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.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

It makes you wonder...

Somethings just make me wonder.

I just received a check from Verizon Wireless. It was apparently what I was owed from a surcharge judgment by New York State.

They spent 47-cents to mail me a 2-cent distribution.

Whatever happened to common sense?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trump's News Conference

After yesterday disastrous news conference in New York, by the President of the United States. I am ashamed at what I heard. Thus leadership still occupies my thoughts today.

From time to time we need to assess whether our leaders in business, and politics and even the leader in ourselves, measure to the definition.

Leadership is the ability to enthuse, to inspire, to create, and to accomplish goals for the greater good.

Some seek leadership, some are promoted to it, some are elected to it, and some have it thrust upon them. There is gentle leadership, ego leadership, benevolent leadership, partisan leadership, dictatorial leadership and inspiring leadership. Whichever one is chosen by any individual it is based on character and character is the outward quality of one's inner being.

Character is a visible piece of the heart that others see when action is required. The heart of Donald Trump was exposed to his detriment and the shame of America.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What are we?

What should the America of today and the future require from its leaders. What are the non-partisan qualities of leadership we must demand and encourage in the actions and intellect of those we choose to lead?

To answer these questions we must each ask ourselves, what is in our own heart. Are we a nation of individuals where everyone is out for himself or herself, or do we still collectively embody the endemic truth and enthusiasm of democracy?

What so many fail to acknowledge is that on a spiritual level we are all ONE. We all come from the same SOURCE. The question each of us must answer is, are we willing to be the evidence of it?

America began as a nation with a noble destiny to show a divergent and burgeoning world that freedom, coupled with democracy, is a noble path to greatness and from that greatness comes benevolent power and global success.

On a subliminal level, America is also a profound chemistry to the alchemy of oneness, but the oneness is not the greatness of America. The diversity within the oneness is our greatness and the miracle of our republic.

Today, individual and collective fear abounds in our daily lives. Recent leadership sees fear as a mechanism for partisan control. Plain and simple, it is the wrong way to govern.

America was not founded on fear. She was founded on inspiration, the desire for individual and collective freedom, neighbor helping a neighbor and a belief that personal prayer is a graceful right of liberty.

The foundation of America is layer after layer of noble ideals, sacrifice, hard work, and a shared vision. Fear is something we embrace when we think we have something to lose, when in fact fear holds nothing but emptiness and want. Courage, the antithesis of fear, holds the abundance we seek and the future for which we hope.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Little things start wars

The North Korean bravado, between them and us reminds me of the Falklands Conflict in 1982; stupid little things get out of hand and end with lives being lost.

Back then there was a 39-year-old scrap dealer by the name of Constantine Davidoff, an Argentinean, who wishes today he could take back an innocent action.

Davidoff heard about three abandoned whaling stations on the British owned Georgia islands. It was a chance to make some salvage money with scrap parts. In December of 81, Davidoff, and seven crewmen got permission from the British to inspect the stations. In March he started salvage operations. His Argentinian salvage men raised a blue and white Argentine flag over the salvage operations.

The flag was spotted by a group of British researchers camped about 5 miles away. They got their British dander up about an Argentinian flag flying on British territory and got on their radio and called London.

Word spread and in the British Falkland Islands 800 miles to the west, a group of patriotic islanders broke into the Argentinean National Airlines office in Port Stanley, put up the British flag and wrote, on the wall '"Tit for tat."

More words were exchanged. Argentina complained. The British Government protested and said that the Davidoff crew landed illegally. They didn't, but distance and time and inter-department bureaucracy didn't get permits to the right people at the right time.

Argentina said the Davidoff Salvage crew had a right to be there. Britain responded by sending in an Ice Patrol Boat. Argentina then sent a navy ship to protect the crew from forcible removal. More meetings were held between the British and Argentina. Words became angry. Ownership rights were stated and demanded, and days later the Argentinians invaded, and the Falkland’s war began. You know the rest.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nature and Children

When I was a youngster, my mother would say, “Go outside and play.” And I would, with all the other kids in the neighborhood. We learned a lot about nature and ourselves playing outside. For one thing, we quickly learned to recognize poison ivy.

A few years ago, I was asked to join the advisory board of Children and Nature Network (C&NN). It is a still growing organization created by author Richard Louv and administered for a long time by my good friend Dr. Cheryl Charles. Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, became a best-seller as people realized we have a generation of children so connected to electronics that they are losing their connection to nature. As Louv writes, “We are fast approaching a generation of children where no child will have played outdoors.”

Nature is more than the flora and fauna we observe each day. Nature is a shared spirit of being with all things. Through nature, we learn the everything is cyclical, that life begins and life passes, that every life is in the balance with all other life forms, and each one helps the other fulfill its intrinsic purpose.

I have near-by neighbors that farm and teach their children that nature has her purpose. They live out the philosophy that we are part of nature, and when we abuse her, we abuse ourselves.

Spending time outdoors both in solitude and at play is an important education for children. The outdoors encourages an inner connection to nature, and if you stay there for a little while in meditation, you will see and feel all the natural connections as pulses of soothing and loving light. You will connect to the chlorophyll of plants and trees, the flights of insects and birds, the awareness of mammals, and especially the knowing of the earth herself.

In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, the Duke in the forest of Arden says: “…there are tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Nature's Grace

Nature’s beauty happens when it is least expected. I was visiting a dear and long-time friend, and as we sat on the porch at the end of a busy and perfect day, the universe unfolded into an explosion of scenic beauty.

I often wonder about sunrises and sunsets. They seem to emulate the grace and light of life’s births and life’s passings.

An esoteric teacher once said to me that for many of us, when we pass, we begin to laugh. This sunset amplifies his truth.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Threats!

The verbal rhetoric of two bullies is endangering the tender peace of our world.

The powerful words of President Trump to match the threats of North Korea’s sociopathic leader positions America into an untenable path of fire and fury rather than the options of difficult talk.

Yes, talk! Each side has postured itself into a belligerent position. This is not just between two egotistical leaders; it is now between the new way of global cooperation and equality and the old way of war.

It must not happen. The world needs to be done with devastation.  The consequence will be near annihilation for millions and millions of innocent people.

A news report today said that North Korea has a weapon similar in destructive power as the one dropped on Hiroshima.

To make the bomb that hit Hiroshima, according to author Eric Schlosser, the US used 141 pounds of Uranium, basically all of the processed Uranium that was then in existence.

In his book Command and Control, when the bomb exploded most of the enriched uranium was blown apart before the bomb reached the “supercritical” phase. He says, in the end, the huge explosion was caused by just 0.7g of Uranium. As Schlosser notes, that material weighed less than a dollar bill, and it killed 80,000 people.

Can you imagine if all 141 pound of Uranium had reached the critical stage?  Don’t imagine, expect the modern day equivalent, even from North Korea, to be far more refined and sophisticated.

We don’t need posturing bullies in the world today; we need statesmen and stateswomen, diplomats, and diplomacy to defuse this worsening confrontation.  This situation is global, not just America and North Korea. Pray, my friends that the little minds of humankind can morph into a cosmic understanding that we are all ONE.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Oneida, New York

It isn’t often we get a chance in our later years to go back to a place and people of our youth. I had that experience over the past weekend.

I grew up in a post-war time and in a bucolic place. It was a small city in central New York. At that time, it had industry to employ its citizens. It had a railroad that ran through it that separated the north and south side of the city. Trains stopped daily. It had, like most eastern cities, its wealthy, its middle class and its poor.

It had a small movie theatre where I changed the marque twice a week, and I was paid five-dollars and free movies. Not bad for a teenager in the 1950’s.

I went back to visit at the invitation of an old friend. The friend was wonderfully the same but educated with the maturity of time and the wisdom of age. My town, however, was no more. The industry was gone. The railroad was gone and the downtown buildings I once thought of as elegant were in the troughs of deterioration; even two of my school buildings were gone.

Architecture and elegance of place are a lot like our bodies. Time takes its toll on all things, flesh and fa├žades are not impervious to the ravages of time.

What I did notice was that the city had moved outward. The elegant homes were now where farms used to be, and my small city was being dissolved and absorbed by bigger cities nearby.

Maybe someday gentrification will change my Oneida. If not, my memory will hold until I pass.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Uncle Sam's letter to Emma Lazarus

The Office of Uncle Sam
Symbol of the United States of America

August 2, 2017

My Dear Ms. Lazarus,

I trust this letter will reach you on the other side of being.

I regret to inform you of a recent proposal by the current administration of United States of America.

It has to do with your area of expertise - immigration. I won’t get into the details of the plan right now, but suffice it to say that no longer will the Mother of Exiles welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Our long-standing national policy may change if the proposal becomes the law of the land.

We have a new colossus in the White House. There are many who think he can and will change the status quo because of his uncanny approach to what was organized and established government. Some of his hopes and wishes have merit, but the suggested implementation of many proposals is suspect under the rule of law and the historic tradition of this land we call America.

If you have the time would you please inform Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Adams, Mr. Madison, and Mr. Franklin,  The other framers of our sacred constitution have been told by other contacts in this office. Also please copy Mr. Lincoln and Mr. King for there are other implications that they should know about.

Until this issue is adjudicated, would you please extinguish the lamp you lit beside the golden door.

Sincerely yours,

Uncle Sam

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The memory of an old hike

It was a hike a few years ago, but now it seems like a lot longer.  It wasn't just hard walking, it was climbing and clinging and grabbing as I ascended a steep nearly verticle 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 challenge. Granite boulders, some the size of houses, festooned the path as I crawled, slid and climbed through rocky cuts, tiny cave like openings and up and down in rough rocky cuts and chimney climbs.

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. Pristine and primal with occasional surprising vistas of the cliffs and lake below bursting through framed granite and conifer sculptures.

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

I met a weasel who acknowledged my encroachment upon his home and path and a tiny wild 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, August 1, 2017

A small gift with a large impact.

I received a gift several days ago from new friends in Vermont. Their names are Caitlin and Peter Adair. They live at a small retreat center called Sanctuary in Westminster West, Vermont. Check them out if you choose.

Peter’s gift was a calendar he produced where each month honors the earth and its sacredness. One of the beginning quotes of the calendar comes from a Uvavnuk, woman shaman of the Igloolik Inuit recorded in the early 1920’s by Knud Rasmussen.

The quote is entitled Song of Ecstasy.

I include it in this morning blog because the words are truth and truth moves mountains and feelings.

“Song of Ecstasy

    I think over again
My small adventures
    My fears
Those small ones that seemed so big
    For all of the vital things
I had to get and to reach
And yet there is only one great thing
To live and see the great day that dawns
    And the light that fills the world.”

I love this truth. It fits every morning of the year where we awake and we appreciate. Let not the dramas in Washington distract us from our inner knowing and let us trust the core of unconditional love.

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