The land and the sea

The sweet smell of sea salt on the air. That scent when the tide is high and the water churning with life is thrilling. It gives me a feel of being fresh and new; a moment when all is cleansed and forgiven; a time of total peace.

If only I was not trapped in the midst of 1000 acre corn field!

But then there is something to be said about the sweet smell of corn.

Renewing the Fabric

Yes, the last several month have shown the worst of society.  We have fought about politics.  We have thrown words around like entitlements and gifts.  We have been disparaging of people who are not like us and gloat when the other side falls short.  It has been sad.

But that is all over now, right?  Unlikely.

So where to from here?  Do we become further entrenched in our ideological windowless prisons, or can we, maybe, begin a new way of living?

It is the time of year when we respond to life by giving thanks.  I believe that most Americans (citizens and non-alike) will stop and give thanks somehow this Thursday.  I have not heard of any general boycotts against Thanksgiving, nor any feelings of animosity towards this national holiday, which is worth being thankful.  Saying thank you is a very powerful act of the soul because it is recognizing that there is something outside of oneself that is worth a moment of recognition.

Imagine, if we all gave thanks each day.  I believe saying thank you has the power to renew the fabric of society; the one great and diverse blanket we all live under.  By virtue of looking about the world we live in and offering thanksgiving slows us down, centers our being, and yes I believes creates a sense of cosmic harmony.  Similar to the “pay it forward” idea, saying thank you calls us to recognize the significance of something in our world.

What could it do for us?  It gives us all common ground on which to stand.  We will not agree about all things but we will can begin to see our neighbor as someone other than an idea or a political party.   Giving thanks offers us the opportunity to recognize what others may not have and in turn call us to help.  Giving thanks calls us to be humble of spirit and of mind.

It has been a tough year in terms of negativity.  It is time we renew what has been torn apart and that begins with giving thanks.

Red Chairs

Red chairs sitting on golden heaven
Enticing magic calling with Adirondack pleasure
Splish, splash water waves
How can the world question the simplicity?

Look towards the west
Clouds drift above the trees
Mountains sit heavy, laden with time
World spins, nothing breaks loose

Man stands watching over the water
Looking for life strung over a line
The rain falls, the weak surrender
Red chair remains on golden heaven

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Splash of reality.

Diving into the lake was like diving into a scrap book of the last decade of my life. With one splash memories flooded into my mind of people encountered; events both recent and a while ago. A sudden shock wave hit me as I process the business and chaos that I had called living.

When we experience less pleasing moments in life we do the same moving into high gear (or the opposite) to block and shut out the world so that we do not have to experience suffering.

Now, I am not proposing we don’t live where we accomplish nothing or take ourselves to the brink of a breakdown because of pain, but that we take time to stop and examine the situation.

Why do we strive to be so busy? Living is not experiencing life at warp speed, where we go so fast that we do not appreciate the moment; both good and bad. Living is being in the moment to the fullest to see what it is and how it truly effects us. For example, for the most part people say they go on vacation to slow down, to get a way from it all, to have a break from that which is life. However, we get to that point be it a weekend, a week, or more and we fill our schedules to do everything and be everywhere. Perhaps some might say that is living life to its fullest but really they is continue the repetitious pattern of chaos we have become dependent upon.

At this moment I am sitting on a dock in a lake overlooking the White Mountains of New Hampshire. These amazing remnants before me are startling examples of taking a moment to wait. Millions of years ago they stood taller than the rocky mountains. They loomed over this young continent as monolithic anchors stretching towards an endless sky. Through the course of time, wind, rain, ice, thunder, lightning, and all that mother nature could throw at them, they have watched as they released their ancient hardened minerals. The took the worse and they still are. They have taken the best and still are. And what next? They will continue to be in mountain, earth, dust, and sand for what they experience can not destroy them but can only expand them across this terrestrial plan.

We too must remember this as we go about life. In our business we disconnect as we strive continually for something better, as we experience loss and pain, or simply fade into a self imposed mindless deportation of self.

Stop for a minute. Think. Experience. Explore the mind and the world around and live anew.

Church Street

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Head of the street
Strong, whole, holy, true
Watching and calling the world
That walks at its base

Singer, dancer, musician, artist
Make music and slow the world down
Shops open, enticing and full
Come in, enter, Bienvenue!

“It’s mine.” “No, it’s mine.”
Fighting erupts. Young men with no understanding
Stealing to satisfy greed. Victim calling for help
Help arriving. The world keeps passing

Further on down,
Hill moving southward
People, dogs, bags, bricks, homeless, wanderlust, confused, lonely,

City perfume of culture mixing
Korean, French, Mexican, Russian,
Bistros bustling with patrons watching, drinking, dinning, celebrating

You at the top of the hill, do you see
Where is the proof of your existence?
In buildings dark and closed?
In name only do we see

Church street: in word and in deed
Pastoral steeple guiding watch over thee
Where art thou when we so are in need?
Church street: you cannot satisfy thy heaviest need.

There was an old man who walked up and down the mountain side. For years people would see him and wonder why he would waste his time walking the mountain side, going from village to village caring nothing but a satchel. Everyone knew him but nobody really knew him. He was as commonly seen as the Starling but as rare to know as the Siberian Crane. The people called him, Hóng Tāo Rén because all he did was walk about carrying his satchel with him. People avoided him and children were told terrifying tales about how Hóng Tāo Rén would come and take naughty children away in his satchel and leave them on the mountain far away from home. Poor Hóng Tāo Rén did not have a friend to call upon or a place to call home.

One day the children were all playing in the village of Zishóu for it was a beautiful spring day and it was about the only thing that the children understood to be beautiful. The village had seen many years of bad weather which had destroyed the fields and the hopes of having plenty to eat. Many families had left to find work. Others had remained to stay and work as hard as they could to sustain and nurture what they could from the land. But for most, their efforts were futile and their children were obvious recipients of what meager food there was. Despite the pangs of hunger, the innocence of childhood sustained the children on such a beautiful spring day. They ran after an old ball. They kicked a can. They played hide and seek and even had an afternoon tea party.

Perhaps it was their hunger, along with a joyful imagination, that all the children were invited and participated in the imaginary tea. The boys pretended they were seated proudly at a grand teatable and the girls were thrilled to be pouring tea. They held in their hands the tiny rocks that were supposed to be tea cups and sipped gingerly at their stones. It made them happy, but it could not fill their empty stomachs.

The children were greatly enjoying their game of acting like their parents pouring and offering tea to one another that nobody noticed that Hóng Tāo Rén appeared standing over them watching. The old man smiled and looked pleased to see that their innocence could allow them to enact such a wonderful comfort as is the tea ceremony. But the children were shocked to seem him, even afraid that maybe he was here because their parents sent him to get a child.

It was Gânxiè’s turn to serve when Hóng Tāo appeared. Gânxiè was only five years of age but had within her a deep heart that extended far into the world. She was anxious to see Hóng Tāo Rén but with great trepidation and a heavy swallow she welcomed him to their imaginary table. The other children were shocked but made room for Hóng Tāo Rén. Gânxiè was very sure to enact the tea ceremony perfectly just as she had seen her parents do at home, hoping of it was right and she would not end up in Hóng Tāo Rén satchel. Carefully pretending to keep the lid on the large stone Gânxiè poured into a smaller stone. She carefully turned the stone and lifted it offering it first to Hóng Tāo Rén, for he was the oldest at the table. As her trembling hands reached out, Hóng Tāo Rén appreciatively accepted the cup with a great smile and without saying a word bowed graciously in return. There was not a single word uttered by the other children. They were in complete awe of what they had just seen.

Gânxiè returned to her seat and continued to pour but the other children just stared at Hóng Tāo Rén. Suddenly, Gânxiè uttered a shocking syllable. The children turned to see what had happened. What they saw, they could not believe. Before them there was a beautiful table laid out. There were hot steaming dishes and fresh fruits. There were beautiful bowls and spoons. There was food they had never seen before nevertheless the smell was mouth watering. And there was Gânxiè holding onto a beautiful golden teapot with an ivory handle. The children had never seen anything so beautiful and it was filled with delicious, hot tea.

Gânxiè looked up at the other end of the table. Hóng Tāo Rén was still sitting there smiling back. Gânxiè said not a word but bowed graciously and with that the children began to feast upon the wonderful meal that was laid before them with delight.

When the meal was all over, Hóng Tāo Rén opened his satchel and one by one put each dish, bowl, and spoon back into his satchel. How he ever got it all in there the children never knew. All that was left on the table was a cup for each child and Hóng Tāo Rén and a teapot.

They finished their tea in silence and then as suddenly as Hóng Tāo Rén appeared he was gone and left in the hands of each child was a beautiful golden cup, except for Gânxiè. There before her was also the beautiful teapot which everyone knew was hers.

Hóng Tāo Rén was never seen again in Zishóu but reports still were made of him being here and there. The children took their cups home to their parents and they were amazed to see such beautiful cups and Gânxiè teapot. The village people gathered the whole set together, with the permission of the children because they all realized that Hóng Tāo Rén gave them to the children and this must be respected, and bought many wonderful things that the village needed to survive and become great again. The one thing they kept was the golden teapot because it was the teapot that first appeared and it was Gânxiè’s invitation that brought such good fortune to the village. For this they were very grateful. The honored her by keeping the teapot and on special occasions, while Gânxiè lived, she would pour tea for the entire village honoring Hóng Tāo Rén.

Encounters