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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Spirit Farm

Every once in awhile in our earthly travels we come upon a place of peace. It immediately resonates with our spirits, and we stand in awe, not only of what we are seeing but also of what we are feeling.

I visited such a place in Virginia quite a few years ago. It is called, “Finally There” farm.

I will share it with you in a poem.

Finally There Farm
© 2011 Rolland G. Smith

There is a farm called "Finally There."
Where nature spirits come to share
The truth of life where all is free
In new dimensions, few can see.

Soft mountaintops and rolling hills,
Let breezes dance on rocks and rills.
The cattle roam on grass serene
To dot the meadows: black on green.

There's something else 'bout Finally There
That's different and earthly rare.
There's peace and calm - tranquility
From all the places we can see.

Some souls will see a normal farm
Of scenic grace and natural charm.
But inner sight sees spirit's play
Within the valleys light bouquet.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Way Back when!

I wrote this as a blog post back in 2011, long before The Donald was a political name. Maybe I should have been more prescient.

"The Donald"

What is it about our country that encourages and supports, accepts and often actually believes the buffoonery of media hogs like Donald Trump.

There seem to be unfortunate axioms unbound in our land: money breed’s mega egos and celebrity sires megalomania.

Unfortunately, the media, these days, will follow the money and report anything that money says including statements without reason, assertions without fact and pronouncements as phony as the person saying them.

It’s not only The Donald who is saying untruths or promoting imaginary distortions to pander to partisan beliefs for his agenda, but a number of our elected politicians are also doing the same thing.

I think we as a democratic society are better than that. Truth, honesty, fairness, courtesy, compassion and common sense are the values that all of us embrace. These are the only attributes that should get candidates elected.

In the theatre, all drama must have some comic relief. I guess it's the same in the theatre of life.

You're fired Donald!"

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jobs are jobs! Some are profound.

Sometimes casual conversations provide a lesson in humility.

Some years ago I was a known public figure by being a local television anchorman in a large metropolitan market.

I was on the air delivering the news each weeknight at six o’clock and eleven O’clock and did so for many years.

On weekends, I would choose to get away to the mountains for relaxation in a reclusive environment. Sometimes my family would join me and other times I would go alone.

Late one Friday night after a newscast I drove alone to a mountain cabin, I stopped at a roadside tavern to pick up a six-pack of beer. I ordered the beer and said to the bartender I’d have a short one since I was only a few miles from my destination.

As he poured a small glass of draft with a creamy bead on it, the guy next to me said, “I know who you are.” I introduced myself and said, “thank you for tuning in from time to time.”

He said, “You have an interesting job.” I agreed with him. Then he said, “I do too.”

“What do you do?” I asked.

“I’m a garbage man.” He replied. Before I could say anything, he continued. “ I see more wonders of nature hanging off the back of a garbage truck than most people see in a lifetime.”

I listened with wonder and attention as I sipped my beer.

He said, “You know, there is one spot in all these beautiful mountains where you can see seven mountain tops from one spot. Not very many people know where that is. I’ll show you sometime if you’d like?”

I said, “ I would.”

We never did connect again. I’m sorry we didn’t for I would have liked to have known this fellow a lot better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Poetry, yea Poetry

April is poetry month.
President John F. Kenned talked about poetry at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library. He said:

“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitation. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”

I would add to that…

Poetry precipitates emotion into words.

Poetry embraces the perceived pain of life and breaks it down into soft images of understanding, and it takes the joy of being and transcends it into a sustaining ecstasy of imagination.

It amplifies the specks of grace from the minutia of things beautiful and allows us to be it, if only for the moment of appreciation.

Poetry clarifies and sometimes condemns. It magnifies the inner magic of feelings and encourages the soul to rejoice in the shared awareness of another’s insight and makes it our own.

Poetry laughs and cries and brings the sensual into an undulating body of words, and it sometimes holds forever, an emotion long past, a desire forgotten, a wish remembered or a splendor that’s vanished in the illusion of time.

Poetry is a link to the Divine within each of us and the demons of our imagination. It allows introspection without pity and effacement without fear of obscurity.

It is intellect and spirit wedded in the sacredness of creation. I believe it is agape love at the purest verbal level.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Time Spent Waiting


I’m re-reading an excellent book entitled Waiting for Autumn by Scott Blum. I recommend it as a delightful story filled with allegory and fantasy.

The title engendered thoughts about waiting.

Someone is always saying to us "wait a minute" or "wait up" or "Wait for me." So we do! We wait for a minute or ten or a half hour.

Several years ago a systems analyst fed all kinds of waiting data into a computer and concluded that ordinary people get very abnormal when waiting in line. They get angry and irritable.

It's not just the line around the block that does us in. There are other kinds of lines, the ones formed in our mind. Waiting for someone to pay us the money they owe or waiting for teenagers to get home.

In some of the more prominent cities, you can pay people to do your waiting for you. Some supermarkets show commercials on a television monitor as people wait in line. Apparently, it works. They say when we wait we get bored. With boredom, we eat. It's no wonder wait, and weight sounds the same.

When the computer added and subtracted all of the waiting data, it came up with a surprising statistic. In an average lifespan, we spend up to five years, just waiting.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Weekend

I’ve had a pleasant and comfortable weekend. I have played golf ever since I was a teenager and continue to enjoy the game albeit in a different level from when I was young. My attitude to and within the play has never changed. I am there to enjoy my friends, the day and the nature offered by the architecture of the course.

I spent the weekend glued to the Masters Golf Tournament. It is the quintessential tournament in the game and indicative, in many ways, of our global gestalt.

Master’s players were from many countries. China, India, Japan, Australia, several countries in Europe. It’s a United Nations of the sport. Golf is the only sport where you are your team. It’s individual against individual. It’s the only sport where fans keep quiet until the swing is finished. It is the only sport where courtesy and etiquette to your opponent is part of the game. It is the only sport where you call infractions upon yourself.

Would that we could get the world’s countries to do the same.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Wind

There is a mighty gusting wind striking and lashing my house. A front moved through earlier and trailed the pounding waves of turbulence in its wake. At 40 to 50 MPH it shakes the timbers and rattles the rafters.

Winds can be deadly, devastating, common and gentle. In any of them, you can't see it unless debris and dust give it form. Wind is a silent sleuth that quickly alters our security or soothes our nerves.

Throughout time we have given various types of wind names that have stayed and even been immortalized in song. Maria comes to mind from the musical Paint Your Wagon. The Santa Ana’s in California are destructive. Nor’easters in Northeast America are either blizzards or pelting rain. Tornadoes are everywhere.

In other cultures and places, the names of the winds are extensive.

Bise, a dry wind funneled over the Alps.
Mistral, a cold wind over the Mediterranean coast.
Brickfielder, a summer wind in SE Australia.
Sirocco, a hot, dry, dusty wind from the Sahara.
Chinook, warm air coming down the Rocky Mountains.

My favorite of all names is because of its gentle nature.

Zephyrs. May we have more of them in our lives.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Martin Luther King Jr.

I post this every year on his birthday because I honor the man, his ethics, his vision and his spirit. This year, this post is special. It is the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Martin Luther King Jr.

© 1995 Rolland G. Smith

I had a dream the other night.
   And Martin Luther King was there.
He spoke in tones befit the wise
   And asked me if I’d share,
The news of how his dream came out,
   Since he had been away.

I told him times had changed somewhat
   But the dream was still a dream
And somewhere in these many years
   Was progress, or so it seemed.
Tell me, he said, what has happened,
   Since he had been away.

We’ve legislated out the hate,
   I said, but laws can’t touch the mind,
If bias reeks within the heart
   There cannot be a human – kind.
It’s still not true, he said,
   For he had been away.

And then he said, where he is now,
   There is no ONE color bright,
Not black or white, yellow or brown.
   There is only a loving light.
It’s the truth I lived, and live,
   He said as he went away.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

April's Spring

We had a spring snow storm this morning where I live. Big heavy wet flakes coated the trees, bushes, branches, and benches. By the afternoon it was gone, thanks to the sun’s intensifying rays, that’s the nature of spring storms. The upper atmosphere is cold enough to make snow, but the surface is warm, so it doesn’t last.

Spring teases us like that for several weeks. An enveloping warmth one day and the next day near freezing, then warm again. It’s a lot like a theatrical drama. The exposition to let us know what season it is, then the rising action of interest and mystery of anticipation and character development and finally the climax of continuous warmth, called spring. You’d think we’d get used to it since it happens every year.

According to Kathy Galimberti of the AccuWeather staff, the first day of spring is celebrated differently in global cultures.

In Poland, a 16th-century tradition is to throw a large straw filled doll called a Marzanna into the river to drown a cold, dreary winter. The decorated dolls symbolize the end of winter.

In Bosnia spring is welcomed with the festival of Cimburijada. People gather for the celebration of scrambled eggs. Eggs are a symbol of new life, a new season; many hundreds are scrambled in big pots and given out for free.

I like Japan’s spring welcoming. During cherry blossom time people boat on the Imperial Palace moat and host parties under the blooming trees. The Japanese have been doing that in Tokyo for centuries.

Shakespeare’s sonnet 98 is my favorite spring acknowledgment.
“When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim, Hath put a sprit of youth in every thing…”


Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter Rebirth

In the northeast and elsewhere when winter wanes, and spring creeps in on sunny days with glacial melt, we have a visual arrival of a long-awaited season. Usually, the first gentle harbinger of spring is the Crocus. Plump rabbit ear-like leaves poke through a cracked soil of frost’s fissures and surprise the eye with green delight and soon colorful expectations.

Crocuses are the herald angels of spring. Their flowers come with the natural colors of Easter, yellow, lavender, purple, some in cream and others in white.

About thirty of the species are cultivated by us humans, including the “Crocus sativus.” If you like bouillabaisse and other Mediterranean dishes you can thank the Crocus. The pungent, robust flavor of Saffron comes from the flower’s stamens.

I have a couple of cherry trees on my property, and when I looked yesterday, the tiny buds were ready to splash into a pink splendor. Unfortunately, they don't last long, but their moment in the early spring is glorious.

In Japanese culture, the cherry blossom is symbolic of the beauty of life and also life's fragility. It reminds us that life is beautiful, but it is also short.

And so for this Easter season, I offer this observation of nature's grace. Enjoy the rebirth that lies just below the protective bark of winter and the spiritual renewal birthed in each personal faith validated by what we call the glory of spring.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Four Swans

Four swans flew by my home yesterday as I glanced at the valley below. Shining bright they were in the variegated light of the sun through passing clouds.

They were eye level to me. My home sits on a high ridge above the watery route over which they were flying. No spring leaves had yet emerged to disturb my view. Their long and slender necks undulated in a synchronized movement to the up and down motion of their wings; the first and last the same as the two in the middle; all as one. It was like a cresting ocean wave in flight.

What a gift of sight. What a gift of flight. It was a white reflective light of feathered grace. Quiet wings flapped one behind the other. No honking sound like Canada geese as they fly in formation to some field of rest and forage. It was a short silent moment that only stretched from eye to eye, and they were gone. Simple. Sublime. Superb. Sane.

I put on some soft and flowing music for me to replay their passage in my mind. Gifts from nature are often fleeting and profound. When they are presented to us rejoice in the gift and the reminder that appreciation is a path to wonder.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Corporate Executive 101

Corporate Executive 101 If any large corporation, a multi-trillion dollar organization, an employer of millions, with historical bylaws and traditions had a CEO, who fired most of those he hired within the first year or so of when he got the job, would there not be outrage from the board of directors to oust an incompetent executive? If we, the citizens, 324 million of us, are the stockholders in the big business of America and 530 members of Congress are the board of directors, and nothing is done isn't the value of our stock threatened? Granted some hires need to be let go, but so many? Do they have to be publicly humiliated first? If so many accusers say the same thing are they all liars? Are Campaign promises sacred? Is our loyalty to a man or our constitution? So many questions...so little action. Remember Lord Acton? I think he was right. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Repeal the 2nd Amendment?

We often call ourselves a “nation of laws.” What it means officially, is that we collectively agree to follow specific sets of rules for our society to function reasonably, honorably and routinely in life and through a mercantile exchange.

Under this banner, we do not say that all laws are perfect, absolute or immutable. What is right and just for one generation, may not be so for the next, or the next, for attitudes, requirements, conditions and values change.

Just yesterday in an Op-Ed for the New York Times former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens suggested the March for Our Lives movement should add repealing the Second Amendment in their demands.

I can imagine what the NRA will say about that.

The founding fathers did provide a framework wherein changes through the will of the people are to be made peacefully by a representative democracy, applying the art of compromise and compassion. We are the only nation on Earth that has made the legal process an art form and who calls that art, the practice of law.

What we might choose to do now is to simplify the understanding and the administration of law so that timely adjudication does not get bound up in a complicated bureaucratic system, and political fighting. Change always does, and that takes time and patience.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Big Deal! Expelling Diplomats

The expelling of alleged diplomats as a punishment to Russia is wimpy and non-productive. If you want to punish the Bear, you go for the money. Hurt the pocketbooks of the Oligarchy and countries economy, not expel the diplomates.

The fallacy is in calling the expelled individuals, diplomats. Diplomates work on diplomacy to soothe and solve conflicting issues between countries, cultures, and causes. Most of those expelled were unabashedly spies. They were trained to get information from unsuspecting Americans about business, technology, deployments and science developments that might advantage Russia.

It's a nit off a nat in the world of punishments.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Saturday's Marches

Never, have I ever been more enthralled watching the Saturday marches in support of gun limitations from the small and large cities of America. The poignant and profound words, the poised presentations, and the collective energy of the young were infectious in the call for change.

The old energy, however, sees it as youthful naïveté. A political pundit on a particular alleged news channel with three letters in its name down-played the massive demonstration as youthful enthusiasm that won’t last. Shame on Rick Santorum and the Trump News Channel. They are blind to the power, the force, the energy of this youthful movement.

I hope you listened to the internal truths of each youthful speech from the mall in Washington. There was elegance. There was profundity.  There was emotional and convincing oratory that I haven’t heard since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke from the Lincoln Memorial so many decades ago for another cause.

Those of you are are reading Facebook chastisements of the kids, their parents and their cause, beware of external influences, AKA, those who would divide our democracy. Be cognizant too of those who love our country, but cannot see its future beyond the ownership of an assault weapon. Compassion, not conflict is appropriate.

Watch out Congress. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE YOUNG.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Accept Responsibility

To me, the question is not when those who voted for Trump will realize that he is inimical to American values, but why they have not shouted to the proverbial rooftops during his first year as president. The signs are there. The actions are evidence. The global worry is everywhere. The foundations of what is right are being eroded, and the world will suffer.

I know, I know you think I'm a liberal, a Democrat, a Trump hater, choose any label you want, but that is not accurate. I have supported Republican causes as I have argued Democrat causes. I always look for the greater good, the common-person advantage and the value added to our citizenry and our Democracy.

I think the executive powers of the Presidency must be re-evaluated given the actions of all presidents, past, and present, who have used the presidential script to alter the law, the norm and the will of the people. The power of the presidential pen should not be able to disrupt, to deport, to disenfranchise, to demand a billion/trillion dollar wasteful wall, to input tariffs without congressional approval, or even, via Twitter, to call individuals with derogatory names.

But to the big issue facing America. Let's lay the influence responsibility where it belongs. If Russia has interfered or influenced our last presidential election then whose fault is that? It is OURS. It is yours. It is mine. We Americans have abdicated their civic responsibility to be informed for we are a lazy lot, and it's time we changed it.

It is the responsibility of every citizen to check the accuracy of what he or she learns and then believes. It's not hard to do. A few clicks here and a different source there, and enough information can be ascertained to make a fair judgment. IF YOU WATCH JUST ONE NETWORK - YOU ARE NOT INFORMED. IF YOU READ ONE NEWSPAPER, YOU ARE NOT INFORMED. IF YOU JUST DON'T CARE. YOU ARE THE PART OF THE CAUSE.

If you want the 2018 mid-terms to be fair, to be accurate, to be the collective will of an informed people, then read widely, watch widely and listen widely and then participate. That factor alone will screw any Russian or clandestine attempt to influence our votes with fake information.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Snow, Rain, Spring, Seasons and Spirituality

As an observer of the news and a participant in its disemination for over 50th years, I find it hard these days not to comment each day on the political chicanery coming out of Washington.

My sense of life that there is so much more to it than politics provides the escape to things with meaning and things that cling to the other power.

Snow is here again today. Snow is here again today…did I already say that? It seems like I’ve been either saying that or hearing that or seeing that for the last four weeks.

But alas…that is winter in the northeast and so be it.  BUT… Spring is here too.

Winter's spring is here and season's rain on the west coast where barren and burnt terrain produces powerful flows of destruction. I pray with the collective prayer that people will be safe and earth's erosion will cease.

Have you ever wondered about the spiritual and poetic significance of the seasons?

Let’s start with Spring and its snow melt and warming rains. When gentle, nothing changes, but when it’s a torrent, it is a different story.

Erosion

Water carves an open slice
in earthen crust to view.
Roots of Trees, in sacrifice,
dangling, drying, all askew.

Stand beside this suckled swath,
see nursing roots entwined,
Weaving deep a mineral path
A probing poke with stones enshrined.

A single root does no good
holding life secure to ground
Where lacing light is understood
and frees the green unbound.

Behold the bold of other roots
and the strength they give as one,
Many mingled braided shoots
Hold earth from water’s run.

There is a truth in nature’s cut,
how helping gives a strength,
Protecting from eroding rut
so life can have its length.

Erosion speaks not a word,
its language is precise.
The wisdom of the undergird,
for man, is sound advice.

Summer’s wisdom is also profound!

Garden Grace

Two blossoms yellow, proud above the green,
stand strong and know their love is seen
By all who wander and by those who 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,
symbols of the noble ones, too few.
They come to see and hold this place in love,
responding to an essence from above.
The nectar is the wine the flowers hold,
toasting through the touch of zephyr’s gold.
Tell all strangers who pass here, walking by:
The fragrance of the flowers glorifies
The spirit of the earth and nurtured seed
that blossoms into beauty when we need.

The fall is a time of gathering and getting ready for the winter cold.

Firewood

Wooded light stands darkly
ready for expression.
Letting go the warmth within,
giving up possession.
How powerful is this teacher,
this lecture of the wood,
Remembering the gift of sod
and light from a tree that stood.
It only takes a spark
to change the wood to fire,
And feel the sun again
in a golden lighted pyre.
Whoever holds a match or thought,
not knowing how it ends,
Gets sulfured cries of pain;
therein truth transcends.
In life and wood see the light,
the heat and the fire,
Then live in the moment,
as love becomes your choir.

And finally, Winter comes with its harbinger "Jack."

Jack Frost

We much malign a draft of cold
slipping round a window old,
A chilling dash of winter clime
that paints a pane in ice of rime.
Without the draft and warmth within,
the crystal etch could not begin.
So let us praise the weathered sash
that lets us see a frost panache.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Play or A Truth?

“The time is out of joint”...as Hamlet noted. He was referring to Denmark; I am referring to the America of today.

Our President congratulates Putin for winning a sham election despite that he was warned not do so.

Our Congress continues to abdicate its responsibility to curb the actions and rhetoric of a maverick president.

Austin, Texas is under siege from a serial bomber. I continue to ask about all those willing to kill the innocent. From where do you come? It can’t be from a place of peace, an ethic of love, an essence of compassion or a spiritual understanding of the value of life. In any dogma, “thou shalt not...” is sacred.

No ideology has the right to kill. Those disturbed, those illusioned and demon’s claim it falsely.

Hamlet was right.
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

Am I wrong?
Something is rotten in the State of America!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

An interesting read

I just finished a book by Hiroyuki Itsuki called "Tariki" it reminded me of the dynamics of cultural change and the peace of Buddhist spiritual beliefs.

I remember as a kid growing up during World War two and reciting hateful rhymes against the Japanese and in particular Emperor Hirohito.

We were at war, and our fathers, mothers, and uncles were in harm's way. It was our child’s way of reflecting our parent’s feelings and dealing with the adult frustration and anger that filtered down to us kids.

The Japs, as we called them then, were the enemy. Today they are the Japanese, and we are demonstrable friends and fierce competitors.

Emperor Hirohito was 88 when he died in 1989. For 62 years he ruled from the chrysanthemum throne, and he became the longest reigning monarch of the world's oldest imperial line. He saw his homeland go from a super military power to crushing defeat, to a world economic power achieving in business what it could not do in war.

Hirohito saw his life go from being considered and treated as a living god, to a position mostly ceremonial, as is the case today with his son.

Isn’t it interesting nearly every country with which we’ve been at war is now our friend. England, Spain, France, Germany, Mexico, Canada and Vietnam.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Vendictive Politics

What the Trump administration did to McCabe and Tillerson was cruel, unconscionable, mean and indicative of a guilty and tyrannical leader who has something to hide.

Mr. McCabe may have broken a sacred tenent within the FBI organization, and dismissal was recommended, but what about the past good he has done through his service. Does his family deserve to be punished? There is also the probability that the Justice Department rushed to judgment without benefit of due process. Vindictive firings are possible for both McCabe and Tillerson. The Secretary of State has publicly and privately disagreed with Trump.

Mr. Trump’s personal and business history is one of intimidation, threats, and lawsuits. It’s a fact. Look it up. Talk to those who have had business dealings with him. Little people do not have the funds to fight the rich in a lawsuit.

Conservative America, it’s not a fight against conservative principles, it’s an eroding of the principles that we all hold sacred. Dignity, integrity, truthfulness, compassion, compromise, and courtesy. Mr. Trump does not embody any of these values. Ego often obliterates the innate goodness within all of us.

The passions of intractable politics will lead democracy to the road to ruin if we do not embrace discernment. Personal passions have value. Political absolutes do not.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Nor'easter

Whenever nature explodes in an aberrational fury as it is today in the east, we quickly reestablish awe for her power and acknowledge our respect, not only for her seemingly indiscriminate manifestation of the elements but for a force we cannot control or appreciate.

In nature’s harshness, there is poetic beauty.

O northeast states in winters grasp
Delighting all who choose to know
What beauty comes from steady cold
And sifted blizzard-driven snow.

Drifted, diamond dunes of white
Cover street and tree and trail
With crystal sparks from nature's heart,
A blanket ode to season frail.

Long shadows cast by breaking dawn
Create the grays upon the bright
From standing buildings tall and straight
Peeking, poking through the white.

Cold, early hurried people trudge,
With crunchy steps on blowing way,
Their rhythmic puffs of huffing breath
Will vanish with the warmth - someday.

In all things, we can find beauty, if we look for it. The looking, however, must not diminish our compassion for those who cannot see it until their weather becomes a gentle climate. Hold on; spring is coming.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sunday Morning Meditations

Sunday morning meditations in the living room where I rarely go.

We are in a tumultuous period of our human history. Look at what's happening in the world to validate the statement. What all of us learn from the process is that we can't control it. That frustrates some and emboldens others for there is a struggle between forces of the new and the concrete of the past. The answer may come from the carnival wheel barker who chants "round and round she goes, where she stops nobody knows."

I hope we each don't have to wait until we have nothing to lose and nothing to gain before we change our thoughts and thus our minds. It seems to me the need to be right is the problem. If we let go of that, we may receive the grace of transcendence.

Enough of Sunday morning! I'm looking forward to the truculent energy of Monday morning, so I can learn again and again to let go.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Unwanted Phone Calls

There is so much going on in political Washington, that I will leave it for another time and post.

I do have a question for the readers of this blog. Has this ever happened to you?

The Phone rings. It's a number you don't recognize. You reluctantly answer, and there is a very slight pause, and then the person says, "I'm Hazel with accounts services, and I want to talk to you about your account."

By that time I usually hang up, because it's either a scam or an advertisement.

Other calls are from some police organizations, and it's always with a forceful live guy on the other end pitching help for the FOP, the PBA, the SBA, or some other benevolent fraternity. They never listen. They are insistent. If I say I give to my local law guys, they say, let me put you down for just ten dollars. By this time I'm indignant, and I hang up, not without an expletive or two.

Apparently, if you are on the "do not call list" you have to re-up every so often. I just bought a new phone system. It has a call block feature. I love it.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy thy name is the UN Security Council.

Last Friday the Council voted unanimously for a thirty-day cease-fire in Syria and the lifting of sieges.

Syrian Asad forces backed by Russian bombs have been killing civilians in rebel-held territory. Tens of thousands may have been killed or maimed in war-ravaged enclaves.

The United States backs the rebels with its firepower.

The United States is the number one supplier of weapons to the world. Number two is Russia. Next comes France, China, and the United Kingdom.

The US, Russia, the UK, China, and France are the five permanent members of the Security Council. Are they voting for a cease-fire so they can sell and re-supply more weapons?

When will governments, the suppliers of arms, and those who buy them realize their greed is the source of war's pain and dying in the world?

The so-called leaders of our fragile planet purport that peace is complicated. The heart, the temple of compassion and the soul of the Golden Rule, knows it's simple.




Friday, February 23, 2018

The desert wind

I sat in the courtyard of a beautiful adobe home on the outskirts of Santa Fe, a few years ago and listened to the voice of a high desert wind.

The courtyard trees translated the wind's voice and pulled me into a meditation of awe and expectation. I had several minutes of being alone. It was magnificent and an eternity in a single experience.

The wind sound was not the rustle of an Eastern forest when the wind speaks through the trees.

It was not the clapping voice of the low desert where palm fronds applaud in a steady wind and clap their appreciation to the All That Is.

It was an undulating hushing voice of a canyon wind speaking through the Pines and Cactus and Sage. This is the same wind that has forever honored the native people of the southwest, and it honors each of us for we are the sister and brother winds of breath.

I’ve spent time in the desert camping, hiking and just listening. It is an experience of stunning silence. In the morning and early evening the wind is present and, as I mentioned, the wind brings its own sounds. In the stifling bright hot of the day all is quiet. The only movements are the translucent and distorting heat waves rising off the baking-sand in the sun.

I think about these things, mostly in the winter.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Good Grief

From where do these people come?

"A Florida legislator’s aide was fired Tuesday after claiming two survivors of the Parkland high school shooting were not students, but instead “actors that travel to various crisis when they happen.”"

Apparently he saw a clip on a YouTube conspiracy site.

We may be born ignorant, but you'd think that by the time you are an adult you'd have developed some discernment. Sensitivity might come in another lifetime.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Path to Greatness

I had an extraordinary experience many years ago. I was on Ellis Island in New York harbor. If you haven’t been there, you should visit it and wonder.

It is a place that is energized by the resonant memory of the past.

It’s an exhilarating experience standing in what is now the Ellis Island museum. I felt the courageous spirits of our immigrant ancestors and profound respect for their courage to embrace unknown change. So many moved step by step through the great hall on their way to liberty.

When I was there amid the din of other people and soft conversation. I walked the path and steps that 18-million immigrants followed. I felt their hearts with each step and stop on the stairs. I sensed the pride at what they accomplished, and at what this country has become because of them and what we still can be.

These ghosts of greatness still linger there, not because they came through that portal of liberty so many years ago, but because they returned to stand watch. Their presence is everywhere, in old photographs, in hundred-year-old scribbled messages to loved ones on a passage wall, and in the descendants, who visit there and keep it hallowed ground.

Ellis island reminds us that it does not matter how or where or when potential greatness comes to this land, it only matters what one does with the manifesting dreams of freedom, opportunity, and responsibility.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Go, kids!

Go, kids!

#Neveragain

Rally, demonstrate, demand. We are behind you. We, the generations who have gone before, support you. We, your parents, your grand-parents know you are right to demand a stop to the automatic weapons of mass destruction.

The right to bear arms is sacred and the concrete credo of our granite foundations, that will always remain. It is not the issue. The right, however, to kill children in schools or anyone in a pubic assembly is not.

Slaughter can no longer be a path to infamy for the mentally deranged or the terrorist. The young of America will take their demands to the malleable weak and greed takers of Congress. It will echo in those marble halls until it vibrates through the rooms and offices of the people's house and change is made.

It is time for "never again." It is time for the youth of America to stand and band together. It is time for all generations to speak truth to power and end the carnage in our schools.

Go, kids! We are with you.

Friday, February 16, 2018

School Shooting!

I published the following post on Facebook yesterday and with some addendum I put out today on this blog.

How do we switch, so quickly, from acknowledging the tragedy that happened in Florida, to our everyday lives, or to watching the Olympics or enjoying a family gathering or doing homework or preparing dinner? It's an unreal transition. 
The school shooting in Florida in which so many innocents were taken from us so quickly and so violently is only the latest incident. Eighteen school incidents so far this year alone. We learn about them, we cry, we shake our heads, and then after we are informed, we try to get on with our lives. It's not easy; it is surreal, it is almost immoral to try.
I have lost a child and a spouse. Not to the violence of guns and hate, but to the insidious debilitation of cancer. I had time to say goodbye. The parents of Florida's victims did not. A kiss, a hug, an uttered "I love you," said in haste as the front door closed will never be enough. Rapid goodbyes with death as an ending will never have closure. 
The resulting emptiness of loss, the righteous anger, the wailed questions of why, the flowing wet tears will eventually decrease, but the lingering dry tears of the heart will last for years.
When children kill other children; it is an adult social pathogen that has infected them. We need to fix it.
Addendum:
All of us need to fix it. The gun-rights people, Congress, parents, students, liberals,  conservatives, independent, the religious, wall-street,  businesses, The President, everybody. It is time. Do not let it pass into yesterday's or last week's news, do not wait for the mourning to stop, it won't, NOW IS THE TIME.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Continuing Questions

Another school shooting. Students and faculty dead.  It's the 18th school shooting this year, and it's only mid-February.

Congress does nothing.

Why?

The top spy agency heads warn that Russia will continue to influence the 2018 elections with lies, false news and more and the White House has not directed we do something to stop it.

Why?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Be My Valentine

Some thoughts on this Valentines Day.

Could we possibly be victims of a manufactured holiday, perpetrated by the greeting card, florists, and candy companies?

It would be nice if all the expressions of affection bandied about today were to last more than just today. Imagine having less argument and more communication, more love and less selfishness every day.

Valentine's day wasn't started by the marketing merchants of hype; they only take advantage of our sentimentality. The early Christian church proclaimed this event to counter a pagan festival that had a little too much celebration and debauchery for the ascetic beliefs of that time.

Why the church leaders chose Valentine to be their champion of love, no one knows for sure.

Historically it may be a strange choice. The Valentine, who became the saint and iconic surrogate lover for this day was beheaded for his beliefs and became a martyr.

Maybe it is appropriate to name the day after him...people do tend to lose their heads when in love.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Dictionary and the hands of time.

As I watched the news from the White House tonigh, I picked up a dictionary to look up a word. As I held the book, I looked closely at my hands. A visual reminder that I am in the September of my seventh decade. Some wrinkles, some protruding veins, some blemishes outside, but inside all-over it doesn't feel any different than my thirties. My mind, however, is acute, discerning and curious.

I looked up my word and put the book down, but it opened to the "O's."

There on the page was the word, "obfuscation." My glasses fell off, and there I thought I saw in blurry clarity the meaning.

ob·fus·ca·tion
ˌäbfəˈskāSH(ə)n/
noun

1. the action of making something obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.

The second, third and fourth meanings were names.

Kelley Ann Conway
Sara Huckabee Sanders
Donald Trump

Under See Also: It listed the following agency

a. EPA



I put my glasses back on, and the book closed.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Rain

We had a big rain come through my neighborhood yesterday.

The skies darkened from solid clouds to a roiling gray. In some moments the wind intensified as it twisted, twirled, and gusted sending fallen leaves back up into the barren tree branches only to fall again. A pelting rain punctuated the perpetual passage. It lasted all daylight.

The sight through my picture window was mesmerizing and deeply spiritual in the ever-present portal to nature. It reminded me of a passage in The Immortal Wilderness, by the late naturalist John Hay.

He wrote: “There are occasions when you can hear the mysterious language of the Earth, in water, or coming through the trees, emanating from the mosses, seeping through the undercurrents of the soil, but you have to be willing to wait and receive.”

If you’ve never tasted the aroma of a pine forest after a summer rain, you are missing a Divine connection to the Source. If you’ve never sat in a scented blooming rose garden, or watched a stubble hay field fill up with snow or just listened to the wind in the silence of a moonlight walk. You are missing what Mr. Hay is talking about.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Celtic Comfort

I just listened to an old Irish folk tune that had the refrain of "the cares of tomorrow must wait 'til this day is done."

It had some beautiful verses and some mournful tones, but it always ended with, "the cares of tomorrow must wait 'til this day is done."

Several years ago I spent some time in Ireland since that culture was part of my upbringing. My mother played the piano, and when family and guest would gather, she played the old Celtic tunes, and everybody sang.

After I returned from the Emerald Isle, my muse required several poems. Here's one.

Ireland of My Youth
© 2006 Rolland G. Smith

I came to find the Ireland of my youth
When songs of troubled times and ballads sad
Were sung by family friends who knew the truth
In dispassion's glance and famine's hard bad.
Some tunes were lively songs of memories old
And others brought a tear from thoughts within.
But each was sung with strength of heart and soul
As gathered guests recalled their origin.
Now here I am today on Patrick's Isle
To see anew the Irish spirit bold
And still, the songs are sung in Celtic style
With tenor's pipes in singing rhythmic brogue.
The Ireland of my youth, I knew from song
But here, now aged, I know where I belong.


.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Morning Sun!

The morning orb of light ascends to all
Who choose to see its rays from deep within.
Beyond the clouds of doubt and evening's fall 
There shines a knowing thought that must begin.

So many times in life we tread the path
Below the canopy of spirit’s light.
How many times have we ignored the lash
Of truth to stay as dogma’s parasite?

Live in the now beneath the sphere of grace
And let all judgments go to where they end
And know that all we see, is in its place
Despite the fact we may not comprehend.

Rejoice my friends, the world’s bathed in love
We see it clearly, in the light above.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Treason?

To state that Democrats not applauding  some aspects of his State of the Union address is treasonous is demagogic, dumbfounding, delusional and troublesome.

Where are the Berry Goldwaters of  this generation? Goldwater when to the White House as Watergate progressed and told Nixon it was time to go. 

If McConnell and Ryan won't speak reason to power; some Republican in Congress must have the integrity to put country over party. Republican Jeff Flake did a great job on the Senate floor yesterday, but his republican colleagues have yet to rally to his denouncement of Trump.

Democrats! You too are not immune to partisanship. It's country first, people second and party third. Trump's egocentric whines, whims and wants last, if ever.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Superbowl 52

Some limerick thoughts on the Superbowl.

With pride, the fans come to the bowl,
thinking their team will control
the ball on the ground
in the air all around
to the other, the bell will toll.

The bowl is the ultimate game,
Teams getting their fortune and fame.
Bowl fifty and two
And sacks too few
Will next year the teams be the same?

The Eagles from Philly did fight
The Pats of Boston of might.
The temperatures fine;
Inside at this time
As Brady and Foles do excite

Now today with hindsight and woes
and healing of scrimmaging blows.
No media hype.
Here and there, a snipe.
The losers, their bragging, will stow.

In this life of struggle and fears,
In this time of laughter and tears.
We need this big game,
To help us stay sane
And Wisconsin sent us the cheers.

The season is over and done.
The fans celebrating who won.
The game is the thing
By hoping to bring,
A time of competitive fun.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Nuclear Weapons?

A great disappointment!

From the Washington Post...

"The Pentagon released a new nuclear arms policy that calls for the introduction of two new types of weapons, effectively ending the previous administration's efforts to shrink the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the changes reflect a need to “look reality in the eye” and “see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”

Mr. Mattis, the world is what you have created; what we have created. If we wish it to be otherwise, then it would be so. The energy of thought creates what we experience.

More weapons are not the answer. Fewer weapons everywhere is the solution. Shame on our blindness and your arrogance.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Lee Rolland Smith

Yesterday was the birthday of my third son, Lee Rolland Smith. He died of brain cancer. He would have been fifty years old.

It was not a sad day for me for I believe he finished what he came here to do and is now doing what he is supposed to do now.

It was a reflective and solemn day for me. I was not with him when he was born for I was reporting from Vietnam. I was with him when he died; a place no father or mother should ever be.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Presidents

I am writing about Presidents because I just watched the State of the Union. I'm thinking about Benjamin Harrison because I used to live and work in Indianapolis, Indiana.

President Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States. He was born in 1833. The folks in Indianapolis, Indiana are proud of little Ben. He was called that because of his short stature. He was 5 foot, six inches tall.

He was a one-term president. He served from 1889 to 1893, and he gets skipped over in the history books.

A lot was accomplished during his administration. The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted during his term. Six states, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and North and South Dakota, were admitted to the union when Harrison was president.

Harrison was known as a Civil War hero and has been called the father of the modern navy. The Sherman antitrust act was passed during his tenure, and he was a staunch environmentalist. 17 National Parks were created during his four years. Not bad for a little known President.

He was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison and that provided campaign fodder for the Democrats. It must have bothered little Ben for he once said in a speech, “I want it understood that I am the grandson of nobody. I believe that every man should stand on his own merits.”

It is interesting to note that he received 100-thousand fewer popular votes than his opponent Grover Cleveland, but carried the Electoral College 233 to 168. Florida didn’t have chads then. Skulduggery again!

Incidentally, one time, in honor of his birthday sesquicentennial the city of Indianapolis ordered a statue of him sandblasted clean. It was the first cleaning in 75 years.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sunday morning

Have you ever spent a Sunday morning choosing where you'd like to spend the morning? Those of us lucky enough to have a home of several rooms could make that choice.

Sunday morning, you could stay in bed, settle in your favorite chair, or, like me, go someplace I usually don't go.

The living room!

So the title of this post ought to be, "Spending Sunday where I usually don't go."

I have a beautiful living room. It is festooned with art and plants, comfortable chairs, big windows with the morning sun, appropriate decorations, and a modern looking sofa with fluffy pillows coordinated to amplify a sub-dominant tint splashing the room with color. Yellow and the sun vie for splendor.

I spent a lingering morning there on Sunday, and it was glorious. Memories flowed from every vibrant point in the room. The corner where a Christmas Tree once stood. I'm sure I heard the laughter of grand-kids. A papaya covered etagere; each shelf holds artifacts of a long-ago travel memory. A curving sofa gave up echoes of told stories, uproarious laughter and the sent of a friend or two who had no place to stay or just couldn't make it home after a little too much of too much.

There was music too; hidden on the shelves behind a rising electric mirror in a black lacquer console. Symphonies, songs, and ballads evoked a dance, a duet, a touch or a kiss.

I must spend more time in the living room.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Memories

Do you remember when nobody you knew owned a purebred dog? Remember when you’d get a half hour on the parking meter for a penny. When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces. Well dressed men wore hats. You got dressed up for travel and church. Laundry detergent had free gifts inside the box. Jelly jars were kept as everyday glases when they were empty. Fly paper. 

Do you remember when your parents friends were always called Mr. and Mrs. How about memories of Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy, The Lone Ranger, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk. Hoot Gibson, Tom Manard and Bob Steel. The evening news was fifteen minutes long. TV test patterns, John Cameron Swayze, Murphy Martin and H. B. Kaltenborn and Westbrook Van Voorhis

Remember Candy cigarettes, wax bottles of coke with colored sugar water inside, a cup of coffee was a nickel and so was a song on the jukebox. Remember washtub wringers, mimeograph paper, Beanie and Cecil, Studebakers, Edsels, and rumble seats, The Fuller Brush man, penny candy and at the gas station you got your oil checked, windows cleaned and air in your tires all for a dollars worth of gas. Five dollars filled the tank.  

I remember.

Friday, January 26, 2018

True then, truer now!

If you look for it, you will find truths in a lot of places. A few years ago Gary Shapiro, President, and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association. Wrote a piece entitled, “Has Politics Trumped Truth?” for Forbes.

He makes solid and perfect points. Even the prophetic title is not lost on today's political rhetoric.

To wit:

“America used to be good a facts – real good. Baseball, replete with hard statistics, was our favorite sport, and we used its hard data to argue who was the best at it. Our reliance on facts also attracted the world’s best scientists, engineers, doctors, and researchers. We studied and reported and arrived at mutually agreed on facts. And we knew that when our government made statements, and our trusted network news anchors reported them, you could take these facts to the bank.

But we changed. Facts and data have become less relevant, especially in Washington. Americans now choose their news more on the opinions of the news providers than on the fact-gathering skills and objectivity of the reporters. We no longer want to be challenged by facts; we want to be reassured in our biases.”

BRAVO! Mr. Shapiro

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Tradesmen and women

I pondered last night what I should write about in today's post. I asked myself what did I learn today that might be of value and comment.

Immediately, I thought of a young man who came to my house to upgrade my video-television choices. It was a scheduled appointment, and he was well qualified. He went to school, worked with others who were skilled in his technical field and then he had to pass a test, and now he's on his own for a major company.

I thought, not everyone needs a diploma of parchment to find success. The trades are just as a rewarding skill as a college degree and, in fact, sometimes more so. We all need plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, mechanics, roofers, masons, chefs and all-around handymen and women.

It brought to mind a story I just heard from a young college graduate friend. He said recently he and several of his high-school classmates met for a ten-year high-school get-to-together. They chose an inexpensive place to meet since nobody had the money for a fancy restaurant.  When they got to the meeting place, there waiting was a stretch limo that took them all to a high-end restaurant to celebrate.

Of the ten guys, only one had not gone to college. He had hired the limo as a gift to the others. He was a tradesman and the only one who could afford the limo and the restaurant.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Another fantasy!

I wonder what an old-fashioned newscast would be like today?

You know, a newscast that had just the main ingredients. The top stories, the feature stories and the news stories that contain only the who, what, where, when and why (if known).

I know cable station panels are not newscasts, but they often appear to the viewer that way. Some of the questions asked on these panels of pundits are valid questions, but they should be asked to the main people, not just to the experts who are only offering conjecture, educated opinions, and what-if theories. The lawyers are the ones who can answer questions regarding "the law" in a what-if situation, but the political analysis is always subject to the disclosed and undisclosed beliefs to the perceived experts.

Yes, their former or current jobs give them legitimacy and expertise in conjecture, and that's fair for analysis, but it's not the same as asking the protagonist.

As far as the main people are concerned I understand protecting one's proverbial "ass." Nobody wants to go to jail for lying, obstructing, or cheating on their taxes even though more people do it that you can imagine. Could we eliminate the legal obfuscation? All we have to do is place a suspect in a room, turn on a lie-detector, ask the questions and get on with our lives and maybe a new government. If the fifth is taken, so be it. It does give you an idea of where truth is hiding. It's got to be a lot cheaper than what we are doing now. Ah...the fantasy!



 
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