A chill in the air but not in the heart

Bird Droppings December 15, 2021

A chill in the air but not in the heart

We have been at or below freezing in the early mornings for several days, which silences the crickets and tree frogs who need a slightly warmer ambient temperature, the maybe high fifties, and low sixties. So, for today, my orchestra was silent as a near freeze permeated and encompassed our back yard and today was one of the coldest of this year at the house. I keep recalling why I like Georgia. It is supposed to be warmer. Last night I watched a couple of Christmas movies, and I am looking forward to one or two more today. Walking through the house earlier today, I could not get warm; it seemed the cold was everywhere in the house. As I am sitting here writing, it dawned on me that I may have left the dampener open from a fire the night before in the chimney. However, I have found warmth in reading and pondering over the years, as I call it. I can always find the right words when I turn a page or two.

“A bizarre sensation pervades a relationship of pretense. No truth seems true. A simple morning’s greeting and response appear loaded with innuendo and fraught with implications. Each nicety becomes more sterile and each withdrawal more permanent.” Maya Angelou

As I move my thinking to students and people in general, we balance our lives in a series of trust and distrust, often a teeter-totter or see-saw effect. Often we become jaded and calloused through constant distrusting, and soon we respond as Angelou indicates in a sterile manner. I will pull my old guitar out and play about once or twice a year. My fingers at first feel each string, and after a while, the pain will tear through my fingertips from the pressure of strings on flesh. Eventually, after several days I will callous my fingertips back. Rock legend has it perhaps even urban rock myth it should be called is that the late great guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn during a concert super-glued his calluses back on when his fingers began to bleed. As I read this first quote, we can become callous; we can become sterile, but much more is involved. I also sense a similar relationship to my use of the Hindustani word namaste, both a sterile hello or goodbye for some and others one of reverence and humility. It is in the eyes and ears of the receiver and the giver.

“Achievement brings its own anticlimax.” Maya Angelou

 “All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou writes of the paradox of achievement and anticlimax. As I sit and think achievement is an attainment of a goal, and with that attainment is a realization of a new goal, a new mountain to climb perhaps it is that awareness of the anticlimax. Yes, most definitely time is always a factor.

“All men are prepared to accomplish the incredible if their ideals are threatened.” Maya Angelou

Maybe most men are prepared would be better, and many will still sit on their posteriors. Sitting today reading Angelou’s thoughts is a series of how-to and why’s. I have often listened to Dr. Angelo read her works or discuss topics on talk shows, and her words, while calming, are twice as meaningful listening to her speak them. There was a passion about her spirit and soul.

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” Maya Angelou

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” Maya Angelou

“Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.” Maya Angelou

She was a philosopher, poet, writer, activist, educator, humanitarian, civil rights leader, and the list goes on, but always children are at the center of Angelou’s thinking and thoughts. Any book that can form a habit of reading is good. What a powerful statement in a society that would ban many books in schools and libraries? While not on the news now, periodically, we have this or, as in a nearby county once upon a time, putting disclaimer labels in science books. I often wonder how opening a book and finding a label that states what you read in this science book may or may not be true is a good way to start a science lesson.

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Maya Angelou

“Education helps one case cease being intimidated by strange situations.” Maya Angelou

Two words that seem to permeate Dr. Angelou’s writing are courage and education. These two words are constantly mentioned, described, and eluded to. Perhaps the explanation is in the first of the two statements above, “without courage, and you cannot practice any other virtue.” As I ponder, education requires courage. It is that willingness to achieve to go beyond where you are, and it requires first courage to make that effort and then education to do it.

“I believe that every person is born with talent.” Maya Angelou

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.” Maya Angelou

As I saw this, I thought of two individuals far apart historically and in many ways yet similar, George Washington Carver and Bill Gates. Through vision and fantasy, both men transformed our realities possibly beyond the actual dreams they originally had.  My morning would be different if not for these two men. Many of the items used in the kitchen reflect ideas from Dr. Carver, and my laptop computer and internet use are directly related to Mr. Gates.

“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die.” Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” Maya Angelou

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” Maya Angelou

We are the beginning and the end of the circle. How we live and interact with others continues and perpetuates the circle. I have never understood why this is so hard for people in general to understand. We seem to be having greed as a human trait. How sad that is to assume man is greedy by nature inherently. Animals only keep what they need for survival. Man is the only creature that hordes and amasses wealth.

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers.” Maya Angelou

Caring and concern begin at home and then spread out from there. It is not about the face you put on when you need to but that you genuinely carry in your heart and live and breathe daily. I enjoy Dr. Maya Angelou’s words, and I have watched her on TV and read her books in my library a few times. She is a person of concern and of caring. She is trying to do her part in her corner of the world for all of humanity. It is for us to try and do likewise where we are in the world.

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

So I end another morning as I have now for some time till everyone listens to Dr. Angelou’s thoughts that ring in my heart today. Let me repeat this last quote one more time.

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.” Maya Angelou

It brings tears to my eyes as I sit, knowing I need to continue ending my daily meanderings as I have for so many years; please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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