Posts Tagged ‘Zen

06
Mar
11

of long away and far ago …

At first thought I’d have suspected it would be like separating the wheat from chaff, but it has not turned out that way. I started late last fall to finish the organizing (or culling) of the items of my life that I have been dragging along in boxes and containers, and reminiscing on their importance to justify keeping them around in my old age to admire during my “ending years”.

To be able to look forward to retirement years with a clean, simple, organized home front seemed a proper way to start the final phase of my life. One thing was to do the ‘necessaries’ such as a living will, and the esteemed “last will and testament” which at first glance were for me, then you conclude they are simply to make your coming demise easier for those who will remain after you. So be it ,,, I shall dot those last few I’s and cross those T’s in the next few days and get the nagging relatives back in their burrows where they belong.

So I spent the winter remembering old loves, and great times spent doing things good & bad, and such as that so that I could judge the volume of my keepsakes and build the last of the shelves and cupboards for their display. I am doing the last task today, the Sorting Of The Books. Here is where I was a few hours earlier today:

Headed to the library

These books are now sorted by author, typed into an email by author and title, stored in several boxes. I love that wonderful smell that old books acquire with age, but like all the other trinkets, and letters, and photos that I have sorted thru this winter most all of these books will be delivered to the local library in the next few days.

The reason being, that despite my bloated opinion of myself or my self-worth, none of these items are important or meaningful. Nor will they fit thru the ‘eye of the needle’ so it makes no sense to put much of anything on a shelf, so I have saved myself many days of wood working over the next few weeks. Whew!

Neither is anyone clamoring to have me explain the importance of these items and to learn from the vast wisdoms that I surely possess. Nor are the multitudes stopping by to thank me for the items I’ve left them in my will, since it is considered in bad taste to make those announcements before your death. It certainly gives a new meaning to “delayed gratification”. 🙂

It is not a sad thing I describe, but a simple if brutal truth, things ain’t important (mostly), and if there is any importance at all it is in the minds of people, acquaintances, friends and family and requires no room on a shelf and need not to be seen or watched to be admired.

May he go forth in the sunrise boat,
May he come to the port in the sunset boat,
May he go among the imperishable stars,
May he journey in the Boat of a Million Years.

The Book of Going Forth by Daylight
(Theban recension, ca. 18th Dynasty)

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14
Feb
11

fire in the sky

Over the road


I’d called an end to the workday and had started a fire to fend off the coming chill this evening and was sipping a beer as the fire got rolling. Then I heard sort of a growl and thought I’d check the stove, as it can make noises when it’s drawing well.

After hopping the fence

I got up and then I heard a different sound, the clear burn of open propane flame and I knew a ballooner was right above the cabin. Down low on the creek it was a quickly cooling evening even though it had been 60+ just an hour or so ago. I stepped out on the back deck to scan the sky and it was apparent that my neighbor Allen Lawson was landing in the road as he was making tender pulses of burn to land rather than larger ones to make it ‘over’ the hill into Stanton, Salee or Pardo’s bottom fields.

I grabbed the camera and took the shot above then went out to see if this was going to be a ‘quality’ set down or a mess since the road is about as wide as a balloon and there is new barbed wire fencing there which cannot be good against the light fabric. He is a good flier, and the wind is dead, so when I get to the road I watch him drop on the wrong side of the fence and with the help if his ground crew, he burns & hops over the fence like a deer and drops the whole kit smack on the safe side of the road.

Packing Up - Sis & Steve

Course by then, even as sparse as people are out in the middle of the Mark Twain forest are, we got a block party going. Sis has ventured out from down the road, her husband arrives home from work, and Mike and his wife have also arrived. We all help bag the chute and Allen books a demo at the high school next week, then we all go home dinner.

Now, with a crowd there Allen cannot help but mentioning the “incident” last year where I had to ride bitch on his KTM ’cause I had poured ancient gas in the Beemer for a test ride and it had crapped out down at the bridge. Thanks Allen 🙂 no need to let a good story die a quiet death.

That’s how we roll down here. It was a good and adventurous day, and a very lovely and talented lady got recognized by very few by winning a Grammy for the best new artist. Ms. Esperanza Spalding

Allen, wife and daughter 🙂

30
Jan
11

the fate of marban

“Crack”

A sound that was gone before the mind could register it.
A short singular tone.
Missing the attack or delay of a bell or piano string.
No overtones.
A photon of sound.

marban tea cup


Then a dribble onto the counter top, showing a feint color of traditional English Breakfast tea. Coming from a break that has been there for almost 12 years, an old and friendly scar to me. It is no longer a surface break, the dribbles attest to its final maturity.

I reach for the Mark Twain cup and press it into service, swapping steeping tea and moving the seine full of tea to finish. Three minutes for proper tea is time to consider the future for the marban.

I am now a decider of fate. Power in my hands. I am like a god, to decide the future if one will be. Yet, I’ll miss all those cracks in the glaze. I’ve watched them grow over the years and appreciate the ‘character’ that emerged. Old age approaching in contrast to the modern graphic used by the mysterious marban. Located somewhere in Korea the bottom of it claims.

I can’t demote the soapstone pencil holder on the writing desk. That holder of pencils was designed for holding pencils, purchased to hold my pencils, still holds my pencils …. you don’t abandon such long term commitments. Yet I have to give up old marban and that was certainly long term, and satisfying, each time a properly hot tea. Some consistency is good.

No you can’t see the death crack, it’s on the back side, no need to glorify it or frighten the children. Nor will examining it resolve the issue of “what happens to marban now?” or how I will finally wield the power of my decision.

“Horns of a Dilemma?”, no, I don’t think that leaking elevates it to that plane.

“Situational Ethics?”, no, that involves deciding that making a decision that you know is wrong, but not wrong since considering the circumstances you’ve decided that you think it is justified to do the wrong thing.

No need to make being the god of marban fate that complex.

Perhaps it could hold pencils in the shop.

It is just a cup.

26
Jan
11

Waiting for godot? or valentine smith?

One day I stumbled into owning a motorcycle. I loved the bike but it was no fun on longer rides and it went too fast too quickly. Sensing death I sold it and bought my current ride. The clouds of impending death parted, the sun shined thru and I thought a motorcycle vacation would the thing to do.

..what? ..

Traveling on a bike is usually a solitary experience rather than with a troop of scouts or family, or a troupe of musicians in a van. It would be similar to a solo canoe trip in terms of serenity but with occasional exposure to the irrationality of people.

None of this is of importance to anyone, but … I made the not unusual mistake of opening my mouth one day amongst a group of riders and in no short amount of time someone had begun blogging about “The Rufus Method” as though it were the spiritual equivalent of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. All well and good as far as I’m concerned, but it’s obvious this blog is a series of posts that must build thru a crescendo of tension with a final and climactic ending. Thusly the posts did build intensity to a soft forte, third movement, and then, and then …

nothing

That’s right, nada, zip, zilch. So an attendant readership is forced to (metaphorically) zip their gumpy back in their pants and go home. Sheesh 🙂

Obviously, reports of Blogger Death are later found out to be exaggerated, the wheel of life still turns around, and things are as they are, so at some point in time the aborted subject will be completed in fantasticus fashion.

Anyway, I did take that vacation. Bourbon Street in New Orleans is major fun especially for a musician. I quickly developed some simple rules, not because they are GOOD RULES, but because they are good for me. No need to chisel these damned things into stones or debate them with burning bushes.

1. When I returned from that first trip I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. That was not supposed to be the result. I’ve finished many a long evening playing drums, and although tired I was not beat to death, there was a renewal of spirit. I have never again gone on “vacation’.

2. I am a bad tourist. I mean to do or to see something just to say you saw it seems kinda superficial in its intent. Other than that it’s like I have ADD or something. I can be bored in 10 minutes, easily. Don’t get me wrong, I do touristy things, but I have no idea when the mood will strike, so to plan for stuff is a waste of my time.

3. I generally dislike restaurants. I hate when the waiteress comes over 6 times to ask “Is Everything OK???”. I don’t like air conditioning so I LOVE eating outside, that’s one reason I like Mexico. I’ve been known to spend an hour searching out that hole in the wall place where locals eat.

4. Don’t look for adventure, it’s just like hookers, which are everywhere. I’ve never been anywhere you couldn’t stumble across a hooker 🙂 Same with adventure, or unexpected totally cool stuff. Like my second trip to our south coast. I skipped NOLA and stayed east of Ponchartrain and rolled into Pass Christian and asked about motel rooms; “Downtown is probably full up.” I found a room at a small place next door to the swank hotel. Next day I’m holding down the beach with a mega-Long Island Iced Tea soaking sun and sea breeze. The beach fills with babes in bikinis doing all sort of cute babe things, there’s even a few guys out there taking photos. Hmmm. The hotel next door is hosting the Miss America contest. You can work out the details from there.

5. Something is alive.

The weekend before my first trip I loaded up the bike with all my travel gear for a test ride. I went 30-40 miles and pulled into to the same Quick-Trip I always stopped at for the customary coffee and Dolly Madison powdered donuts. I caught a smile and then a nod from folks walking in and out from the pumps while I checked my travel bags. I went inside, got my stuff, and the clerk says “Where ya headed?”. I look up and “Memphis, to visit my brother” jumps out of my mouth.

“I’ve never been there, but I hear it’s a fun place” he says. I smile in response and add “It’s ok, but I always enjoy the scenery and people around here when I go thru”. He smiles and hands me my change, we trade ‘have a nice day’ and I go outside to enjoy the road food. There are more smiles and parking lot conversation with the patrons. I light a smoke while I have a nice chat with Rod Serling.

He explains what has transpired; something about the Cowboy Mystique .. riding off into the sunset and how it brings out a something in other people – a hope? an aspiration? a simple joy of the moment? “It could be many things, unique to each individual, but a common thread that sews us all together.” he says.

I rode home.

01
Dec
10

IFY: in fifty years – prologue

Forsyth, MO in 1950

Forsyth, MO in 1950 courtesy Missouri Photo Workshop

Any fifty year period in human history would cover a period of astounding changes, events or inventions. Of course, during this same period there will be a lot of things that don’t change, or things that just absorb the changes that are occurring without the slightest burp. It seems the nature of change is not absolute, but it does create a hell of a lot of potential.

I happen to have been born in 1950 and have somehow arrived at today. Now I’m not saying there is anything special that has happened to me during my life, but astonishing does seem to apply to the amount and depth of change in the world while I’ve been here to watch it happen.

I did not start this ‘watching’ until about 1954 when I became aware of yesterday, when there became more than a now, and I awoke to the idea of continuous events piling up into yesterdays. This seems like a forward movement in time which really does not move forward, but past you and your awareness as you watch it go, slipping away into yesterday.

By some mysterious law of physics, things & stuff that you personally screw up as time passes by you can come back to effect the now as it is going by you (which you call the future), which is damned confusing …. at first.

If this phenomena works on groups and societies like it does with individuals, then it is no wonder why humanity seems so easily to mess things up, or “shit in their own shoes”.

Anyway, I’ve seen and done some things, and watched a lot of stuff go by, and wondered what might go past me, what might happen in that future that really does/doesn’t exist and I don’t feel the least bit obligated to comment on it.

Really. 🙂

But I’m going to.

03
Dec
09

The Last Place You Look

“I can’t find it! I’ve looked everywhere!!!”, so Mom says “Where’d you leave it?”.

Deductive reasoning at its best, to look for something where it is rather than look for it where it is not, I never would have thought of that.

“Right.” I say, withholding the sarcasm.

Dad smiles but doesn’t speak since he knows and so do I.

I won’t continue to look for it once I’ve found it either.

Damn you, Sherlock Holmes.




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