Wilderness — A Meditation

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


'To those who have a romantic view of travel or who, longing for the liberty they imagine it brings, wish that they, too, could throw off old jobs, old husbands, old responsibilities and head for wilder climes where they feel sure both life and themselves will be entirely different -- that is to say, better; who do not understand that one carries the self like a heavy old suitcase where ever one goes; who think of travel not as a line of inquiry, a satisfaction of curiosity or as a method by which to better understand the world but as an escape from banality, I have this to say.

When you are so tired, frustrated and filthy that you would like to cry but cannot because people are watching you; when your period has come and you are in pain but you must not display it; when you do not know what is going on because you cannot understand the language but you sense the atmosphere is not right; when you are operating on twenty levels at once and not sure if you are correct in any of them; when you have entered a place where the people are suspicious of you, or frightened of you, or hate you because you represent something evil to them; when you cannot make your intentions understood; . . . when you are so fed up with humanness that you would like to shoot everyone you see, including yourself; . . . when there is no one with whom to have a sensible conversation, nor is there likely to be anyone for months; when you realize how very far away from you are the places and people you understand and who understand you; when your Celtic skin, which blushes even under a weak northern sun, has been baked into pottery by sun and salt so that you have to stop yourself thinking of the cancers which surely must be forming, let along the years you are adding to your face; when the little beasts that have taken up residence in your stomach double you up in a cramp so that you have to run behind a dune even though there are people everywhere watching; and when you have so lost touch with why you are doing what you are doing that it seems you are trapped in a machine of meaninglessness in which moral values are mashed to a pulp and . . .when you have plumbed the very depths of banality, then you begin to wonder if it is worth it.'

Davidson, Robyn, Desert Places, Pegnuin Putnam Inc, New York, 1996, page 103.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Doncha just wonder if anyone actually reads this blog?

Had an interesting experience with a couple of Jehova's Witnesses today on my front veranda.

Two 20 something younguns rang my bell around 10 a.m. I was at my puter in the back of the house but trundled out to see who was at my door.

As I opened the front door..not yet the veranda door (which is louvered in the lovliest way), the young man introduced himself and in the Aussie manner asked, 'how r you taday?'

'Fine, thanks' in the American manner, and 'how are you?'

'We're doing great,' says the young lady with a smile. By now the veranda door was open and I was leaning on the other one..the one that has the latch connected to the floor.

We stood there for almost twenty minutes just chewing the spiritual rag.

The only difference between this time and a dozen other times in my life when the Jehovas have come to call is that this time I identified myself as a buddhist..with a small 'b'..

And why was this a difference? Because I immediately knew that I would be polite and not dismissive of my two door knockers. Buddhists have time for people. Buddhists are respectful of other forms of wildlife. Buddhists do not get histrionic and shame folks into wishing they had never opened the front gate.

They invited me to a church service. I suggested that my spiritual self didn't need a church.
They talked of sight seeing in Catholic churchs in France. I spoke of mosque's in Constantinople in 1717.
They talked of armaghedon. I talked of string theory (not that I understand it, but it is a theory of unifying the know the universal force..

Now, come to think about it, that's a grand idea..wouldn't it be a wonderment if their god turned out to be a myriad set of strings just bop, bop, bopping along? Yeah, I kinda like that!

Friday, August 04, 2006


It is a fine good morning here in Oz. As is my penchant, I have spent the last hour checking out my favorite sites including my hotmail account. On a monthly basis sends me an email there to let me know what is going on in the world of 'give-away' books. I thought it might be a good idea to let you all know, in case you don't already know, about this amazing site and the process which it promotes.

One joins for no cost. And one then empties one's bookshelves of unwanted, long ago read volumes by simply giving them away, by leaving them in places where another avid reader might pick up a volume. Restaurants, cafe's, gas stations, parks, and various and sundry other public places work well. I have sent about 25-30 books traveling in the last four years. Interestingly enough only one has been picked up and registered as having found a home.

Still, it feels good to have my bookshelves cleaned up a bit. I really don't need to keep many titles after I have read them. And since I graduated high school after 40 years of teaching in 2002, I have had far more time available to read. The joy, of course, is in reading simply for pleasure. And sharing that pleasure by giving books away is an additional joy.

I know of one history teacher who might empty almost half of his book shelves to deserving and appreciative other readers if he were to try this process. Nudge! Nudge!

In case any of you are interesting in sharing your wealth, note that the address in the title of this entry will take you to a place where you can register your intentions to be a 'sharer of reading wealth'.

Happy week end to you all...May blue skies keep you satisfied. If each of us were to write just one letter or email this week-end to an elected representative about our concerns for the state of the world, the postal service or your email provider would be kept busy; and there is just the chance that so much generated concern might change the pattern which each of us decries.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Body effluents and love

It is 7:18 am which means around 2 pm California time..the sun has snuck out from behind the palm trees in the back garden. Therefore, the black parasol sits over my computer screen to block it's direct ray into my eyes..the opthamologist indicated that the small cataract in my left eye is in all likelihood a radiation issue..too much I am being good about blocking direct contact with that most wonderful orb hanging out there over the ocean and above my computer screen. I know..I ought to change the spot on my desk where my puter screen sits..but that entails leaning to the right rather than to the left..and ya know..I'm in Oz..leftest is bestest...:)

My throat is still full of snot..ugh! I do wish this cold would go away..cough, cough, cough..I'm beginning to feel like a perpetual snot machine..

Nothing new to report just some thoughts of you come from down under..

The Rumi poem came to me in an email..I have Essential Rumi on my book shelf..on the outside where I can grab it when I feel like a little know..he was madly in love when he wrote all that poetry in the 13th century...seems to me that proves that the human condition hasn't much changed in the last 900 years..or so..angst, angst and more angst...

Jelaluddin Rumi,
translated by Coleman Barks in his book *Essential Rumi*

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

It's just the process..from high to low and then at a spark of recognition from the loved other.. the high returns..And so what is important in life?? not money, not food, not power, but the recognition by another whom we admire and love that we, too, are loveable..Isn't that really grand?..we can be aboriginal traveling across the red interior with no clothes on, no shoes, nothing but a water bottle and a spear and some kind of fire starter..and be happy because there is another entity in our space who recognizes the unique contribution we make to their world...

All the rest is simply decoration..flimsy and unimportant except as a screen behind which to hide our neediness to be accepted, loved, and cuddled...

So, I guess we may as well simply enjoy the process..even the angst part of it..

Simple stuff really makes my day..

I have been encouraged to wait until my lungs are working properly again before I resume my walk on Mt. Cooth-tha..but the wait is driving me nutso....I saw a hopper over there two days ago..He was browsing near the trail and when he heard me, hopped off across the canyon floor to a spot about 40 yards away..and stopped to look at me through the tall grasses..made my day!...the hard part of my walk..a hundred yard very, very steep uphill gives me energy to accomplish whatever tasks need doing upon my heart sings as it pumps faster on that uphill..and the sweat of my brow..captured in my red bandana on my forehead..reminds me that all the gunk collected in the first part of the day has wrung itself out of me..and can be left in the wash later in the day when I dump my wet work out clothes in the wash..

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wednesday...near nightfall

On 2 August 2006, nightfall comes before 6 pm in Oz. Seems like the cloud cover has hidden the setting sun ... some kind of thievery is going on, I'm sure. Or else why would the sun want to slip away unnoticed?

This day is a rather special one in my world. My little sister, Joyce Eileen, an inveterate Leo, was born in 1946 on this day. I really don't remember. I was not living with my parents when she was born. Later, after my sister was born, they invited me back into their home, .

It was the end of a war. My father returned from France and England where he served as a supply sergeant in the American army. I remember pictures of his jeep, his motorcycle, his truck: all of which had my name imprinted on the 'bonnet'.

But, I don't remember the birth of my sister. I remember my first experience with her, though. It was in a bath tub where we were both bathing. There was a rubber mat on the bottom of the tub, and it was my job to be sure that she didn't fall over in the water. I suspect there wasn't much water in the tub. However, the reason I remember the incident with her is that she did begin to slip and my six year old self quickly tried to right her in the tub as she listed to the left.

Seems my parents were watching from outside the bathroom door. They saw me try to steady my little sis and thought for some reason that I was doing just the opposite - trying to pull her over.

So strange, adults - so very strange.

Of course, I was punished. And you know what that is like...being punished for trying to do what you believed to be right by someone who thinks that what you are doing is wrong.

That sense of injustice is what keeps the image so strong in my memory.

But, today, I realize someone else made a mistake cause my little sis is no longer part of my 'world'. She died of spinal menigitis in 1973 when she was only 28 years old. Her death can really be attributed to the doctor's over perscribing medcation for her lupus, a disease that had attacked her kidneys.

Nonetheless, I celebrate her addition to my world..I celebrate her love of her neice, my eldest child; I celebrate her beauty, her kindness, her tolerance of a world that sometimes made it very difficult for her to live.