There is the light we read by.
And there is the Light that animates all things high and low.
A sometimes ungracious host am I,
Forgetting the lodging I have to offer
Is but temporary and too often over protected.
Yet the guest does not notice such smallness and shines without judgement,
Brightly witnessing the come and go of its own ephemeral density.
I was searching through my archives this afternoon, looking for a specific photo to send to a friend. During the exploration of an external hard drive I ran across this photo from 2009.
Everything passes. All elements return to the earth. Nothing left but the ash. Live fully and lead with your heart.
I was doing some backpacking equipment research on the net today and ran across quite a good site called SectionHiker.com. Amongst their many articles they offered was a contest to win a tent. All you had to do was compose a haiku poem about hiking, and the word hiking had to be in the poem ( and of course it had to be selected as the best poem). Great idea, sounds easy but really not so easy once you start to do it. I mean, you can put some words together but to express yourself in three lines consisting of words composed of five syllables on the first line, seven on the second and five on the third- it becomes a bit of a challenge. But an entertaining one. Since I would love a new tent I submitted a few words.
The offshoot of this is you poor LIP readers will now be subjected to haiku abuse. Sorry but the literary muses have been on vacation lately as has my sense of humor so beggars can’t be choosers as my mom used to say. Have some unfiltered sake and enjoy these clumsy attempts……….
We are all hiking
First sun last light all the same
No difference found
You can grow up now
Weeds and flowers and grasses
Get along just fine
Feel, breathe, step
We all hike under one sky
Feel, breathe, step
Oh friend look clearly
One moment then another
The past is the past
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Heavy legs long climb up
Some coffee would be nice now
Or at least a cloud
Hard ground to sleep on
The full moon looks much softer
But it is too far
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Highlights of my whirlwind biz trip to Los Angeles:
1) Meeting Godzilla right next to Elvis in the Reno Airport. ( If it wasn’t so over the top cheesy and therefore good for a laugh, I would recommend that the City of Reno change its name to protect its innocent citizens from potential never-ending national embarrassment)
2) Butterscotch tapioca pudding.
3) The Getty Museum. In particular ( por moire) was the architecture and the grounds and the incredible amount of feeling-consideration put into this grand esthetic accomplishment.
Low points of my whirlwind biz trip to Los Angeles:
1) The traffic……of course. What ever you think it will take to get somewhere, tack on an hour.
2) Indigestion from butterscotch tapioca pudding.
3) Not having my own camera while at the Getty. Had to settle for few snaps from BP Bryan’s phone. (I am quite grateful for those, though.) BP by the way = biz partner.
We returned late last night on a surprisingly full flight. It never ceases to amaze me that there are full flights to Reno. I mean- I know why I live here, but why do all these people want to visit or live here? It’s Reno. It’s got Godzilla AND Elvis slot machines in the airport for Chrissake. Perhaps next time I will do a survey of my fellow travellers and publish it in the New England Journal of Psychiatric Medicine. Maybe entitle it something like “Habits of Irrational Thinking in the American West.” Maybe. I don’t want to step on anyones toes, you know. Especially Godzillas.
Personally, one reason I would find it hard to leave here is the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There is no need to wax eloquent about that as most of you already know my love affair with them.
And so like a dog that just has to shake off the clinging moisture of a fresh bath or a jump in the lake, I need to shake off the the last few days psychic submersion into millions of people and cars, endless buildings, billboards, tailpipes and cellphones. Guess where I am going.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Having survived Mrs. Tyson’s six grade English class, I assure you I am well aware the above title is not quite right. But since this is my LIP and not yours, all such literary self-righteousness is merely water off my digital back, so I encourage you to save your energy for linguistic battles yet to come.
Hey, we just finished a hay finish! Most satisfying, as the result of such a wall treatment yields a remarkably cozy, organic, den like, safe cocoon feeling seldom matched in the finishing world.
This was the last hurrah at the Squaw Valley project which has kept the proverbial bread and butter on the table for Melillo Czopek Artisans since Christmas of last year. Farewells were said in a rather large family/entertainment room with great wooden beams, iron chandeliers and a football field size flat screen. No portfolio photos have been taken as of this writing so please accept our apologies and hopefully enjoy the happy snaps from Bryan’s I-phone.
This particular technique calls for the room to be plastered twice, requiring not only many gallons of plaster but copious amounts of ibuprofen. Exercising professional foresight and hard earned discrimination we paid the extra $40 to have the 10 gallons of plaster tinted by the manufacturer to a base color we had cooked up, aiming to achieve just the right hue for this environment. For any readers out there prone to masochistic tendencies, you can slide this into the top five of your to do list. But for us sane mortals for whom nurturing is actually nurturing- do not try this at home. Color matching plaster is an exercise in patience and frustration as well a serious physical workout only best encountered when forced into it by creditors.
The beginning of any plaster job requires a wonderful combination of awareness and no mind. This is known as the esoteric Zen practice of ”breath, tape and plastic”. Although the hay finish is not as messy as sea shell plaster, ( see April Archives- “She Sells Sea Shells by the Sea Shore) it is always advisable to tape and cover all the trim you do not want to spend infinite future time scrubbing and cleaning. Likewise for furniture- not unlike the Hollywood westerns of yore, one must circle the furniture wagons into a defensible unit and generously drape them with plastic. Believe me this is cheaper than a potentially irate client with a calculator. And since one has to walk everywhere during all this on floors that are not only quite horizontal, but disgustingly eager to receive any plaster shrapnel offered, it is highly recommended to spread even more plastic throughout yon work environment.
Everything hermetically sealed, the first layer of plaster is troweled on without the hay added. The “hay” is indeed hay. Not alfalfa type, but rather, rice hay. This scoots along at a fairly quick pace. The next go around (with the rice hay mixed into the plaster) is best started after a caffeinated beverage or six being enjoyed prior to the trowelathon. Once the second coat has been applied and the walls have this earthy, comforting feeling to them, all is enhanced by glazing the surfaces with a semitransparent wash which serves to bestow a crusty patina of bad housekeeping on them. Crusty yes, but classy.
And the final step in this process, other than unwrapping the room with an exuberant Xmas morning like anticipation, is to call Dr. Dudley, chiropractor extraordinaire to schedule your much-needed appointment. Of course it is nice to get paid, too.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
They really do have something in common. Really? Really. Allow me to explain.
Many years ago, I spent six weeks in Kashmir . (http://bruceczopek.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/photos-of-kashmir-1975/)
Currently I am in the midst of “REAMDE” a fiction novel by Neal Stephenson.
While immersed in both these places a similar event has occurred: Culture shock. This is one of those things you just have to experience to truly relate to the words. Letters on a page or a verbal enunciation of consonants and vowels just does not begin to communicate the visceral experience of it – that split second un-grounding, where the foundation of your normal orientation shatters because suddenly where you just were is not the place you are right now. The mind disjoints, seeing and hearing things that make no sense, frying neurons and synapses in the process.
In Kashmir that happened twice. Once of course after stepping off the plane from the U.S. That’s understandable, first time out of one’s familiar country and into a vastly different environment. Somewhat anticipating it though, softened that particular collision.
The other time, it was much more potent. I had settled into a routine there and after a month or so decided to go the Wednesday night “American Movies” in Srinigar. I caught the bus into town, made it to the theatre just as the sun was going down and eagerly settled in for a first run viewing of ”The French Connection”. Completely captivating. Fast paced, exciting, New York, drama, gritty, even a pair of nice breasts thrown in. Two hours worth of utter distraction.
Movie’s over. The lights go up. I shuffle out with the crowd, my psyche still meshed with the streets of New York, half expecting to see Popeye Doyle on the curb waiting to go have a drink with me- and suddenly, as if jumping into a frigid lake from a sauna, I went from daytime Brooklyn to a nighttime cacophonous beehive of humanity, taxis, busses, merchants, sandals, saris, and Srinigar. Whoa. Major sensory overload. Maha confusion.
A completely arresting moment. I stopped short in my tracks, frozen. And for the split second that seemed like an hour, I had absolutely no clue where I was. Once the perceptual dust had settled and compass bearings re-cognized, all the pieces still weren’t 100% collected, so there was no way I could handle a crowded bus ride home. Feeling surprisingly vulnerable, I decided to spend what at that time was a big chunk of my daily budget on a taxi.
This last Saturday morning a similar space-time dislocation occurred. On a three day weekend that consisted of camping, driving, visiting friends , and meditation retreating, I was en route from the highlands of the Sierra Nevadas via the foothills to insert my Subaru into the grey vein of Interstate 5 as runs up the middle of California and beyond.
Stopping for breakfast I grabbed Stephenson’s “REAMDE” to enjoy during the time the meal was being prepared. Better than reading the menu ten times, pretending to be interested. Read the book all through the meal, too- something I rarely do.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Neal Stephenson, I highly recommend him. He is a true wordsmith. Like a master weaver using a computer keyboard instead of a loom, he creates intricately detailed descriptions and scenarios. His characters are vivid, his humor sharp and irreverent, the plots elaborate and believable although often delightfully improbable. If you want to plain just laugh at loud with a book read “Cryptonomicon”, an earlier work of his. It’s big but who cares. That one is all about the journey, not the goal.
He manages to do all this without being boring. It is just the opposite- when you open his books you enter into the world of Mr. Neal and his friends. Deeply.
And so for all the world it seemed I was sitting in a restaurant booth in a small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where in reality, I was thousands of miles away with vastly different people, embroiled with Chinese hackers, ex dope smugglers who are now rich video game moguls, MI-6 agents, Russian mafia bozos, Seattle computer geeks, international terrorists and on and on. Remarkably, he makes this literary smorgasborg work. Don’t ask me how. He just does.
I shuffle to the cash register to pay the bill. The young lady takes my money, exchanges well rehearsed pleasantries and wishes me a wonderful holiday weekend. Exiting the overly air-conditioned eatery, it was like slamming into an incendiary wall of hot air. The temp was in the high 80′s at just eleven in the morning and climbing.
Directly on the heels of this super heated air, came the next explosive wave- culture shock. Where I was now was not where I was a nano second ago, and I had no idea where I now was or even which car was mine. Funny how the body-mind works. Fairly quickly though, as all the pieces came back together, I recognized the parking lot and remembered my current excursion, etc. But the very next thing that came to mind was how much all of what just occurred felt way like the Kashmir experience so many years ago. The episode in Srinigar was big time disorientation, the one just described a milder version. But like sex or chocolate or winning the lotto, you just would have had to experience it to experience it. Most likely Neal Stephenson could describe it enough for you to fully taste it and go there. I guess that’s why he makes the big bucks.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
P.S. Clotilda, if you are reading this you absolutely must go buy a copy of “Cryptonomicon”. You will thank me.
When is going to the laundromat a life changing experience? Well- it’s not. At least not in Reno, I can tell you. Perhaps hiking in the near-by Sierras will move your soul, but taking care of a pile of dirty clothes just falls under life maintainance with a sigh.
In my cozy 1950′s duplex, located in what is called the “charming old southwest” part of town, I seem to get by okay without a washer and dryer. Here’s how- when I have procrastinated as much as is humanly possible, when I have purchased yet more new underwear and socks, when I can no longer jump up and down on the laundry hamper enough to keep the fabric overflow in check, immediate action ensues.
Gathering all vestitus dirteus in sight, I go to the Jelly Donut Coin Laundry.
Truth be told, the “Jelly Donut Coin Laundry” really isn’t the “Jelly Donut Coin Laundry”. Unfortunately, it is boringly named, ”Reno Mega Laundry.” Now it just so happens that the Jelly Donut sweet bomb shop is immediately next door to the Reno Mega Laundry, so they share a sign. But the way in which they do so is wonderfully homogenizing, the layout unintentionally blending separate identities of two vastly different yet equally mundane enterprises into a pretty cool sounding name for a laundromat. So everybody calls it just that. In fact I would wager that people have come to do laundry there even if they have a washer and dryer just so they can say they have done the Jelly Donut Coin Laundry.
It is a testimony to the improving health habits of Nevadans that I have never, ever, seen one person doing their laundry while munching on a maple bar from next door. I like my teeth as well as a balanced amount of insulin in the bod so I agree with fellow laundromatists in sticking to the business at hand.
Don’t get me wrong, I have seen vans full of people making devoted pilgrimage to the Jelly Donut Shop. But never carrying dirty laundry. It seems 100% of them do their laundry at home before treating themselves to deep-fried sweetbread as a reward.
Meanwhile, those who are cleaning their clothes next door seem to be a surprisingly well-rounded group. For sure the largest portion of the team are Latino mothers. There are also young couples (usually at odds on just how is the best way to go about doing their newly combined laundry), dads with kids, confirmed bachelors like myself who just don’t want to haul a washer or dryer if another move is called for, construction workers, people of all ages. I saw Mitt Romney there today. But he was on TV.
Mr. Mitt often wears stone washed jeans on the campaign trail and you can make two very safe bets here:
1) He paid a heckuva lot more for those designer jeans than I did for my Levis at Wal-Mart.
2) Mitt has never been in a laundromat in his life.
He looks like he feels bad that he showed up today in a place where he has never really been but I am glad he was kinda there.
If you have ever had the pleasure of going to a laundromat, I am sure you have noticed something obvious – people don’t really find pleasure in going to a laundromat. Like putting on a deet laden mosquito repellant before going out in the woods, most people put on this bubble of anonymity mixed with a high amount of don’t talk with me and a dash of resentment at having to be seen in a laundromat in the first place
Except for the kids.
Blessed with the capacity for play and relationship where ever they may find themselves, they are a delight. It is always an enjoyment to see bouncing, flashing tennis shoes, games of tag, someone asking for and giving back hugs.
Almost as welcome as the kids at the Jelly Donut Coin Laundry is the fact that now you don’t have to pay a dime to dry your clothes. It’s free! I don’t know how they pulled this off. The cost of washing your clothes didn’t get raised, there aren’t any more people showing up to clean their clothes and take advantage of this bargain than there were before. And athough I’m not entirely sure, (given the track record of the current administration ) management probably did not get a green energy grant for Mr. Obama. It is indeed a laundry mystery……… as big a mystery as to why some quarters are accepted into the washing machine temple and some are rejected. Truly baffling. All quarters are round. They all have the same weight. They all have the same monetary value. Yet, while many go forward in hygienic service, others do not. Theirs is not the path of clean. They shall not pass through the slotted gates to drop into the ocean of Washington. They must go on to prove themselves elsewhere in the world of economics. Go figure.
Or just go next door and use them to pay for that chocolate eclair you’ve been lusting after all these months. Go ahead. You’ve earned it.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
I munched down on bunch of pistachios tonight. The impossible to have just a few type.
There is hardly an occasion of pistachio consumption that occurs without remembering a story from close friend Gene McHugh. (http://bruceczopek.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/move-over-david-hockney/)
You know what happens when you eat pistachios. They’ve been roasted to perfection, the shells popped open to such a helpful angle, making the liberation of this delicacy an oh so easy process. This keeps you coming back for more, nothing breaking your stride, your taste buds in nuciferous nirvana. Suddenly comes the nut that has refused to pop open. It is sealed shut, tightly indifferent to your precious taste buds and whatever foodular momentum you’ve got going on. You stop…. you look at it to make sure there is no point of entry…..you briefly consider if your teeth can handle blunt force tactics….. and finally, giving up all hope, you express your disappointment with an audible or internally inaudible, owhhhhh.
In the world of Gene McHugh these are called “Bummer Pistachios”.
He coined the phrase many years ago when wilder times were the norm. Exercising his artistic sense of humor, he would wait until his friends who had stopped over to visit and partake in herbal camaraderie were sufficiently “relaxed”. The he would pop into the kitchen and bring back a bowl of delicious looking pistachios. Except these were 100% renegade pistachios who had not given into the roasting process and were tighter than Scrooge’s ass before the ghosts showed up.
With a grand flourish the bowl would be placed amidst the friends. This was an exciting moment as we can all relate to (those of us that have inhaled). But as soon as someone would realize they had picked up an antisocial pistachio, he or she would inevitably say. “bummer, man”. It was always amazing to Gene how many pistachios they would pick up, look at, and repeat their mantra of disappointment before giving up on the bowl altogether.
And from that time forward such recalcitrant nuts have been known as Bummer Pistachios. I am considering entering this into Wikipedia. We’ll see.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
P.S. Live a little- click on the photos to enlarge them.
“Trilogy of Nonsense”. That title was jotted down long before any content rose up from deep inside the compost of my grey matter. I just liked the sound of it.
Well, the trilogy of nonsense – “Me, Myself and I” – just happens to be the bedrock of our perceptual world. It is we three against all comers. There is the trilogy on one side of the perceptual fence and everything else on the other. So maybe it is not nonsense. But wait…….
In the traditions of religion and spirituality, there is a common voice offering explanation about the appearance of this solid world. The Tibetans Buddhists say, “Energy can’t help but manifest”. ”Brahma created the world because it could be created” comes from Hinduism. Adi Da Samraj has said, ”Everything is a spontaneous modification of Consciousness”.
Spontaneous. Whoa. Stop the presses.
Picture this – whatever Consciousness is, It is very Unconditionally Happy, humming along as non separate, uncomplicated, undifferentiated, Self Awareness. No other. Okay, we can all go with that (heck, we want to go along with that. It gives us hope just imagining that possibility is out there). Suddenly, in this infinity of Consciousness there comes a movement to become something more solid. You know – like….things. All sorts of things in all kinds of density – from shimmering light to thoughts, to the most sphincter challenged bureaucrat you can imagine. Honestly, I am not sure this plan is even that detailed. It might even be safer to say there probably is no plan. Just this sudden urge and voila! It is like a moment in the opening scene from the movie, “The Magnificent Seven” when Yul Brenner asks Steve McQueen why he decided to join him on this insane, dangerous, sure to be shot at, crazy stunt. To which Steve McQueen coolly responds, ”I don’t know, it seemed like a good idea at the moment.” The absolute definition of spontaneity.
Consciousness is kind of like a Cosmic Steve McQueen. Spontaneous. Nothing too thought out here. However, once that urge to modify and manifest is engaged, it is rather like falling off a cliff. No turning back. What is going to happen? Don’t know. Don’t know where we going either but we’re making good time.
But one thing does happen. And it makes things unbelievably complicated for a good long time afterwards. What happens?? Okay, you asked.
Consciousness forgets Itself.
It’s like this: You (Consciousness) have a size infinity foot. Always have. Impulsively you decide to buy a new pair of shoes. Size eight. No questions asked. That is the new size. On go the shoes. As can be imagined, this results in quite an attention grabbing, pinching sensation. All the time. And that pinching sensation is such a shock, is so damn uncomfortably persistent, you completely forget what a pair of non separate, Unconditionally Happy, size infinity shoes ever felt like. Instead, Undifferentiated Consciousness is now so aware of that pinched feeling, it gives that individuated sensation a name – “I”. Remember this is just a pinch we talking about, that’s all. But Consciousness is just a little fuzzy at this particular moment having seemingly become finite and all. So Consciousness now reacts to this individuated sensation of “I” and gets all obsessive compulsive. This reaction takes the form of actively assuming and being really convinced that “I” is a separate personality, cut off from Unconditional Happiness. This is that little problem of Self forgetting we talked about earlier. Attention is now so bound up in the discomfort of this newly believed separateness that Consciousness forgets to notice it just modified itself to something a tad more defined than Infinity and although things are now looking a bit different, Its real nature and state has not changed. This forgetting translates to: ”Holy shit! I am a me and I am quite finite and alone. This is not good because I am now certain there is a someone who can get snuffed out at any moment and believe you me, this is frightening. This is stress full stuff”.
Who the “me” is having this experience of reactions piled upon reactions never seems to get questioned. This is a prime example of starting things off on the wrong foot.
The good news is that it really isn’t true, there isn’t an individual “me” just because suddenly there is awareness of something amidst many other things that now seem a little more solid. It is ( you are) the same undifferentiated Consciousness, that was there before all this silly spontaneity stuff happened. But hey, that is what amnesia is all about. In this case you might call it “Spiritual Amnesia”. A really, really serious case of amnesia. That’s the bad news.
The good news is the intuition of what it feels like to not be separate, to be Unconditionally Happy and Undifferentiated, remains. It may be forgotten but it can’t go away, because after all, it is “The State”. Therefore we do not suffer total amnesia. This is called Grace. The bad news is that as long as that unconscious re-action of assuming and actively feeling convicted of persona remains unconscious, it effectively binds attention and although you may intuit, you won’t fully recognize your true state coming fully forward to reestablish itself. However, the good news is that one can become aware of and responsible for that reaction. Amnesia can be forgotten. The bad news is this is incredibly difficult. The good news is it doesn’t matter. In the ultimate sense it just a matter of time. An inconceivably long amount of time actually, but who’s counting. Some people want to engage a little spiritual practice to speed things up. Some don’t.
In the meantime, people tend to get a little testy when told that they as an individual persona don’t really exist, so I would watch it. Don’t drop this bombshell on your fellow shoppers at Whole Foods while sharing space in the check out line.
But do go ahead and consider it. It is not hard to witness just how much trouble indiscriminate self-protection can and has gotten us into. In order to do my bit and help you with those first few baby steps on the road to becoming more aware of a severely deep unconscious reactivity, here is a small pamphlet you might find useful. I call it “The Consumers Guide to Compassionate Living with Someone Who Really Isn’t There”. It’s just a few sentences. Not really a pamphlet, I guess. But it’s easier to market if it’s called a pamphlet, so………
1) Breath is your friend. You may want to get to know it. Try to take more than three deep, conscious breathes a day. It doesn’t cost any more than you’ve already paid.
2) Once you have become aware of your breath, notice this very important thing: you are not guaranteed another one. That space in between two breaths can suddenly be a very long time. This kicks up the appreciation factor of the moment quite a lot. You don’t tend to sweat the small stuff as much.
3) The feeling heart is a just as much a muscle as the physical one and it must be exercised regularly. Exercises will vary from person to person but the key point to remember here is that vulnerability is not a bad thing.
4) Discipline helps offend the illusory self in a useful way.
5) Too much thinking makes you constipated.
6) Cut yourself some slack from time to time. This confuses the illusory self.
7) While you’re at it, have some compassion for the person next to you. They inhabit the same amnesia ward as you.
8) It is okay not to be in control.
9) All this can change without prior notification to the consumer. Be fluid and give things away regularly.
10) A little free attention goes a long way.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Pau Hana. I love the phrase. It is Hawaiian for ” End of the work day”, ”Time for enjoyment”, ”Work is done, now relax”.
It is the transitional time. The day’s labor is done. The work environment, be it physical or psychic, is washed off. It is not quite yet nighttime. What do you do? Meditate? Serve your family? Take a stroll in the soft light? Have a glass of vino? Cuddle up to your intimate partner? Yoga? Read? Gym? Puja? Listen to music? Play music?
Pau Hana. It is a nourishing time. Drink deep.
Having conveniently forgotten my tent poles last weekend at Buckeye camp ground, I needed to make a trip down to Bridgeport to collect them. Dozing off at home after returning from my initial camping trip, I suddenly sat upright in bed, visualizing the abandoned poles just to the right of the campsite. How does memory work like that? Given the age of the tent and the exact size of its poles, it is not a sure thing they could easily be replaced so the next morning I called the Forest Service and asked if someone could rescue them for me. I was most grateful when a ranger by the name of Scott made a special trip up to Buckeye to get them. He gave me a call a few days later and said he had retrieved the poles and they would be at the ranger station to be claimed whenever I made it back. Armed with a six-pack of Bass Ale as a thank you gift, I scooted out early Friday morning and was down to Bridgeport by 10:30 or so. Gift dropped off and tent poles reunited with this Pole, it seemed like an excellent idea to take a day hike up to Green Lake, a beautiful, glacially carved lake, whose trailhead is about ten miles from the Bridgeport Ranger Station via one seriously dusty, bumpy dirt road.
Not to get too historical on you, but one interesting tidbit about Green Creek and Green Lake is that they were the source for one of the first hydroelectric plants in the U.S. The voluminous waters that tumble down there from the Sierras generated the electricity that powered the electric motors of the 20 stamp Standard Mill, some 13 plus miles away in the gold mining town of Bodie. This being one of the first such plants, the engineers who designed the project tried their best to construct the electrical lines from Green Creek to Bodie in as straight a line as possible, because it was not yet known if an electrical current could take a sharp curve and not run off the wires.
Up at the trailhead, I got my pack out, boots on and went through the checklist of ”just in case” scenarios, making sure things were reasonably accounted for in the items I was carrying. Satisfied with all that, I noticed a park ranger’s truck over in a corner of the parking area, so I went over to say hello and let him know where I was going and when I was coming back. In the “It’s a small world” category the fellow was none other than Ranger Scott who had so graciously picked up my hobo tent poles earlier in the week. And in the “It’s an even smaller world” category, we swapped hiking tales, discovering we both knew one of the park rangers who worked for the Forest Service in Bodie while I was working there for Phelps Dodge 38 years ago.
The trailhead for Green Lake is situated at 8100 feet. The three miles up to the 9200 foot lake is a moderately strenuous hike with the air getting a bit thin but oh so pristine. There are old souls on this trail- some very large and weathered pines that have seen many a harsh winter. They have such presence. You find yourself wanting to sit down with one and ask for its life’s story. The aspen will be greening out in the next two weeks but for now the greenery is provided by the pine trees.
Winter’s snow is receding fast but on this weekend it was making a stand at Green Lake. The trail was fine up to the lake, but once crossing the swollen creek where the waters flow out of this Sierra gem, there was a foot of snow still hanging on, obscuring much of the trail that continues up to East Lake and Summit Lake. That was fine by me. I got over to the edge of Green Lake, had lunch and parked myself on some large flat rocks that were sloped at just the right angle to stretch out on and make like a sleeping lizard. It was pure back country solitude- no one else on the trail, no one else at the lake.
Returning down the trail after a suitable lakeside nap, I was absorbed in the immensity and detail and clarity of place – the definition of the granite cliffs, the many fractures in the outcropped rocks, the swaths of pine trees and contrasting snow fields. All this and more combined to spark a gifted moment. From time to time, a feeling born at depth comes forward to reassert itself in my consciousness. It is a koan, humorous at first. A seemingly ridiculous argument, it effectively stops me in my tracks, taking my current point of view and shifting it a sudden 180 degrees. It is as if a skilled debater powerfully convinces me to abandon the position I was so adamantly defending and moves me to align myself with the opposite side.
That koan is this: There are too many individual things for there to be individual things. The body-mind then feels that koan as the utter conviction that it is impossible for every “thing” seen before me to be singular, individual items. Simply impossible. Nothing can create that many separate things. There can’t be that many individual things. It is an illusion. It is the illusion of many.
The limiting perception of what is a boundary is upended. Although some “thing” may appear to have a definitive shape, the boundary that once defined that shape is now seen for what it is – simply a more solidly perceived edge. Nothing more. The edge loses its confining solidity and becomes permeable, like a sponge. It no longer can contain the essence of a an item and relegate that essence to individuality. Things don’t disappear, but suddenly there are no boundaries housing separateness. There is only this space of perfect arising. The sense of I that is felt as a personality becomes just another softened boundary. ”Me” is another aspect of this arising moment. No more, no less. No inferior, no superior. No one against many. The illusion of many gracefully released.
Indeed, a gifted moment. More than a moment actually, as that state continued for much of the remaining hike down the hill.
By the time I made it back to the Subaru things were more a less back to “normal”, although the doors of perception are now a little more wobbly on their hinges. Not a bad thing after all. We all need a little Aldous Huxley in our life from time to time.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Take a deep breath. Feel it go in through your nostrils, feel your belly and your lungs fill and expand and arrive to full in your frontal line. Now feel the release of pressure as air comes back out the pathways it entered. Rest in the space between breaths and…. ahh… uhmaa.. ahem–this probably isn’t a good time to tell you this, but -that next breath? There is no guarantee that it will occur. Please read the fine print in your contract of Light made dense by Spontaneous Manifestation.
It goes something like: “Just because you had a lot of good breaths, please do not assume that implicitly guarantees a continuation of said services. We reserve the right to spontaneously change the pattern of manifestation as well as spontaneously manifest manifestation because that is what spontaneity is all about. Thank you for your understanding.”
You might want to get a tad angry at such a statement. For me, however, anger is usually where I was at just prior to being handed the above contract. I more than likely was in the middle of a subjective tantrum, having completely identified with a situation of frustrated disbelief that something wasn’t working out as I wanted or would normally expect. And to be honest, I could distill that a teeney bit further and come up with, “What I felt I was owed.” Ouch. Or if you really want to get down to brass tacks- I was completely in the process of actively assuming a separate personality, thereby efficiently arresting any further attention from realizing, as my Spiritual Master, Adi Da would say when instructing children in the art of sensitvity, “You are more than what you look like”. Somehow, I get a feeling I am not alone in this particular club.
Oh, the myth of the “Guarantee”. But having the fine print pointed out before the actual exercising of the above described option is a big gift. And whoever enters my thick skull or hard heart at such moments to deliver it, let me express my gratitude.
There is a reaction that now takes place for me in this event of being made aware of contractual specificities. Everything heavy suddenly drops away. The heaviest being the emotion of expectation for one outcome or another. And there is simply free attention and a relaxed heart. A certain disposition of being, of feeling with awareness. A pleasurable, sit down at the rivers edge with your feet dangling in the warm water of flowing change kinda feeling. Suddenly whatever happens next is pretty damn okay because it just doesn’t have to.
And it also dawns that there is no reason to be expecting a certain behavioral response from those I am with under whatever circumstance. That doesn’t mean things get stilted. Au contraire. Free attention is a feeling matter and that is a feeling of being present in this moment. And this moment. And this moment……. Another one of those fine print thingies that is worth finding out about.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Consciousness: Your welcome. Actually I’m always here. Nothing personal, but normally you’re just a little too preoccupied to notice. I just amped things up a bit to help out today. Kinda burn some of the fog off, you know.
Reviewer: Uh….okay…. uh, thanks again. Shall we proceed?
Consciousness: No problem
Reviewer: First let’s go over some practical things to make the record keepers happy. I noticed you didn’t put down a residential address.
Consciousness: That is correct.
Reviewer: Could you give that to me now and I’ll just fill it in.
Consciousness: I’m nowhere.
Reviewer: Nowhere? Do you mean you’re homeless? Could you be more specific?
Consciousness: Actually I am everywhere.
Reviewer: Please, we just need to have the records updated. So which is it. Nowhere or everywhere?
Reviewer: Come again?
Consciousness: I am everywhere. There is no place I am not. So you don’t have to go anywhere to get to me- consequently, since I am no place you can go, I am nowhere. Everywhere and nowhere. Nowhere and everywhere. Get it?
Reviewer: Not really
Consciousness: Don’t worry. It’ll hit you some day. Let the bureaucrats work out the street address okay?
Reviewer: Fine. Moving on – I see you didn’t fill in your birthdate. We need that for social security.
Consciousness: Are you serious? Okay, I see you are. Let me put it this way: I was never born.
Reviewer: Uh, please….. how old are you?
Consciousness: You’re not supposed to ask that are you? Let just say I can never die.
Reviewer: You’re making this complicated.
Consciousness: Look, you’ve got infinity on one side and infinity on the other. Right? Can you show me the middle? Didn’t think so. Don’t we have other things to talk about?
Reviewer: Fine. Let’s talk about your work habits….. Generally we feel you do a good job at jumping into things and getting started. But we have noticed that you could benefit from a little more organization.
Consciousness: I must confess, I don’t have a much of plan past a certain point.
Reviewer: And what is that point?
Reviewer: Pardon me?
Consciousness: I mean I really want to be here, hanging as everyone and everything. You could say it is a completely spontaneous kinda thing. So here we are but once things get conditional, I am not really sure where it’s all going. Actually I don’t see the point, anyway. It’s all kinda the same in my book. I’m not really that goal oriented.
Reviewer: You must have a plan to get anything done in a timely fashion.
Consciousness: Things do progress a bit slowly, I must say. But hey, at least it seems like once things get dense there is a mechanical part that just takes over, kinda keeps things in balance. Until it’s not. But then balance tries to reasserts itself in one form or another. Things have gotten a little better don’t you think? Just because there is a little bit of mechanical order, though, doesn’t mean I can take credit for some plan or something. I mean really- do you plan your dreams out?
Reviewer: Uh, this is your job review. I don’t want it to make it about me, so–
Consciousness: Uh huh….. Remember that mechanical thingie? Sorry , you make everything about you. Kinda hard not to but….. Look, this sense of separateness is just a neat little organizing tool that gets a big head once things get rolling and forgets where it came from. If you have some sort of form, it is handy to know not to walk out in front of a bus, right? The stove is hot right? Okay, so don’t touch it! That’s what “you” is good for. But really, feel into it. You really think you are an individual? A some one in a bunch of someones?
Reviewer: Of course
Consciousness: I know, everybody does. It is this funny little hitch in the flow of things. Spontaneous manifestation has its drawbacks.
Reviewer: What does this have to do with your job?
Consciousness: Actually, I don’t have a job. Never did. Don’t want one. Nope.
Reviewer: What do you do?
Reviewer: What about all of stuff you’re saying just showed up?
Consciousness: Just because “you” see boundaries, things that look separate with lines and distances and blah blah- you think there is a lot of different things going on. Well, you say ”to-may-to”, I say ”to-mah-to”. There might be discreet forms, but that doesn’t mean they are separate now, does it?
Reviewer: I don’t know.
Consciousness: As far as I’m concerned there are way too many seemingly separate things for there to really be any separate things. No way I could pull that off. Really- it’s all just condensed water vapor sloshing around in a big sea. A little choppy on the surface maybe so it feels like a bunch of action going on and you get excited by it all and put a lot of energy into counting all the waves. But eventually you get real tired of making differences, of counting waves, of treading water just to count waves. And when you finally sink below the surface you’ll see it’s one big sea. Nothing separate going on. Only sea. Sea only. You forgot about the waves. Boy, let me tell you, that’s a relief. Not a lot going on then really. But everything goes on. There’s more I can say but your eyes are looking a bit glazed over.
Reviewer: I think I need more time to digest this and come up with a recommendation for management.
Consciousness: Oh, you’ll have lotsa chances to figure it all out. Take my word for it. Hey! Hows about lunch? I’m hungry. You must be too, since I am you and you are me.
Consciousness: Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. ….. we’ll talk about that later…… maybe over dessert..
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Hey guess what?!
Upon arising today, the brain cells were more active than normal, jumping right into mental calisthenics.
Yesterday I posed the question why use the term ” raining cats and dogs” to denote a heavy downpour? Methinks that since they are “opposites” that generally don’t get along and are therefore often combative, the coming together of cats and dogs generates a lot of turbulent, forceful energy. So! If it is raining cats and dogs it is a rain event of wild energetic proportions as would occur when said pettus domesticus collide.
Whew, glad that’s handled. Everyone exhale now.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Cats and dogs were everywhere to be found yesterday as the Hawaiian skies opened up and it just poured. As the old saying goes, it rained cats and dogs. Just why cats and dogs instead of pearls and swine or Jacks and Jills I have not a clue. Please write soon if anyone out there knows.
Regardless of etymological ignorance, I took advantage of the deluge, and enjoyed a guilt free day in front of the easel, working on “Odalisque # 1- The Lizard”. It is rare to get in a full eight-hour day of painting and that certainly established momentum, so I have continued on tonight, in the good company of Keith Jarret and friends.
Notice if you will, the phrases above- “cats and dogs”, “pearls and swine”, etc. – opposites.
The other night I was lying awake around midnight, having been rudely awakened by dive bombing insects. In the aftermath, sleep was not readily returning. There, in the stillness of no distraction, I suddenly became very aware of my breath…..in-out…..in-out……in-out. It was pleasurable to feel it, to be it, to witness its happening. Suddenly it struck me that breath, which is the foundation of our very living, is completely an action of opposites. First inward, then the opposite- outward. It goes on and on until it stops upon our exit from here. We live as a result of the activity of opposites. There is nothing that exists without an opposite. It is impossible. And so it begs the question, are opposites really separate things? Yes, things happens that seem to be diametrically opposed, but does that make them a separate activity? I guess what I am trying to get at is that since they are part of the same inescapable equation, opposites are the way things work. They are the whole. Not a better or a worse. When seen as the way things mechanically work in this realm of light made dense, they are not good or bad, one side or the other- they are simply part of the ceaseless flow of happening. Then the reaction to avoid what is perceived as uncomfortable or undesirable or bad weakens, gets flabby, and the movement to grasp and hold onto to what is conceived as pleasurable or desireable similarly loosens. Thus allowing for equanimity and free attention to naturally manifest since nature inherently moves to be in balance. Where we get into a ton of trouble is in the knee jerk reactions to what initially feels like something to protect ourselves from or to get for ourselves and hold onto it..
Maybe its better to walk up to opposite and give it a big embrace. Not a popular modus operandi, but it feels more circular than angular so perhaps things will roll along better. At least it will be more interesting.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
“Get your exercise”. Good advise, yeah? There is a battle going on below your chin. Don’t think because you’re not aware of it all the time, the only thing occurring down there is blood being pumped and lungs moving, etc. If you don’t consciously exercise your heart it get’s flabby. I don’t mean walking everyday. The exercise I am referring to is more like–feeling.
The mundane is insidious. The daily life is a sly, steady bombardment of visuals, color, sounds, countless thoughts, impulses, habits, patterns and reactions. Everything thrown into the Waring blender of bodily existence and served up in a large frothy glass that you drink from all day, and all night, for that matter. After a while it all begins to taste the same and functionality seamlessly, unnoticeably becomes a form of self protection.
There’s so much stuff coming at you that a lot of it has to get filtered out to maintain a level of sanity.
That’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because, hey it IS a chaotic event of nervous system stimulation that goes on continuously and you do need a filtering system. It’s bad because it is easy to forget to consciously exercise the event of simply being. Coming to rest, allowing the vulnerability of being to occur. Allowing whatever arises to do just that without grasping for it or running from it or abstracting it.
Those are things that are not taught in Mr Wilsons junior high P.E. class. But they are oh so necessary.
The heart is a muscle and must be exercised. It has unfathomable depth of feeling. Paradoxically, the body mind has a built in defense systems to not get overwhelmed and go into freefall. So the deep feeling part of the heart gets flabby. You don’t get out of breath, you just get kinda numb. Coming to rest gives those defenses time to safely unwind, become felt for what they are- just part of an intricate system. And with that bodily realization comes the graceful opportunity for the heart to come to balance and the defensive door opens to the room of vulnerability.
I am not going to presume to tell you or to generalize where you are or are not vulnerable. It is safe to say though, we do have those places where it is easier to keep busy and distracted than to allow things that go bump in the stillness and the quiet to start going bump in the stillness and the quiet.
Others I am sure, have their own venue for going someplace deep that allows for such stillness to occur. Personally I would be lost without time for meditation. That was made obvious to me as I sat this afternoon for the first time in several days, having let functional circumstance and tired body mind gain momentum down the steep hill of numbing automaticity. It doesn’t take long to forget to exercise the heart.
And the heart is such a feeling place to be. As the Spanish novelist, Miquel de Unamuno wrote in one of his short stories, “Ya es tarde”. It’s late now. Or one might say, “You never know how much time you have.” So just in case you haven’t been keeping up on your “exercise” routine, there’s no time like the present.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
LIke our old friend Sisyphus, it has been a time of pushing practical stones up the hill only to find more at the bottom waiting for another round of the exercise called life maintenance. This is good as it seemed like the accomplishment pipeline was clogged for awhile, so although it is not glamourous it is what we do.
Life goes on while life goes on. If I can breathe consciously, remember I am not the one who is living me now and practice aloha while driving, I consider those small victories in the over- arching practice of vulnerability and balance.
I could get more profound, wax eloquently about conditional existence, the binding nature of point of view, and the sorrows of Mother Guppy eating her own in this realm of natural disasters and wars, but the fact of the matter is, there are countless trailer loads of green waste to remove from a lot of tree trimming, the mobile mechanic is coming to repair a ruptured brake line on the Sanctuary truck, gotta go to town to pick up parts for my personal vehicle and on and on.
So I will let the eloquence rest in the department of good ideas ( next to the good intentions of working on the Sugar Cane Mill painting), call the mechanic to find out his ETA and get back to the tree limbs looking for a new home. All while remembering to stay hydrated of course. Sigh….. so practical.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me.
Coming soon to a synapse near you….. free associative writing.
Please know I enjoy writing, I would do it even if there weren’t a dozen or so faithful LIP fans out there clamoring for the latest installment on the seeming chaos of this life in progress…..
……Ah, now I know what I want to write about. Forgive me, there was no idea present when the fingers started tickling the keyboard. But there is some rumbling inside this cranial chamber. I know it will come forward soon…….okay.
…….You don’t know what a single thing is. That is right, sorry for the inconvenience, but it is true. You can know all about something, all the characteristics, composition of, describe it to the nth degree with all sorts of factoids, but at the end of it all, you don’t know what it IS. What is IS.
Who says since something has discrete edges, that it is a separate entity, that those edges mark a boundary? “What?”, you say…. “It’s obvious, everyone knows that”. Hah! the “know” word. Man, do we get into trouble with that one.
Some things are instinctual. One does not step out in front of a bus because empirically it is proven that isn’t a sound idea. But you still don’t know what a bus IS. It and all density past the form of light is arising in the midst of infinity to your perception -a fractalized pattern of light bouncing off the inside back wall of a gelatinous orb that sits inside your skull. Gimme a break. It’s all just denser versions of chaos. Just because this process repeats itself doesn’t mean there is an order to it all! While we’re at it….if you’ve got infinity on one side and infinity on the other side….can you please tell me where the middle is? And don’t point to yourself and say “Here!”.
What is a “you” anyway? Just a sense of separateness generated by an overstimulated nervous system. Face it- You just don’t know what anything IS!
I heard a great story once about two highly esteemed Tibetan Buddhist monks, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. It was in France, they were sitting together apart from their students, having a grand old-time, talking and laughing their respected Tibetan asses off. One of their students who just had to eavesdrop on the conversation, snuck up to within earshot. She reported that she heard one of the Rinpoches, say to the other as he pointed at a tree…..”And they call that a tree!!!!” , followed by another burst of hilarious laughter. They got it…… and the fact there wasn’t any ground underneath them to stand on in a knowledgeable way was not disconcerting, just the opposite.
I have taken some high Dharmic teachings and reduced them to street talk and I ask forgiveness for wielding such a clumsy stick in short order. Indeed, there are far more eloquent discourses about this. Some will break your heart in a good way, as you are brought to a point of realizing your are defending a ghost but you don’t know how not to do just that- yet still you profoundly intuit there is much more going on than said ghost. That is when it get’s really raw and humble and juicy.
It is a jumping off place of release that doesn’t end in a crash landing. It is, in fact a point or place where you constantly jump off. Lo and behold, there is an Intelligence, not based on knowing but on Being that comes forward, waving a flame of compassionate light that illumines your way along a path of not knowing. It is demanding, nurturing, forceful and gentle. It asks everything and gives everything – an exchange resulting in a radical change of perception. You don’t know what THAT is either. But believe me, it just doesn’t matter.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Ten sessions of Rolfing are completed just in time for the New Year to start. I “graduated” a few days ago, noticeably straighter in posture, more aware of certain linkages in the muscular information highway, and able to hold my own in any La Maz class after serious resort to deep breathing and only occasional screaming. Well, no screaming actually, but all I can say is- beware session seven. Your life will never be the same.
Now the body remembers mo betta what it is like to let gravity do much of the work of keeping itself straight. Maybe next up is my guest appearance on the dance reality show my friends religiously gather for. Dance TV I call it. Think dance and American Idol combined and you’ve got it. Some impressive stuff goes on there I am told. However, I will let my impressive moves be reserved for the neighborhood as I go for daily walks, the Ida Rolf way- Fred “Kapaa” Astaire in flip flops.
And now we are walking into the New Year. Last year is last year and not a moment too soon, thank you very much. There are only so many lessons one can have impressed on the body mind during the course of 365 days and nights.
There are a few moments I would like back in order to redo, but regrets are constipating, ergo not worth visiting. Better to fall forward into the New Year, too young and innocent to harbor regrets.
What do you want from your new year? I don’t think that is too much to ponder. I however draw the line at resolutions which are only a few consonants and vowels away from regrets when they don’t manifest.
However, in the spirit of the New Year, and like a dog, riveted on his owners dinner plate, I am ever hopeful the universe will grant morsels of satisfying growth and self understanding and happiness. Not just for myself but for our global village.
So I ask again, what do you want from your new year? No need to write me unless you simply have to. There is something to say for intention though and one can’t make use of intention unless there is some direction for it to be applied to. So feel it out and don’t let your doubt mind get in the way of heart-feeling. If that is operative there is a chance to go past illusory confusion and tap into a reservoir of hereto unknown pathways you may just have to go down.
I’ve got an idea…… sit down across with someone and play “New Years Free Association”. The key here is not to think. Just look at someone and say the first thing that comes into your mind that might be in the arena of want you want from the New Year. It might be better just to start off with free association shorthand, keeping it down to just two words: More this, less that, be this, give this, learn that, world peace, more food, less hunger,play marbles,make babies, space voyage, kayak trip, lose weight, gain weight, don’t know, find direction, better eyesight, eye exercises,get laid, not me, run for congress, establish a food bank, make bundles of money to give away, get to know your inner stock broker, finish the gawl dang website!!!!…… See? We are already growing into more than two worded intention. Free association at it’s finest. It is important to answer your partner back right away and not get lost in the brain closet. So let er rip. It could get scary, and you might end up somewhere in a neighborhood you never knew existed. But you have the whole rest of the year to find your way out. And hey- you might just not want to leave there anyway.
thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Just in time for Thanksgiving, I have something new to be thankful for.
If any of you have experienced the pleasures of Rolfing, you might be thinking I’m a bit twisted if my next line is I’m thankful for Rolfing. I am actually. In case you don’t know, Rolfing is the healing modality that seems to take pleasure in peeling you off the ceiling as it breaks through the pesky scar tissue that’s been keeping your muscles from sliding around in their own proper orbit, thank you very much.
Women who have given birth should have a head start participating in a Rolfing session. They know what it’s like to have to breathe through some serious pain, much more severe than what you would run into on a massage table. But I can assure you, us wimpy guys wouldn’t agree with you in certain moments.
Don’t get me wrong, I highly recommend Rolfing. It’s kinda like this: You’re building a house, you’re into the framing part of the project, and you are slightly off on your starting measurement….. Aww, what the hell- it’s only a 1/4 inch, don’t sweat it, get on with it. Sure, it’s all good till you get to the end of the wall where all of a sudden you are out of square by a football field and the obnoxious neighbor with the RV you hate can now park it in the gap that is supposed to be the junction of wall and door.
To continue our analogy- your body is the house, you’ve torqued something somewhere and now some kind-hearted muscle is trying to help out those that got bent out of shape but now THEY are multi tasking when they should be doing something ELSE and so someone ELSE pitches in to pick up THAT slack and so on until you’re walking down the street like a human crab in a bad sci-fi movie. And all you did was trip over your own two feet two weeks ago when you got up to take a leak in the middle of the night. Well what do you do? Call the rolfer. He comes in, has you lay down and relax, puts on this oh so soothing music, then promptly takes a crowbar out of his tool bag and begins to tear down the wall when all you really wanted him to do was to sweet talk the RV out of it’s new parking space, then gently push the gap in your measurement challenged wall back into place. However, putting a little elbow grease into fixing the situation is just the way it’s gotta be, so Happy Thanksgiving, Pilgrim.
Okay, okay- learn to breathe deep real quick and trust the person knows what they are doing and isn’t the biggest fan of every slasher movie ever made.
As the elbow digs in, pushes a bundled knot of tension down the tendon highway, and the sweat breaks out on your forehead, you remember- breathe dammit, breathe. All right, all right….. okay, made it to the end of that movement. That wasn’t too bad, pain is no big deal if you face it head on like a man. Then your rolfer says, ” Since it’s just the first session, we’ll take it a bit easy on you.” Suddenly you question why you just didn’t spend the money on that new flat screen and comfy recliner from Costco. But, after a lot of deep breaths the hour is over and you get up resembling something more human than crab for the first time in months, you can hold your head up high having made the right decision. Well, a few more sessions are needed before you can actually hold your head up high but you’ve got a good start on rebuilding the wall in a straight line.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
Picture a third grade “get to know nature” class at Kapaa elementary school. The teacher asks the students, “What do butterflies really like?” The class enthusiastically shouts out, ” Crown trees!!”
( We learned that yesterday right?). Now the teacher goes for what she thinks is the tough question….” And what do egrets really like?” These kids have grown up here on Kauai and know the score so they don’t miss a beat….”Lawn mowers!!!, ” they cry out in unison.
It’s true. What crown trees are to butterflies, lawn mowers are to egrets. Now I am sure, in the distant past, prior to humans populating all about, if an egret heard a tree branch break in the woods, he or she would go check out the sound, knowing there is a good chance for some bug lunch where the branch turned up the dirt. And when a heavy rain soaked an area, all those tasty insects floated up to the surface and it was an all you can eat bug buffet.
Now the gene pool has been irrevocably altered. If a tree branch breaks the birds get the hell out of the way, if it rains-hey go find a dry place. But let a lawn mower engine rev up and you are number one in the egrets Fine Dining on Kauai Guide. The bigger the lawn mower the better. “Cut a wide swath, Big Boy we be hungry…” I’ve counted up to thirty egrets following Aaron around the Sanctuary as he was mowing, making a great tossed salad of greens and grubs. Yum. I worry about the birds if we permanently run out of gasoline and we have to go back to sheep and goats to keep the lawns down.
They are rather Keystone Cop-like I must say. Elegance in the air rarely translates to the ground. They chase and dart and dodge the lawn tractor and fear not the human operating the food processor. I had just a few friends show up as I mowed the 140 House yard today. Not many, but enough of them to pass on a photo and some trivia you don’t really need to know.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
When last we were in the same electronic room together, I was eagerly anticipating an inside day of painting during an extremely wet outside day of storm.
The storm won however and I spent a lot of the day outside, dealing with drainage pipes, gutters, wood floors flooding and enjoyably taking a lot of photos. Quan Yin, ever patient in stone in Hanapepe, has had to wait a bit longer on the easel.
The last few days were clean up, tune up and lotsa green waste runs to the dump. And more rain just for spice in the mix.
But today was pretty good, enough sun to remember what that is like. The ever pleasing butterflies were back also, visiting one of their favorites rest spots on the Monarch Migration Hi-way, the crown trees at the 140 House.
Butterflies just love those crown trees. Who can blame them? They eat, and rest and make whoopee then eat some more, rest some more, make more whoopee, lay a few eggs and sionara. Off to somewhere else.
I would wager they’ve got the address of the 140 House and photos posted on Utube for all their buds to find. At least on one of their Facebook sites. As a result of all that whoopeetime there will be soon be a bunch of caterpillars on the crown tree which would now be serving as one giant cafeteria as the guys load up, wrap themselves up and go through the mind-boggling metamorphosis into a butterfly. Very inspiring that little trick of caterpillar to butterfly. Reality TV sure has jumped on that theme.
An item the storm left behind which isn’t going anywhere too soon is one big ass tree that went for a wild ride down the Wailua River and got tossed out on the S turn below the Sanctuary. You woulda had to a been there to really appreciate but I threw in a pic for the non believers. The river just carved itself a new bank during that downpour.
One reward of finally getting inside for a period of time was sorting through my inventory of Kauai photos.
I rediscovered one that had to put in the painting queue after Quan Yin is finished. It is of the first sugar can processing plant on Kauai. It kinda reminds me of something Monet might paint when he got tired of all those waterlilies. Don’t ask me why, it’s just a silly feeling. It is more of an abstract image rather than a historical scene- all buildings and part of the plant but great shapes of cylinders, squares,, semi-circle, angles and such. And not a water lily in site. But somehow I know Claude would approve.
Thanks for taking some lip from me,
Rain? You want rain? Boy do we have rain. The wettest storm of the year is hammering Kauai right now.
Umbrellas and slickers are your closest friends without a doubt. I take that back. A good roof over your head is a far better ally.
Earlier today I was able to overlook the turbulent, chaotically swollen Wailua River as it came blasting down from Mt. Waialeale. The sheer force and speed was completely electric, ecstatically overwhelming. Now as I sit warmed by the flickering light of the computer screen, listening to thunder and witnessing sheets of rain, I am most happy to have an indoor project for a guilt free, no way I can do anything outside kinda day.
Quan Yin is progressing, the first layers of sky surrounding her. A little atmospheric finessing and I will be into the statue itself today, lost to the world as if I had slipped down the jungle cliffs into one helluva fast moving river. Most fortunately that was not the case, but when you are close to such a magnitude of natural brute force, it sure takes the edge off of supposedly being close to the top of the food chain.
Give me my brush, let sleeping kayaks lie I always say.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,
This will be brief as I am in the middle of an existential emergency. At the behest of my web designer who is putting the finishing touches on THE website, I joined the Facebook culture.
Now keep in mind, as patterns go, my patterns tend to be not so social. Small crowd person, don’t like being in the middle of a spotlight, etc. And now suddenly there is a tsunami of people just waiting to connect with you over the internet. Tis a bit overwhelming for us recluse types. Almost like deciding to go skinny dipping in the Central Square fountain. The idea takes a bit to get used to.
So I should be embellishing my Facebook page. Indeed I will as it is a good avenue both to touch base and to share my artwork with people and friends. Looks promising.
But I need to stage a radical procrastination. I am not going to electronically rub noses with the pod tonight. Give me my archaic roots. I’m going to read a book instead right now. Books are nice to hold, too.
Tomorrow is soon enough to open the drapes in my new apartment on Facebook avenue. Maybe you’ll be out there on the lawn having an intimate picnic with several thousand Facebook friends. See you there.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,