Dawn Haiku

Perfect bright half moon,
stark shadows from barren trees
giving way to dawn.

***

***

Lovely rendition here of the song that just had to accompany this post…

 

For periodic and brief posts of inspiring words from the world’s great thinkers and artists, accompanied by the usual lovely photography as exemplified here, see my public Facebook page  at: http://www.facebook.com/TraversingBlog

Twitter: @AndrewHidas

Deep appreciation as always to the photographers:

Rotating banner photos at top of page courtesy of Elizabeth Haslam, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/

Half-moon photo by redarrow812003, Camerano, Italy,  some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/redarrow/

Tree shadow photo by Örjan Mattsson, Uppsala, Sweden, some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at:  https://www.flickr.com/people/orjanmattsson/

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State of Impermanence: A Review of Richard Ford’s “Let Me Be Frank With You”

Rubbish&Weed By Theen Moy

When I was living a solitary would-be writer’s life in a musty studio apartment above a garage in Dillon Beach, California back in the early 1980s, I took daily constitutionals along the shore with my terrier Bilbo, most always in a reflective, appreciative and occasionally ecstatic mood. On one such late afternoon walk, I reached my usual turnaround point and swung back to behold the tiny town’s cliff- and hillside coastal homes bathed in a misty, diffused and pale yellow light, as if a photographer had placed some giant colored lens cap over the entire landscape.

All the houses and the hills to which they clung looked suddenly small, mute, and tentative, dialed back many degrees from anything approaching sharp relief.

I found myself suddenly seized with laughter.

Not a derisive laughter, but a compassionate and accepting one, as an observation and admission of the depth of human folly, including my own.

In that moment, all the human elements—the homes, streets, cars, the beach p...

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Joan Baez: The Real Deal

Joan Baez by Heinrich Klaffs

The more deeply one looks into the life and times of Joan Baez, the less she seems to resemble so many historical figures whose portraits frequently emerge as complicated and contradictory, with tentacles sprawling across light, dark, and the liminal shadows.

Often, the only way to make ultimate sense of many lives is to acknowledge their disparate parts, to admit that they don’t always make sense, that there’s frequently a notable split between people’s inner and outer lives. MLK, JFK, Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Steven Jobs—all people that Baez admired deeply—were also flawed characters, leaving a trail of greatness but also pain in their wake.

Say what you want about Baez—and many people have—but the salient aspect or characteristic of her 74 years on this earth, it seems to me, is how all of a piece it appears to be, how singular the thread is that weaves it together.

It is as if she emerged from the womb as a wholly defined person, complete, talented, opinionated, self-posse...

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It Really WAS About the Bike!

Lemond Bike

The fallen hero Lance Armstrong wrote a book years ago, It’s Not About the Bike, which I read with great satisfaction. The headline above is a take-off on that title and a lead-in to rectifying what appears to have been a misleading impression I may have left with some readers of my most recent post, Sex As Worship.

It seems some people took that post to mean I’d perhaps been having great sex recently as a single person in the wake of a marital separation. So I am here to say, “Oh no no no—it really was about the bike!”

Perhaps I should elaborate.

As I’d stated in the post, my Unitarian Universalist bloggers’ group had decided to take up the subject of sex in observance of Valentine’s Day, as a way of lifting up a topic that is usually verboten in mixed or any kind of company, whether strangers or friends. (Prurient and exploitative media a significant exception.)

Sex: so fundamental to life and love, so underground in polite society.

Having recently been separated and “tumbling thro...

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Sex As Worship

Rose By Serena

My Unitarian Universalist bloggers group invited us to write about sex in observance of Valentine’s Day. Recently separated and still tumbling along through that black hole, it didn’t strike me personally as a capital idea. Too much potential for sounding desperate, dark and demented, the kind of thing I’d come across a few years hence and cry out, “My God, what could I have been thinking?”

But then I climbed on my bike.

That’s not a metaphor for some random carnal encounter—it really was my wholly inanimate bike I was climbing on, made of cold aluminum alloys and the like. But it was Friday mid-afternoon, and I had ditched work early as the temp hit close to 80 degrees on Valentine’s Eve, the sky a lovely cobalt blue, the leaves through the shady park paths still musty from last week’s rains. Ah, this world…

I don’t believe in God, but I believe in this bike, this body, this breath.

And I believe in sex.

Sex as worship, affirmation, communication, recreation, explora...

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Vinnie Finds His Community…and His Concert

Trumpet Angel by Johan Hansson

Two kinds of people don’t go to church. One is the modern secularist, for whom the whole idea sounds, if not faintly ridiculous, at least outdated, conjuring images of the 19th century, when pioneer women would walk in their bonnets next to the wagon train, ready to help tame the prairie and produce progeny for their men, who would then build nice little country churches in which they could sing hymns of praise and eventually invite a parson to preach the Word.

The second is the “spiritual but not religious” type who regards spiritual matters as a strictly internal, privatized affair, to be accessible and enjoyed on ecstatic walks along the beach, or at a yoga retreat, or during meditation at an altar they’ve set up in a corner of their den, complete with incense and a laughing fat Buddha.

But church? Too much dogma, too many oleaginous pastors trying to separate you from your money.

And then there’s church as Vinnie Capone has come to know it.


Vinnie started hanging around th...

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A Winter Morning’s Hike With My Friends Henry and Kevin

Lake Ilsanjo

I managed to invite two friends to tag along with me yesterday morning on a hike in my beloved Annadel State Park. The  unusual thing is they came along in shifts.

My longtime running-biking-hiking-drinking-yakking-deconstructing-the-world buddy Kevin accompanied me on the first and most arduous phase, keeping a pretty serious pace as we hoofed it up Rough Go Trail and around Lake Ilsanjo on a crisp winter morning when fog lay heavily across the distant valleys.

When I got home, my friend Henry was waiting for me in the easy chair in the corner of my bedroom, paying me a surprise visit from his home in Massachusetts, his walking stick by his side. He’s not generally a demonstrative sort, so he waved off my expressions of amazement that he had dropped in on me for the first time ever, noted my hiking attire, and asked if I’d taken any pictures of this “Annadel” that I’d occasionally written him about over the years as my last surviving snailmail correspondent...

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Exercising the Spirit: Yoga and the Mind-Body Conundrum

Yoga By Joel NilssonNelson

 ”With its emphasis on strength and flexibility, power yoga brought yoga into the gyms of America, as people began to see yoga as a way to work out.”

So says a response to an inquiry about “power yoga”—a form of vigorous, extreme effort hatha yoga—on ask.com.

“A way to work out.”

As indeed it is.

Get that body to the studio.

Work it out.

Feel good.

Look toned.

Pat your yoga butt as you walk into the cafe to pick up a protein shake.

I don’t know exactly when yoga began to suffer the first fissures from those who would separate it from its profound spiritual roots. It’s a 5,000-year-old discipline, after all, and it was probably 4,999+ years ago that an enterprising Indian merchant wove together some special yoga garment or drew a posture or two on parchment that he traded for a persimmon or a bowl of soup at his friend’s stand down a dusty road.

Eventually, everything worth a whit attracts a market and spawns commercialization, because all of us need to eat.

Dear “Lul...

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God and the gods: From Colton Burpo to Roberto Calasso

RoadToHeaven ByJohnWatson

There may yet come a time when human beings inhabit distant planets in colossal, antiseptic spaceships, going about their days with antiseptic, computer-controlled minds, from which all notions and needs for God-talk will have been expunged. But until that day comes (not in my lifetime, thankfully), I’m casting the time and attention I have left to give on this earth with the poet Ezra Pound: “No apter metaphor having been found for certain emotional colours, I assert that the Gods exist.”

And so they do, in such an astonishing array of forms, depths, beliefs and disbeliefs as to challenge the very notion of human beings even resembling a coherent, more-similar-than-not species.

Exhibits A and B in that challenge: Colton Burpo and Roberto Calasso.

Burpo is the now teen-aged youth who purportedly went to heaven during an emergency appendectomy when he was four years old...

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To a Falling Leaf in the Wind

Just the few of you left now,
your stubborn clinging spent,
a mighty December wind
sending you finally to freefall.

Reclined in the steaming waters,
I see you torn from your branch,
spinning violently, a micro tornado,
coming to rest smack in the middle

of my forehead.

You are small, seven-pronged, maple,
and as you become my third eye,
I look with renewed surprise heavenward,
your cycle now blessed and complete.

***

For periodic and brief posts of inspiring words from the world’s great thinkers and artists, accompanied by lovely photography from my Flickr friends, see my public Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/TraversingBlog

Twitter: @AndrewHidas

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/93289242@N07/

Deep appreciation to photographer Elizabeth Hamlin for use of the banner photos at the top of this page. Some rights reserved under Creative Commons licensing, see more at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizhaslam/

Photo of leaf in water, safely removed from forehead, shot just ...

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