Thursday, February 28, 2008

Complexly simple

"Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For me an ordered life provides the mind with a place for making sense of the convergence of simplicity with complexity. The keyboard that you tap your words upon is part of a complexity that is designed to appear simple, so that complexity is "hidden" and for our purpose, well to be ignored, otherwise our mind could not focus on cobbling words together. The whole notion of simplicity and complexity are a conundrum in that our perceived reality is but how our minds process all the bits of information in order to construct a world inside our heads that will fit inside our heads.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Holy Longing

Tell a wise person or else keep silent
For the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive
And what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm waters of the love nights
Where you were begotten,
Where you have begotten,
A strange feeling comes over you
When you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught in this obsession with darkness
And a desire for higher lovemaking sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
And now, arriving in magic, flying
and finally, insane for the light
You are the butterfly.
And you are gone.
And so long as you haven’t experienced this,
To die and so to grow,
You are only a troubled guest on a dark earth.

--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Friday, February 22, 2008

In silent darkness the day begins

How many times recently have my eyes opened to predawn darkness and a want to keep within the cocoon of blanket warmth, yet I peel off the warmth and enter the cold that only my hurried dress of robe and wool socks. pulled up one at a time and a single wool cap pulled down to cover my chilled ears, then the cold wire-rim spectacles give me farsightedness when my natural nearsightedness was well enough in the still darkness. My hands and fingers give the boot strings the just-right tugs that end with dainty bows, unseen, with cold boots and wool-sock warm feet in battle until a thermal equilibrium is reached. All unnoticed by a mind that dwells not on what need not be dwelled upon, save for a few exaggerated stomps to stimulate a bit more circulation in the feet, I'm out the door and with mindless resolve, point myself toward the east, toward the crescendo of lightness that will halt me in my tracks when night becomes day. Like marching toward an idea, an idea that me and the sun and the earth, for one brief moment, have reached an invisible point, a point only imagined in my mind, a point in time and space, when eyes blinded for want of what feeds them are suddenly fed -- daybreak -- photons flood the landscape and my eyes are fed! And a feast it is, here in the Mojave the Joshua trees are a yardstick for measuring distance, if I can discern the waving limbs of the trees in the far distance, then I know at least that I can reach those trees, in about two hours. In winter or spring, that is, in summer, I wouldn't even try. So here I sit, on a boulder large enough so that I can sit cross-legged, facing the rising sun, eyes closed and heeding the words of Emerson, "Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods." And I wonder what it was like at daybreak on Brook Farm, when the Transcendentalist awoke in a different time, yet in all their idealism they couldn't escape reality. I open my eyes and see the ever present ants trekking about the sand. And me, a solitaire creature atop a boulder, inactive in body, yet mind moving as frantically as these ants scramble, alone, yet with as many memories and stories and meandering thoughts as the number of countless ants I watch. And I watch and wonder, and close my eyes again, and in silence, I pray, thanking the Creator for the gift of wonder. Then I remember something I read about someone that was missing the gift of sight and sound, and Helen Keller said, "Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." And I feel the morning chill on my face giving way to the warmth of the distant sun. I blink, and sneeze, and am content.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thoughts on words and thoughts

Thoughts are ever evolving expressions that can morph from this to that in a nanosecond, then disappear in a blink, to might or might not ever surfacing again, while words are thoughts expressed, thoughts solidified, in that they take on a life apart from the solitary mind, and become part of the collective mind, with dictionaries as arbitrators when the collective disagree on a once solid word that begins crumbling into ambiguity.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The ultimate "why"?

Why life?
For me, the "why" is answered by belief in a Creator. All around I find myself within and a bit of creation, I see creation in the invisible tapestry that physicists puzzle over, so for me the "why" is the answer to "what does a creator do?" -- and that is: create. So we (and all else we know and can imagine) are the "natural" outcome, the ongoing creation.

Tease away the
and marvel
At the tapestry
warp and weft
and invisible!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As tumbleweeds roll

In recent days, I have been venturing on pre-dawn treks into the desert, many lasting the complete day, returning after dark with the aid of flashlight and stars, days of quiet, with but a knapsack, days of fervent mental activity, and lengthy long nonverbal conversations with God, the countless hours observing, listening with my ears, seeing with my eyes, feeling with my senses, to a lesser extent tasting, but always sniffing, like a Bloodhound following a scent, the scent of creation that fills my every moment.

on desert sands
I listen for signs
as a tumbleweed
rolls by

a cactus wren
eyes me
a poppy-seed bagel

Next to the Joshua
tree I rest
hallowed be thy Name
and I'm hushed
by the thought!

A quail
a lizard
and me
the day break

I ask the tortoise
a haiku?
She-ma Yis-ra-el
A-do-nay El-o-hei-nu
A-do-nay E-chad
"Hear O Israel
The Lord our God
The Lord is One"
the twilight breeze

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Poems without a moon

I heard sounds
in the night
did you hear?
and pages

A rooster
a predawn
And I awake!

Friday, February 08, 2008


To what shall
I liken the world?
Moonlight, reflected
In dewdrops,
Shaken from a crane's bill.

Dogen (13th Cent. Japan)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Reason begat reason

My mind reasons that all of Science is reasonable, we have the "laws of physics" as our bedrock to build upon, all these "laws" make for a reality that we exist within and we can observe and measure and understand (in our own limited way). You could take a hundred random scientists from places around the globe and each would come to the same conclusion for the make up of water, each will "discover" water is 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Yes, bedrock reality, the stuff of Science -- reason, rationality -- from beginning to right now.

My mind also reasons that a Creator created these "laws of physics" that propelled our universe into existence, for the "laws of physics" emerged (and not chaos) from the Big Bang.

Reason begat reason.