There is darkness like that which occurs when the moon is being eclipsed. There is darkness when you go outdoors at night, or stay in and leave the lighting down or off. And there is absolute all- encompassing darkness that leaves you wondering who and where you are. You feel as if you were young again and playing spies in the woods after dinner. Then light starts dying and the cloud cover rolls in so that you can’t see your hand in front of your face and you run, full body contact, into a tree, or trip over those invisible roots and rocks, or worst of all, it’s Spring and you tumble into a patch of nettles.. That’s when you wish you could see a flashlight or shine one or at least hear another voice; but your friends are all playing the game, too. It seems to you that if you call out, they won’t answer because all of you like to win an awful lot and calling out is losing. If you reach for your flashlight, well, you lose then, too, as well as being blinded by the sudden light. So you wish for the clouds to blow away, at least for a while, so you can orient yourself again and you can stop stumbling around in the dark. The thing about an eclipse is you know it will be over not so long from now and you can count on the moonlight after. You can’t count on the darkness in the woods during the night to magically go away. Sooner or later you’ll make a sound or just have to show your light – then you can gather with the others, who probably felt the same way you did, and together you can laugh at it all and tell stories about what brave deeds you were able to pull off. Possibly you will have learned something and can share that in the light too, not keep it as an in-the- dark secret. All of which is a metaphor to say that when we are suffering from a darkness in our hearts or souls we shouldn’t try to bear the burden alone. Shouldn’t we be able to count on friends and family to help us through the dark? and shouldn’t we help them?
It is known that humans get bugs and get sick. It is known that mammals other than humans get bugs and get sick; or bugs transport other bugs to us that make us sick. Birds and fish and reptiles suffer from illness because of bugs, too. But do bugs give bugs bugs? I don’t know enough entomology to know the answer to that question, but I certainly hope so. The bug above perched where he’s shown and didn’t move for almost two weeks – I didn’t detect any movement at all. But as a couple of doctor friends have told me, a treated cold lasts for two weeks and an untreated one for 14 days. So I’ve wondered if he had a bug cold; I confess, I hoped so just because I wanted to spread my own bug-suffering around. But there really isn’t any justification for wishing a misery on someone or something else just because you feel or have felt miserable. It feels good at the time, but doesn’t feel any too good later on if the memory pops up in your brain again.. It does seem to be true – misery loves company. As with so many things, once a negative topic comes up, suddenly it’s what everyone has on their minds. This can’t be healthy in many ways, from physical to mental. The mind is a powerful tool and it seems senseless to me to allow it to be used for negative purposes. Of course, we can’t help being negative occasionally, or we wouldn’t be human. Making an effort to recognize the tendency or occurrence and remedy it should not only make you feel better, but may help others feel better as well. You could even be providing a positive example. If that sounds too good to be true, it probably is; we all have a bit of mean inside. Especially so when we’ve just caught a bug and have been caught up in the ‘bugged’ cycle once again. Fortunately it’s a cycle and we’ll come out whole again on the other side. Don’t you think it would only be justice if bugs got sick from bugs, too?
There are things that we believe will last and last, for all succeeding generations. Yet these may be the things that crumble and dissolve the most quickly, like the feather,stones, and rock above. The rock is the basis of the planet but the stones show that everything can be worn down to its component parts given enough time. The feather is the least likely to survive for generations however the quill pen has written uncounted words and has left a legacy of the desire to write. Though they have no purely physical presence we think of words going on and on and lasting forever, certainly long after the person who spoke or wrote them is no longer writing, or telling stories, or is here to do so. But the essence of the words changes and is lost almost immediately. As soon as the words pass from the author to the listener and reader they have changed and lost or changed some of their meaning. Two people can be looking at the same book, the same phrase, the same words and come away with entirely different ideas of the meaning. The impressions they take away may also vary greatly from the author’s impression of his own words. Incredibly hard and incredibly soft words do not survive into posterity, but then neither does anything else. If you look at the relatively short time words have been around you can see that words are intrinsically expressions of intangible ideas of things. Assuming that posterity, meaning the generations of people, will end before the universe does; or assuming that the end of the universe means the end of everything words and their ideas can no longer persist. At least not in any of their familiar forms. If the words don’t last , and even the quill is gone, maybe a new form of ideas will persevere and go on to create new universes of words in a newer and more universally understandable form. Would you like to see a newer form of the word/idea relationship?
There are times when obstacles may be a good thing. Some obstacles are beautiful or have hidden value that should be considered before judging them negatively. It is helpful to look at obstacles as if they are part of a fairy tale, that there may be a lesson to be learned or a treasure, the kind you most want, at the end of the path. An obstacle may be about your own behavior rather than a hindrance to your purpose. There may be no shimmering reward, but you may grow and advance your inner self by accepting the challenge or challenges presented by an obstacle. Similarly, you may discover your limits and go beyond them by persevering in the face of obstacles. Or you may find that something you once perceived as an obstacle has changed in a positive direction. If you’re a little person struggling through the leaves and stems above you may find that you’d rather spend your time exploring and appreciating the obstacles. This may divert you from your original goal but the new one may be much more beneficial to you. How would you know unless you give it a try? You may also find another to overcome an obstacle with you so that you both stand out from the crowd. Obstacles are really more opportunity than obstacle. Like so much else, how you choose to look at an obstacle defines whether or not is really is an obstacle. I prefer to think of obstacles as chances instead, even when one after another comes flying fast. It takes an effort sometimes to look for the positive aspects of obstacles, but in the long run it’s worth it to at least try. Isn’t it better to try to see the beauty in your troubles, than focus on the negative side of them?
Black and white are very precisely defined and in life interpretation represent a full stop. They cannot be defined as good or bad; they will be found on either side of a rainbow of greys. Perhaps they could even be described as extreme shades of grey. Black and white shown in juxtaposition show stark differences, as in the merganser who also adds a variable with the color in his beak. More subtle differences appear, as in the water and its wavelets, with the many shades of grey. There is much more grey in life than true white or black, just as there is much more grey in our minds and thoughts than true white or black convictions. Most people can see a side to a question or point of view that isn’t their own; that shows they are already considering two shades of grey; the question or point of view is a shade of grey in its own right. Trouble arises when a person sees that question from only a black or white point of view and does not address the greys at all. Grey is where compromise and rational discussion live, where a way can be found to avoid strife and power plays. Those following either white or black exclusively will find themselves locked into their positions and may be unable to change them if they find they no longer agree with the position. Approaching anything from a grey area allows for gaining knowledge and perspective and does not lock you into an untenable place. Flowing pausing to drift with many shades of grey provides a great many choices. This does not mean you are indecisive, it only shows that you are a thinking person unwilling to be too hasty in making decisions. Living in various shades of grey can be a comfortable and aware place to live and if you can find like-minded people to share your place you may find your circumstances nothing but pleasant and fruitful. Does versatility and thoughtfulness sound like a more rational way to live than to be cornered in a place where only black and white rule?
There are many times when we find ourselves alone. It may not be for long, but we are still the only one around at one time or another. But are we really alone? And how do we react to the solitude? I don’t believe we are ever really alone, that is if you don’t leave out everything that isn’t human or even alive. If you do insist that alone means that there are no other humans around you can’t really say that either because you can find many other humans in your heart and your mind. Their physical presence is not really necessary for you to communicate with them and have a meaningful conversation in your head. Generally, however, there are at least human artifacts everywhere we go. Or others, though we may not see them. Above is an extensive beach and the person at the fire probably has no idea that the person walking the beach is there. Also, probably neither one of them has any idea that someone taking a photo of the evening has captured them in the photo as well. Both may feel alone, even the beach walker since the fire is far away and they don’t have to communicate with the person standing there. One can react to solitude in negative and in positive ways. Having time to oneself can be very constructive and lead to better relations with others, human or not. Having no time to oneself can lead to hasty, un-thought-out decisions that lead us astray. I believe that being alone can always be a positive thing as long as we recognize it as such and use that alone time to work toward our advantage, not to merely escape a time that may be uncomfortable for some. With a determined goal to find your next alone time productive you may find that each piece of solitude you can find will bring more and more satisfaction until you look forward to being alone, at least occasionally. Would you rather have time to gather your thoughts and plan your life or race on endlessly reacting, not thinking?
Home is where the heart is, but where and what is home really? Is home the small space you say you’re going to when you get off work? Or is home the town you live in? The country you live in? The planet? The answers must involve how much you feel invested in what you choose to call home and when. Home may be different things at different times and may expand and contract depending upon particular circumstances. Perhaps it’s easier to talk about territory. Territory is something you feel invested in but don’t necessarily have to keep clean or pay the bills for. Directly anyway. Territory allows for a much larger population but also increases the necessity to get along with others. But should we limit that necessity to humans only? Many people have pets and plants in their homes. Our parks are filled with plant and animal life. In fact there are more plants and animals on this planet than humans. Should we admit that Earth is really their territory? Especially the oceans, the largest and most diverse part of our world. What do we even really know about the oceans where various countries claim various portions? These territories, and land territories as well, seem to invite conflict. Once a line has been drawn on a piece of paper or in the sand or anywhere; immediately there is a reason to disagree. Disagreement is not something that should create any kind of permanent rift though it does. Territory does not need to be claimed by one power or another; if people are allowed to make their homes without worrying about territory there might, in fact, be much less conflict. Claims and counter claims are counterproductive. The difference between home and territory is merely semantics, nothing more. Home evokes a much kinder, calming feeling than territory. Shouldn’t we attempt to consider our entire planet as home and treat it that way?