Phosphorescence

Starry starry night.  Burning, raging cores casting tiny lights across the night sky.  Cool to our eyes they are, but at their cores emotionless, furious turmoil roils to near infinity.  All that they may exist and, that others who exist may experience their communal gathering as a hunter, a scorpion, a ram or a guiding light to the north.

So much energy, so much creation, so much destruction, and for what?  Is it better to burn out than to fade away?  Perhaps.  The life of a star is predictable, like the life of a human.  Birth, growth, temporary stability and ultimately death.

Light from without, a star, in our galaxy, the sun, draws the eye, warms the flesh, and the soul.

What about light from within?  Is it a myth?  Surely not as many have documented their experience of it in song and prose.  If we’ve never felt it how can it be found?  Once found how can it be sustained.  Is this inner light like that of a star; explosive, tumultuous, destined to consume itself?  At times this would seem the case.

When a fire ignites it may burn white hot, for a time, but like all fires it is destined to run its course.  Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Out of the ashes of many fires may come a new perspective on the nature of what it means to bring light to one’s life.  Perhaps the raging of a sun doomed to extinguish becomes a burden.  Perhaps instead the desire for light sheds the thought of creation through destruction, and instead leans into a less brilliant yet more sustainable goal.  In this desire for light without conflict we may in time become phosphorescent.

First Snow

First Snow Square_by John Hussey

[REPOST]

In honor of our first light snowfall last week, this post comes in the form of an audio track, an instrumental entitled “First Snow.”  

I was walking amongst the leafless maples and oaks traversing a rolling ridge as this first snow of the season fell around me.  With the help of a steady wind, snowflakes clung first in small then in great numbers to the barren trunks and branches across the woods.  These white giants rose from a shimmering landscape as the snow began to blanket the ground, brightening the forest as I made my way.  

In a world full of complexity I find this simple meteorological phenomenon, snow, to be a gift of pure magic.  It never fails to remind me of the boundlessness of “the bigger picture.”

So this little piece of wintertime (as I hear it anyway) is my gift to all this holiday season.

Cheers!

Download song (mp3) here: First Snow mp3

The Weight of the World

The Weight of the World. Shoulder it. Drop it. Either way, the world continues, likely in a form very near to that in which it appeared prior to the decision. 

The pressure of carrying the weight of the world may well crush one’s spirit. The guilt born of sloughing it can be emotionally corosive as well. The understanding that no one is born capable of managing such a burden is omitted from the Standard Operating Manual for Human Consciousness. Struggle, blame, shame, regret, recrimination all take center stage when someone decides there is “hell to pay!” Of course, there are also those who care nothing for the world or the others in it, but that topic is for another time.

So precious this opportunity to exist. And yet preciousness is, um, well, hmm, born of personal perspective. Once we’ve had the good fortune of life we will all in turn have the good fortune of passing beyond this time of living, to rest. How much will acute concerns about the pressing issues of the day matter in that eternal light? 

Impressions

Impressions made by that or those who are no longer with us claim a homestead in memory. The aroma of perfume. The furrowed shape left on a pillow. The now absent sound of laughter, breath, words, or shared silence. These empty spaces are footprints on a rain-soaked path in late spring. When the rains subside, the touch points left by those who traveled leave whispers. As summer comes on, these impressions are set in our memories by sun rays of connectedness and loss.

Growth

If one is making progress toward a given goal, no matter how slowly, self-affirmation is due in abundance. If one has a goal but is making no progress toward it, both the aim and the reasons for lack of progress are to be called into question. If one has no goals, yet lives with discontent, the reason, however elusive, is ultimately self. If one has no goals and lives in bliss, then all steps of the ladder of life lay behind them.

The Era of Social Distancing

It was bound to happen. History shows us that it is inevitable. Thankfully we are further along now than the poor souls who faced the Spanish Flu or the Bubonic Plague. We know what to do, what must be done. Self-imposed isolation is the selfless choice, whether we like it or not.

Social distancing is no stranger to this house. In fact, it is our de facto natural state. Anyone who follows my social feeds sees picture after picture of solitary moments captured in the wilderness. My sons occasionally join me on these ventures into humanlessness. However, left to their own devices, they tend to interact with their world virtually. This is not always my favorite, but for now, I am grateful for that proclivity.

Except for the complete lack of income that accompanies a worldwide economic shutdown, not much has changed here. Well, not much except that I am pinching pennies like a leprechaun pinching the greenless on St. Patty’s day. That and the fact that I suddenly find myself qualmless about gratefully consuming slightly expired foodstuffs. The house is cleaner than it has been in a decade. Oh, and I’m torturing Netflix incessantly with my indecisiveness about best viewing options.

Thanks to the tireless work of our healthcare, transportation, and food supply communities, most of us will survive this, bearing away little more than a story to tell our grandchildren. The silver lining will be that despite the best efforts of those who would wish us divided, we may finally come to see ourselves as part of an indivisible, global community. 

Please be smart, be safe, be well. Please think of others before you act. We who carry on will have much to be thankful for, much to have learned, and much to share from our time here in the era of social distancing.

A Moment

The past is just that.

The future is a mystery.

The present is you, and me and all the rest, fleeting, precious, open to being embraced.

We carry the sum of our experiences in the vessel of memory.

We imagine the future in the vessel of hope.

We honor the present by knowing it fully, in becoming the vessel itself each and every moment. We become the witness, and if so inclined, the fountainhead of gratitude for all we could easily if accidentally take for granted.

 

#formyfirstbornonturning20

 

Identity

Who we are is a concept. We are an idea forged in a cauldron into which we’ve poured our experiences, our reactions to those experiences, and spiced with a pinch independent action born of will (if we are so lucky). We make rules, set boundaries, claim ideals and call the outcome “self.”

Self-definition gives us strength, purpose, and focus. It may also give us rigidity, blindspots, fear of the unknown and ultimately weakness in the face of the ever-changing landscape of life marching on around us. Taking a stand is highly regarded in our culture. Flexibility, agility, and open-mindedness make for what some may call “indecision.” However, if my many years on a surfboard is any indication, taking a firm stand while riding a wave may well lead to drowning. This is not to say that abandoning principle is the goal. Rather it is to say that allowing for principle to be fluid and open to new information creates an opportunity for growth within the realm of that we at each moment believe to be right. Being trampled by one’s own dogma is not uncommon; nor is it a glamorous way to go.

Understanding of an everchanging world requires an elasticity of one’s point of view. Static mindsets limit the opportunity for personal evolution and so endanger relevance. “Knowing who we are,” is a healthy survival tool. It both differentiates and bonds us to portions of the spectrum of the world views that confront us. That said, knowing who we are, if not a work in progress, agile and open to at least reviewing information that runs counter to our present beliefs may well catch us unaware in the grip of a storm and take us to the depths chained to the anchor of identity.

 

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