Treading lightly the path to enlightenment.

Archive for the ‘Pursuit of identity’ Category

Why Ask Why?

 

I rise,
Unsure just why
But here am I
Awake and alive.

Breathe and step
And step again.
To where? Ahead.
Beyond where I have been.

Look and see.
What is there and 
What is not.
Past, future, time forgot.

Moving still.
A back to break,
An iron will,
Dreams to forsake.

Sun and rain
Clouds to love.
Floods below
Storms above.

Feed the machine
Because we must,
Over and again
Until I am dust.

A sparrow lights
To share my bread.
What’s mine is yours
Until I am dead.

A fleeting glimpse,
A parting glance?
For who knows how long
We shall dance?

Sun is setting,
Darkness falls,
Yet light persists
In hallowed halls.

Rest and sleep.
To dreams awake.
A dream of dreaming
For its own sake.

The day dawns,
Wipe sleep from eyes.
Once again
And who knows why,
I rise.

 

 

Seek peace,

Paz

New World Order

It was not the governments of the world that tore down the Berlin Wall.

It was not soldiers in uniforms, nor officials or dignitaries.

The Wall was brought down by ordinary people. Millhands and plumbers and taxi drivers and waitresses.

People who would no longer tolerate the isolation and separatism practiced by their native countries.

The Earth is our homeland.

We are one people.

 

Slainte,

Paz

Current Affairs

 

Shallow Draft

 

 

Our fates entwined, I am carried along her wandering course.

Only the river has changed.

Here, within my canoe, I remain the same.

Now looking out at a different landscape.

 

 

Slainte,

Paz

Earth Day 2020

Sassy Afield

 

Legacy and Learning in 50 years of Earth Day

 

A note from Natalie Dawson, Executive Director at Audubon Alaska

Earth Day 1970, Fairbanks, Alaska: Secretary of Interior Wally Hickel canoes on the Chena River to talk about water pollution. He gives a speech about “shifting man’s thinking from military defense toward the environment” at the University of Alaska Fairbanks alongside the mayor of Fairbanks who quotes Tennyson, and Dr. Donald Aitken, who started the now-famous conservation group Friends of the Earth. It was an apolitical showing of art-politics-activism for a celebration of our home, our “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Sometimes it is difficult to remember what we are able to accomplish when we come together.

Bipartisanship reigned on the first Earth Day. We put aside our sharply divided society in the midst of the Vietnam War to address our impacts to water, air, farm fields, bald eagles, songbirds, marine mammals, and civil rights. We passed legislation to protect clear air, clean water, endangered species, labor unions, and healthy foods. We made steps forward. We slid backward. We learned from mistakes. Progress.

Earth Day 2020, Anchorage, Alaska: A global pandemic reminds us we are part of, not apart from, the world around us. It tells us that we can take collective action and make immediate impacts. Whales return to Southeast Alaska and cruise ships are not there to photograph them. The water is cleaner. Earth is quieterWe breathe cleaner air right now and so does the planet. A friend writes, “I wonder if the bears notice the lack of visitors at the Mendenhall Glacier.” We realize we have so much to learn because it turns out there is so much we do not understand.

And in this way, we find ourselves sitting in this united classroom that is Planet Earth. Like the first Earth Day, which was originally organized as a teach-in across college campuses in the U.S., we are once again students. We are learning about suffering, destruction, and the chance for renewal. We hear birdsongs for the first time. We learn about what we can and cannot afford to lose, and what we need to build. We have an incredible moment to create a new world built on shared experience because none of us have been here before, and we must move forward together.

 

Thistle Down Shower

 

Everyone can do something.

Seek peace and stay well,

 

Paz

Solace For Solitude

Peaceful Evening

 

 

“I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted: and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot comfortably enjoy what God has given them, because they see and covet something he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.”

– Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

 

   “There is something sacred about stillness. The world has not changed outside our bounds, we just realize peace and tranquility are possible, if we make space for it.”

– Ed Lehming, From Where I Stand

 

   “If your environment is poor, blame yourself. Tell yourself you are not poet enough to call forth its richness.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

 

   Horas non numero nisi serenas.

“I count only the happy hours.”

 

Slainte,

 

Paz

A Conspicuous Absence

 

Crocuses are blooming now, and Canada geese migrate northward. The air each day hints more of spring. The song of the red-winged blackbird fills the yard. Sunsets are lavender then orange. Mornings sport foggy patches, and the deer have come down out of their winter yards.

The beautiful world has been busy being beautiful for a long, long time. Make that a very, very, very long time. Nothing to date has affected her all that much. The sky is still aquamarine blue, and clouds in the sun will reveal rainbow colors if you look closely.

The grass is greening as green as any year, and dandelions have wasted no time getting started. The trail greets Sassy and me with the same joyous embrace we have come to know, and the air smells as sweet as any spring I can remember.

Mankind has always sought out and marveled at beauty. Nature and the arts. Throughout recorded history we have breathlessly described new frontiers. We have written ballets devoted to the seasons, composed and choreographed the essences of life’s beauty to be displayed upon the stage. We have written books of adventure, love, poetry. Songs that embrace light and love, devotion and bravery. We have painted and drawn and sculpted masterpieces attempting to convey our overwhelming joy to be witnesses to this marvelous world.

These things have never tired, never faded: the world’s beauty and humankind’s appreciation of it.

Humans have observed and recorded beauty at all times. All times throughout history.

During bountiful years and seasons of drought.

During times of enlightenment and growth as well as times of darkness and evil.

During plentiful times, and times of starvation and death.

We can hope and dream with all our might, yet we must bow to the unwavering truth that there will be some dark days for most of us during the courses of our lifetimes. That there will be dark times for our world.

Humankind has harnessed the power of light. It began long ago with a fire in a cave. It continued as gaslights recorded in the stories of O. Henry and Charles Dickens. It entered modern times with Mr. Edison’s curious invention. It has followed us into the future with lasers carrying our telecommunications, and solar farms gathering the power of the sun for our use.

And so it is the power of beauty and light that I will embrace now.

There will be lilacs in May.

There will be peonies in June.

There will be raspberries in July.

There will be morning glories in August.

You have plenty of places elsewhere to read about the darkness.

 

Sure As Spring

 

Let’s keep our eye on the lighthouse, and keep the lamp lit.

Let’s marvel at the sweep of the beacon through the fog.

Until the storm has passed.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Something For Myself

My Beautiful Boy

 

I don’t remember exactly how long ago it happened, but I remember the moment quite clearly. I was opening the cupboard door, probably browsing for a snack, and Chuy sat down and looked up at me. His snacks come from the same cupboard.

Likely I had reasons for my intention to skip the dog snack. We go through plenty, as they are given generously. There is a regular wholesome meal at supper time, so there’s that appetite thing. Also, we can just get carried away sometimes and overdo it.

Then my imagination leaped ahead 12 seconds, to the moment I would retrieve something for myself and close the door. Chuy’s dog voice said, to himself or perhaps the cat beside him, “Oh.” a disappointed frown, “He’s only getting something for himself.

You go ahead and call it guilt, or call it spoiling or call it Shirley or call it awakening. Call it what you will, it made my stomach sink and my heart skipped a beat to imagine being seen this way. To imagine being a creature without the means to get up there and open the door and grab a snack, as I can do without second thought.

In an instant I was changed. If I have no intention of giving the dog a snack, I will not have one for myself in front of her. If she skips it, so do I. (Yes, you are reading that correctly, above was the past, and Chuy was a he, but it’s she-girl Sassy now).

That was just the dog and the pantry. Sure enough, didn’t I come to see shortly how this applied to a thousand places in my life and my day.

It has helped me develop a total immunity to marketing of goods. That $20 for a shiny gadget will pay for half a corrective surgery on a Mercy Ship. The $35 for the other thing I really don’t need will go to my kids in Memphis. Maybe research or maybe treatment or maybe Band-Aids with colorful characters on them for children fighting cancer at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Even the half of a peanut butter sandwich on the console of the FunBus, saved for later. How do I explain “later” or “mine” to these sparrows and starlings that alight before me, and look up at me the same way Chuy did?

Sparrow Boy

I went to lunch and drove past the old guy who is always walking on the sidewalk, winter and summer, and looking homeless and about 70 years old. It was cold and windy that day. I got a hot meatball sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate and I stopped and gave it to him. I could have wasted my time wondering if he liked meatball sandwiches, or if he was diabetic and couldn’t drink hot chocolate. I don’t know if he has a perfectly nice apartment and Meals On Wheels brings him lunch every day. What difference would that make anyway?

The Great Cosmos smiled on me. He looked at me with the sweetest face, with blue eyes as beautiful as my daughter’s. He spoke softly and kindly and smiled, and then he uttered the very words I’d heard my sainted mother say, so many times, to so many people.

“God bless you.”, he said.

In retrospect, perhaps I have failed in my Armchair zen Mission. Perhaps I am still studying Chuy’s lesson.

For after all was said and done, in the end, didn’t I end up getting something for myself anyway.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

 

Fledgling

Evan Defies Gravity

 

When you were just a wee thing, I tossed you into the sky.

You smiled, you laughed, you squealed.

You were never afraid, never doubted that I would catch you.

Grown now, with your own wee ones, you are too big for me to throw in the air.

Fear not, however, for as long as there is breath in this body

I will always catch you.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Accountant

Sky Sailors

 

 

I stopped my compulsive counting of the geese in the flocks that fly above me,

and instead admired their beauty.

I stopped foretelling the weather in these clouds that pass over me,

and instead enjoyed watching them sail.

I stopped thinking of those places where we don’t meet eye-to-eye,

and instead embraced those where we do.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

All The World A Stage

Color Of Winter

 

“How can we enact our Devine Comedy without the proverbial Village Idiot?

Who will play The Fool?”

“I will! I will!” I heard myself exclaim without hesitation. I jumped for joy to be working again.

To have a clearly defined roll within this cast of characters that is my life.

This grandiose and grand production.

This particularly ponderous performance.

This perfect play.

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

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