movement, the closure of everything. If all countries, all people for just a day shut down all mechanicals just to honor the earth with a singular time of silence then, I believe, the earth and we would be changed and in sync with the divine heart of All That Is.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Freedom of the Press

Let me say again and again. The first order of a totalitarian leader is to silence the press. The press, the media is not the enemy of America. The mainstream press, probably more than any other organization or individual sees itself as a bulwark against the usurpation of rights, as a checker of the facts and as a sacred responsibility to speak truth to power.

If you as an American do not uphold the constitutional tenant of “freedom of the Press,” you know not your history or the honored responsibilities of the press.

Yes, there will be prejudicial reporting. Yes, there will be stories written without full fact checking. Yes, there will be individual bias in some reports, yes, there will be mistakes, but for the most part, the press, the mainstream media, will be as accurate as journalistic diligence can be. Attacking them as “fake” or “hating America” is dictatorial rhetoric diminishing the long and rightful traditions of the first amendment.

Mr. Trump’s diatribe against the press is pandering to his myopic base and lying to the rest of discerning citizens.

Beware, my friends, this is serious stuff with serious consequences. Ignore it at your peril, and your children’s children may never know what truth is.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Trillion

For most of us, it's difficult to fathom what a trillion dollars is.

Sure it's a million million, or a thousand billion, but beyond that, it is hard to understand what a trillion is except to say that's a lot of money or stuff, if you are counting things.

If we look at it another way, the understanding of the amount becomes mind boggling.

If someone started counting seconds, like one...two....three, the moment that Jesus Christ was born that person would be up to just over sixty-five billion seconds now.

That is six point five percent of a trillion.

It takes thirty-one thousand seven hundred years to count to a trillion seconds.

That is three hundred and seventeen centuries, and we are only in the very beginning of the 21st century. Somebody, maybe Congress, ought to count a lot faster for as of today we are over 9 and a half trillion dollars in debt.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Eclipse

America had its eclipse event yesterday. The Moon blocked the sun with its shadow swath across our land. People were excited to see the phenomenon both with protective glasses and with ignorant stares into the sun.

For me, I listened and watched the events that lead up to the moon’s passage as well as the passage itself. I am only reporting personally here.

Within twenty-four hours of the celestial experience, I was driving on a rural road in the Catskills mountains of New York State when an unusual event happened. A black bear was lumbering up in the middle of the road as my car approached. I have driven these roads for over fifty years, and I have seen many black bears, but never one sauntering in the middle of the road in broad daylight.

Next, the morning of yesterday's solar passage, I am sitting next to a pastoral waterfall watching a tricking gentle stream fall into tiny pools and then minutely cascade over rock and rill as the mesmerizing sound captured my spirit. Silently, a doe and fawn walked into to my reverie and stopped, stared and stayed within ten feet before they gently turned and stepped away.

Later just before the start of the eclipse. A wild turkey family. Two adults and two chicks tried to fly into my office window. After a few attempts,  they gathered themselves and strutted away.

I don't know about you, and I’m not saying anything, but something was different. I only have to wait seven-years for corroboration.






Monday, August 21, 2017

Sleeping on the Ground

Many years ago, I met the chief priest of the national forest of Togo. He came to a conference at Oxford College in Great Britain.

It was cold at that time in England. The priest wore no shoes. I asked him why he wore no shoes. He said, “to feel the earth.”

Recently I read an essay on spiritual ecology, and it talked about connecting to nature through the senses and feelings of the body.

It brought back atavistic sensations of when I was an adolescent camping with friends as a young teenager. In those days, we didn’t have the foam pads and air-mattresses of today. We had an old plastic table cloth as a ground cloth, and that was all we had between the earth and our sleeping bags. What power we experienced because of the cloth’s thinness. Body to body. Earth to near skin. We are 98.6 degrees. The earth at six feet depth is said to be 55 degrees.

The first thing you feel is cold as you twist and turn trying to find a comfortable synapse between the energy of your body and the vibrating power of mother earth. Then, slowly, there is a warmth of embracing energy from deep within the earth that envelops you in an embrace of oneness. You and the earth become ONE and no longer is the cold perceptible.

I am a believer that each of us and the earth is connected in ways our society and educational systems are unable to understand or haven’t remembered that we used to know our connections. We are nature and nature is us. As I have said time and time again. We are the nature we abuse. If you’ve never slept on or close to the ground, do so. It will change you.



Friday, August 18, 2017

Along the Road





Along the Road
© 2016 Rolland G. Smith






Bachelor buttons and Queen Anne’s lace
Astride the ways to every place.
Crocheted in white, the doily blooms
Beside the lanky Bachelor plumes.
Both thrive where few would like to be
Along the road for all to see.
A gift of grace for passersby,
Their whites and blues reflect the sky.


 
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