Untitled, by Diana Maus, http://mosaicmoods.wordpress.com/

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nature's Tools

I am lucky to have so many intelligent, curious friends who share with me the fruits of their creative minds.  My email friend, Dwight, has consumed Henry Thoreau's Journal and has enlarged my thinking by sending me sniippets of Thoreau's daily thoughts that I, perhaps, am too lazy or unfocued to find for myself.  Here is one such gift from Henry, via Dwight.

Feb. 11, 1859 -
Nature works by contraries. That which in summer was most fluid and unresting is now most solid and motionless. If in the summer you cast a twig into the stream it instantly moved along with the current, and
nothing remained as it was. Now I see yonder a long row of black twigs standing erect in mid-channel where two months ago a fisherman set them and fastened his lines to them. They stand there motionless as guide-posts while snow and ice are piled up about them.
Such is the cold skill of the artist. He carves a statue out of a material which is fluid as water to the ordinary workman. His sentiments are a quarry which he works .

"Nature works by contraries."  Fluid vs. solid; "that which they meant for evil, God turned into good." (The story of Jacob).  I could go on giving examples of this truth that I have seen, and, I'm sure, so could each of us. 

"Nothing remains as it was."  No need to elaborate on a truth we all regularly see. 

And so, "The artist" uses these tools to complete his work.  These tools of nature are the tools of creation.
Choose as you will the identity of this artist, but, at the least, his gift from Henry via my friend Dwight tells me that I, too, can turn solids to liquid by my choices and actions, and it is a reminder that the concept of change is an encouragement to self-improvement as well as an acceptance of a changing life.  Serenity.  Herein lies Serenity.

Thank you Henry.  Thank you Dwight.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Daily Life by Susan Wood

 A parrot of irritation sits
on my shoulder, pecks
at my head, ruffling his feathers
in my ear. He repeats
everything I say, like a child
trying to irritate the parent.
Too much to do today: the dracena
that's outgrown its pot, a mountain
of bills to pay and nothing in the house
to eat. Too many clothes need washing
and the dog needs his shots.
It just goes on and on, I say
to myself, no one around, and catch
myself saying it, a ball hit so straight
to your glove you'd have to be
blind not to catch it. And of course
I hope it does go on and on
forever, the little pain,
the little pleasure, the sun
a blood orange in the sky, the sky
parrot blue and the day
unfolding like a bird slowly
spreading its wings, though I know,
saying it, that it won't.

Today on the way home from a hair cut and grocery shopping,  I chanced to think a big thought:  During a lifetime we humans only rent the space we inhabit, whatever that is.  We strive to gain some control over our lives by buying a home, owning land, and creating some sort of permanency – or what we call permanency.  Yes, and we would like for it to go on forever, but it won’t.  We only rent this life.

We don’t spend our average days in any grand manner:  Today I had to come home from my hair appointment, let the dog out of her kennel, vacuum up the t paper she had torn up under the bed last night.  Run in, drop the groceries on the counter and prepare pork sliders for dinner.  Then I take time to write a bit – a loose moment dedicated to something other than my normal daily tasks.  I will finish this now, phone my friend, take an hour to spin and start getting dinner on the table.  

Exciting life.  No.  But yes, it is life and it just goes on and on.  It feels so permanent, but it isn't. – Susan Wood did hit it out of the park on this one. 

Friday, January 6, 2012


A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.

We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.
"Shoulders" by Naomi Shihab Nye, from Red Suitcase. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 1994. Reprinted with permission.

Completely captured by this small piece of poetry.  I love it when she says "the road will only be wide, the rain will never stop falling."  Regardless of the pain and hurdles of human living, let us keep one another safe.  I always need a reminder about the good things of life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Let Nothing Be Postponed

  "Nothing must be postponed. Take time by the forelock. Now or Never! You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment...Take another course and life will be a succession of regrets." Henry Thoreau Journal, April 24, 1859.

 Good wishes and loving deeds must never be postponed, they should be inhaled in the present if received and sent freely, if the opportunity presents itself to warm the hearts of others.
Many years ago my loving, but Germanic, mother-in-law came to Colorado to visit.  My oldest daughter was about 8 or 9 years old at the time, and before she launched herself into bed she ran to Nana to get a kiss.  Nana's answer, "Oh no, dear.  You've had yours."  Earlier she had kissed them goodnight and, due to their dawdling, I guess they didn't have a right to another kiss.  Nana meant no harm.  In her heart she loved the children very much; it was just her mindset, her rigidity, her conformity to a personal set of norms that held her captive to a code of conduct.

I wish I could say I have been one to always jump at the opportune moment to wish someone success or health and to show kindness where it is wanted and needed.  I wish I had never let a set of rules and norms pen me into my narrow thinking.  Alas!  I am so good at telling and knowing what should be done, but so negligent in the doing.  And it follows; life can then be a series of regrets.

So, on this eve of the eve of our designated New Year, 2012, I want to wish all my friends and family the brightest New Year wishes anyone can imagine. "Let nothing be postponed.  Now or never!  You must live in the present, launch  yourself on every wave, find  your eternity in each moment.  Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land.  There is no other land; there is no other life but this, or the like of this." 

Happy Day, happy New Year!!   

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Jonathan Safran Foer said: "I'm grateful for anything that reminds me of what's possible in this life. Books can do that. Films can do that. Music can do that. School can do that. It's so easy to allow one day to simply follow into the next, but every once in a while we encounter something that shows us that anything is possible, that dramatic change is possible, that something new can be made, that laughter can be shared."

Sunday, November 20, 2011


A body of research out of the University of Michigan in 2010 suggested that our opinions, as contrary to fact as they may be, are based on such fundamental beliefs, that, when presented with contradictory facts, we will stubbornly adhere to our original belief.  So much for human intelligence.  The phenomenon is called Backfire, and it is playing a powerful role in how we are shaping our views on welfare, immigration, and even the president's place of birth.  It is also as dangerous as the gun pictured above. 

Like Lincoln, I have always believed "If given the truth, they (American people) can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.  The great point is to bring them the real facts."  Our present puzzlement, however, comes from the fact that we are unsure who has the facts that we can depend on to not be skewed or full of lies.  Do we listen to Glenn Beck?  Does Chris Matthews have the answer?  Have you found some other news source that relies on facts? 

The longer I'm on earth, the more slippery facts become;  we are getting so good at distortion, concealment, and manipulation of our facts, that we seem able to fit pseudo-facts into any number of prejudiced points of view.  Ergo - Backfire.  As difficult and time-consuming as it is, the truth of the matter is that I must ferret out what appears to be facts from sources that "appear" to deal squarely with both sides of issues.  Otherwise we will be able accept as a candidate for president of the United States someone who states proudly, "I'm a leader, not a reader."  It is obvious this kind of leadership is based on Backfire.  It's like deciding to make an apple pie and making it with cherries.  However, because of some garbled recipe, or regard for the person who gave us the recipe, we stubbornly insist that "This is APPLE pie!" 

Perhaps the time has come when we can no longer depend on anyone for facts - perhaps we must take the time away some other part of our lives to test ourselves:  do I know how much the national debt is and to whom I owe it?  Do I know the facts about the decline of the middle class and what that means to America?  Have I listened to those who call themselves the 99% or have I simply labeled them based on my favorite commentators prejudices? 

Find some sites that you trust:  Here are some I subscribe to.  I don't guarantee their complete nonprejudiced point of view, but at least they assess fault or honors for both parties and multiple points of view:

http://factfinder2.censu.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml  (This gives fantastic info from the latest census.)
Just a few facts from that last site:

One third of the population earns less than $35,000 a year.
7.4% or 8, 478,651 ppl earn less than $10,000.  (That's the size of a large city full of Americans.)

15% of Americans have no health insurance.  How many million is that?  Where do they go and what do they do when they are sick?  Who pays for it?

6,421,415 children under 18 have no health insurance coverage.  Another large American city's worth.
Of our 18-24 year olds, 14% have less than a highschool education.  How many million is that, 30% of whom will live in poverty. 

Facts are like eating food that is good for us.  We may not like it, but we're better for it and we will make better decisions with it.  The more we look at facts, the better we will like ourselves and the less likely we are to be victims of the manipulators we are exposed to.  The more often we will ask questions about what 9-9-9 really means and why we can't provide work for those out of work. 

Backfire will kill us.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Descarte In Love

Ran across this more intelligent and descriptive way of expressing where I find myself right now.
 Love, accepting that we are not pure and lucent hearts, ricocheting towards each other like unlatched stars—no, we are tainted with self. We sometimes believe the self is an invisible glass, just as we believe the body is a suit made of meat. Doubt all things invisible. Doubt all things visible.

Descarte said it - I didn't!