Monday, October 30, 2017

The Myth Returns

Things are getting interesting.

Beware of Greeks bearing truths.

A Letter to Jeff Flake

My letter to Senator Jeff Flake in praise of his stand on the Senate floor.

October 30, 2017

Senator Jeff Flake
Senate Russell Office Building 413
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Flake:

I am not a constituent, and in general, I don’t follow a conservative agenda. I have embraced some conservative values in the past and will do so again if I judge them to be for the greater good for our current society.

I do want to commend you for your stand on principle, ethical behavior, common decency, and moral responsibility. Thank you for being a noble example of righteous indignation and for setting an example for your Senate colleagues.

Following one’s conscience is never easy, but it is always right.

If I could, I would move to Arizona to sing your praises and vote for you in any future public service you may choose.

Sincerely yours,

Rolland G. Smith

Friday, October 27, 2017

Observations of the Fall

Hello Friends and by the way, if I haven't said thank you for logging in from time to time, I do so now.

 I live in the mid-Hudson valley approximately midway between New York City and Albany, New York. The fall this year was not as colorful as some, but just in the last few days, the colors have emerged.

Being still and observing is one of my choice things to do and in doing so, I invariably muse and this time the result is...

Oak Sonnet
© 2008 Rolland G. Smith

Old rustic Oaks hold firm their foliage
While other trees have shed to silhouette!
Are leafy stores, now dead, a sacrilege
Or does the Oak hold leaves as amulet?
Soon Winter’s winds unlocks and leaves release
But still, we’ll not know why; this is the way
For Oak’s 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 in fall the way most trees abort.
The mighty Oaks and man are much the same.
When ready we release what we became.

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Cancer! Ahh, the questions!

What to do? How to treat the growth? What are the effects on the body? What is the success rate of the treatment? How will I feel?  And the final question, how much time do I have if the treatment is not successful?

Those are the tough questions to answer because medicine does not have absolute answers. Medicine can only surmise or project or guess based on previous statistics and treatments.

How many times have you heard the doctor’s say that someone had three months to live and they were still alive two years later? Medicine and divine omniscience have a long way to go before they are in sync.

I am within the age of asking those questions for myself, but so far I have not needed to ask them. Yes, like so many of us in family circumstances, I have participated in both the wrenching process and the debilitation of fighting cancer. I have also witnessed the futile failure of curative medicine for specific cancers.

I do know that the learned doctors around the world labor hard in the vineyard of academic research and with grant funds and personal intention they will eventually find some answers.

I don’t think that all answers or cures can be known. Each human spirit has a plan for growth and knowledge where the disease is only a protagonist in the dynamic learning of life.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tuesday's judgements

Let’s see! The headlines yesterday.

Bravo to Jeff Flake from Arizona.
Bravo to Tom Corker of Tennessee.
Bravo John McCain of Arizona.

All three are Republicans.

Now, where are the other patriots in Congress? Anyone?

Sycophants are a dime a dozen. Patriots look and act for the greater good.

Congressmen and women need to step up and stand tall against the executive affront to democracy. The future of democracy is a stake. The future of our republic is at stake.

Politics be hanged. We are talking about principle, courtesy, the sacredness of institutions and speaking the truth.

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 they 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.


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


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…

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