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.

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.

 
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