Adversity is a bridge not a stop sign

Bird Droppings November 19, 2012

Adversity is a bridge not a stop sign

 

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem.  Everything else is inconvenience.”Robert Fulghum

 

It was perhaps two days ago two years ago one of the teachers at school in an email to all staff mentioned another member of our staff had been diagnosed with breast cancer. If anything I have found in my sixty three years of living in this reality of life, is that we as an organism are resilient. In my time wandering about I have been carried through the hallways of a polio ward observing other children in iron lungs in one day and gone the next. Yet somehow in that doom and gloom of that era we survived. I have witnessed firsthand the human travesty of mental institutions as a chaplain counseling inmates who never will leave the confines of the walls and bars that held them contained.  Then sadly many were released to perhaps a crueler world in that of homeless America when so called budget cuts were made.

 

“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.” “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” Authors Unknown

 

As I came through college and a war in Viet Nam so many of my friends died while I gained knowledge. Yesterday in my travels we watched the sun rise and set all in a day. So often we get absorbed in the issues the problems and do not see what lies ahead or that something can lie ahead around the turn in the road.

 

“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.”William Shakespeare, Othello

 

Life continually throw curve balls, be it physically mentally or emotionally and it is in learning to hit a curve ball where in lies the secret and not succumbing to the throes of human defeat. Of course when you learn to hit curves the pitcher in life may throw a slider. There is not a day goes by I do not see the words of this great woman since they are spread in printed quotes on the walls of my class room.

 

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”Mother Teresa

 

There is a bit of humor still in Mother Teresa’s stoicism and humility. Few people ever bear witness to the images that beset Mother Teresa daily as she walked the streets of Calcutta.

 

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

A simple thought but adversity does bring strength and gives us the understanding we need to take the next step or to simply breathe that next breath of air.

 

“You can’t run away from trouble.  There ain’t no place that far.”Uncle Remus

 

I recall Uncle Remus from the Disney’s cartoons based on the characters and produced nearly eighty years ago. Even in the Madison Georgia home of the Uncle Remus’ characters you see the Disney art work. In life far too often we run away trying to avoid dealing with issues and there is no place far enough eventually it does catch up I can speak personally to this one.

 

“Enduring habits I hate…. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.”Friedrich Nietzsche

 

A day or so ago a comment was made about over achievers those that are forever dotting every “i” and crossing every “t”. In my world I call that an obsessive compulsive disorder. Listening to a speaker the other day who was being perfect, as they spoke I was thinking obsessive compulsive not perfect. Understanding our frailties and weaknesses can make us strong.

 

“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round.  Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.  I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy.  But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.”Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

Perhaps it is in acknowledgement of trouble that we can overcome. It is true we learn, we grow, and we do develop a capacity to overcome adversity.

 

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it, whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.” Rona Barrett

 

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.”Garrison Keillor

 

So often we fret over things that in truth are simply a part of life and fretting will not take it away it is in knowing how to deal with and living with that makes the difference.

 

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm

 

You have to get through the trials before you can savor the victory.

 

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.”Jewish Proverb

 

Perhaps the most powerful quote today as I look back in my own life and that of those of friends and family. If we all looked at life this way what a world we would have perhaps there would be no more whiners.

 

“Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take.  You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack.”Author Unknown

 

Such a good illustration as I ponder that one in my mind and how true. The big issues we seem to deal with but those sharp tiny ones sneak in there and stick us in the butt.

 

“How can something bother you if you won’t let it?” Terri Guillemets

 

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark

 

“As long as you keep getting born, it’s alright to die some times.” Orson Scott Card

 

“Bad is never good until worse happens.”Danish Proverb

 

Even though the smooth pavement is so much easier to travel on I do prefer a bump now and again to keep me awake. I was thinking of the ripples alongside the interstate highways before bridges they really do wake you up thinking back to younger days and driving straight through from Georgia to Pennsylvania over the weekends to see friends. In life sometimes we need a ripple or two to keep us going.

 

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”Walt Disney

 

Walt Disney was one of the great optimists of our time. Back in the day he had the vision to see pine flats, orange groves and swamp and envision a city, an amusement park unlike anything ever built before. As I look back all from drawing a little mouse.

 

“Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” Arthur Golden

 

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.”Lou Reed

 

From Eastern thought the yin and yang, opposites that need each other so you can truly see what each is. That black and white we can call the contrast of life.

 

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”Mary Engelbreit

 

So much of life is how we see it and what we do about it. A new week please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and as I head into a holiday week thinking of close friends who need our support and concern as they deal with the pieces of the puzzle that life has provided to them. May peace be with you all and may we all give thanks especially in this week of thanksgiving namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

why do we not pursue Silence?

Bird Droppings November 16, 2012

Why not quietly pursue Silence?

 

I was standing in my back yard listening. There was silence. As I stood how easy is it to find fear and or solace in silence. Many horror movies over the years and of course books for those of us who still read feature silence in all the buildup. How difficult is it to find silence? By chance today our sky is overcast and low which helps muffle the sounds of nature.

 

“Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment; that background which the painter may not daub, be he master or bungler, and which, however awkward a figure we may have made in the foreground, remains ever our inviolable asylum, where no indignity can assail, no personality can disturb us.” Thoreau, Henry David

 

Sitting here in near silence in my kitchen working at my computer is relaxing and somewhat peaceful. The chill of the morning brought me in. I seemed to have forgotten to put shoes on and my bare feet were getting frost bitten. I took my dog’s advice as she ran for the door. I have always enjoyed the calming effect of silence. But in a paradoxical way silence for some can be an effective torture. Taking away that sensation and limiting to only ones thoughts can for some be overcoming.

 

“The Pause; that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words, however so felicitous, could accomplish it.” Twain, Mark

Silence is a mighty sword in the hands of a warrior or poet. Yet why do we seek silence why do we try and find a place to wrest away from the hustle and bustle of today’s world? Perhaps it is a contrast we seek. An exact opposite to our daily lives of running around, as if there were no tomorrow. Perhaps silence allows us to see beyond?

“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.” Confucius

 

“Silence is the genius of fools and one of the virtues of the wise” Pope Boniface VIII

 

“Under all speech that is good for anything three lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as time” Thomas Carlisle

 

I do find rest in the quiet of a forest or field. Often I will try and get away from everything put all aside to have a few minutes without the trappings of our cluttered world. I often wonder at the loud bellowing booming music often spilling from cars as they vibrate with bass so loud the cars are shaking. A joke around the house was a movie featuring a rock band only known for being loud. They were asked how they could be so much louder than all the others and responded they turned up to eleven on the volume, no one else can do that. I thought my son was joking and should have known better as he has had his band experience much more than I. I was in a large music store outside Atlanta and I checked the Marshall Amps, traditionally the biggest and baddest of all amps. They only went to ten. Pondering I recall a Ted Nugent concert that was built up to be so great. I walked in and walked out far too loud and too crude in the music coming from his amps. Might have been a sort of fortune telling event since I still nearly forty years later find him loud and crude and irrelevant.

So I wonder can I find that place where sound and noise is reversed and find a negative one. Set it to one point on the dial less than zero and a very silent amp. I seriously doubt anyone would applaud a really silent amp or rock band. Well maybe parents and folks parked next to those cars with fifty inch woofers. Could that place of ultimate silence be where you can truly find solace and peace?  I attended another concert over thirty five years ago in the Fox theatre on Peachtree Street. After having played for an hour with his band Harry Chapin strode on the stage harmonica in hand and sat at the edge of the massive Fox stage curtains drawn shut. The crowd fell silent you could hear a pin drop. He began singing and there was not a dry eye in the house. For nearly thirty minutes he sang and played harmonica with no speakers, no amps and no band. We were in awe and between each note silence.

 

“Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule.” Thomas Carlisle

 

For many seeking spiritual boundaries and finding doorways past where we are silence has always been a key. The great mystics of days gone by would retreat in silence often for days. Shamans and holy men seeking visions to guide their people would seclude themselves and find silence in order to delve deeper into their own existence. With many indigenous tribes it in silence you understand rather than in speech. Many times the used car mentality of white leaders considered the silence of the chiefs to be a lack of understanding and in reality it was one of respect and thorough understanding. All through man’s history silence has been a place of spiritual findings. Yet it too is one of fear for so many.

 

“A horrid stillness first invades the ear, And in that silence we the tempest fear.” John Dryden

 

Perhaps when we encounter something we are not accustomed to it is when we fear. Those seeking silence are on their own trying to find answers. Most people are content with the noise of the world. Being thrust into silence could be confusing. As I stood listening to see if the morning was truly silent after about ten minutes or so a rooster cut loose and I knew I would open my eyes to the world I left briefly in the quiet of the morning. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

 

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

Can we mold our day and proceed in life?

Bird Droppings November 15, 2012

Can we mold our day and proceed in life?

 

Morning is a special time a beginning of sorts for each day. For me several aspects of taking our dog out, sitting down, writing and reading have in many ways become a significant part of my day. I walked out this morning and felt the coldness and humidity of perhaps one of our coolest and wettest mornings this fall. As I looked out earlier standing on the concrete barefooted, far off across the trees the big dipper was just rising above the trees and the stars crystal clear in the patches of clouds against the morning darkness were breath taking.

 

“Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It’s in our hands.”  Cathy Better 

 

I recall a day several years back as I left my room second block I usually go through the guidance office and say hello to several people, one was missing. I noticed and never questioned as the day drew on I sensed an absence yet still had not questioned. I grabbed another counselor for a meeting I had yesterday morning. As the day ended I heard from a friend that her mother in law had passed away and she had been at a funeral.

 

“It is not how many years we live, but rather what we do with them.” Evangeline Cory Booth

 

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.”  Frederick Buechner

 

Last night I sat down thinking and trying to put down words, so often anymore evenings are just a time to fall asleep. I was looking for pictures that may have significance as I continued to piece together my first book. I emailed several people last night just touching base and wishing happy birthdays.

 

“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.”  Albert Camus

 

“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.”  Thomas Carlyle

 

Thinking back as I moved through that day several years ago sensing something was amiss and even after knowing it is difficult to offer from a distance any sort of comfort. Most people as the day finished never missed a stride they never knew. There were a few tears from her friends and those that knew of the situation as most passing of souls seem to impart.

 

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot

 

I have used this quote many times over the years and each time it seems appropriate. I remember as a child chasing fireflies across a meadow gathering those life forces in a jar to light my room and then releasing into the night watching them float away in the darkness after my curiosity was satisfied. I also remember a few years back watching our great American bison bull snort in the meadow and his breath floating across the pasture in the chilled air within a hundred feet of our porch.

 

“It’s not how long life is but the quality of our life that is important.” Roger Dawson

 

“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.”  Charles Dickens

 

In 1996 my little brother passed away and my family was faced with a new beginning. We all had literally built our lives around my brother. He was severely disabled and our being in Georgia was directly related to his schooling and my father’s company moving. As we celebrated his life reviewing the intricate webs that were laid each moment, the many people touched, and lives affected in what seemingly had been and was now an enormous out pouring of life.

 

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 

We each approach the morning in a different way. I embrace the day and begin with my writing and watching each moment unfold. Since 1996 I have taken many different roads and journeys and as I look back each has had meaning and direction and led me to here and now.

 

 “Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler

 

I explained in detail how several years ago I received a call from my nephew that a friend had been in a car accident and as the day proceeded I spent the night in the Athens Hospital holding a young man’s hand as monitors beeped and droned and he lay unmoving, hoping that the numbers on the dials would change. When I arrived home on my computer was that quote from an old Aerosmith song. In 1968 as I left for Texas I received a book from my parents and on page 596 the following quote.

 

“To everything there is season, and a time, To every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

 

Many years ago Pete Seeger, a folk singer and environmentalist wrote music for these words and a song was born, “Turn Turn Turn”. “To every season turn,  turn, turn there is a season turn, turn, turn and a time for every purpose under heaven”, what powerful words and a few years after putting music to the words, the song became a hit, sung by a group remarkably called the Byrd’s.

 

“Nothing is beneath you if it is in the direction of your life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”  Robert Frost

 

So often a poets words offer comfort or give direction back to a journey when we are set off course, it may be in one moment or a lifetime. There is no filling of a void yet when looking at life and all that has been and will be. When we are looking at the journey to now there truly has been no void. There has been a turn in the road a new direction and all that has led to this point. Our journey in life has not really changed and it is there behind us lifting us guiding us strengthening us as we continue along the way.

I remember back to a photo of my son crossing a stream in north Georgia already sopping wet from falling in but still intent on making it across, stone by stone crossing the stream. We all can cross in our time and there are times when a hand is welcome to aid in the journey. Years ago I set up a website for a youth group and today I will close with the starting line from that website, “Friends are never alone”. Keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and today keep those friends who may need extra support close at hand and always be sure to give thanks namaste.

 

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

Can we give more than one hundred percent?

Bird Droppings November 14, 2012

Can we give more than one hundred percent?

 

It has been an interesting week and past weekend. As I started out trying to get perhaps more done that was humanly possible it still was nonstop and rather exciting.  Even though Georgia Tech has not had a great year in football there is a chance they will be playing for the ACC championship. I need to mow my knee deep back yard and till my garden still. I have a dishwasher sitting waiting on a drain pump so there are many started projects ready for a holiday week off next week.

I took a few moments to sit in my quiet spot before calling it a day yesterday and calmed down my adrenaline a bit from running a hundred miles per hour all day. In one of my readings recently the author suggested taking a few moments to pause and listen. To try and listen to the earth and sounds from nature. It is difficult to sort through the manmade sounds, cars, dogs barking, and various other noises from our technology. As I sat though I heard or should say I was focusing on the sounds of the world. A few crickets even in the chill were chirping away and several birds ending their day singing away. As I sat a chorus of crows was cawing to my right across the field.  I felt at ease as I listened intently for five or six minutes. After I finished fixing dinner and a few minutes of family time I retreated to my writing area and put on some old Neil Yong tunes. I find it is always good to bring back the 1970’s and who better than Yogi Berra to start my Bird Droppings with today.

 

“You give one hundred percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn’t enough, in the second half you give what’s left.” Yogi Berra

 

I remember when Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra played for the Yankees, a great team player and catcher and later in life a coach. It was back in the day and still now again a yogism would make the headlines, a profound statement somewhere in a jumbled bit of the English language. It may take a moment to rationalize what Yogi is saying perhaps several minutes but always within is some whimsical piece of philosophy well worth the sorting and distorting of the English language.

 

“I want to be remembered as the guy who gave his all whenever he was on the field.” Walter Payton

 

It was not that many years ago, Walter Payton played for the Chicago Bears “Sweetness” was his nickname as he ran over every team they played. Whether the Bears had a good or bad season, Payton always was near the top in professional footballs rushing and receiving stats for running backs. Never would you hear an announcer even hint at Payton not giving all. Throughout his life Walter Payton lived at a hundred percent. When diagnosed with a rare form of cancer he went to work promoting research and organ transplants even though his own illness was too far progressed for a transplant of his own. His legacy lives on in his charitable foundations.

 

“I don’t believe people die from hard work. They die from stress and worry and fear — the negative emotions. Those are the killers, not hard work. The fact is, in our society today, most people don’t understand what hard work is all about.” A.L. Williams

 

Many of you may not remember the name but it was not that many years ago Mr. Williams lived in and around our local Walton County Georgia. When he started he was a PE teacher with an idea and when he retired selling his company to Prime America, and at that time he was worth several billions of dollars. Art Williams was known for his hard work, day in and day out.

 

“A jug fills drop by drop.” Buddha

 

Years ago I recall a bucket sitting under a dripping pipe and one drop at a time does not seem to be much but the bucket would fill every time.

 

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.” Abraham Lincoln

 

As I rode home yesterday I came upon two runners going down the road near my home. I cautiously approached not wanting to run over them but as I came near I noticed I recognized them, teachers at the High School. I made a comment about how cold it was and was asked how fast they were going, 10 mph, but I was going faster. As I thought later you know what they still got where they were going. Maybe they were not as fast as I was but eventually their goal was attained.

 

“It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” John Wooden

 

As I think back on days gone by and various games played usually nearly always folks are concerned about who starts. Who’s on the starting team is the heroes chant and never ever does a person brag about who is on the finishing team. Yet those who have made it have completed the game, the task, and they are truly the heroes and the victors. Life too is not about whom starts the game; we all do, but who you are when and how you finish the game. It is about the journey my friends and may we all find that destination we seek. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

Today is day one

Bird Droppings November 13, 2012

Today is day one

I remember nearly six years ago as we got closer to the last day in our old house it was actually appropriately to be the last day of the month. Sitting here in my class room thinking back early in the morning it is a new day a glorious day and who knows what this day holds. I wonder each day as I start who I will meet, talk with and what new ideas may come around. Being accustom to early rising I am sitting here at my computer typing away getting lesson plans or at least some semblance of a day ready for my students as it is also the last few days before a week long Thanksgiving holiday. It is a good day a chance of rain and or a chance of sun. I like the weather reports on the news they are always so vague and always covering every angle neither cloud nor sun for sure but possibility of either. I found this thought today as I sit and ponder.

“Everything comes to pass, nothing comes to stay.” Matthew Flickstein, Journey To The Center

 

When I saw this I thought of a dear friend who passed away a few years ago. A teenager who I would have never suspected had a feeling for Robert Frost. So for those of you who knew him, a special word for Travis, a special someone who could light up a room and generally get someone mad at the same time.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

By Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

When I went to the funeral of Travis and heard this poem read. This was his favorite poem. I had to think, I had to ponder –for myself I could not have remembered that verse though I am sure I read it somewhere in my wanderings. Travis was not a scholar and I do not mean that in a bad way he was quite the opposite so to say. Yet this verse was of significance to him, he carried it with him on a piece of paper in his wallet.  Earlier today I wrote, responding to an email, about doing right and or doing good.

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.” Mother Teresa 

One friend from Ohio sent this quote and paraphrased if you are an atheist cover your ears, well actually your eyes unless someone is reading this to you. An atheist friend responded with. “all atheists have to do is substitute another word (like ‘conscience’) or thought for ‘God’ in the final sentence, and it works just as well.  Or better, eliminate the final sentence, and it works even better, since the reader must come up with his own justification for doing the right thing.” As I think back to Travis, I honestly do not think he intentionally did wrong ever. Everything he did do, while annoying at times, loud at times, was joyful. It was often funny as I sit here, that was the word that popped in my mind, joyful.

I agree with that great philosopher and guru of gurus dear friend from the Philadelphia area Dlog Nala, that leaving out the last sentence changes the passage a bit. So often in life we need excuses to do something even though it is right, what is in it for me that extrinsic motivation that drives mankind. Even in this analogy of doing for God there is a reason for doing good rather than simply because it is right. While I am reminiscing going back many years to an argument in seminary. I was always intrigued how the mafia Godfather, on his death bed would have last rites and absolution even though he had murdered many people and pillaged the city through crime. I listened to many messages of salvation from sin.

I had a professor and an entire discussion group tell me how upset they were over the fact that this group of people we had just worked with, were going to hell because they could not accept their way of believing. The particular unit was a severe and profoundly disabled unit at Central state hospital back in the days of institutions, a large complex of buildings and humanity in Central Georgia in the early 1970’s. Many of the patients in this unit were bedridden and connected to feeding tubes, literally comatose. They were turned every hour or so to prevent bed sores. I always thought it was interesting that these folks in that unit were lost and the mafia godfather was not.

It has been a number of years since another friend and I walked five miles every day discussing life and theology. He has finished seminary and gone back to teaching music along the coast of Georgia. Many the talks as we walked, of where and when and how and many of Travis and his impact on our own lives. I am amazed at how a sixteen year old could affect so many people.

“Everything comes to pass, nothing comes to stay.” Matthew Flickstein, Journey To The Center

We tend to get greedy when we have a good thing and never want to let go of it. I have been writing each morning for nearly fourteen years and on that morning, after holding Travis’s hand for most of the night a story I have told so many times. I had been watching monitors go the direction I was hoping they would not. The doctor said it was up to the family they would harvest organs when given permission. Travis was an organ donor, it was his wish and he even talked about it often. I went to my own home, after we had taken all the high school friends of Travis back after a night in the hospital. I sat down at my computer and I have related this so many times previously. There affixed to the monitor a yellow post-it note from my son.

“Dad” it was addressed to me. “Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler, Aerosmith

 

It was funny how it took my teenage, at that time, son to give me perspective. I learned more in that moment than I had in many years of discussion and classes. We all are on a journey each of us wandering often far from the path. Some of us never step out of the way from their travels. For many people it is always a straight and narrow pathway. However some of us choose to go down this side road and up that path. It is the journey we are on that is so important and it is on that journey we need to borrow from Mother Theresa and do what is right, do it anyway. Sitting here my computer alarm went off time to get busy. As I was reading the news on Yahoo a few minutes back, maybe a change in how we view our world situation is in the horizon with a renewed president coming up. I would hope so; life is so precious it is not a commodity like so much of our economy. We are not human capital as so many politicians and even educators would like to think. So as always for today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

Wa de (Skee)

bird

There is something about creativity

Bird Droppings November 12, 2012

There is something about creativity

 

I got up this morning later than normal being a school holiday. I ran an errand or two first thing and started in on repairing if I can our dishwasher. After reaching a point of needing to ponder I went to my writing table upstairs to clear my head. It has been a few days since I wrote for several reasons the main one being a little red headed munchkin who demands attention. It is hard to resist the tiny voice calling pop pop where are you? So my granddaughter and I colored and read books and played and played for a couple of days. All in all it was still a wonderful thoughtful experience sitting many times watching as learned a new word or color. I am amazed as little ones grow how imagination and creativity begin to show. As I am listening to a small child singing, dancing, and playing with their toes and fingers, all changing almost daily from nonsensical words to words recognizable and rhythms that seem almost inborn.

I was talking to a good friend yesterday about how life as it flows along does change as I look at situations and conditions for me knowing that a few years ago or so my middle son and a few years before that my oldest son would have been the one sitting h Carolina and he and his wife are expecting their first baby. My youngest son and his wife and our first grandbaby will be moving home so her parents can concentrate on their studies, and my oldest working on his Master’s degree and student teaching at a nearby high school. It is sad but I also know their direction and their flow all have new twists and turns new rocks to travel over and around and knowing them, they will manage to transverse the stream. I wish them all the best of all as they go forward.

Yesterday as I pondered a bit while driving back from North Georgia dropping our grandbaby off I thought back to a patch of ground out on our farm called paradise by several small boys and how they would play games with pebbles and toy trucks under a tree along our drive way. Those same boys who now are older and paradise is a memory long gone. Talking with friends several others in reading my various thoughts on imagination recently also had remembrances of days long ago.

 

“First, I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” Robert Cecil Day-Lewis

 

As I read this note this morning I had a response for folks who ask me why I get up and write every day or nearly every day as I have gotten old I take the weekends off many times. It is about seeking answers trying to understand all that is in this realm we call our life. Most recently I had someone complain about my grammar in a short note which I will be the first to say still needs work. How do you improve and that is by writing. A few years back my only punctuation was in dashes. I have thought about the comment now for several days and it is so easy to post a comment on a social media site never meet the person and walk away. Looking at from a psychological point of view someone who gains power belittling another is in effect reflecting on their own insecurities. Either that or perhaps they are a dysfunctional sphincter muscle, borrowing from a lecture I gave on swearing many years ago.

 

“Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.” Erich Fromm

 

Many years ago a friend was testing my youngest son for the gifted class which in Georgia you need to for example on three out of four tests be in the gifted range and my son had two out of three going into a test of creativity. Needless to say when the smoke cleared my friend tells me the scale did not go high enough for him. She had fun testing him as his thoughts were unique and for a first grader she couldn’t believe it. His creativity was going out of the box that society maintains for us was a good explanation.

 

“Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they (creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless. The creative person is flexible — he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are.” Frank Goble

 

Limits become more like water, they become fluid, they are there, but only in the sense you might get wet and yet there is no solidity no containment. A creative person has fluid walls with many doors, windows, and even back doors and is always in movement be it physical or in thought.

 

“People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them Benjamin Franklin said it first.” David H. Comins

 

“Man’s fear of ideas is probably the greatest dike holding back human knowledge and happiness.” Morris L. Ernst

 

There exists in some people a word, a mood that something that makes the difference. Some would call it passion. If you are passionate about life, and about existence all else around you changes. Around you the colors, smells, attitudes, ideas, thoughts, and perceptions have a different hue a different meaning.

 

“There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, and more passionate than “politicians” think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas… that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think.” Michel Foucault

 

It has been quite a few years since I first saw this quote by Foucault a philosopher and very creative man in his own right. Actually he is one many would call weird and abnormal yet he defined normal through defining and establishing the abnormal first. He looked at history and how we change what is perceived as normal and how it changes as people’s perceptions change. Many the times those changes occur due to creative people first seeing something different. I think back to DeVinci and the Renaissance bringing a world out of the darkness.

Many the times I have thrown out a simple Latin phrase used numerous times by a former professor I had in 1969 in St. David’s, PA., at the Eastern Baptist College now Eastern University, Dr. Tony Campolo. He used this phrase as a title for his best-selling book and the many seminars that he would be the featured speaker, “Carpe Diem”. This simple phrase is translated to, seize the day. This is life, passion, existence; we should live it, want it, and exude it with passion, imagination, and creativity. You know my friends what a world we would have and could have if we lived that simple credo. It was not that long ago my youngest son called me up and was telling of this fantastic speaker he had gone to hear from Pennsylvania. He said the name sounded familiar and he thought he had read it in my writings. That speaker was Dr. Tony Campolo and I told my son I had him as a professor in 1969. As a new week starts and as always of late please keep all in harm’s way in your hearts and on your mind and always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

I am always finding where community exists

Bird Droppings November 9, 2012

I am always finding where community exists

 

As I got near the end of my doctorial course work I was involved in a class on educational ethics which featured nine texts all of which have an under lying current of caring and relationships as keys to education or I should say successful teaching. One of the books entitled Dreamkeepers by Gloria Ladson-Billings, focuses on the notion of that a teacher is giving back to the community. Over the past few years I have heard numerous teachers discuss not wanting to be seen by students outside of school and literally not being a part of the school community. Yesterday we got into a debate of sorts at school on this concept. Is it possible for a teacher to be a successful teacher and not be a part of the school community?

            On my last trip to Barnes and Noble bookstore this past weekend I was looking for a book by J. Garrison, Dewey and Eros: Wisdom and desire in the art of teaching, which focuses on some philosophical ideas from John Dewey, considered being by many one of the great minds in educational thought. As I went to the bookstore I ran into a student from my high school that had transferred to Georgia Southern University.

 

In every integral experience there is form because there is dynamic organization. I call the organization dynamic ….. Because it has growth….William James aptly compared the course of a conscious experience to the alternate flights and perchings of a bird…. Each resting place in experience is an undergoing in which is absorbed and taken home the consequences of prior doing… If we move to rapidly, we get away from the base of supplies – of accrued meanings – the experience is flustered, thin and confused. If we dawdle too long after having extracted a net value, experience perishes of inanition.” John Dewey, Art as Experience, 1934

 

I thought back a few years and many conversations on synchronicity and a trip home from a class actually after a midterm in Advanced Behavioral Techniques; I was hungry since I had not really stopped since early in the morning. I knew one of my former swimmers from the high school team worked at Taco Bell and sure enough she was working and I said hi, coincidently the same student who I ran into at the bookstore this past weekend. As I pulled out of Taco Bell my sweet tooth struck and I ended up at Brewster’s, as close to homemade ice cream as you can get at fast food, sounded good and there two of my former advisees were also getting ice cream. We talked for a while about uptight teachers and who was not, an interesting subject. Why do teachers get so uptight or anybody for that matter? Brings to mind an interesting thought why so many teachers are on psych drugs for varying conditions?

As I talked several more students and former students pulled in I met girlfriends and boyfriends of each and such, coincidence perhaps but an average day for me it seems.  So often I mention the word coincidence and try to explain it. Recently in a letter to a friend I used the term of we are where we need to be right now at this moment and when we realize that all of a sudden so much more becomes clear. James Redfield an author refers to coincidence frequently and the idea that when you begin noticing coincidence it happens more often as you become attuned to it. Essentially as you become aware of your place in the puzzle the pieces all seem to fit better and more clearly.

 

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Gustav Jung

 

 Carl Jung was of the nature there was purpose in all that happened and he and his former partner Sigmund Freud disagreed to an extent on the whys of this. Jung coined a word synchronicity to explain his thoughts in the early 1900’s. Events and things happening at a specific time, specific people seemingly appear by chance but obviously not.

 

“His (Jung) notion of synchronicity is that there is a causal principle that links events having a similar meaning by their coincidence in time rather than sequentially. He claimed that there is a synchrony between the mind and the phenomenal world of perception.” Skeptic.com

 

“Some scientists see a theoretical grounding for synchronicity in quantum physics, fractal geometry, and chaos theory. They are finding that the isolation and separation of objects from each other is more apparent than real; at deeper levels, everything — atoms, cells, molecules, plants, animals, people — participates in a sensitive, flowing web of information. Physicists have shown, for example, that if two photons are separated, no matter by how far, a change in one creates a simultaneous change in the other. “A Wink from the Cosmos, by Meg Lundstrom (Intuition Magazine, May 1996)

 

  How does synchronicity tie into community? Somewhere in and among ideas and thoughts are answers. Some people seek answers through religion some seek answers through pure science others assume there are no answers and sit on a rock. Going back to my first thought I see teaching as a community and that in that community we are integral pieces and do interconnect many times and as for me today and yesterday in many differing places. I find throwing myself into that community as significant as walking into my class room on a school day. Each time I bump into a student it adds to their appreciation of my time and effort and gives me a piece of their puzzle too help deal with any issues that may come up when I have them in class.

Each of us can choose our direction and flow as humans, as friends, and as teachers if that is our chosen lot in life. The actual point I was making was when we are aware of our interactions with others that each moment we spend with a person affects not only that person but the next person they see or talk too as we too are affected. It is in this way community is built. I came away that night and yesterday, happy having talked with some folks that I had not seen in several weeks even several years and hopefully they too went away a bit happier. This is how life works and if we are aware of this imagine the effect and impact. If I know I will be affecting people beyond my contact with someone I will be more aware of how I affect them and so forth. I recall many years ago from I believe Dr. Glenn Doman, the old credence of leaving the person you are talking with smiling will affect ten others is true. If you involve the idea of coincidence, fact or fancy who knows but it sure happens a lot. So as I wander today through differing ideas please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

Wonder why I want to learn the art of flying?

Bird Droppings November 8, 2012

Wonder why I want to learn about the art of flying?

 

Once upon a time, that line has started so many stories in my day that perhaps it would be a good way to start today. Many years ago as I drove my kids to school each morning I would spin yarns of various Indian tribes and of grandpa Niper. Some were stories told to me by my father and now being passed down to my children and soon to grandchildren.  My youngest son would offer one of his lines, back in the day which has been one of his favorite sayings relating to anything past his own recollection. However many years ago before the idea of “New Age”,  back when such books were often considered simply whimsical, a former test pilot and fighter pilot wrote a short book entitled  Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Richard Bach’s book was an easy read, a one sitting sort of book that was actually for several years back in the 1970’s  was a best seller. As I look back maybe in my own naiveté of the day maybe he opened the door for the many “new age” writers to come out of the wood work so too say. I recommend his book, and if you have not read it previously, try and borrow a copy or buy one and read it. It is a fun read and relaxing. A bit of advertising, Amazon has it discounted to five or six dollars; it is a simple story about a seagull who wants more than diving at fish.

 

“Argue for your limitations and sure enough they’re yours.”  Richard Bach from Jonathan Livingston Seagull 

 

As I read this quote for the first time in many years I found it related very much too several current situations in our society, nation and me personally. We so often tend to limit ourselves by standards imposed or self- imposed by others and or work, school, church or society. I have watched friends argue for their limitations and guess what that is where they end up. Rather than always reaching higher people get so caught up in their own limitations they flounder and wither away. In the book the lead character Jonathan Livingston Seagull reaches for the sky and eventually he gets it.
“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” Richard Bach from One

 

As much as I will complain about something more often than not it is not because I do not like doing it but it is about fitting into my supposedly rock solid schedule. I recently spent a few hours learning a new software program formatting videos for a friend, layout, graphics, formatting and using still photos to animate into a video. While on one hand it was a pain it gave me ideas for my teaching as well. It gave me practice at something I had not done in a few years and I got to use my creativity and imagination, it was not work. As I looked through several books from Richard Bach, ideas and thoughts and several good quotes but as I looked at this particular one for some of you younger folks maybe it is not significant, but for old timers like me it really makes sense:

 

“The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change.”

Richard Bach from One

 

As I sit this morning, reflecting back on an era that spawned JLS and in reality raised the question about which we were and why that “newagers” still are working on. Maybe the answers were there all along and marketing ploys and skeptics have kept the ball rolling either downhill or up depending on your view. I think Bach raised a question about our spiritual side, for so many years the word spiritual meant a specific church or religion and Bach opened a door that later writers would access, direct and guide. Bach’s characters were fictitious, a thinking talking seagull and more recently his books are based on ferrets. Reading JLS you are first reading a story of a seagull searching for more to life, then you reflect and on second reading see aspects that may or may not correspond to your own existence, and then you see a spiritual side.

 

“We are each given a block of marble when we begin a lifetime and the tools to shape it into sculpture… We can drag it behind us untouched, we can pound it into gravel, and we can shape it into glory.” Richard Bach from Illusions

 

I once read Michangelo could see his art work in the marble before he would chisel his masterpieces. It was for him a work of art waiting to be exposed. As I look back over Bach and his writings I think he too was trying to show us, each of us. There are artworks in side waiting to be exposed waiting for the self-imposed limitations to be lifted waiting for the procrastination to be gone.

 

“We generate our own environment. We get exactly what we deserve. How can we resent the life we’ve created for ourselves? Who’s to blame, who’s to credit, but us? Who can change it, any time we wish, but us?” Richard Bach from Illusions  

 

Maybe a few will search out and read a few lines or get on the internet and look up this writer who may have opened a door years ago who for some and is little more than a fancy but I will end with one final Bach quote.

 

“Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.” Richard Bach from Illusions

 

In my reading today I found this one thought sort of wandering through my whimsical ideas today. With all that is going on in the world it could be we need to refind that innocence of childhood and then maybe we can resolve our issues. Nearly every day, information we have been lead to believe is refuted and each day a new explanation is given by our adults in charge. Negative feelings held deep inside and manifesting in our government and actions worldwide, a sad state we are in.

 

“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Imagine All The People

 

So reflect, ponder, dream and use your ideas to grow trees from the seeds not just allow those seeds to mold. Raise your expectations and exceed them and above all until our friends and family members are home and safe, keep all in harm’s way in your heart and on your mind and always give thanks namaste.

 

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

Should it not be about who we are?

Bird Droppings November 7, 2012

Should it not be about being who we are?

 

It has been nearly eight years since I was directly involved in Foxfire teaching at Piedmont College. One of the Core Principles of the Foxfire Approach to Teaching is the relationship of the teacher to the students. As long as I have been directly or indirectly involved in teaching and education I have tried to approach teaching in this manner. In light of Georgia voters selecting a new amendment to the constitution we will have a new alternative to public education in Georgia. Charter schools are not new and are supported in many counties and school districts. What has changed is now the governor can set up schools outside local school boards authority and use public money to do this. Most people were not paying attention to who was backing this amendment. Most money came from outside the state and from companies that run charter schools for profit. Our governor has received backing from these same groups as well sadly.

 

“The role of the teacher is that of facilitator and collaborator.” Foxfire Teaching Core Principles

 

I recall reading an essay for one of my graduate classes at Georgia Southern University from William Pinar’s book of various essays, Contemporary Curriculum Discourses.  Many are from The Journal of Curriculum Theory, the one that caught my attention was byAllan Block entitled, The answer is blowin in the wind. Block’s thinking is very parallel to the idea from Foxfire that the teacher is also a student, is a facilitator, and most of all is an active participant.

 

“It is by the educative process that students are encouraged to incorporate into their repertoire means by which they might produce knowledge. Education should provide the stimulus for encouraging the student’s development of original means of production. Only the constraints of ideology determine the limits of these techniques.” Allan Block

 

For some time I have used and still have on my wall a quote by Albert Einstein and find myself using it in my morning Bird Droppings quite often.

 

“The real difficulty, the difficulty which has baffled the sages of all times, is rather this: how can we make our teaching so potent in the motional life of man, that its influence should withstand the pressure of the elemental psychic forces in the individual?” Albert Einstein

 

So many times the question of how to get students thinking and processing perplexes me and I am supposed to be the innovative one. I do wonder what some teachers think when I try a new idea or process.

 

“Realness in the facilitator of learning. – When the facilitator is a real person, being what she is, entering into a relationship with the learner without presenting a front or a façade, she is much more likely to be effective.” Carl Rodgers

 

It does not take a great educator and or thinker to know that if we are real people we tend to be more likely believed by students. Yet so often we chose to keep up our façade. I look at this paragraph and can interchange for facilitator the word parent, teacher and or friend very easily. While Rodgers is applying to learning it can also be applied to many aspects of life as well.

 

“Prizing, acceptance, trust. There is another attitude that stands out in those who are successful in facilitating learning… I think of it as prizing the learner, prizing her feelings, her opinions, her person. It is a caring for the learner, but a non-possessive caring. It is an acceptance of this other individual as a separate person, having worth in her own right. It is a basic trust – a belief that this other person is somehow fundamentally trustworthy…” Carl Rodgers

 

Acceptance is a key word as we walk through life. We have to accept others often without being accepted ourselves. I have found this to be a powerful tool in dealing with people not only in teaching but in walking into a grocery store or corner market. Parents need to see their children and I like the word prize their feelings and opinions and or at least listen. We can on occasion be upset emotionally by not being accepted into a group or discussion and it is about moving on and not being hindered.

 

“Empathetic understanding. A further element that establishes a climate for self-initiated experiential learning is emphatic understanding. When the teacher has the ability to understand the student’s reactions from the inside, has a sensitive awareness of the way the process of education and learning seems to the student, then again the likelihood of significant learning is increased….” Carl Rodgers

 

Many the time I have offered empathy as a key to success in any field of endeavor. In teaching it is crucial, in parenting equally as well and in friendship paramount to building and maintaining that continued friendship. That thing I am calling realness, it is truly more trust and empathy making these three simple aspects of life building blocks for relationships that last a week and or a lifetime.

 

“It may include an exchange of ideas, skills, attitudes or values, or even the exchange of things – money, tools or food. Relationships ‘happen’ at all times, in all places, in all parts of society, and in all phases of the development of individuals. We are involved in relationships all the time.” George Goetschius and Joan Tash

 

We are social animals we tend to want to be in groups with others having these relationships as Goetschius and Tash state. If we approach our interactions in a positive light they tend to go farther and become more meaningful.

 

“Humans have social instincts. They come into the world equipped with predispositions to learn how to cooperate, to discriminate the trustworthy from the treacherous, to commit themselves to be trustworthy, to earn good reputations, to exchange goods and information, and to divide labor…” Matt Ridley, The Origins of virtue

 

It has been several years since I played with a theory in the development of trust. I did say humans come into the world with a certain capacity to trust instinctually and that we learn and acquire both trust and distrust and we find this after the fact.

 

“The fundamental purpose of the relationship lies in the fostering of learning in the group or the individual…”  Felix P. Biestek, The Casework Relationship

 

We move beyond where we are at the moment. As a teacher the students learn, as a parent our children learn and with friends learning occurs. So often we perceive learning as book related as school related but learning is an ongoing perpetual lifelong project. We learn to walk due to relationships such as watching others, having others hold on to us as we scoot on our feet. Being fed as a baby is a relationship. Language and speech are both based on example and then practicing.

 

“The whole of life is learning, therefore education can have no endings.” Eduard Lindeman, The meaning of Adult Education

 

From the moment we are born till the moment of our leaving this earthly plain we are about learning. I am always drawn to the idea of Henry David Thoreau giving up teaching to be a learner. What if more of us should do this in our lives? It is about becoming a learner in order to teach, being honest with ourselves, and in who we are. As the world situation is seemingly escalating and the economy according to some crumbling please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird

 

Is there really friendship?

Bird Droppings November 6, 2012

Is there really friendship?

 

It has been nearly six years since I was meeting with our builder and realtor doing a walk-through of our soon to be new house. We are heading back to the country and away from traffic and constant human encroachment at least for the time being. As I pulled away two red tailed hawks soared from a patch of pines over the field behind our house, a deer ran down through the pasture good omens my great great grandmother would have said, and a nice start for a new house. Since then I have reported numerous encounters with our neighbor hawks and more recently a kestrel who sits atop their old dead walnut tree later in the evenings when the big hawks are gone. With all of the housing issues we may be without neighbors for some time as building is at a standstill in our subdivision and county.

I often make a general statement that I have few friends and lead a semimonastic existence. I really have no one that I call up and say hey let’s see a movie or sit and talk. I am not saying I do not have friends for there are many I consider friends across the United States and around the world.

 

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” Douglas Pagels

 

Sitting in a high school I see daily how easily we cast out the word as we walk through life, friend. This person and or that person, they are my friend. We live in a vacuum of self-made perceptions and seal it with those we deem necessary at the moment.

 

“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” Leo Buscaglia

 

As I am looking at how and why we do what we do and say what we say I often wonder at that word or term. I am often looking for definitive rationale as to what is a friend. It is so easy to grasp sayings and thoughts of others each idea stronger than the next. As I read each concept and definition all seem to be good ones and each leading to others and more understanding. Yet still we question.

 

“The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend.” Aristotle

 

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.  The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” Henri Nouwen

 

Even the idea of trust is a loose one, experience and learning play into the mix as well. What is and who is a friend?

 

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer

 

A friend should be a fire starter, that person who can bring spark back to our soul, so often without our knowing.

 

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.” Henry David Thoreau

 

Simplicity is a badge of friendship even the greats of old always indicate friendship is often just being a friend, there are no prerequisites no previous requirements.

 

“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.” Arnold Glasow

 

Several years ago at our last house back in one of the summer months, a pear tree in our yard snapped from the weight of the fruit. I wondered what if I had reinforced the timbers shoring up the branches or lessened the load perhaps I could have spared the tree another year or another day.

 

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” Elisabeth Foley

 

Back during the Katrina crisis watching and listening to folks I have not seen in thirty even nearly forty years pull together in efforts for fellow high school classmates who lost all in New Orleans is an interesting experience. Sitting at my table secreted away in a small town in central Georgia many miles from my old home in Pennsylvania watching emails drift by with information and thoughts and concerns.

 

“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.” George Santayana

 

So many years ago I recall coining a word humanbeingism, for a youth retreat. That aspect of which makes us who we are is humanbeingism.

 

“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.” Donna Roberts

 

In that same time period so many years ago I recall a song or two. It was G17 on the Jute box at the Dairy Queen just outside Macon Georgia in 1974 or so. It was that great song by folk singer Loudon Wainwright III, “The Dead Skunk Song”, and it was ever so briefly at number one.  Or perhaps the live version of Jessica by the Allman Brothers band at seventeen minutes a difficult piece to whistle or hum and hard to get the slide guitar parts humming.
”If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone.  A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.” Samuel Johnson

 

It has been a few years since my Kastinger hiking boots disappeared and we had shared many a mile of trail in the Appalachian Mountains. They were resoled so many times and chewed on by my Newfoundland puppy those many years ago. I was thinking friendship is akin to my Kastinger boots. The first weekend after buying them I went hiking. It was early on in that hike I learned they blister your feet while you are breaking them in. Later after that worn till soles wear through and patched and resoled anew time after time. It was many the roads and trail ahead yet always there was a solid footing.

 

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

 

Lewis wrote so much in his time. But this simple statement is a powerful one. We do not need friendship to survive but it gives value to surviving. A monastic life of solitude is fine but how much more can be spun out of life with friends.
”The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” Henry David Thoreau

 

Henry David I read as a disciple and friend of my hero Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is meaning that adds credence to friendship not simply the words we mouth and utter in passing. As I end this beautiful day even though it is cloudy and a bit chilly a thought from Poet Emily Bronte.
Love is like the wild-rose briar;
Friendship is like the holly-tree.
The holly is dark when the rose briar blooms,
But which will bloom most constantly?
Emily Brontë

 

So another day ended and a new one begins and another process of determining friendship and or not. My dear friends please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

 

Wa de (Skee)

bird