Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving

Here it is two days before Thanksgiving in the United States. My friends in Canada celebrate it on another date.

Our Thanksgiving is similar to the August Moon Festival in China, Tet Trung Tru in Vietnam, Succoth in Judaism, Kwanzaa in Africa, Pongal in India and Chusok in Korea and Emtedankfest in Germany. The list goes on, but in essence the purpose remains the same, to thank God for a harvest of food and thought.

Giving thanks should never be relegated to a single day or a passing expression of gratitude. Giving thanks should be an ongoing every moment expression of appreciation. It should be a continuous expression of our lives for we as experiential souls in the density of life have truly been given so much for which we forget, deny, or explain away as something else.

It is amazing to me that the majority of us cannot see our abundance through the maze and fog of always wanting more. In my experience the All That Is provides for everything we need, but will not alter our free will choice to experience lack or deprivation.

Don’t ask me how that can be. I have no idea. I suspect that God experiences life through us as us.

Obviously our divinity is not omniscient or omnipotent, but it is on the edge of creation and understanding because there is a little bit of the Divine in each of us.

It seems to me we have forgotten appreciation and in our human arrogance of self we have ignored what we know deep within our souls.

In the United States, in particular, we forget to give thanks for clean and clear water, for the purity of a breath of fresh air, the freedoms and liberty we enjoy and the right to worship as we please. For me, to you, thank you for reading this blog from time to time.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

An Observation and a Memory

I was in New York City yesterday for a freelance gig at CBS.

As I walked several blocks from the subway, I chose to look at people differently. New York City is peopled with many races; White, Black, Asian, Indian, Hispanic and all cultures and races in-between. New York has a large black population, but blacks are still a minority population in this city.

When I was in Nairobi, Kenya a few years ago Caucasian was not even a minority race. Caucasian was an anomaly, and I felt the difference. It was not a negative feeling, but more of a sensory one. Maybe it was just me, but I felt I stood out in the crowd so to speak. I was never felt fearful, only different.

The proportional difference between blacks and whites in New York City is far more than that of whites to blacks in Kenya. In Kenya, it was possible for me to travel miles and hours and not see another white person.

Yesterday in New York I decided to watch people more closely. I looked at black mothers and fathers on the subway with their kids, and I did so with awareness and appreciation. I saw tenderness, concern, and caring. I knew it was always there, but I was not as aware of it as I was yesterday. I watched family interactions with admiration and with a distant memory of covering the civil rights movement in the sixties. Back then, as a young reporter, I attended services in Black churches and listened to a fiery preacher call for justice and righteousness in an affirmative chorus of “Amen’s.”

The older I get, I have a wiser appreciation of human identity and shared dignity.

I think one has to experience being a minority before one can understand a portion of it. The only things that are truly important in life anywhere are equal opportunity, smiles, courtesy, dignity, tolerance, equality, and the clear acknowledgment of the sameness of being.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Day After...

I was going to go to bed without commenting on this election, but somehow I found my way to the desk and thus this epistle.

I am disappointed in the American electorate for their lack of discernment in not turning more races, both Senate and governors, over to another party control. Please note, I did not say, Democrats, for there is fine leadership in all political beliefs. The more we as citizens recognize that, the sooner we will have a multi-party system that sustains the core beliefs of our electoral system and puts the rule of law above partisanship on all sides.

I was going to be satisfied with the results of the election, until Mr. Trump today threatened, in essence, retaliation to any house democrat and committee who investigated his presidency or his family during the next two years.

It is the sacred responsibility of Congress to check and balance the executive branch of government. Personality and despotic politics is now the rule. Loyalty to the leader is the criterion. Truth is left aside. Facts are ignored. Civility, courtesy, compromise, and courage are dissolved into shouting, anger, and baseless attacks.

This is not America. This is not America.

If we want an America where all feel comfort, all feel represented and have a voice, and all feel the peace of liberty, then we must look within our hearts, not our egos, we must acknowledge and discuss alternative thoughts and find the greater good for the whole. That’s being an American.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Why Poetry?

Why poetry?

Poetry, whether its rap or metered verse, quatrains or sonnets, laughs and cries, clarifies and condemns and brings the intellectual and emotional senses into a radiating body of meaningful words.

Poetry holds, sometimes forever, an emotion long past, a desire forgotten, a wish remembered or a splendor that’s vanished in the illusion of time.

It is also a minute connection to the elegance of verbal choice; to the beauty of form and the emotion of words put fitly together on the palate of the mind. Poetry is both raw and sophisticated. To me, poetry is love at the purest verbal level.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

October's farewell

t's a colorful Fall here in the East so I thought this chilly October morning should have a little poetic tribute to the changing season.

I now know why we call them leaves;
Too soon they fall when frosted thieves
Lure their green to red and golds
In colors soft and dazzling bolds.

Leaves drop from age and sometimes breeze
To land on lawns by shrubs and trees.
They drift in circles to the ground
In crinkling, cracking, crunching sound.

O' leaves of branch and bush, behold!
Your service lasts despite the cold,
As quilts of warmth for creatures low
Beneath the ground, before the snow.

Some leaves will sail to lawns serene
Where children's smiles can then be seen
Waiting for the rake and pile
To leap upon and lie awhile.

But soon the crumpled stems and flake
Are raked in rows for match to make
A downey flame and spired smoke;
Incense of honor to the oak.

Then barren trees stand naked, strong,
To slice the wind of winters song.
They lean and bow from bending blow,
When snapping, cracking, to and fro.

I know there is a message here,
Where trees with leaves at end of year
Do molt their husks of leafy sheen
So other seasons can be seen.

Thus trees and man are oft' alike,
In time all shed their aging haik.
What's left from passage is pristine,
As spirit light and spirit green.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

To Be of Service


Within the human spirit there is an intrinsic, yet often-obscured desire to be of service. Service can be defined as “instantaneous response to need.” We see it all the time in selfless acts of courage when heroic action is spontaneous in saving a life or some other act of bravery. Philosopher Joseph Campbell calls it “a moment when you and the other are one,” and nothing could change it even to the point of death.

Somewhere deep within our soul being we acknowledge that we are individuals existing in the illusion of time and within an earthly density of a created and collective oneness. We are individual drops in the amniotic ocean of being. We are the individuation of the indivisible. We subconsciously, spiritually, know that life experience is not singular, but collective and somewhere in our awareness, we know that if even one of us minutely achieves, all of us do.

Response to need is a simple process, but difficult to sustain on a daily basis when we have to contend with the duties of living, myopic worry and the ego’s constant harassment for self-aggrandizement. There are ways around the ego’s chicanery, but not many of us choose to be a mystic and master the art of meditation and its precipitate subjugation of the ego self.

So, how to be practical in the request to help?

One way is to believe that “thought” has power or energy. Good thoughts have positive power, and bad thoughts have negative influences. These thoughts, these pieces of energy, can be sent by the mind, in the envelope of good will, to any recipient and it will have an impact. Religions would call it prayer, but holistic physician Dr. Larry Dossey, in his book “Healing Words” calls it a general sense of well being for another and has proven the power of positive thought with scientific experiments.

Our sending energy does not have to be specific but should have the imprimatur of well-being. Since we are part and parcel of the creating Source, we can leave the specifics of the solving to the omniscience of unconditional love, but the power we create and send through graceful thoughts becomes free will energy to manifest as solutions, compromises, and accomplishments.

Another way to answer the call to help is to do so within our sphere of influence for that too will affect the whole. To the observant, not a single day passes without numerous opportunities to serve. There’s the story of the little five-year boy who wanted to help an elderly neighbor whose wife just died. Upon returning home, his Mother asked what did he do to help. The child replied, "I sat on his lap and helped him cry."

Service is as simple as that. Poet William Wordsworth wrote, “…Even the daisy by the shadow it casts protects the lingering due drop from the sun.

Opportunities abound in each moment for us to be of service. Seeing them is important. Feeling them is even better for empathy is often a more significant motivator than intellect. Perform each act of service with the unconditionality of the Source, and the exponential component of service will then manifest for the greater good of all.

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Perennial Quest

Humankind is always looking for evidence of life’s continuation. Some people say “I don’t know,” some say, “No way, this is it.” And others wonder and hope there is something beyond this life.

Many accept through faith, the promise of a heavenly reward.

To me, the All That Is in his/her wisdom has left clues for the curious and proof for the discerning, that life never ends. Nature is the key.

Trees and plants and bushes seem to die every fall. They lose their form when their outer garments drop, yet in the spring, leaves return and life continues with a new robe.

I think the human spirit is similar to the nature of trees and other flora. When done, the host body is cast off, but like the tree a part of us, our spirit,  remains alive, free from the constrictions of density and the many illusions we create.

Spirit is our natural state. Human form or incarnation is one way  the All That Is chooses to experience living through us as us. We are the thought offspring of the Source.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A different view from a picture window.

Recently, at night, I concentrated on the darkness outside my picture window.

Darkness has never bothered me for it is only the absence of light and when you bring light to anything dark, there is an explosion of clarity, wonder, understanding, and opportunity.

As I looked into the black void beyond the window, I sensed atavistic prayers, grants of forgiveness and regrets for past thoughts. I quickly realized these pleas were my echoes and not from others.

There were no judgments in my intense gaze, only the balm of unconditional love. The kind of love we are preached about in the stone chambers of religion.

I stayed with the vision for quite a while, learning, downloading and then I let it pass into the forgiving memories of past choices.

I think we all should look into the darkness every so often. What the light of our being brings to the dark is substantial, creative and freeing. A single, simple smile with the intention of love can change the world.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Little Things

I saw something beautiful the other day. It was a front door of a home. The color was a soft, yet brilliant dark, penetrating red. Its energy moved me to the point of overwhelming pleasure. It was beautiful. Inviting. I wanted to enter the door, but it wasn’t mine, so I left the vision with appreciation instead.

Color is the Feng Shui of the mind. Color releases inspirational endorphins and awareness. Colors motivate personal action into the realm of intention. In that modality, all things can be accomplished.

Always look for the tiny things in and of life for inspiration. Colors, kittens purring, the sound of a trickling stream, smiles, sunshine, bread baking, harmony in music, hugs, touch, and children’s laughter. Remember that troubles and tribulations are part of life’s growth and spiritual attunement. Choosing a positive attitude eases the passage.

On the inner side of knowing, all is as we’ve created it by our collective oneness and the awesome power of thought.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Here's why

You are right; I haven’t posted very much lately. Every day, every hour it seems that Donald Trump is saying something false, or lying, or attacking someone or something that doesn’t deserve it. Our country is more divided now than it was in most of our lifetimes. There are other reasons, but Trump is the great divider and many are blind believers.

I stopped posting every day because if I did, “The Donald” would be the constant subject that I would want to write about and I don’t want to polarize the political milieu any more than it already is. So I refrain until I can’t stand it anymore.

Donald Trump had the opportunity as an unusual President to inspire grand visions for this fractured United States. Instead of positivity, he wastes his pulpit on the petty and the partlsen. Once a person becomes President, his or her pettiness and partisanship should diminish to only ten percent of his or her being. The other ninety percent should be inspiring, visionary, constructive, and noble and active in sharing the basic tenets of our democratic republic. In a recent visit to Europe, the common thread of my conversations with the locals was, “we used to look up to you, what happened?”

I don’t think for a moment that my commentaries or anyone’s dictates or diatribes will change any staunch believer from favoring one side or the other. What I would wish it would do is to engender heart into the heated debates, courtesy into dialogue, truth into talk, compromise into demands and common-good into solutions.

We all must be careful of political cement. It may harden into a form that may not fit the future of our children or our republic.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Thoughts?

I read something recently that has altered my thinking about technology and of about life.

One article suggested that detaching ourselves from our technology gadgets and apps would connect us instead to our real selves because that is what we are looking for in the mesmeric fog of addiction to our devices.

I had to think about that for a day or two. I agree we want to know who we are. So many of us believe that the connections to anyone and everywhere will help us find the personal grail of awareness and thus complete our quest into finding our place in the human gestalt.

The passage when on to say that what we are indeed looking for in our quest is our atavistic connection to the earth; Mother Earth, Gaia, an ancient moniker of the sentient earth. An Earth aware of itself, of us and our actions and the consequences of our actions.

It suggested that to find our passage to a personal understanding of self, we must stop the constant electronic connections, i.e., cell phones, computers, television, etc. and spend the day alone with ourselves, listening to our hearts, to our spirit, and to our souls.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Memory Triggers

I haven't been hiding, just contemplative.

I listened to some music of the fifties and sixties the other day and it brought back many wonderful memories of hops, high school dances, summer jobs and puppy loves and fun times with friends.

I tried to remember if my parents talked about the music they listened too in the late twenties and thirties. Performers like Guy Lombardo, Cab Calloway, The Mills Brothers, Tommy Dorsey, Bing Crosby and the profound Ella Fitzgerald. I couldn't recall, but I’m sure they did.

Music is the great remember-er of happy times or sad times, of lost loves or just of younger times, especially when one is older and listens, by chance, to a song that invokes an emotion long gone in the mind but lifted to the conscious surface of thought with a knowing smile.

For me sometimes flavors are like that too. I cooked some fresh green beans the other day and I tasted one raw before it when into the pot. The flavor brought back memories of family holiday dinners and the goodies on the kitchen counter.

Music, tastes and aromas are the sensory catalysts of memories. Sometimes the aroma of a Pot Roast cooking in the oven will take me back to childhood. The ancient dusty smell of a long-used stage will bring me to plays and performances I saw or performed in as a young man. 

The sound of a trickling and gurgling mountain stream moves me to atavistic memories of lazy days fishing and hiking; even the occasional pipe smoke one comes across these days will remind me of my Dad. Other aromas invoking memories from the past are cut grass, summer rain, dust from a pillow fight, fresh cut lumber, farm barns, familiar perfume, stale smoke, and coal gas in the morning stoke of the furnace.

Spiritually, I suspect that many of us hear the divine din of the universe when we take the time of let go of all the holding thoughts that keep us from knowing who we are.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Hurricne Florence

Hurricane Florence

The images of devastation coming out of the Carolinas are powerful.

         Along with the flooded and crumbled homes and bodies, come the tears of the living. Sometimes they come in sobs, sometimes in wails of disbelief. The old cry for the loss of memories, hoping for the strength to start again. The very young cry not fully understanding what loss is they  just know something is wrong.

         There is worry from all, especially from the children whose bed and toys vanished in the winds and rain of Florence.  Parents do what they can to comfort the little ones, but the eyes of worry mirror the heart.

         Right now, North and South Carolina are states that scream, you can feel it, as victims search in the puzzle of rubble and find yesterday's peace is tomorrow's uncertainty.

         As we hear the stories of those in need, as we become numbed by the statistics of loss, we cannot feel secure because we have normalcy, because we have shelter or we have food, or because it didn't happen here.

          Real security, only comes from giving.  Instantaneous response to need defines true service so that others know they have not been forgotten by the collective healing spirit of what we call community. What we call America.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

LIFE as ONE

I had the pleasure to kayak in a river near my home. It was an eight miles run as the crow flies, but probably about ten miles with the winds and bends of the river in a point to point paddle.

It was peaceful, calm, mostly quiet and deeply spiritual. The weather was perfect, a zephyr or two here and there, but mostly sunny with a few puffy clouds festooning the blue dream of sky.

In the serene glide of still water, I watched the life that lives on the flotsam of the surface. Insects marooned on leaves and on pieces of bark and wood will flow for miles to a damn and a falls. What their fate will be I know not, but in the meantime their float was gentle.

Water spiders skated across the smooth glassy surface and often exceeded my paddled glide as I conversed with friends and enjoyed the companionship and the natural external balance of the river. In some ways, the river is an insulator between the gravity of the earth and the minds freedom to soar into places of magic and realms unknown.

At one point I thought about all the life that lives in places we rarely think about. On the leaves and debris I just mentioned, but also the bacteria in and on our bodies, the living organisms that we breathe in and out with every breath, the microbes beneath the sea and the ones that sail on the particles of dust in the high atmosphere.

Life is everywhere, and if you accept that premise, then so is love. All we have to do is be aware and acknowledge that each is connected to the other in the sustainment of all life. It is never the singular life of the other; it is always the collective life of us ONE.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Rain Drops

Today I spent some time away from the acclaim and the disdain of news and sitting outside I watched the rain come down. I was protected only from the wet.  I felt the rain’s sibilant sounds, the damp, and the constant mesmeric rhythm of nature’s symphony. I felt the divine singularity of a timpani drip and the clap of drops on leaf. It enveloped my whole body with a splash of wonder, and I watched the forest cleansing from the detritus dust of humankind.

What a glorious moment to a dark day to open the poetic muse.

Rain Drops
© 2018 /Rolland G, Smith

The drops, the mist, the pour of rain
In drizzle’s damp and wet refrain
Become the crystal ball of thought
And set a web where dreams are caught.

To watch a drop move down a leaf
And catch a limb with some relief,
Then move, with patience, to the source
As man should do with no remorse.

And once the drop is on the ground
It sinks below without a sound.
To feed the roots of growth above
For me, I call it, Nature’s love.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Recuring Thoughts

I’m wondering where we are going as a society these days and even as a global humanity.
It seems to me there are more deceptions, disagreements, and more contentions within our common exchanges of thought and action. Daily transactions often end in arguments over innocuous issues. Negotiations over important issues in the chambers of government and corporate boardrooms lack conversational courtesy and completion.
What has happened to us? Are we so cemented in blind opinion that we refuse to consider another thought or idea as valid? Are we so busy, so tied to the construct of time, that we cannot read a little more, research a little more and even change the channel once in awhile to hear another viewpoint?
My career as a reporter, writer, and producer in broadcast television began and was sustained in the era of fairness and strict rules. There were and are always more than two sides to every story and you were not a good reporter unless you sought out and checked all conceivable sides to the story and reported only the facts as you discovered them. If you didn’t, there was always a solid, experienced senior editor who demanded you verify your facts and eliminate conclusions or the story did not run.
These old editors where not just sticklers on facts and fairness they were curmudgeons on grammar and spelling. Find that today in the television newsrooms of America.
A great writer-reporter friend of mine once told me about a time an editor said to him after submitting a story. 
“All A’s” It’s all A’s.”
My friend was thrilled, he was new at the job and he knew the old editor didn’t give out compliments.
As my friend started to walk away from the editors desk, glowing in the compliment, the editor said, “When you spell Manhattan, it has all “a’s” in it.
I see more opinion in news stories today than ever would have been allowed in my era and should not be allowed today.
Opinion should be left to the certified experts and not to the reader or reporter of the story. We, as free citizens, have the responsibility to inform ourselves by listening, reading and watching widely. To listen to only one station, read one newspaper, or read one magazine you are narrowly informed about as much as a flashlight bean lights the whole darkness.
How do we as a society, with a multitude of informational choices, get back to informational accuracy and fairness and back to social and intellectual civility?
I think if society embraces courtesy and civility first, the media will have no choice, but to follow. The media today is a reflection of all social mores. 
Perhaps it will take an individual change of heart! Perhaps it is the ascension of a conscious and benevolent choice of our hearts into the mind choices of life and remembering the “do unto” ethic that is a tenant of all beliefs.
We hear a lot about unconditional love these days. Maybe combined with our heart’s authentication and authorization that’ll work. I hope so.
Unconditional love is unencumbered, undefiled by emotion.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The number 13!

Today is Friday the 13th.
Some thoughts on Tristadecaphobia.

The fear of the number thirteen.

The superstition is ancient; it may have been enhanced during the time of Christ.  There were 13 people at the last supper before Christ was betrayed.  Also, it is believed the crucifixion took place on a Friday, so the combination of the number and the day became a bad omen.

In American history, however, the number thirteen is esoterically prominent.

Take out a dollar bill.  Look at the back side.  In the two circles, you will find both the front and reverse sides of the great seal of the United States.

Look at the eagle. In the left talon, he holds 13 arrows.  In the right talon, an olive branch.  On it, 13 leaves and 13 berries.  The ribbon in the eagle's beak contains the Latin phrase " E Pluribus Enum."  Count the letters.  Thirteen.

The other side of the seal shows an unfinished pyramid.  Count the steps.  Thirteen.  The inscription "Annuit Coeptis" also contains thirteen letters.

Perhaps thirteen is not unlucky by its nature. Maybe it responds to the energy we give it.  Like so many things, our response to something or someone is directly related to the quality of our input.

Being positive or negative is a choice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The cave: appreciation and lesson

The worried world is breathing a sigh of relief this morning. All twelve boys and their soccer coach have been rescued from a cave in Thailand.

For some it is a miracle, for others, it is a testimony to the will, the expertise, the sacrifice of many who used skill, cooperation, and bravery to save thirteen lives.

If at any point during the reporting of this story you hoped, or you prayed they all would get out safely, then this morning you and I owe a moment of gratitude to the Source that moves through us as us.

It is now our responsibility to parse the lesson.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Common Sense


The basic foundation of wisdom is called “common sense.”

I find “common sense” in a garden of flowers. The colors, the forms, the strengths, and the frailties remind me of our human family as individually and collectively we strive to survive. Flowers see their oneness as a bouquet. Humans, in our pursuit of having more, miss the elegance of self and the other.

I find “common sense” in the winds of the earth as they push and pull, puff and punish in their desultory paths around the globe. The sea has it tides. The wind has its waves. Each can help humankind in our need for energy if we embrace them. In each the service and beauty of nature abounds.

I find “common sense” in a patch of deep forest for it reminds me of the mystery in understanding life and death; in growth and decay and in being young or in growing old with dignity.

I find “common sense” in the rain for it cleanses flora and fauna, sustains growth, and provides the sustenance of life. Without water nothing can live, yet we ignore its value, pollute its source, and waste a resource.

I believe “common sense” is an innate gift from The All That Is. Everyone has it, but so few claim it as their own modality.  

Friday, July 6, 2018

Thoughts from the norm.

The Age of Light
© 2012 Rolland G. Smith

I am the now among the light,
But daily play in planet’s night
Where souls oft gasp a wonder’s breath
When learning light is never death.

But we all dwell in moment’s time
For matter needs its finite rhyme,
Yet when we shed our form and thought
The mind can never be distraught.

There is a balance ‘tween the two
In order for the spirit true
To keep the Logos and the soul
From being separate from the whole.

How does that fit with dogma’s trick
Where many souls now see as slick?
It doesn’t fit so do not try;
A freeing mind lets spirit fly.

Not all the words of old are wrong
But light creates a different song.
Old tunes have truth as new ones do
But only one brings what is new.

Aquarius we call this age
Where knowing beings set the stage
For all of us to be the play
In lighted garments all array.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Civility

Have you ever noticed that the poor attack the poor because they see what they don’t like in others in themselves and apparently can see no way out of what they don’t like?

The rich belittle the rich because others have more or less than themselves and they live under the illusion that success, security, and safety is having more and riches make you a better person.

Religions contend with other beliefs saying their way is the only way to worship the one God of All That Is. Belief has always had an arrogant component.

The old besmirch the young because that’s not the way they did it or lived and they can’t remember their youthful enthusiasm for the zest of life.

The Young disrespect the elderly because they see their passage in the old and cannot accept vulnerability and decay.

Race diminishes race because few understand that the sacredness of culture, traditions, and family is the same for all.

Perhaps it is just remembering what civility is and then practicing it because it is the right thing to do. It makes you feel good plus you get it back a hundredfold.

I know civility existed once, at least when I was a child. I was taught manners and respect and admonished when I didn’t embrace them.

Our neighbors were called Mr. and Mrs. You didn’t sass an adult, teachers had the authority of parents. You wrote a thank you note for a gift or kindness. You dressed up for travel and church, and you dressed down to play. You earned the money you needed; you didn’t take it from someone else, and you said thank you and no thank you when you were offered something.

Not a bad way to live.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Today is our independence holiday.

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. History rarely records what happened to some of them.

Five signers were captured by the British charged as traitors and were tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons who were serving in the Revolutionary Army, and another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought in the war and died from wounds or hardships caused by the war.

These men were not ruffians or rabble-rousers; they were well-spoken men of means and education.

Twenty-four of the 56 were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, and nine were large plantation owners.

All of them signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Signer Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter, and trader died in rags.

The properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton were looted.

Thomas Nelson Jr. and Thomas McKeam died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis's wife was jailed, and she died there.

John Hart had to flee his dying wife's bedside. His children fled for their lives. He died of exhaustion. Norris and Livingston had to hide out in the forest and live in caves.

I wonder how many people today would in the words of the Declaration of Independence, "mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," all for the sake of freedom.

Thank you, patriots, of the past for the liberty we enjoy and celebrate today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Scholars

I was listening to my favorite singer, songwriter of the 70's and 80's Kris Kristopherson last night and the fact that he was a Rhodes scholar brought this post to mind.

President Bill Clinton was one and so was tdhe former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. They are among a select group that since 1904 have been offered Rhodes scholarships.

It all started with Cecil J. Rhodes, A British colonial pioneer and statesman who died in 1902. He was a man with a vision and a loyalty to Great Britain that bordered on zealotry.

Cecil Rhodes made his fortune in South Africa by first supervising and then owning a diamond mine.
Over the years Rhodes concentrated on two things. Adding territory to the British Empire and controlling more and more diamond mines.

Rhodes became an elected official and through political power did more than any other person of his time to increase the territory controlled by the British.

He forced the annexation of what is now Botswana. He forced the Matabele tribe to surrender most of its land. Land, so vast, that today, that same territory comprises two countries. Zambia and Zimbabwe.

By 1888 Rhodes had combined all his diamond mines under the name of the De Beers Consolidated Mines. He was very influential and very rich and he had a vision. He wanted to strengthen the ties among English-speaking people and broaden their knowledge of one another by having the best of their young and potential leaders take degrees together where he went to school, Oxford University.

Approximately 90 Rhodes Scholarships are awarded each year.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Life's bubbles

I saw a photo a few years ago.  It was a high-speed photograph of a bubble bursting.

The bubble seemed to explode in a linear fashion moving from the point of a finger impact toward the back of the bubble. The photo captures a little more than half the bubble in shatters, although still holding its shape, while the back is still intact as a half of a splintering globe.

To me the symbolism was profound. It was endemic of some of the things I believe about life and spirit.

I think our essence is like shattering for the bubble.

Once the bubble of life ends, our spirit remembers everything we ever were; every lifetime we’ve lived. Our divine identity exists within the oneness of shape and in the unconditional and clear container of All That Is.

The personality of our current life does not continue as a singular identity when the outer container dies, although it is included in the collection of lifetime experiences. It is our divine identity that quantifies our spirit and is forever omniscient and embraced within the divine bubble of love.

Where did all this come from?  It must be the heat.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Kentucky Rules!

My question to America is this:

How and why do we allow a single senator from Kentucky to control a path of America’s future?

He refused to let President Obama Supreme Court nominee,  Merrick Garland, ever to get a hearing before the Senate delaying a possible liberal justice from ever becoming a member of the Supreme Court.

McConnell has never run for national office, nor does he represent a majority of American citizens. He is one of two Senators in the 26th ranking state. Because he is Senate Majority Leaders in the Senate, he has power.

Kentucky’s population is roughly four-million 399-thousand. The rest of us number 304-million, give or take a few hundred thousand. He has hardly a plurality for the immense power of obstruction and unilateral decision granted to his office.

Mitch McConnell uses a power that is un-earned, unfair and in a democracy may be unconstitutional. He even brags about his decision being able to move the country to the right of center.

He seemingly cares not for the compassion of many in more liberal constituencies and only for his narrow view of life and liberty honed in the great state of Kentucky.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A question on life's value

I was sitting reading by a big picture window on Saturday when a Downy Woodpecker hit the window with a loud slam. The Downey’s are the smallest of the Woodpecker family in North America.

I went out on the deck and the little bird was breathing heavily and writhing. I was at a loss at what to do. I did not want to frighten it further by rushing to its side. I tried to send it healing thoughts of love and compassion, but quickly it turned over a few times and died.

I was saddened by the visual experience of this little creature whose life just ended in front of me. I picked up the lifeless, but still warm bird. It was so soft and light, just ounces of weight.

My heart ached for this loss of a life force as I disposed of the little one with a private prayer and the unanswerable question of why.

A few hours later I killed an ant crawling on the kitchen counter. The second I did so I felt a questioning remorse.

Was the bird’s life and my sadness at its ending more sacred than the life of the ant? Why did I not feel sadness for the ant especially after my experience with the Downy Woodpecker?

These are questions we all need to ask ourselves as we go through the emotional experiences of conscious choice.

One ending I witnessed and the other I caused.  The dichotomy of sensitive emotion is troubling.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

More on the Children

I know there are many sides to every story. I know it more than most. My heart will not let this story go.

I know that the only side of this story I hear now; the only side of this story I feel now are the pleadings, desperate cries of children calling for their “Daddy” or “Mommy.”

Those cries transcend laws, both the made-up political laws and the real statues that enable current interpretation to sanctify cruelty under the guise of protecting America.

When laws are enacted, they are constituted under circumstances that existed at the moment. The passage of time, whether an hour or decades often changes that; then we need to change the laws quickly.  To falsely insist Democrats are to blame for family separations is an egregious attempt to justify a cruel and inhumane policy to force legislative action.

I have joined the indigent throng of American’s, both republican and democrat, who say “this is wrong.”

Donald Trump is the first president who has exercised and embossed the inherent dictatorial powers of the presidency. Something that we need, as a nation, to look at constitutionally. Mr. President, before we collectively have the opportunity to send you away to the judgment of history move your ego and arrogance aside and do the right thing. The pleas of intellect do not work for you, perhaps, the wails and tears of little children will.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Children ripped from their families

I am appalled. I am ashamed of my country. I am angry at a policy that is inhumane and an affront to the sacredness of family. I am alarmed that the United States of America cleaves children from their parents who cross our borders to seek a better life.

In plain and simple words. It is wrong. It is cruel. It must stop.

Where is the once sturdy backbone of America? Where is the outrage? Where is the indignation? Where is the ethic of compassion? Where is Congress?

 This policy is a putrid blot on the history of America. There are other ways, so let us find them.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Stars and Stripes

There was a time in our history when our flag was empty of experience. It had the symbolism of a united people and the expectation of greatness, but we were a young country and as yet had little collective history.

The United States wasn’t even a year old when Continental Congress adopted the flag design on June 14th, 1777. Now as we celebrate Flag Day this week, we remember that our flag is much more than red and white cloth stripes and symbolic stars in blue.

The flag was never political. Death takes that option away.

Our flag is everything that’s ever happened to our country and everything we’ve ever done. It’s victory and defeat. It’s protests and pageantry. It’s honor with humility and shame with remorse. It’s living with principle and dying for it.

Above all our flag is the waving symbol for all to see our passion for liberty, our sustaining belief in the democratic ideal, and our willingness to spend life and treasure for freedom for all.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Life's Squalls

A couple of weeks ago.

It was gray, then dark and darker still as a squall line approached my small river valley. It spilled over a distant ridge with flashes of light and the rumbled echoes of thunder.

The wind and rain started intermittently and slowly increased in intensity. The cherry blossoms outside my window felt the rain first. Each bloom bounced and shook as raindrops hit them from above. The droplets pounced and plundered pushing the pink petals from their blossom home. Each flower a pink faucet in a dripping surreal painting that Dali could have painted.

Within minutes it ended and behold the sun popped out from underneath the passing line of clouds. Golden light sparkled through the diamond drops that lingered on the blossoms, leaves, and grasses. Each drop, a value of several karats of refracted light; a Tiffany of brilliance.

The refraction stayed for awhile, then slowly came dusk. It’s was like opening a decorated and colorfully wrapped package to see a dark gray box below. Dusk is an apt name for the light of the settings sun. It could be called dimming, or waning or leaving, but dusk works as the light fades below the horizon.

Finally a red fire sky, only for a moment or two, and then dusk to dark. Part of me wanted to rage against the dimming of the light, as the poet suggested, but that’s another light for another time. This light will be back in just a few hours to start all over again.

Perhaps each squall line of life is a lesson of the light beyond it if we choose to see it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Singapore Summit

I am watching the surreal theatre from Singapore where the President of the United States and the so-called supreme leader of North Korea are meeting for the first time. Each leader has a public agenda shared to the global media and also another one unknown to the other.

I say theatre because in many ways the audience, we, the rest of the world are held captive as an unwitting audience and also players in the global drama that potentially climaxes with death and destruction in a last act of a nuclear war.

Part of me wants to say this is good that the bellicose protagonists are meeting and maybe something positive may result and another part of me is skeptical that neither one of these men care whether a permanent peace is a conclusion; they care that the play emblazes their individual stardom locally and globally.

It is inconceivable to me that these two men of dubious character hold in their ego’s and countries power the future of the human race. How or why do we allow that to happen? The only answer I can embrace is that we, in a subliminal way, are participants, as play- writes in this drama, in order for all of us to grow and to learn that love is the only answer to hate, prejudice, and regional nationalism.

If prayer helps, I’ll do it.

Monday, June 11, 2018

What's in a Name?

In my motoring travels, I often choose to take the back roads of America. It puts me through the small towns and villages of America. Since I'm not driving fast, in those places, I can notice the street names. So many of them are named after trees, flowers, fruits, and shrubs.

Maple Street, Oak Street, Pine Street, Willow Place, Cypress Street, Holly Circle, Honeysuckle Lane, Cherry Avenue, Orange Street, Rose Street and Spruce Loop.

Why not include the lesser liked plants, trees and vine?. Why not a Weed Avenue, Poison Ivy Lane, Mold Circle, Dandelion Drive and Sumack Avenue. You never hear of a Swamp Hollow or Nutty Drive. Who wants to live on those streets?

Even the names of people have a connotation that is either positive or negative. The study of proper names is called onomatology. Very few parents today name their kids Tucinalda or Furlough or Rolland.

AND why not what’s wrong with those names?



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lies

I've read that 40% of Mr. Trump’s supporters don’t care that he lies. The underlying question is when did not telling the truth become acceptable to the forty percent. If they accept that their president can lie, with support, then they must also lie themselves and to themselves.

That leaves 60% of those supporters do care. Bravo!

Telling the truth has been ingrained in American social structure since the beginning of our republic.

All people, supporters, and non-supporters can deal with the truth as the benchmark of discernment. Truth advances understanding. Lies advance myth and mistrust. All of us, supporters and detractors, are defrauded by lies and deluded by fact-less statements.

Lies make life's choices a delusion. Truth makes life difficult, uncomfortable, vulnerable and embarrassing, but cleansing. Who hasn’t felt better after admitting to a lie?

It’s not only that Mr. Trump lies all the time, but it's also that he’s the president. The president is the beacon to the world for what America stands.

Tell the truth, Mr. President. Forgiveness is an abundant trait in our diverse America.




Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Warning The Moon

I’ve been around a long time on this planet of choice. I’ve made many decisions some of which I’ve regretted and some of whom I sustain. They are my decisions, and I own them.

What I see today are numerous decisions and statements made by people in power and people who want control where they deny ownership of caustic statements or significant choices because they wait to see the effect it creates.

Is it leadership? No! It’s pandering to the innate ignorance of the citizenry who rightfully care more about their needs and wants than what the rest of the nation is doing. Saying something that disparages a cause or a principle that the average citizen believes is hurting his family, and you’ve got support. The consequences be hanged because few will do the diligence to extrapolate the result generations hence.

It wasn’t always that way. The five tribes of the Iroquois nation had a phenomenal system of government. Benjamin Franklin marveled at it. Major decisions affecting the alliance were always carried to seven generations and then the decision was made.

One time, back in the 1970’s when man was going to the moon, a reporter approached the chiefs of the Onondaga tribe in Syracuse, New York and asked what they thought about a man landing on the moon.

The chiefs gathered the elders and other chiefs and met in council for several days and called the reporter back to ask a question.

Did he know of any way they could warn the moon?


Monday, May 14, 2018

(Applause) Author, Author!

Now is the time for all of us to think beyond our limited creative thoughts and see the grandest vision for ourselves that was always there and waiting, but was hidden behind the ego’s fog of reality.

The Divine gift of experiential growth and unlimited personal discovery is a vision of more than we can imagine for we are blinded by the illusions of and in life. If we let go of the expectation and the fear of what we might see, we will see the real and be it.

The energy of free choice is emblazoned and encased within our spiritual spheres and human forms and harmonizes with the vibration of what we indeed are. The light of our spirit projects upon the screen of life. A result is a constant act of growth. Perhaps our earth play title might be, “The Art of Experience.” Produced by the All That Is and starring “Us.”

All plays have a star; life is no different. We make up the lines, the plot and the action of choice as we go along.

There is a beginning – birth. A middle - growth and a constant continuation of rising and falling action, but never an end. In the final act of life, the plot starts to blur, and no one but the divine thought knows the conclusion. Most of us have not yet decided what it is to be.

Such is the unconditional love of the divine playwright.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Squall

      It was a gray sky, then dark and darker as the squall line approached my small river valley. It spilled over a distant ridge with flashes of light and the echoes of thunder. The wind and rain started intermittently and slowly increased in intensity.

      The cherry blossoms outside my window felt the rain first. Each blossom bounced and shook as raindrops hit them from above. The rain pounced. Each blossom was becoming a pink faucet in a surreal painting from Dali.

      Within a few minutes, it ended. The sun popped underneath the passing clouds. Golden light sparkled through the diamond drops that lingered on the leaves and grasses. Each drop, a value of several karats of refracted light; a Tiffany of brilliance.

     It stayed for awhile; then cat-like dusk stalked across the sky. It was like opening a decorated and colorfully wrapped package to see a dull brown box below.

     Dusk is an apt name for the light of a settings sun. It could be called dimming, or waning or dulling, but dusk works as the light fades below the horizon.

     Finally a red sky-fire flare for a moment or two and then twilight to memory. Part of me wanted to rage against the dying of the light, as the poet suggested, but that’s another light for another time.

     This light will be back in just a few hours to start all over again and again.

     It’s truly a lesson of life if we choose to see it.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Day

The dichotomy of life yesterday.

I sat on the front porch watching a house Wren move in an out of her rafter-safe nest and then settle down to hatch her family. It was wonderful.

I came inside where the television was on, and I heard about President Trump’s lawyer touting his closeness to the President and why companies should hire him. I listened and then left.

I went outside to the back deck. I had cleaned it from winter’s debris and dusted off the cushions, placed them on the appropriate chairs and sofa. It was now a pleasant place to be with nature. Three stories below me, on the three-acre meadow, four deer came to nibble the sprouting grasses and emerging leaves. The oneness was exquisite.

The phone rang, and inside I went. The television was still on. President Trump was upset about what he calls negative coverage and threatens to revoke press credentials.

I went back outside and remembered that a free press was created by our founding fathers to protect the governed, not those who govern.

I said out loud to the trees, to the flora and other fauna and to all the creatures who could hear me. “What has happened to America?”

For a short time, all of nature was silent.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Military Academies


I won't be there next week when West Point graduates toss their hats in the air, but I was there years ago to see the pomp and celebration of four years of accomplishment for the young men and women of West Point. I have also lectured at the Air Force Academy and was impressed with the collective as well as the individual dedication of the cadets and instructors.

All of the service academies graduations engender a spectacular ceremony that wells with emotion and precipitates deep patriotic pride and a foreboding bellicose prognostication.

Pride because these new spirits of the American dream have spent hard physical and mental hours over the last four years to honor their goal of education and service and commitment to the everlasting ideals of America. The bellicose possibilities exist because many of these men and women West Point graduates will be heading to Iraq or Afghanistan as platoon leaders and officers in the field of war. It is their destiny determined by the times.

When we send our men and women into battle, we think of them as warriors, as skilled fighters, as cohesive units trained to win. They are that and so much more for no matter where they are the dichotomy of a trained soldier and the tenderness of a human being is present.

I have seen pictures from the AP and from Reuters that shows American soldiers at their best. I’ve seen a soldier on patrol, weapon at the ready, kneeling for a moment to pet a kitten. I’ve seen a soldier teaching a little Arab boy to slap a five. A smile on all their faces is a lasting victory. I’ve seen a soldier, maybe a father himself, sitting on the ground cradling a wounded child in his arms.

You can have the best technology to fight a war, but you also must have the best of heart to win one.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Spring's Surprise



Yesterday I sat in an easy chair on the back deck. Spring zephyrs nudged the newly leafed trees to wiggle and stretched the winter kinks out of their limbs and branches. I felt a sense of peace in my conscience meditation.

My muse was present too.

Springs Surprise
©2018 Rolland G. Smith

Do we not know they are like us;
Our friends the trees of many kinds.
Why is it man will just not trust
The truths we know within our minds.

Each tree and we are part of all
As we each grow within the light.
Our seasons too bring both a fall
When spirit's colors last ignite.

I love the newness of the green
As leaves arrive in early spring.
Their blossoms too are clearly seen
With scents of sweetness that they bring.

Yet trees and man are oft alike
Each standing strong against life's storm
But trees each year will change their haik
As man relearns his spirit's norm.

In my peaceful state of mind, I reminded myself that all is as it should be as we spiritual beings housed in a material body experience the growth of situations, conditions, and outcomes that we create. What a marvelous gift the All That Is has given us.

We create our experiences, but we deny we own them, so we blame our situations on someone or something else, or we create rules or doctrines or dogma that eliminate our authorship and say this is the way to believe.  Thus our responsibility for negative thoughts and their subsequent manifestations pass into the night of illusion. I think it's changing and we are seeing that we are the creators of our condition and that if we want to change it...change our minds.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Outdoors

I was outdoors the other day and saw playful storm clouds tease the distant mountains with dancing light and shadows as passing showers spread a few sprinklings to the valley where I stood in awe.

The distance created the scenic tableau as a singular vision and lit the far-off mountains with a colorful purple brilliance that few see. The light was a prayer with no words. It was a soft embrace with no touch. It was a symphony with a score of soundless music and crescendos brilliant in its silence.

And then I moved to another place of peace and there as if it were a package tied, decorated and ready to be unwrapped by all. It was a high definition opening in a canopy of green to the heightened May blue of the sky.

High, very high, was a circling Eagle. When it twisted in a steep bank the Sun’s reflection on its under-wings made it a precious idol, an auric icon of the Great Spirit’s manifestation in nature.

I have seen and felt the same God-presence in the beauty of a Rose. I have seen and felt the same spiritual connection in the fragrance of a pine forest after a summer rain and in the drifts of snow as into pillowed white softness upon the earth. I have seen and felt the same oneness in the tunes of little birds when they sing their songs of self and joy.

The eagle is now gone, and so is the light on the mountains, but not the image of beauty, not the scent of a fragrance, not the sparkle of light, nor the little bird songs for they are forever in my heart.


Friday, May 4, 2018

Old Sayings

We say a lot of old expressions these days, and many times the original meaning has been lost.

Our Grandparents had a saying for almost every occasion. If you tried to do something in a hurry and flubbed it, you would hear "A stitch in time saves nine." How about "bite the bullet," that comes from the medical profession in the 19th century. Surgeons called on to perform battlefield operations, when no anesthesia was available, would give their patient a bullet to bite on in hopes of taking attention off the pain.

"Cut to the Quick," has an Anglo Saxon origin. Quick meant "alive or living." The original phrase means to cut through the skin to living tissue or figuratively "you have hurt my feelings."

"Tongue in Cheek," first used in the mid-1800's was similar to the wink nowadays. It means we don't mean what we're saying.

"Out of the Frying Pan and into the fire" is an ancient expression probably adapted from the old Greek saying "out of the smoke and into the flame."

"Thrown in the clink," is a slang saying for being taken to jail. Clink probably came from an old prison on Clink Street in London, England.

How about BVD's. The euphemism for long underwear? For years people thought BVD stood for "Baby's Ventilated Diapers" or "Boy's Ventilated Drawers." All BVD stood for was the names of the founders of the company that made them. Bradley, Voorhies and Day.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Wall

Some thoughts on the wall.

America continues to debate the demand and dilemma of Trump's wall. It is similar to the question asked by Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall. The poem starts with the line, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” and it ends with “Good fences make good neighbors.” Frost makes no distinction as to which is better. He leaves that to the reader to determine.

Wherever we stand on building the wall, we must agree that the truth is more important than facts. Facts increase knowledge, but truths increase understanding and what we always need most of all is understanding for we are dealing with fears, emotions, cultures, hopes, and wishes of people.

As human beings first and national citizens second we might choose to look for the greater good whatever that is.

Individuals make that determination by looking within their hearts. The ego can’t tell you, for its nature is to perpetuate its prejudice. The intellect can reason a greater good, but it is easily deceived by fear and justification is often the result. The heart seemingly is immune to deception through its pristine connection to the divinity within us. It will guide us to the greater good if we choose it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I don't know...

Every so often I reflect on the many stories I’ve covered and written through the years to see if there is some salvageable lesson that might be valid in my understanding of life today.

My reflections bring up a few memorable experiences and a couple of platitudes that elicit a smile, and even a few remembered inspirations for these troubled times.

The unfortunate realization is that there were troubled times then and there are troubled times now, and I suspect there will always be turbulent times in the future for that is how'd each generation learns and grow spiritually.

Right NOW significant wars are going on with superpower involvement or acknowledgment, and some devastating genocidal conflicts count deaths and starvation in the hundreds of thousands, and there are threats of nuclear escalation coming from the arrogance of nations striving for power.

We’ve got rampant economic and tariff greed in the markets and businesses of the world and nationalistic fears of not getting what we want or getting what we don’t want.

We’ve got the religious hatred of another’s methods of belief to the same one and only God. It boggles the mind at the inhumanity and insensitivity of radical dogma.

Like most of us, I look at the news of the world. I read the Internet blogs and the magazine articles for reportorial depth and understanding, and then I remember what is essential in life, all of life.

Simplicity.

Without it, we are blind wanderers through our complex and convoluted choices. Simplicity is the benevolent awareness of inner spiritual knowledge of what is right, and it is also the Rosetta stone of intellectual understanding if we extrapolate it away from the constricting dogma of belief and partisan politics.

The simplicity of unconditional love as divinely discerning is inevitable, only the time it takes us to accomplish it is optional.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Theatre

A friend asked me the other day to speak at an upcoming event about the importance of theatre. My early life involved a lot of it. Plays and participation in the presentations. A youthful hope to be involved professionally and a quick realization that that was not my destiny.

There is a lump in my heart for the lack of community interest in what is called "Little Theatre," where non-professionals work with professionals and put on the freeing mask of pretend.

The theatre is a reminder of our harmonic connection to story, to grace, to nature, to each other and the infinite melodies and possibilities of the universe. A play is a visual and audible link between the spirit of a community and the Divine.

The compositions and craft of the great writers stir the turmoil of the heart and body and soothe the worries and pains of daily life. They transport us to another place, another possibility or a place of peace and wonder comforted that it's a story about someone else, but it could be us.

Stories, from the minds of playwrights, the interpretive actions, and antics from the actors cultivate the intellect, and as performance, it stimulates the audience's heart, as it embraces the human spirit into a synergy of the glories and trials of life.

Appreciation, in the form of applause, is the gift we give back to the artist, the playwright, the actor. Financial and attendance support is a gift we give the future. It is essential for a civic soul to expand.

No one can live without theatre and no community should.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bluebonnets Bold


A few years ago I had the pleasure of driving through Texas when the Bluebonnets were in bloom. It is a visual experience and one to behold. And since April is poetry month and nearly at its close, I present this poem in honor to both. The Bluebonnets and the poetry.

Bluebonnets Bold

© 2010 Rolland G. Smith

Bold blossoms blue stand proud above their green,

They grow in strength and know their light is seen

By all who motor by or stop to gaze

Into this garden of wonder, a maze.

Color binds attention and form holds grace.

Attracting heart and spirit to this place.

The flowers stand as one and separate too,

As symbols of the noble ones, too few

Who comes to see and hold this place in love

Responding to an essence from above.

Sweet nectar is the wine of blossoms blue,

Sipping through the lips of zephyr's new.

Tell all who pass here, fast or walking by:

The fragrance of the flowers glorify

The spirit of the earth and nurtured seed

That blossoms into beauty when we need.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Bob O'Brien

I need to shout out to my old colleague and journalist Bob O’Brien. He died in his sleep yesterday, and anybody who has lived in New York City would know his name, his face, and his talent.

When I first met Bob, he was an excellent writer for anchorman Bill Jorgensen at Channel five WNEW-TV. He quickly became what we call in the biz, a “street reporter,” meaning you covered anything and everything assigned to you.

“Street Reporters,” were the “Factbooks” of the city, the ombudsman of neighborhoods and in many ways the conscience of the streets. They knew the people who lived and died on their streets and in their homes. They knew the precincts and the cops who worked there. They knew the borough administrators on a first name basis. They did their homework in and on the streets, which included bars and bodegas and they told the daily stories of life and dying.

Bob O’Brien was not only a great writer; he was an excellent reporter, presenter, colleague, and competitor.

He finished what he came here to do and has gone home. Would that we could all be as talented. Thank you for helping me that one night in 1970. I'll never forget it.

See you on the other side, Bob.




The Bells of Democracy

I have tried to distance my mind from Washington politics and our current president, BUT things happen, and then things need to be said.

The president was asked yesterday if he would pardon his lawyer Cohen. He responded that that was a stupid question. It may be a premature question since Cohen has not been charged with anything. It's not, however, stupid.

He pardoned Joe Arpaio. He pardoned Scooter Libby without the usual vetting Justice Department process, so the question is not stupid, it is the answer that rude for the office and arrogantly dismissive.

At a state dinner for the President of France, no congressional leadership Democrats were invited. No press invited as is the tradition. A state dinner is an honor from the "state of America" to a visiting dignitary. It should not be partisan gathering as Trump has made it.

I keep writing about the beauty of life and the joy of comforting observations, but every time I find solace in truthful grace, I get drawn back into the lies and distortion of Mr. Trump because I pay attention to what's happening in our nation and our world.

I know that some of you want and need to see the so-called draining of the political swamp. In many ways, I agree with you, but not with the diminution of our democracy.  Not with lies, distortions, and attacks on our sacred institutions. Our republic must be sustained with the clarion bells of truth, honor, tradition, inclusion, compromise, and courtesy. Without these foundations, democracy, as I remember it, loses.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tulips Spring

Have you ever noticed how spring moves North? Somebody once said it comes North about 20-miles a day. I think it’s less than that, but it doesn’t matter. It depends on the jet stream and weather systems.

A few hundred miles to my South it’s already spring. It’s warm and colorful and aromatic. I drove through New Jersey yesterday, and the Forsythia was in bloom; not here yet.

Right now I am waiting for the blossoming of an old friend. It is a single red tulip near my front porch that comes back year after year. The leaves are there, but not the stem. When it blooms, I know its time to plant without worry of frost.

Tulips Touch of Spring
© 2011 Rolland G. Smith

A single Tulip near my porch
Ascends alone as crimson torch
To be the one by teaching all
That it’s alive long past the fall.
I read its thoughts within the red
And vowed to spread the message said:
It matters not where you abide
As long as you subside your pride
And be your blossom on the earth
As blessed by God’s just love and mirth.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Earthday 2018

Yesterday was a special day for each of us to go far within the recesses of thought and then into the canyons of reason that dwell in the vastness of our minds and rest for just a remarkable moment in the secret garden of our knowing.

It was Earth Day. Earthday is the acknowledgment of the elusive link between the illusion of earthy separateness and the reality of spiritual connection to all things.

I am delighted that humanity began the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, 1970. I was a television reporter in those days, and I remember covering the event and marveling at a positive gathering so different from the Vietnam War protests I’d been reporting.

When you can rest in the secret garden of your spirit, you will feel the inner-connection of all things, and if you stay there for a little while in meditation, you will see all the connections as pulses of soothing light. You will connect to the chlorophyll of plants, the flight of insects and birds, to the awareness of mammals and especially the knowledge of the earth herself.

Note a post by Benjamin Vogt in his blog entitled The Deep Middle about the similarities between blood and chlorophyll:

“…that the hub of every hemoglobin molecule is one atom of iron, while in chlorophyll it is one atom of magnesium.' Just as chlorophyll is green because magnesium absorbs all but the green light spectrum, blood is red because iron absorbs all but the red. Chlorophyll is green blood. It is designed to capture light; blood is intended to capture oxygen."

It is much like the science-fiction movie Avatar and its magnificent story of connections between the Na’vi people and their sentient environment.

Earth Day, if you can do nothing else, just say thank you. Nature will hear you.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Memory of Barbara Bush

I  remember Barbara Bush’s touch and her voice.

Many years ago when her husband was ending his presidency, my wife Ann and I were invited to the White House for a Christmas Party. George H.W. Bush would be leaving the office in a few days when Bill Clinton would be inaugurated.

It was a great experience being there for a holiday party. I had been a White House Correspondent for Metro Media back in the early Nixon presidency, but this was different. I had anchored Mr. Bush in a town-hall kind of televised meeting during the campaign, and he had his staff invited Ann and me to one of the last shindigs at the White House.

The Christmas Party gathering had some broadcast notables invited as were Senators and Congressman and Bush administration cabinet members and administration appointees.

It was a wonderful experience for Ann and me. We did the usual walk-around greetings as we noshed and sipped our way around the festive public areas of the White House.

At one point Ann and I were in the middle of East Room listening to and singing the Christmas Carols the Marine Corp band was playing. It was just the two of us. As we were singing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” the President and Mrs. Bush joined us from behind. Barbara took my arm and the President linked with Ann’s arm, and the four us sang the Christmas carol.

When it finished, we chatted for a few moments and off they went to work the room, as the saying goes.

Rest in peace Barbara Bush. What I hear now are the Herald angels singing as you come home.

 
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